Protecting minors Lawmakers take aim at access to video nasties

Monitoring youth access to media varies from canton to canton

(Keystone)

The government plans to introduce a nationwide law on protecting minors from violent or disturbing content in movies and video games. The interior ministry has been tasked with drafting up a consultation paper by the end of 2017.

In a press release, the cabinet said the idea sprang from a youth and media project it conducted with cantons and other organisations. Impending European Union laws on regulating movies downloaded on the internet (for example, YouTube) had also influenced its decision to update legislation in this area.

“Because videos and computer games are now easily available, the protection of children and young people against unsuitable media content is particularly important,” the cabinet said.

At present, it is up to cantons to regulate the availability of movies, DVDs and computer games for minors. The cabinet, however, identified what it described as gaps in this piecemeal approach to regulation, and said it plans to introduce national legislation.

Doing so would codify age restrictions on media and provide a look into ways of regulating online video on demand and video platform services. Cantons would be obliged to enforce such a newly harmonised law.

“Further regulation of video platform services is planned at a European level,” the cabinet added in its statement. “It is important that Switzerland reaches the same level of youth media protection that is envisioned by the EU.”

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