Oz gov kicks off censorship review
A lot has changed in 20 years
For the first time in 20 years, the Australian Federal Government looks intent on updating the National Classification Scheme.
Attorney-General Robert McClelland announced that the review would be conducted by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC), which will conduct a widespread public consultation across the community and industry.
The review has been sparked by outdated classification issues in the gaming sector and will also be core to plans for a proposed national internet filter.
The ALRC has been asked to provide its final report by 30 January 2012. Issues to be considered include; revision of existing Commonwealth, State and Territory classification laws; classification categories contained in the Classification Act, Code and Guidelines; technological change; the effect of media on children and desirability of a strong content and distribution industry in Australia.
The last time the classification standards were reviewed was 20 years ago and McClelland said that review helped to develop the cooperative scheme between the Commonwealth and the States and Territories that exist today.
"Given the advances in technology and media we've seen since then, it is timely this work is undertaken,” he said.
The Minister responsible for classification, Brendan O'Connor, added: "A lot has changed in recent years. Australians now access content through the Internet and mobile phones and that poses challenges for the existing classification scheme."
The appointment of a new ALRC Commissioner to work on the review will be announced shortly.
Classification has grabbed the spotlight in 2011, with games like Mortal Kombat refused classification (making the sale of the game illegal in Australia), in turn sparking calls for the introduction of an R18+ classification for computer games.
If the Australian government succeeds in introducing its internet censorship scheme, still not a certainty given its lack of a majority in Parliament, the classification system will be importance, since the purpose of the Great Firewall of Oz would be to block RC (refused classification) content over the web. ®
Let's censor the truly destructive
They could, of course, realise that the paternalistic viewpoint inherent in censorship is destructive and outdated. Based on religion and dogma of their 'morals', their views are rejected by most people now. So maybe the best starting point for debate is to remove all censorship from the table and only add back what can be justified objectively.
It's easier to make a case for providing information - but the threat there is less to do with showing a nipple, and more to do with explicitly making it known that information you might be provided with contains lies. Rather than age related limits, what we really need is recognition that the biggest threat to society comes from lies told as fact.
Therefore politicians and murdoch would need to carry classifications of "MB" - Much Bullshit - Warning, this programme contains lies, deceit and should not be taken seriously.
And maybe we should couple that not with an age related censorship paradigm, but and IQ based one. If you are too dumb to sift bullshit from fact, you don't get exposed to the lies because you are not intellectually mature enough.
That would truly help society.
"widespread public and community consultation" means standing outside the Baptist and Pentecostal churches on Sunday asking people as they come out if they like child porn. When they say no, their answer is recorded as saying yes to censorship. That's just how this shithole of country rolls.
Nice in theory, but...
Just being in a minority won't be enough to kill the Firewall. The opposition leader, Tony Abott, and his shadow cabinet have a heavy religious bias, and would probably support it.
The only reason they might oppose it is that they tend to oppose anything the government proposes. But here I think their complaint might be that it doesn't go far enough.