Salo in Australia

End of long time ban on Pasolini's film

30th April

A 1001 Tales of Nutter Censorship...

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Egyptian book burners try to get A Thousand and One Nights banned

A group of nutter Egyptian lawyers have filed a communiqu้ to the Prosecutor General in order to confiscate A Thousand and One Nights book and imprison its publishers.

They claim that the heritage script is offensive to public decency .

The lawyers filed their complaint as per article #178 of the penal code, which fines and punishes with imprisonment for a period of two years anyone who published literature, pictures, offensive to public decency .

The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI) has said that the failure of the Egyptian government to take a clear stance regarding the religious and political Hesba cases (private actions) has encouraged more religious extremists and publicity seekers to join the “Actio popularis” team.

Gamal Eid, ANHRI executive director said, Demanding the confiscation of a heritage book and a creativity piece , such as A Thousand and One Nights, is a crime in essence . We will not be silent regarding these cases . ANHRI legal aid unit for freedom of expression will lead the defense of these writers and intellectuals who are exposed to an unfair crackdown by those publicity seekers. These writers and intellectuals insist on handing over historical and cultural treasures to the Egyptian reader and making them accessible to the Egyptian citizen just like other citizens in other countries that respect freedom of expression and freedom of creativity.


31st May

Updated: Salo Unbanned and Confirmed...

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Australia appeal body confirms R18+ certificate

The Classification Review Board (an appeal board) has cleared Pier Paolo Pasolini's transgressive 1975 film, Salo , for DVD release.

In a majority decision, a five-member panel of the Classification Review Board determined Salo can be classified R18+  with the consumer advice Scenes of torture and degradation, sexual violence and nudity if the DVD includes up to three hours of additional material, as presented by the film's distributor, Shock.

The review board's majority opinion said the inclusion of additional material on the DVD facilitates wider consideration of the context of the film which results in the impact being no more than high .

Not so Liberal Senator Julian McGauran, who previously called for the chief censor to resign over the issue, derided the decision. He questioned whether Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor's request for a review after Salo was initially cleared was merely a political stunt . The Minister should now step in. If he's bona fide, he should take the next step and step in, which he is able to do with the state attorneys general.

The Salo decision was overturned 12 years after it was banned. The cult art film has become the cause celebre of anti-censorship campaigners after finally being deemed suitable for screening in 1993 before the Office of Film and Literature Classification re-instituted an Australia-wide ban in 1998.

The Review Board's minority was of the view that the film should be Refused Classification. It is not known whether it was a 3-2 or 4-1 decision.

The board does advise though that consumers should consider whether this is a film they wish to see as it contains scenes of torture, degradation, cruelty and sexual violence that may offend some sections of the community.

Update: Nutters Pained

8th May 2010. Based on article from

A christian lobby group has pushed for classification laws to be reviewed after the controversial Italian film Salo was given the green light to be distributed in Australia.

The decision to classify the DVD of the film Salo as R18+ clearly breaches Australia's classification guidelines and is completely out of touch with community standards, the Australian Christian Lobby chief of staff, Lyle Shelton, said.

He called on the federal government to either rewrite the guidelines or ensure the board takes a stricter approach in enforcing them.

Offsite: Salo ban discussed in Australian parliament

31st May 2010.  See  article from

Two topics were covered when the Classification Board and Classification Review Board appeared before Senate Estimates last week.

First up was the on-going dispute over the availability of unclassified adult magazines. The other topic was the R18+ rating that has been awarded to Salo .

...Read full article


16th June

Update: Nutters in Torment...

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Australian nutters go to court seeking a ban on Salo

Nutter groups and Australian senators are launching a legal bid to reinstate the ban on the Italian film Salo .

Last month the Classification Board approved a DVD of the film, with explanations of its context. The move overturned a refusal of classification in 1998. Salo has also been cleared by the Review Board after the Home Affairs Minister, Brendan O'Connor, asked for a rethink.

Now FamilyVoice Australia, the Australian Christian Lobby and the Not So Liberal senators Julian McGauran and Guy Barnett have started a Federal Court appeal against the film's release. They will argue that approving the film's R18+ rating defied proper process and the law.

Our chief censors, by releasing this movie, have redefined paedophilia and its acceptance, Senator McGauran claimed: The movie shows disturbingly strong depictions of torture, degradation, sexual violence, mutilation.

The Pier Paolo Pasolini film, made in 1975, tells of four Fascists in Mussolini's Italy who kidnap teenagers and subject them to sexual and mental torture.


5th March

Update: Continuing Nutter Torture...

FamilyVoice Australia petition court for a Judicial Review of last year's Salo DVD classification

FamilyVoice Australia have again petitioned the Federal Court to ban Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salo, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom again. They are claiming that its release last year on DVD was an improper exercise of power by the Classification Review Board.

The Christian activists led by the Not So Liberal senator Julian McGauran, have got Salo banned in Australia for most of the last 36 years.

Salo follows a group of young men and women abducted by fascists and subjected to rape, torture and death in an Italian palace. Described by the board as a serious study of corruption which accompanies the exercise of absolute power , the film was released last year in a boxed set with additional documentary features that the board thought would mitigate the level of potential community offence .

But this did not impress Senator McGauran and FamilyVoice Australia. They moved against the film again, this time in the courts.

The barrister Anthony Tudehope accused the board of a long list of failings when judging the film, in particular the failure to separately identify and assess elements of violence, cruelty and fetishes - even bestiality, though Salo contains no congress with animals.

Tudehope questioned the age of the victims and the actors playing them. Along with a minority of the Classification Review Board, he argued they are children being subjected to child sexual abuse, which was simply not acceptable , he told the court.

But that was not the view of a majority of the board, which found Pasolini's victims clearly sexually mature and that their fate at the hands of the fascists would not offend reasonable adults given the context, purpose and stylised, detached cinematic techniques of the film.

The board's solicitor, Nick Gouliaditis, denied any failures of process in Salo's release. He told the court that assessing the merits of a film required highly subjective judgments which the Classification Review Board has been entrusted to make .

Justice Margaret Stone has reserved her decision for a later date.


5th September

Update: Chastised...

Family Voice Australia fail in their court challenge to overturn the R18+ certificate awarded to Salo

The nutter group Family Voice Australia has failed in their court action challenging the Review Board's decision to grant Salo an R18+ certificate. They contended that the film censorship appeal board somehow failed to follow its own guidelines.

The Federal Court did not seem very impressed by the Family Voice case and ordered that:

1. The application be dismissed.
2. The applicant (Family Voice Australia) pay the second respondent's costs.

The crux of the decision seems to be that: " The legislative framework entrusts the task of classifying the film to the Board not to the courts", as explained by the court:

As the Review Board itself recognised, the decisions with which it is charged under the Act, the Code and the Guidelines involve the exercise of discretion and judgment. These are matters on which, in all good faith, informed minds may differ. The difference between the majority and minority views concerning Salo testify to this. It is, however, irrelevant whether the Court agrees with the Board's decision or would decide the matter differently. The legislative framework entrusts the task of classifying the film to the Board not to the courts.

The function of the court is more limited. In Brown v Classification Review Board (1998) 82 FCR 225 French J, as the Chief Justice then was, observed at 240:

The function of this Court upon an application for judicial review is to decide whether the Board has acted in accordance with the law. It is not to substitute its own assessment of the publication for that of the Board. Nor should it seek to judicialise the process of administrative decision making by imposing rigorous standards of detailed explanation.


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