UK film censor eyes Internet ratings

The UK film censor have asked the government to extend its powers to cover the Internet.

The British Board of Film Classification wants the authority to rate videos for language, violence, sex and themes, in the same way that it already does for films, videos and DVDs.

‘We don’t want to go down the route of cutting and banning things and blocking sites, but a lot of the content that’s out there on the internet is not something the majority of people would want to view,’ said BBFC spokeswoman Sue Clark.

‘If there’s some sort of standardised labelling system that people understand, then they know that it’s material they can trust.’

Clark pointed to Terrorists, Killers and Middle East Wackos as an example of a video that is banned in the UK, because it is thought to contravene the Obscene Publications Act, but is freely available on the Net.

The BBFC accepts that it cannot prevent anyone from viewing such content, but would like to be in a position to advise film and video makers on what is acceptable.

‘We do not argue for regulation except where it is genuinely needed,’ said BBFC director David Cooke recently. ‘But effective regulation has clear benefits: the prevention of harm; enabling informed choices; creating a safe environment within which to enjoy creative content.’

The board’s president, Sir Quentin Thomas, added ‘that there is also a strong commercial interest in demonstrating that product in this field meets accepted standards’.

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