Censorship Issues – Censor Board, Banning films, etc

Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Cinematograph Act, 1952

Mains level: Read the attached story


Central Idea

  • Union Information and Broadcasting Minister has introduced the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023, in the Rajya Sabha, with the goal of addressing piracy concerns in the film industry.
  • It seeks to amend the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

What is the Cinematograph Act, 1952?

  • The Cinematograph Act of 1952, was enacted by the Parliament to ensure that films are shown in accordance with the limits of tolerance of society.
  • The Act establishes the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC, or the censor board) to certify films.
  • Under the Act, the Board scrutinizes the films following the procedure laid down in the Act and can either reject or grant a certificate, valid for ten years.
  • The Act authorizes the police to perform search and seizure actions if the film is being exhibited in contravention of any of the provisions of the Act.

Cinematograph Amendment Bill, 2023

Amendment The bill proposes to amend the Cinematograph Act, 1952
Harsher Penalty The act has provisions for harsher penal provisions for film piracy
New Age Categories It introduces new sub-age categories for films to bring about uniformity in categorisation across platforms
Perpetual Certification The certification once given will be perpetual
New Sub-age based Certification UA-7+’, ‘UA-13+’, and ‘UA-16+’ in place for 12 years
Alignment The act will be aligned with Supreme Court judgments
Recertification Recertification of the edited film for television broadcast
Public Exhibition Only Unrestricted Public Exhibition category films can be shown on television
Uniformity It will make the act provisions in line with the provisions of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 to maintain uniformity

Stringent Laws against Piracy

Imprisonment and Penalty It includes imprisonment for three years and a Rs 10 lakh penalty for those found involved in piracy
Legal Offence The act of piracy will be a legal offense, and even transmitting pirated content will be punishable

Indian Cinema: A Backgrounder

  • The history of Indian cinema dates back to the late 19th century, with the screening of the Lumiere Brothers’ short films in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1896.
  • Dadasaheb Phalke is considered to be the father of Indian cinema.
  • The first Indian-made film, Raja Harishchandra, was released by him in 1913 and marked the beginning of Indian cinema.
  • The first Indian talkie, Alam Ara, was released in 1931, marking a new era in Indian cinema.

Contribution of Indian Cinema

(1) Economic contribution

  • Revenue Source: The film industry contributes significantly to the country’s economy, generating substantial revenue through production, distribution, and exhibition.
  • Employment Generation: The film sector offers employment opportunities to millions of people in various related fields.
  • Allied Sectors: The film industry provides a boost to other industries like advertising, hospitality, tourism, and fashion.
  • Entertainment Economy: Cinema houses and multiplexes generate revenue through ticket sales, concessions, and merchandise sales.

(2) Societal Contribution

  • Social Cause: Movies have addressed crucial social issues, raising awareness and encouraging discussions.
  • Breaking Gender Stereotypes: Strong female characters in films challenge traditional gender roles, positively impacting women’s status.
  • Accessible Entertainment: Cinema breaks social barriers by providing affordable and accessible entertainment.
  • Inspirational Aspects: Movies inspire the youth, leading them to look up to their favorite stars as role models.

(3) Nation Building

  • Promotion of Social Harmony: Indian cinema showcases diversity and cultural richness, promoting social harmony and unity.
  • Inculcation of Moral Values: Films play a crucial role in imparting moral values and social responsibilities.
  • Creating Awareness about Social Issues: Movies raise awareness about various social issues, breaking taboos and addressing important topics.

Issues with Indian Cinema

  • Portrayal of Violence and Sexuality: Some films depict violence and sexual content, impacting younger viewers negatively.
  • Reinforcement of Stereotypes: Certain films reinforce gender, caste, and religious stereotypes, perpetuating prejudice.
  • Promotion of Materialism: Movies that promote materialism can lead to unrealistic expectations and values.
  • Lack of Diversity: The lack of diversity in mainstream films needs to be addressed to ensure equal representation.
  • Undue Commercialization: Excessive commercialization may overshadow the importance of quality content.
  • Nepotism: The practice of nepotism can hinder deserving talent from entering the industry.

Way Forward

  • Revising the Certification Process: Ensure transparency and accountability in the certification process.
  • Protecting Artistic Freedom: Safeguard artistic freedom and creativity in filmmaking.
  • Encouraging Regional Cinema: Promote and support regional cinema through incentives and subsidies.
  • Promoting Cultural Diversity: Encourage filmmakers to explore diverse cultures and promote intercultural dialogue.
  • Combating Piracy: Take effective measures to combat film piracy and protect revenues.
  • Developing Film Infrastructure: Invest in developing film infrastructure and educational facilities.

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