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Editorial: Right call to backtrack Rocketman ban

Thursday 20 June 2019 | Written by Jonathan Milne | Published in National


Internal Affairs has done a u-turn on its proposed Rocketman ban, instead rating it R18. The Cook Islands News welcomes the decision and acknowledges officials' willingness to listen to public opinion.

Newspapers are sometimes accused of being too critical. And to be fair, that’s often part of the job, holding the powerful to account on behalf of the public.

So today, I welcome the opportunity to give credit where credit is due: to Internal Affairs for rethinking their plan to ban the movie Rocketman.

Internal Affairs Secretary Anne Herman and Chief Censor Dennis Tangirere found themselves the focus of international attention, after the Censor announced in the Cook Islands News that he would be “condemning” the Elton John movie – that is, banning it from being publicly exhibited through the Empire Cinema or rented out by DVD stores.

When I visited the cinema this week, I encountered Empire’s boss Pa Napa and Tangirere having a quiet chat about the movie. I was impressed by their calm, considered demeanour; there was no Old Testament fire and brimstone in this discussion.

Now, Herman has announced on Facebook that the movie will instead be rated R18. “The cinema may now legally resume screening Rocketman with the silver lining perhaps being a boost in sales for the cinema.”

It’s difficult to do a public about-turn – we all know that. So Herman and Tangirere deserve acknowledgement for their willingness to listen to public opinion and reverse Internal Affairs’ initial position.

Of course, due to the Censor’s direction that the movie be pulled last week, I haven’t seen it. And its licensed run has now ended.

But I hope Empire Cinema boss Pa Napa can somehow negotiate to bring it back for a special screening – and if he does, I’ll happily pay my 11 bucks to see it.

Because, by all accounts, this is not a raunchy, sexual film.

If anything, it is an inspiring story of a young man’s triumph over the demons of drugs, alcohol and abuse.

It offers hope to young adults trying to make sense of who they are in a confusing world.