The Supreme Court of India has reportedly sent a notice to the Centre in response to a petition that seeks framing of guidelines for the regulation of online video streaming platforms, including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Hotstar and Alt Balaji.
The petitioner, a Delhi based NGO, Justice for Rights Foundation, claims, most of these online platforms are operating in India without license and are streaming content that contains abusive language, is sexually explicit and pornographic in nature and depicts women in objectifying manner.
“These online broadcasters are running without licenses. I think there should be a regulatory body keeping an eye on the nature of content they are showing. When there are rules that regulate DTH and cable TV operators, why these online platforms are not being regulated? This gives them a free hand to show whatever they want." said Satyam Singh Rajput, founder of Justice for Rights Foundation.
After the Delhi High Court dismissed a similar petition in February, the petitioner moved the Supreme Court in April against the impugned judgement.
The petition submitted to the Supreme Court notes, over-the-top broadcasters are operating in India without license, which was admitted by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Ministry of Law and Justice and Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology during the Delhi High Court proceedings.
The petition further adds that a lot of content allowed on these online platforms have not been passed by Central Board for Film Certification. Also, in the absence of any regulatory guidelines or certification, there is no way the authorities can pre-screen restricted content.
In February 2019, Karnataka High Court had also issued a notice to centre on a petition filed by a Bengaluru resident against the lack of regulatory mechanism for online streaming platforms.
We have reached out to the platforms for a statement on the matter.
*This story will be updated once the same is received.