AIDWA on media code

Amendments / Suggestions from AIDWA on media code
Guidelines for Film Certification:
  • Add - 2 (iii) (b) showing abuse or ridicule of physically and mentally handicapped persons …. OR RIDICULE OF POOR, ILLETERATE, RURAL PEOPLE
  • 2 (III) (A) sexual harassment and violence against women , whether in public or in matrimonial home or in work place should not be glorified or justified.
  • Social evils including dowry and bigamy should not be promoted, glorified or justified
  • Portrayal of women as subservient, subordinate beings encouraging gender subordination as opposed to EQUALITY enshrined in the constitution should not appear
  • 2 (xii) add - linguistic and casteist
  • 3 (ii) instead of morality, use the term " dignity and sensibilities"
  • Add a new provision - "The board shall also screen publicity materials including posters/promos/audio/video materials as per the censor guidelines. (For eg., audio cassettes of film songs are released much before the film gets completed and censored. So, when certain lyrics are censored during the censorship of the film, it becomes meaningless since the audio cassettes have been released ahead which include even the censored lines. So, either it should be taken as a promo and censored separately or as part of the film and censored along with the whole film in which case, it should not be released ahead of the film.)
  • Violation of censored guidelines generally goes unchecked. It is not possible for censor board members to go to all theatres and watch all the shows of all the movies. We may have to think about a separate mechanism as a watch dog body.
Programme Code
6 (1)(a) add - spirit of equality
Add a new section after 6 (1) (e) – Violence against women should not be glorified or justified or promoted. Even if it is germane to the theme, it should not be shown in a detailed and graphic manner.
(k) Rephrase it – “Denigrates women through the depiction in any manner of the figure of a woman, her form or body or any part thereof in such a way as to have the effect of being indecent or derogatory to women, OR DEPICTING WOMEN AS COMMODITIES OF SEXUAL DESIRE.
  • Portrayal of women as subservient, subordinate beings encouraging subordination as opposed to EQUALITY enshrined in the constitution should not appear.
  • 6 (2) Rephrase it – “ The cable operator should strive to carry programmes in his/her cable service which project women in a positive, leadership role with rights and responsibilities as citizens.
Advertisement Code
2 (i) add – gender and community
  (vi) Amend the last sentence as – “ The cable operator ….in his cable service, is aesthetic and is well within the established norms of dignity.
  (vi) Add a new section – Advertisements must avoid irrelevant association of women’s body or segmentation of body parts in order to sell a particular product.
Add a new section – Time slot reserved for commercials should not exceed 10 minutes per hour. For every 10 minutes commercial advt. There has to be a space for one minute socially relevant advt. Advt agencies and companies should be directed to create and sponsor these one minute capsules for every 10 minutes of advt. Of their product on air. This should not become the sole responsibility of the Govt.
Add a new section – care should be taken to include proportionate representation of different regional, cultural and social class/sections.
Suggestions to working draft on media code
Section 3 – Crime
3.4 Add the word “reinforce” before “incite” (Explanation : Certain programmes may not incite fresh violence, but would have a tendency to reinforce existing retrogressive values and practices against women). (Accordingly, the principle in this section also needs to be amended accordingly)
Violence includes not only physical – but also mental and psychological. This aspect has to be clearly mentioned.
Section 4 – Religion
While dealing with this section, the principle enshrined in the constitution ie. Scientific temper - needs to be kept in mind.
In the name of religion, dangerous, retrogressive and gender discriminatory practices should not be promoted
Section 5 – Impartiality and accuracy and undue prominence of views and opinions
In the news section, coverage of scenes of crime, violence and obscurantist supernatural practices should be dealt with utmost objectivity and sensitivity and not with the view to trivialize, sensationalise or glorify them.
Section 7 – Scheduling
7.1 The lincensee ….minors are expected to be viewing the programmes ie. Between 4 pm and 9 pm during week days and 7 am to 9 pm on holidays. The transition to more adult material must not be unduly abrupt at the watershed or after the time when children are particularly likely to be listening. For television, the strongest material should appear later in the schedule. Clear information about the content that may distress some children should be given if appropriate to the audience.
7.2 (ii) adult programmes should be allowed to be aired between 11 pm to 5 am ( not 10 pm to 6 am)
Chapter III - Additional issues to be addressed in the broadcasting code
Clarify the term “friendly countries”. Today’s enemy country will be a friendly country tomorrow and vice versa. There may be criticisms about the policies and attitude of certain countries impacting negatively on the livelihood issues of common people of our country or criticisms on certain judgements delivered by various courts. The concept of “Contempt of court” itself is undergoing changes in connotation. If there is no space absolutely for expressing these, views and opinions and freedom of expression also may come under peril. It will be totally undemocratic. So, talk shows, panel discussion etc. must have a space for this, apart from news channels.
3.9 Remove the last few words, starting with “ or is likely …. Upto morals”. Add,
No programme with portrayal of women as subservient, subordinate beings as opposed to EQUALITY enshrined in the constitution appearing to encourage gender subordination should be allowed.
Jokes, comments and observations in programmes/serials and in presentations done by anchor persons should be covered by the code.
4.4 (A) 12 (b) Add – content which reinforces values derogatory to and …..
Section 3 – unacceptable products and service
3.1 Add, - hazardous contraceptives
Section 6 – Harm and offence
6.3 (1) Remove the sentence “The content Regulator ….. broader public”
(2) Sexist comments. should be included under the “sensitive “ category. (comparison of women with objects like house or identifying them with cars, sweet paan etc )
Basically gender stereotying cannot be allowed. It is in clear violation of the concept of “Equality” enshrined in the constitution. Women are equal partners in social development. Showing them in typecast roles such as involving only in domestic chores, being subordinate to patriarchal values will go against the spirit of equality.
Chapter VI – additional issues to be addressed in the code
5.2 Presents VIOLENCE and criminality as desirable
5.4 Rephrase the last sentence – female form ….. delete tasteful. Within well established norms of DIGNITY (GOOD TASTE AND DECENCY CAN BE DELETED)
5.6 Add, son preference, bigamy and retrogressive practices putting women in a subordinate position in family and society.
Add a separate point: Stereotyping beauty in terms of skin colour, height and weight and linking it with matrimonial alliances is misleading and devaluating women.
Chapter VII – Regulatory mechanism
Section 2 – Grievance/default redressal mechanism
2.1 (ii) A separate grievance mechanism has to be set up at National/Regional/State level which includes atleast one third representation from women’s/people’s /subaltern,marginalized movements.
(iii) (b) onus of proof to be on the advertiser/producer
2.2 (ii) Even if the complaint is discarded a reasoned order is needed.
(iii) Case officer, as an individual, should not be authorized to take independent decisions. He/she will investigate and submit the findings to the larger committee. In each and every case, it is only the committee which can take decisions. It cannot be left to the discretion of individual officers.
(ix) (e) the committee’s orders have to be implemented. (In case of dissent, there is an avenue to go to the appellate authority). Non implementation should attract penalty.
(x) 45 days are reasonable for the final disposal of the complaint. But, if required, interim orders may be passed.
3.1 The composition of appellate tribunal shall have one third representation from women’s/people’s movement.