Govt. moves to stop screening on internet websites as notice is issued to two lawyers

NEW DELHI:  Even as the documentary “India’s Daughter” by Oscar-winning British filmmaker Leslee Udwin on the Nirbhaya gang-rape case has been telecast by BBC4 on a channel not available in India despite the ban by the Delhi High Court, two lawyers who defended the rapists have been issued notices for their allegedly anti-women remarks.


The notices were issued by the Bar Council of India to M L Sharma and A P Singh under a provision of the advocates act and their licences to practice may be cancelled if BCI is not satisfied with their response.


Sharma has already refuted the charge that he made any such remarks in the documentary.


Within hours, the film became available on YouTube despite a message that showed “URL Blocked”. It also became available on some other websites.


Home Minister Rajnath Singh said two days earlier that the government was exploring ways to block the film on YouTube. He also said action would be taken for the telecast of the film last night and added that he was pained by the development


The documentary was to have been aired in the UK, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, Norway, Canada, and India (NDTV 24X7) on International Women’s Day 8 March.


But a statement from the BBC two days earlier said given the "intense level of interest" it would telecast the film later. Butthe channel later said in a communication to the Home Ministry that it had no plans to telecast the documentary in India, “in compliance with the Indian Government's directive”.


Singh had also said that it would attempt to block the telecast in other countries and the External Affairs and Information and Broadcasting Ministries had been asked to ensure the film was not broadcast on any platform anywhere in the world.


Singh had made a statement in Parliament amid massive uproar over how permission was granted to the filmmaker to interview Mukesh Singh, one of the six men who brutally raped and tortured a 23-year-old paramedical student on a moving bus on 16 December 2012. She had died 13 days later in a Singapore hospital.

In the interview, Mukesh Singh said the rape and killing was deliberate to teach women a lesson, and displayed no remorse as he blamed the woman.

The BBC said in its statement, "This harrowing documentary, made with the full support and co-operation of the victim's parents, provides a revealing insight into a horrific crime that sent shock waves around the world and led to protests across India demanding changes in attitudes towards women."

"The film handles the issue responsibly and we are confident the programme fully complies with our editorial guidelines," it said.

Delhi Police chief BS Bassi said: "We took a regular order from a competent court and informed BBC and other channels against broadcasting and uploading of the video of the interview on internet and so that nobody violates the law." The Delhi Police have filed a case and have started investigation, Mr Bassi said. He said permission to take interview is always the discretion of the concerned authority, so we are not looking for criminality in that.


The Delhi Police has written to the Telecom and Communications Ministry and sought blocking of the film on YouTube. The Police may also question the crew who shot the film. While its co-producer Dibang is in India, Udwin is understood to have left late last night for the United Kingdom. (Ms Udwin was producer of the award-winning feature film 'East is East’ which had starred Om Puri among others around twenty years earlier,)


Lalita Kumaramangalam felt that showing the film was ‘morally wrong’ as the broadcaster did not think about the anguish that women who have faced such things will go through.


However, film lyricist and Rajya Sabha member Javed Akhtar said the film should be shown to reveal to the world what rapists are like. He said he could have understood the ban if Mukesh’s lawyer had asked for it. He said the goal of such documentaries is to bring out disgust against rapists' point of view. “It makes people aware such a mindset is not uncommon.”


Bharatiya Janata Party member of Parliament from Mumbai Poonam Mahajan has said in an article that the film only shows the mindset of men.


Meanwhile, people took to the streets in Varanasi earlier this week and burnt an effigy of the BBC in protest against the documentary.


Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi said the channel that broadcast the Nirbhaya documentary will not be forgiven.


The victim’s father, who had cooperated with the filmmaker, has now said that BBC should not have been shown in view of the ban.


Meanwhile, Udwin has said society created the rapists by teaching them “what to think”. She said she was not inspired by the rape to make the film, but the wave of protests this generated all over the country within hours of the report. In an interview with India Insight (a blog on Reuter website), she said the argument that airing the convict’s interview would amount to giving him a platform to promote his views was “stupid” and “uneducated.”


In a separate interview to CNN, Udwin described the people she spoke with – the attorneys, the lawyers, and the culprits – as “ordinary, apparently normal and certainly unremarkable men.” 


CNN says that Udwin’s documentary illustrates how even people with power in India harbour shockingly similar attitudes. One of the lawyers who represented the attackers says he would burn his own daughter alive if she behaved dishonourably. Another defence lawyer gestures with his hands to describe women as “flowers” who must be protected by men and “diamonds” who face inevitable assault if they end up in the wrong places.

Latest Reads
FM P-III second batch auction from 25 Oct; 14 in fray

NEW DELHI: The e-auction of the second batch of FM Phase III will commence on 25 October 2016 from 09.30am.

Regulators I&B Ministry
Free data, net neutrality: Discussion on TRAI paper to be held

Given the complicated issues around net neutrality, an open house discussion is to be held in Hyderabad this month on Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s consultation paper on free data. The OHD will be held at Hotel Trident in the Telangana capital on 24 October 2016.

Regulators TRAI
Prasar Bharati advisor reviews DD marketing and policies

Former Ministry of Information and Broadcasting (MIB) Secretary and now Prasar Bharati advisor Sunil Arora yesterday asked Doordarshan to adopt the best policies of the industry, even as he approved the planned auction of slots on DD National.

Regulators I&B Ministry
Suresh Panda may be Prasar Bharati interim CEO; liberal DD auction criteria recommended

Suresh Panda, member (personnel) in Prasar Bharati is expected to take over as the acting chief executive officer of the pubcaster after the incumbent CEO Jawhar Sircar demits office on 4 November.

Regulators People
Govt. accepts Jawhar Sircar's request for early retirement

A media-savvy chief executive of Prasar Bharati Jawhar Sircar used the social media to announce yesterday that the Indian government has accepted his resignation from the pubcaster and acceded to his request for an early retirement.

Regulators I&B Ministry
Carriage fee in interconnect draft aimed at reducing litigation

NEW DELHI: The draft of the Interconnect regulations issued by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India has given a formula for calculation of the carriage fee. The carriage fee for each month or part thereof during the term of the interconnection agreement shall be calculated as given below:-

Regulators TRAI
TRAI issues comprehensive interconnect draft guidelines

Indian broadcast regulator came out today with its third set of draft guidelines within five days --- this time on interconnection issues. With an aim to bring about more uniformity and transparency in the broadcast carriage sector, TRAI attempts to tackle spiralling carriage cost, rampant...

Regulators TRAI
TRAI attempts greater transparency via auditor empanelment

While it remains to be seen if the provisions of the Interconnect draft will have a salutary effect on the cases pending before the Telecom Disputes Settlement and Appellate Tribunal but the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India appears to have learnt some lessons, at least as far as subscription...

Regulators TRAI
TRAI on carriage fee, other issues in draft interconnect guidelines

After taking in to consideration the comments of the stakeholders and internal analysis in TRAI, the draft regulations [the Telecommunication (Broadcasting and Cable Services) Interconnection (Addressable Systems) Regulations, 2016] along with its explanatory memorandum have been prepared.

Regulators TRAI

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories