Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon authorized Monday a fourth age classification level, and additional markings, for television shows containing sex, violence and drug use.
Previously, TV broadcasts were divided into three levels of age restriction: under eight years of age, between eight and 14 and between 14 and 18. Under the new system, the classifications will be eight and below, 12 and below, 15 and below and 18 and below.
The decision was reached following an extended examination of the issue by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council, which included public hearings, input from broadcasters, comparative studies and an in-depth study by an external expert.
The minister also approved three new markings to accompany the age restrictions and warning viewers of content that may not be appropriate for young viewers. The new markings will warn of content featuring “sex and pornography,” “violence and brutality” and “encouragement of criminal behavior and use of dangerous drugs.”
“At a time when [TV shows] include things like violence and pornography, it is important to give parents additional tools to increase their ability to protect their children from exposure to inappropriate content,” said Kahlon.
“The model we chose is similar to the one that exists in many other developed countries, and I am happy to say that during all the deliberations we had, we didn’t hear a single opposing viewpoint,” said Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Council chairman Nitzan Chen.
“The decision to add a fourth age group came from the understanding
that 12-15 year olds experience a dramatic development phase and
require more specific treatment. There is a big difference between a
13-year-old and a 16-year-old in maturity levels and their
understanding of what they view on television,” Chen added.
“Classifying and marking broadcasts gives viewers, and parents in
particular, an important tool with which to protect children and
teenagers from harmful content,” he said.
“We, the state regulators, can never replace the parents and at the end
of the day it’s up to them to decide what their children can view, but
we do want them to have the tools to make informed decisions.”
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