What is the decision of the Supreme Court of India?
• On 15th October 2020, a Bench headed by Chief Justice of India SA Bobde of the Supreme Court issued a notice to the Centre, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, and Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI) in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) seeking for regulation over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime by an autonomous body.
• The apex court sought the Centre's response in this matter by issuing the said notice.
Why was the PIL filed? (SLIDE 3, heading on top, and picture below)
• The PIL was filed by Advocates ShashankShekharJha and ApurvArhatia seeking for directions for the establishment of a proper autonomous board/institution/association – "Central Board for Regulation and Monitoring of Online Video Contents" to monitor and filter the contents and regulate and manage the videos on different OTT/Streaming and digital media platform for viewers in India.
• The petition also prays for the Board to be headed by an IAS officer of Secretary level and to have members from varied fields.
Why is this petition important?
• “With cinemas theatres unlikely to open anytime soon in the country, OTT/Streaming and different digital media platforms have surely given a way out for film makers and artists to release their content without being worried about getting clearance certificates for their films and series from the censor board,” the plea said.
• “The government is facing heat to fill this lacuna with regulations from the public and the Judiciary; still the relevant government departments have not done anything significant to regularise these OTT/Streaming Platforms,” the plea said.
• None of the OTT/Streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime, Zee5, and Hotstar have signed the self-regulation provided by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting since February 2020, it said.
• The ministry had earlier admitted in a separate case before the apex court that there is a need to regulate digital media and that the court may first appoint a committee of persons as amicus before laying down guidelines for the regulation of hate speech in the media.
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