New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Thursday asked Centre to submit the regulations for Over The Top (OTT) platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Hotstar, Zee5 and others stressing over the need for “some screening” of programs before they are displayed to the OTT audience. “We are of the view that there must be some screening. Even pornography is shown,” Justice Ashok Bhushan, heading the bench, remarked. Also Read - Searching For Sheela Trailer: Netflix’s Docu-Film Explores Ma Anand Sheela’s Controversial Life
The Supreme Court was hearing an appeal of Amazon Prime’s India head of original content Aparna Purohit, against the Allahabad High Court order that denied anticipatory bail to her, in the ongoing investigation against the web series ‘Tandav’. Also Read - Supreme Court Slaps Rs 50,000 Fine on Waseem Rizvi For Plea Seeking Removal of 26 Verses From Quran
The government had, last month, announced new rules to regulate digital content and establish a Code of Ethics and a three-tier grievance redressal framework for news websites and OTT platforms. Also Read - Supreme Court Reverts to Virtual Hearings After 50% Staff Test COVID Positive
Concerns have been raised about rampant abuse of social media platforms, spread of fake news, IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said in his address to the media.
The Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 prescribes, for the first time, how digital news organisations, social media platforms and OTT streaming services will be regulated by the government. The rules include a strict oversight mechanism involving several ministries and a code of ethics that bans content affecting “the sovereignty and integrity of India” and that threatening national security.
The government directed that OTT platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Zee5 need to self-classify content into five age-based categories – U (Universal), U/A 7+ (years), U/A 13+, U/A 16+, and A (Adult).
Social media giants will be required to appoint India-based compliance officers. If they remove content, they will be required to inform users, give reasons for taking down their post and hear them out.