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Parliamentary panel for Central body to check improper depiction of women in media

To curb instances of improper depiction of women in print and other media, a parliamentary panel has recommended the creation of a Central body for the regulation of cases of indecent representation of women.



New Delhi: To curb instances of improper depiction of women in print and other media, a parliamentary panel has recommended the creation of a Central body for the regulation of cases of indecent representation of women.

The Standing Committee on Human Resource Development, which had examined that Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Amendment Bill, 2012 also said the scope of the Indecent representation of Women (Prohibition) Act should be widened to include depiction in audio-visual and electronic forms.

In its report, the Committee which was headed by Congress MP Birender Singh said the creation of a central authority to regulate cases of indecent representation of women and receive or take complaints and decide upon them, would be the most effective way to enforce the legislation.

It said that having a central authority would also allay apprehensions expressed by many regarding subjective interpretations of `indecent representation` by police officers leading to unnecessary harassment.

The authority would have members from all important bodies like the Advertising Standards Council of India, the Press Council of India, I&B ministry headed by Member- Secretary of the National Commission of Women (NCW), the panel said.

It said if this idea was not found feasible, the role of the NCW could be expanded.
"The Committee strongly feels that it is high time that the role and mandate of the National Commission for Women is reviewed and strengthened adequately, particularly in view of rising cases of exploitation of women....Nobody can deny the fact that the National Commission with its presence in the states through State Commissions would be better equipped to address such cases," the panel said.

The panel said that broadening the scope of the definition of the term `advertisement` to include newer forms of communication and media under the proposed legislation is a welcome step. It said that advertisements in digital form or electronic form or hoardings, SMS, MMS should be brought within the ambit of the Act.

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