In a news item in the Times of India (31.3.2007), it has been stated that barely two months after entertainment channel AXN faced the axe, the moral police is on the stake-out again. The government on Thursday issued a two-month ban on fashion channel FTV for telecasting obscene programming. The ban will be effective from April 1 to May 30.
The ban was issued over the channel's telecast of a programme called Midnight Hot, which according to the I&B ministry, featured ‘skimpily dressed and semi-naked models’ that was ‘against good taste and decency, denigrates women and is likely to adversely affect public morality’. Cable operators have been asked to stop transmitting and re-transmitting the satellite channel 'FTV.com India' for the two-month period. Officials said the channel had been issued a show-cause notice in August 2006 on why action should not be taken against it for violating the programming code.
FTV representatives had responded in October with the plea that since it had withdrawn the programme, proceedings should be dropped against it. The issue was deliberated over by the inter-ministerial committee and the ban order issued on Thursday. I&B minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi justified the action, saying, "We do not believe in policing or creating fear in the minds of channels but law has to obeyed."
There are some people who, reacting to this, want that FTV should be banned forever. According to them, such channels show the female form in very bad taste and use it for commercial gains. Such acts devalue women, trigger perverse thoughts and are the root cause of adultery, spread of AIDS and disturb family life. It is particularly bad in case of young minds in their formative years.
In my opinion, no normal woman commits adultery if she is satisfied with her husband. Besides, people committed adultery even before FTV was born. Adultery is committed by people because of psychological reasons. Similarly, rape is committed for psychological reasons and not just by watching FTV. If an independent survey is done of those people who have committed adultery or rape, not many people would respond that they had committed adultery or rape after watching FTV. Sometimes, rape and adultery are committed by men to prove their potency and at other times, to show their defiance.
Similarly, AIDS is not spread by watching FTV but by going to prostitutes which is resorted to mostly by psychopaths and people who are away from their families. Similarly, gay relationships develop because of psychological reasons or in prisons or army where one cannot have normal sexual relationships. These gay relationships could, of course, lead to AIDS. AIDS can also develop due to blood transfusion from a person suffering from the disease and also due to the use of a syringe which has been previously used by a person suffering from AIDS. Similarly, people become perverted because they are psychopaths and not just by watching FTV.
So, I think that Government's action is rather harsh. If this yardstick is strictly applied, we may not be able to watch serials like "Ramayana" and "Mahabharata" or read Kalidas' plays because there scenes like Ravana taking away Sita forcibly and Dushashana trying to disrobe Dropati are shown. Moreover, in ancient India, women were generally scantily clad. This can even be seen in today's India also where due to poverty, many women in Orissa, Jharkhand, Chchatisgarh, etc. are scantily clad. So, the government should not attempt moral policing
Satbir Singh Bedi; firstname.lastname@example.org