The National Commission for the Protection of the Rights of the Child (NCPCR) today released draft guidelines to regulate child protection in the entertainment industry. While the “Guidelines for regulating the involvement of children in the entertainment industry” were published by the Commission in 2011, today’s draft extends the scope of the guidelines to cover social media and OTT platforms. for the first time.
The commission further included strict penal provisions for violation of the guidelines, including imprisonment, and required that child performers and children used in entertainment be registered with district magistrates.
“Children are now being used in videos on social media and in content on OTT platforms that were not covered by existing guidelines and this growing influence and reach of the internet needed to be covered. Parents, who use their children to earn money, must be held accountable. There are different laws protecting children – the provisions of these laws have now been included in the guidelines,” said NCPCR Chairman Priyank Kannongo.
The provisions of the Juvenile Justice Act 2015, the Child Labor Amendment Act 2016, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act 2012, the Information Technology Rules 2021 information (guidelines for intermediaries and code of ethics for digital media), etc., have been included in the guidelines. .
“Now, with the boom in technology and social media, children are increasingly used by parents/guardians for content creation generating large numbers of viewers and subscribers,” the project says, adding that ‘it is introduced ‘to ensure a healthy working environment for them with a minimum of physical and psychological stress’.
“Without any oversight mechanism, children in the industry are at grave risk of exploitation as they lack the legal right to the income they generate, safe working conditions and adequate protections. via industry-oriented labor law, etc., children are often exposed to unsuitable, anxiety-provoking and sometimes dangerous operational risks and situations… In addition to industry-specific risks, children are also exposed to a plethora of ‘other crimes against children such as sexual exploitation, trafficking, debt bondage, etc.’, says the project.
The scope of the new guidelines will cover television programming, including but not limited to reality shows, soap operas, news and informational media, movies, content on OTT platforms, content social media, performing arts, advertising and any other type of involvement of children in commercial entertainment activities. They will apply to “any relevant institution including, but not limited to, companies, organizations or individuals involved in the production and dissemination of this material as well as relevant central and state government”.
Any producer of any audiovisual media production or any commercial event involving the participation of a child will now have to obtain the authorization of the magistrate of the district where the activity is to be carried out. Producers will also be required to post a disclaimer stating that steps have been taken to ensure there has been no abuse, neglect or exploitation of children during the entire filming process. .
The guidelines prohibit children from being placed in inappropriate roles or situations; the age, maturity, emotional or psychological development and sensitivity of the child must be taken into account; a child cannot be exposed to ridicule, insult or discouragement, harsh comments or any behavior that could affect their emotional health and children cannot be shown drinking alcohol, smoking or using any other substance or engaging in any kind of antisocial activity and delinquent behavior. No child may be engaged in a situation involving nudity.
At least one parent or legal guardian or known person must be present during a shoot, and for infants, a registered nurse must be present with the parent or legal guardian.
“A minor, especially under the age of six, should not be exposed to harmful lighting, irritating or contaminated cosmetics,” the project says.
Any person involved in the production likely to be in contact with children will have to present a medical certificate of aptitude attesting that they are not carriers of a manifest contagious disease and a police check of the personnel will also have to be carried out.
The producer must also ensure the education of the child under the RTE law, to ensure no interruption of school or lessons as well as adequate and nutritious food, water to children during the production process and medical facilities.
A child can only participate in one shift per day, with a break every three hours.
At least 20% of the income earned by the child from the production or event must be directly deposited in a term account in a nationalized bank in the name of the child which can be credited to the child when he reaches the majority.
“Content created by the child or their family/guardian should be treated as children working in a family business, in accordance with section 3(2)(a) of the Child and Young Persons Labor Act 1986 and must also follow a specific procedure as provided for in this chapter, in addition to other provisions of the Regulations, if applicable,” the draft states.
Various penalties for offenses have been prescribed under different laws including the Child and Young Persons Labor Act 1986, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act 2012 and the Justice for Children Act 2015. minors (care and protection of children).