New norms for film certification

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Film Certification Overhaul
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In a significant move to revamp the film certification process, the central government has issued the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024, replacing the 1983 version.

This development follows the approval of the Cinematograph (Amendment) Act by parliament last year, signalling a concerted effort to modernise the certification process for films intended for public exhibition, and to adapt to the digital age and keep pace with technological advancements in the film sector.

An announcement by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting stated that the primary objective was to streamline and modernise the certification process, empowering the Indian film industry while addressing issues such as transparency, the ease of doing business and protection against piracy. The Cinematograph (Amendment) Act, 2023, laid the groundwork for this overhaul, with a specific focus on combating piracy, which has been a significant concern for the industry, causing losses amounting to INR200 billion (USD2.4 billion) annually. Under the new act, stringent measures including hefty fines and imprisonment have been introduced to curb piracy.

Key highlights of the Cinematograph (Certification) Rules, 2024, include the introduction of new age-based categories for film certification, adoption of online certification processes to streamline operations, and provisions for accessibility features for persons with disabilities.

Additionally, the rules emphasise gender representation, with a minimum of one-third of the members of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and its advisory panels mandated to be women.

Moreover, the rules ensure the perpetual validity of CBFC certificates, eliminating the previous 10-year limit. They also establish a system for priority screening of films to enhance transparency and remove discretionary practices.

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