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Dutch bow uniform media ratings system

AMSTERDAM — The Dutch have set up a new uniform classification system aimed at self-regulation for the film, TV, video and the computer games industry.

The system, called Kijkwijzer (Viewing Meter), is believed to be the first in Europe.

Devised by independent experts, age classifications and pictograms covering violence, sex, drugs, alcohol abuse, bad language and discrimination will appear in film listings and trailers, TV program skeds, advertising campaigns, video, DVD and computer games packaging.

The system replaces the government-run film classification system.

An independent complaint commission will levy fines up to $20,000 or more for each transgression against the code. The system was put in place after research found that 80% of parents wanted and would use this service.

Netherlands Institute for the Classification of Audiovisual Media (NICAM), was responsible for launching the classification initiative. NICAM members include Dutch TV broadcasters, film distributors, cinema operators, video, DVD and computergame distributors and videotheques and retailers.

Internet classification was left out of the system because the expert panel judged an international standard was needed.

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