Response to Marcus Westbury on the Oz Internet Filter

January 22, 2010

Marcus Westbury wrote this bemoaning the Australian internet filter. See here.

Here is my response, in agreement, and further outlining and discussing the dilemma:

Hi Marcus,

I hope we all do something about this filter. I’d be more than happy to join, campaign, etc., against this filter. I am very anti censorship on anything and everything; word, image, art, photography, etc… that is not technically illegal like material involving the abuse/harm of minors and snuff movies.

One of the things on the Government blacklist that they wanted banned was The Abby Winters site run by G Media, an Aussie soft core porn site. It features 18 to 25 year old nude models. I read that founder Garion Hall was charged with producing illegal material (… it is illegal to make porn or it seems even nude erotica here in Victoria, an absurd law, I might add!) and child pornography ( probably because a model or two on his site had false ID, or he messed up in his age checking process… or who knows?). Anyway, the Abby Winters site looks to be a perfectly normal and harmless one of girls 18 and over without clothes like legions of others all over the web. Why is this site being black listed?

The link is here: http://www.abbywinters.com/portal/

I think the adding of a site like Abby Winters, whose main offense appears to be that it is erotica and made in Australia to the banned list is the thin edge of the wedge. You can see it could be applied to a vast number of legal nude sites online, including ones dealing with erotica and art.

I feel this filter is a real and tragic death for a creative, free thinking and sexually unrepressed Australia.

RE: Content of the censored material. When they say Sexual Violence be sure that they mean Sadomasochism and B&D. A lifestyle as legit as the homosexual one, in these times, I would strongly suggest. Which means any bondage, kinky or spanking text or images amongst consenting adults no matter how innocent, or even just erotica, can be banned. Even Bettie Page stills from Irving Klaw could be labeled Sexual Violence!

Here is just one blog entry from a female spanking fan who realizes her own sexuality blog could and will be banned in her own country and bemoans the situation: http://michellesspankingdiary.com/?p=157

This filter can easily be applied to imagery from the art world and to the work of people dealing in areas of transgression and sexuality. Artists whose work could be banned (…to name just a few) include: Larry Clark, Trevor Brown, the Chapman Brothers, Mapplethorpe, Helmut Newton, John Willie, Irving Klaw, Richard Kern, Suehiro Maruo, Toshio Saeki, De Sade, Lautreamont, Bataille, Sacher Masoch, et al…all deal with sexual violence in art, photo or text.

What do they mean, also, by ‘other’ criminal activity? How to grow pot or drug advice sites? Pro Grafitti sites? How to circumvent the filter? Holocaust Denial? Pro Palestinian, or pro terrorist sites like ones on Hamas, or whatever else, from this controversial political field.

The question of monitoring and regulation is another minefield.

Also, the video game bans currently in force are crazy. It’s become a major part of 18 to 50 year old culture and now its policed and restricted in a way far more draconian than film ever was. Why?

Your piece makes many salient points most important is that it can be circumvented by criminals anyway, which makes it implementation completely pointless. The need is there to action change from the arts community like they/we did to support Bill Henson. This issue is a much, much bigger one than the Henson issue, as it is a blanket ban on so much material, images and information. And it seems to be about to implemented with little fight from the arts community!

Best Regards

Richard Wolstencroft

MUFF director and Hellfire Club founder

One Response to “Response to Marcus Westbury on the Oz Internet Filter”

  1. Anyway, this is an interesting perspective on this topic. I’d love it if you updated your blog on a more regular basis! By the way, can your readers to send in topics they want to personally ask you about? Actually I have a question on this issue since I am suffering through a complicated situation with a woman I have a crush on and I am not sure how to proceed. I’d love to get your advice…or perhaps someone can recommend a book that I ought to check out?

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