Supreme Court Advices ‘screening’ of Adult Content on OTT Platforms
Saif Ali Khan’s web show Tandav, which premiered on Amazon Prime, stirred some serious conversation about the content that the audience is consuming on OTT platforms. Tandav, which is a political drama, was slammed for its ill-representation of Hindu gods, and the makers of the show were accused of being insensitive to people’s religious sentiments. The matter went from online bashing to higher authorities taking a look into it and has now reached the Supreme Court. Amazon Prime’s commercial head, Aparna Purohit, was denied bail in the case by Allahabad HC, after which her plea was heard by the Supreme Court.
While hearing her plea, the bench raised some issues with the OTT platform content, and advised that there should be some sort of screening for it. Justice Ashok Bhushan, leading a Bench comprising Justice R. Subhash Reddy, commented, “Traditional film viewing has become extinct. Now films and web series are viewed by the public on these platforms. Should there not be some screening? We feel there should be some screening… There is pornography in some films.” He further added that a ‘balance’ has to be struck.
Senior advocate Mukul Rohatgi, who was representing Purohit, said the plea “was not about pornography but the right to freedom of expression”. The hearing came after Allahabad High Court denied Purohit pre-arrest bail in connection with the Tandav row. The FIR filed against the commercial head said that the web series mocked Hindu gods and the country’s political power corridors.
Rohatgi asserted, “Purohit is only an employee of a company. The company is not an accused… These cases are filed by publicity seekers.” The Bench has requested the guidelines to be placed in the record and the hearing for the same took place today on March 5. They added that Purohit’s case is being considered only because of the new guidelines notified by the government, stating that social media and OTT platforms are answerable for their content.