Indian Court Suspends Comedy Central for Six Days

Comedy Central

The network is ordered off the air following a suspension directive last year for airing content considered offensive

This ain't no laughing matter. Comedy Central India will be off the air for six days starting Wednesday following an order by the Delhi High Court.

The judgment upheld a ban first issued last year by India's Information and Broadcasting Ministry against the channel for airing content considered "offensive." Comedy Central India is run by Viacom18 Media, a joint venture between Viacom and Indian broadcasting group Network 18.

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Last year's suspension was issued after the ministry objected to episodes of Stand Up Club and PopCorn TV, which aired in May and July 2012. The ministry stated that the episodes had "obscene dialog and vulgar words derogatory of women, and hence appeared to offend good taste and decency." It added: "The portrayal in the program did not appear suitable for unrestricted public exhibition and children."

Viacom18 appealed the ban, and the channel was back on the air after four days of suspension while the matter went to court. The latest court judgment has now instructed the network to fulfill the rest of the ban via the six-day suspension along with a fine of $333 (20,000 rupees). As a result, the channel is only running this message, "Comedy Central channel is temporarily switched off. We will be back soon. We regret the inconvenience caused."

Viacom18 did not offer any comment on the suspension, stating that the matter was "subjudice," meaning under trial or being considered by a judge. "Having said that, we are evaluating all available options to us," it said.

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