17 July 2008

Art Monthly Australia -- Child Pornography Update

This was something that I posted on previously and posed the question as to whether the photo should be considered to be child pornography. Not many comments, which is more indicative of my limited readership than the importance of the issue, however it would seem that the Classification Board in Australia has made this decision for us.

After Art Monthly Australia chose the picture for its cover as a protest on the recent seizing of images from an exhibition of Bill Henson's work in Sydney, the magazine was reported for a possible violation of the law. The Classification Board was asked for an opinion and it has now given one.

That opinion is to classify the picture with an M rating. This translates to "suitable for publication, though discretion is advised for viewers under the age of 15."

The photo in question of Olympia Nelson was taken by her mother, Pollixeni Papapetrou. Olympia's father Robert Nelson had this to say after the Classification Board came back with its decision, "I think she's feeling very happy because her argument has always been there's nothing wrong with the picture" and "the idea that it's pornographic is absurd."

It is worth noting that the Classification Board decision was not unanimous as several members arguing that the magazine should have been given a Refused Classification rating. The magazine did have additional graphic sexual images inside. A Refused Classification translates to the magazine being prohibited for sale.

At the time the politicians from all parties sensing blood in the water began circling like sharks around a defenceless surfer. The majority were jumping up and down describing the image as pornography, the sexualization of a child, the theft of Olympia's childhood, and that Art Monthly Australia should have all its public funding removed. Now that the Classification Board has issued an M rating I wonder how these same politicians feel about the Classification Board. Are we going to see a full-scale spill at the Board?

Life goes on!


Brett said...

When all sorts of ridiculous accusations are thrown about, it sometimes helps to use a dictionary.

According to Wikipedia (okay, not exactly a dictionary), "pornography is the explicit depiction of sexual subject matter with the sole intention of sexually exciting the viewer."

It's sad how the sad-saps in our society seize on things like this, when they could be focusing their energies on REAL problems.

Rob Baiton said...

Populism and following the leader does not require a dictionary (or Wikitionary)...

The cover for me is not porn. However, the images in the magazine are supposed to be a little more risque with bondage and school uniforms being the major theme.

Perhaps there is a need to distinguish between the cover and the contents of the magazine.

Brett said...

Such a lawyer! :))

Rob Baiton said...


I was wanting to say you can take the boy out of the lawyer but not the lawyer out of the boy!

But, that does not sound right, does it?