Family First NZ has made an additional submission regarding the re-classification of Into the River by Ted Dawe, and says that parents should be concerned by the arguments being put forward by the Chief Censor to justify making objectionable books with highly offensive language and explicit sexual content freely available without any age restriction. Copy of submission here https://www.familyfirst.org.nz/2015/09/supplementary-submission-to-the-board-of-review-into-the-river/
Complete freedom of expression is impossible in a society that also allows censorship, says the man who has singlehandedly shut down sales of teen novel Into the River.
Don Mathieson, president of the Film and Literature Board of Review, said an interim restriction order – which makes it a crime to supply, display or distribute the award-winning book – was “in the public interest”.
“I’m just applying an act of Parliament … It’s impossible to have complete 100% freedom of expression and any form of censorship of written materials and that’s the tension we all have to live with and if anybody hasn’t got the brains to see that, then, I’m sorry . . . ”
Mathieson, speaking publicly for the first time since he issued his restriction order, said he had read Into the River“sufficiently recently to have a detailed knowledge of it”.
“I can’t comment on the merits of the book. It may have considerable merit and the board will decide whether it has or not. But the question is not how good of a bit of literature it is, but how does the act apply to it?”
His ruling remains in place until the next full meeting of the Review Board, scheduled for October 2. [Read more…]
Media Law Journal – 11 September 2015: Article by Steve Price – Specialist in Media Law
A fascinating read …..Steven writes that although his article was written 10 years ago he is “inclined to think it’s relevant to the current debate about [the classification of] Into the River.”
Published in The Public Notices of The Dominion Post, Thursday 10 September 2015, B8
I hearby make this interim restriction order in respect of the publication Into the River.
I am satisfied that it is in the public interest to do so.
This order is made under section 49 of the Films, Videos, and Publication Classification Act 1993.
Family First has applied to review the current decision of the Classification Office in respect of the publication, It has made submissions in support of an additional application for an interim restriction order.
The order is in the public interest for the following reasons.
- The classification of Into The River under the Act is a matter of wide public concern, as evidenced by the volume of submissions to the Classification Office and published comments.
- The decision of the Classification Office would radically alter the decision of the Board of Review.
- It is particularly appropriate that the Board should have an opportunity to consider the publication a fresh without being inhibited in any way by any distribution occurring between now and the date of the Board’s decision.
- It is debatable, and a matter of independent public interest, whether the Chief Censor acted lawfully under section 42(3)(b) of the Act in deciding that “special circumstances” exist.
- It is highly arguable whether the Classification Office has reached the correct conclusion on the application for reconsideration before it.
- The correct classification of Into the River under the Act will operate as a semi-precedent, and will exert a significant influence upon other decisions portraying teenage sex and drug-taking.
Pursuant to section 50(2) I direct that Family First must advertise the making of this Order in a daily newspaper published in each of the following cities: Auckland, Hamilton, Wellington, Christchurch and Dunedin. It must serve notice of the making of this Order on all those persons who made submissions to the Classification Office in respect of the reconsideration of Into the River.
Dr D.L. Mathieson QC, President of the Film and Literature Board of Review.
3 September 2015
[Title of book Into the River highlighted in Italics and underlined]
New Zealand’s censorship review board has slapped an interim ban on a book for the first time since the current law was passed 22 years ago, potentially igniting a new wave of restrictions on sexually explicit books.
The president of the Film and Literature Board of Review, Dr Don Mathieson, QC, has issued the Interim Restriction Order banning the sale or distribution of Auckland author Ted Dawe’s award-winning novel for teenagers Into the River until the full board can consider whether the book should be restricted.
Family First director Bob McCoskrie, who requested the review, said the interim order – the first affecting a book under the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993 – showed people could still use the censorship system.
“Hopefully we have set a precedent and people start bringing other books to the fore that they are concerned about.”
See full story published 7/09/15:
Also see earlier story: