Bombay HC issues notice to Centre over PIL seeking content regulation of ‘web series’https://indianexpress.com/article/entertainment/web-series/pil-seeks-regulation-of-web-series-5389518/

Bombay HC issues notice to Centre over PIL seeking content regulation of ‘web series’

The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by  Divya Ganeshprasad Gontia demanded to set up a pre-screening committee for web shows, films or other programs which are released directly on online platforms. 

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The PIL also mentions Netflix’s Sacred Games for objectionable content, including nudity and language.

The Bombay High Court has issued a notice to Centre over a plea seeking to regulate the content of ‘web series’ or other programs that are broadcasted directly through the internet on various streaming platforms. A notice in this regard was issued by the Nagpur bench of the Bombay high court.

The bench of Justices Bhushan Dharmadhikari and M G Biradkar issued notices to the I&B Ministry, Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Ministry of Law and Justice, Ministry of Home Affairs and also the Nagpur police commissioner, seeking replies by October 31.

The PIL was filed by Divya Gontia on a web series called Gandi Baat which streams on the online platform ALTBalaji, The Hindu reported. The PIL also mentions Netflix’s Sacred Games for objectionable content, including nudity and language, according to the same report.

The petitioner’s lawyer Shyam Dewani told PTI, “We cited before the court various examples of uncontrolled vulgarity, obscenity in such shows and sought a direction to concerned authorities to take appropriate action against all such web service providers.”

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“Broadcasting nudity or vulgar scenes is a cognisable offence under IPC, Cinematograph Act, Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986 and the Information Technology Act, 2000,” Mr Shyam Dewani said. The I&B Ministry should set up a pre-screening committee for web shows, films or other programs which are released directly on online platforms, the petition has demanded.

Recently, Sacred Games, a web series which was released on video streaming platform Netflix ran into legal troubles after a plea was filed in the Delhi High Court seeking removal of some “offensive scenes”, alleging that some of its content were inappropriate and derogatory in nature and harmed the reputation of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Congress spokesperson Priyanka Chaturvedi, at the time, had said, “Freedom of speech is everyone’s democratic right. But using that freedom of speech to spread a whole set of lies, I think, is a conspiracy which we would want to say is not appreciable. What we need to understand is that all dialogues were…on the basis of lies — lies which have been projected by the BJP for political gains.”

(With inputs from PTI)

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