Kerala HC draws line between professional film reviews and motivated ones

Kerala High Court
Kerala High Court. Photo: Manorama

The Kerala High Court, on Tuesday, urged the State Police Chief to consider professional reviews of a film when devising mechanisms to address motivated negative reviews aimed at blackmailing filmmakers or hindering a film's success. Justice Devan Ramachandran emphasized the distinction between a professional review, which evaluates a product like a movie objectively, and a personal opinion, which reflects an individual's subjective taste.

This clarification followed the Court's inquiry into actions taken by the Police Chief against individuals who publish calculated negative reviews with the intent to denigrate, extort, or blackmail filmmakers. This inquiry was prompted by a plea from Mubeen Rauf, the director of 'Aromalinte Adyathe Pranayam,' who sought a gag order to prevent social media influencers and film vlogging reviewers from publishing any reviews of the film for at least seven days after its release. The Court had sought input from the State Police Chief on how individuals associated with a movie could file complaints against activities aiming to tarnish a film. It also sought to understand the legal consequences under penal and cyber laws.

Today, Government Pleader Vidya Kuriakose informed the Court that measures to control motivated reviews are being developed but require consultation with industry stakeholders, including producers, directors, financiers, and petitioners. DSGI S Manu stated that he would seek instructions from relevant authorities on implementing these measures. The Court appointed Advocate Syam Padman as Amicus Curiae in the matter and scheduled further consideration in two weeks.
(With inputs from Live Law)

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