Along with shifting the telecast timings of ‘Bigg Boss’ and ‘Rakhi Ka Insaaf’ to after 11 pm, the I&B Ministry has also restrained news channels from showing clippings of these two shows between 5 am and 11 pm terming them as ‘adult’ content. News channel editors have called it a move in the right direction and stressed that news should have some sensitivity.
The I&B Ministry has called the content of the two shows – ‘Bigg Boss’ and ‘Rakhi Ka Insaaf’ – not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition, especially at prime time, and has ordered the telecast timings to be shifted to between 11 pm and 5 am. Moreover, the Ministry also restrained the telecast of clippings of the two shows on any news/ non-news channel during the restricted time zone from 5 am to 11 pm.
Commenting on the development, G Krishnan, CEO, TV Today Network (Aaj Tak and Headlines Today), said, “The content in question has been identified and termed as ‘adult’ content. There is an adult viewing time, which is 11.00 pm to 5.00 am, and we are fine with following this.”
Reacting to the Ministry order, Satish Singh, Editor, Zee News, remarked, “I think it is a move in the right direction. News should have some sensitivity and sensibility. It suits us as news is meant for unadulterated watching. The content should have news and it should have the right elements. As a news channel, we don’t show such content in the name of news. I am all for it.”
Speaking along similar lines, Rahul Deb, Editor-in-Chief, CNEB, said, “I think it is a right move as something had to be done. In the news and general entertainment space, you can’t have adult content. The Government has to look after wider social impact. In the name of entertainment there are things leading to obscenity. There has to be some regulation, some scrutiny and some censorship has to be done. I agree with this.”
Commenting on the I&B Ministry’s directive, Sudhir Choudhary, CEO and Editor-in-Chief, Live India, remarked, “If such content is not advisable to be shown on entertainment channels, you can’t show it on any other channel. If a news channel is showing a story about vulgar content on these channels, then they are showing vulgar content themselves. What we did when we carried this news was instead of showing visuals of people shouting obscenities, we carried still pictures. I agree with it.”
Meanwhile, India TV’s Managing Editor, Vinod Kapri, said that the BEA (Broadcast Editors’ Association) would speak on their behalf, however, BEA officials were not available for comment at the time of filing this report.
On a different note, PM Balakrishna, VP, Allied Media, said, “I don’t think it makes any sense at all, there must be some background on it. Imposing restraint on something has never worked in India. On the contrary, that has had the opposite effect as people get curious. I don’t think there is any real motive yet.”
Mohit Joshi, Executive Director, North, MPG, remarked, “I think it is a positive move if you look from the viewers’ perspective. In India, there is family viewing and such shows cross the boundaries. It will be a precedent for others to follow. As these shows get ratings, so news channels use them as fillers to boost ratings. From a planners’ point of view, yes it will affect the numbers definitely. It has to be self regulatory, but channels were not doing that and were showing such content in prime time. So, it is a welcome move.”
Even as news channel editors have welcomed the Government’s move, it remains to be seen how much it will encourage self regulation in the future. Also interesting will be to see how this order impacts the TRPs.