23 Nov : The draft content code submitted by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation to the government for its approval has categorised television programmes into two classes — one for general viewing and the other for restricted viewing.
The code was submitted to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry sometime back by the IBF, a conglomerate of over 200 channels, including Prasar Bharati.
Even as the ministry was mulling over it, the Supreme Court had last week given four weeks time to submit guidelines for regulating TV programme content on the lines of IBF’s draft content code.
Additional Solicitor General Gopal Subramaniam on behalf of the government had tabled, before a bench of Justices B N Aggrawal and G S Singhvi, the draft TV content code framed by IBF.
The ministry is currently working on framing content guidelines taking the IBF’s draft code as a reference point.According to the draft guidelines, programmes that can be seen by everyone should be put in general accessible category.
It has suggested that in the other category, restricted programmes accessible to only consumers aged 18 years and above should be slotted.The code says that such content should be made available only on conditional access basis through parental consent or through pin code control as in the case of direct-to-home (DTH) services.
The draft code further elaborates by suggesting that the distinction between both the categories is that restricted programmes should be accessible only through a password operated by adults after 9.30 pm and before 6 am.
As per the draft content code guidelines, it would be the responsibility of the broadcasters that nothing is included in the programmes of any television service which is against public interest, national harmony or which genuinely offends good taste and decency.
The self-regulatory code also seeks to ensure that social issues like institution of marriage should be treated with responsibility, while issues like adultery, promiscuity, sex, obscenity, nudity, gambling and alcoholism should not be promoted.
"Portrayals of sexual behaviour should be discreet and infrequent. Sexual innuendos or suggestiveness should not be crude and offensive," the code states.
It also elaborates that programmes should not undermine public security interest or public confidence in the law and its enforcement.
"Programmes should not contain extremist or anarchic messages such as advocating or promoting the use of violence for political ends or other purposes," it says.
The content code further says that violence should not be depicted solely for its own sake or for gratuitous exploitation of sadistic or other perverted practices.
"Scenes with excessive violence or suffering such as close-up shots of persons being brutally tortured or killed and visual depiction of rape scenes should be minimised," it adds.