South Asia Censorship News

 2010: July-Sept



27th September   

Scandalised Censors...

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India's first gay film runs foul of the film censors
Link Here  full story: Dunno Y...India's first gay movie winds up the film censors

dunno-y-na-jaane-kyunIndia's first gay film, Dunno Y… Na Jaane Kyun, could face serious cuts from censors because of its sex scenes.

Director Sanjay Sharma was asked to remove the sequence featuring leads Sharma and Yuvraaj Parasher, Bollywood Hungama has reported.

In an interview with the site, co-star Karpal said: Why should the censors be scandalised if two men are kissing and making love? The ones in my film are very aesthetic. And so what if it's two men making love? Love is love regardless of gender.

The film is the first Indian movie to feature a sex scene between two men. It has been resubmitted on appeal to the revising committee.

 

27th September   

Derogatory Censors...

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Indian film about honour killings runs foul of the film censors
Link Here

aakroshA new Indian film, Aakrosh , which is based on honour killing, has got into trouble with the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC).

The board has issued a show-cause notice to the producer, demanding 30 cuts or changes in the dialogue of the film.

It is learnt that the film's producers may not agree to all the changes asked for by the examining committee and may appeal to the CBFC revising committee.

Regional officer of CBFC, Alpana Sharma told TOI: We have issued a show-cause notice asking the producer to delete some dialogue. The examining committee has objected to derogatory remarks made against the CBI, caste, community and women and has asked them to delete it.

Another source said the film allegedly has a lot of dialogue that has double meaning and remarks against women that are highly objectionable. An industry source confirmed that there is strong language in the film. The examining committee has asked the producer to either delete or replace this language with milder words, said the industry source.

The producer feels that the whole purpose of making a film on honour killing would be defeated if some of the dialogue is scrapped.

Update: Appeal

5th October 2010. See  article from  bollywoodhungama.com

The film has been granted an A certificate with five cuts by the Revising Committee, a drastic improvement from the initially asked for 30.

With this new certificate, Aakrosh is all set to release on October 15.

 

20th September   

Update: Customs Censors...

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The Economist held by Sri Lanka customs
Link Here  full story: The Economist...Magazine reports wind up sensitive countries

economist aug 2010Sri Lanka has allowed its citizens to read the latest issue of The Economist magazine, which carries a story on a controversial change in the country's constitution after being held back by customs authorities for nearly a week.

Any material that comes to Sri Lanka should fall into the standards that we have set out, information minister Keheliya Rambukwelle told reporters.

One is that it must not make any kind of allegations within the country - could be civil - in terms of articles. So that has to be scrutinized. But that won't take time, unless it is really detrimental to the sovereignty.

The Economist had not been released by Sri Lanka's customs authorities for nearly a week after it arrived in the country last Friday.

The held back Economist referred to a contentious change to the constitution which nullified an earlier attempt to create a more independent public service and reduce arbitrary rule.

Responding to reporter's questions about which unit at Customs was legally empowered to censor publications, Rambukwelle denied there was censorship but said a customs unit like those that probed drugs looked at publications also.

The minister said authorities examined whether a publication affected national security , sovereignty or promoted racial disharmony, as a government policy before release.

 

18th September   

Royal Scraps...

India unbans Satyajit Ray's Sikkim
Link Here  full story: Sikkim Banned...Historical ban on Satyajit Ray's Sikkim

Satyajit Ray Collection Vol 1 DVDIndia has finally lifted the ban on a documentary film made on the Himalayan state of Sikkim by the legendary director Satyajit Ray, his family said.

The film was banned after Sikkim merged with India under controversial circumstances in 1975.

It was made 40 years ago when Sikkim was an independent kingdom - Sikkim's last ruler Palden Thondup Namgyal commissioned the film to woo tourists.

Ray died in April 1992 after receiving an Oscar for lifetime achievement.

His son, Sandip Ray, also a film-maker, told the BBC that he was delighted that the ban on the documentary - called Sikkim - had been lifted.

When the film was completed, the king and his wife were reportedly furious - especially over a shot that showed poor people scrambling for leftover food behind the royal palace in the capital, Gangtok.

My father was asked to drop some shots and redo the final product, said Sandip Ray. He did that but the situation changed. By the time the final cut emerged, Sikkim had been merged with Indian under rather controversial circumstances in 1975. Unsure how the people of Sikkim would react to the controversial shots in the film, the Indian government decided to ban Sikkim.

Except for a private screening by my father, the film has not been seen by anybody else, Ray said. The two existing copies of the film are in the US and the British Film Institute.

 

15th September   

Curbing the Violation of Freedom of Expression?...

Nepal debates internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Nepal...Nepal gets wound up by porn

Nepal flagJournalists have supposedly streesed the need to regulate internet and online journalism to curb the violation of freedom of expression.

They aired their views at a discussion in the capital. The meeting was called in response to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority asking ISPs to filter internet content.

According to the Electric Transaction Act 2006, ISPs should restrict storing, disseminating, broadcasting web sites containing pornography, horror and extreme violence.

However, pornography, horror, communal violence and contempt of court are not well-defined, according to lawyers Santosh Sigdel and Baburam Aryal, who jointly presented papers on Freedom of Expression on Cyberspace and Internet Regulation in Nepal .

Sigdel and Aryal said: filtering web content without clear legal provision might violate freedom of expression and breach the right to privacy.

There was agreement that web content should only be censored after a clear legal definition of the acts and regulations; otherwise, it may create chaos.

 

5th September   

Blood, Sweat and Tears...

Indian censors offended by minor quip about bank note
Link Here

1000 rupeesThe Indian movie Knock-Out is in censor trouble. The trailer of the thriller has been banned by the censor board for an allegedly derogatory reference made by star Irrfan Khan to the 1000-rupee note.

Apparently in the trailer, when someone wonders aloud why the Rs 1000 note is pink in colour, Irrfan retorts: Because it is created from the blood and sweat of the common man.

The censor board raised an objection to what they see as a derogatory reference to the Indian currency.

Rather than deleting the objectionable reference, the film's makers have gone with the trailer to the revising committee [appeals body].

 

4th September   

Beeping Celebrities...

censor cuts to famous names in docu-drama
Link Here

332 mumbai to indiaSangeeth Sivan's decision to turn producer a so-called realistic film on the October 2008 shootout on 332 bus, did not go down well with the Censor Board. Sivan's film 332 Mumbai To India , directed by Mahesh Pande has undergone several editing sessions since members of the Censor Board watched it.

Our source said, There were as many as 20 dialogue cuts in the film and although Sivan and his director Mahesh Pande fought hard for every cut, they finally had no option but to beep or mute the names of many prominent people in the film.

These included references to prominent people like Amitabh Bachchan, Ambani's, MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and Raj Thackeray.

Though the above-mentioned names were deleted Sivan and Pande apparently fought hard to retain the names of Dhoni and Tendular. The producer-director duo opted to mute Thackeray's name but they could not prevent the other cuts from happening.

Sivan feels that the essence of the film is now lost. When contacted, a distraught Sivan lamented: I only feel that there should be a particular guideline for everyone, a set rule, which we all are aware of: that we can't do this and that certain things will be objected to. Here, what happens is that a few privileged ones get away with everything and that is much more controversial than the content of our film.

When contacted Alpana Sharma, Regional Officer of the Censor Board said : Yes the cuts have been added as there were famous names mentioned in the film in a derogatory manner.

 

3rd September   

Updated: Snoop Friendly...

BlackBerry enables snooping for the Indian authorities
Link Here  full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

India flagThe Indian government has lifted a threat to block certain BlackBerry communication services following moves by the technology firm Research in Motion that could allow the country's security authorities greater access to snoop on messages.

Stepping back from the brink of a crackdown, India's ministry of home affairs said RIM had made certain proposals for lawful access by law enforcement agencies and these would be operationalised immediately . It did not offer any detail on these concessions

Following RIM's apparent concessions, the Indian government said today the situation would be reviewed in 60 days' time. It added that the country's telecoms ministry was examining whether all the subcontinent's BlackBerry communications could be routed through a server physically located in India.

Update: Wider Issues

3rd September 2010. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Google logoIndia has toughened its scrutiny of telecoms firms with a directive demanding access to everything .

An Indian Home Ministry official told the BBC that any company with a telecoms network should be accessible . It could be Google or Skype, but anyone operating in India will have to provide data, he said.

The move follows high-profile talks with Blackberry maker Research in Motion about ways to allow Indian security forces to monitor data.

The government is also likely to target virtual private networks, which give secure access to company networks for employees working away from their offices.

Update: UN

3rd September 2010. Based on article from  thescotsman.scotsman.com

UN logoThe head of the UN's telecommunications agency is urging BlackBerry's manufacturer to allow foreign law enforcement agencies access to its customers' data.

Hamadoun Toure says governments fighting terrorism have the right to demand access.

 

24th August   

Piddling Minor Obscenities...

Kiss on the shoulder is considered obscene in India
Link Here

badmarshTwo Telugu movies in Andhra Pradesh are facing the wrath of police in the Vijayanagaram district. The police in that region have filed cases against the exhibitors of Jhummandhi Nadham and Badmash for displaying obscenities in the posters of these movies.

The images in question are those of a kissing scene in Jhummandhi Nadham poster and a young boy urinating in the poster of Badmash .

The producers of the movie have supposedly designed and printed the posters of the movie. The posters were required to get certification from the censor authorities before getting displayed.

If the censor authorities have passed the posters then how come the police is targeting only the exhibitors, keeping the producers and censor board safe from the charges of disseminating obscenity?

 

23rd August   

Sensitive Economics...

The Economist held by Sri Lanka customs
Link Here  full story: The Economist...Magazine reports wind up sensitive countries

economist aug 2010 The latest edition of the London-based The Economist magazine which contained an article on Sri Lanka post-war recovery titled Rebuilding, but at a cost. was detained by the Sri Lanka Customs, according to its local distributor Vijitha Yapa.

He told the Sunday Times the copies of the latest issue arrived on Friday from Singapore but Customs officers detained them saying it would be released only after clearance from authorities was obtained.

Lakshman Hulugalle, Director General of the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said last night that he knew about the detention but no copy had been sent to him for scrutiny.

The article in The Economist refers to the manner in which land has been distributed in the east for tourism development and to build plush hotels. It also quotes a soldier who complains that he is forced to salute the likes of Vinyagamoorthy Muralithran, a former LTTE leader who is now the deputy minister of resettlement, whereas war heroes like the former army commander Sarath Fonseka, languish in jail.

 

22nd August   

Caste Out...

Indian film banned for depicting historical struggle
Link Here

nelluThe Regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has refused to certify a Tamil Film Nellu to screen in public, alleging it was loosely based on the Kizhvenmani Masscare.

Nellu , the film on the struggle of farmers, was not given censor certification saying that it explicitly dealt with caste conflicts. Also, the climax portions were said to be portraying lower castes as humiliated and tortured people.

The film will now have to be certified after a review by a Revising Committee in Mumbai with more members, not exceeding 10.

Nellu , directed by M Sivashankar deals with a sensitive theme connected to the Kizhvenmani Massacre in which 44 agricultural laborers were burnt to death by local landlords for seeking higher wages in Tamil Nadu. The massacre took place on December 25, 1968, and shook the country.

The CBFC in 2009 permitted the release of Thambivudayaan, a film based on Cauvery water dispute, only after all mentions about the river were removed.

The director of the film Nellu, M. Sivashankar, and producer AM. Karthikeyan are perturbed because the Censor Board wanted them to chop off a scene that is based on a real-life incident that took place decades ago. The film has a scene in which scores of agricultural laborers, including women and children, are burnt alive for demanding a wage hike. This is based on the incident that happened in Kizhvenmani village in Thanjavur.

Update: Peepli Live

23rd August 2010. See article from entertainment.oneindia.in

Aamir Kahn's latest home production Peepli Live is in the storm of a few controversies.

A few farmers' families in Vidarbha have been demanding a ban on the film for not depicting the farmers' plight in a 'correct' way. Besides this, a hand pump being referred to as Lal Bahadur (an obvious reference to our late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri) has also not gone down well with two advisory panel members of the CBFC taking objection. In addition to these, some members of the media have not liked the way their fraternity has been portrayed in the film.

But the film continues its dream run at the Box Office despite these controversies.

 

14th August   

Update: Snoop Friendly...

India wants keys to snoop on email and messaging
Link Here  full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

India flagResearch in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, is headed for a showdown with the Indian government, which has revived a threat to shut off service in the country in a row over access to customers' emails.

India has toughened its position in the wake of reports that RIM has agreed to give the government of Saudi Arabia access to some of the codes with which BlackBerry customer data is encrypted when it passes across the Canadian firm's server network.

A string of emerging markets governments have been demanding RIM provide additional co-operation with their police and security services to allow snooping of email and instant message traffic, in the name of national security.

India's home ministry has summoned the country's telecoms operators to a meeting today to discuss access to their BlackBerry users' data, and is expected to demand a deadline for RIM to share encryption details, with the threat of a suspension of some services if the deadline is not met. A senior government official told Reuters that the operators could be told to shut down RIM's corporate email and messenger services temporarily as a last resort. If they cannot provide a solution, we'll ask operators to stop that specific service, the source said. The service can be resumed when they give us the solution.

Google and Skype Next

Based on article from independent.co.uk

Google logoIndia may shut down Google and Skype Internet-based messaging services over security concerns, the Financial Times reported.

The Financial Times quoted from the minutes of a July 12 meeting between telecommunication ministry security officials and operator associations to look at possible solutions to intercept and monitor encrypted communications.

There was consensus that there more than one type of service for which solutions are to be explored. Some of them are BlackBerry, Skype, Google etc, according to the department's minutes. It was decided first to undertake the issue of BlackBerry and then the other services.

India has set an August 31 deadline for RIM. It wants access in a readable format to encrypted BlackBerry communication, on grounds it could be used by militants. Pakistani-based militants used mobile and satellite phones in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

Officials say RIM had proposed tracking emails without sharing encryption details, but that was not enough.

 

11th August   

Throwing Shoes...

Pakistan gives GEO TV and ARY News the boot
Link Here

geo tv logoThe Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the Pakistani government to allow GEO TV and ARY News stations back on the air.

The shutdown, coupled with demonstrations by government supporters outside the cable companies' facilities Saturday night came soon after the stations aired news about a protester throwing shoes at Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari during a speech in England.

According to ARY News' correspondent Jamal Khan Baluch: On Saturday evening in Karachi, the staff of President Zardari called cable operators and ordered them to block ARY News transmissions all over Pakistan. When some cable operators refused to do so they started threatening and sent their armed people to different cable operators' locations, where they started firing towards their offices and their staff.

The shoe-throwing incident occurred in Birmingham on Saturday night, as Zardari was speaking to a closed meeting of Pakistanis who live in England. The Associated Press reported from Birmingham that the unnamed heckler was apparently angered by the government's poor response to widespread flooding in the country that has left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

Soon after the Saturday incident, GEO's website reported that some PPP leaders and government officials had warned cable operators across the country to cease transmission of GEO, but most refused to do so. As of this morning, most of the cable companies in all the large cities have been forced to stop carrying ARY and Geo—it's not just in Karachi .

Today, journalists demonstrated in front of Karachi Press Club, protested the shutdown of the stations, demanding they be allowed back on the air.

 

7th August   

Rules is Rules...

Film makers protest against stroppy censor
Link Here

CBFC logoOfficials of the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce have announced that they would stage a sit-in outside the regional censor board office to protest against the high handedness of an officer.

Film stars, producers, distributors, directors and exhibitors are likely to take part in the protest, they said.

Convenor of the chamber G. Suresh Kumar said regional censor officer Madhu Kumar was behaving in an irresponsible manner: He is coming out with rules which no producer in the past had to face and, as a result, lot of inconvenience is being caused . We want him to be shifted and save the industry here from more problems .

Citing an example, the chamber official said Vande Matheram ran into trouble with the official asking the producer of the film to delete two songs. Later, the songs were included after the producer of the film went in for appeal. To protest this, tomorrow we are staging a sit-in in front of his office .

 

5th August   

Update: Friendly Berry...

RIM concedes BlackBerry email snooping powers to India but not UAE
Link Here  full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

BlackBerry 8520 Sim Free Mobile Phone RIM has added India to the list of countries with which it's prepared to share data, and will help Kuwait block porn sites, but still hasn't opened its services up to the UAE.

Indian security forces will be able to intercept emails sent and received by BlackBerry users, within 15 days, as Reuters reports the country has been added to RIM's list of acceptable governments.

BlackBerry users enjoy unparalleled security in their email services, with email stored on RIM's servers and encrypted all the way to the handset. If you want to intercept mail you need access to the handset, or the servers, which is difficult when the former is in the hands of the user and the latter is in a different country.

The UAE-owned operator, Etisalat, did try to get snooping software onto BlackBerry handsets with a faked upgrade that failed in spectacular fashion. That really annoyed RIM, so now the UAE government faces crawling to RIM to ask for access to the servers, or just banning the devices from the country.

 

3rd August   

Update: Bury Berry...

UAE, Saudi and India whinge about not being able to snoop on BlackBerry phone users
Link Here  full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

BlackBerry 8520 Sim Free Mobile Phone Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry service may be banned in India unless the Canadian company agrees to allow India to snoop on usres, according to a government official with direct knowledge of the matter.

India has told Research In Motion to set up a proxy server in the country to enable security agencies to monitor e-mail trafficl.

RIM has the best encryption, significant subscribers, and a brand that's known across the world, said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner Inc. in Mumbai.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company has assured the Indian government that it will address the nation's snooping requirements.

Mint newspaper earlier reported the government is considering banning mobile e-mail services including BlackBerry.

The company faced obstacles recently in Pakistan, where the national telecommunications regulator said it blocked Internet browsers on BlackBerry handsets, citing supposed concerns over blasphemy.

Moves against BlackBerry in Saudi and UAE

Based on article from dailymail.co.uk

More than a million BlackBerry owners are to have services cut in two Gulf states after authorities demanded access to spy on users.

Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are to prevent the use of the instant messaging service between the handsets. And the UAE will also block emails being sent and bar internet access on the smartphones.

There are an estimated 500,000 BlackBerry users in the UAE, and 700,000 in Saudi Arabia.

In Saudi Arabia in particular, BlackBerry handsets have become the must-have gizmo for Saudi youths. They enable them to connect with members of the opposite sex in a deeply conservative society.

The Saudi move will begin later this month. Abdulrahman Mazi, a board member of state-controlled Saudi Telecom, has admitted that the decision is intended to put pressure on Blackberry's Canadian owner, Research in Motion (RIM), to release data from users' communications when needed .

The UAE's telecoms regulator, TRA, said some Blackberry services would be suspended from October 11.

 

31st July   

Everybody Burn-Quran Day...

High Court petition asks for a permanent Facebook block in Pakistan
Link Here  full story: Koran Burning...Symbolic gesture and easy offence

Facebook logoA petition has been filed before the Lahore High Court seeking a permanent ban on Facebook, a social networking website, in Pakistan pointing out introduction of another anti-Islam competition by the website.

The website had already faced an interim ban in country for holding a blasphemous caricature competition.

The petition was filed by Chairman Judicial Activism Panel (JAP) Muhammad Azhar Siddique stating that the website Facebook has again announced a contest named Everybody Burn-Quran Day and also displayed blasphemous pictures of Khana-e-Kaaba. In view of the facts submitted above, it is respectfully prayed to block/ban Facebook permanently in Pakistan.

He also prayed that the authorities in Pakistan be directed to this effect that no material with respect to blasphemy of any religion be published, displayed, visualised or aired in country.

Doves....Not

Based on article from islamophobia-watch.com

On September 11, members of the Dove World Outreach Center – a Gainesville, Florida church – plan to burn copies of the Koran to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

The protest is just the latest in a series of provocative actions from the self-described New Testament Church, which seems as interested in getting attention as it is in sharing the Word with the world.

 

31st July   

Shivaji...

Book burning threatened in India
Link Here

Shivaji Hindu King Islamic India The Indian Supreme Court's verdict revoking the ban on James Laine's Shivaji book has made political waves.

Quick to sense an attractive opportunity, the Shiv Sena-BJP threatened to burn copies of Shivaji-Hindu King in Islamic India when the book is put back on shelves for sale. The Sena will in no circumstances tolerate any book which maligns Chhatrapati Shivaji, a national icon, declared Sena CEO Uddhav Thackeray immediately after the apex court removed the ban on the controversial tome.

The Maharashtra government banned Laine's book in January 2004 in the wake of widespread protest-and acts of wanton vandalism-by the Sena and the Sambhaji Brigade activists.

 

31st July   

Dangerous Trade...

Porn film maker murdered by Indian lynch mob
Link Here

India flagSeeing a local college girl in a porn CD, Indian youths of her locality in Burdwan beat to death her private tutor — a 40-year-old married man who starred in the homemade film.

The tutor was assaulted and dragged to Agrani Club, which was locked from outside. He was beaten brutally for a half hour before police managed to rescue him. He died on the way to Burdwan hospital.

Police suspect Praloy Bhattacharjee was part of a nationwide blue film business that hired small-town girls and sold the movies in other cities.

The CD was made a year back but made it to the Burdwan market a week ago. That is when locals identified the girl and all hell broke loose on her family and Bhattacharjee's. He had been teaching college girls for the last 10-15 years and police are trying to find out if he made any more porn films. The owner of a video parlour where the film was allegedly edited has been arrested.

The girl, a final-year graduation student of a women's college, has been detained at Burdwan police station along with her parents.

Burdwan DSP (police headquarters) Pankaj Mani confirmed that two persons have been arrested in connection with the CD but no one has been held for the lynching.

 

30th July   

Afghan TV station Shut Down...

Highly hazardous to the government's rule
Link Here

Afghanistan flagAfghanistan Council of Ministers shut down the private television network Emrooz charging it with fomenting religious differences and disrupting national unity.

An announcement issued by the office of the president states that the continued activity of this television network was highly hazardous to the government's rule and therefore the Ministry of Intelligence and Culture was charged to immediately shut them down.

Najibollah Kabuli, member of Afghanistan's parliament and head of Emrooz television condemned the move saying that this action is a result of pressure from Shiite religious leaders and his own opposition to Iranian policies.

In the past months, a number of demonstrations were staged in several cities of Afghanistan to protest the alleged execution of tens of Afghan nationals in Iran. The demonstrators expressed severe anti-Iran positions in the course of the demonstrations condemning Iranian leaders and burning images of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Ayatollah Khamenei. Reportedly, Najibollah Kabuli was the organizer of the Kabul demonstrations and he also participated in the event.

 

28th July   

Corruption on the Moral High Ground...

Indian film censor arrested after taking bribe to pass film
Link Here

CBFC logoA Regional Officer in India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), which certifies new films, was caught red-handed by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), while he collected a bribe for issuing a film certification.

The CBI officials arrested Rajasekar while he was accepting bribe amount of Rs 10,000 from a film producer in his office at Shastri Bhavan, Chennai.

CBI officials have not disclosed anything about the documents, materials and cash recovered from Rajasekar so far. The CBI have also refused to identify the producer who gave the bribe nor the name of the film involved.

Update: Suspended

21st August 2010. See article from asiantribune.com

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has suspended the Regional Officer of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Rajasekaran from service, who was arrested by Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on bribery charges.

Govindarajulu, executive producer of the film, lodged a complaint with the CBI's Anti-Corruption Branch that Rajasekar demanded Rs.10,000 to view the film and issue certificate.

The complainant had paid the mandatory fee of Rs.25,000 and approached the official for clearing the movie.

Claiming that there were many movies in the queue for certification, Rajasekaran allegedly insisted that he would not see the movie unless Rs.10,000 was paid as bribe. A special team formed to investigate the case apprehended him while accepting bribe.

Update: Piranhas

5th September 2010. See article from behindwoods.com

Mukesh, one of the producers of the film Piranha, reportedly handed over Rs 3.5 lakhs to the Censor officials to allow violent and intimate scenes go uncensored. This transaction has been filmed.

Further, the video tape of the other producer Sriraj, bargaining with the censor officials on the bribe amount with Distributor's Sangam President Kalaipuli G Sekaran and PRO Siva watching the proceedings were also filmed. This incident reportedly took place at the SVS Club premises on Mount Road in Chennai.

 

26th July   

Updated: Explosive Comedy...

Bin Laden comedy film banned in Pakistan
Link Here

tere bin ladenThe High Court of Pakistan has banned the release of the much awaited film Tere Bin Laden aka Tere Bin which deals with a bold edgy subject and problems post 9/11.

Previously on the order of Censor Board, the name Laden was dropped from Tere Bin Laden in Pakistan as a precautionary measure and now considering the kind of tensions surrounding Pakistan, the release of the film in Pakistan has been banned. The Board claimed that the film supports Osama Bin Laden and terrorism by making the comedy film.

According to newspapers across the border in India, the makers of the film have also received an anonymous letter threatening them with dire consequences if it is released. But according to the makers, the letter was not from Al-Qaeda, because it accuses the makers of supporting Osama Bin Laden and terrorism, making one smell the Shiv Sena rat.

The makers of Tere Bin Laden were also releasing the film globally, except U.S.A. because the American distributor of the film felt that Tere Bin Laden has the potential to go beyond the Indian diaspora. Due to its ban in Pakistan, the film will now open only in places like UK, India and Australia and other international territories. Other releases are to follow after the makers study the business in various markets in its first round.

Update: Appeal

26th July 2010. Based on article from thaindian.com

Film exhibitors as well as the distributors from Karachi have gone ahead and filed a petition with the Pakistani Censor Board so that the Indian film Tere Bin Laden can be released in Pakistan.

The movie is banned all over Pakistan for panic of terrorist attacks.

The film, was released in India on the July 16. This movie also debuts Pakistani pop star Ali Zafar. He enacts the role of as an over-ambitious TV reporter, who uses the lookalike of the Al Qaeda chief Osama so as to get into USA.

Nadeem Mandviwalla, official distributor of movies in Pakistan says that they have filed an appeal with the Appellant Board of the Censor Board; however the Appellant Board of the Censor Board has withheld its decision till the next week.

 

24th July   

Update: Blocked Thinking...

India considers internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn

India flagIndia is considering drafting a new law to ban pornographic websites.

Minister of State for Home Ramesh Bagwe announced: We are thinking of introducing an act to ban pornographic websites. We will also request the Central government to amend the existing laws to make them more stringent .

He also police teams have begun patrolling cyber cafés to monitor downloading activities.

 

18th July   

Update: Cooling Down...

Indian film censors unban Flames of the Snow
Link Here  full story: Flames of the Snow...India bans political film about struggles in Nepal

fles of the snowAfter refusing the certificate for public screening to a documentary film on Nepal, Flames of the Snow , on the ground that it justifies ideology of the Maoist movement, the Central Board of Film Certification Board (CBFC), has finally given a U/A certificate to the film, produced by a Delhi-based journalist, Anand Swaroop Verma.

Verma, who is an expert on Nepal affairs and was a member of team of international observers to monitor all elections in the country in recent past, told the news agency that the revising committee members of the Board along with chief censor Sharmila Tagore watched the film last week, talked to him on its content and asked to give a disclaimer to clear the film.

Quoting a letter from Delhi regional office of the CBFC, Verma said the disclaimer now said, The substance of the documentary has been compiled from various media publications and views expressed are of the individuals interviewed. It is not the intention of this documentary to offend the sensibilities/sentiments of any country or individual .

The SBFC had earlier refused to give certification to it by saying The 125 minute long , Flames of the Snow , tells about the Maoist movement in Nepal and justifies its ideology and keeping in view the recent Maoist violence in some parts of the country, the permission of its public screening can not be given'.

 

18th July   

Updated: Conflict Hardened...Not...

Locals of the most dangerous place in the world are sensitive to a few critical words
Link Here

lamhaa posterAs violence in Kashmir escalates, Bollywood offers a story of violence in the region. Lamhaa , which stars Sanjay Dutt and Bipasha Basu, will hit theaters on July 16.

The film has already fallen foul with the censors and people of the state. The Central Board of Film Certification who reportedly objected to Kashmir being described in the trailers as the most dangerous place in the world , forcing its director Rahul Dholakia to make some cuts.

During the shoots, locals forced the crew to re-do a scene, as they were upset at the depiction of their homeland.

Update: Banned in Gulf States

18th July 2010. Based on article from filmyfair.com

Lamhaa is not going to be screened in Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, in and Oman as the UAE Natioanl Media Council Censorship Board felt that the content of the movie is highly objectionable and controversial.

The Indian censor board has already passed the film with an A certificate after 'correcting' two dialogues in the film.

Director Rahul DholakiaDholakia felt the action from UAE on this as outrageous.

 

16th July   

Update: Government TV Censor...

India reframes its proposal to set up a national TV censor
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in India...India considers the regulation of TV for adults

I&B logoIn an attempt to control news channels, the Indian government has proposed setting up of a government appointed committee - the National Broadcast Authority of India - that will have the power to screen programmes or advertisements before broadcast, and formulate the content code.

The committee will have all the powers that were part of the controversial Broadcasting Services Regulation Bill, 2007, which had to be shelved because of fears that it would have led to censorship.

The I&B ministry's new draft envisages a three-tiered redressal structure with the initial two tiers of content monitoring being that of self-regulation. Grievances or complaints that are not settled by the channel itself or by the industry association (at the second level) will then go to the NBAI. The NBAI will be the final authority for all issues related to content and carriage.

While the oversight-of-last resort arrangement is clearly meant to ward off criticism that government wants to control content, this by itself may not assuage the concerns of censorship.

The ministry's task force report gives the NBAI the power to authorise officers to block news content if public tranquility is disturbed. It also suggests that the government retain powers to intervene in the interest of sovereignty and integrity of the country.

The NBAI will, according to the draft, comprise one representative of the media, while the other six members will include eminent persons with 15 years of experience from fields of law, public administration, finance, IT and social work.

News broadcasters expressed fears that the NBAI will be filled with retired bureaucrats or otherwise pliable civil society members as is the practice in nearly all regulatory authorities. The lone representative of media may find it difficult to put across his viewpoint.

 

13th July   

Yeah Yeah...

New Sri Lankan film censor spouts the usual piffle
Link Here

Sri LankaJournalist Gamini Sumanasekara who was recently appointed as the Chairman of the Censor Board claimed the censor board had a bigger role to play rather than simply censoring movies.

The Censor Board basically generally categorizes films under three levels - The U certificate open for all sections in society, the X label for adults only films and movies that are more suitable for adults. Even in the West there are censor boards to monitor and categorize films, said Sumanasekara who has been involved as a Censor Board member for at least eight years under different heads.

Besides films screened in the country, scripts of stage plays and indoor musical shows including the songs due to be sung, have to be sanctioned by the Censor Board.

Our main concern is upholding our ethics and cultural values. There is a difference between our culture and those in the west. It starts from the family. For example we do not address our elders by name but it's different in those countries. We don't endorse excessive doses of violence in our movies and the same applies to sex too. But it also depends on the theme. We will have to establish whether sex is being forced into the creation in a subtle manner. It's our responsibility to ensure that creations that are screened do not carry harmful parts that influence or create any discord among any ethnic groups in this country, or violates basic norms in society, or any matter that would distort the minds of children. But at the same time we should remember that young directors may come up with novel ideas or even radical creations. We can't decide whether they are completely undesirable. Deepa Mehta's Fire was a good example. Though India banned the film we okayed it, said Sumanasekara insisting that they were able to act independently.

The Mahinda Chinthana policies have been endorsed by the people. There are clear-cut guidelines in the Mahinda Chinthana policies about arts and culture and we work within such a frame. I am grateful to Cultural Affairs and National Heritage Minister Pavithra Wanniarachchi for appointing a multi-faceted team comprising professionals from diverse fields under the guidance of President Mahinda Rajapaksa.

 

4th July   

Update: Banned Victims of Government Attacks...

Pakistan proposes catch-all law to jail those criticising the state
Link Here

Pakistan flagPakistan is considering a controversial new law that would restrict media coverage of suicide bombings and could be used to quell criticism of the government and army on the country's private television networks.

Under the proposed changes, TV journalists could be jailed for up to three years for broadcasting anything defamatory against the organs of the state .

The latest twist to the proposed law, known as the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority bill, drew an angry response from media groups.

Anyone with something to hide will be happy to root for this bill, said Talat Hussain, one of the country's most prominent television anchors. Those in power have a lot to gain from it.

The proposed restrictions would prevent the media from airing video footage of suicide bombers, the bodies of victims of militant attacks, statements from extremist leaders and any acts that promote, aid or abet terrorists or terrorism .

Live coverage of militant assaults would be banned as would anything defamatory against the organs of the state – a sweeping provision that could be interpreted to include most government activities.

Offenders would be liable to sentences of up to three years in jail and fines of up to 10m rupees (£80,000).

Separately, Dawn newspaper reported that military officials have come up with their own proposed restrictions, including a requirement that all security-related stories should be cleared with the military press office.