World Magazine, Issue 2.6, September 1997
What Is The CSA?
LE CONSEIL SUPERIEUR DE L'AUDIOVISUEL (CSA) (French Audiovisual Council) is a regulation authority, composed of 9 "wise" members. One third of the board members are nominated every 2 years by the President of France, the Senate President and National Assembly President.
Among other activities, the CSA controls the application of the law for the protection of minors. To that end, the CSA has created a new plan to establish program ratings and on-screen information, in cooperation with broadcasters and viewer associations. This plan, effective since November, 1996, applies to national territorial networks and the Canal + cable network.
This initiative is in response to a need for greater broadcaster responsibility and is aimed at giving parents the tools they need to determine what is appropriate for their children, thanks to clear, standardized on-screen symbols. The programs are divided into categories depending on the degree of violence depicted in them. The categories go from Category 1 "general public" to Category 5 "pornographic or extremely violent works." Programs in Category 1 show no on-screen symbol. Programs in Category 5 are forbidden on terrestrial networks. For other categories, on-screen symbols are obligatory and they have time slot restrictions.
Guarantor for freedom of communication, the CSA only takes action a posteriori. They cannot block a program from airing. After an offense, the CSA calls for sanctions in the form of fines or on-screen announcements.
The CSA also controls the diffusion of French language within programs. If programs are from other countries, they need to be dubbed or aired with French subtitles.
In 1996, animation programs represented 2,823 hours, which is 54 % of the Children and Youth Programs. 54% of the animated programs were from Europe, 34% from the U.S., and 8% from Japan. **
According to the European Community directive "Television without frontiers," European networks can broadcast in all EEC member countries but are dependent on the laws applicable in their country of origin. For instance, Cartoon Network is dependent on ITC in Great Britain. Disney Channel France has a special arrangement regarding quotas, like other similar channels. Within 5 years from their start date, they will need to go from 30% to 40% French speaking programs, as is standard for all cable networks in France.
Info compiled from CSA information booklet by Annick Teninge.
** numbers are for programs on TF1, France2, France 3, La Cinquieme, M6 and Canal +. Source: CSA, Program Department.
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