IBF's DMCRC dismisses complaint against Disney+ Hotstar's web series 'Grahan'

The council received a complaint that the show and the trailer disrespected Sikhs by making it look like one was engaged in the anti-Sikh Riots of 1984

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jul 24, 2021 7:47 AM

Digital Media Content Regulatory Council (DMCRC), the self-regulatory body formed by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), has given a clean chit to Disney+ Hotstar's trailer for its upcoming web series 'Grahan'.
According to media reports, the DMCRC had received a complaint that the show and the trailer disrespected Sikhs by making it look like one was engaged in the anti-Sikh Riots of 1984.
This is the first appeal processed by the DMCRC under the Information Technology (Intermediary Liability and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021. The appeal was processed in the first week of July.
The self-regulatory body is the second of the three-tier grievance redressal mechanism mandated by the IT Rules for OTT and digital news publishers. The complainant now has the option to challenge the DMCRC's decision before the Inter-Departmental Committee (IDC).
The IDC would be chaired by the Authorised Officer designated by the Ministry. It would include representatives from other Ministries and Organizations such as Ministry of Home Affairs, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, etc., and domain experts.

The complainant alleged that the trailer and the plot, as clearly decipherable from the trailer is an artwork of a sinister mindset aimed at setting a false narrative of the 1984 anti-Sikh genocide. The makers of the show have attempted to show that a Turbaned/Sikh man had been involved in looting and arson which shows a deliberate attempt to hurt the sentiments of the Sikh community.

“The Council is of the unanimous opinion that it is unreasonable to judge such a long series, whose total length runs into a few hours over eight episodes, on the basis of a TRAILER that runs for 2 minutes and 24 seconds. A TRAILER is specifically meant to generate curiosity, and in the present instance, it does that – create a sense of intrigue and mystery about the story that would unfold," the DMCRC said in its order.

The DMCRC also stated that no community has been portrayed in a denigrating manner or in a bad light in the TRAILER. Moreover, there is no allusion or assumption of a Sikh person trying to engineer the riots as alleged by the appellants.

The council was also of the unanimous view that any artistic or creative work has to be viewed holistically to determine whether it is objectionable or offensive. "The council is of the unanimous opinion that the TRAILER is within the framework of the law and therefore, the Appeal is not maintainable. The Appeal is without merit and is dismissed.”

The DMCRC is chaired by Retired Justice Vikramjit Sen with filmmaker Nikkhil Advani, TV producer Deepak Dhar, writer, actor and director Tigmanshu Dhulia, artist, writer and filmmaker Ashwiny Iyer Tiwari, EVP and General Counsel of Sony Pictures Networks India Ashok Nambissan, and Chief Regional Counsel of Disney and Star India Mihir Rale as its members.

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