Thursday, April 12, 2007

Australia Bans Books Advocating Terrorism

Phillip Ruddock, Attorney-General, Australia

I realize that the banning of books, any books, opens the door to abuse of that power but I have to agree with what the Australian government is doing when it comes to books advocating or praising the use of terrorism.
Mr Ruddock has declared a “zero-tolerance approach” to material that “advocates” terrorism, which would be pulled from shelves and prevented from entering the country under the new laws, News Ltd newspapers report.

Under the existing Classification Act, material can only be removed from sale if it is deemed likely to “promote, incite or instruct in matters of crime or violence”.

But the amended law - to be discussed at a meeting between Mr Ruddock and the state attorneys-general in Canberra tomorrow - makes it an offence to circulate material that “advocates” a terrorist act.

Imported material published outside Australia will be stopped at Customs if it is found to glorify or encourage acts of terrorism.

“We are not going to allow material to be out there saying terrorism is a good idea,” Mr Ruddock told the newspaper.
I admit that this kind of thing makes me a bit uneasy, but I have to hope that new laws like this one will be administered correctly by people who combine a common sense approach with their good intentions.


  1. Does that mean that "Crime and Punishment" would be banned for showing a protagonist who advocates murder? You know -- murder for the greater good?

  2. That's the kind of thing that bothers me about censorship even in times of's a very, very fine line and we are forced to put all our faith in a very few people who have the actual power to make those determinations.

  3. "Murder for the greater good"? No such thing. And it's certainly not present in "Crime and Punishment."

    I hope this new law is handled well because disaster could occur in the wrong hands, but I do think it's a good thing.

  4. As it had been a while since I read the book, I refreshed my memory with the synopsis on "In case you're not familiar with the story, it begins with the decision of an impoverished student, Raskolnikov, to rob and kill a pawnbroker, having justified his decision with the argument that her death will do the world more good than harm, both because she cheats her clients and because the money from the robbery will give him the start he needs to become a great man and ultimately benefit humanity."