CINEMATOGRAPH BILL 2023 (Syllabus: GS Paper 2 - Governance)

News-CRUX-10     28th July 2023        
Samadhaan

Context: The Rajya Sabha passed the Cinematograph (Amendment) Bill, 2023 that introduces stringent anti-piracy provisions, expanding the scope of the law from censorship to also cover copyright.

  • It seeks to amend the Cinematograph Act 1952.

Highlights of the bill

    • Film Classification: It has provisions to classify films on the basis of age group instead of the current practice of rating them "U" (unrestricted public exhibition), "A" (restricted to adult audiences), and "UA" (unrestricted public exhibition subject to parental guidance for children below the age of 12).
      • The amendments seek to add new classifications – ‘UA-7+’, ‘UA-13+’, and ‘UA-16+’ in place for 12 years.
      • It also seeks to bring about uniformity in categorisation of films and content across platforms.
  • Stricter Laws Against Piracy: The Bill holds stricter punishment for those responsible for piracy. This includes three years of imprisonment and a Rs 10 lakh penalty for those engaged in piracy.
    • Once the Bill is released, the act of piracy will be considered an offence legally and will include even transmitting pirated content punishable.

Cinematograph Act 1952

  • It was enacted by the Parliament to ensure that films are exhibited in accordance with the limits of tolerance of Indian society.
  • It establishes Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC, popularly known as the censor board) appointed by the Central Government to sanction and certify films.
  • The Board scrutinizes the film in its entirety and based on the contemporary standard of Indian society following the procedure laid down under the Act.
  • Board can either make a speaking order of rejection or grant the certificate, which shall be valid for ten years.
  • The Act also authorizes the police to conduct search and seizure if the film is being exhibited in contravention of any of the provisions of the Act.
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