World of India!: CurrentAffairs : Adult content ban on Indian cable channels e

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CurrentAffairs : Adult content ban on Indian cable channels

Couple of days ago I was flipping through T.V channels, when I hit upon several black screens, especially the Movie channels. In the evening I learnt that cable channel operators had blanked these channels out due to a High court directive to not show adult content on Television, without it having secured the necessary certification from the Censor Board. The cable operators were incensed that the Mumbai police had raided their fraternity for flouting this directive from the High court and hence took this measure. The upshot is that consumers across Maharashtra are being blacked out of some of the most popular television content- adult or not.

So should T.V. content be 'sanitized' and certified before allowing to flow through in our homes? Consider the following:

- There is no regulation on what broadcasters should telecast in India, no code of conduct, not even a trade association which self-regulates. Films in India, for example are governed by the Censor Board, Advertising industry is self-regulated by a trade body called AMFI, even the Marathi theatre is governed by its own Censor Board!

- Unlike the Film industry, where the pre-dominant mode of distribution is (still) going out to the theatre and watching the film, Television content visits your home willy nilly and, to that extent, is accessible to everyone in the home. Moreover, you can choose to go to a adult film alone on a theatre, but T.V. content is often watched by the entire family and as such, if some adult content flashes through the screen, the entire family has to view it, including often, minor children.

- Regulation of television content is a reality in most countries. In the USA for instance, the FCC (Federal communication commission) acts as the regulatory body. Broadcast stations are prohibited from airing adult content from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. It is interesting to note that cable TV is "almost unregulated" in the States and yet practices self regulation due to fear that this will prompt the FCC to introduce stringent regulation! Consumers have a choice of getting adult content by subscribing to several pay channels, which are freely available.

It is generally accepted by every one that Television content needs to be regulated. The debate as usual is on the means to do it and, of course, the most important question of all - what constitutes adult content for the purposes for home consumption. The latter, especially, can be a very difficult nut to crack, given the fact that one man's drink can be another man's poison. Ask Pratibha Nathani and she might find a girl in a skirt offensive. Ask me and I might find a girl in a micro mini offensive and be upset as to why the director missed the chance to make her wear a bikini instead!

One of the major reasons why many people seem to be incensed over T.V. content is remix songs. I personally am of the opinion that if one were to measure skin exposed with a tape, the amount of exposure today is probably lesser, compared to the days of Helen and gang. But directors are playing it smart by making the actresses use their body language to convey raunchiness. For example, if you have seen the last remix done by Shefali Jariwala (cant remember the lyrics now), she is quite well clad, but mouths the lyrics in a way, which conveys obscenity. You can also watch the remixes by Sophia Choudhary or Deepti Bhatnagar. Its the same story with their remixes.

My personal opinion is that Indian T.V content, as it exists today, is ok for consumption. Some of the more risque' content is being shown fairly late in the night, anyways and that should be allowed. Nobody has the right to deny consumers their right to watch adult content, if they choose to. Like every art/media form and indeed,like every element of the society, it is trying to push the envelope and when the push becomes a bit too much, it will get a push back from other societal elements - like the latest one from Ms. Nathani. But should we overdo this push back, we run the danger of becoming over protected. Its time therefore, that the broadcasters themselves come together and self regulate themselves by forming their own regulatory body, rather than allow the like of Ms. Nathani to run away with the ball and tie the whole society in knots, from which later it becomes difficult to escape.

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September 20, 2006 11:30 PM

Hey, you have a nice viewpoint. Let me give you another point in support of your view. Tell me something. Are the censor board members or the concerned parents who raised such a hue and cry against adult content in television, aware of what actually adult content is? If kissing, flirting or getting intimate are considered adult then what about western comics? I am not a blogger but recently wrote on this topic in merinews. You will find it here:

http://www.merinews.com/catFull.jsp?articleID=123476&catID=2&category=Nation&rtFlg=rtFlg

Will appreciate ur opinion on my article.    



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