Following up on their prosecution of Google, Facebook and other websites over “objectionable” and “offensive” content, the Delhi High Court has now decided to ban all telecasts of the ongoing India v/s Australia test series on the same grounds. Notices have been sent to the Star television network and ESPN to stop their telecasts and to Cricinfo to refrain from publishing live score reports/updates with immediate effect. Failure to comply with the directive will result in harsh penalties and outright bans.
A special bench of the court pointed out that there is more than enough material and evidence to prove that the ongoing test series could incite national outrage, frustration & depression. “See to it that you somehow show the Indian team performing well, or else we will stop your telecast & play Jackie Chan movies instead. You (Cricinfo) folks will have to give line-by-line commentary for the same”, Justice Naresh Tait - supposedly a distant relative of Australian tearaway pacer Shaun Tait – supposedly told the television companies.
Sources say that this was not the first time that such an order was being given to the Star Network; as a matter of fact, the court was planning to ban serials like “Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi” and “Kahaani Ghar Ghar Ki” on the same grounds. However, the serials went off air, before they could proceed. “That’s why we are acting very fast this time!” said Justice Tait. The order also comes in the advent of Home Minister P.Chidambaram’s recent statement that we have to “emulate” China and not “envy” them.
The companies, in their defense, have argued that it is practically impossible to censor so much of content. “Boss, with entire sessions not going India’s way, it would be virtually impossible to monitor and delete depressing content,” said a spokesperson for ESPN. “Maybe we can show Lagaan for a few hours but we can’t block out an entire day’s play, can we?”
(Contributed by special correspondent, Ashwin Shiv Kumar)