Panel for Protection of Child Rights issues guidelines to protect children in entertainment industry-

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Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Enrolling child artists with the district magistrates, the disclaimer in the first episode specifying measures against abuse during shoots, presence of one parent at all times, safe production environment, adequate and nutritious food, no overtime, a minimum of one day leave and to ensure classes and exams are not hampered are some of the key guidelines issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) for children working in the entertainment industry.  

The guidelines also stipulate that an infant under three months may not be made to participate in shows except in programmes on breastfeeding promotion or immunisation. If an infant below the age of three months is involved, then utmost precaution and care need to be taken.

The guidelines for child and adolescent participation in the entertainment industry and any commercial entertainment activity also said that if an infant participates for more than one hour daily, a registered nurse or midwife must always be present, along with the parent or legal guardian. 

The rights body has also included penalties and punishments if the producer, parents or legal guardians are found to be violating the guidelines. 

It stipulates that if the producer is found violating the terms for the second time, then it will be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to three years.

It shall also be considered a cognisable offence per Section 14 and Section 14A of the Child and Adolescent Labour Act, 1986.

Stipulating specific working hours for children working in the industry, the guidelines’ most important feature is that all child artists will be registered with the district magistrate (DM) and that periodic inspections should be undertaken under Section 17 of the Child Labour and Adolescent Act, 1986.

It stated that the states and union territories at the district level might devise an online mechanism for production houses to apply for permission. 

The guideline said that any producer of any audio-visual media production or any commercial event involving the participation of a child should also ensure that screening of all films, television programmes, advertisements, reality shows, OTT platforms and social media platforms shall be made with a disclaimer specifying that if any child has been engaged in the shooting, then, all the measures were taken to ensure that there has been no abuse, neglect or exploitation of such child during the entire process of the shooting.

The disclaimer may be displayed at the film’s beginning, each TV serial episode, reality show, and content posted on any social media platform.

The DM, after issuing the permit, shall instruct the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) to inform and provide a list of such children engaged as child artists to the concerned Child Welfare Committee and the Labour Inspector of the district.

The permit will be valid only for six months.

The guideline has also said that every person involved in the production who may be in contact with children/adolescents shall submit a medical fitness certificate before shooting with children, and police verification of such staff shall be done before employing them to work with children/adolescents.

According to NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo, the guidelines will protect the children working in the entertainment industry. 

“The need was felt especially for children involved in films, TV, reality shows, OTT platforms, news and content creation for social media websites keeping in mind their vulnerability and ensuring a healthy work environment with minimal physical and psychological stress,” he told this paper.

“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,” he said. 

Participating in an adult-oriented industry, children are often exposed to unsuitable, anxiety-inducing, and at times, dangerous operational hazards and situations, he added.

“Many of these problems may be inherent and generic to the industry, but children, unlike their adult counterparts, should not be expected to handle the emotional and physical stress. Apart from the industry-specific risks, the children are also susceptible to many other crimes against children such as sexual exploitation, child trafficking, bonded labour, etc,” he said.

The guidelines said that the Commission has noted that children who are made to work in the industry are not only unnecessarily exploited but are also subjected to perform/narrate actions, gestures, dances, dialogues etc., which are beyond the understanding of such minor children. 

“It is a well-noted fact that censorship of entertainment content ensures that children are in no way exposed to content which might hurt their overall development. However, it is often seen that the child artists are subjected to perform the actions, gestures, dances which they were prohibited from watching,” said the 29-page guidelines.

It details the content and the role the child should be cast in so they do not feel embarrassed or distressed. The other provisions include that a child should not be shown as taking alcohol, smoking or using any other substance. They should not be engaged in a situation involving nudity.

The Guidelines

Registration of child artists with the District Magistrate. 

Producer will ensure a safe working environment.

Disclaimer that child rights rules have been followed during production.

Adequate and nutritious food

No overtime

Minimum one day leave

No disruption of studies.

Timely payment of wages.

Child artists will not share dressing rooms with adults, especially opposite sex.

Production team will submit a medical fitness certification and police verification. 

Makes it mandatory for a parent or legal guardian to be present

If a child below the age of six is involved then a registered nurse or midwife should be present at all times.

A minor, especially below the age of six years, shall not be exposed to harmful lighting, irritating or contaminated cosmetics. 

Recreational material and rest facilities shall be available on the production set. 

The producer should ensure facilities for the child to dress and undress in a private space

At least twenty per cent of the income earned by the child/adolescent from the production to be directly deposited in a fixed deposit account in a nationalised bank in the name of the child/adolescent which may be credited to the child on attaining majority.

Special facilities to meet the needs of the differently-abled child/adolescent shall be provided.

No child/adolescent should be engaged in any situation involving the indecent or obscene representation of a child or nudity (either of the child or another person) or sexual act or in real or simulated sexual acts (with or without penetration).

No person shall make a child exhibit his body or any part of his body so as it is seen by such person or any other person.

Children also not be given alcohol or any other substance or made to use cigarettes/beedi/tobacco substances while enacting scene

There shall be no discrimination against a child on any grounds including sex, caste, ethnicity, place of birth, disability and equality of access, opportunity and treatment shall be provided to every child.

Every child shall have a right to protection of his privacy and confidentiality.

NEW DELHI: Enrolling child artists with the district magistrates, the disclaimer in the first episode specifying measures against abuse during shoots, presence of one parent at all times, safe production environment, adequate and nutritious food, no overtime, a minimum of one day leave and to ensure classes and exams are not hampered are some of the key guidelines issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) for children working in the entertainment industry.  

The guidelines also stipulate that an infant under three months may not be made to participate in shows except in programmes on breastfeeding promotion or immunisation. If an infant below the age of three months is involved, then utmost precaution and care need to be taken.

The guidelines for child and adolescent participation in the entertainment industry and any commercial entertainment activity also said that if an infant participates for more than one hour daily, a registered nurse or midwife must always be present, along with the parent or legal guardian. googletag.cmd.push(function() {googletag.display(‘div-gpt-ad-8052921-2′); });

The rights body has also included penalties and punishments if the producer, parents or legal guardians are found to be violating the guidelines. 

It stipulates that if the producer is found violating the terms for the second time, then it will be punishable with imprisonment for a term which shall not be less than one year but which may extend to three years.

It shall also be considered a cognisable offence per Section 14 and Section 14A of the Child and Adolescent Labour Act, 1986.

Stipulating specific working hours for children working in the industry, the guidelines’ most important feature is that all child artists will be registered with the district magistrate (DM) and that periodic inspections should be undertaken under Section 17 of the Child Labour and Adolescent Act, 1986.

It stated that the states and union territories at the district level might devise an online mechanism for production houses to apply for permission. 

The guideline said that any producer of any audio-visual media production or any commercial event involving the participation of a child should also ensure that screening of all films, television programmes, advertisements, reality shows, OTT platforms and social media platforms shall be made with a disclaimer specifying that if any child has been engaged in the shooting, then, all the measures were taken to ensure that there has been no abuse, neglect or exploitation of such child during the entire process of the shooting.

The disclaimer may be displayed at the film’s beginning, each TV serial episode, reality show, and content posted on any social media platform.

The DM, after issuing the permit, shall instruct the District Child Protection Unit (DCPU) to inform and provide a list of such children engaged as child artists to the concerned Child Welfare Committee and the Labour Inspector of the district.

The permit will be valid only for six months.

The guideline has also said that every person involved in the production who may be in contact with children/adolescents shall submit a medical fitness certificate before shooting with children, and police verification of such staff shall be done before employing them to work with children/adolescents.

According to NCPCR Chairperson Priyank Kanoongo, the guidelines will protect the children working in the entertainment industry. 

“The need was felt especially for children involved in films, TV, reality shows, OTT platforms, news and content creation for social media websites keeping in mind their vulnerability and ensuring a healthy work environment with minimal physical and psychological stress,” he told this paper.

“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,” he said. 

Participating in an adult-oriented industry, children are often exposed to unsuitable, anxiety-inducing, and at times, dangerous operational hazards and situations, he added.

“Many of these problems may be inherent and generic to the industry, but children, unlike their adult counterparts, should not be expected to handle the emotional and physical stress. Apart from the industry-specific risks, the children are also susceptible to many other crimes against children such as sexual exploitation, child trafficking, bonded labour, etc,” he said.

The guidelines said that the Commission has noted that children who are made to work in the industry are not only unnecessarily exploited but are also subjected to perform/narrate actions, gestures, dances, dialogues etc., which are beyond the understanding of such minor children. 

“It is a well-noted fact that censorship of entertainment content ensures that children are in no way exposed to content which might hurt their overall development. However, it is often seen that the child artists are subjected to perform the actions, gestures, dances which they were prohibited from watching,” said the 29-page guidelines.

It details the content and the role the child should be cast in so they do not feel embarrassed or distressed. The other provisions include that a child should not be shown as taking alcohol, smoking or using any other substance. They should not be engaged in a situation involving nudity.

The Guidelines

Registration of child artists with the District Magistrate. 

Producer will ensure a safe working environment.

Disclaimer that child rights rules have been followed during production.

Adequate and nutritious food

No overtime

Minimum one day leave

No disruption of studies.

Timely payment of wages.

Child artists will not share dressing rooms with adults, especially opposite sex.

Production team will submit a medical fitness certification and police verification. 

Makes it mandatory for a parent or legal guardian to be present

If a child below the age of six is involved then a registered nurse or midwife should be present at all times.

A minor, especially below the age of six years, shall not be exposed to harmful lighting, irritating or contaminated cosmetics. 

Recreational material and rest facilities shall be available on the production set. 

The producer should ensure facilities for the child to dress and undress in a private space

At least twenty per cent of the income earned by the child/adolescent from the production to be directly deposited in a fixed deposit account in a nationalised bank in the name of the child/adolescent which may be credited to the child on attaining majority.

Special facilities to meet the needs of the differently-abled child/adolescent shall be provided.

No child/adolescent should be engaged in any situation involving the indecent or obscene representation of a child or nudity (either of the child or another person) or sexual act or in real or simulated sexual acts (with or without penetration).

No person shall make a child exhibit his body or any part of his body so as it is seen by such person or any other person.

Children also not be given alcohol or any other substance or made to use cigarettes/beedi/tobacco substances while enacting scene

There shall be no discrimination against a child on any grounds including sex, caste, ethnicity, place of birth, disability and equality of access, opportunity and treatment shall be provided to every child.

Every child shall have a right to protection of his privacy and confidentiality.

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