Child porn in most of 350 items banned by censors

BY SIMON WOOD
Last updated 05:00 28/12/2009

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More than 350 images, movies and books have been banned this year after being deemed objectionable to the public good.

The Office of Film and Literature classification also spent more than $4000 on counselling for staff who had to view the material.

Most of the banned images and films involved the sexual exploitation of children or objectionable sexual acts. Chief censor Bill Hastings said most had come to the office's attention from police who seized them or after requests from the courts. A small number were also received from Customs and Internal Affairs.

Potentially objectionable material was responsible for 20 per cent of items scrutinised by censors, and 77 per cent of material banned by the office was because of the exploitation of children.

Mr Hastings said viewing child pornography was the toughest part of his job. "No matter how often you see it you never, ever get used to it but it's also the most satisfying part of the job because you're cleaning up society and you know that, once this is banned, it's banned for good."

The 18 censors at the office were offered counselling to help them in their work, he said.

"[The counsellors'] job is to make the censors better censors so they're able to classify things fairly. They shouldn't be desensitised to it, but they shouldn't be super sensitised and go in wanting to ban everything automatically."

Other items banned included an instalment in the Bumfights video series, in which homeless people are paid to fight each other, copies of High Times, a magazine for marijuana growers, and Japanese horror movie Imprint, which contains a graphic sexual torture scene.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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