MSF Initiates Legal Action Against ‘Phantom’

After being banned by the Lahore High Court on the ground of ‘filthy propaganda’, it is now MSF’s (Medecins sans Frontieres) turn to draw the sword against ‘Phantom’, the Indian action thriller directed by Kabir Khan, starring Saif Ali Khan and Katrina Kaif.

Phantom, which was released on 28th of August, 2015 revolves around the story of an aid worker who helps a disgraced Indian soldier to assassinate Pakistani extremists, who orchestrated the 2008 Mumbai terror attacks.

The trailer of the movie portrays Katrina Kaif as an aid worker using arms to fight against terrorists. A report claims that while the name MSF is not mentioned anywhere in the Film, many aspects of the fictitious agency in the film ‘Medicine International’ are deceptively similar to the MSF, including its logo.

MSF claims that the portrayal of an aid worker taking sides with an Indian soldier against Pakistan terrorists is violating the principles of political neutrality followed by MSF. MSF follows a strict no-gun policy in all its clinics and even avoids armed security staffs.  MSF alleges that such misrepresentation about aid workers violating neutrality and using guns may endanger the life and property of aid workers placed in conflict locations.

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) or Doctors without Borders is an international humanitarian aid NGO, which is known for its projects in war-torn regions and developing countries facing endemic diseases.

MSF in its statement alleges that any portrayal that suggests MSF or its aid workers are engaged in any activity other than providing medical care will undermine their reputation among the public. MSF plans to initiate legal actions against the producers of the film on claims of defamation along with trademark and copyright infringements.

Previously, the Indian courts had relied on the presence of general disclaimers in films to grant orders in favor of the producers (see Dirty Picture case). However, the validity of such general disclaimers will be challenged, yet again if this dispute actually reaches the court.

Authored by Nithin V. Kumar.

Sources- here and here

Image Source/Attribution- here, governed by Creative Commons License CC BY -SA 3.0