Media regulator Ofcom has given ZEE Cinema a telling off over “violent” scenes it broadcast during the day in the movie ‘Ek Ajnabee’ in May.

A viewer expressed her concerns to Ofcom stating she was shocked along with her nephews at watching such a violent film during the afternoon at the weekend.

Ofcom asked ZEE TV to respond with regard to Rule 1.3 of the Code (children must be protected from unsuitable material by appropriate scheduling).

In a response to Ofcom, ZEE TV said that the programme in question was broadcast in edited form to ensure the content was editorially justified and suitable for broadcast pre-watershed. As a consequence, the channel argued that the film would not have disturbed a child viewer.

The broadcaster suggested that an experienced programming team had taken care to edit the film to ensure that the Code was complied with satisfactorily, without affecting the story line. While ZEE TV stated it was sorry a viewer was offended, it argued that in this case any offence could have been mitigated had the viewer exercised personal discretion and turned the film off.

Ofcom concluded ZEE Cinema was in breach of Rule 1.3, i.e. inappropriate scheduling of unsuitable material at a time when children could be viewing television.

Furthermore Ofcom said, “This 18-rated film as broadcast contained material of a highly adult, and often violent nature kidnapping, torture, shoot outs, suicide and drugs use. Ofcom notes ZEE TV۪s attempts to minimise harm to children and offence through editing. Upon viewing the material, however, Ofcom found that in its opinion many of the edited scenes were still too harmful to be shown before the watershed at the time of broadcast.

For example, although torture scenes may have been edited so that

violent detail of the protagonist inflicting pain on his victims was minimised, these scenes were still nevertheless too extreme by their very nature, including body parts such as fingers and ears being severed, and the chief protagonist toying with the idea of suicide, by placing a gun in his mouth. In addition, certain sequences containing unsuitable content still remained in the film as broadcast for example, a brief scene of a criminal snorting cocaine.

Ofcom considers that this film was clearly unsuitable for children and it was not appropriate to broadcast it before the watershed. It was therefore in breach.