PIL wants online shows to be regulated

Seeks action against web service providers for broadcasting ‘obscene’ content

October 06, 2018 12:52 am | Updated 12:52 am IST - Mumbai

A public interest litigation (PIL) has been filed at the Nagpur Bench of the Bombay High Court on Friday seeking content regulations against certain “obscene and vulgar” TV shows airing through online portals.

A Division Bench of Justices B.P. Dharmadhikari and M.G. Giradkar was hearing the PIL by Advocate Divya Gontia on a web series named GandiBaat on the online platform ALTBalaji. Its content has been compared to pornography on Twitter. “[The show] is offensive to women. It expresses ideas which are indecent and lewd and thus obscene. It has scenes where a man is sexually harassing his daughter-in-law.”

The plea also said, Sacred Games on Netflix uses highly vulgar language to depict the underworld and and shows certain sexually unpleasant scenes that is indecent beyond permissible limits. More importance is given to nudity, obscenity and vulgarity than the original plot just to grab attention in an attempt to overtake its competitor Amazon Prime Video. The number of internet users who prefer to see such programs are increasing everyday.

The PIL seeks action against all web service providers for broadcasting programs containing “obscene, nude and vulgar scenes” which are cognizable offences under the Cinematograph Act, Indian Penal Code, Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act and Information Technology Act.

It also urges that a pre-screening committee check shows and movies before they are uploaded on the internet.

The PIL wants that steps should be taken for striking off all ‘obscene’ scenes and offensive dialogues, and to prevent children from getting access to adult shows online and to take measures to ensure parental control.

It wants that web service providers be restrained while advertising such shows on online platforms and on social media as well.

The court has issued notices to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, of Electronics and Information Technology, of Law and Justice and of Home Affairs and adjourned the matter to October 31.

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