Industry experts call for an Act to regulate kids' content in India
To develop and improve the mind set of citizens, it is of utmost importance that children are exposed to responsible entertainment and education. Right kind of education is more important than Right to Education. Children consist one-third of India’s population, hence it becomes critical for broadcasters and content creators to develop content which adds value and balances education and entertainment. Therefore, India needs an Act that regulates and monitors the content viewed by children as they are the future citizens of the country. The Act should also provide parenting guidelines.
This was stated by eminent media and entertainment industry veterans at a session on ‘India needs a kids content Act’ on day two of FICCI Frames. Kids programming in India needs customisation and original content. An effective Act will ensure the largest kids population that India has gets the right content, education through entertainment and save the Indian cultural values and ethos by bringing in the right balance between the foreign content and Indian content.
According to filmmaker Subhash Ghai, for children to grow as real architects of the nation it was essential that they received extensive and in-depth knowledge about their culture and values. He pointed out that the state of education in India was mediocre and there were many great Indian stories that could be explored for creating content for kids.
M Srinivasan, Founder, GEAR Education, noted, “The personality of a child develops in the first 10 years and it becomes essential that they were exposed to quality content. Hence, some regulations are needed to ensure that kids receive quality exposure.” He added that a comprehensive guideline for parents was also needed as the ambience of a child created his/her character.
Rajiv Chilaka, Creator of Chhota Bheem, pointed out that there were 630 million kids below the age of 16 years in India and kids’ content creators needed to add value to their properties. He suggested that to reach kids in the rural areas, there was a need for a dedicated channel like Doordarshan Kids as these regions may not have access to cable TV.
Mukesh Khanna, Chairman, CFSI, said that non-Indian content was being viewed by children as producers were scared to make products for kids as they were bound to lose money. Therefore, a regulation was needed that could encourage producers to develop original content for kids.
Citing the example of the film ‘Baahubali’, Nishith Takia, Producer, Delhi Safari, said that Indian content could be successful. “Today, children have lost respect for their own culture and the need is to promote kids content which is rich in Indian values. Kids must be taught to value their heritage and they should not be ashamed of their roots,” he affirmed.
Nina Jaipuria, EVP & GM Sonic & Nickelodeon India, Viacom 18 Media, said that when Viacom ventured into the kids segment, 100 per cent content was from overseas, but today almost 65 per cent content was Indian. She added that with digitisation, sharper segmentation was taking place which was helping in reaching more kids as well.
Ashish Kulkarni, Chairman, FICCI Animation & Gaming Forum, moderated the session.