(en)screening of 'banned' video

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Sat, 30 Aug 1997 18:19:34 +0000 (GMT)

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Date: Sat, 30 Aug 1997 22:08:32 +1000 (EST) To: a-infos@tao.ca From: p.mcgregor@uws.edu.au (Peter McGregor) Subject: screening of 'banned' video


Screening of BLUE MURDER - on grounds of public interest & educational significance

As a lecturer, addressing news & crime, I am screening ABC/Southern Star's BLUE MURDER(1995).

I believe it's a scandal that this material has yet to be publicly broadcast in NSW, supposedly in deference to sub-judice considerations for forthcoming court cases involving charges against Neddy Smith. Neddy remains in prison, with dates for hearing his outstanding charges uncertain. Could it be that an exaggerated fear of contempt of court has been utilised to delay & prevent screenings of BLUE MURDER in NSW ? While considerations of contempt can be vital to protect the right to a fair trial, screenings of BLUE MURDER can also raise more general issues - beyond Neddy's (& others'), innocence or guilt - of systematic police, & other, corruption in NSW. For instance, while this award-winning program certainly addresses Smith's being charged with the murder of Sally-Anne Huckstep, this material is on the public record elsewhere, (eg. Neddy's (auto-)biography, newpaper reports, other court transcripts).

This, presumably, was the very risk that Ian David & the other 'producers' of BLUE MURDER themselves took: if they had presented material that was libellous, defamatory, inaccurate, etc., they would have been jumped upon/exposed/prosecuted. They have not been: rather the program has won a range of awards. Yet the prime audience for which BLUE MURDER was made - the people of NSW - have been denied access to it. BLUE MURDER could've been contributing to the on-going public discussion, over the last 3 years, about corruption in NSW.

Then there is the issue of breaching copyright. The specific provisions for BLUE MURDER are as follows:-

"This film is subject of copyright. No part of this film may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the written permission of the owners except where permitted by law. Any unauthorised copy, duplication or presentation will result in civil & criminal prosecution. 1995 AFFC ..."

The merits of copyright are questionable at the best of times(1), & in this instance I ask the pertinent owners & authorities to refrain from any punitive action : - I am using, without permission, an unauthorised copy, taken off-air when the program was broadcast - for the first (& so far only), time, in September 1995 - in all states except NSW; I understand a court could rule that this program should not be shown in NSW until Smith's pertinent cases are resolved (ie., 'contempt'); it is being presented to students as part of their formal studies.

Firstly, there are the clear public interest grounds for this program to be widely shown, namely as part of the current public discussion in NSW: for instance in reference to the Report of the Justice Wood Royal Commission into the NSW Police Service. I don't believe the screenings I've arranged(*), will effect Neddy's right to a fair trial. Furthermore, I call upon the ABC to have the courage of (Ian) David, & to go ahead & challenge the contempt laws, & broadcast it here in NSW: why not repeat-broadcast it nationally ?

Secondly, an education worth its name, justifies - requires - an unfettered search for truth & knowledge. As a teacher I endeavour to provide students with access to materials that are considered pertinent, cutting-edge research.

Peter McGregor, Coordinator, MEDIA & SOCIETY, UWS,Nepean 20 August 1997 ------------------------------------------------------ (1) Martin,B. Against intellectual property, Philosophy & Social Action, Vol. 21, No. 3, 1995. -------------------------------------------------------- (*) Part 1 has been screened today in class, next week Part 2 will also be screened. ------------------------------------- Tel: (02)96787356; Fax: (02)96787399; p.mcgregor@uws.edu.au

Peter McGregor, Lecturer, Humanities, UWS, Nepean PO Box 10, Kingswood, 2747 Ph: 02 96787356 Fax: 0296787399 email p.mcgregor@uws.edu.au http://www.geocities.com/Athens/Delphi/9909

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