The Conservatives have called on the Government to change the law which says that DVDs or videos primarily concerned with sport, religion or music do not have to carry ratings.
Recordings with content that is designed to inform, educate or instruct are also exempt from carrying warnings under the Video Recordings Act 1984.
The Conservatives warned that depictions of self-mutilation, erotic dancing, sex toys and drug use are now widely available to youngsters in music and sport DVDs.
As the law currently stands, videos in these categories are not classified and may be bought by anyone, regardless of age.
Under the Digital Economy Bill, the Government is reforming the Video Recordings Act to update the classification system for video games. However, Tory culture spokesprat Jeremy Hunt warned that ministers have failed to close the ‘loophole’.
One DVD of the band Slipknot, which is freely available in stores and on the internet, glamorises self-mutilation by young people who are seen carving the name of the band on to their bodies. Enlarge violence graphic
Another music documentary American Hardcore: The History of American Punk Rock 1980 – 1986 contains references to raping a woman. The heavy metal group Black Dahlia Murder’s DVD Majesty features the band members taking copious amounts of drugs.
Hunt said: It is good news that the age rating of potentially harmful video games is being put on a statutory basis. However, it is really worrying that the Government hasn’t done more to close some serious loopholes for other harmful content. Shockingly, in some cases it is actually legal to sell this sort of thing to children.
A Department of Culture spokesman said: Music, sports or religious videos lose their exemption from classification if they depict sexual activity, mutilation, gross violence or other practices likely to cause offence. If unclassified videos are on sale when they shouldn’t be, it is for the appropriate enforcement authorities to take action.