BCCC gives advisory to channels on superstitious content
Television channels such as ZEE, Colours, Sun TV, and MAA TV were sent an advisory from the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council regarding their occult programmes. The BCCC notice was given to channels because of objections from viewers on apprehensive content. BCCC asked the channels to "exercise caution" while putting out programmes on "occult, superstitions, black magic" and regarding portrayal of women in negative roles.
The Broadcasting Content Complaints Council (BCCC) was set up in 2011 to "self-regulate the content of all non-news TV channels in India". It regulates as many as 550 Indian entertainment channels including children's television and special interest channels to inhibit the telecast of lewd or offensive content and to addresses public complaints. The body also decides what content needs to be categorised as 'restricted'.
Any breach of the advisory from BCCC is considered a serious offence and requires the channel to retract or edit the content considered offensive. If the channels continue to infringe the advisory, a fine of up to Rs.30 lakh can be imposed. On further violation, the case is referred to the Information and Broadcasting Ministry and can lead to the channel's licence being withdrawn.
Karnataka CM Siddaramaiah said that he was in favour of banning the astrology channels "to stop these people from following blind beliefs and superstitions, and toeing the line advocated by astrologers and self-styled religious guides." The CM's announcement led to a raging debate over his stance especially from television channels that earn both viewership and revenue from these shows.
Since its inception 13 advisories have been issued by the BCCC, this however, is the first advisory on "superstition and black magic and their role in the portrayal of women".
Retired Justice Mukul Mudgal, who heads BCCC said the advisory was issued because occult programmes "were getting too frequent on the channels." Further BCCC said that while it respected the channel's creative freedom but such depictions should not be 'exaggerated' and that it was only laying guidelines. If extremely necessary for the story, the channels were directed to run a scroll disapproving such practices.