ARCHIVED - Public Notice CRTC 2000-109

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Public Notice CRTC 2000-109

Ottawa, 24 July 2000
Television violence – timetable for introduction of Canadian rating system codes using V-chip technology


The Commission’s approach to television violence has, as its objective, the protection of children from the harmful effects of television violence, while preserving freedom of expression for creators and choice for adult viewers.


In Public Notice CRTC 1996-36 entitled Policy on Violence in Television Programming, the Commission reaffirmed the importance of giving individuals the tools to make informed programming choices for themselves and for their families. Accordingly, the Commission set out its expectation for the implementation by the broadcasting industry of a meaningful, parent-friendly rating system for television programs and the provision of parental control (V-chip) technology to viewers.


In Public Notice CRTC 1997-80 entitled Classification system for violence in television programming, the Commission announced its support for the classification system developed by the Action Group on Violence on Television (AGVOT). It stated its expectation that the encoding of program ratings and the deployment of V-chip devices occur when feasible. The Commission requested that AGVOT inform it, on a regular basis, of the industry’s progress in this regard. It accepted a commitment by AGVOT that Canadian broadcasters would provide, as an interim measure, on-screen program classification by the fall of 1997.
Current status


AGVOT subsequently reported that the industry has been working with television manufacturers in the United States to ensure that V-chips included in sets sold in Canada are compatible with Canadian rating systems. In its most recent report, submitted on 30 April 2000, AGVOT indicated that two of 11 manufacturers surveyed have taken the initiative of including the capability of interpreting Canadian rating codes in their V-chip equipped television sets. Five other manufacturers have now committed to so in the near future. According to AGVOT, approximately 200,000 television sets equipped with V-chips having this capability have now been sold in Canada.


AGVOT also reported that it has created an Encoding Implementation Committee to coordinate the encoding of programming by all Canadian television services. AGVOT proposes that the introduction of encoded programming begin on 8 January 2001, with a two-month phase-in period for testing and public education. This means that, by 28 February 2001, all Canadian television programming services will be encoding programs in the relevant program categories designated in PN 1996-36.
Commission’s response


The Commission commends AGVOT and the broadcasting industry for their continuing efforts to implement an effective Canadian rating system employing V-chip technology. The Commission also commends those manufacturers of television sets who have taken the initiative of incorporating into their V-chip equipped sets the capability of reading the Canadian codes. The Commission strongly encourages other manufacturers who have yet to take steps to incorporate the capability of reading these Canadian codes into their V-chip equipped sets to proceed with this initiative without delay. The cooperation of all manufacturers is essential to the widespread implementation of V-chip technology in Canada.


Consistent with AGVOT’s proposal, the Commission expects the licensees of television programming undertakings, by 28 February 2001, to complete the phase-in of encoded ratings with respect to all programs in the categories designated in PN 1996-36. The Commission also expects these licensees to continue to provide on-screen program classification until it is satisfied that V-chip technology is widely available to Canadian viewers.


The Commission looks forward to continued updates from AGVOT on the industry’s progress in meeting the commitments and expectations noted above.
Secretary General
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