Advocate Okay Suthan on Monday filed a PIL within the Madras Excessive Court docket asking for a pre-censorship authority for social media and OTT platforms. The Occasions of India first reported on the petition. Six different excessive courts have heard instances asking for censorship of streaming companies, and people courts have largely both dismissed the instances or deferred listening to on them as an analogous case is pending earlier than the Supreme Court docket.

Suthan’s case stands out for its inclusion of user-generated content material within the demanded scope for censorship. The petition prays for a censorship physique just like the Central Board of Movie Certification for on-line content material, whether or not user-generated or curated. The PIL has been filed to the central and Tamil Nadu governments, Fb, Instagram, YouTube, Netflix, Zee5, Disney+ Hotstar, BigFlix, Voot, Sony LIV, MX Participant, and particular person media corporations like BehindWoods, IndiaGlitz, Galatta, Cine Ulagam, and Tamil Little Talks.

Petitioner’s arguments

  • No new YouTube channels or movies: In a rare demand, the petition asks for YouTube to not enable any new video uploads or channels to be created till a regulation is handed to censor social media content material. “It is humbly prayed that this Hon’ble Court may be pleased to grant an order of Interim Injunction, restraining the 6th respondent from in manner permitting its subscribers to create a new YouTube Channel or use the existing YouTube Channel pending disposal of the above writ petition and thus render justice,” the petition says. The petition additionally requested for all the opposite streaming companies it named to not put out any new movies till a regulation is handed.
  • Anybody can add on Netflix, Instagram? “A registered account is sufficient to start a channel, which [provides] a platform of uploading videos in the said social media such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Disney +Hotstar, Big Flix, Voot, Sony LIV, MX Player, Zee5, and Netflix etc.,” the petition claims, “which means anyone can float anything in the social media, there is no restriction or censor for their contents and there is no regulations at all by the Government.” This can be a mischaracterisation — apart from YouTube, Fb and Instagram, the opposite platforms are curated, and don’t let particular person customers add their very own content material.
  • Video suggestions “spoil the future of the student”: “Once we [click on] a video, the related videos are automatically listed in the screen, which persuade the viewers to click those videos also,” the petitioner stated. “Therefore there is an imminent possibility of accessing the above Social Medias and its vulnerable contents by the students, further it is very much essential to note here that, allowing such kind of videos / photographs or information without any censor or without framing guidelines for uploads in social Media would spoil the future of the student of our country.”
  • Parallel with censor board: OTT platforms have argued prior to now that in contrast to TV or movie theatres, they require much less regulation as customers select what they need to see. Within the petition, Suthan argues the other: “It is pertinent to state here that Films which have been made with huge money are being released after getting censor certificate from Central Board of Film Certification. Moreover going movies is depending upon the interest of the viewer, they may go or may not, it depends upon the movie.  Now viewing using online is inevitable, it cannot be denied that now a day’s social Medias are playing greater role and brining everything around the world. Even a Child is very much interested in using mobile phones for playing games. But some of abusive, adultery, misleading contents are embarrassing, the parents and elders got worried about the future of the children, further definitely it will leads to social dilapidation,” he stated.
  • Moderation is inadequate: Suthan argued that particular person social media web sites’ moderation practices should not sufficient. “I state that it may be appealed by the Social Medias that they are removing such abusive and objected contents from their Medias.  Such removals are being done once it was viewed by millions of people and only after receiving objections by the influenced persons, so the said practice is not a remedy to safeguard the social credibility, on the other hand it is leading embarrassing situation also spreading violent articles, news, videos through social media platform with intention to endanger the harmony of the country, but the companies owned are not able to stop such broad casting or not taking stringent action to terminate such Violators,” he argued.
    • For instance, Suthan stated, “[A] YouTube Channel namely Karuppar Koottam, wherein Lord Muruga [was] wrongly portrayed, though [claimed by YouTube to have been] removed from the YouTube Channel still it is existing and any one can view those videos. Further our great leaders and freedom fighters were also been wrongly portrayed and abused by such miscreants by uploading such videos by using the social media portals.” Karuppar Koottam is a channel run by rationalists, and in latest days infuriated Hindu teams, after which its movies have been eliminated.
  • Grownup content material: “Apart from the above several vulgar/sexual videos under the head of “SHORT FILMS” [emphasis petitioner’s] are being uploaded in a number of Social Medias, that are nothing however tutoring the methods to the kids how you can abuse a reverse gender, such sort of movies are extremely influencing the crime in opposition to ladies and kids. The very intention of the stated individuals is to get extra views and to get Commercials to earn cash through the use of this On-line Platform, their solely intention is to seize cash they aren’t fascinated with the way forward for children and college students. Subsequently it’s simply and needed to manage such movies and a board/regulatory physique must be fashioned to manage the identical,” the petition stated.

This isn’t Suthan’s first petition requesting a rare stage of censorship; final June, he filed a PIL asking the Madras Excessive Court docket to limit telecast of Bigg Boss’s Tamil model. In that petition, he sought CBFC-style pre-censorship for all leisure TV exhibits.

Learn our full information on regulation of OTT streaming suppliers right here.

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