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Are OTT platforms under CBFC regulation?

Mirzapur Season 2, which was largely awaited by the massive population of India, streamed on Amazon Prime Video on 22nd October, 2020. The netizens sat with chips and popcorn to enjoy the violence and update their Instagram stories. Some resisted to watch the violence, some enjoyed and a lot were inspired.

Well after the release, there was a boom on twitter: #boycottmirzapur2. However, the diehard fans of violence stood against the trending hashtag. Since, this blog is for the intellectuals we won’t blabber around the controversies. If you’re very keen to know about what happened in the Mirzapur 2, go through the following link.

Why the government wasn’t able to take any action? Why the violent scenes weren’t censored?

The answer to both is that Over The Top (OTT) platforms or digital video streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video or Netflix are not regulated by the government

The intellectual section of the population questioned the government, that why are the OTT platforms not regulated by the Ministry of information and broadcasting?

The Ministry, already, acts as a watchdog for regulating news and entertainment content on the television.

In October 2020, the apex court issued a notice to the Centre and the IAMAI, on a petition to regulate the OTT platforms.

The online content providers came under the legal framework of the Information Technology Act, 2000. However, they were not under the regulation of any ministry.

The newspaper for the classes, The Hindu, recently published an article that the OTT platforms will come under the ambit of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

There is also a possibility that the Program Code of the Cable Television Network Regulation Act (1995), that governs content on TV, may also regulate the online content.

Norms of Various important Entertainment and News platforms:

When the masses stop after digging the present affairs, the classes scrounge for information of the past. We all know that everything that we see on television or in the public movie theatre have to pass through certain legal requirements. Let’s have a view of the prevailing laws regulating these contents.

  • The law which governs and penalizes television channels for telecasting any violative program or advertisement is none other than the famous Cable Television Network (Regulations) Act, 1995.
  • The 150-year old Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867, would be replaced by the Registration of Press and Periodicals (RPP) Bill, proposed in November 2019.
  • Both news and entertainment on television are regulated by Cable Network Regulations Act, 2005.
  • A statutory and quasi-judicial body, Press Council of India, regulates the print media.
  • The television watchdog, News Broadcasters Association (NBA) created a self-regulating body called the News Broadcaster Standards Authority. The content on TV is monitored by the Electronic Media Monitoring Sector set up in 2008. One can file a complaint related to TV on the Broadcast Content Complaints Council.
  • Before the theatre telecasting, the film directors have to get a certificate from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which is under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

More about Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC):

We know that the movies showed in theatre have to undergo approval of the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. Let’s dig in and know more about the CBFC.

By the provisions of Cinematographic Act, 1952, the public exhibition of film is regulated.

The Central Government appoints the members of this Board. There are non-official members and a Chairman. The Board is headquartered in the Bollywood capital of India: Mumbai.

At present, films are certified under four categories: U, U/A, A and S. Let’s examine these categories in detail:

  • U: It is the unrestricted public exhibition. People of any age group could watch these pictures. You might have seen women carrying their annoying babies to the theatre, who cry or make noise unnecessarily in the hall.
  • U/A: It is also the unrestricted public exhibition. However, it warns the parents to accompany their children who are below 12 years of age.
  • A: These movies are restricted for adults. The children are not allowed to watch the horror movies, as it would adversely affect their brain.
  • S: Only special personnel can view these pictures.

If a film consists of any obscene scene, the part is censored. However, if it lowers the sovereignty or integrity of India, or any contempt of court is displayed, it would not be telecasted.

Regulating the OTT:

Many of the teens would dislike censorship in their violent and vulgar web series. But regulating the online content has become a necessity.

Students, adults and sometimes children watch the online content. They not only enjoy the violence but also take a bad lesson.

People who are inconvenient to violence, sometimes suffer from various problems like: fear and anxiety.

Students who ought to give time to their books waste a lot of time watching the long web series and movies.

Hence, to bring awareness in the society about the need of goodness, the first smallest step to taken by the government would be to regulate the OTT platforms.

Author:- Shubhanshi and Vishnu Kant from team invertedmirror

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