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LO3 Understanding the regulation of the media sector

Film Classification and Censorship

Who are the BBFC and what do they do?
The BBFC stand for the British Board of Film Classification. They are in charge of rating and
certificates for films.
Protect the public, and especially children, from content which might raise harm risks.

Empower the public, especially parents, to make informed viewing choices.

Recognise and respect adult freedom of choice within the law.

Respond to and reflect changing social attitudes towards media content through
proactive public consultation and research.

Provide a cost-effective, efficient classification service within our statutory remit.

Work in partnership with the industry to develop innovative service models to provide
content advice which support emerging media delivery systems.

Provide an effective service to enforcement agencies

What are the 6 UK classification certificates?
There are 6 classification certificates in the UK these are, U, PG, 12/12A, 15, 18 and R18.
U U stands for universal. I Universal films means it has no harmful or damaging
material in it and is suitable for all ages. For example most Disney cartoons like
Mickey Mouse.
PG PG stands for Parental Guidance. This means that all the material is suitable
for all ages however there may be some scene that very young children wont like
therefore parental consent might be needed. For example films with slight action but
are still suitable for young children such as Johnny English.
12/12A 12 films are suitable for ages 12 and above, no one under 12 may watch
these films. 12A films are usually only when it is being played in cinemas as people
younger than 12 may see these films but must be accompanied by an adult. For
example Twilight as there are some scenes those children may find scary or
disturbing but not enough to make it a 15.
15 15 films must not be viewed by people younger than 15. These films can have
violence, bad language and sex reference in therefore they are deemed unsuitable
for anyone under the age of 15 to watch or rent. For example American Pie as there
is explicit content.
18 18 films must not be seen by anyone under the age of 18. This is because the
content can be very extreme and damaging to anyone under 18. An example for an
18 would be Saw, Saw films are rated 18 as they have extreme violence and torture
LO3 Understanding the regulation of the media sector

R18 R18 films are a different type of category they are strictly for over 18 or adults
to watch. These films cannot be seen or purchased in now cinemas or shops as the
content is too explicit. An example would be porn or other extremely explicit videos
only suitable for adults.
Why does the BBFC classify films?
The BBFC classify films so that there can be boundaries on who can watch what. They do
this because some of the materials in content used in some films younger children may find
unsettling, explicit and inappropriate to watch. It is important for the BBCF to classify films so
to protect younger views watching and seeing something that is inappropriate for them.
What is censorship?
Censorship is usually defined as being a control on information or thoughts. Censorship is
used by the government and others such as the BBFC to try and stop the public from being
able to view any illegally inappropriate material and stop it being distributed in different
countries. The difficulties with censorship over a large amount of people, the world or a
country is that there is always a way of getting illegal material to minors or any one that it
would be deemed inappropriate. This is because in this day they are many different ways of
getting this material, most commonly they are seen or watched on the internet on illegal
Give an example of censorship.
The Bunny Game, this film was banned due to extreme levels of sexual violence. It was
deems unacceptable for its potential for being highly harmful to people by the Video
Recordings Act 1984.
How do you make a complaint about a film?
There are many different ways to make a complaint but the most commonly used is a formal
complaint on the internet.
The website is
another way if you go directly to the BBCF and complain if you believe something has been
strongly classified incorrectly.