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Exercise caution on portrayal of SCs, STs: BCCC to entertainment channels

The channels, while depicting stories of members of SC and ST communities, must ensure that the "nuance and humanness" of stories are communicated "sensitively"

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Press Trust of India New Delhi

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The Broadcasting Content Complaint Council (BCCC) on Tuesday asked entertainment channels to exercise "extreme caution" while portraying the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes in television programmes to avoid hurting the sentiments of the members of the two communities.
The channels, while depicting the stories of the members of the scheduled caste (SC) and scheduled tribe (ST) communities, must ensure that the "nuance and humanness" of the stories are communicated "sensitively" and that the violence displayed does not lead to "re-traumatization" of the communities or victims, the council said in its advisory.
While portraying stories which are based solely on social evils such as untouchability and casteism, the entertainment channels should not engage in "victimization" of the people belonging to SC and ST communities, the self regulatory body of non-news entertainment channels said.
It said it understands that many stories possess a moral or ethical dimension requiring portrayal of the "good" and the "evil", including depiction of characters doing "evil deeds".
"However, while doing so, the channel must ensure that it doesn't use language that is unlawful and which might hurt the sentiments of a particular community," it added.
The BCCC asks channels to be "cautious and balanced" while depicting scenes pertaining to these communities as even an isolated episode scene taken out of context can cause unrest among these communities, the council said.
The channels should "exercise extreme caution in order to avoid hurting the sentiments of people belonging to the SC and ST communities", it added.
The BCCC noted that crimes against SCs and STs are "rampant" in Indian society and range from physical to verbal and sexual assault.
"Furthermore, although untouchability has been abolished by the Indian Constitution, it is still widely practised, leading to severe forms of discrimination against members of these communities," the Council said, underlining that television is not only a reflection of society but it also constructs "social realities".
"Thus, what must be borne in mind by content creators is that the kind of stories portrayed on television, as fiction or fact, shape societal thinking. They do so by setting ideals for human behaviour across social situations while providing avenues to escape one's reality," the Council added.
According to the 2011 census, a total of 16.6 per cent and 8.6 per cent of the Indian population belongs to the SC and ST communities respectively.
"This is no small number. Therefore, attention must be paid to ensure that words of insult and derision towards SC and ST groups are excluded from scripts," the advisory, approved by BCCC chairperson Justice Gita Mittal said.
These include words denoting the names of castes used as insults or words used with an intention to degrade a person due to his or her membership to a certain caste group, even if they are shown to be belonging to that caste group as notified by the Constitution (Scheduled Castes) Order, 1950 and The Constitution (Scheduled Tribe) Order, 1950, the Council added.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Oct 17 2023 | 6:36 PM IST

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