Radio NZ News 11 September 2015
Freelance journalist and commentator Jock Anderson says it’s not okay for swearing to be promoted to youngsters.
The issue surrounding a book aimed at school-age teenagers is not so much that it was banned, but that the author and his supporters promote swearing as an acceptable way for youngsters to communicate.
It is not.
The fuss over Ted Dawe’s Into the River appears centred on what a Christian lobby group says is sexually explicit material, and the book using the c-word nine times, the f-word 17 times and s**t 16 times.
Whether that is reason to restrict or ban the book is neither here nor there.
Nor is it really a question of freedom of speech.
What is more deeply troubling is what was said by Bernard Beckett, chief judge of the panel that named Into the River the 2013 book of the year.
Mr Beckett told Radio New Zealand: “Something we’re trying to do is increase literacy, especially among young males from educational deprived backgrounds, and we’re looking for material to engage with them. As soon as you put R14 on it, you have to ask, who are the people who have heft in society to go through the process and get their value system imposed?”