Weekly Wrap Up: Film censorship & Bail release in India, Singapore PM defends freedom of expression, BBC journalist trapped in Thailand

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An award winning Indian film, ‘Lipstick Under My Burkha’ has been refused certification to exhibit by Indian censors. The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) conveyed the denial via a letter to the movie producers noting that “the story is lady orientated” and contains “sexual scenes, abusive words audio pornography” and is “a bit sensitive about one particular section of society”. The film’s director, Ms. Alankrita Shrivastava called CBFC’s decision “anachronism” and said that she will be appealing against the decision.

Read the full story on the Guardian
Read Ms Alankrita Shrivastava’s full interview on the Quint 

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong rejected an assertion that Singapore is not a successful democracy during a BBC Hardtalk interview by Mr. Stephen Sackur that aired on Wednesday (1 March). Mr Sackur cited the leader of the Liberal Democrats in the UK, Mr Tim Farron’s calls for Britain to raise freedom of expression and freedom of the press issues in any trade talks with Singapore. Mr Lee responded by saying that “I do not see you being restrained in asking me questions” before adding that Singapore has one of the fastest internet accesses in the world and no “great wall” of the internet.

Read the full story on The Straits Times and Today Online

Thai court seizes BBC reporter’s passport over a news report on alleged fraud committed in Phuket. 
BBC reporter Jonathan Head had to handover his passport to Thai authorities after a criminal defamation suit was filed by a Thai lawyer in response to his news report about property scam in September 2015. The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) condemned the decision to restrict the reporter’s freedom of movement and called for the end to the use of criminal defamation complaints against journalists in Thailand. A BBC spokeswoman also informed CPJ that “we have full faith in the Thai justice system, and we intend to clear the name of our correspondent”.

Full details of the story can be found on The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ)

Indian journalist awarded bail after being arrested for terrorism associated crimes in 2015. Chhattisgarh journalist Santos Yadav was finally granted bail by the Indian Supreme Court, after allegations of him being a Maoist sympathizer could not be proven with certainty. The Bastar based journalist was described as a “fearless writer” by his fellow journalists following his numerous contributions to raise awareness on human rights violations in Bastar. Yadav’s case brings attention to an increasing number of violent actions against Indian journalists.

More details of this story can be found on The Wire