New Delhi: New age digital multiplex cinema halls too will need to exhibit public service and awareness messages, on the perils of tobacco and alcohol abuse, ills of dowry and immunisation of children, ahead of movie screenings. The Union I&B ministry is soon likely to issue a directive, asking digital cinema halls to mandatorily broadcast such messages ahead of each film show.
Sources stated that the need for the directive arose as several multiplex chains had stopped exhibition of such public service messages, prepared by various government agencies like Films Division, claiming that technically they cannot be termed cinemas and the Cinematography Act does not apply to them.
However, the I&B ministry is understood to have sought legal opinion from the law and justice ministry, which clarified that multiplexes and digital cinemas too fall under the Act and need to display such awareness films ahead of movie shows.
Sources stated that now these multiplexes would need to exhibit short films made by the Films Divisi-on on the perils of tobacco and alcohol abuse, ills of dowry, immunisation of children and other social issues.
It is understood that the directive on mandatory exhibition of such public awareness messages is likely to be issued soon. Over the past few years there has been an exponential growth in the penetration of digital cinemas and multiplexes across the country. According to industry estimates there are about 6,000 digital cinema screens across the country which are growing as its reach improves in the rural and semi urban areas, sources said.
A similar issue, regarding display of certification ahead of the movie, had cropped up when films began to be displayed on Internet through websites like YouTube. The website had to make it mandatory to display such certification.