Stilgherrian has been given another run in Crikey today - this time outside the paywall.
I will offer the comment here I've offered to Crikey.
I really wish I hadn't clicked through to the images Stigherrian pointed to in his post, but I wanted to assess for myself what they contained. At core in his item Stilgherrian is making two claims. Firstly that the Internet is being treated differently as these images would be allowed on the TV news. Secondly that because these images appear on a political site, blocking them amounts to "political censorship".
The Television Code of Practice regulates content on television. The code applies the OFLC classifications to films, and their own classification scheme to programs, but not to news. The rules for news (etc) that these programs do not require classification, provided that the licensee exercises care in selecting material for broadcast having regard to:
188.8.131.52 the likely audience of the program; and
184.108.40.206 any identifiable public interest reason for presenting the program material.
It goes on
Material which cannot appropriately be classified AV or any lower television classification, because of the matter it contains, or the way that matter is treated, is unsuitable for television and must not be broadcast. In accordance with the Broadcasting Services Act, television licensees may not broadcast a program that has been classified "refused classification" (RC), or has been classified as X, under the Office of Film and Literature Classification Guidelines.
Now we all know the problem with the existing blacklist is that it is of RC, R18+ and X18+ material. I am happy to accept that the images displayed would fall into the R18+ or X18+ category. I sincerely doubt that any television network would think that those images met the standardsin the Television Code of Practice (did Crikey think to ask any?).
But it continues to be a mere assertion that the step after the technical trial will be the mandatory filtering of anything beyond RC. It is worth noting that Senator Minchin in all his professed concern has never bothered to defend the lumping together of RC, R18+ and X18+ i the Broadcasting Services Act in this way. Maybe Stigherrian might like to sharpen his campaign from being "no blacklist" to "blacklist only the RC list" (I'd join that campaign by the way).
But Stilgherrian's biggest claim is that the blacklisting of this site is political censorship. I don't know why he doesn't just resort to an unrestricted artistic defence of every image. Political censorship would only be occurring if the site were banned for the views it expressed. That isn't the case. It was de riggeur in the late 60's to claim (the Maoist claim) that all acts are political, that isn't the case here. The anti-abortion case isn't being stopped because of the message, just as it wouldn't be political censorship if an anti-censorship site were blocked because it chose to display censored information.