Danny Yee >> Internet Censorship in Australia >> the OFLC

Australian Film Censorship Protest
November 2002

2SER journalist interviewing Tony Pitman
To protest against Australia's film censorship regime, Tony Pitman ("Freedom International") organised to sell banned videos outside the offices of the Office of Film and Literature Classification.

There was not a huge crowd. The event was planned thinking the OFLC was still in Elizabeth St, which would have been rather busy on a Monday lunchtime, but the Surry Hills backstreet which hosts the OFLC's new headquarters was quiet.

Still, people from several radio stations turned up; they took turns interviewing Tony before the actual sale commenced.

"buy your BANNED VIDEOS here"
Then he opened his tray of videos for sale and started handing out flyers to the few passers by. These included workers coming in and out of the building, among whom there must have been a fair few OFLC employees, but none of them said anything.

The seven videos being sold were Salo, I Spit on Your Grave, Hustler White, Baise-Moi, and Pink Flamingos - all Refused Classification and hence banned in Australia - and two X-rated videos - illegal to sell or screen except in the Australian Capital Territory (but sold openly in adult shops across Sydney). All of them found buyers - I'd wanted a copy of Salo, but he was asking $50 for that and I didn't have enough money on me, so I ended up buying one of the X-rated videos for $5 instead.

These are all available on DVD from Amazon or other vendors: Hustler White (uk), I Spit On your Grave (uk), Salo (uk), Pink Flamingos, Baise Moi (uk).

In the absence of television cameras, Tony opted out of calling the police and being arrested. Given he was facing a potential fine of $7000, that seemed sensible to me.

This was obviously not a major event, but there should be a few stories on radio about it, which will help to raise awareness of the issue. I also gave one interview about Net censorship, using the ridiculous application of film classification guidelines to all Internet content as the starting point.

The reason this is an issue that attracts so little attention is that censorship law is so poorly enforced - one has to suspect adult shops are paying protection money to the police.

the OFLC << Internet Censorship in Australia << Danny Yee