It’s become clear that even in our films, political parties are calling the shots.
A front-page report in this paper highlighted how leaders from across parties populate the censor board with know-nothings from their constituencies. MLAs and MPs from different parties at different times, have written letters stating that their loyalists be given posts in various committees in the Information and Broadcast (I&B) Ministry, including the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). Thanks to this, we can deduce that party loyalists are calling the shots on censorship, instead of veteran filmmakers or those from an artistic background.
There has to be a clearly spelt out yardstick when it comes to such posts. What exactly are the criteria? While there may not be a degree or a specific period of experience listed as requirements, there need to be at least some rules and regulations about who should be given these posts. If that is a grey area then, surely, it can be narrowed down to who should not be given such posts.
If the Censor Board is rife with political workers, there is concern that they will force their political agenda on artistes. There is justified concern about how these agendas will play out when it comes to giving the final say about cuts or, the most extreme, banning a film. Should there not be a cap, at the very least, on recommendations by political parties for such appointments? Just how much pressure is there on the higher-ups to accede to these demands of inducting so and so into the Ministry?
While the Censor Board must have diversity, there is something to be said for merit and expertise in creative arts. There should be no place for political lobbying or muscling your way into the ministry. Pick and choose wisely, without fear or favour.
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