The Delhi Union of Journalists welcomes the move by the Broadcasting Content Complaints Council of India (BCCC) to discourage the promotion of superstition by some television channels. We commend the BCCC’s advisory to TV channels Zee, Colours, Sun TV and Maa TV to stop broadcasting programmes on the occult, black magic, exorcism, witchcraft and other superstitious practices or restrict them to late night broadcasts.
DUJ believes that such programmes foster fear and superstition among audiences, particularly spreading hatred of older single women who are dubbed as witches. It must be remembered that women are still labeled witches, hounded and killed in parts of rural India. Some 1,700 women were murdered for alleged witchcraft between 1991 and 2010, according to police records. The actual numbers may be higher as some cases go unreported. In states like Jharkhand, Orissa, Assam and Rajasthan among others belief in witchcraft is still rampant. Defenceless elderly widows are frequently targeted in order to grab their land and property.
DUJ appeals to the TV channels to desist from promoting negative practices through the media. We call for more media studies to monitor misuse of airspace including monitoring of soaps and serials that glorify a mythological past and promote hatred of religious, ethnic and other minorities. We recommend the creation of programming that inculcates humanism and scientific temper.