TV entertainment companies should form code of conduct: BJP

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

NEW DELHI - Holding that some television shows were affecting viewer’s sensibilities and having an “undesired effect on children”, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said Wednesday that the information and broadcasting ministry should ask the entertainment companies to form a code of conduct.

In a letter to Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni, BJP Mahila Morcha president Smriti Irani said a lot of people perceive that Indian TV had taken an “unfortunate turn” in terms of the content being shown.

As perceived by a large section of the masses, Indian television has now taken an unfortunate turn with regard to a part of the content that is being shown today. A few shows are understandably affecting the viewers sensibilities and are having an undesired effect on children, Irani, a TV actor, said in the letter. The letter is also signed by Darshanaben Jardosh, BJP MP from Surat.

The government must direct the general entertainment companies to come together to form a code of conduct for themselves, keeping in mind the essence of the Indian culture, within a stipulated time of eight to ten weeks. If they fail to do so within the said time limit the government must constitute a committee or a regulating body which sets out guidelines as to what is suitable for a family audience which includes the youth, the letter said.

The letter said the committee guidelines may be applicable till the time companies form a code of conduct. It said the committee may comprise media persons, mental health professionals and representatives from the government and opposition parties.

The letter said the media was looked upon as the fourth estate and “it is not in the interest of the country to fetter the independence of media”.

However, a host of decisions of the Supreme Court have proved that in a conflict between fundamental rights and public interest it is always the latter that prevails. The government has acted too little too late, it said, referring to the government’s proposal to push to the late night slot two shows.

The letter said television had power to influence minds and that the power should be exercised with responsibility.

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