Otago University Students’ Magazine Critic Banned
From: Office of Film and Literature Classification
Date: 31 January 2006
The Office of Film and Literature Classification has banned an issue of the Otago University student magazine Critic Te Arohi because it tends to promote sexual violence and criminal activity.
The New Zealand Police submitted the magazine for classification after it was published primarily because it contained an article on how to drug and rape women written from a drug-rapist’s perspective. The Classification Office also received submissions from the magazine’s publisher, the New Zealand Drug Rape Trust, Rape Crisis Dunedin, and the Society for the Promotion of Community Standards.
The Classification office decided that the magazine is injurious to the public good because it places an instructional drug-rape article beside a positive profile of a man who makes a living by filming the extreme degradation and humiliation of women for sexual arousal.
The magazine’s editorials ask readers to think about the nature of offensiveness, the boundaries of what should be published, and claim to draw readers’ attention “to what to look out for to combat the sinister and growing trend” of drug-rape. By including an article that instead instructs in how to conceal what to look out for, the Classification Office found that these claims lacked credibility.
“The magazine asks the reader to find humour in its demeaning descriptions of women and its matter-of-fact references to raping them,” said Chief Censor Bill Hastings. “Because it contains no articles written from the victim’s perspective to balance those from the perpetrator’s perspective,” said Hastings, “this issue of Critic is distinctly uncritical of, and indeed tends to promote, the very criminal activities it purports to challenge.”
“The magazine’s claimed ‘theme of offensiveness’ never discusses the nature of offensiveness, and does not acknowledge the ability of articles appearing to endorse sexual violence and misogyny to cause injury to the public good,” added Hastings.