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IMDA bans The Kashmir Files for 'one-sided portrayal of Muslims'

IMDA bans The Kashmir Files for 'one-sided portrayal of Muslims'

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IMDA has banned the release of a controversial Indian film, The Kashmir Files. According to multiple media outlets including Channel NewsAsia, Reuters, and The Straits Times, the film centres on the exodus of Hindus from the disputed Muslim-majority Kashmir region.

After assessing The Kashmir Files in consultation with the Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth and the Ministry of Home Affairs, media outlets reported that IMDA found it to be beyond its film classification guidelines. The agencies then decided that the film will be refused classification for its provocative and one-sided portrayal of Muslims, as well as the depictions of Hindus being persecuted in the ongoing conflict in Kashmir, media outlets said.

Citing both MCCY and IMDA, CNA said such representations have the potential to cause enmity between different communities, and disrupt social cohesion and religious harmony in our multiracial and multi-religious society.

A check by MARKETING-INTERACTIVE on IMDA's film classification guidelines showed that they stated: "Films that are likely to denigrate any racial or religious group, or promote feelings of ill-will or hostility between different racial or religious groups will be refused classification".

According to media reports, India's prime minister Narendra Modi had praised The Kashmir Files in March, saying that it showed the truth of Kashmir's violent past. However, critics of the movie said it has factual inaccuracies and stokes anti-Muslim sentiments. MARKETING-INTERACTIVE has reached out to IMDA for additional comment.

Kashmir has been at the centre of a territorial dispute between India and Pakistan since 1947. This resulted in two wars in 1965 and 1999, as well as several intense conflicts between the two nations. The most recent one took place in 2019, after 44 Indian paramilitary officers were killed in Kashmir in February that year.

The Kashmir Files is not the first film to be banned due to political controversies. Earlier this year, Vietnam banned Sony's Hollywood blockbuster Uncharted due to "illegal images" that depict China’s "nine-dash line" territorial claim of the South China Sea. The movie features actors Mark Walhberg, Antonio Banderas and Tom Holland, and was set for a nationwide release on 18 March this year. According to VN Express, Vi Kien Thanh, head of the Department of Cinema under the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism, said the ban on the movie was decided by the National Film Evaluation Council.

Netflix also blocked Australian spy show "Pine Gap" from streaming in Vietnam last year due to complaints over the appearance of the map which depicted Chinese claims in the South China Sea. In 2019, Vietnam also revoked DreamWorks' Abominable film licence and pulled it from cinemas because of the "nine-dash line" once again. The line shown on a map featured in the film marked a resource-rich region in the South China Sea that China has unilaterally declared as its own.

Related articles:
Vietnam bans Sony's movie 'Unchartered' over South China Sea images
DreamWorks' Abominable film revoked in Vietnam over South China Sea map

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