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Industry experts take on censorship of television

Bigg Boss 4
Suddenly, there is talk on censorship of television over shows like Bigg Boss 4 and Rakhi Ka Insaaf. While a section of people believe that shows with 'adult' content should be moved to the late-night slot, others feel that folks who are worried about the impact on their children should excercise self-censorship in their drawing rooms. It is a matter that affects everyone. Here is what head honchos of the TV industry and actors feel. Read on...

Amit Khanna (Veteran media expert & Chairman: Reliance Entertainment): Discussions on censorship on television have been going on for years. About three years ago, the government had set up a committee to examine the question of censorship on television. But no solutions were found. Because there are no readymade solutions for the question of regulating a moral code for the home medium. With internet making every possible channel accessible to everyone how can we stop any section of people from watching what they want to? This is where the question of self-censorship comes in. A uniform censorship law is just not practical. If we have a common censorship code, someone somewhere is bound to raise an objection to any and every film and TV show. This issue is too complex to be solved by merely shifting the air-playing time by two hours.

Shekhar Suman: I don't see any point in curbing these shows when the viewers are seeing and enjoying them. What can be done is to ban these shows completely. Because they are highly offensive. There's nothing that kids watch at 9 pm that they can't watch at 11 pm. And then there's that other monster, the Internet!

Purab Kohli: My problem is not so much the adult content. It's the crass way the content is showcased. Adult content be monitored, not curbed.

Payal Rohatgi: I can only comment on Bigg Boss as I was a participant on it and have observed the show closely. An adult programme contains nudity, violence and physical fights. There's none of this in Bigg Boss. Even the abusive language is beeped out. So I don't think it qualifies as adult content. If the I&B Ministry says it is adult content then a lot of the news channels would also come under scrutiny. We regularly see bloodshed, violence and sex on news channels.

Kavita Barjatya (TV Producer, Sooraj Barjatya's Sister): Some of the content is a little unsuitable for family viewing. So I agree with the decision to change the slot. I'd personally not make a show as controversial as these. But nowadays even newspapers have 'adult' content. How much can be curbed?

Srishti Behl: I understand the reason for the time shift. But I don't think that's the way to go about it. At the end of the day the only effective censorship is the one at home. Those who don't want to watch, won't at 9 pm. Those who want to watch will even at 11 pm. As simple as that!

Sonu Sood: It's definitely not advisable for children to watch these shows. Pushing forward their timings is a wise thing to do. The TRPs war is pushing the channels to cross the boundaries of decorum at prime time.

Simi Garewal: It takes one insensitive person to cross the boundary of decency. Here two of them did it, Rakhi Sawant and Dolly Bindra. In Europe, all adult fare goes on air after 11 pm. No harm in that. But if people are going to use abusive language freely, we can't expect families and children to watch. It's up to the individual channels to decide what's more important: the shock value or the prime time slot. Sorry, they can't have both.

Sajid Khan: I don't think these shows should be curbed. It's the viewers' choice what they want to see. Every TV set comes with a remote control.

Chetan Hansraj (tv actor): It's people's mindsets that need to be changed. I feel all content is ok. People have the remote in their hands to avoid what they don't like.

Vishal Dadlani: People get the entertainment they deserve. We are voyeurs by nature, so below-zero-intellect crap is dished out to us. I don't believe in censorship. But I do believe the channels should voluntarily regulate the timings for such shows.

Prem Kishen (Veteran television producer): 11 pm slot is apt for adult content. But is there a barometer to define adult content, considering what viewers get to see in fiction shows? Today's viewer only wants something controversial to discuss over a meal. Content providers are willing to go to any lengths to have the upper hand.

Siddharth Malhotra (Film & Television Director): It shouldn't be curbed as there is an audience for such shows. But yes, nowadays to get the TRPs the content drivers stoop really low. A line needs to be drawn about what goes on television. Even when young contestants goof up on music shows and we laugh at their expense, we are crossing the line of decency. I am not against adult content. If that's what needs to be shown then the late-night slot makes sense.

Rannvijay (Veejay-reality show anchor/actor): I think the decision taken by the authorities must be respected. I am sure they've rationally thought it out before taking a decision. People who watch these shows will do so irrespective of the timing.

Ekta Kapoor: I believe it should be self-censorship by parents of kids rather than shifting the shows. When you shift shows having some adult content to 11 pm there is no guarantee that children will be sleeping and not watching them. The quantity of viewing might be smaller but many children don't go to sleep by 11 pm. Self-censorship itself is a big issue as I would never show anything adult or volatile on TV but to each his own. It's wrong to shift shows as people have the right to switch on or off programs they want to see and that right should be exercised by the parents and not by the channel or production house. It's about parents and their children and every parent is responsible for their child. Every house has different people who watch different programs. Today, even news channels carry graphic content. Parents have to be responsible for censorship. No one else can do it for them.

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