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French minister attacks TV for tots



June 20, 2008

Government warns of danger to babies

Gallic culture and communications minister Christine Albanel has called for greater awareness among broadcasters and parents of the potential dangers of TV aimed at very young children, such as U.S.-based channels Baby TV and BabyFirst.

In response to a report by France's Directorate General of Health warning against "channels for children under three years of age, irrespective of the type of programming," Albanel said Friday, "I want to tell parents not to use these channels. They bombard children with images and sounds. We do not know what effects this may have on such young people."

Both Albanel and France's broadcasting authority Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel have expressed their concerns about the potential dangers represented by baby and toddler-oriented channels including Baby TV and BabyFirst, which are available in France and other European countries via cable and satellite.

As both channels are broadcast into France from the U.K., however, CSA restrictions on youth programming cannot be enforced.

On Tuesday, a CSA plenary session confirmed the regulator's intention to make its British counterpart, Ofcom, more aware of its concerns.

Agnes Vincent Deray, chairman of the CSA's working group on child protection, called on French satellite and cable providers "to inform their subscribers about the harmfulness of TV for children under three. They should also be obliged not to promote programs aimed at toddlers. After that, it's up to the parents to decide."




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