The industry experts discussed content regulation on TV at TAM Media Research’s initiative ‘BLINK.’ The third session was on issues pertaining to content regulation on TV, ‘Regulating the industry – Is TV content going overboard?’ While both the speakers, Mukesh Vashi, Advocate, Mumbai High Court, and Subhash Chandra, Chairman, Zee Telefilms, emphasised the need to have a regulatory body to monitor content, there were different opinions expressed with regard to self-regulation and its implementation.
Vashi questioned the broadcasters’ request to permit them to show adult content after 11 p.m. Chandra argued, “We talk about examples from European nations and the West, but we do so selectively. They have a proper definition of ‘adult content’ – what comes under its purview and what doesn’t. Thus, our request to the I&B Ministry is that there should be clear classification of content. Moreover, if in households, parental lock is in use, things will be in place.”
Vashi vehemently came down on channels showing adult movies pointing to the intense impact they could have on children, “The channels violating the law should undergo suspension as a punishment.”
Chandra suggested, “There should be more unity among broadcasters. CAS could have solved the problem of content, but our own fellow members protested against CAS.”
Pointing to the inefficiency of the law, Vashi remarked, “When we approached I&B Ministry to take action, it asked us to contact the police. The police in turn, shrugged shoulders and directed us to the Censor board. The Censor board suffers from inadequate manpower. Thus law is not implemented properly.”
Speaking on general regulation of the industry, Chandra said, “There is no doubt that the television industry needs a regulating body. Considering the tremendous reach and impact television has, this can’t be overemphasised. However, we insist that there be a separate regulatory body for monitoring television content rather than have TRAI doing that.”
On different opinions among consumers for regulation of content, Chandra said, “I think, the society should define and debate and arrive at what it actually wants to see. As far as advertisements on our channels are concerned, let me assure you they are all cleared by the ASCI.”
Chandra admitted the fact that many good programmes get less viewership unfortunately.
“Give a choice to the consumer. Also give him the tool,” said L V Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research, giving his point of view on regulating content.
Responding to a suggestion from the audience, Chandra affirmed, “I agree with you – vision can also be sold. It needs not be business focus all the time.”
Vashi expressed that self regulation would hardly help a cause. He remarked, “The law is in place. However, the implementation is an issue. The impact of harmful content on minors can’t be ignored.”
However, there was agreement with regard to the view that there should be a regulating body for monitoring TV content.