Don't ban 'India's Daughter': Panelists

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New Delhi, March 20: Increasing violence against women and stifling of debate were among the issues highlighted at a discussion relating to the controversial documentary "India's Daugther" with the panelists saying it should not be banned.

Senior journalist Pamela Phillipose opposed the ban on the documentary relating to the victim of the brutal gangrape in Delhi on December 16, 2012.

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"It should not be banned, it is deepening the discourse," she said. "We are living in increasingly difficult times, increasing violence on women and stifling of debate is a major problem," Phillipose said.

The discussion on some of the issues that have emerged in the context "India's Daughter" was organised at Indian Women's Press Corps here.

Phillipose appreciated the film maker for getting the voices of the victim's parents but highlighted the absence of the voice of Nirbaya's male companion who was with her on the day.

"It is not an Indian story, it belongs to the world. Anything that happens in the public belongs to the world," said Phillipose.

However, she termed the "highly publicised launch of the documentary" as "disgraceful."

Dibang, a journalist who co-produced the documentary, said he had tried to get Nirbaya's companion for three-and-a-half months.

He said the person gave two appointments but didn't turn up.

"BBC doesn't allow money to be paid. One of the accused, Mukesh Singh, claimed that the male companion hid behind a seat during the crime," said Dibang.

Dibang said Nirbaya's parents thanked him and said that he was fighting their fight.

Indu Agnihotri, director of Centre for Women's Development Studies, said India was not doing enough with the vast crime data it has and asked the media to examine it.

"Crime at the bottom of the society is coming to limelight, crime of corporates is not coming (to the limelight). Government goes away scotfree," said Agnihotri.

She said "normalisation of violence" is happening in India and focus today has shifted to urban violence.

Agnihotri said: "Everybody is talking about smart cities when rural India is sinking where majority of women live."

Jagmati Sangwan, general secretary, All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA), said her organisation feels the ban on documentary was unnecessary.

"It is an assault on freedom of expression. In the past also, convicted criminals were interviewed."

Referring to British film maker Lelee Udwin coming to India and making the documentary, Sangwan said it was not a question of an "outsider" coming and making a film and international solidarity on such issues should be accepted.

The Delhi High Court, earlier this week, said the ban on the telecast of the controversial documentary will continue and asked the central government to place before it the advisory issued by it to prohibit exhibition of the documentary. The documentary had been telecast by the BBC in Britain.

The documentary is about the gangrape of a 23-year-old trainee physiotherapist, who was brutally assaulted on December 16, 2012 in a moving bus in Delhi.

The documentary kicked up a storm after one of the convicts Mukesh Singh was interviewed in Delhi's Tihar Jail.

The documentary also has comments from the convicts' counsels A.P. Singh and M.L. Sharma, who allegedly made derogatory remarks against women. The banning of the telecast of the documentary in all formats caused an uproar in India.

The central government on March 3 issued an advisory to ban the broadcast of the documentary.

IANS

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