Over last the 15 years, the Indian Broadcasting Foundation (IBF) has finally unanimously approved to a “Self Regulatory Guidelines and Complaints Redressal Mechanism” ushered through the ‘Broadcasting Content Complaints Council’ (BCCC).
“Broadcasters like Zee, Star and Sun create more content in a year then the entire film industry. Also, it’s a country of great diversity wherein TV viewing is a family culture and not restricted to individual four-walls. The guidelines have been existing for long, but now the members itself are taking the charge through IBF. Thus it is a conscious, voluntary step and IBF members have not violated any diktat,” explained Uday Shankar, Chief Executive Officer, STAR India and President, IBF about the rationale for setting up BCCC.
In this new code BCCC will be applicable to non-news channels.including general entertainment, children, special interest channels, refraining the news channels because of the presence of their own self-regulation body- News Broadcasters Association (NBA). IBF has adopted with suitable alterations the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting Self Regulation Guidelines for broadcasting sector draft version of 2008 that has been formulated further after a series of seven rounds of discussions with as much as 40 stake-holders from various areas including government officers, broadcasters, non-government organisations (NGO) and members of civil society participation in the process.
Under the complaint readdresal mechanism of BCCC (Tier-II), any person or group that files a complaint directly to the body within 14 days of the broadcast, shall be put to the Chairperson of BCCC. The chairperson after a rounds discussions and actions may pass an interim order directing immediate withholding of the offending telecast by the channel or may direct the channel to send its justification within twenty-four hours, just before the final order of BCCC.
In case, if any channel is found not adhering to the directions set by BCCC, then the apex body may issue a warning to implement the direction in next forty eight hours or may even ask to air an apology.
“The actions against any complaint would be directive in nature and not monetarily. It can be very severe action and we can even recommend the government for the cancellation of the license of the broadcaster if required,” explained Shankar.
Currently 20 companies are members of IBF who have around 270 channels under them. In this country where TV viewing is a social phenomenon and it has created more awareness than any other form of government programs, this is indeed a corrective measure to keep a check on the content. However the matter becomes grave for youth-oriented channels like ‘MTV’, ‘V channel’ and ‘Bindaas’ that run a spate of youth driven shows falling under the category of mature audiences. But if it all becomes successful, then it shall be a global model changing the face of the entire broadcasting industry.