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UK Censor Wants Policing Powers Over On-line Video


On-line Video to be Censored?The British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) has warned of an uncensored content loophole and wants to extend its reach to police new media content on the internet. The independent organisation, charged with regulating British films, DVDs and video games, has claimed that the internet is currently a loophole in its censorship powers to ban inappropriate material.


Sue Clark, head of communications at the BBFC, gave the example of a banned video called Terrorists, Wackos and Other Killers. A prosecution led to a nine-month prison sentence for the person who supplied the game.

Clark said, there is nothing in theory to stop somebody taking that content and putting it on video-on-demand even though it has been deemed obscene with a successful prosecution brought against it.

Clark said people recognised that the internet may not be regulated, but expected certain types of content such as films to have gone through a classification system and pointed out that the BBFC knew of at least one distributor who sees video-on-demand as a way of getting around its controls on pornography.

Clark said "This guy has stated that he will be putting stuff out which the BBFC will not classify. He has to be prosecuted to stop that."

The Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has set up an inquiry into new media and the creative industries. Clark is hoping that will lead to legislation, or the introduction of a voluntary agreement by the industry.

"We have not asked the government to consider this because we think that it necessarily needs legislation. It may be that the industry signs up to a voluntary system," she said.

Clark also warned that a change in the law could see consumers liable for the content they download.

"The Home Office is currently consulting about making it illegal to own some types of pornography. So you might buy it from abroad but you may be breaking the law in the UK if that comes into play," she said.