Presidents and Directors General,
Ladies and gentlemen,
Jean-François Mary, President of the Commission de classification des œuvres cinématographiques,
gave me his report on the conditions for the prohibition of cinema works under the age of 18.
First of all, I would like to thank you very much, dear Jean-François Mary, for the quality of the work done. I also thank all the professionals who were involved in this reflection.
I would like to stress that your report has been informed by extensive consultations with the members of the Classification Committee, representatives of the film industry, youth protection experts and child psychiatrists.
This is a necessary report, because the ups and downs in the process of issuing visas for cinematographic works call for measures.
Today, the opinions of the classification board, taken up by the minister, are subject to a marginal number of uncertainties when appealed to the administrative judge.
Appeals to the administrative judge never reach ten in a year. But the issue of protecting young audiences, and the economic issue for each film, are too important to ignore.
These are important issues because they concern the protection of young people, which is one of the two reasons for classifying them with respect for human dignity. These are also economic issues for the life of the film.
The report pointed out a series of questions and made some common sense proposals.
Indeed, the report focused on the automatic prohibition of 18-year-old minors, which results from the current law as assessed by case law. This provision and its current application do indeed lead to the committee’s assessment of the criteria leading to a ban for under-18s.
For this reason, I am convinced that the Classification Board, in which all points of view are expressed, is best placed to carry out this assessment with a view to protecting the young public, without automaticity.
Indeed, the purpose of the classification is to ensure the protection of the young public, which presupposes appreciating the scope of images, including gender and violence, in all their dimensions.
I therefore wish to reinforce the classification system, which is based on the committee’s collegial opinion, in order to ensure the full protection of young people.
I want this report to be a useful one.
That is why I am going to start the regulatory reform you are proposing today, so that classification can better take into account the singularity of works and their impact on the public.
It will adapt the criteria currently governing the prohibition of minors under the age of 18 to reinforce the role and broaden the discretion of the Classification Board, which represents all the components of society.
The objective is, by amending the regulatory part of the Film and Motion Picture Code, to allow the Classification Commission to assess the disturbing effect that a film can have on young spectators and thus avoid any automatic classification of works.
Then, work to simplify the means of appeal to reduce the delays of the procedure before the administrative justice to ensure the determination of the classification of a film. It is a matter of amending the regulatory part of the Code of Administrative Justice to determine a judge first and last.
Limiting appeals is justified here to ensure consistency in the duration of exploitation of a work of its classification: the legibility of this device is at stake which, I recall, aims to protect the sensitivity of the young audience by informing minors and their parents, throughout the life of the film. The information provided by the classification must therefore be consistent over time to be effective.
Thank you for your attention.