IBF Sets Up Council To Deal With Viewers' Complaints Over TV Content
New Delhi, August 6: Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) has been set up to take corrective measures and issue guidelines to Indian general entertainment channels on issues relating to objectionable content. The body has received 80-90 complaints since it was set up in June.
Once the organisation receives the viewers' suggestions or complaints, it takes action, explains Naresh Chahal, director (Finance), BCCC.
”We have got a scroll on channels saying if the viewers have any complaints regarding the content of the show, then they can contact us. Then the committee takes a call on whether the mistake is genuine or not and accordingly we issue guidelines to the channels,” Chahal said.
However, he feels “content is a very subjective issue and self-regulation is the best that one can do”.
”It is very difficult to define what is right, what is wrong. But the council will keep a check so that nothing obscene is shown on television,” he added.
BCCC is an independent council formed by the Indian Broadcasting Federation (IBF), comprising a committee of 13 members, headed by A.P.Shah, former chief justice of the high court.
BCCC examines feedback from not just viewers but also NGOs, RWAs and the ministry of information and broadcasting to ensure that the content of the programmes is in conformity with its Self Regulatory Content Guidelines.
According to the council's website, ibfindia.com, a viewer can complain against the breach of guidelines with respect to national interest, racial and religious harmony, social values, kissing, sex and nudity, violence and crime, drugs, smoking, tobacco, solvents and alcohol, libel, slander and defamation.
Chahal hopes the viewers will realise the worth of this exercise in time.
”It's been just a little while since the committee sprang into action. So far we have received 80-90 complaints but most of them are just suggestions where some people are asking to change the time slot of a particular show. However, the board is examining a few of them,” said Chahal, while carefully guarding the complaints.
It is important for viewers to take note that any complaint pertaining to a programme should be filed within 15 days of the day of broadcast for the BCCC to take immediate action.
”The complaint can be filed before the BCCC against any offending programme broadcast on any of the IBF member TV channels within 15 days of the date of the broadcast of that particular episode,” said Chahal.
”The committee will take a call and if it finds anything offending, it can write to the channel and the channel has to reply to us with an explanation or justification within a week,” Chahal added.
To file a complaint, a person has to write to the standard and practices department of the TV channel concerned with the channel's name, the date and time of telecast of the offending content, the title of the programme, details about the alleged offence along with reasons as to why he/she feels that the particular programme breached the code of conduct.
Chahal warns that the BCCC has teeth.
”We (BCCC) have a lot of power. If a channel doesn't adhere to the directions issued by the committee, the board members can expel the channel from the membership of IBF. In extreme cases, the committee can even ask the information and broadcasting ministry to take strict action against the channel,” he added.