[LINK] ALRC Discussion Paper re Classification System

Roger Clarke Roger.Clarke at xamax.com.au
Fri Sep 30 14:19:31 AEST 2011

ALRC Media Release
30 September 2011
ALRC Discussion Paper proposes fundamental reform of the classification system

"In an age of media convergence, Australia needs a 21st century 
classification system that is more platform-neutral, concentrates 
government regulation on media content of most concern to the 
community, and a system that can be adapted to accelerated media 
innovation," said Professor Terry Flew, Commissioner in charge of the 
National Classification Scheme Review. 

"The goals of classification in balancing individual rights with 
community standards and protection of children remain vitally 
important, but we need a new framework that minimises costs and 
regulatory burden, and does not penalise Australian digital content 
industries in a hyper-competitive global media environment."

Drawing on over 2,400 submissions responding to its May Issues Paper, 
the Australian Law Reform Commission found that the existing 
classification framework is fragmented, approaches content 
inconsistently across media platforms, and is confusing for industry 
and the wider community.

The ALRC today released the National Classification Scheme Review 
Discussion Paper (ALRC DP 77, 2011) that puts forward 43 proposals 
for reform on which it is seeking public input. These proposals focus 
on the introduction of a new Classification of Media Content Act 
covering classification on all media platforms-online, offline and 
television. The ALRC proposes what media content should continue to 
be classified, who should classify it, and who should have 
responsibility for enforcement. 

The proposed new framework envisages:
-   a greater role for industry in classifying content-allowing 
government regulators to focus on
the content that generates the most community concern, and ensure 
access to adult content is
properly restricted;
-   content will be classified using the same categories, guidelines 
and markings whether viewed
on television, at the cinema, on DVD or online; 
-   changes to classification categories, with age references-PG 8+ 
and T 13+ (Teen)-to help
parents choose content for their children; and
-   the Commonwealth taking on full responsibility for administering 
and enforcing the new

ALRC President Professor Rosalind Croucher said, "The ALRC has heard 
loud and clear that the
current system is broken and no longer fits with how people are 
consuming media content. It is poorly equipped to deal with the 
challenges of media convergence, and the case for reform is strong. 
The ALRC is proposing reform that can be phased in to allow time for 
industry and the community to adapt to the new scheme. Responses to 
the Discussion Paper will help inform the development of final 
recommendations for reform".

The Discussion Paper and Discussion Paper Summary are available on 
the ALRC website. The ALRC encourages submissions from the public. 
For information about making submissions visit the ALRC website 

Closing date for submissions is 18 November 2011.

Subscribe to National Classification Review e-news: 
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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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