Australia Censorship News

 2014: April-June

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 Offsite Article: Censorship is being outsourced to the mob...


Link Here 30th June 2014
Spiked logo Two recent cases Down Under show how dangerous Twittermobs can be. By Brendan O'Neill

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Update: Calling for a Re-ban...

Western Australian parliamentary sexualisation report recommends the re-banning of 18 rated computer games


Link Here 28th June 2014  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
Western Australia flag The Western Australian Joint Standing Committee on the Commissioner for Children and Young People recommends in its Sexualisation of Children report that the Classification Enforcement Act should prohibit the sale, supply, demonstration, possession or advertisement of R18+ video games in the state.

Under Australia's current classification system, games sold at retail need to be classified by the Australian Classification Board. The country's Federal Parliament passed legislation to create an R18+ category for video game classification last February. The new classification system, which included the new R18+ rating, came into effect across on Jan 1, 2013.

The Sexualisation of Children report, which was presented to the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council on June 26, also suggests that using minors in sexually provocative advertising in the state to be made an offence, regulating child beauty pageants and that the state monitor the recommendations of a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into sexting. Additionally, the report recommends that Western Australia should create a code of conduct to address concerns about the impact of sexually explicit music videos on minors. The committee said:

While the impact of sexualisation on children is difficult to quantitatively measure, and to distinguish from other influences in their lives, this does not mean that the issue should not be addressed. The Committee is equally aware that what is seen as a priority issue that needs substantive action by some members of society may be seen by others as normal experimentation or fun.

 

 Updated: Recommended by Australia's Film Censor...

Scott Schirmer's Found is banned


Link Here 24th May 2014
Found DVD Gavin Brown Found is a 2012 USA horror by Scott Schirmer.
Starring Gavin Brown, Ethan Philbeck and Phyllis Munro. YouTube icon IMDb

Found has been banned in Australia for reasons that will be published later.

The film has not yet been rated by the BBFC but is slated for a UK release on 29th September.

UK: BBFC details not yet available for:

  • 2014 Monster Pictures R2 DVD at UK Amazon released on 29th September 2014

Promotional Material

FOUND is a unique and supremely disturbing coming-of-age story of a boy whose big brother is a serial-killer.

Growing up is tough for Marty. His parents don't understand him and he is bullied at school. He has only his big brother to look up to...that is until he discovers his brother's chilling secret and a severed head in a sports bag at home.

FOUND unravels a gripping and gruesome story that captures what it's like to grow up in the time of VHS tapes and video nasties, as the American dream and everyday suburbia descends into a home-grown hell that will leave even the most hardened horror fan shocked by its disturbing finale.

"One of the most gut-wrenching experiences I've had in a long time" (Dark Media)
"A compelling, unique and, yes, totally sick portrait of a serial killer" (Twitch Film)
"The horror film that true genre fans have been waiting for" (HorrorNews)

Update: Reasons for ban

23rd May 2014. See  article from  refused-classification.com , thanks to MoonMetropolis

Refused-Classification has published an excellent detailed pictorial of the film censor's reason for the ban, with the summary paragraphs reading:

The film contains prolonged and detailed depictions of sexualised violence, including sexualised torture, mutilation, sexual activity with body parts and cannibalism, which result in a very high degree of impact. As such, this film exceeds what can be accommodated within the R18+ classification.

The Board notes that the film also contains depictions of nonsexual violence. These depictions of violence, which also include viscera, generous blood detail and gore, are mitigated by context and relatively unsophisticated production values to a level which can be accommodated at an R18+ classification. The scenes of sexualised violence, noted below, are more realistic and impactful, and result in a very high impact.

...Read the full article

MoonMetropolis tweets:

I'm watching it right now. There's no way it will get past UK or NZ censors either. The sexualized violence is very graphic.

It should be noted that the banned scene in question takes place in the context of a fictional film-within-a-film.

That's the only scene that the BBFC will demand cuts to. Everything else should be able to pass.

Update: A statement from the distributor

23rd May 2014. See  article from  monsterpictures.com.au

monster pictures logo It with sadness in our hearts that we must announce that Scott Schirmer's coming-of-age gore fest Found , was refused classification by Australia's Classification Board yesterday, on the 21st of May. This is the 4th feature, after Hanger , The Human Centipede II and Father's Day , to be scheduled for release in Australia by Monster Pictures that has surpassed (and brilliantly surpassed, at that) what is acceptable within Australia's existing R18+ classification.

Found has played in over 40 film festivals world-wide (including Australia's very own A Night of Horror Film Festival last year), winning 15 Best Feature and 8 Best Actor awards and has been championed by the First Lady of Horror, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, herself.

Monster Pictures will resubmit the film, with cuts, to the Classification Board next month, for a September 17th release.

For more information, you can check out our page here on monsterpictures.com.au , or you can head over to the film's official page here .

For more on the history of films refused classification in Australia, check out the excellent www.refused-classification.com

 

  Compliant Usage of Non Threatening Speech...

Australian laws against strong language in public


Link Here 24th May 2014

Australia flag Last week, Australians were asking whether education minister, Christopher Pyne, called opposition leader Bill Shorten a 'cunt' in parliament. Pyne insisted he said grub . Pyne will not be prosecuted for the alleged use of the word. But each year, thousands of Australians are charged every year so face hefty fines, and even imprisonment, for swearing.

Laws across Australia criminalise the use of supposedly offensive, obscene, indecent or abusive language in, or within hearing distance of, a public place. In Pyne's home state of South Australia, the use of abusive or insulting language in public can warrant a fine of up to $1,250 or three months' imprisonment.

From 31 March this year, New South Wales police have been able to issue $500 on the spot fines for offensive language in public. On the spot fines can also be issued in Victoria and Queensland, and in those states, people caught using obscene or abusive words can receive a sentence of up to six months' imprisonment.

Offensive language charges are much more common than you'd think. Last year, NSW police recorded more than 4,000 'offensive' language incidents. The law gives police tremendous discretion, with the leading 1959 case Worcester v Smith defining offensive as:

Such as is calculated to wound the feelings, arouse anger or resentment or disgust or outrage in the mind of a reasonable person.

So how does a judge determine whether certain words, in certain spaces are offensive?  In offensive language cases, judges tend to rehash archaic stereotypes about language and place. An example of this is the NSW supreme court case of McCormack v Langham, where the court stated that:

What might pass as inoffensive language if exchanged between footballers in an all male environment in a dressing room after a match might well offend if repeated in mixed company in a church fete .

In another case from the same year, we are informed that:

Conduct and language engaged in at a football match or on a tennis or squash court may be acceptable, or, at least, unremarkable, but offensive if engaged in during a church service or a formal social event.

 

  Jumping Ship...

Australia's film censorship appeals board to be bizarrely merged with immigration appeals boards


Link Here 14th May 2014
australia classification review board logo As part of the 2014 Federal budget, Australia's Classification Review Board will be merged with three other review tribunals.

As part of sweeping changes slated to add up to $500 million in savings, the body responsible for reviewing the ratings of games and films in Australia will be folded into a single body made up of the The Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal.

 

 Offsite Article: A Jess Franco State of Mind...


Link Here 9th May 2014
Bloody Moon DVD Olivia Pascal How Jess Franco fared at the hands of Australia's film censor

See article from robertmonell.blogspot.com.au

 

 Update: Computer Generated Film Censors...

Australian Government consider software tools to classify games and movies


Link Here 6th May 2014  full story: Australian Censorship Review... Reviewing censorship law for all media

australian government logo A proposal for computer software to be used to classify material, such as movies and video games, has hit the news in Australia. The Federal Government has proposed the development of digital tools to speed up the work of the Classification Board.

Responses to survey questions by producers or developers about the content of movies or games could be used by a computer program to recommend a classification. Members of the Classification Board would be able to change the final result if they did not agree with the software's decision.

Legal academic Lyria Bennett Moses and her colleagues at the University of NSW's Cyberspace Law and Policy Community commented that draft changes to classification law did not place enough restrictions on the use of classification tools:

At worst, there would be no human judgment applied to the necessary human judgment matters central to the classification process. A Google bot might do it.

Morality campaigners of Family Voice Australia did not believe the Government intended to use computer programs to make a classification decision. But they feared this could happen in the future, enabling pornographers to exploit the classification system by supplying incorrect information about the content of their films to censorship programs.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan told Parliament recently that a draft Bill would require any classification tools to be approved by the relevant government minister.

The Bill also provides the Classification Board with the opportunity to classify material even after it has been considered by an approved tool, if it considers that the decision is problematic. As a final protection, if there are concerns about the effectiveness of a classification tool, its approval may be suspended or revoked at any time.

The computer game industry supports the use of automated tools to help speed up long delays waiting for material to be classified. Since 1996, the Classification Board has classified an average of 745 computer games a year. But more than 57,000 games were released by Apple's App Store in 2013. It also very expensive, costing upto $2460 to have a computer game classified.

The Government  is also considering scrapping proposals for 2-D and 3-D versions of the same movie to be classified separately.

 

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