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South Asia Censorship News

2016: Jan-March

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Offsite Article: The Spectre of Censorship...

Link Here15th March 2016
Public response to silly censor cuts to the latest James Bond film has left India's censors shaken and stirred

See article from



New internet censors...

India sets a date for the completion of a censorship system for online films

Link Here10th March 2016
India's Information and Broadcasting (I&B) ministry has announced that an online film censorship process will be operational by March 2017. A senior I&B official said:

We have invited bids for the software to be used for tracking the status of the films.

Once the system becomes online, there will be minimum human interference and hence there will be more transparency. The producer will have to come just once for submission of the film to the CBFC.

The official said while the rudimentary set up is likely to be ready in the next six months, the system should be fully operational by March 2017.

The new online film certification system will be operational under the existing Cinematograph Act, 1952.



Batman v Superman v CBFC...

Indian film censors require cuts

Link Here6th March 2016
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice is a 2016 USA action Sci-Fi fantasy by Zack Snyder.
Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Amy Adams. Youtube link IMDb

Indian film censors have found some 'fleeting nudie figure' that requires cuts for a U/A rating (children admitted if accompanied by adults.

DNA India quotes a source from the Board:

The CBFC (Central Board of Film Certification) was very keen that the film be seen by youngsters. But some of the content isn't completely suitable for viewing by underage audiences. While the violence is done in the spirit of a comicbook adventure, the film was rated UA (suitable for underage viewers accompanied by an adult), with just one visual cut... of a fleeting nude figure.

For comparison, the submitted Theatrical Version was passed PG-13 by the MPAA for intense sequences of violence and action throughout, and some sensuality. In fact some material was removed to reduce 'intensity' for the PG-13 that will later be restored for an R rated Ultimate Edition.



Updated: Registered as repressive...

Sri Lanka implements news censorship via website registration requirements

Link Here4th March 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in Sri Lanka...Installing ISP website blocking
Sri Lanka's new government which came to power promising media freedom, has revived a move to censor news web sites.

The Ministry of Parliamentary Reforms and Mass Media took out an advertisement in the state-run Daily News websites that they must register before the end of this month or will be considered unlawful.

Former government of Mahinda Rajapaksa slapped restrictions on news websites which had become the most effective medium of dissent during his decade in power. However, there is no law in Sri Lanka to implement such a registration.

The ministry in its latest advertisement did not say under what law it required websites to register. However, a purported Application for Registration of News Casting Web sites demanded to know the names, addresses and telephone numbers of all contributors.

Update: Reversed for the moment

4th March 2016. See  article from

Sri Lanka's government has now admitted it had no legal authority to call for the registration of news websites and rolled back an order which amounted to regulation and potential censorship of the Internet.

The Parliamentary Affairs and Media Ministry had taken the cover of two supreme court decisions on website regulation, but it was pointed out that the highest court had only asked the ministry to come up with guide lines.

Deputy minister Karunaratne Paranavithana agreed that the court had not conferred legislative powers on his ministry and that what they proposed to do had no legal basis. But he added:

We are in the process to develop a mechanism. We will introduce it to parliament, only then will it become law.



Following Britain's censorship lead...

India plans optional network level website blocking for parents

Link Here22nd February 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
Indian Telecom companies including Bharti Airtel BSE 3.26% , Vodafone , Reliance Communications, Telenor and Reliance Jio Infocomm are said to be considering a plan to offer optional network level website blocking for parental control.

Telcos and Internet service providers (ISPs) are in active talks with New Zealand-based Bypass Network Services (BNSL) to deploy its Buddy Guard parental control solution, said Matthew Jackson, the company's cofounder.

Buddy Guard is aimed primarily at parents who may want to regulate the online behaviour of their children. Consumers can choose to opt for the control on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Jackson said the interest of telecom companies and ISPs in parental control had risen after last year's temporary porn ban.

The option may be debuted by one of the bigger fixed-line ISPs by February-March and by a telecom company within four months, starting with a few service areas and widening its reach gradually.



Updated: Deadhead at the CBFC...

Indian film censor makes 7 cuts to Deadpool even for an adults only rating

Link Here17th February 2016
Deadpool is a 2016 Canada / USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Tim Miller.
Starring Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano and Ryan Reynolds. Youtube linkBBFC link IMDb

India's crazed chief censor Pahlaj Nihalani has ordered 7 cuts to Deadpool, even for an adults only A rating. He tried to pass off the ludicrous censorship as at least better than in China where the film was banned:

We have made very general cuts. If you look at what has happened to Deadpool in China, it was apparently banned because any number of cuts was seen to hamper the storyline of the film. I can assure you the cuts we've requested in no way affect the storytelling.

The CBFC cuts were:

  • Mute the words: asshole, motherfucker, bitch, blowjob, touching myself, vagina, dick, cunt, ...
  • Delete visuals of bullet hitting people and splitting their heads open.
  • Delete visuals in love-making scene of all nudity, jerking of bodies and double entendre
  • Delete visuals of lady on a poster touching her private parts
  • Delete visuals of bare bodies is a strip tease club
  • Delete visuals of blood spurts in the climatic fight.

Update: Abundance of 'Fuck's allowed to remain

17th February 2016. See  article from

While India's Central Board Of Film Classification (CBFC) has removed strong language like arsehole , blowjob , motherfucker , dick , cock and bitch from Deadpool , the CBFC has allowed the word fuck a free rein in the film. Censor chief Pahlaj Nihalan explained:

We were aware of the 'F' word recurring in the soundtrack. There was no way we could remove them without affecting the dialogues. The word is used like an exclamation, how we use 'Arrey' or 'Oh Teri!' in Hindi and not as an abuse.

We can't be rigid about the use of cuss words. If the 'f..' word is used repeatedly as a term of exasperation or exclamation we can't remove it from the entire film.



Miserable Pakistan...

Pakistan demands that ISPs block 400,000 porn websites

Link Here27th January 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
Pakistani ISP are getting ready to write a lot of firewall censorship rules, with the country's telecommunications censor issuing a list of 429,343 banned porn Websites.

According to newspaper The Express Tribune , ISPs will be expected to implement the blocks at the domain level . The outlet explains that the regulatory order followed instructions from the Supreme Court that it take remedial steps to quantify the nefarious phenomenon of obscenity and pornography that has an imminent role to corrupt and vitiate the youth of Pakistan .

ISPs aren't impressed, complaining that they'll need both time and equipment to implement such a large block-list.



Pakistan Army Retribution...

Game set in Taliban school massacred banned on grounds of political correctness

Link Here18th January 2016
A bloody video game set inside the Pakistani school where more than 130 children were massacred by Taliban gunmen has been withdrawn, weeks after it was released as part of an army-backed campaign to promote peace and tolerance in the country.

Players of Pakistan Army Retribution take the role of a soldier attempting to protect precious lives from terrorists who attacked the Army Public School (APS) in Peshawar in December 2014.

There are various levels in the game, which features a rousing rendition of the national anthem, depicts events from the day of the attack and is branded with the logos of the Pakistani army and Punjab Information Technology Board.

The organisations jointly commissioned the game as part of a campaign to mark the one-year anniversary of the school killings.

Although it had been available to users of Android mobile devices for some time it only attracted public attention recently when Dawn, one of the country's leading newspapers, ran a review on its website that declared the game failed on every politically correct front.

There were claims of the game being disrespectful to the dead. Making a game out of the nation's most gruesome tragedy is adding salt to the injuries of not only the families of the martyred children but the entire nation.

Umar Saif, chairman of the Punjab Information Technology Board, said the game was immediately pulled from the Google Play store after he became aware of it on Monday. Saif said Pakistan Army Retribution was just one of dozens of videos, jingles and social media items commissioned as part of a Peaceful Pakistan campaign intended to build on national revulsion over the APS attack.



A Censor with no Pecker...

Indian film censors make substantial cuts to The Hateful Eight

Link Here16th January 2016
India's film censors have cut 1:34s of material from the cinema release of Quentin Tarantino's The Hateful Eight.

The film was given an adults only A rating after the following cuts:

  • Mute all occurrences of the strong language: 'bitch', 'son of a bitch', 'whore', 'motherfucker'.
  • Delete close up frontal nudity of man in snow and reduce him being dragged around by 50%
  • Mute the words 'black pecker', 'Black Johnson', 'Black Jingus' wherever they occur, particularly in dialogue about nude man.
  • Delete the visuals of a blow job.
  • Delete killing of Mexican with face being blown up
  • Reduce killings and shootings by 50% wherever they occur
  • Reduce puking of blood scene by 50%
  • Reduce a scene of vomiting on woman's face by 50%.
  • Reduce a hand chopping by 50%.
  • Reduce hanging scene by 50%

The CBFC's under fire chief censor Pahlaj Nihalani did however make a point of noting that he has passed The Danish Girl with an uncut A rating, noting the worthiness of the nude scenes.

There still may be hope for Indian Tarantino fans as India's Government has been listening to appeals by film makers and there have been several recent examples where the government has overruled censor cuts in Mastizaade, Kya Kool Hain Hum 3 and Miss Teacher



Update: Hurt sentiments...

TV comedian briefly jailed for blasphemy against a cult leader

Link Here14th January 2016
Full story: Blasphemy in India...Hurting religious sentiments
A day after he was arrested and forced to spend a few hours in an Indian jail for mocking a self-styled religious sect leader, popular comedian Kiku Sharda called the experience traumatic, sad and sudden.

The comedian was arrested for mimicking Dera Sacha Sauda chief Baba Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh in an episode on December 27.

Amid nationwide outrage, Sharda was also sent to custody for 14 days but released after a few hours in jail, soon after the Dera chief said he forgave him. But around 10 pm, he was detained again and then released this morning.

Thankfully I didn't spend 14 days in jail, Sharda remarked, joking, however, that he did feel more secure in jail than outside because of the crowd of Baba Ram Rahim's followers in court. There was uproar when I came. It was scary.

The comedian, booked for hurting religious sentiment, said he had faced this sort of trouble for the first time in 13 years.

The Dera Sacha Sauda, a sect that has a strong presence in Punjab and Haryana, describes itself as a social welfare and spiritual organisation with millions of followers in India and abroad. It doesn't sound a very noce group though, with police investigating claims that 400 followers were forced to undergo castrations so that they could get closer to God .



Update: Censorship Disaster...

Rana Plaza movie ban upheld on appeal to the Bangladesh Film Censor Board

Link Here7th January 2016
Full story: Banned Films in Bangladesh...Rana Plaza banned for releasing dire factory conditions
Rana Plaza is a 2015 Bangladesh docu-drama by Nazrul Islam Khan
With Pori Moni and Symon Sadik.

Banned by the Bangladesh film censor, a decision upheld after an appeal.

Summary Review

The film is based on the tragic Rana Plaza collapse. The movie centers on garment factory worker Reshma Begum's 17-day fight to survive under the debris of Rana Plaza, a building that collapsed on April 24, 2013.

Bangladesh: Banned in 2015

The movie revealed a little too much about dire safety and working conditions in Bangladeshi factories and was subject to a series of censorship hurdles.

The movie centers on garment factory worker Reshma Begum's 17-day fight to survive under the debris of Rana Plaza, a building that collapsed on April 24, 2013.

On July 17 2015, the High Court got involved in the censorship process and directed the authorities concerned to delete some scenes from the film saying they were too graphic and may have detrimental effects on public sentiment.

Presumably with the cuts made, the film was cleared by the Bangladesh Film Censor Board for a premiere on September 4. But the High Court again stepped in on August 24, slapped a six-month ban on its release following a plea by the Bangladesh National Garment Workers League chief Sirajul Islam. It also stayed the censor board's clearance of the movie. The petitioner had claimed that the movie has frightening scenes and the names of security forces were used in it, which is a violation of the law.

Further legal hearings followed in September, unbanning and re-banning the film, until the government stepped in November 3 and  blocked the screening of the movie pending an appeal filed with the censor board.

And in the latest step in January 2016, the Appellate Committee of the board refused to grant the film a certificate saying that the committee had found the movie not suitable for public viewing.



Updated: Changing Spots...

After being internationally embarrassed by cuts to a James Bond kiss, India seeks to revamp its film censorship set up

Link Here2nd January 2016
India's Information and Broadcasting ministry is planning a complete revamp of its film censorship system. As part of the process, the goverment will research film censorship systems in other countries citing examples of the BBFC and MPAA.

A senior ministry official said that as the ministry reviews the functioning of the CBFC, it will also look at how ratings are given to movies in United States and other countries where such process is voluntary in nature.

Of course the government is not contemplating much of a relaxation saying it supports a liberal creative environment ...BUT... it is also conscious that there needs to be a framework so that films which can affect friendly relations with other nations or are against national interest are not allowed to be shown. It also says that it would like the new system to be controversy-free .

So just to summarise the government wants film censorship to be simultaneously liberal, illiberal and controversy free.

The official said that further announcements would be made soon.

Update: More details on film censorship revamp

2nd January 2016. See  article from

India's mad film censor has been sidestepped in a government study to revamp film censorship in India. Having faced adverse publicity over several decisions taken by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) last year, the government has set up a committee headed by filmmaker Shyam Benegal to recommend measures to provide a holistic framework and enable those tasked with the work of certification of films to discharge their responsibilities keeping in view this framework .

The committee will include filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra, adman Piyush Pandey, journalist and film critic Bhawana Somaaya, National Film Development Corporations's MD Nina Lath Gupta and Information and Broadcasting Ministry's Joint Secretary (Films) K Sanjay Murthy. It will submit its recommendations within two months. T he ministry said:

During their deliberations, the committee would be expected to take note of the best practices in various parts of the world, especially where the film industry is given sufficient and adequate space for creative and aesthetic expression

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