For release: Friday, March 2, 2012

The Australian Christian Lobby is disappointed with the Australian Law Reform Commission’s Final Report into the classification review.

The Managing Director Jim Wallace said while the ACL welcomes the move to update the system to be consistent across all media platforms, the report made a number of recommendations which are of concern.

“The report suggests narrowing the refused classification category to allow more content into the market which would mean the potential for children to access sexualised and violent content,” he said.

Mr Wallace also expressed concern about the recommendation to remove the mandatory access restrictions for MA15+ and to lift free-to-air television time-zone restrictions.

“The report’s recommendation suggests content providers would not have to refuse MA15+ content to children under 15 years of age and that no longer would content such as MA15+ be restricted till after 9pm at night,” he said.

“With an increasing problem with violence - and particularly sexual violence - in the community, we don’t need to fuel this problem with more extreme content in the media,” he said.

“Even the American Psychological Association acknowledges there’s a correlation between viewing mass media violence and behaving aggressively in its report ‘Violence in Mass Media’.”

Mr Wallace expressed concern that the same film classification guidelines be applied to computer game guidelines.

“You can’t equate a MA15+ film with a MA15+ game because games are interactive and repetitively engage the gamer in acts of violence and sex,” Mr Wallace said.

“The classification inquiry was instigated because the classification system was seen as unreliable for parents and as not protecting children but these recommendations would allow more extreme content to become available to the public.”

The Australian Christian Lobby would be urging the government not to adopt these recommendations.

The ACL’s submission to the ALRC review can be found here.