Are PG and G too broad as classifications for audiences and should an E (Education) classification be introduced?
That’s the question under proposal by the Australian Children’s Television Foundation in its submission to the Government’s Review of Australian Classification Regulation.
ACTF argues PG (0 – 15 years) is too broad and ‘over-used,’ suggesting the difference between “mild” (PG) and “very mild” (G) is currently not clear enough. It recommends age brackets for G and PG ratings, such as G8+ and G12+, or abolishing PG altogether.
It cites titles such as Frozen 2 to movies like Spiderman Into The Spider-Verse and Fighter Preacher all given PG ratings.
ABC ME series Little Lunch received a G rating for television, but PG for its DVD release under the Classifications Board, due to its mild themes. In some cases, that could prevent a title to be shown in the classroom.
ACTF argues other countries such as Germany have introduced alternative categories that relate to different age brackets or have introduced additional guidance, such as the United Kingdom and Canada.
But commercial broadcasters reject the idea of splitting PG into two categories.
Free TV CEO Bridget Fair said, “The existing classification markings are long-standing and have a high-level of consumer awareness.
“Classification categories are not shoe sizes. The reason they work so well is that they support parents to make the rights decisions based on consumer advice and their children’s individual needs.”
In its submission Free TV wants classification categories retained, and for BVOD titles to fall under the Television Classification Guidelines. The Classification Act currently requires all content online apart from online games and online advertisements to be classified by the Classification Board.
Free TV CEO, Bridget Fair said: “While the system for television is working well, the huge amount of digital content now being consumed means existing processes just can’t classify online content fast enough. We support changes to enable the existing well-understood classification markings to apply to all media content.
“In particular, the regulatory framework should allow content delivered on catch-up services including 7plus, 9Now and 10 play to be classified under the Television Classification Guidelines in the same way as broadcast content.”
Networks also wants News, Current Affairs and Sports Programs to remain free of classification.
A discussion paper is expected soon with a review to be given to the government by April.