'The infamous Big Brother turkey slapping incident may be about to lead to a turkey of another kind – unprecedented censorship of Australian books, magazines and other media material of all kinds.
The Government plans to pass legislation in the autumn session aimed at regulating all content – including text and still images – using the film classification system as the standard.
Crikey understands that publishers would have to submit for classification all material to be delivered electronically – including book and magazine content. Any content that gained an MA or R classification would have be subject to an approved age restricted access system.
... the Government Bulletin of proposed legislation states that the Communications Legislation Amendment (Content Services) Bill would "reform the regulatory structures for non-broadcasting communications content to ensure that existing policy principles for the regulation of content are consistently applied to these new audio-visual services".
The wording suggests the law is aimed at providers of mobile telephone and internet content – and that nobody has thought through the implications for book and magazine publishers who also deliver content online.'
I wonder in passing what the implictions are for blogging, but never mind that; this has far wider and more immediate implications. If most of the Right -- even the smart ones -- didn't hold literature, the history of literature and, most of all, the study of the history of literature in complete contempt, they might understand that the words 'Fahrenheit 451' have some resonance here.
So excuse me while I go and start memorising my chosen book before they burn it. I bags Jane Eyre: 'There was no possibility of
UPDATE, MARCH 2: Dr Fiona Stewart makes a similar point in today's Crikey's 'Comments, corrections, clarifications and c*ckups' section:
'Dr Fiona Stewart writes: Re. "Publish and be censored: Coonan moves to regulate everything you see and read" (yesterday, item 1). Crikey runs Coonan as No. 1, but in the same breath seems to have missed the banning of my book on voluntary euthanasia, The Peaceful Pill Handbook? It's all the same brush, guys, what's happening? We're swamped with angry Australians who a) can't believe a book banning has happened and b) want to order the PPH – still – and can't comprehend the fact that Ruddock and Right to Life (the appellants) have ensured they cannot. The "win" has been referred to by the Australian Christian Lobby as "encouraging." Who is pulling these strings? It's been interesting answering public enquiries this week. People don't understand the word "banned"; they still think they can order the book, that they can see a loophole. Alas, no. We tell them to try Amazon. ... Australia is the ONLY country ever to ban an end of life choices information book.'