Television content rating systems

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Television content rating systems give viewers an idea of the suitability of a television program for children or adults. Many countries have their own television rating system and each country's rating process may differ due to local priorities. Programs are rated by either the organization that manages the system, the broadcaster or by the content producers themselves.

A rating is usually set for each individual episode of a television series. The rating can change per episode, network, rerun and per country. As such it is impossible to state what kind of rating a program has, without stating when and where this rating is used.


In Argentina, the content rating system are identical to those used by the local film bureau.

Starting from September 2010, it is compulsory for broadcasters to show the plaque Comienza el horario apto para todo público English: Start time of suitable for all age schedule and Finaliza el horario apto para todo público English: End time of suitable for all age schedule at 6:00 a.m. or 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 p.m. or 10:30 p.m. respectively. In addition, the plaque Atención: Contenido no apto para niños, niñas y adolescentes English: Warning: Content not suitable for children and adolescents are shown before news broadcasts.


A television content rating system for Armenia was introduced in June 2006 (first tested in Yerevan in January 2006).[1] The Armenian ratings are as follows:

Range specific

Age specific


For details on the video and DVD classification system in Australia, see Censorship in Australia.

Commercial television stations in Australia are required to comply with the Australian Commercial Television Code of Practice, which is governed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

Child-specific ratings[edit]

These time zones are further governed by the Australian Commercial Television Code of Practice, over and above the commercial Code of Practice. Both are similar to the G and PG classifications respectively in terms of allowable content, but are specifically targeted at children, whereas G specifies programming content that is suitable for all audiences, but may not necessarily be of interest to children.[citation needed]

P-rated (pink)PPreschoolersProgramming is intended for younger children 2–11; commercial stations must show at least 30 minutes of P-rated content each weekday and weekends at all times. No advertisements may be shown during P-rated programs.
C-rated (orange)CChildrenProgramming intended for older children 5–14; commercial stations must show at least 30 minutes of C-rated content each weekday between 7 a.m. and 8 a.m. or between 4 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. A further 2 and a half hours a week must also be shown either within these time bands or between 7 a.m. and 8:30 p.m. on weekends and school holidays, for a total of five hours a week (averaged as 260 hours over the course of a year). C-rated content is subject to certain restrictions and limitations on advertising (typically five minutes maximum per 30-minute period or seven minutes including promotions and community announcements).

Standard ratings[edit]

With the exception of the AV15+ rating, which is only used by commercial TV networks, the ratings are intended to be equivalent to the Australian Classification Board (ACB) classifications of the same name. They're usually presented with the same shape and sometimes colour as their ACB counterparts.

G-rated (green)GGeneralFor general exhibition; all ages are permitted to watch programming with this rating. The G classification does not necessarily indicate that the program is one that children will enjoy. Some G programs contain themes or storylines that are not of interest to children.
PG-rated (yellow)PGParental Guidance RecommendedParental guidance is recommended for young viewers; This category contain "themes and concepts which, when viewed by those under 15 years, may require the guidance of an adult". Parents may choose to "preview the material" for their children. Some may choose to "watch the material with their children". PG-rated content may air at any time on digital-only channels, otherwise, it should only be broadcast between 8:30 a.m. and 4:00 p.m. and between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekdays, and between 10:00 a.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekends.
M-rated (blue)MMatureRecommended for mature audiences; Programs in this category are considered to be potentially harmful or disturbing to those under 15 years. M-rated content may only be broadcast between 8:30 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. on any day, and additionally between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. on schooldays.
MA15+-rated (red)MA15+Mature AccompaniedNot suitable for children and teens under 15; More "explicit or more intense material", especially violent material, will be included in this category. MA15+-rated programming may only be broadcast between 9:00 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. on any given day. Consumer advice is mandatory. Some R18+ rated movies on DVD/Blu-ray are often re-edited on free TV/cable channels to secure a more "appropriate" MA15+ rating. Some movies that were rated R18 on DVD have since been aired in Australian TV with MA15+ rating.
AV15+-rated (purple)AV15+Mature Accompanied (Adult Violence)Not suitable for children and teens under 15; this is the same as the MA15+ rating, except the "AV" stands for "Adult Violence". This category is used specifically for violent programming. The AV rating is still allowed to exceed any MA15+ content, in particular – 'Violence'. AV15+ content may only be broadcast between 9:30 p.m. and 5:00 a.m. on any day. Consumer advice is mandatory.
R18+RestrictedNot for children under 18; this is limited to Adult "Pay Per View" VC 196 and 197. Content may include graphic violence, sexual situations, coarse language and explicit drug use.

Several programs that air before the PG timeslot of 7:00pm do still contain PG content, although nothing may be edited to fit a G rating.[citation needed] Shows that are usually rated PG now may feature the same amount of content when it was G rated.[citation needed] Some movies which have an "R" rating on DVD may be given an MA15+ on TV, although some of the content may be altered/removed to meet MA15+ classification guidelines.

The two government-owned TV networks, ABC and SBS, are not bound by the same regulations as their commercial counterparts, and are instead each bound by their own Codes of Practice.[2][3] The guidelines provided by these Codes are similar but not identical to the Codes of Practice for commercial stations. For example, SBS refers to the rating MAV15+ instead of AV15+,[4] while ABC does not use the AV/MAV rating at all; instead programs rated MA15+ must not start before 9:30 p.m., instead of 9:00 p.m.. While the ABC recognizes the G rating, its code of practice does not require that it display its classification symbol on-air in respect to G-rated programming.

Pay television networks also have a different system[5] to the free-to-air networks. In general, all content on pay TV must still be given one of the above ratings; however, there are not usually restrictions on the time of day any particular programming can be broadcast. There is an R18+ rating for pay TV, but its use is strictly limited to special interest channels. FOXTEL, a pay TV company, has a parental lock-out system which can be programmed by parents to stop children from seeing certain programs. In 2009, the system malfunctioned, allowing children access to violent TV shows and films. The restrictions on R18+ rated programming have been increased since then, and those programs can now only be shown on the two adult channels.

Consumer advice[edit]

Consumer advice is compulsory for all MA15+ and AV15+ programs, and one-off programs and very short series classified M or higher (such as feature films, miniseries and documentaries). A classification disclaimer may be displayed for PG material if the broadcaster believes the material is of an intensity that parents and/or young children may not expect.

Consumer advice takes the form of a full-screen written and verbal announcement at the start of the program announcing the classification as well as listing the type and strength of any mature content. In addition, when a program carries consumer advice, appropriate abbreviations are displayed along with the classification symbol after each commercial break. They also usually appear in programming guides, usually in lower case to distinguish from primary classifications. In general, these abbreviations are as follows:

Sometimes, more specific consumer advice is issued, such as:

In other cases, a network may include more specific advice at the start of a program, but then substitute one of the more widespread categories when using the abbreviated form. Others may not use the above examples at all and simply list the content as violence, adult themes etc.


The implementation of a television content rating system in Brazil was made official for broadcasters in mid-2007, although it was already used for rating motion pictures, video games, and some television networks since 2006. Since then, the television networks themselves rate the shows, while the Department of Justice, Rating, Titles and Qualification (Portuguese: Departamento de Justiça, Classificação, Títulos e Qualificação) judges the content to guarantee that the rating is appropriate for that specific show.[6] On broadcast networks, where the system is mandatory, the ratings are also translated in Brazilian Sign Language, and may also carry content descriptors. The icons must be shown at the start of each block of the show, and their respective promos.[7]

Brazilian ratings[edit]

The Brazilian content rating system utilizes age-specific classifications (with the exception of L-rated programming), and consist of the following:

The system also regulates a watershed, or certain times where certain programming may air on broadcast television.[citation needed] Programming on cable networks can air at any time, regardless of its rating.[8]


The Bulgarian content rating system persists of the following classifications:[citation needed]


The Television Classification System was introduced in the Kingdom of Cambodia on April 23, 2011.[citation needed] The content rating system is a project of the Government Public Relations Department by the Office of National Broadcasting Commission for all eight Cambodian TV stations to set up a procedure of TV program classification. The original system used four main rating symbols and three content descriptors (using Cambodian characters) shown on-screen during the duration of the program. However, the stations have to follow the existing laws on broadcasting programs. There are no official graphics or signs for the ratings, utilizing only a ticker bar with a warning signified content not suitable for children. Children and non-scripted programming are usually not rated.[citation needed]


The Canadian TV Classification System was created in late 1997[9] for English-language programmers to use in conjunction with the V-chip (by this point, Canadian viewers were used to seeing ratings attached to American programming delivered via cable and over-the-air reception). The upper-right corner of symbols are shaped like the corner of a maple leaf, as is used in the national flag. The icons are intended to be shown once an hour lasting 15 seconds, although in the case of longer programs that do not start on the hour, some broadcasters show the rating at the start and at the top of each subsequent clock hour, while others show the rating at the start and again precisely one hour later. However, there are some networks like Global that only display the television rating at the beginning of the show.[citation needed] The icons are displayed in the upper-left corner and the size should be a minimum of 52 scan lines tall.[10]

Additionally, should a program contain content potentially unsuitable for some viewers, such as violence, coarse language, or nudity, members of the self-regulating Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (which does not include the CBC, although it still uses such warnings) are required to air a disclaimer at the beginning of the program and at the end of each commercial break, advising viewer discretion (such disclaimers are only required for the first hour if airing after 9:00 p.m.). This disclaimer is technically required even if the final commercial break comes immediately before the closing credits, and some (but not all) channels in fact observe this.[11]

Notably, the television rating given may depend on the level of cable and satellite, or if the program is broadcast over-the-air. Also, television ratings are generally considered more restricted than movie ratings.

Canadian ratings[edit]

Canadian TV Ratings:

Quebec ratings[edit]

French-language broadcasters use the Régie du cinéma film rating system system for television programming. Logo may or may not appear on screen after every commercial depending on the TV channel.

An E rating (no rating will appear on screen) is given to exempt programming, in the same classes used for English Canadian programming above.


The National Association of Television (Asociación Nacional de Televisión) devised a content rating system in 1993.[citation needed]

Child specific[edit]

Standard ratings[edit]


Since 1997,[12] Colombian television networks are required to specify programs within dubbed family and adult fringes, and must display a notice signifying the audience, both visually and in narration, the minimum age required to watch the program, if it contains sexual or violent content, and if parental company is needed at the beginning of every program.[13] The networks must also air an 'institutional message' daily at 21:00, inviting children 12 years of age or less to "not to stay exposed to contents which have no essentially child[-oriented] nature."[14][15] A message must be broadcast at 22:10, Monday through Friday, (22:30 Saturdays and Sundays) explaining to viewers that the adult fringe has started. Most networks opt to display a scrolling text message instead.[15]

Fringe hours[edit]

The fringes (Spanish: franjas), as defined by the National Television Commission,[16] and are as follows:

Pornography is forbidden in broadcast over the air television in Colombia, even in the adult fringes.[17]


In Denmark, there are no regulations on what can be shown on Danish television,[citation needed] but a rating system has been devised,[by whom?] and consist of the following:[citation needed]


A content rating system were introduced to Finland television broadcasting in 2004.[citation needed] The initial ratings system for television programs shown on Finnish television channels consist of the following:

If a program is classified as 'K16' or 'K18', a notification must be shown before broadcast.


A content rating system in French is regulated by Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel (CSA).[18] Each rating icon is translucent and, as of November 2012, is shown for the whole duration of the show.[19]


In Germany every broadcaster has to show a disclaimer displaying the sentence "Die nachfolgende Sendung ist für Zuschauer unter 16/18 Jahren nicht geeignet" before transmission if the program contains potentially offensive content.[citation needed] This roughly translates to "The following program is not suitable for viewers under 16 / 18" The Freiwillige Selbstkontrolle (FSK) checks every show in private television.[citation needed]


A content rating system in Greece was devised in 2000.[citation needed] The system has five ratings, with each rating being represented by a different shape on a different-coloured background. The color-coded ratings are compulsory, and are displayed and verbally announced at the beginning of each broadcast. These provisions are enforced by the Greek National Council for Radio and Television (ESR).

Hong Kong[edit]

The Hong Kong television rating system is since by generic code of television programs standard of the Broadcasting Ordinance (Cap.562) on December 11, 1995.[citation needed] The current ratings are:

Programs that are classified as either 'PG' or 'M' should not be broadcast between 4:00 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. every day, as this is a watershed devised for family viewing.[citation needed]


The Hungarian content rating system has changed frequently during the last few years.[when?] The ratings of the programs broadcast often caused legal interferences, since the radio and television authorities have stricter guidelines about age appropriate rating categories for programs.[citation needed] If a program is not marked with the television authority's choice of rating symbol, the airing channel often has to pay large penalties to Hungarian authorities.[citation needed]

Before 2002, the Hungarian television rating system was more simplistic: networks would range their programs into three categories:

Rating programs and displaying on-screen symbols was not strictly compulsory for the channels. Eventually the television authority found this system inappropriate.[when?]

In 2002, a new rating system was devised. Ranking programs and displaying the rating symbols became compulsory on every Hungarian television network. The new rating system caused trouble within these networks, because the channels were required to display the ranking symbols during the entire duration of their programs. The symbols were distracting to viewers, and networks feared that their constant presence could damage the television screen.[citation needed] Because of the complaints, the television authority allowed channels to choose to show the rating symbols on the left or on the right side of the screen. Later, channels were also allowed to increase the transparency of the symbols.

In the current system there are five rating categories:

Similar ratings also apply to films shown in cinemas, however unlike in other countries a viewer cannot be denied access from entering a screening if they are not the age of the rating.[20]


The content rating system in Iceland consist of the channel's logo in the top-right corner, with the rating following by,[vague] consisting of the following:


Sample censor certificate issued by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) that has to be displayed for 10 seconds before exhibition of a 'theatrical film', and for 15 seconds before exhibition of a 'video film'.[clarification needed] "V/U" infers that the film is sanctioned for video exhibition, and has been given a rating of "Unrestricted Public Exhibition".

In India, there is no established TV programme rating system. In general, there is no screening of television content. However, with regard to film content (films, film trailers, film soundtracks etc.) shown on television, the statutory 'Programme Code'[21] provides that only that film content which is certified as 'Unrestricted Public Exhibition' ('U') by the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) can be telecast on television, meaning no 'watershed hours' exist, and there is absolute prohibition of adult film content on Indian television regardless of scheduling. However, to facilitate telecast of 'A' (adult) films on television, CBFC, has been carrying out re-certification of adult ('A') films into 'UA' & 'U' as a matter of practice, but such 'conversion' has no legal basis. The Cinematograph Act, 1952 provides for certification of films by CBFC for public exhibition in two modes, viz., theatrical release (in licensed premises) & video release (through CD/DVD/BD etc.), "having regard to the nature, content and theme of the film ...".[22]

In February 2013, in the wake of controversy over suspension of exhibition of the film, ‘Vishwaroopam’, the Ministry of Information & Broadcasting constituted a panel under the Chairmanship of Justice (Retd.) Shri Mukul Mudgal to examine issues of film certification under the Cinematograph Act 1952. One of the terms of reference for the committee is to examine “the requirement of special categories of certification for the purposes of broadcasting on television channels and radio stations.” But, the committee had not made any recommendations on this important matter.

The current classifications of films in India are as follows:


Because of Indonesia's large Islam population (the largest in the world), TV censors have the right to edit out any content deemed offensive according to Islamic law, known as Haram. Television series in Indonesia are forbidden to have excessive offensive language, extreme violence, sexual situations (including nudity, displays of affection [e.g. kissing], and references to homosexuality), and animated scenes considered too scary or frightening for children.[citation needed]

The ratings are divided into eight categories:

The BO, A-BO, and R-BO classifications are not considered official, but appear on Indonesian TV as content warnings for certain networks.[citation needed] However, some movies (even in late night airings) still need to be edited because the content is forbidden to air in Indonesia, mostly movies with very strong language, sex, nudity, some disturbing material etc.


In Ireland, Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTÉ) displays a banner in the top right-hand corner (previously on the left-hand corner) of the screen during the opening screen of a program.[citation needed] The banner may display one of the following classifications:

These content ratings only apply to the RTÉ channels (RTÉ One, RTÉ Two). Other television channels will make an announcement about whether or not a show's content is appropriate for any range of age.


Since April 2003, Israel networks (Channel 2 and Channel 10) display the suggested age range for all programmes.[citation needed] Later, the rating became available at all of the channels, including cable networks.[citation needed] Originally, the limit tags came in three colors, yellow, orange and red, but in cable or satellite television, it is designated differently.[clarification needed]

In 2010, the system was revised.[citation needed] The current ratings are as follows:


Italy does not have an official television content rating system, and content rating systems may differ from network to network. Generally a colored logo system is used:

Major television networks respect a "Protected Time Schedule" (from 14:00 to 19:00), similar to the old family viewing hour used in the United States, in which objectionable content is not allowed to air during the hours when children may be watching.[citation needed] For films and TV series, usually the Italian motion picture classification system is observed. If a film rated V.M.18 (restricted to an older audience) in the theaters airs during the Italian prime time period (about at 10:45 p.m./11:00 p.m. or later), the film will be shown edited to fit a V.M.14 (suitable for viewers between the ages of 14 and 17) rating. The V.M.14 films can be aired during the prime time or in the afternoon only in edited form.[citation needed]


In Malaysia, a television rating system was revised in January 2012.

The classifications are as follows:

News and live programs are exempt from classification. The rating system are shown five seconds before the start of the programme. Astro only uses P13 classification for movie channels such as Astro Best and Astro First.


Television stations in Maldives display a classification rating at the beginning of each program (news being exempt from this). Displaying classification rating after commercials may be optional. Each television station uses different classification rating for their respective programs. Usually, all television stations use the following classification age groups.[citation needed]

The X rating is used for content that is banned from airing on public television in the Maldives. In particular, pornography or sexually explicit material is rated X and is banned, because pornography remains illegal in the Maldives as of the year 2009.[citation needed]


The classification system of television programs in Mexico is almost equivalent to that of the movie rating system of the country, and consists of the following:

In December 2010, the Latin American channel Canal Fox started using TV ratings, along with the channel XEIMT-TV in Mexico City.[citation needed]


The television rating system in the Netherlands was created in 2001 by the Dutch Institute for the Classification of Audiovisual Media (NICAM) and is known as Kijkwijzer (ViewingGuide or WatchWiser). The same rating systems are used for both television programs and films, and serve partly as guidelines (Programmes with the classification 12 years may only be broadcast from 8pm and with the classification 16 years from 10pm. Cinemas and theaters in the country cannot provide films with the classification 16 years to people under the age of 16). Animated versions of the icons used are also utilized in visual mediums. They are the same as Dutch film ratings. The system is also used for DVDs in Belgium and selectively used on television broadcasts in Flanders.

The following icons are in use for age rating:

There are also six descriptor icons used:

New Zealand[edit]

New Zealand has two separate content rating systems, one for free-to-air channels and one for pay TV services.


New Zealand's free-to-air TV content rating system has been in place since 1989 and is based on the system Australia was using from the early 1980s until 1993. There are three classifications:

G (General Programmes): These exclude material likely to harm children under 14 and can screen at any time. Programmes may not necessarily be designed for younger viewers, but must not contain material likely to cause them undue distress or discomfort.

Examples Include: Mostly kids shows, Soaps (Neighbours), Cooking And Lifestyle Shows etc.

PGR (Parental Guidance Recommended): Programmes more suited to more mature viewers. These are not necessarily unsuitable for children, but viewer discretion is advised, and parents and guardians are encouraged to supervise younger viewers. Programmes rated PGR can screen between 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. and between 7 p.m. – 6 a.m.

Examples Include: Mostly primetime sitcoms And Local Reality Shows

AO (Adults Only): AO programmes contain material of an adult nature handled in such a way that it is unsuitable for children. Such programmes are directed primarily at a mature audience and can screen between noon and 3pm on a school day (except during school and public holidays as designated by the Ministry of Education), and between 8:30 p.m. – 5:00 a.m. A special sub-class of this rating, denoted AO 9:30 p.m. or later, is reserved for programmes with a "greater degree of sexual activity, potentially offensive language, realistic violence, sexual violence, or horrific encounters" and are considered unsuitable for viewing before that time.

Examples Include: CSI:Crime Scene Investigation,Grey's Anatomy and some primetime dramas etc.

The rating for each programme is shown at the start and after each commercial break. Some PGR programmes and most AO programmes have an advisory before the programme begins to advise of any specific content that could offend viewers such as language, nudity, sex and violence. Not every Comedy or Drama series receives all the same ratings. For example, some The Big Bang Theory episodes are rated G, most recent episodes of 2 Broke Girls season 2 receives an AO rating, Some Packed to the Rafters episodes are rated AO, while most of them rated PGR. Some episodes or movies may required to be edited in order to be appropriate for the viewers, depending on the time.

Pay television[edit]

The system for pay television is as follows:

Any programme of any rating can air at any time, but care should be taken to observe the following guidelines (as per the Broadcasting Codes of Practice):


The age rating system in the Peru television came into force in 2005 as President of the republic Alejandro Toledo and the Congress passed this law for radio and television. The open-signal channels that show their age rating are: a.m.érica Televisión, ATV, Frecuencia Latina, Global TV and La Tele. Nevertheless, the channels: TV Peru, Panamericana Television, etc. do not show their classification.

The ratings for television programs are available on some Peruvian channels. The rating system used in Peru is listed below.

SymbolCharacters usedMeaning in SpanishTranslation into English
TVcontenidoPeruAPT.jpgAptapto para todo publicosuitable for all public viewers
TVcontenidoPeru14.jpg14apto para mayores de catorce añossuitable for people aged 14 and above only
TVcontenidoPeru18.jpg18apto para mayores de dieciocho añossuitable for people aged 18 and above only

However, América Televisión is the only channel that uses its own rating system with four categories:

SymbolCharacters usedMeaning in SpanishTranslation into English
TVclasificacionPeru(AmericaTV)GP.jpgGPpúblico en generalgeneral audience
TVclasificacionPeru(AmericaTV)PG.jpgPGguía paternaparental guidance required for under 6
TVclasificacionPeru(AmericaTV)14.jpgTV-14apto para mayores de catorce añossuitable for people aged 14 and above only
TVclasificacionPeru(AmericaTV)18.jpgTV-18apto para mayores de dieciocho añossuitable for people aged 18 and above only


In the Philippines, the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board, commonly known as MTRCB, implements and regulates local television content rating systems. In November 1995,[citation needed] the MTRCB has implemented only two television ratings: "General Patronage" and "Parental Guidance", in which these advisories are simply written on the upper left side or at the lower right side of the television screen.

On 6 October 2011, in order to encourage parents to supervise and be responsible with their children in watching television, the MTRCB revamped its rating system, implementing a three-tiered system:[23][24][25]

PictogramClassification ratingEnglish nameFilipino nameDescription
GenPat mtrcb.png
GGeneral PatronageNoneSuitable for all audiences.[26]
PGParental GuidancePatnubay at GabayProgrammes rated PG may contain scenes or other content that are unsuitable for children without the guidance of a parent.due to issues of material.[27]
SPG-MTRCB English.png
SPGStrong Parental GuidanceStriktong Patnubay at GabayContains mature themes or moderate to intense violence, which may be deemed unfit for children to watch without strict parental supervision to children under 13.[28]

The new ratings was originally to have been a four-tiered system, composed of G (General Patronage), PG (Parental Guidance), SPG (Strong Parental Guidance), and M,[vague] but sometime before the implementation of the new system, the "M" rating was dropped.

The new ratings system is similar to the old one, but the look and the ratings themselves was completely revamped. The new system consists of a new full-screen advisory of the program's rating which is flashed before every program, whatever the rating of such program is, except in the case of programs with SPG rating, wherein the rating must be aired twice (before the program and after a commercial break somewhere in the middle of the program). A rating logo then appears at the bottom right of the screen during a program if it was rated as such. Sometimes, when annotations are to be put and it takes the place of the logo, then it has to be put on the upper left side of the screen, opposite the logo of the TV station. [29] [30]

On 9 February 2012, the SPG rating was implemented,[31] which utilizes at least one of the following content descriptors: T for tema (themes), L for lengguwahe (language), K for karahasan (violence), S for sekswal (sex), H for katatakutan (horror) and D for droga (drugs). The rating was first broadcast on the film Cinco which was aired in ABS-CBN, where it had its old advisory.


Before 2000, Poland did not have any uniform classification system for television programs. Some stations, however, applied their own system of signs: in front of the selected films TVP board applied the "Adult only" or "Film for adult audiences only".[32] In Canal+ before the film to show in chart with key Canal+ in the appropriate color (green, yellow, red).[33] Until 27 February 2000, TVN decided to mark the so-called "adult movies" with a pulsating red 18+ logo.[34] On 1 March 2000, an agreement was reached with Polish television broadcasters as "Friendly media" in order to introduce a uniform system of classification of television programs. Nine television broadcasters - TVP, Polsat, TVN, our TV, Canal+, Wizja TV, Poland and Cable TV Niepokalanow - had signed the agreement.

The current Polish television rating system was introduced on 15 August 2005 and consists of five icons.[35] In 28 August 2011 changed the appearance of the characters:[36]

SymbolNameBroadcast restrictionPossible contents
Polish tv rating system bo 2011.svg
No age limitnonePositive or neutral view of the world, little to no violence, non-sexual love, and no sexual content.
Polish tv rating system 7 2011.svg
For minors from age 7noneAs above; may additionally contain some mild language, bloodless violence, and a more negative view of the world.
Polish tv rating system 12 2011.svg
For minors from age 12noneMay contain some foul language, some violence, and some sexual content.
Polish tv rating system 16 2011.svg
For minors from age 16only
8 p.m.–6 a.m.
Deviant social behavior, world filled with violence and sexuality, simplified picture of adulthood, display of physical force, especially in controversial social context (against parents, teachers, etc.), immoral behavior without ethic dilemma, putting the blame on the victim, excessive concentration on material possessions.
Polish tv rating system 18 2011.svg
Permitted from age of 18only
11 p.m.–6 a.m.
One-sided display of the joys of adult life without showing responsibilities (e.g. work), social justification of violent behavior, excessive vulgarity, use of racial slurs and social stereotypes, explicit sexual content, praise of aggression or vulgarity.


For a long time, the only existing regulation on Portuguese television was that programs with potentially shocking or harmful content could air only between 11pm and 6am and with a red circular marker on the top-right corner of the screen.

In 2006, all free-to-air networks decided to complement this rule with a shared, more detailed rating system for TV shows:

These logos must be shown during 10 seconds in the beginning of any program and after every break. If a program is rated 16, it can only be broadcast between 11pm and 6am.[37]


The rating system for programs and films shown on Romanian television:


The rating system for programs and films shown on Russian television:[38]

These logos are shown in the beginning of the program and after every break.


In Serbia, TV stations are obliged to mark all programs that could endanger children and youth. TV programs that could endanger minors in any way must be clearly marked, and the custodians warned. Each program displayed before midnight, has to be marked with a clearly visible age limit (e.g. 12, 14, 16, 18) which warns the parents and other audience if it program is not suitable for all minors. It is displayed at the beginning (usually in a big red circle across the screen) and each 15 minutes (on a visible location, usually in a corner) of the show. On radio, this warning is presented by the speaker. a G rating is when nothing appears. an L, M, N means it's suitable for kids and children and young, and all ages may watch. Like (12, 14, 16, 18) they are exempt from classification, and replaced by P, Q and R.

All broadcasters have the right to classify programs on their own, but the Serbian Republic Broadcasting Agency (RBA) reserves its right to punish or warn the stations if they do not mark the programs at all, do not mark it as described or systematically estimate age categories wrongly. The broadcasters have the right to ask the agency's opinion in certain show if they are not capable of recognizing its category. They are also advised to take care of the usual children schedule and to avoid problematic material in time when it could be easily expected that minors are watching or listening the program.

Unconventional ratings:

These ratings are used only on a few TV stations.


Singapore has adopted the use of TV Ratings from 15 July 2011. They consist of PG and PG13 ratings for Free-to-Air TV and NC16 and M18 ratings in addition to the PG and PG13 ratings for Pay TV channels. For Free-to-Air TV, the shows rated PG may be aired anytime while PG13 should air between 10pm to 6am. For Pay TV, PG13 rated programmes can be shown anytime. Before the rated programme starts the TV channels will show a notification. Currently, only StarHub TV's and Mio TV's self-packaged non-regional Pay TV channels ( e.g. StarHub TV's E City and Sensasi and Mio TV's FashionTV HD and FashionTV HD On Demand, both of which features modeling nudity in certain programmes ) are enabled to carry NC16 and M18 rated content. FashionTV is also Singapore's first official M18 rated channel. M18 rated programmes can only be telecasted from 10pm onwards to 6am on Pay TV. Regional channels like Star World, Fox Movies Premium and HBO Asia are unable to carry Media Development Authority's film ratings as they are targeted at the same region (a certain group of Asia territories), which results in programmes being subjected to external censorship of a much harsher nature outside Singapore territorial control. Only Video on Demand (VOD) Pay TV services are allowed to carry R21 content currently. G-rated programmes are not required to show a notification for any channel.


Slovenian government accepted a law in 2004,[39] in which television stations are required to play a warning before a film and display one of the following icons:

  • Vodstvo staršev (parental guidance suggested for children under 6) VS (vodstvo staršev) – Parental guidance suggested (for children under 6)
  • Content suitable for children over 12 years +12 – Content suitable for teens over 12 years
  • Content suitable for teens over 15 years +15 Content suitable for teens over 15 years
  • Odrasli (content exclusively for adults) AD (odrasli) – Content exclusively for adults

South Africa[edit]

South African ratings are issued and certified by the Film and Publication Board, whilst the National Broadcasting Commission regulates the various films and programs. All television stations, cinemas and distributors of DVD, video and computer games must display the following signage:

(The 18 rating does not refer to adult, child or animal pornography—as this is banned from television and cinema by the Film and Publication Board.)

(The R18 rating does not refer to child or animal pornography—as this is totally banned by the Film and Publication Board.)

Additional symbols:

South Korea[edit]

The South Korean television rating system has been in force since 2000, and it started with only four classifications which are All, 7, 13 and 19. In February 2001, all programs except domestic dramas (which had been enforced since November 2002) has required to have a rating system. In 2007, rating 13 was changed into 12 and a new rating, 15 is introduced. Most programs have to be rated, except the "exempt" rating below. Even if it qualifies for being exempt, a broadcaster may apply a rating.[41]

Example of Korean TV rating icons.

Ratings are displayed every ten minutes, and after commercial breaks, either on the upper-left or upper-right corner of the screen, with a size of at least 1/20 of the screen, and in black writing on a yellow circle with a white outline, for 30 seconds. If the program is rated "19", the icon must be displayed for the entire duration of the program. This does not apply to the "All" rating, which has no icon. A rating disclaimer is displayed on the start of the program for five seconds explaining "Because this program is not appropriate for children/youth under X years old, parental discretion is advised"(이 프로그램은 X세 미만의 어린이/청소년이 시청하기에 부적절하므로 보호자의 시청지도가 필요한 프로그램입니다, I peu-ro-geu-raem eun "X: se-mi-man ui eo rin-i/cheong-so nyeon-i si cheong hagi e bu-jeok jeol ha-meu robo hoja ui si cheong-ji doga pir-yo han peu-ro-geu-raem ipnida) for 7, 12, and 15 ratings. "All" and "19" ratings have a different disclaimer, which say "This program is suitable for all ages"(이 프로그램은 모든 연령의 시청자가 시청할 수 있는 프로그램입니다) and "This program is not suggested for youths under the age of 19"(이 프로그램은 19세 미만의 청소년이 시청하기에 부적절한 프로그램입니다) respectively.

South Korean television ratings do not include content descriptors or viewer advisories as they do in the United States and Australia. The ratings are therefore used in a broader sense. Based on the impact of one element, for example, an otherwise "12"-rated show with occasionally stronger violence (or other element) may receive a "15" instead of an additional advisory.


These are the symbols of the Spanish rating system for television programs:

Rating symbols are shown all the programme or when it begins (also after broadcasting adverts), depending on the rating and the hour (12 and over are always shown, and TP is never shown). Years ago, all ratings were shown only al the beginning. On '+18' rated programs, a brief warning tone can also be heard. '18' or '+18' rated programs are not allowed to be shown on free to air television before 10.00 p.m. and after 6.00 a.m.


The Swiss system only contains one symbol which is used for content unsuitable for children and young teenagers. It is a red rectangle that appears next to or below the TV channel logo and for the whole duration of the show. Moreover, the following text appears on the whole screen right before the content is aired, in the language of the channel: "This program contains scenes that may hurt sensitive people, therefore the red symbol will be displayed."

Those contents are usually aired after 10:00 p.m.


Taiwanese rating system for television programs was introduced in 1999 and there are four symbols:


In Thailand, a television rating system was introduced in 2006 alongside a movie ratings for movies. In September 2013, the television rating was revised.

Under the new guideline, the so-called ′Free TV′ channels have to label their programmes and reschedule their shows to comply in the following categories:

TV programmes in Thailand are already labelled by certain system of categories, a practice criticised by rights group as nanny-state censorship and ridiculed by some Netizens for its confusing standards.


The TV content rating system in Turkey was introtuced by RTÜK in 2006. The ratings are the following:

There are also content informations which indicate violence/horror, sexuality and negative examples.

News programs, sports competitions, religious ceremonies and commercial communication broadcasts are exempt from the content rating system.


Ukrainian TV content rating was adopted on 15 September 2003. It somewhat looks like Poland's former ratings. Listed below are designations of Ukraine classification:

These designations must be in the lower right corner. Green circle can be shown for only the first three minutes, but other marks must be present over the time of this programs.

United States[edit]

TV-Y icon.svg

Programs rated TV-Y are designed to be appropriate for all children. The thematic elements portrayed in programs with this rating are specifically designed for a very young audience, including children from ages 2–6. According to the FCC, programs are "not expected to frighten younger children".[42]

TV-Y7 icon.svg

Programs rated TV-Y7 are designed for children age 7 and older. The FCC implies that it "may be more appropriate for children who have acquired the developmental skills needed to distinguish between make-believe and reality."[42] The thematic elements portrayed in programs with this rating may include 'comedic violence', or may be frightening or confusing for children under the age of 7.

Programs given the "FV" content descriptor exhibit more 'fantasy violence',[42] and are generally more intense or combative than other programs rated TV-Y7.

TV-G icon.svg

Programs rated TV-G are generally suitable for all ages. The FCC states that "this rating does not signify a program designed specifically for children, most parents may let younger children watch this program unattended."[42] The thematic elements portrayed in programs with this rating contain little or no violence, no strong language, and little or no sexual dialogue or situations.[43]

TV-PG icon.svg

Programs rated TV-PG contain material that parental guardians may find inappropriate for young children.

TV-14 icon.svg

Programs rated TV-14 may contain some material that parental guardians may find unsuitable for children under the age of 14. The FCC warns that "Parents are cautioned to exercise some care in monitoring this program and are cautioned against letting children under the age of 14 watch unattended."[42]

TV-MA icon.svg

Programs rated TV-MA are usually designed to be viewed by adults. Some content may be unsuitable for children under 17. This rating is seldom used by broadcast networks or local television stations due to FCC restrictions on program content, although it is commonly applied to television programs featured on certain cable channels (especially premium services such as HBO and Showtime) for both mainstream and pornographic programs.

Some thematic elements, according to the FCC, "may call for parental guidance and/or the program may contain one or more of the following" sub-ratings, designated with an alphabetic letter:

Up to four content descriptors can be applied alongside an applied rating, depending on the kind of suggestive content featured in a program (with the exception of the "FV" sub-rating, due to its sole applicable use for children's programs). As the rating increases pertaining to the age, the content matters generally get more intensive. The 'suggestive dialogue' descriptor is used for TV-PG and TV-14 rated programs only, although certain networks may choose the rate their TV-MA programs with the descriptor, while the DLSV sub-ratings are only used with the TV-14 and TV-MA ratings. The violence descriptor was used for TV-Y7 programs until the creation of the 'FV' descriptor in 1997.


Television content in Venezuela is regulated by the Law on Social Responsibility on Radio and Television (Ley de Responsabilidad Social en Radio y Televisión), introduced in January 2003. As of 2013, the rating was divided into three, TU means for all ages, SU means parental guidance for young viewers and A for mature viewers. Programs rated may only be broadcast at certain times.

It is mandatory for all Venezuelan television station to broadcast a short presentation, before the broadcast of any programs, made by the same channel, where the type of program (recreational, informational, mixed, etc.), type of production (domestic or national independent) elements include containing (such as language, health, sex and/or violence) and lastly the rating of the program.

Countries Without TV Ratings Systems[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jeannette Goehring (2007). Nations in Transit 2007: Democratization from Central Europe to Eurasia. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 93. ISBN 978-0-932088-26-0. Retrieved 28 July 2013. "Although broadcast media remained dependent on private financing in 2006, advertising revenue is rising—encouraged by the introduction of a television rating system, first in Yerevan in January 2006 and then nationwide in June." 
  2. ^ Australian Broadcasting Corporation (2007). ABC Code of Practice: March 2007.
  3. ^ Special Broadcasting Service. SBS Codes of Practice.
  4. ^ Special Broadcasting Service. SBS Codes of Practice. (Section 4.5: Classification Categories.)
  5. ^ Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (2007). Subscription Broadcast Television Codes of Practice 2007.
  6. ^ "Sociedade apoia multa por descumprimento de classificação indicativa". Classificação Indicativa: Notícias (in Portuguese). 12 December 2011. Retrieved 29 July 2013. [dead link]
  7. ^ "Content Rating Practical Guide" (PDF). Ministério da Justiça/Brazilian National Secretariat of Justice/Department of Justice, Rating, Titles and Qualification. 2012. Retrieved 29 July 2013. "The information in Brazilian sign language, item 4, must be displayed pursuant ABNT norms (NBR 15290) and is optional for shows with rating equal or inferior to PG-10." 
  8. ^ "TV Rating System Building Citizenship on the Small Screen" (PDF). Políticas de Comunicação. Agência de Notícias dos Direitos da Infância (ANDI). 2006. Retrieved 29 July 2013. 
  9. ^ "Canadian television networks begin rating system". 29 September 1997. Retrieved 2009-01-15. 
  10. ^ "CAB-Broadcaster Manual for Classification and Icon Use". Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  11. ^ For further details, refer to the Canadian Association of Broadcasters Code of Ethics and Voluntary Code Regarding Violence in Television Programming
  12. ^ Introduction of Colombian television rating system
  13. ^ Comisión Nacional de Televisión, Artículo 2o. Aviso Sobre el Contenido de los Programas – Acuerdo 17 de 1997, 3 April 1997
  14. ^ Comisión Nacional de Televisión, Artículo 2o. Contenido del Mensaje – Acuerdo 4 de 1997, 13 February 1997
  15. ^ a b Comisión Nacional de Televisión, Artículo 4o. Horario de Emisón cel Artículo Institucional – Acuerdo 4 de 1997, 13 February 1997
  16. ^ Germán Yances Peña, Comisión Nacional de Televisión, Concepto 54A de 2004 – Concepto respecto de los contenidos que constituyen programación infantil, 8 July 2004
  17. ^ Comisión Nacional de Televisión, Artículo 15. Pornografía – Acuerdo 17 de 1997, 3 April 1997
  18. ^ Conseil Supérieur de l'Audiovisuel , Règles d'usage de la signalétique jeunesse
  19. ^ Until November 2012, the pictogram Déconseillé aux moins de 10 ans used to disappear after a few minutes. Decision from the Conseil supérieur de l'audiovisuel. (French)
  20. ^ Law concerning TV ratings (in Hungarian)
  21. ^ The Cable Television Networks (Regulation) Act, 1995. Universal Law Publishing. 1995. p. 13. GGKEY:82R8Q89F4G9. Retrieved 25 July 2013. 
  22. ^ "The Cinematograph Act, 1952". Enacted by the Parliament of India. 28 July 1952; 1984 (current ver.). pp. 2, 5–6.  Check date values in: |date= (help)
  23. ^ "Classfication ng TV ratings, nirepaso ng MTRCB" (in Tagalog). DZMM. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  24. ^ Cruz, Marinel (6 October 2011). "MTRCB revises rating system for TV shows". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 27 October 2011. 
  25. ^ Matabuena, Julien Merced (6 October 2011). "Revised TV classifications launched by MTRCB". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved 28 October 2011. 
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  29. ^ "MTRCB TV Rating Classification: Rated PG". YouTube. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  30. ^ "MTRCB TV Rating Classification: Rated SPG". YouTube. 26 November 2011. Retrieved 2012-06-11. 
  31. ^ "Bagong rating na 'Strong Parental Guidance,' ilulunsad ng MTRCB" (in Tagalog). DZMM. Retrieved 14 February 2012. 
  32. ^ "DAWNA TELEWIZJA - Pani Edyta Wojtczak zapowiada film "Pluton" - TVP 1 - 1992 rok". YouTube. 
  33. ^ "Canal+ Polska - jingiel "Film dla wszystkich" - 1998 rok". YouTube. 
  34. ^ "Stary system klasyfikacji programów pod względem przeznaczenia wiekowego na TVN". YouTube. 
  35. ^ "Rozporządzenie Krajowej Rady Radiofonii i Telewizji z dnia 23 czerwca 2005 r.".  23 June 2005
  36. ^ "Rozporządzenie Krajowej Rady Radiofonii i Telewizji z dnia 12 lipca 2011 r.". 12 July 2011
  37. ^ "Sinalização de emissão explicação para sites versão 2". Retrieved 20 February 2012. 
  38. ^
  39. ^ Slovenian media law[dead link]
  40. ^ a b c d e f "May 2009 Classification Guidelines" (PDF) (Press release). Film and Publication Board. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 2009-06-25. 
  41. ^ Kim, Su-jin (2009-11-10). "TV 드라마의 등급 분류 기준은?" (in Korean). 매일경제. Retrieved 2014-09-10. 
  42. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k "V-chip: Viewing Television Responsibly". FCC V-chip. Federal Communications Commission. 2000. Retrieved 24 July 2013. 
  43. ^ "Understanding the TV Ratings". The TV Parental Guidelines. Federal Communications Commission. 22 January 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2013.