Dutch Government commission on Youth, Violence and Media argues for expansion of Kijkwijzer

Hilversum, 16 December 2005
NICAM welcomes the positive assessment of the Kijkwijzer system given by the Commissie Jeugd, Geweld en Media in its report Wijzer Kijken. According to the Commission, Kijkwijzer offers a good basis for regulation and oversight in the audio-visual sector. The report was presented to state secretary (deputy minister) Medy van der Laan on Thursday 15 December. 

“For Kijkwijzer and NICAM this is a constructive report”, says NICAM director Wim Bekkers. “It is important because the commission set up by the state secretary has taken the time to go into the problem in depth and has taken evidence from a large number of experts. However, we still have to study and discuss the report properly so that we can give a considered opinion on all its recommendations. This reservation applies, for example, to the possibility of introducing a new age category of 9. The recommendation that Kijkwijzer be widened to include advice on suitability also needs further study. It has far-reaching implications and it is still not clear to us whether, and if so how, NICAM could meet it.” 
The Commission also wants to see more attention being paid to the music clip culture. Bekkers points out that MTV is already observing the rules for programming times linked to Kijkwijzer’s age categories. “Clips are classified like all other programmes and MTV employs trained coders to do the job.” 

Given the public benefit of good classification, NICAM supports the Commission’s plea for a continuation of government involvement. NICAM also endorses the conclusion that the organisation should have access to effective enforcement and sanctions for the sector-wide affiliation of all relevant industries. At the same time it observes that the Commission does not offer concrete legal means by which this problem could be tackled. 

Kijkwijzer was launched in 2001 and is the only classification system in the world to be applied uniformly to television, motion pictures, DVD/video, and today in a limited form also to mobile phones. Games are classified according to the European PEGI system, which is based on the Dutch Kijkwijzer. In the view of 95% of the target group – parents of young children – Kijkwijzer is useful, and 77% make regular or occasional use of its recommendations. Since the launch of Kijkwijzer there has been a sharp rise in parent awareness of the risks to children of audio-visual products.  
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