Content law criticism slammed

The Federal Government has branded criticisms of its new Internet content legislation, that came into effect on 1 January, as unfounded.

One claim was that Internet service providers that did not filter out R and X-rated material would face automatic criminal charges and fines of $27,500 a day.

Acting Communications, Inform-ation, Technology and the Arts Minister Peter McGauran said this was untrue.

“The scheme recognises ISPs are often not in a position to be aware of all material accessed through their service and cannot reasonably be held responsible for material unless it is brought to their attention,” Mr McGauran said.

“Before the sanctions apply, several steps need to occur. The Australian Broadcasting Authority must receive a complaint, it must find the complaint to be justified, issue a notice to an ISP to remove offending material and the ISP must fail to remove the offending material.”

Adult entertainment industry lobbyist the Eros Foundation has branded the new legislation as unconstitutional.

However, Mr McGauran said the government’s legal advice was that the legislation was clearly within its constitutional power.

A recent survey conducted by the Bertelsmann Foundation found that more than 70 per cent of Australians believed there were risks with using the Internet and that government, industry and users all had a role to play in managing access to Internet content.

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