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'TV shows violating advisories could be fined heavily'

Indo Asian News Service
23 January 2013

New Delhi, Jan 23 (IANS) Television content not conforming to advisories, including portrayal of violence or against sexualisation of children and women, could be fined heavily, according to proposals placed before the information and broadcasting ministry.

The Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) has presented a report to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting recommending heavy fines in accordance with the degree of violation of the advisories, said council chairperson Justice (retd) A.P. Shah at a conference here Wednesday.

According to Shah, nearly 50 percent of complaints received by the council relate to "sex and obscenity", especially in American serials. "Some of the serials are not properly edited and shown," he said.

The depiction of crime and violence was also very violent on television shows, he said.

The BCCC is an independent self-regulatory body for non-news channels set up by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation in consultation with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.

The council has received around 8,000 complaints, and many of them were of "frivolous" nature.

Justice Shah said the council had issued advisories against the "sexualisation of children". Children are made to dance in television shows on item numbers. "No child should dance to item numbers," he said.

Shah said he was against Press Council of India (PCI) chairman Justice (retd) Markandey Katju suggesting that PCI be made an all-powerful body over all media content, including entertainment. "There is an inherent danger of conferring all powers to one authority," said Shah.

According to Shah, the council has had "almost 100 percent compliance" from TV content providers on their orders.

Manjit Singh, Indian Broadcasting Foundation president, said the BCCC has taken "major initiatives" in monitoring content. "Self regulation is most appropriate," he said, and termed the council a "truly independent committee".

Noted actress-activist Shabana Azmi and council member said the BCCC receives many complaints about the indecent portrayal of children and women.

"Self-regulation is most important," she said, adding that the BCCC is interacting with creative content makers on the kind of content they should avoid.

"I'm surprised that despite so many women in the TV entertainment industry, they are reinforcing stereotypes of women," said Azmi.

Shah suggested that an "unrestricted hour" of television viewing should be allowed where "good cinema" with some adult content should be allowed, instead of showing it with a U/A certificate earlier in the evening. He also voiced his unhappiness over some south Indian films with "a lot of violence" being shown on television.

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