Supreme Court challenges India's new rules for governing Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other OTTs — no 'appropriate action' listed against those who violate regulations

Advertisement
Supreme Court challenges India's new rules for governing Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other OTTs — no 'appropriate action' listed against those who violate regulations
Supreme Court asserts that India's new rules for OTT platforms have no actionable consequences for those who break the regulationsUnsplash/BI India
  • The Supreme Court has issued an order, which notes that India’s new IT rules for governing the likes of Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and other over-the-top (OTT) platforms are all teeth and no bite.
  • It wants the government to put in actionable repercussions for those who violate the regulations.
  • It was part of the order granting Amazon Prime Video’s commercial head, Aparna Purohit, interim protection from being arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Police in the Tandav controversy.
While passing the order in the Tandav case, the Indian Supreme Court bench headed by Ashok Bhushan expressed its dissatisfaction with India’s new rules to govern over-the-top (OTT) platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+Hotstar, Alt Balaji and others.

While granting Amazon Prime Video’s head, Aparna Purohit, interim protection from being arrested by the Uttar Pradesh (UP) Police, it also took a swing at the government. “Rules are in the nature of the guidelines with no effective regulation for either screening or taking appropriate action against those who violate these guidelines,” said Bhushan, according to Bar & Bench.

This comes after Bhushan observed that screening of OTT content was necessary, since it was pornographic in nature, during yesterday’s hearing.

Advertisement
“The Solicitor General has submitted that steps will be taken for the same and it shall be placed before the court,” the bench observed in its order.

What are India’s new rules for OTT platforms?
Until the new rules came into the pictures, platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, Alt Balaji, and others were largely unregulated. This allowed them to cater to a variety of audience. It also meant that the same platforms countered controversy every now and again — like in the case of the Amazon web series Tandav.

According to the state of Uttar Pradesh, the show has inappropriately depicted the police force. The FIR lodged against the director, producer and Amazon employee Purohit, also accuses the show of depicting Hindu gods in a manner that is hurtful to the religious sentiments of the majority.

Advertisement

The new rules, however, want to reduce the number of disputes by ensuring that OTT platforms have to certify their film and web series. And, they have to set up a three-tier system of addressing complaints.

However, lawyers believe that instead of reducing the number of controversies, these rules may actually lead to an increase in the number of content-related disputes. “While a certain type of content is perceived as offensive by a certain section of public, it is popular amongst another. It is unclear as to how OTT platforms are expected to practically redress grievances from different users,” wrote law firm Khaitan and Co’s partner, Tanu Banerjee.

SEE ALSO:
Whatsapp, Signal and Telegram face a catch-22 situation as India’s new social media rules threaten encryption

Facebook and Twitter have a ton of new rules to abide by in India ⁠— WhatsApp may find itself in the toughest spot of all

Indian government assumes the right to block digital news content along with a new set of regulations
{{}}