Vice Squad
Friday, October 03, 2003
I still haven't seen Old Jack City

A few days ago Norway's national film board lifted a ban on some 300 movies, including New Jack City and Robocop 2. The head of the board noted that the historical use of "moral" criteria for approving films was being replaced by "professional" criteria, though in the reports that I read, precisely what these professional criteria consist of was not spelled out. Hardcore pornography remains banned in Norway.

In their 1991 book Pornography in a Free Society, Gordon Hawkins and Frank Zimring suggested various private (non-state) approaches to regulating pornography (alongside a limited role for the state). Boycotts, industry self-regulation, and even the possibility of a sort of private anti-certification committee, one that would provide a stamp of disapproval for particularly offensive offerings, were among the suggestions. These seem preferable to me to a system that denies all Norwegian adults access to films (and printed material) that some of them might wish to see, based on the unexplained criteria of one small committee.

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