Censor Watch
 2011: January
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31st January   

Update: Internet Censorship...

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Malaysia proposes licensing of bloggers and websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet

Malaysia flagThe Malaysian government's latest proposal for internet censorship has come under fire from opposition politicians and industry watchers.

According to a report by local news agency Bernama, the Home Ministry was reviewing the definition of the word publication in the country's Printing Presses and Publications Act (PPPA) 1984 to decide if it should now include Internet content, blogs and social networks such as Facebook.

Under the Act, all printing presses require a licence that must be renewed yearly and renewed based on the approval of the Home Ministry.

Malaysia's laws, detailing that the Internet cannot be censored, are provisioned under the Multimedia Super Corridor Bill of Guarantees as well as the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998. The government has largely kept its promise not to enforce Internet censorship so far.

The announcement, however, has received condemnation from the online community including social networks Twitter and Facebook, as well as politicians and industry watchdogs.

Lim Kit Siang, parliamentary leader of opposition Democratic Action Party, described the move as the government's latest attempt to quell online dissent and a clear violation of its promise not to enforce censorship on the Internet.

The National Union of Journalists (NUJ) also described the latest move as a backward attempt to block the spread of information to the public.

In a bid to quell the rising dissent, Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in the local press that the proposed PPPA amendments have yet to be finalized and discussions are still in the early stage.

 

31st January   

Update: Censorship to Micro-Effect...

Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

Egypt block Twitter in an attempt to keep the numbers of protestors down
Link Here

Twitter logoEgypt has just upped its war on the Internet, and cut access to mobile phone communications, in areas where thousands of protesters gathered for a Day of Revolution. The aim seemed to be an attempt to control the flood of protesters and strangle the movement.

Demonstrations sprung across the country, with calls for the end of President Hosni Mubarak's 30-year rule, corruption, economic failings as well as other grievances. Word of the protests and gathering points had been announced on social networking sites, including microblogging site, Twitter, which has been blocked by the authorities.

Such censorship has sparked the anger of activists, especially since it is the first time in Egypt's history that such heavy-handedness is used to silence people online. The move is a stark reminder of the iron fist with which ousted Tunisian strongman Zeine El Abidine Ben Ali clamped down on the Internet, in neighbouring Tunisia, whose uprising has inspired millions of Arabs.

Update: Internet Blocked

28th January 2011. See article from mashable.com

Egypt flagIt is reported that Egypt is now under an Internet and SMS blackout. The governments appears under siege after a series of major protests against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak.

Sebone, a major Egyptian service provider based in Italy, is reporting that no Internet traffic is entering or exiting the country. Reporters and citizens on-the-ground are also reporting that they are experiencing an Internet and SMS outage.

Egypt has been enveloped in unrest over the presidency of Hosni Mubarak, who has been in power since 1981. The protests have been partly inspired by the successful revolution in Tunisia that forced President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali out of power after 23 years. Facebook, Twitter and social media were key communication tools used by protesters to organize rallies.

Update: Al-Jazeera Banned

31st January 2011. See article from cpj.org

Al Jazeera logoNilesat, the Egyptian state satellite company has stopped transmitting the signal of Al-Jazeera's primary Arabic language channel.

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the actions of Egyptian authorities to disrupt media coverage by Al-Jazeera and calls on them to reverse the decision immediately.

Both Al-Jazeera and Al-Jazeera English continued to report today on Egypt from other locations. CPJ research shows that viewers outside Egypt can now view the network's Arabic channel only on the Hotbird satellite or other satellites not controlled by Egyptian authorities.

But at least two individuals in Egypt who spoke to the channel's anchor on air reported that they could not view the channel even on non-state satellites, an indication that authorities may be jamming those transmissions.

Al-Jazeera English's broadcast remained on Nilesat.

 

31st January   

Comment Declared Offside...

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Male sports presenters don't know the rules of easy offence
Link Here

offside remarks video US cable television network TNT has issued an apology  for a comment made by comedian Tracy Morgan about former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin during a live broadcast.

During a pre-game chat on Inside the NBA, co-host Charles Barkley asked the actor, Sarah Palin's good looking, isn't she?

Morgan replied, Let me tell you something about Sarah Palin, she's good masturbation material. The glasses and all of that... She is great masturbation material.

TNT issued the apology within minutes amid 'outraged' phone calls and emails about Morgan's comments.

It's unfortunate Morgan showed a lack of judgment on our air with his inappropriate comments, said Turner spokesman Jeff Pomeroy in a statement.

 

30th January   

Update: A Call to Lobby Ed Vaizey...

Safermedia single issue political campaign exploiting charity money from UK tax payers
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn
buttonholing ed vaizey

  Buttonholing Ed Vaizey

Safermedia are reporting that they have been having meetings with MPs in parliament regarding their campaign for ISP internet blocking.

They have announced that on 7th February 2011 Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture will be having meetings with British ISPs to push for an opt-in system to block internet pornography.

They have called on their supporters to email Vaizey so as to give an impression of public support.

Safermedia wrote on their blog site:

We would urge you to fill in your name, address and organisation (if appropriate) on the letter to Mr Vaizey below, and send this email as soon as possible, and before 7 February, to vaizeye@parliament.uk.

Dear Mr Vaizey,

Thank you for your efforts in arranging a meeting with internet service providers to discuss how the industry can better support parents and help them ensure that their children cannot access pornography. Research clearly indicates that viewing pornography leads to an acceptance of violent and unhealthy notions of sex and relationships, where the objectification of women and aggressive sexual behaviour are the norm. That is why I strongly support your initiative, suggested by Claire Perry MP, to switch the default setting for internet pornography in to our homes to off , and implement an opt-in system. I urge you to promote it as robustly as possible at your forthcoming round table meeting with the ISPs in February.

Yours Sincerely,

Name: Address: Organisation (if appropriate):

 

30th January   

Updated: Past BBFC Bigwig Convicted of Fraudulent Expense Claims...

Moral high grounder corrupted by too much sex and violence?...
Link Here

John TaylorLord Taylor of Warwick has been found guilty of making £11,277 in false parliamentary expenses claims.

He claimed travel costs between his Oxford home and Westminster, as well as subsistence for living away from home whilst in London. He was actually living in a flat in London.

A jury at Southwark Crown Court found him guilty by an 11-1 majority verdict.

He has been released on bail pending sentencing at a date to be confirmed.

Taylor was a former vice-president of the British Board of Film Classification serving from 1998 until 2000.

He was actually appointed during moral times when the Government were keeping a close eye on BBFC presidential appointments. This was to ensure a bit of Jack Straw imposed morality after James Ferman had started the hardcore legalisation ball rolling by passing a few hardcore snippets in R18 videos.

So much for their selection of moral high grounders.

Offsite: The Warlock of Warwick

30th January 2011. See article from telegraph.co.uk

Lord Taylor of Warwick, the first black Conservative politician to take a seat in the House of Lords, faces jail after being convicted of expenses fraud.

The Telegraph can reveal the full extent of his spectacular demise. For as the net was closing in on him, Taylor went ahead with a marriage – including a lavish ceremony and reception at the House of Lords – that was to last just 24 days.

In a remarkably candid interview, Taylor's ex-wife Yvonne Louise, a wealthy evangelical Christian from Florida, tells of their wedding, their bizarre honeymoon and subsequent divorce.

Taylor, also an evangelical Christian, employed as his official wedding photographer the nephew whose damning evidence helped to secure his conviction. The photos of the ceremony, which took place in December 2009 but which are made public for the first time today, show Taylor smiling for the cameras. But his grin masks the scandal about to engulf him.

...Read the full article

 

30th January   

Update: Foreign Media Censor...

Tunisia dismantles part of Ben Ali's censorship regime
Link Here  full story: Jasmine Revolution...Popular uprising to dipose President Ben Ali

Tunisia flagTunisia has disbanded an agency which acted as an effective censor of foreign media during the rule of ousted president Zine al-Abdine Ben Ali.

The External Communications Agency will be replaced by an independent body that will help coordinate with foreign media but will not interfere in their output.

The move is part of the interim government's efforts to roll back the restrictive policies of Ben Ali, who strictly controlled the media during his 23-year rule.

 

30th January   

Bible Implants...

Church whinges about newspaper cartoon depicting brainwashing by christians
Link Here

kazakh brain op cartoonProtestant church leaders in central Kazakhstan have issued a joint protest against an article and accompanying cartoon critical of Christianity printed in a newspaper last month, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Igor Pak, the pastor of the Kamo Gryadeshi (Quo Vadis) Protestant church told RFE/RL an article published in the newspaper Vzglyad na sobytiya (A Glance at Events) in December was a lie written by a reporter who visited his church.

The article implied that the church was involved in brainwashing people to become Christians. A cartoon accompanying the article showed a man in a doctor's robe opening up another's man's skull and putting what appears to be a Bible in his head. The man in the doctor's robe says: Some words of the Lord Almighty, a bit of spicy tricks with delirium about personal growth; as for logical thinking ... we do not give a damn about that.

Vzglyad na sobytiya chief editor Andrei Menshchikov said that the last time I checked, freedom of speech is still legal in our democratic country called Kazakhstan.

 

29th January   

Grovelling for Nutter Forgiveness...

Profuse apologies all around as Elton John says 'fuck' on a radio breakfast show
Link Here

Radio 2 logoThe BBC have apologised after Elton John swore live on air during a daytime radio show.

He was heard by millions of Radio 2 listeners during Chris Evans's breakfast show.

Evans was telling the flamboyant singer how fellow musician Jools Holland begins his day by playing the piano, when Sir Elton heaved a sigh uttered something along the lines of who the fuck would want to get up first thing in the morning and play the piano?

This was followed by profuse apologies to keep Ofcom at bay and a formal apology from Elton John, saying: I'm really, really sorry that I said that naughty word, but I can't believe anyone would want to get up first thing in the morning and play the piano.

The BBC also issued an apology: Both Sir Elton and Chris apologised many times on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show for the language used by Sir Elton. The BBC apologises if any offence was caused.

Mediawatch-UK was prompted for a sound bite and a spokesman said: Slip-ups do happen but it's a family show. The BBC should have briefed him before the show. It shouldn't have happened – but at least they are taking it seriously.

 

29th January   

Update: Scrap It...

Continuing protests against Hungary's new media censorship law
Link Here  full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

hungary parliamentSeveral thousand people protested against Hungary's media law and demanded freedom for the press in front of the parliament building on Thursday.

Head of Amnesty International Hungary Orsolya Jeney called on the government to withdraw the entire legislation or to change it with regard to the freedom of expression and the press, as well as the rights of access to information.

Smaller demonstrations were staged in Szeged, Debrecen, Pecs, and Gyula.

The protests were organised on Facebook.

 

29th January   

Update: Britain's Best Offender...

Frankie Boyle tops December's complaints league
Link Here  full story: Frankie Boyle...Whinges about Frankie Boyle and Mock the Week

Frankie Boyle Live Through Strangle Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights was the most complained-about programme on Channel 4 last month, the broadcaster has revealed. The series attracted 689 complaints.

Another 735 complaints have been received by regulator Ofcom.

 

29th January   

Aaranya Kaandam...

Indian gangster film producer peeved by two dozen censor cuts
Link Here

aaranya kaandThe internationally-acclaimed Tamil film Aaranya Kaandam has been butchered by the Regional Censors in Chennai and then passed with an adults only A certificate.

The film won the Grand Jury Award for Best Film at the prestigious South Asian International Film Festival in New York. The film is a gangster story set in Royapuram area of Chennai.

As per sources, the censors have demanded more than two dozen cuts, including voice muting, on the ground of profanity, showing drug abuse and violence in the climax.

The peeved producer, SP Charan said:

A film that has been appreciated and lauded by international audiences and won a major award has been badly treated by the regional censors in Chennai. They insisted on too many cuts and then slapped an 'A' certificate. I'm ready to take the 'A' certificate without cuts, as I have made the film for a mature audience and not for children!. I will take the film to the Tribunal in Delhi, and explain my viewpoint.

 

28th January   

Updated: Valley of the Wolves Palestine...

Political pressures lead to a German block on a Turkish film said to show Israel in a bad light
Link Here

valley of the wolves palestineThe Turkish film series Valley of the Wolves is not known for its delicacy. Now, distribution of the most recent movie in the series has been blocked in Germany.

The Valley of the Wolves formula is simple: Turks are honorable and courageous; action hero Polat Alemdar, played by Turkish movie star Necati Amazbased, can do no wrong; Americans are suspect; and Israelis are inhuman and brutal.

The newest installment, Valley of the Wolves Palestine, is based on the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara, the Turkish aid ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists to Gaza in May 2010, which resulted in the deaths of nine Turks on board the ship.

Of particular political concern are allegations that Israel and Israelis are portrayed negatively in the film. Furthermore, the planned release date of Jan. 27, which is International Holocaust Remembrance Day, is seen as insensitive.

To release a film like this on such an important day of remembrance is beyond tasteless and insensitive to the feelings of the victims, said German parliamentarian Philipp Missfelder, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU).

Kerstin Griese, a German parliamentarian with the center-left Social Democrats, called the movie problematic, because it glorifies violence and anti-Israeli sentiment.

This has proven too much for Germany's film censorship board, the FSK which has so far refused to grant the film an age rating certificate, which automatically places it in the adult category. German law forbids adult-rated films from being marketed using posters and other forms of public advertising.

The film board will meet again on Thursday to review the decision.

Update: Passed 18

28th January 2011. Based on article from jpost.com

FSK 18 Germany's FSK film censors passed Turkish film Kurtlar Vadisi: Filistin (Valley of the Wolves: Palestine) with an adults only rating.

The distribuotrs, Pera, said that it can be shown immediately but it wasn't immediately clear that it was shown on Thursday – International Holocaust Remembrance Day. Austrian cinemas did show show it on the day as planned with a self imposed 18 rating..

FSK issued a statement saying that children under the age of 18 are not permitted to see the film. They added that Valley of the Wolves contains propaganda tendencies and repetitive violence.

The film cost $10 million to make, making it the most expensive in Turkish cinematic history.

Politicians from the Green Party and the Christian Social Union criticized the film this week. Philipp Missfelder, a member of the ruling Christian Democratic Party, said it disrespects victims of the Holocaust, and Jerzy Montag of the Green Party called the movie irresponsible.

 

28th January   

Year of the Rabbit...

China wound up by animation showing a rabbit uprising against evil oppression
Link Here

wang bo cartoon video A grisly cartoon that marks the upcoming Year of the Rabbit by portraying a bunny revolt against brutal tiger overlords has proven an online hit, with its thinly veiled stab at China's communist rulers.

The video by animator Wang Bo, in which persecuted rabbits overthrow the ruling tigers, went viral on video-sharing sites in recent days thanks to its gruesome depiction of a number of recent scandals.

Wang's cartoon begins with baby rabbits who die horribly from drinking Sanlu milk. Sanlu is the now-defunct Chinese dairy giant that was at the centre of the 2008 tainted milk scanadal.

In the video, rabbit parents are then savagely beaten by tiger thugs when they complain, or are cruelly run over by cars and killed in a reference to two recent cases.

In one, the son of a police official in northern China stood trial this week accused of striking and killing a pedestrian while driving drunk. He reportedly tried to escape arrest by invoking his father's name. In another, a village chief was last month crushed by a truck. Villagers allege he was killed by local officials to silence his complaints about a land seizure by authorities.

After an orgy of violence as the bunnies rise up, the video ends with a character saying: It will really be an interesting year.

It is unsurprisingly unavailable on websites in China.

 

28th January   

Slackistan...

Pakistan bans British made film set in Islamabad for swearing and drinking
Link Here

slackistanSlackistan , a British-made movie about young people living in Islamabad, has been banned in Pakistan because of scenes showing swearing and drinking.

The Guardian notes the contentious issues as: the words 'Taliban' and 'lesbian', swear words in English and Urdu, scenes showing characters drinking (filmed with fake alcohol, incidentally) and a joke about beards (as in "my beard is longer than your beard") made between characters talking hypothetically about a fancy dress party. These are not the CBFC's only objections, but the main ones it highlighted.

Its director, London-based Hammad Khan, has told the BBC he is refusing to make changes demanded by Pakistan's Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC).

The CBFC also called for religious references to be taken out.

The low-budget film follows the young Pakistanis as they spend their time dating, drinking and going to parties despite attacks on their city by militants linked to al-Qaeda and the Taliban.

 

28th January   

Still Standing...

US stores censor Elton John's happy family snap
Link Here

us weekly elton johnA U.S. supermarket has sparked 'outrage' after it covered with a family shield a magazine showing a picture of Elton John, his husband and their newborn baby.

The Arkansas store deemed the image of the gay couple and their child, on the front of Us Weekly, to be offensive.

Staff say complaints from shoppers prompted them to cover the magazine with an opaque cover as used for pornographic magazines.

The Harps grocery chain store in Mountain Home, Arkansas also wrapped lthe magazine in a protective plastic shield to stop youngsters flicking through it.

Only the very top of the magazine was visible, with the cover reading: Family shield. To protect young Harps shoppers.

The move sparked 'outrage' among representatives from GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation). On its blog, a GLAAD spokesman said the shield should never have been put up in the first place , adding: Obviously, someone felt that shoppers should not have to look at this smiling, happy couple and their newborn baby.

And after receiving a plethora of complaints, the store management have now un-censored the magazine.

 

28th January   

Snowy Bosom Covered in Swallows...

Poetry book banned in Iraqi Kurdistan
Link Here

snowy bosomThe latest poetry collection of a well-known Kurdish poet has been banned in Iraqi Kurdistan, after mullahs criticized it for disparaging God.

The book, by Qubad Jalil-Zada, is entitled Stiany Befir Pira Rishole, which Rudaw has translated as Snowy Bosom Covered in Swallows. The author is now urging Kurdistan's president to free his book from imprisonment.

A thousand copies of the book were printed. However, a sentence in one of the poems, God is resting, angered several mullahs in the Kurdish capital, Erbil, and they have harshly criticized the collection in their Friday sermons.

The criticism of the Mullahs, one of whom is a lawmaker, put pressure on authorities in the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), who have now banned the book from distribution. Consequently, all of the printed copies have been returned to the publishers.

 

28th January   

Offsite: Lynched...

Gay rights activist outed by Uganda's Rolling Stone newspaper found murdered
Link Here  full story: Rolling Stone Lynch List...Ugandan magazine publishes list of gays

rolling sto gay picsHe was a brave and fiercely committed activist who led the Ugandan struggle for gay rights for more than a decade. David Kato went to jail for his beliefs, and to court, winning his greatest victory three weeks ago against a newspaper that had called for him to be hanged.

But now he appeared to have paid the ultimate price: he had been battered to death with a hammer in his home in Kampala.

As distraught family and friends gathered at the scene, police said they had arrested a man hired to drive for Kato and were pursuing another male suspect seen leaving the house. A police spokesman said the motive appeared to be robbery.

But given the fierce anti-gay campaigns launched in recent years by some religious leaders and journalists, as well as politicians who drafted laws to have gay people locked up for life or even executed, there are inevitable questions as to whether Kato was killed because of his sexuality.

... Read the full article

Update: Murder convicted

17th November 2011. See article from voanews.com

A Ugandan man has been sentenced to 30 years in prison for the murder of gay rights activist David Kato.

Sidney Nsubuga Enoch admitted to killing Kato with a hammer. But he was only convicted of second-degree murder, having claimed that he acted in self-defense. Enoch told the court Kato was making sexual advances, and that he had no choice but to kill him.

 

27th January   

Update: Free Speech Impediment...

US distributor considers a cut version of the The King's Speech
Link Here  full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

Kings Speech DVD Colin Firth The LA Times is reporting that the film distributor Weinstein is contemplating editing The King's Speech in order to get its R-rating reduced to PG-13 and so increase the market able to see it.

The reason that the film was given the restricted label in the first place is because of MPAA inflexibility over a scene in which King George VI spurts out numerous curse words in order to help him get over his stutter.

The film was originally rated 15 in the UK, but the BBFC were asked to think again, and the film now has a 12 rating allowing it to be seen by a family audience. And successful it has been too.

cinemablend.com commented

This is a terrible, terrible idea. As far as I know, there is no difference between the cut being shown in British theaters vs. US theaters, meaning that this isn't a problem of content, but rather an issue of bullshit standards and qualifications by the MPAA. This would perhaps be understandable if we still lived in the 1920s, but I've personally never met a 13 year old kid who is completely unaware of the existence of words like fuck and shit.

 

27th January   

Family First NZ Recommend...

Monster by Kanye West
Link Here

kanye west monster Family First New Zealand is joining other groups in Australia and the US in calling for a ban on the upcoming release of Kayne West's hit song Monster .

Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ said:

HipHopConnection.com has leaked a video teaser for the Kanye West hit song Monster, featuring images of eroticised violence against women. The full six minute video includes dead women, clad in lingerie, hanging by chains around their necks; West making sexual moves toward dead or drugged women propped up in a bed; West rapping while casually holding a woman's severed head that is still dripping blood; and a naked dead or drugged woman laying sprawled on a sofa.

The music industry's portrayals of women being abused, objectified, sexualized, and victimised being valid forms of entertainment are unacceptable.

Some will argue for freedom of speech and that it is simply 'art', but freedom of expression should never be at the expense of the safety and welfare of women and families, and the attitudes and stereotypes which may be normalised through this type of offensive material.

Family First is calling on New Zealand's Chief Censor to ban the video, and for Sky TV's music channels and other music shows on free-to-air channels to refuse to broadcast it.

Other groups supporting the call are Australian groups Collective Shout, Adios Barbie, and the Coalition Against Trafficking in Women International, and the US-based Media Watch.

 

27th January   

Update: Game Rules Too Complicated...

Handover of games censorship from BBFC to VSC delayed at least until September
Link Here  full story: Keith Vaz...Keith Vaz in votes for knighthood claim

clock graphicIndecision over whether games featuring video content still need a BBFC certificate has temporarily derailed the implementation of PEGI ratings.

The handover from the BBFC to the VSC will not now occur until September at the very earliest.

A new government proposal states that interactive entertainment which features linear content (such as trailers) would require a BBFC rating. That means a game that features a video in it will need to have both a PEGI and BBFC label on the box.

UKIE representing UK games producers condemned the proposal, saying in a statement:

Any dual labelling is contrary to the principles that were established in having PEGI introduced into the Digital Economy Act and if this proposal were implemented we believe it would only cause unnecessary and potentially harmful consumer confusion.

 

27th January   

Update: Open Rapping...

Rappers step out from the world of the banned onto Tunisia's main stage
Link Here  full story: Jasmine Revolution...Popular uprising to dipose President Ben Ali

el generalTunisia's previously banned and popular rappers are now able to step out of the virtual world and onto the stage.

Hassled by the authorities and scorned by producers, the artists who gave voice to the anger that spilled into protests that toppled Zine El Abidine Ben Ali are now courted by music houses and making videos in plain sight.

Hamada Ben Amor, better known on the web as El General, was arrested on January 5 at the height of the wave of unrest that has come to be known as the Jasmine Revolution. He spent several days in detention.

He had shot to Internet fame with the song President, your people are dead , a dig at Ben Ali's corruption-accused authoritarian dictatorship that became an anti-establishment anthem for thousands.

Amor said he has since received recording offers from international and national production houses. The young rapper has also been invited to perform on Saturday at the 10,000-seater El Menzah stadium close to Tunis.

Also billed for the show is another performer who had until recently been only virtual, the thoroughly more inflammatory Mohammed Jandoubi, alias Psyco-M, who was Tunisia's number one Net rapper last year. He controversially pushes the theory of a US-Zionist plot to destroy Islam. He questions the morals of Tunisian television and cinema personalities, attacking those in miniskirts dressed like Naomi Campbell and has already earned himself a charge of defamation earlier this month.

 

27th January   

PC Morality...

Sex education under the cosh in Sweden because one person complained to the police about the morality of animated teen sex
Link Here

sex on a mapAnimated teen sex scenes in a sex education film has led to the film being reported to the police for violating laws against endangering the moral upbringing of young people.

The film, Sex on the map (Sex på kartan) , was co-produced by the Swedish Association for Sexuality Education (RFSU) and the Swedish Educational Broadcasting Company (UR) and broadcast last week on Sveriges Television (SVT).

One individual then reported the public broadcaster to the police. According to the complaintant, the film depicts minors having sex and is directed toward Swedish high school students and thus qualifies as the crime of leading youth astray.

According to the statute, someone can be convicted of the crime for distributing pictures or images featuring content which can be dehumanising or otherwise cause serious danger for the moral upbringing of young people.

Cecilia Bäcklander, the programme director rejected the claims: This is a very well thought out film that has been planned for several years with RFSU. We're not guilty of endangering young people or leading them astray. This is an educational film . We've consulted our lawyers throughout the production .

The complaint, which was filed with the police in Stockholm, has been forwarded to Sweden's Chancellor of Justice (Justitiekanslern), who is charged with assessing whether or not the matter falls within the framework of Sweden's laws governing freedom of expression.

 

26th January   

Update: Screwed by Repressive Policing...

A Serbian Film allegory extends to Northampton Blockbuster
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

A Serbian Film DVD On Friday 21st January 2011 the Police raided an unsuspecting Blockbuster in Northampton upon receiving a complaint from a 'distressed' viewer and seized copies of the film despite the BBFC rating on the front and the content warning in large letters on the back.

The police with their usual, the complainant is always right, attitude didn't check with the BBFC before raiding the store for a perfectly legal film.

Blockbuster has now withdrawn the film from it's catalogue pending consultation with their lawyers.

Northamptonshire police sent dogatemywookie.co.uk the statement:

We received information from a member of the public that a copy of The Serbian Film at a branch of Blockbusters in Northampton contained images of child abuse.

We have a duty to investigate such claims and in agreement with the manager of the shop took a copy away to view and check that it was the edition that has been approved by the British Board of Film Classification for distribution.

It has been established as a legitimate copy of the film that has been approved for distribution by the BBFC and so is being returned to the shop.

 

26th January   

Updated: South Park...

Smaller, Shorter and UNCUT?
Link Here

South Park Complete 14th Season Comedy central Extra is showing a rundown of their favourite 100 South Park episodes.

I've only really stepped in and out, so can't tell if this mistake has happened in this run. The episode You have 0 friends [After being forced to create a FaceBook account, Stan finds himself in the middle of a fad that has gone way too far] was shown tonight (Monday Jan 24th) completely unbleeped. 8 F-bombs, and other profanities slipped through the censor dragnet.

Obviously this isn't something Comedy Central UK has done. As the shows are edited stateside then sent out around the world (even home video versions are edited). Does anyone know if this episode aired in the US in this form?

As US television is considerably more anal and narrow minded than the UK where language is concerned.

Update: The Uncensored Tale Of Scrotie McBuggerballs

26th January 2011. From Jamie

The other day Comedy Central showed The Tale Of Scrotie McBuggerballs completely uncensored all the f's and everything else. It was the first time I know of them showing an unedited version. In the States, like here, it's always been the censored version.

The US and UK DVDs are now released uncensored. What will happen it comes to Season 14 and [the Mohammed Teddy Bear] episodes 200 and 201 remains to be seen.

 

26th January   

Pop Confessional...

ASA see the funny side of nightclub advert
Link Here

pop confessional advert A press ad, in Venue magazine, a Bristol Metro supplement, featured an image of the Virgin Mary holding a disco ball to advertise a themed club night. Text stated EVERY SATURDAY THEKLA BRISTOL FREE ENTRY BEFORE 10PM GUILTY POP PLEASURES FOR SINNERS POP CONFESSIONAL WWW.POPCONFESSIONAL.CO.UK .

A complainant objected to the ad as offensive, as it mocked Christians, and Catholics in particular.

Venue Publishing said The Metro was a free paper aimed at young commuters, with significant content regarding entertainment and nightlife for that demographic. Because of that readership, they said they were surprised at the complaint, and believed it was very unlikely any regular readers were offended by the ad. They added that they had received no complaints themselves about the ad.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA understood that the intention was to light heartedly play on the idea that enjoying certain types of music was something people were ashamed to admit. We acknowledged that notions of sinning and confession originated from a religious context, but considered that they had become embedded in secular society with a wider application, especially amongst the intended audience. While we understood some readers may have found it distasteful to use the Virgin Mary to promote a nightclub, we did not consider that the ad portrayed religion negatively, and considered that most of the young and fashionable audience of the magazine were likely to interpret the ad as a tongue-in-cheek joke at poor music taste, and not a joke at the expense of Christianity or Catholicism. We therefore concluded the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence, or that it mocked Christians, and Catholics in particular.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) Clause 4.1 (Harm and Offence) but did not find it in breach.

More on the same theme

There's more on the them at the website popconfessional.co.uk . Perhaps Hall & Oates, David Essex, Foreigner, Journey, 5ive and Craig David could obtain a little free publicity by being 'offended' that their music is considered a sin.

Our Father, who art in pop-heaven, hallowed by thy name…

The POP CONFESSIONAL comes to Bristol for the first time! Your host for the evening is Father Valentine Spinoza who will be spinning all your favourite guilty pop pleasures until the wee small hours of Sunday morning, leaving you ready for Mass in the morning.

We'll bring you pop classics covering all musical eras, from Hall & Oates and David Essex to Foreigner and Journey to 5ive and Craig David. We also want you to confess your musical sins in our video confessional booth. Our favourite confessions will be put up on our YouTube channel and the best will win some excellent pop prizes!

Expect shameless dancing to tunes you know you shouldn't, pop-priests and naughty-nuns, dressing up of all kinds, outrageous dance moves and pure party vibes the Lord Himself would be proud of.

Every Saturday on board the world famous Thekla!

 

26th January   

Updated: Unspecified Dangers...

Update on the Dangerous Pictures Act in Scotland
Link Here

crown officeThe Scottish version of the Dangerous Pictures Act passed into law a while back as section 42 of the Criminal Justice and licensing (Scotland) Act 2010. However the Crown Office has not yet made a decision about the commencement date.

A request was made to both the Lord Advocate(Crown Office) and Advocate General of Scotland to refer the bill to the Supreme Court to ensure it's compliance with human rights legislation, supported by the legal opinion of Rabinder Singh QC, courtesy of Backlash. This ability to refer a bill to the Supreme Court is available in Scotland but not England.

Neither law officer decided to refer the bill. When asked their reasons for not doing so the office of the Advocate General said he didn't have to give a reason (some of you may remember that the Advocate General (Lord Wallace) had actually spoken in the House of Lords against the UK version of the DPA), whilst the Crown Office didn't think it was appropriate to enter into a detailed legal discussion .

The Crown Office has refused to reveal specific case marking guidelines; the advice given to procurator fiscals as to the type of material which would warrant charges. It claimed that information was confidential, despite it being pointed out that the advice was available in England and Wales.

Phantom commented:

Let us just for a moment savour the statement above.

As we all know, ignorance is no defence. So the public is liable. Yet what type of material is to be prosecuted, that is - confidential.

So in short: You must know. But we're not telling you.

Offsite: Secrecy to ensure that Scots can't avoid prosecution by keeping on the right side of the rules

26th January 2011. See article from theregister.co.uk by Jane Fae Ozimek

Following queries from readers, the Register asked whether the Crown Office intended issuing guidelines, as has happened south of the border, to enable those unclear over the precise scope of the law to delete any images that might get them in trouble.

They received a reply from the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service, which is responsible for the prosecution of crime in Scotland:

We do not publicly disclose our prosecution policy in relation to specific offences as to do so may allow offenders to adapt or restrict their behaviour to conduct which falls short of our prosecution threshold.

They added that any such information would also be exempt from any attempt to tease it out by using Freedom of Information legislation.

...Read the full article .

Presumably the prosecutors saw the question as something like "how many mph over the speed limit will actually trigger a prosecution". They feel that drivers should only be aware of the basic speed limit, not the tolerance margins used by the prosecutors. But nevertheless the attitude is reprehensible. The law is very vague and people simply need to know something of how the prosecutors are interpreting it. For instance, does 'realistic' mean 'convincingly real', or does it mean just 'like real' as someone may say about a 'realistic' murder in a Hammer horror film, obviously not real but a good effort.

 

26th January   

Painful Cuts...

Philippines censors ban Adolf Alix Jr's Chassis
Link Here

chassisInternationally-recognized Filipino writer-director Adolf Alix, Jr. has cried foul over the ban that the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) slapped on his latest opus, Chassis .

Known for his other works that include Aurora, Donsol, Kadin, Batanes and Tambolista , Alix said the MTRCB's decision stemmed from a scene showing lead actress Jodi Sta. Maria simulate the cutting of the penis of co-actor Paolo Rivero.

The reviewers want to remove and just 'establish' the ending but I think it is very vital for the character of Jodi, he said in a interview.

I will stand by showing it in its integral version because if the scene is taken in context, it was not shot to arouse prurient interest but rather as an act of revenge by the poor woman who was victimized, he added.

Alix has asked the board to reconsider its judgment.

Chassis is about a single mother's struggles amid the hardship of raising her child in an abandoned container van. It was among a handful of local films hailed in international film festivals including the Pusan International Film Festival, the Vancouver International Film Festival and the Mar del Plata International Film Festival in Argentina.

 

26th January   

Dragon Age 2...

Video game passed 18 uncut by the BBFC
Link Here

Dragon Age 2 PC DVD The BBFC rating for another up n coming video game has generated a lot of interest in internet chat. Perhaps more in anticipation of the game than any controversiality about the BBFC decision

Anyway the BBFC passed the game 18 uncut with the comment: Contains strong bloody violence

 

25th January   

Update: Horror of the Westboro Baptists...

Nutters hype Kevin Smith's new film, Red State
Link Here  full story: Westboro Baptists...Reprehensible nutters hate gays and soliders

Red State Poster Teaser Horror Indie director Kevin Smith's new film Red State was picketed by the Westboro Baptist Church on Sunday.

Red State is said to be a scathing satire on Christian fundamentalists and was making its debut at the Sundance Film Festival.

However, Smith was ready to exploit the picket. He and an estimated 200 supporters launched a counter protest. Smith, an astute businessman as well as a creative force, utilized the Westboro picket to create even more buzz for his film's launch at Sundance.

Red State is being billed as a different kind of horror movie, a movie exploiting the horror of Christian fundamentalism and ultraconservative right wing American values. The plot centers around three teenage boys in search of sexual experience and their contact with a frightening clan of Christian extremists.

In fact the film features a gay-hating minister and a frightening band of homophobic Christian bigots remarkably similar to the Westboro Baptist Church.

 

25th January   

Update: Zombie Censors...

Film Festival director offered chance to give to charity to avoid conviction for showing banned film
Link Here

LA Zombie posterMelbourne Film Festival director Richard Wolstencroft says he is now considering his options, in the latest instalment of a saga over the screening of a banned film.

In August 2010, Wolstencroft organised a screening of Bruce LaBruce's LA Zombie . In November, police raided his house, looking for copies of the film, and a police spokeswoman confirmed that he would face court.

In the latest development Wolstencroft said:.

Last Thursday, I was informed that I had a summons to pick up at my local police station. Attached to the summons was a diversion notice, agreeing to settle the matter without a felony on my record and with a donation to charity.

Wolstencroft said that he was thinking through the implications of the diversion notice, which is a procedure intended to divert mainly first-time offenders from the criminal justice system.

Update: Charitable

25th February 2011. See article from business.avn.com

Since then, the legal system began its slow work, and Wolstencroft was recently ordered by a court to give $750 to Melbourne's Royal Children's Hospital, reported ABC News.

 

25th January   

Update: Sub Standard Whinges...

Subway next to pull out of advertising during Skins
Link Here  full story: Skins...Nutters wound up by the idea of teenage sex

skinsThe sandwich chain Subway has become the latest company to distance itself from the US version of Skins , pulling its advertising from the show under pressure from a nutter campaign.

A representative for Subway told The Hollywood Reporter the company would not be running its ads on the second episode of the show because it is not fit for our brand .

Next!

See article from christianpost.com

Other leading companies, L'Oreal, Foot Locker, and Orbit chewing gum, are now being hard-pressed to follow suit as the president of Parents TV Council, Tim Winter, vocalizes the group's intentions to continue to monitor every broadcast and every rebroadcast of Skins so that we can inform the public which corporations are underwriting underage teen sex, underage teen drug use and underage teen alcohol use.

But it looks as if MTV has found itself another hit. If the pilot episode was any indication of its success – 3.3 million viewers tuned in, including no doubt the whingers of the Parents Television Council (PTC). The 2nd episode will introduce one of its lesbian leads, Tea. The vast majority of viewers so far have been the much sought after ages between 12 and 34, according to TV ratings figures.

Now Morality in Media, another nutter organization, is also calling for MTV and Viacom to halt distribution of the series to avoid 'exploitation of children'.

 

25th January   

Update: People's Court...

Jon Gaunt continues his legal battle to liken excessive political correctness to Nazism
Link Here

Old BaileyThe radio presenter Jon Gaunt who called a councillor a Nazi live on air has won the right to appeal a High Court decision which branded his interview offensive and abusive.

Gaunt launched the appeal after an earlier judicial review failed to overturn a decision made by Ofcom that he had breached the broadcasting code.

The broadcast regulator upheld complaints against Gaunt after he called Redbridge councillor Michael Stark a Nazi and an ignorant pig during an interview on his TalkSport radio show in November, 2008. Gaunt, who was in care as a child, was angry as he felt that the chance of finding a foster home would be lost under the new policy.

Gaunt then sought a judicial review claiming the broadcast regulator unlawfully interfered with his freedom of expression. However, Sir Anthony May and Justice Blair dismissed his judicial review proceedings at London's High Court in July last year saying that: the essential point is that the offensive and abusive nature of the broadcast was gratuitous, having no factual content or justification.

Lord Justice Thomas, granting permission to appeal, said Gaunt should be entitled to argue whether the High Court had followed the correct principles.

 

25th January   

Comment: Australia Asleep at the Wheel...

Families let down by R18 classification delay
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

australian family bby logo There is one thing Jim Wallace of the so-called Australian Christian Lobby got right in his attack on ratings reform: When it comes to protecting children and community standards, the authorities are asleep at the wheel .

Unfortunately, it's the delaying tactics relied on by out-of-touch members of the Fundamentalist Right that have had that result.

The issue in question is finally removing the loophole in the classification of interactive entertainment (in the main, computer and video games) that forces content designed for adults into the rating category appropriate for 15 year olds – either with no, or very minor changes. The unavoidable flipside of our rating system being unable to distinguish between adults and children because the distinction is not available, is not only that adults are treated as children – it's that children are treated as adults.

The only way to treat children differently from adults is, obviously, to have an adult rating – as we have had, for a long time, in most other media.

Hence the campaign for an R18 rating, a sensible reform that will help parents know which games their kids should and absolutely should not be playing.

It's not about saving Australian jobs in the sector presently seriously undermined by our out-dated classification system – although it will certainly do that. It's not about recognising that the average gamer is now in his or her 30s, and an increasing proportion of the content created in this medium is made by adults, for adults, not children – although that's true. It's not about the fact that restricting adults to the same content as teenagers is nanny-state censorship (cue the sadly appropriate Mark Twain quote about censorship being telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it ) – although it is.

Most importantly, this reform is about protecting our children – and giving parents the tools they need.

Which is why 80% of Australians support it.

And yet, in December, instead of finally implementing this exhaustively-researched, long-investigated and not-particularly-complicated common sense reform, the nation's Attorneys-General baulked. They ordered a year-long review instead, putting more kids at risk in the meantime.

And why?

Jim Wallace apparently thinks it's the video of supposedly R18-style content that was shown to the politicians that made them accede to his lobby's demands for further delay. Maybe they'd never seen an R18 film before, and were surprised when the adult content designed for adults and for whom an adult rating is sought was, well, adult. Not appropriate for minors. Conflicting reports suggest it might not have been the video put out by the censorship advocates (which tends to include material that would NEVER be rated R18 in Australia anyway) so it would not have been any worse than content we already see at video libraries around the country.

Which begs the question – why maintain the loophole?

Wallace, who was ghoulish enough on this page last week to rhetorically link the adult content he dislikes with the Tucson shootings, thinks what we play has more of an effect than what we watch, by virtue of its interactivity. He doesn't present any evidence for this claim – not even the cherry-picked studies from dodgy no-name American universities on whom his colleagues tend to rely.

But that's because, in reality, it's besides the point. If – and that's a big if – interactive media were shown to have more of an effect, then that would be an argument for tailoring the classification guidelines for each rating category – not for refusing to distinguish between kids and adults. If what's appropriate for an adult in film is not appropriate for an adult in games, then that would be a reason to have tougher guidelines for games than films – not to claim that what's appropriate for an adult is appropriate for a 15 year old. Which is what having no R18 rating does.

Nobody here is seriously suggesting extreme, dangerous content that really requires banning full stop should be made available for adults. Nobody is suggesting a free-for-all: when R18 is eventually implemented, extreme content will still be refused classification, just as it is now with films.

Jim Wallace is fighting the wrong battle – he should be arguing about what content he thinks that an R18 rating should permit, not whether it should exist or not.

Because the one thing we should all be able to agree on is that adults and children are different. That children deserve to have their innocence protected from the things that are appropriate for adults.

And any sensible classification system would recognise that simple fact, with an adult, not-for-kids classification.

It is long since time that ours did.

A further year's delay is absurd, and lets down every Australian family.

 

24th January   

Update: Wrong Sided...

Owner of Tunisian TV station arrested for supporting deposed president
Link Here  full story: Jasmine Revolution...Popular uprising to dipose President Ben Ali

hannibal tv logoTunisia has arrested the owner of a TV station and his son for grand treason for inciting violence and working for ousted leader Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali's return.

Sources said:

The owner of Hannibal TV (Larbi Nasra], who is a relative of the former president's wife, is using the channel to abort the youth's revolution, spread confusion, incite strife and broadcast false information.

The aim is to create a constitutional vacuum, ruin stability and take the country into a vortex of violence that will bring back the dictatorship of the former president.

The Tunisian news agency said Nasra and his son had been arrested to secure the nation's safety and the revolution's success .

 

24th January   

Plunging Censorship Lines...

Iranian newspapers retouch picture of visiting EU dignitary
Link Here

plunging censorship lis The shirt of EU foreign-policy chief Catherine Ashton at her Istanbul meeting with Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, Said Jalili, was apparently too revealing in the eyes of Iranian officials and official media.

Some state-controlled newspapers decided to redesign her top and make it more Islamic.

See the various retouched Iranian newspapers

 

23rd January   

An Explosion of Easy Offence...

BBC apologise over making light of atom bomb survivor
Link Here

ql stephen fryThe BBC has apologised after Japan's embassy complained over jokes on an episode of comedy TV quiz show QI.

Panellists made light of the experience of Tsutomu Yamaguchi who survived the Hiroshima atomic bomb in World War II and the Nagasaki one three days later.

Presenter Stephen Fry described him as the unluckiest man in the world .

Japanese viewers reportedly contacted diplomatic staff after the programme, featuring comedians Alan Davies and Rob Brydon as panellists, was broadcast on BBC Two last month.

The BBC said it was sorry for any offence caused and would be replying shortly to a letter received from the Japanese embassy in London.

A spokesman for the corporation added: QI never sets out to cause offence with any of the people or subjects it covers, however on this occasion, given the sensitivity of the subject matter for Japanese viewers, we understand why they did not feel it appropriate for inclusion in the programme.

 

23rd January   

Update: Gotten Under Their Skins...

Taco Bell, GM and Wrigley pandering to nutters
Link Here  full story: Skins...Nutters wound up by the idea of teenage sex

skinsAdvertisers are running for cover over MTV's lmuch-talked-about Skins .

Tax accounting company H&R Block, one of the show's largest advertisers, is the most recent to pull its support, following in the steps of Taco Bell, Wrigley and GM.

The company said in a statement: H&R Block is not an advertiser of the show. One ad ran by mistake as part of a rotation. Once we learned this, we immediately took steps to ensure it didn't happen again. This program is not brand right and H&R Block did not select it to be part of our rotation.

A similar denial was reported from General Motors and Wrigley who again claimed that they had advertised during the show as a general MTV booking.

Nutters show an alarming interest in actor's bare bottom

Based on article from foxnews.com

MTV is sticking to its guns, insisting that Skins hasn't crossed any line. Rumours of a 17-year-old actor alternating between being slightly naked and appearing aroused for a length of time in the Jan. 31 episode has prompted outrage from the Parents Television Counci

MTV said in a statement:

We review all of our shows and work with all of our producers on an ongoing basis to ensure our shows comply with laws and community standards. We are confident that the episodes of Skins will not only comply with all applicable legal requirements, but also with our responsibilities to our viewers. We also have taken numerous steps to alert viewers to the strong subject matter so that they can choose for themselves whether it is appropriate.

Meanwhile, Father John Malo, director of pastoral care at Toronto's St. Michaels' College School where Skins actor Jesse Carere, 17, was a student before stripping down and showing his bare bottom for the series, says we would not encourage students to watch Skins . We have a very strict code of ethics, adding that for a student to star in such a series would be unacceptable.

MTV officials would not answer questions about whether the Jan. 31 episode would be edited to eliminate the controversial bare bottom.

 

23rd January   

Freer Speech and Video...

Ukraine MPs suggest removing internet video from state censorship requirements
Link Here

Ukraine flagA group of Ukraine lawmakers has drafted a bill proposing to end the licensing and censorship of internet video

I very much hope that our committee (the committee for freedom of speech and information) will support this bill, and it will be considered this month, one of the authors of the bill, MP Olha Bodnar of the BYT-Batkivschyna faction, said at a press conference.

According to her, the bill proposes amending some laws, in particular, to stipulate that the distribution of video on the Internet is not subject to licensing and censorship by the public authorities. T he responsibility for disseminating Internet child pornography and materials that are a threat to national security interests, would lies with the owners of the Web site.

 

22nd January   

Comic Book Morality...

DC comics opts out of a historic morality code in favour of its own self rating scheme
Link Here

cca logo After nearly sixty years, DC Comics has decided that none of its publications need carry the Seal of Approval of the Comics Code Authority.

The announcement was made in a communique to direct market retailers, which also included the news that DC will employ a new ratings system of its own design. Deployment of DC's new ratings system will begin in April.

The new self rating scheme is described as follows:

E: EVERYONE

Appropriate for readers of all ages. May contain cartoon violence and/or some comic mischief.

T: TEEN

Appropriate for readers age 12 and older. May contain mild violence, language and/or suggestive themes.

T+: TEEN PLUS

Appropriate for readers age 16 and older. May contain moderate violence, mild profanity, graphic imagery and/or suggestive themes.

M: MATURE

Appropriate for readers age 18 and older. May contain intense violence, extensive profanity, nudity, sexual themes and other content suitable only for older readers.

The Comics Code Authority

See comicscodeauthority.com

The previous moralistic code was established in 1954 after moral panics of the era.

General Standards Part A

  1. Crimes shall never be presented in such a way as to create sympathy for the criminal, to promote distrust of the forces of law and justice, or to inspire others with a desire to imitate criminals.
  2. No comics shall explicitly present the unique details and methods of a crime.
  3. Policemen, judges, government officials, and respected institutions shall never be presented in such a way as to create disrespect for established authority.
  4. If crime is depicted it shall be as a sordid and unpleasant activity.
  5. Criminals shall not be presented so as to be rendered glamorous or to occupy a position which creates the desire for emulation.
  6. In every instance good shall triumph over evil and the criminal punished for his misdeeds.
  7. Scenes of excessive violence shall be prohibited. Scenes of brutal torture, excessive and unnecessary knife and gun play, physical agony, gory and gruesome crime shall be eliminated.
  8. No unique or unusual methods of concealing weapons shall be shown.
  9. Instances of law enforcement officers dying as a result of a criminal's activities should be discouraged.
  10. The crime of kidnapping shall never be portrayed in any detail, nor shall any profit accrue to the abductor or kidnapper. The criminal or the kidnapper must be punished in every case.
  11. The letter of the word crime on a comics magazine shall never be appreciably greater than the other words contained in the title. The word crime shall never appear alone on a cover.
  12. Restraint in the use of the word crime in titles or sub-titles shall be exercised.

General Standards Part B

  1. No comics magazine shall use the word horror or terror in its title.
  2. All scenes of horror, excessive bloodshed, gory or gruesome crimes, depravity, lust, sadism, masochism shall not be permitted.
  3. All lurid, unsavory, gruesome illustrations shall be eliminated.
  4. Inclusion of stories dealing with evil shall be used or shall be published only where the intent is to illustrate a moral issue and in no case shall evil be presented alluringly nor as to injure the sensibilities of the reader.
  5. Scenes dealing with, or instruments associated with walking dead, torture, vampires and vampirism, ghouls, cannibalism and werewolfism are prohibited.

General Standards Part C

Dialogue:

  1. 1Profanity, obscenity, smut, vulgarity, or words or symbols which have acquired undesirable meanings are forbidden.
  2.  Special precautions to avoid references to physical afflictions of deformities shall be taken.
  3. Although slang and colloquialisms are acceptable, excessive use should be discouraged and wherever possible good grammar shall be employed.

Religion:

Ridicule or attack on any religious or racial group is never permissible.

Costume:

  1. Nudity in any form is prohibited, as is indecent or undue exposure.
  2. Suggestive and salacious illustration or suggestive posture is unacceptable.
  3. All characters shall be depicted in dress reasonably acceptable to society.
  4. Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration of any physical qualities.

Marriage and Sex:

  1. Divorce shall not be treated humorously nor represented as desirable.
  2. Illicit sex relations are neither to be hinted at or portrayed. Violent love scenes as well as sexual abnormalities are unacceptable.
  3. Respect for parents, the moral code, and for honorable behavior shall be fostered. A sympathetic understanding of the problems of love is not a license for moral distortion.
  4. The treatment of love-romance stories shall emphasize the value of the home and the sanctity of marriage.
  5. Passion or romantic interest shall never be treated in such a way as to stimulate the lower and baser emotions.
  6. Seduction and rape shall never be shown or suggested. Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.

The code was updated over the years to allow for the depiction of werewolves, vampires, the corruption of elected officials, and gays of which the taboo itself became taboo.

 

22nd January   

Update: Money for Nothing...

One man and his dog radio censor set to be overruled by Canada's TV censor
Link Here

CRTC censorCanada's TV censor (CRTC) has ordered the country's radio censor (CBSC) to reconsider its ban on the Dire Straits song Money For Nothing .

The TV and radio censor had decided that Money For Nothing should not air on the Canadian airwaves uncut.

The CBSC's decision has elicited a strong public reaction and created uncertainty for private radio stations across the country, the CRTC said in its decision. The TV censor said it has received around 250 letters from Canadians since the CBSC decision, most of which opposed the ruling and have been passed on to the broadcast censor.

The ruling that a British pop song which hasn't aired widely on the radio for a quarter-century, and which questioned MTV's star-making machinery with apparent irony, has struck a chord among Canadians quick to criticize political correctness and the Nanny State.

The CRTC was also apparently forced to respond to the censorship debate after a host of radio stations in the last week defied the CBSC decision and aired the original version of Money For Nothing unedited.

 

22nd January   

Updated: Gateshead Dinner Party...

Koran burners not prosecuted as there was no evidence that anyone was actually upset by the stunt
Link Here  full story: Koran Burning...Symbolic gesture and easy offence

Crown Prosecution ServiceSeven men accused of burning a copy of the Koran in a Gateshead pub car park will face no further action.

The men were detained in September after a video appeared on the internet.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) said there was not sufficient evidence for a realistic chance of conviction.

It said it had looked at a number of areas for possible prosecution but there was insufficient evidence.

The CPS said it could not identify who had recorded and posted the video online, there was no evidence threatening behaviour was used and there was no evidence anyone present was upset by what they saw.

 

22nd January   

Small Channel Makes Big Case...

David Cameron to hear case of small VOD suppliers who feel they have been stiffed by ATVOD
Link Here

country channel tv logo Broadcast website says that Founder of Country Channel TV Paul Aitken is taking his complaints about VoD regulator the Association for Television on Demand (ATVOD) to prime minister David Cameron, as part of wider concerns about the UK's plans for online regulation.

Aithen will meet with Cameron to call for the abolition of ATVoD, which which has been responsible for registering and regulating online video content platforms and providers since March last year.

The article says that VoD producers are particularly concerned by the annual fee of £2,900 imposed by ATVoD on all notified UK providers. The charge is said to threaten small and innovative VoD providers to the benefit of bigger players in the market.

PM David Cameron has agreed to speak to Aitken on the issue, after he gives Country Channel TV an interview. Aitken plans to say that the industry was not properly consulted on the annual fee and that, with readily available internet firewalls and parental controls, the industry does not require regulation. [Perhaps a bit hopeful as European law has mandated VOD regulation].

This seems to highlight the dangers of consultations that only attract responses from interested parties. They seem to have set up a fee structure that keeps the big company's costs to a minimum whilst simultaneously creating a barrier of entry to small players.

 

22nd January   

Update: Proper Bollox...

Art censor claims his censorship was not properly censorship
Link Here  full story: Fire in my Belly...Banned art at the Smithsonian

Fire in my BellyG. Wayne Clough, head of the Smithsonian Institution, has acknowledged that he acted too quickly before deciding Nov. 30 to remove a controversial video from an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

In an interview after a long-planned speaking engagement in downtown L.A., Clough said the decision to remove David Wojnarowicz's 1987 AIDS-protest video, A Fire in My Belly , on the same day that two top Republican congressmen had complained that the exhibition offended Christian sensibilities, was the most painful thing I've ever done, but denied it could properly be called censorship.

Clough said threats of budgetary consequences by House Speaker John Boehner and House majority leader Eric Cantor played into his decision, but a primary concern was preventing a media pile-on that would hijack the exhibition by turning the discussion away from the art on display and make it an excuse for a heated and polarizing debate of tangential issues.

Clough spoke proudly of Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture being the first major museum exhibition devoted primarily to gay and lesbian artists' sensibilities.

 

22nd January   

Gazetted...

Singapore acts against political blog by redefining it as a political association
Link Here

toc logo In a country where the government has oppressive control over the traditional media—newspapers and television—Singaporeans with an appetite for alternative views have long gravitated towards the internet. So the news that one of the main independent socio-political blog sites The Online Citizen (TOC), is being gazetted by the government has sent shockwaves through Singapore's burgeoning, boisterous (and now rather fearful) online community.

Gazetting is a means by which the government can demand that any organisation be reclassified as a political association. The site is to be designated as a political website. This means that TOC will fall under repressive rules that govern other political organisations—like parties.

Under the Political Donations Act, TOC will be subject to a cap of 5,000 Singapore dollars ($3,900) in accepting anonymous donations and banned outright from receiving funds from foreign donors.

The government's registry of political donations has already asked TOC to identify clearly all its owners, journalists and anyone else associated with the site. It was given two weeks to comply. And this is but one of the new rules to which the site will be subject.

 

21st January   

Getting Under Their Skins...

Nutters of the Parents TV Council get wound up by US version of Skins
Link Here  full story: Skins...Nutters wound up by the idea of teenage sex

skinsThe Parents TV Council sent out an alert to their members:

The Most Dangerous Program Ever

The following is the most urgent alert the PTC has ever sent to parents.

It is absolutely crucial that you be aware of the most dangerous program that has ever been foisted on your children!

Next Monday, January 17th, at 10:00 p.m, MTV will debut its new series Skins . Here's why this program is so dangerous to your kids:

  • Skins is filled with graphic content involving high-school children, including depictions of teens drinking, smoking marijuana, and using massive quantities of drugs, engaging in violent acts, and having irresponsible sex with each other, with their schoolteachers, and with other adults.
  • Skins is about high-school children. Mixed in with the graphic drug use and sex scenes are storylines about falling in love and problems at school – elements sure to generate interest from teens. The show is being written, in part, by teens. And the Skins cast is actually made up of teenagers, not adult actors playing teens. One cast member is only 15 years old.
  • Skins has been extensively marketed to high-school children. Internet sites like Teen.com have carried dozens of promos and stories about the new show. Many of the Internet ad campaigns have shown how Skins blatantly urges children to lie to and defy their parents, and engage in risky and dangerous behavior.

After the screening they then targeted the sponsors, Taco Bell:

See article from parentstv.org

The Monday, January 17 premiere of MTV's Skins proves the PTC was right when we said it was the most dangerous program ever for children -- and the content was made possible by Taco Bell.

Skins not only featured dozens of instances of high-school children using foul language; it also contained depictions and descriptions of high-school children discussing and engaging in sex; high-school children discussing and engaging in the use of illegal drugs; high-school children discussing and engaging in the use of alcohol; high-school children stealing an automobile and then crashing it into a lake; and countless other descriptions and depictions of graphic, adult-themed activity.

That's why your action is so important! YOU can stand up to dangerous, corrosive programming like Skins – by letting advertisers know what will happen if they sponsor it!

Use the form below to send an e-mail to Taco Bell, one of the biggest sponsors of last night's broadcast of Skins .

And if you REALLY want to make an impact, here's what you can do: print off a copy of this e-mail and take it to the manager of your nearest Taco Bell. Tell him or her what you think of their company promoting casual sex, drug use and alcohol abuse to children. And let them know that Taco Bell's actions have an influence when it is time to vote with your wallet.

And the latest tactic:

Based on article from foxnews.com

The Parents Television Council has called on lawmakers and law enforcement officials to open an investigation regarding possible child pornography and exploitation on the cable network's new series Skins .

On January 17, the Viacom-owned cable network MTV aired a teenager-based drama, Skins . The episode included all manner of foul language, illegal drug use, illegal activity as well as thoroughly pervasive sexual content, PTC President Tim Winter said in a letter sent to the chairmen of the U.S. Senate and House Judiciary Committees and the Department of Justice: Many of the actors appearing in the show are below the age of 18. It is clear that Viacom has knowingly produced material that may well be in violation of [several] federal statutes.

Since it is not necessary for Viacom or MTV to distribute the material in order to be in violation of the law, we call upon your committees to immediately investigate Viacom and MTV for the production of this material, Winter said in the statement. Furthermore, we urge you in the strongest possible terms to compel the attorney general to mount an investigation by the Department of Justice into whether the production of Skins has violated federal law meant to protect minors from exploitation.

MTV is stating they have not broken any legal requirements and are currently meeting to discuss the issue.

 

21st January   

Monsieur Hulot's Law...

France to excuse 'cultural heritage' from ban on the promotion of smoking
Link Here

tati smoking windmill advertFrench MPs have voted to overturn rules that resulted in legendary comedian Jacques Tati losing his beloved pipe and existentialist writer Jean-Paul Sartre ditching his trademark cigarette.

A parliamentary commission voted for a bill that would exclude cultural heritage from the stringent health legislation passed in 1991 that forbids direct or indirect promotion of smoking.

Last year posters for a Tati retrospective in Paris showed the late actor and director with his pipe replaced by a yellow toy windmill. Critics slammed the poster as an overdose of political correctness.

The cultural affairs committee almost unanimously backed the bill, which must now go before parliament, that would exclude cultural heritage from the anti-smoking law.

 

21st January   

Update: No Room for Movies...

Marriott considers the future of hotel room movie systems
Link Here

Marriott logoFollowing news reports that an unnamed hotel chain customer of in-room television provider LodgeNet was planning to phase out in-room porn, Marriott said that it was the chain in question.

But the company announcement also strongly implied, though it did not actually state, that existing rooms will continue to serve up adult fare while new rooms being built over the next several years will not.

Indeed, the announcement made to USA Today actually augurs more access to adult content in Marriott rooms in the future rather than less. Considering the company's stated commitment to upgrading in-room technologies that will supersede the traditional way in which video and other in-room entertainment has been made available to its customers, guests can look forward to unlimited access to desired content of all types.

The company said in response to a query by USA Today:

It is our practice to keep adult content out of the reach of children and unavailable to any adult who chooses not to view it. We have strong controls in place that allow guests to block these materials. Changing technology and how guests access entertainment has reduced the revenue hotels and their owners derive from in-room movies, including adult content. We are working with in-room entertainment providers and technology vendors to transition to the next generation of in-room entertainment. This new platform of Internet-based video-on-demand will facilitate our exit from the traditional hotel video systems that included adult content in the menu selection, and will also provide guests greater choice and control over what they watch across our system.

In a confusing statement perhaps referring to to existing hotel movie service, Marriott added:

As we transition to this new platform, adult content will be off the menu for virtually all of our newly built hotels. Over the next few years, this will be the policy across our system.

 

21st January   

Moral Policing...

India's film censor speaks about her trade
Link Here

Sharmila TagoreSharmila Tagore, chairperson of India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), claims the body isn't into moral policing:

We see ourselves as more of a certification body than just censor board. We are not into moral policing; we follow a middle path. There are certain things we let go, as we have to be a little more tolerant and mature. Times are changing and we have to change with it.

I do believe in censorship and I do believe in freedom of expression, but at the same time there has to be a reasonable restriction. You really can't go back; the change of being liberal is here to stay for a longer time.

There was a time when slangs or abusive language used to raise eyebrows of the censor board and the bosses would cut such scenes out, but now movies like Omkara, Kaminey, Ishqiya and No One Killed Jessica have paved way to silver screen without any cuts, but of course with an A-certificate.

Trying to explain the supposedly liberal attitude of the CBFC, Sharmila said:

See an Omkara wouldn't have been Omkara minus all those dialogues, especially where the movie opens, because it is a part of popular language; so we try to understand that.

Concerning sex, love-making scenes and violence in Indian cinema, Sharmila feels the censor board has become 'lenient' because Indian movies are frequently at international film festivals, reaching out to far more people and competing with foreign films; hence the change in perception and a flexible approach is must.

For the past two years, Sharmila has been trying hard to get a fifth category in the certification - for the 15-plus children - because she feels they are maturing early. At present the CBFC has four categories - Universal or U for all age group, Parental guidance of U/A, Adults only or A and Restricted to any special class or S.

She explained the need for a 15 rating:

Most of the filmmakers want their movies to be certified under U/A. But that is just not possible. If you are using a slang, I can't give you a U/A This is why I am pushing hard to get another category because 15-plus kids speak that language. They use the 'F' word more often and all those slangs; so yes, there is definitely need of that fifth category.

 

21st January   

Black Box Solution...

Nintendo opts to highlight mature age rated games using black packaging
Link Here

biohazard black boxTaking a lead from a packaging policy that they introduced for the Wii last year, Nintendo will be packaging their mature 3DS titles in black cases.

Any game which achieves the Japanese equivalent of a BBFC 15 or a PEGI 16+ (CERO C) or higher will be packaged in a black box instead of Nintendo's usual white packaging.

 

21st January   

Same Old...

A new body to protect journalists interests formed from the existing repressive press censors
Link Here

Burma flag 2010A new unit ostensibly charged with protecting the interests of journalists and issuing guidelines for media practice has been formed by Burma's draconoian censor board.

Media freedom in the Southeast Asian pariah is amongst the world's lowest – all material in the various domestic news journals and magazines in circulation has to be vetted by the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD) prior to publication.

The PSRD's role in establishing the new body, the Committe for Professional Conduct (CPC), has thus worried interested parties.

We really want the sort of committe which can protect and promote us, said one Rangoon-based journalist, speaking on condition of anonymity. But we are disappointed because the committe is established by the PSRD.

 

20th January   

Minister for a Censored Internet...

Jeremy Hunt looks to impose current levels of repressive TV censorship onto internet video
Link Here

DCMS logoThe culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt, has been speaking about increasing censorship requirements for the internet and in particular, internet TV

He spoke after addressing media industry executives at the Oxford Media Convention.

Hunt admitted that while he did not believe it was possible to introduce blanket regulation for the internet, he was keen to put online content rules under scrutiny.

TV content on the internet is subject to lesser regulation than broadcast TV, in particular, that there are no taste and decency or impartiality requirements.

Hunt told reporters: I do want to look at what can be done to strengthen child protection on the internet and whether the structures we have in place are the best way to give reassurance to parents that their children are not going to have easy access to unsuitable content.

In his address he announced a review of media and communications that will lead to new Communications Act. He explained the timetable:

Over the next few months we will be coming to talk to you; asking for your answers to the key questions that need to be addressed. I want to hear how a new Communications Act can create regulatory certainty.

The certainty that people need to continue to develop and invest in the high-quality technology and content that is made here but enjoyed by consumers all over the world.

I am prepared to radically rethink the way we do things.

To take a fresh look at what we regulate, whether we regulate, and how we regulate. To consider whether there are areas we might move out of regulation altogether. And to think hard about what we mean by public service content.

As parents we want programmes to be suitable for our children. As citizens we want impartial news. And as consumers we want high-quality programmes we know and trust.

Whether we’re watching a broadcast live or though catch-up services, via a TV or a computer, it’s the content that matters, rather than the delivery mechanism.

So should it continue to be the case that the method of delivery has a significant impact on the method of regulation? Or should we be looking at a more platform-neutral approach?

What do we need to do to help our businesses grow and evolve between now and 2025? Where can regulation help and where is it a barrier? What can we do collectively to enhance the whole UK market?

This is not about tweaking the current system, but redesigning it – from scratch if necessary – to make it fit for purpose.

On the basis of what we hear from you, we will publish a Green Paper at the end of the year that will set out the full scope of a Bill.

One that will be put in place in 2015 and that will last for at least a decade.

And to make up for all the banned sexy, fun and opinionated internet content. Hunt proposes to bore us to death with his pet project of a new local TV channel.

 

20th January   

Update: More 4 Fun...

Channel 4 stick with Frankie Boyle
Link Here  full story: Frankie Boyle...Whinges about Frankie Boyle and Mock the Week

channel 4 logoFrankie Boyle, the irreverent host of Channel 4 comedy series Tramadol Nights , may be the subject of an ongoing Ofcom investigation – but that hasn't stopped the channel commissioning the star to produce a new show.

The edgy star is now set to return to the screens, although it is expected Tramadol Nights itself will be discontinued.

 

20th January   

Little Hugo...

Venezuelan TV censors ban programme with a dog's name that may be a reference to President Chavez
Link Here

chepe fortunaIn Venezuela, a private television station has stopped broadcasting a Colombian-produced soap opera after government authorities demanded its removal, alleging it was insulting to Venezuela as a country.

The show, called Chepe Fortuna , includes as a character an unscrupulous secretary called Venezuela, who has a dog named Little Hugo , an apparent reference, some have alleged, to Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez.

Chavez denounced the show saying it was horrible and disrespectful to Venezuela.

The private TV channel Televen has stopped broadcasting the show after government censors accused it of promoting political intolerance and demanded it be pulled from the airwaves.

 

19th January   

Update: Less Dead Space in Germany...

Dead Space 2 game cut for a delayed German release
Link Here

Electronic Arts Dead Space PS3 The German release of Dead Space 2 has been delayed until February. The delay was caused by censorship issues as the game had to be cut to keep the German authorities happy.

The friendly fire option has been  removed from the multiplayer portion of the game.

Apparently, the German government was uneasy with a player killing their own teammates.

Thankfully the single player portion of the title will remain unaltered.

Producers Electronic Arts said in a translated press release that the game will be released on 03:02:11 for PS3 and Xbox 360 only. The Wii release still seems mired in censorship difficulties and will not get released at this time.

 

19th January   

Update: In the EU Sin Bin...

Hungary's immoral media law is unbalancing the EU
Link Here  full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

EU flagThe EU''s Digital agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes told an Extraordinary meeting of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee that the EU had been in touch with the Hungarian government and had deep concerns about the nature of a new media law, which came into force on 1 January 2011.

The law made those responsible for material published in Hungary - both through traditional channels and online - subject to heavy fines and sanctions if their coverage is deemed to be unbalanced or immoral .

Kroes said that in addition to writing to the Hungarian authorities in December, raising specific concerns regarding their compliance with the EU AVMS Directive, she has also visited Budapest to discuss the matter. She believes that the Media Law may risk jeopardising fundamental rights in a number of ways, including its requirement that all media - including online media such as forums and blogs - be registered, and by making the Media Authority subject to political control through the appointment process.

The Media Law seems to raise a problem under the AVMS Directive because its provisions appear to apply also to media firms established in other Member States, which would be contrary to the country of origin principle, she said.

...Read the full article

Update: Promises

6th February 2011. See article from google.com

The European Union said on Tuesday that Hungary had given a clear indication it could change a hotly-contested media law that is embarrassing the bloc as it seeks to promote democratic standards elsewhere.

A spokesman for Neelie Kroes, vice-president of the executive European Commission charged with defusing a row that has overshadowed Budapest's six-month chairmanship of the 27-state grouping, said she had received a reply to queries raised with the Hungarian government.

Jonathan Todd said she had detected a clear indication in today's letter that they are prepared to modify the law if need be and that her staff were eager to quickly discuss technical aspects... as soon as possible.

 

19th January   

Offsite: Australian Censorship Rated F for Fucked...

Sex Party comments on religious barriers to adult games and vanilla porn
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Australian Sex PartySCAG [Australia's attorney generals, the politicians in charge of censorship] has probably been the most conservative cross party grouping of senior politicians ever to exist in Australia. The recent changes have altered nothing. Rob Hulls has exited on behalf of Victoria and he has been replaced by an out Christian, Robert Clark. John Rau has replaced the high Anglican Michael Atkinson in SA and Christian Porter is the newbie for WA. The conservative Christian A-G in NSW, John Hatzistagos, who recently became the first ever A-G to give police censorship powers, is unfortunately still there although he will be removed at the next NSW state election in March. But don't hold your breath that the new NSW Liberal A-G will be any better because it will be yet another born again Christian - Greg Smith. So why is that men of religious persuasion get such a good run on SCAG? Where are all the civil libertarian Attorneys like Lionel Murphy, Gareth Evans and Daryl Williams

The 80% of Australians who supported an R rating in the polls should be pretty concerned that before their last meeting on games, SCAG allowed the Australian Christian Lobby's, Jim Wallace to address them on the issue. They also allowed another anti games campaigner, Dr Elizabeth Handley to address them.

When I tried to address SCAG a few years ago on censorship issues I was told that the group did not entertain lobbyists of any kind. Clearly things have changed and now if you represent a Christian view you get in. This represents an appalling misuse of power and engages Australia's Attorney's General in discriminatory behaviour which could well be illegal if it was someone else doing it. If SCAG wants to be seen as discharging their duties to the people of Australian in a fair and unbiased way then they must now invite lobbyists from the gamers and adult industry to address them at their next meeting.

...Read the full article

Update: Nutters of Australian Christian Lobby comment

21st January 2011. See article from abc.net.au by Jim Wallace

Despite this argument being run strongly in the lead-up to last December's meeting of censorship ministers, they baulked at lifting the bar on R18+ computer games when they were shown video of the sort of material such a rating would allow into Australia.

Members of the public supposedly expressing overwhelming support in opinion polls for lifting the ban of extreme interactive computer game violence might also baulk if they too could see what the State and Federal Attorneys General saw.

It was very clear to me that the great majority of AGs were in a state of bemusement that anyone could want to make or play many of these games and particularly those proposed for an R18+ rating, and many said so.

It is clear that the meeting failed to get support for the R18 classification as a result.

 

19th January   

Cold Wind Blows...

China targets foreign music on file sharing sites that has bypassed the music censors
Link Here

Recovery Eminem Chinese music censors have removed 100 unauthorized songs from music websites, including Eminem's Cold Wind Blows, K.T. Tunstall's Push That Knot Away and Bruno Mars' Grenade .

The ministry plans to set a standard market for online music sharing by the end of February.

Imported music must be passed by the Culture Ministry.

 

19th January   

Promoting Vulgarity and Nihilism...

Iranian version of the Daily Mail gets 1890 Ibsen play banned
Link Here

Hedda Gabler DVD Diana Rigg Police descended on a Tehran theater earlier this week and halted performances of the play Hedda Gabler by Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen after an Iranian news agency blasted the classic drama in a review.

Ibsen's 1890 drama follows the complex relationships among the newly married Hedda, her husband and a third man. Some critics consider Hedda's character to be one of the best dramatic roles in theater.

All artistic activities in Iran are controlled and regulated by the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry, which regulates moral and religious standard, and the Iranian version of Hedda Gabler had apparently passed vetting procedures and censors after its adaption from the original. For example, one of the play's seven characters is a recovered alcoholic, but in the Iranian production there is no mention of alcoholism and the male and female characters were careful to not get too close to each other on stage.

But the semi-official Iranian Fars News Agency scorned the play in a review accusing it of promoting vulgarity and nihilism. Then the clampdown was imminent.

Since Jan. 5, the Hedda Gabler play has been on stage in the City Theater center to promote normalization of nihilism, licentiousness and vulgarism, which are the main points of the play, said the review: This play ... has nothing to do with national and Islamic precepts and is based on western nihilistic philosophy.

The review was accompanied by a series of photos of the production which, among other things, appear to depict a man and woman about to kiss. But critics have claimed, in a bid to upset religious conservatives, that the news agency digitally manipulated the photos so that it would appear as if the the actors and actresses were closer to each other on stage than they actually were.

 

19th January   

Banned by Fees...

Tajikistan restricts religious books with high 'censorship' fees
Link Here

Bhagavad Gita Oxford Worlds Classics Tajikistan charges religious communities high prices for censorship which violates the internationally recognised human rights to freedom of expression and freedom of religion or belief, Forum 18 News Service has found.

An Imam of an officially registered mosque, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of state reprisals, told Forum 18 that he is confident he will receive Religious Affairs Committee permission to print books. But he is surprised that charges are imposed. We cannot afford to pay these charges to print books , he lamented. We do not earn much , he observed.

The Hare Krishna community have found that even our main sacred book, the Bhagavad Gita , must be censored. And it is going to be very expensive for us , Dilorom Kurbanova complained. The state Religious Affairs Committee refuses to make public how much it charges for censorship. It is also uncertain whether communities will be fined for already having or using uncensored literature, and what will happen to confiscated literature.

And imports are not the answer

Based on article from forum18.org

A new offence of producing, distributing, importing or exporting religious literature and items of a religious nature which have not passed through the compulsory prior state religious censorship was created with the addition of Article 474-1 to the Code of Administrative Offences.

The Article, which came into force on 1 January 2011, imposes heavy fines.

Mavlon Mukhtarov of the Government's Religious Affairs Committee denied that the censorship violates Tajikistan's international human rights commitments. Asked by Forum 18 about the huge fines, he told Forum 18: Well, we will warn religious organisations not to violate the law, and those fines will only come if they continue violations.

 

18th January   

Indecent Confusion...

ASA launch ad campaign to notify website owners of liability to ASA advert censorship
Link Here

ASA adThe advertising censor, ASA, has announced:

On 17 January 2011 we have launched our new ad campaign to raise awareness of the ASA's work to ensure all ads continue to be legal, decent, honest and truthful.

The ads also aim to inform businesses about the ASA's extended remit online which, from 1 March, will include marketing communications by companies on their own websites.

It also seems a bit confusing though. Why should all adverts be decent? I can't see anything in the actual codes that require all adverts to be decent. Only that ads shouldn't be somehow harmful in the context with which they appear. So this would surely require ads to be decent on daytime TV. But this simply does not apply to an 'indecent' hardcore ad in a men's magazine.

There also seems little information on how the new code applies to some of the complexities about internet jurisdiction. Even small websites can be very multinational, with internet servers being in different countries to the content providers. and indeed, to the target audience. And even less information about such key concepts as labelling and child protection mechanisms.

The codes do not appear to have been written with websites in mind.

 

18th January   

Nanny Mark...

Kitemark launched for internet filtering software
Link Here

child safety online kite mark logoA new symbol has been launched which aims to help consumers identify internet filtering software that has been designed to a high standard and which is both effective and easy to use.

The BSI Kitemark for child safety online is only awarded to filtering software that is easy to install, easy to use and effective in blocking online content such as pornography, violence and racism.

It been developed through collaboration between the British Standards Institution (BSI), the Home Office, Ofcom and representatives from ISPs and application developers.

The first BSI Kitemark for child safety online was this week awarded to web security service Netintelligence, which was vigorously tested to ensure that it met the required standards.

 

18th January   

Police Pissed...

Sculpture depicting pissing policewoman winds up the German authorities
Link Here

petra by marcel walldorfMarcel Walldorf's life-size sculpture of a policewoman in full riot gear pissing on the floor has some Germans pissed .

The sculpture, entitled Petra , which has already captured the prestigious Leinemann Foundation Award for fine arts, was put on display in Dresden last week.

Local security officials were not amused. The artist has received letters of condemnation from state security services and local officials.

The gallery however, told AFP news service that despite official outrage, response from the public has been overwhelmingly positive .

 

18th January   

Home Games...

Homefront video game passed 15
Link Here

THQ Homefront PC The BBFC rating for the up n coming video game has generated a lot of interest in internet chat.

The BBFC passed the game 15 uncut with the comment: Contains strong violence and language.

It seems that most commentators were expecting an 18 rating. Eg pre-orders on Amazon had assumed an 18 certificate.

 

18th January   

Chilling Demands...

Google resist Spanish demand to censor specified newspaper articles from search listings
Link Here

Spanish flagGoogle has said it will challenge Spain's data protection authority Agencia Española de Protección de Datos demand to remove 100 defamatory articles in newspapers and official gazettes from its search listings.

The search engine has been quoted in a Guardian story arguing that it acts only as an intermediary and therefore it cannot be held responsible for all content on the internet. Google's director of external relations for Europe Peter Barron said: Requiring intermediaries like search engines to censor material published by others would have a profound, chilling effect on free expression without protecting people's privacy.

The data regulator said the only way to block access to sensitive material published by some sites is by doing so in the search engine listings.

 

18th January   

The Scar Crow...

New release on UK DVD
Link Here

Scar Crow DVD Kevyn Cornett The Scar Crow , is said to be a terrifying tale of malevolence, desire, torture and seduction from British directors Pete Benson and Andy Thompson.

It was released on the 17th January on DVD.

See the trailer on youtube.com.

The BBFC passed the film 18 uncut with the comment: Contains very strong language and strong bloody horror

The BBFC have provided a detailed explanation of their decision which includes spoilers:

The Scar Crow is a horror film in which four friends come across three sisters who seem to be hundreds of years old and a monstrous scarecrow who is intent on killing them. The film was classified 18 for very strong language and strong bloody violence.

The BBFC's Guidelines at 15 state that Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury . In The Scar Crow , there are several scenes of strong bloody violence in which we see the monster attacking and killing his victims. In one scene, a man is tied to a bed before the monster rips open the man's chest and pushes his head through the hole. Another scene includes sight of a man's penis being torn off. Such sequences are both lengthy and gory and place a clear emphasis on the infliction of pain and injury.

The Scar Crow also contains two aggressive uses of very strong language.

 

17th January   

Update: Orbanistan...

Hungarians take the street to demonstrate against repressive new media law
Link Here  full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

viktor orbanAn estimated 10,000 Hungarians have demonstrated Friday against what critics describe as Europe's most restrictive media law. Under the legislation, media in Hungary can face heavy fines and sanctions if authorities deem their coverage unbalanced or immoral.

Thousands of Hungarians sang Friday that if they would be a flag they wouldn't wave, or if they would be a rose, they wouldn't flourish.

Hungarian journalists aren't the only people concerned about what critics call Europe's most restrictive media law. Activist Sonja Andrassew of environmental group Greenpeace says she fears the legislation will make it more difficult to criticize environmental policies. We think that the environmental protection is also [about] free press. So if we want to say our opinion about the environment, the global warming or anything we need the press to be free to write down our opinion, she said.

Critics say that with the media law the center-right government is turning Hungary into Orbanistan , a reference to Prime minister Viktor Orban and autocratic Central Asian nations.

 

17th January   

Huffing and Puffing...

Police arrest newspaper bosses over caricature of Ugandan president
Link Here

yoweri museveri cartoonPolice in Kampala arrested the director and editor of the monthly newsmagazine Summit Business Review in connection with a caricature of President Yoweri Museveni that appeared on the cover of the October issue.

Director Samuel Sejjaaka and Editor Mustapha Mugisha were released on bond but face continued interrogations, Sejjaaka told CPJ.

Police raided the magazine's office, confiscated Mugisha's computer, and detained the editor, Sejjaaka said. When Sejjaaka came to the police station to inquire as to Mugisha's status, the director was detained for refusing to write out a police statement, he told CPJ.

No charges have been brought. Police told Sejaaka the caricature embarrassed the president. The cover of the magazine's October edition featured a cartoon of Museveni blowing out the candle on a cake in the shape of Uganda for the country's 48th Independence Day celebrations. The cartoonist, Fred Senoga Makubuya, is based in the United States, Mugisha told CPJ.

Police would not explain why they were taking action three months after the edition was published, although officers noted the caricature was being used by opposition candidates in campaign rallies, the journalists told CPJ. Security agents also pulled down roughly 10 advertising billboards in Kampala that displayed the cartoon, according to local journalists.

The arrest of two independent journalists just one month before elections is deeply disturbing, said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. Public figures in a democracy should not resort to the police to shield themselves from media criticism. All legal action against Samuel Sejjaaka and Mustapha Mugisha should be dropped immediately.

 

17th January   

Fare Comment...

China arrests micro blogger for tweets about a taxi strike
Link Here

China flagAccording to NDdaily, a man, known as Mr. Zhou, was arrested for micro-blogging a Taxi driver strike at Xianning city on December 19, 2010 under the charge of organizing a mob to disturb the social order . He is still under police detention.

Zhou was once a taxi driver and participated in Taxi driver strike back in 2006. But he has since changed his occupation.

On December 16, 2010, a large scale Taxi driver strike took place in Xianning city and on December 18, Zhou reported the strike via his Tianya micro blog account. He had sent out a total of 17 tweets on the strike eg:

Since December 16 2010, a large scale Taxi driver strike has taken place in Hubei Xianning. The reason behind the action is the government's decision to draw back the Taxi operation license which had been issued for more than 10 years. This strike is similar to the one happened in February 2006. However, this time the police has arrested the active drivers. All the government has mobilized all the city police to monitor and track down the drivers. All level of the governments and leaders of city, county and town governments are determined to accomplish the mission.

Zhou was arrested the next day on December 19 2010 and his computer was confiscated. According to the arrest document, he was in suspect of organizing a mob to disturb the social order .

 

17th January   

Repression for the Long Term...

Kazakhstan police seize newspaper critical of referendum to extend president's term
Link Here

golos respublikiPolice in Almaty, Kazakhstan have confiscated the latest issue of the opposition weekly Golos Respubliki (Voice of the Republic), RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.

Newspaper spokesman Sergei Zelepukhin told journalists that police stopped the paper's delivery vehicle late on January 13 with thousands of copies of this week's issue.

He said the driver and accompanying staff members were taken to a police station, where they were told they had been detained on suspicion of spreading false information. The individuals were later released, but the newspapers were confiscated.

Zelepukhin said the issue contained articles criticizing the proposed national referendum on prolonging President Nursultan Nazarbaev's term in office until 2020.

Golos Respubliki journalist Oksana Makushina told a press conference in Almaty that just 3,000 copies of the total print-run of 19,000 made their way to newsstands in Almaty.

 

17th January   

Update: Authorised Repression...

Vietnam issues a decree for further draconian internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Blogging in Vietnam...Bloggers under duress in Vietnam

Vietnam flagVietnam has issued a new decree to censor the activities of journalists and bloggers that includes provision for fines of up to 40 million dong (2,000 dollars) in a country in which the average salary is 126 dollars.

The government is demonstrating its determination to tighten its grip on news and information just as the ruling Communist Party is holding its congress, Reporters Without Borders said: This decree is trying to apply the censorship already in force for traditional media to blogs.

The press freedom organization added: The protection of the confidentiality of sources is seriously threatened by this decree. The government is going after online anonymity by trying to prevent bloggers from using pseudonyms. This could make it easier for the authorities both to harass them and to arrest and jail them.

Due to take effect next month, the decree makes it an offence to publish information that is non-authorised or not in the interests of the people. By interpreting these vague definitions broadly, the authorities will be able to increase the number of arrests of blogger and journalists.

The decree also provides for fines of up to 3 million dong (155 dollars) for anyone who publishes documents or letters without identifying themselves or revealing their sources, and for up to 20 million dong if the documents are linked to an official investigation.

 

17th January   

Radio Silence...

Gambian authorities shut down the only independent radio station
Link Here

taranga fmGambian authorities have shut the only independent radio station in the nation that has continued to broadcast news, according to local journalists.

Taranga FM was one of the last independent voices in the Gambia.

National Intelligence Agency officials summoned Ismaila Ceesay, managing director of Taranga FM, a community radio station based in Sinchu Alhagie village, southwest of Banjul, for interrogation and ordered the station off the air until further notice, local journalists said.

Journalists told CPJ the ban was in reprisal for the station's news review program in which local newspaper stories were read on the air in English and local languages. It was unclear what story or stories prompted the ban.

With the closure of Taranga FM, the Gambia confirms its status as one of Africa's most censored countries, said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita: Radio is a vital source of news in Africa, but listeners in the Gambia can now hear only a government mouthpiece. The authorities should restore Taranga FM and all independent broadcasts to return to air.

 

16th January   

Damned by the Church...

Italian Big Brother ejects 3 contestants over religious cussing
Link Here

grande fratel 10 logoGrande Fratello , the Italian version of Big Brother , has disqualified three contestants after the Catholic Church complained about blasphemy.

Big Brother, a flag ship programme on Silvio Berlusconi's Mediaset network, has been forced into a humiliating climb down after the Church objected to contestants on the reality television show uttering blasphemous insults.

The swearing by three male contestants infuriated the Catholic Church, with the attack led by Avvenire , an influential daily newspaper owned by the Catholic Bishops' Conference.

The offending remarks were bleeped when they were broadcast, but according to media insiders included Mannaggia la Madonna – Damn the Virgin Mary – and Dio maiale , which literally translates as God pig and is considered highly offensive by Italians.

The show's presenter, Alessia Marcuzzi, read out a statement saying the programme would not tolerate language that offends the sensitivity of the public .

For the powerful Catholic lobby, the matter was made worse by the fact that one of the offending contestants, Massimo Scattarella, had been kicked out of the previous Big Brother series for blasphemy, but had been readmitted by public vote for the 11th season.

 

16th January   

Update: Money for Nothing...

One man and his dog censorship with no accountability and no appeal
Link Here

cbsc logoThe Canadian music censor is being defiant after a wave of criticism over its decision to ban the nation-wide broadcast of an uncut Dire Straits song containing the word faggot.

Ronald Cohen, the national chair of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council (CBSC), told QMI Agency he sees nothing wrong with the fact one person was able to stop every private radio station across Canada from playing the popular 1985 song Money for Nothing.

The number of complaints is irrelevant, Cohen claimed: Everybody is on our back about it (but) I think it was absolutely the right decision. This was a word that has no place today on the airwaves.

Cohen is unconcerned that the public was shut out from CBSC's deliberations and sees no problems with the fact that neither broadcasters nor Canadians have any avenues to appeal the decision. If there was an appeal process, it would be cumbersome, he said.

Dire Straits' keyboardist Guy Fletcher joined a chorus of fans on his website calling the ruling outrageous and the council's decision hilarious for having missed the point of the band's song about homophobia. What a waste of paper, he wrote of the decision.

The .British Caledonia Civil Liberties Association's David Eby called the CBSC's decision very patronizing and suggested the federal broadcast censor, the CRTC, should take over its functions to ensure some public oversight: It is difficult for us to understand how this private body can have such a profound influence on what Canadians see and hear without any accountability .

The CBSC has been the private broadcasters' self-regulator since 1990, when they decided they didn't want the federal regulator to oversee their content. Although neither body has the power to levy fines or stop the broadcast of any songs (even those banned), the CRTC can revoke television or radio licences or refuse to renew them when they are about to lapse.

 

16th January   

Tunisia Unblocked...

Bloggers freed and websites unblocked in early days of a new interim administration
Link Here  full story: Jasmine Revolution...Popular uprising to dipose President Ben Ali

Tunisia flagEven while under curfew following the ousting of their long-serving authoritarian leader, Tunisians are experiencing newfound freedoms online as their acting president promised a new phase for his embattled land.

Filters on websites like Facebook and YouTube, put in place under former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali, were dropped and Internet speed picked up considerably -- a development that followed the new government's vow to ease restrictions on freedoms.

In addition, three Tunisian journalists -- including two bloggers critical of Ben Ali -- have been freed from jail, the Committee to Protect Journalists has said.

These developments come as Fouad Mebazaa was sworn in as the country's acting leader on Saturday, after Ben Ali and his family took refuge in Saudi Arabia following days of angry street protests against the government.

 

16th January   

Clock Watching Censors...

Cinderella play banned in Russia over the politics of time zone changes
Link Here

cinderella clockAn eastern Russian region tried to ban a New Year's production of Cinderella claiming it contained a subliminal political message about contested time zone changes.

Authorities in Kamchatka targeted the play after audiences responded strongly at an apparent parallel with a hugely controversial change to bring the far-flung volcanic region closer to Moscow time.

Following a decree from President Dmitry Medvedev, the Kamchatka region last year moved to a time zone that is only eight hours rather than nine hours ahead of Moscow, a move that has sparked street protests.

During the show, in the region's main city of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky, audiences began furiously applauding a scene where the king turns the clock back to keep Cinderella at the ball.

At the fifth show - which most unfortunately happened to be attended by a close aide of the regional governor - the scene where Cinderella does not leave the ball aroused particularly passionate applause, the former governor of Kamchatka, Mikhail Mashkovtsev, wrote in his blog: The governor was informed and he ordered that the play should be banned .

 

16th January   

Not So Magnificent Censorship...

Turkey's TV censor whinges at TV depiction of sultan ruling 500 years ago
Link Here

Photographic SULEIMAN MAGNIFICENT Mary Evans Turkey's television censor has given an official warning to a private channel after thousands complained that it was portraying the country's Ottoman-era sultans as drinkers and womanizers.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council (RTUK) said in a statement that Show TV had failed to respect the privacy of sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, who ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566.

The agency said the channel should publicly apologize for having violated the privacy of a historical person in its program Magnificent Century , a fictional portrayal of the sultan's life and his royal court at the height of Ottoman rule.

The agency's head, Davut Dursun, said 75,000 people had complained to the RTUK over its portrayal of Ottoman rulers drinking alcohol and chasing after women.

 

16th January   

Advertising Dictatorship...

Belarus bans radio station for accepting advertising from opposition candidates
Link Here

Belarus flagA Minsk-based radio station that broadcast campaign advertisements for opposition presidential candidates has been taken off the air due to the cancellation of its license, RFE/RL's Belarus Service reports.

AvtoRadio went off the air one day after the National Commission for Broadcasting pulled its broadcasting license.

The censor's justification for the action appeared to dovetail with authorities' efforts to cast political dissent in the wake of last month's tainted presidential vote as seditious.

During the campaign for last month's presidential election, AvtoRadio broadcast some campaign material of opposition candidates Andrey Sannikau and Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu. The material was aired as advertisements under formal contracts with the two candidates.

Avtoradio said it would appeal the cancellation of its license in court.

 

15th January   

Updated: Money for Nothing and Offence for Free...

Dire Straits' original Money for Nothing banned from Canadian Radio
Link Here

Brothers Arms Dire Straits The Dire Straits song, Money For Nothing, has been banned from Canadian radio because it is deemed homophobic.

The song, written almost 30 years ago, uses the word faggot in the verse:

The little faggot with the earring and the makeup.
Yeah buddy, that's his own hair.
That little faggot got his own jet airplane.
That little faggot he's a millionaire

The Canadian Broadcasts Standards Council has ruled that any radio station wishing to play the song must edit or bleep out the offending word, which appears three times.

In its ruling the Standards Council said that even if entirely or marginally acceptable in earlier days, [the word 'faggot'] no longer so. The societal values at issue a quarter century later have shifted and the broadcast of the song in 2010 must reflect those values, rather than those of 1985 .

Later versions of Money For Nothing replace the word faggot with mother , which the Standards Council said the radio station should have played instead.

One listener had complained that the song was extremely offensive to lesbian, gay and bisexual people, the Vancouver Sun reports.

Update: Edited in the UK

15th January 2011. Thanks to DarkAngel on the Melon Farmers Forum

I'm not sure about other UK radio stations, but both commercial radio stations in Peterborough, Connect FM and Heart (formerly Hereward) have been playing an edited version of the song for a number of years now, which totally omits that particular verse.

Update: Classic Rock Protest

15th January 2011. See article from radio-info.com

cirk logoNewcap programmer Steve Jones said that Canada's Broadcast Standards Council went too far in banning the original 1985 Grammy-winning version of Money For Nothing.

He said: If you listen to the context of the terms, you will realize it is an artistic portrayal of a bigoted person looking at the riches and excesses of the music industry. (The lyric goes That little faggot with the earring and the makeup/Yeah, buddy, that's his own hair/That little faggot's got a jet airplane/That little faggot, he's a millionaire.)

K97 added that LGBT supporter Elton John has performed the song as written.

So on 14th January, the radio station CIRK and Newcap sisters Q104 and K-Rock protested about the dangers of censorship . They looped the unedited version of Money For Nothing for a whole hour.

They've also invited representatives from the gay community to participate.

 

15th January   

Freedom in the World 2011...

Freedom House reports that world freedom is continuing to decline
Link Here

freedom in the world 2011 Global freedom suffered its fifth consecutive year of decline in 2010, according to Freedom in the World 2011 , Freedom House's annual assessment of political rights and civil liberties around the world.

This represents the longest continuous period of decline in the nearly 40-year history of the survey. The year featured drops in the number of Free countries and the number of electoral democracies, as well as an overall deterioration for freedom in the Middle East and North Africa region.

A total of 25 countries showed significant declines in 2010, more than double the 11 countries exhibiting noteworthy gains. The number of countries designated as Free fell from 89 to 87, and the number of electoral democracies dropped to 115, below the 2005 figure of 123. In addition, authoritarian regimes like those in China, Egypt, Iran, Russia, and Venezuela continued to step up repressive measures with little significant resistance from the democratic world.

This should be a wake-up call for all of the world's democracies, said David J. Kramer, executive director of Freedom House. Our adversaries are not just engaging in widespread repression, they are doing so with unprecedented aggressiveness and self-confidence, and the democratic community is not rising to the challenge.

Four countries received status declines, including Ukraine and Mexico, which both fell from Free to Partly Free. Mexico's downgrade was a result of the government's inability to stem the tide of violence by drug-trafficking groups, while Ukraine suffered from deteriorating levels of press freedom, instances of election fraud, and growing politicization of the judiciary. Djibouti and Ethiopia were downgraded from Partly Free to Not Free. Other countries showing declines included Bahrain, Côte d'Ivoire, Egypt, France, Sri Lanka, and Venezuela.

The Middle East and North Africa remained the region with the lowest level of freedom in 2010, continuing its multiyear decline from an already-low democratic baseline.

France saw a decline in its civil liberties score due to its treatment of Roma from Eastern Europe as well as its problems in coping with immigrants from the Middle East and North Africa.

There were a few bright spots in the survey, including status improvements from Not Free to Partly Free for Kyrgyzstan and Guinea after both countries held comparatively free and fair elections, and ratings improvements for Kenya, Moldova, Nigeria, the Philippines, and Tanzania.

 

15th January   

Zone of Interest...

Killzone 3 console game passed 18
Link Here

Killzone 3 Move Compatible PS3 The BBFC rating for the up n coming PS3 game has generated a lot of interest in internet chat.

The BBFC passed the game 18 uncut with the comment: Contains strong bloody violence and strong language

Perhaps a few clues about the high level interest in the game may be found in promotional materials promising a brutal combat system"

Key Game Features:
  • Epic single player campaign with a gripping storyline and intense action
  • Battle your way through huge, diverse environments from alien jungles to harsh arctic vistas shown in incredible graphic detail
  • Face off against new, relentless Helghast enemies armed with more powerful weapons and abilities
  • Full 3D compatibility takes immersion to new heights, delivering a "boots-on-the-ground" experience like no other
  • Award-winning multiplayer mode returns, with added game modes, new vehicle gameplay, brutal close combat system, more powerful weapons, and a more accessible experience
  • New brutal melee system lets you get "up close and personal" with Helghast enemies for even more intense combat
  • Increased vehicle gameplay, including aerial combat action with ISA Intruders and jet packs

 

15th January   

Blocking New Laws...

Euro ISPs unimpressed by EU proposed mandate of ISP website blocking
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states

euroispa logoThe European Commission has drafted new laws to force ISPs to block child porn. The measure will be voted on by the European Parliament next month. The technical solutions envisaged are broadly based on arrangements in the UK, where all major ISPs block access to child abuse websites named on a list maintained by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

If the laws are passed as proposed, the UK government will get powers to force the small ISPs who do not use the IWF blocklist – who serve less than 2% of British internet users – to fall into line. Last year the Home Office abandoned a pledge to enforce 100% compliance.

Although voluntary, the British system is not without controversy, and EuroISPA, the European ISP trade association, is lobbying MEPs to reject the move to enforce it across the bloc.

Malcolm Hutty, the President of EuroISPA, said: In order to make the Directive on child sexual exploitation as strong as possible, emphasis must be placed on making swift notice and takedown of child sexual abuse material focused and effective. Blocking, as an inefficient measure, should be avoided. Law enforcement authorities' procedures for rapid communication to internet hosting providers of such illegal material must be reviewed and bottlenecks eliminated.

 

15th January   

Snitch Line...

Turkey reports on facility enabling people to report websites to block
Link Here

Turkey flagThe Telecommunications Directorate (TI.B) has established a website for people to report websites ofr supposedly illegal content. TI.B launched www.ihbarweb.org.tr in November 2007.

TİB President Fethi Şimşek said they have received more than 220,000 complaints through the website thus far. At least 200 complaints are submitted to the website every day, he said.

He added that most complaints about website contents submitted to Turkey's internet supervisory body concern obscenity,.

Complaints can be submitted if they follow within the guidelines of the articles specified in law No. 5651, which are encouragement of suicide, sexual abuse of children, facilitation of drug use, providing unhealthy materials, obscenity, prostitution, gambling and insulting Mustafa Kemal Atatürk -- the founder of the Turkish Republic

 

15th January   

Political Censorship...

Indian censor bans film critical of Sri Lanka during war against Tamils
Link Here

sengadalIndia's Chennai Regional Censor board has banned the release of Sengadal , a film based on Sri Lankan war and problems faced by Tamil fishermen in Indian ocean. The film, according to sources, speaks elaborately on the atrocities of Sri Lankan army against the Eelam and Indian Tamils.

Leena Manimekalai, the director has termed the Boards decision as a double standard. It is completely against the rights to freedom of expression. She also said that the movie is purely based on the truths and facts of Sri Lanka's war against the Tamils.

 

15th January   

Criticism Not Allowed...

Kuwait bans 2 newspapers and satellite channel
Link Here

Kuwait flagThe Kuwaiti government has closed down two newspapers, Al-Mustaqbal, alDar, and the satellite channel Mubasher.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights denounced the closures on fabricated accusations of unspecified irregularities .

The group said that the bans were punishments because the outlets were carrying material critical of the country's political situation: Restrictions on the media and press freedom by the Kuwaiti government are on the rise.

 

14th January   

Update: Playing Waiting Games...

Handover of games censorship from BBFC to VSC delayed
Link Here  full story: Keith Vaz...Keith Vaz in votes for knighthood claim

Ed VaizeyThe rollout of the new PEGI video games classification system will miss its current April 2010 deadline and will not be introduced until July of this year at the earliest.

The Video Standards Council (VSC) will then take over administration of producer assigned games ratings using PEGI symbols and classifications.

The Conservative culture minister Ed Vaizey has admitted that: There's been some technical delays to iron out a few kinks – nothing fundamental, nothing serious. And we'll crack on with it as fast as we can.

mcvuk.com believes that the delay is due to the time it will take to obtain European parliamentary approval.

 

14th January   

Authoritarianism...

ATVOD to rename from 'Association' to 'Authority'
Link Here

ATVOD logo Minutes from an ATVOD board meeting reveal:

Subject to receiving the relevant authorisation from the Secretary of State, the Board unanimously resolved to change ATVOD's name from The Association for Television On-Demand Limited to The Authority for Television On-Demand Limited .

The change of name shall take effect on the date the Secretary of State gives his authorisation for the name change.

smallscale.tv adds: It seems to say quite a lot about ATVOD’s self-image, according to comments coming from industry sources.

 

14th January   

Update: Museum of Modern Censored Art...

Museum of Modern Art acquires A Fire in My Belly
Link Here  full story: Fire in my Belly...Banned art at the Smithsonian

moma logoThe Museum of Modern Art announced the purchase of the controversial video exhibit featuring an image of Jesus on a crucifix covered in ants that was pulled from the Smithsonian Institute's National Portrait Gallery last month.

The New York museum have announced their acquisition of David Wojnarowicz's original 13-minute version of A Fire in My Belly, and a 7-minute excerpt, MoMA Director Glenn Lowry said.

The work was included in an exhibit at the Smithsonian Institution's National Portrait Gallery, sparking an outcry from some conservative members of Congress and organizations including the Catholic League, which culminated in its removal from the gallery.

The current debate surrounding the removal of the piece from the National Portrait Gallery exhibition brought the work to our attention and provided us with an opportunity to look more closely at it and to deepen our engagement with this artist by adding it to our holdings of his work, MoMA said.

The work is described as a collage of images filmed primarily during the artist's travels to Mexico, it combines footage from a number of sources that refer—often in graphic detail—to death, social inequality, faith, and desire. It is now housed in MoMA's Contemporary Galleries with other works made during the AIDS crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

 

14th January   

Brain the Size of a Fivepenny Bit...

Keith Vaz turns up at a pro-gaming parliamentary event
Link Here  full story: Keith Vaz...Keith Vaz in votes for knighthood claim

Dead Space 2 Limited PS3 Keith Vaz surprised a few parliamentarians when he turned up an event in support of gaming.

Parliament Games Day was organised by pressure group Gamers' Voice to bring together politicians and the industry to promote the cultural and economic strengths of British software.

Vaz told Eurogamer: I've never been against games. I've been against violent games that are able to fall into the hands of young people who are perhaps not able to understand the implications of what they're doing.

I don't oppose games, he inisted. I just think it's very important that people respect and acknowledge the age limits. And the campaign has always been about ensuring there is proper labelling so that people know exactly what kind of games they should have.

Asked if he was happy with the new games classification system – still waiting to be passed into law – Vaz said he felt it was moving in the right direction . When we started this campaign the age limit was the size of half a, I think, a 5p coin, which was very small, he explained. Obviously we want to see what PEGI does, but the more that they can draw to the attention of young people the need to respect the age limit better – and if you're over 18 you can do what you want. No-one wants to stop you playing your games.

 

13th January   

Watch and Rate...

BBFC make all back video certificates available for online scheme and offer service to rate online-only content
Link Here

bbfc online card 12 logo In the latest move to bring the BBFC's widely recognised and trusted classifications to the world of digitally distributed content, every VHS, DVD and Blu-Ray title classified by the BBFC since 1985 has been given a digital certificate.

Since 2008 the BBFC has been working with the UK video industry to provide a content labelling system for film, video and TV content supplied by internet, wireless or mobile signal which the public can trust and understand. By giving over 200,000 titles a digital classification the BBFC has provided consumers with access to labelling and content information for a massive back catalogue of films and television programmes which are available through video-on-demand, digital rental/sell through, streaming, mobile platforms and connected TV.

Platforms and e-tailers using the BBFC's classifications for their online content pay a licensing fee under the BBFC.online service. As well as the back catalogue all their new content classified by the BBFC is given an online certificate for digital distribution.

For material which is going straight to online the BBFC has developed a brand new classification service, known as Watch and Rate which provides digital e-tailers and platforms with a robust labelling and child protection system for the online world at a cost and speed which reflects the needs of digital distribution.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said:

Our new service for straight to online content will provide the industry with a service which will ensure that they can get their content, along with BBFC labelling, out into the rapidly moving digital space. For parents it will offer labelling and content advice they know and trust in what is, for many, an unfamiliar landscape.

We have an exciting part to play in the film and video industry's digital future. For almost 100 years, we have supported innovation in the moving image industries, and our latest service is designed to support the ever-increasing technological development in our second century. Issuing 200,000 certificates at a stroke is a major step towards this.

Lavinia Carey, Director General of the British Video Association said:

The BBFC's act of issuing 200,000 'online' certificates has shown a major commitment to the digital development of home entertainment. At a time when the film and video industry is reinventing itself, the BBFC's role and contribution to the digital future is hugely appreciated and supported by our members .

Stephen Joy, Production Manager of Entertainment One said:

Watch & Rate enables us to distribute certified works digitally without the costs of marketing a physical DVD. Having their trusted symbols attached to our products in the digital space has allowed entry to key on-demand platforms fast, and at low cost.

Eric Stevens, Head of Independent Distribution for Independent Film Company said:

BBFC's Watch & Rate provided us with a cost effective way of certifying products for use in the On Demand space. Licensing and sign-up was quick, service costs were cost effective, for a content owner of our size and online submission was straightforward and streamlined.

 

13th January   

Update: Blunt Words...

Dangerous Pictures Act has been ruled out from the Not so Great Repeals Bill
Link Here  full story: Great Repeal Bill...UK government consults on bad laws to repeal

AllanB has been pursuing with his MP the possibility of including the Dangerous Pictures Act in the government's fading Great Repeals Bill

crispin bluntA reply was received from Crispin Blunt who describes himself as Minister with responsibility for the criminal law.

AllanB wrote:

After a page or so describing what the DPA was all about, and how images had to meet several tests (explicit, realistic blah blah) before warranting prosecution this is the quote ...as the offence is tightly drawn to apply to only the most extreme material we do not intend to propose this offence as a candidate for repeal.

The justification for the offence remains the impact they may have on those who view them , although he doesn't state what that impact is.

Presumably they've embraced the Rapid Evidence Assessment (REA) findings. This was a much influential 'academic' report written by anti porn activists. So if anyone is into further letter writing I would recommend challenging the REA. The last government was criticised by the parliamentary science and technology select committee for misusing scientific evidence to justify policy decisions which were actually based on ideological grounds. If ever there was engineered evidence the REA is it.

 

13th January   

Update: Spanking Brand New Law...

Max Mosley petitions European court for privacy protection from the press
Link Here  full story: Max Mosley Privacy...Max Mosley, spanking and Nazi sex

European court buildingsMax Mosley, the former president of Formula One, was in a European court on 10 January hoping to secure a new law barring newspapers from publishing details of people's private lives without forewarning.

Mosley is asking the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg to make it illegal for a newspaper to publish intrusive material without prior notification. He claimed that it was a great fallacy to think this would inhibit press freedom.

But campaigners have warned that a prior notification rule could damage valid investigative journalism as well as suppressing kiss and tell journalism, by giving anyone who does not like what is about to appear about them in the press time to seek an injunction to prevent publication.

The UK Government opposes Mosley's application.

It's really a very simple thing that if a newspaper is going to write something about your private life, or something you might reasonably wish to keep reasonably private, that they should tell you beforehand, Mosley told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: The fact of the matter is, in 99 cases out of 100, if they are going to write something about someone of any real interest, they will approach the person.

But Geoffrey Robinson QC warned: The vast scope of the new law which is contended for is so vague as to be unworkable.

 

12th January   

Threat Saw...

ASA find Saw 3D advert too distressing for 8:30pm screening
Link Here

Saw Final Chapter Gina Holden A TV ad, for the film SAW 3D , started with images of two men, one of whom was screaming and reaching towards the viewer with blood on his hand. A voice-over stated Since the beginning you have watched others .

The following images showed a bare-chested man breathing heavily in a car with a broken windscreen, people on a street looking at a window display, a swinging cage, a spiked metal mesh crashing down, and a man falling out of the bottom of a hanging cage as the voice-over continued Now it is your turn to play.

The next scene showed spiky metal restraints suddenly appearing around the arm and shoulders of a man wearing 3D glasses. He screamed. The voice-over continued Experience the final ever Saw in eye-popping, heart-pounding, mind-blowing 3D whilst images were shown of circular saw blades flying over the people in a cinema and towards the viewer, people cowering from an explosion, two people hanging from a shaft, a close-up of a screaming man falling, a huge figure reaching out into the cinema from the screen and lifting a person back towards the screen, and a cage crashing through a window.

The voice of the Jigsaw character said The last piece of the puzzle is you as the camera moved towards a woman tied between rail tracks, followed by a vehicle on the same tracks coming towards the viewer and flying out over the people in the cinema making them flinch. The voice-over stated Saw 3D. On-screen text stated SAW 3D THE FINAL CHAPTER . Circular-saw blades flew towards the viewer and the voice-over continued Only available in cinemas October 28th. On-screen text IN CINEMAS THURS OCT 28 appeared under the preceding text.

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with a post 7.30 pm restriction.

The complainant, who was ten years of age and who saw the ad at 8:29pm during The Gadget Show on Channel 5, thought the ad was distressing and was inappropriately scheduled.

ASA Assessment : Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted Clearcasts assertion that, apart from the scene where a man had blood on his hand, the viewer did not see any more blood or scenes of injury or death. However, we also noted that many of the scenes showed people in distress and in physical danger.

We considered that, although the ad was clearly for a film and therefore based in fantasy, the scenes of people in the cinema - particularly those where they were suddenly trapped by metal restraints and where the figure reached out and pulled a cinema-goer back towards the screen - linked the scenes from the film with a recognisably real situation. We considered it was therefore likely to cause distress to young children who might not make a clear distinction between the scenes from the film and the scenes in the cinema, and a post 7.30pm restriction was not sufficient. We concluded that a post 9pm restriction ought to have been applied, to minimise the possibility of young children seeing the ad.

The ad breached BCAP Code rules:

  • 4.1 (Harm and Offence),
  • 5.1 (Children), 32.1, and
  • 32.3 (Scheduling of Television and Radio Advertisements).

 

12th January   

Not Getting their Facts Straightened...

The Daily Express and Daily Star opt out of PCC regulation
Link Here

daily star gta rothburyThe publisher Richard Desmond has effectively withdrawn the Daily Express, the Daily Star and OK! magazine from Press Complaints Commission (PCC) regulation.

The chairman of the Press Standards Board of Finance, Lord Black of Brentwood, said:

This deeply regrettable decision to exclude Northern & Shell from the system was taken only as a last resort, following the publisher's decision not to pay the industry levy which funds the work of the PCC. Payment of this levy is a vital sign not just of a publisher's commitment to the Code of Practice and the ethical standards contained in it, but also of a commitment to the protection of the public, as it is the levy which allows the PCC to deal with complaints it receives free of charge.

Lord Black said that other publishers would make up the shortfall to PCC funding.

A source indicated that Desmond's organisation no longer saw value in remaining in the regulatory system:

They feel they can operate the principles of self-regulation themselves and don't feel they need to do that by being a member of the PCC. They employ lawyers to check the facts on stories and will continue to do that.

 

12th January   

Update: Conducting the Opposition...

Hungarian writers and musician campaign against new media censorship law
Link Here  full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

Mozart Symphonies Nos 15 18 Hungarian writers and musicians have descended on Brussels to add their voices to the chorus of criticism aimed at censorship being introduced by Prime Minister Victor Orban.

The criticism centres on a new media law which came into force on 1 January. Opponents say it will muzzle press freedom and endanger independent media.

Adam Fischer, one of the world's leading conductors, stood down at the end of last year as music director at the Hungarian State Opera in protest at the increasingly heavy and restrictive hand of government: A lot of the attention has focussed on the new law but the problems run far deeper . Even more worrying are changes to the national constitution that are being drafted and the rise of anti-Semitism, homophobia and xenophobia in Hungarian society,

Fischer pointed to the latest attack in which Hungarian pianist Andras Schiff became the butt of anti-Semitic remarks in a national newspaper after he wrote a column criticising new government measures.

Neelie Kroes, the EU's Digital Communications Commissioner, reminded Orban of his pledges to make adjustments if EU experts find the law falling short of full respect of the European values on media freedom . The European Commission is currently examining the text.

 

12th January   

Update: Killer Bitch at the BBFC...

Hyped by the Daily Mail, closely watched by the BBFC
Link Here  full story: Killer Bitch...Recommended by the tabloid press

Killer Bitch DVD Alex Reid There were major problems with the British film censors over Killer Bitch . We were told the BBFC was very concerned at the content of the movie and it was screened at least four times to various combinations of censors, eventually including the Chairman of the Board. I suspect it was just a case of a movie with a high-profile tabloid reputation being referred-up because each person was too scared to take the risk of passing it himself/herself…. At one point, a BBFC Examiner sent an e-mail to the UK distributor saying it was more likely than not that there would be several cuts.

I was amazed when I found out what they claimed the problem was. We were told there were two areas of concern:

The first was a glimpse of part of the erect shaft of porn star Ben Dover's penis at the beginning of the movie. This gobsmacked me. Apart from the fact neither the director nor I had ever noticed this and the censors must have gone through it frame by frame with a magnifying glass (no reflection on Ben Dover), I have still never spotted the offending shot in the movie.

The second problem was the scene which had got the tabloids worldwide into such a tizzy when (without ever having seen it) they had denounced it as a ghastly and vile rape scene. What the BBFC was worried about was not the actual sex scene itself (which was not a rape scene at all) but the pre-amble to the sex scene, in which leading lady Yvette Rowland initially resists Alex Reid then melts in his arms.

There IS a rape scene in Killer Bitch (which in no way glamorises nor diminishes the horror but it is not the scene the tabloids got into a tizz about). And someone DOES get his cock cut off in vision. But apparently neither of these scenes worried the censors.

What seems to have worried them was the movie's reputation. It worried everyone. It was, ironically, passed uncut by the BBFC, but banned from display on the shelves of ASDA, Morrison's, Sainsbury, WH Smith, Tesco and others (although most of those sell it online). It was even withdrawn by iTunes after two days on sale for rather vague reasons. HMV remained a sole beacon of high street retail sanity and online retailers like Amazon and Play.com never had any problem.

...Read the full article

 

12th January   

Fair Game...

Egyptian film censor wound up by the presence of an Israeli actress on the cast list
Link Here

Soundtrack Fair Game Doug Liman's Fair Game – about the outing of CIA operative Valerie Plame by the George W. Bush Administration – is earning Oscar buzz for stars Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.

But Israeli actress Liraz Charhi also stands out for her pivotal, heartbreaking turn as Zahraa, an Iraqi expatriate whose fate devastates the tough ex-spy Plame.

However the presence of Liraz Charhi is causing a bit of censor hassle in Egypt.

Egyptian censors have delayed the screening of Fair Game for at least a week while the consider their stance.

Sayyed Khattab, head of Egypt's censorship board, said that he liked the movie but feared the presence of an Israeli actress.

 

12th January   

Update: Out of Control...

Italy still trying to twist the law to get at Google and YouTube
Link Here

Italy flagItalian newspaper La Repubblica reports that the Italian Authority for Communications has passed two resolutions on internet video and internet radio respectively, that classify YouTube, Vimeo and other sites whose content is entirely user generated as television stations.

The reasoning is that if a site in any way curates their user generated content, even with automatic algorithms, this amounts to editorial control, and the site should be held to the same rules that apply to Italy's broadcast television stations. This would subject these sites to a small tax, would require them to take down videos within 48 hours of the request of anyone who feels they have been slandered, and to not broadcast videos unsuitable for children at certain times of day (whatever that would actually mean for a completely online service).

Most importantly, however, the new resolutions would make YouTube and other sites legally responsible for all of their content.

Italy has been trying for a while to pin YouTube and Google employees for videos uploaded on to YouTube by parties who had nothing to do with any of the companies' employees.

Another dispute with Google is that Mediaset, a company owned by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, is currently suing YouTube in Italian courts for about €500 million because it allowed users to upload copyrighted video taken from their broadcasts.

 

11th January   

Update: Equality for Made in Dagenham!...

Government minister berates the BBFC over 15 certificate for Made in Dagenham
Link Here  full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

Made Dagenham DVD Sally Hawkins I saw The King's Speech yesterday. I really enjoyed it – but the point of this post is that a while back I commented on the fact that Made in Dagenham should have had a 12A certificate (like The King's Speech ) – and not the 15 rating it got.

I based this on the hearsay knowledge that the f word was used in The King's Speech and was thought to be an integral part of the film – and the film's overall worthiness meant that it should be seen by 12A (ie accompanied by an adult). Having now actually seen this film – I would agree – the use of expletives is integral to this film.

In Made in Dagenham – which is the story of the women workers at Dagenham car plant who fought for equal pay – supported by their male colleagues – and which ultimately led to the Equal Pay Act – the f word is also used. In my view in this film, the use of the f word is just as integral to the telling of this story as are the expletives in The King's Speech .

The differential in the certification by the British Board of Film Classification (independent body for film certification) means that more and younger folk will be able to see a great film about part of our history – ie King George VI – but not our great history of the fight for equality.

I am still at a loss to understand the differential certification.

 

11th January   

About Bloody Time!...

Pennsylvania State Police to end charging people for swearing
Link Here

Pennsylvania state sealPennsylvania State Police reached a settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) that retires them from policing the dictionary. This, after 770 people were cited in a one-year period, and faced a fine and potential jail time, for speaking words the state police deemed obscene.

The ACLU of Pennsylvania filed a lawsuit in May on behalf of Lona Scarpa, who called a motorcyclist an asshole after he swerved too close to her and another pedestrian. When she reported the incident to the police, Ms. Scarpa found herself charged with disorderly conduct for swearing and faced a possible $300 fine and 90 days in jail.

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court, and many other courts, have made it very clear that profanity — including dirty words, foul language, and rude gestures — is protected speech. Nevertheless, an ACLU investigation revealed that the state police had, on average, issued more than two such citations per day.

Using profanity toward someone, whether an officer or not, is just not one of those things that you can put someone in jail for, explains Mary Catherine Roper, senior staff attorney for the ACLU of Pennsylvania.

As part of the settlement, the state police have agreed to retrain their officers to make clear that they cannot cite people for profanity, indecent speech, or gestures.

 

11th January   

Diary: Regulating Sex...

Seminar at the British Academy
Link Here

Onscenity logoRegulating Sex
British Academy, Pall Mall, London
1st February 2011, 2pm-5pm

The seminar focuses on the regulation of sex in relation to three key areas: media, labour and the internet.

Speakers

The British Academy is located at 10 Carlton House Terrace, London SW1Y 5AH , adjacent to the Duke of York steps leading to the Mall.

  • Nearest tube: Charing Cross (Cockspur Street exit), Piccadilly Circus (Lower Regent Street exit)
  • Buses: Piccadilly Circus, Lower Regent Street, Haymarket, Trafalgar Square
  • Wheelchair access: The British Academy has access for most wheelchairs.

The seminar is organized by the AHRC funded Onscenity research network.

If you would like to attend, contact Feona Attwood before 20 January: f.attwood [at] shu.ac.uk.

 

11th January   

Offsite: That's Life...

Is modern life too sexy for our children?
Link Here  full story: Sexualisation...Sexualisation as reported by Linda Papadopoulos

BBC Panormama logoThe coalition government has begun a review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of children which will explore, among other things, whether rules should prevent companies marketing the likes of Porn Star T-shirts and padded bras for little girls.

So what is really out there? I trawled the High Street in search of some of these products and I struggled to find very many. There were a few T-shirts with slogans like Future Footballer's Wife, but are they sexualising children or just a matter of taste?

What did make me uncomfortable was what felt like a strong undercurrent of sexuality and glamour that seems to run through many girls' clothing ranges now - mini-versions of adult trends that included strapless or low-cut dresses, sequins, frills and lace.

But who decides what's sexualised and what's trendy? Who gets to be the fashion police?

...Read the full article

 

11th January   

Offsite: Crushing the Opposition...

Arizona shooting blamed on violent political rhetoric
Link Here

Arizona state sealStill, if the evil moment is going to be exploited, let it be exploited in a useful way, as an impetus to change the tone of discourse in the U.S., to self-censor our own modern habit of violent talk.

Keith Olbermann, a TV talk show host, around the same time he was creepily assigning blame, also offered up something good. It was that: Violence, or the threat of violence, has no place in our democracy, and I apologize for and repudiate any act or anything in my past that may have even inadvertently encouraged violence.

Everybody else (right, center, and left) should be saying the same thing. At the same time, we can drop the character assassination that's become modern entertainment.

That's true for Rachel Maddow, CBS, Fox, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, CNN, Jon Stewart, and the birthers. It's true for all the snarky blog posters and tweeters who gleefully suspended their inhibitions and keyed in material about crushing wingnuts, impaling feminazis, and so on. It's also true for all the violent talkers in Arizona, whose own sheriff commented that the state was out of control.

...Read the full article

Comment: A Change of Rules for the Blame Game

Thanks to Phantom on the Melon Farmers Forum who noted:

Is it not the American hard right who usually argue that what we see and hear can influence our actions? Be it violence in films, or porn we are prey to evil influences, no? Is that not what they insist on? Hence censorship is the only way to save us...

Now however, in a surreal twist, we have the Democrats accusing the Republicans of having caused this with their rhetoric.

And true to form, the American right wing suddenly don't believe people can be swayed by what they see and hear on TV. Suddenly this was just a disturbed individual.

One just wonders if the same such restraint reigns, next time something happens they wish to correlate with violence on TV or pornography.

It seems a strange and very sudden conversation to the belief that we are not merely slaves to what we see and that we have a will of our own.

 

11th January   

A Passion for Easy Offence...

Mallorca bishop unimpressed by a slightly nude calendar of the Passion of Christ
Link Here

nude passionA Catholic youth group has 'shocked' nutters in Mallorca by producing a calendar that features a slightly nude version of the passion of Christ.

The wrath of the bishop of Mallorca has fallen on the Davallament youth group from the Spanish island's town of Sant Joan after they decided to make the stripped-down version of the Easter week story to raise funds.

The calendar features a slightly-naked trio of young men raising the cross on which Jesus will be crucified and a Last Supper whose protagonists wear crotch-hugging underwear. In other shots the guys cover their genitalia with plumed roman helmets.

It is a daring and original idea that emerged because we are young and wanted to do something new, a group member, Antoni Company, told Ultima Hora newspaper.

The bishopric of Mallorca, however, has criticised them saying It turns Easter week into something banal . It does not respect Christian symbols and is insensitive to Catholic feelings.

The town's mayor, Joan Magro sees it differently: The calender is very original, he said. The pictures are artistic and the models show what they have.

 

10th January   

TV Gore...

Spain's state broadcaster firms up on bullfighting ban
Link Here

ujmf4teol. sl500 aa300 Spain's state broadcaster TVE has pledged not to show bullfighting on its channels.

Live broadcasts of the top bullfights were already dropped since 2007  when the organisation claimed it could not always afford to buy the broadcasting rights.

At the time, executives said they had nothing against bullfighting but had simply made a commercial decision.

But now in a report presented to the parliamentary commission that oversees its mandate, the organisation puts bullfighting under the chapter violence with animals.

The admission that the spectacle is too cruel or violent for viewing by children has given hope to campaigners that a countrywide ban is within reach.

Supporters of bullfighting slammed TVE's decision. There are those in education who deny that bullfighting on television even causes any distress to children, argued Inigo Fraile, head of the Union of Toreros: It seems hypocritical because the same criterion is not applied to other content. There are many more violent scenes, not just to animals but to people, shown in movies and television series broadcast on public channels.

 

10th January   

Throwing Shoes...

Maltese TV show suspended over throwing shoes at photos of president
Link Here

malta pbs logoMalta's satirical television programme VIP Xow has been suspended by the national broadcaster after the station editor found a clip aired in last Monday's show to be illegal and in bad taste.

The offensive part involved a game in which contestants were asked to hurl shoes at three tins featuring photos of President George Abela, Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi and Labour leader Joseph Muscat. According to law it is illegal to ridicule the President.

Following a meeting of the Public Broadcasting Services' editorial board, the VIP Xow producers were informed their programme was being suspended with immediate effect. The decision was taken on grounds that the board had to ensure laws were respected and that the station's reputation was not prejudiced.

On last Monday's show,  Prof. Arnold Cassola was one of four guests. When it was his turn to play the shoe-throwing game, the tins were brought very close to him so he could hit them easily, knock them down and finally win something – a play on his party's lack of electoral success.

The decision taken by PBS to black out the game was criticised by the Front Against Censorship. Despite not being aired on TVM, the clip was uploaded onto Facebook and the video-sharing website You Tube. It was then removed from circulation after the VIP Xow team were advised to withdraw it by their lawyer.

 

10th January   

Ordering a MacCensor Takeaway...

GayNZ object to having their website blocked in MacDonald's
Link Here

gaynz logoMcDonald's has caused controversy in the GLBT community after blocking access to gay-related websites for Wellington customers using its free WiFi service.

GayNZ.com says it has received numerous complaints from the community that sites they frequent cannot be accessed.

The complaints say GayNZ.com has been blocked, as has The Agender site for transgender people; Rainbow Youth, an advice site for young people is also blocked. familyplanning.co.nz was also unavailable.

McDonald's have sent an email response to GayNZ.com, after the website contacted them for comment:

We're a family restaurant chain, and as part of offering this new Free WiFi service, our policy is that viewed content must be of a family friendly nature, i.e.- suitable for a child to view.

Because of this, access to a number of websites is blocked, including access to gaynz.com gambling, tobacco and adult mature content websites.

We stress that all the content of allowable sites must meet family friendly criteria. By this we mean a child cannot access a website where they can click on any content, link or third party advertisement and access sexually explicit content and images.

You will also appreciate that there are inevitably teething problems with the introduction of a new service and getting our filtering process right is one such issue.

McDonald's say they are prepared to review GayNZ.com and other websites customers feel are unfairly blocked.

Offsite Comments: Follow up

11th January 2010.

See NZers bite back over WiFi censorship story from gaynz.com

Update: Block removed

21st January 2010.

See article from mcv.gaynewsnetwork.com.au

McDonalds gay block has been removed from stores

Last week the fast-food company caved to public pressure and began unblocking gay sites, but stood firm on GayNZ.com because it claimed third-party advertising wasn't family friendly.

 

10th January   

Updated: Moon Baby...

3400 complaints about baby stealing plot in EastEnders
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

eastenders whinge bookAround 3,400 viewers have complained to the BBC about an EastEnders storyline involving cot death and a baby swap.

In an episode on New Year's Eve, Ronnie Branning swapped her deceased baby for the new born son of Kat Moon.

Complainants have branded the hard-hitting plotline insensitive , irresponsible and desperate . The complaints have been received since the storyline was revealed in November.

One midwife described it as so far from realism it will be the last time I will watch this programme.

EastEnders executive producer, Bryan Kirkwood, said: We appreciate this is a challenging storyline and have taken care to ensure viewers were aware of the content in advance of transmission.

Update: Ofcom Unimpressed

7th January 2011. See article from digitalspy.co.uk

Ofcom has confirmed that it is unlikely to launch an official investigation into EastEnders ' baby swap storyline.

According to the Daily Mail, the TV censor Ofcom has so far received 374 complaints.

However, a spokesperson for Ofcom said: We assess whether programmes have gone against the Broadcasting Code. At the moment, we don't think that's the case. The clause it might go against would be 'general harm and offence'. The representative added that Ofcom will wait until the storyline is over before making a final decision over whether action will be taken.

Meanwhile the Independent notes that more than 6,000 EastEnders complaints have now been logged with the BBC.

Update: Gone Soft

8th January 2011. See article from mirror.co.uk
See also article from secure.wikimedia.org

EastEnders bosses are to end the cot death storyline on a tender note to avoid distressing easily distressed viewers.

With complaints to the BBC standing at 8,400 – the most in the show's 25-year history – scriptwriters will make the conclusion soft and emotional .

Update: BBC response to complaints

10th January 2011. See article from bbc.co.uk

BBC logoWe appreciate this is a particularly emotive storyline and as with all such sensitive subject matters, we approached it with great care and attention, seeking guidance and advice from a number of experts in this field in order to ensure as realistic a portrayal as possible.

EastEnders has a long history of exploring difficult issues, and the storyline regarding Ronnie and Kat follows in this tradition.

We acknowledge that for some members of the audience this storyline will have particular resonance and significance, however we can assure viewers that it's not our intention to cause distress or upset, and we have ensured that key episodes are supported by the BBC Action Line in order for those affected by the storyline to be able to obtain information regarding sources of further help and advice.

It's important to note there is absolutely no inference that Ronnie's actions are in any way typical of a bereaved mother of a newborn baby. In her grief and desperation at the discovery that her much longed for baby has passed away, and finding herself in the exceptional circumstance of being alone with her neighbour's newborn son, Ronnie acted on impulse in the heat of the moment, without really knowing what she was doing, or considering the consequences or repercussions. On a wider sense, we were careful to select Ronnie, who we felt was the only character capable of acting in this way in a believable manner, following all the difficulties she's experienced in her life and the emotional toll this has put on her.

Over the coming weeks, we will see Ronnie and Kat each coming to terms with the loss of their babies, and explore how they re-build their lives in the wake of such tragedy. Viewers will see the situation resolve itself over the coming months.

We were careful to signal the nature of the content of the episodes to the audience in advance through publicity, programme billings, and continuity announcements.

 

10th January   

Zombie Creeping Flesh...

A general update to the video nasties list
Link Here

Zombie Creeping Flesh Beyond Terror Zombie Creeping Flesh is a 1981 Italian/Spanish horrur by Vincent Dawn (Bruno Mattei). See IMDb

A zombie plague results from a chemical worker being attacked by a zombie rat. The version released in Britain by Merlin video was already cut including the loss of the scene where the stars eyeballs get pulled out though her mouth.

A slightly pre-cut version was passed X without further BBFC cuts for a UK 1982 cinema release.

However the distributors felt that the film was too long and decided not to release this version but to shorten it. The distributors cut 14 minutes especially the interminable SWAT team footage. This was then released without BBFC approval for the UK 1982 cinema release.

The significantly shortened and pre-cut cinema version was release on VHS on the Merlin Label in October 1982. It was banned as a video nasty in July 1983 after being successfully prosecuted in Brighton. It was dropped from the list in July 1985

James Ferman refused to view a 1993 submission from Video Gems. This was during the Jamie Bulger moral panic and Ferman advised that it was not a good time to release a video nasty.

It was eventually passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2009 Cornerstone R0 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2004 Protected/Vipco R0 DVD
  • UK 2002 Protected/Vipco VHS

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

Review from US Amazon : Awful but lots of Fun

From reading the reviews I was prepared for the worst when I purchased this dvd. I was actually surprised that it was better than most people seem to give it credit for! Sure it has an amazingly inept Ed Wood-ian sort of quality... ok yes, it IS in fact a terrible film, but it does have a lot going for it.

  1. The entertainment value. Like Ed Wood's classics this film remains totally enjoyable and even has a certain lovable quality despite the fact that it's such an awful film. It's lots of fun and there's never a dull moment.
  2. There are some truly effective Zombie sequences. The scenes involving the zombie priest at the mission, the zombie kid coming to life in his fathers arms, the dead native coming to life after his funeral ceremony . Also the zombie hag with a cat inexplicably ripping out through her stomach made me laugh. It made no sense, but it was still cool.
  3. Last but not least, the gore. As the producers said, without blood and entrails, a film like this would be pointless. This film will make your stomach turn. It goes far beyond Dawn of the Dead as far as blood and guts. Even farther than Lucio Fulci's Zombie. The use of real raw meat and pig guts definitely helped Hell of the Living Dead live up to the splatter genre and then some. The extreme close-ups of maggots crawling through rotting flesh and a native picking them off and eating them were absolutely nasty! Also there are some well done exploding zombie heads.

Overall, if you're looking for Zombie crème de la crème, stick to Romero and Fulci, but if you're just in the mood for something gross and fun, check it out.

 

9th January   

Update: Pattison Recommends...

The Joy of Teen Sex
Link Here  full story: The Sex Education Show...Channel 4's sex education winds up the whingers

joy of teen sexA Channel 4 programme described as a frank exploration of the love and sex lives of today's teenagers , has predictably wound up the nutters of Mediawatch-UK.

The series The Joy Of Teen Sex goes out after the watershed on January 19 and contains depictions of lesbian sex and also offers a guide to anal sex .

The series is fronted by Dr Rachael Jones, social worker Ruth Corden, and resident sex coach Joanna.

According to Channel 4, it revolves around visitors to a walk-in clinic, the Sex Advice Shop, where the team are on hand to offer young people, and sometimes their parents, support and professional advice.

A Channel 4 spokesperson said:

Sex is part of every teenager's life. This new series is not your typical sex education programme. It offers a frank exploration of the love and sex lives of today's teenagers. It presents solutions to the emotional and physical problems that many of them experience.

No subject is off-limits, from teen pregnancy to sexual performance and genital health as the series will shine the spotlight on issues that young people care about and experience in their love and sex lives.

Mediawatch-UK spokeswoman Vivienne Pattison said :

The series goes much further than The Sex Education Show [another C4 show]. It is basically titillation television. It crossed the prurient line.

I'm also concerned about the title. If you put 'teen sex' into an internet search engine, you can imagine the sort of images you will get. That's who will be attracted to this programme. It's soft porn. It's aimed at arousing the audience.

This programme comes along when we're having a serious debate on the sexualisation of children, led by Prime Minister David Cameron. There is a real question in the role of programmes like this in this whole mess that we have created for ourselves.

 

9th January   

Feeding On Easy Offence...

Doritos advert for Superbowl contest winds up the nutters
Link Here

doritos feed ypur flock advert An entry in the annual Pepsi-owned Doritos Crash the Super Bowl ad contest will never air after it caused a bit of easy offence. 

Feed Your Flock sees congregation challenged priest get divine inspiration to use Doritos to replace the more usual wafers. And Pepsi Max replaces the wine. And of course throngs of Doritos freeloaders descend en-masse.

But of course the body and blood of Christ are no joke to those who believe they are in Communion with their God when they accept the Eucharist and the wine during Mass.

Dave Williams, president of ad makers, MediaWave, says he pulled the ad from Pepsi's site and from YouTube. We felt bad, he says. Our intention was to win, not to offend.

The video now seems to have been taken down from all major video sharing sites.

 

9th January   

Update: Warning It's On...

Hungarian media censor moves into rapid action
Link Here  full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

Home Invasion Ice T Hungary's newly established media censor has opened an inquiry into a small private radio station, Tilos, for broadcasting the song Warning, it's on by US rapper Ice-T, Agence France-Presse reported. 

Hungary's new legislation came into force on 1 January 2011.

A letter from the new media authority, published on the radio station's website, said Ice-T's song was gangster-rap and could influence the development of minors in a negative way because it was broadcasted in the afternoon hours. Tilos should have broadcast it after 21:00, it said.

Hungarian websites said the letter recalled the Communist days of the 1960s and 1970s when censors warned against the destructive potential of punk music.

Update: Censors back down

17th January 2011. See article from sofiaecho.com

After a public outcry, the Council backed down this week, but radio announcers are concerned that the media authority now watches over their shoulders.

 

8th January   

Update: Pandering to the Easily Offended...

Ofcom to 'Provide appropriate assurance to audiences on standards'
Link Here

Ofcom logoOfcom have published their priorities document which outlines their work programme from 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012.

The headline section of interest to Melon Farmers reads:

Provide appropriate assurance to audiences on standards.

This includes streamlining the broadcasting standards procedures and considering new regulatory approaches to content regulation.

Later in the document they provide a few more details

  • 5.49 While the media landscape continues to evolve, providing appropriate assurances to audiences on standards remains an essential part of our role. We are considering the current framework for this and future requirements for content regulation.

Implement streamlined standards procedures:

  • 5.50 The assessment of complaints about, and investigations into, possible breaches of broadcasters' licence requirements play a crucial role in ensuring that the public is protected, particularly in areas such as the protection of under-18s, harmful or offensive material, unfair treatment and infringements of privacy.
     
  • 5.51 It is vital that our procedures for conducting these investigations and, where necessary, imposing sanctions, are as effective as possible.
     
  • 5.52 As part of a wider review of how Ofcom carries out its work we are consulting on proposed revisions to our procedures for:
    - Investigating breaches of broadcast licences.
    - Investigating fairness and privacy complaints.
    - Considering statutory sanctions.
     
  • 5.53 These revised procedures are intended to make our investigations faster and to deliver greater value to our stakeholders. Following consultation we intend to implement any revised procedures in 2011.

Where appropriate, consider new regulatory approaches to content regulation

  • 5.54 In addition, we will continue to review our wider regulatory approach to content regulation to ensure that it remains fit for purpose and that it continues to serve the interests of citizens, consumers and stakeholders.
     
  • 5.55 There will be a number of challenges in this area. Changes in technology, including the emergence of mass-market IPTV services in the UK, and the evolution of ondemand services, will challenge the existing regulatory structures, which were designed predominantly for a linear broadcasting world. We will continue to work with our co-regulators, such as ATVOD, to develop these regulatory structures, and we will consider how regulatory approaches to content regulation might further evolve to remain fit for purpose and proportionate.

 

8th January   

Update: Smallscale TV...

Fighting the case for the small internet TV players stiffed by ATVOD fee structures
Link Here

small scale tv logo Independent TV producer Chris Gosling has launched a new online campaign aimed at fighting for fair censorship charges for small-scale web-TV operators.

Gosling, who produces specialist TV shows about caravanning and boating for satellite platforms, is specifically concerned about the Association for Television on Demand (ATVOD), a new body established to regulate video on-demand content.

ATVOD, which took over VOD regulation duties from Ofcom in March last year, has imposed a flat-rate fee of £2,900 (rising to £3850 for 2011) on the services of all notified VOD providers in the UK, from the small to the enormous like SeeSaw and Virgin Media.

Gosling has launched a new website, called SmallScale TV , aimed at representing the hundreds and thousands of people in Great Britain and Europe who make online video content in a professional, responsible way [in] a recreational or small business environment .

I see a future in which small producers like me can make highly specialist programmes to play online, showing to maybe just a few hundred or a few thousand viewers every week or month - but instituting regulator fees that may be in excess of such a programme's annual budget is going to kill small enterprises like these stone dead.

Surprise surprise, consulting the big guys results in a fee structure to stiff the small guys

Based on article from smallscale.tv

The above story about the campaign featured in the media section of well-respected TV website Digital Spy spurred an almost immediate response from ATVOD Director Peter Johnson, defending the new regime.

For the first time on record, Johnson confirmed that ATVOD is now charging a concessionary fee of £150 for the current year to a number of organisations, although we only know of one such. Our understanding is that this organisation is a charity, which we don't believe should be charged in any event.

Johnson also said that ATVOD is fully aware of the concerns of smaller enterprises that fall within scope of the flat rate fee set for the first year of the new arrangements, claiming that this is a fee set after a public consultation held jointly by ATVOD and Ofcom. [and no doubt all the big TV media companies contributed. They have a bit of vested interest in keeping their fees down whilst being able to use censorship to keep small competitors out of the market]

It was certainly the case that in September 2010, when this writer had his first conversation with ATVOD's Peter Johnson, that no concessionary fee was available – or even available for discussion. During this and subsequent conversations, Johnson said that no smaller providers had come forward at the time of the original consultation, and that if his decision was that a service fell within scope, ATVOD would take any non-payer to court to force payment. ATVOD's currently online statement regarding concessionary fees on went online on 12th November 2010, apparently after extensive lobbying from a number of disgruntled parties.

But even the possibility of concessionary regulatory fees for small-scale video on demand doesn't hold out much hope for businesses considering developing online services.

 

8th January   

Updated: Moon Baby...

3400 complaints about baby stealing plot in EastEnders
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

eastenders whinge bookAround 3,400 viewers have complained to the BBC about an EastEnders storyline involving cot death and a baby swap.

In an episode on New Year's Eve, Ronnie Branning swapped her deceased baby for the new born son of Kat Moon.

Complainants have branded the hard-hitting plotline insensitive , irresponsible and desperate . The complaints have been received since the storyline was revealed in November.

One midwife described it as so far from realism it will be the last time I will watch this programme.

EastEnders executive producer, Bryan Kirkwood, said: We appreciate this is a challenging storyline and have taken care to ensure viewers were aware of the content in advance of transmission.

Update: Ofcom Unimpressed

7th January 2011. See article from digitalspy.co.uk

Ofcom has confirmed that it is unlikely to launch an official investigation into EastEnders ' baby swap storyline.

According to the Daily Mail, the TV censor Ofcom has so far received 374 complaints.

However, a spokesperson for Ofcom said: We assess whether programmes have gone against the Broadcasting Code. At the moment, we don't think that's the case. The clause it might go against would be 'general harm and offence'. The representative added that Ofcom will wait until the storyline is over before making a final decision over whether action will be taken.

Meanwhile the Independent notes that more than 6,000 EastEnders complaints have now been logged with the BBC.

Update: Gone Soft

8th January 2011. See article from mirror.co.uk
See also article from secure.wikimedia.org

BBC logoEastEnders bosses are to end the cot death storyline on a tender note to avoid distressing easily distressed viewers.

With complaints to the BBC standing at 8,400 – the most in the show's 25-year history – scriptwriters will make the conclusion soft and emotional .

 

8th January   

Update: Lynch Bait...

Uganda's Rolling Stone newspaper to pay damages over anti-gay incitement
Link Here  full story: Rolling Stone Lynch List...Ugandan magazine publishes list of gays

rolling sto gay picsA group of Ugandans identified as homosexual in a newspaper article headlined Hang Them have won damages and a court injunction ordering the paper not to repeat the exercise, human rights groups have said.

A high court judge ruled that the story in the Rolling Stone newspaper, which printed addresses and photographs of some of the 100 people it named as Uganda's top homos , violated their constitutional rights to privacy and safety. The court awarded the three plaintiffs in whose names the case was launched just over £400 each in damages, the Civil Society Coalition on Human Rights and Constitutional Law in Uganda said in a statement.

The front page of Rolling Stone claimed that the country's homosexual community aimed to recruit 1,000,000 children by 2012 , and that parents face heart-breaks [sic] as homos raids schools . Inside, a headline read: Hang them; They are after our kids!!

 

7th January   

Updated: Safeguarding the Decency of Society...

First crown court trial for victim of the Dangerous Pictures Act
Link Here

stafford crown courtA man is on trial for downloading sexually violent porn images known to be staged. He is being prosecuted under laws banning the possession of extreme pornography.

The charges follow a police raid on Kevin Webster's home and the seizure of his two computers in August 2009.

Webster denies three charges of possessing extreme pornography depicting images likely to result in injury to a person's breast and one similar charge depicting an act which threatens a person's life.

Darron Whitehead prosecuting said:

We know the images were fake, we know it isn't a knife in someone's breast. The question is whether it is realistic or portrayed in that way. You have to be satisfied the people in those images are real. Plainly they are. The intentions of the persons within those images, the actors and actresses, are irrelevant. It is what is depicted in those images which is material.

Why is there a need for this new legislation? There is a need to regulate images portraying sexual violence, to safeguard the decency of society and for the protection of women.

The trial is continuing.

Update: Not Guilty

7th January 2011.

Labour nazi war room

 News of the acquittal reaches Nu Labour HQ
(picture thanks to MichaelG)

Kevin Webster has thankfully been acquitted of the possession of extreme porn images downloaded from Drop Dead Gorgeous featuring on the 'infamous' but popular NecroBabes website.

He was advised in defence by Backlash , the group leading the campaign against this nasty piece of legilsation. The defence called two expert witnesses, Professor Feona Attwood of Sheffield Hallam University and Dr Clarissa Smith of the University of Sunderland. They are probably the leading academic authorities in the field, and together wrote the definitive study of how the new law came into being - Extreme Concern: Regulating 'dangerous pictures' in the UK.

In perhaps an important analogy that caught commentators attention, Attwood described the pictures, depicting a knife attack and a drowning in a bath, as like stills from a Hammer horror film of the 1970s,

The importance of the verdict was well summed in an article from heresycorner.blogspot.com :

The case represented an important test of s.63. For the first time (at least in a case of intentional downloading of sexual images) a defendant pleaded Not Guilty; and for the first time a case went before a jury. Previously, charges of possessing extreme porn have been uncontested. They have also tended to involve images of animal abuse, whose illegality is less controversial, or been charged alongside child porn offences. Here were pictures that were admittedly consensual and obviously staged, and yet appeared to fall within the definition of the Act. In many ways this was the case that campaigners against the law have been waiting for.

The news came this afternoon that Webster has been cleared. Had he been convicted, it could well have opened the floodgates to many more such prosecutions. Will his acquittal have the opposite effect, and make the CPS think twice about their own definitions of extreme pornography?

If this illiberal law (which seems unlikely to fall victim to Nick Clegg's much-anticipated Freedom Bill, despite a vociferous campaign to have it repealed) has any justification, then it should be restricted to cases which appear to feature images of actual sexual violence and abuse. In other words, for realistic to be interpreted as meaning likely to be real . The vast majority of such material, even the most extreme , is however known to be staged. Some of the participants, indeed, are articulate advocates for their subculture. Several have their own blogs. While fans of the genre, as Clarissa Smith told the court, knew and recognised the regular performers who played dead for the camera. We are dealing with pure fantasy. It's good to know ordinary members of a jury can tell the difference between fantasy and reality, even if the law and its enforcers decide that the distinction doesn't matter.

Update: Mock Erotic Murder Scenes

20th January 2011. See press release from backlash-uk.org.uk

Prosecutors fail first test case to make mock erotic murder scenes illegal.

backlash logo Kevin Webster, who downloaded erotic fantasy images with violent themes from the internet, was found not guilty of possession of extreme pornography at Stafford Crown Court today. The jury were asked to decide whether obviously faked death images were in fact realistic depictions of sexual violence; despite the prosecution having to accept, before the trial even began, that the images were clearly staged . In a victory for common sense and free speech the jury unanimously acquitted Mr Webster of all charges.

Mr Webster's solicitor Myles Jackman of Audu and Co, who has now successfully defended a number of extreme pornography prosecutions, said: The jury's clear and unequivocal message is a damning blow to the credibility of the ill-conceived and prurient extreme pornography legislation. It has previously led to the state prosecuting the possession of dirty-jokes; and in Mr Webster's case what were clearly unrealistic high-camp horror fantasy images .

Expert witness Prof Feona Attwood of Sheffield Hallam University described the images in question as less realistic than a British soap opera.

According to Alexandra Dymock of Backlash, the sexual civil liberties organisation who put Mr Webster in contact with his specialist legal team, said: This ill-conceived, insufficiently researched and poorly written law has now been shown to be not only a waste of valuable legal aid and police resources, but that it is also out of step with the attitudes of ordinary members of the British public in the face of reasonable argument, even if they find the material itself distasteful.

Backlash have petitioned the Coalition to include the extreme porn act in the forthcoming repeal bill and hope Mr Webster's case illustrates the need for this repressive and intrusive legislation to be removed from the statute books.

 

7th January   

Update: Museum of Censored Art...

Opens outside the National Censored Portrait Gallery
Link Here  full story: Fire in my Belly...Banned art at the Smithsonian

museum of censored art advertAnyone who missed David Wojnarowicz's A Fire in My Belly before it was removed from the National Portrait Gallery exhibit Hide/Seek on November 30 will soon be able to see it right outside the museum.

Mike Blasenstein and Michael Dax Iacovone, who were detained on December 6 for playing the video on an iPad in the NPG lobby, have followed through on their promise to host a temporary gallery for censored work.

They've now obtained the permits they need to park a trailer outside the Gallery's F Street NW entrance. The Museum of Censored Art will be open seven days a week, from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. (mirroring NPG's hours), until Hide/Seek closes on February 13.

The City Paper quotes Iacovone as saying, we haven't said anything to NPG, but I suspect they're going to find out real soon.

 

7th January   

Big Brother TV Censor...

Big Brother heads the all time list of whinges to Ofcom
Link Here

Big Brother 10 logoThe Metro has totted up the all time list of TV viewer complaints to Ofcom.

Running from 2004 to 2010 the totals reveal the most whinged about programmes as follows:

  1. Big Brother 57,942 viewer complaints
  2. X Factor 15,882
  3. Jerry Springer: The Opera 8,860
  4. Coronation Street 2,028
  5. Jonathan Ross & Russell Brand 1,943

 

6th January   

Black Penned...

Dubai bans new movies Black Swan and Love and Other Drugs
Link Here

Black Swan Natalie Portman The Dubai film censor has confirmed that Darren Aronofsky's latest movie Black Swan will not be shown in the emirate due to its subject matter.

Movies have to pass through the Censorship Department for approval, editing or banning before they are released in theatres, and Mohammad Naser, the cinema censor said: When we find that the amount of editing required takes a big part of the movie, we conclude that there is no point in releasing it.

Naser added that Love and Other Drugs would also not be making it to cinemas: Both these movies have been banned because of excessive sexual content, he said, adding that in one of the two films the viewer would have been left with 25% of the film had it been released after editing.

Daniela Yordanova of 20th Century Fox for the Middle East said that both films will be released in other Middle Eastern markets such as Lebanon.

Black Swan has been passed 15 uncut by the BBFC noting: Contains strong sex, language and bloody images.

Love and Other Drugs has also been passed 15 uncut by the BBFC noting: Contains strong sex, sex references and language

 

6th January   

Update: FCC Blues...

US appeals court finds FCC wrong to fine ABC over a showing of NYPD Blue
Link Here  full story: FCC TV Censors...FCC wound up by nudity and fleeting expletives

NYPD Blue DVD Dennis Franz A federal appeals court has struck down a penalty imposed on ABC by the FCC in 2003.

The $27,500 fine was originally charged after an episode of cop drama NYPD Blue contained a brief shot of a woman's nude buttocks.

According to the Associated Press, the 2nd US Court of Appeals has now ruled that since television stations are not fined for fleeting, unscripted profanities in live broadcasts, the brief nudity should not have resulted in a penalty.

The FCC previously claimed that the scene dwelled on the nudity of actress Charlotte Ross and was shocking and titillating .

 

6th January   

Police Censors...

Police ban ITV News reporters from press conferences over supposedly unfavourable reporting
Link Here

police avon and somerset logoITV News has been allowed back into press conferences about the murder of Joanna Yeates, after Avon & Somerset police lifted a ban on the broadcaster.

The force prohibited ITV News reporters from attending a press briefing on the murder case, after broadcasting what it deemed an unfair, naive and irresponsible report on ITV1's News at Ten .

According to ITV's head of home news, Toby Castle, police said the broadcaster was allowed to attend future press conferences after accurate and counterbalanced reporting at lunchtime .

However, the constabulary said it would not hesitate to adopt similar tactics if the media hampers our investigation .

 

6th January   

Update: The Leaky B@@b...

Facebook again get offended by breast feeding pictures
Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

leaky boob logo It's been a hectic start to the year for mom Jessica Martin-Weber, founder and editor of the breastfeeding support group The Leaky B@@b.

The group, which offers a space on Facebook for around 5,000 breastfeeding moms to ask questions and offer advice and support, was deleted over the weekend. Facebook claimed that it had violated their Terms of Service, insinuating that breastfeeding photos posted on the group's page were obscene.

In response to the deletion, breastfeeding supporters, both former members of the group and others, jumped into action, creating two pages on Facebook, Bring Back the Leaky Boob and TLB Support, which together gained more than 10,000 fans.

Martin-Weber released a statement urging Facebook not only to restore the group's page, but to stop considering breastfeeding and any other material and photos related to breast health, obscene.

Shortly thereafter, Facebook reinstated the group's page after 'offending' photos  and pages were deleted by Facebook, also vaguely claiming that they were in violation of the company's Terms of Service.

Shortly after Facebook has once again deleted The Leaky B@@b – as well as the Bring Back the Leaky Boob group that had formed in response to its deletion!

But again later restored The Leaky B@@b and the page is currently still available.

 

6th January   

As If Anyone Would Dare...

Saudi muslim group warn film and TV producers not to depict religious figures
Link Here

muslim world league logoAn international Islamic organization has declared war on cinematic depictions of Muhammad and his companions, arguing they denigrate Islam's most revered characters.

The Fiqh (Islamic Jurisprudence) Council, a body of the Muslim World League, said in a statement that the images not of the prophet himself but of his companions were creeping into films and television series and prompted the new ruling.

The council reiterates its previous decision banning the production, promotion … and viewing of these films and series, the statement read. These [portrayals] may cause the denigration and devaluation of the figures and be used as an excuse to ridicule them.

The statement dismissed the argument that the films were a means of educating the public about Islamic figures, saying the holy scriptures contain sufficient information.

Based in Mecca, the Muslim World League is one of the largest Islamic NGOs. Its missions include Islamic proselytizing, coordination of Islamic preaching and support of needy Muslims worldwide.

Film industry officials and observers said the council had nothing to worry about because producers and directors wouldn't dare test the ban. Mousaad Fouda, president of the Egyptian Film Syndicate, said: There are no producers in Egypt that would make a film depicting the Prophet or his companions. They would be too worried that such films will not succeed commercially.

 

6th January   

Offsite: Classifying The Unclassifiable...

Australian government ponders how to censor the enormous amount of games content
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

brendan oconnorThe R18+ issue is a big one – for gamers – but is it symptomatic of a larger classification issue? We speak to Home Affairs Minister Brendan O' Connor, former Deputy Director of the Classification Board Paul Hunt, and CEO of the iGEA Ron Curry about the upcoming review of the classification system and what it means for an adult rating for video games.

Within this broad media spectrum is the humble video game, and the ever-present spectre of the R18+ rating. To gamers – and the majority of the Australian public – an R18+ rating for video games is a proverbial no-brainer, but underlying this problem is a much grander one: how do we classify the unclassifiable? How does the current system manage the incredible burden brought upon by the constant influx of new content: iPhone Apps, video games, video content, movies, Android apps, etc, etc.

Simple put: it can't. Times have changed, and the amount of content being consumed in Australia has increased rapidly over the last decade.

It has become increasingly clear, claimed Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor, in a statement released last month, that the system of classification in Australia needs to be modernised so it is able to accommodate developments in technology now and in the future.

...Read the full article

 

4th January   

Classic Censorship...

Huckleberry Finn published with the word 'nigger' replaced by 'slave'
Link Here

Mark Twains Adventures Sawyer Huckleberry Mark Twain's Adventures of Huckleberry Finn is a classic . Yet, for decades, it has been disappearing from grade school curricula across the country, relegated to optional reading lists, or banned outright, appearing again and again on lists of the nation's most challenged books, and all for its repeated use of a single word: nigger.

Twain scholar Alan Gribben and NewSouth Books now plan to release a version of Huckleberry Finn , in a single volume with The Adventures of Tom Sawyer , that does away with the word 'nigger' by replacing it with the word slave. It also replaces the word Injun .

This is not an effort to render Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn colorblind, said Gribben: Race matters in these books. It's a matter of how you express that in the 21st century.

 

4th January   

Blog Control...

Saudi to censor websites via oppressive licensing requirements
Link Here

Saudi flagSaudi Arabia will censor the internet from next month via oppressive licensing restrictions. This will apply to all blogs, forums, news sites, personal websites, electronic archives, chat rooms and online ads produced in Saudi.

New regulations were approved by Dr. Abdulaziz Bin Mohee Al-Dien Khoga, the Minister of Culture and Censorship, which will require licences for the operation of an e-publishing site within the country when the laws come into effect in a month's time,

Anyone who writes on a blog, online newspaper, or similar form of electronic publishing will be required to meet the following obligations:

  • they must be a Saudi national,
  • over 20 years old,
  • hold a high school or higher qualification,
  • be of good conduct and behaviour, and
  • hold an appropriate licence given by the Ministry.

All licence holders must publicly display their licence information on their website. The licence will last for three years before renewal is required.

Failure to comply with the new regulations can result in a number of penalties. The user will be ordered to remove unapproved content. There will also be fines and compensation payments. Websites can be partially or fully blocked, for either a period of time up to two months or indefinitely.

Some established news sites are welcoming the restrictions, seeing it as a measure against competition and IP infringement. Fahad al-Harithi, an editor-chief from al-Wi'am newspaper said that he was happy for the new regulation to take place as it will protect the newspapers' intellectual rights.

 

4th January   

Booked for Dissent...

Swedish hockey referee suspended over Mohammed cartoon on his Facebook page
Link Here

Sweden flagA referee has been suspended by the Swedish Hockey Association over a cartoon of Mohammed on his Facebook page

According to sources, SÄPO [the Swedish security police] were contacted.

We had a meeting with this person and we agree that he should take a time out, said Swedish Hockey Association's security chief censor Peter Anderson.

According to Sportbladet the referee was confronted with information that he published a cartoon of Mohammed on his Facebook page. The Security manager also had a transcript of the page

The referee admitted that he posted the picture and referred to the right to freedom of expression, said a source.

Peter Anderson would not comment, but later gave a brief comment: We had a meeting with a person who is a district referee. During the meeting, we agreed he should take time out the rest of the season. For reasons which I definitely do not want to go into, says Peter Anderson.

According to Sportbladet, the Hockey Association has had contact with the Security Police concerning the potential threat that publishing the cartoon can bring.

 

3rd January   

Updated: Hopes Pinned on False Pin...

Dario Argento's Deep Red passed uncut for the first time
Link Here

Deep Red DVD Deep Red is a 1975 Italian Giallo by Dario Argento. See IMDb

The film makers managed to convince the BBFC that the lizard's death was faked with a false pin.

Passed 18 uncut with BBFC cuts waived for:

Previously cut for the Italian Language Version submitted for

  • UK 2005 Platinum DVD

From cuts details on IMDb :

  • The DVD is slightly re-framed (to exclude the lizard scene) and restores the dog sequence, as it seems likely that they are playing rather than fighting.

And before that the BBFC cut the Italian Version by 11s for:

  • UK 1993 Redemption VHS

The BBFC cuts were:

  • A 7s shot of a squirming lizard being impaled with a pin has been deleted. This cut also impacts the scene. A father slaps his little daughter because of the impaling. In the cut version, a now motiveless slap remains.
  • 4s has been cut from a scene showing two dogs fighting

Review from UK Amazon : Initiation into Giallo

I didn't know what to expect with Profondo Rosso , I thought "maybe something like Halloween ", but this is a gorgeous film in it's own right, it is rich in content and thought, it has an old school story telling feel about it, fantastic music by "Goblin" it is shocking and suspenseful, whilst showing some glorious cinematography (Luigi Keveiller).

One scene involving a mechanical doll, nearly made my heart stop, I wont give it away but it's one of those scares that makes your brain work overtime to reassure you that you're ok !

Brilliant, Dario is unique and this is my favourite film of his, and one of my ALL time favourite films.

A wonderful initiation into the world of Giallo.

 

2nd January   

Freedom of Press 2010...

Reporters Without Borders reported on targeted journalists
Link Here

rsf freedom of press 2010 Dangerous Journalism in 2010:

  • 57 journalists killed (25% fewer than in 2009)
  • 51 journalists kidnapped
  • 535 journalists arrested
  • 1374 physically attacked or threatened
  • 504 media censored
  • 127 journalists fled their country
  • 152 bloggers and netizens arrested
  • 52 physically attacked
  • 62 countries affected by Internet censorship

Killings

Fifty-seven journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2010, 25% fewer than in 2009, when the total was 76.

Significantly, it is becoming more and more difficult to identify those responsible in cases in which journalists were killed by criminal gangs, armed groups, religious organizations or state agents.

Fewer journalists were killed in war zones than in preceding years, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-Francois Julliard said: Media workers are above all being murdered by criminals and traffickers of various kinds. Organized crime groups and militias are their leading killers worldwide. The challenge now is to rein in this phenomenon. The authorities of the countries concerned have a direct duty to combat the impunity surrounding these murders. If governments do not make every effort to punish the murderers of journalists, they become their accomplices.

Kidnappings

Another distinguishing feature of 2010 was the major increase in kidnappings of journalists. There were 29 cases in 2008, 33 in 2009 and 51 in 2010. Journalists are seen less and less as outside observers. Their neutrality and the nature of their work are no longer respected.

Abductions of journalists are becoming more and more frequent and are taking place in more countries. Reporters Without Borders said: For the first time, no continent escaped this evil in 2010. Journalists are turning into bargaining chips. Kidnappers take hostages in order to finance their criminal activities, make governments comply with their demands, and send a message to the public. Abduction provides them with a form of publicity. Here again, governments must do more to identify them and bring them to justice. Otherwise reporters – national or foreign – will no longer venture into certain regions and will abandon the local population to their sad fate.

Even the internet no longer a refuge

Harassment of bloggers and censorship of the Internet have become commonplace. There are no longer any taboos about online filtering. Censorship is taking new forms: more aggres- sive online propaganda and increasingly frequent use of cyber-attacks as way to silence bothersome Internet users. Significantly, online censorship is no longer necessarily the work of repressive regimes. Democracies are now examining and adopting new laws that pose a threat to free speech on the Internet.

 

2nd January   

Press TV Pressure...

Iranian news channel Press TV claims that it is being censored by Britain
Link Here

Press TV logoThe head of an Iran Broadcasting organization has claimed that Britain is censoring Press TV by freezing their bank accounts.

Banks cannot block the accounts of the media which operate within the regulations of the host country without a reason, head of the IRIB World Service Mohammad Sarafraz said.

Sarafraz who also heads Press TV news channel said Press TV Ltd. in London is a company, which is registered according to Britain's law and operates within that framework. He said the London-based Press TV Ltd. is not directly affiliated with Press TV news channel based in the Iranian capital of Tehran.

Sarafraz added that British bank managers have never issued an official response as to why they have blocked the accounts only suggesting that they have been under pressure by those in the positions of authority .

British officials are also said to have tried to block Press TV from broadcasting through pressuring satellite operators especially French companies.

Meanwhile whistle blower website WikiLeaks has recently released documents from secret U.S. Department of State cables which show Britain Foreign Office told the U.S. embassy in London back in February that it is exploring ways to limit the operations of… Press TV . The disclosures, according to Sarafraz, seemed to be connected to the bank accounts closures by the British government.

 

2nd January   

Offsite: British comedy offensive?...

Don't make me laugh!
Link Here

Come Fly Me 1 DVD This obsession with what is allowed to be funny and what is not is all very wearing

Never mind Little Britain . Middle England is having a sense of humour failure. Last week Matt Lucas's and David Walliams's new BBC show Come Fly with Me joined the list of comedic offerings deemed potentially offensive.

Note the potentially . No one seemed to agree whether anyone was offended by this comedy or not. But they – that is, the blogging army – thought someone might be.

...Read the full article

 

1st January   

A Change of Goalposts...

North Korea sees the first Western film allowed on TV
Link Here

Bend Like Beckham Parminder Nagra The 2002 movie Bend It Like Beckham has proved a rare treat for North Koreans as the first Western film ever on government-approved TV.

Britain's North Korea ambassador Peter Hughes, who helped arrange the viewing, told the Associated Press that it was a great choice for the isolated country.

The movie, which won critical acclaim upon its release to the rest of the world almost a decade ago, apparently was a hit in North Korea - even though the film was reportedly edited.

It was not immediately clear what was edited out, but the cut showing still proved to be a hit, Hughes said.