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Censorship and the Internet

The Department of Internal Affairs' Inspectors have the role of investigating New Zealand Internet websites and newsgroups and enforcing censorship legislation. We take a proactive role in prosecuting New Zealanders who trade objectionable material via the Internet. If a publication is categorised as 'objectionable' it is automatically banned by the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

How can I ensure that people use the Internet safely?

Every business, school and university can implement a Code Of Conduct or Acceptable Use Policy to clearly set out what is considered appropriate use of the Internet (see our Draft Code of Practice). Having a Code of Conduct will not protect you from prosecution action so organisations should always consider getting their own legal advice.

All people who have Internet access through an organisation should be made aware of their responsibilities while on the Internet.

For home users, an awareness of what is considered to be objectionable, the type of material that will have an age restriction, and an understanding of the penalties involved will lead to a safer Internet experience.

To help you make your family's Internet experiences safe, the Department of Internal Affairs has produced an Internet Safety Guide for children and parents. To request a copy, please contact: info@dia.govt.nz. Links to more information are at the bottom of this page.

What can I do if I find something objectionable by accident?

The Department of Internal Affairs investigates and sometimes prosecutes people who deliberately collect objectionable material and find ways to distribute it to other people via the Internet. Occasionally, the nature of the Internet can lead to someone viewing objectionable material by accident.

If this happens to you, just leave the site immediately. If you have recorded the name of the site you can notify the Censorship Office at the Department of Internal Affairs: censorship@dia.govt.nz.

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Last updated: 24/03/2004