Adult shopping site supports censorship review

Online adult shopping Web site AdultShop.com has expressed its support for a review of the current censorship legislation in Western Australia.

Online adult shopping Web site AdultShop.com has expressed its support for a review of the current censorship legislation in Western Australia.

The announcement comes as debate over censorship and filtering regulations for adult content on the Internet continues on a state and national level.

Adultshop.com managing director, Malcolm Day believes that there is a "definite need to increase regulation," in both the online and offline environment in order to hinder minors from getting access to explicit adult content.

"I fully support a complete review of the Western Australian Censorship Act so that it better reflects the community standards of Western Australians. Whether such a review comes under a state or federal jurisdiction is debatable," Day said.

He added that the use of Internet filters would result in adults not having access to content that had been deemed as suitable for adult viewing by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC).

"A system must be put into place that gives adults the right to view legitimate adult content, while at the same time protecting minors and those people that may be offended by such content," he said.

Day said that the adult industry would "welcome efforts to find a solution to these issues".

However, he believes that reviewing, and making changes to the national censorship scheme would be more effective and more appropriate than introducing an independent state-based scheme.

Day said that this is primarily because Western Australian adults exhibit the same attitudes to adult content and censorship parameters as their Eastern-states counterparts.

Day said it would cost WA taxpayers around AU$20 million to introduce a state-based censorship system, together with a state based Internet filtering system.

In 2002-2003 alone, the OFLC classified 1,727 publications, 473 films for public exhibition, 654 computer games, and 3,961 videos or DVDs for sale or hire as for adults only, all of which is available in WA.

Day said that tasks presently associated with the classification of adult material are performed at a federal level. "If Western Australia were to introduce their own classification system and operate outside of this federal body, they would have to perform and fund these tasks themselves," he said.

The preference for a national approach to censorship is also supported by Internet service providers (ISPs) in WA.

"The truth is that we need an international effort. That's best co-ordinated at the federal level and international enforcement has been managed pretty well in recent years," said Michael Malone, managing director of Perth ISP iiNet.

WA's ISP body recently slammed proposals by the Opposition Liberal Party to legally force ISPs to filter the Internet for adult content.

Western Australian Internet Association (WAIA) president Richard Keeves said while ISP members abhorred "illegal and offensive content on the Internet" and provided filters to help parents shield their children from pornographic material, "it is quite another matter to require ISPs to filter everyone's Internet access, which would be costly, ineffective and provide a false sense of security to parents".

The state Liberal Party is pushing for a review of Internet filtering under its Protecting Our Children policy, despite concerns from federal counterparts that filtering is highly difficult to make work effectively.

Keeves added that with so many ISPs now being nationally-based, it would be impractical for a filtering regime to be imposed on Western Australians only.

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