Upholding media ethics: Combating obscene content

| Updated: 15 March, 2024 4:08 pm IST
TNI Illustration by Arshia Malik

The recent move by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting to block several OTT platforms, websites, apps, and social media accounts for showcasing obscene and pornographic content reflects a commitment to uphold ethical standards in media and entertainment. Union Minister Anurag Singh Thakur’s emphasis on the platforms’ responsibility to avoid propagating obscenity under the guise of ‘creative expression’ underscores the importance of maintaining dignity and respect in content dissemination.

The decision to ban 18 OTT platforms and associated social media accounts comes after multiple warnings and thorough consultations with domain experts specializing in media, entertainment, women’s rights, and child rights. The content hosted on these platforms was found to be not only obscene and vulgar but also demeaning towards women, in violation of various legal provisions such as the Information Technology Act, Indian Penal Code, and the Indecent Representation of Women Act.

It is commendable that the Ministry has taken swift action to address the proliferation of inappropriate content that can have detrimental effects on society, especially on impressionable audiences. By blocking platforms that disseminate such content, the government aims to protect the moral fabric of society and ensure the well-being of its citizens.

Moreover, the Ministry’s observation that these OTT platforms extensively utilize social media to attract audiences further highlights the need for stringent regulations and oversight in the digital realm. The cumulative followership of over 32 lakh users on these social media accounts underscores the widespread reach of such platforms and the potential impact of their content on a large audience base.

While freedom of expression is a fundamental right, it must be exercised responsibly, especially in the context of media and entertainment. Content creators and platforms have a moral obligation to produce and disseminate content that upholds ethical values and respects the dignity of individuals, particularly marginalized groups.

The government’s decision to block OTT platforms and associated social media accounts for showcasing obscene content is a step in the right direction towards promoting responsible media practices. It sends a clear message that obscenity and vulgarity have no place in the realm of creative expression and underscores the importance of upholding ethical standards in media and entertainment. Moving forward, continued vigilance and collaboration between stakeholders will be essential to ensure a media landscape that is conducive to the well-being and dignity of all citizens.

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