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Introduction: In a significant move, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) has taken robust action against the proliferation of obscene and vulgar content on various Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms. This decisive step comes after repeated warnings from Union Minister Anurag Thakur regarding the dissemination of inappropriate content under the guise of creative expression.

Detailed Analysis

The Ministry, in collaboration with various intermediaries, has blocked 18 OTT platforms, along with associated websites, apps, and social media handles. These platforms were found to be in violation of several crucial laws, including the Information Technology Act, the Indian Penal Code, and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act.

A thorough examination of the content hosted on these platforms revealed a disturbing trend of obscenity and vulgarity. The portrayal of women in a demeaning manner, along with depictions of nudity and sexual acts in inappropriate contexts, raised serious concerns regarding societal values and ethical boundaries.

The significant viewership garnered by these platforms underscores the urgency of addressing such issues. With millions of downloads and a vast social media presence, the impact of their content cannot be underestimated. The Ministry’s action aims to uphold the integrity of Indian media and protect viewers from harmful influences.

Conclusion: The Ministry of I&B’s decisive action against the dissemination of obscene content on OTT platforms reflects its commitment to upholding moral and legal standards in the media landscape. While fostering the growth of the OTT industry, it remains vigilant in ensuring that content creators adhere to ethical guidelines and respect societal norms. Through a combination of regulatory measures and industry collaboration, the government endeavors to create a safe and responsible media environment for all citizens.

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Ministry of Information & Broadcasting

Ministry of I&B takes Action against Obscene Content on OTT Platforms

18 OTT Platforms Blocked for Obscene and Vulgar Content After Multiple Warnings from Union Minister Anurag Thakur

19 Websites, 10 Apps, 57 Social Media Handles of OTT platforms blocked nationwide

Content in violation of IT Act, Indian Penal Code, and Indecent representation of Women (Prohibition) Act

Posted On: 14 MAR 2024 11:43AM by PIB Delhi

The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) has taken action in coordination with various intermediaries, to block 18 OTT platforms publishing obscene, vulgar, and, in some instances, pornographic content. 19 websites, 10 apps (7 on Google Play Store, 3 on Apple App Store), and 57 social media accounts associated with these platforms have been disabled for public access in India.

Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Shri Anurag Singh Thakur has repeatedly emphasized the responsibility of the platforms to not propagate obscenity, vulgarity and abuse under the guise of ‘creative expression’. On 12th March, 2024, Shri Thakur announced that 18 OTT platforms publishing obscene and vulgar content have been taken down.

The recent decision was taken under the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000 in consultation with other Ministries/Departments of the Government of India, and domain experts specializing in media and entertainment, women’s rights, and child rights.

List of OTT Platforms

Dreams Films

Voovi Yessma Uncut Adda Tri Flicks X Prime

Neon X VIP

Besharams Hunters Rabbit

Xtramood

Nuefliks

MoodX Mojflix Hot Shots VIP Fugi Chikooflix

Prime Play

Nature of Content

A significant portion of the content hosted on these platforms was found to be obscene, vulgar, and portrayed women in a demeaning manner. It depicted nudity and sexual acts in various inappropriate contexts, such as relationships between teachers and students, incestuous family relationships, etc. The content included sexual innuendos and, in some instances, prolonged segments of pornographic and sexually explicit scenes devoid of any thematic or societal relevance.

The content was determined to be prima facie in violation of Section 67 and 67A of the IT Act, Section 292 of the IPC, and Section 4 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.

Significant Viewership

One of the OTT apps amassed more than 1 crore downloads, while two others had over 50 lakh downloads on the Google Play Store. Additionally, these OTT platforms extensively utilized social media to disseminate trailers, specific scenes, and external links aimed at attracting audiences to their websites and apps. The social media accounts of the concerned OTT platforms had a cumulative followership of over 32 lakh users.

Social Media Platform

Number of Accounts

Facebook

12

Instagram

17

X (formerly Twitter)

16

YouTube

12

Constant Engagement with OTT Platforms

The Ministry of I&B consistently conducts sensitization efforts with OTT platforms and their self-regulatory bodies established under the IT Rules, 2021 through meetings, webinars, workshops, etc.

The Government of India remains committed to fostering the growth and development of the OTT industry. Several measures have been undertaken in this regard, including the introduction of the Inaugural OTT Award for Web Series at the 54th International Film Festival of India, collaboration with OTT platforms in the media and entertainment sector, and the establishment of a light touch regulatory framework with an emphasis on self-regulation under the IT Rules, 2021.

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