The NZ PEN Centre was disturbed to learn of the seizure of Bloody Mama from a Wellington bookshop earlier this week.
The book was banned in 1971 by the Indecent Publications Tribunal which was formed in 1963 and replaced by the Office of Film and Literature Classification thirty years later. However the Department of Internal Affairs is still bound by the Tribunal’s now outdated censorship rulings and have taken what PEN considers to be inappropriate action in the case of Bloody Mama.
“It is time the DIA reviewed the decisions made by the Tribunal” said PEN President Tony Simpson.
“Books that were banned forty years ago are considered quite acceptable now. Freedom of expression and freedom of access to information are required in the UN Declaration of Human Rights and it is unacceptable that government officials are today seizing books. This is not the sort of practice we would expect in New Zealand .”
The NZ PEN Centre calls for the return of the book and a review of the Indecent Publications list to bring it into line with acceptable practices for the 21st Century.