Italy plans to establish a new film censorship law, ensuring that no film can be banned from release, and imposing tighter restrictions for children.

Currently, a local censorship commission can ban a film from being released altogether at the cinema, and can also restrict viewing to audiences over the age of 18 or 14.

However, restrictions for minors are rarely applied and the current system has been criticised for allowing young children to see violent films such as Hannibal, which went on unrestricted release in Italy unlike the UK and the US.

Italian entertainment lawyer Michele Lo Foco, one critic of the current system, has blamed the country's permissive classifications system on the TV market. "If a film is given a universal release, when it is eventually broadcast on TV it can air during prime time when advertising rates are at a premium," he said.

Now, Culture Minister Giuliano Urbani has asked Lo Foco, recently appointed to the board of Cinecitta Holding, to study a new classification system to be presented to Parliament this summer.

The draft law is expected to establish restrictions for some films to children under the age of 8 and between the ages of 14 and 16.