The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) on Friday issued draft guidelines for children in the entertainment industry to regulate their participation in films, TV, reality shows, OTT platforms, news and content creation for social media websites.
As per the draft rules, no infant below the age of three months will be allowed on shows apart from promotional programmes on breastfeeding and immunisation, and child artists will not be made to participate in any show that ridicules, embarrasses or distresses them. Violations of the rules will include penal provisions, including a jail term of up to three years.
“No child shall be made to enter into an agreement, by virtue of which the child is required to do any work or render any service as a bonded labourer under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976 or by virtue of which the child is unable to terminate the agreement or enter into any other agreement,” the guidelines read.
The guidelines, which are up on the website of the NCPCR for stakeholders to react to, were drafted in consultation with a committee of prominent people from the entertainment industry set up for the purpose.
It is necessary to ensure that the production environment is safe for children. All production units shall develop guidelines with respect to children including general principles, procedures for seeking the consent of parents, good practices, staff protocols for engagement with children and a child protection policy.
“A minor, especially below the age of six years, shall not be exposed to harmful lighting, irritating or contaminated cosmetics. Every person involved in the production who may be in contact with children shall submit a medical fitness certificate and certificate for not carrying obvious contagious disease before shooting and police verification of such staff shall be done, it said.
Additionally, adhering to section 77 of the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, children should not be shown consuming alcohol, smoking or using any other substance. Children will have to register their names with the district magistrate.
“In programmes based on victims of child abuse, the content should be sensitively handled, and the way children are projected should not harm or risk their welfare,” the draft note stated.
The program-producer will be responsible for adequate food and water for the children, as well as gender-wise rest room; children will not be made to share dressing rooms with adults, especially of the opposite sex.
Producers will also be liable for making arrangements for the education of the child, and no assignment can extend beyond 27 days. Breaks will have to be given every three hours, and no child will work for more than six hours, or between 7 pm and 8 am.
For advertisements, the draft note stated that children should not be ridiculed or made to feel inferior if they do not purchase a certain product, or be seen forcing parents to purchase them.