National Press Release – to be released across India
14 March 2016 – for immediate release
Swarna Bharat Party (SBP) has called for the abolition of the government owned Central Board of Film Certification (commonly known as the Censor Board).
The party’s President, Mr Vishal Singh, said that a Censor Board undermines freedom of speech. Its existence is an insult to Indians, as implicit in censorship is the idea that ordinary Indians are unfit to think for themselves. Every citizen is an equal of others under our Constitution, and everyone has the right to view any film without an intermediary trimming or otherwise modifying content.
A Censor Board does not prevent depravity or violence. All Indians remain accountable for their actions under the law at all times and cannot attribute any violent or depraved acts of theirs to a movie. The law does not provide for such a defence. A free society functions smoothly because it is in the self-interest of people to be good, not because of a nanny Censor Board. Further, if Censor Board members don’t become depraved or violent by viewing the films they censor, it is preposterous to suggest that Indian voters (who pay their salaries) will. Censor Board members are not a different biological species.
That we have a Censor Board partly explains the lacklustre record Indian films have in winning accolades at global film events, despite our film industry being the largest in the world. We have infantalised the industry and the nation, and curtailed critically needed debate and education. Our film artists have been forced into puerility.
Abolishing the Censor Board will unleash the film industry’s creative force and allow our films to stand on the same pedestal as international films, enhancing India’s global soft power and boosting the economy.
Of course, we must have a classification system for films that provides information to parents to guide their children’s viewing. Light touch co-regulation can ensure the supply of such a system. The film industry will be able to supply internationally compatible rating standards and agencies.
Mr Singh said that in addition to replacing the Censor Board with rating agencies, SBP will abolish prohibitions on other forms of human expression, such as books. The party will also repeal all laws that limit free speech.
The right to speak and express ourselves is an innate, basic human need. Except where such expression involves incitement to immediate violence or constitutes libel that affects someone’s commercial interests and reputation, it should not be restricted.
SBP is committed to taking India to the Heaven of Freedom that Tagore wrote about a hundred years ago.
Let us be free, not just independent.
Notes for Editors
SBP is India’s only liberal party, committed to defending liberty and promoting prosperity.
Sanjay Sonawani (Pune), Spokesperson, +91 9860991205
Vishal Singh, President (Bengaluru), President, +91 9920613669
Madhusudhan K. (Hyderabad), Joint Secretary, +91 9885496473