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IRIS 2012-2:1/21


CSA Amends Conditions for Making Available Programmes Likely to Shock Minors

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Amélie Blocman


On 20 December 2011, the audiovisual regulatory authority (Conseil Supérieur de l’Audiovisuel - CSA) adopted a deliberation on the protection of young audiences, deontology, and the accessibility of programmes on on-demand audiovisual media services (AMSs), replacing the deliberation of 14 December 2010 (see IRIS 2011-2/27). Under Article 1 of the Act of 30 September 1986, the CSA is required to protect young audiences from programmes that might be damaging to their physical, mental or moral development. More particularly, Article 15 of the Act requires it to ensure the implementation of any means suited to the nature of the on-demand audiovisual media services. The development of a method of consumption that allows viewers extensive freedom of choice is bound to increase the potential for young people to be exposed to content that might be offensive. This has led the CSA to lay down specific rules for on-demand audiovisual media services. The programmes are classified according to five levels of acceptability in relation to the need to protect children and young people, which the editor must implement, more particularly by adopting special signing (pictogram and the words “not suitable for anyone under the age of ….”), which must be indicated to viewers each time the programme is mentioned. The editor of an on-demand AMS that offers programmes “for the general public” will include a special area in its catalogue where families and young people will find programmes that are solely intended “for the general public”, excluding any excerpts, programme trailers and advertisements for content or services to which young people have restricted access. The purpose of the new deliberation is to set new arrangements in place for programmes in Category V (“cinematographic works that may not be viewed by persons under 18 years of age, and pornographic or extremely violent programmes that may only be viewed by an informed adult public”), because of the repeal on 12 July 2011 of the previous arrangement applicable to these programmes. These programmes may only be marketed as part of offers requiring payment, by subscription or pay-per-view. They must be kept separate in a special area, as must the images, descriptions, excerpts, trailers and advertisements for these programmes. The text makes provision more particularly, for the category in question, for the abolition of the time restrictions initially set up for on-demand AMSs for subscribers (and checking the user’s age by requiring a copy of his/her ID card in order to override the restriction). In return, the special area for Category V programmes is kept “locked” at all times and activated the first time the service is used, by adopting a more secure personal code. This arrangement is scheduled to come into force six months after publication of the text, to enable operators to carry out the technical adjustments necessary for its implementation.

Délibération du 20 décembre 2011 relative à la protection du jeune public, à la déontologie et à l’accessibilité des programmes sur les services de médias audiovisuels à la demande, Journal officiel du 31 décembre 2011 FR
  Deliberation of 20 December 2011 on the protection of young audiences, deontology, and the accessibility of programmes on on-demand audiovisual media services, Official Gazette of 31 December 2011