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SC notice to Centre on content streamed by online platforms

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SC notice to Centre on content streamed by online platforms
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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Friday asked the Centre to respond on a plea seeking guidelines on the regulation of uncertified and sexually explicit content being streamed on global online platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

A bench of Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi and Justice Sanjiv Khanna issued notice after hearing the petitioner. Earlier, the plea was dismissed by the Delhi High Court on February 8. The petitioner had moved the apex court challenging the High Court order.

The petitioner, Justice for Rights Foundation through its advocate H.S. Hora stated that online streaming platforms do not have a licence to function, and the same argument was accepted by the ministries concerned in their response on the plea in the High Court.

According to the petitioner, the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had said that for these streaming platforms, it is not mandatory to get a licence from the ministry. Later, the High Court dismissed the petition.

The plea said: "The said online platforms are displaying unlicensed, unregulated, uncertified content and collecting subscription amounts from Indian consumers whereas the content telecast on the online platforms is illegal to the extent that certain movies are banned under the provisions of the Indian Cinematograph Act."

Arguing in the High Court, the petitioner contended that series like "Sacred Games", "Game of Thrones" and "Spartacus", broadcast on platforms such as Netflix, contain sexually explicit content and depict women in objectionable manner.

The petitioner argues that the online content has not even passed by the Central Board for Film Certification.

Unlike the apex court, the High Court did not issue notice on the NGO's petition but had only sought the government's response.

The NGO, in its petition in the High Court, had claimed that online media streaming platforms, including Hotstar, show content which is not regulated and also not even certified for broadcast in public.

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