NICAM hosts international conference on the classification of audiovisual media

Hilversum, 12 October 2007

More than 30 media experts from Europe, Australia and Singapore took part in a conference organised by NICAM on 27 and 28 September 2007 in Hilversum and Amsterdam. 
The topics covered included the European Commission’s new ‘Audio-visual Media Services Directive’, the differences between the classification of films and games and the opportunities to advise the public on the ‘suitability’ of audio-visual productions. In addition, the classification systems of Kijkwijzer and PEGI were explained and demonstrated.


Marcel Boulogne of the European Commission spoke on the new European directive. Professor Nico van Eijk responded by raising questions about the distinction still made in the directive between ‘linear’ (in the form of traditional television) and ‘non-linear’ (on the internet). According to the Professor, the directive fails to take sufficient account of the degree of interconnection between television and the internet.


There was a great deal of interest in the presentation of the Kijkwijzer system. David Cooke of the BBFC (British Board of Film Classification) was positive about the academic foundation and structure of the system: ‘An interesting system for other countries, it has export potential’. He did however wonder whether Kijkwijzer would be able to survive a ‘moral panic’, should such occur following a violent incident for which the media were given a large share of the blame.


A number of presentations also demonstrated that investigations are under way into whether, alongside the well-known ‘film classifications’, information can also be provided on the suitability of audio-visual productions in the form of advice. This topic is of current interest not only in the Netherlands, but also in Denmark, Austria and Germany. 

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