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David Shanks

David Shanks

Chief Censor, Office of Film and Literature Classification, New Zealand

David Shanks was appointed as New Zealand’s Chief Censor in May 2017.  As Chief Censor he leads the Classification Office, which is a government agency that is legally required to make independent decisions.

His role is a media regulator, with responsibility for classifying both commercial content (such as films), and potentially illegal content (such as terrorist attack livestreams). This requires a careful balance to be struck between the need to protect New Zealanders from harm, particularly children and young people, with the equally important need to uphold every citizens right to freedom of expression.

Mr Shanks is a barrister and solicitor who has had a career spanning both private and public sector senior roles. He has been the Chief Legal Officer for the largest government department in New Zealand, led major public inquiries, and also served as Director for a technology sector private company.

As a parent Mr Shanks has a passion for the job and a determination to transform the thinking around freedom and responsibility in the changing world of media content.

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