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Saturday, Aug 10, 2002

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Channels under Ministry lens — Censor certificate for movies

Nithya Subramanian


MOVIE channels beware. The Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry is now training its guns on the various cable and satellite movie channels which are beaming films without any Censor certificate.

Senior officials in the I&B Ministry said that it was seeking legal advice on the issue of broadcasting such films which do not have a Censor Board certificate.

They said that Programme Code of The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act 1995 clearly states that no programme should be carried in the cable service which contravenes the provisions of the Cinematograph Act, 1952.

And the Cinematograph Act relates to certification of cinematograph films for exhibition and for regulating exhibitions.

Ministry officials said that the various movie channels were airing foreign films without the mandatory certificate. "But many of these channels are not beamed from India and are doing so from a foreign soil. Therefore, we will have to see the legal aspects before taking any action," the officials said.

They also added that the Government did not want to be a moral police, but wanted to ensure that the rules are being followed. Currently, Indian households receive several English movie channels such as HBO, Star Movies, Hallmark and Zee MGM. Meanwhile, channels such as Star said that the movies on Star Movies — its English movie channel — are not being censored in India. These movies go through the company's standards and practices (S&P) department before they are beamed into the Indian households.

"We uplink from Hong Kong and there is a common feed for several countries. Therefore, we do not have any censor certificate," said a Star India official.

The issue of censorship has been raked up after Mr Vijay Anand resigned from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) on the issue of reclassification censorship.

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