Censorship

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) will make it compulsory for film-makers, producers, and directors in India to sign an undertaking which will bar them from releasing ‘excised portions of a feature or a film to anybody’, including on the internet, reports Economic Times.

The decision was approved by the Punjab & Haryana High Courts yesterday, after a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in January against the release of Bollywood movies like Mastizaade and Kya Kool Hain Hum 3. The petitioner also submitted videos from the films, taken from YouTube, which had scenes previously omitted by the CBFC.

How is the film censor board censoring content on the internet?
Assistant Solicitor General Chetan Mittal, on the behalf of the Information & Broadcasting Ministry and CBFC, told the court that the censor board had no powers to certify content on the internet. The court then asked the I&B Ministry to find a solution to regulate film content uploaded on the internet.

The ministry and censor board arrived at the conclusion by filing an affidavit within a short time, stating “It is submitted that the deponent would ensure that through the undertaking to be submitted by the producers/directors that they would not release the excised portion of the feature/film to anybody.” The court honored their decision, empowering the censor board to regulate the release of film/feature content on the internet.

Cinematograph Act does not include the internet
The affidavit filed by the board states that there are no provision in the Cinematograph Act (pdf) to certify or regulate content being uploaded to the internet by film-makers. It only has powers to certify/regulate films for “public exhibition in theatre or satellite/television channels, promos, trailers, etc, after examining the overall content.”

Censorship row in India: Last month, Reddit India users launched a campaign asking for more transparency in the appointment of CBFC officials and cease deleting curse words, violence and nudity in adult films, sending it to the newly appointed Shyam Benegal committee, which would look after an overhaul of the censor board. This came in the light of at least 7 cuts in the Hollywood movie Deadpool.

Also read:

Govt asks YouTube to remove BBC documentary
Government could censor news before it causes ‘public protests’
Porn cannot be protected under Right to Freedom of Expression argues Adv. Vijay Panjwani

Picture Credit: opensource.com under CC BY-SA 2.0