Pages tagged "Chief Censor"

  • Appointment Of New Chief Censor Opportunity To Strengthen Respect For Free Speech In New Zealand

    15 June 2022


    Appointment Of New Chief Censor Opportunity To Strengthen Respect For Free Speech In New Zealand

    The Free Speech Union looks forward to working with newly appointed Chief Censor of Film and Literature, Caroline Flora. With increasing government overreach and calls for regulation of Kiwis’ speech, we call on her to embody the restraint and prudence intended for the Office of Film and Literature Classification, says Jonathan Ayling, spokesperson for the Free Speech Union.

    “The appointment of a new Chief Censor over the Office of Film and Literature Classifications is an opportunity to strengthen the deference government and state actors have for Kiwis’ free speech. Ambiguous references to ‘harm’ and ‘safety’ are not sufficient to guide the work of individuals tasked with limiting free expression.

    “We have already reached out to the new Chief Censor inviting her to sit down with our team. As New Zealand’s largest organisation dedicated to protecting and extending Kiwis’ fundamental speech rights, we are committed to engaging with her as we continue to ensure this liberty is preserved.

    “The independence of the Chief Censor is crucial for her ability to function impartially. We call on Ms. Flora to execute her role with the respect due to Kiwis’ free speech, and not with disregard for diverse or minority opinions which has become commonplace. It is unclear exactly how her previous professional experience is related to this significant role. We look forward to discussing this with her and hope still will succeed in withstanding Government intervention and other pressures over this work.

    “We look forward to her acting as a voice of reason to the Government’s follies of hate speech and censorship reform. Public engagement on issues like this has made it clear that Kiwis don’t want or need to be told what they can say.

    “We also acknowledge the work of outgoing Chief Censor, David Shanks, and the cordial relationship we had with him during his tenure as parties invested in Kiwis’ freedom of expression. We hope this new relationship with the Censor will be equally constructive and receptive.”

  • Chief Censor Must Not Bow To Political Activism

    21 March 2022


    The Free Speech Union is concerned that the Chief Censor has delayed the screening of The Kashmir Files in New Zealand and may prevent it from screening at all in our country. The Film is undoubtedly a controversial presentation of a complex issue, but the Censor's role is not to protect Kiwis from controversy, says Jonathan Ayling, Spokesperson for the Free Speech Union. 

    "Our understanding is that the Film has already been classified as R16 and that it has shown in cinemas in other liberal democratic countries with a similar classification. It appears as if the decision to delay (and possibly prevent) the film being screened in New Zealand has been driven by political activism.

    "It is crucial that any decision made by the Censor is done within his remit as outlined in the Films, Videos, and Publication Classification Act 1993, and not as a result of advocacy or to protect the political sensibilities of any community.

    "Speculation that this film could foster hate and, more importantly, violence must be taken into consideration. But the response of audiences in India should not determine the ability for Kiwi audiences to engage with this content.

    "We are grateful for Act and National MPs for raising concerns about this and we have written to Labour, Green, and Maori Party MPs to make sure they are aware of the serious issues and able to comment if they wish.

    "We have also written to the Chief Censor to ensure that the information we have is correct and to share our deep concerns about the possibility that his office is being politicised or bullied. We remain committed to our mission to fight for, protect and expand New Zealanders’ rights to freedom of speech."

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