|29th March |
Shameful attitude over adult games by porn lobby group
Based on an article from Yahoo News
As previously reported, Australia has decided to put the issue of R18+ games out to public consultation.
The consultation was immediately criticised by both the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) and the Eros Foundation, an adult industry lobby
Given what happens with R-rated films, we could have no confidence that the classification guidelines would be properly applied, ACL managing director Jim Wallace said in a statement. For example, due to loopholes in the
guidelines, real sex is sometimes being shown in R-rated films. What will happen if we have R18+ games, which have even greater impact because of their interactive nature.
A spokesman for Eros shamefully said the foundation backed the ACL
stance. We support the Australian Christian Lobby's point of view. Because we believe that there's too much violence out there and there are more pressing issues for the attorneys to consider such as the regulation of the X-rated film industry.
Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus said the consultation process would not deliver a final decision: This is not a consultation on a proposal to introduce an R18+ level for games . It is a public consultation process seeking community
views to inform our position."
Victorian Attorney-General Rob Hulls said he wanted censorship laws to strike an appropriate balance between freedom of expression and community concerns. It seems inconsistent that in Australia adults
are allowed to view adults only films which have been classified R18+ by the classification board but not computer games with an equivalent high level content.
|28th March |
Australia to put R18+ games issue to public consultation
full article from the Sydney
The issue of whether to create an R18+ classification for video games will now be put to public consultation following a meeting of censorship ministers.
Specific details on how the public will be consulted have yet to be finalised but it is
expected a consultation paper will be ready for the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting.
The only decision out of today's SCAG meeting was that there would be a public consultation.
Victorian Deputy Premier and
Attorney-General Rob Hulls has pushed hard for an adults only classification for games but was greeted with significant opposition from South Australia's Attorney-General, Michael Atkinson, who argued he was protecting children from "harmful
In a statement today, Hulls said his department's analysis of research on the issue suggested there were persuasive arguments to support an R18+ classification. He said the latest generation of gaming platforms allowed parents to
control their child's access to appropriate gaming material and Australia was out of step with the rest of the developed world on this issue: I believe that censorship laws should strike an appropriate balance between freedom of expression and
community concerns about depictions that condone or incite violence, as well as the principle that minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them. It seems inconsistent that in Australia, adults are allowed to view 'adult only'
films which have been classified R18+ by the Classification Board, but not computer games with an equivalent high level content.
Ron Curry, CEO of the games industry body, the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA),
welcomed today's decision to consult the public on the issue: Our belief is that good legislation comes from a reflection of community sentiment, so the process that the attorney-general is outlining gives us the opportunity to move this into the
public forum for discussion .
|25th March |
Australia's censorship ministers gather to discuss R18+ for games
See full article from
On Friday, Australian censorship ministers will gather in the Barossa Valley to discuss an R18+ rating for games, but South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has vowed to block its introduction.
Any changes to Australia's censorship
regime must be agreed on by all state and federal attorneys-general. Atkinson's long-standing opposition to an R18+ rating stems from his legitimate concern over harm to children from high-impact material. The minister rightly argues adult freedoms
should not be placed ahead of protecting children, but as I argued in my open letter to the minister, the two are not mutually exclusive.
An R18+ category would actually help protect children, as well as bring harmonization to the classification
regime, acknowledge that games are important entertainment pastime for many Australian adults, and give Australian adults the right to choose the content they wish.
The Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia and groups like Electronic
Frontiers Australia support the introduction of an R18+ category, while groups like Young Media Australia and The Australian Christian Lobby share Michael Atkinson's concerns.
There is evidence to suggest a large majority of Australians support
the introduction of an R18+ games rating: a survey by Bond University in 2005 of over 1600 random households found 88% of Australians supported its introduction.
|21st March |
Wowser Cory Bernardi whinges at Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares
Based on an article from News.com.au
Australia's Federal Parliament will be asked to investigate swearing on TV after the strong language in Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares .
Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay used the word 'fuck' more than 80 times in an episode shown at 8.30pm
Not so Liberal Cory Bernardi will introduce a motion in the Senate today calling for a study of the effectiveness of the broadcasting code of conduct.
He said it was prompted by Ramsay's use of the word 'cunt' in an episode
shown at 9.30pm earlier this month.
This was not a live show, so the station had censorship control. Channel 9 had the opportunity to beep out the word before putting it to air, Senator Bernardi said. The word used is grossly offensive
to mainstream Australia. There is no justification for the use of such language in the public arena, particularly by our free-to-air broadcasters. It is concerning that the acceptance of profanity is such that a television station deems it appropriate
for such offensive language to be aired, let alone relatively early."
Senator Bernardi said he was not a wowser: I like the show ...BUT... I recoil at the swearing because I think, 'Is this necessary? '
chief classification officer Richard Lyle said Ramsay's use of the f-word was indicative of the high-stress environment in restaurant kitchens, and in another context might be bleeped out.
He said this was an example of one arm of Government not
talking to the other, as the Office of Film and Literature Classification had rated the episodes M months ago. I was surprised Corey Bernardi wouldn't have checked with the OFLC, which viewed series one and The F-Word (another
Ramsay program) and passed both as M with consumer advice of moderate course language.
There were only two or three complaints when it was airing at 9.30pm and a total of 60 since it went to 8.30pm and more people started tuning in."
Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares was the No.1 program of the night last Thursday.
|7th March |
Michael Atkinson is vetoing adult games rating
See full article from News.com.au
South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson was cut off by interruptions in State Parliament while arguing against an R18+ classification for games.
Atkinson is the most vocal opponent to a R18+ classification for games, which cannot be
introduced without the agreement of all state and Commonwealth attorneys-general.
During the speech, Atkinson began to describe five games that had been banned in Australia. As he was describing drug use in the game Narc , he was cut off
by raucous interjections and returned to his seat.
Atkinson said: I have consistently opposed an R18+ classification for computer games. I am concerned about the harm of high-impact (particularly violent) computer games to children. Games may
pose a far greater problem than other media – particularly films – because their interactive nature could exacerbate their impact. The risk of interactivity on players of computer games with highly violent content is increased aggressive behaviour.
I do not want children to be able to get their hands on R18+ games easily. I understand that the lack of an R18+ classification denies some adults the chance to play some games, however, the need to keep potentially harmful material away from
children is far more important.
Proponents for the classification say the latest technology allows gaming platforms and computers to be programmed to allow parental locks. Today’s children are far more technologically savvy than their
parents. It’s laughable to suggest that they couldn’t find ways around parental locks if R18+ games were in the home.
I have mentioned that, despite there being thousands of computer games available to consumers, only a handful are banned. I want
to give some examples of games refused classification in Australia because I’m certain that fair-minded people would not want the kind of content in them to be available to children.
- Blitz: The League
- Reservoir Dogs
- 50 Cent: Bulletproof
- Getting Up: Contents Under Pressure
I contest any idea that it is necessary for games to include material of this kind and that a game is more interesting to an adult because it contains extreme violence, explicit sexual material, instruction in crime or characters using illicit
drugs. I remain firmly opposed to changing the classifications of computer games to allow an R-rating for games with such content.
This is a carefully considered position I have held for six years and other attorneys-general around Australia may
now be coming to the same view. There are not adequate safeguards that can properly protect our children from those disturbing scenes and I know how computer-literate they are. Like other parents in Australia, I want to try to protect children from being
able to access computer-generated pornography and violence.
I have not been persuaded by arguments for an R18+ classification for computer games and I will continue to oppose it.
|5th March |
Australia bans gay erotic film from festival
See full article from MCV
The Melbourne Queer Film Festival (MQFF) has had to cancel a film presentation due to government censorship, following a decision by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) to deny exemption from classification for the shorts package, The Erotic Films of Peter de Rome.
The MQFF is terribly disappointed not to be able to show Melbourne audiences the Peter de Rome shorts compilation, Festival Director Lisa Daniel said in a statement: It provided a fascinating contrast with contemporary gay erotic
cinema, and De Rome’s art-house influence was obvious and inspiring.
A spokesperson from the OFLC told MCV she did not have specific information on why De Rome’s films had been denied exemption.
full review from Chicago Free Press
The Erotic Films Of Peter De Rome
Directed by Peter De Rome
From 1969 to 1972, amateur filmmaker Peter De Rome crafted eight highly stylized 8mm sex films, mainly for his own amusement, which now remains one of the most highly regarded gay art films of its day.
A few highlights:
- Hot Pants: A naked black man gyrates to a jazz soundtrack, then masturbates to climax. The camera stays fixed on his bouncing genitals, abstracting them from the whole man, for an effect that is both funny and slightly hypnotic.
- The Second Coming
: A naked man bound Christ-like on a cross is presented in various states of arousal. His hands are restrained and he cannot touch his penis, the “punishment” for his desire.
- Underground : The most daring film in the collection. Two
men on a New York subway car cruise, strip and have sex. DeRome shot this film on an in-service moving train, creating a real fear of discovery that radiates off the men.
Bijou Video released the collection on DVD in 2007.
|3rd March |
Nonsense In, Nonsense Out: Australian bishops rants about video games
Why do nutter leaders think they are qualified to impose their nonsense based views on other people? They should stick to advising followers of their own
See full article from CathNews
Auxiliary Bishop of Sydney Julian Porteous says desensitisation to violence or sexual imagery does not promote the dignity of the human person and is not in the best interest of society.
While Bishop Porteous believes the causes of violence and
crime in society is a very complex problem, the problem should not be compounded by video games that numb our natural repulsion to violence, he told The Catholic Weekly.
In regard to sexually explicit games, it reduces women in
particular to mere objects of instant self gratification, Bishop Porteous said: We know from psychological research that exposure to violent video games can desensitise people to real-life violence .
|27th February |
Australia shows signs of SLOWLY growing up
Adult classification for games will be raised at the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) on March 28th.
But a spokesperson for Michael Atkinson, the South Australian Attorney General, has confirmed that he will maintain his
long-running opposition to the proposed system.
The attorney-general remains very firmly opposed to introducing an R rating for computer games in Australia, the spokesperson said.
Minister Atkinson would not consider an 18+ rating
even if there were measures to protect children from being exposed to adult content, the spokesperson said: He doubts whether any safeguards could be put in place to deter young people, who after all (are) the most computer literate and savvy in our
society, from being able to access material.
F rom CNET News
While various Australian media outlets are reporting today that a change is soon to come, a decision to introduce an R18+ rating down under
still looks like it is months to years away from actually happening.
For an R18+ rating to be introduced, all of Australia's State Attorneys-General and the Federal Minister for Home Affairs would have to agree on the change before it can be
passed into law. But a spokesperson for the Home Affairs Minister, Bob Debus, said no decision should be expected to come from the March 28 meeting.
According to the Minister's spokesperson, in a 2005 SCAG meeting it was agreed that the Victorian
Government would research the issue of an R18+ rating in Australia further. The SCAG meeting on the March 28, 2008 is simply a chance for that research to be tabled, the spokesperson said.
Usually those things move pretty slowly at those
meetings. It can take years for things to get through. I would imagine Victoria would just present these materials and the states would go away and have another think about it until the next meeting, the spokesperson said
|27th February |
Obscene Machines too adult for Australian TV
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found SBS breached its codes of practice by showing British documentary Obscene Machines in April last year.
The broadcasting regulator, which investigated the program after
receiving a complaint from a viewer, found the show was too extreme for its MA15+ classification.
One 2-˝-minute segment features close-up shots of a naked woman apparently being penetrated by a mechanical dildo.
Another segment focuses
on an elderly man's use of a life-like sex doll called Emma, modelled on his 18-year-old ex-wife.
ACMA rejected SBS's argument that a large proportion of the program dealt with the sexual activities of the old and disabled and was informational:
ACMA considers that the treatment of the subject matter in Obscene Machines is adult in nature and is therefore unsuitable for ordinary 15-year-old audience members, the watchdog said in its report.
SBS said it would not screen the program
|26th February |
800 more URLs adding to Australia's website blocking list
See full article from Online Casinos
Without a public fuss, an Australian federal government agency is quietly blacklisting web pages
Australian IT reports that an Australian federal government agency has built a blacklist of illegal online gambling sites that has caught some
industry players off guard.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has produced a blacklist of around 800 hundred web pages, not websites, deemed 'unsuitable for public consumption.'
ACMA sends the list to internet service
providers and content filtering companies so they can update their list of banned URLs.
About three months ago service providers received a list from ACMA containing illegal gambling pages they should block: We asked ACMA what was going on and
were told that these were illegal gambling websites that had been identified by the federal Government as inappropriate .
ACMA clarified that it is normal practice to distribute a single list that included prohibited online gambling pages.
However, the anomaly was due to a high number of complaints about illegal online gambling sites in October 2007 that were resolved months later.
|26th February |
Porn use does not lead to negative attitudes to women
From Live News
The Porn Report is available at
New research has revealed the majority of Australian pornography consumers are not shady perverts, but religious, monogamous men and increasingly their partners.
The Porn Report , by academics Alan McKee, Kath Albury and
Catharine Lumby delves into the Australia's pornography industry and has turned up some interesting results.
The report has found most pornography users do not have disproportionately negative attitudes towards women.
When asked questions
like Should women get equal pay for equal work? and Would I mind working for a female boss? regular pornography users did not fare any differently to non-users.
28% of pornography users are Labor voters and 24% for the Coalition,
while Greens voters (16%), Democrats (9%) and One Nation (3%) made up the numbers.
The report also found Queenslanders and West Australians consumer more porn per capita than the rest of the country.
Unsurprisingly, younger Australians
are more liberal in their views toward porn than their parents while young women and couples are increasingly carving off a section of the adult market.
|25th February |
Australia shows signs of growing up
Based on an
article from The
Adult rated video games could soon be sold in Australia after the Federal Government said it was considering updating the classification system for games to include an R18+ rating.
Unlike films, magazines and other publications, there is no adult
classification for games in Australia, so any titles that do not meet the MA15+ standard are banned from sale by the Classification Board. Any changes to the censorship regime must be agreed to by the Commonwealth and all state and territory
A spokeswoman for the Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus, confirmed the issue of whether or not to allow an R18+ classification for games would be discussed at the next Standing Committee of Attorneys-General meeting
on March 28.
The games industry has long argued that the censorship regime is unnecessarily draconian and prevents adults from making their own decisions about the type of content they consume.
Research conducted by Bond University in
Queensland for the industry body, the Interactive Entertainment Association of Australia (IEAA), found that the average age of Australian gamers is 28 and more than 50% of gamers are over 18. Another survey of 1601 Australian households, conducted by the
university in 2005, found 88% of Australians supported an R18+ classification for games.
Bond University associate professor Jeffrey Brand, who wrote the research report, said Australia was the "only developed democracy" that did not
have an adult classification for games.
He said the lack of an R18+ rating meant some games deserving of adult classification were being let through by the Classification Board as MA15+, and people who wanted to obtain banned games could easily
get them from the internet or overseas.
|22nd February |
No interest in enforcing ban on hardcore in Victoria
See full article from
A Sunday Age investigation into Victoria's adult entertainment industry has found storefront shelves heavy with tens of thousands of X-rated films, which show real depictions of sex and are illegal to sell in Australia outside the ACT and Northern
Victorian laws ban the sale of films that are X-rated, unclassified or have been refused classification because they feature images showing sexual violence, the offensive or demeaning treatment of women. What, then, do the stocked
shelves of our adult stores say about the state of those laws?
As The Sunday Age discovered, adult stores openly flout prohibitions against the sale of X-rated or unclassified films with seemingly no fear of reproach. Rows of such DVDs are
displayed brazenly on the shelves - and for ease of reference are separated into categories such as "barely legal", "golden showers" and "fetish".
At best, the law appears ineffectual - at worst, unworkable. Victoria
Police have the power to enter and search adult stores and to seize any illegal material, but police sources complain such prosecutions are typically time-consuming, protracted and ultimately unsuccessful.
On the record, Victoria Police will only
say there is no evidence of an increase in the illegal trade of X-rated or unclassified films, or films that have been refused classification.
Our investigation suggests the contrary is true. Contradictions abound not only between the law and its
enforcement, but also in the legislation as it is written. For example, while it is illegal to sell X-rated material in Victoria, there is no law against buying it, owning it or watching it here.
Tony Burke, president of the Law Institute of
Victoria, says the state's classification law is "anachronistic and ridiculous". However, he warns that the failure of police to enforce the prohibition against the sale of X-rated films could encourage wider illegality: There is a danger
that the law falls into disrepute. When the law is not enforced, it throws into doubt the whole legal system of Australia.
Victoria's leading adult store owners say they already self-censor "toxic product" such as sexually violent
material. Angelo Abela, founder of the Sexyland chain, says his stores refuse to carry films that include bondage or abhorrent pornography.
Abela, a former muffler and spa salesman, says police are simply not interested in enforcing the ban on
the sale of X-rated films. No one's come in to try to prosecute us. We have police come in and they look at what we sell and they are fine with it, he says.
Club X boss Craig Hill boasts there has never been a successful prosecution in
Victoria for the sale of X-rated films.
In 2003-04, Victoria Police recorded 152 offences for breaches of the classification law and arrested, charged or cautioned 64 people. Between 2006-07, those figures had plummeted to only 14 recorded
offences and 12 people. Indeed, a Club X employee in Melbourne, who asked not to be named, told The Sunday Age his store had not been raided by police since 1991.
Police, like the majority of our customers, are mature adults who think that
they should be able to watch what they want, when they want, Hill says.
Professor Neil Rees, chairman of the Victorian Law Reform Commission said: It is not unusual for there to be a gap between the law as written on the books and
what actually happens in practice, and that may result from changing community attitudes and the government deciding that the best approach is to sit quietly and do nothing until community attitudes evolve to a point where there might be support for some
significant change in the law.
In this community 40 or 50 years ago, we had books like Lady Chatterley's Lover banned. People would now look at this and think it absurd. And my sense is that community attitudes towards the sort of materials
available now in the adult industry are evolving, so long as possession is made by adults and not children.
The adult entertainment industry claims similarly to have the weight of public opinion carrying it forward towards possible law
reform. An ACNielsen survey commissioned by Adultshop in September 2006 found only 30% of Australian adults said they were offended by explicit erotic films. As many as three-quarters of those surveyed thought X-rated films should be legally available to
adults throughout Australia.
However, the national spokeswoman for the Australian Family Association, Angela Conway, says there is still significant opposition within the community to the sale of X-rated and unclassified films.
the Victorian Government remains silent on the issue. When asked about potential changes to the classification law, a spokeswoman for Attorney-General Rob Hulls, who has previously admitted to watching an X-rated film, simply says such issues are not
"high on the agenda".
Michael Pearce, a vice-president of Liberty Victoria, says police have rightly shifted their focus and limited resources away from the sale of X-rated material to stopping the spread of child pornography. He argues
that beyond banning child pornography, adults should be allowed to buy and sell whatever material they please: I can't see there would be any demonstrated harm coming from this.
|21st February |
Banning Aborigines from 18 rated pay TV
Based on an article from
The Australian Federal Government has taken another step in discriminating against the Northern Territory's Aboriginal communities.
The Government has introduced a bill to amend the Broadcasting Services Act with a view to preventing pay
television licensees providing channels containing R-rated programs to areas prescribed under the Commonwealth intervention.
The Indigenous Affairs Minister Jenny Macklin says it addresses concerns raised by Aboriginal people in the Little
Children Are Sacred report about the exposure of children to pornography.
The Minister says there'll be consultation with communities that want R-rated material restricted before action is taken.
The possession, control and supply of
pornography is already banned in Aboriginal communities and town camps under the emergency response legislation passed last year.
|17th February |
Low take up so Australia looks to compulsion
full article from The Sydney
The Rudd Government has branded as a failure the $85 million software filter scheme to protect young Australians from online pornography and will review its future.
Federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy is assessing the NetAlert program,
which will come under scrutiny at the Senate estimates hearings tomorrow.
The filter scheme was a central feature of the Howard Government's $189 million NetAlert program launched last August to address the perceived threat of online sexual
predators and unsavoury content to young internet users. A multimillion dollar advertising blitz followed, including a booklet delivered to every household across the nation.
It was expected 2.5 million households would take up the free
porn-blocking filters within 12 months but only 144,088 filter products have been downloaded or ordered on CD-ROM since August last year.
The Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has estimated about 29,000 of these
accessed filter products were still being used - less than 2% of the set target.
The program has clearly failed, despite over $15 million being spent in advertising to support it, Conroy said: Labor has always said that PC filtering is
not a stand-alone solution to protecting children from online dangers. The Government has a comprehensive cyber-safety plan that includes the implementation of mandatory ISP-based filtering to deliver a filtered feed to all homes, schools and public
Conroy said the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) would examine all aspects of ISP-level filtering, with a laboratory trial completed by the end of June 2008, followed by a pilot test in a real world
Opposition communications spokesman Bruce Billson said the Rudd Government was rushing to criticise the NetAlert program to set the scene for a "harebrained, half-baked policy dreamt up in the lead-up to an election": NetAlert is a program which is relatively new, as is the minister in his role, and I'm sure he would like a little more than six months or so before the public decide if he has been a failure or not.
|17th February |
Objecting to non-explicit advert for shop and exhibition
Based on an
article from Brisbane Times
An Ipswich City Councillor has called on Queensland Rail (QR) to remove a billboard advertising "live porn stars" supposedly because it is situated within 600 metres from a primary school.
The Sexpo billboard, on QR land features
headshots of a number of international adult entertainers.
It is understood no complaint has been registered with industry watchdog the Advertising Standards Bureau.
But Councillor Paul Tully said a school principal from Ipswich
complained to him about the billboard's prominence.
Tully said residents had also contacted him about another billboard advertisement for the local sex shop. He said the Maison Amour ad was also on QR land and should be taken down: (QR) won't
allow political signs on railway land, yet sexually explicit billboards are given the green light across the state .
But a QR spokesperson said the agency was unable to censor any content except for political and religious messages: QR
could face a legal challenge should it pre-judge advertising without good reason.
|16th February |
Distributors of Dark Sector consider appealing censor's ban
See full article from
UK Amazon for a release on 28th March 2008
A statement issued by D3Publisher has confirmed the Australian ban on the Dark Sector video game. It also said that the game's distributor may appeal the cemsor's ruling.
AFA Interactive, the publisher's exclusive distributor in Australia, is
considering an appeal on the decision and will not rule out the eventual launch of the title with the censor's approval.
|15th February |
Australia's censorship board bans Dark Sector
See full article from the
UK Amazon for a release on 28th March 2008
IGN Australia has just been informed that Dark Sector , the third-person action game from Digital Extremes, has been banned by Australia's censorship board.
In the game, players assume the role of Hayden Tenno, an elite black-ops agent
who has been infected by a brutal bio-weapon virus, giving him explosive combat capabilities.
In its report, the Board describe Dark Sector as a violent and sometimes gruesome game with a sinister storyline and ominous outcome. The
violence and aggression inflicted upon the protagonist is of a high level, naturalistic and not stylised at all.
The game contains violence that is high in impact and the game is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.
In the unanimous view of the Board, the impact of the game exceeds strong and as such cannot be accommodated in a MAI5+ classification.
|11th February |
Australia censor bans Xcalibur
From Refused Classification
The uncut region 0 DVD
is available at Simply Porn DVD
Pierre Woodman's hardcore version of the Arthurian legend Xcalibur: The Lords of Sex has just been banned in Australia. This is curious as back in October it was originally passed with an X18+ (Explicit Sex) rating.
Hardcore films that
attempt to tell a story are often going to have problems with out censors. In this case there are numerous sword fights which would not have fitted in well with the X18+ category where violence is forbidden.
Perhaps as an addendum to the
Refused Classification comment about violent background story lines, it is interesting to note that the hardcore version is not available in the UK either. The softcore
version was passed 18 though.
After the BBFC massively cut the award winning hardcore film Pirates , then presumably nobody has considered submitting this film, also with a violent background story.
One can only conclude that the
hardcore version of Xcalibur is also effectively banned in the UK too.
|5th February |
Slaves to Passion banned in Australia
From Refused Classification
Siren Visual Entertainment have just had another hentai DVD banned by the Classification Board.
Slaves To Passion was Refused Classification on January 24th.
A Passion for Censorship
24th February 2008
Slaves To Passion was passed R18+ after cuts
|27th January |
Tom Cruise book is selling well to Australia
From The Sydney Morning Herald see
An underground market for the new unauthorised Tom Cruise biography has sprung up on auction site eBay, with Australian buyers willing to pay a significant premium for the book.
There were dozens of auctions for Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized
Biography - many offering multiple copies - and bidders willing to pay up to $61.50. The book is available on Amazon.com for about $30, including shipping.
The book is now number one on the Amazon best-seller list.
It will not be
printed in Australia and US distributors have now said they will no longer export the book, by British author Andrew Morton, outside the US and Canada.
But eBay sellers are getting around the ban on the book by having partners make bulk retail
purchases in the US.
We've got two shipments coming, the first is 150 books," said a man selling the books on ebay, Wojtek: We're buying multiples of 100 at a time. The demand is quite substantial, we need to get in as many as we
can as quick as possible.
|21st January |
Australia pushes ahead with age verification
From ZDNet Asia see
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will introduce changes to the regulation of restricted content available online and via mobile next week, despite an overwhelming negative response from the media and industry.
intending to impose a set of guidelines to restrict access to MA15+ and R18+ content accessed through the Internet and mobile premium services under the Restricted Access Systems Declaration, putting the onus on content providers to ensure that users
accessing MA15+ and R18+ content can prove they are at least 15 or 18 years of age respectively.
The regulations will now require users to view front-end warning screens and check age verification declarations on Australian sites hosting
ACMA had requested comment from industry and individuals on the proposed changes in November, and received 26 submissions in reply from a wide range of respondents including the NSW Council for Civil Liberties (NSW CCL) and
the Internet Industry Association (IIA)
There was certainly a fair degree of criticism from industry given the political context in which the changes arose, said Peter Coroneos, IIA CEO.
One of the strongest reactions garnered
against the legislation came from Australian Consolidated Press (ACP), one of Australia's largest magazine publishers and home to men's lifestyle publications such as Zoo, FHM and Ralph, which all host MA15+ content on their associated Web sites.
We are very concerned by the proposed extension of R18+ access restrictions to MA15+ content, said Ben Heuston, ACP's digital director, in a statement submitted to ACMA late last year.
The proposed regulations appear impractical and
discriminatory...there seems no practical way of restricting this type of content to 15-17 year olds, we are not aware of an effective system working anywhere else in the world, he said.
The IIA CEO said that early drafts of the Restricted
Access Systems Declaration were unworkable for content providers and imposed unnecessary restraints on their users.
Despite the considerable negative response to ACMA's requests for comment on the legislation, Coroneos said that the
communications regulator was very cooperative in its dealings with industry.
According to Coroneos, ACMA would not have approved the legislation if discussions with industry had broken down.
|20th January |
Bishop whinges at Corpus Christi play
Based on an article from The Inquirer see
Australian nutters have condemned a play shortly to open in Sydney depicting Jesus as a gay man who is seduced by Judas. The play also features Jesus conducting a gay marriage between two apostles.
The play, named Corpus Christi , is due
to open next month as part of the city's annual Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.
A senior Sydney churchman called the play historical nonsense. It is deliberately, not innocently, offensive and they're obviously having a laugh about it, Robert Forsyth, Anglican bishop of South Sydney, was quoted saying.
The play's director Leigh Rowney, who claims to be a Christian, accepted the play would offend some Christians but said he was keen to provoke debate about Christianity.
Playwright Terrence McNally, who is gay, received death threats when
the work was performed in the United States, the Sun-Herald reported.
|20th January |
Court bid fails to get hardcore passed as R18+
From The Australian see
The recently concluded case between
retailer Adultshop.com and the Classification Review Board (CRB) was a benchmark case. Adultshop.com argued that the CRB had erred in classifying one of its films, Viva Erotica , by giving it an X18+ classification (sexually explicit nonviolent
Under Australia's national classification code a film can only be given an X18+ classification if it is likely to cause offence to a reasonable adult. Adultshop.com argued that the times had been changing since the code was written in
the early '80s and backed its case by producing a reliable ACNielsen community survey (conducted in September 2006) that showed that 70% of Australians were not offended by films containing explicit sex and that 76% actually thought that X18+ films
should be legally available to adults throughout Australia. At present all states make the sale of this product illegal.
It maintained that this majority of Australians represented the reasonable adult at law and in representing the reasonable
adult, the CRB had not only failed to produce any research of its own to refute this claim but had manifestly failed to apply community standards to its decision, which it is required to do under the federal Classification Act 1995. Indeed, the CRB was
forced to admit that the Office of Film and Literature Classification had not conducted any relevant research at all into community attitudes about X18+ films.
In rejecting the evidence of three independent experts that Adultshop.com had called
to support its view that Viva Erotica was not offensive to the reasonable adult, the CRB said that it would not accept any expert witness testimony if it contradicted the classification guidelines. No matter how learned they be or how many are involved
in a survey, we will not delegate our responsibility to make a decision on community standards to others.
The CRB was also critical of the ACNielsen community survey because it said the respondents were not shown the film about which they were
being questioned. For a start the film would probably be illegal to show to those respondents in the states, and at 98 minutes would clearly have made a standard poll impossible.
The poor intellectual grasp of the issues by the CRB did not stop
there. It also criticised the surveys put forward by Adultshop.com, saying there was no evidence that those being surveyed had ever watched a sexually explicit film and that this could cloud their judgment.
Unbelievably, Federal Court judge Peter
Jacobson agreed with the CRB and said that a large majority community opinion did not necessarily equate to the reasonable adult in the classification code. Well, what does then? The views of seven handpicked Howard appointees? Hardly. And despite the
assertions of the CRB, the classification guidelines for films conveniently exclude a definition of the reasonable adult.
The judge's decision was full of Grundyisms. He seemed obsessed with the demarcation line between R18+ and X18+, repeating
that X was only for the real thing. He ought to broaden his viewing habits by going to the local video shop and hiring a copy of the R-rated movie Nine Songs . He'll see a half-dozen very real sexual acts in that, which should really confuse him.
This court case has, for the first time, shed light on how the offensiveness test is applied to sexually explicit material in Australia. In the past, it has always been assumed that a majority needed to be offended. What the court has confirmed
is in fact the opposite: that a minority will suffice.
This means that any film containing sexually explicit scenes should be classified X18+ because there will always be a minority of reasonable Australians who will be offended by such material.
|15th January |
Church of Scientology threaten Tom Cruise biography
Based on an article from News.com.au see full article
Leading Australian book retailers have bowed to pressure from the Church of Scientology and will not stock a biography on Tom Cruise by British writer Andrew Morton. Tom Cruise: An Unauthorized Biography , due out in the US on Tuesday, is seen
by the group, which has Cruise as one of its most high-profile and loyal members, as an attack on its teachings.
Morton alleges Scientologists threatened to blackmail Nicole Kidman if she spoke out against the church after her failed 10-year
marriage to Cruise. The church has threatened legal action against Morton in the US, describing the book filled with lies.
Australian book retailer Dymocks says it will not sell the biograph: We take all accusations of defamation very
seriously and, as a result, we wonâ€™t be stocking the book ,a spokeswoman said.
Angus & Robertson spokeswoman Kate Jones said: There are certain legal issues that have occurred overseas and with all of the risks involved
we will not be stocking it .
As a consequence Pan Macmillan will not now print an Australian edition of the book Tom Cruise, An Unauthorised Biography in Australia due to legal concerns, a move that has been labelled an act of censorship.
The book won't even be published in the UK. Andrew Morton faces a hefty penalty for claims the actor is second-in-command of the Church of Scientology and comments about the conception of his young daughter, Suri. Cruise is said to vehemently deny
the claims and has enlisted lawyers to sue St Martin's Press, publishers of Tom Cruise: An Unauthorised Biography.
The book will not be published in Australia and the UK, but goes on sale in the US on January 15.
|14th January |
Widespread derision for Australia's internet filtering idea
From Computer World see
From Computer World see
Internet Service Providers (ISPs), IT managers and the Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) have slammed the federal government's national content filtering scheme and dubbed it a technically impossible token gesture.
The opt-out plan, announced
this month by Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, requires all ISPs to filter "objectionable material" from Internet traffic according to a blacklist defined by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
professionals joined the EFA and rebutted the scheme, claiming it is technically impossible and economically infeasible to implement, police and maintain ISP-level content filtering.
Meanwhile Child Wise CEO Bernadette McMenamin has clarified her position on the Federal government's plan to implement mandatory
Internet filtering at the ISP level, stating that all she wants blocked are child pornography Web sites, and nothing else.
Child Wise is an Australian charity dedicated to the protection of children.
McMenamin said she categorically
disagrees with any type of filtering that does not involve child porn or child abuse related sites: I do not support filtering pornography in general or other contentious sites. Only child pornography, as I don't believe filtering should be used to
The plans to introduce ISP level filtering to protect Australian children by the Minister for Broadband, Senator Stephen Conroy, and Family First Senator Steve Fielding, have resulted in mass outpourings of protest, such as the
NetAlarmed web site, for its vague definitions of what should be filtered.
McMenamin does not want to be lumped in the same boat as Conroy and Fielding, and believes their agenda of protecting Australian children online has been confused with her
goal of removing child pornography from the Internet.
This is where people are confusing issues on the subject of ISP filtering as opposed to keeping children safe online. ISP filtering is about removing/blocking child porn...No one should
have access to this, it simply shouldn't be there.
I think the Federal government must refine their position and focus only on child pornography because I think they are confusing the issue at the moment by being silent around what exactly they
are going to be filtering, and this is creating fear and exaggeration.
Read the full article
|13th January |
Australian censor bans Girls Gone Wild title
From Refused Classification see
The Australian censor has banned the US softcore DVD, Girls gone Wild: Spring Break Sex Riot
The uncut DVD is available at US
If it makes the censored Australians feel any better the film was also
cut in the UK. 5s were removed to avoid a a hardcore R18 rating.
Update: Passed with Cuts
20th January 2008
Passed R18+ when resubmitted with cuts
|6th January |
Lobbying the new government to ease up on porn
From The Age see
The Australian adult industry will push the new Federal Labor Government to allow legally classified X-rated DVDs to be sold or rented in Victorian sex shops.
The industry lobby wants federal laws that allow for the sale of classified X-rated
DVDs to replace Victorian and other state governments' "untenable" laws, which ban them from retail sale.
X-rated material legally classified by the Federal Government can be sold in the Australian Capital Territory (around Canberra)
and the Northern Territory but state laws ban it from retail sale in Victoria.
Victorians and buyers in other states can legally own pornography and usually obtain it by mail from Canberra. But this has led to many of the state's adult shops and
other venues importing illegal, non-censored or classified X-rated DVDs from overseas.
The legal anomaly has also opened a pirate trade in weekend markets and petrol stations for imported, non-classified DVDs that the adult industry claims
contain banned content such as violent sexual scenes.
Fiona Patten, a spokeswoman for the Eros Foundation, an adult industry lobby group, has called on Federal Home Affairs Minister Bob Debus, who is in charge of classifications, to raise the
state laws issue at the March meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG).
Patten also called on the Victorian Government to bring their censorship laws into line with federal classification laws.
Attorney-General, Rob Hulls, said many issues would be discussed at the meeting of SCAG in March, but I would be surprised if this issue was high on the agenda.
|6th January |
Criticism for Australia's internet filtering plans
From News.com.au see
The Australian Government plans to protect unwary children by blocking violence and pornography on the internet.
Yet this simple sounding initiative - barely discussed during the election - is riddled with technical, financial, moral and social
The Government's plan, overseen by Telecommunications Minister Stephen Conroy, would require internet service providers (ISPs) to block undesirable sites on computers accessed by Australians.
A seething Dr Roger Clarke,
chair of the Australian Privacy Foundation, bluntly described the proposal as "stupid and inappropriate".
He said not only was it unworkable, but it was a sinister blow to an individual's rights to use the internet without censorship:
Not only will it not work, it is quite dangerous to let the Government censor the net and take control out of the hands of parents . It is an inappropriate thing for them to be doing. Mr Conroy is like a schoolmaster playing god with the
Australian population, all because of the dominance of a moral minority.
One problem for the Government is that blocking child porn may unintentionally block acceptable sites. Another problem, according to civil libertarians, is that policing
the net should be left to parents - not a big brother-style bureaucracy.
And, if it is disingenuous to compare Labor's policy to China's malevolent control over web access to its citizens, it is equally disingenuous of Rudd's Government to claim
the issue simply relates to child pornography. There are genuine concerns that the Government - backed by morals groups like Family First - will in time extend the powers outside of their intended target area.
Also of concern is that, under the
Government's plan, users would be permitted to "opt out" of the scheme - and might therefore find themselves listed as possible deviants.
On a practical level, ISPs fear the mass blocking of sites could slow internet speeds and cost
millions of dollars to implement. The ability for download speeds to be maintained would depend on the exact number of sites blocked - it is suspected around 2000 sites could cause problems. ISPs fear a system based on key indicator words could rapidly
clog the system.
A user typing in the address would be sent to an error page or possibly - as in Scandinavia - redirected to a police page.
Crucially, the Government has not explained how such a system would be paid for or who would
monitor it or how such a system would work.
So far the industry, although eager not to be seen to be dragging their feet on child pornography, has been noticeably reticent in their response to Labor's plans.
Internet Industry Association
spokesman Peter Coroneos was keen to emphasise the work already being done by service providers in supplying free filters.
They are likely to clarify their position after ACMA runs simulated tests on a filtered network later this year. We
obviously want to know if this will have an impact on network performance, Coroneos said At the moment we don't know what the extent of it will be, what it will cost, and whether it will set a precedent for other changes. We just don't know if it