The Top Shelf Report, commissioned by Labour MP Claire Curtis-Thomas, will next week recommend that popular men's magazines and newspapers such as the Daily Sport be given age-appropriate "16" and "18" certificates.
A nationwide investigation has revealed that newsagents across the UK are flouting current guidelines and displaying what are, in effect, adult magazines at the eye-level of children aged six to 15 – which has led to a government proposal that
they be subject to the same age classifications as films, with some titles off-limits to under-18s.
The display of lads' mags is currently governed by a voluntary code of practice drawn up by the Periodical Publishers Associations (PPA) and the Home Office, which recommends that retailers display them well above children's eye level and away
from children's titles or comics.
The report, which has cross-party support from MPs, points out that films screened or sold in the UK are classified by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and that TV broadcasters must adhere to a 9pm watershed that prevents
programmes unsuitable for under-18s being shown before this, yet nothing similar exists for the mainstream press.
Ben Todd, the editor of Zoo, said: We should be treated like a cheeky seaside postcard. In our case, the most revealing aspect is topless pictures, which is no more than you see in The Sun or the Daily Star. So, if any sort of age-restrictions
are going to be introduced, I'd expect them to include those papers, too.
The report recommends that the Daily Sport be given an "18" certificate due to the numerous adverts for prostitutes which it contains.