[LINK] Classification Act changes to affect MA & R films / Net?
Fri, 18 Feb 2000 22:52:41 +1000
The Bill to amend the Classification Act, currently in the House, is
ostensibly to abolish X and introduce NVE.
On looking at this Bill more closely, it occurs to me it has the distinct
potential to affect all classifications, particularly MA and R rated films
- and thus Net content also.
The Government proposes to change the definition of "demean" in the
Glossary to the Guidelines to include: "lowers the dignity or standing of
the person or character". Senator Harradine has been demanding that and
querying OFLC Board members and A-G departmental officers about it for at
least two and half years.
The Glossary definitions are also used in applying the principles in the
National Classification Code. That requires, among other things, that the
Classification Board, in making decisions across all of the classification
categories, "take account of community concerns about ... the portrayal of
persons in a demeaning manner".
It seems inadvisable to entrust a Board who bans 'Romance' with the power
to decide that other people should be prevented from viewing material
because in their majority opinion it "lowers the dignity or standing of the
person or character". (While the existing definition seems to pretty much
enable them to do that anyway, the proposed change presumably has the
intent of increasing restrictions, else why change it.)
In addition, the expansion of definition of an "aggrieved person" appears
designed to enable groups like the three who lodged an application for
review of Lolita, and had it declined by the Review Board, to in future
have standing as aggrieved persons. The proposed change maintains a very
narrow definition, and certainly excludes ordinary members of the public.
The Bill also amends the Online Services Act to incorporate the expanded
definition of an aggrieved person.
The Bill was referred to the Senate Legal and Constitutional Legislation
Committee on 16 February 2000. The Committee will conduct an inquiry into
numerous issues relative to the Bill and will apparently call for public
submissions. See list of matters to be examined.
The Committee is due to report by 4 April 2000. Another rushed inquiry,
although not by the Committee on Community Standards/IT this time.
Nevertheless some of the members of that Committee will no doubt be
participating members on the Legal and Constitutional Legislation
I'd suggest that even people who aren't concerned about further
restrictions on consenting, adult, non-violent sexually explicit material,
take a close look at the Bill and seriously consider responding to the
forthcoming Committee inquiry. The pro-censorship lobby will be out in
force and it's not improbable that the end result will be worse than that
proposed in the current Bill.
Links to Bill, Bills Digest etc and related information at:
Irene Graham, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. PGP key on h/page.
Burning Issues: <http://www.pobox.com/~rene/>
Secretary, Electronic Frontiers Australia: <http://www.efa.org.au>