IT Ministry underlines freedom of speech, expression on Rajiv Gandhi remark in Sacred Games

IT Ministry underlines freedom of speech, expression on Rajiv Gandhi remark in Sacred Games

The centre underlined the importance of freedom of speech and expression and told Delhi HC that it won’t ask Netflix Entertainment to remove an alleged objectionable scene about former PM Rajiv Gandhi in ‘Sacred Games’, Indian Express reported. Advocate Nikhil Bhalla filed a plea seeking “in toto” removal of the objectionable scenes from the Netflix series produced by Phantom Films Production Ltd, which was available in 190 countries in four different languages. The Ministry of Electronics and Information technology (MeitY) in response to that released an affidavit mentioning that the Preamble of the Constitution of India speaks of liberty of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship, IE reported. “It also says that India is a sovereign, democratic republic. The liberty of thought and expression is a cardinal value that is of paramount significance under our Constitutional scheme,” read the affidavit.

MeitY also mentioned to the bench of Justices that, the Supreme Court in various judgements have underlined the importance of freedom of speech and expression and associated it with liberty and the democratic form of government. Referring to that, MeitY said that the freedom of speech and press are the “Ark of the Covenant of Democracy public criticism is essential to the working of its institutions.”

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Along with that the ministry also refused to set up grievance redressal system to address grievances about ‘over-the-top’ (OTT) media services providers operating. OTT is used to refer to media operators that distribute streaming media through the internet and bypasses any kind of television broadcast channels.

The plea to Delhi HC also accused ‘Sacred Games’ for incorrectly depicting historical events like Shah Bano case or Bofors case. The hearing will again be taken up on December 20, reported IE.

The ministry also made it clear that under the IT Act, they do not have any power to issue any certification for content transmitted through streaming media or internet.

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Source: Financial Express