The banning of the BBC film India’s Daughter is yet another example of the chilling climate of censorship in India, PEN International said today, as it urged the government to lift the ban immediately and release anyone arrested as result of screening the film.
The film, India’s Daughter, by director Leslie Udwin, which looks at the country’s rape crisis, was scheduled for release in India on 8 March, International Women’s Day. However, Indian authorities obtained a court order banning the documentary for ‘objectionable content’ after claiming that it was offensive to women. The government also ordered several YouTube versions available in India to be removed, and wrote to the BBC asking them not to air it in other countries.
The BBC ran the film in the UK on 4 March 2015, four days ahead of schedule.
There have been further disturbing developments as reports have emerged today that Ketan Dixit, a young activist who screened the film for a village audience near the northern city of Agra, has been apprehended by police.
PEN protests the ban of this film and calls on the Indian government to fulfil its obligations to protect freedom of expression in accordance with Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which it is a state party.