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Film classification process comes under scrutiny.



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Joint News Release

Commonwealth Attorney-General

The Hon. Daryl Williams AM QC MP

South Australian Attorney-General

The Hon. Trevor Griffin MLC

6 October 2000

 

FILM CLASSIFICATION PROCESS COMES UNDER SCRUTINY

The basis for classifying films and videos has been scrutinised by three Community Assessment Panels across Australia to determine if recent classification decisions reflect community attitudes.

The Panels comprised about 20 people of various ages and backgrounds, drawn from a broad cross-section of the community. After being briefed on the meaning and application of the classification guidelines the panels applied the guidelines to films previously classified by the Classification Board.

The second report on the Community Assessment Panel Scheme released today demonstrates that once again the Classification Board continues to reflect accurately current community standards in its classification of films and videos.

The classification process is an important consumer protection for the

entire community, in particular parents who rely on classifications to ensure their children are viewing films appropriate for their age group.

The report shows that Panels convened in Perth, Adelaide and Bendigo over the past year agreed with the Board in 7 out of the 9 films that they viewed.

The films the Board and the Panel agreed on were:

‘What becomes of the Broken Hearted’ and ‘Beautiful People’, with an MA classification; ●

‘A Walk on the Moon’, ‘This is my Father’ and ‘The Third Miracle’, all with an M rating; and ●

‘The Iron Giant’ and ‘My Dog Skip’, received PG classifications ●

The two films where the Board and the Panel differed were ‘Tarzan’ and ‘The General’s Daughter’. ‘Tarzan’ was rated PG by a majority decision of the Board, but the Panel was evenly split between a PG and G rating. Although the final rating differed, both the Board and the Panel had difficulty in deciding between the G and PG classification. This indicates that the thinking of the Panel and the Board were still quite similar and there does not appear to be any cause for concern. ‘The General’s Daughter’ was originally classified R by the Board but then reclassified to MA by the Classification Review Board on appeal. The Panel rated the film as MA, agreeing with the Review Board’s decision. In many ways this was a good finding, because it reinforces the Review Board’s decision and our faith in the review process.

The panels have confirmed that the Classification Board is in touch with the community. To ensure the Board continues to reflect community standards, State and Territory Censorship Ministers decided at their July 2000 meeting that similar programs would continue to be run every five years.

We would like to thank all the panellists involved for their contribution to the scheme as well as the film distributors for providing the films. The Classification Board is also to be congratulated for successfully assisting adults to make informed entertainment choices for themselves and those in their care.

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