Daily Answer Writing
13 February 2021

Q) "Public is the real censor board". What is your opinion on this view? Give arguments to support your answer. (150 Words)

Source: The Hindu Editorial: Regulation Lite

Topic GS 4: problem solving approach to various issues and conflicts faced by a person in dealing with the society.

Approach Answer:

 

Introduction: In the recent times with the growth of OTT platforms and explosion of number of Television channels, the question of censorship has taken the centre stage. There is a prevalence of Fake news, Paid News, hate speech, explicit content, social engineering etc. which brings to light the question of censorship.

 

Importance of Regulatory censorship:  The censorship legislation has a set of codes for movies with production code for distributors and producers.

    1. Objective Ethical principles followed: Censorship as imposing certain legislative codes of conduct and screening has a clear foundation on ethical principles.
    2. Improves Quality: It ultimately brings in improvements and high-quality films. The effective use of it has shown desired results in film industry.
    3. Screens filthy content: Prohibition of obscene, lewd, and filthy scenes and forbidding the importation of any film that is immoral or obscene have done good to the society.
    4. Establishes Code of ethics in society: Motion pictures are included in the list of articles that may be prohibited on the grounds of immorality or indecency from the channels of interstate commerce or circulation through the mails.
    5. Consumer protection: Besides, making some amendments in its code and adopting “an advertising code,” the industry has taken steps to clean house from within and to enforce the provisions of the code.
    6. Curbs violence: sympathy of the audience shall never be thrown to the side of crime, wrongdoing, evil, or sin. Correct standards of life, subject only to the requirements of drama and entertainment, shall be presented. Law, natural or human shall not be ridiculed, nor shall sympathy be created for its violation.

 

Problems with traditional censorship:

    1. Against freedom of speech:  Freedom of the press is guarded as a vital right of media. It is the unquestionable right to discuss whatever is not explicitly forbidden by law including the wisdom of any restrictive statute.
      • Art 19(1a): Right to freedom of speech and expression.
      • Art 361A: No liability of press with regard to publication of proceedings of the house.
    2. Subjective:  Creators cannot show a film unless it has been given the seal of approval of the censor board.
    3. Fairplay: For example: There is a lack of consistency and the absence of clearly defined rules on part of social media platforms is sparking anxieties and conversations around the world.

 

Successes of Self regulation:

    1. Regulation: print & electronic media have the oversight of the Press Council of India and the TV media of the News Broadcasters Association (NBA).
    2. Responsibility and Trust: The right of a newspaper to attract and hold readers is restricted by nothing but considerations of public welfare. A journalist who uses his power for any selfish or otherwise unworthy motive is not trustworthy.
    3. Independence: Freedom from all obligations except that of fidelity to the public interest is vital, especially against the powerful.
    4. Sincerity, Truthfulness, Accuracy: These enable media have a good rapport with the reader.
    5. Impartiality: news reports and expression of opinion are expected to be free from bias of any kind.
    6. Essential Multicultural society: A policed approach to films and media can only grow a monoculture of propaganda.
    7. Supports liberal Principles: The idea that films must be pre-censored and arbitrary cuts made by government-appointed nominees, mostly out of prejudice, is antiquated and repugnant to liberal societies.

 

Conclusion: Even though it is not self-censorship is not always possible, It is the privilege as well as the duty, of media to make prompt and complete correction of its own serious mistakes of fact. An I&B Ministry’s Expert Committee on film certification chaired by Shyam Benegal in 2016 has recommended for self-regulation as the right way forward, such as persons within the industry regulating the industry. Nonetheless, in case of failure of such regulation government intervention becomes a must.

 

 

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