Don’t show cruelty to animals: broadcast watchdog to channels

With rising viewer complaints about alleged torture of animals and their harmful depiction on some television shows,the Broadcast Content Complaints Council (BCCC) has issued an advisory to television channels not to produce,purchase or broadcast such content.

Written by Express News Service | Mumbai | Published: July 27, 2012 6:07:11 am

With rising viewer complaints about alleged torture of animals and their harmful depiction on some television shows,the Broadcast Content Complaints Council (BCCC) has issued an advisory to television channels not to produce,purchase or broadcast such content.

“We have in the past received complaints from viewers about animal torture against some specific television shows. After reviewing the content,we realized that treatment of animals is not always fair and felt the need for this advisory,” BCCC secretary-general Ashish Sinha said.

Taking cognizance especially of content on reality shows,BCCC observed that not only are animals hurt or killed before,during and after filming,but are also depicted wrongly and in ways that spread myths.

“Live insects are eaten to show courage in a manner that is distasteful and not conducive to health. A few channels have a reality show in which animals are killed week after week and animal parts such as sheep eyeballs and worms eaten in order to show bravery,” said the BCCC advisory,which was drawn up with help from MP and animal rights activist Maneka Gandhi.

“What is also disturbing is that some channels rope in popular movie stars in serials in which animals are depicted and project their being stalked,teased,tails being pulled at,food being pulled away etc.,i.e. veritable torture of animals as an ‘act of bravery’,” it said.

The BCCC,chaired by Justice (retd) A P Shah and consisting of 12 other members,advised TV channels not to produce,purchase or broadcast content that is “in any way harmful to the health and well being,as well as the depiction,of any animal or species”.

It has specifically advised against content that encourages treatment of wildlife as trophies,or any activity or sport that hurts animals,as these are against the Indian Brodcast Federation (IBF) Content Code and Certification Rules,2011.

Also,depiction of cruelty or suffering to animals may be a willful breach of animal protection laws and must thus be avoided,the BCCC has advised.

The BCCC had in 2011 received six complaints from viewers about alleged cruelty to animals on shows of Zee Kannada ‘Yamalokadalli Prayaschitha’ and ‘Yariguntu Yaragilla’,and 18 complaints against an episode of the show ‘Khatron Ke Khiladi’ broadcast on Colors on July 15,2011.

Zee Kannada regretted the treatment meted out to animals and took the programmes off air. BCCC did not find the Colors show to have violated guidelines.

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