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Board clears Henson images [Jun. 2nd, 2008|10:57 am]
Bob Bain
[Current Mood |sicksick]

From the Sydney Morning Herald

David Marr

June 2, 2008

Images declared "absolutely revolting" by the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, at the height of the Bill Henson controversy have been cleared for general release.

Late last week the Classification Board swiftly assessed five Henson images taken from media websites and rated them all "G" or "very mild". Some or all of the images are partly censored with black bars covering nipples and genitals. The assessment followed a complaint about images on media websites after NSW police closed his Sydney exhibition on May 23. The main complaint is said to involve a slide show of seized photographs on The Daily Telegraph's website.

Last Thursday, the Minister for Home Affairs, Bob Debus, said images from media websites has been referred to the Classification Board. They were cleared the same day. An internet censorship expert Irene Graham told the Herald: "The fact that the Classification Board has become involved in this and then worked so quickly to reach its verdict is a sign of just how politically sensitive the Henson issue has become."

Responsibility for policing the net was given to the Australian Communications and Media Authority in 2006. Since then, it has referred less than a dozen complaints to the Classification Board. The Henson complaint is the first to be cleared absolutely by the board, which is is expected to release a full report on each of the five images today.

Mr Rudd also assessed the photos on the basis of images partly obscured with bars. "That's the first time I have seen them," he told Channel Nine on the day of their seizure. He declared them revolting and without artistic merit.

Uncensored Henson images are also being investigated by the authority following police complaints about the original photographs on the Roslyn Oxley9 gallery website. That website is hosted on a foreign server