BCCC cautions entertainment TV Channels on portrayal of gender-based violence

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on July 01, 2021

Says scenes portraying gender violence should be accompanied with an on-screen disclaimer

The Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC), the self-regulatory body that looks into content complaints against non-new TV channels, has asked TV channels to exercise necessary prudent and caution while scripting, filming or editing scenes portraying gender-based violence. In its latest advisory it has also said that scenes portraying gender violence should be accompanied with an on-screen disclaimer.

This advisory comes at a time when BCCC is in the process of registering itself with the Information & Broadcasting Ministry as the second tier of the grievance redressal mechanism and will soon get statutory recognition.

The self-regulatory body, which is chaired by former Chief Justice Geeta Mittal, said that it has noticed that some entertainment programmes overindulge in portrayal of extreme forms of gender-based violence which reinforces negative stereotypes.

“The Council, therefore, advises television channels to exercise self-moderation while framing such plotlines based on social issues engulfing gender-based violence; ensure that their depiction is subtle and nuanced as well as additionally ensure that any such portrayal of violence on television is accompanied with an on-screen disclaimer (in English, Hindi and other regional languages).”


It added that the disclaimer should state the following, “Gender-based violence is a penal offence. This channel does not support or endorse any form of gender-based violence or abuse of any nature.”

BCCC added that general entertainment TV channels should portray such scenes with sensitivity and ensure that explicit visualisation of violence against women, children and persons of the LGBTQ community is minimised. The self-regulatory also emphasised that the message that such violence is unacceptable must be clearly conveyed.

“Crimes against women, children and persons from the LGBTQ community reflect a deep social malaise which infiltrates all sections of the society. On-screen portrayal of such incidents becomes inevitable to truly narrate the journeys of such protagonists and eventually their victories against such evils in an attempt to positively influence and inspire the viewers to speak up against such injustice,” it added in a detailed advisory on the issue.

“However, there must be a bottomline in keeping to some standards of accepted decency and ostensible ‘sensitization’ wherein depiction of gender-based violence must not get vulgarised into titillation or propagate further subjugation,” it said.

The regulatory body added that prolonged depiction of physical and psychological violence leaves an indelible impact on young minds and rather than bringing out the essential message of disapproval and condemnation of such violence, runs the risk of its unintended elaboration.

Set up in 2011, by the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF), BCCC examines content-related grievances against over 300 non-new channels in the country. So far, it has issued 15 advisories on various issues including participation of children in reality tv shows, depiction of animals and wildlife, and occult and superstition on TV channels, among various issues.

Published on July 01, 2021

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