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.
- The spectre of censorship and intolerance stalks todays left - The Guardian - July 11th, 2020
- Gone With the Wind and the Difference Between Censorship and Context - Film School Rejects - July 11th, 2020
- Social Media Bans 'Highlight the Profound Censorship on Web 2.0' - CoinDesk - CoinDesk - July 11th, 2020
- How literary censorship inspired creativity in Victorian writers - The Conversation UK - July 11th, 2020
- UK universities accused of censorship by complying with China - Telegraph.co.uk - July 11th, 2020
- How Victorian Writers Navigated Censorship And Suppression Of Free Speech - Science 2.0 - July 11th, 2020
- US Senate Finance Subcommittee hearing highlights need to review on China's censorship - Tibet Post International - July 11th, 2020
- Hongkongers face a Kafkaesque reality as censors outlaw the words of protest - The Guardian - July 11th, 2020
- Black TikTok creators have long accused the platform of censorship - Reclaim The Net - July 11th, 2020
- The Harper's 'letter' proves we need to have a serious talk about free speech - Business Insider - Business Insider - July 11th, 2020
- The Trump Administration Is Attacking Critical Internet Privacy Tools - VICE - July 11th, 2020
- Wendell Berry joins lawsuit to stop University of Kentucky from removing controversial mural - Courier Journal - July 11th, 2020
- The Facebook boycott is illiberal. Who has the courage to oppose it? - Thehour.com - July 11th, 2020
- [OPINION] Pinoy BL, censorship, and problematic LGBTQ+ representation - Rappler - July 11th, 2020
- Fox News Host Tucker Carlson Blasts Alleged Big Tech Censorship: By Offensive, They Mean The Left Doesnt Like It - Deadline - June 21st, 2020
- 'Gone With the Wind' censorship is a slippery slope - Los Angeles Times - June 21st, 2020
- AG Barr on tech companies censoring viewpoints: 'There's something very disturbing about what's going on' - Fox News - June 21st, 2020
- Resist The Self-censorship Bug - City Journal - June 21st, 2020
- New Report Looks at How People Feel About Online Censorship, and Who Should be Making the Calls on Such - Social Media Today - June 21st, 2020
- The main types of censorship in films: Are they even necessary? - Film Daily - June 21st, 2020
- Censorship and the future of e-readers - Catholic Culture - June 21st, 2020
- Censorship is a growing problem in our news and other media - Bluefield Daily Telegraph - June 21st, 2020
- U.S. senator: Twitter tried to censor me and lost - The Highland County Press - June 21st, 2020
- Is this the maddest target of woke censorship yet? - Spiked - June 21st, 2020
- Gail Asper 'very troubled' by allegations of discrimination at Canadian Museum for Human Rights - CBC.ca - June 21st, 2020
- The Unplug Collective Allows Black Women to Express Themselves Without Censorship - Teen Vogue - June 21st, 2020
- Bolton book decision: Right answer, wrong reasoning | TheHill - The Hill - June 21st, 2020
- Censorship by country - Wikipedia - June 9th, 2020
- Censorship Is Not All Bad | HuffPost - June 9th, 2020
- Why Is Censorship Bad? | Reference.com - June 9th, 2020
- Things you're not allowed to say: lowlights of the new censorship - New York Post - June 9th, 2020
- Barr claims social media platforms 'censoring particular viewpoints and putting their own content in there' - Fox News - June 9th, 2020
- Nazi Propaganda and Censorship | The Holocaust Encyclopedia - June 9th, 2020
- The march of progressive censorship - Spectator.co.uk - June 9th, 2020
- Reddit CEO Steve Huffman thanks users that asked for more censorship on the platform - Reclaim The Net - June 9th, 2020
- The Censorship of COVID-19 Data Around the World | Sam Bocetta - Foundation for Economic Education - June 9th, 2020
- Censorship row over report on UK BAME Covid-19 deaths - The Guardian - June 9th, 2020
- Blood Brothers #36: Social media censorship, nationalism and defending Muslim rulers - 5Pillars - June 9th, 2020
- Bitcoin.com's Mining Video Censored: The Tale of Youtube's Blatant Censorship and Propaganda - Bitcoin News - May 19th, 2020
- Here's How to Fight Censorship In a Nutshell - Discovery Institute - May 19th, 2020
- What Triggered a Biology Journal to Demand Government Censorship of Intelligent Design - Discovery Institute - May 19th, 2020
- OpEd: Has Disney Taken Censorship Too Far With the Latest Disney+ Blur? - Inside the Magic - May 19th, 2020
- People are worried about Disney censoring 'Hamilton' when it comes to Disney Plus this July - Insider - INSIDER - May 19th, 2020
- Does Big Tech censorship ultimately fail, giving more legitimacy to the content it tries to hide? - Reclaim The Net - May 19th, 2020
- Hey, Google, your censorship of 'Plandemic' only turned its author's book into #1 bestseller. Its the Streisand effect, stupid! - RT - May 19th, 2020
- Opinion: Conspiracism is a popular phenomenon; addressing it requires understanding and dialogue rather than censorship - Eastern Echo - May 19th, 2020
- The pandemic is making digital rights violation in Africa, the new norm - Techpoint.ng - May 19th, 2020
- YouTube bans content that contradicts WHO on Covid-19, despite its track record of misinformation - MercatorNet - May 19th, 2020
- Bringing Back Blogs in the Age of Social Media Censorship - WP Tavern - May 10th, 2020
- #MeToo in the land of censorship - Human Rights Watch - May 10th, 2020
- The people have cancelled... there's a new kind of censorship in town - Independent.ie - May 10th, 2020
- Dave Rubin interview: His new book, censorship on the left and what he sees happening in Canada - National Post - May 10th, 2020
- The Darlings are discouraged and disheartened by live stream censorship - The Province - May 10th, 2020
- Twitter accused of 'censorship' after banning Wings Over Scotland accounts - The National - May 10th, 2020
- Facebook Won't Fudge Censorship Oversight, Qumra Sells $80 Million in Holdings and Juganu Revolution in Today's Roundup - CTech - May 10th, 2020
- Facing COVID-19 Misinformation and Censorship in Brazil, Russia, and China - Slate - April 23rd, 2020
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle accused of censorship over refusal to engage with tabloid media - The Independent - April 23rd, 2020
- German censorship campaign targets scholar over BDS and applies 'antisemitism' charge - Mondoweiss - April 23rd, 2020
- Rex Murphy on COVID-19: The power to censor speech and other great ideas from our Liberal overlords - National Post - April 23rd, 2020
- News on News: Reflecting on institutional censorship and the conversations with the experts - Grand Valley Lanthorn - April 23rd, 2020
- Facebook Pandemic Philanthropy Overshadowed by Its Censoring of Protests - Breitbart - April 23rd, 2020
- Lady Chatterley's censor: Almost 60 years ago, a court case looked to save us from ourselves - The Big Smoke Australia - April 23rd, 2020
- The ADL wants to fight hate in video games, but ham-fisted CENSORSHIP is the last thing we gamers need - RT - April 23rd, 2020
- Internet Censorship During COVID-19 Is Threat To Cryptocurrencies And Liberty - Forbes - April 2nd, 2020
- Social media censorship in the time of coronavirus - Telecoms.com - April 2nd, 2020
- The Coronavirus Has Started a Censorship Pandemic in Turkey, Hungary, Thailand, and Around the World - Foreign Policy - April 2nd, 2020
- Landmarks in law: the controversial 80s play that defied gay censorship - The Guardian - April 2nd, 2020
- Turkey among several countries censoring their coronavirus critics - Ahval - April 2nd, 2020
- Bitcoin Core shifts to dark web to resist censorship - Decrypt - April 2nd, 2020
- It's a bad idea for journalists to censor Trump instead, they can help the public identify what's true or false - The Conversation US - April 2nd, 2020
- The mounting human cost of Chinas coronavirus censorship - Reclaim The Net - April 2nd, 2020
- Society's Dependence on the Internet: 5 Cyber Issues the Coronavirus Lays Bare - Nextgov - April 2nd, 2020
- Turkmenistan bans the word Coronavirus, wearing of masks, in a major censorship move - The Statesman - April 2nd, 2020
- Indias government wants to censor the media to fight Covid-19 but transparency is a better weapon - Scroll.in - April 2nd, 2020
- YouTube continues to ban crypto content; None knows the reason - iNVEZZ - April 2nd, 2020
- How Authoritarians Are Exploiting the Covid-19 Crisis to Grab Power - The New York Review of Books - April 2nd, 2020
- Corona Cover-Up? Videos The Chinese Government Would Rather You Don't See Surface on The Internet - Talent Recap - April 2nd, 2020
- Under the pretext of combating coronavirus States trying to crush the opposition and to tighten censorship - The KXAN 36 News - April 2nd, 2020
- Reporters Without Borders: If the Chinese press were free, the coronavirus might not be a pandemic - Hong Kong Free Press - April 2nd, 2020
- China's Media Censorship Could Cost Thousands of Lives: Journalism Watchdog - Newsweek - April 1st, 2020