Campaign for demanding action against government funded movie for violating TC law
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Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids, Dhaka, Bangladesh
Publication date: 2021-09-02
Tob. Induc. Dis. 2021;19(Suppl 1):A222
Bangladesh enacted a Tobacco Control (TC) law and banned all types of tobacco advertisement and smoking scenes in movies and television dramas. But a government-funded movie, ‘Devi’ which was produced based on a very famous novel and released in cinema halls in October 2018, and premier on a private television channel on 13-14 February 2019 was observed to be in violation of the law. The central character of the movie was very visibly and frequently smoking and the promotional posters for the movie displayed smoking scenes, both of which were in violation of TC law.

To protest against the violation of TC law in the publicly-funded movie “Devi”and to ensure compliance with the law.

Under the umbrella campaign both online and offline events were organized. Different content against the movie were posted in social media. TC activists and civil society were mobilized through telephone calls, and sent emails. TC activists, organizations and civil society organized human chains, rallies, and petitions across the country including in the premises of the national press club, TV channels in violation and the censor board. Memoranda were given to the minister of health and information and deputy commissioners at district levels. A legal notice was sent to the producer of the movie, sensor board and information ministry.

The authorities of the cinema halls removed the illegally displayed posters complying with the law. The producer of the movie submitted a corrected version to the censor board complying with the TC law and TV channels aired the corrected version. Importantly, the Censor Board replied to the legal notice stating that from now on the Censor Board would comply with the TC law while issuing clearance certificates.

The campaign was a combined effort by all TC activists applying multi-dimensional approaches. It was an effective campaign for immediate policy response.