Steven Price

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Censor right, but for the wrong reasons

Tuesday, April 30th, 2019

You probably know that the censor has banned the Christchurch mosque shooter’s manifesto. That is, he has classified it as “objectionable” under our censorship laws. So it’s an offence to possess it, even on your computer screen. Journalists, academics, or anyone else who thinks they have a proper interest, can apply for an exemption. The […]

We don’t need no stinking press regulation

Thursday, December 6th, 2012

The Herald’s lawyer, Alan Ringwood, argues that we don’t need any statutory press regulation in NZ. Don’t listen to Levenson, he says. We don’t need to go there. (Full article here). I guess it’s not a news flash that the Herald’s lawyer would oppose statutory restrictions on the Herald. But I’m interested in his argument. […]

Fifty shades unrestricted

Thursday, September 27th, 2012

The censor’s office has classified the international blockbusting romantic erotic novel, Fifty Shades of Grey, as unrestricted. That means, essentially, they’re saying that its availability is not injurious to the public good. I think it’s a sensible and thoughtful decision. But then, I would: Random House engaged me to write the submissions for them. Books like […]

How to apply the Bill of Rights

Friday, July 27th, 2012

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (in the wake of several High Court decisions, and perhaps aware of some of the criticisms I made with Claudia Geiringer) commissioned me to provide some advice on how the Bill of Rights applies to them and how they can practically integrate it into their decision-making. They have posted my paper […]

Offensive offence

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

A few years back, the censor banned this T-shirt (scroll down) depicting a masturbating woman and the words “Jesus is a cunt”. I questioned the ban. Now the retailer who sold the T-shirts has been convicted for possessing them. I note that this offence also applies to everyone who owns such a T-shirt, whether they wear it […]

Is Macsyna King being censored?

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

No doubt you’ve heard that the upcoming Ian Wishart book by Macsyna King is being boycotted by a range of bookstores. Is this censorship, as some are claiming? No. Well, not really. Censorship is usually regarded as emanating from the state. There’s no law against stocking this book. There’s no legal penalty for doing so. […]

Corrections ban on Truth surely unlawful

Thursday, June 30th, 2011

The Department of Corrections’ decision to ban the Truth from Auckland prison looks unlawful. And typical. The prison says the ban is based on the content of the paper’s coverage, not on the girly ads. It’s possible (but I would have thought very unlikely) that the ads might fall under the department’s ability to confiscate “objectionable” […]

Nothing but net?

Monday, July 13th, 2009

The NZ government and NZ ISPs are quietly working on a form of internet filtering that starts to look a bit like censorship. Read these fascinating analyses.

Queer censorship rules

Friday, May 29th, 2009

Noticed that you can’t find Queer as Folk at your local video shop? Actually, you can’t find any of these titles either. As Andrew Armitage explains, it’s because it’s too expensive to get them classified. Even if they’ve been on TV. Even if you could order them through Even if they’ve been in the […]

Books banned in New Zealand

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

The censor’s office has posted an interesting list of the books banned or restricted here since 1965. 250 books have been banned or restricted in that period. Interestingly, nearly two-thirds of those bans/restrictions have been since the passage of the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act in 1993, and nearly a third were in the period […]

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