Info minister bans ‘vulgar’ film posters at cinemas

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LAHORE: Punjab Minister for Information Fayyazul Hassan Chohan on Thursday announced a ban on “vulgar” and “indecent” film posters displayed inside and outside movie theatres.

According to an official notification shared on his Twitter account, Chohan ordered “necessary action for the removal of vulgar/indecent film sign boards under Indecent Advertisement Probation Act 1993 and Punjab Motion Picture Ordinance 1979”.

It remains to be seen how the information minister would choose to define the terms “vulgar” and “indecent” as it has not been elaborated in the notification.

The notification seems to be a buildup of comments Chohan made in a video circulated on August 29 on social media. Speaking in Urdu and Punjabi to address a crowd, the minister used questionable language while speaking about the media industry.

Apparently referring to the measures taken on Thursday, he promised that “if any vulgar poster went up in or outside a cinema house in Punjab, there would first be a fine and if the practice continued, the cinema would be shut down”.

Yani yeh wakhri jawani hai jo cinema houses pay ai hui hai, (this is a strange youthfulness that’s taken over cinema houses),” he continued. “Is this civilised? That you print out pictures of half-naked women and put up huge posters of them?”

“People watch porn for that [kind of entertainment],” he added.

“I had wished that this matter [of what is shown in stage shows] also came in my jurisdiction,” Chohan said while turning to stage shows.

Singling out famous stage actor Nargis to make his point, he said that he would have made her a haji (someone who has completed the religious pilgrimage) if it was in his power. “You would have seen her fast 300 days instead of [the] 30 [days of obligatory Ramazan fasts],” he added.

The Punjab information minister concluded saying that it was “not only Indian content, but what Pakistani films and stage shows portrayed that had led towards the decline [of the industry]”.