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Minister launches New Zealand Censorship Database


9 December 2004

Minister launches New Zealand Censorship Database

Internal Affairs Minister George Hawkins today launched The New Zealand Censorship Database, giving on-line access to details of censorship decisions made since 1916.

The database provides information about every publication classified between 1963 and 1994. It is being expanded to include records of the Video Recordings Authority (1987 to 1993) and records of the Chief Censor of Films dating back to 1916. Some of these older records are now held in handwritten form in a variety of books, binders, cards and cupboards. George Hawkins told people gathered to launch the database that censorship is about toleration.

“It’s about drawing the line between what we will tolerate in a free and democratic society, and what we will not.

"We ask the Chief Censor and his staff, people in enforcement agencies such as Internal Affairs, Customs and the Police, and the members of the Board of Film and Literature review to do the difficult job of balancing competing views. I think we can be proud of what all our agencies have achieved.

"This database will provide a foundation for informed input to decision making processes and will help interested people and organisations to be more effective in their participation."

Mr Hawkins praised the work of non-government organisations such as ECPAT, which works to protect children from sexual exploitation, including child pornography. "ECPAT, through reasoned and skilful lobbying has had a substantial impact on government policy, and I was pleased this year to be able to support its work with a further $15,000 dollar grant.

“I’m pleased to say that new laws now before Parliament will provide further protection for children from those who trade and collect images of child abuse. We are a free society. But we act to protect society from material judged to be harmful. We are a tolerant community, but we will not tolerate abuse. Those who make these judgments for us deserve our thanks and our support”.

ENDS

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