The National Symbols Officer of Australia recently wrote
to Juice Media
, producers of Rap News and Honest Government Adverts , suggesting that its "use" of Australia's coat of arms violated various Australian laws. This threat came despite the fact that Juice Media's videos are clearly satire
and no reasonable viewer could mistake them for official publications. Indeed, the coat of arms that appeared in the Honest Government Adverts
series does not even spell "Australian" correctly.
It is unfortunate that the Australian government cannot distinguish between impersonation and satire . But it is especially worrying because the government has
that would impose jail terms for impersonation of a government agency. Some laws against impersonating government officials can be appropriate (Australia, like the U.S., is seeing telephone scams from fraudsters claiming to be tax officials). But
the proposed legislation in Australia lacks sufficient safeguards. Moreover, the recent letter to Juice Media shows that the government may lack the judgment needed to apply the law fairly.
In a submission
to Parliament, Australian Lawyers for Human Rights explains that the proposed legislation is too broad. For example, the provision that imposes a 2 year sentence for impersonation of a government agency does not require any intent to deceive.
Similarly, it does not require that any actual harm was caused by the impersonation. Thus, the law could sweep in conduct outside the kind of fraud that motivates the bill.
The proposed legislation does include an exemption for "conduct engaged in solely for genuine satirical, academic or artistic purposes." But, as critics have
, this gives the government leeway to attack satire that it does not consider "genuine." Similarly, the limitation that conduct be "solely" for the purpose of satire could chill speech. Is a video produced for satirical
purposes unprotected because it was also created for the purpose of supporting advertising revenue?
Call of Duty: WWII is a 2017 US combat simulation game from Activision.
On the first submission to the Australian Censorship Board the game was passed R18 uncut for high impact violence and threat of sexual violence.
The distributors didn't want the reference to sexual violence so made cuts to the game and resubmitted it. The game was then duly passed R18+ this time for high impact violence.
asked the censor board about the original classification and the cuts.
[ Spoilers! hover or click text below]
According to the Classification Board, the original version contained a reference to sexual violence:
In one section of the game, the player controls Rosseau, a female spy, as she infiltrates a German building. While inside, she witnesses a woman as she is dragged by a Nazi soldier into a closet, against her will, screaming, You're all pigs!
Rosseau opes the closet door, as the soldier says, Leave. This is none of your business. The player is then given the option to kill the soldier or leave.
If the player chooses to leave, the player closes the door, as the soldier is heard unziping his fly and viewed advancing towards the woman. She screams, Ah! Get away from me! as Rosseau leaves.
It is implied that the soldier is going to sexually assault the woman, but at no time is the assault depicted.
The board then described how the cuts made a difference:
In the Board's opinion, the modifications to this game - which include the change of dress for the female prisoner (was in a skirt and top, now in a pants and top) and the removal of audio that implies a soldier is unzipping his pants - do not
contain any classifiable elements that alter this classification or exceed a R18+ impact level.
In the Board's opinion, the removal of the audio track means that consumer advice of threat of sexual violence is not required. Therefore, this modified computer game warrants an R18+ classification with consumer advice of high impact violence
[and] online interactivity.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle is a 2017 UK / USA action comedy adventure by Matthew Vaughn.
Starring Taron Egerton, Colin Firth and Mark Strong.
When the Kingsman headquarters are destroyed and the world is held hostage, their journey leads them to the discovery of an allied spy organization in the US called Statesman, dating back to the day they were both founded. In a new adventure that
tests their agents' strength and wits to the limit, these two elite secret organizations band together to defeat a ruthless common enemy, in order to save the world, something that's becoming a bit of a habit for Eggsy...
Cambodia has banned the movie Kingsman: The Golden Circle over its alleged negative portrayal of the country. Bok Borak, from the Ministry of Censorship Culture told The Phnom Penh Post that the film's clear reference to Cambodia as a place
where villains are based and make trouble for the world as a major point of concern.
The film chronicles British and American spy organisations teaming up in search of the secret base of a drug lord. Once they find the base, which is a temple surrounded by jungles in Cambodia, a showdown between the two sides ensues.
The manager of an Australian sex shop was aghast when she received a letter of denial. It's not just her being targeted. In fact, many businesses and employees of the adult sex industry have claimed they are suddenly being barred from banks across
Australia in a case of discrimination gone gaga.
In an eye-opening report released by Australia's adult-only industry body, The Eros Association, 16 out of 24 erotic businesses including sex shops, sex toy manufacturers and brothels reported bank discrimination.
It seems like something has happened for them to all of a sudden consider this industry high risk, Eros' general manager Rachel Payne told news.com.au.