HYDERABAD: They learn to sing even before they learn to lisp and can mouth double entendre while sounding cute. But finally, children, who are part of the showbiz and reality TV, may get a break as the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) released a set of ‘Guidelines to regulate child participation in TV serials, reality shows and advertisements.’ The guidelines were issued for the protection of child artists from exploitation and humiliation, taking cognizance of the growing complaints against reality shows featuring children.
The new guidelines suggest that a child artist should be accompanied by a parent or a known person during the course of shooting and their schedule should in no way interfere with schooling and education, under the Right to Education Act 2009.
However, the guidelines fail to set a minimum age-bar for appearances by children but they do insist that jury members shouldn’t in any way humiliate or scold a child on the show by recognizing the fact that children cannot be expected to deal with anxiety-inducing factors in an adult-oriented industry. “For me, it is very important to feel what is being portrayed by the participant. And when it comes to kids, I do not see how perfect they are with their technicalities. I see the amount of interest they have and the dedication and the hard work they have put into it. As a judge I sit with them and explain them, and encourage them to perform better. If the judges and the anchors are genuine and have knowledge about what they are doing, them kids won't undergo mental stress,” says Posani Murali Krishna, who is a jury member on the dance show, Challenge on Maa TV. The responsibility for the effective enforcement of the guidelines rests with the respective State Human Rights Council (SHRC) and will take time to be enforced in totality. “In my opinion, children up to 14 years of age should be at school and nowhere else,” says Justice B Subhashan Reddy, who was in the news in 2010 for seeking a ban on reality shows featuring children in negative or suggestive portrayal.
Responding to the NCPCR’s guidelines, he observes that implementation will require the participation of NGOs and parents themselves. “If the high court were to vacate the stay against the orders it had issued previously, the guidelines will have the force of law. In such an event, violations can be brought to court and will be addressed by the legal system. Without proper enforcement, the guidelines will remain a set of pious advice,” points out the former chairman of the State Human Rights Commission.
Parents, whose children are into showbiz and reality TV, say even in the absence of guidelines, they take good care of their kids. “I accompany Pavan to all his shoots. He usually misses 10 to 15 days of classes per month due to his shoots but that is taken care of. Since he is a celebrity, there are no comforts wanting,” says Chhaya Prasad, mother of child actor Pavan Sriram who starred in the movie Sri Ramarajyam.