Under sharp criticism for stalling the television premiere of The Dirty Picture on Sunday, the Information and Broadcasting Ministry has said it was only following the directions of the Lucknow Bench of the Allahabad High Court, and the instructions issued by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
Sources in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry said the court order, issued on April 19 in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) petition, asked the Ministry to take necessary action to stop the telecast this film on April 22 on Sony Entertainment Channel during prime time.
“If telecast of the film is done by any means, it would amount to contempt of the Honourable High Court, punishable under relevant statutory provisions,” the order said.
Subsequently, on April 20, the Ministry also received a communication from the CBFC, putting on record that the film which was rated ‘A' (adults only) for the theatrical release, was later rated ‘UA' (parental guidance) by the regulatory body, after approximately 59 audio and visual edits on February 13 this year.
Since the movie was granted a ‘UA' certificate, it meant the film contained some visuals and dialogues which made it unsuitable for children to watch without parental guidance.
“As per Rule 6(5) of the Programme Code Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995, programmes unsuitable for children mustn't be carried in cable services at a time when a large number of children are viewing. Hence, keeping in view the Programme Code 6(5), CBFC wouldn't like any channel to show The Dirty Picture in the time slot for which it is being advertised currently — afternoon and evening. Such programmes should be shown after 11 p.m. to make sure that these programmes are available only to young adults (age 14 to 17 years), or to children who have parental guidance available, since late at night, most guardians/ parents are available to suitably guide their children/ wards,” the CBFC communication said, while directing the Ministry to “clarify this point to Sony TV, in the case of The Dirty Picture and to all channels which are planning to telecast ‘UA' rated films in the near future.
Since Sony TV is governed by the provisions and terms and conditions of the permission granted under Uplinking and Downlinking Guidelines, it is bound to follow all the conditions laid down, as also the provisions of the Programme Code of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994. The Ministry advised it against showing the movie at 12 noon and 8 p.m., but there was no bar on its telecast after 11 p.m. However, the film wasn't telecast on Sunday.