In the face of the Into the River controversy, the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 may need to be reviewed and even scrapped, according to the trade association, Booksellers NZ.
“It is clear that the processes within the 1993 Act are out of sync with modern norms where access to information, particularly books, is ubiquitous and cannot be censored by way of a single country’s laws,” says Booksellers NZ CEO, Lincoln Gould.
“Censorship cannot be applied effectively when printed books, e-books and all sorts of other reading material can be accessed online from anywhere in the world.”
The association is concerned that the current Act has established four different agencies involved in the application of the law.
“Into the River has been trundled back and forth between the Office of Film and Literature Classification and the Review Board, and the Censorship Compliance Unit of the Department of Internal Affairs must be confused as to whether or not it is enforcing a classification, a ban or nothing at all.”
Meanwhile, Booksellers NZ points out that the book, hard cover and e-version is available from many online sources around the world including a German online bookseller.
“There certainly needs to be a conversation with Government about whether the current law needs to be reviewed,” Gould says.
Booksellers NZ represents around 300 bookshops in New Zealand.