Controversial Indian show depicting child marriage pulled off air

The show revolved around a 10-year-old boy married to a 19-year-old woman. (Photo courtesy: Sony Entertainment Television)
Updated 29 August 2017

Controversial Indian show depicting child marriage pulled off air

DUBAI: Following intense backlash in India, Sony Entertainment Television said Tuesday that it has pulled its controversial show “Pehredaar Piya Ki” (Husband’s Guard) off the air.
The show was launched last month on Sony Entertainment Television — a popular Hindi general entertainment channel in India — and was aired every weekday night in the prime 8:30 p.m. slot.
The show revolved around a 10-year-old boy married to a 19-year-old woman and has outraged Indian viewers who sought to ban the “bizarre show” for glorifying child marriage.
“While we understand that the decision to end this serial will be disappointing to those whose creative energies are vested in it, namely its crew and cast, we are convinced that we will be better served by focusing instead on developing viewer interest in our upcoming, new shows,” an official statement by Sony said.
“We are grateful to all the artists, producers and fans of our shows and request you to graciously support the viewership of our newer ventures,” it added.
Earlier in August, India’s Broadcasting Content Complaints Council stated that the program must add an on-screen scroll stating that it does not promote the concept of child marriage.
A Change.org petition urging information and broadcasting minister Smriti Irani to ban the show was launched last week and the petitioner, Mansi Jain, questioned the influence the soap would have on viewers and said it showed the child perform marriage rituals such as putting vermillion on the older actor playing his wife.
— With Reuters


Facebook to apply state media labels on Russian, Chinese outlets

Updated 05 June 2020

Facebook to apply state media labels on Russian, Chinese outlets

  • Facebook will not label any US-based news organizations
  • Social media giant said even US government-run outlets have editorial independence

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook will start labeling Russian, Chinese and other state-controlled media organizations, and later this summer will block any ads from such outlets that target US users, it said on Thursday.
The world’s biggest social network will apply the label to Russia’s Sputnik, Iran’s Press TV and China’s Xinhua News, according to a partial list Facebook provided. The company will apply the label to about 200 pages at the outset.
Facebook will not label any US-based news organizations, as it determined that even US government-run outlets have editorial independence, Nathaniel Gleicher, Facebook’s head of cybersecurity policy, said in an interview.
Facebook, which has acknowledged its failure to stop Russian use of its platforms to interfere in the 2016 US presidential election, has since stepped up its defenses and imposed greater transparency requirements for pages and ads on its platforms.
The company announced plans last year to create a state media label, but is introducing it amid criticism over its hands-off treatment of misleading and racially charged posts by US President Donald Trump.
The new measure comes just months ahead of the November US presidential election.
Under the move, Facebook will not use the label for media outlets affiliated with individual political figures or parties, which Gleicher said could push “boundaries that are very, very slippery.”
“What we want to do here is start with the most critical case,” he said.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters during a daily briefing in Beijing on Friday that social media companies should not selectively create obstacles for media agencies.
“We hope that the relevant social media platform can put aside the ideological bias and hold an open and accepting attitude toward each country’s media role,” he said.
Facebook is not the first company to take such action.
YouTube, owned by Alphabet Inc’s Google, in 2018 started identifying video channels that predominantly carry news items and are funded by governments. But critics charge YouTube has failed to label some state news outlets, allowing them to earn ad revenue from videos with misinformation and propaganda.
In a blog post, Facebook said its label would appear on pages globally, as well as on News Feed posts within the United States.
Facebook also said it would ban US-targeted ads from state-controlled entities “out of an abundance of caution” ahead of the November presidential election. Elsewhere, the ads will receive a label.