Censor bans how-to article on date rape

February 10, 2006

New Zealand's censor has banned a student magazine after it carried a "how to" article about date rape, purportedly written from the rapist's point of view.

Otago University's Critic Te Arohi has for several years published an annual "offensive issue", intended to be objectionable enough to get public attention while remaining intelligent enough to make a point.

On this occasion, students involved in counselling rape victims complained to the campus constable, who referred the issue to the censor's office.

Bill Hastings, the chief censor of film and literature, said the magazine was injurious to the public good because it placed an instructional drug-rape article beside a positive profile of a man who made a living by filming the extreme degradation of women for sexual arousal.

No effort was made to present the victim's perspective, he said, and thus the magazine "tends to promote the very criminal activities it purports to challenge".

Judges at last year's student media awards voted Critic best publication weeks after the "offensive issue" ran.

Editor Holly Walker would not comment on the censor's ruling. But Lyndon Hood, who worked as technical editor, said: "I worked at Critic when I think we published more than one straight article about drug rape to absolutely stuff-all response."

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