Saturday, 18 January 2014

WB faces govt wrath for airing film with ‘highly objectionable’ content

Airing a movie without proper cuts will result in Turner’s English movie and entertainment channel WB’s blackout for 24 hours. 
The channel had aired a comedy film ‘It’s a Boy Girl Thing’ with V/UA certification on 7 January 2013, at 11.51 am. However, it did not censor some parts of the film, which irked the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB), resulting in a show-cause notice to the channel. 

After a follow-up on the case, the ministry has ordered the prohibition of transmission or retransmission of WB for one day starting midnight of 24 January. A letter has been sent to the channel, the MSO Alliance, the DTH Association, Cable Operators Federation of India and the IPTV Forum in this connection. 
“The Central Government, in exercise of the powers conferred by sub-section (2) & (3) of Section 20 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and under paragraphs 6.1 & 6.2 of the guidelines for downlinking from India, orders to prohibit the transmission or retransmission of ‘WB’ TV channel for one day on any platform throughout India with effect from 0001 hrs on 24 January 2014 till 0001 hrs on 25 January 2014,” reads the letter. 
The ministry has raised strict objection to the visuals of the film wherein private parts of male and female actors were focused on. “The film telecast by the channel shows highly objectionable visuals which denigrate women,” the ministry said. 
The ministry has found these visuals ‘very offensive and obscene’ and the portrayal of the sex change in bad taste. The visuals are not fit to be viewed by children and also not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition. These visuals also denigrate women, it observed. 
On 20 August, the ministry issued a show-cause notice to WB for telecasting the film, stating that it violated Rules 6(1) (a), 6 (1) (d), 6(1) (k), 6 (1) (o) and & 6 (5) of the cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. 
In its reply, Turner International, the parent company of WB, said that it was not aware of the 15 voluntary and 16 compulsory cuts stipulated by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) until it received the show-cause notice. Claiming that it had stopped all further telecast of the film, the channel also asked for an opportunity to explain the position in a personal hearing. 
Showing its willingness to re-apply to the CBFC for re-certification of the film, WB added that the CBFC certificate, available with them, contained only the compulsory cuts without any reference to the voluntary cuts. It also contended that they had not questioned the completeness of the censor certificate and had made the edition and cuts based on the belief that the censor certificate available with them was the only, valid and complete censor certificate issued by the CBFC. 
Reviewing the film, in light of WB’s reply and the personal submissions made by its representative, the IMC concluded that the channel had clearly violated the provisions of the programme code and observed that this kind of violation of the provisions of the Cable Television networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Rules framed thereunder was not acceptable.


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