SC seeks centre’s response on NGO’s plea to regulate OTT platforms

MUMBAI: The Supreme Court has sought Centre’s response on a plea seeking guidelines to regulate the functioning of online media streaming platforms like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna has issued notices to the ministries of information and broadcasting, law and communications on an appeal by NGO Justice For Rights Foundation challenging the Delhi HC order dismissing its plead on 8th February. The plea was dismissed in the Delhi HC after the I&B ministry had informed that online platforms are not required to obtain any licence from it.

In its plea before the SC, the NGO has contended that these online web platforms are functioning in India without obtaining licence which has been admitted by the ministries concerned in their affidavit filed before the high court on 4th February.

“The said online platforms are displaying unlicenced, unregulated, uncertified content and collecting subscription amounts from Indian consumers whereas the content telecasted on the online platforms is illegal to the extent that certain movies banned under the provisions of the Indian Cinematograph Act and not even passed by the Central Board for Film Certification but are allowed to be telecasted for the general populace by bypassing the law of the land,” the plea said.

It added that due to lack of any licence or regulating body, the respondents via their inaction are creating a special class of broadcasters and therefore discriminating against the customers, regular movie producers, Cable-TV operators and direct to home (DTH) operators.

“The impugned judgment of February 8 (of high court) only presents the petitioner with remedies that are available after the content has been broadcast, however, the petitioner had also raised the contention that such content must be certified by a certifying body as the content on these web platforms is broadcasted for consumption of general public,” the plea said.

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