Sunday, 28 March 2010

Women Against Violent Entertainment (WAVE)

Many ideas and the original inspiration for the WAVE campaign are from my brother, who is, surprisingly, a senior corporate executive.
The title WAVE (Women Against Violent Entertainment) is really to create a mexican wave across civil society against violent programming that targets women. Let's look at what the Mexican wave is all about from Wikipedia:
"The wave (British English: Mexican wave; also stadium wave) is achieved in a packed stadium when successive groups of spectators briefly stand and raise their arms. Each spectator is required to rise at the same time as those straight in front and behind, and slightly after the person immediately to either the right (for a clockwise wave) or the left (for a counterclockwise wave). Immediately upon stretching to full height, the spectator returns to the usual seated position.

The result is a "wave" of standing spectators that travels through the crowd, even though individual spectators never move away from their seats. In many large arenas the crowd is seated in a contiguous circuit all the way around the sport field, and so the wave is able to travel continuously around the arena; in discontiguous seating arrangements, the wave can instead reflect back and forth through the crowd. When the gap in seating is narrow, the wave can sometimes pass through it. Usually only one wave crest will be present at any given time in an arena. Simultaneous, counter-rotating waves have been produced."

We take this strategy and build a movement against violent programming on media that targets women. When I announced this campaign at a film festival yesterday morning, a young student came to pin me down angrily saying 'How can you stop such programming? It helps high light how women are victims of violence'. All of us understand dramatic, thematic necessity and the need to show violence to high light social problems. But the problem comes when in the name of social problems, violence is packaged to entertain or serve prurient interest. In soaps and long running serials, the drive for TRPs compels the channels and production houses to invent bizarre techniques for victimizing women. This is entirely gratuitous.

The broadcast code in India prescribes some dos and donts which the channels either do not know about or do not care enough about to implement. The Cable Networks Regulation Act provides for a system of monitoring programmes on private television channels, that includes district and state monitoring committees with significant civil society participation. A recent Public Interest Litigation (PIL) in Andhra Pradesh High Court has however made the Police Commissioner specially responsible. The PC is now attempting to constitute a monitoring committee to comply with the court directives. Any citizen who believes in democracy also knows that the police force cannot be an instrument for control of media. The problem went to the courts and then to the police because firstly, the state government did not take the trouble of implementing the Cable Regulation Act, secondly, the civil society complains in the private domain but does not seem to have a coherent strategy to crystallise public opinion. WAVE campaign is a strategy to rectify that.

The objective of WAVE campaign is to:
1. make people watch entertainment with more critical awareness
2. build social consesnus against violent behaviour
3. make people aware that being entertained by violence is perverse
4. make people aware of the connection between the TRPs and ad revenue
5. make people object to TV channels and production houses against violent programming that targets women
6. make people object to advertising and corporate support that makes violent programming that targets women possible in the name of TRPS
7. develop a Corporate Social Irresponsibility Index against corporations that support violent programming against women

What you need to do:
1. Whenever you wince at a gratuitously violent shot, scene, sequence, don't just forget it. Write to us at:
2. When you write, mention the show, the channel, the time, the products being advertised
3. The last item is crucial. We need to know who is financing violence against women.
The email ID is

What we propose to do:
1. First, we will write to the channel with your objections
2. We will also write to the production house
3. We will alert the Corporation that is advertising on the show.
4. We will inform the regulators