Conservative MP Julian Brazier today had a second reading in the House Of Commons for his British Board of Film Classification (Accountability to Parliament and Appeals) Bill, and the proposal has now effectively been killed off after five hours of discussion.
Brazier's proposed Bill points to violent and sexual material allowed by the BBFC into the market in recent years, such as DVD /video game Manhunt and the Oscar- and BAFTA-nominated film Eastern Promises.
Brazier and the Bill's sponsors including Ann Widdecombe and Keith Vaz MP, chairman of the Home Affairs committee, would like to see the principal officers of the BBC have appointment approval by the Home Affairs Select Committee of the House Of Commons, which could also have a say in classification guidelines and the appeals process.
At present, the BBFC appoints all of its posts internally.
'It's good news for us,' said Sue Clark of the BBFC. 'There were a lot of supportive things said of the BBFC so [Brazier] was not in the majority.'
Brazier, the MP for Canterbury and Whitstable, introduced the measure as a Private Members Bill.
Mediawatch, a UK watchdog calling for 'decency and accountability in the media,' had earlier Friday announced the results of a survey (carried out by ComRes) that purports that 80% of the UK public wants for the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) to be fully transparent and accountable to UK Parliament.
The survey was of 1002 people across the UK, 76% of whom also said that the level of violence shown in films, games and on TV should be 'more tightly regulated.'
However, the BBFC's Clark told ScreenDaily.com that the organisation didn't feel the need to respond to such data. She did point out, however: 'We review our guidelines every four years and in 2008 we will be reviewing our guidelines again and polling people throughout the course of the year.'
Theratings body'slast poll surveyed 11,000 people, a far greater number than the ComRes survey.
The British Board of Film Classification is an independent, non-governmental body, which has classified cinema films since it was set up in 1912 (local councils still have the power to overrule board decisions on theatrical releases), and has classified videos since the passing of the Video Recordings Act in 1984, as designated by the Secretary of State.
Ironically, the survey results and Bill were discussedjust as the BBFC has as of yesterday imposed a ban on Nick Palumbo's serial thriller story Murder Set Pieces in the UK. That film has scenes of a serial killer raping, torturing and killing his victims, including young children. Lionsgate released an edited version of the film in the US. The UK distributor of that DVD, TLA Releasing, can decide to appeal the board's decision and has 42 days to submit its appeal.