Classification decisions database

7.164 The ALRC recommends that the Regulator administer a centralised database to record classification decisions made by the Board and authorised industry classifiers. Several submissions suggested that this database should include details such as the classification decision plus consumer advice, whether it is a Board or industry classification, the responsible organisation or classifier[108] and whether the content is original or modified.[109]

7.165 The database will facilitate consumers’ access to accurate and up-to-date classification information in a central location as well as assist consumers to identify where complaints should be directed in the first instance.[110]

7.166 Under the classification model recommended by the ALRC, industry will also need access to a central and reliable database to check whether content has already been classified. Free TV Australia suggested that:

the existing Classification Database be expanded to become a central database administered by the Regulator, where all authorised industry classifiers could enter their decisions, which can then in turn be accessed by other authorised industry classifiers. The database would need to include adequate information to enable users to clearly discern whether any modifications had occurred, or whether the classified content was in its original form.[111]

7.167 Foxtel further submitted that classifiers should be required to enter their reasons for the classification—including key depictions or themes—to assist the subsequent classifier to understand what elements contributed to the classification, which is particularly important when the reasoning for a decision is relied upon to edit content.[112]

7.168 It is important that recording decisions on the database should be as simple and efficient as practically possible for all classifiers. Furthermore, the benefit that industry would derive from a centrally administered database, both in terms of its own classification activities and in providing classification information to its audience and consumers, might also justify its contributing financially to the administration of the database.

[108] To protect classifiers’ privacy, individuals’ names need not be recorded but some form of unique identifier should be used.

[109] FamilyVoice Australia, Submission CI 2509; I Graham, Submission CI 2507; Classification Board, Submission CI 2485.

[110] FamilyVoice Australia, Submission CI 2509.

[111] Free TV Australia, Submission CI 2519.

[112] Foxtel, Submission CI 2497.