Film reviews intended to inform and enlighten, not to destroy and extort: HC

Published - November 07, 2023 07:37 pm IST - KOCHI

The reputation of individuals behind a film cannot be sacrificed at the altar of unbridled freedom of expression asserted by individuals who acted under the mistaken impression that they were not governed by any parameters/ regulations, the Kerala High Court observed on Tuesday.

Justice Devan Ramachandran, who is considering a plea against “review bombing” of films on social media, said reviews were intended to inform and enlighten but not to destroy and extort.

The Kerala Film Producers’ Association and a film director had moved the Kerala High Court seeking to regulate film reviews on online platforms by social media influencers and vloggers.

The court directed the State Police Chief and officers under his command to ensure that the directives of the court were implicitly complied with, “particularly against anonymous posts that contain vituperative or virulent content”.

Vidya Kuriakose, government pleader, informed the court that police had taken action on a few complaints. All the anonymous posts and reviews were being watched and the complaints seriously investigated. The State Police Chief had submitted a protocol to be followed in the case, she informed the court.

Sudhi Vasudevan, counsel for the petitioners, submitted that most of the persons who claimed to be reviewers were neither accredited as journalists nor operating under any guidelines or parameters in law. Many of them put out contents in denigration deliberately in order to obtain certain confutative benefits. Only the Central government could bring in a long-lasting solution to the issue, he submitted.

The amicus curiae informed the court that the “menace of malicious” film reviews had been controlled to some extent following the intervention of the court.

Suvin R. Menon, Central government counsel, informed the court that a competent authority was looking into the issues and its response would be filed within a fortnight.

The court posted the case for November 21.

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