Volume 93, Issue 74

Thursday, February 10, 2000


City questions anti-Semitic behaviour

Controversial photo gets pulled

Women still reaching for the top

Study finds home can make a good hospital

Hydro deregulation to push the industry

Newspaper challenges YOA



Caught on campus

Controversial photo gets pulled

By Nina Chiarelli
Gazette Staff

Nudity got nixed at the University of Victoria last week.

The Womyn's Publication Netwerk, a monthly student publication at the university recently attempted to publish a photograph of a partially clad woman standing next to her naked child for its latest issue, entitled Sex and Sexualities, said Lisa Helps, co-editor of the WPN.

Helps said her publication was denied publishing privileges by Island Publishers of Victoria, British Columbia, because the photo contained full frontal nudity of the small child. The mother and child were photographed at the "Burning Man Festival" in Nevada, which promotes the breaking down of sexual barriers.

"The printer made the decision," Helps said. "They were uncomfortable with the little girl's body and thought [the photo] was in poor taste." Helps said she thought the decision was made to avoid child pornography charges.

Jack Bellerose, spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, confirmed child pornography is illegal to print, publish or possess under Canada's criminal code.

Presently, the code defines child pornography as a photograph, film or video, of which the dominant characteristic is the depiction, for a sexual purpose, of a sexual organ or the anal region of a person under the age of 18 years or a person depicted to be under 18 years of age.

Jan McGee, assistant manager of Island Publishers, said the decision not to publish the photograph, which was made by both her and the Island Publishers' manager, in no way reflected fears or concerns that criminal charges would be laid.

"We just felt it wasn't appropriate," McGee said. She added this was the first time Island Publishers had decided not to publish a photograph for the WPN and it was completely within their rights to do so.

Helps said she was disappointed by the publisher's decision and felt it sent a negative message. "The two things that come out of this are the printer acting as a censor and a family photograph turned into pornography."

Kari Worton, director of academics with the university's Students' Union, whose student fees fund the WPN, said she thought the publishers overreacted. "We saw the picture and didn't see anything wrong with it. And we're sorry Island Publishers felt it was inappropriate."

Worton, who said she was an avid reader of the publication, explained the WPN had never experienced censorship of this kind in the past. "Censorship is never good."

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