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DM’s approval need for producers to feature children in their programmes

Producers of television programmes, web shows, social media content, and advertisements, as well as live commercial events featuring a child or children below the age of 18 years, will now need the permission of the district magistrate (DM).

Not just that, before starting the activity, the producer of any such audio-visual content or commercial event will have to furnish an undertaking to the DM providing the list of the participating children, as well as the consent of parents or guardians, as well as the name of the individual from the production or event management team who will be responsible for the safety and security of the children.

This provision is part of the draft Regulatory Guidelines for Child Participation in the Entertainment Industry or any commercial entertainment activity issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). The draft has been uploaded on the commission’s website for comments.

The permission by the producers of the shows has to be sought from the DM of the place where the activity is being performed. The guidelines state that, if required, the DM will instruct the Child Protection Unit for a District to inspect the workplace and accordingly issue the permit to a producer, which shall be valid only for six months.

The draft guidelines are expansive in scope and cover television programmes such as reality shows, TV serials, news and informative media, movies, content on OTT platforms and social media, advertising, performing arts or any other kind of involvement of children in commercial entertainment activities. The guidelines focus on the emotional health of a child and propose that no child should be cast in a role or situation that is inappropriate or that may distress him or put him in embarrassing situations. “No child should be exposed to ridicule, insult or discouragement, harsh comments or any behaviour that could affect his/her emotional health,” the draft said.

The draft guidelines also cover ground to ensure the physical well-being of children. They maintain that a child, especially below the age of 6 years, should not be exposed to harmful lighting, or irritating or contaminated cosmetics. “Every person involved in the production who may be in contact with children shall submit medical fitness certificates and certificate for not carrying obvious contagious disease before shooting with children and police verification of such staff shall be done,” according to the draft guidelines.

The other details pertain to wages and working hours, as well as children’s right to education while they are working in various shows. Live Mint

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