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Amending the Video Recordings Act 2010 (1984)

Comment 15th July 2010

Hello there,

This is my idea and suggestion of amendments to current laws regarding censorship in the United Kingdom.  I have read many other ideas and comments on this same subject, but I feel my idea is much more different from others which have been suggested, and therefore I'd like to make my own seperate suggestion, since it's entirely different from other suggestions which has been made. 

The Video Recordings Act 1984 was largely brought into effect because of the media and public uproar of so called "video nasties".  The Government's then response was to introduce regulation to combat the overflow of material that was being labelled "video nasties".  The BBFC was made the designated state censor and classification of all media, DVD, videos sold in the UK.  I think by today's standards a lot has changed.  Public opinion has changed on what the majority of adults firmly believe in the United Kingdom that they should be allowed to watch, at '18' anything they want as long as it doesn't breach UK law (this is even been proven by the BBFC's own research which they do). Let's face it, how many people coming out of the cinema these days, or after watching a DVD, like let's say Hostel or Saw (which would probably be banned back in the 80's! That shows how much things have changed), or some of the more violent horror movies refer to them now as "video nasties"?  I have yet to hear one person mention or refer to horror movies as a "video nasty" because of its violent or gory content.  I'm 24, and I am a horror fanatic, come to that I love just watching movies.  I have been for a long time.  I love horror movies, and not once has any movie that I have watched made me feel the need to "cause harm to society" by what I have watched.  I think since 1984, the notion of violent films or videos causing harm to people seems kind of absurd these days.  To back it up, there is no real psychological evidence that viewing violent movies could be the cause of anyone getting involved in violence thereafter.  If there is, the brave people at the BBFC who examines DVDs for certificates are very much so corrupted under that test.  I've long believed that if someone is going to do something, whether it be a violent crime or whatever, they are going to do it no matter about whether they've watched this or that.  I don't know how many people may agree or disagree on that, but that's the way I see it. 

Many suggestions on here are asking for most of the VRA to be abolished.  This is not my suggestion at all.  I do not even agree with an "unrated 18" certificate being introduced.  They're forgetting the other laws in the UK, such as Obscene Publications Act, and other relevant legislation.

My idea/suggestion:

The BBFC in my opinion do an excellent role in protecting children and minors from movies that would be entirely unsuitable for them to be watching.  They're experienced, and have the backing of the public when it comes to protecting children from unsuitable material for them.  When it comes to adults however, the BBFC still lacks in some areas.  This has been proven as I have said above by their own research that adults want freedom.  They have told the BBFC in 2005 and again in 2009, that we don't want them telling us what to watch when it comes to movies that are 18 rated.  We don't want people telling us what to watch, unless it breaches the law.  This is where my suggestion solves all these problems, but yet, protects children from unsuitable violent material (also ensures companies are not selling illegal obscene DVDs on the market unwittingly).  My suggestion to the Government is to change the VRA so the BBFC's current '18' certificate does NOT conform to some guideline of "harm" or cutting due to the BBFC's guidelines, but only conforms to the current laws in the United Kingdom which cover obscene material or protection of children (1978 act).  The BBFC when it comes to giving a film or DVD an 18 rating therefore would not be testing it against their own made up set of guidelines, but only going by what would be against the UK law.  Their guidelines is not law.

 For example, let's say if the movie Grotesque (which the BBFC rejected last year because of their harm test [which under my idea would not exist, because there's no real evidence to back it up] and sexual violence policy [a policy of the BBFC's own]) was submitted for an '18' under my idea, it would pass uncut for adults only at 18 because there is no laws being breached under the UK law.  Movies and DVDs that breach current legislation such as protection of children act or obscene material would still be subject to being rejected or cuts, because they would be illegal, and not judged because the BBFC find them unsuitable for adults but because they breach actual law.  The test of harm in the VRA should be replaced by something that would bring effect to my idea.  It would have the backing of the majority of responsible adults in the country that want to see adult movies without BBFC censorship unless the material is illegal, and also to protect younger viewers by still making it illegal to supply age restricted movies.

That way, adults get to see what they want within the law without the BBFC's own guidelines telling adults what to watch at '18', and children are still being protected from age restricted material by keeping the rest of the VRA intact.

Thank you for reading my idea, and I hope it does be considered.  Because today's standards on movies have changed.  Adults are fed up with people telling us what we can't watch because the BBFC consider it to be "harmful".

Barry.

PS: If you back this idea, please comment on it.  It's important to note that unlike other ideas for changing the VRA, mine provides adults to see material within the law and protects children.

Why does this matter?

I think because a lot of current suggestions for the Video Recordings Act are forgetting other laws in the UK, and also one which I support: protecting our children but ALSO ensuring adults are allowed to watch what they want without BBFC guidelines censorship unless it's illegal material (Obscene or breaches of other UK laws).  Not mentioning that times have changed since 1984, you never hear of "video nasties".  Horror fans and movie goers alike want to see their movies, at 18, uncut and uncensored.  With these changes the BBFC, would do nearly the same job, except the 18 category would not be under their guidelines but UK law.

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