In line with the four advisories issued earlier by Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), the self-regulatory body for non-news general entertainment channels has issued two more advisories for the benefit of member channels of Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) and television viewers in general.
The advisories approved at BCCC’s 20th meeting held in New Delhi on December 14, 2012 pertain to sexualisation of children in TV shows, and health and safety of children participating in TV shows
Stressing on the need for issuing the two child-related advisories, BCCC Chairperson Justice (Retd.) AP Shah said, “Children command a crucial position, both as viewers and participants of television programmes. The BCCC firmly believes that their interest cannot be compromised under any circumstance. This is also the letter and the spirit of various laws and enactments relating to our children.”
“The BCCC is confident that both the advisories will be strictly followed by the various TV channels during the production and telecast of their programmes. Our intention is to make television viewing a pleasurable experience for all, particularly children.”
Sexualisation of children in TV shows
BCCC has received many complaints about sexualisation of children on talent and other shows on GECs. The BCCC has advised all member channels of the IBF to refrain from featuring children below the age of 12 years in any situation that has sexual or adult overtones. For instance, children should not be made to dance to songs that have covert sexual overtones. They should not be allowed to imitate adult gestures with a sexual or vulgar content. And they should not be placed in situations where they wear makeup and costumes in an effort to imitate adult performers and then enact scenes, songs or dance moves with an adult content or a sexual subtext.
This Advisory applies to all such situations and the BCCC does not consider it a mitigating circumstance if the channel has secured the permission of parents.
Health and safety of children participating in TV shows
BCCC has advised all member channels of IBF to refrain from placing children below the age of 16 years in situations that may endanger their health, safety and morale.
The content of any production and/or reality show that may cause anxiety/distress/mental trauma to the participating children must be avoided. The content of all shows should be sensitively handled, and the way children are projected should not harm or pose any risk to their safety and well-being, or cause any kind of health hazard.
Emphasis should be placed on the ‘best interest of the child’.
The child must be consulted and heard at all times throughout by all concerned. The participation of any child in any show, which may interfere with his/her ‘right to education’ in terms of effective school participation, should be avoided.
This advisory shall be read in conjunction with the guidelines of National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on ‘Participation of children in TV and reality shows’.
The earlier four advisories issued by the BCCC relate to:
Depiction of animals/wildlife in TV programmes (July 19, 2012)
Telecast of award functions (July 19, 2012)
Participation of children in TV reality shows (July 19, 2012)
Portrayal of women in TV programmes (January 24, 2012)