Right of Reply: James Ferman the Former Director of the British Board of Film Classification Replies to a Recent Article by Yasmin Alibhai-Brown Headlined `Sex, Politics and Censorship'
Ferman, James, The Independent (London, England)
YASMIN ALIBHAI-BROWN appears to assume that film censors never submit themselves to "serious debate on what `good' and necessary censorship ought to be". But members of the BBFC have such debates formally every week, with every decision having to be justified before the toughest critics they are ever likely to encounter: their own colleagues.
Far from being "glib", examiners must learn that, in this field, there are no easy answers. Arguments must be weighed, and every reasonable point of view likely to be put by the public must first be canvassed within the board itself.
There is no room for "libertarians" at the BBFC, since freedom must always be balanced with responsibility. Above all, there is the duty to prevent harm to potential viewers, especially children, as well as harm by such viewers through antisocial influence. The BBFC reserves the right to impose cuts on adult material where harm is likely, but it prefers to restrict access through classification. …