No online censorship report till end of month

A report that could set in motion new law on censorship and the policing of objectionable material online is finally set to appear by the end of this month.

A report that could set in motion new law on censorship and the policing of objectionable material online is finally set to appear by the end of this month.

An inquiry into the operation of the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act was briefed last year to look at the consequences of “new technology” for the wording and application of censorship law, among other aspects. The inquiry is being conducted by the government administration select committee.

Internet body InternetNZ was not invited to make a submission, and only became aware of the exercise through Computerworld, when it was officially too late to make a submission (see InternetNZ misses e-censorship inquiry).

“We did try to get involved after you gave us the heads-up but to little avail,” says InternetNZ’s vice-president and the head of its legal committee, Rick Shera. “We are looking to make submissions when the report comes out and in the event that amended legislation is introduced”.

The report was due earlier than the end of May, but the latest delay was imposed by a late supplementary submission last month from the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards — recently prominent in the media for its successful injunctions against the showing of certain films at Auckland and Wellington Festivals.

The society’s late submission apparently had nothing to do with the electronic aspects of the inquiry but rather the need for a deputy chief censor, a post currently vacant.

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