Zindagi Tamasha has become controversial despite the fact that the film has not yet been released, and except the censor board, no one has seen it in full. However, its trailer has brewed a storm and calls have been made to ban the film.
Sarmad Khoosat, one of our most creative directors, has been running from pillar-to-post to make sense of his films treatment. He has even written to the prime minister, to explain the reality of the situation. Obviously, there was no satisfactory response which only added to his fears; that his effort and time will have been wasted, as the film would not be screened publically, according to schedule.
This is yet another example of shrinking space and the narrowing of avenues where and through which ideas can be expressed, aired and then become subjects of debate. There is a vast difference between a debate and a controversy; a debate is an invitation to join in stretching the canvas upon which ideas can be explored; while controversy is the first step towards inciting violence. It is a death knell to the freedoms that we cherish so much in contemporary times.
Really, this is the issue. Decisions are being made in areas where they are not supposed to be made. The forum which determines the acceptability of a film for public display, is the censor board. Due to the devolution of powers to provinces, there is one small and ineffective board at the centre, while each province has its own.
As the central board and two provincial boards had cleared the film for public viewing, far-right parties such as the Tehrik-i-Labbaik Pakistan, took the matter to the streets and alleged that the film contained blasphemous material. The threat of mob violence and country-wide protests was given. Voices are raised for the film to be banned and not screened; in fear of a violent backlash. The only threat that matters in Pakistan, is of mob violence and resultantly the prevalence of mob justice. Unfortunately, this is becoming the new-normal that no-one can deny; institutions are made ineffective, as they are not allowed to function, under threat of mob rule. Decisions taken by relevant forums too, are under the ominous shadow of street power at times.
Khoosat is a highly creative person, who deserves credit for standing up for his work and what he wants to achieve, let us all stand by his side. Such censorial steps will deter other filmmakers who may not be made from material as resilient as Khoosat.
It is making the current system ineffective, powerless and emasculating the civil structure, so that it either fails to make decisions, or does so under duress. For a number of decades, our society has been characterised by fear ruling us, rather than reason or logic.
After bright spots of hope, the same pall of darkness spreads, with greater intensity and desire to kill all freedoms, especially the freedom to hold and express ones opinion fearlessly. Such hope is perceived as a dangerous sign, which is reason enough to snuff it out by demonising it either in the name of religion, patriotism or corruption.
It appears now that the matter is being referred to the Council of Islamic Ideology (CII). May I ask; what is the film about religion or human beings? The proper study of mankind is man; all art is about human beings because it revolves round us. Has the CII taken over or is seen as a substitution for the Censor Board? Is the next step the knocking at the doors of the Organisation of Islamic operation, for the fear of it being detrimental to the common image of the Ummah? This may as well be invoked
Initially, technical objections were raised; that the censor board was not in full attendance when the film was approved, hence it was not certified by all members. However, this is how it is supposed to be, as it is the quorum that is supposed to rule and not all members. It was only that rules and regulations were being followed and no violation or bulldozing of the general opinion took place.
There is a negative and general tendency, where if the final outcome is not favourable, than rules and laws pertaining to the matter are changed, or there is an inclination to find faults with the current rules and laws. There is greater urge to have it approved or disapproved by a higher tier, even if it does not fall within its purview. This general tendency is apparent in bureaucracy, judiciary and government hierarchies which has actually resulted in a heavy centralization of authority. Everything ends up being decided at the top, and lower tiers are made to abdicate their powers.
Films are hardly made in this country and there has been a great effort at reviving the film industry, the few films that are made, are seen as signs of that revival. But such hypersensitive measures which do not allow authorised bodies to function, can never be conducive in creating an environment where art can exist, let alone thrive. It will take a sinister turn and end up being an underground activity. What is needed most is an environment which nourishes various art forms, alongside an essential factor a space where one can breathe freely.
Khoosat is a highly creative person, who deserves credit for standing up for his work and what he wants to achieve, let us all stand by his side. Such censorial steps will deter other filmmakers who may not be made from material as resilient as Khoosat, and move abroad to more favourable climes to express themselves for we have seen so many do exactly that.
- virtual minecraft library combats government censorship by housing banned journalism - Designboom - March 16th, 2020
- Lessons From China on the Coronavirus and the Dangers of App Consolidation - Slate - March 16th, 2020
- 'Love in time of' coronavirus: Tinder being used to circumnavigate possible Chinese censorship of outbreak - Washington Examiner - March 16th, 2020
- Coronavirus: The new and ingenious ways Chinese citizens are evading censorship to learn about the outbreak - Hong Kong Free Press - March 16th, 2020
- Censorship and Propaganda in the Time of the Coronavirus - Qrius - March 16th, 2020
- Should OTT content in India have a censor board to strap creative freedom just like films? - PINKVILLA - March 16th, 2020
- The big coronavirus cover-up: Fighting truth and coronavirus, the China way - ThePrint - March 16th, 2020
- The first real liberty of the press in Malta 1839 (Part 1) - Times of Malta - March 16th, 2020
- How Editors From Mexico, India, and the UAE Are Covering the Coronavirus - Slate - March 16th, 2020
- From the Archives: Commentator Suspends Publication After Threat of Censorship - The Commentator - March 1st, 2020
- Apple may be forced to disclose censorship requests from China - The Guardian - March 1st, 2020
- Students Demand Censorship of 'Coronavirus' Theme Party - Reason - March 1st, 2020
- Pompeo accuses China and Iran of censoring information about coronavirus outbreaks - ABC News - March 1st, 2020
- Conservatives censoring themselves in the age of censorship? InfoWars kicked out of CPAC, triggering conference row - RT - March 1st, 2020
- Why we must win the fight for free speech - Spiked - March 1st, 2020
- Critics Say China Has Suppressed And Censored Information In Coronavirus Outbreak - NPR - February 14th, 2020
- Transgender users have accused TikTok of censorship - here's why - Derry Journal - February 14th, 2020
- Rand Paul Blasts YouTube over Censorship of Speech on Senate Floor - Breitbart - February 14th, 2020
- Newspapers fear new social media rules will lead to wider censorship - The Guardian - February 14th, 2020
- Anti-BDS laws are meant to censor & control speech, journalist Abby Martin tells RT after suing Georgia govt over cancelled talk - RT - February 14th, 2020
- Be more tolerant, Anwar tells Malaysians over art censorship - Malay Mail - February 14th, 2020
- China's censors tried to control the narrative on a hero doctor's death. It backfired terribly - CNN - February 12th, 2020
- China Ramps Up Censorship On Coronavirus As Critics Risk Criminal Charges - Forbes - February 12th, 2020
- Heres How China Is Silencing Coronavirus Critics in the U.S. - VICE - February 12th, 2020
- Here are the 9 titles Netflix purged due to government censorship - The Next Web - February 12th, 2020
- Parler: Twitter Suspending James OKeefe Is Political Censorship and Election Interference - Breitbart - February 12th, 2020
- Censorship, lies and death: China's government under fire - TheArticle - February 12th, 2020
- A glimmer of hope: Mallika Sarabhai on the cancelled NID event, CAA protests, censorship and more - Scroll.in - February 12th, 2020
- Penny Thoughts: Editing and Censorship | - West Alabama Watchman - January 30th, 2020
- The many ways to censor cutting-edge art in Russia - The Economist - January 30th, 2020
- How does a government censor the Internet? A rare peek from Jammu and Kashmir - Security Boulevard - January 30th, 2020
- Pompeo And Trump: Censure Of The Press As A Form Of Retaliation - Forbes - January 30th, 2020
- Study: North Korea, China, and Russia top internet censorship charts - The Next Web - January 22nd, 2020
- Cries of censorship in Sudan as media outlets linked to old regime closed - Middle East Eye - January 22nd, 2020
- Aichi Triennale Exhibition Will Be Restaged in Taiwan Following Censorship Controversy - Artforum - January 22nd, 2020
- Censorship On and By Social Media Platforms - Legal Reader - January 22nd, 2020
- Internet Censorship In Africa Is A Trend In Africa - What To Expect In 2020 - WeeTracker Media - January 22nd, 2020
- The spy who fell off my family tree and nearly got away - The Jewish News of Northern California - January 22nd, 2020
- Some people in China help the party police the internet - The Economist - January 22nd, 2020
- Nepal: Information Technology Bill threatens freedom of expression - Amnesty International - January 22nd, 2020
- Web needs an element of censorship as some of it is bordering on pornography: Niki Walia - IWMBuzz - January 22nd, 2020
- Facebook and Google Balance Booming Business with Censorship Pressure in Vietnam - The Information - December 13th, 2019
- Orban targets theaters, prompting protest against censorship - The Boston Globe - December 13th, 2019
- Self-censorship is the enemy of creativity - Spiked - December 13th, 2019
- Ben Shapiro, conservatives blast YouTube policy on harassment: 'Insanely vague' - Fox News - December 13th, 2019
- Anti-war artworks removed in censorship row - The Age - December 13th, 2019
- Women Are Pretending To Be Men On Instagram To Avoid Sexist Censorship - HuffPost - November 24th, 2019
- When a comedian is pro-censorship, I start finding them funny - The Spectator USA - November 24th, 2019
- Cancelation of 'The Foreigner' at WC leads to claims of censorship - The Star Democrat - November 24th, 2019
- Democrats are not "censoring" Donald Trump his increasingly desperate staff is doing that - Salon - November 24th, 2019
- The right to know: How does censorship affect academics? - Big Think - November 19th, 2019
- Even with the best intentions, censoring books is dangerous - The Aggie - November 19th, 2019
- Will the U.S. Follow East Germany on Self-Censorship? - National Review - November 19th, 2019
- Tougher Than Leather: The Tom of Finland Foundation's Fight Against Censorship Continues Into the Social Media Age - L.A. Weekly - November 19th, 2019
- Sara Lee Responds to SNL's Sexually Charged Sketch, Reverses Instagram Censorship: 'We Are Taking It in Stride' - Yahoo Entertainment - November 19th, 2019
- MENstruation: A full analysis of censorship on television networks - The Gateway - November 19th, 2019
- Inside the "Reckless" World of In-Flight Movie Censoring - InsideHook - November 19th, 2019
- Disney Plus Censors Gravity Falls, The Simpsons - Pirates and Princesses - November 19th, 2019
- Russian internet censorship could come the U.S. - Inverse - November 13th, 2019
- Campus censorship: a tyranny of the minority - Spiked - November 13th, 2019
- TOTO: Disney, Netflix Wave White Flag On International Censorship - The Daily Wire - November 13th, 2019
- Delhi HC's order for social media censorship is an end to the internet as we know it - The News Minute - November 13th, 2019
- Censorship and online threats against the press spell trouble for the future of Pakistani journalism - Global Voices - October 1st, 2019
- No trivial censorship at Hayner: Librarians bust out the banned books - Alton Telegraph - October 1st, 2019
- China: Sinisation of the Catholic Church, Censorship, and Repression - FSSPX.News - October 1st, 2019
- Censorship and Contemporary Banned Books - Pinnacle - October 1st, 2019
- YouTube reverses the not-so-subtle censorship of Steven Crowder and others - Reclaim The Net - October 1st, 2019
- Joe Biden wants to censor Rudy Giuliani - Whats on Politics - Politics - October 1st, 2019
- Censorship leaves us in the dark: Keep the light on! - Del Rio News Herald - October 1st, 2019
- Censorship - Wikipedia - April 26th, 2019
- On Censorship - The Catholic Thing - April 26th, 2019
- How Media Censorship Affects the News You See - April 26th, 2019
- Censorship - Definition, Examples, Cases - Legal Dictionary - April 26th, 2019
- Censorship | Encyclopedia.com - April 26th, 2019
- China Is Trying to Scrub Bikinis and Smoking From the Internet - April 11th, 2019
- What Is Censorship? | American Civil Liberties Union - March 6th, 2019
- American Censorship - The Government's Act of Altering Media - January 12th, 2019
- Censorship | Define Censorship at Dictionary.com - January 3rd, 2019
- Censorship Synonyms, Censorship Antonyms | Thesaurus.com - September 12th, 2018
- Godless Comedy YouTube Censorship - Godless Comedy - August 20th, 2018