Media Release 27 September 2015
Family First has applied to have the classification of Into the River by Ted Dawes upheld at R14 before it is put back on shelves. They have also asked for an investigation in to the decision by the deputy chief censor to remove the previous classification made by the Board of Review. The Board of Review is meeting this week.
“Contrary to continued media commentary, Family First did not ask for the book to be banned. But we also do not believe the book should be freely available to 9 year olds, for example, as determined by the deputy chief censor,” says National Director Bob McCoskrie.
“The book previously had an R14 restriction on it for two years. Where was the furore then? There was none. It was an appropriate classification.”
“We believe that parents should be able to make informed choices about the media that their children consume. We also need to teach our children to be responsible users. There is such a thing as age-appropriate media. That means there needs to be appropriate censorship rules around ‘right time and place’, and these rules must be upheld and respected by government agencies. It is only when parents and schools have confidence in these agencies, that they can then rely on their guidelines when making decisions as to what is appropriate and what is not appropriate. Every family is different but they must be able to make informed decisions.”
“We also believe that if the decision of the deputy chief censor is upheld, it will set a dangerous precedent for similar books which parents may not want their young teenagers and pre-teens reading – especially when there are many other great books that come highly recommended for young people and which encourage them to read, without the use of highly offensive and gratuitous language and graphic sexual content,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Family First is also asking for the actions of the deputy chief censor to be investigated. The deputy chief censor, under pressure from special interest groups, has rejected the subsequent and higher ruling of the Board of Review regarding this book. We believe this to be at variance with the requirements of the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993. The decision of the Board of Review was robust. All Board members took the view (contrary to the OFLC original decision) that the book should be classified “Age Restricted” – and for good reason.
Family First’s submission is accompanied by copies of more than 400 complaints from families which were sent to the Censor’s office after they re-classified the book.
“Their desire to protect their children must also be respected.”