Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria College, Wellington, N.Z Vol. 3, No. 5.
Most of the legal restrictions are, it should be noted, negative forms of propaganda. For, while the purpose of propaganda is to create, maintain, and strengthen given creeds, that of the censorship is to prevent ideas likely to weaken public acceptance of those creeds from being circulated. As it exists today censorship is mainly a function of the State; organizations within the State (a Church, for instance, or a Morality Council) that wish to prohibit the spread of ideas hostile to them, can do so only if they can persuade the Government to take legal action. There was a time when the Church could impose an effective censorship, a time when it had the power to punish for heresy. But it long ago surrendered this power of coercion to the State, which now exercises final control over the various existing instruments for the spreading of ideas - film, play, books and pamphlets, radio, public meeting... This is true today of all States, the most liberal and democratic as well as the most autocratic.
The means by which the censorship is effected are familiar to most people. In New Zealand we have a Film Censor appointed by the Government to examine all films entering the country, with power to reject all or part of any that he considers undesirable, and officials connected with all the radio stations to do the same with the scripts of talks or plays. With books and pamphlets, and plays, however, the procedure is either for the Customs to seize any material considered by the Minister of Customs to be seditious or indecent, or for the police to take action, usually after receiving information from groups or individuals, or in obedience to instructions from the Minister of Justice. Their action is then either confirmed or repudiated by the Courts.