RNS: The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (I&B) has taken a significant step in curbing the dissemination of obscene and vulgar content by blocking 18 OTT platforms known for publishing such material. This action, aimed at protecting public decency, has resulted in the disabling of 19 websites, 10 apps (7 on Google Play Store, 3 on Apple App Store), and 57 associated social media accounts in India.

Union Minister for Information & Broadcasting Anurag Singh Thakur has underscored the responsibility of these platforms to refrain from promoting obscenity, vulgarity, and abuse under the guise of ‘creative expression’.

On March 12, 2024, he announced the crackdown on 18 OTT platforms that were found to be publishing such objectionable content.

This decision was made in accordance with the Information Technology Act, 2000, in consultation with other Ministries/Departments of the Government of India and domain experts specializing in media and entertainment, women’s rights, and child rights.

The list of blocked OTT platforms includes Dreams Films, Voovi, Yessma, Uncut Adda, Tri Flicks, X Prime, Neon X VIP, Besharams, Hunters, Rabbit, Xtramood, Nuefliks, MoodX, Mojflix, Hot Shots VIP, Fugi, Chikooflix, and Prime Play.

The content hosted on these platforms was found to be objectionable, portraying women in a demeaning manner and depicting nudity and sexual acts in inappropriate contexts. It included sexual innuendos and explicit scenes devoid of any thematic or societal relevance, potentially violating various sections of the IT Act, IPC, and the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.

Some of these platforms had garnered significant viewership, with one app amassing more than 1 crore downloads and two others having over 50 lakh downloads on the Google Play Store. These platforms extensively used social media to attract audiences, with their social media accounts having a cumulative followership of over 32 lakh users.

The Ministry of I&B has been engaging with OTT platforms and their self-regulatory bodies under the IT Rules, 2021, through various sensitization efforts to ensure compliance with regulations. The Government of India remains committed to supporting the growth of the OTT industry while upholding standards of decency and legality.

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