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South African authority bars violence on TV

Code of conduct to protect kids

South Africa’s audio-video regulatory authority, the Independent Broadcasting Authority (IBA), has ruled that television programs depicting excessive violence, especially against women, may not be aired on South African screens.

The IBA, releasing a revised code of conduct for broadcasters this week, also ruled that violent programs and those showing explicit sex must be shown in the late evening, outside of children’s normal viewing time.

Broadcasters will be prohibited from showing material that sanctions violence against women or links women in a sexual context as victims of violence.

Protecting children

IBA chairman Mandla Langa said the new ruling aimed to protect children from viewing violence, explicit sex and offensive language. The revised code introduces a “watershed period” or primetime for adult programming. Any programs outside this period have to be suitable for all ages. Free-to-air television primetime will run from 9 p.m. to 5 a.m. On subscriber television services, primetime will start at 8 p.m., Langa said.

The move comes amid concern about levels of violence in South Africa, which has among the world’s highest murder and rape levels.

Under the former apartheid government, the television and film industry was tightly censored along conservative and religious lines that served to reinforce the apartheid ideology.

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