National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights Guidelines on OTT Platform

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    In Context

    • Recently, new rules have been issued by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights, to protect the rights of children working on the OTT platforms.

    More about the rules:

    • The “Guidelines to Regulate Child Participation in the Entertainment Industry” were issued by NCPCR in 2011. 
    • The recent draft increases the scope of the guidelines to cover social media and OTT platforms for the first time.
    • The scope of the new guidelines will cover:
      • TV programmes 
      • Reality shows, 
      • Serials, 
      • News and informative media, 
      • Movies, 
      • Content on OTT platforms, 
      • Content on social media, 
      • Performing arts, 
      • Advertising
      • And any other kind of involvement of children in commercial entertainment activities. 
    • Child protection:
      • Health:
        • A minor, especially below the age of six years, shall not be exposed to harmful lighting, irritating or contaminated cosmetics
        • Children cannot be shown imbibing alcohol, smoking or using any other substance or shown to be indulging in any sort of antisocial activity and delinquent behaviour.
        • No child can be engaged in any situation involving nudity.
      • Mental Health:
        • Consideration has to be given to the child’s age, maturity, emotional or psychological development and sensitivity.
        • A child cannot be exposed to ridicule, insult or discouragement, harsh comments or any behaviour that could affect his/her emotional health.
    • Producer’s responsibility:
      • The producer will now need to obtain the permission of the District Magistrate for the participation of a child in his/her show. 
      • Producers will also have to run a disclaimer saying measures were taken to ensure there has been no abuse, neglect or exploitation of children during the entire process of the shooting.
      • The producer also needs to ensure the child’s education under the RTE Act.
    • Role of guardian:
      • At least one parent or legal guardian or a known person has to be present during a shoot.
      • For infants, a registered nurse needs to be present along with the parent or legal guardian.
      • At least 20 per cent of the income earned by the child from the production or event shall be directly deposited in a fixed deposit account in a nationalised bank in the name of the child which may be credited to the child on attaining majority.
      • Content created by the child or his family/guardian:
        • It shall be treated as children working in a family enterprise as provided under the Child Labour and Adolescent Labour Act, 1986.
    • Penalty:
      • The draft also included stringent penal provisions for violating the guidelines, including imprisonment.

    Significance:

    • Need of the guidelines:
      • Children are now being used in videos across social media and in the content on OTT platforms. 
      • It had not been covered by the existing guidelines and this increasing influence and scope of the internet needed to be covered. 
      • Parents, who are using children to make money, have to be held accountable. 
    • Recognition of other Acts:
      • There are different Acts protecting children.
        • Eg., Juvenile Justice Act, 2015, Child Labour Amendment Act, 2016, Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012, Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules, 2021, etc.,
        • The provisions of these Acts have now been included in the guidelines.
    • Risk of exploitation:
      • In the absence of any monitoring mechanism, the children in the industry are at grave risk of exploitation because they lack the legal right to the earnings they generate, safe working conditions and adequate protections via labour laws, etc. 
    • Need of protection:
      • Participating in an adult-oriented industry, children are often exposed to unsuitable, anxiety-inducing, and at times, dangerous operational hazards and situations.
      • Children are also susceptible to a plethora of other crimes against children such as sexual exploitation, child trafficking, bonded labour, etc

     

    Ensuring Protection of Children in India

    • Education:
      • Article 21 A (Right to Education): The State shall provide free and compulsory education to all children of the age of 6 to 14 years in such manner as the State, by law, may determine.
    • Child Rights:
      • National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR):
        • It was set up in March 2007 under the Commissions for Protection of Child Rights (CPCR) Act, 2005, an Act of Parliament (December 2005). 
        • It comes under the administrative control of the Ministry of Women & Child Development.
        • The Commission’s Mandate is to ensure that all Laws, Policies, Programmes, and Administrative Mechanisms are in consonance with the Child Rights perspective as enshrined in the Constitution of India and also the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. 
        • The Child is defined as a person in the 0 to 18 years age group.
    • Child Labour:
      • Article 23: Any type of forced labour is prohibited. 
      • Article 24: It states that a child under 14 years cannot be employed to perform any hazardous work in any factory or mine.
      • The Child and Adolescent Labour (Prohibition and Regulation) Act (CALPRA):
        • CALPRA states that no child shall be allowed to work for more than five hours in a day, and for not more than three hours without rest.
      • Platform for Effective Enforcement for No Child Labour (PENCIL):
        • It is an electronic platform that aims at involving the Centre, State, District, Governments, civil society and the general public in achieving the target of a child labour-free society.
    • Sexual offence against Children:
      • Article 39: It states that “the health and strength of workers, men and women, and the tender age of children are not abused”.
      • The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO Act): 
        • It was established to protect children against offences like sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and pornography.

    Source: IE