The sin industry peak body, the Eros Association, are superior stirrers – but they’ve really distinguished themselves with their contribution to the debate of the videos of Saddam’s stringing-up.

CEO Fiona Patten points out that under current classification guidelines, the film depicting the hanging of the former Iraqi dictator would receive an R rating if submitted for classification. That means it would be freely available to adults in all states of Australia through very public outlets like suburban video libraries and petrol stations.

“In stark contrast to this scenario, a film which showed no violence or non-consent of any kind but only actual scenes of adult sexuality was refused an R rating in a controversial decision by the Classification Review Board last month,” Patten says.

“The CRB’s decisions and rationale for classifying the film, Viva Erotica, have just been released. It has stated that the film ‘would cause offence to a reasonable adult’ and therefore must carry the most restrictive X rating at a federal level and a ban in every state.”

Patten points to the 1995 UK film called Executions, which showed a series of other real-life, state-sponsored murders, almost identical to the Saddam film. This was given an R rating by the Classification Review Board, setting a precedent for these types of films.

“The CRB is basically saying to the Australian public that the film of Saddam’s execution cannot be said to “cause offence to a reasonable adult” while Viva Erotica can. This determination is so far from the reality of what Australian public opinion is on these issues that the federal Attorney-General needs to urgently intervene and conduct an enquiry.

“Attorneys-General need to be aware of the fact that they are supporting state regulation which could allow the Saddam film to be sold from convenience stores while at the same time sending an adult shop owner to jail for selling Viva Erotica through an adults-only premises.

“This is not a popular or a logical approach to censorship in Australia and defies every opinion poll ever carried out on the issue.”

But there’s more. Patten also has a message for Communications Minister Helen Coonan – the Minister who called an inquiry into the Big Brother “turkey slapping” episode without realising it was streamed, not broadcast, content and therefore not covered by the regulator she invoked.

“At present the Minister is indicating that she will allow adults to download the hanging of Saddam Hussein and the film Executions on a mobile phone with a PIN but not allow other adults to download Viva Erotica with the same PIN,” Patten says.

“If she allows this regime to go ahead she will be telling the Australian public to effectively ‘make war not love’.”

Peter Fray

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