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South Asia Censorship News


2021: April-June

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Absurd and ridiculous...

Bangladeshi film directors want to set themselves up as an additional body of censors


Link Here11th June 2021
The Bangladesh Film Directors' Association's has published a proposal to run all films through an approval process under its guidance before finally submitting to Bangladesh Film Censor Board.

Other film organisations are not so impressed. Bangladesh Short Film Forum, Bangladesh Film Society, Bangladesh Film Institute, Dhaka DocLab, Bangladesh Documentary Council and Film without Film all raised concerns over the proposal. In a joint statement they said that the proposal seem absurd and ridiculous as they found no logical ground for a film to obtain a private organisation's authorisation before it is submitted to the censor board.

The statement also said that there is no rational explanation why the government grant-winning film must be released in 20 cinemas across the country and asked why public money should be spent on commercial films.

 

 

Twitter's political censorship doesn't go down well in India...

India harasses Twitter after tweets by the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party were labelled as 'manipulated media'


Link Here 24th May 2021
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
A police team from the Special Cell, an elite branch in charge of investigating terrorism and organized crime in New Delhi, descended on Twitter's offices in the city to serve a notice to the head of Twitter in India. Police also attempted to enter a Twitter office in Gurugram, a location that has been permanently closed.

The move came three days after Twitter put a manipulated media label on the tweets of half a dozen members of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, in which they had accused the Indian National Congress, the main opposition party, of scheming to damage Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his handling of the second wave of India's coronavirus pandemic.

In an image the members circulated, they claimed that the Indian National Congress was giving special medical favors to journalists affected by the pandemic among other things. AltNews, an Indian fact-checking website, found that the image was forged. India's IT ministry then sent a letter to the company asking it to remove the labels. Twitter did not.

 

 

Critical failures...

Twitter bans 50 tweets criticising the Indian government's covid crisis management


Link Here24th April 2021
Full story: Twitter Censorship...Twitter offers country by country take downs
Twitter has censored more than 50 tweets critical of the Indian government's handling of the coronavirus pandemic, and did so at the request of the Indian government.

The 52 banned tweets are detailed in a disclosure notice on the Lumen database . The censored accounts include a sitting member of India's Parliament, two filmmakers, an actor, and a West Bengal state minister.

A Twitter spokesperson told The Verge that the company may make certain tweets unable to be viewed by people within India if the tweets violate local law. Twitter says it notified account holders before it withheld content to make them aware that the action was taken in response to a legal request from the government of India.

Indian law restricts the publication of material that the government considers defamatory, or which could incite violence.

And in case you don't think that the Indian government deserves a little criticism:

 

 

Intimidatory pitching...

Pakistan's PM revives call for an international blasphemy law


Link Here24th April 2021
Full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN
Pakistan s prime minister Imran Khan has called on Muslim-majority countries to lobby Western governments to criminalise insulting the religious character Mohammed. He said in a televised address:

We need to explain why this hurts us, when in the name of freedom of speech they insult the honour of the prophet. When 50 Muslim countries will unite and say this, and say that if something like this happens in any country, then we will launch a trade boycott on them and not buy their goods, that will have an effect.

Khan argued that insulting Mohammed should be treated in the same way as questioning the Holocaust, which is a crime in some European countries.

The address seems to be part of a response to violent protests by the radical religious group Tehrik-e-Labaik Pakistan (TLP) over protests against France over a row about French school children being taught about Mohammed cartoons that wound up the muslim world a few years ago.

 

 

Unappealing film censorship...

The Indian government has decided to disband the film censorship appeals board


Link Here10th April 2021
Full story: Film Censorship in India...CBFC: Film censors and their cuts
India's film makers are discussing a decision by the Indian government's to abolish the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT).

The FCAT was set up in 1983 by India's Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to hear appeals by filmmakers aggrieved by the decision of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

With its headquarters in the capital, New Delhi, the FCAT was headed by a chairperson and had four other members, including a secretary appointed by the Indian government.

In its order earlier this week, the government said the high court and not the FCAT will now hear the appeals by filmmakers who do not agree with the CBFC's suggestions or certificates for their films.

The move has made Indian filmmakers, mainly in Mumbai-based Bollywood, angry and anxious. Alankrita Shrivastava, director of feminist film Lipstick Under My Burkha , told Al Jazeera the abolition of FCAT will make filmmakers like her more vulnerable. The director said:

If there is a disagreement with the decision of the censor board, filmmakers will have to go directly to the high court. This may cause long delays, meaning a greater financial burden on filmmakers. It is a setback for artistic freedom.


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