Misha Ketchell writes:

The Australian Communications and Media Authority could be
granted new powers to view TV shows before they go to air and demand
offensive material be removed under a plan being pushed by chair of the
Coalition’s backbench communications committee, Paul Neville.

The National MP claims there is strong party room support for plans to beef up
ACMA’s censorship powers in response to shows like Big Brother Uncut,
which he claims have lowered the standard of free-to-air television in
Australia.

“A lot of kids stay up late at night. They see these things, sadly. I
don’t think it’s a good standard for Australian free-to-air
television”, he told ABC radio in Melbourne this morning. “If people want to watch
real life programs like Survivor and Australian Idol and Big Brother I have no objection to that. What I do
object to is Big Brother Uncut.. where the focus is a lot of
gratuitous bad language and s-xuality.”

“We have a standard that we expect for cinema, film and television
and people observe that… what gives this particular program the
right to churn out gratuitous
bad language and s-xual references and even gratuitous simulated s-xual
acts on television with immunity?”

According to Neville, who first raised his concerns about Big
Brother
in parliament in 2005, there was a “mood” in yesterday’s joint
party room meeting that was
supportive of his plan to grant greater censorship
powers to Communications Minister Helen Coonan. “If a particular
program has a history of infringement, they (ACMA)
should be able to ask for the episodes before they go to air”, he said.

Peter Fray

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