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 Australia Censorship News

 2015: Jan-March



  Singing from the right hymn sheet...

Australian film censors drop the rating for Boychoir on appeal


melonfarmers icon
Link Here 12th March 2015
boychoir Boychoir is a 2014 USA drama by François Girard.
Starring Dustin Hoffman, Kathy Bates and Debra Winger. Youtube link IMDb

Summary Notes

Stet, a troubled and angry 11-year-old orphan from a small Texas town, ends up at a Boy Choir school back East after the death of his single mom. Completely out of his element, he finds himself in a battle of wills with a demanding Choir Master who recognizes a unique talent in this young boy as he pushes him to discover his creative heart and soul in music.

Boychoir has had its rating downgraded on appeal in Australia. The film has been re-classified PG (Mild bullying violence and themes) from M (Mature themes, PG-15 in US terms) by the Review Board. The Australian appeal board explains:

The National Classification Code and Classification Guidelines allows for violence and themes which are mild and justified by context. In the Classification Review Board's opinion BOYCHOIR warrants a PG classification because the violence and themes are mild in impact and justified by context.

The other classifiable elements can be accommodated within the PG classification or lower. The overall impact of the classifiable elements in the film was no higher than mild. Films classified PG may contain material which some children find confusing or upsetting and may require the guidance of parents or guardians. For this reason, PG films are not recommended for viewing by persons under 15 without guidance from parents or guardians.

Consumer advice is additional information about the main content of a film, intended to help consumers decide if they want to view this type of material. The Classification Review Board convened today in response to an application from the original applicant, Becker Film Group, to review the decision made by the Classification Board on 10 February 2015, to classify Boychoir M with the consumer advice 'Mature themes'.

For comparison:

  • UK BBFC: Rated PG for mild violence, mild bad language

 

 Update: A New Rating Game...

Australia joins the International Age Rating Coalition with view to allowing game developers to use an approved tool to rate games rather than bother the censors of the Classification Board


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See further details
Melon Farming Fresh
Link Here 10th March 2015  full story: Australian Censorship Review... Reviewing censorship law for all media

australia minister justice logo Australia will trial a new classification tool to keep pace with mobile and online games ensuring users, particularly parents, are better informed about what types of games are being played on mobile devices.

Australia has joined the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC), a partnership of government and industry content classification authorities from around the world, including the United States, Canada, Europe and Brazil. As part of this partnership, Australia is preparing to trial the use of IARC's new tool for classifying mobile and online games.

Participating online storefronts that use the IARC tool require game developers to obtain certification by completing a questionnaire about the content of their games. The IARC tool then assigns games with local classifications for each member country or region based on standards set by the relevant authorities.

The use of this tool will help keep the National Classification Scheme up to date with the pace of growth of mobile and online games. Australians who download these games through participating storefronts will soon start seeing familiar Australian classifications. Parents will also be better informed when making decisions about what their children play on their devices.

Today's announcement follows amendments made by the Government last year to the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 that allow the Minister to approve classification tools for classifying publications, films and/or computer games.

After close collaboration between the IARC and my Department over many months to ensure the tool meets Australia's requirements, I have approved the IARC classification tool for an initial 12-month trial period to begin next month.

As part of the trial, the Classification Board will audit a large number of classifications made by the IARC tool to ensure they reflect the Australian community's expectations and standards.

The Board also has the power to revoke classifications made by the IARC tool if it decides it would have given the game a different classification.

 

  Competing with the Internet...

Australia's main broadcast channels propose an earlier TV watershed


Link Here 25th February 2015

freetv australia logo An Australian trade body representing the free-to-air television industry, Free TV, has called for the local TV watershed to be set at the earlier time of 7:30pm rather than the current 8:30pm.

In fact Australia currently has a two tier system with M rated content allowed after 8:30pm and MA rated content allowed after 9pm. An M rating is an advisory 15 rating that would be called PG-15 in US terms. MA is a restricted 15 rating that allows younger viewers when accompanied by an adult that would be called 15A in UK terms.

M-rated programming includes appropriate coarse language, simulated or restrained depictions of sex and nudity and non-high-impact violence.

MA-rated programming can include very coarse language, so long as it is story-appropriate, and nudity so long as it is relevant to the storyline or program context .

The proposed set of new commercial television guidelines would allow the broadcast of M-rated material after 7.30pm and MA-rated material after 8.30pm. The new code would have to be approved by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

The proposed new code would also absorb the existing AV adult violence classification - that is, program content that depicts violence in some detail , though neither prolonged nor unduly bloody or horrific - into the MA classification.

The proposed changes are a response to the new media landscape, it says, arguing that content is now available via multiple platforms, including pay TV and the internet, out of a time zone context and, in most cases, without restrictions in place. The proposal explains:

There are now a range of other options for managing viewing, including dedicated children's channels, ubiquitous availability of parental locks and information contained in electronic program guides

Free TV is now engaging in a six-week public consultation process after which the code must be submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for registration. See further details at freetv.com.au

 

  Mister Skinnylegs...

Peppa Pig episode banned from Australian TV over fears of kids picking up 'friendly' spiders


Link Here 19th February 2015
Mister Skinnylegs Grandpa Pigs Boat An episode of Peppa Pig has been banned from Australian TV after a complaint from a single viewer.

The controversial episode entitled Mister Skinnylegs featured a friendly spider of the same name. Daddy Pig is seen picking up the spider by its thread within the episode, gallantly informing his spouse: Don't be scared, Mummy.

The complainant contacted Australia's ABC network to say the episode was inappropriate for a Down Under audience because it said that spiders were not to be feared.

Australia has some of the most venomous spiders in the world and friendly spiders is perhaps not the best message for Australian children.

The network has already banned the episode from being broadcast again.

And if you were asking what about The Lion King, Tiger Tim and Yogi Bear...well maybe best not to go there.

 

 Update: A Damn Good Thrashing with a Feather...

Fifty Shades of Grey gets a 15 rating in Australia, but it doesn't stop Morality in Media whingeing about sexual violence


Link Here 31st January 2015
Poster Fifty Shades of Grey 2015 Sam TaylorjohnsonMedia Censorship in Australia has noted that the country's Censorship Board has awarded a 15 rating to Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Australian Classification Board gave an MA15+ rating to the film for strong sex scenes, sexual themes and nudity...

An Ma15+ means:

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.

morality in media logoMeanwhile the US Morality in Media campaign group has launched its miserable campaign against the film: 

National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) is a new name for Morality in Media (MIM). The organization ichanged its name early in 2015.

National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) has launched an aggressive national campaign against the controversial film, Fifty Shades of Grey .  NCSE's new webpage,  FiftyShadesIsAbuse.com  highlights 50 plus ways that Fifty Shades  harms and provides various actions that the public can take, including signing a  boycott petition  and joining the  #50DollarsNot50Shades  campaign, which calls on patrons to forgo the film and donate to women's shelters  instead.

Hollywood is advertising the Fifty Shades  story as an erotic love affair, but it is really about sexual abuse and violence against women, said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Hawkins noted that the public sees too much sexual abuse and violence against women in real life and urged Hollywood to take this into consideration when setting the entertainment agenda. The porn industry has poised men and women to receive the message that sexual violence is enjoyable.  Fifty Shades  models this porn message and Hollywood cashes the check, said Hawkins.

 

 Updated: Australian games censors recommend...

Hotline Miami 2, banned by the Censorship Board


Link Here 19th January 2015  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban
hotline miami 2The Australian Censorship Board has just banned the upcoming video game, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.

The censors were offended at an implied rape featured in the game. The censors wrote in a report:

In the sequence of game play footage titled Midnight Animal, the protagonist character bursts into what appears to be a movie set and explicitly kills 4 people, who collapse to the floor in a pool of copious blood, often accompanied by blood splatter. After stomping on the head of a fifth male character, he strikes a female character wearing red underwear. She is knocked to the floor and is viewed lying face down in a pool of copious blood. The male character is viewed with his pants halfway down, partially exposing his buttocks. He is viewed pinning the female down by the arms and lying on top of her thrusting, implicitly raping her (either rear entry or anally) while her legs are viewed kicking as she struggles beneath him. This visual depiction of implied sexual violence is emphasised by it being mid-screen, with a red backdrop pulsating and the remainder of the screen being surrounded by black.

The censor's rules say that games that

depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified; will be Refused Classification.

And so the game was banned.

Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

18th January 2015. See article from devolverdigital.tumblr.com

Publisher Devolver Digital and developer Dennaton Games have released a joint statement explaining that the censorship board had stretched the facts to justify their ban:

devolver logoWe are aware of the recent report published by the Australian Classification Board in regards to Hotline Miami 2 and have been in communication with them. As such, we and Dennaton Games would like to clarify a few things:

First, to clear up any possible misconceptions, the opening cinematic that was first shown in June of 2013 has not changed in any way. We also want to make clear that players are given an choice at the start of the game as to whether they wish to avoid content that alludes to sexual violence. The sequence in question is presented below in context, both after choosing the uncut version of the game and after choosing to avoid content that alludes to sexual violence.

Second, in response to the report itself, we are concerned and disappointed that a board of professionals tasked with evaluating and judging games fairly and honestly would stretch the facts to such a degree and issue a report that describes specific thrusting actions that are not simply present in the sequence in question and incorrectly portrays what was presented to them for review.

Though we have no plans to officially challenge the ruling, we stand by our developers, their creative vision for the storyline, its characters and the game and look forward to delivering Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number to fans very soon.

hotline miami videoAnd if you want to see the silly censorship for yourself than the scene causing the ban has been uploaded to youtube. See video .