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South Asia Censorship News

2010: Jan-March

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31st March   

Jealous Religion...

Sri Lankan author arrested for book about converting to islam
Link Here

An expatriate Sri Lankan woman who wrote two books about her conversion from Buddhism to Islam has been arrested while on holiday in Sri Lanka, apparently for causing offence to Buddhists.

Sarah Malini Perera, who was born in Sri Lanka but has lived in Bahrain since 1985 and converted to Islam in 1999, was arrested last week under the country's emergency laws, according to the police.

They declined to give precise details of the writer's offence, but suggested that her books were deemed to have caused offence to ethnic Sinhalese Buddhists.

Sri Lanka's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but also says that the state shall give Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the state to protect and foster the religion.

Ms Perera recently completed two books on her conversion, called From Darkness to Light and Questions and Answers , and was having them printed in Sri Lanka.


19th March   

Updated: Negative Pakistan...

Pakistan censors ban Bollywood film Lahore
Link Here
Full story: Banned Films in Pakistan...Sensitive issues of image and religion

Bollywood films are a huge craze across the border in Pakistan. But the newly released Lahore , by director Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan, has been banned. Ironically the film itself talks of a peace initiative between India and Pakistan and some portions have been shot in Lahore in 2009.

Based on kickboxing, the critically acclaimed film which has been shown at several international festivals has been denied a release because authorities in Pakistan reportedly don't approve of the title. In addition, they feel Indian films show Pakistan in a negative way.

Sanjay was told that Pakistan censor board objected to certain scenes: especially one where a Pakistani girl asks for forgiveness from an Indian character. Also the title Lahore didn't go down well with the board.


18th March   

Updated: Naked Hype...

Bollywood's first full frontal sex scene
Link Here

Never before has it happened in the history of Bollywood films that a complete frontal nude scene has been shot. But the film Love Sex aur Dhokha has chosen this unconventional route of telling a tale of love, sex and betrayal through candid points of view.

The controversial scene in question was shot with Indian actors. Reveals a source, The script required the scene to be shot with full frontal. It took a lot of courage for both the actors to do it. LSD does not aim to shock audiences but does aim at mirroring reality .

LSD features a bunch of newcomers with no mainstream trappings to it. Also, sex and voyeurism form a major driving force of the narrative of this film which is now ready and heading towards 19th March release.

Balaji Motion Pictures and Dibaker Banerjee's Love Sex aur Dhokha talks about how voyeurism is indeed a reality in today's society.

Reveals a source from Balaji, Ekta and Dibaker went on a nation wide hunt for these actors after the script was in place. Since the film mirrors reality, having known faces would not have done justice to the story. This is the reason why the makers have adopted a marketing strategy of not going out with the LSD's actors' identities since it would only increase the audience's curiosity.

Adds the source, LSD has been in the news for its offensive lyrics, controversial subject, cuss words used in the film and never seen before nude scenes. Not revealing the actors starring in the film will only further pique audience curiosity about the film.

Dibakar says, I am apprehensive about the reaction of the members of the censor board as this kind of film needs that kind of sensitivity. I am all for the creative integrity of the subject matter and my job is to see that the message is delivered. It's not about the sex scene but how to retain the integrity of the story while remaining within the legal limits of the land. I'd say it's a genre-defining film and the most emotionally draining, gut-wrenching film I've made till now. There's a lot of heart burn in LSD.

Update: Full frontal hype all bollox

18th March 2010. From

The hyped scene showing a bare-backed woman on top of a man in director Dibakar Banerjee's much talked-about film Love Sex Aur Dokha will be blurred on screen.

The director says: We had submitted a DVD of the film to the censor board so they'd recommend cuts in advance and avoid delays. The censor preview recommendation suggests that we blur the sex scene.

We were told this scene was too graphic and needed tempering. There's no way the censors could allow the love-making scene. We've clearly been told that even before the film is submitted for censoring.


15th March   

Prudery in Fashion...

India gets wound up by catwalk nipples on Fashion TV
Link Here

A television channel that showed footage of a model's naked breast as part of its coverage of a fashion show by the late British designer Alexander McQueen is to be taken off the air in India, according to government officials.

Fashion TV, which broadcasts internationally via satellite and cable systems, has been suspended for nine days, India's Information and Broadcasting Ministry said.

The offending programme, shown last September, depicted women with nude upper body which was offending [sic] against good taste and decency , a ministry statement said. The visuals were found to be obscene, denigrating women and were not suitable for children and unrestricted public exhibition, it added.


10th March   

Update: Because One Website is Blocked All Should be Blocked...

Bombay High Court refuses petition to extend porn website blocking
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn

Taking into account the differing perceptions of what can be lascivious and prurient , the Bombay high court turned down a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a blanket ban on websites with sexual content on the internet.

A public interest litigation (PIL) initiated by NGO Janhit Manch had sought a court direction to the Union government to ban freely available sexual content on the internet. The PIL stated that the pornographic and sexual content on the Net was adversely influencing the minds of the country's youth, who could be misled into delinquency .

According to Janhit Manch, the government had rightly banned an adult website,,and must follow suit in the case of other pornographic and sexually explicit websites as well.

The judges, however, felt that they should not direct authorities to monitor websites. Their order said, If such an exercise is done, then an aggrieved party, depending on the sensibilities of persons whose views may differ on what is morally degrading or prurient, will be sitting in judgment even before a competent court decides the issue .

The court said Janhit Manch was free to lodge a complaint against any sites which, according to them, may be publishing or transmitting obscene content.


7th March   

Seduced by Censorship...

Internet censorship in Afghanistan
Link Here

Afghanistan will set up an Internet filter to block Internet sites with sexual or violent content, a minister said.

Information and Culture Minister Sayed Makhdoom Raheen said the new Internet bans were not linked to media freedom issues.

We have specified that four sites which announce sexual issues, drug trafficking and cultivation, violence issues -- like making bombs and gambling -- must be banned. The intention is to stop the seduction of the youth generation, Raheen said.

Regarding filtering terrorist-linked sites like the Taliban's, Raheen said he had not ordered a ban on the site which normally shows footage of Taliban attacks, including suicide raids, as well as military and political statements.

However, it has not been possible to access the site for several days. The Taliban, say the site has been blocked.


4th March   

War Censorship...

Afghanistan bans the filming of military strikes
Link Here

Afghanistan has promised to clarify new restrictions on news coverage of Taleban military strikes, and hinted that it may row back from the most draconian measures, which had amounted to a total ban on filming during attacks.

The United States said it planned to raise the issue with Kabul, a day after the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) spy agency summoned journalists to its headquarters and threatened to arrest anyone filming while strikes are under way.


25th February   

Internet Unblocked...

Indian internet censors ease up on porn
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn

Earlier this month we had reported about The Chief Justice of India's decision to shut down any obscene or pornographic websites online this had also led to the shut down of famous desi pornographic toon site

Now there has been another update to the IT law and according to which the government have dropped the power to block pornographic websites purely on the ground of obscenity.

This new update to the IT law is a welcome change as this would lead to the shut down of any website in India only if it violates basic state laws or intimidates people.

Shut down decisions now rest completely with the Judiciary (only courts) and an websites can only be shut down on the following 5 grounds:

  • sovereignty and integrity of India
  • defence of India
  • security of the state
  • friendly relations with foreign states and
  • public order

Under the old provision, the government could ban websites to prevent incitement to the commission of any cognizable offense' including obscenity.


10th February   

Bad History...

Indian film makers and censor taken to court over the depiction of history
Link Here

The pro Tamil group, Chozhar Peravai's, president TVK Azhagiri has filed a petition in the High Court against producer Dream Valley Corporation and director Selvaraghavan for making the film Aayirathil Oruvan .

The petitioner has also included the Censor Board for certifying the film. According to the petitioner, the film depicts the people of the 13th Century Chozha period in a bad light whereas it was one of the most civilized cultures in the world. TVK Azhagiri has sought a ban on Aayirathil Oruvan .

The issue was taken up for hearing on February 5, 2010. The judge, after hearing the petitioner, has ordered to issue a notice seeking an explanation from Dream Valley Corporation, director Selvaraghavan and the Censor Board before February 17th.


4th February   

Justice Challenged...

India's Chief Justice suggests that porn websites should be banned
Link Here

Chief Justice of India K G Balakrishnan suggested that the government should impose a ban on websites that exclusively display pornography and hate speeches.

For local jurisdiction there are problems on account of the structure of the flow of information over the internet. End users can fake identities using proxy servers to misguide the investigating agencies. The government can place ban on websites that exclusively circulates pornography and hate speeches.

However, it would not be right to place a blanket ban on all categories of websites. It is also important to distinguish between intermediaries such as network service providers, website operators and individual users for the purpose of placing liabilities.


26th January   

India's Poor Reputation...

India to complain about showing the life in Mumbai slums in a British TV documentary
Link Here

India plans to lodge a complaint against a British TV documentary on Mumbai slums, describing it poverty porn as it portrays a very wrong image of India's commercial capital and will affect its tourism.

The Indian High Commission in the UK will lodge a complaint with the British TC censor Ofcom about the content of Channel 4's' two-part documentary, Grand Designs on Dharavi Slums in Mumbai showing children living among open sewers, dead rats and toxic wastes.

According to an official, the High Commission in London granted a filming permit to Kevin McCloud, the TV presenter of the channel in the belief that he was making a programme highlighting Mumbai's architectural history.

We thought it would be about the architecture of Mumbai but it was only about slums. He was showing dirty sewage and dead rats, children playing among rubbish and people living in these small rooms.bHe never talked about architecture at all, the official said.

Describing it as poverty porn , the official said we are upset. Many people know India but for people who don't travel, they will think all of India is like this. Of course it will affect our tourism. It is not representative at all.

Channel4 and the production company, Talkback Thames, said: Kevin McCloud follows everyday life in Dharavi and the film is a balanced and insightful account of his experience there.


20th January   

'Bloody' Censors...

Indian singer takes film censor to court
Link Here

In a swift move that has taken the entire Indian film industry by surprise, firebrand Rakhi Sawant and singer-composer-lyricist ishQ Bector, have taken legal action against the Censor Board.

Recently, the Board passed a diktat that the word kamine (presumably 'bloody') be deleted or bleeped out from the mukhda (opening verse) of Bhoot ; Rakhi and ishQ's latest video from their album titled Jhagde . Challenging the censors' decision, the duo, who are also the producers of the album, have sent a show cause notice to the board.

The censors clearly have double standards, shoots Rakhi. When they can pass an entire film called Kaminey , what sense does it make to delete the word 'kamine' from our video, and that too, without giving us any reason whatsoever, she fumes.

The mukhda of the song goes Kamine tera bhoot chad gaya re. But after the word being bleeped out, our song looks completely disjointed. This has killed its impact and sabotaged our album sales, says ishQ, who has also written the lyrics.

Strangely, the Board has passed the promos of the number containing the mukhda, without any cuts, while censoring the word only in the video . Does the Censor Board have different norms for films, videos and promos? Or is it that we are being singled out just because we are smaller producers? questions ishQ.

Update: Bloody Hell

1st April 2010. See  article from

n a turnaround of sorts, Rakhi Sawant and IshQ Bector have emerged victorious in their battle against the Censor Board. The jhagdes finally seem to have ended (hopefully) as the Board's Revising Committee has lifted the ban on the word kamine in the duo's controversial music video Bhoot from the album Jhagde , which they produced together.

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