Taiwan Media Watch yesterday recommended 45 programs from 13 television channels that it said were appropriate for children under 12 years old.
The watchdog group was commissioned by the National Communications Commission (NCC) to review the TV programs. It classified the contents of the programs based on age groups covering children aged two to six, seven to nine, 10 to 12 and seven to 12.
Taiwan Media Watch spokesperson Lin Fu-yueh (林福岳) said that the review committee was comprised of media experts, elementary school teachers, parents, children and representatives of not-for-profit organizations.
Committee members jointly determined if the contents of a program were suitable for the age group recommended by the television channels, he said.
Programs reviewed included cartoons, educational programs and game shows for children.
Popular cartoons, such as US animated series SpongeBob SquarePants and Japanese manga series One Piece, were not included on the approved list.
Most of the approved programs were submitted by dedicated children’s channels, religious channels, the Public Television Service (PTS), Hakka TV and the Chinese Television System of the Taiwan Broadcasting System. Only a few of them came from commercial television stations, including Next TV and Taiwan Television.
Jason Ho (何吉森), director of the NCC’s communication content department, said that many cartoons were not on the list because the channels did not apply to have them reviewed, rather than being because they had not been approved.
Commenting on the scarcity of children’s programs provided by commercial TV stations, Ho said that the commission could only encourage the stations to increase the percentage of programs for children and teenagers, particularly those companies holding broadcasting licenses for channels offering a variety of content.
The watchdog group also provided labels for each category so that parents can know if programs are suitable for their children.
Lin said children were included in the committee reviewing the programs because they should have the right to help decide which programs people their age can watch.
Huang Chin-yi (黃金益), director of the NCC’s Radio and Television Administration Department, said that television channels could broadcast high-quality children’s programs as a way to improve their reputations.
According to Huang, the number of children’s programs included in the review this year rose by 40 percent compared with last year, a sign that more stations are starting to target young audiences.