ACMA clears Nine over MAFS classification

Watchdog investigates 3 episodes of MAFS but finds they were appropriately classified as PG or M.

Nine has been cleared over questions around classification of Married at First Sight episodes.

Of 32 episodes broadcast, 3 investigated episodes screened in March, two in a 7pm PG slot on Sundays, and a third in an M rated slot at 7:30pm.

ACMA noted its investigation wholly pertained to the broadcaster’s obligations to correctly categorise programs in accordance with the Code and not to evaluate the performance of actors or presenters, nor the worthiness or otherwise of the behaviours of the characters and individuals presented.

In a PG classification programs may contain adult themes or concepts but must remain suitable for children to watch with adult supervision and accordingly not exceed mild impact. Programs classified M are intended for mature audiences and most adult themes can be dealt with, but the impact must be no more than moderate.

“There was one scene which included an exchange that could have potentially been considered an intense adult theme as contemplated by the Code,” a report notes.

“However, this exchange was adequately contextualised by the underlying premise of the program; that is, putting pairs of strangers together in faux marriage scenarios. Such circumstances are likely to lead to conflict, including between the different couples involved in the program. In this sense, the intense adult theme was justified by context, as required by the Code.”

ACMA found the exchange was handled with care, was brief and restrained and critiqued by participants. Consequently it considered the overall impact was moderate and could be accommodated within the M classification.

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