MUMBAI: A fortnight back, Indiantelevision.com had written that the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), a complaint redressal arm of the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), was going to come out with two more advisories for the broadcasting fraternity.
The 13 member board, headed by Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal, at its 33rd meeting, has approved the issuance of the two advisories for the benefit of television channels.
The two advisories are:
1. Advisory on Portrayal of Persons with Disabilities in TV Programmes;
2. Advisory on Depiction and Use of National Flag, National Emblem, National Anthem and Map of India in TV Programmes.
For the first advisory on portrayal of persons with disabilities, the BCCC which had received several complaints earlier feels that adequate protection is necessary to avoid content which may be distasteful, harmful and offensive to persons with disabilities.
The Persons with Disabilities (Equal Opportunities, Protection of Rights and Full Participation) Act, 1995, lays down the law to safeguard the rights and facilities of persons with disabilities. “And keeping this in mind, the Council believes that humour should not be created through any undesirable depiction of persons with disabilities and no derisive and disparaging reference should be made to their disability,” said the BCCC through a statement.
The Council has advised all IBF member channels to exercise caution and be sensitive in the portrayal of persons with disabilities, to be conscious of their dignity, and to adopt a mature and responsible tone. At the same time, the Council has also advised the channels to look at the inclusion and mainstreaming of persons with disabilities in TV programmes.
As for the depiction and use of National Flag, National Emblem, National Anthem and Map of India, the BCCC has advised all its IBF member channels to refrain from airing any content that may amount to misuse or wrong depiction of all of these.
The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act, 1971, and the Prevention of Insults to National Honour (Amendment) Act, 2005, lay down guidelines for the usage, depiction and portrayal of National Flag, National Emblem and National Anthem. “And hence, if any depiction/usage of the above becomes necessary as part of a programmes storyline, the channel should take necessary precautions so as to abide by the law of the land,” said the advisory.
The advisories come into effective immediately as all channels have been informed.
On what will be the penalty, if channels, failed to follow the new guidelines BCCC secretary general Ashish Sinha told indiantelevision.com, “The gravity of it will depend on the kind of violation. As per our guidelines everything is graded. However, this time around it can even go beyond us as if not followed, the channels will be breaking the law of the land because they will be disobeying the laws laid by the Parliament.”