The way forward for a better audiovisual media content rating

In the current context of audiovisual media services crossing TV borders to the digital atmosphere, the European Parliament proved to be one of the best-placed stakeholders to hold constructive discussions on the EU legislative actions. On 10 October 2017, iCmedia held an informative event on "The way forward for a better audiovisual media content rating" at the European Parliament in Brussels, bringing together a number of key stakeholders currently working on Audiovisual Media Services dossiers at European or international level.

MEP Jana Žitňanská opened the discussion, highlighting the importance of this topic in the current audiovisual media EU context. She emphasised the diversity in the EU concerning content rating based on age groups, giving examples of linear versus non-linear services and approaches. MEP Jana Žitňanská proposed amendments on this matter (and more broadly on the protection of minors from harmful content) for the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD).

Jose Luis Colas (iCmedia President) and Begoña Morales Blanco-Steger (iCmedia) introduced the latest iCmedia projects, building on a debate in Spain around content and information given to the audience versus the reputation of the advertisers. iCmedia has been keen on providing audiovisual guidelines that would support consumers (both minors and adults) in their conscious choices for linear and non-linear services.

Lubos Kuklis (ERGA) commented upon ERGA's activity on the protection of minors (which is at the core of their activity) reminding participants also of the Report on protection of minors in a converged environment, explaining how this should evolve in the future EU legislative framework.

Tiffany Van Stormbroek (NICAM) presented Kijkwizer, an easy and reliable system used in The Netherlands (co-regulation), and adopted also in Turkey, Iceland and Slovenia. The principle behind it is to harmonise the system for user-generated content, to present information for viewers before watching (through a questionnaire for the uploader).

Renate Dorr (ZDF) gave the broadcaster perspective, looking at how to protect children from harmful content while at the same time empowering them to be able to also decide for themselves. In Germany, linear and nonlinear services have technical and watershed measures for an age system of 6, 12, 16, and 18.

Complementing this discussion with an international perspective, iCmedia provided an example of their collaboration with Common Sense Media (Unites States) through a video explaining the audiovisual rating system used at Common Sense Media. Common Sense Media has reviewed almost 13,000 movies, games and TV shows, working with fundamental child protection principles.

Paloma Cantero (iCmedia) provided some closing remarks, adding that an informed citizen is an empowered citizen, and emphasising that the current AVMSD regulatory discussion can provide the context to reach this empowerment also for minors. 

Aware of the importance of audiovisual media services and their role in helping to create a better internet for children and young people, here on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal we've been regularly depicting the regulatory evolution of these discussions:

In line with this, various Safer Internet Centres (SICs) from the Insafe network have been promoting resources that aim to develop better media understanding and literacy, specifically on audiovisual content. Examples include:

For more information on iCmedia resources and press communications, please see the iCmedia website.
For more information on resources from the Insafe network of Safer Internet Centres, please see the resource and video galleries on the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) portal.

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