‘Pass Bill to ensure monitoring of content on electronic media'

Concerned over “blatant vulgarity” on prime time television, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has demanded that the Prohibition of Indecent Representation of Women and Children Bill, 2008 — the amended Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 — be passed immediately to ensure monitoring of the content on the electronic media.

The demand comes in the wake of public outrage over two reality shows — Big Boss and Rakhi ka Insaf. “Unless a law is enacted, shows like ‘Big Boss' and ‘Rakhi ka Insaf' cannot be stopped,” NCW chairperson Girija Vyas told reporters here on Friday.

She said the Commission had reviewed the 1986 Act and drafted amendments to broaden the definition of “indecent representation” and expand the scope of the Act to include electronic and digital media, and make punishments stringent.

“We appeal to the government to immediately pass the amended Bill so that there is a regulatory authority to control shows like the ones which are on air now,” she said.

Central authority

The proposed Bill had a provision to set up a central authority to regulate and prohibit indecent representation of women, she noted.

The scope of the proposed Bill would be extended to electronic media, Internet and also to SMS and MMS clips. “A new clause ‘publish' will be introduced to cover audio visual media, computer, satellite related communication or Internet communication.”

Commending Prasar Bharati for shifting the telecast of the two shows between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m, Ms. Vyas said the reasons cited for the shift included “abusive” language, “objectionable” content and divulging of “intimate” details on the shows.

However, ‘Big Boss' — aired on Colors — obtained a stay from the court on the Information and Broadcasting Ministry's order, while the telecast of ‘Rakhi ka Insaf,' which is aired on NDTV Imagine, was shifted to a late night slot.

“Unless there is law, such things cannot be controlled. They went to the court and got the order stayed. So, the immediate need is a law so that these kinds of programme can be controlled,” she said.

Ms. Vyas said the NCW had written to NDTV Imagine seeking an explanation for the use of “indecent language” by anchor Rakhi Sawant. “Besides law, there should be self-regulation also. Every media group, production house and advertisement agencies should create and maintain a self-regulatory mechanism. For example, the dresses worn by women in Big Boss are not decent,” she said.

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