TS News - Traffic Lights On French TV

TELE-satellit News, 26 October 1996

Traffic Lights On French TV
  PARIS, France, 96/10/23 (SatND) -- Strange symbols will appear on French
TV screens from November 18: green circles, orange triangles and red
squares. TF1, France 2, France 3 and M6, the country's four major TV
channels, have agreed to mark violent or sexually explicit programmes with
on-screen symbols.

  The measure is introduced to shield children from unwanted content. It
consequently applies to fictional as well as non-fictional programming such
as news shows and documentaries.

  Green means that children should ask their parents for permission to watch
the programme, while orange indicates they must ask them. The red square, of
course, stands for "Adults Only."

  The announcement came following pressure by the state broadcasting agency
CSA. It had urged broadcasters to adopt voluntary measures in order to avoid
mandatory control of programming. The four channels involved have
nation-wide terrestrial outlets and are regularly watched by 90 percent of
the population. All other channels, including the popular pay-TV channel
Canal+ and Franco-German channel arte, are not going to introduce the TV
traffic lights.

  A similar experiment was tried by the UK's Channel-4 in the early ninties
when it labelled programs with a sexual or violent content with a red
triangle. The scheme was discontiued when TV company executives realised the
red triangle was actually attracting viewers who wanted to see this type of

(c)TELE-satellit 1996. All rights reserved.

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