Curb pornography, violence on Netflix, Amazaon Prime, Hotstar: HC orders I&B Ministry

Nagpur: Coming down heavily on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar and other private channels on Internet for broadcasting pornographic contents, crudity, sexual or discriminatory language, and various levels of violence, the Nagpur Bench of Bombay High Court on Friday ordered the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to initiate effective steps for curbing the disturbing trend.

A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Adv Divya Gontiya requesting the High Court to issue orders aimed at curbing the deluge of vulgarity, violent scenes and crude language on webseries. “The screening of pornographic contents, vulgar gestures and talks are overriding the Indian culture and morality,” Adv Gontiya stressed in her PIL.

During the hearing on the PIL, the High Court issued notices to Information and Broadcasting Ministry, Electronics and Information Technology Ministry, Law and Judiciary Ministry as well as Home Ministry. The High Court has directed the concerned ministries to set up a pre-screening committee for curbing , crudity, sexual or discriminatory language, vulgar gestures, nudity, sex, immodesty on webseries, monitor the webseries and advertisements before going on online media.

“Take care that no series, national or international, is directly published on any platform,” the court said and ordered issuance of guiding principles. “If the websites are found violating provisions of Cinematograph Act, Indecent Representation of Women Prohibition Act 1986 and other similar Acts, then act tough against the guilty,” the High Court directed the concerned ministries in the notices.

The PIL pointed out that the contents of the webseries are in connection with political, physical relationship, and/or other sensitive subjects. “Many times the contents hurt the religious sentiments. For monitoring contents on TV, newspapers, there are monitoring authorities such as Press Council, Censor Board and other authorities. But there is no control over webseries. Therefore an independent monitoring machinery should be set up to keep control over such webseries,” the PIL said.