Kids wanting to star in TV shows/ads may soon need permission from Labour min

19 Jun,2014

By Yogima Seth Sharma


Are you grooming your child for a career in show business? Perhaps she has a chance of getting picked for a spot on a talent show, or he could land a role in a TV ad. But you may soon need the government’s permission before seeking to achieve such ambitions. The ministry of labour and employment is planning a legal clause to make such clearance mandatory for children engaged in any form of audio or visual entertainment, which covers advertisements, films, television serials and sports among others. Officials argue that the government needs to step in to prevent the exploitation of children.


“We have requested the legislative department to draft an appropriately worded clause to permit children to be engaged for performance in any form of audio or visual entertainment after obtaining written permission, the conditions for which can be prescribed in the rules or regulations of the Child Labour Act,” a senior ministry official said.


The official said there is a need for regulation as the involvement of children, including adolescents, in the entertainment industry has risen exponentially and there have been several instances in which they’ve been unable to cope with the physical and mental trauma associated with the rigorous routine. The ministry will draw up the detailed process for obtaining permission once the proposal is vetted by all stakeholders.


According to the 2001 census, the total number of working children aged between five and 14 was 1.26 crore. The National Sample Survey Office survey of 2009-10 put the figure at 49.84 lakh. While there is no official estimate of the number of children employed in the audio-visual industry, experts peg it at 1-2% of the total children employed across the country and feel that the number is rapidly growing.


Children’s entertainment is the second-largest genre on television after general entertainment channels and is expanding fast, especially in regional languages because production costs are relatively low and viewership is assured.


As a result there’s been a surge in the number of shows featuring children, whether it’s music, dance or stand-up comedy, while some serials even have them as the main characters. The government feels that the participation of children in reality shows puts immense pressure on them, with some parents pushing them too hard, which can have an impact on their mental and physical wellbeing.


Experts though are concerned that such a move could act as a deterrent to producers who are working on wafer-thin margins as the category doesn’t attract much advertising.


Nandini Dias

“Most producers are already sensitive and alert to child actor needs, circumstances etc. Also, since they are on broadcast media, it is not a hidden activity. Now, with one more permission needed, I just hope it doesn’t become a determent. Since many a time kid movies and programmes are not as profitable, with this impediment, the few who are willing to pick up these projects will also reconsider,” said Nandini Dias, CEO of Lodestar UM.


Source:The Economic Times

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