Proposed changes make commercial Free TV child unfriendly. February 23, 2015
Free TV Australia is reviewing the Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice (the Code) and seeks public comment.
Broadcasters will seek to move the M classification time zone to start at 7.30pm. The new Code proposes the AV (adult violence) classification be dropped, MA15+ programs allowed to be screened from 8.30pm and a PG rating allowed across all channels all day. As a result of these changes, advertisements for products such as alcohol will be able to appear on television an hour earlier, from 7.30pm
Dr Glenn Cupit, Vice-President of the Australian Council on Children and the Media, said that the code is clearly written from the point of view of the industry and that he had concerns with a number of changes.
He said the alterations to time zones were worrying, particularly the lack of a G time during which children could watch TV unsupervised. Other issues included the axing of consumer advice on classifications, the continuation of alcohol and gambling advertising during sports programming, the exposure of children to different ad categories in the M-rated 7.30pm hour, and the removal of the ability to make complaints by telephone.
Abandoning designated G timeslots would also increase pressure on children’s content standards. Broadcasters are now required to air 260 hours of C classified programs within designated C bands for children under 14 and 130 hours for preschool children each year, with at least 25 hours a year of first-release Australian children’s drama.
The closing date for public comment is 5pm on Friday, 3 April 2015.
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