INDUSTRIES that produce mobile phone games and videos may have to self-regulate and classify their own products, in a significant change to the way Australia censors information and entertainment in an internet age.

The federal government has warned that Australia cannot create an ”army of classifiers” to assess the huge amount of new material available to people – particularly mobile phone games, video and applications.

At present some banned computer games are available uncensored on smartphones. And producers of phone applications and games have complained that submitting their products to the Classification Board will be too costly.

The Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, said while it was unlikely films would move to self-regulation, it was impractical for the Classification Board to check material across all new platforms.

”It may be that we reduce regulation,” he said.

”There may be more obligations on industry to deal with matters in a self-regulatory way,” he said.

”The amount of information people have to look at to classify is growing and we cannot create an army of classifiers – it is too unwieldy and expensive.”

Last month the Australian Law Reform Commission began the first major review of the National Classification Scheme in 20 years.

Mr O’Connor said he did not want to pre-empt the review’s findings, but self-regulation was likely to feature in a new system.

The commission review will look at the current classification categories, the rapid pace of technological change, the effect of media on children, and how to classify mobile and online games.

The games industry welcomed the minister’s comments on self-regulation.

”There’s a large push from a wide group to have a system that is self-regulated,” said Ron Curry, head of the industry body Interactive Games and Entertainment Association.

”But there’s also a large conservative voice that wants the government to be more responsible for censorship and moral policing.”

From www.donnybrookmail.com.au