film & video
government agencies and online content regulation
page identifies government agencies concerned with online
Within Australia the policy framework for web censorship,
like so much relating to the internet, has four features:
squabbles between different federal and state/territory
imperative to be seen to be doing something, resulting
in what some criticise as gesture politics or digital
potemkin villages - initiatives that are packaged nicely
but do not address substantive issues
an emphasis on 'co-regulation', with much action the
responsibility of the private sector
an increasing concentration on choke-points, with pressure
on internet service providers.
Commonwealth Department of Communications, Information
Technology & the Arts (DCITA)
- which embraced the former National Office for the Information
Economy (NOIE) - concerns
itself with 'policy' questions, sharing legislative responsibility
with the Attorney-General's (A-G's)
Day to day carriage is handled by specialist bodies such
as the Australian Communications & Media Authority
the Office of Film & Literature Classification (OFLC)
- which concerns itself with ratings and has one of the
more arid government sites - and Australian Federal
The latter, understandably, have a strong ethos of digital
'stranger danger' - give us more money, more cars, more
computers to catch the villains (although their success
hitherto is uncertain, to say the least).
decisions by the OFLC and other bodies are here.
is a community awareness body established by the federal
government to educate families about managing access to
online content, research new access management technologies
and conduct "national awareness campaigns to promote
a safer Internet experience for young people." It
is based in Tasmania and includes a hotline, modelled
on the EU INHOPE initiative. There are no convincing measures
of its effectiveness.
From 1 January 2000 the Australian Broadcasting Authority
(ABA), which merged with the Australian Communications
Authority in June 2005 to form the Australian Communications
& Media Authority (ACMA),
has the power under the BSA Act to regulate internet service
providers and content hosts regarding prohibited (and
potentially prohibited) content.
ISPs are required to take "all reasonable steps"
- the nature of which is still contentious - in responding
to directions to prevent end-users accessing 'X' or 'Refused
The sharing of responsibilities at the federal level reflects
offline arrangements throughout most of Australia's history,
involving police departments, customs agencies, the post
office and the Attorney-General's departments in colonial,
state and Commonwealth governments.
The Communications Law Centre (CLC),
as the name suggests, is an Australian body concerned
with the Internet and other communications law.
The New Zealand Films, Videos & Publications Classification
Act 1993 - discussed here
- established the Office of Film & Literature Classification
as of 1 October 1994, replacing the Chief Censor of Films,
the Indecent Publications Tribunal and the Video Recordings
Authority. That office works in conjunction with the Censorship
Compliance Unit - formerly the Censorship Board - in the
Ministry of the Interior.
The New Zealand regime, similar to that in Australia,
features the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA)
established by the Broadcasting Act 1989.
There is a more detailed description of the NZ landscape
The US task
force on Tools & Strategies for Protecting
Kids From Pornography & Their Applicability to Other
Inappropriate Internet Content was established by
the National Research Council in 2000 and published a
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