Thursday, January 18, 2007

India tries to censor British television in England.

The government of India is sticking its unwanted nose into internal British affairs and demanding censorship of the reality TV show Big Brother. The current edition is the celebrity edition.

Indian bureaucrats, apparently having nothing better to do, have demanded that the British government consider using hate crime laws against contestants on the show. The Indian Foreign Ministry released a statement saying: “The government of India has taken up the matter with the British government.” So exactly why should anyone care what the Indian government wants? The indian government is incompetent and destructive of the best interests of the Indian people -- on par with most governments actually.

What is worrisome is that the Blair regime is just as authoritarian as the Bush regime. Tony is always looking for any excuse to trample on long honored rights. So it possible that Blair, one of the worst prime ministers in British history, will send in the cops.

So what is the entire ruckus about? One of the celebrities on the show, Shilpa Shetty, is Indian. Other residents of the Big Brother house has supposedly joked about her accent. It should be noted that the woman who the butt of the joke has not complained herself. It is the Indian government protesting (they must want another hand out for something).

The show is not scripted as normal for the series. Residents are free to say what they want. But the Indian government thinks people should lose the right to say anything the Indian government finds troublesome. And since the British are still atoning for the sins of colonialism they will no doubt cave into reverse colonialism, where incompetent governments of former colonies get to tell the former colonial masters how to conduct their affairs. It’s reciprocity: if you governed up badly we can push bad policies down your throat while doing a worse job in our country than you did.

Here is the kicker: the show isn’t even available for viewing in India. So the Indian officials are interfering in a matter which is of none of their concern and is an internal British affair. Second, censorship is very unbecoming them. But then this is a government that censors people from kissing in a film. People may live in abject poverty, mostly as the result of government policies themselves, but the bureaucrats at least let them die knowing that if someone jokes about their accent (which I prefer to lower-class British accents) they will be punished.

Another government with their priorities straight.

UPDATE: Typical of such attempts to stifle views the Indian government has only managed to increase the audience for the show. According to the BBC audience figures went from 3.5 million on Monday to 4.5 million on Tuesday and 5.2 million on Wednesday. When will censors learn? But those who want to stifle speech usually don't learn since learning requires listening and listening requires allowing others to speak. Seeking publicity the largest trade union in the UK has attacked the show saying it gives publicity to "louts". If that isn't the pot calling the kettle black I don't know what is.

Photo: One of India’s problems which was not as important as bitching about a TV show that isn’t even shown in India.