Parliamentary panel on information technology calls for ‘reasonable’ curbs on OTT content

Economic Times, January 17, 2021

The parliamentary standing committee on information technology on Wednesday discussed the challenges of protecting creative freedom and imposing reasonable restrictions on content on Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms.

The panel considered how content regulation may be achieved, considering the sheer scale of sources from which it is received and curated on different OTT platforms.

Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) chief Prasoon Joshi, appearing before the panel, defended its role as a “censor” and said filmmakers were happy to alter or “cut” content when the board brought to their notice any concerns about their content running foul of Indian laws, or if it were likely to hurt sentiments.

Sources said that Joshi also told the panel that the Shyam Benegal Committee report on censorship was now largely redundant given the huge advances in technology, and the arrival on scene of OTT platforms.

Sources said members also added that the Mudgal Committee report of 2013, which had advocated the need for India to move from censorship to certification, would now be more relevant. BJP MP Nishikant Dubey, however, emphasised the need for some degree of regulation, given India’s diversity and wide-ranging sensitivities.

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