[LINK] SMH: 'One rating to rule them all'

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Sat Oct 1 08:58:10 AEST 2011

One rating to rule them all: call to unify restrictions on entertainment
Tim Dick
The Sydney Morning Herald
October 1, 2011

THERE will be one national ratings regime for classifying movies, TV 
programs, magazines and websites, and one regulator to enforce the 
rules, under a new scheme proposed by the Australian Law Reform 

In overhauling the ''dysfunctional'' rules that apply now, it wants a 
single set of ratings, including new categories aimed at children and 

It wants the federal government to take complete control of 
classification and censorship, rather than the existing combination 
of federal and state rules, which led to X18+ material banned from 
every state and pay TV, but legally traded on DVD in Canberra and 

The commission's discussion paper released yesterday said there is 
confusion among parents about what the PG, M and MA15+ 
classifications mean, and proposes to unify the three regimes for 
film and games, TV, and print into one, which includes a C, aimed at 
children, and T13+, aimed at teenagers.

It will keep G, for general audiences, and add an age to the parental 
guidance recommended classification, becoming PG8+.

The paper admits that with a trillion or so websites, there is far 
too much material online for a government agency to classify, but 
says there is strong public demand for guidance for films, TV 
programs and games. Under the new regime, the regulator will 
concentrate on classifying films for release in cinemas and 
high-impact games.

Other films, programs and low-level games will be self-assessed by 
industry, with appeals to the regulator. Books, magazines and 
websites will not need to be classified - unless they are likely to 
be X18+ or RC, refused classification.

The government's plan for internet filtering of RC material is 
delayed until after the commission's final report. It recommends any 
RC decision should state if material is banned for showing actual 
child sexual abuse or actual sexual violence and added to the 
filtering blacklist.

The commission did not say if X18+ material should be able to be sold 
in the states, but has begun a study of public attitudes to what 
should be covered by MA15+, which allows implied sex and violence 
justified by context, R18+, which allows violence or simulated sex, 
X18+ which allows real sex but no violence, and RC.

Film festivals would be exempt but still required to exclude children 
from R18+ films.

Roger Clarke                                 http://www.rogerclarke.com/
Xamax Consultancy Pty Ltd      78 Sidaway St, Chapman ACT 2611 AUSTRALIA
                    Tel: +61 2 6288 1472, and 6288 6916
mailto:Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au                http://www.xamax.com.au/

Visiting Professor in the Cyberspace Law & Policy Centre      Uni of NSW
Visiting Professor in Computer Science    Australian National University

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