Thu, Jan 05, 2012 - Page 2 News List

Media regulator mulls adding TV program ratings

FINDING A BALANCE:The regulator will also regulate adverts on children’s TV, after complaints from parents about adverts for underwear and fast food

By Shelley Shan  /  Staff Reporter

The media regulator yesterday announced it would add additional ratings to the current television program rating system.

Jason Ho (何吉森), director of the National Communications Commission’s communication content department, said the department would likely produce a draft of the new ratings system in the middle of this year.

Ho made the comments after MOMO Kids TV (MOMO) sparked criticism earlier this week for airing a Japanese cartoon containing content that was deemed inappropriate for children.

Ho confirmed that the commission had referred the case to the independent content review committee, which would determine whether the channel violated the Regulations Governing the Classification of Television Programs (電視節目分級處理辦法).

MOMO’s management would also be requested to visit the commission and brief commissioners on how they control the quality of the channel’s programming.

Although the cartoon was aired at 9pm, Ho said parents allow their children to watch programs on MOMO because the channel has positioned itself as one that only broadcasts general rating programs.

Any inappropriate content for children should not occur on the channel, he said.

At present, there are four TV ratings each one divided into four categories. Programs classified “general” (G) are suitable for all ages, while those classified “protected” (P) are restricted to six-years-old and above, with those between six and 12-years-old requiring parental guidance. Programs classified “parental guidance” (PG) can be watched by those aged 12-years-old and above, with those between 12 and 18-years-old requiring parental guidance. Programs labeled “restricted” (R) can only be watched by those 18-years-old and above.

Ho said some media experts had proposed adding more classifications between the G and P ratings, adding that classifications could be divided by age.

“Spongebob SquarePants, for example, does not necessarily have a G rating in other countries,” he said.

Ho said the commission would also start regulating commercials on children’s channel, as some parents think that commercials for underwear and fast food should not appear.

The commission would consult with experts before submitting a final draft for approval, Ho said.

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