HC Grants Time to Centre to Inform About Steps Taken to Regulate Content on Social Media, OTT Platforms

The Delhi High Court has granted time to the Centre to inform it about the steps taken for regulating content on social media and over-the-top (OTT) platforms.

The high court had earlier directed the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) to take steps for stricter enforcement of its rules with regard to the intermediaries, as notified in Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021 and make laws or rules as it deemed appropriate.

“Monika Arora, Standing Counsel for Union of India who is present in the court is requested to accept notice on behalf of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as well as Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, being the ministries of Government of India concerned with the issue in question. She seeks some time to file reply,” Justice Swarna Kanta Sharma said in an order on April 12.

The court listed the matter for further hearing on April 25.

The high court was dealing with a matter in which it had said framing rules and guidelines to regulate the content on social media and OTT platforms needs urgent attention.

The court had underlined the need for taking seriously the use of vulgar language in public domain and on social media platforms which are open to children of tender age.

Coming down heavily on the language used in TVF web series College Romance’, the high court had said the use of obscenities in the form of foul language degrades women so they may feel victims as the expletives and obscenities refer to women being objects of sex.

The high court’s March 6 verdict had come while upholding an order of the Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate (ACMM) asking the Delhi Police to register an FIR against TVF, the show’s director Simarpreet Singh and actor Apoorva Arora under the Information Technology Act.

It had clarified that the direction to register FIR does not include a direction to arrest any of the accused or petitioner.

The court had said the challenge faced by India, as by many other countries, for enacting appropriate law, guidelines and rules to regulate the content on social media and OTT platforms needs urgent attention.

After watching a few episodes of the series, the court had found excessive use of swear words’, profane language’ and vulgar expletives’ were there and the judge had to watch the episodes with the aid of earphones in the chamber, as the profanity of language was such that it could not have been heard without shocking or alarming the people around.

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