Chief Censor to review The Kashmir Files Certification

Chief Censor David Shanks (Wikipedia Photo)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, March 21, 2022

As reported in Indian Newslink yesterday, the Classification Office, an independent Crown entity, is currently reviewing the Rating Certification of ‘The Kashmir Files,’ an Indian film that has caused controversy and national debate in New Zealand over the past week.

Indian Newslink has run a few articles on the subject, which can be read as The Facts and Opinions.

Chief Censor David Shanks said that his Office had earlier granted R16 Certificate for The Kashmir Files, which is now under review.

“The Kashmir Files is a 2022 Indian Hindi-language drama film based on the exodus of Hindu people during the Kashmir Insurgency in 1990. It has been released in other countries with varying age restrictions,” he said.

Mr Shanks said that the film has not been banned in New Zealand.

“However, after we completed our initial classification process, concerns were raised with me about the potential risk of harm to the Muslim community in relation to the release of this film. These concerns appeared to us to be genuine, and sufficiently serious to cause us to pause and review our classification for this film,” he said.

Mr Shanks said that he had spoken to the distributor of the film and that he had agreed not to screen it until the issue is cleared.

“To be clear, this review is not a ban or a commitment in any way to change the original decision. It may end up being the same. For a publication to be banned it would need to meet a very high bar,” he said.

Mr Shanks said that his Office is an independent crown entity and makes its own decisions under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act following set criteria.

“The need to balance freedom of access to information while taking reasonable steps to prevent harm to the public are the key considerations for us, not matters of taste or ideology. We will work through our process around this now and will be aiming to complete our review as soon as practicable, taking into account the likely need to hear from representatives of key interested communities,” he said.

Mr Shanks referred to a recent press release of the ‘United Communities for Peace,’ saying that it is a balanced statement about this film.

“We encourage concerned people to read,” Mr Shanks said.

That story can be read here.

 

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Indian Newslink

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