Won’t somebody please think of the artists?

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Puberty by Munch

Mr Hatzistergos will today release the recommendations by the NSW Child Pornography Working Party, set up after the Henson scandal.

The group, comprising Department of Public Prosecutions, police and Legal Aid representatives, was instructed to draw a clear line between pornography and art.

Its report, delivered to the Government on Friday, recommends art not be a consideration when reviewing images thought to be pornographic.

Mr Hatzistergos said the proposed laws would cover the production, distribution and possession of child pornography.

“The fact that it is art cannot be used as a defence. The report recommends that once such material has been found to be unlawfully pornographic, whether or not it is intended to be art is irrelevant,” he said.

[From Artists told: prove it’s not porn | Herald Sun]

I have been following this for the last week. there is a lot of information out there and I have not nearly digested it all yet. there are serious, far reaching implications for artists in NSW and in the rest of Australia. this extends not only to visual artists but to authors, directors, anyone. and the terms are broad enough that they could be inferred to apply to anyone or any work involving children. The working party will be judge and jury in this case.

The working party, headed by District Court judge Peter Berman, also examined the use of photographs depicting nudity in a news context.

Mr Hatzistergos said the new laws would ensure the rights of photographers to publish pictures – such as the iconic Vietnam war photograph of a nine-year-old girl running naked on a street after being burned by napalm – would not be infringed.

[From Artists told: prove it’s not porn | Herald Sun]

They openly acknowledge that this piece, although it contains a nude child, is not sexualized or pornographic. however, will the same generous liberties be extended to artists creating works now? the knee jerk reactions so far seem to indicate that all nude children are porn until proved otherwise. I have been reading the new proposed legislation in depth and the powers granted to the “working party” are enormous. I will provide my analysis as soon as possible, I think there are ways for legitimate artists to avoid self-censoring too much. but the fact that we may have to at all is a crying shame

2 thoughts on “Won’t somebody please think of the artists?

  1. Reverse onus legislation is usually a poor choice. It may also be unlawful (unable to be used) as offenses of Absolute liability need to meet the four legs of Hee Kaw Te, one of which is that the punishment must be minor. Community need is irrelevant, the original case being a drug smuggling matter. Mens Rae means onus of proof on the prosecution to prove pornographic intent.

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