Censorship

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Censorship
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India is an Asian country that primarily worships Hinduism and to an extent, Islam and Sikhism.

India is the world's most populous free and democratic state with over one billion people. Freedom of speech is protected by the Indian Constitution. It is a federal parliamentary republic modelled after that of the United Kingdom.

Movies Censorship[]

India produces more films than any other country in the world.

The Indian film certification board tends to be extremely prudish and almost every instance of sex, nudity, swearing and anything else may be deemed offensive to family values or religious sensibilities tend to get censored from theater screenings or television. Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and similar streaming services usually are not censored, which has caused an increasing number of focus groups and right wing groups (such as Shiv Sena, for instance) to demand expansion of censorship to online media as well.

Fifty Shades of Grey was banned due to very strong sexual images.

Despite popular belief, the lesbian romance Fire was never banned, it was withdrawn from theaters for a short period so that the censor board could re-examine it. The main backlash came from Hindu and Muslim fundamentalist groups who claimed it to be "culturally offensive". Some even went far to attack the theaters screening the movie, which caused the showings to be cancelled. However, the next time there was an attack, the audiece and the ushers woudl beat up and chase off the attackers. After the subsequent withdrawal and re-examination by the censor board, the film was released with no additional cuts with a normal "Adult" (R) rating, and became a decent financial success with no further incidents.

Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom was banned due to its inspiration by Gunga Din and other Kipling stories that became discredited within India. As the director couldn't get permission to shoot it in India for this reason, he shot most of it in Sri Lanka.

Blue Jasmine is banned due to several scenes of people smoking. In India, everytime a character is seen smoking, the scene must be digitally removed or be accompanied by a public service announcement explaining how smoking is bad. Woody Allen refused to have his film edited that way and chose to not release it in India.

TV censorship[]

Cow and Chicken and Back at the Barnyard are both banned in IIndia due to their depiction of cows, which are sacred in Hinduism.

An episode of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was not aired by Indian streaming service Hotstar due to criticism of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Oliver himself would later criticise Hotstar's practices on his show.

Video Games censorship[]

Fallout 3 was not released by Microsoft as the game to be released in India due to the game containing a cow-like creature called the Brahmin, whose name and design might be offensive to Hindus.

PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds was banned as it was deemed "highly addictive" and for being distributed by Tencent after the border clash between Indian and Chinese armies in 2020.

Book Censorship[]

Several books critical of religion have been banned in India or in parts of India. India was the first country in the world to ban "The Satanic Verses" by Salman Rushdie. The book "Understanding Islam through Hadis" by Ram Swarup was also banned. Pornography and media depicting sex are frequently censored.

Internet censorship[]

As of May 2012, various ISPs were ordered by the courts to block Vimeo, The Pirate Bay and the late Kickasstorrents.

In 2015, many porn sites were blocked, but due to public outcry concerning flimsy evidence as to why, the block only lasted for a couple of days.

Censorship during the Kargil War[]

During the kargil war, between May and July 1999 websites from Pakistan including that of the Dawn News paper was censored in India. There was no significant media coverage about this though till the subsequent Yahoo ban of 2003.

Yahoo Groups ban, Sep 2003[]

The first documented incident of Internet censorship in India was the Yahoo groups ban of 23rd september 2003.

Kynhun, a Yahoo group linked to the outlawed "Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council,", a minor separatist group from the North-Eastern state of Meghalaya, which espoused the case of the Khasi tribe was banned.

The order to implement the ban was forwarded to Indian ISP's by the Department of Telecommunications. Difficulties in implementing the ban by the ISP's ultimately led to all Yahoo groups being banned for a period of about two weeks.

Internet censorship of July 2006[]

The second reported incident of Internet censorship is the Indian Government's censorship of 17 websites including some blogs starting July 1, 2006.

2020 Chinese apps ban[]

TikTok, Likee and 57 other Chinese apps are currently banned on India as of June 2020, out of security concerns due to the skirmish between Indian and Chinese troops occurring that month. Prior to the ban, TikTok had over 200 million active users in India.

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