Caroline Flora, a Ministry of Health boss, named new chief censor – Stuff


Caroline Flora, who is an associate deputy director general at the Ministry of Health, will start as the chief censor next month.
Internal Affairs Minister Jan Tinetti​ confirmed her appointment on Wednesday morning, more than a month after former chief censor David Shanks left the Office of Film and Literature Classification.
He held the role for five years, starting on a three-year tenure which was extended for two years in 2020. He moved to the censor’s office after working as the Ministry of Education’s director for health and security.
During his time, he saw the media and communications landscape change dramatically through technological transformation and was called to use his powers to suppress terrorist activity after the March 15 attacks in 2019.
He was a vocal censor, who discussed his concerns and reasoning often in media interviews. He also noted that the role of the censor had changed with technology, and called for bigger picture thinking about how to mitigate the harm of dangerous or objectionable content in the digital age.
The breadth of issues ranged from banning terrorist manifestos and videos of murders, to managing streaming giants’ responsibilities around shows such as 13 Reasons Why, and launching education campaigns around pornography.
Flora would start the new role on July 20, with a three-year term, Tinetti​ said.
As well as working at the Ministry of Health, with responsibilities for its system strategies and performance, Flora had also worked with police.
She had a legal background, Tinetti​ said, and leadership experience in the public service.
“Flora will carry on the vital work of protecting New Zealanders from material likely to cause harm, while balancing the important right to freedom of expression,” she said.
Following Shanks’ departure, deputy chief censor Rupert Ablett-Hampson had been acting as chief censor and would continue to do so until Flora’s arrival late next month.
Ablett-Hampson used his power to ban the manifesto of a white supremacist killer in May. The manifesto was published by an 18-year-old American who murdered 10 people at a grocery story in Buffalo, New York. Ablett-Hampson said the manifesto shared links to the March 15 terrorist attack in Christchurch.
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