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IRIS 2003-1:9/18

France

Submission of Kriegel Report on Television Violence and the Reaction of the Ministry of Culture

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Mathilde de Rocquigny

Légipresse

Last summer, when he was being questioned the day after the murder of a teenager that was supposedly inspired by an American horror film, the Minister for Culture and Communication, Jean-Jacques Aillagon, entrusted the philosopher Blandine Kriegel with a mission on "the impact of television violence on the public and on young people". Her report was submitted formally to the Minister on 14 November. The report proposes in particular a reinforcement of the absolute nature of the ban on broadcasting violent images between 6.30 am and 10 pm and the separation of subscription to pornographic shows or channels from the other packages on offer.

The report also advocates reorganising the Commission de classification des films (film classification board) to extend its role to cover all supports (DVD, video cassettes, video games, etc). The Minister has not taken up this proposal, as he feels it should remain exclusive to the cinema. He did however indicate that its composition should be reviewed and that the government would soon be making proposals to improve both its structure and the rules governing certain decisions, such as the ban on showing certain films to anyone under the age of 18. Thus he promised "better coordination" with the Minister for Family Matters, Christian Jacob. These proposals will not however produce any radical change in the board, as the Minister said that he was keen to maintain its present form.

On 12 December 2002, the National Assembly was to debate amendments that would make operating licences for films subject to dual supervision by the Ministry of Culture and Communication, as is the case at present, and the Ministry for Family Matters. Mr Aillagon also announced that he would soon be tabling a bill that would reinforce the CSA's powers of sanction in respect of violent programmes on television.

Lastly, as invited by the Kriegel report, Mr Aillagon will be approaching the Minister of Justice with a view to altering Article L. 227-24 of the Criminal Code that condemns "any activity involving carrying, producing or broadcasting a message of a violent or pornographic nature (...) where such message is likely to be seen or perceived by a minor" in order to make its application more effective. Lastly, the Minister took up the proposal made in the Kriegel report to set up a committee to "evaluate the shift towards more violence on television and respect for the regulation, which would have its place within the CSA".

At the same time, since the CSA stated that it was prepared to discuss with television channels the possibility of setting up a system that would block the broadcasting of pornographic films to minors; editors are coming up with a number of proposals. The CSA has therefore announced that it is currently having an expert report carried out on double encryption and other means of access control that the services are considering setting up in the coming weeks or months.

References
La violence à la télévision, rapport de Madame Blandine Kriegel à Monsieur Jean Jacques Aillagon, ministre de la Culture et de la Communication, 14 novembre 2002 FR
 http://merlin.obs.coe.int/redirect.php?id=1204
 
  Violence on television, report by Ms Blandine Kriegel to Mr Jean Jacques Aillagon, Minister for Culture and Communication, 14 November 2002