5 examples of over-censorship

Australia is a free and open country. However look at our media and advertising and you have to wonder – are we overly censored? One of the main justifications for banning commercials is the ‘reality’ that they portray or the ‘reality’ they might create. In fact most of it is fear without reason.

Take a close look at some of the recent commercials that have been banned and consider whether you agree.

Fear: Kids will start walking around the playground calling people a ‘dick’ if they don’t already. Old ladies will rediscover their love of ‘dick’. More refugees will try to seek aslyum in Australia because they love it too.

Reality: Every ‘dick’ comment is a double-entendres (except ‘dead dingo’s donger’ is very very singular) so the sexual meaning is suggested not spoken. To get it you have to know what ‘dick’ means. Then again we all do, so what’s the big deal? Dick’s bad taste (ahem) shouldn’t equate to censorship.

Fear: Woman in the workplace will be feel sexualised by men.

Reality: These women are in positions of power. The man has the lower status and is the point of ridicule. Also men often have fantasies in their head about women (at work, at the post office, at the bus stop…) which are harmless and at worst foolish.

Fear: Shows women in an oversexualised fashion and equates them with cars.
Reality: It’s not just a car. It’s a really really nice car. So it may objectify women. Or perhaps it personifies cars. The truth is if all men upped the level of care and respect for women to the level they show their beloved cars the world would be a better place already. However the 2 seconds of unsafe driving at the end could have been cut.

Fear: Imagery of suicide will lead to people on mass taking their lives just like the film ‘The Happening’. Of course if you’ve seen that film you’ll want to end it all anyway.

Reality: If you’re about to get eaten by zombies, sure go ahead and kill yourself. Also the characters are clearly computer generated so should be enough to distance all reasonable people from associating themselves with them.

Fear: Mass suicides. Again the reason stated that it involves “a realistic depiction of methods of suicide, or promotion or encouragement of suicide is material that will invariably be unsuitable for television.”
Reality: Again the suggested suicide here is not general, like the zombie ad it’s for a very specific set of circumstances, and it sounds like 85% of people in these circumstances would do it anyway. All the ad might promote is a vote by the government on whether to allow or disallow euthenasia.

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