Belgium gets a new movie classification system from 2020
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    Belgium gets a new movie classification system from 2020

    Altogether there are seven content icons that will be used in the new system, in addition to the new age categories. Credit: Pebble TV/Facebook.

    Films that are broadcast in Belgian cinemas will be classified according to a new system starting from 8 January 2020.

    The Dutch Kijkwijzer system, which will replace the current system in Belgium, gives a film an age category as well as one or two content icons.

    In terms of age suitability, where before in Belgium films were either categorised as suitable or not suitable for those under the age of 16, from 8 January there will now be seven options; films suitable for all ages, for children from 6 years old, from 9 years old, 12 years old, 14 years old, 16 years old and 18 years old.

    In addition, films will be categorised by icons according to their content. There will be six content icons, namely ones for; violence, fear and anxiety, sex, discrimination, drug and/or alcohol abuse, and finally, abusive language.

    “It is a nuanced system, adapted to the needs of the modern film viewer. We will no longer say- you are younger than 16, you are not allowed to see that film. Instead, we will say: this film is intended for people from 16. Sex and violence is involved. If you want to see it, we won’t stop you. But you have been warned,” Minister  Sven Gatz (Open VLD) told Nieuwsblad.

    “We place responsibility not only with the cinemas but also with the child’s parents or guardians,” Gatz added.

    The age categories and content icons will be assigned after the film distributor has filled in a questionnaire about the content of the film.

    The new regulation applies to all films broadcast in a Belgian cinema for the first time, with the exception of screenings at festivals, VRT explains.

    Evie McCullough
    The Brussels Times