Books still matter – John Drinnan

NZ Herald 11 September 2015
Books still matter
Booksellers should be thanking Family First, which is seeking a changed designation for the prize-winning book Into The River. The family values lobby group believes the book by Ted Dawe is too sexual, and has obtained the first interim ban on a book in 22 years.
There is something quaint about focusing on a book, given all the sex and violence on TV, and the fact that the most illiterate teen can see any number of sexual practices online.
Family First director Bob McCoskrie accepted the disparity, but said Into The River had a high profile because it won top prize in the 2013 Children’s Book Awards. In my opinion that suggests the call for an age restriction is about carving a legal notch in Family First’s headboard, rather than protecting impressionable young readers.
But McCoskrie does have a point in insisting on a reliable certification process, so people can make an informed choice.
Meanwhile, Family First is delving into the media business – albeit in a very limited way. Family First TV – available on the internet – is a commercial relationship with a video-on-demand firm Good TV, which provide family-friendly entertainment. Good has similar arrangements with other groups and also trades in its own right.

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