ATO members:

ATO prepares labelling


The Association of TV Organizations is preparing a self-regulatory system to help viewers get better oriented in the TV programmes via special labels-icons. The system of labelling programmes, provides users with basic information on the content of the broadcasted audiovisual work. It plays an outstanding role in protecting children and youth, helping parents judge whether children of various ages are able to understand the broadcasted content correctly. Test mode of labelling is already being used by the Czech Television.

The Czech Republic is one of the countries where guidance labels for audiovisual works are not recognized by law. Broadcast providers associated in the ATO decided to implement labelling consensually as self-regulation. Guidance labels not only protect children and youth against the negative impact of inappropriate programmes, it is also expected that they will bring about clear and predictable rules when assessing administrative offences. Czech Television and the private TV Prima committed to the self-regulatory mechanism.

Label testing has been going on in the Czech Television since last year. Programme labelling is in compliance with the well-established and working systems in the EU, it respects the particularities of the Czech environment and, moreover, it implements assessing in context.  The children’s channel Déčko labels certain programmes that might be too complicated for children by the 8+ symbol in the top right-hand corner of the screen; other channels use, for now only in the test mode, the 15+ symbol placed also in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Script editors classify the programme content according to harmful aspects such as pornography, rough, self-serving violence, violence, fear and outrage, sex, alcohol and drugs, offensive language. If a programme contains pornography or rough, self-serving violence, it is not broadcasted. In the case of other harmful aspects, script editors assess the context of the programme, narrative mode and other aspects to recommend the programme for a specific age group in the end.

The test mode operation will be assessed at the end of this year based on the discussion with parents and child psychology and media experts. Experience to date and the interest of broadcasters led to the ATO’s intention to commit to the project and, as a self-regulatory body, to develop and support it universally. “ATO is now heading towards preparing and launching a self-regulatory system inspired by the well-established European models’ basic principles of functioning which will suit the Czech environment at the same time,” the managing director of the ATO Vlasta Roškotová said.