BCCC issues advisory on portrayal of gender-based violence in TV programmes

Advises channels to ensure portrayal of such violence is accompanied with on-screen disclaimer

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jul 1, 2021 1:44 PM

The Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) has issued a detailed advisory on portrayal of gender-based violence in television programmes.

BCCC, chaired by former Chief Justice of J&K High Court Justice Gita Mittal, is the self-regulatory body set up by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) in June 2011 and it examines content-related grievances against more than 300 non-news channels in the country that air content in various languages.

On June 17, the Centre had notified the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021, putting in place a three-tier statutory grievance redressal structure for content aired on TV channels. BCCC, which has redressed thousands of complaints against general entertainment channels over the past ten years, is set to be registered as the second tier of the new mechanism by the ministry of information and broadcasting.

The Council has so far issued fifteen advisories over various aspects of content broadcast on television channels. The new advisory covers various dimensions of portrayal of gender-based violence on television.

“As pointed out by BCCC’s earlier Advisory on ‘Portrayal of Women in TV Programmes’ (24/01/2012), the Council has noticed that some entertainment programmes overindulge in portrayal of extreme forms of gender-based violence, which reinforce negative stereotypes,” read the advisory.

“Content on television mirrors social realities. On-screen portrayal of such incidents becomes inevitable to truly narrate the journeys of such protagonists and eventually their victories against such evils in an attempt to positively influence and inspire the viewers to speak up against such injustice.”

“However, there must be a bottom line in keeping to some standards of accepted decency and ostensible ‘sensitization’ wherein depiction of gender-based violence must not get vulgarised into titillation or propagate further subjugation.”

BCCC will like to reemphasise that the channels must exercise necessary prudence and caution while scripting, filming and editing such scenes. Channels should ensure that explicit visualisation of violence against such persons is minimised and the message that such violence is unacceptable and must be abjured is clearly conveyed.

The Council, therefore, advises television channels to exercise self-moderation while framing such plotlines based on social issues engulfing gender-based violence; ensure that their depiction is subtle and nuanced as well as additionally ensure that any such portrayal of violence on television is accompanied with an on-screen disclaimer (in English, Hindi and other regional languages) that states: Gender-based violence is a penal offence. This channel does not support or endorse any form of gender-based violence or abuse of any nature.

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