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Moral policing: After AXN, Indian Govt targets Fashion TV for ‘spoiling culture’

February 27, 2007

Fashion TV (FTV), the fashion television channel, has been under fire in India for a few years now for its raunchy broadcasts at children’s viewing times.

Priyaranjan Dasmunshi, India’s Minister for Information and Broadcasting, has warned the media against denigrating the country’s culture.

Dasmunshi, who stirred a controversy in January 2007 when he banned AXN channel for airing the prgramme titled The World’s Sexiest Advertisements, said on Friday that he was examining Fashion TV for its adult content.

India had banned FTV, a cable channel, in February 2002, for showing too much flesh, but the decision was reversed a week later when the channel promised to adhere more closely to Indian sensibilities.

“I have got the highest number of complaints from schools and colleges about Fashion TV operations,” Dasmunshi said. “The kind of things they show, even in school-time, examination-time, daytime – I think that’s not fair. I straightly, plainly tell you, it is time for Fashion TV channel to think of whether they should confine their programme beyond 11 p.m.”

Music videos featuring sexy dancers and a suggestive advertisement of a woman licking an ice cream have irked the Government of India.

India’s cultural values are different from those in Europe and the United States, Dasmunshi said, and this should be respected.

“Freedom of culture and expression should always be honoured, but freedom to denigrate the culture, freedom to spoil and compromise the culture, should not be encouraged,” he said.

Dasmunshi strongly denied that he was acting as the “moral police” in a country which gave the world the Kama Sutra sex book and said he only wanted only to preserve “Indian cultural values.”

“I am a student of literature. I am as liberal in matters of culture, art and other things than any one else. I am second to none. But you see, there should be a limit,” Dasmunshi said.

“Those who want to have a little fun can do so after dark,” he said.

He also advised television channels to do “self-monitoring” and parents to use their discretion while taking children to films which may have provocative scenes or dances.

India has over 300 cable TV channels and is set to be Asia’s leading cable market by subscriber numbers by 2010 and the most lucrative pay-TV market by 2015.

There are about 65 million homes in India having cable TV, the world’s third-biggest cable television market.








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