Australia Censorship News


2018: July-Sept

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Crazy Rich Film Distributors...

Crazy Rich Asians is cut for a PG rating in Australia


Link Here 26th August 2018
Crazy Rich Asians is a 2018 USA comedy by Jon M Chu.
Starring Constance Wu, Michelle Yeoh and Henry Golding. BBFC link IMDb

The story follows Rachel Chu (Wu), an American-born Chinese economics professor, who travels to her boyfriend Nick's (Golding) hometown of Singapore for his best friend's wedding. Before long, his secret is out: Nick is from a family that is impossibly wealthy, he's perhaps the most eligible bachelor in Asia, and every single woman in his ultra-rarefied social class is incredibly jealous of Rachel and wants to bring her down.

The film is uncut and 12A rated in the UK. It is uncut and PG-13 rated in the US. However it has been cut in Australia to achieve a PG rating.

On July 3, 2018, an uncut print of CRAZY RICH ASIANS was passed with an M (PG-15) rating for coarse language.

On July 11, Roadshow Films resubmitted the film in a censored version. This time it received a PG rating for mild themes and coarse language

Reviews on US Christian sites mention that there are two uses of the word Fuck. The Refused Classification website commented that it suspected that both of these have been overdubbed in the Australian PG version.

Maybe the Australian categories provide a different dynamic to the US. In America the success of the PG-13 rating means that it is now the dominant rating for a film marketed for all ages. The PG rating has become associated with children's film and so is something to be avoided for films that appeal to all ages. It has been noted that some instances of strong language are there just to ensure a PG-13 rather than a PG. Perhaps that is the reason for strong language in Crazy Rich Asians. It would be a little ironic if the US film makers added it to avoid a PG whilst the Australian distributors cut it to obtain a PG.

 

 

At last! A moral, decent and proper censorship law...

Australian senator introduces bill to roll back the country's censorship laws


Link Here 23rd August 2018
Excellent work in the Australian Parliament as Senator David Leyonhelm as introduced a private members bill titled:

Freedom of Speech Legislation Amendment (Censorship) Bill 2018

The summary reads:

Amends the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 to:

  • remove the ban on publications, films and computer games that offend against standards of morality, decency and propriety;

  • and Broadcasting Services Act 1992 to: remove bans on broadcasting, datacasting and online content, with a specific focus on bans affecting services provided behind paywalls;

  • narrow the guidance provided by government to broadcasting industries and datacasting licensees in the development of codes of practice;

  • remove certain restrictions on subscription television broadcasters and online content services relating to programs or content that has been or would be classified as X 18+, category 1 restricted or category 2 restricted;

  • and remove a ban on broadcasting electoral advertising relating to a federal, state, territory or local election on election day or on the preceding Thursday or Friday

Presumably an Australian private members bill has as little chance of success as its UK equivalent, but its the thought that counts.

 

 

Offsite Article: Joyless censortrons...


Link Here 22nd August 2018
The Australian Classification Board is Letting Us Down. By Cai Holroyd

See article from doublejump.co

 

 

Song of Memories...

The Australian Censorship Board launches into yet another chorus of Michael Jackson's 'Just Ban it, Ban It'


Link Here 19th August 2018
The Australian Censorship Board has banned another console, Song of Memories published by PQube. It is another Japanese games no doubt featuring too sexy behaviour by characters of indeterminate, but young looking age.

The censors have yet to explain their reasons with just a worthless catch-all statement posted so far on their website.

 

 

On a personal whim...

Victorian government bans Sky News from its railway stations over a politically incorrect interview not actually screened on the station service


Link Here 12th August 2018
The government of the Australian state of Victoria has banned Sky News from providing a news service for screening at Melbourne's train stations.

Jacinta Allan, Victoria's transport minister, took offence at a Sky News interview with the far-right extremist Blair Cottrell. The interview was not screened on the train station service but clearly rankled the politician for its political incorrectness. Allan tweeted:

I've directed @MetroTrains to remove @skynewsaustralia from all CBD station screens. Hatred and racism have no place on our screens or in our community.

The decision has sparked a backlash from Sky and other News Corp publications. Political editor David Speers said the Andrews government was motivated by frustration over the coverage it received on Sky, and from the Herald Sun, which is also owned by News Corp. Speers said the network had confirmed the Cottrell interview had not aired on train station screens in Melbourne .

Speers also noted that Blair Cottrell has appeared in interviews on all the other Australian news channels too.

 

 

Updated: Appeal board overturns ban on We Happy Few...

Whilst developers show a little sympathy for Australia's embarrassed games censors... they're just saddled with crap rules


Link Here 14th July 2018
Australia's Classification Review Board has unanimously overturned the ban on the video game, We Happy Few by the main Classification Board. The appeals boards has now passed the game with the adults-only R18+ for Fantasy violence and interactive drug use.

The game's developer, Compulsion Games, has expressed sympathy for the censor board saying it wasn't sure the Board could have ruled any other way.

In an email with Kotaku Australia, Compulsion Games chief operating officer and producer Sam Abbott said he wasn't sure that the Classification Board had any room to move, given the constraints of the rating guidelines:

I think originally the board made the best decision they could given (a) the guidelines they work within, and (b) the information we provided them, Abbott said. I'm not sure I'd make a different original decision given those constraints.

Abbott went on to explain that Compulsion Games could have outlined more information about Joy -- the drug that is a centrepiece of the dystopian society in which We Happy Few is set -- including the positive and negative aspects of its consumption.

The censor board  banned the game for its use of drugs in-game, under the clause about incentivised drug use including:

New skills or attribute increases, extra points, unlocking achievements, plot animations, scenes and rewards, rare or exclusive loot, or making tasks easier to accomplish,

The latter of which was the reason We Happy Few originally fell foul of in the rule. In the Board's opinion:

The game's drug-use mechanic making game progression less difficult constitutes an incentive or reward for drug-use and therefore, the game exceeds the R 18+ classification that states, drug use related to incentives and rewards is not permitted. Therefore, the game warrants being Refused Classification.

The Classification Review Board will issue details reasons for its decision in due course.

Update: Reason explained

14th July 2018. See article [pdf] from classification.gov.au

The Classification Review Board has now published its reasons for overruling the censorship board's ban of We Happy Few and awarding an uncut R18+ rating instead:

Reasons for the decision

The premise of this computer game is for the playing characters to escape a fictional town where the inhabitants are in a state of Government mandated euphoria and memory loss. Although the non -playing characters appear to be happy due to their continual use of the Joy drug, the computer game quickly establishes that this state is undesirable and the playing characters are on a quest to avoid the use of the Joy drug. The actual use of the fictitious drug as a game progression mechanic, questions the viability of such a gameplay decision at each stage/level. The character's action in taking the drug is usually the only viable option given and while it may enable the character to pass a stage/level of the game, the benefit is short term and is followed by a loss of memory and a reduction in health points, the depletion of the body and/or withdrawal symptoms. In the Review Board's opinion, the use of the drug is not presented as an incentive nor does it constitute a reward for the player in achieving the aim of the computer game. In the Review Board's opinion, the interactive drug use does not exceed high, therefore the computer game can be accommodated at R 18+.

 

 

Australian government considers relaxing drug laws...sort of...

In light of Australian games censorship rules by overturned by the appeals board, the government is now considering 'modernising' its games censorship rules


Link Here 11th July 2018
In the light of Australia's Classification Review Board overturning the Classification Board's ban of the video game We Happy Few , the Australian government is now considering whether games censorship rules need 'modernising'.

The Department of the Communications and the Arts has confirmed that talks have begun to modernise the classification guidelines. Any adjustment to the classification guidelines for computer games must be agreed by classification ministers in all Australia's states and territories. The department also said it will consult extensively with industry stakeholders and communities.

We Happy Few an indie game, was initially banned over the prominence of the drug Joy, which underpins the game's dystopian society by being used as a method of controlling the populace. The Board's initial finding found that the presence of Joy violated the clause on incentivised drug use:

The games developer appealed against the ban and the Classification Review Board - a separate statutory body the unanimous overturned the Classification Board's original ban resulting in an adults-only R18+ classification.

The department did not provide a timeline as to when said discussions might take place.

 

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