Dear Readers,

Yesterday, we
gave you the following practice topic for WAT – “Recently a law has been passed to ban A-rated films on television. Why
do you think this decision has been taken?”
This question had appeared in
the IIM Bangalore entrance in 2013. In this article, we will look at the
correct approach for an essay on this topic and will also cover some important
points which may be used in this essay.

Guidelines – How to Approach this Question

This topic has two components –
a statement and a follow-up question. The statement is, thus the premise on
which the question is centred. The core objective is to formulate an essay
which answers the question and is founded on the statement.

Before attempting the answer,
you should keep in mind that this topic is a sensitive territory. The umbrella
of censorship has been controversial for a long time now and the Censor Board
is repeatedly in the news. Your stand on this topic should be very balanced. If
you put across an aggressive viewpoint, it can lead to cross-questioning in
your PI.

Since it is a subjective
question, you can choose to answer the “why” as per your opinions but a logical
explanation and set of arguments should follow.

What to Write in the Answer

Here are some
points which you can use in your essay:

· Introduction: The very idea of
censorship, despite being debatable, has been considered significant in many
countries. In Sweden and Norway, there is a ban on advertisements which target
children who are under 12 years of age. This is because children are the most
impressionable and cannot make decisions on their own regarding purchasing a
particular product. When these relatively liberal countries have censorship in
the form of such restrictions, it is only logical to view censorship as an
important (or essential) requirement.    

· Main Body: You can start with the
fundamental idea of censorship in India. As you progress, you can build your
essay up with strong arguments.

The Censor Board of India has
often been in the news and their decisions have been repeatedly critiqued. It
was created so as to regulate the showcase of films as per the Cinematograph
Act 1952. As a part of the Information and Broadcast Ministry, their decisions
extend to television and also to the popular media. Thus, whatever we watch on
the television is largely a filtered version of the original one.

India has been a tradition- and
culture-oriented country for a long time. As the internet widened its reach, newer
thought processes began making their way into the Indian psyche. Western cinema
became more popular and resultantly today’s youngsters, in particular, have
become very liberal.

· Why is it necessary to monitor television content? Television is a more sensitive and impactful source of information
and is more accessible by the masses. Thus, it becomes all the more crucial for
the Censor Board to regulate its content. A few years ago, popular reality
series “Bigg Boss” was moved from its 9 PM prime time slot to 10.30 PM because its
content was deemed unsuitable for children.

In 2012, acclaimed film “The
Dirty Picture” was slated for its television premier at 8 PM but in the
eleventh hour, the authorities changed their decision and instead chose “3
Idiots” for the slot. It was later stated that the said film was suitable for
telecast only after 11 PM.

If television content is not monitored
and filtered, it can affect sensitive audience, especially children, and
mislead them. If a film has abusive language and problematic words are not
beeped or eliminated, these will be propagated among the masses. Similarly, if
shows like “Crime Patrol” begin telecasting violent and graphic scenes, it can seriously
affect the psychology of people.

A-rated films especially
require screening before telecast. Various celebrities and film personalities
have been against this kind of censorship but when it comes to television, precautionary
measures are much needed. When A-rated films are subject to age restriction
even in movie theatres, airing them freely on television will defy the logic behind
their Adult certification.   

· Counter View: It is not necessary to
provide a counter view but if you have some points, you can elaborate on them.
This way, your essay will stand out for including all perspectives and then
reaching a balanced conclusion.

Internet has increasingly
become accessible, especially in urban areas. This has led to children and
pre-teens getting exposed to all sorts of content. Hence, they get acquainted
with a lot of censored entities there and it does not seem logical to guard
these things on television. It would be much more rational if censorship puts a
shield on internet as well as television. That would be the most effective way
to ensure that sensitive and impressionable audience do not get affected by
such content.

Additionally, a lot of times,
A-rated films are the most honest and realistic accounts of certain social and
political issues. In an era where commercial (or “masala”) cinema still
dominates the market, it is tough for offbeat films to collect revenue and make
up for their budget. By banning these films from television, the authorities
are cutting a source of income for them – satellite rights. This will lead to a
decrease in the number of art films.

Instead of an outright ban from
television, there should be a system in place which can make it suitable for
all to watch such films. If the A-rating is converted to UA, there will be more
audience for unconventional cinema.

· Conclusion: Based on the points you use,
a logical conclusion should follow. While A-rated cinema should not be discouraged
merely in the name of a certificate, it is necessary to filter the contents,
change its rating and then air it on television. Being a more accessible form
of media, unfiltered content on television can lead to violent outcomes. Thus,
with necessary editing, A-rated films can be made suitable for airing, thereby
maintaining balance with the mainstream cinema.

The next WAT
practice topic is – “The television
media focuses more on violence, disaster and negative news. Why is it so?”
Bangalore, 2013)

The answer to the previous WAT Practice Topic is here.

To access the whole series of our WAT articles, you can start here:…

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