March 17, 2015

Bans on social media: what purpose do they serve?

The film 'Daughter of India' is banned in India and yet is available freely on the net. People are crying hoarse that the film tries to put the Indian society in poor light and is insensitive to a girl who was raped and murdered, and why such films must not be shown. On the other hand, a large majority says, banning the film is an attack on the freedom of expression.
BBC website

We bring you the facts and leave you to decide what is good. The only comment we'd make is that banning it has only brought the government in poor light and made the documentary more popular than it should otherwise have been.



#Nirbhaya documentary factsheet


  • In 2012, a girl [now known by 'Nirbhaya', not her real name] was gang-raped and then murdered in Delhi. Mukesh Singh is one convict, awarded capital punishment by the court.
  • In early March 2015, a documentary was made by Leslee Udwin and was slated to be shown on the International Women's Day (March 8) on BBC. The film, 'India's Daughter' chronicles the event and exposes the ugly mindset of the males involved (especially the convict and his lawyer). Mukesh Singh, interviewed in the prison, shows total lack of remorse, saying, had Nirbhaya not resisted them, she would have survived. He also says, she deserved to be taught a lesson.
  • The utterly insensitive statements and what some feel as portraying India as a rape country have lead to a huge hue and cry in India, and Indian government asked BBC not to air the film. BBC went ahead, and showed the film three days in advance.
  • Delhi police lodged an FIR, government banned the film in India, and asked YouTube and other social media platforms to remove the film. A Delhi court upheld the ban and the High Court refused to revoke it. 
  • Nirbhaya's father first said, he has no issues with the film. Later he said, he had asked the film-maker not to make public his daughter's name and photo. His consent was also wrongly used, he hinted.
  • In New York, the film was premiered in front of  famous people. Some of them lambasted Indian government for banning the documentary.  
  • Indian government is being slammed for the ban, especially on the social media. The government says, the documentary producers have violated permissions and the consent of Nirbhaya's parents and the matter is sub judice.
    UK Daughters: equal sufferers
  • The Editors' Guild of India has called the ban 'totally unwarranted'. On social media there are strong voices in favour and against the ban. 
  • A Delhi businessman, miffed with the demonisation of Indian society by the film, has cobbled together a video called 'United Kingdom's Daughters'. Like the other one, this one too has gone viral on the net.
  • The Independent of London carried a very pertinent article on the rape scene in India and the UK, and also seeing a rape documentary from a rape victim's eyes. [Link removed by the Independent later.]