India suspends Comedy Central for six days

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India has suspended the US entertainment channel Comedy Central for six days for showing "obscene and vulgar" programmes.

The government said the channel violated Cable Television Networks rules by showing women as a "commodity of sex" in two shows.

The ban came into effect from midnight on Tuesday.

In the past too, India has suspended international channels for showing women in an "obscene" manner.

In 2010 India suspended Fashion TV (FTV) for 10 days for showing topless models during a show. In 2007, the same channel was suspended for two months for showing skimpily-clad models in a show called Midnight Hot.

Last year, India's information and broadcasting ministry took up scrutiny of two Comedy Central shows - Stand up Club and Popcorn - for content that it said appeared to "deprave, corrupt and injure the public morality and morals" and called for a 10-day ban of the channel.

The ministry said the Stand Up Club contained "obscene dialogues and vulgar words derogatory to women and hence appeared to offend good taste and decency".

It also said that an episode from the reality show Popcorn showed a character mimicking the act of sex with a set of dummy legs, in different locations.

The channel, which was launched in India in 2012, went off air for four days last year, but it was allowed to recommence broadcasts pending an appeal against the ban.

On Wednesday, the Delhi high court upheld by the ban and ordered the channel to go off air for the remaining six days of the original ban.

The ban has generated a lot of criticism on social media sites. Ramesh Srivats wondered whether Indian culture was so sensitive that it could be damaged by Comedy Central:

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Columnist Brown Sahiba said the ban meant "we'll never be offended; or entertained".

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Comedian Rohan wondered whether India should be renamed "Comedy Central India":

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The Bad Doctor suggested painting clothes on the famous erotic sculptures of Khajuraho:

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