Calling bullshit on the New Zealand chief censor

David Shanks, New Zealand’s “chief censor”, has an op-ed in the Daily Telegraph. Sounds like he has a tough job.

I’ve never seen so many film festival movies as I did in my first year, watching them at a cinema that had been opened specially for myself and one of my team.

To be fair – I’m sure there are not-so-good parts to his job too.

On the other hand, my staff and I have to classify material sent to us by law enforcement. This is the dark side. This can be dreadful child sexual abuse images, or harrowing rape clips. And other things, things that some people would find even more damaging to watch.

Yep. I get that. But why show it to the censors? Just show it to the jury. What he is describing is criminal behaviour.

To be clear, however, this person is not a volunteer. He is paid a salary.

Here he is talking about the Christchurch massacre that was live-streamed to the world.

As I watched, I knew that Facebook, Google and others were fighting a desperate battle to take this off their platforms, as more and more versions of it mutated and spread. Over a million attempted uploads had been blocked by Facebook by the time I saw it. Nobody can tell me how many versions got through and were viewed, but I suspect it was viewed by hundreds of thousands of people, in New Zealand alone.

Let’s do that again:

… I knew that Facebook, Google and others were fighting a desperate battle to take this off their platforms, as more and more versions of it mutated and spread. Over a million attempted uploads had been blocked by Facebook by the time I saw it.

Hmm. So who are the wrong-doers here?

Even so, I do not underestimate the size of the challenge ahead in driving the digital industrial complex towards a new, transparent and accountable way of managing and monitoring their platforms.

The very people he knows “were fighting a desperate battle to take this off their platforms”.  All of a sudden they are the “digital industrial complex” needing to be driven to greater levels of transparency and accountability.

So what else does he say?

I signed up for this. But I didn’t know what to say to the Muslim man who asked me with tears in his eyes about what he should say to his 9 year old boy, his child, who had accidentally watched this on a social media news feed.

How about, “What are you thinking having your 9 year old with unsupervised access to social media?”

Then:

Completely unrestricted freedom of speech tends to be weaponised by terrorists and despots, who have no compunction about depriving you of your rights. History tells us this.

Perhaps some examples would clarify that statement.

Okay. I’m very sadly aware that censorship is a popular policy and no doubt many voters believe we should have more censorship and not less. Nonetheless it is very annoying that censors have licence to insult our intelligence.

This entry was posted in Freedom of speech, Hypocrisy of progressives, Oppressive government, Rule of law, Take Nanny down, Taking out the trash. Bookmark the permalink.

55 Responses to Calling bullshit on the New Zealand chief censor

  1. stackja

    Completely unrestricted freedom of speech tends to be weaponised by terrorists and despots, who have no compunction about depriving you of your rights. History tells us this.

    We need someone to protect us from free speech? Maybe Shanks?

  2. Frank

    driving the digital industrial complex

    Sounds like the words of an overwrought zealot to me.

    He sure does manage to touch the usual manipulative bases though doesn’t he. Weeping muslim father with child that has been defiled by access to social media before a segue into terrorists and despots if he doesn’t get what he wants. Won’t someone think of the children!

    They think they are clever for doing it too.

  3. Frank

    driving the digital industrial complex

    Sounds like the words of an overwrought zealot to me.

    He sure does manage to touch the usual manipulative bases though doesn’t he. Weeping `m* slim’ father with child that has been defiled by access to social media before a segue into terrorists and despots if he doesn’t get what he wants. Won’t someone think of the children!

    They think they are clever for doing it too.

    Catallaxy moderation for banned words again.

  4. C.L.

    Completely unrestricted freedom of speech tends to be weaponised by terrorists and despots, who have no compunction about depriving you of your rights. History tells us this.

    There were despots in the past who let people say and write and publish whatever they liked in order to deprive them of their rights?

    If he is saying that “terrorists and despots” point to free speech as evidence of nihilistic/Godless decadence and successfully recruit disciples accordingly, two questions suggest themselves: 1) is not the curative, preemptive restriction of free speech an act of capitulation to those terrorists and despots? And 2) how are the prohibitionists (backed up monopolised state violence) not “terrorists and despots” themselves?

    Ergo: is it not safer and more sensible to protect free speech (at all costs) than to police it?

    The answer from history is clear: yes.

  5. procrustes

    Sinc, you’re talking bollocks. The Chief Censor has a very important job to do. The Chief Censor, ably assisted by their Deputy Chief Censors and First Assistant Chief Censors, are best placed to save us from the depXXXXXXX of and the XXXXXXXXXey of the XXXXXXXXX and XXXXXX by the XXXXXXXX with a melon.

  6. stackja

    Meanwhile:

    Taxpayer funded website The Conversation refuses to publish “climate change deniers” comments
    Wednesday, 18 September 2019
    “The Conversation” is a website funded by taxpayers through various universities and tax-free foundations – funders/partners.

    At The Conversation Australia we’ve recently vowed to improve our climate change coverage, and part of that means moderating comments with a similar degree of rigour.

    Once upon a time, we might have viewed climate sceptics as merely frustrating. We relied on other commenters and authors to rebut sceptics and deniers, which often lead to endless back and forth.

    But it’s 2019, and now we know better. Climate change deniers, and those shamelessly peddling pseudoscience and misinformation, are perpetuating ideas that will ultimately destroy the planet. As a publisher, giving them a voice on our site contributes to a stalled public discourse.

    That’s why the editorial team in Australia is implementing a zero-tolerance approach to moderating climate change deniers, and sceptics. Not only will we be removing their comments, we’ll be locking their accounts.

    We believe conversations are integral to sharing knowledge, but those who are fixated on dodgy ideas in the face of decades of peer-reviewed science are nothing but dangerous.

    It is counter productive to present the evidence and then immediately undermine it by giving space to trolls. The hopeless debates between those with evidence and those who fabricate simply stalls action.

    As a reader, author or commenter, we need your help. If you see something that is misinformation, please don’t engage, simply report it.

  7. Arky

    If some arsehole tortured and murdered your wife and child, and filmed it, what would you want done with the footage?
    Restricted in any way?
    Or up on Youtube along with comments from 14 yo idiots?

  8. Zyconoclast

    Sounds like a Brazilian TV series Magnifica 70 where the censor has to watch p0rn to see if there was any communist propaganda.
    The censor ends up falling in love with the p0rn actress and he even starts directing p0rn movies.

  9. BrettW

    Sinclair,

    I think you will find it is the censors job to classify the material as offensive and contrary to the standards of whichever country. Otherwise it is would be up to the police to “certify” it as such before case goes to court. This way it is an independent body confirming the illegal nature of whatever material.

    “Yep. I get that. But why show it to the censors? Just show it to the jury. What he is describing is criminal behaviour”.

  10. C.L.

    If some arsehole tortured and murdered your wife and child, and filmed it, what would you want done with the footage?
    Restricted in any way?

    Such enormities have always been restricted by the law, the police and the courts.
    But we know how these people roll.
    It starts with ‘but Christchurch’ and ends with Fraser Anning imprisoned for mocking hijabs.

  11. Tel

    If anyone wants a reminder of what the US government has been capable of in the name of “national security”.

    https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/meet-american-empires-dr-death/

    Short summary: kidnapping, torture, drugging, poisoning, medical experiments on live captives, murder.

    This shit went on IN SECRET for 20 years. Many involved … no one talked. Quite a lot of records were destroyed but not all of them, now it’s collected in a book for history.

    If some arsehole tortured and murdered your wife and child, and filmed it, what would you want done with the footage?
    Restricted in any way?
    Or up on Youtube along with comments from 14 yo idiots?

    If it meant one person … just one person from the government who has so far got away with some appalling behaviour for years eventually ended up getting punished. I could deal with a lot of smart arse punk kids in exchange for that. In fact, when you consider what powerful people do with their power, those kids are so insignificant they don’t even register. So far the only thing that has ever slowed such people down is public exposure of their activity … even then it only slows them a little bit.

    Governments are interested in power every time. When they talk about “freedom” it means they want power. Never lose sight of what they are capable of … and don’t for a moment imagine it can’t happen again.

    While America was putting its public virtue on display during the Nuremberg trials, the army under the Joint Intelligence Objectives Agency was courting Nazi scientists who had been involved in the most grotesque human experimentation imaginable during the war. Their expertise in biological warfare and psychoactive drugs was highly prized. The Americans had to make sure, after all, that the commies didn’t get to them first.

    So under Operation Paperclip, the army “bleached” their records and brought these men in among several hundred other scientists, engineers, and technicians who served the Third Reich. Instead of prison, they were settled into comfortable obscurity in suburban Washington, working for the U.S. government.

    For those whose crimes were not so easily scrubbed, the army found ways to collaborate with them overseas in even less controlled environs. Like Kurt Blome, a Nazi scientist who deliberately infected prisoners with deadly viruses, including the plague, at the Auschwitz concentration camp and other sites. After saving him from the gallows at Nuremburg, officials quietly installed him in the European Command Intelligence Center at Oberursel, West Germany—otherwise known as “Camp King”—to conduct more experiments, but on our side.

    The same went for Japanese scientist Shiro Ishi, who was reportedly responsible for some 10,000 deaths in and around his Manchurian complex called Unit 731 during the war. His ghastly activities included everything from slow-roasting test subjects with electricity, to amputating limbs and dissecting people alive to monitor their slow deaths. At one point, he lined up naked Chinese women and children to see how long they would live after being struck by shrapnel in the buttocks. He also created tons of anthrax that was later used to kill thousands of Chinese civilians.

    Those are the people “protecting” you.

    When you hear about “rough men” while you sleep … those are the “rough men” and that’s what they get up to. Front of mind, huh?

  12. Louis

    So despots and terrorists are able to take away your rights by weaponizing free speech, but restricting free speech is somehow what? Preserving rights?

    And why was this Muslim dad asking him what to do? In what way is the NZ censor some community outreach or parenting program?

  13. Lee

    Completely unrestricted freedom of speech tends to be weaponised by terrorists and despots, who have no compunction about depriving you of your rights. History tells us this.

    Even if this were true (and where is his evidence it is?), is he suggesting that we curtail free speech because of it?

    Then the “terrorists and despots” have won, in my opinion.

    Free speech should never be curtailed, least of all because of threats.

    And there should be no censorship for adults – except for the likes of “snuff,” rape or pedo movies, which are illegal anyway.

  14. Frank

    If some arsehole tortured and murdered your wife and child, and filmed it, what would you want done with the footage?
    Restricted in any way?
    Or up on Youtube along with comments from 14 yo idiots?

    Probably still better than the alternative.

    As a side issue, it probably pays for people to see what some thing actually entail rather than being constantly shielded from reality. It might instil a sense of perspective.

  15. Arky

    Country was a far better place when we had strict standards of decency.
    24/7 degeneracy has rotted everyone’s minds and resulted in a leftist hellscape of self mutilation, foolishness and bad attire.

  16. Arky

    … also abortion on demand, no fault divorce, public urination and obesity.
    The mass scale degeneracy of modern society hurts and kills far more people than some shadowy world of government programs employing ex- nazis.

  17. Arky

    and even worse, is an assault upon my senses.

  18. Des Deskperson

    Australia. BTW, doesn’t have a Chief Censor. It has a Classification Board appointed under the Classification Act 1995. Here are are its members:

    http://www.classification.gov.au/About/BoardMembers/Pages/Classification-Board-Members.aspx

    They are statutory appointees for fixed terms and are meant to be broadly representative of the Australian Community

    According to its website:

    ‘The Classification Board decides what consumer advice accompanies each classification. Consumer advice details which classifiable elements (that is themes, violence, sex, language, drug use and nudity) have led to the classification decision. This advice helps consumers make informed choices about what they read, view or play.

    The Classification Board also classifies material submitted from the police, Australian Border Force and the Australian Communications and Media Authority. This material includes internet sites, imported publications, films and computer games'”

    The whole arrangement sems to be much more low-key and considerably less didactic or politicised than the NZ Chief Censor – at least from what we can glean from the DT article. Of course, if the Board had a higher profile, there would be complaints about howe white the members mostly are.

  19. Frank

    Fred Nile used to be a censor of sorts in NSW, bravely watching all that porn so that nothing that will lead to degeneracy will slip though to the great unwashed. Presumably it would have rendered him a pervert and morally delinquent after so many years in the trenches.

  20. a happy little debunker

    Australia. BTW, doesn’t have a Chief Censor. It has a Classification Board…

    That would be the same classification board that changed ‘E.T.’ from G rated to PG rated, after Spielberg took out the all the guns and the language, because of ‘supernatural themes’.
    Whilst simultaneously rating the ghosts and soul swapping in ‘Scooby Doo’ as a G rated affair?

    Where it has banned films, based on objections by people who hadn’t actually seen the film they were objecting too?

    Not a credible authority on it’s best day, let alone it’s worst!

  21. Chris M

    Shanks, Ardern = fascistic rats.

    They literally want to lock up NZ kids that watched this clip, together with removing free speech and self defense tools. Sad that most NZ’ers seem as ‘sheepish’ as Aussies now and are ready to lay down.

  22. Thefrollickingmole

    The only examples I can think of was a handful of times people were encouraged to criticise a regime but it was a trap to out “Deviants”.
    Stalin springs to mind.

  23. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Completely unrestricted freedom of speech tends to be weaponised by terrorists and despots, who have no compunction about depriving you of your rights. History tells us this.

    Incitement has always been a crime.

    This is completely different from refusing to call Kate McGregor a “woman”, or refusing to put up with idiocy such as “microaggressions” or offending people without a sense of humour.

    That censor is a xunt. I’m also oppressing him now.

  24. Tombell

    How tough it must be for the politically virtuous censor in chief. Trying to form a narrative where the politically correct first sound bite must logically segue into the second. This guy’s a fail.

  25. feelthebern

    But I didn’t know what to say to the Mooooslim man who asked me with tears in his eyes about what he should say to his 9 year old boy, his child, who had accidentally watched this on a social media news feed.

    File under things that never happened.

  26. Derp

    It’s not just a video clip, it’s also words.
    In NZ, it is a criminal offence to disseminate or even have in your possession a copy of that man’s manifesto in any format. So any information analysis or rebuttal of that manifesto must come through approved gatekeepers such as a government official or an approved academic.

  27. Arky

    The right put down censorship as a weapon, shamed by liberal types calling them fascists and uncool and wowsers.
    The left promptly picked up this discarded weapon and calmly shot us with it.

  28. Whalehunt Fun

    I support censorship in appropriate cases. No Greens voter should be permitted to so much as exhale, let alone form a word. Their very existence is an affront to civilisation.

  29. Whalehunt Fun

    foolishness and bad attire

    See Jackie Jackie Lambie in her metal dress.
    Or better stil, avoid at all costs seeing her in it.

  30. Terry

    “If some arsehole tortured and murdered your wife and child, and filmed it, what would you want done with the footage?”

    I’d want it played to the jury at my trial.

  31. bespoke

    How about, “What are you thinking having your 9 year old with unsupervised access to social media?”

    This should be as a natural reaction as breathing but no it’s being suppressed in the name of feelings. Lemmings walking of a cliff.

  32. Tel

    The mass scale degeneracy of modern society hurts and kills far more people than some shadowy world of government programs employing ex- nazis.

    Funny you should mention that.

    We must always remember to thank the CIA and the Army for LSD. That’s what people forget… They invented LSD to control people and what they did was give us freedom.

    – John Lennon

    There’s a few details John got wrong … but under the circumstances that’s excusable, for a drug-addled hippie `n at. Albert Hofmann invented LSD at Sandoz in Switzerland (the mushroom toxin that it was based on had been known about much longer) and the drug was used in therapy sessions for a while. What the CIA contributed was to encourage a large number of otherwise healthy students at American universities to dose up on LSD in order to find out what the stuff would do when dispersed amongst the general community. This didn’t run as much counter to their plans as Lennon figured … the anti-establishment hippie culture made people less obedient to top-down authority, but more amenable to suggestion, therefore easily controlled by mechanisms such as Frank Wisner and the “Mighty Wurlitzer”. In a nutshell they could turn visible chains of authority into invisible chains of propaganda.

    Besides that … the CIA have always been enthusiasts for setting people free … it’s their motto.

  33. Zatara

    I’ve never seen so many film festival movies as I did in my first year, watching them at a cinema that had been opened specially for myself and one of my team.

    Specially opened cinema huh? Wouldn’t it be cheaper and less of an imposition on others if you used the TV in your office?

    Or are you still trying to figure out how to run your VCR?

    Your aides can microwave some popcorn if needed.

  34. Mother Lode

    Country was a far better place when we had strict standards of decency.

    Standards of decency arising from the living community? Or standards handed down from government on high?

    The censorship he is speaking of sounds like the latter – after all, there would be no need to prevent people from seeing what they would already opt not to see.

  35. Mother Lode

    Thank God the bureaucracy and public servants are able to produce the elevated and noble souls who can be charged to make these decisions for us.

    Ordinary people (well, cattle with unslakeable thirst for the lurid and perverse) could never hope to make decisions for themselves.

  36. Iampeter

    This guy sounds like most of today’s conservatives. He just isn’t confused about the fact that he is on the side of censorship.
    So I’d be calling bullshit on people who claim to be an alternative to this guy but are so confused they don’t realize they are the same thing. That’s the real bullshit.

  37. Iampeter

    Arky, good post.
    Always important for conservatives to say what they really think so that everyone can see they sound no different to any other leftists. Or Islamists.

  38. Tel

    The mass scale degeneracy of modern society hurts and kills far more people than some shadowy world of government programs …

    Funny you should mention that.

    We must always remember to thank the CIA and the Army for LSD. That’s what people forget… They invented LSD to control people and what they did was give us freedom.

    – John Lennon

    There’s a few details John got wrong … but under the circumstances that’s excusable, for a drug-addled hippie `n at. Albert Hofmann invented LSD at Sandoz in Switzerland (the mushroom toxin that it was based on had been known about much longer) and the drug was used in therapy sessions for a while. What the CIA contributed was to encourage a large number of otherwise healthy students at American universities to dose up on LSD in order to find out what the stuff would do when dispersed amongst the general community. This didn’t run as much counter to their plans as Lennon figured … the anti-establishment hippie culture made people less obedient to top-down authority, but more amenable to suggestion, therefore easily controlled by mechanisms such as Frank Wisner and the “Mighty Wurlitzer”. In a nutshell they could turn visible chains of authority into invisible chains of propaganda.

    Besides that … the CIA have always been enthusiasts for setting people free … it’s their motto.

  39. Tel

    I’ve been bloxored by the magic word bingo. Can’t figure it out, imagine I said something important then go about your day.

  40. Zatara

    But I didn’t know what to say to the Mooslim man who asked me with tears in his eyes about what he should say to his 9 year old boy, his child, who had accidentally watched this on a social media news feed.

    He should tell his child whatever it is he tells him after he watches any of the hundreds of eeslamic beheading, bombing, murder by lorry, knifing, burning alive, or just run of the mill torture flicks available on the internet.

    Because somehow I don’t think you are going to work as hard eliminating them.

  41. Eyrie

    “I’d want it played to the jury at my trial.”

    +1 Terry.

  42. Eyrie

    NZ is a fascist shithole. Lots of two legged sheep.

  43. Crossie

    Ergo: is it not safer and more sensible to protect free speech (at all costs) than to police it?

    And deprive censors of their livelihood? Have you no compassion at all?

  44. Eyrie

    Zatara, does he let his 9 year old watch videos of 9/11? Nearly 3000 people tortured and murdered.

  45. Crossie

    And why was this Muslim dad asking him what to do? In what way is the NZ censor some community outreach or parenting program?

    I think it’s something to do with being a Kiwi, many of them seem to have a rich fantasy life.

  46. Iampeter

    Country was a far better place when we had strict standards of decency.
    24/7 degeneracy has rotted everyone’s minds and resulted in a leftist hellscape of self mutilation, foolishness and bad attire.

    Yea, pretty sure Mohammad Atta was muttering something similar under his breath when he flew his hijacked plane into the World Trade Centre.

  47. Iampeter

    Welp, I’ve got a double post coming up. Second one is better than first IMO.

  48. Crossie

    Specially opened cinema huh? Wouldn’t it be cheaper and less of an imposition on others if you used the TV in your office?

    Where’s the fun in that? And where would he wear his trench coat if not to a “special” cinema?

  49. Chris M

    Nonetheless it is very annoying that censors have licence to insult our intelligence.

    So does this mean an end to censorship at the Cat right?

  50. Completely unrestricted freedom of speech tends to be weaponised by terrorists and despots, who have no compunction about depriving you of your rights. History tells us this.

    Problem with that statement is that Al Qaeda, ISIS et al didn’t recruit the vast majority of their members with Facebook posts. The goat herders of central Asia weren’t watching Al Qaeda propaganda on Facebook in between their animal husbandry duties.
    The vast majority were radicalised in Mosques and encouraged (urged) by the imams to go defend the muslim homelands.

    Unless this censor is advocating the monitoring of “free speech” in mosques, he is barking up the wrong tree.

  51. Completely unrestricted freedom of speech tends to be weaponised by terrorists and despots, who have no compunction about depriving you of your rights. History tells us this.

    Problem with that statement is that Al Q aed a, I S I S et al didn’t recruit the vast majority of their members with Facebook posts. The goat herders of central Asia weren’t watching Al Q aed a propaganda on Facebook in between their animal husbandry duties.
    The vast majority were radicalised in Mo sques and encouraged (urged) by the imams to go defend the mueslie homelands.

    Unless this censor is advocating the monitoring of “free speech” in mo sques, he is barking up the wrong tree.

  52. Geoffrey Luck

    I watched the NZ massacre film as a reporter, critically and dispassionately. The first observation is that there are more gruesome and disturbing images on the nightly news. Tarrant’s video was shot wide-angle, so the target people in his shooting were distant, ill-defined and unrecognisable. People fell, the AR-15 went “pop-pop” not “bang-bang” and the whole thing was more like a video game than real life. There were no close-ups, there was no blood, but in a couple of frames bodies jerked as the bullets hit. All this from a distance. Most of the film was Tarrant himself, coming and going, and external shots of the mosques and the street. It is completely typical of the hysterical situation engendered by the NZ PM that the film should have been elevated to the horror category when it is mostly boring and would be decidedly disappointing for anyone who was looking for blood and guts. I don’t believe it should be banned, or given the prominence it has achieved.

  53. Tim Neilson

    Geoffrey Luck
    #3159633, posted on September 19, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    But was the supposedly “gruesome and disturbing” thing that required censorship the portrayal of slaughter or the saying of things that might have hurt !slamic feelings?

  54. Frank Walker from National Tiles

    Thank you Geoffery, for a dispassionate and objective view of an industry insider.

  55. Nob

    Zatara
    #3159324, posted on September 19, 2019 at 6:36 am
    But I didn’t know what to say to the Mooslim man who asked me with tears in his eyes about what he should say to his 9 year old boy, his child, who had accidentally watched this on a social media news feed.

    He should tell his child whatever it is he tells him after he watches any of the hundreds of eeslamic beheading, bombing, murder by lorry, knifing, burning alive, or just run of the mill torture flicks available on the internet.

    That was also my gut response. Just exercise the same control and judgement you do over ISIS beheading videos etc. And be wary of eco-fascists.

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