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52 ‘censorships’ in India in 2014: Report


New Delhi, April 10:

There have been 52 instances of censorship in India by the government, political parties and other groups in the first three months of 2014, a media watch website said in a report released Thursday.

The quarterly report by The Hoot.org website said censorship in democratic India continues to be on the rise and was exercised on books, newspapers, films, posts on social network Facebook, telecasts, exhibiting of films and staging of plays.

“Actors as diverse as courts, student organisations, state governments, publishing houses, Lok Sabha Secretariat, the Central Board of Film Certification, a lawyers’ association, Hindu groups like the Shiv Sena, RSS and the Hindu Jan Jagruti Samiti, the ministry of information and broadcasting, Tamil groups and individual industrialists moved to exercise various forms of censorship,” a statement said.

It said the “most newsworthy blackout” was by the Lok Sabha Secretariat of the final moments of voting in parliament in February to create a new state of Telangana.

“In the first three months of this year, Hindu groups of different kinds triggered censorship of books, films, and performances in as many as 12 different incidents,” the release said.

A case that attracted the most attention was the decision of Penguin Books to withdraw American author Wendy Doniger’s controversial book “The Hindus”.

“It was reported that Penguin Books India agreed to withdraw all published copies of this book and also decided to destroy all remaining copies they have.”

It said the first quarter of the year also saw the usual crop of films fighting bans on screening, some of them at the “behest of right wing or pro-Hindutva groups”.

The release said attacks on the media continued with impunity.

“Police, in separate instances, beat up journalists covering protests in West Bengal, and in Imphal, personnel of the Indian Reserve Battalion beat up two journalists. Apart from attacks on journalists by pro-Hindutva forces, the media was targeted by militant student groups and police in separate incidents in the northeast.”

It said Paojel Chaoba alias Aribam Dhananjoy, a correspondent of Imphal Free Press, was assaulted in February.