Guild seeks clarity on Film Certification & Broadcast Content Regulations

These days, there is a prevailing confusion in respect of Film Certification and Broadcast Content Regulation. Different interpretations are being offered with new write-ups every week. In an effort to try and bring some much needed clarity to the entire situation, Guild President Amit Khanna has written a missive to The Hon’ble Minister of Information & Broadcasting Shri Priya Ranjan Das Munshi.

Mr Khanna commended the I & B Ministry for starting a comprehensive exercise to overhaul the antiquated Film Certification Laws and create new framework for Broadcast content regulation. He said that over the past year the Guild and several of its esteemed members have participated in meetings to formulate the new code of self-regulation for Filmed content including motion pictures and Television Programming.

Accordingly, after much deliberation, it was agreed upon by various stakeholders, social organizations and the Government that the way forward is a Self-Regulation system across media. The Guild on its part submitted a detailed report on how this would function in case of Films and FICCI had submitted a similar note on Broadcasting. Mr Khanna however said that there is a feeling now that instead of pursuing this; there have been piece-meal announcements and several Court cases which is adding to the uncertainty not only to Industry but also the public -at-large.

Mr Khanna said that the entire entertainment fraternity would be grateful if the I & B ministry could take issue of ‘censorship’ holistically in the spirit of a self-regulating code and take appropriate steps to make suitable legislative amendments in this regard at the earliest.

Mr Khanna further wrote that the Guild believes such a step will provide the right ecosystem for socially responsive creativity and growth and development of the Film & Broadcast Industry and that the Guild would be happy to assist the Ministry in any manner that they so desire in this regard Guild takes up VAT, Workers and other issues.

The Guild formed a Sub-Group of CFOs of eminent members to prepare a representation to the State Government. After deliberations with experts and professionals, the Guild submitted a detailed memorandum to the State Government last June. After repeated follow-ups, the Maharashtra Chief Minister finally agreed to examine the matter personally.

Pursuing the matter further, the Guild has sought the services of renowned solicitors Economic Law Practice in the matter and is in the process of submitting a fresh representation on VAT.

The Guild has taken up the cause of the long drawn workers’ issue having severe consequences on the cash flow of the Indian producers. Accordingly, a Sub-Group was constituted comprising eminent members of the Guild. The Sub-Group held several rounds of discussions culminating in the preparation of a draft Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the producers and the premier workers’ body FWICE (Federation of Western Indian Cine Employees) , drafted by solicitors ANS Law & Associates, which will form a modicum of rules and regulations aimed at solving this heart burning issue.

A joint meeting between Guild & AMPTPP is next on the cards with a subsequent meeting with FWICE to finalise the MoU

The I & B Ministry urged the Guild to form a Export Promotion Council to handle issues related to exports of Indian entertainment industry under the one window clearance principle. Accordingly the Guild constituted a Steering Committee at the micro level and the Core Group at the macro level comprising representatives of eminent Guild members and other trade bodies such as FFI, CII, FICCI, IBF, IMI, etc. The Steering Committee was entrusted with the job of formulating the Memorandum and Rules of the proposed EEPCI in consultation with legal luminary Amarchand Mangaldas . The Steering Committee, in turn, submitted the Memorandum and Rules to the Core Group for final assessment.

The Core Group is slated to meet in the near future to impart finishing touches to the Memorandum and Rules for submission to the I & B Ministry.

The Animal Welfare Board started indulging in disparaging activities against producers by needlessly hampering their production schedules and releases on the pretext of ostensible harassment meted to animals. The Guild strongly protested against this high handedness and sent a strongly worded communication to the Animal Welfare Ministry. As a result, the Ministry issued a communiqué to the Guild granting clearance to all films irrespective of objections raised by the Animal Welfare Board pending a final decision.

Further, the Guild requested its members to furnish the application sent to Animal Welfare Board for seeking permissions to shoot with animals. In the meantime the Guild has prepared a draft representation to the Government in consultation with renowned solicitors ANS Law & Associates.