Censorship & Society


Aspects of censorship have been making headlines internationally, from fatal riots in Bangladesh about blasphemy laws and literature festivals and exhibitions being blocked in India, to Internet platforms being restricted and individuals being arrested for commenting on social networking sites. The differences in mindsets, visions and aspirations of various groups manifest visibly on issues of censorship, and its effects are felt by individuals and industries at many levels. As societies grapple to balance disparate imperatives, from security and tradition to free speech and democracy, dialogue on norms about censorship is of utmost importance.

Join our programme to explore how rules about censorship in society are shaped, how censorship in turn defines society, and how we can create shared public ownership for dialogue on this topic. Our panel will be supplemented by video excerpts, showcasing perspectives of people across ages and walks of life.


Madhavi Goradia Divan is an advocate practicing in the Supreme Court and has authored the book Facets of Media Law (2006). Between 1995 and 2007, she practiced law at the Bombay High Court. She was a Cambridge Commonwealth scholar and has written and published extensively on media and freedom of expression. She is a columnist for The Indian Express.

Mahesh Murthy is a Founding Partner at Seedfund and the Founder of Pinstorm, a pay-for-performance digital brand management firm. Murthy has over 26 years of marketing and communications experience, of which 15 years are in online marketing and has worked with Grey in India and Ogilvy in Hong Kong. He then moved to a Silicon Valley firm, CKS Partners (later, USWeb/CKS) as Creative Director, GM and Partner — where he helped launch the first commercial version of Yahoo in 1995 and the Earth’s Biggest Bookstore campaign for Amazon.com in 1997. After a successful NASDAQ IPO, Murthy moved to head marketing at iCat, an e-commerce firm in Seattle subsequently acquired by Intel. Murthy also writes a column in The Wall Street Journal.

Anjum Rajabali is a Screenwriter and is the head of the department of screenplay writing in the Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) and Whistling Woods International. From Drohkaal to Raajneeti, he has also scripted films like Aarakshan, Chakravyuh, Gulam, Pukar, The Legend of Bhagat Singh and many more. Rajabali is devoted to the progress and development of screenwriting in India and is a member of the Central Board of Film Certification. He is also the head of advisory for the Asia Society’s New Voices Fellowship for Screenwriters.

Neville Taraporewalla is Senior Director-Emerging Markets and is part of the Leadership team at Microsoft India and provides strategic direction to the Advertising & Online business. His responsibility extends beyond India, including the markets of Malaysia, Thailand and Korea, driving long-term success and market growth of Microsoft’s digital products, i.e.: Bing , Bing Mobile, MSN, MSN Mobile Skype, Skype Mobile, Outlook.com, Xbox and WIN8 AiA while evangelizing Microsoft digital online assets to marketers and consumers.

Video comments by:

Dr. Reza Aslan, an internationally acclaimed writer and scholar of religions, is the founder of AslanMedia.com, an online journal for news and entertainment about the Middle East and the world. He is Co-founder and Chief Creative Officer of BoomGen Studios, the premier entertainment brand for creative content from and about the Greater Middle East. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Los Angeles Institute for the Humanities, and the Pacific Council on International Policy. He serves on the board of directors of the Ploughshares Fund, which gives grants for peace and security issues; Abraham's Vision, an educational, conflict transformation organization for Israeli and Palestinian youths; PEN USA, which champions the rights of writers under siege around the world; and the Levantine Cultural Center, which builds bridges between Americans and the Arab/Muslim world through the arts.

Orville Schell is the Arthur Ross Director of the Center on U.S.-China Relations at Asia Society in New York. He is a former professor and Dean at the University of California, Berkeley’s Graduate School of Journalism. He is a Fellow at the Weatherhead East Asian Institute at Columbia University, a Senior Fellow at the Annenberg School of Communications at USC and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Schell was a Fellow at Columbia University's Graduate School of Journalism and the recipient of many prizes and fellowships, including a Guggenheim Fellowship, the Overseas Press Club Award, and the Harvard-Stanford Shorenstein Prize in Asian Journalism. Schell is the author of 14 books, nine of them about China, and a contributor to numerous edited volumes.

In partnership with:

AsiaLive, presented by Asia Society India Centre and Open Magazine, features timely debates and discussions on major news events that impact Asia. Our previous events under this series include a discussion between Ambassador Meera Shankar, Former Indian Ambassador to the U.S. and Ambassador Karl Inderfurth, Wadhwani Chair in U.S.-India Policy Studies, Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), around the stakes of the 2012 U.S. Presidential Elections for Asia; a talk on how to manage dissent in democracy with Aruna Roy, Member of the National Advisory Council; and a panel on the impact of Japan’s Fukushima nuclear incident on India’s own nuclear development with Anil Kakodkar, former chairman of the Atomic Energy Commission of India, Ashok Sethi, Vice President for Mumbai Operations of Tata Power, Bernd Forster, German Deputy Consul General in Mumbai, and Vikas Bajaj, Mumbai correspondent for the New York Times.

Outreach Partners

To submit your questions in advance for the moderator, please email asiasociety@asiasociety.org.in

Event Details

Thu 30 May 2013
6:30 PM - 8:30 PM
Auditorium, National Gallery of Modern Art, Sir Cowasji Jahangir Public Hall, M G Road, Fort Mumbai - 400032 RSVP REQUIRED: asiasociety@asiasociety.org.in (Priority will be given to Asia Society members) TICKET PRICE: Asia Society members- FREE, All others, Rs. 100 (free for students and press with a valid ID)
Add to Calendar 20130530T130000 20130530T150000 UTC Asia Society: Censorship & Society Auditorium, National Gallery of Modern Art, Sir Cowasji Jahangir Public Hall, M G Road, Fort Mumbai - 400032 RSVP REQUIRED: asiasociety@asiasociety.org.in (Priority will be given to Asia Society members) TICKET PRICE: Asia Society members- FREE, All others, Rs. 100 (free for students and press with a valid ID)