NEW DELHI: The Union Health Ministry has opposed the Shyam Benegal committee’s recommendation to do away with anti-smoking disclaimers each time somebody is shown smoking on screen.
According to sources, the committee headed by a joint secretary, submitted its report to Health Minister J P Nadda stating that the recommendation of having a single anti-smoking disclaimer in films and television serials was not feasible as it would lead to more such scenes being added. The minister’s office will submit the report to the I&B ministry soon, sources said.
The Benegal committee felt that a “meaningful static disclaimer” against tobacco use and smoking in the beginning of a film would help dissuade tobacco users without affecting the “smooth viewing” of a film.
The suggestion is among a set of five recommendations that was recently submitted to the Information and Broadcasting (I&B) Ministry by the eight-member committee, in the second part of the report. The committee, in its report, has stated that the disclaimer against tobacco use and smoking should be shown for a minimum period and should come with a standard visual background approved by the Ministry of Health as well as an audio. The report says that it should be made in all Indian languages and made applicable to all media platforms.
The committee has also recommended that the film industry should produce small films on anti-tobacco, smoking with popular actors for screening in cinema halls and on TV channels after obtaining clearance from the Ministry of Health, replacing those which are currently being shown.
It also suggested that the producer of a film should make a short film with a strong anti-smoking message that will feature the same actor who is depicted as smoking in the film.
Among other recommendations, about filmmakers procuring a no-objection certificate from the Animal Welfare Board, the committee had recommended that there should be ‘licensed suppliers’ of ‘performing animals’ which are qualified in handling various animals and taking care of them as per law.