The Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), the independent self-regulatory body for non-news television channels, approved the issuance of advisories on three subjects at its 15th meeting held on July 13, 2012. These were issued for the benefit of all member channels of Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF).
The three advisories which were issued by BCCC are regarding ‘Depiction of Animals/Wildlife in TV Programmes’, ‘Telecast of Award Functions’ and ‘Participation of Children in Reality Shows and Similar Programmes’. The BCCC has already issued an advisory to check the depiction of mistreatment of women in entertainment serials.
The first advisory which deals with the subject of ‘Depiction of Animals/Wildlife in TV Programmes’, believes that there is a growing availability of television content featuring animals, domestic and wild. Though most of the content on these channels is designed to educate the viewers about habitats, extinction threat, etc., many of the general interest entertainment channels, in particular those airing reality shows, are exhibiting content that is extremely harmful to animals. Not only are animals hurt and killed before, during and post filming, in many cases animals, especially reptilian and wild mammalian, are depicted as cruel and fearful, when in fact they are placed in unnatural environments, and their natural behavior is repressed. Wrong impressions are thus created and unfortunate myths spread.
Hence, television channels are hereby advised not to produce, support the production of, purchase and broadcast content that is in any way harmful to the health and well being, as well as the depiction, of any animal or species. It is also required that the depiction of animals that is resorted to, may be such as does not denigrate or detract from the ideal of co-existence, and respect for all forms of life.
They also mentioned that the code of conduct for advertising agencies and film production prescribed by the Animal Welfare Board of India pertaining to the use of performing animals is also applicable to broadcast media. These rules govern the manner in which performing animals should be treated during training, during the actual shoot, and during retirement. These rules also require special permissions to be obtained, and or furnished as evidence, before using animals, and apply to imported content and foreign locations as well.
The second advisory deals with the complaints that have been received by BCCC relating to the telecast of film award functions and shows. The BCCC has found that many of these shows feature vulgar dialogues, double-entendres and smutty puns from the anchors. Sometimes, the content of the so-called jokes is demeaning to women and other communities.
The BCCC has also noted that in many cases, the shows were not telecast live but aired at a later date. It wonders why, in such cases, the channels were not able to remove inappropriate content from telecast during prime time.
Henceforth, the BCCC advises all channels to exercise discretion while telecasting award functions, to guard against the inclusion of adult content during prime time and to refrain from airing any content that is demeaning to women and other communities. BCCC believes that if the content is to include adult humour then the telecast of these shows should only begin after 11PM. Nor should any repeats be broadcast before 11PM.
At its meeting held on July 13, 2012, the BCCC held wide-ranging discussions on the issue of participation of children in television reality shows and similar programmes. In accordance with the decisions taken, all IBF Member Channels are advised to strictly adhere to and comply with the ‘Guidelines to Regulate Child Participation in TV Serials, Reality Shows and Advertisements 2010-2011’ issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).