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19th September

 Update: Rau Grows Up...


Nice 'n' Naughty

Censorial South Australia drops opposition to an R18+ for games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

South Australia flag South Australia's Attorney General has given the greenlight to both MA15+ and R18+ classifications for games.

As reported by Indaily, John Rau has made a U-turn on his previous decision to abolish the MA15+ classification in South Australia when the new 18-rated game rating was brought in.

The Attorney General said that the recently released guidelines were stringent enough and different from the original report that he had no problem ratifying all game ratings:

The new MA15+ classification is now so different to the previous one that I no longer see an issue with it. I will, however, keep a watching brief on MA15+ games. The guidelines include much tighter requirements for every level of classifications, in particular, what constitutes MA15+.

Offsite Comment: Australian Christian Lobby have a meaningless whinge

21st September 2012. See  article from  international.to

 

17th September

 Offsite Article: Playing Games with Classification...

Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Australian gamers unimpressed by recently published R18+ guidelines that suggest that games should face more censorship restrictions than other media. By Mark Serrels, editor of Kokatu, Australia

See article from abc.net.au

 

13th September

 Update: Arbitrary Impact...


Nice 'n' Naughty

Australia releases censorship rules for R18+ games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

R18+ Australia's Classification Board has released censorship rules that will be applied to the new adult R18+ category for computer games.

As Kotaku points out, the document disappointingly makes reference to the interactive nature of computer games necessitating tighter controls than other passive media formats, a notion that has been diluted by plenty of studies over the years, and never supported by any conclusive findings. The Censor Board document says:

Interactivity is an important consideration that the Board must take into account when classifying computer games. This is because there are differences in what some sections of the community condone in relation to passive viewing or the effects passive viewing may have on the viewer (as may occur in a film) compared to actively controlling outcomes by making choices to take or not take action.

Due to the interactive nature of computer games and the active repetitive involvement of the participant, as a general rule computer games may have a higher impact than similarly themed depictions of the classifiable elements in film, and therefore greater potential for harm or detriment, particularly to minors.

Interactivity may increase the impact of some content: for example, impact may be higher where interactivity enables action such as inflicting realistically depicted injuries or death or post-mortem damage, attacking civilians or engaging in sexual activity. Greater degrees of interactivity (such as first-person gameplay compared to third-person gameplay) may also increase the impact of some content.

The word 'impact' seems to be a fudge factor that means that its up to them. 'Impact' is an arbitrary scale with an arbitrary value of 'high impact' that will get games banned. The censors then justify the ban by a meaningless justification that the violence is 'high impact'. So Australian gamers will just have to wait and see how the censors arbitrarily interpret the arbitrary rules.

 

24th August

  Go Sally Forth and Multiply...


Nice 'n' Naughty

Australian government turns down calls for censorship of outdoor ads
Link Here

australian government logo Australia's federal government has rejected recommendations from an outdoor advertising inquiry, turning down calls for greater regulation of supposedly racist or sexualised images in ads and for further restrictions on alcohol ads.

The government rejected the inquiry's recommendation that racist or sexualised images in outdoor advertising should come under new anti-discrimination legislation.

The government has also refused a recommendation that advertisers who do not follow industry codes should be named and shamed in Parliament. It said this was primarily a matter for the advertising industry body.

During the inquiry's sometimes fiery public hearings last year, several nutter groups called for more censorship of outdoor advertising. The Salvation Army said the present system of self-regulation had failed to protect the rights of children, particularly girls regarding sexualisation.

The inquiry also recommended that the Attorney-General's Department review how well the industry acts on its recommendations and impose a co-regulatory system if there was not enough improvement. The government has agreed to give advertising industry bodies until December to respond to the report and show how they have acted on the recommendations.

 

24th August

 Update: Canberra Grows Up...

First Australian state adopts law to legalise games for adults
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Australia ACT flag A while ago, the R18+ legislation for video games passed through Australia's Federal government successfully, and now it is time for each state to pass the law.

The ACT (Canberra) is the first territory to pass the R18+ law, which the ABC reports was done so with tri-partisan support, though the Canberra Liberals failed in a bid to boost the penalty for inappropriate display or distribution of material rated R18+.

Attorney General Simon Corbell has said, this is about making sure that adults are able to view and play and read what they wish as long as it does not do harm to others.

 

22nd August

  Bedaz Root Rate...

Australians given suspended jail sentences for Facebook page rating women
Link Here

Facebook logo Two men from Australia's Victoria state have been given suspended jail sentences for supposed derogatory postings on Facebook.

They had created a Facebook page which allowed users to rate the sexual prowess of women. The page in question was called Bendaz Root Rate . [ Bendaz is a name].

The two men lived in a town called Bendigo and created the page after seeing similar efforts for other towns. They ran afoul of authorities after the page was noticed and its contents found to contain derogatory commentary that mentioned people well below the age of consent.

The Bendigo Magistrate's Court today deemed the content fell under the provisions of Australia's Criminal Code that prohibit using a carriage service to offend, or publishing offensive material on an information network. The prosecutors claimed that the material could do lasting damage to those it mentioned, and was not merely embarrassing.

One the men was barred from using Facebook for two years. The men were given suspended jail sentences of 6 and 4 months.

 

19th August

 Offsite Article: Goodies: censored tapes exposed...

Link Here
A generation of children were weaned on the wholesome teatime humour of The Goodies madcap antics. Now, 30 years on, the unseen clips that Australian censors discarded on the cutting room floor have emerged for the first time.

See article from brisbanetimes.com.au

 

16th August

 Offsite Article: Fifty shades of ambiguity make porn laws a perverse joke...

Link Here
Australian censorship laws are all over the place and urgently need refining. By Jeff Sparrow

See article from smh.com.au

 

15th August

 Updated: Hanger...

Ryan Nicholson's horror just banned by the Australian film censor
Link Here

Hanger DVD Region US NTSC Hanger is a 2009 Canada horror video by Ryan Nicholson
With Debbie Rochon, Dan Ellis and Nathan Dashwood. See IMDb

The Australian Classification Board has just banned Ryan Nicholson's Hanger. It was submitted by Bounty Films, who have previously battled censors worldwide with their release of Human Centipede II . But the Australian censor was unimpressed and banned the DVD with the euphemistic 'Refused Classification' rating. Presumably the Australian censor will provide reasons for the decision at some point.

The film has never been sent to the BBFC but it would be sure to get a rough ride with scenes of sexual violence.

World Censorship Status

Australia: Banned by the Classification Board for:

  • Au 2012 Bounty DVD

UK: Never submitted for release

Germany: Hanger was released July 2009 in a severely cut and censored version for the German market. Unfortunately a torrent version of this was spread around the world and undermined the standing of the film.

US: Uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

Summary Review: New Depths

Hardcore gore from Ryan Nicholson who previously directed Gutterballs, another extreme gore video that hasn't made it to the UK.

The director describes his film as:

A horrifying tale of revenge that begins with a back-alley abortion, and ends with a bloodbath so vicious that it brings a new meaning to an eye for eye. From pimps to dealers and hookers to junkies, this film dives headfirst into the depths of human depravity.

Update: Film Censor Explains the Ban

15th August 2012. See  article from  refused-classification.com .

The Australian Film Censor explained the ban as follows:

Australian Film Classification Board The film contains depictions of explicit sexual violence and sexualised violence that are very high in impact, as well as prolonged depictions of violence which are offensive and/or have a very high degree of impact. Depictions of violence include detailed mutilation and disfigurement, viscera and shattered bone as well as blood gushes, splatter and spray.

A male character is tortured with a blow torch while two others are choked to death - one with excrement and the other with a used tampon. Sexual themes underpin the depictions of violence with pornographic footage and still images featuring full frontal nudity with genital detail and explicit sexual intercourse frequently viewed in the background.

Other scenes of violence are cut with depictions of sexual activity and/or sexualised nudity. The sexual content and sexualised context both serve to heighten the overall impact of the violence viewed throughout the film.

This content exceeds what can be accommodated within the R18+ classification and, as such, is Refused Classification.

 

10th August

  Controversial Humour...

Facebook page of racial jokes riles Australia
Link Here

Facebook logo A Facebook page filled with racial jokes about aboriginal people has been taken down, after hundreds of people campaigned to have it removed.

SBS reported on the Facebook page, which allows posts with racial memes about Indigenous people. The page was temporarily removed, before re-appearing on the site with a tag noting that the content contained controversial humour .

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy weighed into the debate, saying he thought it should be taken down.

We don't want to live by the same standards that Facebook does, Conroy said: I think it's an offence. It's been reclassified but I think it should be taken down.

Race Discrimination Commissioner Dr Helen Szoke warned the page could be a breach of the Racial Discrimination Act: [The page] potentially does insult and offend, but it probably does more than that. I think the depiction of these images on Facebook actually moves more in to vilifying.

Brisbane resident Jacinta O'Keefe started a change.org petition after a complaint to Facebook failed to result in the removal of the page: It is an openly racist page that is encouraging hate towards Aboriginal people. I find it incredible that Facebook would refuse to remove this page .

The social media site has responded to complaints with the message: After reviewing your report, we were not able to confirm that the specific page you reported violates Facebook's Statement of Rights and Responsibilities.

But the page ended up being removed anyway as of 6pm 8/8 2012.

 

8th August

  Nutter Rant...

Australian policeman sounds off about violence in games and movies
Link Here

andrew scipione New South Wales' top policeman has claimed that knife crime is soaring among youngsters supposedly because brutal video games that reward players for murder, rape and theft have made violence seem acceptable.

Police Commissioner Andrew Scipione believes young people are being desensitised by spending hours acting out deadly scenarios on their computer screens:

The thing that's concerning me is the prevalence of people who are at this stage not just prepared to carry a knife, but prepared to use it

That has increased significantly.

He said he had reached the conclusion that there was:

Nothing more potentially damaging than the sort of violence they're being exposed to, be it in movies, be it in console games they're playing.

How can it not affect you if you're a young adolescent growing up in an era where to be violent is almost praiseworthy, where you engage in virtual crime on a daily basis and many of these young people (do) for hours and hours on end.

You get rewarded for killing people, raping women, stealing money from prostitutes, driving cars crashing and killing people.

That's not going to affect the vast majority but it's only got to affect one or two and what have you got? You've got some potentially really disturbed young person out there who's got access to weapons like knives or is good with the fist, can go out there and almost live that life now in the streets of modern Australia. That's concerning.

And not once did he mention any scientific or well reasons basis for his nutter rant.

 

6th August

  Fair Comment...

Australian advert censor extends remit to reader comments on Facebook brand pages
Link Here

Facebook logo Australia's Advertising Standards Board has issued a judgment in which it said comments made by fans of a vodka brand's Facebook page were ads and must therefore comply with industry self-regulatory codes and therefore consumer protection laws. Advertisement

The ruling will force companies to vet comments posted by the public to ensure they are not sexist, racist or factually inaccurate.

Non compliant companies could be fined or publicly shamed for the comments that appear on their Facebook brand pages.

A media lawyer is warning that the Advertising Standards Board's ruling on Smirnoff's Facebook page will put the onus back on companies to be more vigilant about the nature of the comments people are posting to their company pages. John Swinson, a partner at law firm King & Wood Mallesons, said the board's ruling turned people's opinions into statements of facts .

Swinson said that if, for example, a member of the public posted a comment on Smirnoff's site that claimed it was the purest Russian vodka and would lead to success with the opposite sex and Smirnoff failed to remove it, the company could be liable on a number of counts.

Although the Advertising Standards Board dismissed the original complaint about Smirnoff, which centred on sexism, under-age drinking and obscene language, it ruled industry codes applied not only to what a company was posting on its Facebook page but to the user-generated comments that followed.

The board's determination also cited a recent case of a health company, Allergy Pathway, which was fined for allowing misleading and deceptive testimonials to remain on its Facebook and Twitter pages.

 

6th August

 Update: Slipping Down the Freedoms Table...

Ludicrous banning of porn from Australian sex shops continues
Link Here  full story: Sex Shop Raids in Australia...Police raid sex shops looking for porn

Australia: New South Wales flag A New South Wales woman has been the victim of $600 fine and put on a nine-month good behaviour bond after pleading guilty to selling or publicly exhibiting X-rated DVDs.

Lisa Mooney was charged with one count of selling or publicly exhibiting films classified X 18-plus or refused classification on June 19 after a police raid on her Armidale adult shop in May.

It was claimed in court that Ms Mooney was not aware that the films could not be sold and immediately admitted it to police.

After handing down the sentence, Magistrate Richardson said it was up to business owners to understand the laws and regulations governing their respective industries.

 

16th July

 Update: Clean Your Balls...

Australian advert censor recommends Lynx advert
Link Here  full story: Lynx Adverts...Nutters wound up by a liitle innuendo from Lynx

lynx clean your balls advert video Australia's advert censor has banned an ad for Unilever deodorant Lynx for demeaning older men, but it was cleared of degrading both sexes, racism and bad language.

The part of the ad deemed unacceptable came at end, when an old man produced two deflated medicine balls and asks, Can you help me with these saggy old balls? Nobody's played with them for years.

The ad received around 150 complaints from the public. One of the complaints to the Adverstising Standards Bureau (ASB) read:

It is smutty and filled with crude innuendo of a sexual nature. It is not clever advertising but rather immature banter akin to schoolyard talk. It has nothing to do with the advertising of the product and is totally unnecessary and demeaning to men. If the topic was woman's breasts there would be outrage. Not funny not clever just feral.

The ASB ruled that, with the exception of the depiction of the older man, the portrayals of the people in the ad were not offensive.

Update: Follow Up Press Conference

26th July 2012. See  article from  mumbrella.com.au
See video from youtube.com

Lynx responds to ad ban with fake press conference boosting the double entendre Lynx responds to ad ban with fake press conference boosting the double entendre.

In a move suggesting that a ban on Unilever's Lynx Clean Your Balls ad was a part of the company's advertising strategy from the outset, the brand has immediately launched a new video featuring an unapologetic mock press conference.

 

3rd July

 Update: Sharing European Concerns...

Australia defers consideration of ACTA ratification awaiting the outcome in Europe
Link Here

Australia flagThe Australian parliamentary Treaties Committee is recommending that ratification Of ACTA be deferred - partly because of its near-collapse in Europe.

The committee states that ACTA should not be ratified until a range of conditions, including a cost-benefit analysis, are met.

Committee chair Kelvin Thomson says, in the committee's media statement outlines concerns including: a lack of clarity in the text; insufficient protection for individuals; and ACTA's potential to shift the balance in the interpretation of copyright law, intellectual property law and patent law . He also notes the unfavourable reception that ACTA has received internationally.

Australian Film Classification Board

Australia

The Film Classification Board

The Australian state censor has responsibility for cinema, home video, video games, books and magazines.

Appeals about censorship decisions are heard by the Classification Review Board.

Film & Game Classifications

- G: (General Exhibition) These films and computer games are for general viewing.

- PG: (Parental Guidance) Contains material which some children find confusing or upsetting, and may require the guidance of parents or guardians. It is not recommended for viewing or playing by persons under 15 without guidance from parents or guardians.

- M:  (Recommended for mature audiences) Contains material that is not recommended for persons under 15 years of age.

- MA15+ (Mature Accompanied) The content is considered unsuitable for exhibition by persons under the age of 15. Persons under this age may only legally purchase or exhibit MA15+ rated content under the supervision of an adult guardian.

- R18+ (Restricted) People under 18 may not buy, rent or exhibit these films

- X18+ (Restricted) People under 18 may not buy, rent or exhibit these films. This rating applies to real sex content only

- RC (Refused Classification)Banned

Note that there is no R18+ X18+ available for games so adult games often end up getting banned much to the annoyance of gamers.

Note also that films classified as X18+ (Restricted) are banned from sale or rent in most of Australia. They can only be sold from Northern Territory and ACT (Canberra). Mail order and imports are allowed though and possession of X18+ material is legal

Publication Classifications

 - Unrestricted

- Unrestricted Mature: Not recommended for readers under 15.

- Restricted Category 1: Not available to persons under 18 years. Softcore

- Restricted Category 2 : Not available to persons under 18 years. Only to be sold in adults only shops: Hardcore

- RC: Refused Classification. Banned

Only publications that would be restricted 1 & 2 need to be submitted for censorship. There is also a scheme that magazines only need to be submitted once. Subsequent issues inherit the same rating. However later issues can be 'called in' for reassessment if anything crops up to alert the censors of changes.

Websites:
Classification Board

Melon Farmers Pages:
Australia News