A first: norms to protect rights of kids working on OTT platforms
June 25, 2022

In News:

  • The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has published draft guidelines to regulate child protection within the entertainment industry.

What’s in Today’s Article:

  • National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)
  • News summary

National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in India

  • NCPCR is a statutory body in India. It was established by the Commission for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005.
  • It was established to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
  • It works under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.

Composition of the commission

  • The commission consist of the following members namely:
    • A chairperson who, is a person of eminence and has done outstanding work for promoting the welfare of children; and
    • Six members, out of which at least two are woman, are appointed by the Central Government
      • These members must have experience in child related fields.

News Summary

  • Draft New rules have been published by the NCPCR, which is supposed to protect the rights of children working in the world of entertainment.

Key Highlights:

  • Increases the scope of the guidelines
    • The Guidelines to Regulate Child Participation in the Entertainment Industry were issued by the Commission in 2011.
    • However, the recent draft increases the scope of the guidelines to cover social media and OTT platforms for the first time.
    • The scope of the new guidelines will cover:
      • TV programmes including but not limited to reality shows, serials, news and informative media, movies;
      • Content on OTT platforms, content on social media, performing arts, advertising and
      • Any other kind of involvement of children in commercial entertainment activities.
  • Stringent penal provisions
    • The commission has further included stringent penal provisions for violating the guidelines, including imprisonment.
  • Mandatory registration of child artists
    • It has mandated that child artists and children being used in entertainment need to be registered with District Magistrates.
    • Producers will also have to run a disclaimer saying measures were taken to ensure there has been no abuse, neglect or exploitation of children during the entire process of the shooting.
  • Presence of at least one parent or legal guardian or a known person
    • At least one parent or legal guardian or a known person has to be present during a shoot.
    • For infants a registered nurse needs to be present along with the parent or legal guardian.
  • Need to ensure the child’s education under the RTE Act
    • The producer also needs to ensure the child’s education under the RTE Act, to ensure no discontinuity from school or lessons.
    • S/he also needs to ensure adequate and nutritious food, water to the children during the process of production and medical facilities.
  • Financial protection
    • At least 20 per cent of the income earned by the child from the production or event shall be directly deposited in a fixed deposit account in a nationalised bank in the name of the child which may be credited to the child on attaining majority.
  • Content created by the child or his family/guardian
    • Content created by the child or his family/guardian shall be treated as children working in a family enterprise as provided under Section 3(2)(a) of the Child Labour and Adolescent Labour Act, 1986.
  • Regulation of number of shifts
    • A child shall only participate in one shift per day, with a break after every three hours.
    • A minor, especially below the age of six years, shall not be exposed to harmful lighting, irritating or contaminated cosmetics.
  • Prohibits children being cast in certain in roles or situations
    • The guidelines prohibit children being cast in roles or situations that are inappropriate.
    • Consideration has to be given to the child’s age, maturity, emotional or psychological development and sensitivity.
    • A child cannot be exposed to ridicule, insult or discouragement, harsh comments or any behaviour that could affect his/her emotional health.
    • Children cannot be shown imbibing alcohol, smoking or using any other substance or shown to be indulging in any sort of antisocial activity and delinquent behaviour.
    • No child can be engaged in any situation involving nudity.
  • Provisions of different Acts protecting children have been included
    • Provisions of different Acts protecting children have been included in the guidelines.
    • This includes Acts such as:
      • the Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, Child Labour Amendment Act, 2016,
      • Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, etc.

Need for such guidelines

  • To fix the accountability
    • Children are now being used in videos across social media and in content on OTT platforms which had not been covered by the existing guidelines.
    • Hence, it was felt to bring social media and OTT platforms under the regulating mechanism.
    • Also, parents, who are using children to make money, have to be held accountable.
  • To ensure a healthy work environment for Children
    • With the boom of technology and social media, children are increasingly being used by parents/guardians for content creation.
    • Hence, the guideline is being brought in to ensure a healthy work environment for them with minimal physical and psychological stress.
  • To protect children from grave risk of exploitation
    • 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, etc.
    • Participating in an adult-oriented industry, children are often exposed to unsuitable, anxiety inducing, and at times, dangerous operational hazards.
    • Apart from the industry-specific risks, the children are also susceptible to a plethora of other crimes against children such as sexual exploitation, child trafficking, bonded labour, etc.