In recent times, India has found itself at a pivotal juncture in the digital
landscape, with a significant segment of its population, totaling a staggering
20 crore, calling for increased regulation of content on Over-The-Top (OTT)
platforms. The surge in mobile and internet users has fueled the expansion of
these platforms, triggering widespread debates that have reached the hallowed
halls of the judiciary, from the High Courts to the Supreme Court.
Proponents of government intervention argue that it is imperative to regulate
objectionable content on OTT platforms. With approximately 100,000 users and
counting, these platforms have become a ubiquitous source of entertainment for a
rapidly growing audience. The concerns raised by this segment of society echo in
courtrooms across the nation, where cases have been registered to address the
perceived menace of objectionable content.
Conversely, a vocal contingent within the Indian entertainment industry
vehemently opposes such regulation. Critics argue that implementing laws to
control content could have far-reaching consequences, potentially stifling
creative freedom, hindering industry development, and perpetuating a patriarchal
system of censorship. The industry's stakeholders contend that the proposed
regulations are tantamount to censoring ideas and controlling expression,
actions that run counter to the democratic values upon which the nation is
The ongoing discourse has become a battleground of ideas, with opinions on the
impact of government scrutiny over OTT platforms remaining fiercely divided.
Those within the film industry, in particular, lament what they perceive as a
missed opportunity for liberalization. They argue that the proposed regulatory
framework represents a step backward, away from embracing a more open and
democratic approach to content creation and distribution.
Notably, the government had earlier issued guidelines for social media
platforms, introducing codes of conduct and demanding the swift removal of
objectionable content. In July, streaming services like Netflix were privately
instructed to subject their content to independent review for obscenity and
violence before being made available online. This move reflects the government's
attempt to balance the need for regulation with the preservation of creative
Experts weigh in on the debate, suggesting that a balanced approach is essential
to address the concerns of both proponents and opponents of content regulation.
The clash of ideologies reflects the broader struggle between maintaining
cultural values and fostering an environment conducive to innovation and
As the discourse on content regulation unfolds, India stands at a critical
juncture, facing the challenge of finding a middle ground that safeguards
societal values without compromising the dynamic and evolving nature of its
digital landscape. The impact of government scrutiny on OTT platforms remains
uncertain, with the nation watching closely as this complex and nuanced debate
continues to unfold.
Information and discussion contained herein is being shared in the public
Interest. The same should not be treated as substitute for expert advice as it
is subject to my subjectivity and may contain human errors in perception,
interpretation and presentation of the fact and issue involved herein.
Written By: Advocate Ajay Amitabh Suman
, IP Adjutor - Patent and
Email: [email protected]
, Ph no: 9990389539