The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament has asked the Union Ministry of Information and Broadcasting to allow filmmakers to self-certify their movies while applying to the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
The PAC has recommended that if CBFC does not agree with the certification that has been asked for by the filmmaker, it can be referred to a “Film Certification Jury” comprising “retired judges, eminent lawyers, film makers, eminent actors, writers and acclaimed artists for a matured view”.
The PAC said in its 121st report that it desires the “filmmakers to be enabled to certify their films themselves and for being eligible for self certification under specific categories” and if CBFC “does not agree with the category under which certification has been applied for, the film may be referred to ‘Film Certification Jury’.
The suggestion had been made to the I&B Ministry by PAC in its 94th report too, responding to which the ministry had said that since films have the ability of “stirring up emotions more deeply than any other product of art”, as stated by the Supreme Court, “considering this kind of sensitivities, self-certification of films has not been considered so far”.
But the PAC has again reiterated that while amending the Cinematograph Act “in line with the changing dynamics of the film industry and the change in societal values” at the earliest, its recommendation for self-certification “may also be considered”.
PAC has also stated in its new report that since the Cinematograph Act was passed in 1952, “there have been many changes/ developments in the field of cinema with the prliferation of TV channels, cable network, YouTube and advent of new digital technology” and the CBFC has been “steadily losing its credibility/ significance and non-controversial character”. It asked the ministry to review and amend the Act.
The ministry had told the PAC that the CBFC “has no control over the content available on the internet”. But the content online can be tackled through rules framed under the Information Technology Act of 2000.
Another Parliamentary body, the Standing Committee on Labour in its 44th report on the “safety, security and welfare of TV/ Broadcasting/ Digital entertainment/ advertisement industry workers” has said that the I&B Ministry and the Union Ministry if Labour and Employment had “agreed at a consensus” to include the these workers in the Cine-Workers and Cinema Theatre Workers (Regulation of Employment) Act, 1981. Further the report mentions that the Labour Ministry has informed it that in a new draft code on Occupational Safety, Health and Working Conditions it has defined “audio-visual production” and “audio-visual workers”.
The Standing Committee has asked both, Labour and I&B ministries to conduct a nation-wide survey of the such workers. Also, concerned about the “pathetic condition of studios” regarding the amenities, it has asked both the ministries to ensure that “the infrastructure of all studios is up to the mark” considering the safety and welfare of the workers, and has asked for specific safeguards “catering to the safety and security of female workers in good time and come up with stringent penal provisions that would act as a deterrent”.