[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 June, 2004, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
TV 'may get cinema-style ratings'
Phil Mitchell lies bleeding in EastEnders
The ratings would say whether shows were suitable for children
Television programmes could be given cinema-style ratings to let people know how much sex and violence they contain.

Media watchdog Ofcom is seeking views from broadcasters on whether a common "labelling system" could be adopted.

The regulator hopes such a move would help parents be better informed about programme content, especially in the digital era.

Television services such as Sky's movie channels and Five already have their own film rating systems.

Ofcom is consulting broadcasters and other industry stakeholders about the possibility of setting up a cross-party working group to look at the issues.


An Ofcom spokeswoman told BBC News Online: "A lot of different labelling systems, such as Five's film ratings, do exist - but we are looking at the possibility of establishing a common framework.

"People want to know what a programme contains, such as bad language, sex and violence, and that is something very much appreciated by parents."

In Australia, all programmes, with the exception of news and live sporting events, are classified before broadcast.

For example, the soap Neighbours has a 'G' - or General - classification, meaning it does not contain any material likely to be unsuitable for children to watch without supervision.

Other classifications include 'P' for pre-school children, 'PG' for parental guidance, 'M' for audiences over 15-years-old and 'AV', or Adult Violence, when violence is central to the overall theme.

In the UK, recent research suggested 92% of people were aware of the watershed, which says programmes shown before 9pm should be suitable for children.

The thinking is still at a very early stage
BBC spokesman

But technological advances means a growing number of people with access to digital television and recorders are able to watch shows regardless of the watershed.

"When doing your own scheduling, you may not know what time a programme was originally meant to be broadcast," the spokeswoman added.

"Something like a labelling system would be of great use and work in unison with the watershed."

The BBC has already been looking into a labelling system and says the watershed may not be sufficient in a future broadcast environment.

A spokesman said: "The BBC has been exploring how extra programme information or some form of labelling system might be developed for its digital content in the future.

"It has done this in consultation with the other public service broadcasters in order to achieve an industry-wide approach. However, the thinking is still at a very early stage."

TV 'needs cinema-style ratings'
01 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Concern over rape in EastEnders
01 Jun 04  |  Entertainment
Ofcom backs swearing complaints
17 May 04  |  Entertainment


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites


News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East | South Asia
UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature | Technology | Health
Have Your Say | In Pictures | Week at a Glance | Country Profiles | In Depth | Programmes
Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific