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Classification Office Annual Report

Date: 28 November 2008

Classification Office Annual Report

The 2008 Annual Report of the Office of Film and Literature Classification was released today.

The Classification Act requires that the Office of Film and Literature Classification minimise the risk to New Zealand society caused by the unrestricted availability of publications depicting matters such as sex, horror, crime, cruelty and violence.

Each year the Office deals with publications that generate public and media interest. 2007/08 was no exception. During the past year, the Office examined and classified 2,821 publications, a 9% increase on the previous year. The Office banned 16% of the publications it classified, restricted 72%, and classified 12% as unrestricted. The largest proportion of banned material, 49%, dealt with the sexual exploitation of children.

The publications of most interest to members of the public and the media during the year were the feature film Hostel II, the digital game Grand Theft Auto IV, and book The Peaceful Pill Handbook (New Revised International Edition).

Chief Censor Bill Hastings said "the year was notable for the large increase in
submissions from the police of computer moving and non-moving images. Twice as many publications of this nature were classified objectionable as last year". As noted, the majority of these publications dealt with the sexual exploitation of children.

The Office also carries out research. This year, in a joint project with the Broadcasting Standards Authority, the Office published a study of audience perceptions of violent content in films, DVDS, TV, and on the newer entertainment platforms offered by the internet and mobile phones.

The research findings underlined the importance of the present classification system in assisting the public to make informed viewing choices. "The research demonstrates the desire of most adults to protect children and young people from exposure to material that could frighten, disturb or adversely influence their attitudes or behaviour, and that's encouraging" Mr Hastings said.
The 2008 Annual Report can be downloaded from www.censorship.govt.nz.

ENDS

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