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23/02/2001

BBFC RESPOND TO GOVERNMENT'S DECISION

THE British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) have said the Government’s decision to form OFCOM a single regulator will create the ‘Double Jeopardy’ and confusion the Government seek to avoid.
Under the new proposals in The Communications White Paper OFCOM will become responsible, not only for video, but also cable, satellite, pay-per-view and terrestrial in addition to new delivery systems via the Internet.
In an official statement the BBFC said: “Far from reducing the regulatory burden on the industry and making things simpler for the public the Board's submission explains why transferring video classification to OFCOM would create the 'Double Jeopardy' and confusion the Government seeks to avoid."
Robin Duval, Director of the BBFC, said: "People regard cinema film and video content differently from what they receive on television. A small, dedicated, sector-specific regulators like the BBFC are not constrained by concerns that are irrelevant to the industry they regulate. It can be more flexible and sensitive than single regulators dominated by wider broadcast issues. This must benefit both the industry and the public.
"The BBFC are the only regulators which regulate before the material is seen by the public. Introducing a pre-regulation element into OFCOM's remit will give rise to conflict. A content regulator may not be able to take an independent and detached view of the performance of those they regulate if they have already involved themselves in the decision-making which have contributed to that performance, that is by classifying films in video format later transmitted on TV. It was precisely in order to avoid similarly becoming judge and jury in their own case that the ITC dropped their role of prior regulators or censors in 1993.”
In their official statement the BBFC said: “The BBFC strongly recommends that the Government does not dismiss the Board's many years of unique experience and expertise by separating two inextricably linked media.”(CMcL)

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