Minister Stanton launches new IFCO website aimed at helping parents make informed viewing choices for their children

 

 

30 May 2019

 

The Minister of State at the Department of Justice and Equality with special responsibility for Equality, Immigration and Integration, David Stanton TD, and Ireland’s Director of Film Classification, Ger Connolly, today launched the new and improved website of the Irish Film Classification Office – www.ifco.ie.

 

The website lists all films currently on release in Ireland as well as upcoming releases. In addition to listing the age rating awarded by IFCO and details of the genre of film, each entry also provides a guide to any Violence, Drugs, Sex/Nudity and Language in the film as well as other relevant comments. In addition to allowing the public to make informed viewing choices, it is particularly hoped that the information will prove useful in helping parents/guardians to make decisions regarding their children’s safety and welfare in their viewing choices.

 

Minister Stanton said: “IFCO – 96 years in existence and one of the oldest agencies in the State – has embraced change, transparency and modernisation in recent years. The new IFCO website is designed to be more user friendly and brings an improved design and additional information to users. I hope members of the public, and particularly parents and guardians, will find the website helpful. We have moved into an era of immediate access to information coupled with public expectations that State bodies will provide accurate and up to date information at the touch of a button. I am impressed to note that IFCO continues to improve and refine its provision of information to meet that evolving demand.”

 

Minister Stanton and Mr Connolly also used the occasion to launch IFCO’s 2018 Annual Report. The report notes that IFCO certified 448 films for cinema release in Ireland in 2018, which is in line with 2017. There were two appeals made against certifications over the course of the year – the 18 certification awarded to ‘The First Purge’ and the 12A certification awarded to ‘Bumblebee’. In both cases the Classification of Films Appeals Board upheld IFCO’s decisions.

 

In addition, 18 complaints were received from the public relating to classifications awarded. The most received in respect of any one title was 6 in the case of ‘Show Dogs’, a comedy classified PG for “Mild violence, language and rude humour”. Of these, two were from people who had not seen the film.

 

There was a decline of approximately 15% in the number of video/DVDs submitted to IFCO for certification in 2018, though the total number of video works certified was 2,621. This decline is likely to be indicative of the changing preferences of the public in terms of how they access films. As a result, it is likely that a decrease in such applications will continue. IFCO has made efforts to address this with its new online delivery system.

 

IFCO also has a role with regard to video games. During 2018, IFCO examined 36 games rated 18 by the Pan European Games Information System (PEGI) to ensure compliance with provisions of the Video Recordings Act 1989. Ireland has been a member of PEGI, a self-regulated age rating system for video games, since the foundation of this system in 2003. Ger Connolly, as Director of Film Classification, is a member of the PEGI Council which establishes classification criteria and is also a member of the PEGI Complaints Board which adjudicates on classification appeals.

 

Minister Stanton, in launching the Annual Report, added: “I was interested to learn that IFCO plans to have nationwide research conducted into the current public attitudes and expectations of its work. I look forward to hearing the results of that research. Just as our society’s expectations have moved from censorship to classification, further developments in this area are to be expected as time moves on. I am encouraged by the positivity of the approach adopted by IFCO in being forward looking, open and embracing change”.

 

ENDS

 

Notes for Editors:

 

IFCO was founded in 1923 as the Irish Film Censor’s Office on the passing of the Censorship of Film Act 1923 and has been an agency of the Department of Justice ever since. The statutory functions of that office were expanded in 1993 to allow for the classification of video/DVD to comply with the Video Recordings Act 1989.

 

The name of the office was changed to the Irish Film Classification Office in 2008 to reflect the changing role of the office from censorship to age classification. This change clearly reflects the evolution in societal views and expectations of this service over time.

 

IFCO’s current role is that of a consumer advice agency. Its decisions are still legally binding and all powers of prohibition remain.

 

IFCO’s decisions are independent and may only be appealed to the Classification of Films Appeal Board, also an independent entity. To date, the office has examined almost 55,000 films (and their trailers) and 125,000 video/DVDs.

 

In addition to its statutory basis, IFCO’s work is founded on three main principles, namely:

 

IFCO’s new website is primarily driven by the third of these principles and it is hoped and anticipated that the website’s new and improved design as well as its improved ease of navigation will facilitate those seeking advice and information when making viewing decisions.