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On-screen smoking ban may not happen
December 01, 2005 21:36 IST
The government's proposed ban on smoking on screen appears to be on way to the backburner.
This became clear with the Information and Broadcasting Minister Priyaranjan Dasmunshi saying that while all measures needed to be taken to discourage smoking, content of a character (in any artistic venture) cannot be dictated or interfered with.
The rationale of the ministry appears to be that such a ban flies in the face of artistic freedom.
"How can Devdas be depicted without a smoke and how can Winston Churchill be portrayed without his cigar," was the refrain of an I&B official.
Dasmunshi's stand is at variance with that of Health Minister Anbumani Ramdoss who has strongly pitched for the ban about which the government issued a notification in May.
The move had been hailed by anti-tobacco campaigners as a 'sensible step" but was attacked by filmmakers as a curb on artistic freedom.
The Union health ministry had defended the controversial notification and had told the Delhi high court that it was willing to provide certain exemptions, including allowing use of tobacco by actors depicting historical personalities.The information and broadcasting ministry is expected to file its affidavit in the high court on Friday. The notification that was earlier to be enforced from October 2, is now proposed to be implemented from January.