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Banned by the Government for broadcasting obscene programmes, entertainment channel AXN ,a  part of the Sony Entertainment channels bouquet  on Tuesday issued a formal apology to the Government of India for its alleged violations of Indian content restrictions. 

In a statement, AXN has agreed to put in place a significantly improved and more effective system of self-regulation in order to ensure that programs and advertisements telecast do not create further problems in the future.

AXN on its part has insisted that the world’s sexiest advertisements programme “a study of the brilliance behind the creative minds that could make everyday products into exciting properties through witty, humorous copy lines and execution.” Whatever the point is, surely, it’s for the audience to decide what they are. Further, it may be pointed out, most channels have begun getting their programmes, especially films, in line with the censorship and social codes of their bigger markets; they wouldn’t want to offend their viewers beyond a point.

Moreover, if indeed there is a law or a code of conduct, due process has to be followed. Banning the channel for two months has the air of an ad-hoc decision, taken without hearing the other side of the story. Dasmunsi is now said to be watching other channels which could be broadcasting adult content like a hawk.

If the minister is so keen to protect public morality, we invite him to see film clips from Bollywood and the south, all of them passed by his own censor board. Indeed, the censors are becoming more and more liberal of late.

Continuing with such ministries, rather than setting up independent regulatory mechanisms, is a sign that reforms notwithstanding, we are still stuck in an old mindset. We cannot truly call ourselves globalised if we persist with archaic practices run by even more old fashioned people.

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