New Delhi: The government has asked Fashion TV to avoid "indecent presentation" of women's bodies and warned that future violations could lead to stringent action after a female model's movements on the catwalk raised the antenna of the information and broadcasting ministry's television monitor.
Patanjali Ayurved, the company mentored by televangelist Baba Ramdev, also came under the glare - of India's advertising watchdog - following its claims on consumer products.
The Advertising Standards Council of India today rapped Patanjali Ayurved for "false and misleading" claims in its advertisements on hair oil and washing powder.
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The I&B ministry's advisory on Tuesday to Fashion TV related to a show titled Fotos, aired in November 2014, that showed models dressed in bikinis.
"The objectionable episode showed a female model moving her legs in an awkward way to adjust her costume whereas at another place, (the) shot showed her from behind with her posterior barely covered...," the advisory said.
"Such indecent presentation of women's bodies appeared to denigrate women, was suggestive/obscene and also against good taste and decency," it said, adding that a showcause notice had been issued to Fashion TV in May last year.
An inter-ministerial committee that had first examined the matter had noted that although the channel is primarily intended for niche core fashion and lifestyle audiences, its content should comply with all laws applicable in India.
The channel's executives, during a hearing on the case, had submitted that the content mainly focuses on international fashion trends and lifestyle-related topics and was meant for viewers in 32 countries.
They also clarified that the channel was being downlinked in Asia - including India -and European countries through a single satellite link and the content was identical for all these countries.
"They assured that now they have changed the satellite link for Asian countries and only the filtered content will be downlinked in lndia," a ministry official, member of the committee, told The Telegraph today.
"Normally, in such cases, the channel is blacked out for a few days for violating the programming code under the cable television network rules, 1994, but because of the assurances we decided to let off the channel only with a warning," the official said.
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The violation had been brought to the ministry's notice by its Electronic Media Monitoring Centre, which records and reports all programmes beamed by TV channels across India.
"However, we have made it clear to the channel that any future violation may entail more stringent action such as suspension or prohibition of broadcasting rights of the channel for a certain period or prohibition of operation of the channel," another official in the ministry's broadcasting division said.
Earlier, the channel had been blacked out in India in 2013 for "too much nudity" in its late-night shows Midnight Haute & Designers in High Definition and Chantelle lingerie, Paris.
FTV had also faced the government's ire in 2007 and 2010 when its transmission had been banned for two months and nine days, respectively.
In the other case involving Patanjali Ayurved, the ad watchdog said the company's claim - "mineral oil is carcinogenic in nature and may cause cancer" - was "false and misleading by ambiguity and by gross exaggeration".
Gujarati versions of Patanjali's washing powder, cake and dishwasher bar were also rapped for "exaggerated claims" and "denigrating products by other companies".
Ramdev's spokesperson S.K. Tijarawala was not available for comment despite repeated attempts to reach him.
- The Telegraph, Calcutta