Internet censorship (2007)

CCL opposes internet censorship

It is unlawful to host sexually-explicit material (X18+) on an Australian webserver. As well as this, anyone who wishes to provide adult-only (R18+) material must ensure that end-users are over 18 years of age.

The government says that this harsh censorship regime is required to protect all Australians, but especially children, from offensive and unsuitable content on the Internet.

This censorship regime is unnecessary because children can be protected by installing a child-protection internet filter on their PC. This is the only effective and proven technology to protect children online from unsuitable content, according to a recent US court decision: ACLU v Gonzales (2006) 478 F. Supp 2d 775 (22 March 2007). Filters protect children from unsuitable content hosted anywhere in the world, not just Australia. If child-protection filters are used on home and school PCs, then there's no need to censor Australian websites and adults can read, hear and see whatever they like.

Because this censorship is an unnecessary restriction on freedom of speech, it violates Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

The government has extended this censorship of the internet to all communications devices including mobile phones. On these devices, content rated MA15+ (for matrue audiences) is restricted to adults (18+).

Much of the 'research' on which the Howard government based its censorship of the internet has been seriously questioned by investigative journalists. See Peter Mare's article debunking a government report [This website is no longer available - link removed] on internet censorship.

Read CCL's media release about internet censorship.

Read CCL's submission on the Content Services Bill, in which we called for the regime to be repealed.

federal government to give our freedom of speech to police

20 September 2007 (Canberra): The Howard government, before it lost the 2007 federal election, introduced legislation into the Senate giving the Australian Federal Police the power to decide what Australians can and cannot see on the internet. Fortunately, the Bill was never passed into law.

Read CCL's media release opposing the Bill.