C-word nine times, the F-word 17 times and s-h-i-t 16 times, but not banned anymore

New Zealand has flipped back into the 21st century by unbanning a banned book.  

Leaving the suitability of the book for young adults to one side, we should never ban books because that means someone gets to decide what is acceptable and what isn’t.  The ability to write anything at all, no matter how unsuitable, is something that needs to be protected.

Award-winning book Into the River will be back on shelves after an interim ban on it was lifted today; however, it was not a unanimous decision.

Library and bookshop shelves across the country were stripped of the teen novel after an interim ban was placed on it for explicit content.

The book, written by Ted Dawe, won the 2013 NZ Post Children’s Book Awards.

Last month, the coming-of-age novel was given the interim ban by the Film and Literature Board of Review following a request by Family First.

The book was initially released with stickers warning of explicit content, but without any age restriction. The board later changed it to R14, but last month the chief censor removed the restriction, as well as the requirement it carry a sticker warning.  

After receiving complaints from Family First, the board announced Into the River would be banned until a final decision could be made, saying the censor may have unlawfully removed the board’s restrictions.

But in a decision released today, the board says the book’s cover contained a warning of the explicit material in the book that was “appropriate and useful”.

“There is no doubt that there will be many parents who would prefer that their children were not exposed to such material and the warning is a helpful way of assisting them.”

The book was not deemed to promote or support the activities it describes, the board says, and actually portrays them in a negative light.

But the board’s president, Dr Don Mathieson, disagreed with the majority decision, saying an age restriction of R18 should be put on the book, or at least R14.

He said while he agreed with much of the decision, he sided with Family First when it said the issue of bullying could be dealt with without “gratuitous and offensive descriptions of sexual encounters involving children and adults, sexual grooming, rape, the normalisation of drug use”.

The author will be ecstatic that a warning label on the cover is still required…it will increase sales hugely now everyone knows it has naughty bits in it.

He will also probably send a limited edition to the fool Bob McCoskrie who has helped promote the book using the Streisand Effect. As an added bonus it has caused overseas interest and the book is now selling there.

– 3News

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

To read Cam’s previous articles click on his name in blue.