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Author warns freedom under threat from Henson backlash [Oct. 15th, 2008|09:20 am]
Bob Bain
[Current Mood |pensivepensive]

From the Canberra Times

BY GIA METHERELL
LITERARY EDITOR

15/10/2008 1:00:00 AM

Author Frank Moorhouse will accuse the Federal Government of endangering artistic freedom in Australia when he gives a public lecture in Canberra tonight.

The Miles Franklin Award-winning author says the Australia Council's plans to introduce ''arts protocols'' at the Government's instructions in response to the furore over Bill Henson's photographs of children are ''charged with philosophical and aesthetic hazard''.

Moorhouse will argue in his address at the Australian National University that creating protocols is itself an infringement of freedom of the arts, especially when they form part of the guidelines of the central, publicly funded, arts-funding body.

The protocols for the depiction of children in government-funded artworks, exhibitions and publications apply from January 2009 and will be a condition of Australia Council funding. They include: Ensuring that the rights of children are protected throughout the artistic process from the time an artwork is created through to when it is shown. Ensuring that everyone viewing the artwork has an appropriate understanding of the nature and artistic content of the material. Protecting images of children from being exploited, including use of the images beyond the original context of the creative work. Creating protocols that acknowledge the Australia Council's statutory role in upholding and promoting the right of people to freedom in the practice of the arts.

Moorhouse warns, ''Any protocols structure created for the visual arts will ultimately spread to the other art forms and to other 'moral issues' as governments attempt to appease moral panics and accommodate changes of political fashion.

''Governments and their agencies should not lay down rules for the arts: to move in that direction is always more dangerous than whatever supposed 'ill' they intend to cure.''

He says the ''traditionally rebellious nature of the arts'' will inevitably lead to artists disregarding the protocols and to ''disciplinary or even punitive procedures''.

The lecture is from 5.30-6.30pm at the Coombs Lecture Theatre, Building 8A, Fellows Road, ANU.

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No doubt someone will report on this on the Australian National University Link List

ex ANU Link List 1999 - 2003 approximately ( e.g A Child in an Adult's World - 16th January 2000

and er... Dr. Frederick Toben on Free Speech -22nd January 2000 with apologies to Noddy ! )

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