In a bid to produce more gender balanced and progressive television programming, public broadcaster Doordarshan has come up with a new document consisting of guidelines on gender sensitivity, reports Mint. The 20-page document was released by the chairman of Prasar Bharti, A Surya Prakash.
It contains material which challenges existing gender stereotypes and inequity and encourages the creation of a gender diverse and equitable society.
Director-general of Doordarshan Supriya Sahu highlighted the importance of being vocal about following broadcasting codes.
“We did not have anything in writing that one could refer to if one were in doubt. Also, how do you actually set a benchmark on whether your programme is gender sensitive or not? So I wanted to do something which would create a benchmark and I’m very proud to say that the guidelines we have brought out are probably the first ones ever on gender-sensitive programming anywhere," she stated.
For the most part, the guidelines are based on constitutional provisions prohibiting discrimination on one’s religion, race, caste, sex, etc, as well as statutes such as the Indecent Representation of Women (Prohibition) Act 1986.
The new code envisions propagating gender transformative ideas through means such as promos, quickies, jingles, programme bumpers and spots. Specific principles include making sure that all Doordarshan programmes have equal male and female representation, whether in the form of anchors, panelists or experts.
The guidelines also discourage the portrayal of women according to a patriarchal view of society. Women must be shown as controllers of assets such as homes or land, and not always be portrayed as ‘damsels in distress’ needing the help of a man to save them.