Indian court tries to revive a shelved internet porn ban from 3 years ago
See article from
The Indian state of Uttarakhand has been hearing a rape case and has decided that porn was to blame. So the court is looking to resurrect an internet porn ban first mooted in 2015.
On August 3rd, 2015, three years back, the Government. of India
had passed a notification which ordered all ISPs to ban pornographic content with immediate effect . Around 857 pornographic websites were ordered to be banned, and ISPs were duly informed.
However, the Government faced massive backlash over this
issue and were criticized for banning porn. Some even described this as Talibanization of the Internet. After two days, a new notification was issued; and this time, the responsibility for the porn ban was passed over to the Internet Service Provider and
limited to banning child porn.
Now the Uttarakhand High Court has ordered all Internet Service Providers to immediately ban porn websites, across India. If they fail to do so, then their license can be canceled!
While hearing a recent case
of gang-rape in a school at Dehradun, the bench at Uttarakhand High Court comprising of acting chief justice Rajiv Sharma and justice Manoj Tiwari has asked the Centre Govt. to strictly implement a blanket ban on pornography sites. The Bench observed:
Unlimited access to these pornographic sites is required to be blocked/curbed to avoid an adverse influence on the impressionable minds of children.
Update: Another court
6th October 2018. See article from nagpurtoday.in
Bench of Bombay High Court has ordered the Information and Broadcasting Ministry to initiate effective steps against Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hotstar and other private channels on Internet for broadcasting pornographic contents, crudity, sexual or
discriminatory language, and various levels of violence,
A Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed by Adv Divya Gontiya requesting the High Court to issue orders aimed at 'urbing the deluge of vulgarity, violent scenes and crude language on
webseries. The screening of pornographic contents, vulgar gestures and talks are overriding the Indian culture and morality.
The High Court has directed the concerned ministries to set up a pre-screening committee for curbing , crudity, sexual
or discriminatory language, vulgar gestures, nudity, sex, immodesty on webseries, monitor the webseries and advertisements before going on online media.
Nepal is set to ban all internet porn
|22nd September 2018
See article from nepalitelecom.com
Nepal's Government will soon ban porn sites in the country. The Ministry of Communication and Information technology (MOCIT) has instructed the internet censor, the NTA, to ban porn websites and any other sexually offensive/indecent content.
government cited an increase in the rate of rape incident in the country as the reason fir the censorship. It also claims that the easy sexual content access increases sexual violence in the country.
The ministry also requests all the ISPs,
telecom operators, social media operators, and Internet users not to distribute, publish and broadcast such sexual content in the country.
Some popular porn sites have been blocked for some years. Whereas some websites are still operating freely.
Attempting to read a censored websites leads to a page simply saying: This website has been blocked as per NTA's Policy.
A summary of how India censors internet TV
See article from factordaily.com
Indian MP introduces bill to reduce the censorship powers of the CBFC
|14th August 2018
See article from indiatimes.com
See Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2018 [pdf] from medianama.com
In an effort to safeguard artistic freedom in India, Congress MP, Shashi Tharoor, introduce d the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2018 to reduce the pre-censorship powers of the Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC).
Tharoor commented that
the CBFC should be a certification body and not a moral policing body. He wrote on social media:
I introduced my Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2018, to remove the outdated provisions which hamper the free flow of
free speech, especially artistic freedom. The protection of artistic freedom is essential for the development of our culture and our democracy.
It's [The CBFC's] censorship powers (& the Govt's power to revise its
decisions as to whether a film should be screened or not) reflect a regressive and paternalistic outlook which is out of date in the 21st century. The existing guidelines for certification are broad and vague, allowing the CBFC to pass absurd orders such
as muting individual words of dialogue, like the term 'cow' in a documentary on Amartya Sen. My Bill introduces comprehensive guidelines for gradation in film certification. My Bill also removes the discretionary powers of the State to ban films. The
State should only resort to the power of suspension of films as the last resort in order to maintain public order. We should not be held hostage by vigilante groups & self-appointed 'moral police'.
The bill seeks to completely
remove the State's power to ban a film, which he says should be considered as a last resort. During the time of Padmaavat's release, states claimed that Section 6 of the Cinematograph Act empowers them to stop the release of any film that risks public
Amongst the key changes are additional film certificates:
U -- film suitable for all persons, regardless of age, and is often family friendly;
U/A 12+ -- film suitable for persons above twelve years of age or for a person under the age of twelve with parental
U/A 15+ -- film suitable for persons (adolescents) above fifteen years or for a person under the age of fifteen with parental guidance
A -- film suitable for public exhibition, but
restricted to adults;
C (A with Caution) -- film restricted for adults with the specific purpose of cautioning them that it has more than a reasonable amount of content such as violence, sex, nudity, drugs and other related
S -- film restricted to viewership by members of a profession or any class of persons, having regard to the nature, content and theme of the film
Detailed guidelines are included in the bill for each category, here are the rules foa an adults only A rating:
Discrimination -- While there may be discriminatory themes and languages in the film, the film as a whole shall not endorse or glorify discriminatory language or behavour ;
Liquor, Smoking, Tobacco -- Imbibing of these elements may be shows, but the work as a whole shall not promote or encourage misuse of the same. The misuse of easily accessible and highly dangerous substances (for example, aerosols or solvents) is not
Imitable behaviour -- Dangerous behaviour (for example, committing suicide or inflicting self-harm) shall not be shown in detail that could be copied by others . Context, realism and setting shall determine the
acceptability of depiction of easily accessible weapons;
Language -- Very strong language, including abuse and vulgar words is permitted;
Nudity --There may be nudity, even in a sexual context,
but without explicit detail ;
Sex-- Sexual activity may be portrayed but without strong detail . References to sexual behaviour is permitted, but very strong reference can only be justified in context . Works whose primary
purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation is not acceptable;
Fear, Threat & Horror--There may be strong threat and horror. A sustained focus on sadistic or sexual threat is not acceptable;
Violence--Strong violence is permitted, but explicit gory images are not acceptable . Strong sadistic violence is not acceptable, there may be detailed verbal references to sexual violence but the depiction of sexual violence must be discreet and justified by context.
The proposal is introduced with plenty of fancy words about the CBFC being classifiers not censors, but the bill includes plenty of reasons to continue censoring and banning films anyway:
Films under this [top A
with Caution] category shall not qualify for certification in the event of the following--
( 1 ) Where the material is in breach of criminal law, or has been created though the commission of a criminal offence;
( 2 ) Where material or treatment appears to the Board to risk harm to individuals;
For example, the detailed portrayal of violent or dangerous acts, or of illegal use of psychotropic substances, which may
cause of public harm or morals. Other examples may include portrayals of sadistic or sexual violence that make this violence looking appealing; reinforce the suggestion that victims enjoy sexual violence; or films that invite viewer complicity in sexual
violence or other harmful violent activities;
( 3 ) Where the work is pornographic in nature and or compromises explicit sexual activity or dialogue that is non-contextual in nature. However, any sexually explicit material for
educational purposes shall be allowed;
( 4 ) Where the work involves sadistic or sexual violence with children;
( 5 ) Where the work, including its dialogues, are likely to encourage an interest in sexually
abusive activity which may include adults role- playing as non-adults.
Indian film censor cuts Mission: Impossible - Fallout to remove references to Kashmir
|30th July 2018
article from hindustantimes.com
Hollywood honchos use the logic of not alienating a market
of a billion people when it comes to China, but isnít that the same number if the subject is India? from dailyo.in
Mission Impossible: Fallout is a 2018 USA action adventure thriller by Christopher McQuarrie.
Starring Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill and Ving Rhames.
Ethan Hunt and his IMF team, along with some familiar allies, race against time after a mission gone wrong.
India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has cut out overt references to Kashmir in Mission:
Impossible - Fallout .
It was previously reported that director Christopher McQuarrie had set the film's final act in Kashmir because he wanted to make a more politically complex film.
However, the version of the film released in Indian
theatres has no mention of Kashmir - there are noticeable cuts in the final act of the film, and a section of the credits mentioning the banned location has been deleted.
The film still contains a few oblique references such as Ilsa Faust makes a
passing reference to the Nubra Valley and the Siachen glacier, but never is the word Kashmir mentioned.
The film makers tried to shoot the scenes in Kashmir but were refused permission. The scenes ended up being filmed in New Zealand. Ethan Hunt
and his crew arrive in Kashmir to stop a dastardly plan to unleash a nuclear attack on the region, which connects three of the most populous countries in the world, and therefore likely to claim the most casualties.
India parliament considers a new internet censorship bill based on the recent US FOSTA law
|25th July 2018
See article from livemint.com
Indian politicians have been admiring the effectiveness of the recent US censorship law, FOSTA that bans anything adult on the internet by making websites responsible for anything that facilitates sex trafficking. As websites can't distinguish
trafficking from adult consensual sex work then the internet companies are forced to ban anything to do with sex work and even dating.
A new session of the Indian Parliament kicked off on 18 July with the introduction of the Trafficking of
Persons (Prevention, Protection and Rehabilitation) Bill .
There are a few problematic provisions in the proposed legislation, which may severely impact freedom of expression. For instance, Section 36 of the Bill, which aims to prescribe
punishment for the promotion or facilitation of trafficking, proposes a minimum three-year sentence for producing, publishing, broadcasting or distributing any type of material that promotes trafficking or exploitation. An attentive reading of the
provision, however, reveals that it has been worded loosely enough to risk criminalizing many unrelated activities as well.
The phrase any propaganda material that promotes trafficking of person or exploitation of a trafficked person in any manner
has wide amplitude, and many unconnected or even well-intentioned actions can be construed to come within its ambit as the Bill does not define what constitutes promotion. For example, in moralistic eyes, any sexual content online could be seen as
promoting prurient interests, and thus also promoting trafficking.
In July 2015, the government asked internet service providers (ISPs) to block 857 pornography websites sites on grounds of outraging morality and decency, but later rescinded the
order after widespread criticism. If historical record is any indication, Section 36 in this present Bill will legitimize such acts of censorship.
Section 39 proposes an even weaker standard for criminal acts by proposing that any act of
publishing or advertising which may lead to the trafficking of a person shall be punished (emphasis added) with imprisonment for 5-10 years. In effect, the provision mandates punishment for vaguely defined actions that may not actually be connected to
the trafficking of a person at all.
Another by-product of passing the proposed legislation would be a dramatic shift in India's landscape of intermediary liability laws, i.e., rules which determine the liability of platforms such as Facebook and
Twitter, and messaging services like Whatsapp and Signal for hosting or distributing unlawful content.
Provisions in the Bill that criminalize the publication and distribution of content, ignore that unlike the physical world, modern electronic
communication requires third-party intermediaries to store and distribute content. This wording can implicate neutral communication pipeways, such as ISPs, online platforms, mobile messengers, which currently cannot even know of the presence of such
material unless they surveil all their users. Under the proposed legislation, the fact that human traffickers used Whatsapp to communicate about their activities could be used to hold the messaging service criminally liable.
Sikhs threaten to protest against a Sunny Leone bio pic because of her real name
|19th July 2018
See article from bbc.co.uk
Sikh leaders in India have threatened to protest over the title of a biopic because it uses the name Kaur.
Sunny Leone is a former porn star turned Bollywood actress who plays herself in web series Karenjit Kaur: The Untold Story of Sunny Leone
. Kaur - Leone's real name - is used by Sikh women as a surname or middle name and symbolises gender equality.
The web series depicts her life and premiered on 16 July for Zee5, a streaming platform in India.
In a letter to Subhash Chandra,
the chairman of Essel Group which owns Zee5, Indian politician Manjinder Singh Sirsa called for the show to be pulled from the network or have the name Kaur removed from the title. But Chandra responded simply by explaining that her name can't be
Other Sikh groups and leaders have expressed similar sentiments and have threatened to protest outside the network's offices if their demands aren't met.
A full century after the Cinematograph Act of 1918, cinema and censorship still share a close, uncomfortable relationship. By Uday Bhatia
article from livemint.com