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Formulate guidelines on OTT platforms: HC

Published : 18 Jan 2022 10:36 PM | Updated : 19 Jan 2022 03:15 PM

The High Court has directed the government to take the necessary initiative for formulating a guideline to operate OTT (over-the-top) web-based platforms in order to prevent obscenity from the online platforms and collect revenue.  

The higher court asked the authorities concerned to submit a progress report on the step taken so far for the guideline to the court on May 26.

The HC bench of Justice JBM Hassan and Justice Fatema Najeeb came up with the directive on Tuesday (January 18) while hearing a writ petition on the issue.

Md Tanvir Ahmed, a lawyer of the Supreme Court, took part in the hearing for the writ petition, while Deputy Attorney General Tushar Kanti Roy represented the state.

Earlier, the BTRC formed a committee to formulate policy to prevent obscenity, collect revenue and control the online platform OTT (Heechee, Netflix, Amazon, Bangabd). Later, the High Court directed to formulate the draft policy.

Md Tanvir Ahmed said that the court received two reports from the BTRC and the Cyber Police Center.

According to the BTRC report, no revenue is collected from the OTT online platforms as there is no regulation. The international OTT platforms do not have BTRC license. However, BTRC has no legal jurisdiction over the international OTT platforms.

Similarly, the Cyber Police Center report says that although there are digital security laws and pornography laws, there is no a specific policy to prevent pornography from such kind of platforms. As a result, it is not always possible to take legal action. For this reason, if there is such a policy, it will be convenient to control such platform. Considering these issues, the court has directed to submit a report with a draft policy.

On September 8 in 2020, the High Court issued a rule asking the authorities concerned why inaction in removing parts of the immoral, disgraceful and outlawed video of the web series spread through the internet (OTT platform) including Netflix and Heechee would not be declared illegal.

The court also directed the BTRC to inform within one month how the revenue was collected from other OTT platforms like Netflix.

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