We missed this earlier: Zee5 edited a sketch of independence activist Khudiram Bose out of a scene in its show Abhay, the company said on August 16. The sketch was a part of a notice board of wanted posters in a police station. Bose’s appearance on the board, implying he was a criminal, seemingly a production oversight, led to backlash against the streaming service on social media soon after the release of the show’s second season on August 14. We have reached out to the company for comment.
We unconditionally apologize for this error.
— ZEE5 (@ZEE5India) August 16, 2020
We reviewed the episode where Bose’s image originally appeared, and the sketch has been replaced with a different one, seemingly in post-production.
This is the third time Zee5 has scrambled to self-censor reacting to audience outrage. The Essel-owned streaming platform indefinitely suspended the release of Tamil show Godman in June after Member of Parliament Subramanian Swamy spoke to the conglomerate’s chair Subhash Chandra Goenka. The same month, the platform, along with ALT Balaji, censored an episode of XXX: Uncensored that drew criticism for its depiction of an intimate scene involving the wife of a soldier and her lover.
Zee5 CEO Tarun Katial was recently appointed the head of the Digital Entertainment Committee of the Internet and Mobile Association of India, which is currently proposing a system of self-censorship with ombudsman oversight for OTT platforms to the government.
- ALT Balaji and ZEE5 censor web series after public backlash
- A complete guide to OTT content regulation in India