Amrita TV channel aired a Malayalam movie titled “The Don” on 30/06/2012. Even though it was a popular movie in Kerala among general audience, it was given an ‘A’ certification (restricted to adults) by the Central Board of Film Certification in 2006 due to extreme violence and bloodshed it contained. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India issued a show cause notice to the channel on 28/05/2013. The notice was issued on the basis of the provisions of Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and Rules framed there under which states that no program should be carried in the cable service, which is not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition and that programs unsuitable for children must not be carried in the cable service at times when the largest numbers of children are viewing.
Amrita TV apologized in their reply dated 15/06/2013. Thereafter, in a letter dated 08/07/2013, the channel stated that the film was shown erroneously and they regretted the oversight. The channel also stated that the agreement for this feature firm was signed in 2006 and they were at that stage not very conversant with the complexity of film protocols. As a channel with a sacrosanct reputation, it was an oversight on their part to have aired the said feature film and assured that this film will not be telecast again until they get the appropriate certificate from the censor board. They also requested to condone this lapse.
On 05/08/2013, the channel was given an opportunity to appear before the Ministry in person and explain their part. The representative of the channel made an unconditional apology and stated that though the film was certified as ‘A’, the content was not offensive as before telecast, the film has been edited of all adult content.
Ministry officials previewed the CD recordings of the program and considered the reply and personal submission made by the representative the the channel. The Ministry held the opinion that that though no offensive content was shown on the channel, telecasting of ‘A’ certified film on television is in itself a violation of the provisions of the program code according to Rule 6 (1) (n) of the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. Therefore they choose to issue a warning in exercise of powers conferred by sub-section (2) & (3) of section 20 of the cable Television Network (Regulation) Act, 1995, and under paras 8.1 & 8.2 of the guidelines for up-linking from India to the Amrita TV to strictly adhere to the program code prescribed under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and rules framed there under in letter and spirit. The Ministry also warned the channel that any further violation may entail such action against Amrita TV channel as deemed fit in accordance with the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and the Rules framed there under and also as per terms and conditions of the permission granted under up-linking/down-linking guidelines.
So it is clear that the warning was indeed issued to the Amrita TV channel for airing the popular Malayalam movie “The Don” in June, 2012. The movie was given an ‘A’ certificate by the censor board due to extreme violence and bloodshed it contained. Other than that, no “adults only” movie was aired by the Amrita TV, according to the versions of the story by some visual and online media, in an apparent attempt to gain public attention and defame the channel. The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting agrees that such content was actually removed by the channel before telecast but still it is technically illegal to telecast such a movie. The channel promptly accepted its mistake and apologized for the same and assured that no such incidents would happen in future from their part.