The Annual Report 2009/10 of the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) has just been released to the public. It highlights how censors have sought to protect the New Zealand public from the toxic, putrid and pernicious impact of, and exposure to – hard core pornography – such as the numerous DVDs imported from the United States by companies such as Auckland-based Eden Digital Ltd, directed by American-based businessman John Malcolm Carr.
The Herald of Sunday (“Ministry targets porn mogul” Steve Crow) reported that $640,000 of sexually explicit porn DVDs were transferred to John M Carr’s Eden Digital Ltd, just prior to two of Steve Crow’s companies being put into liquidation. Titles cited by the reporter were both imported from the US where Carr resides. See: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/article.cfm?c_id=1&objectid=10674407 19 Sept. 2010.
So many DVDs that Eden Digital has imported and submitted for classification have been deemed “objectionable” (i.e. banned) – for degrading sexually explicit content – that the Society wonders why the police, in consultation with NZ Customs, have not laid charges against its director John M Carr for the importation of “objectionable” publications from the US. The OFLC considers the banning of such material “a reasonable limitation on the freedom expression” to “prevent injury to the public good”. An attempt to measure the extent to which this prevention of injury has been achieved and can be assessed acording to the OFLC by examining “the number of convictions that have resulted from publications classified as objectionable”.
However, “the utility of this measure is affected by whether or not Crown enforcement agencies decide to lay charges, by how many objectionable publications are associated with each defendant, and whether or not Courts convict, all of which is beyond the control of the Classification Office.”
The 2009/10 Annual Report states:
“Of the 504 publications classified for the Courts and enforcement agencies this year, 405 publications were classified as objectionable leading to 19 convictions. 15 cases are still pending”.
Of course sometimes convictions are not sought by police and enforcement agencies may opt to just seize publications, give warnings or offer diversion.
According to a North South Magazine feature on Porn Mogul Steve Crow, he has received 33 convictions for distributing ojectionable sexually explicit publications in New Zealand.
Now that he has been banned as a company director for four years and a number of his companies have been put into liquidation, his contribution to the attack on the public good may well abate along with with the demise of the financial health of his porn companies.