Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Law need for curbs indecent representation of women

Aarti Dhar

NEW DELHI: Concerned at the spurt in cases of indecent representation of women in the print and electronic media, particularly with the IT boom, the National Commission for Women (NCW) has sought a self-regulatory mechanism or even a new law to curb the menace.

“We are reviewing the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act, 1986 as it does not have under its purview SMS, MMS and poster advertising,” NCW chairperson Girija Vyas told journalists here on Tuesday.

“The need to re-look the existing legislation is also felt in the wake of representation of women in the television serials which may not be necessarily derogatory but do not show women in the right perspective. The serials often encourage violation of laws.”

Ms. Vyas said: “The NCW has already held a consultation in Mumbai with film directors and those in advertising for framing the new law. The second round of consultation will be held in Kolkata and the final round in New Delhi before the draft Bill is approved by the end of July.” The NCW, for its part, has suggested self-regulation by publishers and exhibitors with agencies and firms setting up an internal committee which could screen advertisements. There could be a media watch committee. The definition of ‘advertisement’ should be widened to include posters and any visible representation made by laser light, fibre optic or any other media.

Importantly, the Commission has recommended increasing the punishment on first conviction with fine, which may be raised to Rs. 10,000, and imprisonment for at least six months extendable to five years with a fine up to Rs. 5 lakh for a subsequent violation.

Ms. Vyas said the new regulation should cover child pornography also.

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