ARTICLE
11 April 2024

Ministry Of Information And Broadcasting Blocks 18 OTT Platforms

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S.S. Rana & Co. Advocates

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S.S. Rana & Co. is a Full-Service Law Firm with an emphasis on IPR, having its corporate office in New Delhi and branch offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh, and Kolkata. The Firm is dedicated to its vision of proactively assisting its Fortune 500 clients worldwide as well as grassroot innovators, with highest quality legal services.
The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I & B) has taken an action in coordination with various intermediaries, to block 18 OTT Platforms publishing obscene, vulgar, and some instances...
India Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment
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The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I & B) has taken an action in coordination with various intermediaries, to block 18 OTT Platforms publishing obscene, vulgar, and some instances, pornographic content. As a result, 19 websites 10 apps (7 on Google Play Store, 3 on Apple Store), and 57 social media accounts associated with these platforms have been disabled for public access in India.

On March 12, 2024, as per the statement released by Shri Anurag Thakur, Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting, announced that 18 OTT platforms publishing obscene and vulgar content have been taken down in furtherance of the Ministry's repeated emphasis on the platforms' responsibility to not propogate obscenity, vulgarity and abuse under the guise of 'creative expression'.1

What made the Ministry block the OTT Platforms?

As per the statement issued by the Ministry, the content hosted on the platforms was found to be obscene, vulgar and portrayed women in a demeaning manner. It depicted nudity and sexual acts in various inappropriate contexts, such a relationships between teachers and students, incestuous family relationships, etc. the content was also said to include sexual innuendos and in some instances, prolonged segments of pornographic and sexually explicit scenes devoid of thematic or societal relevance.

The said content was in violation of the following Legislations:

  1. Information Technology Act, 2000 (IT Act) and Rules thereunder Section 67 of the IT Act prescribes punishment of three (03) years with fine which can extend to INR 5 lakh (0.5 million) for publishing or transmitting obscene material in electronic form. For a subsequent conviction under the said provision, the punishment of imprisonment may extend to five (05) years with fine upto INR ten (10) lakh (1 million).Section 67A of the IT Act further prescribe punishment of imprisonment of five (years) with fine extending upto INR ten (10) lakhs on first conviction and imprisonment for a term of seven (07) years with fine upto INR ten (10) lakhs (1 million) for transmitting of material containing sexually explicit act, etc.
  2. The Indian Penal Code, 1860 (IPC) Section 292 of the IPC prohibits selling, lending, distribution, publication of any obscene book, pamphlet, paper, drawing, painting, representation or any other obscene object whatsoever.
  3. The Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 Section 4 of the said Act also prohibits publication of content by post of books, pamphlets, etc. containing indecent representation of women.

The blocked OTT platforms are also said to have significantly large viewership where one of the apps had more than 1 crore (10 million) downloads while two others had 50 lakh (5 million) downloads on Google Play Store. In addition to that, these platforms extensively used social media to disseminate trailers and specific scenes to attracting audiences to their websites and apps.

The said decision of the ministry was taken under the IT Act in consultation with other Ministries/Departments and domain experts specializing in social media and entertainment, women and child rights.2

Footnotes

1. https://pib.gov.in/PressReleaseIframePage.aspx?PRID=2014477

2. https://indianexpress.com/article/india/18-ott-platforms-blocked-over-vulgar-content-says-govt-9214883/

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ARTICLE
11 April 2024

Ministry Of Information And Broadcasting Blocks 18 OTT Platforms

India Media, Telecoms, IT, Entertainment

Contributor

S.S. Rana & Co. is a Full-Service Law Firm with an emphasis on IPR, having its corporate office in New Delhi and branch offices in Mumbai, Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh, and Kolkata. The Firm is dedicated to its vision of proactively assisting its Fortune 500 clients worldwide as well as grassroot innovators, with highest quality legal services.
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