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History of censorship - 1961

New censorship legislation

Television and live performances get their own censorship legislation and regulations.

Television and radio

Television began broadcasting in New Zealand in late 1960. It was first available in Auckland and gradually spread to the rest of the country. By the mid 1970s nearly all homes in New Zealand had televisions.

The 1961 Broadcasting Act set out that radio and TV programmes could not contain material which 'offends against good taste or decency or is likely to incite to crime or lead to disorder or to be offensive to public feeling'.

The Broadcasting Authority was established in 1968. Until then all imported TV programmes were seen by the Film Censor. In 1976 a new Broadcasting Act also established a Broadcasting Tribunal to administer transmitting frequencies and channels.

Today what is broadcast on radio and TV is regulated by the Broadcasting Standards Authority who have established Codes of Practice for broadcasters.

Live performances

Section 124 of the 1961 Crimes Act, which is still in force today, covers indecent or obscene public performances.

The Crimes Act does not define what is considered indecent or obscene in a performance, but case law shows that it is dependant on things such as the venue, audience expectation and the purpose of the performance. For example, strip shows in adult venues are not likely to be considered indecent, while the same type of thing in a community theatre aimed at general audiences could be.

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