UK confirms it will classify pop promos

September 2014

Broadcasting, internet


A spate of recent sexually suggestive promotional videos from the likes of Rihanna, Robin Thicke, Mile Cyrus and Katy Perry has prompted the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to suggest an age-rating system for online videos which it suggests should be introduced as soon as possible.

Following the issuing of new classification guidance from the BBFC, the organisation’s assistant director, David Austin, said it was responding to pressure from parents who were concerned about the sexual imagery freely available to children who had access to the web, having already begun reviewing videos by artists such as Metallica, Robbie Williams and Beyoncé which had been submitted on a voluntary basis. Austin said the BBFC was working with the BPI, the body representing the UK music industry, and Google in a pilot project to see how classification might work, though there were questions about how videos created abroad could be rated. It is thought the classifications will be quite strict as sexual and other behaviour cannot be put in context in the three or four minutes a promo videos allows: the latest guidance states: “The classification of a music video will take account of any elements which are of concern to parents, including glamorisation of behaviour which they consider inappropriate.”

The new BBFC guidance, which comes into force on 24 February 2015, also changes the certification guidelines for films. The board will take theme and tone into greater consideration when certificating films, especially those expected to be 12/12A or 15, and will pay attention to the psychological impact of horror films. The board said in future it would further examine “gore” among the strong visual detail that may be featured in films. It will also be tougher on strong language in films that are aimed at family audiences while being more flexible for films that are at the 15 classification after public research showed that context rather than frequency was the key factor for viewers.

In India the chief if India’s censorship board, the Central Board of Film Certification has been accused of taking bribes to pass films. Rakesh Kumar, CEO of the CBFC appeared in court after £10,000 in cash, gold, jewellery and property documents were sized at his house after a tip off from a producer who claims they had been asked to pay £700 to get certification to meet a scheduled release date. Graphic violence, swearing and sex scenes can all be censored in India.

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