Thursday, September 18, 2008

With ratings, there will be no more censorship, Ministry of Culture official says

Draft regulations that govern the operation of Thailand's first motion-picture ratings system have been completed by the Ministry of Culture and will be forwarded to the National Film and Video Committee and the Cabinet for approval that is when new prime minister-elect Somchai Wongsawat takes office and forms his new Cabinet.

The film ratings, which replace the censorship system that's been in place since 1930, are expected to come into use by October, according to a story in Monday's Bangkok Post. Here is more from the story:

Under the proposed film rating system, movies will be grouped by age. Classifying audiences will give film directors the opportunity to fully express their creativity, said Somchai Seanglai, ministry deputy permanent secretary.

Since films will only be screened before the appropriate age group, movies will no longer be cut or censored, he added.

Mr Somchai was confident the proposed regulations will be accepted by people in the film industry as they were invited to take part in the drafting process.

"Once the regulations come into effect, movie theatre operators will have to inform their customers about a film's rating," he said.

"And if staff allow in people who are not supposed to see a movie, the operator will face at least a one-year jail term or be fined up to 100,000 baht, or both." The ratings regulation will also be applied to DVDs and VCDs, which will display the rating on their packaging.

Hopefully more about this law will be revealed as it nears enactment. Will trailers be rated? Can the higher age-restricted films be advertised?

Previously the ratings tiers have been stated thusly:

  • P - Film should be promoted for all audiences.
  • G - Approved for general audiences.
  • 13+ - Restricted to viewers aged 13 and above.
  • 15+ - Restricted to viewers aged 15 and above.
  • 18+ - Restricted to viewers aged 18 and above.
  • 20+ - Restricted to viewers aged 20 and above.

And there is still censorship in the dreaded "Ban" category for films "containing content deemed insulting to the monarchy, national security and moral decency". Or, as filmmaker Nuttorn Kungwanklai stated in the title card to The Duck Empire Strikes Back 2: "MPAA Thailand decide that this film should get: Rate B. This film got ban. You can screen if we don't know."

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