ACMA investigating Married at First Sight complaints

Married At First Sight is being investigated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority following complaints over classification.

The volatile reality show drew an M rating for 7:30pm episodes, but on Sundays it screened at 7pm with a PG classification. A show does not get to change its classification once it crosses into another threshold.

“Three complainants have come to the ACMA about Married At First Sight after complaining to the licensee first. The ACMA is investigating compliance with section 2 (classification) of the commercial TV code of practice,” ACMA told the Sunday Herald Sun.

Nine CEO Hugh Marks has previously expressed concerns over the tone of the hit show, instructing execs to pull back on some of the extreme content.

An M rating allows for:

The Mature (M) Classification
Material classified M is for mature audiences. It is recommended for viewing only by persons aged 15 years or over. The impact must be moderate (i.e. higher than mild but lower than strong). All elements must be justified by context.

Violence: Depictions of violence may be realistically shown only if they are not detailed or prolonged. Any depiction of or verbal reference to violence occurring in a sexual context must be infrequent and restrained, and strictly justified by the story line or program context.

Sex: Depictions of sexual activity may be implied or simulated in a restrained way. Verbal references to sexual activity may be more detailed than depictions if this does not increase the impact.

Nudity: Depictions of nudity are permitted but must not be detailed if in a sexual context.

Language: The use of coarse language is permitted but aggressive or strong coarse language should be infrequent overall.

Drugs: The use of illegal drugs may be shown but the program must not promote or encourage their use.

Suicide: Suicide must not be promoted or encouraged by the program and methods of suicide must not be instructional or shown in realistic detail.

Themes: Most adult themes can be dealt with, but intense adult themes should be handled with care.

Nine declined to comment.


  1. And in two years time the ACMA will come out with some ruling and a wet lettuce leaf as punishment.

    Unfortunately by then, the world will have moved on.

  2. There is no problem with showing PG and M rated episodes of a show, you can even show the same episode cut to different classifications.

    What Nine can’t do is show any M rated material, or a promo for other eps containing M rated material, in the Sunday slot which is classified as PG, even if it is after 8:30pm threshold. The ACMA findings will reveal all the details.

  3. Never watched MAFS, but if there are any grounds for complaint, assuming that moderate coarse language hadn’t been used in the PG-rated episodes (and that any uses have been adequately bleeped) then, at worst, they can get into trouble for their treatment of adult themes, and from what I hear about the absolute toxic nature of the show, it sounds as if it may very well deserve an M rating for that reason anyway.

    Love/marriage is no fairy tale (for that, you’d have to slay a few witches on the way to the altar), but I find it troubling how these sorts of programmes are so irresponsibly depicting “marriage” in a time when fewer and fewer people are getting married at all.

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