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Drastic reduction in complaints related to sex, obscenity & nudity in Indian TV channels: BCCC

The number of complaints has come down from 47 per cent in BCCC’s First Status Report presented in January 2012 to 8 per cent in the Second Status Report

BestMediaInfo Bureau | Delhi | October 19, 2015

bccc-topBroadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), the independent self-regulatory body for non-news general entertainment channels set up by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), released its Second Status Report at its 50th meeting held on October 16, 2015.

BCCC was established in June 2011 to address complaints against television programmes in accordance with the Self-Regulatory Guidelines formulated by IBF, which is in consonance with the ‘Programme Code’ notified by the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (MIB) under the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995 and other relevant statutes.

The Council was chaired by Justice (Retd) Mukul Mudgal, who said, “Just as BCCC completes its 50th meeting today (October 16, 2015), the Council has evolved the practice of arriving at decisions through persuasion and consensus. The Council’s liberal perspective and democratic composition has helped it to propose corrective measures to the broadcasters for enhancing the pleasure of television viewing. We at the Council have noted a marked improvement in the quality of content aired on the channels. This makes it evident that the concept of independent self-regulation has worked very well in India.”

The Council was set up during the first tenure of Uday Shankar as the President of IBF. In his message, Shankar, who is serving his second term as the Foundation’s President, said, “Within a short span of four years, BCCC has set impeccable standards in independent self-regulation of television content. I thank IBF’s member channels for ensuring full compliance with BCCC’s directions. The Council’s success has reinforced the belief that self-regulation is the best form of regulation in a country as diverse as ours. BCCC has always tried to strike consensus rather than act as a moral guardian. I take immense pride in the fact that the Council, established during my earlier stint as IBF President, has gained such wide acceptance.”

The Status Report contains a theme-wise analysis of the specific (content-related) complaints received by BCCC between July 3, 2012 and August 22, 2015. It also incorporates various Advisories issued by the Council.

The Council’s most important achievement has been 100 per cent compliance of its directions and orders by member channels of IBF.

The Council has, from time to time, received matters, complaints and references from the High Courts of different states. It also provides inputs to the MIB for responding to questions put up by the Members of Parliament.

Highlights and trends of the Second Status Report:

Highlight: Since its inception and till August 22, 2015, BCCC has addressed a total of 27,676 complaints, including 5,262 specific complaints

Trend: For the period July 3, 2012 to August 22, 2015, the highest percentage (39 per cent) of complaints was against Theme-6: Harm & Offence, followed by Theme-5: Religion and Community (28 per cent) of the 4,545 specific complaints

Trend: The Harm & Offence complaints pertain to portrayal of persons with disabilities, child marriage/ abuse/ exploitation, stereotyping of women, mistreatment of animals and airing of content offensive to public feeling

Trend: This is a marked departure from the earlier trend noted in the First Status Report presented in January 2012, when the maximum number of complaints (47 per cent) related to Theme-2: Sex, Obscenity & Nudity. The reversal has resulted from BCCC’s constant focus on content that violated Theme-2. A large number of Advisories issued and the bulk of penal action taken also related to content that violated the Sex, Obscenity and Nudity guideline

Trend: Now, only 8 per cent of the complaints pertain to Theme 2: Sex, Obscenity & Nudity. A large number of these complaints were received from the MIB and most were against the content of English TV programmes

Trend: Between July 3, 2014 and August 22, 2015, nearly 11 per cent of the specific complaints pertained to Theme 1: Crime & Violence. The complaints were not only against crime-based shows, but also against violence shown in daily soaps as well as reality shows

Trend: Complaints relating to Theme 3: Horror & Occult – 11 per cent of the 4,545 specific complaints related to horror programmes

Trend: Complaints relating to Theme 4: Drugs, Smoking, Tobacco, and Solvents & Alcohol – Complaints pertaining to depiction of smoking scenes, consumption of alcohol and drugs were found to be less than 1 per cent

Trend: Approximately 28 per cent of the complaints related to Theme 5: Religion & Community. Most complaints pertained to mythology-based programmes aired on various channels

Trend: Remaining 2 per cent of the complaints pertained to Theme 7: General Restrictions. These grievances were against depiction of the wrong map of India, insult to the National Flag and wrong portrayal of court proceedings

Highlight: Directives, Orders, Advisories issued by BCCC have received full compliance from channels. There has been no instance of violation

Highlight: BCCC has held four Interactive Sessions with channels to sensitise them about different aspects of content. Two such sessions have been conducted in Mumbai and one each in Chennai and Kolkata

Highlight: To sensitise the channels on various issues, BCCC has so far issued 12 Advisories. These include: Advisory on Portrayal of Persons with Disabilities in TV Programmes; Advisory on Depiction & Use of National Flag, National Emblem, National Anthem and Map of India in TV Programmes; Advisory against Showing Acid Attacks on Television; Advisory on Telecast of Content Sensitive to Minorities; Advisory on Telecast of Content on Cartoon/ Children’s channels; Advisory on Comedy Shows; Advisory on Sexualisation of Children; Advisory on Health & Safety of Children; Advisory on Depiction of Animals/ Wildlife in TV Programmes; Advisory on Award Functions; Advisory on Participation of Children in TV Reality Shows; and Advisory on Portrayal of Women in TV Programmes

Highlight: BCCC has issued 15 detailed Orders to channels. Through these Orders, channels were asked to run apology scrolls and, in some cases, furnish financial penalties

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