Is that hoarding suitable for public viewing? Mayor to decide what city can and can’t see

Mayor Shubha Raul has instructed civic officials to ascertain whether the content of a hoarding is suitable for residents before giving permission to display it.

Written by Shweta Desai | Mumbai | Published: February 23, 2009 3:39:31 am

Mayor Shubha Raul has instructed civic officials to ascertain whether the content of a hoarding is suitable for residents before giving permission to display it.

After finding a hoarding of a “semi-naked” woman outside Charni Road station objectionable,Raul has asked the officials to first check the visuals and wordings of hoardings and give their nod only if these are found suitable. Accordingly,hoarding contractors will be required to send a photographic representation of the proposed content on hoardings to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

Raul said there have been instances of obscene and objectionable hoardings displayed in the city. “I have instructed the civic administration to ask contractors to send a small photograph of a hoarding and give permission for the display only if it is not found objectionable,” she said.

The move comes after Raul spotted an “obscene hoarding” of a leading magazine showing a woman in a bikini. The hoarding was promptly removed on Saturday after civic officials visited the Western Railway (WR) office and raised objections.

WR chief public relations officer S S Gupta said,“If someone raises objection we take action accordingly. Obscenity is subjective and different people find different things objectionable,” he said.

Raul said she will soon make the norm of getting a nod for the visual and printed content of hoardings compulsory as many women and citizens have expressed anger on the issue. “A resolution will soon be passed in the general body meeting,” she said.

Over the last few days,she also got a hoarding at Mahalaxmi removed for its wording. “It is awkward to see objectionable words like ‘sexy’ on hoardings especially when schoolchildren read it,” she said.

Likewise,Raul said,hoardings depicting women in the semi-nude and in clothes “not suited to Indian culture” are objectionable. “Since I am the mayor of the city and also a woman,it is my responsibility to see how Mumbai’s culture remains unpolluted by such hoardings. It is my duty to see that the Indian culture is protected and hoardings portraying women in an obscene manner are not displayed,” she said.

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