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July 1996, Week 3


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Kate Bowles <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 17 Jul 1996 15:52:40 +1000
text/plain (54 lines)
To add a little to Jeremy's posting about this experiment:
>A few of us SCREEN-L folks have been working on real-time
>Internet-based discussions on topics of interest to film/TV educators
>and students.  We think we've come up with a workable method for doing
>this and have set a time (see below for different timezones) and a
>topic for our first "chat":
>Media Censorship
Australian members of this list will be aware that Australia is
experiencing an upheaval in censorship policy, in part provoked by the
recent shootings in Tasmania.  When the home of Martin Bryant was searched,
2000 videos were removed, which were widely reported in the media to be
"violent".  Accounts now differ, but at least one official source suggests
that they were in fact a significant personal library of Classical
Hollywood musicals and comedies ...
Nevertheless, the persistent connection of screen and actual violence means
that we are seeing the introduction of the V-chip; the possible
reclassification of violent films in MA categories into the R category; the
possible reclassification of violent R-rated films into a banned category;
and the possible overhaul of membership of the Office of Film and
Literature Classification.
In the context of this last change, the Minister for Communications and the
Arts argued recently that film and video classification should be carried
out by "parents who are simply viewers", rather than "experts and so-called
professionals" who have been made "cynical" by their exposure to "research"
-- a fairly succinct dismissal of the value of screen education.
These views have been contested, but as they speak directly to the kinds of
things that many of us are engaged in (and which therefore exclude us from
speaking into the censorship debate!), some of us feel that we would
particularly appreciate the opportunity to talk to US members of the list
on this topic.  In particular, but not exclusively:
*   Is US screen censorship policy also undergoing a shift?  Can we detect
a global trend?
*   Are things really getting worse, and is Hollywood to blame? (a common
lament here)
*   Should censorship policy distinguish between so-called art cinema and
so-called commercial cinema? (as is being argued by present and past
directors of the Sydney Film Festival)
*   How about that V-chip?
*   And what should/could be the role of screen education in all of this?
Kate Bowles
Screen Studies, University of Wollongong
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