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Let's talk about sex (and horror, crime, cruelty and violence)

Posted on 01 November 2013 by Henry

The point of this 'introductory post' is to give you a small taste of what you can expect in future in terms of content, because (like all bloggers) we want you to come back for more.

Is the title of this post trying to shamelessly get your attention? Of course it is - but it's also entirely relevant, so bear with me. Despite us being a very boring and ordinary (and spotlessly professional) public agency, providing a basic set of services to the public, our work does give us the opportunity to talk about stuff that most people find at least a little bit interesting.

A large part of what we do revolves around sex. I think it's safe to say that most people have, at some point in their lives, at least briefly thought about this topic. Some people can't stop thinking about it. Sex as represented in art or other forms of media has always interested people in one way or another.

What I find fascinating, and what some of our future posts will look into, is the 'one way or another'. Some people's interest is in the material itself - millions of people view pornographic films, images, and stories as a form of entertainment. Others are interested in the ramifications of pornography's wide availability, and they write letters to the editor or start campaigns to get rid of it. Others (a much smaller group) sit in parliaments or courtrooms around the world and decide what should or shouldn't be done about it.

Then there's an even smaller group - a group so small you could blink and miss us - that are in the business of making legal decisions about what should and shouldn't be available to people of different ages, while respecting people's fundamental rights to freedom of expression and to choose to view what they like. In our case, the New Zealand Parliament has created a legal framework outlining how this job should be done. While it's a very functional framework, it's also a bit like a trapeze on which our staff perform a balancing act every day - between protecting the public from harm, and honouring our country's commitment to freedom of speech.

These are some of the things we'll be talking about in future, but the scope of our blog is broad and various people will be contributing. In future our posts might offer advice to parents, or discuss how aspects of our classification law are applied in practice, or we might comment on something in the news. Our next posts will relate to young people's views about media content and age restrictions - because we have a stack of new research to share on the topic.

So I hope you'll stick around for the conversation. This is the point of our blog posts, and our presence on Facebook and Twitter: it's to start a conversation - because we need to know what you think if we're going to get the balance right. Like any trapeze artists, we don't want to fall off.

PS: I'll save horror, crime, cruelty and violence for another post.

Henry works in the Information Unit at the NZ Office of Film and Literature Classification. His views do not represent those of the Chief Censor or of the Classification Office. The Information Unit provides information to other staff, to the public, and to industry members - they are not involved in assigning classifications.

SEX written in wooden letter tiles


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