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what the Office does

The Office of Film and Literature Classification (the Office) was set up by the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

Under section 77 of the Act, the Office is responsible for classifying publications that may need to be restricted or banned.

Under section 88 of the Act, the Office is also responsible for disseminating information on censorship law and the censorship system, and dealing with inquiries and complaints from the public.

Publications submitted to the Office usually contain text or images that include sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence. The Classification Office assesses these publications, and will classify them as restricted or objectionable if it thinks that making the publication available to everyone would be harmful, or injurious to the public good.

The Office can classify any written, recorded or stored information or image. Since it first opened in 1994, the Office has classified many types of publications including:

  • Films
  • Videos
  • DVDs
  • CD-ROMs
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Posters
  • Music recordings
  • Computer discs
  • Video games
  • Screen-printed t-shirts
  • Jigsaws
  • Playing cards
  • Billboards
  • Paintings
  • Photographs
  • Weekly newspapers
  • Computer files in a variety of formats.

Publications can be classified as unrestricted, restricted or objectionable:

  • If a publication is classified as Unrestricted, it is unlikely to harm the public good and can be viewed by anyone
  • If a publication is classified as Restricted, it is likely to cause harm to the public good if people outside the restricted audience view it.
  • Publications classified as Objectionable are considered harmful to the public good. Objectionable material is banned - it is illegal to possess, own, sell, hire, give or buy an objectionable publication.

Restrictions assigned by the Office are legally enforceable. Anyone breaching a restriction is liable to a fine or imprisonment upon conviction.


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