OTT platforms: explain action taken, SC tells govt

‘Everybody in the world can contemplate... You put it out in an affidavit what you are doing,’ says CJI

February 16, 2021 02:16 pm | Updated 02:50 pm IST - NEW DELHI

The Supreme Court on Tuesday did nothing to appear convinced with the government’s submission that it is “contemplating” regulations for OTT (over-the-top) platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

“Everybody in the world can contemplate... You put it out in an affidavit what you are doing,” Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde addressed Additional Solicitor General K.M. Nataraj, for the government.

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The court issued notice on a plea filed by advocates Shashank Shekhar Jha and Apurva Arhatia seeking a proper board/institution /association for monitoring and managing the content of different OTT/streaming and digital media platforms.

Initially, during the hearing, the court had asked the petitioners to approach the government with their representation. However, the court, later on, decided that the government should better file a written reply to the petition.

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The plea contended that there was no law or autonomous body governing the digital content to monitor and manage the content of OTT platforms made available to the public at large without any filter or screening, it said.

“Lack of legislation governing OTT/streaming platforms is becoming evident with each passing day and every new case that is filed on these grounds... The government is facing heat to fill this lacuna with regulations from the public and the judiciary; still the relevant government departments have not done anything significant to regularise these OTT/Streaming Platforms,” the plea said.

None of the OTT/streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5, and Hotstar, have signed the self-regulation provided by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting since February 2020, it said.

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