BBFC and PEGI

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Information about BBFC and PEGI, useful for A2 Media Studies exam.

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BBFC and PEGI

  1. 1. BBFC and PEGI By Emma Riley
  2. 2. BBFC (British Board of Film Classification)BBFC is an independent, not for profit and non-governmental body. It was setup in 1912 by the film industry. They regulate film/DVDs and videos toprevent people from buying or watching films which are not suitable forthem. The public concerns for the BBFC are the concern over the issues infilms and games such as racism.Also the portrayal of anti-social behaviour, drug use and knife crime in films.Its income is from the fees it charges for its services, calculated by measuringthe running time of films or DVDs submitted for classification. Between 1912– 1949 the BBFC did not have any written rules or code of practice, since 2000the BBFC has operated under a series of published guidelines. TheseGuidelines are flexible and stress the importance of taking into considerationthe context of each individual work and are reviewed on a regular basis. The main changes to the category system were the raising of the minimumage for ‘X’ certificate films from 16 to 18. During 1982 there was a review tothe category system, an ‘A’ rating was changed to ‘PG’, ‘AA’ was changed to a‘15’ and ‘X’ became an ‘18’. Also a new category was introduced ‘R18’ thiswas permitted to more explicit sex films to be shown in members only clubs.In 1989 the ‘12’ certificate on film, to bridge the huge gap between ‘PG’ and‘15’. This was extended to video in 1994. There were calls for stricterstandards following the Jamie Bulger case, with the media singling out thefilm Child’s Play 3 (1991).
  3. 3. In 2002, the new ‘12A’ category replaced the ‘12’ category for film only, andallows children under 12 to see a ‘12A’ film, provided that they areaccompanied throughout by an adult.• The BBFC’s mission is to:• Protect the public (especially children) from content which might raise harm risks.• To enable the public (especially parents) to make informed viewing choices.• Recognise and respect adult freedom of choice within the law.• Respond to and reflect changing social attitudes towards media content through creating public research.• Work in partnership with the industry to develop innovative service models to provide content advice which support emerging media delivery systems.In terms of their effectiveness, the BBFC have rejected the DVD Grotesque. Itfeatures extreme torture of a male and female victim, as well as featuringmasturbation and amputation. The BBFC state that they have a strict policyon sexual violence. They feel that rejecting a work outright is a seriousmatter, they also considered cutting it but the unacceptable content wasfeatured throughout is not an allowed option in this case.
  4. 4. It is argued that work should be allowed to reach the widest audience that isappropriate for their theme, adults should also be free to choose what theysee, provided that it remains within the law and is not potentially harmful.They have 6 main categories; U (suitable for all), PG (parentalguidance), 12/12a (suitable for 12 years or over), 15 (suitable for 15 years orover), 18 (suitable only for adults) and R18 (to be shown only in speciallylicensed cinemas or sex shops, and to adults of 18 years or over).The BBFC’s responsibility is to be open, also they are expected to make formaldecisions and take into account of these changes, as well as the law and newevidence from research or other expert sources. Unlike PEGI, the BBFC hasthe power to reject films and DVDs which have the potential to pose realharm risk.
  5. 5. PEGI (PAN EUROPEAN GAME INFORMATION)PEGI regulate video games in Europe, they do this to stop people from buyinggames which may not be suitable for them. The public concerns for PEGI arethat games are now much more of a concern than they were a few years ago.They are a voluntary self-regulation organisation with the first ever pan-European age rating system. It has been operating in Europe since April 2003and provides the public with an indication of the age ranges for which anentertainment product is suitable. This will enable the public to makeinformed decisions on buying PC and videogames. They state that theirstrength is to build upon a variety of inputs from governments, consumersand industry throughout Europe. The PEGI system belongs to the InteractiveSoftware Federation of Europe (ISFE) based in Belgium. Other companiesthat also administrate PEGI are the Netherlands Institute for the Classificationof Audiovisual Media (NICAM) and The Video Standards Council (VSC) whichacts as NICAM’s agent in the UK. Examples of the classification system includethe five age-rating levels which are 3+, 7+, 12+, 16+ and 18+. There are alsoage-rating logos under each of the five age-rating levels, this depends on thenature of the product. These include violence, badlanguage, fear, sex, drugs, discrimination, gambling and online game.
  6. 6. PEGI’s code of conduct is intended to provide parents and educatorswith objective and reliable information regarding the minimum age forwhich a given product is deemed suitable with specific reference to itscontent. Also this code is intended to ensure that alladvertising, marketing and promotion of interactive software productsis conducted in a responsible manner. As well as the interactivesoftware industry’s commitment not to distribute market, advertise orpromote interactive software products likely to offend human decency.They also have a commitment to the code, they hereby commit toensure that the PEGI system is operated efficiently as possible by anindependent administrator as well as ensuring the understanding ofthe code and its purpose by all participants in the industry. The PEGIsystem age rating groups shall be divide as follows; 3, 7, 12, 16 and 18.The administrator shall review all products in full before decidingwhether to approve the age rating by granting a licence to use the logoand descriptors.

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