TV body bats for enforcement of watershed hours for adult content

Written by Ashish Sinha | New Delhi | Updated: Jan 24 2013, 07:29am hrs
With 50% of the viewer complaints pertaining to sexuality, nudity, crime and violence in television content - movies or imported/local TV shows - the Broadcast Content Complaint Council (BCCC), the self-regulating industry body headed by Justice (retired) A P Shah, wants the government to enforce watershed hours (11pm to 5 am) for such content.

Also, BCCC wants a gradation of "violations" committed by television channels which should be adjudicated by an independent "Adjudicatory Body" so that there are no problems faced by channels while renewing their 10-year TV licences.

These are among the recommendations that BCCC will submit to the information and broadcasting ministry which had earlier sought its views in the matter.

Commenting on the complaints dealing with films shown on television, Justice (Retd) A P Shah said: "In my view, this business of mandatory change of film certification - from 'A' to 'U/A' - for films to be shown on television often leads to removal of significant portions from a film. Instead, such movies should be advised to air only in the restricted hours."

When asked if preview of television content by BCCC can help cut down a lot of complaints, BCCC member Shabana Azmi said: "The BCCC has decided to hold interactive sensitisation sessions with content heads to develop better understanding about IBF's self-regulatory guidelines. This would make television content suitable for unrestricted viewing."

Till November 2012, BCCC received 8,628 complaints and suggestions of which 1,072 were specific in nature. So far, it has issued seven advisories to fellow members and there were seven instances where they asked channels to take a programme off air.

On its part, Manjit Singh, CEO Multi-Screen Media (Sony) and president of Indian Broadcasting Foundation said BCCC has been playing a very important role and it is the interface between the viewer and the government when it comes to complaint redressal. Commenting on the operationalisation of industry-led television audience measurement body called BARC, Singh said it should start providing the TV ratings in the first quarter of 2014. "Now all hurdles in the formation of BARC have been crossed. We hope the measurement data starts coming out in the first quarter of next calendar year," he said.