Online video streaming services, in the last couple of years, have emerged as one of the fastest segments with significant growth. Though, along with growth, they always have been at the centre of regulation debate for its unbridled content offering.
After being discussed in Delhi High Court and Supreme Court, the latest regulation concern around streaming platforms has been raised by the Madhya Pradesh High Court.
The MP court has issued a notice to streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon and ALTBalaji seeking regulation on their contents, which are uncensored, uncertified and unregulated.
The petition further said that content offered by streaming platforms are easily accessible to even children below 18 years.
These platforms are not only objectifying women for sexual desires but portraying them in a bad light and are filling the minds with lascivious thoughts, which violative of their fundamental rights to live with dignity, mentions the notice.
The petitioner also informed that both the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (I&B) and Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) have conceded that the matter falls beyond their jurisdiction.
It further alleged that these platforms are responsible as intermediaries for offences under Sections 67, 67A and 67B of the IT ACT 2000.
The plea, which was filed by an NGO Maatr Foundation, has appealed the court to issue directions to frame guidelines to regulate the content.
The plea has sought to regulate online content made available by 11 entities – ALTBalaji Telefims, Netflix, Amazon Prime, Ullu, Viacom 18, VIU, Hoichoi, Yash Raj Films, Zee Entertainment and U Digital Content Private Limited.
The next hearing on the plea will be taken up in December.
Earlier in May, the Apex Court has sent a notice to the Centre in response to a petition that seeks framing of guidelines for the regulation of online video streaming platforms.
In February, the Delhi High Court had dismissed a plea seeking a ban on streaming till the regulations are framed. The petition claimed that the content on such platforms is inappropriate, sexually explicit, religiously forbidden and legally restricted.
The development followed after a PIL by an NGO, Justice for Rights Foundation, which sought immediate court orders to remove vulgar and sexually explicit content available on these platforms.
On the other hand, OTT firms including Hotstar, Reliance Jio, Voot, ALTBalaji, Zee5, Eros Now and SonyLIV signed self-regulatory code to practice restraint from showing content -banned by Indian courts.
Moreover, the govt is mulling to the certification program for OTT content. Information and Broadcast ministry and MeitY are also planning to meet stakeholders in this regard.