A law to check indecent depiction of women in all forms of media

The proposed centralised authority will have powers to receive complaints or grievances with regard to indecent representation of women in any programme or advertisement aired on televisions or published in other forms of media including print. (Representative image)

The Centre has proposed to widen the scope of a law to bring all forms of media, including social media and messaging services, under its ambit to check publication and distribution of any material that contains an indecent representation of women “in any form.”

The Women and Child Development (WCD) ministry has proposed amendments in the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act (IRWA), 1986, keeping in mind the recent technological advancement in the field of communications “such as social media platforms, over-the-top services and applications like Skype, Viber, WhatsApp, Chat On, Snapchat, Instagram etc.”

The proposed amendments are based on the observations made by a parliamentary standing committee and recommendations by the National Commission for Women (NCW), the ministry said in a statement on Monday.

“Consultations with the civil society groups and like-minded individuals were also held,” the ministry added.

The proposed centralised authority, under the NCW member, will have powers to receive complaints or grievances with regard to indecent representation of women in any programme or advertisement aired on televisions or published in other forms of media including print.

The authority will also have powers “to investigate or examine” all matters relating to the indecent representation of women, the ministry said.

The proposed centralised authority will have representatives from Advertising Standards Council of India, Press Council of India, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting “and one member having experience of working on women issues.”

The ministry has proposed to amend the definition of the term 'advertisement' in the parent Act “to include a digital form or electronic form or hoardings SMS, MMS” to widen the scope of the Act.

It has also proposed insertion of a new definition of the term 'publish' in the parent Act.

The ministry has proposed to amend the section 4 of the parent Act to include: “No person shall publish or distribute or cause to be published or cause to be distributed by any means any material which contains the indecent representation of women in any form.”

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A law to check indecent depiction of women in all forms of media

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