Friday, November 16, 2007

Nude children on air: The rights question

A scene of a soap opera Bhagya Aa Aafno aired by Nepal Television has seven-year-old Saugat Bohara being bathed nude on screen by his parents.This is against the children's Act and also the international convention to show a child nude on or off screen, said Siru (single name) of CWIN.�Even with good intentions children should not be portrayed nude visually or on documentation even if that is meant to give a positive message to others," said advocate Upendra Keshari Neupane.This showed soaps or teledramas often knowingly or unknowingly breach child rights and legal framework connected to the international convention on child rights. Saughat Bohora, 7, who said he is shy to take a bath nude in front of his parents felt utterly uncomfortable while doing the shot. But the makers of the teleserial demanded that the shot be taken without him wearing undergarments.Director of the serial Ramesh Koirala confessing his mistake told The Rising Nepal that he did not have any idea about child rights and child abuse.�If I had known all these things I would not have made this mistake," he said and added my legal advisor did not say anything regarding this matter,"But legal advisor Khagendra Bohara said the boy is his son and they had tried to put undergarment on him but it was not available at the spot. �There was no ill intention in presenting the boy in the nude," Bohara said.He, however, said it was the duty of Nepal Television which aired the teledrama to censor the scenes and make appropriate for viewing as our team had send the serials to Nepal Television several months ago before it was aired.Jaya Singh Shah Manager of Production Department at Nepal Television, however refuted Bohora's claims. He said that this matter is not related to his department. �It is not our concern whether the soaps have been censored according to legal frameworks," he said.He further said that there is a telefilm censor committee formed by different individuals. �It is their job to censor the serials and submit them to Nepal Television for airing."According to Clause 16 of the Children's Act 2048, pictures or visual portraying the children nude degrades their morality. It has also mentioned any visual, photograph or even sketches related to child pornography is child abuse and is against child rights and is a crime, said Neupane.While the Child Right Convention 1989 has been built on varied legal systems and cultural traditions, the Convention is a universally agreed set of non-negotiable standards and obligations. It sets out these rights in 54 Articles and two Optional Protocols. It spells out the basic human rights that children everywhere have are the right to survive; to develop to the fullest; to have protection from harmful influences, abuse and exploitation; and to participate fully in family, cultural and social life.The four core principles of the Convention are: non-discrimination; devotion to the best interests of the child; the right to life, survival and development; and respect for the views of the child.As Nepal has also ratified the convention, it should follow CRC in all its activities and manifestations that also includes the films, said Neupane.
By Eliza Rana @ risingnepal

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