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Unformatted text preview: COMMENTARY Economic & Political Weekly EPW july 17, 2010 vol xlv no 29 19 A New Pair of Scissors: The Draft Cinematograph Bill 2010 Anjali Monteiro, K P Jayasankar The draft Cinematograph Bill, 2010 does not question the simplistic understanding of the media regarding censorship, nor is there any recognition of the fact that the modes of production and consumption of the media are no longer easily amenable to centralised control. This notion of censorship is inherently elitist, premised on the superior wisdom of the privileged few, including the members of the Central Board of Film Certification. There is no clear procedure or set of norms laid down for the selection of these guardians of decency and morality, either in the Cinematograph Act of 1952 or in the draft bill. C ensorship in India comes in many flavours and all of us have experi- enced its myriad avatars. The cen- sorship of the market (which uses “profit” as the sole criterion for content selection) and of the street (by the self-appointed upholders of “Indian culture”) are support- ed and encouraged by the censorship of the State, which is taken for granted by many as natural, necessary and inevita- ble. This addiction to censorship is shared by political parties and religious organisa- tions of all hues. The draft Cinematograph Bill of 2010 breathes new life into this outdated practice. In India today, the only sections of the media that are subject to pre-censorship are film and theatre. Film censorship is guided by the Cinematograph Act of 1952, which has been regarded by many as a re- strictive act, based on Victorian morality and elitist notions of censorship. This is soon to be replaced by a revised Cinemat- ograph Act of 2010; a draft bill was recent- ly posted on the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting web site (it has since been removed), for discussion and comment. Given the dramatic changes that have tak- en place in the cultural and technological landscapes of India and indeed the world, one might have imagined that some rec- ognition of this would have informed the revised bill, which is slated to be tabled in the monsoon session of Parliament. Un- fortunately, this is not the case. There is no questioning of the simplistic under- standing of the media that censorship is based upon; nor is there any recognition of the fact that the modes of production and consumption of the media are no longer easily amenable to centralised control. Patriarchal Filter As campaigners for freedom of expression have repeatedly pointed out, film pre- censorship is based on the fundamentally flawed assumption of the immense harm that the image can cause to the hearts and minds of impressionable cinemagoers, driving them to commit acts of violence, sexual depravation and the like. Interest- ingly, the image is seen as belonging to a different category from the printed word....
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This note was uploaded on 07/31/2010 for the course FIN 201 taught by Professor Hcverma during the Summer '10 term at IIT Kanpur.
- Summer '10