Govt guidelines for digital platforms do not have any provision for action: Supreme Court

The apex court made the observation while granting interim protection to Amazon Prime Video's head of original content in India Aparna Purohit in connection with the FIRs filed against Tandav

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Mar 5, 2021 5:01 PM

The Supreme Court has observed that the digital media ethics code issued by the government for social media, over the top (OTT), and digital news platforms are mere guidelines and do not have any provision for action against digital platforms.

The Bench of justices Ashok Bhushan and Subhash Reddy made this observation while granting interim protection to Amazon Prime Video's head of original content in India Aparna Purohit in connection with the FIRs filed against the platform’s web series 'Tandav'. The apex court stayed Purohit's arrest while directing her to cooperate in the ongoing investigation.

Purohit had moved Supreme Court with an anticipatory bail plea after the Allahabad High Court rejected her anticipatory bail plea in February. She has been named in multiple FIRs against the web series 'Tandav' which has been in the eye of a storm for portraying Hindu deities in a bad light.

It is pertinent to note that Information & Broadcasting (I&B) minister Prakash Javadekar on Thursday held an interaction with representatives of various over the top (OTT) platforms including from ALTBalaji, Disney+ Hotstar, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix, Jio TV, ZEE5, Voot, Shemaroo, and MX Player to allay their fears about the new guidelines that have recommended self-classification of content based on age and a three-tier grievance redressal mechanism.

Javadekar had sought to dispel rumours by clarifying that no member in the self-regulating body will be appointed by the government. The minister wants to allay the fears of OTT platforms that the government will interfere with digital content.

Speaking on the power of the government under the rules, the minister informed that the government will create the Inter-Departmental Committee to look at complaints that remain unresolved at the self-regulatory level.

On Tuesday, video streaming platform Amazon Prime Video had issued an unconditional apology for certain objectionable scenes in its original series 'Tandav'. The apology came close on the heels of Allahabad High Court rejecting the anticipatory bail plea of Amazon Prime Video India Originals head Aparna Purohit in relation to a case against 'Tandav'.

"Amazon Prime Video again deeply regrets that viewers considered certain scenes to be objectionable in the recently launched fictional series Tandav. This was never our intention, and the scenes that were objected to were removed or edited when they were brought to our attention. We respect our viewers’ diverse beliefs and apologize unconditionally to anyone who felt hurt by these scenes," Amazon Prime Video said in a statement.

"Our teams follow company content evaluation processes, which we acknowledge need to be constantly updated to better serve our audiences. We will continue to develop entertaining content with partners while complying with the laws of India and respecting the diversity of culture and beliefs of our audiences."

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