I&B ministry moves to halt female stereotyping with help of broadcasting bodies
I&B ministry moves to halt female stereotyping with help of broadcasting bodies By Kumar Rakesh Published: 21:11 BST, 22 March 2013 | Updated: 21:11 BST, 22 March 2013 View comments I&B Minister Manish Tewari said freedom of expression 'should not translate into vulgarity' The Delhi gang-rape in December 2012 has jolted the government over the "insensitive, negative and obscene" projection of women in the media, which many blame for the rising crimes against them. The information & broadcasting (I&B) ministry has launched a major exercise to ensure that the commodification and stereotyping of women in the media is prevented and replaced with a positive and realistic portrayal of today's women. Official sources said the ministry has written to all professional and regulatory bodies, including the Central Board of Film Certification, the Advertising Standards Council of India, the News Broadcasting Association and the Indian Broadcasters Foundation among others, to review the self-regulating principles and guidelines on these issues. From advertisements which show women getting sexually attracted to a man using a certain deodorant or condom, to serials and movies reinforcing a similar stereotype - any depiction of women in a poor light will be under scrutiny. "There is a strong case for balancing freedom of expression with aesthetics and sensibility. The freedom should not translate into either vulgarity or obtuse behaviour," I&B minister Manish Tewari said. He said there are specific provisions in the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act on how advertising and contents should deal with certain issues. "We would want (that) statutory remit of the law should be followed in," Tewari said. The ministry swung into action after the Prime Minister's Office asked it to implement the existing laws vigorously to prevent the obscene projection of women in the media. In a meeting chaired by cabinet secretary Ajit Seth on January 23, I&B secretary Uday Verma spotlighted the indecent portrayal and commodification of women in the media, documents in possession of Mail Today show. Two main recommendations emerged in deliberations, sources said. The first called for engaging all stakeholders for the desired changes, and the second sought an effective and time-bound implementation of the above measures. "It is necessary for the ministries concerned to put in place a credible and effective monitoring mechanism," it said. FM radios have been told to devote time to public issues. The government enjoys more punitive power over radio broadcasters.