The Government Prohibits 18 Streaming Services for Having Offensive Content

By Consultants Review Team Thursday, 14 March 2024

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) has blocked up to 18 streaming platforms, 19 websites, 10 applications, and 57 social media accounts for disseminating "obscene, immoral, and, in some instances, vulgar content".

The platforms were shut down under Section 4 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act of 1986, Section 292 (selling of obscene literature, etc.) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), and Sections 67 and 67A of the Information Technology Act of 2000.

Besharams, Hunters, Dream Films, MoodX, NeonX, ExtraMood, and other firms have had their platforms prohibited because they produce sexually explicit video. According to MIB, one of the apps had over 10 million downloads, while the other two each had over five million downloads on the Google Play Store.

Seven of the 10 restricted apps were found on the Google Play Store, with three on the Apple App Store.

These platforms' social media profiles, which featured trailers, particular scenes, and external links, had a total of over 3.2 million followers. The announcement said that 12 Facebook accounts, 17 Instagram accounts, 16 X (previously Twitter) accounts, and 12 YouTube accounts had been disabled.

In June 2023, a self-regulatory board established under Part III of the IT Rules issued an adverse ruling against Ullu, another streaming site not on the present list, on the grounds of obscenity.

The chairperson of the grievance redressal board of the Digital Publisher Content Grievances Council, former Supreme Court judge AK Sikri, gave Ullu final instructions in June 2023. He directed Ullu to either remove the four web series that were the subject of complaints or edit them, "if even possible," to remove "the offending and objectionable scenes."

Sikri stated in his ruling that "art or culture should not be obscene" is one of the limitations on the freedom of speech and expression guaranteed by Article 19 of the constitution. "Obscenity is considered a criminal offense in accordance with Section 292 of the IPC." In the sake of morality, decency, and public order, restrictions may also be put in place, according to the directive.

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