NDTV Imagine gets I&B Ministry notice

NDTV Imagine gets I&B Ministry notice

The notice, which the channel has to reply to within 15 days, points out that the Section 5 of the Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act stipulates that “no programme can be transmitted/re-transmitted on any cable service which offends good taste, decency, denigrates children and is not suitable for unrestricted public exhibition.”

The development came even as the Delhi High Court stayed an interim order of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) calling for stoppage to the telecast of the show, in which babies of others are handled by celebrity couples, for allegedly violating child rights.

A single-member bench of Justice Sanjeev Khanna stayed the interim order of the Commission, and allowed NDTV Imagine to continue the reality show, while directing the NCPCR to complete its investigation expeditiously and prepare the final report.

Appearing for the channel, senior advocate Rajiv Nayyar claimed that the NCPCR had no authority to pass any order and could only recommend to the Supreme Court, high courts or the Central government to suspend a show after completing its new investigation. The next hearing of the case will be on December 18.

The Information & Broadcasting Ministry notice, meanwhile, said that “the programme appears to be indecent exploitation of very young children in pursuit of entertainment.
“It also appears that babies are being used as commodities for the sake of (the) reality show. The visuals of the programme are also in bad taste.

The programme appears to denigrate children and can create insecurity and psychological impact on the minds of impressionable young viewers,” the show-cause notice said.

Basic conditions

Pointing out in the show celebrity couples look after babies of strangers, it said NDTV Imagine would have to follow the basic conditions of granting permission for uplinking/downlinking on an entertainment channel in India and was also bound to follow the Programme Code and Advertising Code prescribed within that.

Earlier, the channel had said that it would not stop telecast of the show, which is based on “Baby Borrowers” conceptualised by the BBC, unless asked to do so by the government.

The show, which has celebrity couples, went on air on September 28. NDTV Imagine’s vice-president (content) Shailaja Kejriwal had earlier been quoted as saying that parents who had allowed their babies to appear on the show were all young professionals with a mind of their own, and would sit “just a house away” while shooting was on.  Trained nurses were also on the sets behind the camera during the shoot, she had said.