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25th February

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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

 

19th February

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Peppa Pig episode banned from Australian TV over fears of kids picking up 'friendly' spiders
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Mister Skinnylegs Grandpa Pigs Boat An episode of Peppa Pig has been banned from Australian TV after a complaint from a single viewer.

The controversial episode entitled Mister Skinnylegs featured a friendly spider of the same name. Daddy Pig is seen picking up the spider by its thread within the episode, gallantly informing his spouse: Don't be scared, Mummy.

The complainant contacted Australia's ABC network to say the episode was inappropriate for a Down Under audience because it said that spiders were not to be feared.

Australia has some of the most venomous spiders in the world and friendly spiders is perhaps not the best message for Australian children.

The network has already banned the episode from being broadcast again.

And if you were asking what about The Lion King, Tiger Tim and Yogi Bear...well maybe best not to go there.

 

31st January

 Update: A Damn Good Thrashing with a Feather...

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Fifty Shades of Grey gets a 15 rating in Australia, but it doesn't stop Morality in Media whingeing about sexual violence
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Poster Fifty Shades of Grey 2015 Sam Taylorjohnson Media Censorship in Australia has noted that the country's Censorship Board has awarded a 15 rating to Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Australian Classification Board gave an MA15+ rating to the film for strong sex scenes, sexual themes and nudity...

An Ma15+ means:

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.

morality in media logo Meanwhile the US Morality in Media campaign group has launched its miserable campaign against the film: 

National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) is a new name for Morality in Media (MIM). The organization ichanged its name early in 2015.

National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) has launched an aggressive national campaign against the controversial film, Fifty Shades of Grey .  NCSE's new webpage,  FiftyShadesIsAbuse.com  highlights 50 plus ways that Fifty Shades  harms and provides various actions that the public can take, including signing a  boycott petition  and joining the  #50DollarsNot50Shades  campaign, which calls on patrons to forgo the film and donate to women's shelters  instead.

Hollywood is advertising the Fifty Shades  story as an erotic love affair, but it is really about sexual abuse and violence against women, said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Hawkins noted that the public sees too much sexual abuse and violence against women in real life and urged Hollywood to take this into consideration when setting the entertainment agenda. The porn industry has poised men and women to receive the message that sexual violence is enjoyable.  Fifty Shades  models this porn message and Hollywood cashes the check, said Hawkins.

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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