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Slap In The Face For Public Standards Watchdogs

18 March 2002

In an outrageous decision, the Office of Film and Literature Classification has broadened the availability of a sexually violent film after the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards objected to its public screening. Baise-Moi (literally translated Rape Me), a French film shown only in sex cinemas in France, features torture, gang rape and brutal killing. This sexually explicit movie so appalled the Society that it appealed against the Chief Censor’s decision to allow screening to tertiary film and media study courses as well as for film society showings.

Three months later, the appeal has not only been rejected, but Baise-Moi has been reclassified as suitable for anyone over 18.

The Community Standards group was not alone in its appeal. Children’s Commissioner, Roger McLay, was "incensed" and had expressed his "grave concern… at this totally objectionable" film. And yet, the Review Board, in a unanimous decision, liberalised its distribution, describing it as "a provocative comment on the human condition".

Christian Heritage spokesperson, Margaret Burgess, wonders what sort of judgement the Review Board members exercise when they can permit such degrading rubbish to be presented as entertainment to susceptible teenagers and the general public. On what criteria do they base such illogical findings? Are they working for the public good or satisfying a minority of civil libertarians who regard any censorship as a denial of "free expression"?

In the last thirty years, the Christian standards our nation was founded on have been gradually eroded, to the point where our Prime Minister claims New Zealand is "a secular society". With lack of Christian standards, pornographic and violent films have become mainstream. At the same time, sexual violence is endemic in our communities, with the most horrific crimes being committed, some of them by teenagers. Yet the Chief Censor and his Review Board fail to see any connection between appalling sexual violence on screen and appalling sexual violence on our streets.

This latest irresponsible decision in further liberalising what sensible, concerned people had requested to be more restricted, is surely grounds for dismissing the current Review Board and appointing others with some idea of decent moral standards.


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