New Delhi: The Defence Ministry has written to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), stating that producers of movies or web series based on the Army should take a no-objection certificate (NoC) before telecasting them.
The letter, dated 27 July, has been triggered by producer Ekta Kapoor’s show on video-streaming platform ALT Balaji that allegedly depicted the Indian Army in a “distorted manner”.
However, the CBFC — which functions under the Information and Broadcasting Ministry — does not have the mandate to regulate content on video-streaming platforms, and its role is restricted to films that are released in theatres and television satellite channels.
Content in OTT platforms are, in fact, not regulated by any specific body. The platforms are still in the process of finalising a self-regulatory code for the content they stream, despite a rift in the industry.
The Defence Ministry’s letter has been marked to the Information and Technology, and the Information and Broadcasting ministries.
Ministry’s letter triggered by Ekta Kapoor’s web show
The letter was triggered by a web show on Alt Balaji called ‘XXX’ (season 2), which had reportedly hurt the sentiments of the armed forces and their families.
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XXX is an erotic comedy-drama directed by Ken Ghosh. It revolves around five different stories and explores varying aspects of relationships. The first episode of the web series was aired on 27 September 2018.
In June, Bigg Boss 13 contestant Hindustani Bhau had filed a police complaint against Ekta Kapoor and Shobha Kapoor for “disrespecting” the Army in their show.
“It has been brought to the notice of this ministry that some production houses making films on Army themes, are using contents which are distorting the image of the Indian Army,” the letter stated.
The ministry’s letter said that producers of movies or web series are advised to obtain an ‘NoC’ from the Ministry of Defence before the telecast of any movie or documentary based on Army themes.
“They may also be advised to ensure that any incident, which distorts the image of defence forces or hurts their sentiment may be prevented,” the letter added.
Effort to ‘curb’ incidents that hurt Army sentiments
Army sources said that the defence ministry got some complaints raising strong objections about the portrayal of Army personnel and military uniform in an “insulting” manner.
“In some of the web series like ‘Code M’ on Zee 5 and ‘XXX’ on ALT Balaji, scenes related to the Army are far from reality and present a distorted image of the armed forces,” an Army source said.
“Some concerned citizens and ex-servicemen associations have even lodged FIR against ALT Balaji seeking legal action against the producer and the OTT platform,” the Army source added.
“This (letter) has been done to curtail the incidents, which distort the image of defence forces and hurt the sentiments of defence personnel and veterans,” the source added.
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