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Foxtel who openly promote themselves as a family entertainment network while also putting to air porn, adult entertainment and shows featuring bare breasted women mud wrestling has been slammed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority for putting to air sexual content without the proper classification.

As a result the pay TV has agreed to put in place more rigorous classification procedures under an enforceable undertaking accepted by the ACMA.

Foxtel ran into problems following an investigation into episodes of the programs Cathouse (Showtime Channel), The Wonderful World of Sex (The Comedy Channel) and Naked Wild On (E! Entertainment Channel).

These programs were found to contain sexual content and/or nudity that could not be accommodated at the MA15+ classification, and therefore breached the ASTRA Subscription Television Codes of Practice.

The programs in question were classified R18+ by the Classification Board. Under the codes, content higher than MA15+ cannot be broadcast on subscription broadcast television services and can only be shown on subscription narrowcasting television services when access is restricted by disabling devices.

This is the first time an enforceable undertaking has been offered and accepted from a licensee in the subscription television sector. In January 2009, the ACMA accepted an enforceable undertaking from The Nine Network and WIN Corporation licensees relating to the classification of Underbelly and Gordon Ramsay programs on commercial free-to-air television.

The enforceable undertaking requires FOXTEL to develop, implement and maintain a classification compliance strategy to deal with content that contains the classifiable elements of sex and/or nudity. The minimum terms of the strategy are set out in the undertaking.

The strategy acknowledges community sensitivity around “adult” content and includes obligations to ensure that programs are correctly classified. The undertaking requires Foxtel to request that all channels confirm in writing that they will comply with the strategy and also aim to ensure that compliance with the strategy is a requirement of all new and renewed channel supply contracts.

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