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Trending in India: Does killing the story kill the thought too?

Before you leave for Holi celebration ahead of the extended weekend, I though you must have a slice of what is happening behind the vivacious colours of Holi and women-centric events ahead of the International Women’s Day on March 8. So, ‘Trending in India’ comes your away a little ahead of the scheduled weekend.

Media in India and abroad is aghast on the government’s decision to ban the viewing of India’s Daughter, a documentary film based on the horrific incident of December 16, 2012 where a 23-year old paramedic student was raped in a moving bus. Documentary filmmaker Leslee Udwin worked on the project for two years and says that she is deeply saddened by ban restricting freedom of speech and expression in the largest democracy of the world.

When an incident in India is attracting the attention of foreign media, then why is India shying away from telecasting the documentary citing its content as offensive. The content it sure is offensive but isn’t it the truth? Is keeping people in dark going to curb crime against women in India?

Many see the interview of Mukesh Singh in the documentary as ‘justification’ for the heinous crime but according to me, it brings out the thinking of those men and tells that the root of the problem lies in the way people think about women in India. And under no circumstance the 9-minute footage of ‘offensive’ content should be deleted either.

The most horrifying fact remains that the culprits have no sense of remorse for what they have done, and the media audience worldwide has the right to know that. UK broadcaster BBC has not only telecasted the film but advanced the release to March 4 in UK while the Indian media is hounding the documentary.

The Indian media industry claims that it is amongst the most progressive industries in the world, then why is government banning a documentary on one of the most serious issues of women safety in the country? AIB roast was banned because of showing explicit and offensive content after it had garnered over a million views on YouTube; India’s Daughter is banned because it has offensive content but British broadcaster BBC is released the documentary film as it does not violate the editorial guidelines of BBC.

If we want the Indian society to progress, we must ensure that the media industry in India is free from the shackles of such bans. Banning the film and shielding the Indian audience from ‘offensive’ content of the documentary is not going to help the country progress in any manner but make matters worse.

When the incident happened in 2012, my 10-year old sister asked me what was all the protest and anguish about, on the principles on the ban I should has dismissed the question citing offensive content but is banning the content going to protect the women of this country? This is question we all need seek answers for before restricting media content of any sort and that my friend, was ‘trending’ in India this week.

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