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Sex, violence on OTT platforms: Bihar CM Nitish Kumar writes to PM, requests censorship on streaming services airing ‘inappropriate’ content

The centre must take appropriate steps to ensure censoring of all programs streamed online under Cinematograph Act-1952, Kumar has written.

Recently, the OTT platforms are gaining popularity and concerns have been raised over the content quality, since the usual censorship of movies and TV do not apply on streaming platforms like Amazon, Netflix, Zee5 etc. According to a report in HT, Bihar CM Nitish Kumar has written to PM Modi to take appropriate action to bring streaming platforms under censorship.

In a recent letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Nitish Kumar has written that as the content on OTT platforms is not censored, viewers have unrestricted access to content high on obscenity, sex and violence. It is harming the minds of the viewers.

Kumar demanded in his letter that the series and films streamed on these platforms should be brought under censorship so that the inappropriate content is not accessible by the viewers. He added that airing such content has a deep impact on the children and exposure to such content for in the long term can lead to social problems that include crime against children and women. As per the HT report, Kumar has also referred to the ban on pornographic websites.

Kumar said, “The streaming services are cheaper than Direct to Home (DTH) and cable services, a reason why it has become more popular among consumers. As there is less clarity on legal provisions binding on the content aired through streaming services, uncensored stuff is getting aired without much advertisements in such programmes.”

Censor content under Cinematograph Act-1962

The centre must take appropriate steps to ensure censoring of all programs streamed online under Cinematograph Act-1952, Kumar has written. He also added that there should be legal provisions so that those who create and publish such content can be punished as per the law. “There is an immediate need to categorise the production and airing of such inappropriate content through streaming services as an offence so that it could be checked. I urge the PM to look into the matter,” the Bihar CM’s letter read.

Controversies over content on OTT platforms

In the last few years, there has been a rise in bold content on OTT platforms and many local platforms that showcase b-grade and c-grade content without any check from the government. Even if such content has age-restrictions, bypassing it to access the content is not that difficult.

Recently, controversies have also erupted over deliberate misrepresentations and communally targeted content spreading hate and lies against particular groups. Ekta Kapoor had to remove scenes from Alt Balaji’s series after it was alleged that it was a deliberate attempt to defame soldiers and hurt religious sentiments. Netflix was criticized recently for streaming ‘Chippa’ that insulted Hindus and Lord Hanuman.

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