(May 2003 - March 2007.) Tama's thoughts on the blogosphere, podcasting, popular culture, digital media and citizen journalism posted from a laptop computer somewhere in Perth's isolated, miniature, urban jungle ...

Conservative Reactions to Screens Large and Small

Friday, June 04, 2004
Some days, Australian politics and conservatism just makes me sad. The ABC is currently being hauled over the flames of 'family values' for airing an episode of Play School which featured a girl with two mothers. The Australian reports:
Speaking "on behalf of the majority of Australian parents", Children's Minister Larry Anthony said he was concerned the ABC was "putting out this kind of content". "When it comes to my children, when I want to explain about same-sex couples, it should be up to parents, it should be up to me, not the Australian broadcaster," Mr Anthony said. Health Minister Tony Abbott called the episode "shocking" and Communications Minister Daryl Williams has told ABC managing director Russell Balding Play School should deal only with issues "appropriate for the age of its audience". The footage, screened during the regular Through the Windows segment, showed Brenna's two mums waving and smiling while she played on a merry-go-round with her friend. According to the ABC and the show's presenters, Jay Laga'aia and Leah Vandenburg, the segment reflected part of the community, and was not about promoting lesbian families. "It's about two girls who are on a fun outing -- that's it, there is no statement," a bemused Ms Vandenberg said. Head of Children's Television Claire Henderson said the film showed one of the many types of family groups that exist in Australia today.
*sigh* Anthony and Abbott, isn't is about time some sued *you* for preventing representative numbers of single and gay & lesbian parents in children's programming?

Not to be outdone, the Office of Film and Literature Classification in Australia has given the third Harry Potter film an M15+ rating. The SMH reports:
The Australian distributor has appealed against a rating that makes Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban not recommended for anyone under 15. The M15+ rating, with advice that the movie contains horror elements, is potentially damaging for its box office compared with the PG - for Parental Guidance - for the first two movies. Managing director of Roadshow Film Distributors Joel Pearlman said yesterday that the third instalment also deserved a PG. He described the M as the toughest rating for the movie in the world.
So now parents across Australia will have to decide whether to take the Office of Film and Literature rating seriously. But if the similarly conservative US and UK ratings systems both give the film a PG rating, why on earth does our censorship board think Aussie kids are more fragile? Hmmm?


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