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UK media regulator proposes content-based programme labelling

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MUMBAI: Television networks in UK might consider rating their programmes according to the levels of sex and violence they contain. The proposal set out by Ofcom, the media regulator in the UK, has asked the broadcasters to mull over whether a "labelling system", similar in principle to that used in cinemas, could be adopted for the small screen.

Ofcom is the regulator for the UK communications industries, with responsibilities across television, radio, telecommunications and wireless communications services.

Ofcom has pointed out that some broadcasters like Five and Sky have already labelled certain programmes according to their content.Ofcom intends to have consultations with the main broadcasters and other relevant organisations, such as internet service providers and the British Board of Film Classification, which runs the film rating system. Issues like, different episodes of programmes in the same series attracting different ratings; the difficulties in finding agreement about deciding on the regulators of the scheme, are expected to figure in the discussions.

Tim Suter, partner for content and standards at Ofcom, has been quoted in media reports as saying, "It made sense for us to see whether this is one of the sorts of places where we could add value. We will need to see whether it is desirable, and if it's desirable, whether it's feasible."

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