Any doubts?


  1. Profile photo of Akash Hulke Akash Hulke

    More or less the Ban will work , As Sir.Amit said der r no cases of sexual voilence then sir let me remind u of delhi’s 2012 incident , It may not b d only but one of the reason y our juvenile’s Act in dis direction . Watching porn is a choice of one’s personal liberty , but child pornography is d right step , though some more steps like educating them in schools , Home education by parents , Can work more in d same direction

  2. Profile photo of Amit Bhardwaj Amit Bhardwaj

    They are pro-ban in public only. An attempt to appear ‘moral’. Anyway what do you expect someone to say I you ask them if they support this one. The answer is expected to be yes. Aanyway I don’t think UPSC shall ask it directly at any stage but nonetheless, let’s try to dissect it…

    1. There should be a complete ban and check on child pornography. Absolutely no doubt about it.

    2. That what an adult does and watches in the confines of his/her room is personal choice. How can the government whip them with a ‘moral stick”?

    3. Will the ban be effective is the million dollar question? Well I guess no. What we try to subdue forcefully rears its ugly head anyhow in some other form. The technology is advanced enough to tide over any ban. So ultimately it shall be ineffectual.

    4. There is no empirical study to establish that watching porn raises the levels of sexual violence. Like really?

    5. If at all, make stringent laws and more importantly ensure fast trials and justice. By the time a case comes up, the victim is long dead.

    6. Inculcate moral values. Not just at school but at home too.

  3. Profile photo of Tejesh Eati Tejesh Eati

    It is surprising to see that the nation is more pro-ban. Especially the 18-30 age bracket.

    1. Profile photo of Rohit Pande Rohit Pande

      You missed this one – Males (66%) are vouching for the ban more than the Females (49%)!

[op-ed snap] Missing the spirit for the body

Context:

  1. The Central Board of Film Certification has turned down yet another film, Ka Bodyscapes directed by Jayan Cherian
  2. By its act the Board has lowered its credibility, and by association that of the Indian republic in whose name it acts
  3. It is time that its authority to effectively ban films should go
  4. By refusing to certify the film in question, it has revealed itself as tendentious, driven by prudery, ignorant of India’s history and unmindful of the Constitution

The narrative circle:

  1. We get an idea about the film from the writ petition filed in the High Court of Kerala seeking restraint on the CBFC’s virtual ban
  2. It revolves around three characters: Haris is a free-thinking artist who also happens to be a Muslim and in a relationship with Vishnu who comes from a family of right-wingers and is a Hanuman-bhakt himself, which presumably makes him Hindu but does not bring acceptance from his family
  3. They have a friend in Sia who comes from a conservative background and is as Muslim as Haris is
  4. She chooses feminism and faces flak for it
  5. On behalf of the director, the petitioners clarify that the film is about societal attitudes towards individual freedom and is not a critique of religion
  6. Finally, the film is set in Kozhikode, a city the rooted cosmopolitanism of which belies its size

What are the Board’s objections?

  1. The Board has reasoned: “… the film is glorifying the subject of gay and homosexual relationship, nudity accentuating vital parts of male body (in paintings)… The film is explicit of scene offending Hindu sensibilities depicting vulgarity and obscenity through the movie”
  2. There is also recourse to the trope of ‘law and order’
  3. It is extraordinary for an order from a public body that there is no trace of reasoning to be found in all this

Relevance of the objections:

  1. The Board appears innocent of both our storied past as a people or of the Indian Constitution
  2. Temple sculpture celebrates sexual union of every kind, which only the philistines miss
  3. Moreover, there is no stricture against the depiction of nudity in Hinduism
  4. Further, the Board appears to not have heard of court judgments which categorically reject the argument of ‘law and order’ as a criterion for banning a film
  5. As for religious sensibilities, the Constitution gives an individual the freedom to practise his or her religion but not the right to be protected from any reference to it that may be interpreted as giving offence
  6. All practices are open to scrutiny and no ‘religious immunity’ is on offer
  7. India is a secular republic and, accordingly, no special rights are accorded to religion

The ‘religion’ in India:

  1. In India religious identity is often an ascriptive marker of persons, and it is difficult to get very far away from it
  2. But the role of public institutions in a democracy is to wean society away from this practice by weighing in on behalf of individuals trying to break free of oppressive social custom so long as this does not violate the freedom of others
  3. If religions are to be granted sensibility and the religious is the only identity a person is allowed to have, in this instance India’s religions must find the film affirming, because when forming intimate associations with persons of other religions, we seemingly recognise one another’s religion
  4. But, actually, all this is utterly irrelevant in the context as religion should have no role to play in determining the sexual lives of people

Religion or homosexuality: where does the problem lie?

  1. The CBFC cannot be allowed to get away with the pettiness that it hides behind the fig leaf of religion
  2. Its beef clearly is with “glorifying the subject of homosexuality”, by which prospect the Board is clearly shocked
  3. The Board has taken the law into its own hands as there is no legal stricture on the representation of homosexuality in any form

Looking through different lenses:

  1. There are three ways of seeing Ka Bodyscapes
  2. The first one is the construction that it is an affront to religion
  3. Consider the imagery of Indra’s youthful companions, the Marut, as men in the sky who relish one another’s bodies
  4. Devout Hindus are not upset by this picture as they treat it as beside the point of their belief
  5. The second is to see it as a story of friendship between a Hindu and a Muslim directed by a Christian
  6. The academic secularists would be made happy by this characterisation, but it gives primacy to religion, which is what the film is trying to get away from
  7. The most promising way of seeing the film is to see it as showing how Indians are rejecting social strictures to follow their instincts

Note4Students:

The op-ed has good points to incorporate in your essay/ answer on censorship. Know about CBFC for Prelims.

Back2Basics:

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC):

  1. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) (often referred to as the Censor Board) is a statutory censorship and classification body under the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India
  2. It is tasked with “regulating the public exhibition of films under the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952”

Films can be publicly exhibited in India only after they are certified by the Board, including films shown on television

SC agrees to hear bar dance girls’ plea

  1. The Supreme Court agreed to hear a petition filed by women working in Maharashtra’s bars, including dancers and waitresses
  2. Petition: Against the constitutionality of a 2016 State law containing a rather explicit definition of what is “obscene” in dance
  3. Background: The Maharashtra Prohibition of Obscene Dance in Hotels, Restaurants and Bar Rooms and Protection of Dignity of Women (working therein) Act, 2016 was passed by the State Assembly
  4. This was to circumvent a 2015 Supreme Court judgment which ordered dance bars to be thrown open again and classified dance as a profession
  5. The Bench has already expressed its suspicion that this law was just a ruse to “circumvent” the court’s order
  6. The Act: An ‘obscene dance’ consists of “a sexual act, lascivious movements, gestures for the purpose of sexual propositioning or indicating availability of sexual access to the dancer, or in the course of which, the dancer exposes his or her genitals or, if a female, is topless”
  7. Criticisms: Legal experts said terms used like “lascivious movements,” etc., is at best vague and exposes the dancer and her establishment to the whims of the authorities itching to crack down on them
  8. Arguments against ban: The bar girls’ union argued that the 2016 law stigmatised their profession and unreasonably interfered with their free choice of expression through dramatic performances
  9. The act of tipping or giving gifts as a token of appreciation has been customary and an integral part of traditional dance culture
  10. This decades-old practice is akin to those performing Mujra, Lavani [traditional Marathi song and dance] or Tamasha [traditional Marathi theatre] where performers earn their living through ‘bakshisi’ offered by the audience as a token of appreciation of the performances

Note4students:

Know about the arguments from mains perspective. The issue of livelihoods v/s obscenity is important here for ethics.

Can’t prevent uploading of objectionable content, Google tells SC

  1. Context: The SC hearing a PIL filed by NGO Prajwala highlighting the increasing number of instances of sexual assault videos of women and children being uploaded on the Internet
  2. SC: Whether google can set up some a mechanism or a body to identify and prevent those who upload obscene content featuring women and children
  3. Google: Trying to prevent a person from uploading objectionable content online is like attempting to prevent a murder, unless it is a case of a repeat offender, like a serial killer
  4. There is no reasonable way to prevent a person from uploading even before the said content is originated. It is well-nigh impossible. No way to nip it in the bud. Data numbering in billions are uploaded

Note4students:

Not directly important for exam but can be a point in prevention of sexual abuse.

If you don’t like a book, throw it away, says HC

  1. News: The Madras High Court upheld freedom of expression, as it delivered a verdict refusing to ban Madhorubhagan, a fictional work written by Perumal Murugan
  2. Context: The local community and right wing organisations have been demanding to ban the novel, based on events at Tiruchengode, Tamil Nadu
  3. The HC said that the choice is with the reader, who could always opt not to read a book
  4. The HC also observed that though literary tastes may vary, the right to write should be unhindered

Shyam Benegal committee submits recommendations on film certification

  1. CBFC: The Central Board of Film Certification should only be a film certification body
  2. Its scope should be restricted to categorizing the suitability of the film to audience groups on the basis of age and maturity
  3. The CBFC should refuse certification only when a film contains anything that contravenes the provisions of Section 5B (1) of the Cinematograph Act, 1952
  4. Or also when its content crosses the ceiling laid down in the highest category of certification
  5. The categorisation of films should be more specific and apart from U category, the UA Category can be broken up into further sub-categories – UA12+ and UA15+
  6. The A category should also be sub-divided into A and AC (Adult with Caution) categories

Better to dance in bars than beg on streets

  1. Context: Supreme Court slammed the Maharashtra Govt for delaying licences to hotels & bar
  2. SC: state’s job is to protect dignity of women in their workplace
  3. State should not go into extremes of prohibition when only supposed to regulate
  4. Consider dance as a profession & art; when it slips into obscenity, IPC will take care
  5. It is better for women to dance professionally on a platform rather than beg on the streets or get into other undesirable means of livelihood

Not for moral policing, says Centre

  1. Clarifying its stand on porn ban, Attorney General told the SC that the Centre does not intend to intrude into the private lives of citizens or act in an authoritative way.
  2. However, he defended the banning of child porn sites indicating that India is no exception from the developed world in banning child pornography.
  3. He also mentioned that banning other forms of porn is a matter of debate, probably in the Parliament. It would be interesting to see what logic our lawmakers put forward should such a debate happen in the Parliament.

Porn websites ban effectively in place as ISPs seek clarity


 

 

ISPAI has written to DoT saying its members will continue to block the 857 URLs mentioned in a govt note, till they receive clearer directions.

Internet Service Providers Association (ISPAI) is the main lobby group for the country’s Internet Service Providers (ISPs).


 

What do they seek clarity on?

This.

The ISPs don’t have mechanism to check the content, as the same is dynamic in nature, hence we request your good self to advise us immediately the further course of action in this regard. Till your further directive, the ISPs are keeping said 857 URLs disabled.

Ban on Pornography: Between prurience and pragmatism

  1. The definition of what constitutes pornography is open to misinterpretation, unless it is drawn from various legal provisions.
  2. There is a flip-flop by the govt. on the issue of banning porn websites due to policy confusion and the difficulty involved in it.
  3. Even the enforcement becomes farce and is often counter-productive due to the lack of technical know-how to bypass the restriction.
  4. There are legal provisions available in IPC, IT Act and POCSO Act to prohibit such content.
  5. Experts argue that any ban on pornography is an encroachment on right to privacy.
  6. Therefore, govt. should be vigilant mostly against child pornography.

 

What do you think? What’s the fine balance at stake here? Right to Privacy vs. Societal Ethics? What is the larger implication?

Ban only on sites promoting child porn, says Centre

  1. Following massive uproar over its move to ban 857 pornography sites, the Union government on Tuesday said the ban would be lifted.
  2. However, sites that promoted child porn would continue to be prohibited.

SC helpless on blocking the pornographic websites

  1. If we block one site, other crops up. There are also hidden servers in the country and it is difficult to control them. All social media are being operated from foreign land.
  2. Suggestions to amend the Section 88 of IT act invited – constitution of Cyber Regulations Advisory Committee.


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