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BCCC asks TV channels to exercise restraint on portrayal of gender-based violence


PTI, Jul 1, 2021, 12:57 PM IST

The Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) on Thursday asked non-news TV channels to exercise restraint in depicting content related to crimes against women, children and people from the LGBTQ community.

Issuing a detailed advisory for the portrayal of gender-based violence in TV programmes, the council asked the channels to ensure that explicit visualisation of violence against women, children and people from the LGBTQ community is minimised, and the message that such violence is unacceptable and must be abjured is clearly conveyed.

”The BCCC will like to reemphasise that the channels must exercise necessary prudence and caution while scripting, filming and editing such scenes,” it said in the advisory.

”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,” it added.

In addition, the BCCC said, the TV channels should also ensure that any such portrayal of violence on television is accompanied with an on-screen disclaimer in English, Hindi and other regional languages stating: “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.” “The BCCC asks for sensitivity while portraying such persons as victims of different forms of violence on television and expects channels to strive to use the impact and reach of television for constructive and reformative purposes,” the council said in the advisory.

The BCCC advisory comes two weeks after the Union government granted statutory recognition to a self-regulatory complaint-redressal mechanism for television channels.

“It is an all-encompassing advisory for broadcasters to exercise restraint on depicting content related to crimes against women, children and persons from the LGBTQ community. Sexual and domestic violence are matters of deep concern for the society and must be addressed with all seriousness,” BCCC chairperson Justice (retd.) Gita Mittal said.

The Union government had notified the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021 on June 17 which provides for a three-layer statutory mechanism for redressal of complaints relating to content aired on TV channels.

The BCCC, set up by the Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) in June 2011, is a self-regulatory body that examines content-related grievances against more than 300 non-news channels in the country.

“The council has so far issued 15 advisories over various aspects of content aired on television channels. The new advisory covers various dimensions of the portrayal of gender-based violence on television,” the BCCC said.

According to the Cable Television Networks (Amendment) Rules, 2021, the self-regulating bodies are required to register themselves with the central government within 30 days from the date of publication of the amended rules, or within 30 days from the date of its constitution, whichever is earlier.

“The BCCC, which has redressed thousands of complaints against general entertainment channels over the past 10 years, is set to be registered with the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting,” the council said.

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