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Chief Censor calls for distributors responsibility

Chief Censor calls for greater social responsibility from distributors

Chief Censor Bill Hastings is calling on music and computer game distributors to show more social responsibility when it comes to New Zealand’s censorship laws.

The Office of Film & Literature Classification’s 2001 Annual Report released today stated that while the film and video industry are familiar with the classification system, and compliance is generally good, there continues to be less compliance from the computer game and music industries.

“We would like to see more of this type of material submitted voluntarily for classification”, says Mr Hastings.

“The marketing of violence and sexual violence in audio and visual media to a wide audience continues to concern the Classification Office.”

“By submitting material voluntarily, distributors will not only be helping us to limit injury to the public – they will also avoid penalties and the loss of profits where material is marketed and then subsequently restricted.”

This year the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery in New Plymouth voluntarily submitted two paintings from its Genealogy exhibition by Steven Brower.

The Office restricted the paintings to persons 18 years of age and over, or to students enrolled in a tertiary art course, in both cases on condition that the paintings were displayed as part of that particular exhibition.

“The Govett-Brewster’s socially responsible lead should be encouraged and perhaps followed by the music industry, given the frequency with which Eminem’s albums are submitted following complaints from parents,” said Mr Hastings.

For the second year running, an Eminem album (The Marshall Mathers LP) was submitted to the Office by the Department of Internal Affairs following complaints from parents, and was classified as R18 – the same classification as last year’s Slim Shady LP.

Mr Hastings says that public participation in the censorship process is also critical.

“Public involvement is essential to ensure that classification decisions reflect the concerns of the wider community – we welcome and encourage submissions from the public.”

This year, the Office consulted the public on the classification of the movie Hannibal, as well as running the Censor For A Day programme for senior high school students in Wellington and Christchurch.


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