The National Council for the Protection of Children and Young People (NCPCR) has developed a draught of guidelines to protect child performers working in the entertainment industry. The guidelines state that no minor should work for more than 27 days in a row, and that 20% of the child’s earnings must be placed in a fixed deposit account.
The document titled “Regulatory Guidelines for Child Participation in the Entertainment Industry” covers television programmes such as reality shows, television serials, news and informative media, movies, content on over-the-top (OTT) platforms and social media, performing arts, advertising, and any other type of involvement of children in commercial entertainment activities.
The National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has developed a draught set of rules with the intention of shielding child performers from both physical and mental strain while also ensuring that they have access to a healthy working environment.
It is necessary for the producers to obtain permission from the district magistrate in the area where the filming is going to take place in order to include a child in the production, and they must also include a disclaimer describing the measures they have taken to ensure that the child has not been exploited or abused in any way.
According to the proposal, no youngster should be permitted to work for longer than 27 days in a row. According to the Bound Labor System (Abolition) Act, 1976, the kid is only permitted to work one shift per day and must be given a break after every three hours. Additionally, the child may not be forced to sign into an agreement to perform any work as a bonded labourer.
The producer is responsible for ensuring that the youngsters who are participating in the shoot will not have their academic lives disrupted in any way. According to the proposed rule, a kid who is exempt from school attendance due of their parents’ involvement in the entertainment business must have their education provided by a private tutor who has been selected by the producer.
At least twenty percent of the kid’s earnings from the performance or event are required to be placed in a fixed deposit account at a nationalised bank in the child’s name. This account will be credited with the earnings when the youngster becomes an adult.
In addition, the standards state that a kid’s age, level of maturity, emotional or psychological development, and level of sensitivity must be taken into consideration. A child is prohibited from being cast in a position or circumstance that is improper or that causes the child to feel distressed.
The production units have a responsibility to guarantee that the working environment is secure and that the children are not put in danger by being exposed to cosmetics that are either irritating or polluted.
It is important that every kid has access to facilities that are suitable for their age and need, and children should not be forced to share changing areas or rooms with adults, especially those of the opposite gender.
Children should not be subjected to mockery or behaviour that might have a negative impact on their mental well-being in any way. The proposed recommendations specify that children should not be shown drinking alcohol, smoking, or participating in any other anti-social activity or delinquent behaviour. Additionally, children should not be portrayed engaging in any kind of criminal behaviour.
According to its tenets, no kid should ever be put in a situation that requires nudity, and programming centred on the experiences of children who have been abused should be carefully managed.
“Media and production houses shall ensure that child victims of rape, other sexual offences, trafficking, drug abuse, elopement, organised crimes, and children used in armed conflicts… are guaranteed anonymity for life,” the statement reads. “This guarantee shall be in effect for the rest of the child’s life.”
In the event that any of the recommendations are violated, the proposal describes severe punitive consequences, such as monetary fines and perhaps jail time.
“In the absence of any monitoring system, the children who work in the business are at a great danger of being exploited since they lack the legal right to the money that they make, as well as safe working conditions and proper protection in accordance with laws governing employment.”
According to the draught, “Participating in an adult-oriented business, children are often exposed to inappropriate, anxiety-inducing, and at times, deadly operational dangers and circumstances.” This was written in the context of children participating in adult-oriented industries.
Even though there are a number of laws on the books, the adult-dominated entertainment business does not have any standards or guidelines that are specifically designed to safeguard kid performers.
According to the document, the NCPCR “has observed the need to frame guidelines, especially for children involved in films, TV, reality shows, OTT platforms, news and content creation for social media websites so that there may be some sort of easily comprehensible procedure for all stakeholders involved to make them aware of the repercussions of violating any right of the child.” These guidelines are specifically intended for children who participate in the production of films, television programmes, reality television shows, news broadcasts, and content for social media websites.
Following the publication of the most recent set of guidelines by the panel in 2011, several changes have been made to the legislation that are relevant. In addition, several new laws that protect children from criminal activity have been signed into law, including the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015, the Child Labour Amendment Act of 2016, the Protection of Children from Sexual Offenses Act of 2012, and the Information Technology (Intermediary Guidelines and Digital Media Ethics Code) Rules of 2021. These laws were all passed in the past few years.
According to the draught, “hence, it has been seen that the necessity to include other platforms into the scope of these rules has been realised.”