Digital Economy Bill: The BBFC Clarifies The Definition Of 'Prohibited Material' And Its Obligations Under UK Law
The BBFC operates transparent, consistent and trusted co-regulatory and self-regulatory classification and labelling systems in the UK. The BBFC Classification Guidelines are based on large-scale public consultation and supplemented with expert research. The last review of the Classification Guidelines involved more than 10,000 members of the public from across the UK.
This is a mendacious attempt to derail sensible safeguarding measures presumably as it is perceived to be easier to decry any attempts to regulate internet sites as 'unworkable', than have to make the case for why existing BBFC regulations for classification of sex on film might be reviewed and possibly modernised in light of changing sexual attitudes.
And so their moment has come. If these plans come to pass, the BBFC will be granted the power to order Internet providers to block sites that don't conform to its bizarre standards. However, it should be noted that these standards are based on moral judgement rather than actual evidence of harm.
Will I miss being 'Chief Censor'? I have managed to retain my love of film, going on the weekends throughout my time at the BBFC, so this I'm sure will continue... I have been privileged to work so closely with so many films, their makers, distributors, exhibitors and of course the BBFC employees who work to classify these compelling artworks.
We've got to face facts: we're living in a brave new world of free-flowing information, and age restrictions or movie-style ratings simply won't keep our children away from inappropriate materials. If anything, these hollow forms of censorship only delay serious parental conversations that are just plain inevitable.
Films at 12A can contain a wide variety of issues, which in turn reflects what many child experts, parents and the media say about children at the pre-teen age; their interests, personalities, likes and dislikes; are extremely varied at this point on the way to adulthood.
We were lucky enough to spend some time with and learn from a BBFC examiner whose job it is to sit and review TNA and WWE content before it goes out for distribution (imagine that, being paid to watch wrestling!) and found the classification process to be impressively thorough and robust.
In one of the strangest coincidences of all time, I had actually spent this very afternoon making weak jokes to a friend about how the new version of Paddington Bear was edgier, darker and, yes, sexier than previous versions. Turns out I was right.
It's a vast subject, made even more complicated by the sheer variety of views about what film actually is. Is it most like photography, or novels, or plays, or cartoons, or something else again? Let me pick out just three of the issues I touched on.
Our research allowed us to ask: Do teenagers feel the same as their parents about big issues facing them? How do they think about representations of drugs misuse, dangerous behaviour, or the sexualisation of younger people in the media? How do young people use the age ratings system (they do!) in a multi-platform landscape?