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What we don't classify

Man watching TV


The Classification Act does not regulate broadcasting.

Broadcasts do not fit under the definition of 'supply' or 'exhibition' under the Classification Act. Broadcasting on TV and radio in New Zealand is regulated by the Broadcasting Act 1989. However, if a film has been cut or banned by the Classification Office or any previous film censorship body, the broadcaster must obtain a waiver from the Chief Censor to show the film. Unless the permission of the Chief Censor is obtained a cut or banned film cannot be shown on television.

Complaints about broadcasts should be directed to the broadcaster concerned, and then to the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

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DVD box sets of TV shows

South Park artwork
While the Classification Office doesn't classify television broadcasts, it does classify DVD box sets of television shows. Examples of animated television shows classified include South Park and Family Guy. Find out more
A stack of magazines

Newspapers and magazines

Newspapers and magazines can be classified, but complaints are usually dealt with by the New Zealand Press Council.

The Classification Act allows for the classification of print material, and so newspapers or specific articles may be submitted for classification. Only one issue of a newspaper (New Truth & TV Extra November 4 1994) has been banned by the Classification Office, and in 2006 a single issue of the Otago student magazine Critic was banned.

An alternative to submitting newspapers to the Classification Office is for people to contact the New Zealand Press Council (NZPC).

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Critic magazine

Critic logo
In 2006 the Office of Film and Literature Classification banned an issue of Otago University's Critic magazine because it contained a "how-to" guide on drug rape. Possession or distribution of this issue was deemed illegal.
Advertising billboards


Some forms of advertising can be classified, but advertising is generally regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority.

The advertising industry practises self-regulation under the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), an industry-run organisation. While print and video advertising are able to be classified under the Classification Act, complaints about advertising will generally be dealt with by the ASA's Advertising Standards Complaints Board.

Complaints about an advertisement can be made either to the advertiser itself, or directly to the ASA. If a complaint is made to the ASA then the Advertising Standards Complaints Board will deal with a complaint on behalf of the advertiser. They do not work within a legal framework, but have a set of agreed codes which can be read on the ASA website.

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Controversial billboards

Controversial strip club billboard on K Road
In 1996 the OFLC classified four billboards on Karangahape Road in Auckland after they were submitted by a member of the public. Find out more