New Zealand Law Society - Minister promises better safeguards for on-demand viewers

Minister promises better safeguards for on-demand viewers

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Classifying on-demand video content will be made mandatory to bring it in line with other media and provide better guidance and protections to families and young people, says Internal Affairs Minister Tracey Martin.

“The way in which New Zealanders access entertainment has changed and our classifications system has not kept pace,” Ms Martin says. “Our children and young people are at particular risk of harm from this, which is why we are making changes to fix this problem.”

The Classification Act will be amended to require Commercial Video on-Demand (CVoD) providers, such as Netflix and Lightbox, to show the same classifications and consumer warnings as seen on films and DVDs.

Ms Martin says the new framework will mean that CVoD content must have a classification before it airs in New Zealand. CVoD providers will be able to self-classify content using the Rating Tool being developed by the Chief Censor, or their own systems accredited by the Classification Office.

Furthermore, the Office will approve and enforce the classifications, with reviews of decisions made by the Film and Literature Board of Review, as is the case for movies and DVDs.

“We’ve had a voluntary regime for classification for streaming services, which means that ratings and consumer warnings can be inconsistent or missing,” Ms Martin says.

Chief Censor David Shanks says New Zealanders will get better and more consistent information to make informed decisions about what they are watching under the changes.

“This move will ensure New Zealanders will get quality classifications from services like Netflix.”

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