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HC directs OTT platform to block episode of crime series

The High Court of Karnataka has passed an interim order directing an Over-the-Top (OTT) platform to block streaming of the first episode of the crime series ‘A Murdered Mother’. The petitioner, undergoing trial in a murder case registered at the KR Puram police station, alleged that the video of police interrogation and his statement to the police was shown in the episode. Justice B N Shyam Prasad has directed the OTT platform to block streaming, broadcasting telecasting or otherwise making available the content of the episode until further orders. The court has also ordered emergent notice to the respondents and posted the matter to October 21. Sridhar Rao, the petitioner, and another person were arrested in 2018 and were subsequently charge-sheeted in the murder case.

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Rao alleged that the police authorised the firm Minnow Films to make a video recording of him and interview several police officials. The petitioner was allegedly forced to give his custodial statement without authorisation or permission. He said the police forcibly took his signature on a paper given by Minnow Films when he was in their custody. On September 22, 2021, the petitioner noticed that the OTT platform released a web series documentary titled ‘Crime Stories’. In the first episode, titled ‘A Murdered Mother’, the OTT platform streamed the petitioner’s custodial investigation, interrogation and statements. It also contains a video of a purported confession.

The petitioner claimed that the content severely prejudiced his right to a free and fair trial, adding, besides violation of privacy, his personal life has been shown as a commodity and he was used for a commercial story. The petitioner filed an original suit seeking permanent injunction restraining the OTT platform from streaming the documentary. He moved the high court as the civil court only issued an emergency notice and not considered the interlocutory application seeking temporary injunction. Deccan Herald

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