South Asia Censorship News

 2014: April-June

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  Censors with Blurred Vision...

Indian film censors say that scenes must be cut entirely where previously it was possible to blur just part of the visual


Link Here 22nd June 2014
CBFC logo India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has decided to delete partially objectionable scenes rather than blur them, as they claim many filmmakers are not implementing their censorship directives.

CBFC has also stated in its communication addressed to film bodies that it will now mute objectionable dialogues as opposed to beeping them out.

CBFC had asked the makers of Dedh Ishqiya to blur out a scene involging Arshad Warsi in a brothel but it was later found by the Board that the directive was not implemented.

 

 Update: Retweeted...

Twitter ends censorship of content in Pakistan after the authorities fail to provide justification for its censorship requests


Link Here 18th June 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
Twitter logo Twitter has restored access inside Pakistan to dozens of tweets and accounts, after blocking them last month following official complaints about suuposed blasphemous content.

Twitter said it had changed its May 18 decision after the government failed to provide sufficient clarification. The company said in a statement:

On May 18, 2014, we made an initial decision to withhold content in Pakistan based on information provided to us by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

We have re-examined the requests and, in the absence of additional clarifying information from Pakistani authorities, have determined that restoration of the previously withheld content is warranted. The content is now available again in Pakistan.

Most of the offending material concerned anti-Islam accounts, but the accounts of three US porn stars were also listed.

 

 Updated: Seeing Red...

Facebook censors popular Pakistani rock bands page at the request of the country's government


Link Here 15th June 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
laal logo Facebook has censored the popular page of a liberal Pakistani rock band and others that criticise the Taliban at the request of the government, angering activists campaigning against censorship in the Islamic country.

Rock band Laal (Red) formed in 2007 and are known for their progressive politics. Their Facebook page has more than 400,000 likes, with users frequently joining debates on issues ranging from feminism to the role of the country's army in politics. But it is now censored to users from inside Pakistan.

Other pages like Taalibansarezalimans (The Taliban are oppressors) and Pakistani.meem which describes itself as pro-democracy and secularism, have similarly been blocked in recent days.

A Facebook spokeswoman said: While we never remove this type of content from the site entirely, like most Internet services, we may restrict people from accessing it in the countries where it is determined to be illegal. Facebook have unhelpfully initiated the block in such a way that users are not made aware of the censorship, requests for the banned page are simply redirected to the requestor's own profile page.

Update: Unbanned

15th June 2014.  See  article from  advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

global voices advocacy logo Laal's Facebook page was made accessible in the country after just two days. Good news? Yes, but not as much as you think. Remember that Laal has a pretty strong fan base and an equally strong support system with reach extending to lawyers, advocacy groups, local and international media.

Other banned page owners who have been blocked cannot fight back in a similar way. Are these people left with any options after they're blocked? Roshni.pk and Talibaans Are Zaalimaans are only two of the many other pages that remained blocked.

The unblocking of Laal may look like a win, but if you step back and assess the bigger picture, it only reveals the extent to which the government can censor with impunity.

The spontaneous unblocking was clearly a ploy to stop us from creating more outrage -- the unblocking of Laal was a minor battle won in a war we are losing.

 

 Update: The Forces of Might Prevail...

Pakistan censors Geo News over reports that the country's spy agency did not like


Link Here 11th June 2014  full story: TV Censorship in Pakistan...TV under threat from morally minded courts
geo tv pakistan logo Geo TV, Pakistan's leading TV news station which dared to criticise the country's feared spy agency has been ordered off air.

Pakistan's TV censor suspended Geo News's operating licence for 15 days and fined it £60,000 for news reports that did not please the head of the military's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), General Zaheer-ul-Islam.

The channel's president, Imran Aslam, condemned the decision, saying the forces of might have prevailed . It seems that justice has bowed down to forces that are above the law, Aslam said.

Amnesty International said it was a serious attack on vestiges of press freedom in the country:

It is the latest act in an organised campaign of harassment and intimidation targeting the network on account of its perceived bias against the military.

The row began on 19 April when Geo's coverage of an attempt to kill Hamid Mir, the channel's best-known journalist, enraged the military. Geo gave prominence to claims by Mir's brother that the ISI was behind the gun attack, which left the journalist seriously wounded. He claimed the hit had been ordered by Zaheer-ul-Islam, and the channel aired photographs and video of the otherwise little-seen spy chief.

 

  Butting Out...

Indian film censors cut X-Men: Days Of The Future Past


Link Here 25th May 2014
X Men Days Future Past DVD Hugh Jackman's bare butt in X-Men: Days Of The Future Past has been removed from the Indian theatrical release of the movie.

Rakesh Kumar, CEO of the Censor Board Of Film Certification (CBFC), confirms that the shot has been removed.

Reacting to the censorial intervention, critic Raja Sen said:

This childish censor board has become a sadistic body that enjoys playing spoilsport. This might not be a major cut. But it is the principle of the thing.

 

 Update: Heads will roll...

Pakistan TV show gets in big trouble after 5000 complaints of blasphemy


Link Here 18th May 2014
utho jago geo tv A Pakistani court has ordered police to register a case against Geo TV, actress Veena Malik, her husband Asad Khatak over a programme that supposedly contained blasphemous content. The court ordered that a case also be registered against Geo media group owner Mir Shakilur Rehman, anchor Shaistan Lodhi. Malik and her husband were guests on the programme.

The court issued the order on a complaint that Lodhi, in her programme Utho Jago Pakistan on Geo entertainment, had allegedly insulted the family members of the religious character Muhammad.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) said it had received over 5,000 complaints against the programme. It has already served a show-cause notice on Geo Entertainment network for airing supposedly objectionable content and sought immediate explanation from the channel.

Religious parties, including Jammat-ud-Dawah, held demonstrations in various parts of the country on Friday and Saturday and demanded that the accused be tried under the blasphemy laws.

Meanwhile, both Ms. Lodhi and Ms. Malik have gone underground fearing violence from extremists.

Update: Reasons

24th May 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

Clerics across Pakistan condemned GEO for broadcasting a staged wedding of two celebrities on its morning show.

The problem was not the involvement of Veena Malik -- an actor who once scandalised the country by appearing nude on the cover Indian FHM magazine with ISI written on her arm. Instead offence was taken at the performance of a Sufi song about the marriage of Muhammad's daughter -- a popular element to many ordinary weddings in Pakistan -- and that a comparison was being drawn with Malik.

Many fundamentalist Islamic sects take a dim view of Sufi culture, which often revolves around singing, poetry and visiting the shrines of holy men.

 

  Big Girls' Blouses at the CBFC...

Reports of Indian film censors blurring cleavage in adults only rated films


Link Here 17th May 2014
koyelaanchal India's Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) is reported to have suddenly gone on a crusade against displays of cleavage.

The first casualty of the censor board's new-found regard for a woman's modesty is new actress Rupali Krishnarao, who plays a prostitute in Asshu Trikha's Koyelaanchal . Her cleavage has been blurred by the censors at several places in the film.

Trikha commented about the censorship of his adults only rated film:

The cleavage was blurred as per the censor board's instruction. I argued with them saying cleavage is an integral part of Bollywood culture.

My film is for adults only. And adult audiences are mature enough to handle some cleavage. But I saw no point in arguing beyond a point. I just blurred the blouse.

Meanwhile, a sequence in Ananth Mahadevan's The Xpose showing a starlet in a transparent white sari has also been trimmed by the censor board.

 

 Offsite Article: In bed with Bollywood...


Link Here 18th April 2014
Jism DVD Regions Bollywood 2012 Sex and censorship in Indian cinema Bollywood may be the blushing ballerina to Hollywood's brazen pole-dancing stripper, but, as the history of film censorship in India reveals, its screen stars are no stranger to the lip lock

See article from theguardian.com

 

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