Nearly two years after a Senate Inquiry on TV standards recommended a parental lock be installed on digital television sets, the Australian Communications and Media Authority is seeking public comment on whether they should be mandatory for digital television receivers.
The parental lock would be based on a TV programme’s classification: G, PG, M or MA.
The move comes despite 56% of Australian homes already having switched to digital television.
“Mandating the inclusion of parental lock in digital receivers will support parents and guardians in protecting their children from inappropriate or harmful content on television,” said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
ACMA will determine a technical standard in the second quarter of this year that will require domestic reception equipment used for receiving digital television services to have a parental lock capability.
“The ACMA’s primary aim is to ensure this standard meets consumer needs for an appropriate and effective protection mechanism for their children. This is best achieved through consultation to assist in the development of a standard that is clear, unambiguous and readily understood by industry,” he said.
ACMA is seeking opinions on:
* whether there are any particular types of digital television receivers that should be exempt from meeting the requirements of the standard;
* the need for labelling and record-keeping obligations as part of the compliance arrangements that accompany the standard; and
* the date by which equipment supplied to the market should comply with the standard.
Last August then-Opposition communications spokesman Nick Minchin criticised the Rudd Government for being too slow to respond to the recommendations of the Senate Inquiry, which was triggered in part by complaints about Gordon Ramsay.
Subscription television already offers viewers the ability to lock content including a parental lock on Foxtel channels according to classification.
Submissions for the current review close 2nd April 2010 and should be sent to DigitalTV.Consumer&[email protected].