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Melon Farmers



12th March

  Singing from the right hymn sheet...

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Australian film censors drop the rating for Boychoir on appeal
Link Here
boychoir Boychoir is a 2014 USA drama by François Girard.
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates and Debra Winger. Youtube link IMDb

Summary Notes

Stet, a troubled and angry 11-year-old orphan from a small Texas town, ends up at a Boy Choir school back East after the death of his single mom. Completely out of his element, he finds himself in a battle of wills with a demanding Choir Master who recognizes a unique talent in this young boy as he pushes him to discover his creative heart and soul in music.

Boychoir has had its rating downgraded on appeal in Australia. The film has been re-classified PG (Mild bullying violence and themes) from M (Mature themes, PG-15 in US terms) by the Review Board. The Australian appeal board explains:

The National Classification Code and Classification Guidelines allows for violence and themes which are mild and justified by context. In the Classification Review Board's opinion BOYCHOIR warrants a PG classification because the violence and themes are mild in impact and justified by context.

The other classifiable elements can be accommodated within the PG classification or lower. The overall impact of the classifiable elements in the film was no higher than mild. Films classified PG may contain material which some children find confusing or upsetting and may require the guidance of parents or guardians. For this reason, PG films are not recommended for viewing by persons under 15 without guidance from parents or guardians.

Consumer advice is additional information about the main content of a film, intended to help consumers decide if they want to view this type of material. The Classification Review Board convened today in response to an application from the original applicant, Becker Film Group, to review the decision made by the Classification Board on 10 February 2015, to classify Boychoir M with the consumer advice 'Mature themes'.

For comparison:

  • UK BBFC: Rated PG for mild violence, mild bad language

 

10th March

 Update: A New Rating Game...

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Australia joins the International Age Rating Coalition with view to allowing game developers to use an approved tool to rate games rather than bother the censors of the Classification Board
Link Here  full story: Australian Censorship Review... Reviewing censorship law for all media

australia minister justice logo Australia will trial a new classification tool to keep pace with mobile and online games ensuring users, particularly parents, are better informed about what types of games are being played on mobile devices.

Australia has joined the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC), a partnership of government and industry content classification authorities from around the world, including the United States, Canada, Europe and Brazil. As part of this partnership, Australia is preparing to trial the use of IARC's new tool for classifying mobile and online games.

Participating online storefronts that use the IARC tool require game developers to obtain certification by completing a questionnaire about the content of their games. The IARC tool then assigns games with local classifications for each member country or region based on standards set by the relevant authorities.

The use of this tool will help keep the National Classification Scheme up to date with the pace of growth of mobile and online games. Australians who download these games through participating storefronts will soon start seeing familiar Australian classifications. Parents will also be better informed when making decisions about what their children play on their devices.

Today's announcement follows amendments made by the Government last year to the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 that allow the Minister to approve classification tools for classifying publications, films and/or computer games.

After close collaboration between the IARC and my Department over many months to ensure the tool meets Australia's requirements, I have approved the IARC classification tool for an initial 12-month trial period to begin next month.

As part of the trial, the Classification Board will audit a large number of classifications made by the IARC tool to ensure they reflect the Australian community's expectations and standards.

The Board also has the power to revoke classifications made by the IARC tool if it decides it would have given the game a different classification.

 

25th February

  Competing with the Internet...

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Australia's main broadcast channels propose an earlier TV watershed
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freetv australia logo An Australian trade body representing the free-to-air television industry, Free TV, has called for the local TV watershed to be set at the earlier time of 7:30pm rather than the current 8:30pm.

In fact Australia currently has a two tier system with M rated content allowed after 8:30pm and MA rated content allowed after 9pm. An M rating is an advisory 15 rating that would be called PG-15 in US terms. MA is a restricted 15 rating that allows younger viewers when accompanied by an adult that would be called 15A in UK terms.

M-rated programming includes appropriate coarse language, simulated or restrained depictions of sex and nudity and non-high-impact violence.

MA-rated programming can include very coarse language, so long as it is story-appropriate, and nudity so long as it is relevant to the storyline or program context .

The proposed set of new commercial television guidelines would allow the broadcast of M-rated material after 7.30pm and MA-rated material after 8.30pm. The new code would have to be approved by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The proposed new code would also absorb the existing AV adult violence classification - that is, program content that depicts violence in some detail , though neither prolonged nor unduly bloody or horrific - into the MA classification.

The proposed changes are a response to the new media landscape, it says, arguing that content is now available via multiple platforms, including pay TV and the internet, out of a time zone context and, in most cases, without restrictions in place. The proposal explains:

There are now a range of other options for managing viewing, including dedicated children's channels, ubiquitous availability of parental locks and information contained in electronic program guides

Free TV is now engaging in a six-week public consultation process after which the code must be submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for registration. See further details at freetv.com.au

Australian Film Classification Board

Australia

The Film Classification Board

The Australian state censor has responsibility for cinema, home video, video games, books and magazines.

Appeals about censorship decisions are heard by the Classification Review Board.

Film & Game Classifications

- G: (General Exhibition) These films and computer games are for general viewing.

- PG: (Parental Guidance) Contains material which some children find confusing or upsetting, and may require the guidance of parents or guardians. It is not recommended for viewing or playing by persons under 15 without guidance from parents or guardians.

- M:  (Recommended for mature audiences) Contains material that is not recommended for persons under 15 years of age.

- MA15+ (Mature Accompanied) The content is considered unsuitable for exhibition by persons under the age of 15. Persons under this age may only legally purchase or exhibit MA15+ rated content under the supervision of an adult guardian.

- R18+ (Restricted) People under 18 may not buy, rent or exhibit these films

- X18+ (Restricted) People under 18 may not buy, rent or exhibit these films. This rating applies to real sex content only

- RC (Refused Classification)Banned

Note that there is no R18+ X18+ available for games so adult games often end up getting banned much to the annoyance of gamers.

Note also that films classified as X18+ (Restricted) are banned from sale or rent in most of Australia. They can only be sold from Northern Territory and ACT (Canberra). Mail order and imports are allowed though and possession of X18+ material is legal

Publication Classifications

 - Unrestricted

- Unrestricted Mature: Not recommended for readers under 15.

- Restricted Category 1: Not available to persons under 18 years. Softcore

- Restricted Category 2 : Not available to persons under 18 years. Only to be sold in adults only shops: Hardcore

- RC: Refused Classification. Banned

Only publications that would be restricted 1 & 2 need to be submitted for censorship. There is also a scheme that magazines only need to be submitted once. Subsequent issues inherit the same rating. However later issues can be 'called in' for reassessment if anything crops up to alert the censors of changes.

Websites:
Classification Board

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