NEW DELHI: Advising television channels not to show any content
that is harmful to any animal or species, the Broadcast Content
Complaints Council has said that animals must not continue
to be exploited for human entertainment "especially when
we live in an enlightened age that recognises the value of
all species in a universal ecosystem".
an advisory to TV channels, the self-regulatory body said
that "responsible television content" can and must
go a long way in depicting animals and the environment in
a manner that is "healthy for the planet". Depiction
of animals that is resorted to may be such as does not denigrate
or detract from the ideal of co-existence, and respect for
all forms of life, it added.
also suggested that the code of conduct for advertising agencies
and film production prescribed by the Animal Welfare Board
of India pertaining to the use of performing animals should
be made applicable to broadcast media. These rules govern
the manner in which performing animals should be treated during
training, during the actual shoot, and during retirement.
These rules also require special permissions to be obtained,
and or furnished as evidence, before using animals, and apply
to imported content and foreign locations as well.
by BCCC which is a self-regulatory body of non-news channels,
after its 15th Meeting held on 13 July, the advisory said
"many of the general interest entertainment channels",
in particular those "airing reality shows", are
exhibiting content that is extremely harmful to animals. Not
only are animals hurt and killed before, during and post filming,
in many cases animals, especially reptilian and wild mammalian,
are depicted as cruel and fearful, when in fact they are placed
in unnatural environments, and their natural behaviour is
repressed. "Wrong impressions" are, thus, created
and "unfortunate myths" spread.
instance, live insects are eaten to show courage in a manner
that is distasteful and not conducive to health. A few channels
have a reality show in which animals are killed week after
week and animal parts such as sheep eyeballs and worms eaten
in order to show bravery. What is also disturbing is that
some channels rope in popular movie stars in serials in which
animals are depicted, and project their being stalked; teased;
tails being pulled at; food being pulled away, etc., i.e.
veritable torture of animals as an act of bravery.
the outset, BCCC said there is a growing availability of television
content featuring animals, domestic and wild. Besides full
channels devoted to animal-related programming, there are
also several lifestyle channels that feature pet programmes.
Most of the content on these channels is designed to educate
the viewer about habitats, extinction threat, humane training
and treatment. Such programming merits active encouragement
to make people understand the benefits of preserving the environment,
species and so on.
advised TV channels not to produce, support the production
of, purchase and broadcast content that is in any way harmful
to the health and well being, as well as the depiction, of
any animal or species.
also said such content, is not suitable for public viewing
because it is at variance with IBFs Content Code &
Certification Rules, 2011, which specifically stipulates that
the subject-matter treatment of any programme under
all categories shall not in any manner glamorise, promote,
encourage such activities and sports, which encourage ecological
imbalance and hurt animals.
depiction of wild animals in serials may also encourage the
possession of wildlife as trophies, as the Code specifically
stipulates that While the overall theme, storyline and
characterisation may justify one or more specific scenes of
crime or violence, the subject-matter treatment of such content
under all categories shall not encourage the possession of
wildlife as trophies.
of cruelty to animals has been defined as one in which a
living animal is intentionally harmed, maimed, mutilated,
tortured, wounded or killed or any other such conduct that
is illegal under the animal-protection laws; and depiction
of animal suffering, which is defined as physical
or mental pain or distress or trauma caused to a human being
or an animal by mistreatment, may promote the willful
infraction of animal protection laws, and the breach of the
fundamental duty cast upon every citizen of India by Article
51 A (g) of the Constitution of India, to show compassion
for living creatures.