Friday, February 01, 2008

Private Members Bill to tighten up film classification

Action: please support the campaign by lobbying your MP.

Julian Brazier (Con) is a senior backbencher and a Catholic.

From CFNews:
In a letter, mediawatch-uk writes to us : ''A very important Private Members' Bill has been introduced in Parliament by Julian Brazier MP (Canterbury), which aims to make the British Board of Film Classification more accountable to Parliament. For some time the BBFC has been classifying films with unacceptable levels of brutal violence, obscene language and some very explicit sexual conduct and nobody can do anything about it. mediawatch-uk believes that Mr Brazier's proposals are long overdue and we are supporting his efforts. Mr Brazier has specifically asked mediawatch-uk members to help him by writing letters to their Members of Parliament, or contacting, urging them to support his BBFC (Accountability to Parliament and Appeals) Bill which will be given a Second Reading on Friday 29 February 2008

Needless to say if we do not do all we can to support Mr Brazier we will only have ourselves to blame if the Board continues to classify ever-worsening material.

The British Board of Film Classification was set up in 1912 by the film industry and it assesses film content and rates the suitability of films for age appropriate viewing. It is currently funded by the industry through the fees payable to classify films. Since the 1960s the Board has adopted a progressively lenient approach. For example, this month the film 'How She Move', which includes 'strong language and soft drug use' was classified 12A! The Board's decisions have wide ramifications because not only do they set standards for the cinema they also set standards for television too. The main TV channels show around 3,000 films a year and now there are a number of satellite and cable channels dedicated to showing the latest movies.

We have said for a very long time that the Board is a law unto itself and should be accountable to Parliament. Mr Brazier's Bill will go some way to achieving this and we hope his Bill will lead to a regime of classification that is more responsible, promoting greater respect and civility in our society. Keith Vaz MP, Anne Widdecombe MP, Jim Dobbin MP and John Gummer MP among others are supporting the Bill. More information can be found at: However, it should be understood that Private Members' Bills are vulnerable and do not always become law unless they are very well supported by other MPs. We would be very grateful indeed for donations towards this campaign, costing around £2,000. Website here


Anonymous said...

Why are we being urged to do Mediawatch's political lobbying? I thought the BBFC relaxed their attitudes in response to consulting with what the public wanted. There are better things to do than criticise what adults are allowed to see.

£2000? I think I will use my money for more charitable causes.


Webmaster said...

Are 12-year-olds adults?

In any case Catholics can't stand by while the public culture rots around them. It is a civic duty to make our views known, and not leave it to lobbyists for the film industry. Mediawatch-uk is pretty well the only group speaking for ordinary people.

Anonymous said...

I am sick of religious people trying to dictate what I might be permitted to see.

There may be sound reasons for a MINIUMUM of restriction. Your religion is not one of them.

Only REAL harm (not offence) is justification to see CENSORSHIP imposed on freeborn adults.


Anonymous said...

The law being referred to is not just about 12 year olds - it is about giving MPs the power to ban films even for adults. Sorry, I thought it was common knowledge that the BBFC have the power to ban for adults too. The recent talk regarding this law I have seen in the news refers to wanting to ban a film or game altogether, and not about 12 year olds. My apologies for the confusion.

Of course we should make our views known, but that means those who disagree with Mediawatch also. We should make up our own minds rather than being told who to support. Mediawatch does not speak for ordinary people - it's the Mary Whitehouse organisation that speaks only for people that share its views. The public already made their views known which is why the BBFC relaxed their rules - it's this law that will leave it to the lobbyists and the next media scare. At the least, I think it's wise to research the issue rather than doing what a political organisation tells us.

As I say, I'll give my money to more worthy causes rather than one-sided political lobbying.


Webmaster said...

Shaun, Mark: mediawatch-uk make a legitimate contribution to the debate, as do religious believers: or is this not a free country after all? The exploitation of women and the corruption of children and indeed adults by unrestricted pornography and depictions of violence is of concern to all conscientious citizens, always has been, and always will be, just like the use of recreational drugs. If you don't like that, too bad, but putting the Catholic side is the function of this blog.

Paul said...

The trouble with Government media censorship is firstly one of segregation of duties. The police do not determine the law and the Government do not sentence criminals. In a similar way the Government should not be involved in the censorship of the media.

But that is not the only reason. The chance of the Government adopting an evidence-based approach to media censorship is about as likely as a cow leaning how to fire a musket. The current conservative Government has an appalling record in introducing ill-conceived restrictions and the very last thing that British citizens need now is additional state censorship.

Mediawatch-UK and the Catholic Church have every right to be heard but lets not pretend that either of them represent the views of the general public. I for one am strongly opposed to any further interference in free expression especially by religious authorities and will take proactive measures to help prevent any such changes taking place.

Paul Tavener

Webmaster said...

Er, actually we have a Labour Government at the moment.

And, actually, the bill we are talking about is designed to make the film classification board answerable to parliament.

Not sure how that fits in with the problems you mention.

Pope Leo XIII's Prayer to St Michael

Holy Michael, Archangel, defend us in the day of battle. Be our safeguard against the wickedness and snares of the devil. May God rebuke him, we humbly pray, and do thou, Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God, thrust down to Hell Satan, and all wicked spirits who wander through the world for the ruin of souls. Amen