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Melon Farmers

24th July

  Flattering the BBFC...


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Malta introduces new film censorship ratings remarkably similar to those of the BBFC
Link Here
BBFC uncut
18 97:57s Cherry  is a 2012 USA drama by Stephen Elliott.
With Ashley Hinshaw, Lili Taylor and James Franco. YouTube icon IMDb

UK: Passed 18 uncut for strong sex and sex references and hard drug use for:

  • 2013 Koch Media R2 DVD at UK Amazon released on 9th September 2013

Summary Notes

A drama centered on a troubled young woman who moves to San Francisco, where she gets involved in pornography and aligns herself with a cocaine-addicted lawyer.

TV CensorshipTV on DVD


2nd January

Update: Stitched Together...


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Malta's censors reveal their guidelines
Link Here

Malta flagMalta's Board of Film and Stage Classification submitted in court a list of policy guidelines used by local censors to decide on ratings for films and theatre productions.

This was at the request of Mr Justice Joseph Zammit McKeon in the ongoing Constitutional case regarding this year's ban on Stitching .

This is the first time that the board's internal policy guidelines have ever been made public, and what immediately leaps to the eye is an apparent contradiction between the directions given to classifiers with regard to theatrical performances, and the way these same performances are classified in practice. In the section subtitled Stage Performances , the final sentence reads: As with films, the classifier must take a decision after considering each work globally, as much for its visual impact, as for the message the work tries to put across. But members of the same board never watch a performance before deciding what rating to give a stage play. The reason for this is that the classifiers' rating has to be issued before any play can be performed in a Maltese theatre: a fact which makes it physically impossible to rate any play on the basis of its visual impact. Instead, the censors limit themselves to reading the script: which as a rule gives little or no indication of the play's effect on a visual level.

In fact, individual members of the censorship board have testified in court that they had not watched Andrew Nielsen's Stitching before deciding to ban it altogether. In justifying the ban, the Film and Stage Classification Board chairperson Theresa Friggiri cited four taboo topics that led to the decision: blasphemy; obscene contempt for the victims of Auschwitz ; dangerous sexual perversions leading to sexual servitude ; and reference to the abduction, sexual assault and murder of children ... the latter including a eulogy to the child murderers, Fred and Rosemary West. However, it remains difficult to grasp how the censors could have reached this decision after considering the work globally, as much for its visual impact as for the message it tried to get across .

The cinema section therefore features a number of specific criteria by which to rate a film. The criteria for film are: theme; language; violence; nudity; sex; horror; drugs; faith and religion. For each of the five possible film ratings U, PG, 12, 16, 18 the application each criterion is re-evaluated for the age-group concerned. Language, for instance, is taken into consideration before giving as U certificate, but not for 18, and so on.

No such detail is provided in the theatre section, which by way of contrast occupies only the final few paragraphs of the entire document. This section, which loosely refers to film and theatre being different media which require different approaches, appears to allow the Board maximum discretion in the absence of any clear guidelines whatsoever. A typical example concerns the guidelines for nudity on stage, which consist in a single sentence: While nudity may be permissible on film, this is not normally accepted on stage. But the guidelines offer no indication of what circumstances may make nudity acceptable on stage.


World Censors' Links

World Ratings a useful guide from
Australia Classification Board (previously Office of Film & Literature Classification)
Australia ACMA, Australian Communication and Media Authority, TV Censor
Austria Bundesministerium fr bildung, wissenschaft und kultur
Canada British Columbia - Consumer Protection BC whose remit includes film censorship
Canada Nova Scotia - Maritime Film Classification Board
Canada Québec - Régie du Cinéma
Canada Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission
Canada CBSA: Canada Border Services Agency maintains a list of banned films and books
Denmark Medieraadet, classifiers (Danish language)
Europe: PEGI Pan European Game Information
Finland VET, film classifiers who use the word 'classifiers' honestly
France Centre National de la cinématographie: Commission de Classification (French language)
Germany FSF, television regulators (German language)
Germany FSK, film & video censors (German language)
Germany USK, Computer game censors (German language)
Hong Kong Television & Entertainment Licensing Authority (Chinese & English)
Hungary Országos rádió és televízió testlet
India Central Board of Film Certification
India Indian Broadcasting Foundation and Broadcasting Content Complaint Council
Ireland Film Censor Office
Ireland Broadcasting Complaints Commission for radio & TV content
Ireland Censorship of Publications Board
Japan Eirin, Film Classification and Rating Committee
Kenya Film Classification Board
Malaysia Film Censorship Board of Malaysia (LPF)
Malta Board Of Film And Stage Classification
Netherlands Kijkwijzer, self classification guidelines (Dutch & English)
New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC)
Nigeria National Film & Video Board (NFVCB)
Nigeria Kano State Censorship Board
Norway Norwegian Media Authority
Poland Krajowa Rada Radiowym i Telewizyjnym (KRRiT) TV & radio censors
Singapore Media Development Authority (MDA)
South Africa Film and Publication Board (FPB)
South Africa Broadcasting Complaints Commission South Africa (BCCSA)
South Korea Game Rating Board
South Korea KMRB, Korea Media Rating Board
Sweden Statens medieråd (Swedish Media Council) The site is Swedish & English language
Switzerland Commission du Cinéma du Canton de Genève & Vaud
UAE National Media Council
USA MPAA Censors, but at least their advice is voluntary
USA MPAA's Classification and Rating administration (CARA) searchable ratings website
USA ESRB Entertainment Software Ratings Board. Self assessed computer game ratings