The new TV Code of Practice, effective on 1 December, has abolished all ‘G’ time zones
“Many parents will be as shocked as I was to learn that the new Commercial Television Industry Code of Practice no longer has any time zone that is suitable for all ages,” FamilyVoice Victoria director Peter Stevens said today. “Zones that once contained only G-rated programs may now show PG programs as well, or instead. Programs and advertising during these zones, when large numbers of children are watching, can now include references to illegal drug use, nudity, stronger violence, and supernatural or mild horror themes.
“Moreover, M and MA time zones will now be moved earlier in the evening, with more gore, coarse language, sex scenes and adult themes. Where is the protection for children?”
Peter Stevens said commercial free-to-air television enjoys the privilege of broadcast licences which give automatic access to almost every home in the country.
“Parents have a right to expect that at least some TV time zones will not contain any matter likely to be unsuitable for children to watch without supervision,” he said.
FamilyVoice was among many groups and individuals who protested strongly when the code changes were first proposed, sending a documented submission to Free TV Australia last April.
“But we may as well have saved our breath," Mr Stevens said. “It was like asking the fox to carefully guard the hen house. The Broadcasting Act gives the commercial TV stations the right to determine their own code of practice, provided they consult with the public. The law doesn’t say the public must agree. And now the Australian Communications and Media Authority has rubber stamped the new TV rules.”
Peter Stevens has contacted the office of Senator Mitch Fifield, the new communications minister, to convey parents’ concerns. “Parliament needs to amend the Broadcasting Act to better protect Australia’s most precious resource – our children,” he said.
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