Attack bigotry, not freedom of expression

Jan 14, 2015, 07:24 IST | MiD DAY Correspondent

We are already going through a sensitive phase, and the Censor Board’s decision to not give clearance to MSG-Messenger of God, only makes the situation bleaker.

To add to that, the Supreme Court asked a documentary filmmaker, Pankaj Butalia, if it is “fashionable” to show one side of the story in movies, after Butalia complained that the Censor Board had refused to clear Textures of Loss, his documentary about those who lost their kin to the violence in Kashmir.

MSG, starring Dera Sacha Sauda chief Ram Rahim Singh, is under scrutiny as the Board and the revising committee felt that the content is too controversial and may hurt sentiments. The film has been referred to the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal. MSG might not be a film that one is going to terribly miss watching as the quality of the content is highly suspect, but on principle it is worrying that the Censor Board is getting so jittery about ‘hurting sentiments’ and is now looking at every film with the intention of keeping hooligans at bay.

Holding the release of MSG, the documentary on Kashmir, etc, are cowardly ways of keeping violence in check and in a way will only encourage the mischief mongers to continue clamping on creative projects that don’t suit their mindset. Freedom of expression truly means the freedom for anybody to have no fear in expressing what he wants to, in form of films, books etc, without having to worry about the repercussions.

But we sadly seem to be getting more and more paranoid about what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’ and forced to show ‘balanced’ view. This disturbing trend is worrying as our government, Censor Board and even the judicial system seem more concerned about protecting the sentiments of anti-social elements who just need a reason to create trouble, instead of protecting the creative freedom of the filmmakers.

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