Australia Censorship News

 2007

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30th December   

Australia Loses Face...

Faces of Death 2,3,4 banned
Link Here

FAces of Death 2 DVD cover The Australian censor has banned episodes 2,3,4 of the reality series, Faces of Death.

The distributors had picked up the videos after the first film of the Faces of Death series was passed R18+ earlier in the year (after previously being banned for 27 years).

In the UK, Faces of Death 1,2,3 were passed 18 after cuts and Faces of Death 4 was passed 18 uncut.

 

24th December   

Update: Verifying Immature Legislation...

Australian internet and phone content to be self censored
Link Here

ACMA logo The rules are meant to protect children from online content, but what the Communications Legislation Amendment (Content Services) Act of 2007 actually does is put a serious burden on adults to self-police, while making it much harder for online publishers to freely share their work. Worse yet, it's another misguided attempt to make the Internet into a playground for children where they won't need supervision.

Beginning January 20, anyone who publishes commercial content online or for mobile phones in Australia will be required to make sure that adult-oriented content isn't seen by minors. This isn't just porn we're talking about, either: the new rules essentially port Australia's movie ratings over to online content.

Once the new rules are enforced, content producers in Australia as well as Australian web surfers will have to live by these categories:

  • Sexually explicit content is prohibited (X18+, and Refused Classification content); this was already the case.
  • Softcore R18+ content must be hidden behind a verification service that checks for ages 18 and up.
  • So-called "mature audience" (MA15+) content must also be hidden behind a verification service that checks for ages 15 and up.
  • The ACMA will use "take down," "service cessation" and "link deletion" notices to force publishers to remove content or access to content that is the subject of a complaint.

One reader who contacted Ars lamented the fact that adults will have to give up a little privacy to be in compliance, too. Users will prove their age by supplying their full names and either a credit card or digital signature approved for online use. Content publishers are even required by law to keep records of who accessed R18+ content and with what credentials for a period of two years.

While the law targets commercial content providers, the rules also apply to "live content" services, aka, IRC services and chatrooms. It's also not clear what counts as commercial content: bloggers who turn a buck would seem to qualify. According to documents from the ACMA, the rules apply to hosting service providers, live content service providers, links service providers and commercial content service providers who provide a content service that has an Australian connection.

One wonders if the rules aren't a complete waste of time, however. Australia cannot enforce the rules in other countries, which in the long run seems to only give Australians an incentive to hosting their businesses somewhere else.

 

22nd December   

Tacky Comments...

Nutters whinge at jokey nativity advert
Link Here

Betta Electronics advert still Australian nutters have branded a television commercial depicting the baby Jesus tossing gifts back at the three wise men as tacky and offensive.

The ad for electronic goods retailers Betta Electrical recreates the Christian nativity scene, showing three wise men offering gifts to baby Jesus as he lies in the manger.

The commercial, which has angered Anglican and Catholic leaders, shows Jesus throwing gifts out of the manger as the words Give a better gift flash on the TV screen.

Christian leaders criticised the ad, calling it a tacky and offensive exploitation of religious imagery which perverts the true meaning of Christmas.

This ad comes within the orbit of tacky Christmas things , senior Sydney Anglican bishop Glenn Davies told The Daily Telegraph: The gifts that the wise men were giving were appropriate for a king, so the notion that Jesus would reject them is absurd.

A spokesman for Catholic Archbishop of Sydney Cardinal George Pell said the use of Christ was inappropriate: The advertisement is interesting because it shows how commercialised Christmas has become .

But Julieanne Worchurst, marketing manager at BSR Group which operates more than 170 Betta Electrical stores, said the ad was intended to be a tongue-in-cheek and humorous approach to the gift giving season. We accept that this could have been seen as offensive, but that was not the intention at all. The ad was never intended to upset or disrupt people's Christmas.

Worchurst said while the company had received just two complaints from viewers.

 

22nd December   

Age Old Censorship...

Australian internet and phone content to require age verification
Link Here

ACMA logo New restrictions on online chatrooms, websites and mobile phone content will be introduced within a month to stop children viewing unsuitable material.

From January 20 new laws will be in effect, imposing tougher rules for companies that sell entertainment-related content on subscription internet sites and mobile phones.

It is the first time content service providers will have to check that people accessing MA15-plus content are aged over 15 years and those accessing R18-plus and X18-plus content are over 18.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will be able to force content providers to take down offensive material and issue notices for live content to be stopped and links to the content deleted.

But ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said adults will not be affected by the new laws: In developing these new content rules, ACMA was guided by its disposition to allow adults to continue to read, hear and see what they want, while protecting children from exposure to inappropriate content, regardless of the delivery mechanism .

Providers of live services, such as chatrooms, must have their service professionally assessed to determine whether its "likely content" should be restricted.

Personal emails and other private communications would be excluded from the new laws and so would news or current affairs services.

 

21st December   

Immature Blame...

Internet pornography cited in Australian rape case
Link Here

Australia Victore state flag A youth said to be "in the thrall of a sexual fantasy" when he repeatedly raped a young woman after breaking into her house as she slept, has been jailed for eight years.

Andrew William Bowen, 20, was yesterday sentenced to between eight and 11 years' jail for what the sentencing judge described as an evil and heinous crime.

County Court Judge Damian Murphy said Bowen was pre-occupied with sexual fantasy depicted in downloaded internet pornography -- images that polluted his immature mind and led to his evil crime.

Bowen, then 19, stalked his 21-year-old victim for two weeks before confronting her as she lay in bed in the early hours of March 17. Bowen had drunk most of a bottle of scotch and had taken half an amphetamine tablet before assaulting the woman.

A week before the attack, Bowen accessed websites depicting rapes and information on how to avoid leaving evidence at a crime scene.

 

16th December   

Update: Labor Goggles...

Australia gears up to oppose ISP level filtering
Link Here

Goggles Australia's internet industry group will this week launch its bid to force Labor to rethink its internet filtering policy.

Internet Industry Association's Peter Coroneos said the organisation would meet Labor's new Digital Economy Minister Stephen Conroy this week to brief the federal Government on mandatory ISP-level internet filtering.

It's premature to say anything more at the moment, except that there are concerns in the industry on implementing anything that could be unworkable, Coroneos said.

For a decade, the IIA has been fighting legislation that would force internet companies to act as censors and filter internet content.

Last August the coalition began supplying software to screen content as part of $190 million plan to shield children from online sex predators and pornography.

Around that time, Senator Conroy said that if elected, Labor would introduce laws requiring ISPs to provide "clean feeds".

After the election, the IIA has cranked up its anti-filter lobbying.

The internet industry has long maintained that ISP-level filtering is unworkable. Chief among their concerns is that it would clog internet services at a time when the market is demanding faster broadband.

Dale Clapperton, chair of online civil liberties group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said that the internet filtering systems were too unreliable and gave the government too much power to control what adults could view online.

Clapperton said its policy documents indicated that internet users would be required to opt out of using the blacklists, and that it was not clear what sort of content would be included in them.

It's not the Government's place to tell adult Australians that they aren't allowed to see or read certain content, Clapperton said.

 

12th December   

Update: WotNext Nudity?...

The Government order an investigation
Link Here  full story: Wot Next...Mobile download service for kids in trouble

Telstra logo The Federal Government has ordered an investigation into a Telstra website that sold amateur porn videos for $1.

It came after revelations that Telstra's WotNext site had become a marketplace for smut peddlers who went halves with the telco on the takings from downloads on to mobile phones.

Telstra, still part-government owned, was forced to take the site down after intense backlash from family groups. The site was back online by the afternoon with restrictions.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy ordered internet watchdog Australian Communications and Media Authority to investigate.

Before the site was taken down almost all the most popular videos featured women in various states of undress.

 

9th December   

Underground Censor...

Australian censor bans 7 films
Link Here

Ashley and Kisha DVD Earlier in the year, the Australian censors banned 7 films. They were submitted for screening at this years Melbourne Underground Film Festival.

The films in question were:

  • 60 Second Relief (2007)
  • 70K (2006)
  • >Ashley & Kisha: Finding the Right Fit (2007)
  • The Farmer’s Daughter (1976)
  • The Schoolgirls' Report (1970)
  • Sex Wish (1976)
  • Whore (2007)

 

5th December   

WotNext...

Nutters claim kids cam download porn from Telstra
Link Here  full story: Wot Next...Mobile download service for kids in trouble

Telstra logo Telstra has been caught out supplying supposedly porn videos through its website WotNext.com.au. Telstra is charging $1 to download "amateur porn" video clips of naked women sunbathing and wrestling, Daily Telegraph has reported.

Telstra launched WotNext in January this year as a site for young bands to promote their music. However, eight of the 10 most-viewed clips hosted on the site involve women in states of undress.

Nutter  groups have accused the carrier of exploiting young internet users and demanded the Rudd government intervene.

Women's Forum of Australia director Melinda Tankard Reist told the paper: The film clips on the site treat young women as sex objects ... all delivered through a part-owned government communications provider.

The Australian Family Association said that by running the site Telstra was rotting the minds of young men as well as women. Telstra are commercially exploiting young people," association spokeswoman Angela Conway told The Daily Telegraph: They're deliberately sexualising young people in the most worrying way purely for commercial exploitation.

However, Telstra said the website was not supposed to show porn and had ordered a review into its content guidelines. Some of the current videos and the descriptions on WotNext are an unintended consequence of the user generated site and fall short of community expectations, Telstra spokesman Peter Taylor said: But the clips themselves, they didn't show nudity, they didn't show sex, they were in no way soft porn. It's all material that would be classified M or below which is the industry standard.



 

4th December    Uncool Nutters...
   
Nutters attack mobile phone game for teen girls

Coolest Girl in SchoolAn independent game developer has hit back at claims her upcoming mobile phone game encourages teen pregnancy and drug use.

Coolest Girl In School, a role-playing game designed for mobiles, recently gained international notoriety after the Australian Family Association blasted it for being "grossly irresponsible".

The game's creator Holly Owen was "surprised" by the attack, but has revealed that none of the game's critics speak from experience: We were really surprised at the lengths people went to condemn the game when no-one has actually played it yet, said Ms Owen, creative director of Champagne For The Ladies: I believe it was even accused of causing pregnancy, which I find hilarious.

Coolest Girl In School is based around a high-school theme that, according to Owen, justifies the controversial content: If we left out things like sex and drugs and rock n' roll... then it would really be a game about teachers and homework and pimples, which would be boring and not represent the whole theme.

Owen is adamant that the game does not contain content that would warrant a ban: As much as you can play around, it's a mobile phone. It's not pornography, it's not going to graphically depict many of the things that can happen in the game, and it's a little bit tongue in cheek, I don't think we've got words that would make it an 8:30-timeslot-for-TV kind of situation. I don't think the F-word is mentioned.

Owen said: The other thing that's struck me, in terms of all this (media) attention, is how many people are speaking for young women, but no-one's actually speaking to or with young women about this.

Coolest Girl In School is planned for release before Christmas via a premium-rate SMS number.

 

25th November    No Body is Perfect...
   
Least of all the Australian censor who banned it

No Body is Perfect posterNobody is perfect is a 2006 French fetish documentary by Raphaël Sibilla

Accent, the distributors set the scene by with a statement from the director and producer:

WARNING The images you are about to see may shock or offend some of you, despite the fact that they were shot with great respect for the individuals depicted, and with their wholehearted consent. This film demanded five years’ research and two years of shooting, all over the world. Each location, individual and act was filmed without staging, without effects. Everything appears as witnessed by the director during his journey. We confined ourselves exclusively to practices in which consent was mutual and in which coercion and force played no part.

The Australian censor has recently banned the film with the following comment:

In the Board's majority view this film warrants an 'RC' refused classification

The Guidelines state that films containing sexual activity accompanied by fetishes or practices which are offensive or abhorrent will be refused classification

The Guidelines also state that at the X 18+ category "fetishes such as body piercing, application of substances such as candle wax, 'golden showers', bondage, spanking... are not permitted".

In the Board's majority view this film contains actual sexual activity at approximately 5 minutes, 17 minutes and 35 minutes.

It also contains a number of depictions of strong fetishes:

  • Bondage at approximately 20 minutes and 24 minutes
  • Candle waxing at approximately 21 minutes
  • Body "modification" in the form of scarring the body and bisection of a penis at approximately 42 minutes
  • "Blooding" at approximately 47 minutes: a group of three women is shown on stage and covered in blood. One female kneels on the floor. A female stands above her and cuts her wrist with a knife and the blood flows into the face, mouth and onto the head of the female kneeling below.
  • Golden showers at approximately 55 minutes
  • Body piercing - in the form of inserting hooks into the back and suspending the body in the air . at approximately 50 minutes, 53 minutes, 68 minutes and 73 minutes.
  • The fetish of "apotemnophilia" (sexual arousal from having a healthy body part amputated) is discussed at approximately 71 minutes. A male shows his toeless foot and fingerless hands and discusses how he "gets a tool and snip and his finger drops off". He states that he would be willing to have this filmed.
  • At approximately 73 minutes a young female and male stand apart back to back and have the hooks which are inserted into their backs chained together. They then have a tug of war and the flesh is stretched to the point of tearing and blood oozes out.

Minority view:

In a minority view of the Board this film warrants an R 18+ classification with consumer advice for high-level sexual activity, high-level sexual themes, disturbing images.

This view holds that the film is a bona fide documentary that catalogues a range of unusual sexual practices and fetishes that while offensive are not offensive to the extent that they should be banned This view notes that "some material classified R 18+ may be offensive to sections of the adult community".

Also, the sexual activity in the film is sufficiently obscured, lacking in detail or brief such that the general rule at R18+ of "simulation, yes - the real thing, no" can be set aside.

 

23rd November    Wounded...
   
Soldier of Fortune: Payback passed after cuts

Soldier of Fortune: Payback gameLast month, Activision's ultra-violent shooter Soldier of Fortune: Payback was banned by the Australian Classification Board.

It seems Soldier of Fortune's fortunes have been resurrected, however, with Activision Australia today releasing a statement saying a cut version of the game had been reclassified as MA15+ for strong violence, coarse language, and sexual references. MA15+ is the highest rating a game can be given in Australia.

An Activision Australia spokesman said the cut version of the game featured reduced rag doll physics, no dismemberment with enemies (alive or dead), and toned down blood effects.

Soldier of Fortune Payback will now be available in early 2008.

 

22nd November    Liberty and Democracy...
   
The LDP is committed to getting politicians out of the bedroom

Liberty & Democracy PartyThe Liberty and Democracy Party (LDP) has vowed to legalise pornography and overhaul prostitution laws if it gains any control after Saturday’s election.

The fringe party’s Queensland Senate candidate John Humphreys said the current laws were absurd: Every other political party has an unhealthy interest in our sex lives. The LDP is committed to getting John Howard and Kevin Rudd out of our bedrooms.

It is already legal to buy X-rated videos in Australia. However, in one of our more stupid laws, it is illegal to sell X-rated videos everywhere except the ACT.

The current laws against prostitution are also absurd. The sex lives of Australians should be no business of the government.

We understand that pornography and prostitution go against the moral and religious beliefs of some Australians. However, we do not generally believe that it is appropriate to enforce religious views on other people.

So long as nobody is hurt, people should be left relatively free to live their own lives.

 

10th November    Nutters Down Saint's Row...
   
Police chief rants at computer games

Saint's Row computer gmeA teenager armed with a knife hijacks a car and goes on a murderous spree, killing as many as possible.

It's just a scene from the computer game Saints Row, but New South Wales Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione fears this sort of role-playing has the potential to warp the decision-making processes of people who become immersed in it.

Like other nutters before him, his concern is that games such as Saints Row, Street Fighter and Grand Theft Auto desensitise users to reality and to the consequences of violence.

I just find it worrying that we see fighting in the street and we're horrified, yet we go out and buy this game (Street Fighter) and put it in our Christmas stockings for our children, Scipione said: I'm not a psychiatrist . . . but there is potentially some correlation (between violence in computer games and violence in reality).

Scipione has questioned how a young person who spends hours a day living in a fantasy world, often one where killing is involved, can learn to deal effectively with confrontation in real life, particularly if affected by alcohol or drugs.

They spend their time playing a game where you steal a car and shoot people during a bank robbery, and then they step outside (into the real world), he said: We shouldn't be surprised when they walk out and act like (the computer game). The violence is excessive, and I really believe that it is detrimental to people's long-term health.

 

8th November    Not Enough Information...
   
Moss Report finds Australian freedoms are limited

Your Right to Know (a UK book)A major report by Irene Moss, commissioned by Australia's Right to Know media coalition, has found serious flaws in Australia's ability to enjoy free speech.

The coalition commented on the report:

The Moss Report is a comprehensive, independent, compelling and deeply troubling study of the limitations on free speech that now confront all Australians. It confirms Australians are not allowed to know enough about how governments at all levels of our society function and how their courts dispense justice.

Without this information, Australians are hampered in their ability to make properly informed judgements about government policy, legislation or the effectiveness of courts. The report confirms our suspicions that there is a serious slide into censorship and secrecy in government and by the judiciary in Australia.

Australia ranks behind other democracies like New Zealand, the UK and Canada when it comes to the level of information citizens can get. This is not acceptable. We should be second to none. Why is it that the people of these countries can be trusted with information that Australian governments and courts don't want us to know?

As a new, independent study, it is therefore a highly valuable basis for renewed public interest in the issues and further consultation with decision makers about the need for reform. The media coalition has already begun consultations with state and federal governments, the judiciary and our public service, to urge them to be more forthcoming with information that is relevant and important to the public they serve.

 

18th October    Hostage to Fortune...
   
Soldier of Fortune: Payback banned in Australia

Soldier of Fortune: Payback gameAustralia's restrictive ratings classification system for games has struck again. This time, Activision's upcoming first-person shooter Soldier of Fortune: Payback has been hit by a censor ban.

A Classification Board spokeswoman said the board ruled that Soldier of Fortune: Payback's playing impact... was a high impact which exceeded the MA15+ classification. Some specific examples included close range shooting with substantial blood spray, blood splatters onto the ground and walls, [the ability to] target various limbs of the opponent which can result in dismemberment, and large amounts of blood sprayed which comes from the stump but victims sometime stay alive.

The game has a Mature M rating for a US release on 13th November 2007

Update: Passed 18 by the BBFC

24th October 2007

The UK censor, the BBFC, passed the game uncut with the comment:

Soldier of Fortune: Payback is a first person shooter in which the player takes the role of a mercenary fighting through various real-world war zones. It was passed '18' for strong bloody violence.

The player is equipped with a variety of weapons which are capable of inflicting bloody injuries on your opponents: enemy soldiers can be decapitated or dismembered by the player's attacks. BBFC Guidelines at '15' state that 'violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury.' The violence here is strong and it does dwell, relentlessly, on the infliction of pain and injury.

 

6th September   Californication...
 
 
Californication publicityAustralian nutters watch by candlelight

Based on an article from News.com.au see full article

Australian TV advertisers have supported Channel 10's new program Californication despite religious groups yesterday calling for a boycott of the show.

Ten maintained that advertisers had not complained about explicit sexual, drug and moral references.

The Australian Christian Lobby’s managing director Jim Wallace had called for advertisers to be “held accountable” for their support of the show: There will be calls to boycott sponsors of the show. And I’ll be leading the calls. (If they are concerned about standards) they should not be sponsoring this show. He said that he had organised someone to record last night’s episode in order to identify all advertisers.

The show, starring David Duchovny as a sex-addicted novelist and father suffering a mid-life crisis, features nudity and the opening scene saw a nun performing a sex act during a dream sequence.

Catholic priest Father John Fongemie led a candlelight vigil with 40 parishioners outside Ten's Sydney studio during Monday's episode.

Update: Wowser Companies

4th January 2009. See article from refused-classification.com

Below is the full list of companies who have withdrawn their advertisements from season 2 of Californication in response to an email campaign run by "Salt Shakers".

They probably think that this can do no harm to their brand's image, simply because very few people other that the Christian nutters themselves will know about them withdrawing their adds. However, you could change that by listing these companies on your site, in addition to the season1 advertisers:

Telstra
Intrust Super
Chemmart
1300 Flowers
Peter Shearer Menswear (SA)
Rosendorffs (WA)
Fridge and Washer City (WA)
Just Car Insurance
WA Police (Step Forward)
Bridgestone
Estee Lauder
Mentos (Stewart Alexander)
HBF
Colgate-Palmolive
Ambulance Victoria

Wrigley (Extra gum)
Avon
Nivea
Young Real Estate (Toowoomba)
Bank of Queensland
Autobarn
Dads4Kids (Community Service Organisation CSO)
Camp Quality (CSO)
McCains
Whiskas (MARS Petcare)
Trading Post
Bluescope Steel
Amart All Sports
The Saddle Club
Health World
Crown and Andrews
iSelect Insurance
Good Guys

Johnson & Johnson
Carsales.com.au
Dodo
Limich Gifts
Green Brothers
Pepsi Australia
Telechoice
Max Factor
Nathan Trailers
Commonwealth Bank
Suncorp
Chrisco
McDonalds
Allans Music
Harvey Norman - Rockhampton
Myers

16th October  Update:  Californication Beyond the Pale...
   
Australian authority to investigate nutter complaints

Californication publicityThe satirical show, Californication, featuring  David Duchovny made an impat in Australia with four sex scenes when it first went to air in August.

Its opening sequence depicted Duchovny's character Hank Moody praying to Jesus in front of a giant crucifix while a nun performed oral sex on him.

Parent and Christian groups say the US show is inappropriate for Australian screens, even in its late-night broadcast slot of 9.30pm.

The heated response to the show included complaints from more than 40 companies, including Holden, Arnotts, Nestle and Woolworths who pulled their advertisements.

The media authority, ACMA, has now confirmed an investigation would be launched.

The letter, signed by Andrew Power, the authority's assistant manager of assessment content, said the inquiry could take several months.

Festival of Light nutter spokeswoman Roslyn Phillips said: There is still a long way to go. We made our complaint in writing, and Channel Ten responded to the complaint, but ACMA will launch an investigation. We are happy with this move but not happy with the show. We don't like the way the Catholic Church is treated, it's beyond the pale. The show can't be shown late, it has to be pulled. The way it's treating religion and sex is just harmful.

Network Ten said the show was a ratings winner, consistently attracting close to one million viewers. A network spokeswoman said the show abided by all codes and practices.

 

1st October   Australia 'Bans' Gay Videos...
 

 
Out logoVideo store investigation reveals that niche videos are effectively banned due to small customer base

From The Age see full article

A small Melbourne video store, Out Video, drew the attention of the federal Attorney-General's Department for selling and renting imported titles that have not been classified in Australia.

Bureaucrats may be doing their job, but by acting against a small niche video shop, they have inadvertently exposed critical flaws in our film classification laws.

Out Video markets films primarily directed at the gay and lesbian community. Many are produced overseas and never achieve general or selected release in Australia. And because of the prohibitively high cost of classification, they never get classified.

As a result of the Attorney-General's intervention, Out Video says nearly half their stock will have to be shelved permanently.

This highlights two major flaws in Australia's classification regime:

1. The regime has not adapted to a marketplace that allows media to be accessed through more than just domestic broadcasters and distributors. Consumers demand access to an increasingly wide selection of entertainment from overseas, and they can get it through the internet.

2. Our classification laws are not designed to accommodate small markets. Instead, the classification processes are optimised for large, general-release films. The system simply doesn't lend itself to small-run films, and the law unfairly harms businesses trying to service niche markets.

The targeting of Out Video by the A-G's Department should give it and the OFLC impetus to review the classification laws. With a vibrant and diverse international entertainment sector, these laws should not blanket-ban content. Such a policy makes a mockery of the liberal legal principle that all things should be legal unless there is a reason to make them illegal.

Many of the films these niche providers import have already been classified in the UK, US and Canada. So one possible solution is to recognise comparable classifications from other media-exporting countries.

But a preferable outcome would be the elimination of mandatory classification. If consumers demanded classification to guide their decisions, then distributors would have a commercial incentive to seek it.

 

21st September   Police Filtering...
 

 
Australian government logoAustralian Police to black list crime related websites

From Crikey

The Australian Government continued down the slippery slope towards internet censorship yesterday by introducing bill to give the Australian Federal Police the power to nominate terrorism or crime related websites for filtering.

The internet industry code currently governing online content already provides for filtering of pornographic and offensive content. But this filtering is voluntary, not mandatory.

At the moment, internet service providers who want to be designated "family friendly" by the Internet Industry Association have to offer their customers one of a range of approved PC or server side commercial filters. And these filters are periodically updated according to an Australian Communications and Media Authority black list. Yesterday’s bill would merely allow the AFP to add terrorism or crime related sites to that black list. But why would aspiring terrorists and criminals willingly install a family friendly filter onto their PC?

 

16th September   Banned from DVD...
 

 
Banned from Television VHS coverReality DVD banned by Australian censor

From Refused Classification
The uncut region 1 DVD is available via US Amazon

The Australian Classification Board have banned the reality documentary Banned from Television. This was also banned by the BBFC back in 1999

Review from Amazon US see full article

This fifty-four minute DVD contains twenty-five chapters with situations ranging from an undercover police video at a strip club to a shark attack on a student, from a collapsing tower at a Deep Purple concert in Chile to several scenes of police brutality in South America. The most gruesome scene involves a woman who, in a hurry to get wherever she needed to go, accidentally jogs into a speeding train. You can see from the video clip of the accident why she failed to stop in time, but it is still brutal to watch and highlights the reason your parents always told you to look both ways before crossing the street. When I read about this scene before purchasing the DVD, I knew exactly the footage I would see because one of those cable channels that always show various documentaries covered this train accident in a program some time ago. Of course, on cable the scene cut away right before impact. Here you see it from start to finish, and it is a powerful statement on how carelessness has the potential for tragic consequences.

 

15th September   Looking South...
 

 
Northern Territory state flagNorthern Territory reviewing porn law

From ABC see full article

The Northern Territory Government is reviewing its pornography laws to see whether tougher regulations are needed to stamp out illicit porn traders.

The announcement comes as new bans take effect today on all hard-core pornography in remote Aboriginal communities.

The Northern Territory has the most relaxed porn laws in Australia, without a licensing system to regulate the industry.

Attorney-General Syd Stirling says his department is studying the ACT's regulatory scheme with a view to taking a similar model to Cabinet.

 

22nd June   Racial Discrimination...
 

   
Aboriginie with drink
Rife in the Australian Government

From the BBC see full article
See also Australian Government Report [pdf]

Australia is to ban alcohol and pornography in Aboriginal areas in the Northern Territory in a bid to curb child sex abuse. All Aboriginal children in the territory will be medically examined.

The new proposals follow a report last week which found evidence of abuse in each of the territory's 45 communities. Last week's landmark report identified a wide range of social issues that contribute to child sexual abuse. They included unemployment, poor health and nutrition, overcrowded housing, substance abuse and pornography.

Local police officers were accused of turning a blind eye to a "rampant informal sex trade" between Aboriginal girls aged 12 to 15 and non-Aboriginal local mineworkers, who paid the girls in alcohol, cash and other goods. Alcohol was used as a "bartering tool" by black and white men for sex with under-age girls, the report added.

Prime Minister John Howard said the federal government would take over the administration of Aboriginal communities for the next five years so that the new laws would be strictly enforced. For the last decade, Aboriginal communities have by and large been allowed to govern themselves.

Aboriginal leaders have expressed outrage at the new measures: It's another knee-jerk reaction from our government to a very serious issue, the director of the Crossroads Aboriginal Ministries in Sydney, Ray Minnicomb, told the BBC: To ban alcohol on Aboriginal communities, where that ban has already been in place for the last 20 or 30 years by the Aboriginal people themselves, is a bit silly. [Mr Howard] would have to ban that in the cities and towns where white people live with Aboriginal people in order to make it effective.

Under the new measures, the sale, possession, transportation and consumption of alcohol will be banned in indigenous communities for six months.

Hardcore pornography will also be made illegal and all publicly-funded computers will be searched for pornographic images.

Welfare payments would be contingent on children attending school and new rules would dictate how they are spent to ensure that young people are properly fed and clothed.


26th June  Update: Monumental Lie...
 

   
Aboriginie with drink
Eros Association is unimpressed by porn ban

From AVN

The Eros Association, one of the adult industry's key lobby groups, has spoken out against a recent ban on pornography aimed at aboriginals in Australia's Northern Territory.

The move has been met with predictable support from Christian lobbyists. Aboriginal leaders argue that the decision is discriminatory.

Officials are now threatening to expand the ban to larger cities such as Canberra.

According to a recent report, the Eros Association said the pornography industry in the country is strictly controlled and regulated. Foundation spokesman Robbie Swan told ABC Australia that the real issue is the distribution of illegal pornography that does not comply with regulations. Swan said. And for the Prime Minister and the Christian Lobby to say that R-rated, X rated material from Canberra is the problem is just a monumental lie.


11th July  Update: Fair's Fair...
 

   
Aboriginie with drink
Everybody should be discriminated against equally

Based on an article from AVN

Former Nationals leader John Anderson is calling for Prime Minister John Howard to extend restrictions on hardcore porn in Australia's Northern Territories to a nationwide ban.

Howard proposed the ban as an attempt to fight child sex abuse among the country's indigenous communities. The move has been met with support from Christian nutters, but Aboriginal leaders argue that the decision is discriminatory.

You can't restrict this to just Aboriginal children, Anderson told The Australian. The effects happen in non-indigenous communities as well as indigenous communities. I think what comes out of this is we are now conceding that there's a problem with this stuff, and frankly I think that all Governments ought to have a long hard look at it again.

According to the Nationals official website, Anderson is - surprise, surprise - a practicing Christian who is very conscious of the need for politicians to keep faith with the community.

Update: Rushed

8th August

The proposed aboriginal discrimination laws are being pushed through with minimal opportunity for debate

 

10th August  Update: Australia Goes Primitive...
 

   
Aboriginie with drink
Anti porn bill is extreme, discriminatory and dishonest

Based on an article from AVN

The bill presented to the Australian Parliament Tuesday would brand anybody caught with five or more pornographic items in the aboriginal communities of the Northern Territory a "trafficker," punishable by up to two years in prison.

Introduced to the Parliament by Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough, the draft laws would prohibit the delivery of pornographic materials into the area, and charge anybody possessing the forbidden five or more items with trafficking, regardless of whether they have any intent to profit from them.

Meanwhile, possession of less than five pornographic items could still earn perpetrators a fine of between $5500 and $11,000 under the new bill.

This ban applies no matter where material is being sent from, Brough said. We have to stop material at its source, by preventing mail order companies sending material into a community, as well as residents or visitors sending or taking material into a community.


18th August  Update: Racial Discrimination Approved...
 

   
Aboriginie with drink
Australia passes to deny freedom to Aborigines

Based on an article from Border Mail see full article

Repressive changes for Northern Territory Aborigines have been signed off by Federal Parliament, ushering in a new wave of intervention in indigenous communities.

The laws were passed on an unusual Friday sitting of the Senate after a marathon 27 hours of debate.

They include the controversial Commonwealth takeover of indigenous township leases, removal of the Aboriginal land permits system, quarantining of welfare payments for neglectful parents and bans on alcohol and pornography.

The measures were announced in June by Prime Minister John Howard in response to the Little Children are Sacred report, which exposed chronic sexual abuse in remote communities. But as the laws were passed, a co-author of the report told an Aboriginal health conference she felt betrayed and sidelined by the Government’s refusal to address the document’s 90-plus recommendations.

Pat Anderson branded the measures: just a further form of abuse. What we have is a prime minister and his ministers who don’t have a heart. Their approach isn’t going to nurture any kind of development — nothing.

Community Services Minister Nigel Scullion hailed the passage of the laws as an historic occasion, saying they would lift a “veil of silence” around indigenous suffering.

Senator Scullion admitted this week the Northern Territory legislation was discriminatory, but warned the measures could not go ahead if anti-discrimination laws applied.

While supporting the package, Labor tried to make the laws subject to the Racial Discrimination Act. They also tried to guarantee “just terms” compensation for Aboriginal people whose land would be seized.


8th September  Update: Discrimination Day...
 

   
Aboriginie with drink
New porn laws start 14th September

Based on an article from AVN

The federal government will put its new pornography bans for Aboriginal communities into effect on Sept. 14. Australia is using print and radio ads to warn Northern Territorians of the upcoming bans.

The discriminatory ban, proposed by Australian Prime Minister, John Howard, is supposedly an attempt to fight child sex abuse among the country's indigenous communities. The move has been met with support from Christian lobbyists. Aboriginal leaders argue that the decision is discriminatory.

Under Prime Minister Howard's initiative — which was passed into federal parliament last month — hardcore pornography will be completely banned, and any computers that are publicly funded will be checked for pornography. The sale, possession and transportation of alcohol in the Northern Territory will also be banned, along with tighter restrictions on welfare payments. The bans will be enacted for six months, after which the policy would be reviewed.

According to The Age, people caught in possession of prohibited material will face fines ranging from $5,500 to $11,000. People caught in possession of five or more prohibited items will be automatically considered traffickers, even if they are not seeking financial gain out of supplying the material, and will face up to two years imprisonment.

In addition to the educational advertisements, a 24-hour information line has been established to provide advice and information on the new policy.


17th September  Update: Discriminatory Hypocrisy
 

   
Aboriginie with drink
Australia votes
against human rights for native peoples

From the BBC see full article

The United Nations General Assembly has adopted a non-binding declaration on the rights of indigenous peoples after 22 years of debate.

The document proposes protections for the human rights of native peoples, and for their land and resources. It passed despite opposition from Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States. They said it was incompatible with their own laws.

The Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples calls on countries to give more control to tribal peoples over the land and resources they traditionally possessed, and to return confiscated territory, or pay compensation.

The General Assembly passed it, with 143 countries voting in favour and 11 abstaining. Four nations - Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States - each with large indigenous populations, voted against.

Australia said it could not allow tribes' customary law to be given precedence over national law.

There should only be one law for all Australians and we should not enshrine in law practices that are not acceptable in the modern world, said Indigenous Affairs Minister Mal Brough.

[So why did Australia just implement a discriminatory law banning porn and alcohol for aborigines?]


17th September  Update: Non-Discriminatory Post
 

   
Aboriginie with drink
Australia Post will not screen parcels for porn

From ABC see full article

Australia Post says it does not plan to screen parcels heading to remote Northern Territory communities for pornography, for privacy reasons.

The Federal Government has banned R- and X-rated material from proscribed areas in the Territory, including remote Indigenous communities and town camps.

The Territory Government says it wants to shut down the illegal postal trade in porn, and has sent a departmental official to Canberra to investigate whether a licensing system could help stop the trade.

 

24th July  Update: Filter Trial Filtered Out...
 

   
Filter gogglesNo industry support

From Australian IT see full article

The results of Australia's only live commercial internet content filtering trial will never be known because the exercise, championed by the federal Government, was quietly abandoned.

The trial was expected to go ahead in Tasmania last year but the major internet filtering technology supplier for the project, Internet Sheriff, has revealed that it was abandoned because Australia's two largest ISPs, Telstra and Optus, refused to participate.

Internet Sheriff chief executive David Ramsay said the project was commercially risky without support from the two carriers: Without having them involved to supply the bandwidth at no cost it would have been quite expensive with no guarantee of any outcome for me. To go and spend upwards of $600,000, I needed some sort of idea what would have happened if this was successful and no one could really give us any assurance as to what the next steps may or may not have been.

The trial was expected to show if it was feasible for ISPs to take steps to stop pornographic and offensive internet content reaching their customers.

Tasmanian Liberal senator Guy Barnett, a strong champion of the trial, said he was disappointed it didn't go ahead.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan has, however, directed Australia's communications regulator, ACMA, to conduct a new ISP-level internet content filtering trial and report its findings to the Government by June next year. ACMA last week closed its tender, seeking experts to conduct the trials.

Update: Prime Minister Chips In

13th August

Australian Prime Minister John Howard called for a $190 million program to regulate access to content on the Internet in a speech to the Australian Christian Lobby that was webcast to more than 800 churches across Australia.

Howard's proposals include negotiating with ISPs to create filters that household coulds tailor to block content and an additional $43 million to the Australian Federal Police to increase efforts in finding and apprehending online predators, including increased patrols of chatrooms and services like Facebook and MySpace, as well as discussions with legal authorities and the Internet industry about getting information about predators that might be protected by current privacy laws.


26th July  Update: Filter Trial Dodges the Filters...
 

   
Filter gogglesISP filtering trials continue

So if Australia sets up one size fits all filtering what age should it target. Is the net cleaned up so it is suitable for 8 year olds, 12 year olds or 15 year olds?

From ZDNet Australia see full article

The government has squashed speculation that its Internet content-filtering trial had been brought to an end prematurely.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan yesterday made that announcement, despite statements by the Family First senator Steve Fielding that the three-month trial, scheduled to have been carried out in Tasmania, had "been quietly scrapped".

Family First has been campaigning for mandatory filtering at ISP level to prevent children getting access to pornography online and announced on Tuesday the government had ditched the filtering trial after both Telstra and Optus would not participate.

Coonan said one privately funded trial had been cancelled, but the planned pilot managed by the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) will go ahead as planned. The tender for companies wishing to take part closed last week and three bids were received, according to the government.

Under the ACMA scheme, ISP-level filtering products will be tested on blocking "inappropriate and illegal content", whether such products would clog ISPs' networks and if such products have improved since the government last examined their capabilities in 2005-2006.

The federal government has already examined the potential ISP-level filtering three times; firstly in 1999, a CSIRO technical trial; in 2003-04 as part of the review of the Online Content Scheme; and in 2005 during a trial conducted by NetAlert, involving RMIT and ACMA.

Following the most recent trial, Coonan acknowledged problems with the concept saying: Each report has found significant problems with content filter products operating at the ISP-level ... The Australian trials have also found the effect on performance of the Internet by ISP filtering to be substantial and a lack of scalability of the filters to larger ISPs.

Coonan also announced this week that the government will reveal details on the AU$116.5 million NetAlert -- Protecting Australian Families Online initiative in the coming weeks, which will include an AU$18.3 million Internet safety education campaign and the provision of free online content filters to every Australian household and public library to help block unwanted content through the AU$93.3 million National Filter Scheme.

 

20th August  Update: Goggles On...
 

   
Filter gogglesFree internet filters now available to Australians

From The Age see full article

The Australian Government's NetAlert website and telephone hotline, where families can download free internet filters and obtain net safety advice, has been launched.

The website, Netalert.gov.au, went online while the hotline (1800 880 176), has started taking calls

Two brands of filter have been offered, Optenet Web Filter and Safe Eyes, and they can be either downloaded directly from the NetAlert website or sent to the user in the mail.

Senator Coonan has said the filters would help protect children from both inappropriate web-based images and from email and chat room predators, while the hotline - accessible seven days a week between 8am and 10pm - would allow families to obtain free internet safety advice.

But she warned the filters, which could be customised to have different levels of protection for each individual user of the computer, would not be a substitute for "traditional parenting skills".

The free filters, which will cost taxpayers $84.8 million, are part of the Government's $189 million crackdown on online pornography and predators. The budget also includes an additional $43 million to double the number of online police tracking down internet predators and bolster the team of "internet safety officers" who visit schools.

In addition to the downloadable PC filters, Senator Coonan has said that, subject to feasibility studies, internet service providers would be forced to filter web content at the request of their users.


28th August  Update: Cracked Me Up...
 

   
Filter gogglesYoungster cracks Australian internet filter

From X Biz see full article

A 16-year-old student cracked the Australian government's new Internet porn filter in minutes, leaving the toolbar icon intact so the filter still appears to be functioning.

The student, Tom Wood, who spoke to Communications Minister Helen Coonan about cyber safety during a forum in May, said the Federal Government should have developed a better, Australian-made filter.

Wood said it took him just over 30 minutes to bypass the government's filter.

On Aug. 25, the government added a new Australian-designed filter, Integard, to its Internet safety website. Wood defeated it within 40 minutes.

Communications Minister Coonan said the government had anticipated children would try to get around the filters, and said that the supplier contract includes continuing updates: The vendor is investigating the matter as a priority.  It doesn't mean that the whole scheme is not worthwhile, because a lot of kids haven't cracked it.

Unfortunately, no single measure can protect children from online harm and ... traditional parenting skills have never been more important.

Senator Steve Fielding of the Family First party said that cracking the software showed the need for compulsory filtering by Internet providers.

"You need both. You need it at the ISP and at the PC level," Fielding said. "The government has not listened to common sense and it leaves kids exposed."

The filters were designed to block sites on a national blacklist, stop use of chat rooms, and also can be tailored by parents to stop access to sites parents select.

 

17th August   Immoral Morality...
 

   
Flirt logo
Exclusive Brethren fund council appeal against sex shop

From the Eros

Members of the Exclusive Brethren, a religious sect recently accused of secretly involving itself in national and state politics, have been caught out trying to influence local government planning decisions involving the adult industry. In an unprecedented move, sect members offered to fund Lithgow Council’s legal costs in dealing with an application for the Flirt adult shop.

Flirt’s owner, Jeff Oliver, had recently won an appeal in the Land and Environment Court against Council’s refusal to grant him a Development Application to set up in the main street of town. The Council announced that it was considering appealing the Land and Environment Court decision to the Supreme Court. An offer was then made by a couple of local businessmen, known to be from the Exclusive Brethren, to fund a barrister to help Council put the appeal together. Council responded to this by saying, Council Officers have undertaken an investigation and there would not appear to be any impediment to Council receiving a donation.

Eros Association CEO, Fiona Patten, said that Lithgow Council had severely undermined its independence in planning matters by stating that it would accept the money and that many people would consider this as tantamount to a bribe. Everyone knew that it was the Exclusive Brethren who were behind this offer and that it is a religious sect trying to buy influence and favor for its moral agenda. Unless Council has some world shattering information about the adult shop that no one else has, they should not be appealing a Land and Environment case on what is essentially moral grounds.

Eros believes that the Independent Commission Against Corruption should investigate the links between religious groups and local councils around Australia, with an emphasis on how these links may have impacted on planning and development decisions.

 

16th August   Little Tits Whinge at Zoo...
 

   
Zoo magazine coverZoo Magazine offends (again) with 'win a boob job' competition

From Border Mail see full article

The Australian Federal Government has reported Zoo Weekly to the media authority for displaying photos of women entering its contentious contest to win a $10,000 breast enlargement.

The magazine launched a promotion this week urging men to “win” their girlfriend a boob job by sending in shots of her cleavage.

The prize goes to the woman whom readers believe most “deserves” an enlargement, with the website stating: We can help turn your lady’s itty bitty titties into massive mounds of magnificence.

After widespread outcry from academics and plastic surgeons, the NSW Government on announced it would investigate the legalities of offering a surgical procedure as a prize.

Now the Federal Government has joined the chorus, with a spokeswoman for Communications Minister Helen Coonan yesterday confirming that the Australian Communications and Media Authority was involved.

The authority would investigate whether topless competition photos appearing on the Zoo website were classified R18 and should therefore be restricted to adults-only access.

Currently, people of any age can access the site. If found to be in breach, Zoo could be ordered to remove the offending contend from its website.

 

5th August   Classified as Censors...
 

   
Australian Government logoA dishonest new name for the Australian censor

From Refused Classification

The old Office of Film & Literature Classification is being reborn as a government censor hiding behind the name: The Classification Board. Their website has now been renamed to www.classification.gov.au

The Attorney General has also announced that Paul Hunt has been replaced as Deputy Director of the Classification Board by Olya Booyar.

Most recently, Ms Booyar has served as Corporate and Community Relations Executive at SBS. Ms Booyar was educated in Ukraine, Canada and Germany and is a member of a number of Boards, including the National Association for the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect, the International Association for Women in Radio and Television, and the SBS Youth Orchestra.

 

9th July   Police Revved Up...
 

   
YouTube logo
Police revenue up for hoon driving

From The Newspaper see full article

The South Australian Police have asked YouTube to remove any videos that the force believes encourage "hoon" driving. The slang term refers to those who do burnouts, drift around corners and generally drive in such a way as to show off their vehicle. Police officials have also announced that they are monitoring the video hosting service to find evidence that could allow the confiscation of expensive vehicles.

The traffic intelligence section does keep an eye on YouTube on a reasonably regular basis to see if we can't pick up something that is identifiable, South Australian Police Superintendent Tony Rankine told the Adelaide Sunday Advertiser. I'm considering whether there is some way we can look at blocking or having some impact on the content with the website host.

A glimpse of a license plate in the video is all the proof needed for police to seize a vehicle, as the state's law already allows confiscation based on nothing more than a witness claim to have seen tire smoke or heard engine revving.

This tough-talking approach has has generated significant revenue for South Australia. It defines a hoon as one who: ...operates a motor vehicle in a public place so as to produce sustained wheel spin; or drives a motor vehicle in a public place so as to cause engine or tire noise, or both.

 

8th July   Treated Like Kids Again...
 

   
R18+ certificateNo 18 rated movies on subscription TV

From Refused Classification see full article

New Pay-TV Codes of Practice

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) have finally released the new codes of practice for subscription television and radio services and open narrowcast radio services.

R18+ [equivalent to the UK 18] rated programs remain banned on Subscription Broadcast Television. This covers such Pay-TV movie channels as Showtime, Showtime Greats, Movie One, Movie Extra, and Movie Greats. If a film has been rated R18+ by the OFLC, then it is going to screen as a censored MA15+ version on these channels.

So the R-rated The Hills Have Eyes remake that is due to premiere on Showtime on Friday 13th July will be censored. Will Showtime tell you this? Not a chance! If more people knew that they were paying money to view censored product then maybe Foxtel would push harder to have the law changed.

The rules imply that R18+ films may be shown once the Government agrre to some sort of age validation technology.

X18+ [non violent hardcore] will remain prohibited regardless of age validation technology.

 

1st July   Treated Like Kids...
 

   
R18+ certificateAustralia soon to be only country without adult game rating

From ABC see full article

The Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia wants the classification system used for games to be the same as that used for films.

CEO Chris Hanlon says the current system is out-of-date: When the classification system was being developed in the early 90s the censorship ministers were directed to enforce more stringently the classifications for video and computer games, because at the time there was little research done into the social effects of games.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification's acting director-general, Jeremy Fenton, says games and films are vastly different forms of entertainment and have to be judged accordingly: With computer games, obviously one of the key differences is ... the interactivity that's involved.

Hanlon disagrees: The most current research that has been done was done by the BBFC only six weeks ago. What they found regarding the impact of interactive content was that there are no serious or negative or standout affects from games. If anything films, because they are much more realistic, have a much more immersive [sic] effect.

Hanlon says: The evidence that I hear from Australian game developers when they go overseas is that Australia's is seen as behind the times and a bit of a laughing stock because our classification system hasn't kept with world practice.

In fact, Australia and Singapore are the only two countries in the world that do not have a R classification for games. [Singapore] are about to introduce a comprehensive classification system for games which includes a R rating, Hanlon said: So soon we'll be the only country in the world with no R for games.

Since 2000, Fenton says the OFLC has banned 15 to 20 games. The BBFC has only banned one game in the past 10 years - Manhunt 2.

 

17th June  Update: No Defence...
 

   
Join the CaravanCivil Liberties group fail to get book ban lifted

From Refused Classification see full article
See also Case details

In the Federal Court on June 14th 2007 the NSW Council for Civil Liberties failed in their case against the Classification Review Board.

The books Join the Caravan and Defence of the Muslim Lands remain banned in Australia.

 

17th June   Suicidal Censorship...
 

   
Australian Penthouse
Censorship of Penthouse linked to OFLC criticism

From News.com.au see full article
See also Refused Classification

Australian Penthouse, Australia's biggest-selling adult magazine, may be forced to submit all its future editions for approval by censors after a ruling that it has "emphasised genitals" in its latest issue.

The troublesome pictures include a depiction of two breast naked females standing with their breasts pressed against one another and an indiscreet depiction of genitals.

Penthouse has said the pictures that were deemed too obscene by the OFLC are identical to previously published images.

The magazine's editor Ian Gerrard has said he was puzzled by the attention from OFLC scrutineers. Gerrard has said the restrictions on what can appear in the “weaker” M Rated newsstand editions of Australian Penthouse are decided by the magazine and the regulator.

We have to avoid 'genital emphasis' in our images, which we’re quite stringent about. We look at images published in the past which were approved by the OFLC… as a kind of template.

Gerrard has said he suspects that published extracts from a controversial book written by euthanasia campaigner Philip Nitschke may have led to the decision.

As background, somewhat confirming the suspicion, these extracts were described by Exit International:

In a move designed to challenge the excesses of the “Supernanny” Australian state Australian Penthouse has published extracts of the banned The Peaceful Pill Handbook in its June Edition.

As editor Ian Gerrard says, Penthouse is no stranger to censorship. We're an adult magazine and I think we should talk about adult issues.

"The banning of Philip Nitschke’s (book) has deprived us of yet another choice, pre-emptively silenced yet another debate and stripped away another human right


Exit congratulates Penthouse for their courage

Documents show the censorship board formed a “preliminary view” that three images inside the magazine and an advertisement on the back cover breached the classification guidelines. Other images depicted genitals indiscreetly or as the focus of the photographs.

According to the regulator’s website, if a magazine publishes content that was deemed to have exceeded its classification, the publishers would be forced to submit each issue for individual classification. Under the current contract between the regulator and Australian Penthouse, approval for the “M” classification was granted for two years.

Gerrard has until July 15 to appeal against the decision.

 

12th June   Censors on the Rampage...
 

   
V-Tech Rampage characterNo ban for the bad taste game, V-Tech Rampage

From The Sydney Morning Herald see full article
The game is available at GooGumProduce

Australian authorities have decided not to ban a computer game inspired by the Virginia Tech massacre. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) investigated the game, V-Tech Rampage, after receiving a complaint about it last month.

The game was created by Sydney man Ryan Lambourn and posted on his personal website, as well as on a popular game portal website.

It features a character based on Cho Seung-hui, who shot dead 32 students at the Virginia Tech campus in April in the worst such massacre in US history.

The ACMA referred the game to the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), which gave it an MA 15 + rating, the highest classification for a computer game.

After reviewing it, the OFLC decided that the game could not be prohibited, an ACMA spokesman said. On the basis of their decision, we are taking no further action.

 

11th June   Crazy in Love of Censorship...
 

   
Crazy in Love CD
Nutters call for censorship of music videos

Based on an article from ABC see full article

So far music videos in Australia have avoided the government classification system, which only covers movies, books and computer games.

Recently R&B singer Beyonce and her boyfriend, the rapper Jay-Z wound up nutters with their video featuring pelvic thrusts and female sexual subservience.

South Australian Liberals says that's not something Australian children need to see. The Party's Federal Women's Committee has raised concerns about music videos played on Saturday and Sunday mornings, which they say are sometimes inappropriate for children.

The Liberal Party Federal Council yesterday backed a resolution urging the Government to investigate classifications for music videos. The Attorney-General Philip Ruddock told the council he'd look into the matter.

 

10th June   Blood Sucking Censors...
 

   
Dark Angel 2Dark Angels 2 banned in Australia

From Refused Classification

The hardcore Dark Angels 2: Bloodline has just been banned by the Australian censors. The film contains something that has become difficult to see in an OFLC approved hardcore DVD, that is a plot!

The vampire theme would no doubt have to include some element of violence. Remember this is strictly out of the question in X18+.

 

23rd May  Update: Inoffensive Hardcore...
 

   
X18+ certificateSurvey finds few who are offended

From News.com.au see full article

Australians are getting more open-minded sexually, with a recent survey finding hardly any respondents were offended by explicit erotic films - believing they help sexual "communication."

The online Censoring Sex survey attracted 1095 participants from across Australia - aged between 18 and 44.

Asked whether they were offended by X18+ rated explicit erotic films, only 2% said that they were. Almost 100% of male respondents and a staggering 96% of female respondents said that they were not offended.

Survey hosts adultshop.com said the results provided a strong indication that Australian adults were comfortable with sex and watching it in films and many called for the classification of such films to be dropped from X18+ to R18+.

Most respondents said they believed explicit erotic films actually helped improve relationships by enabling couples to communicate what they like and helping to spice up their sex life and more than half of those surveyed said they incorporated erotic films into their bedroom activities.

Interestingly, 52% of females said they watched erotic films to help them get “in the mood” either to have sex with their partner, or alone.

16% of total respondents said they were offended by films containing violence, but given the choice of buying a classified explicit erotic film, or a film primarily containing violence, 84% of said they’d choose the erotic film.

 

13th May  Update: Hardcore Censors...
 

   
Mobile phoneCensorial Australia publish bill to ban hardcore from new media

From Refused Classification see details of the Content Services Bill

The details of the CONTENT SERVICES BILL 2007 have just been released. All you need to know that it means more censorship. X18+ will be banned, as will electronic versions of Category 1 and 2 publications. So much for standardising the classifications.

 

9th May   X Rated Campaign...
 

   
EROS magazine coverfor X films to be legally sold in South Australia

From nine msn

Adult retailers in South Australia want the state government to bring censorship laws into line with federal ALP policy.

Eros Foundation chief executive Fiona Patten said the recent ALP national convention was unambiguous in its support for a regulated retail environment for the sale of federally classified X-rated films.

Such films are currently banned from sale in SA.

Federal Labor policy now firmly states that adults in South Australia have a right to purchase adult material as long as it is not sold to minors, is not sold through family areas and as long as there is no degrading or demeaning imagery in it, Patten said: All these criteria are met by selling X18+ films through the restricted adult shop network that already exists in South Australia.

 

22nd April   Refused Classification...
 

   
OFLC logo
Recommended censor unsuitable for governmental guidance

From The Age see full article

A close friend of Prime Minister John Howard will get the job as Australia's chief censor at the expense of a recommended candidate.

The appointment will go to Donald McDonald, the former ABC chairman, who has never hidden his friendship with Howard. He will become director of Australia's reformed classification board despite a selection panel's recommendation of another candidate, who has not been named.

Federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock, who made the appointment, was adamant yesterday that the Prime Minister had nothing to do with his friend winning the job.

But the move angered state attorneys-general meeting in Canberra, with Victoria's Rob Hulls saying it was a case of "jobs for the boys". The meeting of attorneys-general also decided to delay talks on Ruddock's plan for tough new laws on racial incitement until their next meeting in July.

Critics have linked the appointment to the Government's desire to take a firmer stance against literature that incites or instructs terrorism.

Ruddock refused to identify candidates for the position but in a letter to state attorneys-general he said: The selection committee made a recommendation to me for the director of the classification board. However, having considered the recommendation, I believe that Mr Donald McDonald, AC, would be a better candidate.

He wrote that McDonald had the skills to handle work that can be controversial and attract significant media attention", and his appointment would ensure the board remained "broadly representative of the Australian community.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification has recently been absorbed into the federal Attorney-General's office after being an independent body since its inception in 1995.


29th April  Update: Ronald McDonald...
 

   
OFLC logo
Selling Whatawhoppers about Australia's new censor

From The Age see full article

Prime Minister John Howard says he was not involved in the appointment of his close friend Donald McDonald as the new national censor.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock appointed the former chairman of the ABC as national censor, despite criticism from the states that proper selection procedures had not been followed.

Howard said he supported the attorney-general's decision but did not have anything to do with the appointment: I, in fact, absented myself from the cabinet room when the appointment was discussed.

Howard said Mr McDonald was the right person for the job, regardless of their friendship.

McDonald, 68, will take up his four-year appointment on Tuesday 1 May. His previous positions include Chairman of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from 1996 to 2006, Chief Executive of Opera Australia from 1987 to 1996 and General Manager of the Sydney Theatre Company from 1980 to 1986.

Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls lashed out at the Federal Government yesterday, describing Mr McDonald's appointment as "an absolute disgrace".

"The process and appointment of Mr McDonald stinks to high heaven and it shows that the Federal Government and the Attorney-General no longer even pretend to engage in a proper process," he said.

 

13th April   Book Bombing...
 

   
Join the CaravanBooks and films advocating terrorism to be banned

Like the 'shock and awe' raid on Iraq?

From the BBC see full article

The Australian government has announced plans to outlaw material that advocates terrorism.

Books and films deemed to glorify terrorism will be removed from shelves and barred from entering the country.

The government says the changes are part of its zero tolerance policy towards terrorism. But critics say they will lead to the censorship of material helpful to those wishing to understand radical Islam.

Present laws restrict the publication or dissemination of materials which promote, incite or instruct people to carry out terrorist acts. The amended law would mark a significant extension of censorship powers, outlawing books and films deemed to speak out in favour of terrorist violence.

The new law would be targeted at removing the material from publication, rather than punishing its authors, and customs officers would be given much broader powers to confiscate books and films being imported into the country.


15th April  Update: Ban Insults...
 

   
Join the CaravanAustralian nutters expect insults to be banned

Based on an article from News.com.au see full article

A supposedly pro-terror hate film that urges children to martyr themselves in Islam's war on the West and calls Jews "pigs" has been rated PG by Australia's censors.

Sheik Feiz Mohammed's DVD box set, which also calls for the murder of non-believers, was initially seized by Federal anti-terror police.

The Office of Film and Literature Classification has ruled that The Death Series is suitable to be bought and watched by children.

The decision has seen the nation's peak censorship body slammed as weak and out of touch by nutter groups and the Jewish community.

It has also asked questions about the Attorney-General's plans to bring in tough new laws that ban material which "advocates" terrorism.

The films urge parents to make their children holy warriors and martyrs, and praises jihad as the pinnacle of Islam. The radical sheik makes snorting noises on the films as he vilifies Jews as the "army of pigs". He blames a lack of courage for martyrdom on the battlefield for the "humiliation" of Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine and Guantanamo.

The OFLC finding said the sheik's calls to "jihad" and "martyrdom" were ambiguous. And it found that comments vilifying Jews as an "army of pigs" and saying "behind me is a Jew, come kill him" were mitigated by the context.

The Australian Family Association said the Sheik Feiz decision was just the latest ruling by a "hardened" OFLC detached from community values.


16th April  Update: Unappealing Ruddock...
 

   
Join the CaravanFast tracking an extension of censorship

From The Sydney Morning Herald see full article

The Federal Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock, has rejected calls for an appeal against the federal film and literature censorship body's PG rating for DVDs that reportedly praise terrorism and vilify Jews.

Instead he called a news conference to pressure his state and territory counterparts into moving quickly to strengthen censorship laws after it was revealed that DVDs made by Sheik Feiz Mohammed of the Global Islamic Youth Centre had been classified as suitable for children.

The DVDs, known as The Death Series, carry a sermon that Ruddock described as "a mad rant" and reportedly call for the murder of the infidels, and calling Jews pigs.

Although he had not seen it, Ruddock said: Sheik Feiz Mohammed's sermon … clearly in my view advocates the carrying out of acts which would be tantamount to terrorism.

Ruddock would not criticise the Office of Film and Literature Classification for the rating, but blamed inadequate laws, which he said he would overhaul himself if the states did not agree to a co-operative approach.

He agreed that the office might have been able to give it an M or R classification, but also ruled out referring the decision to the office's own review board, saying it would be guided by the same code that had been drafted at a time when advocacy of terrorist acts was not on the agenda.

Ruddock called for attorneys-general to amend the code guiding the censorship body. The current test of whether a film or publication "promotes, incites or instructs" people to do a criminal act was inadequate, he said.

Ruddock said that the states had previously delayed the censorship matter until July but have now agreed on Friday to deal with it: The officials could meet this week, we could go through the consultation that's necessary and we could endorse this within three weeks and have the code in place, if they're prepared to co-operate.


29th April  Update: Encouraged to Censor...
 

   
Join the CaravanRuddock to publish paper discussing extension of censorship

From The Age see full article

Books, DVDs, computer games and internet sites supporting terrorist acts will be the targets of tough new censorship proposals released by the Federal Government this week.

Attorney-General Philip Ruddock will release a discussion paper outlining plans to expand the definition of material that can be banned in Australia.

The proposed bans would include changes to customs legislation to prevent material entering Australia, and tighter film and literature classifications.

A leaked copy of the discussion paper showed any material that encouraged someone to commit a terrorist act would be banned.

It said a lot of material might be controversial but that was not enough for it to be banned, and said the new guidelines would not cover "hate material".

Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls warned that any changes must be needed to maintain "fundamental freedoms", and material should not be banned if it simply "expressed different points of view".

The discussion paper said there were community concerns about the public availability of material that advocates people commit terrorist acts, and it was not certain the national classification scheme adequately blocked material.

The proposal would amend the National Classification Code to include the requirement that publications, films and computer games that "advocate terrorist acts" be refused classification.

"Advocate" is defined as material that counsels or urges doing a terrorist act, provides instruction on doing a terrorist act or directly praises a terrorist act, where there is a risk such praise could encourage someone to commit a terrorist act.

Patriotic movies or games that glorify war will be specifically excluded from tough new anti-terrorism censorship laws.

The discussion paper said "patriotic battle movies" were unlikely to advocate terrorist acts. But impressionable people needed to be protected from material that encourages people to carry out acts of terrorism through techniques such as praising terrorist acts or issuing calls for action based on ideological or religious duty.


3rd May  Update: Harried to Censor...
 

   
Join the CaravanRuddock allows just a month for discussion

From News.com.au see full article
See the discussion paper

Censorship rules banning the publication of material that advocates terrorist acts should come into force next month, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock said.

A discussion paper on the proposed changes was being released today and he wants the public consultation process completed within a month.

I'm now getting the discussion paper out and it will enable people to look at what we are proposing as amendments to national classification codes, he said: The proposal is to put beyond doubt that publications, films and computer games that advocate terrorist acts are refused classification.

Ruddock said if state attorneys-general failed to agree by the beginning of June to the proposed changes to the classification process he would consider introducing legislation to implement them.

 

15th March   Under Pressure...
 

   
Mark Ecko's Getting Up gamePoliticians whinge about download of banned game

Based on an article from The Age see full article

A major local computer software distributor is selling downloads of a game that was banned in Australia last year.

And Australian authorities might be powerless to prevent the ban from being circumvented.

The game, Marc Ecko’s Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure, has popped up on Mindscape's quicky.com.au website in apparent defiance of a decision in February 2006 by the Classification Review Board to deny the game an official rating. The decision meant that Getting Up could not be sold, demonstrated, hired or imported.

Despite that, the game appears on the site with a United States M rating and can be bought as a download for $26.99, with the price set in Australian dollars.

The reappearance of the game is particularly galling to Gold Coast nutter Mayor Ron Clarke, who fought a six month-long campaign to have Getting Up banned.

I'm absolutely appalled, astonished and disappointed, Clarke said: To be able to get it from an Australian dotcom site is upsetting. I would have thought the Government had some measure [of control] over that.

Mindscape's sales and marketing manager, Tonia Belasco, said she had not noticed that the banned title was available until Hill notified her. She said she would consider whether or not to remove the game after speaking to the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), but added that, because the online store was being hosted on a US server, it might fall beyond the jurisdiction of Australian law.

The game was initially given an MA15+ rating, but was subjected to a classification review after intervention from the federal Attorney-General, Philip Ruddock.

A spokesman for Ruddock said the Attorney-General was investigating the issue of online stores getting around Australian classification laws by hosting their servers overseas.

OFLC spokesman Brinsley Marlay said that, while the OFLC was in charge of classifying content, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) was in charge of enforcing those ratings when it came to online material.


20th March  Update: Under Pressure Under Pressure...
 

   
Mark Ecko's Getting Up gameBanned game pulled from download site

Based on an article from The Sunday Herald see full article
Game downloadable from Yahoo Games

Downloadable copies of Marc Ecko's Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure have been pulled from sale by the major Australian software distributor Mindscape.

Mindscape's sales and marketing manager, Tonia Velasco, insisted this was done voluntarily because Mindscape was a member of the industry body, Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA, rather than because selling the game was illegal: We don't want to be seen as the rebels that are a partner in all of this so we're just gonna regularly check what they [Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC)] have prohibited from classification [and ensure those titles are not being sold at our store].

Although the game was refused classification (making it, in effect, banned from sale) by the Classification Review Board in February last year, regulator Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) could not force Mindscape to stop selling the game in Australia. This is because Quicky.com.au is hosted on a server located overseas - in the United States.

ACMA said in a statement it would only investigate prohibited content located on an overseas server if it received a "valid complaint", but even then it would only notify the content to the suppliers of approved filters in accordance with the Internet Industry Association's code of practice.

Velasco was critical of ACMA's ability to do anything to prevent the game from being sold. She said it was unlikely anyone would make a formal complaint to ACMA because it's predominantly gamers going to those kinds of [game download] sites ... you won't get parents on there.

 

6th March   Downloading more Censorship...
 

   
Mobile phonePhone download censorship may extend to eBooks

From ABC see full article

Australian publishers are warning that the Federal Government's about to impose an unprecedented crackdown on books, magazines and other writings.

They're worried about something called the Content Services Bill, which the Government says is aimed at material sent over mobile phones and other devices, to make sure children don't have access to explicit material.

But the publishers say the draft bill is too broad. They believe it'll bog down the Office of Film and Literature Classification, with checks on every book and magazine.

The peak body representing mobile phone carriers is also worried that the bill could turn out to be a red tape nightmare for its members.

Maree McCaskill Chief Executive of the Australian Publishers Association said that the Government's proposed laws regulating content on mobile phones and PDAs (personal digital assistants) are seriously flawed. She says the draft bill's so broad, it will mean everything, including books and magazines, will have to be cleared by the country's chief censor before they're published.


6th March  Update: Knee Jerk, Cock Up, Back Off...
 

   
Mobile phonePhone download censorship being reworked

From Crikey

The Government has backed down in its attempt to censor media content online and on mobile phones, despite claiming in public, that there never was a problem.

Crikey has seen a recently authored departmental position paper that lays out major changes being made to the draft Bill, which was leaked to and published by Crikey earlier this week.

The position paper states that the Minister, Senator Helen Coonan, has decided to amend the approach taken in the original exposure draft. In particular, the Government has junked the extraordinary plan to make it a criminal offence to provide "prohibited" or "potentially prohibited" content online.

Instead, the Australian Communications and Media Authority will be given powers to issue "take down" notices to those who have posted or streamed problematic material. This is consistent with the present system of regulation for Internet content.

Nevertheless big, unresolved issues remain. The position paper states that the Government still wishes to restrict, on the basis of age, content rated M15+ delivered over mobile phones, but acknowledges that this "would significantly extend" the scope of present legislation and would have a very significant effect on the Internet content hosts and on ACMA. It could render the…regime unworkable.

So how will it be done? There is talk of a "two layer" approach, in which mobile phone content would be more tightly regulated than the internet, due to the fact that it is more likely to be accessed by unsupervised children. Yet modern mobile phones can be used to access the internet – so it is not entirely clear how the new scheme would operate.

Meanwhile, Minister Helen Coonan’s advisers have been reassuring content providers that there is no intention to make content, including books and magazines, illegal online that would be legal if sold in other forms, although this would have resulted had the original draft Bill been passed.

There is little doubt that the original flawed and draconian draft Bill was the result of a stuff up, and extra pressure following the Big Brother turkey-slapping incident, rather than a conspiracy. But if content providers had been consulted early, then the Bill would have been better and, more importantly from the Department’s point of view, nobody would be leaking and I wouldn’t have a story.

 

5th March   A Changing Game...
 
   
OFLC logoAustralian censor interviewed about rating online games

From GameSpot

GameSpot: Apart from an R rating, what other pressing issues are there for games classification?

Des Clark: Online gaming is one of the issues that need to be looked at in the future. I think the level of resolution of graphics and the impact of games will also be a bit of a challenge as time progresses.

GameSpot AU: What is it specifically about online games that is a concern?

Des Clark: We believe it's possible to rate [online games]. Games where you buy a physical device to go online do have to be rated. And so we're proposing a new statement [to add to a rating]; something along the lines of "Gameplay may change when online," so that we're providing further advice. We're currently talking to the industry about this, and they will respond to us shortly. It's a new bit of consumer advice that we're proposing to use to inform Australian consumers.

GameSpot AU: What about downloadable content that is made available after a game's initial release?

Des Clark: That's fine, because that's a choice that people make. I think game manufacturers are pretty realistic and reasonable--if they know something is rating at a particular level, they're not going to start putting in stuff at a higher level, particularly if it's stuff that children play, because consumers will react. Consumers will have their say if the game manufacturers start doing silly things. In my experience with the game industry, they're a very responsible group of people who do the right thing.

 

11th February  Hanging on to Hypocrisy...
 

   
The HangingSaddam hanging video banned in Australia

From Refused Classification

In a bizarre game of bluff between AdultShop.com and the Australian censor, the widely distributed video of Saddam's hanging has been banned.

The hanging video was submitted with the expectation of an R18+ certificate (available for retail sale to adults). This would have then demonstrated the hypocrisy of allowing the selling of non-consensual killing whilst banning films showing consensual and non-violent sex.

It seems that the Australian censor didn't play ball and inconveniently banned the hanging video. Of course the knock on is that the censors have now criminalised all those Australians that have downloaded a copy already.l

From The Age

The Hanging was submitted for classification by the Eros Association, which represents adult retailers and entertainment companies. It had been trying to illustrate its claim that the Classification Board treats non-violent erotica, which the board customarily rates X, unfairly compared with violent footage.

In the past, Australian classification authorities have not automatically banned films containing footage of executions. The 1995 UK film Executions, a documentary that showed real-life killings, was given an R rating by the Classification Review Board.


11th March   Update: Hanging on to Inconsistency...
 

   
The HangingPolitically motivated censorship

Press release from Eros

In a four to three decision, the Classification Board has banned the grainy five minute mobile phone footage of Saddam Hussein’s execution. The Eros association submitted the film for classification with the expectation of an MA+15 or R18+ rating based on thousands of previous classifications for depictions of executions, both real and simulated.

Eros CEO Fiona Patten said that the decision was clearly made on political grounds and that the Classification Board had ‘seen Eros coming’. We submitted the film with the unashamedly political agenda of using the MA or R rating it would get to draw attention to the fact that violence is treated more easily than sex in the censorship game. I think they saw our recent campaign in this area and decided to head it off by giving the film an RC (Refused Classification) rating.

However the decision now raises major inconsistencies in the classification of high level violence and means that every newsroom director in the country who has authorised a broadcast of the footage or who has electronically acquired or stored a copy of the film, is liable to severe penalties including two years jail. I would imagine that there would be dozens of copies of this banned film in the Parliamentary Press Gallery only 100 metres from the Attorney General’s office, This constitutes a serious offence under the federal Classification Act.

The film, entitled The Hanging, was subject to three minority opinions out of the seven who judged it. One thought it should have received an R18+ classification; one an MA15+ rating and one though an unrestricted M rating was appropriate. Ms Patten said that this showed the Board was far from unified on the decision and supported her contention that the film was only banned for political reasons. While I personally and philosophically believe that this film should have been banned, generally films which show a similar level of violence are submitted by a commercial agency are not. In order for this decision to be seen as credible by the wider community, the OFLC should ‘call in’ hundreds of films for re classification which have been classified in the past with levels of violence that are 20 and 30 times higher than this one.

Patten said that up to half a dozen films like Executions, which shows a series of real life executions, had been given R ratings in the past and made The Hanging look tame by comparison. She said that there were hundreds of Chainsaw Massacre’ films with extremely high levels of violence available from family video libraries and on line entertainment outlets hosted from Australia, because they had been given R18+ ratings or even MA15+ ratings in the past.

 

4th February  Update: Censor Misinterprets the Law...
 

   
Censorship.adultshop.comso Australian censor taken to court

From AdultShop.com

AdultShop.com have lodged an appeal in the Federal Court of Australia seeking judicial review of the decision by the Classification Review Board (Review Board) to give an X18+ classification to the explicit erotic film, Viva Erotica.

The application for judicial review follows the publication by the Review Board on 4 January 2007 of its written reasons for upholding the classification.

AdultShop has always maintained the correct classification for Viva Erotica is R18+ and is appealing the X18+ classification on the grounds that the Review Board:

  • has not reflected current community standards in its classification of Viva Erotica
  • has wrongfully assumed the Classification Guidelines are an accurate reflection of current community standards.

In addition, AdultShop maintains the Office of Film and Literature Classification, the government agency that provides support to the Review Board, has not properly consulted the Australian community to determine whether explicit erotic films are likely to offend the average Australian adult.

AdultShop’s Managing Director, Malcolm Day, said “the decision by the Review Board was made despite overwhelming evidence put before it that demonstrated the majority of Australian adults are not offended by films involving actual sex”.

At the hearing before the Review Board in November 2006, AdultShop produced evidence in the form of reports from three independent experts, including prominent feminist academic and Sydney University Associate Professor, Catharine Lumby, as well as a national survey carried out in September 2006 by ACNielsen. The results of this survey revealed only 30% of Australian adults considered films involving actual sex to be offensive.

The Review Board disregarded the evidence and found that Viva Erotica was offensive. By law, all classification decisions must reflect current community standards, and we are confident the Federal Court will acknowledge that the views of the average Australian are not reflected in the current Classification Guidelines, said Day.

If successful, this appeal should have the effect of bringing classification decisions in Australia in line with Europe, the United States and New Zealand, concluded Day.


28th February  Update: X Rating On Trial...
 

   
Censorship.adultshop.comMoving onto to federal court to decide if porn can be rated R18+

Based on an article from Australian IT see full article

The pornographic film industry will tomorrow begin a creative Federal Court action to have adult films that depict actual sex between consenting adults stripped of their X-rating.

The industry argues that such films should be rated R18+, meaning they could legally be sold in all Australian states and shown in cinemas.

Lawyers for AdultShop.com will argue that the federal Government's Classification Review Board routinely applies an X-rating to sex films that would not offend a "reasonable adult".

The OFLC is required to take "community standards" into account when classifying films but classifies most sex films as X18+, meaning they can be sold only in the ACT and Northern Territory and shown only in licensed premises in those territories.

Adultshop.com CEO Malcolm Day, whose publicly listed company is valued at $9 million, said standards had changed since the guidelines were drafted in 1984: Most reasonable adults would not regard an adult film, depicting sex between two consenting adults, with no violence, as offensive.

The test case is the decision in November by the OFLC and confirmed by the review board to give an X18+ rating to the film Viva Erotica, which contains close-ups of sex between men and women and between two women, but no violence or fetishes.

Day said an ACNeilsen survey conducted on Adultshop.com's behalf in September showed that 70% cent of adults were not offended by explicit sex films. But the review board said in its Viva Erotica decision that many would be offended by even the most fleeting of sexually explicit scenes.

AdultShop.com will present the court with an opinion from University of Sydney media academic Catharine Lumby, who argues most Australians are more concerned about violence than about sex.

It will also call on Alan McKee from the Queensland University of Technology to argue consumers of sexually explicit materials in Australia can fairly be described as reasonable adults: A film involving various forms of actual sexual activity, including close-ups, but with no violence would be unlikely to cause offence.

The Australian Family Association, which has been accorded friend-of-the-court status, will submit that a legal victory by AdultShop would render the X classification meaningless. Straight pornography would be classified R. Porn would be able to be sold through ordinary video outlets and adult shops


1st March  Update: A Reasonable Review...
 

   
Censorship.adultshop.comReview board to research whether a 'reasonable' adult is offended by hardcore

Based on an article from Australian IT

The Classification Review Board has agreed to conduct research into whether the so-called reasonable adult is offended by films that show actual sexual intercourse.

The move comes as pornography company AdultShop.com today launches a Federal Court challenge to the review board's practice of giving films that show actual sex an X18+ rating.

A spokesman for the board said the research into community standards would take place through a series of forums over the next six months.

The public will be recruited and may be shown movies and asked whether they agree with the ratings given. It will be the first such review since the 1990s.


4th March  Update: What do Australians Think?...
 

   
Censorship.adultshop.comabout selling hardcore DVDs

From Australian IT

It is worth taking a look at Australian IT where they are taking internet comments on the subject of selling hardcore DVDs from Australian shops

 

16th January  Putting State Censorship to Sleep...
 

   
Peacefull Pill Handbook, book cover
Ruddock seeks to ban euthanasia book

From ABC

Euthanasia supporter Phillip Nitschke is furious that federal Attorney-General Philip Ruddock is attempting to stop his book, The Peaceful Pill Handbook, from being published in Australia.

Ruddock is appealing a decision by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) to approve the sale of the self-help euthanasia book under strict conditions.

The book offers advice and tips to those considering euthanasia and is being sold in the United States and Canada.

Dr Nitschke denies his book would lead to an increase in Australia's suicide rate: Desperate people are the ones who do desperate things. What we find is that when people are in possession of the best information, feel like they have choices and control, is that they actually live longer. So I simply don't agree with that idea that putting this information out is going to lead to a spate of suicides. Rather it will help or improve the overall general health of a lot of anxious and elderly folk at present."

Dr Nitschke says the Government's action is a violation of Australia's democratic rights. Over months [the OFLC] considered this book and they finally made the decision that yes, under strict restrictions, it should be distributed to Australians.

Then to have the Minister come along and say, 'no, I don't like this decision,' I mean if this is the case why doesn't every book that comes into Australia go straight to Philip Ruddock's desk. He's the deciding agent it would seem in Australia, not the body which is supposedly independent.

Update: Appealing for Pill to be put to sleep

The Classification Review Board have announced that they will be examining The Peaceful Pill Handbook on February 7th. The original complaint came from the Right to Life Association.


25th February  Update: Censors Outlive their Usefulness...
 

   
Peacefull Pill Handbook, book cover
Review Board confirm ban on The Peaceful Pill Handbook

From Refused Classification

The Peaceful Pill Handbook has just been banned by the Review Board. Not surprising really, they are only doing what Ruddock, their master, wanted.

 

15th February   Hardcore Hassle...
 

   
NSW police badge
Sydney sex shops raided

The material seized seems to be bog standard adult hardcore that is freely available in sex shops of most civilised countries.

Based on an article from News.com.au

Seven men are facing possible charges over the seizure of X-rated material, computers and drugs in concerted raids on sex shops in Sydney's Kings Cross.

More than 60 police raided seven of the eight adult bookshops in the red-light strip. They found up to 60,000 "very explicit, XXX rated" DVDs and videos with a retail value estimated in the millions of dollars, a police spokeswoman said.

The raids were carried after investigations allegedly found 90% of the material sold at the stores was illicit.

Apart from the illegal DVDs and videos, police said they had also seized a quantity of the drug amyl nitrate and bongs.

Today's raids were the result of a six-month investigation, named Operation Cheryl, into child sex offences, but apart from 4 computers which will be forensically examined, only adult related material was seized.

Seven people, store owners and staff, were arrested and taken to Kings Cross police station for questioning. Police said they expected to lay a number of charges this evening, including selling classified or X-rated pornographic material, and charges relating to the sale of water pipes and amyl nitrate.

X-rated material is illegal in NSW and selling it attracts a $250,000 fine for businesses, a $100,000 fine for individuals and/or a maximum of 12 months' imprisonment.

Supt Hayes said the raid would have put many of the stores out of businesses, at least temporarily: I think their business has certainly been disrupted today because their material has been confiscated so in terms of them continuing with their business they're going to have to get some new material. And we'll be back.


18th February  Update: Police Taking Aim at their Feet...
 

   
NSW police badge
Confusion about why hardcore should be illegal to sell

From AdultShop.com

Raids carried out this week by the NSW police on 7 sex shops in Sydney's King Cross area, have highlighted the inconsistency in laws governing the sale of X18+ material.

These raids have no doubt sparked confusion amongst the general public as to why X18+ films can be legally purchased in ACT and NT, but not in the States of Australia, such as Sydney's red light district area King's Cross.

The Sydney Morning Herald is also running a poll X rated films should they be legal? AdultShop.com encourage you to cast your vote and send a strong message to the government and OFLC who are responsible for the classification and consequently distribution of X18+ films.

After 4273 votes the poll was showing 83% in favour of X18+ being legal to sell

From The Sydney Morning Herald

Magistrates, politicians and police are regular buyers of X-rated films even though it's illegal to sell them, complains Australia's erotic industry body.

The Eros Association today called on both sides of NSW politics to show consistency in regulating X-rated material, saying it was a criminal offence to sell the films but legal to buy and own them.

The association's chief executive Fiona Patten, said there was "massive confusion" over the issue, which was highlighted this week by raids on seven Kings Cross adult shops.

Police yesterday said they had in effect shut almost all of the sex shops in the red-light district after raiding the stores searching for child pornography and other X-rated material.

However, Patten said officers were arresting adult shop owners one day and buying films for themselves the following week: There is nothing illegal in police officers buying X18+ rated films from adult shops and taking them home. Magistrates and even politicians are regular clients at many Sydney adult shops.

 

1st February  Update: News of Delay Filtered Out...
 

   
Filter gogglesNutters waiting for state provided Internet filters

Based on an article from News.com.au

Up to 2.5 million Australian families are said to be waiting for the Federal Government to deliver on a promise to protect children from online pornography.

A $93 million plan to offer every household in Australia free internet filtering software was expected to be running by the end of last year.

But seven months after the announcement, billed as the "single biggest commitment" to protecting Australian families in the history of the internet, some parents are still waiting to install the promised filters on their home computers. The filtering technology, which blocks X-rated sites and offensive words, was also to be installed at public libraries across Australia.

Family First nutter Senator Steve Fielding said the wait was a disgrace: This shows the Government is not serious about protecting our kids from this vile material.

But a spokeswoman for Communications Minister Helen Coonan said the software would be available soon: These things have a long lead-in time.

"We are finalising the portal and it should be ready in the first quarter of this year. It will be worth the wait. Every Australian family will be able to access a free internet filter that they can tailor to their own personal value judgments.The launch of the software will be accompanied by a $18 million national advertising campaign to highlight the benefits of parents using online filters.


And of course nutters argue the proposed measures do not go far enough. Senator Fielding has called for new laws to force internet service providers to block pornography before it reaches the home.


15th February  Update: Family Budget...
 

   
Filter gogglesThe costs of providing family Internet filters

From The Age

Families will be targeted by an advertising blitz and direct mail campaign as the Federal Government steps up its efforts to sell its proposed crackdown on internet pornography in the approach to the election.

Communications Minister Helen Coonan revealed yesterday the Government intended to use an $18 million, taxpayer-funded communication budget to write to all families alerting them to its 2006 initiative to supply households with a PC-based filter blocking inappropriate content.

The Age believes the Government's powerful advertising committee will this week decide which agency will win the lucrative tender for television and radio advertising to sell the $100 million porn filter initiative.

Senator Coonan clashed with Family First senator Steve Fielding at a senate estimates hearing in Canberra yesterday over why the Government had resisted concerted lobbying from Christian groups and its own MPs in favour of blocking content at the server level, rather than leaving households to control their own PC-based filter.

Senator Coonan said server-level filtering was ineffective and this Government will not be a party to something that's ineffective.

Update: Delayed

May 22nd

The Government have failed to get the filtering service ready for the previous deadline and the filtering software should now be ready in a couple of months

 

12th February   State Censorship...
 

   
OFLC logo
Censorship Amendment Bill progresses

From Refused Classification see full article

This week the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment Bill 2006 was back for a second reading. The bill was first introduced into the House of Representatives on December 7th last year. At the time the Attorney-General Philip Ruddock showed how the bill could be used to increase censorship: The minister, rather than the director, will also determine fee waiver principles to be applied by the director and the convenor when waiving fees payable under the act for applications.

In the past, Des Clark, the Director of the OFLC, has allowed fee waivers to groups such as the Australian Family Association. Much to their displeasure, he had also refused them. With the Attorney-General calling the shots, these groups are going to have a much easier time challenging ratings.

On the plus side, it allows for DVD extras to escape scrutiny if it is thought that their content does not exceed the rating of the film itself. This is an obvious plus for small companies such as Siren when releasing something like an extras laden Something Weird DVD.

 

10th February   Management vs the Lads...
 

   
FHMAustralian company ban lads' mags from the workplace

From The Age

Workers at a Queensland Rail (QR) workshop in central Queensland have been warned not to take men's magazines such as FHM or Zoo Weekly to work or face the sack.

The rail provider said several men's magazines including Picture, People, FHM and Zoo Weekly were considered inappropriate by management.

At least some members of the all-male workplace, who did not wish to be identified, were upset by the stance, complaining in a letter to the local newspaper that their rights had been violated: The question has to be asked - does QR have their own review board on offensive material? We believe this is an invasion of our basic human rights.

QR's position also drew the ire of Zoo Weekly's editor Paul Merill, who compared the company's stance to Hitler's Third Reich: This is the worst form of censorship, taking away a bloke's basic right to be able to read what he likes. Hitler tried to ban any literature he didn't like, and now the poor rail workers are suffering in a similar way. We'll certainly be looking at how we can airlift some copies in as a stop-gap measure. We just hope the men are bearing up in the meantime.

QR chief executive Bob Scheuber stood by the ban, saying the magazines breached the company's 12-year-old code of conduct which was supposedly supported by most staff members: As a values-driven organisation QR is committed to creating work environments that show respect for people in all our actions. I make no apologies for this.

He said the code of conduct banned all sexually explicit, violent and criminal material as well as offensive, abusive, threatening, harassing and bullying material.

 

27th January   Update: Security Threat Bollox...
 

   
t-shirt: World's No 1 Terrorist
Airline again take offence at terrorist Bush T-shirt

From the BBC

A passenger barred from a Qantas airlines flight for wearing a T-shirt depicting US President George Bush as a terrorist has threatened legal action.

Allen Jasson said he was sticking up for the principle of free speech by challenging the decision by the Australian flag carrier.

Jasson was stopped as he was about to board the flight from Melbourne to London last Friday. Jasson had previously encountered difficulties with the same T-shirt on an earlier Qantas flight in December.

Qantas said the T-shirt had potential to offend other passengers. The T-shift features an image of President George W Bush, along with the slogan "World's Number One Terrorist".

After clearing the international security checks at Melbourne Airport, he reportedly approached the gate manager to congratulate him on the company's new-found open-mindedness.

At that point, Jasson was ordered to remove the T-shirt after being told it was a security threat and an item which might cause offence to other passengers. He was offered the chance to board the flight wearing different clothing, but refused.

I am not prepared to go without the t-shirt. I might forfeit the fare, but I have made up my mind that I would rather stand up for the principle of free speech, he told Australian media.

 

26th January  Update: Whingeing Poms Get Heated...
 
   
Toohey's NewBeer advert banned

From The Times

A group of complaining Englishmen who live in Australia succeeded in their long campaign to outlaw advertising that depicted Englishmen as whingers.

The Advertising Standards Bureau ruled that the Englishmen were right to be offended by an advertisement for beer that negatively stereotyped and demeaned English people.

The radio advertisement for Tooheys brewery and its New Supercold beer employed a group of Englishmen to sing the tune of Land of Hope and Glory using various synonyms for whinge, including whine, moan, slag and complain.

The advertisement ended with a voiceover saying: Introducing Tooheys New Supercold, served so cold it’s a Pom’s worst nightmare. The bureau ruled that negative words in the advertisement detracted from what it said was the otherwise playful nature of the word Pom. Instead, Pom had been given “a derogatory and almost hostile meaning”, Mark Jeanes, the acting chief of the bureau, said. The advert has been withdrawn.

Last month British People Against Racial Discrimination, the organisation campaigning for the removal of the advert, said that the word Pom was derogatory. David Thomason, the group’s spokesman, said: The Oxford Dictionary classes Pom as being derogatory.

His group also contested another version of the advert that had been made for television audiences. It featured footage of an overweight, pale man, wearing a Union Jack T-shirt, cringing in fear at the offer of a cold beer. The advert was withdrawn before the action against it could proceed.

 

21st January   Blitz Blitzed...
 

   
Blitz the League game coverBlitz the League game banned

From Refused Classification

The OFLC have announced their first games ban of 2007. The computer game, Blitz the League, has been banned. Justification to follow but maybe its the gruesome sports injuries or else a night with escort girls to put your opponents off.


23rd January  Drugs Blitz...
 

   
Blitz the League game coverOFLC in need of mind enhancing drugs

From Spong

The OFLC have now released their reasons for banning the computer game, Blitz the League:

In the course of the game, the player may access what are purported to be both legal and illegal performance-enhancing drugs for the members of the team. Choosing to use these drugs (by selecting from a menu) will have both negative and positive effects on team-members, for example, by improving their speed while making them more susceptible to injury.

Each drug has different characteristics. Fake urine samples may also be acquired for avoiding positive drug tests. While the game-player can choose not to use the drugs, in the Board’s majority view there is an incentive to use them.

By using them judiciously, the player can improve the performance of the football team (while managing the negative effects) and have a better chance of winning games, thereby winning bets and climbing the league table.

In the ‘morally-upstanding’ eyes of the OFLC’s board members this falls into the realm of unacceptable content that depicts matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults.

 

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