Who Muted Bombay? Leela Samson or Pahlaj Nihalani?

On 1st February 2015, when Scroll.in published its report that the Censor Board forced a singer to bleep out the word ‘Bombay’ from his music video, it created a huge outrage on social media. The entropy of Social Media increased manifold and the censor board, and directly or indirectly, the new Censor Board was under the target. Since the day Leela Samson and her team have resigned from the board, fingers have been raised at the BJP governmentand every attempt has been made to malign the current Board members, by liberal bigots who claim to be Bollywood faces.

As we highlighted earlier, Scroll.in was very quick to jump to conclusions, without confirming the facts and without clarifying the date of censor certification. Finally today morning, the artist whose song was censored, Mihir Joshi, put out the following tweet with the Censor certificate attached.

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It is clear from the picture that this act of censorship was done by the previous Censor Board, headed by Leela Samson, since the date of the certificate is 05/12/2014, while the new Censor Board took office more than a month later. Yet, last night we saw some of the usual suspects trying to attribute this to the BJP Government, and the new Censor chief Pahlaj Nihalani, so that they can further their Political Agenda:

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It is shocking to see some of the above tweets have come from “Journalists”.

OpIndia.com team also interacted with Vivek Agnihotri (Filmmaker) to understand if Censor Board had similar concerns with “Bombay” before this event. Vivek said “Bombay has always been banned. It was never allowed. So many makers have changed dialogues”, however, the Censor allows Bombay for historical contexts.

It is interesting to note that none of the journalists mentioned above tried to clarify which Board took this decision. Even Scroll.in, which claims to be a news portal, has neglected or deliberately ignored the basic requirement of journalism, i.e., time-frame of the report and the historical context. If it was made clear to the reader that this censorship of the word “Bombay” is an old stand, then we might not have seen so much outrage. Hope we see some sensible journalism and not sensationalised journalism in the future.


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