Censorship by another name
Last Updated: 14 February 2006
"...Labeling is an attempt to prejudice attitudes and as such, it is a censor's tool.
Some find it easy and even proper, according to their ethics, to establish criteria for judging publications as objectionable. However, injustice and ignorance rather than justice and enlightenment result from such practices..."
- The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC)
- A-G Dept Review of the Classification (Waiver of Fee) Principles 2000 - Nov 2005
- EFA calls for the creation of 18+ classifications for computer games - March 2004
- OFLC Review of the Classification Guidelines for Films, Videos, Internet Content and Computer Games - Sept 2001
- OFLC Uncertain of its Censorship Powers - access to case law threatened - July 1998
- OFLC Review of the Classification Guidelines for Publications - May 1998
The Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) is the Australian government agency responsible for classifying and censoring publications (books, magazines, posters, greeting cards, etc), films, videos and computer games. Legislation in some States/Territories refers to OFLC classifications relative to permissable on-line content. Prior to 1988, the Classification Boards were known as the Censorship Boards, i.e. "classification" is newspeak for censorship. For information on the powers of the OFLC and the classification/censorship system, see the Commonwealth Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 and associated Commonwealth Regulations and information about the complementary enforcement State and Territory legislation on EFA's site. Additional information about the Australian classification system and laws is available in The State of Censorship section of the libertus.net site.
In November 2005, EFA sent a submission to the Review of the Classification (Waiver of Fee) Principles 2000 conducted by the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department. EFA considers classification fees should be waived where the applicant is a defendant in some types of criminal proceedings and that "aggrieved persons" should not be granted a fee waiver.
A Commonwealth Government plan to align label names for film and computer game classifications has gained the support of EFA. However EFA calls for the creation of 18+ classifications for computer games. An independent report commissioned by the Office of Film and Literature Classification in 2002 found strong community support for an "R" classification for computer games and recommended its introduction. See EFA's Media Release, 30 March 2004.
In August 2001, the Office of Film and Literature Classification announced a review of the classification guidelines for films, videos, Internet content and computer games and called for public submissions by 31 October 2001. For more information, see separate page.
In July 1998, the Acting Chief Censor informed EFA that the Classification Board of the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC) does not know what its powers are and does not intend to find out. This attitude threatens the rights and freedom of Australians to access case law, either by application of censorship law, or by uncertainty and intimidation. In August 1998, EFA lodged a complaint regarding the OFLC with the Commonwealth Ombudsman. Detailed information on the background and current status of the matter which concerns, in part, the Full Federal Court judgment in Michael Brown and Others v Classification Review Board (the notorious case of Rabelais - the La Trobe University student newspaper), is available on a separate page.
In May 1998, the Office of Film and Literature Classification commenced a review of the classification guidelines for publications. An exposure draft of proposed revisions was prepared for public comment. EFA submitted a detailed response to the OFLC concluding that:
"The proposed revisions to the Guidelines achieve little other than to increase the range of publications which may be banned, or made difficult for adults to select and access, on the basis of subjective opinions of members of the Classification Board/s. The Guidelines do not adequately achieve the stated purpose of informing consumers and publishers of the basis for classification decisions, nor adequately enlighten publishers and writers as to what will result in their potential imprisonment. They instead serve to further confuse and obfuscate. EFA recommends that the proposed changes to the Guidelines not be made."