Media Release: Monday, April 16, 2007

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) today renewed its call for better Office of Film and Literature Classification guidelines in the wake of the censorship body’s decision to give a PG rating to a DVD inciting people to hatred and martyrdom.

ACL Managing Director Jim Wallace said the OFLC’s failure to get even a commonsense decision right highlighted a significant problem with the guidelines and the way they are being interpreted.

“I welcome the Federal Government’s move to get this outrageous decision reviewed by the Classification Review Board and to push the States to ban this type of material altogether,” Mr Wallace said.

“However it is of major concern that the OFLC would give this type of material a rating which indicates it is suitable to be watched by children.

“This example highlights once again just how loose the guidelines are and how poorly they are being interpreted. The OFLC is making too many decisions which are totally out of touch with community values, with seemingly no thought to the social and even criminal problems this could lead to.”

Mr Wallace said that, as a starting point, the OFLC’s guidelines should be amended to remove loopholes that allow classifiers too much latitude. “To have guidelines that say ‘no - unless it has artistic merit,’ is really to have no guidelines,” said Mr Wallace.

Mr Wallace said that a media report today which said the OFLC had likened the content of the DVDs to the ‘fire and brimstone sermons’ of Christian evangelists was bordering on the offensive.

“Christian evangelists don’t urge people to commit acts of terrorism or encourage children to be martyrs. Any comparison is totally ludicrous and shows a lack of understanding of the real issues involved,” Mr Wallace said.

Contact: Glynis Quinlan