Home MoviesMovie News

Seven years of abuse-obscenity: Minister takes notice, finally

Seven years of abuse-obscenity: Minister takes notice, finally

Finally, a central minister has woken up to the vulgar and abusive content on the various OTT platforms. All in the name of freedom of expression -- much more than what the century-old Indian film industry gets to enjoy.

It is rather strange that not only the country's ruling elite, but even the courts think that the OTT platforms were entitled to freedom, while the feature films were not! After reports and comments on the overdose of vulgar content in the news and social media, Information & Broadcasting Minister Anurag Thakur has warned the OTT platforms that obscenity and abusive language cannot be tolerated.

But then, ministers are known to make grand statements, but the implementation of the warnings/laws remains ineffective.

Why make a statement and why not take concrete steps to settle the issue once and for all? After all, this trend of dishing out vulgar, violent, gory depictions on OTT media was evident since their entry into India in 2016.

Few would know that many feature films banned for public exhibition in India are officially available on OTT platforms. Not to mention the foreign films that were also banned by the Censors.

The OTT platforms started off by buying films banned for theatrical release by the Censor Board for theatrical release. The first acquisition by Netflix as far as one can recall was 'Black Friday'.

The major films banned by the CBFC -- notably, 'Black Friday', 'Parzania', 'Inshaallah Football', 'Loev', 'Water', 'Fire', 'Kissa Kursi Ka', 'Gandu', 'Angry Indian Goddesses' and 'Unfreedom' -- are all available on the OTT platforms for everybody: adult, teenager and elderly alike!

What was the point in banning them? What is the use of having a Censor Board in India? These banned films on OTT platforms are a slap on the Censor Board and the government's skewed policy.

This is a kind of apartheid!

Last week, I&B Minister Anurag Thakur grabbed headlines when he reacted to the growing volume of obscenity and abusive language on the OTT platforms. It followed a number of complaints received by the government. If the government is serious about the complaints of increasing abusive and obscene content on OTT platforms, then there is a need to make changes in the rules. The minister did state that if needed the I&B ministry was willing to consider changing the rules.

Reads like a typical political statement. What is 'willing to consider'? Is the ministry blind? Don't they see what is being peddled in the name of creativity? You say you have received complaints, so act!

Stranger than the government's non-committal stand is the rejection by a court of a petition that asked for a committee to be set up to check OTT content before it's allowed to be streamed. A two-judge bench ruled that it was not feasible.

A committee can be formed on the lines of the Censor Board, which has regional offices in Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, Hyderabad, New Delhi, Cuttack and Guwahati, besides the main office in Mumbai. They charge each applicant and can easily create another examining system for OTT content.

The courts were not asked to do the job, but merely direct the government to set up a mechanism. Don't know how that is not feasible!


Tags: OTT Anurag Thakur