The Australian Christian Lobby has urged the Australian Communications and Media Authority to reject proposed changes to free-to-air television which include abolishing G timeslots, abolishing the AV rating and bringing forward M and MA timeslots.

ACL Managing Director Lyle Shelton said, “Free TV Australia seems to have a reckless disregard for children and the wishes of parents.

“Most people think there is too much sex and violence on free to air television. Relaxing the rules will only serve to put more of this type of content in front of children at a time where there is widespread concern about the impacts on children of violence and early sexualiation,” Mr Shelton said.

“It would be great if self-regulation of television classification worked but the industry keeps pushing for weaker standards all the time,” Mr Shelton said.

Free TV has stated it’s up to parents to actively manage viewing, however research suggests that many parents struggle to uphold family viewing rules. One study found that 90 percent of parents made rules to limit television use, but only 54 percent were able to uphold the rules over time.1’

“This is why appropriate standards are so important; it’s what parents don’t know about their child’s viewing habits that is at issue. Relaxing standards on these timeslots would bring potentially harmful content to the screens of our children that will be harder for parents to control.” Mr Shelton said.

The proposed changes that will also allow alcohol advertising to be brought forward from 8.30pm to 7.30pm. This is during highest rating shows like The Block and Masterchef, both of which have a high child and adolescent audience.

“The connection between alcohol advertising and underage drinking has been clearly demonstrated2. Allowing these ads to air during extremely popular family timeslots is not a constructive message to send our future generations.”

1. http://kaiserfamilyfoundation.files.wordpress.com/2013/01/7500.pdf
2. http://www.camy.org/factsheets/sheets/Alcohol_Advertising_and_Youth.html

Proposed changes

M-rated
Currently: 8.30pm, proposed: 7.30pm

MA-rated
Currently: 9pm, proposed: 8.30pm

PG-rating
All day, all channels – removal of G-rated programming slabs

AV-rating
Removed, reclassified to M and MA.