Indian television stations will control coverage of the birth of Aishwarya Rai and Abhishek Bachchan's baby under guidelines issued by the Broadcast Editors' Association (BEA). The married couple, popularly known as Ash-Abhi is expecting their first child this month.
A memo dated Nov. 5 from the BEA was distributed to TV stations, listing rules regarding coverage on the upcoming baby, The Times of India reported.
Per the guidelines, there will be no pre-coverage of the birth, and any news on the actual birth can only run after an official announcement has been made. Also, no cameras or media vans are allowed to set up camp outside of the hospital or any of the Bachchan homes. Unauthorized entry to the hospital is not permitted. The memo also forbids astrology shows, especially not on Nov. 11, 2011, a birth date that has been speculated upon. A more restraining order under the guidelines is that stories of the birth can only run from one minute to ninety seconds.
Rai's father-in-law, Amitabh Bachchan, from whom fans originally learned of the pregnancy, denied having anything to do with the BEA's new guidelines.
He wrote on his Nov. 7 blog post about thanking members of the Indian media for their decision to respect the dignity and not intrude on the privacy of our family during the time of the delivery.
Regardless, the rules are being mocked on some Indian Web sites.
The India Web site for FirstPost.com referred to the guidelines as the Ten commandments.
BollywoodLife.com commented on the overall secrecy that has surrounded Ash-Abhi's baby, saying that such secrecy can only lead to speculation.
That's human nature, the Web site wrote on Tuesday.
The BEA's general secretary N.K. Singh commented on the guidelines to The TOI, saying the purpose was to make Indian electronic news media more value-based and purposeful for broader public cause, adding he could only tell The TOI about the sublime purpose which the BEA is seeking to achieve.