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Amendments to Cinematograph Act

  • IASbaba
  • July 10, 2021
  • 0
UPSC Articles
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GOVERNANCE/ RIGHTS

Topic:

  • GS-2: Government policies and interventions for development in various sectors and issues arising out of their design and implementation 
  • GS-2: Rights and Freedoms

Amendments to Cinematograph Act

Key features of Draft Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill 2021 

  • Age-based certification:  It proposes to divide the existing categories (U, U/A and A) into further age-based groups: U/A 7+, U/A 13+ and U/A 16+.
  • Provision against piracy: At present, there are no enabling provisions in Cinematography Act to check film piracy. The draft bill includes penal provision for piracy.
  • Validity of Certificate: It proposes to certify films for perpetuity. Currently a certificate issued by the CBFC is valid only for 10 years.
  • Revisional powers of the Union Govt.: It empowers Union government to order a ‘re-examination’ of an already certified film if there are complaints against it.

Concerns

  • Government as Super Censor: Revisional powers of Union govt. will effectively make it supreme power over cinema exhibition in the country 
  • Freedom of Speech: The encroachment of the central government on creative independence, in mandating what films can be produced and consumed, potentially endangering freedom of expression and weakens the scope of a mature democracy.
  • Increasing Regulatory role of Govt.: The Cinematograph (Amendment Bill) 2021, subsequent restrictions on OTT platforms and the abolishment of the FCAT only add further fuel to the fire. 
  • Not a broken system: The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has a robust mechanism for film certification and there is no need to fix something that is not broken. 
  • Public Consultation: The government has not provided enough time (only 14 days) for meaningful consultation and the proposed changes ignore suggestions of reports by two committees of experts on CBFC reform. 

Conclusion

The global cinematic trend seems to be moving close to meaningful, nuanced cinema and series, beyond the purview of sanitised and glamorised big Hollywood and Bollywood blockbusters. We might be taking a step or two backward now with such rules.

Connecting the dots:

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