[Marxism] (Aust) Defence hot and bothered over Fahrenheit 9/11

Nick Fredman sra at scu.edu.au
Mon Jul 26 23:00:38 MDT 2004

Defence hot and bothered over Fahrenheit 9/11

Sydney Morning Hearld
By Tom Allard
July 27, 2004

The Australian Defence Force stands accused of censorship after it 
banned the showing of the inflammatory anti-war blockbuster 
Fahrenheit 9/11 on military bases, despite requests direct to the 
distributor from serving personnel.

The film's distributor, Hopscotch, confirmed yesterday that a soldier 
had approached it for a copy of Michael Moore's film to show at a 
military base cinema.

Hopscotch offered it free and the immediate superiors of the soldier 
- who worked at the cinema - approved the showing.

But the request was rejected last Wednesday by Defence headquarters 
in Canberra, which has since banned the film at all bases.

Fahrenheit 9/11 lambasts the Iraq war, with graphic footage from 
inside Iraq and interviews with grieving relatives of US soldiers who 
have lost their lives. It also savages President George Bush and his 
prosecution of the war against terrorism.

"Fahrenheit 9/11 is a political film. It is not appropriate for 
Defence to be seen to be supporting any film of an overtly political 
nature," a Defence Department spokesman said. "ADF members are free 
to choose whether to see the film in their free time."

Whether the Minister for Defence, Robert Hill, or his staff were 
consulted is unclear. The minister's office did not return the 
Herald's calls yesterday and the Defence Department would not say who 
made the decision.

The managing director of Hopscotch, Troy Lum, said the soldier who 
requested the film - who has asked that neither his name nor the 
location of his base be revealed - was disgusted by the ban.

"This guy said everybody on the base was talking about the film and 
they want to see it," Mr Lum said. "He also said it was the first 
time that anything had been censored. He is disgusted. We are 
appalled and surprised."

Defence did not dispute Hopscotch's account that there was an 
independent attempt to book the film by ADF personnel.

The director of the Australian Defence Association, Neil James, 
backed the ban, saying "political propaganda films aren't allowed to 
be shown on base".


Nick Fredman
Student Rights Advocate
Southern Cross University (Lismore)
Student Representative Council

Shop 9 Plaza, SCU Lismore

Ph: 6620 3044
Email: sra at src.scu.edu.au
web: http://www.lismoresrc.org.au/


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