BBFC head offers defence of censorship

The director of the British Board of Film Classification has written a defence of the organisation’s decision to issue an outright ban on horror movie The Human Centipede 2, discussing the role censorship plays in our lives today.

The BBFC banned the release of the film in June, describing it as “sexually violent and potentially obscene”. The decision means that it cannot be legally supplied anywhere in the UK, but the decision sparked debate over the role of censorship, especially given that those searching for the film will have little trouble finding it online.

David Cooke, writing on the Huffington Post UK, defended the decision, saying: “Parliament and the public both expect us to honour a wider duty going beyond the vulnerable, and indeed the understandable wishes of fans, involving formally reflecting, signalling and giving effect to protective standards for society as a whole. Some who think this sounds too censorious change their minds when they see the sort of material in question.”

Countering the argument that there is no research which proves any film can do real harm, Cooke responds: “UK law is clear that harm covers not just the issues which can be readily examined through social science, but also such things as degradation of empathy, a dehumanised view of others, the reinforcement of unhealthy fantasies, or erosion of a sense of moral responsibility.

“We are also under a duty not to give a certificate to films which may breach the criminal law, including through being obscene. Ultimately it would be for the courts to decide whether HC2 was obscene. But we believed there was sufficient uncertainty about the outcome at least for possible obscenity to be a relevant issue too.”

The distributors of The Human Centipede 2 plan to appeal against the decision via the Video Appeals Committee.

(Source: Huffington Post UK)

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