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Melon Farmers

26th November

  Mature Thinking...

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Australia set to change TV watershed rules to allow M rated ('PG-15') material from 7:30pm
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ACMA logo Australia is updating its rules for its TV watershed.

Australia's TV censors of the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) are revising TV watershed rules from 1st December 2015.

A revised Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice will bring forward the watershed for M-Rated programs on free-to-air networks by an hour to 7:30pm. The shift is expected to have a significant knock on effect for the networks enabling them to bring more edgy programming on earlier in the evening.

The Australian M rating is an advisory rating recommending that content is suitable for those 15 years an old.

The code, drafted by Free TV and approved by ACMA, aims to account for the much freer access consumers have to TV content through both platforms and delivery methods that has rendered time restrictions for programming less relevant.

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said the code had been designed to give consumers a greater role in choosing what they wanted to watch and when. he said:

The digital era has also brought challenges for viewers, and the new code is designed to assist them to better manage their own viewing in an environment in which responsibility will be increasingly shared between government, industry and, importantly, viewers.


4th November

  Gayby Baby Ban...

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Complaints about a News South Wales schools ban on a documentary film about a family with gay parents
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gayby baby Gayby Baby is a 2015 Australia family documentary by Maya Newell.
Starring David Rawle, Brendan Gleeson and Lisa Hannigan. Youtube link IMDb

The documentary film follows the lives of four kids whose parents all happen to be gay. As they each wrestle with the onset of puberty, the outside world wrestles with the issue of marriage equality and whether or not kids of same-sex families are at risk.

The New South Wales (NSW) Education Minister had banned schools from screening the film in August. Now documents obtained under freedom of information laws reveal that the NSW Government has received 85 complaints about the films.

In total, 55 messages were received congratulating the Premier and the Minister for their courageous decision and for being men of principle in preventing the film from being shown in school time, eg:

God bless you for standing up to protect our lovely children from those who in the name of the 'freedom to be naughty' would seek to enslave them into a lifetime of weird unproductive sexuality.

The others complained about the ban. One complaint read:

Today you did something unconscionable. Today you told thousands of children across this state that they should be embarrassed about who they are.  The ramifications of this are on your shoulders.

Fairfax Media revealed in September that the attack on the film was fuelled by a Presbyterian minister who had the scripture classes he oversaw at the school cut back last year.


2nd November

  115 Lashes...

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The Australian Classification Board releases its annual report and of course its top films as judged by the amount of complaints
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Shades Digibook Exclusive Amazon co uk Blu ray The Australian film censor has release the Annual Report for 2014 - 15. Notable perhaps for a reduction in X18+ (reserved for hardcore sex) certificates to just 3. And of course it is always traditional to list the handful of complaints about film classifications:

The Classification Board received 115 complaints about the classifications of films. This compares with 93 complaints in 2013-14.

There were 18 complaints about Fifty Shades of Grey . The complainants were of the view that the MA 15+ classification with consumer advice of Strong sex scenes, sexual themes and nudity was too low due to the depictions of implied sexual activity in the film.

There were 12 complaints about the film Paddington . The complainants were of the view that the G classification was too low due to the depictions of violence and scary themes.

The film Gone Girl , which was classified MA 15+ with the consumer advice Strong sexualised violence, blood, sex scenes and coarse language , attracted 10 complaints in the reporting period. The complainants believed the film's classification was too low due to the depictions of sex, violence and sexual violence in the film. Two complainants thought the consumer advice was insufficient.

There were eight complaints about Kingsmen: The Secret Service. The complainants were of the view that the MA 15+ classification was too low due to the depictions of violence in the film.

The film The House of Magic which was classified G with the consumer advice Some scary scenes received five complaints. The complainants felt that the classification was too low. The complainants considered that the film was too scary for young children.

Overall, the remainder of complaints were about a small number of titles.

Australian Film Classification Board


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.

Classification Board

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