India's Daughter: Indian TV channel stages silent protest over banning of shocking Delhi gang-rape documentary

NDTV aired a slate with the film's title for an hour instead of rescheduling

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The Independent Culture

An Indian TV channel has staged a silent protest over the government’s banning of a BBC documentary about the country’s rape crisis.

NDTV refused to reschedule another programme when India’s Daughter should have aired, choosing instead to run a slate with the show’s title for an hour.

Leslee Udwin’s hard-hitting film features the story of 23-year-old medical student Jyoti Singh, who was horrifically gang-raped and killed on a public bus in December 2012.

India’s Daughter includes an interview with a remorseless Mukesh Singh, who is facing the death penalty for his part in the shocking crime yet still blames Singh for not behaving how a “decent girl” should. It also documents the unprecedented riots and protests that followed the atrocity.

Indian authorities decided to ban the documentary for “objectionable content” after claiming that it was offensive to women. The government objected to filmmakers releasing it without their approval, with politician Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu branding it an international conspiracy to defame India.

Others, however, suggested that the ban came out of fear that India’s Daughter would highlight India’s ongoing problems with women’s rights.

Danny Cohen, BBC director of television, defended his decision to screen it in the UK. “We do not feel the film as currently edited could ever be construed as derogatory to women or an affront to their dignity,” he said.

Indian news anchor Dibang, who goes by one name and worked as an executive producer on India’s Daughter, said it was a tragedy that it would not be shown in India and suggested the ban was at odds with the nation's democracy.

“It's really unfortunate that it has been banned in India. They have stopped a film that none of them have seen. That's the tragedy here - at least you should see it first, that's the sad part,” he argued.

“India is a democracy, it's not a dictatorship. But it'll take some time for this to be lifted.

India’s Daughter aired again at 10pm on BBC4 last night to mark International Womens’ Day.