The Supreme Court of India has expressed dissatisfaction with the new guidelines for OTT platforms as they do not provide any scope for prosecution. The apex court said that the guidelines have “no teeth” and a law is required to regulate OTT platforms. The court made the comments while hearing a bail plea by Aparna Purohit, the Commercial Head of Amazon Prime in India.
SC says the new guidelines of the government on regulating OTT platforms like Netflix & Amazon Prime Vidoe has “no teeth” as there is no provision of prosecution.— ANI (@ANI) March 5, 2021
SC says that law has to be framed to put in place a mechanism to control OTT platforms instead of mere guidelines.
The Bench, comprising of Justices Ashok Bhushan and R Subhash Reddy, said, “One issue that has cropped up is uncontrolled viewing of scenes in Prime Video. Union of India has issued notified new Rules in this regard. The Rules are in the nature of guidelines with no effective regulation of screening or taking appropriate action.”
“Rules don’t list anything a about appropriate action to be taken against those who don’t abide by the guidelines. Solicitor General has submitted that steps will be taken for the same and it shall be placed before the Court,” it said.
The Court was hearing a matter related to the allegations against Amazon web series ‘Tandav’ of hurting religious sentiments of Hindus. Amazon Prime Video’s India Commercial Head Aparna Purohit was granted interim protection from arrest on the condition that she cooperates with the investigation and appears before the Police as and when summoned.
The Allahabad High Court had earlier refused to grant Purohit’s plea for anticipatory bai observing that there was a growing tendency in the film industry to insult Hindus Gods and Goddessses.
The union government had recently announced guidelines for OTT platforms, along with guidelines for social media platforms and digital media sites. The government refrained from introducing any censorship on the online streaming platforms, and only said that the platforms need to categorise content as suitable for various age groups. Now it is clear that the Supreme Court is not happy with this, and want more stringent control on the platforms. It is ironical that while the Amazon Prime executive had approached the apex court seeking protection for herself, she may end up bring more government control and censorship on her company and others in the sector.