EU wants tough kids TV regs


The European Parliament on Wednesday backed demands for tight controls over the content of television programs shown at peak times for children.

The Euro-MPs called for tough regulation to ensure that broadcasters and video game manufacturers ban harmful images and content that might be seen by children. These include violent, racist or pornographic content and extend to the Internet, where sexual predators pose a more direct threat to children.

The parliament backed a report drafted by Italian Euro-MP Roberta Angelilli that called for the creation of "an adequate, effective and proportionate regulation system in dialogue with providers, the media (public and private TV companies, advertisers the press, video games, mobile telephones and the Internet) and industries, aimed, among other things, at prohibiting the broadcasting of harmful images and contents (including cyber-bullying) and the marketing of violent video games."

The report calls on governments to aid parental control by providing a uniform, EU-wide labeling system for television programs. It also said authorities needed to be particularly vigilant as new technologies can give children access to television programs at any time, from any computer with an Internet connection.

The parliament said that similar classification and labeling should be used for video games and that the recently agreed-upon European system for age-classification of computer and video games was a good starting point.

There was particular concern about child pornography on the Internet and how Web sites created a new area of anonymity for those preying on children. The Euro-MPs voted for access suppliers, search engines, police and even banks to coordinate their activities to block payment for illegal content on the Internet involving minors.