Centre bans 18 OTT platforms for obscene, pornographic content after repeated warnings

New Delhi, March 14 : The government on Thursday confirmed that it has blocked 18 over-the-top (OTT) platforms for obscene and vulgar content and, in some instances, pornographic content, after multiple warnings by Union Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur.

One of the OTT apps amassed more than 1 crore downloads, while two others had over 50 lakh downloads on Google Play Store.

The Ministry took action in coordination with various intermediaries, to block 18 OTT platforms. Nineteen websites, 10 apps (7 on Google Play Store, 3 on Apple App Store), and 57 social media accounts associated with these platforms have also been disabled for public access in the country.

The decision was made under the provisions of the Information Technology Act, 2000, in consultation with other Ministries/Departments of the government, and domain experts specialising in media and entertainment, women’s rights and child rights.

The I&B Minister has repeatedly emphasised the responsibility of the platforms to not propagate obscenity, vulgarity and abuse under the guise of “creative expression.”

The OTT Platforms blocked are 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.

“A significant portion of the content hosted on these platforms was found to be obscene, vulgar, and portrayed women in a demeaning manner. It depicted nudity and sexual acts in various inappropriate contexts such as relationships between teachers and students, incestuous relationships, etc,” the Minister said.

The content included sexual innuendos and, in some instances, prolonged segments of pornographic and sexually explicit scenes devoid of any thematic or societal relevance.

The content was determined to be prima facie in violation of Section 67 and 67A of the IT Act, Section 292 of the IPC, and Section 4 of the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986.

“Additionally, these OTT platforms extensively utilised social media to disseminate trailers, specific scenes, and external links aimed at attracting audiences to their websites and apps. The social media accounts of the concerned OTT platforms had a cumulative followership of over 32 lakh users,” the Minister informed.

The government said that it remains committed to fostering the growth and development of the OTT industry.