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Govt asks Supreme Court to dismiss petition demanding censor board for streaming services

The government has asked the Supreme Court to dismiss a petition to create a censor board-like organization for streaming services. Advocate Shashank Shekhar Jha had asked the court to order the government to create a Central Board for Regulation and Monitoring of Online Video Contents (CBRMOVC) to regulate content on streaming services strictly.

In an affidavit, filed on March 19, the government noted that it had already notified the Information Technology (Guidelines for Intermediaries and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, and detailed the provisions of the Rules. The affidavit signed by Vikram Sahay, Joint Secretary (Policy & Administration) at the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting.

The government called portions of the petition calling attention to streaming services’ depiction of army themes as “unnecessarily overstretching”, and pointed out that defence personnel were consulted by the Central Board of Film Certification for army-related content as and when needed, and that there are no specific guidelines dealing with portrayal of military personnel. The government added that while CBFC-rated films only can be shown on television, streaming services are governed under IT Act provisions for obscenity and sexual content involving minors.

“The prayer in the present Petition no longer survives,” the government said. The case will next be heard along with other streaming regulation related petitions in mid-April.

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