Regulators

MIB issues advisory to Colors for ‘Bigg Boss 7’

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NEW DELHI: The Information and Broadcasting Ministry (MIB) has issued an advisory to the general entertainment channel (GEC) Colors in connection with ‘Bigg Boss Season 7’ and a warning to Amrita TV for telecasting ‘Adults only’ certified film ‘The Don’.

In the case of Colors, the Ministry has said that certain scenes of the series which commenced on 15 September last year ‘offended good taste and decency. The participants in the show used abusive and vulgar words with sexual overtones. The content also denigrated women. The programme even contained some potentially horrific and hazardous visuals which could be imitated by impressionable minds of children and it was not suitable for children and for unrestricted public exhibition.’

 It took note of an order that the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had on 24 September passed, in which it had asked the Ministry to examine the content of the series to ascertain if it was fit for telecast at 9.00 pm or after 11.00 pm.

 The Ministry had issued a show cause notice on 8 October to Colors in which it was brought out that prima facie Rule 6 (1) (a), (d), (k), (o) & Rule 6(5) of Programme Code contained in the Cable Television Networks Rules, 1994 appeared to have been violated by the channel.

 Colors had later in a letter dated 23 October told the I&B that it had not violated any provision of the Cable Television Network Rules 1994 and that 'Bigg Boss' was a reality show containing unscripted situations and actual occurrences between a group of people who live in a closed environment away from all external influences; this format was widely appreciated; and the show had been running successfully on Colors from the year 2008.

 The Inter-Ministerial Committee on 5 December also gave personal hearing that was accorded to the channel.

Referring to an electric shock episode on 2 October, it was stated that this was part of various tasks that were intended to test the physical and mental strength of the participants.

 One particular housemate was assigned a task wherein she was to sit on a specific chair and bear a mild electric shock ‘to which she had voluntarily agreed', and all the tasks assigned to the inmates of the house are pre-tested by the production team under strict supervision and controlled condition. The intensity of electric shock was very minimal since it was only of 15 volts.

The Committee concluded that there was a need to depict some scenes carefully as the same could be risky and could be imitated by children. Thus, the channel should be careful with regard to content to be telecast on the channel keeping in view the fact that TV has a very wide reach and can create long lasting impression on the minds of viewers, particularly the children.

The Ministry said the competent authority had come to the conclusion that though there was no grave violation of any provision of the Programme Code, care and caution was needed to be exercised by the channel while telecasting such nature of content within the framework laid down by the Cable Act and Rules. The channel should also ensure that the programme is suitable for unrestricted public exhibition and bear in mind the impression it could leave on the minds of children.

 Colors was therefore advised to adhere to the Programme and Advertising Codes and to be careful with regard to content to be telecast on the channel. “Strict compliance with the above direction should be ensured by the channel. Any violation shall entail such action against the channel as deemed fit in accordance with the Cable Television Network (Regulation) Act 1995 and the Rules framed there under as also the terms and conditions of the permission or approval granted under uplinking/downlinking guidelines,” the MIB said.

 Meanwhile, the Ministry has also warned Amrita TV to strictly adhere to the programme code prescribed under the 1995 Act and said any further violation may entail such action against the channel as deemed fit in accordance with the Act.

 The channel had telecast the film on 3 June 2012. A show cause notice had been issued to the channel on 28 May last year to the effect that ‘Rule 6(1)(o) of the programme code provides that no programme should be carried in the cable service, which is not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition. The Rule 6(1)(n) provides that no programme should be carried in the cable service, which contravenes the provisions of the Cinematograph Act 1952. Further, it stated that programmes unsuitable for children must not be carried at times when the largest number of children are watching.

The channel had in its reply in June last year apologised and undertook that such incidents shall not be repeated in future. It said the film was shown erroneously and regretted the oversight. The channel claimed that when the agreement for this feature film was signed in 2006, it was not very conversant with the complexity of film protocols. The channel also claimed that it had edited out all the adult content in the film.

The Inter-Ministerial Committee has therefore decided to let off the channel with a warning and expressed the hope that there will be no further violation of the Programme or Advertising Codes.

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