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book classification

Books have been a focus of censorship and classification since the introduction of censorship legislation to New Zealand in 1892. Under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993, publications such as books, magazines, and graphic novels can be classified as restricted or objectionable (banned) if their content deals with sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence in a way that their unrestricted availability would be likely to cause injury to the public good.

You can view a list of books classified from 1963 to the present, in the form of an excel spreadsheet, on the newsletters page in the news section.

Today's legislation is based on a system of classification rather than censorship. In order to restrict access to a publication, the Office must clearly apply the law to show that a restriction is necessary in order to prevent injury to the public good.

Non-film publications

Under the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993, the following definitions apply:

  • publication -
    • (a) Any film, book, sound recording, picture, newspaper, photograph, photographic negative, photographic plate, or photographic slide:

    • (b) Any print or writing:

    • (c) a paper or other thing that has printed or impressed upon it, or otherwise shown upon it, 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words:

    • (d) a thing (including, but not limited to, a disc, or an electronic or computer file) on which is recorded or stored information that, by the use of a computer or other electronic device, is capable of being reproduced or shown as 1 or more (or a combination of 1 or more) images, representations, signs, statements, or words:

  • book -
    • (a) means any book, magazine, or periodical, whether in manuscript or final form; but
    • (b) does not include a newspaper pubilshed at intervals of less than 1 month

 

Unlike films, books are not required to be submitted for classification before they are supplied to the public. Instead, publications such as books and magazines are usually submitted for classification by members of the public, librarians or other officials who think that the publication should be classified under the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993. Information about submitting a non-film publication for classification can be found here.

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