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Over 3,000 complaints against TV programmes to regulator

Press Trust of India  |  New Delhi 

The Broadcast Content Complaints Council (BCCC) received 3,441 complaints in six months since its inception in June last year, with maximum against a Rakhi Sawant hosted programme and appearance of porn star Sunny Leone in reality show 'Bigg Boss'.

The self-regulatory body or TV channels has disposed of a majority of the complaints, officials said.

A sizeable 1,883 were found to be either not relating to the content of the channels or just suggestions.

In such cases complainants are informed that such complaints do not specifically relate to content and the BCCC is unable to consider them.

However, 479 did fall under the category of specific complaints which were heard by the Council and specific action taken.

Among these 36 complaints specifically raised issues related to the appearance of Leone on Colors Channel programme Bigg Boss 5.

Some of the complainants had claimed that children are being exposed to porn industry as they are getting curious to know who is a porn star.

BCCC in its order strongly objected to Leone using her appearance on Bigg Boss-5 as promotional material on her own websites and also advised the channel to choose future participants with care.

The number of complaints related to Leone was second only to the number of complaints received against the telecast of a programme "Gazab Desh ki azab Kahania" which was hosted by Rakhi Sawant on Imagine TV.

The highest number of complaints, 58 were received on the telecast of this show, where the BCCC ruled that the channel should exercise discretion in selecting content for the show.

A majority of the other complainants also objected to depiction of sexuality in television programmes. BCCC took action ranging for advising channels to not telecast programmes during general viewing hours to prohibiting telecast in some cases.

The regulatory body was considering new initiatives like accepting complaints by post, in addition to the prevailing system of email complaints, an idea suggested by the Information and Broadcasting Ministry, the sources said.

They said that in a meeting held on Friday Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni had appreciated the functioning of the self regulatory mechanism but also expressed some concerns.

"The ministry expressed concern about content of programmes slated to be shown during late hours being re-aired during general hours," an official source said.

BCCC officials said that while they had taken note of the ministry's suggestion.

Amongst other complaints received by the BCCC, 232 were against channels and in these cases complainants were directed to take up the matter  with the Broadcasters Association. In 226 cases, advertising related complaints were directed to the Advertisement Standard Council of India.

There were 56 complaints against movies and 41 against channels which do not adhere to the BCCC. These were forwarded to the Central Board of Film Certification and the Information and Broadcasting Ministry respectively.

Another 254 complaints were related to quiz shows being telecast on TV on which an advisory was issued for channels to run a scroll during the programme disclosing information pertaining to call rates or SMS charges which will be applicable for participating in the programme.

Another 270 complaints were classified as Miscellaneous by the BCCC, officials said.

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First Published: Sun, January 08 2012. 13:47 IST