Thailand adopts rating system

Six-tier, age-based ratings take effect June 1

BANGKOK -- After more than two years of government and public debate, Thailand's National Film and Television Board has adopted an age-based film rating system, which will go into effect June 1.

Although both domestic and imported films are subject to censorship, viewing a film was previously not restricted by age. The new ratings classifications, by age, are: G - all ages; 13-plus; 15-plus; 18-plus; 20-plus; and P, which means that the film should be promoted or recommended, as determined by the seven-member ratings panel.

However, unlike the Motion Picture Association of America's film ratings system, where those who do not meet the age requirement for a film are barred admission, these ratings, except for 20-plus, do not require proof of age and are only recommendations, the Bangkok Post newspaper reported Friday.

Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes in 2003 for his film "Blissfully Yours," told the Bangkok Post, "While we already have enough restrictions butted in from other laws with arbitrary implementations ('do not cause disruption in society,' 'do not touch the three pillars - nation, religion, the monarchy,') I wonder what choice is left for grown-up filmmakers and audiences."

His film "Syndromes and a Century" was ultimately barred from release in Thailand after he refused to make cuts requested by government censors.