ADULT CONTENT ON INDIAN TV
- IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK !
- IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK !
To play safe, service providers often avoid carriage of any content that could be interpreted as adult. Even the Govt. has been aggressively monitoring and curtailing content that could even remotely be termed as adult.
Fashion TV (FTV) has only recently recommenced after a 3 month ban. The AXN channel also incurred the wrath of the Govt. for its program "The Worlds Sexiest Ads." The AXN channel was banned for 3 months. The I&B Minister has admitted that more than 100 notices have been sent to various Indian channels for inappropriate content.
So what really is appropriate & inappropriate? Particularly for adult content that the Indian Govt. plans to permit on Television between 11pm & 4am ?
3 CONTENT CATEGORIES
The government proposes to categorise content into 3 groups - U, U/A and A.
Each of these programs would have a specific time slot in which they will be scheduled to be aired.
There is also a category S, which denotes scientific, technical, and medical content meant for professionals or students.
ADULT - NOT mature content
First of all it should be clearly kept in mind that when the Govt. refers to "Adult Content" it is certainly not including mature content within this definition.
Recently, the Indian Govt. has circulated a draft of the Self-Regulation Guidelines for broadcasters. The draft is not a public document, but has been circulated on a restricted basis to broadcasters. The press has obtained access to this draft, and in the past few weeks, there have been several reports in the press, on various aspects of these draft self-regulation guidelines.
VERY STRICT GUIDELINES
Theme 2 of the guidelines relates to screening of content related to s_x, obscenity and nudity.
The proposed guidelines are rather restrictive, and if adopted, it remains to be seen if there is any scope for the broadcasters to meet viewer's expectations of midnight adult content!
Under the scheduling rules, category U and category S content can be aired at all times while category U/A (suitable for all above the age of 12) can only be aired between 8 am to 4 pm.
The adult content on television should be carried only between 11pm and 4am, on any day of the week. The time slot remains the same for week days and weekends.
The restrictions on content have been categorised and listed separately for language, violence, s_x, obscenity and nudity.
It puts programs into 9 categories and prescribes the do's and don'ts for each. These 9 categories are :
* Crime & Violence;
* s_x, Obscenity & Nudity;
* Horror & Occult
* Drugs, Smoking, Tobacco, Solvents & Alcohol;
* Libel, Slander & Defamation
* Religion & Community
* Harm & Offence
* General Restrictions.
According to the Self Regulation Guidelines, each broadcaster must declare before airing each program, which category : U, U/A or A the program falls under.
(Even) Adult Content should NOT carry Prolonged or frequent use of highly coarse language or dialogues with explicit sexual connotations.
Adult content is forbidden from glamorising violence or as an acceptable solution to human conflict. Clearly, a fair number of even past Hindi movies, cleared by the censor board for universal viewing will not pass this criteria, and there cannot be carried, even as adult content on television ?
The guidelines say that while the overall theme, storyline and characterisation may justify one or more specific scenes of crime or violence, the subject-matter and treatment of such content under all categories should not, among other things, present violence as glamorous or as an acceptable solution to human conflict.
The Indian government is in no mood to allow nudity in adult content, though probably a glimpse or two will be permitted. The Self Regulation guideline for broadcasters forbids complete nudity with full exposure of sexual organs or full female breast(s).
s_x & sexual activity, have predictably drawn the government's particular attention, and its carriage is highly restricted.
Prolonged or frequent depiction of crude or indiscreet gestures or movements or sounds, suggestive of sexual activity, is not allowed.
Prolonged or passionate kissing on the lips or fondling of female breasts or human or animal sexual organs, is forbidden. It remains to be seen how strictly restrictions on 'Passionate kissing on the lips" are implemented.
Explicit images of sexual activity or sexual perversions or violence including rape, molestation, & mature content are prohibited.
OUT OF THE CLOSET
A welcome liberalisation seems to be in the direction of accepting and acknowledging homosexuality.
Contrary to the 144 year old restrictions in Article 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which declares anal and non-procreative s_x "against the order of nature" and a crime even if undertaken in private by consenting adults, the proposed guidelines do not include homosexuality among "perverted or socially unacceptable practices". hence homo-sexuality can be depicted and homo-sexual associations can be themed under the adult category.
NEW BROADCAST BILL
The I&B minister has promised to introduce a Broadcast Bill in the 2007 monsoon session of parliament.
The new Broadcast Bill includes the setting up of a Broadcast Regulatory Authority Of India (BRAI).
A draft of the new Broadcast Bill, is available on the I&B ministry website, under the Policy documents (http://mib.nic.in/informationb/POLICY/BROADCASTSERVICESREGULATION BILL.htm).
If the Broadcast Bill is indeed introduced as promised, then a set of Self-Regulation Guidelines for broadcasters is also likely to be included. If the draft guidelines are implemented, Adult Content as defined and restricted by the Indian government may fall way short of the viewer's expectations. n