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2021 update: As of Jan 2021, a decision by the Australian Government means that TV networks no longer have to meet quality quotas for Children’s programs.
For over 35 years, Australian commercial TV stations have been obliged by law to provide a weekly quota of programs specifically made for school aged children, and another for preschool aged children. These programs have been known as C programs ( a 5 hr/week quota) and P programs (2.5hrs). There’s also been a requirement for extra hours of quality Australian drama for children.
Read the Children's Television Standards
For all of these years, networks have been obliged to submit their programs, or series of programs, in advance of screening, to the broadcasting regulator (currently the Australian Communications and Media Authority) to be assessed as to whether they meet the criteria required to gain their C, C drama, or P classification. (age-appropriate, quality production, culturally relevant, entertaining, and enhancing children’s understanding and experience).
This obligation has been deemed necessary because the networks have not demonstrated that they would be willing to devote the resources required for quality programs otherwise.
Indeed at various times they have actively fought the requirements and/or put more creativity into avoiding them than they have into the programs .
What’s happened recently:
The Minister of Communications Mitch Fifield has announced that there is to be an Inquiry into the need to continue the Children’s standards and Australian content requirements.
The reform package can be viewed here.
The point of concern is that the industry has yet again strongly moved against the CTS. See Free TV and others’ submissions to the ongoing House of Representatives Communications and the Arts Inquiry.
FreeTV is arguing that:
“Children’s quotas should be abolished"
“Free TV members make substantial investments in high-quality children’s programming. Despite this investment, there is a decline of child viewing of C and P
programs. In light of this, we consider that the children’s quota obligations in relation to C and P programming are failing to meet their objectives and should be abolished.”
What needs to happen:
Federal politicians need to be made aware that Australian parents want their children to have access to quality Australian productions.
For a guide to action visit www.savechildrenscontent.org