India: Dispute over independent film censor board
Punjab cultural affairs minister Sarwan Singh Phillaur announced setting up of a state-level censor board to “scan and screen content in music videos” in order to crack down on obscenity. The Central Board of Film Certification called it a ‘separatist move’.
“The objective is to screen the content shown in videos and the lyrics so that [only] the censored content reaches the public,” the state minister said, adding that “content in videos is diverting the mind and actions of youth from the basic ethos of Punjab.”
At present, the censorship of films, music videos and documentaries in India is controlled by the union I&B ministry’s Central Board of Film Certification under the Cinematograph Act of 1952. According to The Times of India, the Central Board immediately denounced the state government’s plan, calling it a ‘separatist move’:
“Censorship is a central subject and only enforcement is a state subject. The Punjab government should have written to us before deciding something on their own. They should make attempts to strengthen the existing censor board. This move tantamount to a clear breach of law,” said Central Board of Film Certification CEO Pankaja Thakur to The Times of India. Censorship is ‘a regressive step’, explained Thakur. “Even we, as a board, certify and not censor the content,” he said.
The Times of India – 24 August 2012:
Punjab to set up own censor board, Central Board of Film Certification miffed
The Times of India – 25 August 2012:
Punjab censor board not sweet music to Centre’s ears