July 13th 2002

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Articles from this issue:

COVER STORY: Escaping our debt roller coaster

CANBERRA: Simon Crean's winter of discontent

BIOETHICS: Tell the truth about adult stem cells

AGRICULTURE: Sugar industry report: a mixed bag

STRAWS IN THE WIND: Victoria clones white elephant / The new boy scouts

TRADE: Globalism - an idea whose time has passed

LAW: Government approves ICC - with qualifications

Sexual misconduct in the church (letter)

Keeping couples together (letter)

"Censor" or "classify"? (letter)

ENVIRONMENT: Our future in our own hands

MEDIA: What of women traumatised by abortion?

ABC Media Watch: who judges the judges?

ABORIGINAL AFFAIRS: Mabo decision - ten years of frustration

AFRICA: Zimbabwe's agriculture, industry face meltdown

ASIA: Free trade agreements - what's in it for us?

FILM: Molokai: the story of Father Damien

BOOKS: Marriage, Health and the Professions

BOOKS: Afghanistan, Where God Only Comes to Weep, by Siba Shakib

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"Censor" or "classify"? (letter)

by Carol Phillips

News Weekly, July 13, 2002

The Office of Film and Literature Classification called for submissions last year on their Draft Guidelines, regarding videos and computer games. The 372 submissions received were analysed by a Dr Brand, and reported in a document entitled Report on the Review of Classification Guidelines 2001.

Fifty-three per cent of submissions to the OFLC were by individuals, and one third of these "sought protection of children from harmful or disturbing material", one third of these calling for "greater restriction of sex, violence, drug use and coarse language".

Those calling for lessening of restrictions - users of media materials and producers of the materials - cited principle 'a' of the Code:

(a) adults should be able to read, hear and see what they want.

Those calling for more restrictions cited principles 'b' and 'c' of the Code:

(b) minors should be protected from material likely to harm or disturb them;

(c) everyone should be protected from exposure to unsolicited material that they find offensive.

A reading of the whole Report reveals a stark contrast between those concerned about others (minors) and those focussed entirely on themselves.

In his final summary, Dr Brand uses definitions of "censor" and "classify" to maintain that the classification of films, etc, by the OFLC, should not mean the censoring of them. This now means that commercially vested interests and the consumers of pornography and related material will most probably be given yet more freedom to do their damage.

Concerned individuals can gain access to the Brand Report through OFLC on the Internet.

Carol V. Phillips,
Burswood, WA

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