CEO Of The ACCM: R18+ Propaganda Manipulating Public Opinion

In an attack directed at pro R18+ campaigners, Barbabra Biggins, CEO of the Australian Council on Children and the Media, has claimed that the media is attempting to sway public opinion "with a well-designed and publicised, persistent propaganda campaign, promising protections that could not have been provided."

"Over the past year the tactics have changed," claimed Biggins. "Rather than pushing adults’ rights, the pro-R18+ lobby has argued that having such a category would provide better protection for children. The push became propaganda.

"It’s propaganda because the real outcome of having an R18+ classification would not protect children. It would legalise games with higher level impact than are presently available in the sale and hire system. Using the classification criteria for films, as the system required, R18+ games would have no restrictions on themes, could have high-impact levels of violence, of implied sexual violence, of realistically-simulated sexual activity (and perhaps the real thing), of drug use and of nudity. Given that it’s practically impossible for even the most conscientious of parents to keep their children away from exposure to portable R18+ items like DVDs and games, how can it be possibly claimed that this would be better for children?"

Honestly, I don't even know where to begin. Firstly, the use of the word propaganda is outrageous and utterly wrong. The usage in itself is manipulative in the most hypocritical way. Secondly, the whole piece is a blatant attempt to sway opinion in the precise same manner Barbara Biggins condemns - in the same breath.

At Kotaku we usually try and report on such statements with a sense of responsibility and remain neutral. Clearly we have our own stance on the issue - obviously, we're pro R18+. But in this case, it's impossible to hold back. This argument is uninformed, deliberately inflammatory, utilising the same outdated points that have already been proven wrong by numerous studies.

The people have spoken, multiple times. And these are the words of a desperate argument, with no sense of structure, in the midst of a futile attempt to win the hearts and minds of a general public who - thankfully - know better.

You can check out the entire piece here.

R18+ propaganda manipulating public opinion [ABC]


    What drugs is Barbara taking? Clearly she's on more than just a paracetamol every now and then. She should stop taking them and switch to something less harmful to her state of mind.

    I dunno, I can't help but laugh these days. These people are just paranoid. Hypocritical indeed.

      One day, when this is all over we can laugh at this woman. Until then we can only hang our heads in frustration.

    Absolute hyperbole what she's saying there.

    Sheesh. That is just ridiculous. What will all these sort of people do when the R18 finally becomes a reality?

    They must just read the comments we make and try to turn our words against us. Just the other day I was saying in comments that their clearly misleading arguments and grossly inaccurate studies were a form of propaganda used to try and manipulate the public opinion into thinking that games were harmful to children. They repeated the lie often enough and lo and behold, the public thinks that games are harmful to children despite there be no evidence to show that.

    Now our side is using propaganda? Come on now. Their arguments are barely better than "I'm rubber you're glue" at this point.

      Sorry, that's "grossly misrepresented studies", not "grossly inaccurate studies". I'm sure the studies are accurate at one thing or another, except for the ones with clear cases of confirmation bias, but none of them show "harm to children" which is what the ACL and ACCM are claiming.

      Now excuse me, I'm off to the angry dome.

    why feed the trolls by even recognizing this as news?

      It's worthwhile noting, because a link to the story has been on the front page of ABC News all day. It is reaching a large mainstream news audience.

    And let's just forget for a moment that every console (Wii, PS3, 360) has some sort of child lock in it.

    So all parents need to do is set it so that it can't play R18 games. Which would make it far easier to keep R18 games out of the hands of kids than it does for R18 movies.

    I honestly don't know about the handhelds but. Pretty sure my DS does not have a content lock. Can anyone comment on PSP?

      Yes, there is a parental lock on the PSP. Works the same way as the PS3 one.

      all current gaming consoles (even the portables) have parental locks. It's not very well known in the home consoles and knowledge of the parental locks on the portables is practically non existent. However older DS's (DS Light and the origional) don't have parental controls.

        Well, thats the end of the argument right there I think. Great point - childlock!

          Parental lock, I mean

            Heaven forbid that parents these days actually take the time to educate themselves about what their children are doing eh?

            Not only for the purpose of policing the content they have access to, but to better understand and get to know their children, to take an interest in their personalitly, their interests, and passions. I think this whole debate is another witch-hunt, which allows irresponsible, absent, or uncaring parents to feel better about the way they live their lives. After all.. there's nothing they can do to curtail what their children play or view is there?

            Oh wait...

    I find all the negative publicity more in the vein of propaganda considering they are constantly repeating the same non factual garbage over and over again, most of the time staying wildly from the point of views being stated. fight the good fight kotaku but I have to say it is getting harder and harder to do this if they keep stonewalling us with the same crap day in day out it seems they aren't listening to the general public at all but then again when does the government ever listen to the people who elect them.....

    "Given that it’s practically impossible for even the most conscientious of parents to keep their children away from exposure to portable R18+ items like DVDs and games, how can it be possibly claimed that this would be better for children?”

    Oh... oh... OH!

    **** YOU, LADY!

    There, I said it! This is the exact equivalent of "Won't someone please think of the children!!" from The Simpsons.

    It *is* possible to keep your kids away from R18+ material, just so long as you're not some hipster soccer mom bitch who casually buys her kids Grand Theft Auto then whine when you find out it has sexual innuendo in it. When you.. I don't know, play the role of PARENT instead of relying on the government and Barbara Biggins (Bilbo Baggins?) To say the words "no" to your little ray of sunshine.

    *flails his arms around and continues ranting nonsense*

    Fargharble goddamn crop dusters and their two bit R rated crap, trying to take away my fatalities from the desperate housewives bogan parents who don't say "no" to their kid with a rat tail bowl cut bastard.... stuff.



      Sorry for the F bomb, (markey) Mark.

      People like that tend to make me see red.

      Now we all know where Fistbeard draws upon his rage. Having worked in Big W and schools has shown this fine gent exactly how some parents deal with little Johnny/Sally. They don't.

      Perhaps as the CEO of ACCM Bilbo would know this? Sorry, my mistake. She's too busy polishing her medals of semi-achievement to understand responsibility begins at home.

      Okay, I best leave it there before I really start to lose it at such narrow-minded people at the ACCM.

      pffft... 'think of the children' - Nazi propaganda said EXACTLY the same thing.

        I remember reading on a website something along the lines of this:

        *Mother walks up to a counter with a 9 year old boy and a copy of "The Watchmen"

        Clerk: "Umm, Ma'am, this movie is rated MA15+"
        Mother: "But this is a superhero movie!"
        Clerk: "For adults"
        Mother: *blank stare*
        Clerk: "It has scenes of horrible violence"
        Mother: "so?"
        Clerk: "One man gets his head hacked off with a meat cleaver"
        Mother: "...."
        Clerk: "One superhero is naked and you can see his penis"
        Mother: "GASP OHMYGODNO"

    "Given that it’s practically impossible for even the most conscientious of parents to keep their children away from exposure to portable R18+ items like DVDs and games"

    I guess we should ban all R18+ movies then. Think of the children!

      We should probably start burning some books too... some of them have theme's unsuitable for children too.

        Those sex education books are EVIL.


          Have you been to South Australia?

          It's getting like that over here.

          WARNINING: the following post is rated M15+ as it contains Adult themes, Alcohol and drug use and sexual innuendo.

          You just reminded me about a book I found during a small "sleep-over" party while I was at Uni. One of my friends was housesitting an old highschool teachers house and invited a few of us over for dinner and drinks. Having consumed a few White Russians, I was perusing a bookshelf containing an assortment of highschool literature in the living room when I came across a fairly thick and hefty Sexual Education book. The book covered pretty much everything relating to sex in a fair amount of depth, but the amusing part was that since the book was used at a catholic girls school, any reference to people in text or illustration had been substituted with Teddy Bears. Bondage Bear became a mascot for at least the rest of that semester, and I still chuckle at the memory of illustrated Bear Orgies when I pass the soft toy section in department stores.

      While we are at it why don't we ban alcohol? And smokes. You are supposed to be 18 to buy those and they have far worse impact but there is still ways for teenagers to get their hands on it due to negligence.

      Oh wait, you drink alcohol and watch DVD's don't you lady.
      Bet you don't play games though.

      Don't you dare touch my Fight Club!!!

      You're exactly correct.

      Every single argument she makes applies directly to films.

      Her logic, taken to its conclusions, would ban any film rated beyond MA15+

      This is one reason why pro-R18+ campaigners need to stress "equal treatment of media forms" as a key argument. There is no rational basis for treating video games differently to TV differently to Films differently to Books differently to Graphic Novels.

    The irony and hypocrisy, it burns.

    Nothing I've read from the pro-R18 camp has been in the least propagandistic.

    The arguments are consistent, rational and well-reasoned.

    The same can't be said for the frothing panic and fear-mongering of those arguing against classification reform.

      But you're asking panicky, fearmongering idiots to fight logic with logic... they can't do that? That'd be counterproductive to their argumentative, ridiculous stance!

    I'm glad I'm not related to Barbara. Tin foil hats and clothes made out of bubble wrap would get itchy.

    You guys ever play that game with your friends, where you say stuff and sometimes its a lie and sometimes its the truth. When its a lie you call out BULLSHIT!

    I'm calling BULLSHIT on that argument.

    Not having a rating doesn't stop these games from coming into the country, anybody who believes that clearly doesn't understand the situation at all and is caught up in their own fantasy world.

    All an R18+ rating would do is provide a legal way for adults to obtain the material which is already available in other forms of media; without having to send our $ overseas and encouraging illegal behavior.

    The truth is, we're winning over public opinion with fact so they're firing another salvo of bullshit in the hopes it'll stick in someone's ear.

    "a futile attempt to win the hearts and minds of a general public who – thankfully – know better."

    I hope the general public know better. You never know, this scare mongering just may work.

    "Given that it’s practically impossible for even the most conscientious of parents to keep their children away from exposure to portable R18+ items like DVDs and games..."

    Absolute BULLSHIT.

    I actually facepalmed after reading that.

    I love these Do Go, Think of the Children, ultimately fundamentalist Christian groups and how they thrust their beliefs on the wider community.

    There is an example in the US (Georgia) at present which is considering legislation to make Miscarriage punishable by the Death Penalty. Yep, insane isn't it. Funnily enough, the same Republician/mad hatter/Hard Core Christian tried last year to introduce legislation that women who report a rape were automatically charged under defamation laws.

      I literally just got light-headed and rolled my eyes reading that last part. The blood left my brain reading that much stupid.

      God help us because religion won't. Uh, you know what I mean.

    "Given that it’s practically impossible for even the most conscientious of parents to keep their children away from exposure to portable R18+ items like DVDs and games, how can it be possibly claimed that this would be better for children?”

    Translation - You do not parent your children the way I think you should therefore the Government should make these decisions for you.

    "Using the classification criteria for films, as the system required, R18+ games would have no restrictions on themes, could have high-impact levels of violence, of implied sexual violence, of realistically-simulated sexual activity (and perhaps the real thing), of drug use and of nudity."

    Translation - Using a Restricted rating system for R18+ games would have no impact on Restrictions"
    I dont understand what she is trying to say here, its an oxymoron.

    Why is it that extreme conservatives mistake conversation from their opposed view as propaganda?

    Ive had this discussion with many people who I know who could be considered neutral on the whole affair (non gamers,etc) and understandably when the debate begins they lean more to the anti R18+ rating system. But what is amazing is as soon as they start hearing the other side of the discussion and have both points of view in their mind....Guess what?....they begin to make up their OWN mind.......and more often than not (in my experience) that come around and agree with the Pro R18+ stance.

    Guys the R18+ IS going to happen...soon! Im all for hearing the opposing point of view (in any discussion) but only when its intelligent and rational. I cant wait until we no longer have to listen to these nobodies.

    Pro R18+ supporters using propaganda! How dare we use their tactics!

    Thank gawd we have people like Barbara to watch over us. I mean, I know I'm incapable of making decisions myself. And wasn't it lovely of her to tell us why we think that way. Propaganda she says. Aww, poor Barbara, she's lost her last remaning marbles. She's flashing back to all the wartime posters. The Nazi's have gone love, did you play the Call of Duty games?

    She does have a point though. I mean, kids watch R movies don't they? There's no way to stop a child playing an R rated game. It's not like ALL consoles have some sort of feature that stops unsuitable material being played....

      Pfft, as if. You expect parents to look through a manual and press 3 buttons to set up parental controls?

      Why do it yourself when you can get the government to just do all that stuff for you? Screw everyone else! You didn't get your 4WD chariot and your son into a private school by using your brain!

      (Yes, I work in the private sector, and 95% of the parents at my places of work are just like you would think - rich, demanding, over-entitled royalty.)

    A serious load of crock that is, bloody hypocrites! *grabs a burning torch*
    These anti-R18+ folk are absolute blockheads for all I know!

      I have a pitchfork... where we goin'?


          THIS AIN'T RASSLIN'!


            HEP DERP DE DERR!


        but its still light outside...
        We'll wait till it gets dark... THEN GOT AFTER EM WITH THE TORCHES!

    Given that there are already games which contain most of the things she's complaining about, I don't see her point.

    Then she immediately mentions the difficulty in keeping DVDs and games out of childrens' hands. But DVDs already have an R rating, and putting a DVD in and pushing play is much simpler than actually playing a game.

    Clearly she hasn't read the guidelines....

      Yeah, there's no way she's read the guidelines. It's an insult to the ACMA to suggest that R18+ is a 'pass all' rating. Her statement says that R18+ allows high levels of drug use, real sex, etc.

      You can pretty much defuse the entire argument right there by looking at the RC category in the guidelines (see bottom of post).

      Now all that remains of her argument (which sounds an awful like lot propoganda) is the statement that minors will still be able to get R18+ material. This may be true, but for this statement to have an effect, we have to remove ALL R18+ media, which isn't going to happen.

      Oh, sorry Barbabra, did I just defuse your entire argument in less than five minutes? I think I just did. That's a shame, I guess you'll have to actually do some research next time.

      Referring to


      Note: Films that exceed the R 18+ and X 18+ classification categories will be Refused Classification. Computer games that exceed the MA 15+ classification category will be Refused Classification.

      Films and computer games will be refused classification if they include or contain any of the following:


      Detailed instruction or promotion in matters of crime or violence.

      The promotion or provision of instruction in paedophile activity.

      Descriptions or depictions of child sexual abuse or any other exploitative or offensive descriptions or depictions involving a person who is, or appears to be, a child under 18 years.

      Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:

      (i) violence with a very high degree of impact or which are excessively frequent, prolonged or detailed;
      (ii) cruelty or real violence which are very detailed or which have a high impact;
      (iii) sexual violence.

      Depictions of practices such as bestiality.

      Gratuitous, exploitative or offensive depictions of:

      (i) activity accompanied by fetishes or practices which are offensive or abhorrent;
      (ii) incest fantasies or other fantasies which are offensive or abhorrent.

      DRUG USE
      Detailed instruction in the use of proscribed drugs.

      Material promoting or encouraging proscribed drug use.

      Note: Some of the terms used in this category are defined in the List of Terms at the end of these Guidelines.

    I don't think I can even reply to this without resorting to childish name calling.
    Who does she think she is calling out pro R18+ like that?

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