Television

I&B steps up content regulation with directive on horrow show timings

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NEW DELHI: Rapped by the government, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), an apex body of broadcasters operating in India, has formed a panel which will look into the slotting of horror shows on private satellite channels so that such shows are not easily accessible to children.

Reason: a missive from the Information and Broadcasting ministry on the issue of horror shows and their effect on children. The formation of the panel on horror shows - comprising Star India chief executive Peter Mukerjea, SET India chief executive Kunal Dasgupta and Sri Adhikari Brothers' vice-chairman Markand Adhikari - also coincides with certain steps on content regulation that the Indian government proposes to take. 

The Parliamentary Consultative Committee attached to the I & B ministry will be meeting tomorrow to discuss ways which can possibly give the government powers to control what it feels is undesirable programming on TV channels.

Broadcasting industry sources confirmed that the IBF has formed a panel to look into the issue of horror shows as it received a letter from the I&B ministry saying various representations have been made to it on rampant airing of horror and thriller shows during prime time which can have negative effects on children. 

The sources indicated that the IBF panel might look at shifting such programming on to late night slots or at times when children are not likely to be watching television.

Programmes like Aahat and Achanak on Sony, Shhh...Koi Hai on Star Plus and Khauff on Sabe TV usually air at 9 pm or 10 pm on weekends currently. 

The parliamentary panel tomorrow will discuss ways on how the government can enforce a control on content being put out on television channels, including commercials that have been termed objectionable like the Fair & Lovely cream ad - which, as per a petition to the I&B ministry by a human rights commission, promoted colour prejudice and is biased against the dark skinned girl child.

According to government sources, the move to get some hold over content on television also comes in the wake of frequent objections raised by members of Parliament on un-Indian like programming on the small screen. 

Meanwhile, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) is close to finalising a programming code that is to be followed by the member-broadcasters. 

According to early information available with indiantelevision.com, the IBF programming code, aimed at self-regulation, is a lengthy document running into almost 100 pages. It will be put up for the board's approval once it is finalised. 

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