Published: 25th June 2022
All you need to know about NCPCR's draft guidelines to protect child artists working in films, TV or OTT
The draft also makes a mention of penal provisions, including fines and imprisonments in case of violation of the guidelines
The NCPCR (National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights) has formulated draft guidelines to protect all those child artists who work in films, TV, reality shows, social media and OTT platforms. This is to keep them safe from the stress that is physical and psychological in nature so that they are able to work in an environment that is healthy for them, as stated in a report by PTI.
It's called the Regulatory Guidelines for Child Participation in the Entertainment Industry and we break it down for you here:
1) Producers need to obtain permission if they want to involve a child and this needs to be obtained from a district magistrate where it is to be held. A disclaimer also needs to be shared describing what steps are being taken to ensure the child is not abused or exploited
2) No child can work for 27 days consecutively
3) Along with a break for every three hours, the child can be involved in only one shift each day. They cannot be made to enter into an agreement for rendering any service as a bonded labourer under the Bonded Labour System (Abolition) Act, 1976
4) It is the producer's responsibility to ensure that the child's school education is not affected
5) If the child's school attendance is disrupted, the producer will appoint a private tutor
6) At least 20% of the income needs to be directly deposited in a fixed deposit account in a nationalised bank in the name of the child
7) Children cannot be cast in inappropriate roles. Their age, maturity, emotional or psychological development and sensitivity need to be kept in mind
8) Production units need to be safe, with no harmful lighting, irritating or harmful cosmetics
9) Age-appropriate facilities need to be made available for them plus, separate dressing rooms
10) Children should not be exposed to any ridicule or behaviour that could affect their emotional health
11) Cannot be engaged in a situation that involves nudity. Programmes based on victims of child abuse should be handled sensitively
"Media and production houses shall ensure that child victims of rape, other sexual offences, trafficking, drug abuse, elopement, organized crimes, and children used in armed conflicts are guaranteed anonymity for life," stated the guidelines, as mentioned in a report by PTI.
The draft also makes a mention of penal provisions, including fines and imprisonments in case of violation of the guidelines.
"In the absence of any monitoring mechanism, the children in the industry are at grave risk of exploitation because they lack the legal right to the earnings they generate, or safe working conditions and adequate protections via labour laws.
"Participating in an adult-oriented industry, children are often exposed to unsuitable, anxiety-inducing, and at times, dangerous operational hazards and situations," the draft said.
Although several laws are in place, there are no specific regulations or rules for the protection of child artists in the adult-dominated industry.
"Hence, the NCPCR has observed the need to frame guidelines, especially for children involved in films, TV, reality shows, OTT platforms, news and content creation for social media websites so that there may be some sort of easily comprehensible procedure for all stakeholders involved to make them aware of the repercussions of violating any right of the child," the document said.
Since the last guidelines issued by the panel in 2011, there have been many amendments to related laws.
Also, some new laws have been enacted protecting children from crimes under the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, Child Labour Amendment Act, 2016, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, and Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021.
"Therefore, the need to bring other platforms under the ambit of these guidelines has been realised," the draft stated.