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 2012: January
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31st January   

Searching for Censorship...

Open Rights Group reveal media industry proposals to hobble internet searches that reveal copyright infringing material
Link Here

Open Rights Group logoWe wrote last year, many times, about the discussions being hosted by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport between rights holders and variousintermediaries - which to normal people means companies like Internet Service Providers and search engines. One of the most recent roundtables saw the group of rights holders present search engines with a paper on how they should help tackle copyright infringement.

After two Freedom of Information requests, we have received the proposals [pdf] . Here's the summary of what the rights holders were asking for:

  • Assign lower rankings to sites that repeatedly make available unlicensed content in breach of copyright.

  • Prioritise websites that obtain certification as a licensed site under a recognised scheme

  • Stop indexing websites that are subject to court orders while establishing suitable procedures to de-index substantially infringing sites

  • Continue to improve the operation of the notice and takedown system and ensure that search engines do not encourage consumers towards illegal sites via suggested searches; related searches and suggested sites

  • Ensure that they do not support illegal sites by advertising them or placing advertising on them, or profit from infringement by selling key words associated with piracy or selling mobile applications which facilitate infringement.

The minutes from the meeting suggest that the search engines were not impressed, and promised to write their own proposals to be discussed at a future meeting.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Google grilled by parliamentary committee

31st January 2012. See  article from  blogs.ft.com

Houses of ParliamentGoogle was dragged over the coals by a British parliamentary committee, as the technology company's approach to removing illegal content from its search results again came under scrutiny.

Several members of the joint committee on privacy and injunctions, chaired by John Whittingdale MP, repeatedly attacked Google's representatives as they set out how the search engine seeks to balance legal challenges with freedom of expression.

Ben Bradshaw, Nadim Zahawi, and Lord Mawhinney, all criticised Google for what they saw as its failure to help victims of invasion of privacy, by removing all links to content which a judge has ruled to be illegal in the UK.

...Read the full article

 

31st January   

Update: Chi Onwurah Recommends...

A new series of Geordie Shore
Link Here  full story: Geordie Shore...Fun in Newcastle is not acceptable to local nutters

Geordie Shore DVD Gaz Beadle The MTV reality show Geordie Shore returns on Tuesday. Its first series caused a nutter outcry for having fun with flesh-baring, booze-fuelled debauchery

Newcastle Central MP Chi Onwurah has resumed her long running whinge against the programme for portraying Newcastle as the binge drinking capital of Britain. She spouted:

Geordie Shore is not representative of Newcastle or Geordies.

If people feel that the show does not represent Newcastle they should complain to Ofcom.

However it does seem that drinking is in fact going on in Newcastle and that the city has more female drinkers than most. The local paper, the Chronicle, reported a few days ago that more people in the North East are dying from drink-related illnesses than ever before. Figures from the Office of National Statistics showed a drinker dies every 18 hours, and the number of women dying from alcohol is the second highest in the country.

Colin Shevills, director of Balance, the North East Alcohol Office, said:

Geordie Shore is a perfect example of how drinking at dangerous levels is portrayed as normal. If last year's series is anything to go by, we will see a hand-picked cast of easily influenced young North Easterners who have been sold the lie that it is perfectly normal and acceptable to drink too much, too often.

Whether it is aware of what it is doing or not, the production and broadcast companies responsible for Geordie Shore are saying to our young people, you can't have fun, be successful or be popular with the opposite sex unless you drink to excess.

The Very Reverend Chris Dalliston, Dean of Newcastle, also branded the show a backward step for the city:

Going out and getting drunk is now the least attractive aspect of where we live and TV programmes like this do us a huge disservice.

 

31st January   

Updated: Rolling Thunder...

Long awaited DVD/Blu-ray release of revenge film by John Flynn with William Devane
Link Here

Rolling Thunder Double Play Blu ray Rolling Thunder is a 1977 action revenge film by John Flynn. With William Devane, Tommy Lee Jones and Linda Haynes. See IMDb

UK: Passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2011 Optimum Online
  • UK 2011 Optimum/Studio Canal R2 DVD/RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon just released on 30th January 2012

Previously Cut

The cinema release was passed X (18) after BBFC cuts for UK 1977 cinema release

The BBFC cuts were:

  • A couple of uses of William Devane's sharpened hook hand being used as a weapon were deleted

Summary Review: Outright mayhem

Returning war hero  William Devane receives a generous local gift during ceremonies in his Texas hometown. Later on, a bunch of good old boys come to rob him of the gift. They torture him and off his family in the process.

The remaining 70 or so minutes of the film detail Devane's search for the killers and his revenge. He takes up with a lonely woman during the search while teaching himself to use a shotgun with his new mechanical hand (he lost the real one in the torture-robbery-murder back home.)

Anyone that likes either of the main actors (Wiiliam Devane or Tommy Lee Jones), high class violence, or revenge films will enjoy this movie.

Anyone that likes either of the main actors (Wiiliam Devane or Tommy Lee Jones), high class violence, or revenge films will enjoy this movie.

 

31st January   

Nude in Blu...

New US All Region Blu-ray release of Jean Rollin's The Nude Vampire
Link Here

Nude Vampire Blu ray Maurice Lemaitre The Nude Vampire is a 1970 France horror by Jean Rollin. With Maurice Lemaître and Caroline Cartier. See IMDb

US: uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

At the BBFC

UK: Passed 18 uncut for:

Previously passed X (18) after BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1972 cinema release

Summary Review: Sloooooow

There's not a lot of nudity here at all. Instead of erotic lesbian vampires with no clothes on; we've got a cumbersome plot about a man who wants to unlock the secret to immortality.

The usual Rollin problems...which are: The subject matter would usually lend for a visual feast. However Jean Rollin manages to be an ultimate bore when it comes down to the cinematography in this production.

The editing is sloooooow. Do we really need to see a guy walk across a field until he disappears into the horizon? In an end sequence maybe, however not in the middle of a story that already tends to induce sleep.

 

31st January   

Fear Factor...

US network bottles out of a reality show challenge featuring a donkey semen drink
Link Here

Fear Factor First Season Region Back in December, when NBC was promoting the return of the TV show Fear Factor , the stunt and gross-out reality competition, there was one event that the producers and the host, Joe Rogan, would not discuss. It was extreme even by the standards ofFear Factor , they said at the time, and they didn't know if it would ever be broadcast.

Now we know what stunt they were talking about. Last week TMZ reported that a scene that forced contestants to drink donkey semen had been hotly debated, and then given the thumbs-up by NBC. Apparently dishes featuring on the series are considered a delicacy somewhere in the world.

The episode that included the scene was supposed to be shown last Monday night. But the network apparently changed its mind, and the show was replaced with a repeat..

 

31st January   

Fair Play Destroyed in America...

US reveals awesome surveillance capabilities used to refuse entry to tourists over trivial jokey tweets
Link Here

us prisonTwo British tourists were refused entry into the USA after joking on Twitter that they were going to destroy America and dig up Marilyn Monroe . Leigh Van Bryan was handcuffed and kept under armed guard in a cell for 12 hours after landing in Los Angeles with pal Emily Bunting.

The Department of Homeland Security flagged him as a potential threat when he posted an excited tweet to his pals about his forthcoming trip to Hollywood which read:

Free this week, for quick gossip/prep before I go and destroy America?

Leigh was also quizzed about another tweet which quoted hit US comedy Family Guy which read:

3 weeks today, we're totally in LA pissed people off on Hollywood Blvd and diggin Marilyn Monroe up!

After making their way through passport control at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). the pair were detained by armed guards. Despite telling officials the term destroy was British slang for party , they were held on suspicion of planning tocommit crimes. They were held in cells for 12 hours and then put on a plane back home. The couple must now apply for a US visa should they ever want to travel to America again.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) was recently criticised over false accounts it set up on Twitter. These are then used to scan networks for sensitive words and then for tracking the people who use them. Online privacy group, the Electronic Privacy Information Centre requested information on the surveillance, but this was not forthcoming. However words deemed as being sensitive by the DHS include:Illegal immigrant, Outbreak, Drill, Strain, Virus, Recovery, Deaths, Collapse, Human to animal,and Trojan.

 

31st January   

Miserable Philippines...

Philippines passes law banning internet porn
Link Here

Philippines flagThe Philippines Senate has passed a bill penalizing cybersex and other online crimes.

Cybersex, under Senate Bill 2796, is defined as people engaged in the willful engagement, maintenance, control, or operation, directly or indirectly, of any lascivious exhibition of sexual organs or sexual activity, with the aid of a computer system.

Violators can be imprisoned for 6-12 years, or fined between $4,500 and $23,000.

The bill also covers spamming, hacking etc.

The National Cybersecurity Coordinating Council with members from enforcement agencies and government will implement the new law.

 

31st January   

A Violent Culture...

Artist beaten up in New Delhi over paintings claimed to be against Indian culture
Link Here

pranava prakash paintingAn Indian artist Pranava Prakash was assaulted by a gang who burst into the gallery in New Delhi, where he is exhibiting nudes of top Bollywood star Vidya Balan and other public figures. He told AFP:

Five guys came in on Sunday and started yelling at me, saying 'Your paintings are against Indian culture, we cannot tolerate them

They slapped me twice, threw me to the floor and then began pulling down the paintings, damaging three of my pictures.

There is a certain section of people who think they alone are the custodians of Indian culture, and anyone who disagrees with them is the enemy.

 

31st January   

Comment: Misery Objects...

Page 3 nutters have their day at the Leveson Inquiry
Link Here  full story: Leveson Inquiry...Considering UK press censorship and regulation

leveson inquiry logoA coalition of women's groups have argued that such highly sexualised images presented as part of their submission to the Leveson Inquiry were ubiquitous in the UK media, and called for press censorship to tacklerelentless sexism in some areas of the press.

Four nutter groups, Eaves, End Violence Against Women, Object and Equality Now called on Leveson to back a ban on sexualised images in newspapers, arguing they would not be broadcast on television before the 9pm watershed.

The groups also accused some media outlets of perpetuating myths about rape, which they argued could prevent victims reporting the crime, and called for a tougher regulatory body.

Papers including the Sun, Daily Star and Sunday Sport persistently objectified women, portraying them as a sum of sexualised body parts , claimed Anna van Heeswijk, from Object, a lobby group against the objectification of women. We have to ask ourselves what kind of story does it tell young people when men in newspapers wear suits, or sports gear, are shown as active participants, and women are sexualised objects who are essentially naked or nearly naked, she said.

The groups are want legislation banning pictures of naked or semi-naked women in newspapers, arguing the images would not be allowed in the workplace because of equality legislation, and should not be sold in an unrestrained manner at children's eye-level . Leveson said his powers were limited and such a change would require rock-solid legislation .

The groups also called on Leveson to recommend the replacement of the Press Complaints Commission with an independent body with teeth that women and women's groups could complain to directly. The reporting of violence against women and girls needs to be more balanced and more context needs to be provided about its frequency, they added. Journalists should also receive training on themyths and realities about violence against women and girls, and there should be a code of practice for the waycase studies are dealt with, the groups said.

Jacqui Hunt, of Equality Now, said the groups did not want to curtail press freedom ...BUT... wanted the media to behave more responsibly.

The ever censorial Harriet Hatemen claims to be a champion of press freedom

See  article from  guardian.co.uk

Harriet HarmanNewspaper proprietors need urgently to agree a common new system of redress and regulation to put to the Leveson inquiry, according to Harriet Harman, the shadow culture and media secretary.

She said the new system should be independent, apply to all newspapers and be citizen-centric. [Maybe just a slip of the tongue, she probably meant women-centric]. Harman said:

I balk at the notion of press regulation. There should be redress for complaints. I don't think there should be prior restraint, or general ruling on ethics. I also certainly don't think we need a register of approved journalists. Doctors and journalists are not analogous.

Despite the personal battering she has taken from the rightwing media over pursuit of women's equality, she said she was not interested in settling old scores:

My discussions and arguments have been with the public as much as newspapers.

I am going to be a champion of press freedom.

Offsite: Killjoy Clare Short revives anti-page 3 rant

26th January 2012. See  article from  independent.co.uk by Clare Short

clare shortLord Justice Leveson's inquiry into the ethics of the press heard some impressive, if depressing, evidence this week from women's groups about the continued use of sexualised imagery in some newspapers and about a culture of relentless sexism in some sections of the press.

In response, he said that his terms of reference did not stretch to such issues. But surely the depiction of half the population in a way that is now illegal on workplace walls and before the watershed in broadcasting, is an issue of media ethics? Interestingly, the evidence put to the inquiry was censored before circulation to remove the images that are perfectly legal in millions of newspapers that spread across society.

The Leveson Inquiry should also take note of my experience to learn how the media can censor public debate. The deliberate bullying I endured was designed to stop me discussing an issue of public concern and to frighten other women off. This is not a question of phone hacking or intrusion of privacy, but in some ways it is worse.

Tabloid vilification helped kill off a debate that would have forced Page 3 images out of British newspapers and perhaps obliged the media to behave and report in a less sexist way. Twenty-six years on, Lord Leveson should seriously consider the case that has been made.

...Read the full article

Update: The misogyny of the anti-Page 3 brigade

31st January 2012.See  article from  spiked-online.com by Gabrielle Shiner

Spiked logoThe prudes trying to strip the tabloids of topless pics belittle women far more than any male reader could.

With the Leveson Inquiry currently insisting that the press bares all, campaign groups such as Turn Your Back on Page 3 have spotted an opportunity to force the tabloid's topless ladies to cover themselves up. And all in the name of protecting girls like me from being terrorised by tits.

...Read the full article

 

31st January   

Human Rights Watch...

World Report 2012
Link Here

world report 2012Many democracies have allowed their ties with repressive allies to temper their support for human rights in the Arab Spring protests, Human Rights Watch said today in its World Report 2012. For reasons of principle and long-term interest, governments should stand firm with the people of the Middle East and North Africa when they demand their basic rights and work to ensure the transition to genuine democracies.

The 676-page report, Human Rights Watch's annual review of human rights practices around the globe, summarizes major rights issues in more than 90 countries, reflecting the extensive investigative work carried out in 2011 by Human Rights Watch staff. On events in the Middle East and North Africa, Human Rights Watch said that firm and consistent international support for peaceful protesters and government critics is the best way to pressure the region's autocrats to end abuses and enhance basic freedoms. A principled insistence on respect for rights is also the best way to help popular movements steer clear of the intolerance, lawlessness, and revenge that can threaten a revolution from within, Human Rights Watch said.

The people driving the Arab Spring deserve strong international support to realize their rights and to build genuine democracies, said Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. Loyalty to autocratic friends shouldn't stand in the way of siding with democratic reformers. International influence is also needed to ensure that the new governments extend human rights and the rule of law to all, especially women and minorities.

The World Report 2012 documents human rights abuses worldwide, including: violations of the laws of war in Libya and Afghanistan; the plight of political prisoners in Vietnam and Eritrea; the silencing of dissent in China and Cuba; internet crackdowns in Iran and Thailand; killings by security forces in India and Mexico; election-related problems in Russia and the Democratic Republic of Congo; mistreatment of migrants in Western Europe; neglectful maternal health policies in Haiti and South Africa; the suppression of religious freedom in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia; torture in Pakistan and Uzbekistan; discrimination against people with disabilities in Nepal and Peru; and detention without trial in Malaysia and by the United States.

 

30th January   

Updated: The Funhouse...

Tobe Hooper's video nasty re-released on ArrowDrome DVD
Link Here

Funhouse DVD Elizabeth Berridge Funhouse is a 1981 US horror by Tobe Hooper. With Elizabeth Berridge, Shawn Carson and Jeanne Austin. See IMDb

Passed 15 uncut for moderate horror, sex, violence and threat for:

  • UK 2001 ArrowDrome R2 DVD  at UK Amazon released today on 30th January 2012
  • UK 2011 Arrow R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon
  • UK 2007 Freemantlemedia/Arrow R2 DVD

Video Nasty

Previously it was surprisingly labelled as a video nasty. It was added to the DPP list of video nasties in September 1984 but was dropped in June 1985. It is not a particularly violent film and it has been suggested that the video appears on the list due to a confusion with another filmLast House on Dead End Street that is also known as The Fun House .

DVD Extras

From promotional material:

Something is Alive in the Funhouse

The carnival is a place for fun and laughter, but not for Amy and her friends. When their childish dare to stay all night in the spooky funhouse backfires, it leaves a trail of dismembered teenagers a mile long in Tobe Hooper's classic video nasty era slasher.

Will anyone escape the clutches of the stumbling madman that stalks to sideshow? Is there no end to the carnival barkers chilling sadism? The only way to find out is ascend into the funhouse, where the games have no rules and the only prize on offer is a grisly demise.

Join us in The Funhouse. So much fun that you'll never leave...Alive!

Arrowdrome is a fleapit selected library of cult films; violent, horrific, sleazy, exploitative.

DVD Extras:

  • a reversible sleeve of original artwork

  • a collector's booklet by author Kim Newman!

  • an interview with director Tobe Hooper

  • trailer

 

30th January   

Fascination...

New US All Region Blu-ray release of Jean Rollin's Fascination
Link Here

Fascination Blu ray US Jean Rollin Fascination is a 1979 France horror by Jean Rollin. With Franca Mai & Brigitte Lahaie. See IMDb

US: Uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

  • US 2012 Redemption Re-mastered Edition R0 Blu-ray via UK Amazon and at US Amazon just released on 24th January 2012
  • US 2012 Redemption Re-mastered Edition R1 DVD at US Amazon just released on 24th January 2012

At the BBFC

UK: Passed 18 uncut for:

Passed uncut but some versions omit 1:25s of the opening credits featuring 2 girls dancing on a bridge.

Summary Review: Stunning Visuals

This erotic horror film, set in 1916, tells the story of a thief who seeks refuge in a castle owned by two women,

The opening scene is classic and the film delivers many memorable scenes from start to finish. Plot and characterisation don't take up much time in the film, its more of a work of art than a conventional vampire tale. There isn't even all that much bloodletting, just enough to stop things being anaemic. In place of gore there's some fine eroticism and stunning visuals and its a fair trade.

 

30th January   

Update: Miserable Marriott...

Decline in revenue from hotel in-room movies means that porn is not worth the nutter hassle
Link Here

Marriott logoMarriott International has announced plans to phase out pay-per-view adult movies from its hotel rooms. According to USA Today, the company said:

Changing technology and how guests access entertainment has reduced the revenue hotels and their owners derive from in-room movies, including adult content.

Joe McInerney, CEO of the American Hotel and Lodging Association, added:

It is a hotel's prerogative, as well as a business decision, regarding what services it provides to its guests, including those striving to enhance their family-friendly image.

Porn will be phased out first in new hotels as old video systems are replaced with on-demand services.

Offsite: Shrewd

20th March 2012. See  article from  business.avn.com

AVN commentators suggested that maybe there is some shrewd business thinking going on.

Bill Marriott told an interviewer from the Associated Press:

I've always been concerned about [pornographic] movies in rooms. In the next three or four years, we won't have any more of those. That's something we've had a real problem with because the Church is very, very opposed to pornography, as it should be, and we are for families. But the owners of our hotels were making a lot of money. In fact, the only movies that make any money are pornography.

The Church, of course, is the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, or Mormons. And according to one hotel insider, porn accounts for 80 to 90 percent of all in-room movie purchases?

Now Marriott can keep the religious nutters happy by turning off their in-house porn systems. But the replacement entertainment will provide internet access and a high definition TV for a suitable fee...

...Which will of course be used to watch porn.

 

30th January   

Update: Same as Iran and China...

Tor website blocked by O2 and 3 mobile networks
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

Tor project logoOpen Rights Group and Tor have established that UK mobile networks such as Vodafone, O2 and 3 are blocking UK users' access toTor's primary website (meaning the  Tor Project website, rather than connections to the Tor network) on pre-paid contractless accounts.

Tor helps people stay anonymous online. Some examples of how it has been used include those trying to avoid oppressive state censorship in places such as Iran, through to abuse victims in the UK.

There is a blog post by Jacob Appelbaum with more technical details about the blocking on UK mobile networks over at the Tor blog.

Searching for torproject.org reveals that it is blocked because it falls into the category of anonymiser . (Orange also say that they block content that falls into the anonymiser category - but it does not seem that Tor is blocked on Orange.) It's unlikely that mobile operators are targeting Tor, and more likely that anonymisation tools generally are blocked.

It was initially established that Tor was blocked initially through the new tool blocked.org.uk. openrightsgroup.org are asking for help in monitoring how blocking on mobile networks works by reporting when you come across incorrectly applied blocks.

Open Rights Group will be meeting with mobile operators over the next few weeks to talk about making sure that they can both help parents manage their children's mobile Internet use and avoid clumsy implemented blocking. Some are better at aspects of this than others (Orange provide an overview of the categories they block, for example.) But none implement a transparent and clear policy that puts users in charge.

 

30th January   

Update: Rating the Birds and the Bees in the Bonnet...

Andrea Leadsom meets the BBFC to discuss ratings for sex education material
Link Here

Sex Education Birds Bees 2 DVD MP Andrea Leadsom has long been campaigning that kids are shown sex education material that is too mature for them. She is suggesting that BBFC should rate such material prior to its use in schools etc. She is probably onto a loser though, as the BBFC would surely give a well considered rating, with no room whatsoever for any moral/religious/decency angle  that Leadsom may be hoping for. It is hard to imagine that the BBFC would be far out of line with the education experts that are currently approving the material for school use anyway.

Nevertheless Leadsom has had a meeting with the BBFC to discuss the possibility of the body rating school sex education material.

The BBFC were reported to have expressed surprise that the BBC do not have their sex education material rated when they voluntarily have programmes such as The Blue Planet rated, despite there being no sensitive or controversial content and no requirement to have it rated as it is a documentary.

Leadsom said:

It seems bizarre that when some parents are so deeply concerned at what they consider to be sensitive material being shown to their children, the BBC and Channel 4 have chosen not to have their SRE material rated by an independent agency.

 

30th January   

Anti-Porn Law...

Censorship has spread like a disease through Bangladesh
Link Here  full story: Pornography Law in Bangladesh...First ever porn law passed in 2012

bangladesh bootyThe Bangladeshi government has approved a repressive new anti-pornography law which would see offenders jailed for up to 10 years.

It is believed to be Bangladesh's first law specifically targeting the spread of pornography. The legislation, which is likely to be passed by parliament, bans making or selling of any kind of pornographic material. Those found guilty could also be fined up to $6,000.

The move seems to have come about after a string of sex tape scandals involving female celebrities.

Abul Kalam Azad, a government spokesman, claimed that the measures aim to protect young people and women from pornography, which he said, had spread like a disease through the internet and mobile phone technology.

Update: Passed by Parliament

30th January 2012.  See  article from  bdnews24.com

A bill was tabled in parliament with provisions of up to seven years of jail sentence for production, storage, marketing, sale, carrying, supply and exhibition of pornography.

Home minister Shahara Khatun presented the Pornography Control Act 2012 after which it was sent to a parliamentary committee for scrutiny.

According to the bill pornography is any dialogue, acting, posture, unclothed or partially unclothed dance in cinema, video, photography, graphics, audio-visual image or imagery otherwise captured and displayable, which causes sexual arousal and has no artistic or educational value. Also, such books, magazines, sculptures, cartoons and leaflets which cause the sexual arousal, and their negatives and soft copies would also be considered pornography.

The home minister claimed that pornography was spreading like a terrible disease across society and in absence of any law the crime and criminals cannot be stopped.

 

30th January   

No Holy Cows...

Religious broadcaster somehow deffed out as Poland upgrades to digital TV
Link Here

radio maryja logoTadeusz Rydzyk is one of Poland's most controversial and at the same time most influential priests, building up a media empire over the past 20 years. The conservative Catholic is the moving spirit behind Radio Maryja, the newspaper Nasz Dziennik and the television station Trwam.

While Rydzyk is adored by his adherents, he faces sharp criticism from many others, including the Vatican and many Polish bishops, for what they see as a narrow-minded and intolerant attitude out of tune with the times and Polish society.

But now Rydzyk's media empire is under threat. The Polish Broadcasting Council failed to include Trwam when it issued broadcast licences for the new digital network that is to cover Poland from next year onwards.

The Broadcasting Council doubted whether Rydzyk's Trwam had the necessary financial means to make the leap into the digital era. If an applicant fails to meet the requirements, no licence is awarded. There are no holy cows. We live under the rule of law not under the rule of Father Rydzyk,Dariusz Jonski, spokesman for the Democratic Left Alliance (SLD), said in defending the decision.

Rydzyk immediately named those he held responsible for the decision, accusing them of a conspiracy. The Broadcasting Council was dominated by Poland's liberal and left-wing parties, he said. We have the feeling that this has been manipulated. Somebody is behind this,said the conservative priest, who stands accused of being overtly political in his broadcasts.

Poland's conservative nationalist opposition is up in arms at what it sees as a disgraceful decision by the Broadcasting Council. Rydzyk's audience has also mobilized. According to Radio Maryja, they have sent around 100,000 protest letters to the Broadcasting Council. The letters were not in every case models of Christian charity, with some anonymous messages making open threats against members of the council.How dare you serve Satan and foreign interests? You will suffer! one of the letters said, according to Polish media reports.

 

30th January   

Offsite: The Right to be Forgotten...

EU proposes a bag of worms that will only be untangled by incredibly expensive lawyers
Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU

EU flagEuropean Union Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding has proposed a sweeping reform of the EU's data protection rules, claiming that the proposed rules will both cost less for governments and corporations to administer and simultaneously strengthen online privacy rights.

The 1995 Data Protection Directive already gives EU citizens certain rights over their data. Organizations can process data only with consent, and only to the extent that they need to fulfil some legitimate purpose. They are also obliged to keep data up-to-date, and retain personally identifiable data for no longer than is necessary to perform the task that necessitated collection of the data in the first place. They must ensure that data is kept secure, and whenever processing of personal data is about to occur, they must notify the relevant national data protection agency.

The new proposals go further than the 1995 directive, especially in regard to the control they give citizens over their personal information. Chief among the new proposals is a right to be forgotten that will allow people to demand that organizations that hold their data delete that data, as long as there is no legitimate grounds to hold it.

This is the so-called right to be forgotten . The proposal does not create a right to be thrown down the memory hole or rewrite the past; news reports and similar material would be a legitimate reason to retain personal information, and this would override a demand to have data deleted. But sites like Facebook---which has had difficulties with the concept of deletion---and Google would likely be required to purge any such personal data should someone demand that they do so.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Google exec questions Reding's Right to be forgotten pledge

See article from theregister.co.uk

Google logoGoogle's privacy policy counsel in Brussels, Marisa Jimenez, expressed concern about some of the passages written under article 17 of the proposed regulation. She said Reding's so-calledright to be forgotten on the internet plans have, in part, been welcomed by Google.

But she noted that the current text submitted by the European Commission is incredibly complex and thereby open to any number of interpretations by data protection authorities and companies that could be expected to comply with the rules, if passed by the European Parliament in their current form.

Here's what Reding's proposed regulation currently states on the right to be forgotten :

Article 17 provides the data subject's right to be forgotten and to erasure. It further elaborates and specifies the right of erasure provided for in Article 12(b) of Directive 95/46/EC and provides the conditions of the right to be forgotten, including the obligation of the controller which has made the personal data public to inform third parties on the data subject's request to erase any links to, or copy or replication of that personal data. It also integrates the right to have the processing restricted in certain cases, avoiding the ambiguous terminologyblocking .

...Read the full article

 

30th January   

Offsite: Searching for a More Complete Profile...

Google changes its privacy policy to better suit its ad serving
Link Here  full story: Behavioural Advertising...Serving adverts according to internet snooping

Google logoGoogle has announced that it was placing 60 of its Web services under a unified privacy policy that would allow the company to share data between any of those services. (Google Books, Google Wallet and Google Chrome are excluded due to different regulatory and technical issues.)

Any user with a Google account --- used to sign in to services such as Gmail, YouTube and personalized search --- must agree to the policy. Users who don't want to have their data shared have the option to close their accounts with Google.

The changes will apply from March 1st.

Data-protection agencies in Ireland and France said they would assess the implications of the push. At least one consumer-advocacy group fretted that the policy -- which makes it easier for Google to target advertisements to specific groups -- might tie users' hands and make it harder for them to limit what the company can do with their information.

This announcement is pretty frustrating and potentially frightening from a kids and family and teenager standpoint and an overall consumer privacy standpoint, said James Steyer, chief executive officer of San Francisco-based Common Sense Media.

...Read the full article

 

30th January   

Offsite: Multilayered Firewalls...

Inside China's censorship machine
Link Here

Consent Networked Worldwide Struggle Internet In fall 2009, I sat in a large auditorium festooned with red banners and watched as Robin Li, CEO of Baidu, China's dominant search engine, paraded onstage with executives from 19 other companies to receive the China Internet Self-Discipline Award.Officials from the quasi-governmental Internet Society of China praised them for fostering harmonious and healthy Internet development. In the Chinese regulatory context, healthy is a euphemism for porn-free and crime-free. Harmonious implies prevention of activity that would provoke social or political disharmony. Related

China's censorship system is complex and multilayered. The outer layer is generally known as the great firewall of China, through which hundreds of thousands of websites are blocked from view on the Chinese Internet. What this system means in practice is that when one goes online from an ordinary commercial Internet connection inside China and tries to visit a website such as hrw.org, the website belonging to Human Rights Watch, the web browser shows an error message saying,This page cannot be found. This blocking is easily accomplished because the global Internet connects to the Chinese Internet through only eight gateways, which are easily filtered. At each gateway, as well as among all the different Internet service providers within China, Internet routers --- the devices that move the data back and forth between different computer networks --- are all configured to block long lists of website addresses and politically sensitive keywords.

...Read the full article

 

29th January   

No Joke...

McG's This Means War cut for a US PG-13 rating
Link Here

this means warFox has made cuts to its new movie offering This Means War. The Studio has now cut out a few sex jokes from actress Chelsea Handler, according to a source close to the project.

The cuts were to avoid the R Rating handed down by the US film censors and obtain a PG-13 instead.

Before making cuts Fox did in fact try to appeal against the R Rating but the appeal was turned down.

This Means War is directed by McG and stars Chris Pine, Tom Hardy and Reese Witherspoon. Pine and Hardy play best friend CIA operatives who fall for the same woman.

 

29th January   

Update: Depressing...

Channel 4 opt out of another series of Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights
Link Here  full story: Frankie Boyle...Whinges about Frankie Boyle and Mock the Week

Frankie Boyles Tramadol Nights DVD Channel 4 has parted company with controversial Scots comic Frankie Boyle.

The station has confirmed it will not commission a second series of Boyle's famous sketch show Tramadol Nights .

Boyle insisted he had no regrets over controversial content. The programme sparked about 500 complaints, and was criticised by MPs and nutters after the comedian made a controversial remark about Katie Price's disabled son Harvey.

The broadcaster also says the Glaswegian's planned chat show will now not be screened. A pilot episode of Frankie Boyle's Rehabilitation Programme was filmed late last year but the channel decided not to proceed any further.

The unscreened television venture was meant to feature Boyle being confronted by celebrities and members of the public who attempt to change his uncompromising world view in a series of funny, informed debates . Speaking last year about the proposed pilot, Channel 4's head of comedy Shane Allen said:It's very much like Parkinson or Wogan, but with paedo jokes.

 

29th January   

Updated: Easy Offence of the Day...

TV presenters pick up some trivial flak
Link Here

sky news logoColin Brazier, who presents The Live Desk and writes on the Sky News website, blogged that it would save the taxpayer money to send 'problem' families to the Sandwich Islands.

Under the blog post entitled Radical Solution For Troubled Families? , Brazier wrote:

These families -- the word is used pejoratively in many instances to describe a collection of biologically related children and a lone parent -- cost the taxpayer an estimated £ 75,000 EACH YEAR.

But Andrew Neilson, director of campaigns at the Howard League for Penal Reform, took easy offence and told the Evening Standard:

There is a world of difference in the state intervening to improve troubled communities and the state intervening to deport our citizens to far-flung corners of the globe.

That's a Bit Rich

See  article from  bbc.co.uk

golden temple amritsarIndia has condemned a comment by US comedian Jay Leno on the holiest Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple of Amritsar. A Leno skit showed the temple as the summer home of Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Romney has faced taxation questions over his huge wealth and many Sikhs are angry the temple has been depicted as a place for the rich.

The Sikh community has launched an online petition and an Indian minister called the comments objectionable . Overseas Indian Affairs Minister Vayalar Ravi told reporters:

It is quite unfortunate and quite objectionable that such a comment has been made after showing the Golden Temple.

The Golden Temple is the Sikh community's most sacred place... The American government should also look at this kind of thing.

Freedom does not mean hurting the sentiments of others... This is not acceptable to us and we take a very strong objection for such a display.

Ravi said the Indian embassy would take up the matter with the US state department, the Press Trust of India reported.

Update: Sued

26th January 2012. See  article from  artsbeat.blogs.nytimes.com , thanks to Nick

Just when it seemed that the world was ready to move on from a poorly received Tonight Show joke that supposedly offended Sikhs a man has filed a suit against Jay Leno, the Tonight Show host, for what he says are racist remarks.

The BBC News reports that Randeep Dhillon, an Indian-American, has filed a lawsuit against Leno in Los Angeles County Superior Court, saying that the routine hurt the sentiments of all Sikh people in addition to the plaintiff. The lawsuit, which seeks unspecified damages, says the jokeclearly exposes plaintiff, other Sikhs and their religion to hatred, contempt, ridicule and obloquy because it falsely portrays the holiest place in the Sikh religion as a vacation resort owned by a non-Sikh.

Update: Early Day Motion

29th January 2012. See  article from  parliament.uk

House of Commons logoOh dear, even the Houses of Parliament have got involved in this most tenuous of whinges. An MP Virendra Sharma has written an Early Day Motion that has yet to pick up much interest:

That this House notes with concern the sketch on the NBC Jay Leno Show where the most sacred Sikh shrine, the Golden Temple, was disrespected by Jay Leno when it was referred to as GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney's summer home;

expresses concern and regret that this depiction of the Golden Temple as a home of the rich shows a complete misunderstanding of the Sikh faith and is derogatory to Sikhs across the world; believes that these comments are not acceptable to all those who believe in respect for all religions;

calls on Jay Leno and NBC to apologise to all Sikhs for this disrespectful depiction of the Golden Temple;

and further calls on the Government to make representations to the US government that while recognising principles of freedom of speech there should be more understanding and respect shown to the Sikh faith.

 

29th January   

Gesture Politics...

Police specialist hate crimes unit swoops into action over monkey gesture
Link Here

anfield monkey gestureMerseyside police have launched an investigation into images of a Liverpool fan apparently making racist taunts from the stands, as totally overblown claims of prejudice in sport risked overshadowing events on the pitch.

Patrice Evra of Senegalese descent, and the Manchester United captain, was repeatedly booed and subjected to chants of there's only one lying bastard . Seventeen fans were ejected from the stadium and two were arrested.

Liverpool FC said it was working closely with police over a photograph posted on Twitter that appeared to show one Liverpool fan making a monkey gesture.

What Gesture?

See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Perhaps more interesting was to note that the BBC in some sort of ultra political correctness decided to report the story without actually telling readers what the gesture was, or give any idea of what people were chanting etc.

But the BBC did give a better impression of the amount of police trouble one can get in for an almost childish insult:

A man has been arrested over an alleged gesture made at the FA Cup tie between Liverpool and Manchester United.

Merseyside Police said a 59-year-old from north Wales was arrested during the evening. Earlier the force said the incident was being investigated by detectives from the specialist hate crime team, which investigates racist and other crimes.

On Saturday night a police spokeswoman said: The man has been taken to a police station and will be questioned by officers. Merseyside Police would like to thank North Wales Police and Liverpool Football Club for their assistance with this matter.

 

29th January   

Beyond Offensive...

Newspaper concentration camp cartoon proves a wind up in Argentina
Link Here

david gueto cartoonThe Jewish group B'nai B'rith, Simon Wiesenthal Center has claimed 'outrage' at a comic strip in an Argentine local daily portraying Hitler at concentration camp dance party.

Jewish groups have condemned an anti-Semitic cartoon strip, FieSSta by Gustavo Sala published in Argentine paper Pagina/12 and called on the country's government to denounce the daily newspaper under Argentina's anti-discrimination law.

Following the protests, the Argentine daily issued an apology on its website.

The cartoon strip's main character, DJ David Gueto (a caricature of the French DJ David Guetta) plays music in a concentration camp. At first, the prisoners don't want to dance because they feel there's nothing to celebrate, saying: Do you know that they kill us in gas chambers and make soap with us?Hitler then appears and convinces them to dance because life is short. Hitler then thanks the DJ, saying: If they are relaxed, the soap will be better.

B'nai B'rith International expressed its deep outrage and revulsion toward the cartoon, its creator and the newspaper that chose to publish it. B'nai B'rith International Executive Vice President Daniel S. Mariaschin said:

This cartoon strip is beyond offensive---it is frightening. It epitomizes the blatant, ongoing anti-Semitism that still exists, in 2012, throughout the world. We hope the Argentine government will quickly speak out against this unbridled anti-Semitism.

 

29th January   

Update: Kissing Banned...

Thai Channel 3 looks to more child-friendly programming
Link Here  full story: Thai TV Soaps...Kissing and catfights make the news

thai soapThai Channel 3 soap opera fans will no longer get to see any kissing scenes.

The channel is now only allowing love scenes to feature kissing on the cheeks and foreheads, hugging and embracing.

Channel 3 is moving top more child-friendly programming and more children programs.

Channel 3 Executive Prawit Maleenont has banned kissing in soap operas and told soap producers to go the traditional Thai love scene route with only kisses on the forehead and cheek and hugging and embracing.

Production executive for Channel 3 Somrak Narongwichai says this year's soap will reflect social problems and will be more realistic in that characters will have occupations and careers.

But of course less realistic in that lovers will go round kissing each other on the forehead.

 

28th January   

Three Sex...

The latest BBFC podcast discusses sex at each age category
Link Here

bbfc podcast 3 The latest episode 3 of the BBFC podcast series features the latest film and BBFC news.

The topic for discussion is classifying sex and sex references, across the age categories.

 

28th January   

Update: Tattoo Ban...

India bans The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
Link Here  full story: Girl With the Dragon Tattoo...Banned and cut around the world

Girl Dragon Tattoo DVD David Fincher's The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo features scenes of violence, rape, torture, nudity. All a bit too much for India's film censors have have banned it.

India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) decided that the movie contained too much nudity - five scenes to be exact. Now, according to Variety, distribution has been cancelled entirely because David Fincher refuses to cut the film.

A spokesperson for Columbia Pictures in India said, The Censor Board has adjudged the film unsuitable for public viewing in its unaltered form and, while we are committed to maintaining and protecting the vision of the director, we will, as always, respect the guidelines set by the board.The trade says that normally nude scenes are simply blurred out, but the Censor Board specifically asked that scenes be cut out.

No doubt Indians will now find a way to watch it just as the director intended.

 

28th January   

Tweet Tweak...

Twitter to be censored on a per country basis
Link Here  full story: Twitter Censorship...Twitter offers country by country take downs

Twitter logoTwitter is giving itself the facility to withhold content in specific countries, while keeping that content available for the rest of the world, the company has announced.

Until now, the only way for Twitter to censor content was to universally eliminate it from the site. This change means content deemed inappropriate by a specific government can be withheld locally, explains a blog post called The Tweets Still Must Flow.

When we receive a request from an authorized entity, we will act in accordance with appropriate laws and our terms of service, a Twitter rep told Mashable.

If and when content is withheld, affected users will be notified of either an account or tweet's censorship. Twitter will make that decision public on Chilling Effects, through an expanded partnership that charts Cease and Desist Notices.

Update: Twitter Boycott

28th January 2012. See article from mashable.com

Twitter's new approach to censoring tweets has users rallying around the hashtag #TwitterBlackout, a call to boycott the microblogging service.

The change lets Twitter withhold content on a country-by-country basis, when a government deems the tweets inappropriate. Rather than wholly removing the content from the site, it will now only be blocked locally.

Many users have expressed dissatisfaction with the change. Tweets have been streaming in, in various languages, all with the #TwitterBlackout hashtag.

Anonymous has also supported the blackout. One of its tweets read:

SPREAD THE WORD #TwitterBlackout I will not tweet for the whole of January 28th due to the new twitter censor rule #Twitter #J28?

Offsite: What Does Twitter's Country-by-Country Takedown System Mean for Freedom of Expression?

28th January 2012. See  article from  advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org by Eva galperin

So what should Twitter users do? Keep Twitter honest. First, pay attention to the notices that Twitter sends and to the archive being created on Chilling Effects. If Twitter starts honoring court orders from India to take down tweets that are offensive to the Hindu gods, or tweets that criticize the king in Thailand, we want to know immediately. Furthermore, transparency projects such as Chilling Effects allow activists to track censorship all over the world, which is the first step to putting pressure on countries to stand up for freedom of expression and put a stop to government censorship.

What else? Circumvent censorship. Twitter has not yet blocked a tweet using this new system, but when it does, that tweet will not simply disappear---there will be a message informing you that content has been blocked due to your geographical location. Fortunately, your geographical location is easy to change on the Internet. You can use a proxy or a Tor exit node located in another country. Read Write Web also suggests that you can circumvent per-country censorship by simply changing the country listed in your profile.

...Read the full article

Update: Twitter boss explains

5th February 2012. See  article from  mashable.com

Twitter CEO Dick Costolo took the stage at AllThingsD's media conference to defend the company's new censorship policies. He argued that Twitter's new policies allow for greater freedom of speech on the platform. Previously, when a government demanded that Twitter remove a tweet or block a user, access to that content would be blocked from the entire world. Now, Twitter can hide the tweet or user from that individual country, but allow the rest of the world to see it. Costello explained:

There's been no change in our stance or attitude or policy with respect to content on Twitte. What we announced is a greater capability we now have. Now, when we are issued a valid legal order in a country in which we operate, such as a DMCA takedown notice, we are able to leave the content up for as many people around the world as possible, while still operating within the local law. You can't operate in these countries and choose the laws you want to abide by.

We don't proactively go do anything. This is purely a reactive capability to what we determine to be a valid and applicable legal order in a country in which we operate. We're fully blocked in Iran and China. And I don't see the current environment in either country being one in which we could go and operate anytime soon.

 

28th January   

Update: Book Censors Deserve a Damn Good Thrashing...

Petitioning for Amazon to ban books supporting child beating
Link Here

Train Up Child Michael Pearl Milli Hill of Somerset is a parenting columnist for Somerset Life Magazine and blogger for The Mule.

She has created on online petition entitled Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO: Refuse to carry books which advocate the physical abuse of children.The petition urges Amazon (both .com and .co.uk) to stop allowing books that purportedly advocate, endorse, and advise parenting techniques that involve the physical abuse of children as a disciplinary technique. Examples of some titles targeted by the petition includeTo Train Up A Child by Michael and Debi Pearl, Shepherding a Child's Heart by Tedd Tripp, and Don't Make Me Count to Three by Ginger Plowman. The petition continues:

Such books, and others like them, promote behaviour which is abusive of children. All of the above books advocate the use of a rod and other implements on children under one.

Such behaviour is abusive to children, and it is also 'offensive', which is contrary to Amazon's Content Guidelines.

It may well also be illegal, as it seems to go far beyond the 'reasonable chastisement' currently sanctioned by law in the UK, (where this petition originated) and in many US States. Not only is beating on a regular basis with a rod likely to leave a mark, which is illegal in the UK, it is also likely to amount to inhuman or degrading treatment, which is a breach of human rights.

We wish Amazon to urgently review their decision to stock any book or other product which advises the physical abuse of children.

The petition currently stands at 10,425. Apparently this includes many notable names in the field of children's rights, psychology, child development, and religious child maltreatment.

Perhaps a little strange that the group does not petition against the religions that prove such a fertile breeding ground for bad attitudes to children.

 

28th January   

Blu and Lippy...

New US All Region Blu-ray release of Jean Rollin's Lips of Blood
Link Here

Lips Blood Blu ray Jean Loup Philippe Lips of Blood is a 1972 French horror film by Jean Rollin. With Jean-Loup Philippe, Annie Belle and Natalie Perrey. See IMDb

US: The Theatrical Version is MPAA Unrated for:

Elsewhere

UK: The Theatrical Version was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for strong nudity for:
  • UK 2004 Redemption R0 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2004 Redemption R0 DVD

There is a hardcore version titled Suck Me Vampire in the US and Suce-moi vampire in France.

Summary Review: One of Rollin's best

This erotic vampire film features a young man on a strange quest after recognizing a castle on a poster. He seems to remember the castle from his childhood and eventually finds it with the aid of a strange woman dressed in white. It turns out that his family has been keeping the secret of vampirism from him.

This stylish vampire epic is one of Rollin's best. We have the usual Rollin ingredients on hand, nocturnal settings, catacombs, coffins and semi nude vampires lurking the night. Unlike Franco who would delve further into the salacious aspects, Rollin tends to blend his lustful elements into his crafty settings giving the viewer a very unique contrast. This film is a must see for any eclectic Rollin fan.

 

28th January   

Privates on Parade...

Indian Army orders its personnel to refrain from using social networking websites
Link Here

indian army logoThe Indian Army has reportedly asked all its personnel to quit social networking websites with immediate effect. It has directed them to refrain from joining social networking websites including Facebook, Orkut, and Google+. The policy is said to safeguard the well-being of army personnel.

According to sources, the Indian Army had been monitoring the social networking activities of its officers to find out if they posted uniformed photos of themselves, weaponry, or other units for the past few months. It has now decided to issue a blanket ban on all such websites throughout the ranks.

The US Army has also suggested care over information sharedvia social networking lest it be used by terrorist organisations to target army units. They suggested:

  • Restricting privacy settings to Only Me or Friends.
  • Remove any personally identifiable data.
  • Avoid sharing details about bases and capabilities
  • Disable GPS/tagging/tracking applications

 

28th January   

Update: Once a Blocker, Always a Blocker...

Australia's censorship minister still hankers after state imposed internet blocking
Link Here  full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

Stephen ConroyStephen Conroy, the Australian minister of Communications Blocking has remained stalwart in his support for Labor's hated mandatory internet blocking scheme in a debate on ABC TV.

He was asked whether Labor's support for the blocking was pointless, given that it may not have the numbers to get through Parliament.

Conroy answered that a review of the Refused Classification category of content still had to be undertaken before legislation was introduced to Parliament. He added:

The legislation will ultimately reflect the outcome of that review... for people to say it definitely won't be passed, the legislation hasn't been drafted, and that review hasn't taken place yet

You don't, simply because you've got a lot of criticism, say 'well I'm going to run away from that policy.

Other panelists were more wary. Independent Rob Oakeshott said he was in favour of personal responsibility in terms of internet use, but he would wait to see the legislation.

Shadow Innovation Minister Sophie Mirabella told the audience that the Coalition wouldn't support the policy because it wouldn't work, particularly as it was unable to block peer-to-peer traffic.

Australian Sex Party president Fiona Patton warned filter critics not to take the Coalition's opposition to the scheme for granted. (Shadow Treasurer) Joe Hockey may have said he won't support the filter as it stands, but certainly Tony Abbott out at Rooty Hill, of course, said that he would do whatever he could to stop people looking at filth,she said.

 

27th January   

Tweet Treat...

ASA to investigate advertising tweets for Snickers after claims that it was not clearly marked as advertising
Link Here

Snickers Multi Pack 58 10 The ASA is now investigating Snickers' digital advertising campaign - in which Ferdinand, Price, Ian Botham and X Factor finalist Cher Lloyd posted messages on Twitter promoting the chocolate bar. They all received payment from the chocolate bar company to do so.

The ASA is now investigating whether the celebrities' first teaser tweets should have indicated that they were part of an advert and whether the final reveal tweet alongside of themselves holding the chocolate, made it clear enough that the tweet was an advert.

The promotion of the chocolate bar via Twitter also ignores the Office of Fair Trading's advice that celebrities should make it clear when they promoting or endorsing a product. The OFT has warned companies that deceptive advertising has to stop. An OFT spokesman said: Online advertising and marketing practices that do not disclose they include paid for promotions are deceptive under trading laws.

 

27th January   

Gypsy Blood...

Viewers complaint about bare knuckle fighting and animal cruelty
Link Here

gypsy blood videoA Channel 4 documentary about bare-knuckle fighting in the traveller community has prompted complaints about animal cruelty and child abuse.

Ofcom received 289 complaints about Gypsy Blood , which aired last week. C4 also received a number of complaints. A spokesman said that the complaints were being assessed.

Animal welfare charity, the RSPCA, said they would also be making an official complaint.

Directed by Leo Maguire, Gypsy Blood - part of the True Stories series - was seen by more than 2m viewers. A Channel 4 spokeswoman said:

To accurately reflect the experiences of the film-maker who spent years documenting the culture of two gypsy families, including hunting and fighting, some scenes were included that viewers may have found difficult to watch but were justified in context.

The programme was preceded by on air warnings and appropriately scheduled.

 

27th January   

Update: Dangerous Words...

The word 'mong' as explained by Ricky Gervais
Link Here  full story: The R Word...Campaign against the word 'retard'

Ricky Gervais Live IV Science Ricky Gervais: Science
Channel 4, 14 October 2011, 22:35

Ricky Gervais: Science was a programme featuring a stand-up show by the comedian Ricky Gervais. This post-watershed programme focussed on Ricky Gervais's outspoken thoughts on a variety of topics including racism, fame, obesity, religion and language.

At one point during his routine, Ricky Gervais referred to the singer Susan Boyle, and he made the following remark:

Look at Susan Boyle. If you can. Fucking hell! Jesus Christ. Oh. Shocking. Be fair though, „cause usually in the music industry it's all about image isn't it, you can't just have a great voice and a great talent... but I don't think she'd be where she was today if it wasn't for the fact that she looked like such a fucking mong.

The comedian then proceeded to debate with an imaginary complainant who might object to his use of the word mong on television:

mong? . Yeah he did. Yeah. You can't say „mong? . You can. It's fucking easy. It's one of the easiest words to say, it's like [mouths the word while he says it] „mong?, it's like, you just need lips, „mo...?, even mongs can say it, that's part of the beauty of the word.

He continued in the same vein.

Ofcom received three complaints about Ricky Gervais's comments. They concerned his repeated use of the word mong , which complainants regarded as offensive because of its derogatory association with Down's Syndrome.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code, which states:

In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context... Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach of Rule 2.3

We noted that Ricky Gervais's example about how the meaning of words changes by saying:

When I came here tonight I called you all „cunts?, remember? That used to be an insult, but now it's a term of endearment. So words change. Okay.

In Ofcom's view, while this clearly drew the focus of the routine on to the subject of how words change, thereby potentially minimising the offence, it was nevertheless clearly also done in a tongue-in-cheek way. This may have caused some viewers to question his assertion that he had not used either the wordscunt or mong in an intentionally offensive way.

However we considered that the degree of offensiveness was reduced to some extent by many in the audience knowing Ricky Gervais' reputation for acerbic, controversial and challenging humour, and understanding that Ricky Gervais was likely to have been being knowingly disingenuous when he said the wordmong was no longer linked with Down's Syndrome, and that the word cunt was now a term of endearment . Ofcom considered that the material would not have exceeded viewers' expectations for Ricky Gervais's type of humour.

Ofcom also had regard to the fact that Channel 4 is a public service broadcaster with a unique statutory remit to broadcast a range of high quality and diverse programming, and this may include programming that is provocative and controversial.

We noted that the programme began at 22:35, more than an hour and a half after the watershed, and that therefore most viewers of the programme would have been expecting stronger and more challenging content.

We also took into account that Channel 4 brought the challenging nature of the content to the attention of viewers with a warning at the start of the programme, which stated that it would contain strong language and adult humour .

We therefore concluded that several aspects of this content had the potential to cause considerable offence. However, on balance, this potential offence was justified by the context of this provocative comedy routine challenging the evolution of words, as broadcast with a warning as part of a late night comedy show on Channel 4. Channel 4 therefore applied generally accepted standards, and the broadcast of Ricky Gervais' comments was not in breach of Rule 2.3.

Ofcom takes this opportunity to remind all broadcasters that its recent 2010 research shows that the word mong has the potential to be highly offensive to many people, and so broadcasters should take great care with its use.

 

27th January   

No Blade of Grass Uncut...

New US DVD-R release of Cornel Wilde's No Blade of Grass
Link Here

No Blade Grass Nigel Davenport No Blade of Grass is a 1975 US Sci-Fi drama by Cornel Wilde. With Nigel Davenport, Jean Wallace and John Hamill. See IMDb

US: Uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

  • US 2012 Warner R0 DVD-R at US Amazon just released on 25th January 2012

Cut in Britain

The film was last released in Britain when it was passed 15 after 1:20s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1987 MGM VHS

From IMDB:

  • 1:20s cut from the rape scene

Previously it was passed AA (14) after BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1970 cinema release

From IMDB:

  • Cut for category by over 15:00s to remove scenes of sex and violence

Summary Review: Bleak

When a deadly virus strikes London, John Custane takes his family to hoped-for safety in Scotland.

The message is ham-fisted the look is very 1970, and some odd soundtrack choices were made, but it's a bleak film about the collapse of civilization. But the story's premise is completely plausible and the violence gives depth to the plot and characters.

 

27th January   

Discarded Whinge...

ASA dismisses whinge about clothing advert set backstage with drinks bottles and clutter
Link Here

ad benchA magazine ad, for the clothing brand Bench , appeared in the spring 12 issue of Drapers Streetwear . It featured young people, who were on sofas in a backstage setting. There were crushed cups on the floor and various items, including more cups, drinks cans, fruit, bottled water and unlabelled alcohol bottles, were shown on a coffee table.

A complainant challenged whether the ad was irresponsible, because she believed it was likely to appeal particularly to people aged under 18.

ASA Decision: Complaint not upheld

The ASA noted the ad included scenes from a backstage setting, which we considered were likely to appeal to under-18s who saw it, by being associated with youth culture. We also noted, however, the ad appeared in a trade-specific publication that was targeted at those aged over 18 years. We considered it was unlikely that under-18s would see the ad and therefore that its appeal to that age group was limited by it being targeted. Because it was not directed at people under 18, we concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 18.1, 18.14 and 18.15 (Alcohol) but did not find it in breach.

 

27th January   

Update: Extreme Repression...

Russian book censors continue their campaign to ban Hindu holy book as extremist
Link Here  full story: Religious Book Censorship in Russia...Russia prosecutes holy books over supposed extremism

Bhagavad gita As It Is ebook Prosecutors in Russia's Siberian city of Tomsk have insisted that a Russian translation of the book on a Hindu scripture called Bhagavad-Gita As It Is should be banned as extremist literature, filing an appeal against an earlier court ruling not to ban the book, a court spokeswoman said.

In late December 2011, a Siberian district court rejected a petition by prosecutors seeking a ban on the book. The petition was originally filed in June that year and the trial has prompted a flurry of criticism in international media.

Bhagavad Gita As It Is , a translation and commentary of the original Bhagavad Gita Hindu scripture, was written by the founder of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada. Prosecutors have claimed the book promotes extremism andsocial discord .

India has expressed concerns over the prospect of Russia banning the book, urging the Russian government to quickly resolve the issue.

 

27th January   

Update: Internet Censor...

Birmingham councillor dreams up a wheeze to use club licensing requirements to restrict what lap dancing clubs can put on their websites
Link Here

Birmingham City Council logoBirmingham City councillor Nigel Dawkins has called for the sex establishments not to be allowed to use pornographic images on their websites.

Since last January, lap dancing clubs have had to apply for a Sexual Entertainment Venue licence. The committee has the power to refuse the licences and set the conditions under which they have to operate.

Dawkins said he wanted another condition put on the licences:

I think we should make it a condition that on their websites they do not use porn to advertise their clubs because they are using pornography to sell their business and that's a scandal, he said. They wouldn't be allowed to use these images on their windows, but they are free to use them on their websites.

Licensing committee chairman, Councillor Bruce Lines  said they had no powers over the internet. But the committee agreed to ask its officers to prepare a report for a future meeting on the possiblity of restricting how clubs advertised themselves on their websites.

 

27th January   

Update: Rare Let Up...

Britain set to relax live music restrictions
Link Here  full story: Licensed Music Censors...Licensing sets up authorities as music censors

House of Commons logoA private member's bill, introduced by Liberal Democrat Don Foster, will lift some of the state control and restrictions imposed on gigs by the 2003 Licensing Act.

The changes will mean that a licence will no longer be required for unamplified live music taking place between 08:00 and 23:00, and for amplified live music taking place between the same times before audiences of no more than 200.

The bill passed unopposed and will have to go back to the House Of Lords on the 10th of February before becoming law.

The MP from Bath was steering the bill through the House Of Commons on behalf of his Lib Dem colleague, Lord Clement Jones. The success is a relatively rare example of a House of Lords private member's bill making it into law.

Foster explained:

It was said the Licensing Act 2003 was going to lead to an explosion of live music but, in the event, in small venues it was drastically cut.

We saw village halls, school halls, pubs and clubs reducing the the amount of live music, not increasing it.

Hopefully the bill, when it comes into law, will reverse that.

Separate to the private member's bill, the government is conducting its own review of the Licensing Act.

 

27th January   

Update: Copy Cats...

EU signs up to the ACTA committing to action against copyright infringement
Link Here  full story: ACTA Trade Restrictions...Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

EU flagThe European Union and 22 Member States have officially signed the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA). The UK was among the signatories who gathered in Japan to sign the controversial intellectual property treaty.

The signatories commit to a raft of controversial intellectual property enforcement measures, including rules outlawing DRM circumvention, introducing criminal enforcement of intellectual property rights, and passages which have been interpreted as turning ISPs into anunofficial copyright police force .

The treaty still requires ratification by the European Parliament. The final vote is scheduled for June.

 

26th January   

Fifty Years of Easy Offence...

ASA celebrate 50 years of censoring adverts with a new logo
Link Here

ASA logoASA has unveiled a new logo following a rebrand to coincide with the start of a year in which it celebrates 50 years of what it likes to consider askeeping UK advertising legal, decent, honest and truthful.

The ASA was established on 24 September 1962 to regulate non-broadcast advertising. Since then the remit has been extended to TV + radio ads and more recently to cover online ads.

The ASA will be marking this milestone through a variety of activities over the next 12 months.

 

26th January   

Pro Choice...

Advert rules to updated to allow ads from commercial groups offering abortion services
Link Here

CAP logoThe Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) are the bodies responsible for writing and revising the rules in the UK Advertising Codes.

CAP and BCAP have made changes to the UK Advertising Code rules relating to the advertising of post-conception advice services (PCAS). PCAS offer a range of services to women, including for example advice on health and well-being, provision of ultrasound services, as well as advice about women's choice to continue with their pregnancy or to have a termination.

NHS-accredited PCAS must provide a full range of impartial advice to women about all available options including termination, for which treatment they may refer women in some cases. Other advice services also operate, which for various reasons, some ethical or religious, do not refer women for termination.

In 2009, CAP and BCAP conducted a thorough review of advertising rules in this area. BCAP saw no reason to maintain difference in regulation between radio and television for PCAS: nor did it see a justification for discriminating between commercially and not-for-profit based service providers. Moreover, on the grounds of public health, it proposed a new rule to protect potentially vulnerable women from being misled by advertisements.

BCAP then initiated a public consultation over their proposals:

  • To allow commercial providers of PCAS to advertise on television, subject to the same rules that applied to non-commercial PCAS providers, who could already advertise on TV.
  • Removing the radio rule permitting advertising only by those Family Planning Centres (FPCs) with local authority or NHS approval.
  • Extending an existing radio rule to television, requiring medical and health advice services to provide suitable credentials before being able to advertise;
  • Introducing a new rule to require services offering post-conception advice on pregnancy that do not directly refer women for a termination to make that fact clear in their advertisements.

The outcome from the consultation resulted in the new rules:

Broadcasting code rule 11.11.1:

Advertisements for services offering advice on unplanned pregnancy must make clear in the advertisement if the service does not refer women directly for a termination. Given that terminations are lawful only in some circumstances, and are subject to particularly stringent requirements in Northern Ireland, advertisers may wish to seek legal advice before advertising. The UK

Non-broadcast Advertising, rule 12.24:

Marketing communications for services offering advice on unplanned pregnancy must make clear if the service does not refer women directly for a termination. Given that terminations are lawful only in some circumstances, and are subject to particularly stringent requirements in Northern Ireland, marketers may wish to seek legal advice.

The new rules take effect on 30 April 2012.

 

26th January   

GaGa at ASA...

ASA dismiss whinge about Lady Gaga TV advert
Link Here

lady gaga born this way video A TV ad, for a Lady Gaga CD, Born This Way , featured clips from various music videos including shots of the singer dressed in stockings, suspenders and body harness, crouched on the ground in the same costume, and sensually rubbing her bare stomach with her hands.

The ad was cleared by Clearcast who considered a timing restriction was not necessary.

A viewer, who saw the ad with her children, aged four to 16 years, challenged whether the ad was suitable to be broadcast when children might be watching.

Universal Music said the ad was a compilation of clips from Lady Gaga videos, which were frequently aired on high rotation across UK music channels at all times of the day and therefore did not believe that a timing restriction was necessary. They said they scheduled the ad in programmes aimed at their target audience of 16 to 44 year-old women.

ASA Assessment: complaint not upheld

The ASA understood that the ad consisted of clips from Lady Gaga promotional videos and noted that although the images featured the singer's trade mark outrageous costumes and performance style the majority of the clips were not overtly sexual. However, we noted the opening clip of the singer crawling on the floor with her cleavage in full view, and clips of Lady Gaga slowly rubbing her stomach with her hands, and of her kissing the floor were stronger, albeit brief, images. Although we considered that the images were suitable for a more general audience, we considered that a timing restriction would have been appropriate in order to keep the material away from programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children. However, we noted Universal Music had specifically scheduled the ad in and around programmes that would appeal to their target audience of 16- to 44-year-old women.

Because the ad had been carefully scheduled, reducing the likelihood of children seeing it, we concluded that the scheduling had not breached the Code.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Scheduling), but did not find it in breach.

 

26th January   

Sister Slasher...

New US DVD release of Mark Rosman's The House on Sorority Row
Link Here

House Sorority remastered special disc The House on Sorority Row is a 1983 US slasher by Mark Rosman. With Kate McNeil, Eileen Davidson and Janis Ward. See IMDb

US: Uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

  • US 2012 Scorpion Katrina's Nightmare Theatre R0 DVD at US Amazon just released on 24th January 2012

Promotional Material:

The new release is created from a brand new HD master, with 2 disc worth of extras, featuring Katarina Leigh Waters.

Disc 1

  • Watch this in Katarina s Nightmare Theater format with our hostess Katarina Leigh Waters or play feature only
  • Brand New 16x9 (1:78) HD master from the original IN
  • Brand New audio commentary with Director Mark Rosman moderated by Katarina Leigh Waters
  • Bonus commentary with Stars Kate McNeil, Eileen Davidson and director Mark Rosman
  • On camera interview with co-star Harley Jane Kozak
  • 3 TV spots theatrical Trailers Storyboard Comparisons Photo Gallery alternate ending

Disc 2

  • On camera interview with star Kate McNeil conducted by Katarina Leigh Waters
  • On camera interview with star Eileen Davidson conducted by Katarina Leigh Water
  • On camera interview with Director Mark Rosman conducted by Katarina Leigh Waters
  • On camera interview with composer Richard Band
  • On camera interview with co-producer Igo Kantor

At the BBFC

UK: Passed 18 uncut after previous BBFC cuts waived for:

Previously passed 18 after 3s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1986 Apex VHS titled House of Evil

The BBFC cuts were:

  • Omits a short scene after the attack on Jeanie, in which Katherine goes to look for Peter and finds him standing by the piano.
  • The UK version of the film cuts out two shots to Vicki's murder, the cane in the back and the cane in the eye. The UK version shows shots of childrens' toys at the end of the film, whereas the US version ends immediately after the killer's eyes open.

Summary Review: Classic slasher

After a seemingly innocent prank goes horribly wrong, a group of sorority sisters are stalked and murdered one by one in their sorority house while throwing a party to celebrate their graduation.

The House On Sorority Row is a classic horror film. The acting was not that bad at all, and the directing was solid. This is a fave of mine. If you're a fan of 80's horror you will love this classic.

Other reviewers are not so impressed and rate it as moderate.

 

26th January   

Update: Dangerous Words...

The word 'Retard' slips out during a live discussion on ITV's This Morning
Link Here  full story: The R Word...Campaign against the word 'retard'

This MorningThis Morning
ITV1, 7 October 2011, 10:45

This Morning is ITV1's weekday morning topical magazine programme which is hosted on a Friday by presenters Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford.

This programme featured an item at 10:45 about a survey which reported that one third of Britons do not know the location of the three largest cities in the UK. Studio guest Jonathan Wilkes said he believed that he was in that third because he thought Manchester was one of the three. Eamonn Holmes responded incredulously:

what are you ... retarded? Don't be stupid, don't be stupid ... if you follow football, which you do, you know from the league tables ... where everywhere is.

Several viewers contacted the broadcaster directly to complain about Eamonn Holmes using the word retarded and, following the commercial break, he made the following on screen apology at 11:10:

Very good to see you again. Sorry to the three or four of you who have got in touch this morning because I have used the word retarded during the newspaper review – and you seem to take it personally...or you seem to say that I am insulting all sorts of people who have all sorts of conditions. I used it as a term...that someone...so, I don't know what you would use instead of the word – but obviously I would never want to do that – cause any sort of offence for that and having done so much work – particularly, there is this the man who has an autistic child, who says that somehow I have insulted his child, so I really hope it hasn't. I certainly wouldn't use it in that context but sorry if that caused you offence sir. I'll get your name and address in a moment and reply to you.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to the use of the word retarded . Ofcom considered the word was capable of causing offence and raised potential issues under Rule 2.3 of the Code, which states:

In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.

ITV accepted that the word retarded did have the potential to cause offence. However, in the context of a spontaneous reaction made during a live discussion programme, the Licensee did not consider it exceeded generally accepted standards. Insofar as any offence was caused, ITV said it tookrapid and effective steps to mitigate that offence by broadcasting a prompt apology. ITV considered the apology was appropriately worded to convey Eamonn Holmes', and the Licensee's, sincere regret for any offence caused.

Ofcom Decision: Resolved

Ofcom took account of the fact that This Morning is a live programme, and the comment made by Eamonn Holmes was clearly unscripted and made in response to a spontaneous situation. However, on balance and in the circumstances of this particular case, Ofcom considered that this was insufficient context to justify the offence that the wordretarded was capable of causing to the audience.

Ofcom, however, took account of Eamonn Holmes' broadcast of a personal apology as soon as practicable after the subsequent commercial break, in which he stated that he had not intended to cause any offence. On balance, Ofcom considered this case to be resolved.

 

26th January   

Offsite: Censorship on Demand...

TV Censor suggests that video on demand should be censored more like TV than internet
Link Here

ed richardsEd Richards, the boss of Ofcom made a speech to the Oxford Media Convention on the 25th January 2012.

He repeatedly alluded to more censorship for the internet and video on demand in particular. He said:

In between the twin poles of linear TV and the open internet, it becomes quite interesting.

When something looks, feels and acts like TV, but is delivered over the internet and into people's living rooms, we need something that meets audiences' expectations and provides the right degree of reassurance.

It is here that such services intersect with the views and concerns expressed by the participants in our research and where greater assurance than currently on offer may need to be considered.

It seems undesirable for these services to be subject to full broadcasting style regulation -- by and large they belong to a different form of service and come from a very different context. But we do need to consider whether to develop the approach in relation to existing co-regulation for video on demand to offer greater assurance and to ensure there is public trust in the approach to regulation as these services become more and more pervasive and significant.

In the case of video-on-demand services, our research shows that protection of minors and the risk of harmful content is the most likely focus. And our experience of broadcast regulation suggests that privacy and fairness for individuals are also areas that need careful exploration.

In this context I wonder therefore whether there may be a fairly simple opportunity to establish a core set of principles and aims which are held in common across a diverse media terrain with different regulatory environments.

Such a set of core principles could be established between the regulators that emerge from the current debate. They might aim to articulate the minimum standards which we would like to see in the UK, regardless of the nature of the service or its specific regulatory setting.

This is not as far-fetched as it may seem. The Ofcom Broadcasting code is remarkably close to the BBC's editorial guidelines. The PCC Code and the Ofcom Broadcasting Code share many of the same objectives, principles and indeed requirements, although the range of issues in the Ofcom Code is, for obvious reasons, significantly more extensive.

...

But we take an interest in the debate because over time, and quite quickly in some cases, the difference between video on demand content and that of increasingly video rich digital newspapers may well diminish. In thinking about an approach to media regulation for the next decade or more, it is as well to have an eye on the direction in which the tide is flowing.

More prosaically, we might be able to offer some assistance from what we have found to be necessary for regulation to be effective.

In our experience there are some critical features of regulatory systems which need to be present, or largely present, in order to ensure effectiveness and in turn to build and sustain public trust.

...Read the full article

 

26th January   

Update: Anti-ACTA Protests...

Polish demonstrations against the country signing the US led anti-piracy treaty
Link Here  full story: ACTA Trade Restrictions...Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

Poland flagThousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets of Polish cities, some of them hurling stones at police, in protest at an international copyright treaty criticized as a clampdown on freedom of speech on the internet.

In the city of Kielce around 700 people protested. Some of them threw bottles and stones at police, damaged cars and partially blocked traffic.

In the largest demonstration, in Cracow, 15,000 people took to the streets in a largely peaceful protest. Demonstrators chanted Down with censorship while some had a piece of tape inscribed with ACTA glued over their lips.

ACTA is the acronym for the international Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, which Poland was to sign in Tokyo on Thursday.

 

26th January   

Piss Poor Policing...

Police censor shop window display claiming a public order offence
Link Here

philip browne salePolice have told a shopkeeper to remove a supposedlyoffensive window display of mannequin urinating the word sale

Philip Browne, who owns the menswear shop named after him in Norwich city centre received a phone call from a policeman after the local force received a complaint.

Browne said his show-stopping display had amused shoppers, but that police had told him to remove the dummy. The shopkeeper said: It has been there 10-12 days - it's just Great Yarmouth-style saucy, end-of-the-pier seaside humour. Everyone has been laughing about it.

But Browne has now been warned he could be breaking the 1986 Public Order Act. he said I think it's very unfair. We've had kids and families laughing at it. We've had old ladies in their 70s laughing.

Richard Evans, who works at Browne's and designed the eye catching display, says he hoped to grab customers' attention, not to offend anyone

One local resident who did not see the funny side is Stuart Goodman, who said he had been offended by the display. He said: I'm against censorship. ..BUT... this is disgracefully offensive.

With their weeing mannequin gone but not forgotten, Browne's took the time to laugh at the situation today, posting a photo response on the business's Facebook page. Cigarette in hand, the dummy can be seen on its knees, sponge in hand, cleaning the Sale sign off the wall. A caption written by Browne reads: Cleaning his disgraceful mess. Shame upon him!'

 

26th January   

Update: Animated to Violence...

Violence outside trial of TV boss who aired Persepolis in Tunisia
Link Here  full story: Persepolis Banned...Iran tries for worldwide ban of movie Persepolis

Persepolis DVD Catherine Deneuve Violence broke out outside the Tunisian courthouse where TV executive Nabil Karoui was on trial for blasphemy.  Extremists attacked the people rallying in his support.

Karoui, the owner of a television station in Tunis, is charged with violating sacred values and disturbing public order for airing Persepolis , the award-winning animated film about the 1979 Iranian revolution that depicts God as a bearded old man.

The attackers believe that the film violates Islamic values forbidding the depiction of God.

Prime Minister Hamadi Jebali has condemned the most recent violence and affirmed his commitment to freedom of expression. But as the trial is continuing then affirmation is not worth much.

The trial has been adjourned until April 19.

 

25th January   

Update: Depraved...

The CPS still stands by its ludicrous opinion that the sight of an actress licking urine tends to deprave and corrupt R18 viewers
Link Here  full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury

Crown Prosecution ServiceThe BBFC published it's decision to make cuts to the R18 adult DVD titled The Best of Lucy Law. It cut 2:35s with the comment:

Cuts were required to remove the clear indication that one woman is licking urine from another, penetration with an object with potential to cause physical harm, and dialogue encouraging an interest in breath restriction. Cuts made in line with current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 , BBFC Guidelines and policy, and the Video Recordings Act 1984.

This decision was published after the R v Peacock case where a jury unanimously cleared films depicting full on urolagnia of obscenity.

Sergio enquired of the BBFC whether anything has changed regarding the R V Peacock case and received an email from the BBFC:

The role of the BBFC is not to decide the law but to enforce it, and in this we will be guided by the law enforcement agencies. In relation to this case, the CPS have stated that the fact that a jury has acquitted someone does not mean that the guidance is incorrect.

There are no current plans to revise our Guidelines.

Yours sincerely,

J L Green
Chief Assistant (Policy)

 

25th January   

Balls Out Bawled Out...

ASA whinge at poster for Steel Panther album
Link Here

Balls Out Steel Panther A poster promoting an album by a rock band, seen in October 2011, showed an image of a woman leaning back with her eyes closed. She was shown wearing a skimpy halter-neck outfit which covered her nipples but left her stomach and the bottom of her breasts uncovered. Her right hand was placed by her crotch and she was holding a string with two silver balls attached, which dangled between her legs. The band's name appeared in the middle of the image and beneath it, large text statedBALLS OUT .

Underneath, the ad showed an image of the four members of the band and text which stated THE NEW ALBUM UNLEASHED FOR HALLOWEEN... Issue

Imkaan, a charity devoted to raising awareness and offering support to women from ethnic backgrounds who were victims of abuse and violence, and four members of the public challenged whether the ad was:

  1. offensive, because they considered the image of the woman was demeaning and overtly sexual in its nature.

  2. Imkaan and three of the members of the public also challenged whether the ad was unsuitable for public display where it might be seen by children.

Universal Island Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Ltd said that the poster depicted the album cover for the rock band, Steel Panther who were a pastiche of an 80s heavy metal band who took their inspiration from bands such as Whitesnake and Bon Jovi. The band's stage performance and persona were very tongue in cheek, nothing about them was serious and their concept was a send-up of the typical 80s band, although their music was new and original. They said the poster was designed to have a retro 80s look which was not done seriously and poked fun at the ridiculousness of the attitude to women, outfits and music in that era. The poster was meant to be ludicrously over the top and not meant to undermine women.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA noted Universal Island Records' argument that the poster was not meant to cause offence or be seen as demeaning to women. However, we considered that the main image on the poster was overtly sexual. We noted that the pose of the woman showed her with her legs apart, her hand between her legs and her breasts partially exposed and considered that her facial expression was suggestive of an orgasm and sexual activity. In addition to this, we considered that the album title Balls Out was sexually suggestive particularly when viewed in the context of the poster, where the woman was seen dangling two silver balls between her legs in a way that we considered was suggestive of male genitalia.

We noted Universal Island Records' argument that the poster was meant to be viewed humorously and not to be taken seriously as it was meant to represent the over-the-top image of the band featured in the poster. However, we considered that most people would not view the poster in this way and even if they had viewed it in that context, the poster was overtly sexual when taken as a whole. Given its placement in a range of public locations, we concluded that it was likely to cause serious and widespread offence, was unsuitable to be seen by children and therefore was not appropriate for outdoor advertising.

The poster breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

 

25th January   

Update: Moral Censors...

Ofcom has another whinge at late night babe channels Sport XXX Girls and Northern Birds
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Sport XXX Girls logoBluebird Live
Sport XXX Girls (Channel 967), 28/29 August 2011, 23:45 to 00:45
Sport XXX Girls (Channel 967), 29 August 2011, 02:45 to 03:45
Sport XXX Girls (Channel 967), 3/4 September 2011, 23:45 to 00:45

Bluebird 40+
Northern Birds (Channel 954), 29 August 2011, 22:50 to 23:25

Bluebird Live and Bluebird 40+ are segments of interactive adult chat broadcast on free to air babe channels Sport XXX Girls and Northern Birds.

The licences for Sport XXX Girls and Northern Birds are held by Satellite Entertainment Limited (SEL).

A complaint alerted Ofcom to the level of sexual content in the material listed above. Ofcom therefore viewed this content and found:

1. Bluebird Live, Sport XXX Girls, 28/29 August 2011, 23:45 to 00:45 The female presenter was wearing a light blue one piece costume which consisted only of a thin strip of fabric between her legs which covered her vagina but resulted in her outer genital area being exposed. During the broadcast she lay with her legs wide open to camera gently thrusting her hips forward and stroking her upper inner thigh area. Given that this shot of the presenter with her legs wide open remained onscreen for the majority of this broadcast, the material was both invasive and prolonged.

SEL denied that the presenter's outer genital area was exposed, saying that it was covered by her garment. The Licensee also denied that these were prolonged or intrusive images, and asked for further clarification about what Ofcom considered to beinvasive about the material.

2. Bluebird Live, Sport XXX Girls, 29 August 2011, 02:45 to 03:45 The presenter wore only a pink lace thong and was filmed with a hand held camera. Throughout the broadcast there were various prolonged and intrusive images filmed, extremely close up and for a duration of time, from directly behind the presenter's buttocks and also between her wide open legs. While being filmed in these positions she thrust her buttocks and hips towards the camera revealing her outer genital area and anal detail.

SEL said there were no prolonged images in the sequence with the potential to cause offence, and asked for Ofcom?s clarification as to how the images were intrusive and prolonged.

3. Bluebird Live, Sport XXX Girls, 3/4 September 2011, 23:45 to 00:45 The female presenter was wearing only a thin white and red thong. For the majority of this broadcast she was positioned on all fours with her buttocks to camera. While in this position her anal and outer genital areas were clearly visible. Given these shots had a duration of several minutes and were in sufficient close up to show anal and outer genital detail they were both prolonged and intrusive.

The Licensee said that the presenter?s garment was clearly covering her genitals , and that for most of the sequence the model was on her stomach with the camera focussing on her face; therefore, SEL failed to see how these images could be in breach of the BCAP Code.

4. Bluebird 40+, Northern Birds, 29 August 2011, 22:50 to 23:25 The presenter wore a black leather look thong composed of a thin strip of fabric only covering her vagina and so revealing her outer genital area. During the broadcast she lay on her back with her legs wide open to camera, and while in this position she gently thrust her hips backwards and forwards. Some particularly intrusive images followed, filmed at close range, when her outer genital area was visible for a prolonged period. In this position she massaged and stroked around her outer genital area.

Ofcom considered this material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code, which states that:

  • Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code

Ofcom concluded that relevant scheduling restrictions were not applied so as to ensure that the material which was broadcast was not capable of causing serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards. Specifically, this material should not have been broadcast within the context of „adult chat? advertising content that was freely available without mandatory restricted access.

Therefore Ofcom found this material in breach of Rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code.

Ofcom has recently imposed a sanction on the Licensee for a number of serious and repeated breaches of the BCAP Code3 , which led to the imposition of a financial penalty totalling £130,000. These present contraventions of the BCAP Code by SEL are another example of very poor compliance by the Licensee. In the circumstances, Ofcom is considering what further regulatory action is appropriate.

 

25th January   

Blu and Shivering...

New US All Region Blu-ray release of Jean Rollin's The Shiver of the Vampires
Link Here

Shiver Vampires Blu ray Jean Rollin The Shiver of the Vampires is a 1971 France horror film by Jean Rollin. With Sandra Julien, Jean-Marie Durand and Jacques Robiolles. See IMDb

US: Uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

  • US 2012 Kino/Redemption RA Blu-ray via UK Amazon and at US Amazon just released on 24th January 2012
  • US 2012 Kino/Redemption R1 DVD at US Amazon just released on 24th January 2012
  • US 1999 Image/Redemption R0 DVD

At the BBFC

UK : Passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2007 Redemption R2 DVD via UK Amazon
  • UK 2004 Redemption R0 DVD
  • UK 1993 Redemption VHS
A Very short version was passed X (18) without BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1971 cinema release titled Sex and the Vampire

Summary Review: Visionary vampire film

A young honeymooning couple stop for the night at an ancient castle. Unbeknownst to them, the castle is home to a horde of vampires, who have their own plans for the couple.

No one makes movies like Jean Rollin, and this is his masterpiece. Like most of his visions it seems to be about innocence and corruption, the attraction Evil has to Good, (and vice versa,) and the discovery of beauty in the unlikeliest of places.

This movie is very sexy, very slow, very weird. The music, lighting, absurd dialogue, and slow pacing help create a more poetic and imagistic type of film than we're used to here in the go-go States.

 

25th January   

Updated: Should be Keel Hauled...

Leprosy charity wound up by film trailer for The Pirates
Link Here

PIRATES ADVENTURE SCIENTISTS MISFITS ORIGINAL A film trailer by the makers of Wallace and Gromit has been criticised for poking fun at people with leprosy.

The scene shows the arrival of the Pirate Captain on board a captive ship, demanding gold.  Afraid we don't have any gold old man, this is a leper-boat, explains a crew member. See, he adds as his arm falls off.

Essex-based Lepra Health in Action has expressed disbelief at the scene in Aardman Animation's The Pirates! Adventures with Scientists.

Lepra's president Sir Christian Bonington said:

It might make you laugh but leprosy stigma not only hurts, it is still forcing people to live a life on the fringes of society.

Not only is the dropping off of body parts a total misnomer we have to ask ourselves, as we watch it uncomfortably, is it acceptable for us to be laughing at the millions of people who are disabled by leprosy? '

A spokesman for Bristol-based Aardman said it took criticism like this seriously and was reviewing the matter.

Update: Potential for offence disarmed

25th January 2012. See  article from  independent.co.uk
See trailer from youtube.com

arm falling offThe creator of Wallace & Gromit, Aardman Animations, has bowed to international pressure after being accused of poking fun at leprosy sufferers in its latest blockbuster film.

Aardman have announced that the offending leper scene in The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists , set for release in March, will be changed out of respect and sensitivity after being convinced that the scene could increase stigma and discrimination for millions of leprosy sufferers.

The scene showed the main pirate character landing on a so called leper ship looking for gold, but is then clearly aghast when the leper's arm falls off. It has already been seen on the film's trailer by hundreds of thousands of people on You Tube and in cinemas worldwide, but Aardman will now remove all offensive references to leprosy.

Chief executive of LEPRA, Sarah Nancollas, said:

We are genuinely delighted that Aardman and Sony Pictures have made this decision, though obviously we will have to wait to see the final film to see it was dealt with.

Hopefully this publicity will help to reduce the damage that has already been done with the use of this trailer across the world.

 

25th January   

Pattison Cackles...

Trivial Mediawatch-UK whinges about sex scenes in the BBC drama Birdsong
Link Here

birdsong6 million people tuned in to BBC1 to watch Birdsong , a raunchy adaptation of Sebastian Faulks's First World War novel.

And an hour into the love story, audiences were given lashings of simulated sex as the two main characters got down to it. Well after the TV watershed though.

Clean-up telly campaigners claim that although the hot scenes were screened after the watershed, they will still be available for young people to access.

Vivienne Pattison, of pressure group Mediawatch UK, said:

It is all too easy for them to get hold of it on BBC iPlayer if they want to.

All they have to do is tick a box to say they're 16 and they're away. We are concerned about children's access to TV programmes on the internet. It's not enough to just put a warning at the start of a programme and make sure it is after the watershed.

A spokesman for Ofcom said they had received just a handful of complaints about the sex scenes but the BBC had not received any.

 

25th January   

Update: Murdering Freedom of Thought...

Turkish PM unimpressed by French bill to criminalise the denial of the Armenian Massacre. So are Turkish people free to call the massacre genocide?
Link Here

recep tayyip erdoganThe Turkish prime minister has said a bill passed by the French parliament on the mass killing of Armenians under Ottoman rule isracist .

Recep Tayyip Erdogan told the Turkish parliament in Ankara that the bill murdered freedom of thought .

This is a racist and discriminatory approach and if you cannot see this, then you are deaf to the footsteps of fascism in Europe.

Turkey, he added, hoped for the success of a French appeal against the bill to the constitutional commission.

We will wait and see the developments and decide on our reply to them, he said.

Turkey, which rejects the term genocide , has said the number of deaths was much smaller.

 

25th January   

Updated: Violent Threat Silences Debate...

Islamic group calls for Salman Rushdie to banned from travelling to Indian literature festival
Link Here  full story: Satanic Verses...Salman Rushdie irritation of the muslim world

Satanic Verses Salman Rushdie Sir Salman Rushdie faces the threat of reprisals from Indian Muslims after a leading Islamic institute demanded the government ban his scheduled appearance at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

The demand from the Islamic body revived divisions over The Satanic Verses , his 1988 novel that Muslim groups have condemned as blasphemous. The book provoked 'outrage' throughout the Muslim world over the narrator's claim that disputed verses in the Koran had been revealed by the Archangel Gabriel.

Fatwas from the Darul Uloom seminary in Deoband are observed throughout the world. Its vice chancellor said tens of millions of muslims remain hurt about the novel. Maulana Abul Qasim Nomani, the institute head, said:

I call upon the Muslim organisations of the country to mount pressure on the centre to withdraw the visa and prevent him visiting India where [tens of millions] community members still feel hurt owing to the anti-Islamic remarks in his writings The Muslims cannot pardon him at any cost,

His remarks were supported by party leaders in Uttar Pradesh, India's largest state which is home to the seminary. Rajesh Dixit, general secretary of the Samajwadi Party, the state's second largest party, said the author's visit must be prevented to avoid insult to India's Muslims.

Rushdie, who was born in Mumbai and holds Indian travel documents, remains committed to appearing at the festival, he said. The author posted a defiant response on Twitter. Re: my Indian visit, for the record, I don't need a visa.

Update: Violence Prevails

18th January 2012. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

jaipur literary festival logoSir Salman Rushdie's name has been dropped from an Indian literature festival amid fears for his safety after threats of protests by the country's most influential Islamic seminary.

The author of Midnight's Children, voted the best Booker Prize winner of the last 40 years, was quietly deleted from the Jaipur Literature Festival programme after the government voiced security concerns and said the opinions of protesters could not be ignored

Rushdie said in a statement that he had decided to cancel his trip. He said he had been informed by intelligence sources that paid assassins from the Mumbai underworld may be on their way to Jaipur to "eliminate" me . While I have some doubts about the accuracy of this intelligence, it would be irresponsible of me to come to the festival in such circumstances..

Update: Even a video link up was cancelled

18th January 2012. See  article from  independent.co.uk

India's reputation for upholding free speech suffered a body blow yesterday after a scheduled video address by Salman Rushdie to a literary festival was cancelled just minutes before it was due to start amid protests and fears of violence.

The British novelist had been due to take part in an hour-long video interview after alleged death threats and protests from Muslim leaders linked to his 1988 book The Satanic Verses persuaded him not to attend the Jaipur festival in person. But, having earlier indicated the event would go ahead, organisers announced it was being called off at the request of the owner of the festival's venue, who had been told by police that planned protests could end in violence.

Last night, Rushdie described what had taken place as a black farce and recalled a letter he had written to Rajiv Gandhi, the Prime Minister when India became the first country to ban the book more than two decades ago. What kind of India do you want to live in?he said in an interview on Indian television. I find an India in which religious extremists can prevent the freedom of expression at a literary festival, in which the politicians are, let's say, in bed with those groups.

See  article from  telegraphindia.com

Rushdie also had a few choice words about censorship by threat of violence:

It's astonishing to me that suddenly not only my physical presence, but even my image on a video screen is considered to be unacceptable. I think it's pretty shocking.

While I've been cast as this so called enemy of Islam, which seems ludicrous to anyone who knows how I have written and spoken over the years, the real enemies of Islam are the leaders, the Deobandis, the various extremist leaders and their followers, who behave like this, because what they do is to strengthen the extremely negative image of Islam as an intolerant, repressive, and violent culture, as an ideology masquerading as a gentle faith, whereas actually what happens every time it's crossed, or every time it dislikes something, is that it resorts to threats and violence. People like this, who behave like this, are the ones who feed that image and they are the ones responsible for the negative views of Islam in the world, and they should be called the enemies of the faith.

I would have said that the vast majority of Indian Muslims really, frankly, don't give a damn whether I come or go. They have many other pressing concerns of their own, to do with their own economic conditions, their own educational conditions, their own prospects in the country, and they are concerned with those. They are concerned with their personal lives and whether a writer comes to speak at a literary festival or not, I would suspect, is a non-issue for the vast majority of Muslims in the country

 

25th January   

Update: Jamming the BBC...

Iranians lobby the UN to end Iranian censorship of foreign media
Link Here  full story: Iran Jams Western Media...BBC, Voice of America and Deutsche Welle

stop censorship in iran advert Iranian protestors gathered in Geneva, demanding the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), a UN agency, to take action on the Iranian government's illegal internet and communications censorship.

The protesters held placards demanding an end to the Iranian government's censorship and satellite jamming. The gathering drew the attention of attending diplomats to the widespread repression of freedom of speech and access to information.

In this rally, that was afforded protection by the Geneva police, participants demanded ITU members to act to the fullest extent of their legal capacity to stop the jamming of Persian-language satellites and eliminate censorship conducted by the Iranian government under the banner ofnational internet .

Update: UN tells Iran to stop jamming satellites

29th February 2012.  See  article from  payvand.com

The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran welcomed a new International Telecommunication Union (ITU) regulation requiring governments take necessary action to stop jamming of satellite broadcasts from within their jurisdiction.

The ITU and its member states should immediately start monitoring Iran's compliance with the new regulation and take any additional steps needed to ensure Iranian authorities stop interfering with satellite broadcasts, the Campaign added.

This is the first meaningful action taken by the ITU and the UN to make legal provisions to counter censorship of satellite programs within various countries, said Aliakbar Mousavi, former Iranian MP who served as deputy head of the Parliamentary Telecommunications Committee.

The Campaign's spokesperson Hadi Ghaemi said:

The ITU has now made Iran's legal obligations perfectly clear. But the international community, including telecommunications corporations like Eutelsat, needs to sustain its efforts to make sure Iran stops jamming satellite broadcasts..

 

25th January   

Insulting Law...

NSS challenges the law: an insult should not be a criminal offence
Link Here  full story: Public Order Act...Enabling police censorship

National Secular Society logoThe National Secular Society has submitted a response to the Police Powers Consultation, calling on the Government to removeinsulting from Section 5 of the Public Order Act. A change in the law would protect freedom of expression for both the religious and non-religious. It would also lay down clearer guidelines for the police and direct them to focus on more serious cases.

The submission calls on the Government to recognise that the word insulting sets the bar for criminal offence far too low. The risk of being arrested can in itself have a chilling effect, preventing people from expressing legitimate views. Section 5 would retain threatening and abusive conduct to cover serious offences and there are other existing laws to protect the individual.

Section 5 of the Public Order Act currently states that it is an offence to use threatening, abusive or insulting words or behaviour, or disorderly behaviour, or displays any writing, sign or other visible representation which is threatening, abusive or insulting within the hearing or sight of a person likely to be caused harassment, alarm or distress thereby.

The NSS submission makes the case that insult is too subjective and nebulous a concept, and therefore open to abuse, partly because a subjective response is hard to challenge. It also identifies a growing trend to claim offence on behalf of a religion.

Other organisations such as Liberty, Justice, the Christian Institute and the parliamentary Joint Committee on Human Rights are also calling for the removal of insulting . The law must recognise that groups like the Christian Institute have a right to freedom of expression but it must also ensure thatinsulting cannot be used by the religious to prevent debate, analysis or criticism.

Section 5 has been used against religious campaigners against homosexuality, a British National Party member who displayed anti-Islamic posters in his window and people who have sworn at the police. A teenage anti-Scientology protestor was arrested, as was a student for calling a police horsegay . Both were released without charge but changing the law would make guidance for the police clearer. At the moment, there is evidence that some officers are not clear about what does or does not constitute an insult.

The removal of the word insulting from section 5 would also bring English law into line with Scottish law, which works effectively without criminalising insulting . For example, the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2011 explicitly excludesinsult from the list of banned behaviour.

 

25th January   

Updated: Porn Coverage...

Los Angeles looks set to require condom use for porn productions
Link Here  full story: Health and Safety in Porn...AIDS and condoms in the US porn industry

los angeles logoLos Angeles City Council has tentatively approved a measure that would require porn performers to wear condoms on production sets.

In a preliminary 11-1 vote, council members voted to approve the measure, which would require porn producers to provide and require the use of condoms on set in order to receive film permits in Los Angeles.

The ordinance still requires a second vote next week for final approval.

The council also agreed to create a group of law enforcement officials and state occupational safety regulators to determine how the measure would be enforced.

Councilman Paul Koretz said before the vote:

We can spend literally millions of dollars on an unnecessary election or we can do the right thing for free. For better or worse, the city of Los Angeles is nationally known as the capital of the adult film industry. We should be nationally known, also, as the home of a safe adult film industry.

Update: Condoms Confirmed

18th January 2012.  See  article from  xbiz.com

The Los Angeles City Council, 9-1, approved a new ordinance Tuesday requiring that all adult film actors wear condoms when filming within city limits. The ordinance, when it goes into effect, will allow the LAPD to perform spot checks on any set once a film permit is issued.

The measure next goes to Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa for his signature.

The Free Speech Coalition said that the adult industry trade group is in discussions with industry leaders and considering options for next steps.

Update: Signed by the Mayor

25th January 2012. See  article from  foxnews.com

Actors in adult movies filmed in Los Angeles will be required to use condoms under an ordinance signed into law by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, and porn industry leaders say the regulation could lead them to abandon the nation's porn capital.

The law, signed Monday, will take effect 41 days after it is posted by the city clerk, something that could happen as early as this week.

Nutters with the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, which lobbied for years for such a law, expressed jubilation Tuesday and said they would now turn their attention to getting a similar condom requirement adopted elsewhere.

 

24th January   

Update: Starting the Parliamentary Game...

Bill to introduce and adult rating for games will be introduced to the Australian Parliament in February
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

australian parliamentIn July last year, Australian state, and territory censorship ministers reached an in-principle agreement to introduce an R18+ classification for video games in Australia.

At the time, the measure was championed by the former Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor.

he has since moved to a new job during the federal government's ministerial reshuffle late last year, with former Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare named the new Federal Minister for Home Affairs.

Clare so far been silent on his intentions for the adult classification for games. Now, speaking to GameSpot AU, Clare's office has revealed that the minister will stick to the previously announced timeline for R18+ and will introduce the R18+ for games bill in the first session of this year's parliamentary sittings, due to commence on February 7.

A spokeswoman for Home Affairs Minister Jason Clare indicated the Government expected the legislation to be passed by the end of the year.

However the Government lives on a parliamentary knife edge needing support from cross bench MPs. It is not yet clear whether the bill will get the necessary consensus.

Update: Victoria Too

4th February 2012. See  article from  heraldsun.com.au

The Victorian Attorney-General's office confirmed it intended to allow R18+ games to be sold there. The Victorian Government also intends to legislate to provide for an R18+ computer game classification, a spokesman said.

(This is) in accordance with the agreement reached between state and territory attorneys-general in July last year to introduce the new classification together with agreed guidelines to protect against excessive levels of graphic, frequent and gratuitous violence.

 

24th January   

Update: Censorship Klub...

Hungarians protest the closure of a popular radio station
Link Here  full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

klub radio logoThousands of Hungarians took to Budapest's streets this weekend demanding that a radio station be allowed to stay open.

About 6,000 opposition supporters rallied on Sunday to defend Klub Radio, chanting: Down with censorship.

The station may be shut down within months after it lost its wavelength licence in a disputed sale. Its managing director Andras Arato said that it has become the symbol of freedom of speech.

 

24th January   

Update: Denied by Turkey...

French parliament passes bill to criminalise the denial of the Armenian Massacre
Link Here

Armenian Massacres 1894 1896 Media Testimony The French Senate has approved a controversial bill that makes it a criminal offence to deny that genocide was committed by Ottoman Turks against Armenians during World War I. The Senate approved the bill by 127 votes to 86.

The measure will now be sent to President Sarkozy for final approval.

The bill's passage in the lower house caused major tensions with Turkey. Ankara froze ties with France after the vote last month and promised further measures if the Senate backed the proposal.

The BBC's correspondent in Istanbul, Jonathan Head, says stronger Turkish measures could include the withdrawal of ambassadors and creating more barriers to French businesses in Turkey.

In the first reaction from Ankara, Justice Minister Sadullah Ergin condemned the bill. He told the CNN-Turk television channel:

The decision made by the Senate is a great injustice and shows total lack of respect for Turkey.

The Turkish embassy in Paris warned that if President Sarkozy approved the bill, the damage done to relations between the two countries would be permanent.

 

24th January   

The Reality Game...

ITV documentary footage claiming to be the IRA attempting to shoot down a helicopter was in fact footage from a video game
Link Here

ARMA II Operation Arrowhead DVD Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA
ITV1, 26 September 2011, 22:35

Exposure: Gaddafi and the IRA was a current affairs programme which investigated the financial and military links between the former Libyan leader, Colonel Gaddafi, and the Irish Republican Army ( IRA ).

A total of 26 viewers alerted Ofcom to two pieces of footage shown within the programme, which viewers considered were misleading:

  • footage, labelled IRA Film 1988 , which was described in the programme as film taken by the IRA of IRA members attempting to shoot down a British Army helicopter in June 1988. Viewers said that this footage was in fact material taken from a video game; and
  • footage of police clashing with rioters in Northern Ireland, described in the programme as being of a riot in the Ardoyne area of Belfast in July 2011. Viewers said that, due to the type of police riot vehicles shown in the footage, the footage must have been of an earlier riot.

Ofcom considered the above material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 2.2 of the Code, which states:

Factual programmes or items or portrayals of factual matters must not materially mislead the audience.

ITV explained  that regrettably the internet footage used was not cross-checked and verified by the production staff as being the Cook Report footage.  The final result of this series of events was that the internet footage used in the programme was not the Cook Report footage but footage from the computer gameArma II . ITV said that this incident was purely a case of human error. It was not ITV's intention to mislead viewers and the use of the wrong footage was in no way deliberate.

ITV also said that during the production process, the programme producer had requested footage of the July 2011 Ardoyne riot from a local historian who has supplied footage to various broadcasters in the past , and who, therefore, the producer considered to be a trustworthy source. However, the historian provided footage of anearlier riot that had occurred in the Ardoyne area of Belfast several years before 2011. Due to a miscommunication between the producer and the historian the discrepancy between the July riot and the [riot footage] supplied was not discovered, and the clip of the earlier riot remained in the programme . ITV said that this mistake was the result of human error and not a deliberate attempt to mislead viewers.

Ofcom Decision

The viewers of this serious current affairs programme were misled as to the nature of the material they were watching. In the circumstances, this represented a significant breach of audience trust, particularly in the context of a public service broadcaster. As such, Ofcom considered the programme to be materially misleading, in breach of Rule 2.2.

Ofcom was particularly concerned by this compliance failure by ITV. We do not expect any issues of a similar nature to arise in future.

Breach of Rule 2.2

 

24th January   

Updated: Bruce Lee's Oath of Non-Violence...

The Big Boss released on UK DVD
Link Here

Big Boss DVD Bruce Lee The Big Boss is a 1971 Hong Kong martial arts film by Wei Lo. With Bruce Lee, Maria Yi and James Tien. See IMDb

An extended version was passed 18 with previous cuts waived for:

  • UK 2012 Cine-Asia Hong Kong Legends R2 DVD at UK Amazon   just released on 23rd January 2012
  • UK 2006 Medusa/Hong Kong Legends R2 DVD
  • UK 2003 Medusa/Hong Kong Legends R2 DVD
  • UK 2000 Medusa/E1 R2 DVD

Previously Cut

Previously passed 18 after 8s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 2005 Universal R2 DVD
  • UK 1986 Rank VHS
  • UK 1974 cinema release.

From IMDb:

  • Heavy edits to the chain fight
  • removed shots of ice picks and knives being thrown into chests
  • kicks and blows during fight scenes.

DVD Features

  • Digitally re-mastered and restored from a High Definition Transfer
  • 2:35:1 Anamorphic version enhanced for widescreen TV's
  • Dolby Stereo & Original Mono Audio Tracks (Cantonese and English)
  • Dual Language Format (Cantonese and English)
  • Feature Length Audio Commentary with Bruce Lee expert Andrew Staton and Will Johnston
  • Promotional Gallery
  • UK Platinum Trailer
  • UK Promotional Trailer
  • Original Theatrical Trailer
  • Hong Kong Promotional Trailer
  • Rare Uncut 8mm Trailer
  • Original 35mm Title Sequence
  • Textless 35mm Title Sequence
  • Original Lobby Cards
  • The History of The Big Boss: A Photographic Retrospective
  • Deleted Scenes Examined: The Story of the Elusive Uncut Print
  • Bruce Lee Biography
  • Paul Heller: Breaking The West
  • Fred Weintraub: A Rising Star
  • Tom Kuhn: What Might Have Been

Summary Review: Broken Oath of Non-Violence

A young man sworn to an oath of non-violence works with his cousins in an ice factory where they mysteriously begin to disappear.

As one might expect, the whole movie is an excuse to show off Bruce Lee's moves, and they do a great job with it. There's not much in the way of an actual plot. They get straight down to the martial arts. Probably Bruce's most violent and bloody film.

 

24th January   

Update: Even More Miserable...

Pakistan starts blocking porn websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking

Pakistan Telecoms AuthorityPakistan has begun to implement a long threatened block on internet porn.

The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority has provided a list to the ISP's in Pakistan to block the frequently accessed adult sites. It is believed that more web pages will be added to the initial banned list of 1,000 websites and as many as 170,000 websites may be banned in the near future.

The currently blocked websites redirects the users to a new page with the following error message, This page is blocked due to restrictions enforced by the Pakistan Telecommunications Authority (PTA) .

 

24th January   

Diary: Blasphemy!...

Talk on how British law is being used as a de facto blasphemy law
Link Here

centre for inquiry logo Blasphemy!
Conway Hall, 25 Red Lion Square Holborn, London
Saturday 28th January 2012

Presented by CFI UK and The Ethical Society.

This event focuses on the criminalization of religious hatred, defamation, and insult under European human rights, and how this functions as a de facto blasphemy law.

Introduced by Dr Stephen Law of Heythrop College, University of London and Editor of Think (Royal Institute Philosophy) Provost of Centre for Inquiry UK.

  • 10.30am Registration
  • 11.00 am Kenan Malik - Beyond the sacred
  • 12.00 Andrew Copson - Blasphemy laws by the back door
  • 1.30 Austin Dacey - The Future of Blasphemy
  • 2.30 Jacob Mchangama - How hate speech laws are being used to enforce blasphemy norms (to be confirmed)
  • 3.30 Maryam Nazazie - Blasphemy, Offence, and Islamophobia limiting Citizen Rights
  • 4.30 End

Tickets are £ 10

 

24th January   

Stereotypically PC Newspaper...

US newspaper gets all sensitive over cartoon referencing race
Link Here

animals alikeA newspaper cartoon has caused a stir in Cleveland.

Okay, I know how bad it sounds, but they all really do look alike to me... said the cartoon rabbit to police after viewing a line-up of several animals depicted on the other side of a glass partition.

Was the bunny racially insensitive? Did his comment invoke the cliche that all blacks look alike, or worse, that all black criminal suspects are indistinguishable? Apparently, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer thought so. On January 13, the editors pulled the popular comic strip,Non Sequitur, from the newspaper. In its place was a note that said the strip was deemed objectionable.

Hundreds of angry readers found this decision objectionable, voicing their complaints in online posts that excoriated the paper for outright censorship. The readers pointed out that the animals in the line-up were not the same color, size or even species. They noted that the bunny's comment was more apologetic than it was antagonistic. Mostly, they didn't understand the fuss. As one reader wrote:The only thing I found controversial was the fact that you did not publish it.

 

24th January   

Updated: Megaupload Megapanic...

Filesonic ends sharing on its 'cyberlocker' service in response to Megaupload arrests
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

filesonic logoFilesonic, one of the Internet's leading cyberlocker services, has taken some drastic measures following the Megaupload shutdown and arrests last week. In addition to discontinuing its affiliates rewards program, the site has disabled all sharing functionality, leaving users only with access to their own files. Many hundreds of thousands (probably millions) of links all around the web have now been rendered useless, at least temporarily.

This combination of news all adds up to a pretty big deal. Filesonic isn't just some also-ran in the world of cyberlockers. The site is among the top 10 file-sharing sites on the Internet, with a quarter billion page views a month.

Like Megaupload, Filesonic appears to based in Hong Kong and it's clear that the authorities there already worked with the US government to shut down Kim Dotcom's operations and seize his assets there.

The events of the last week have turned the cyberlocker world upside down and there is quite literally panic among users and site operators.

The Megaupload takedown appears to be a game-changer.

Offsite: Panic continues

24th January 2012. See  article from  torrentfreak.com

Fileserve, another leading player, also ended its affiliate program this weekend. Additionally, this morning TorrentFreak received news that Fileserve has now joined Filesonic in banning all 3rd party downloads.

VideoBB and VideoZer have both reportedly closed their rewards program and according to reports have also been mass deleting accounts and huge numbers of files.

Other sites closing their affiliate programs and/or deleting accounts/files include FileJungle, UploadStation and FilePost.

...Read the full article .

 

23rd January   

The Sky is Falling in Wootton Bassett...

Military funeral repatriation in new Bond film sparks a nonsense whinge
Link Here

skyfallWhen Sam Mendes was appointed as the director of the next James Bond film, Skyfall, it was said that he would give the franchise an intelligent new depth.

His efforts to bring a contemporary edge to the 23rd Bond film by including scenes apparently inspired by the military funeral repatriations that passed through Royal Wootton Bassett seem to have sparked a few whinges.

A Royal British Legion spokesman said:

The last thing we want is a glitzy film. Attending the repatriations started as a pure and simple tribute. How are the mothers and fathers of the fallen soldiers going to feel when they see this on the big screen? It is cashing in on people's grief and is just cynical.

Roger Smith, a funeral director brought in to take part in the scenes, tells Mandrake that he was 'shocked' by the film makers' ignorance:

The annoying thing was that the directors didn't seem aware of the protocol for English funerals, he says. They wanted to do a Wootton Bassett-type scene, but had no master of ceremonies in front of the cortege to give the right speed. It was a real shame, a missed opportunity.

 

23rd January   

Updated: The Legend Lives On...

Bruce Lee's Game of Death re-released on UK DVD
Link Here

Game Death DVD Bruce Lee Game of Death is a 1978 Hong Kong film by Robert Clouse. With Bruce Lee, Gig Young and Colleen Camp. See IMDb

UK: Passed 18 uncut with previous BBFC cuts waived:

  • UK 2012 Cine-Asia Hong Kong Legends R2 DVD at UK Amazon released today on 23rd January 2012
  • UK 2003 Medusa/E1 Hong Kong Legends R2 DVD via UK Amazon
  • UK 2001 Medusa/E1 Hong Kong Legends R2 DVD

Previously Cut

Previously a version pre-cut by 3:59s was further cut by 2s by the BBFC for:

  • UK 2005 Universal DVD
  • UK 1997 4 Front VHS
  • UK 1996 Blue Chip VHS
  • UK 1986 Rank VHS

Missing was the sight of nunchuks. Comparison of the UK Rank video and a Video-CD from Malaysia reveals that an entire 4 minute fight scene has been substituted. Late on in the film the Chinese version shows a nunchucks fight between Bruce Lee and a villain dressed all in black. In the Rank Video, this is replaced with a far less savage battle between Bruce Lee and a different guy dressed all in white with no nunchucks to be seen.

DVD Features

  • Digitally re-mastered and restored DVD transfer
  • 2:35:1 Anamorphic version enhanced for widescreen TV's
  • Feature length audio commentary with Bey Logan
  • Dolby Digital 5.1 English audio
  • Bruce Lee trailer archive
  • Deleted scenes from 1978 edition
  • Rare photo archive (including production stills, posters and original lobby card artwork)
  • Legacy of the Dragon (exclusive documentary on Bruce Lee and the Game of Death phenomenon)
  • History of Jeet Kune Do (Bruce Lee's fighting art)
  • Biography showcase for principal stars
  • Game of Death Re-visited featurette
  • 40 minute edit of the original Game of Death footage in accordance with Bruce Lee's script notes
  • Dan Inosanto Jeet Kune Do Seminar
  • Game of Death Retrospective
  • Interview Gallery
  • Fully Animated Menus

Summary Review: A Fitting Tribute

A martial arts movie star must fake his death to find the people who are trying to kill him.

Game of Death, a Frankenstein concoction of bits and peices of Bruce Lee's final performance in a movie originally shot in 1972-73 and a later film shot in 1978 after Lee's death is really two movies in one.

The first, a crime/revenge caper helmed by Robert Clouse is not as bad as you may have heard. The scenes are intercut badly and Lee's many doubles do look bad, but as a movie on it's own merit it isn't that bad.

 

23rd January   

Makeover Rodeos...

Plastic surgeons call for advertising ban
Link Here

baaps logoThe British Association of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons (Baaps) has called for cosmetic surgery advertising to be banned.

Baaps said cosmetic surgery as a medical procedure should not be advertised, in the same way that the promotion of prescription medicines is banned. Baaps president Fazel Fatah said:

Over the last decade the Baaps has worked tirelessly to educate the public on the many aggressive marketing gimmicks that not only trivialise surgery but endanger the patient.

We have warned against the unrealistic expectations set by reality 'makeover' shows and against crass competition prizes promising 'mummy makeovers' and body overhauls.

In no other area of surgery would one encounter Christmas vouchers and two-for-one offers - the pendulum has swung too far, and it is time for change.

 

23rd January   

Extremely Stupid...

Norwegian arrested for posting an internet video calling for the death of Norwegian ministers and royals
Link Here

Norway flagA 21-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of having posted a hateful video to the internet calling on Allah to destroy members of the Norwegian government and royal family.

The man, a Norwegian citizen with a Central American family background, was arrested at his home by policemen from the Telemark police service and the domestic police intelligence agency, PTS. He faces preliminary charges of threatening state officials and incitement to terrorism.

The suspect's lawyer, John Christian Elden, said his client admitted to being behind the video but did not believe it contained any threats: He was not previously known to police, and he doesn't think he has done anything illegal, even though he admits that he's the one who posted the video.

A link to the video was posted in a Facebook group with 1,600 members called Demonstrasjon: Norske soldater ut av Afghanistan [Demonstration: Norwegian soldiers out of Afghanistan]. The group's aim is to gather protesters for a rally outside the Oslo parliament. The number of group members has dropped to below 1,300 since the video appeared there.

In the video, images of Crown Prince Haakon, Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg and Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Store are accompanied by a song in Arabic that contains the words: Oh Allah, destroy them, and let it be painful .

 

22nd January   

Offsite: Don't You Believe It!...

Strong religious belief is no excuse for intimidation
Link Here  full story: Religion Trumps Free Speech...Religious intimdation cancels public debate about sharia

The IndependentIt's been a dreadful week for free speech. A meeting at a prestigious London college had to be abandoned on Monday evening when members of the audience were filmed and threatened by an Islamic extremist.

Then the president of a student society at another London college was forced to resign after a Muslim organisation called for a ban on a joky image of the Prophet Mohammed.

Finally, on Friday, the author Sir Salman Rushdie cancelled an appearance at India's largest literary festival, saying he feared an assassination attempt after protests by Muslim clerics.

Almost as sinister as this series of events has been the reaction to them.

 

22nd January   

Fantasy Whinges...

ASA clear TV trailer for the remake of Conan the Barbarian
Link Here

Conan Barbarian DVD Jason Momoa A TV ad, for the cinema release of the remake Conan the Barbarian , viewed on the Dave channel on 23 August 2011. The ad showed a number of clips from the film. The opening scenes included a man pulling back the hair of two women, and Conan handling swords and jumping up to punch another character in the face. The ad then showed various battlefield and one-on-one fighting scenes, which included a man being stabbed in the back; a man using a sword to slice through an opponent; a man riding a horse and stabbing an opponent; a man being thrown to the ground and wounded; another man getting stabbed in the back with an axe; a woman getting scratched in the face; and someone being hit and then a severed head falling on the ground. The images concluded with Conan stabbing a character in the stomach, and then cutting another character's nose off with a sword. On-screen text appeared at intervals throughout the ad that statedTHIS SUMMER ... VENGEANCE ... IS UNLEASHED ... CONAN THE BARBARIAN ... IN CINEMAS NOW. A voice-over concluded the ad by stating Conan the Barbarian, in cinemas now .

Four complainants challenged whether the images of mutilation, blood and decapitation shown in the ad were offensive and inappropriate for broadcast because of the extreme violence portrayed.

Clearcast responded on behalf of Lions Gate UK Ltd. They said they saw in excess of 60 edits of the ad which were considered on their individual merits. They said the ad was given a post-11pm scheduling restriction, limiting the likelihood of it being seen by individuals likely to be shocked or unaware that programming, and ads broadcast at that time, might have more violent content than those broadcast earlier.

Clearcast said that the film was not gritty, urban realism but rather clearly set in the fantasy genre and although the shots were bloody, they did not linger, were brief and were fired off in quick succession, and therefore viewers were likely to be more tolerant of the elements of gore in the ad and it was therefore unlikely to cause widespread offence.

ASA Decision: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted that Clearcast applied a post-11pm restriction and the ad was shown in accordance with those restrictions. Although we noted that the ad showed the characters fighting and was gory in content, we considered that the setting was fantastical and as such, the scenes in the ad were removed from reality. We considered that the scenes in the ad were very violent, but also considered that the ad reflected the stylised battlefield scenes in the film. Whilst we considered that the ad was unlikely to suit everyone's taste, because it was broadcast after 11pm, we concluded that it was unlikely to promote violence or cause widespread offence to viewers at that time.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code Rules 1.2 (Responsible advertising), 4.2 (Harm and offence) and 32.1(Scheduling) but did not find it in breach.

 

22nd January   

Update: Dangerous Tweets...

China expands programme to register users posting to Twitter like website
Link Here

China flagChina will expand nationwide a trial program that requires users of the country's wildly popular Twitter like services to disclose their identities to the government in order to post comments online, the government's top Internet censor said.

Wang Chen of the State Council Information Office, said at a news conference that registration trials in five major eastern China cities would continue until wrinkles were worked out. But he said that eventually all 250 million users of microblogs, called weibos in China, would have to register, beginning first with new users.

Wang indicated that under the program, users could continue to use nicknames online, even though they would still be required to register their true identities. The reasoning seems to be to limit the spread of malicious rumors, pornography, scams and other 'unhealthy practices' on weibos, which have become a major source of news for many Chinese.

 

22nd January   

Model Protest...

Actress banished from Iran after modelling for topless photo
Link Here

golshifteh farahaniAn Iranian actress has been told she is no longer welcome in her homeland after she posed naked in a French news magazine as a symbolic protest against strictures on women.

Golshifteh Farahani left Iran last year in protest against restrictive Islamic codes that the Iranian cinema industry has to follow under Ahmadinejad's conservative cultural policies.

Now she said the government has sent a communication telling her not to travel back to her homeland: I was told by a Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guide official that Iran does not need any actors or artists. You may offer your artistic services somewhere else.

 

21st January   

Children's Ghost Story...

BBFC cut The Woman in Black for a 12A rating
Link Here

woman in blackThe Woman in Black is a 2012 UK/Canada/Sweden ghost story by James Watkins.
With Daniel Radcliffe, Janet McTeer and Ciarán Hinds. See IMDb .

The film has been passed 12A after 6s of BBFC category cuts for intense supernatural threat and horror for:

  • UK 2012 cinema release

The BBFC commented:

Distributor chose to reduce moments of strong violence / horror in order to achieve a 12A classification. Cuts made in line with BBFC Guidelines and policy. A 15 classification without cuts was available.

Update: More

24th January 2012. See  article from  huffingtonpost.co.uk

The Huffington Post adds a little more detail without explaining:

Substitutions were also made by darkening some shots and by reducing the sound levels on others.

Update: Confirmed

24th January 2012.

Thanks to Gavin Salkeld who confirmed that from the BBFC:

In addition to the 6 seconds of visual cuts, substitutions were also made by darkening some shots and by reducing the sound levels on others.

 

 

21st January   

Update: Ofcom Censors Iranian Propaganda TV...

UK TV censor revokes licence from Press TV citing lack of UK editorial control
Link Here  full story: Press TV...Political censoship merges with TV censorship

Press TVOfcom has revoked the licence for Press TV to broadcast to the UK.

Ofcom cites The Communications Act 2003. Under section 362(2) of the Act, the provider of the service for the purposes of holding a licence is the person with general control over which programmes are comprised in the service.

Ofcom explained:

In the course of correspondence and meetings with Ofcom, statements made by Press TV Limited about the operation of the Licensed Service failed to satisfy Ofcom that the Licensee had general control over which programmes and other services were comprised in the Licensed Service. Ofcom therefore concluded that Press TV Limited had ceased to provide the Licensed Service in accordance with section 362(2) of the Act and that, accordingly, it was appropriate to revoke the Licence.

The Licence was revoked on 20 January 2012.

 

21st January   

Updated: Encyclopedic Protest...

Wikipedia to go dark for 24 hours in protest at the proposed SOPA internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Wikipedia logoWikipedia founder Jimmy Wales has announced that the encyclopedia will go dark this Wednesday in protest of the Stop Online Piracy Act, aka SOPA.

Wales tweeted that the English-language version of Wikipedia would go down at midnight this Wednesday, Eastern standard time (5am in the UK), and come back up in 24 hours.

The heat is rising in the SOPA debate. Over the weekend, for example, three top Obama-administration officials issued a statement that said, in part, While we believe that online piracy by foreign websites is a serious problem that requires a serious legislative response, we will not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet.

Presumably at least partially in response to the White House's statement -- and a possible Obama veto -- SOPA author Smith has dropped the DNS-blocking provision of the controvertial bill -- an action also taken by Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT), sponsor of the Senate's equivalent, the PROTECT IP* Act.

Update: Google Joins the Protest

18th January 2012. Based on article from  minivannews.com

Google logoGoogle's main search page has included a typically minimalist link:

Tell Congress: Please don't censor the web!

This links to a protest page with comment and a petition:

Millions of Americans oppose SOPA and PIPA because these bills would censor the Internet and slow economic growth in the U.S.

Two bills before Congress, known as the Protect IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House, would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business. Millions of Internet users and entrepreneurs already oppose SOPA and PIPA.

The Senate will begin voting on January 24th. Please let them know how you feel. Sign this petition urging Congress to vote NO on PIPA and SOPA before it is too late.

Update: Wikipedia hails a successful protest

20th January 2012. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

The English version of Wikipedia was inaccessible worldwide for 24 hours (unless readers turned off javascript that is)

Founder Jimmy Wales said:

More than 162 million people saw our message asking if you could imagine a world without free knowledge, it said.

You said no. You shut down Congress's switchboards. You melted their servers. From all around the world your messages dominated social media and the news. Millions of people have spoken in defense of a free and open Internet.

Along with Facebook, Google and other major technology corporations, Wikipedia says the laws would place onerous obligations on websites to vet content uploaded by users, and threaten free expression online.

Update: On Hold (Until the heat is off?)

21st January 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

US SenateIn a dramatic display of the power of online protest, a congressional vote on the anti-piracy bills Pipa and Sopa have been shelved after some of the internet's main players demanded a legislative rethink.

Just two days after chunks of the internet went dark in opposition to proposals that critics claim will hamper the flow of online information, Senate majority leader Harry Reid announced the postponement of a planned ballot on Pipa, also known as the Protect IP Act.

Lamar Smith, the Republican chairman of the House Judiciary committee, followed suit, saying his panel would delay action on similar legislation called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or Sopa, until there is wider agreement on the legislation.

The decision to postpone the votes was made in light of recent events , Reid said -- taken to be a reference to Wednesday's day of action in which Wikipedia led the way with a 24-hour blackout.

During the CNN primary debate in South Carolina on Thursday, the four remaining Republican candidates vying for the White House nod came out against the Sopa. GOP frontrunner Mitt Romney said the law was far too intrusive and could hamper job creation and would harm the economy. His main rival, former House speaker Newt Gingrich, said existing laws were sufficient to allow an aggrieved copyright holder to sue, while libertarian Ron Paul said the bill threatened freedom.

 

21st January   

Diary: February 11th 2012...

A Day to Defend Free Expression
Link Here  full story: Religion Trumps Free Speech...Religious intimdation cancels public debate about sharia

one law for all logoOne Law for All is calling for a rally in defence of free expression and the right to criticise religion on 11 February 2012 in central London from 2-4pm.

We are also calling for simultaneous events and acts in defence of free expression on 11 February in countries world-wide.

The call follows an increased number of attacks on free expression in the UK, including a 17 year old being forced to remove a Jesus and Mo cartoon or face expulsion from his Sixth Form College and demands by the UCL Union that the Atheist society remove a Jesus and Mo cartoon from its Facebook page. It also follows threats of violence, police being called, and the cancellation of a meeting at Queen Mary College where One Law for All spokesperson Anne Marie Waters was to deliver a speech on Sharia. SayingWho gave these kuffar the right to speak? , an Islamist website called for the disruption of the meeting. Two days later at the same college, though, the Islamic Society held a meeting on traditional Islam with a speaker who has called for the death of apostates, those who mock Islam, and secularist Muslims.

Whilst none of this is new, recent events reveal an increased confidence of Islamists to censor free expression publicly, particularly given the support received from universities and other bodies in the name of false tolerance, cultural sensitivity and respect.

The right to criticise religion, however, is a fundamental right that is crucial to many, including Muslims.

Clearly, the time has come to take a firm and uncompromising stand for free expression and against all forms of threats and censorship.

11 February is our chance to take that stand.

You need to be there.

Enough is enough.

 

21st January   

Diary: Next Step for Protecting Children Online...

The next one sided talk shop in a series of Westminster Forums
Link Here

Westminster forum logoNext steps for protecting children online
Thursday 26th January

This seminar will bring together key perspectives from policymakers, interest groups and businesses on next steps for enabling children to surf the web, access online communities and partake in culturally rich content without exposure to age restricted products, explicit content and potential personal danger.

It is scheduled following the report to Ministers of the Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection - delegates will assess the practical options for providing what the Culture Secretary has called an active choice about using parental controls, such as age verification tools, website monitoring and methods of filtering content used by online services - and review next steps for policy.

Keynote addresses

  • Lynne Featherstone MP, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Equalities and Criminal Information, Home Office;

  • Claire Perry MP, Chair, Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection

  • Andy Baker, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP)

Other confirmed speakers include:

  • Jeremy Barlow, Relationship and Channel Manager, BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT;

  • John Carr, Secretary, UK Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety;

  • Luc Delany, European Policy Manager, Facebook;

  • Susie Hargreaves, Chief Executive Officer, Internet Watch Foundation;

  • Andrew Heaney, Executive Director, Strategy and Regulation, TalkTalk;

  • Peter Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, The Authority for Television On-Demand (ATVOD);

  • Claire Lilley, Senior Policy Analyst, NSPCC;

  • David Mahoney, Director of Content Policy, Ofcom;

  • Alison Marshall, Public Affairs Director, UNICEF UK (UK Committee for the United Nations International Children's Fund);

  • David Miles, Director, Europe, Middle East and Africa, Family Online Safety Institute;

  • Professor Andy Phippen, Professor of Social Responsibility in Information Technology, Plymouth Business School, Plymouth University;

  • Alexandra Scott, Senior Public Affairs Executive, Internet Advertising Bureau (IAB)

  • Jonny Shipp, Head of Digital Confidence, Telefonica.

Chair:

  • Helen Goodman MP, Shadow Minister of State for Culture, Media and Sport

  • Caroline Dinenage MP, Member, Parliamentary Enquiry into Online Child Protection

 

21st January   

Diary: Tempting Failure...

Performance art event forced to find a new venue after licensing censorship
Link Here

tempting failure  advertTempting Failure
Performance Space, Hackney Wick, London
4th March 2012

It has grown out of its origins to represent more than itself. 11 pieces were curated by the body-artist Thomas John Bacon to engage with an ethos of Tempting Failure as part of a new live art & transgressive performance platform. Each work selected sought to engage with the role that sacrifice may play for the artist who challenges their practice or Being in the production of the living artifact: Be it via physical means or through a sense of exposure. Be it metaphorical or actual. And most importantly, be it through the risk of failure. These were all areas of personal exploration for the curator, linked to his PhD research and forthcoming installation [RE]authoring through Sacrifice.

But this platform, originally set to be staged in Bristol was a victim of censorship, something that Thomas John Bacon has experienced on more than one occasion due to the type of work he produces. This lead the platform to be rehoused at ]performance s p a c e [ in London and has seen it grow to stand for more than its original enquiry but represent a statement that art cannot and should not be held back or hidden for the sake of othersprotection.

 

21st January   

Miserable Advert Censors...

ASA whinge at reference to getting laid in student night club event flyer
Link Here

eat my disco advertA Facebook ad and a flyer, for a student club night at Eat My Disco in Sheffield, seen on 12 September 2011, statedGET LAID! EVERY TUESDAY AT REPUBLICA 20TH SEPT FRESHERS SHUTTER SHADES RAVE! FREE SHUTTER SHADES FOR ALL! . Text in a pink circle stated ?1.50 DRINKS ALL NIGHT . The ad featured a variety of pictures of young people in the club including one of a woman wearing a cropped top and shorts. A speech bubble coming from her shorts had text which statedYOU'RE GOING TO GET LAID! .

  1. A complainant, who believed the ad depicted people under 16 years of age, challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible because it sexualised children.
  2. The ASA challenged whether the ad, which referred to alcohol, breached the Code because it: linked alcohol with sexual success and sexual activity; and
  3. featured people under 25 years of age in significant roles.

1. Eat My Disco (EMD) said nobody under the age of 18 years of age was shown in the ad. They said the pictures used were taken at their previous events where strict ID checks were in place and believed that no one featured appeared to be under 16. They said, however, the speech bubble coming from the girl's shorts was an error and should have been shown coming from her mouth.

2. EMD said the campaign did refer to cheap drinks prices, but at no point did it link the drinks to sexual success. They argued that the drinks prices on the literature appeared only as a standalone piece of information and that the ad did not imply in any way that, by drinking, people would become more attractive or find the opposite sex more attractive.

3. EMD reiterated that nobody under the age of 18 was shown in the ad. They said they had previously been unaware of the requirement in the Code regarding under-25s in alcohol ads but would ensure that they complied with it in future.

ASA Decision

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted the complainant's concerns about the suggestive nature of the ad and the age of the people featured. While we took those concerns seriously we considered that, although the women were obviously young, they did not appear to be under 16 years of age and, in the context of the nightclub scenario shown, were likely to be seen as young adults by the majority of readers. We therefore considered that the ad neither depicted nor sexualised children and was not irresponsible.

We noted that the ad had appeared on a Facebook page accessible only to fans of EMD and had been distributed as a flyer in student unions and halls and considered that the vast majority of recipients would be adult students who could choose whether or not to accept the flyer. Although we considered that the statementsGET LAID! and You're going to GET LAID! were clearly sexual references, we noted that the ad did not contain any sexual imagery or graphic content and considered that its content, while likely to be distasteful to some, was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to the student audience at whom it was targeted.

On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Upheld

We considered that the statements GET LAID! and You're going to GET LAID! were clearly intended to be humorous references to attending the event with a view to finding a sexual partner. We noted that the ad also stated£ 1.50 DRINKS ALL NIGHT and we considered that, by including a reference to alcohol alongside the sexually suggestive text, the ad breached the Code by linking alcohol with sexual success and sexual activity.

On this point the ad breached CAP Code rule 18.5 (Alcohol).

3. Upheld

We noted that the Code required that marketing communications for alcoholic drinks and marketing communications that feature or refer to alcoholic drinks should not show people who were, or appeared to be, under 25 years of age in a significant role. We noted, however, that the ad included the price for alcoholic drinks at the event and considered that the majority of the people pictured in the ad featured prominently and looked under 25. We noted that EMD could only provide an assurance that the people were over 18. We therefore concluded that the ad breached the Code on this point.

On this point the ad breached CAP Code rule 18.16 (Alcohol).

 

21st January   

Updated: Mission Accomplished...

Indian High Commission complains to the BBC over the TOP Gear Christmas Special
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

shit for your companyTop Gear's Christmas Special had a bit of fun in India. The usual irreverent jokes ridiculed India's food, toilets, traditional clothing, trains and history.

The jokes notably included Clarkson riding around the country's worst slums in a 4-litre Jaguar fitted with a toilet, joking: This is perfect because everyone here gets the trots.

Not all the jokes targeted India, there was plenty of self effacing fun too. An advertising banner incompetently pasted to the side of train was split as carriages parted  losing the last 3 letters from: Eat English Muffins 

Even David Cameron participated in the Top Gear fun. He had a cameo role waving off the Top Gear trio on a trade mission as ambassadors of Britain to save the UK from bankruptcy.

At the time the programme got up the nose of the nutter mp Keith Vaz.

Now the Indian High Commission in London has formally complained to the BBC, accusing its producers of deceiving them over the nature of the programme, which was jokingly billed as a trade mission .

Update: BBC Response

18th January 2012. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

BBC logoComplaint

We've received complaints from some viewers who felt the Top Gear: India Special was offensive towards the country and its culture.

Top Gear's response

The Top Gear road trip across India was filled with incidents but none of them were an insult to the Indian people or the culture of the country. Our film showed the charm, the beauty, the wealth, the poverty and the idiosyncrasies of India but there's a vast difference between showing a country, warts and all, and insulting it. It's simply not the case that we displayed a hostile or superior attitude to our hosts and that's very clear from the way the presenters can be seen to interact with them along the way. We genuinely loved our time in India and if there were any jokes to be had they were, as ever, reflected back on the presenters rather than the Indian people.

Offsite Comment: Don't give way to the Top Gear-bashers

21st January 2012. See  article from  spiked-online.com

Spiked logoWhat Clarkson's audience understands that his shrill critics do not is that he is not to be taken seriously.

I wonder what proportion of the five million viewers of the Top Gear India Special over Christmas was desperate-to-be-offended members of the chattering classes? Skipping the second instalment of Great Expectations, they no doubt sat through the show solely to tweet about how awful Jeremy Clarkson and Co's monkeying about on the road to the Indian Himalayas was.

...Read the full article

 

21st January   

Unduly Masculine Themes Unbanned...

New Zealand campaigners whinge at relaxation of censorship rules for beer adverts
Link Here

new zealand advertising standards authority logoA women's campaign group has struck out at a change in advertising codes it claims will lead to more sexist beer commercials on television.

The director of the Women's Health Action Trust said the New Zealand Advertising Standards Authority had cut guidelines which prevented alcohol adverts from depicting unduly masculine themes or portray unrealistic behaviour .

Director of Women's Health Action Trust, Maree Pierce, said they were stunned the ASA would chose to weaken its rules at a time when New Zealand communities:

have made such a strong call for more rigorous control of alcohol advertising and its content.

Plenty of evidence has shown how beer advertising, both in New Zealand and abroad, draws heavily on stereotypical masculine themes and routinely portrays sexist, derogatory and degrading behaviour by men, towards women, as part of beer drinking culture and lifestyle.

But the Advertising Standards Agency said a flood of alcohol advertisements which were derogatory towards women was very unlikely. Following a review late last year of the Code for Advertising Liquor, the ASA removed the requirement that alcohol advertisementsshall not depict unduly masculine themes or portray unrealistic behaviour .

 

21st January   

Censored by 100 Policemen...

Somaliland TV station closed down
Link Here

horn cable tv logoReporters Without Borders is worried by events of the past week affecting the media in the breakaway northwestern territory of Somaliland, in which a total of 25 journalists were arrested and a television station, HornCable TV, was closed in Hargeisa, the territory's capital. The organization accuses the authorities to trying to intimidate the media and calls for the release of four journalists still being held illegally.

This wave of arrests of journalists is without precedent in Somaliland, Reporters Without Borders said. We are disturbed by this crackdown and by the president's readiness to brand a media as a 'nation destructor.' This will further intimidate journalists who already have to cope with tough conditions in this region of Somalia. We urge the authorities to free the four journalists still being held and to reopen HornCable TV without delay.

When HornCable TV employees demonstrated outside the presidential palace in Hargeisa in protest against the station's closure, they were attacked and beaten by members of the Somaliland Special Protection Unit and eight of them were arrested. Thirteen other journalists from various media who went to help their detained colleagues were then also arrested. HornCable TV's owner was summoned to the president's office later and interrogated. The detained journalists were finally released after being held for more than 24 hours.

HornCable TV was closed on 14 January when around 100 policemen arrived in seven armoured vehicles, ordered all the staff to leave and sealed the doors. The transmitter was disconnected soon afterwards.

 

20th January   

Whimp...

Expendables 2 to be PG-13 rated as strong language is too much for tough guy Chuck Norris
Link Here  full story: Expendables...Tough guys and whimpy censorship

EXPENDABLES Movie Poster Promo Flyer The Expendables was an R Rated tough guy actioner with no shortage of strong language and arterial blood spurts.

It turns out that The Expendables 2 won't repeat the rating of its predecessor, and will instead be rated a more tame PG-13.

Chuck Norris explained in an interview for Gazeta:

In 'Expendables 2', there was a lot of vulgar dialogue in the screenplay. For this reason, many young people wouldn't be able to watch this. But I don't play in movies like this. Due to that, I said I wouldn't be a part of that if the hardcore language is not erased. Producers accepted my conditions and the movie will be classified in the category of PG-13.

Sylvester Stallone has also confirmed that the sequel will indeed be knocked down a ratings peg:

The PG13 is true, but before your readers pass judgement, trust me when I say this film is LARGE in every way and delivers on every level. This movie touches on many emotions which we want to share with the broadest audience possible, BUT, fear not, this Barbeque of Grand scale Ass Bashing will not leave anyone hungry

 

20th January   

Who Pays the Ferryman?...

Ofcom confirms on appeal that TV channels are responsible for paying the exorbitant ATVOD fees rather then VOD platform provider, Virgin
Link Here

nickelodeon logoATVOD welcomes Ofcom appeal decision that it was correct to determine that three Viacom companies were responsible for VOD services featuring their content on the Virgin Media platform

Appeals by Viacom companies Nickelodeon UK Limited, The Paramount Partnership and MTV Networks Europe against ATVOD determinations that they respectively hold regulatory responsibility for the Nickelodeon, Comedy Central and MTV video on demand content on the Virgin Media platform, have today not been upheld by Ofcom.

The decision means that the three Viacom companies rather than Virgin Media are responsible for ensuring that the services comprising their video on demand programmes on the Virgin Media platform comply with the statutory rules which apply to On Demand Programme Services.

The decision turned on the definition of editorial responsibility as defined in section 368A of the Communications Act 2003, which states that a person has editorial responsibility for a service if that person has general control over what programmes are included in the service and over the manner in which those programmes are organised within the service.

Welcoming the decision, ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said:

This is a complex area and the appeal system is a vital part of the process, giving service providers, in particular, greater clarity over where regulatory responsibility lies.

 

20th January   

Updated: India Tries the Wrong Man...

Google India points out to the court that it is not responsible for the content of Google Inc. websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn

google india logoGoogle India has filed a petition in the Delhi High Court saying that it does not exercise any control over content on YouTube, Google, Orkut or Blogspot in India, and thus can't be summoned to an Indian court in a criminal case against it related to inflammatory images of Gods and Goddesses posted on some of its websites.

The petition to quash a criminal complaint was submitted by Google India's lawyers in the Delhi High Court.

The original criminal complaint was filed by editor of Akbari , Vinay Rai last month. Google's India MD Rajan Anandan has been summoned to appear in a lower court on Friday in connection with this complaint.

According to the petition, Google India says that it has been appointed just as a distributor of Google Inc.'s Adwords program in India, and thus it's India MD does not control the Blogger, Google or YouTube websites. Google India furthur says that sites such as Orkut.com are owned by Google Inc, and thus it is not even an intermediary' as defined in the Indian IT Act, and thuscan't be summoned to answer in any case regarding content .

Mukul Rohatgi, counsel for Google India, told ET that it's humanly impossible to monitor or remove the content before it is uploaded on the internet. My client Google India is different from Google Inc, and does not have any control over the platform. Google India is just an advertising and revenue collection body.

Appearing for Vinay Rai, his counsel SPM Tripathi said that according to IT Rules, 2011, the websites have to remove the content within 36 hours of receiving a court order, which they have not complied with. The content on the websites is derogatory against Hindu, Muslim and Christian Gods and Goddesses, and can spark a riot if publicised. It incites hatred and enmity between communities and thus should be removed by the parties.

Update: Delays in the case India v The Internet

20th January 2012. See  article from  zdnet.com

The Delhi High Court delayed hearings on petitions by Facebook and Google to dismiss criminal proceedings against them in the country's Web censorship case. The two Internet giants are among 21 companies that have been asked to develop a mechanism to block objectionable material in India, and the Indian government has given the green light for their prosecution.

Earlier this week, Facebook and Google told the Delhi High Court they cannot block offensive content that appears on their services. Although the case was originally filed in a lower court, the companies have appealed to the Delhi High Court, challenging the lower court's ruling asking them to take down some content. The high court has now pushed back the case till February 2, according to NDTV. If their petitions fail, the 21 companies will have to face trial in the lower court, which has its next hearing scheduled for March 13.

 

20th January   

Update: Megaupload Goes Megadark...

Megaupload is shut by US authorities and bosses have been arrested
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Money In The Bank Explicit The U.S. Justice Department has charged seven individuals connected to the file-sharing site Megaupload.com, accusing them of a massive worldwide online piracy scheme that costed more than $500 million in damages and generated more than $175 million in profits, according to a Justice Department release. Megaupload's CEO is the rapper and DJ Swizz Beatz.

The business is allegedly led by Kim Dotcom of Hong Kong and New Zealand. Dotcom was arrested in New Zealand along with associates.

The main site, Megaupload.com which has been shut down, is accused of infringing on copyright by distributing movies, television shows, books and software even before their release dates. The companies Megaupload Limited and Vestor Limited are accused of having a business modelexpressly designed to promote uploading of the most popular copyrighted works for many millions of users to download. The site provided financial incentives for uploading popular content, the indictment charges.

The interest in this case is likely to be high as it is conveniently timed to match interest in the recent SOPA protest.

Update: Data owners fight to get their data

4th June 2012. See article from tweaktown.com , thanks to Nick

The Megaupload case continues, with Kyle Goodwin from the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) asking the court to return the files, that were legal, back to Goodwin.

Goodwin lost his files when Megaupload was seized in January, since then they've been to court, both for a hearing and a mediation, but nothing has changed according to the EFF.

On May 24, EFF filed a brief asking the court to order Goodwin's rightfully owned data returned. But the problem is, is that's not just Goodwin's files, it's the thousands upon thousands of other Megaupload users who had data on their servers, where they thought it was safe.

EFF has asked the court to implement a procedure to make all of those customers whole again by giving them access to what is legally theirs.

Goodwin used Megaupload to house business files, with others losing person data and information.

Update: MPAA: Megaupload Users Can Have Their Files Back, But...

11th June 2012. See  article from  torrentfreak.com

Almost half a year has passed since Megaupload's servers were raided by the U.S. Government, and still there is no agreement on how former users can retrieve their files. Previously the authorities and MPAA have objected against such a mass retrieval, but in a filing at the court today the movie industry changed its tone. The MPAA states that users can have their files back as long as access to copyrighted files is blocked.

In the wake of the January shutdown of Megaupload, many of the site's legitimate users complained that their personal files had been lost.

Among these users are many people in the U.S. military who used the site to share pictures and videos with family. Megaupload founder Kim Dotcom previously informed TorrentFreak that least 15,634 soldiers had accounts at Megaupload, between them sharing hundreds of thousands of files.

But as of January those files were rendered inaccessible and attempts by the parties involved to come to a solution have failed miserably.

Last month one of Megaupload's users, represented by the EFF, filed a motion asking the court to facilitate such a user data retrieval. Today, the MPAA filed a response to this motion in which they appear to be more open to the request.

The MPAA Members are sympathetic to legitimate users who may have relied on Megaupload to store their legitimately acquired or created data, although the Megaupload terms of use clearly disclaimed any guarantee of continued access to uploaded materials,MPAA's lawyers write.

But along with this sympathy comes a caveat. The movie studios don't want users to have access to copyright-infringing files.

If the Court is willing to consider allowing access for users such as Mr. Goodwin to allow retrieval of files, it is essential that the mechanism include a procedure that ensures that any materials the users access and copy or download are not files that have been illegally uploaded to their accounts.

Update: US authorities refuse to give back property they have stolen...

13th June 2012. See  article from  tgdaily.com

Innocent bystanders who lost mountains of data, personal files, documents, and more when the popular but illegitimately operated cloud-based site MegaUpload was taken down, may end up being just plain out of luck, at least for a while. The US Deparment of Justice wants to block former user Kyle Goodwin from accessing his high school football videos which he uploaded to the site.

But what happens to those who didn't do anything wrong? Lawyers for the US Attorney say the answer is nothing. In the same way that if you left a video game at a friend's house on the night that police raided your friend's house with a warrant, the government does not have a duty to make sure you get your stuff back in before the case is resolved.

 

20th January   

Offsite: Lessons Learnt...

South Korea to end compulsory registration of internet forum users
Link Here

South Korea flagIn 2003, South Korea's conservative Grand National Party (GNP) struck back from losing a presidential race by enacting a new law which required online users to verify their real identities before posting comments on election-related web sites. The legislation's stated goals were to to promote responsible online discourse and to protect the privacy of candidates, and it has accomplished its purpose to a limited extent. Yet the greater underlying political motive is clear to see --- the conservative party that relies on older, less internet-savvy Koreans wanted to limit the influence of online media on election results.

In 2007, an election year, the proliferation of anonymous online slander was the stated cause for extending the real-name system to web sites with over 300,000 daily visits.

In 2009, the real-name system was extended to web sites that received over 100,000 web sites per day. As of last year, this law applied to about 150 South Korean web sites.

The government's efforts to control cyberspace have been formidable, but as a result of the real-name policy, South Korean web sites have become prime targets for hacking both from in and outside of the country. The number of hacking incidents reached a momentous level last year, as a series of high-profile cyber-attacks made it clear that the real-name system was untenable --- the most notorious case being SK Communications' SNS Cyworld, which leaked personal information of over 35 million Koreans, more than half of the national population.

The South Korean government also suffered an embarrassment when Google's YouTube refused to comply to the real-name verification system in 2009. Stating that freedom of expression must be upheld on the internet, Google disabled video upload and comment functionalities from users accessing the site within S. Korea. Yet users only had to change their country setting in order to upload and comment on the site again, providing a legal loophole which set-off a wide debate within the country. The incident prompted the KCC to initiate a legal review, and after mulling over whether to punish Google or not, decided to exempt it from the real-name law, which added oil to the fire. Korean companies that have had to comply to the law --- that had incurred web development, monitoring, and security costs --- cited discrimination that put them at a competitive disadvantage to global companies.

On December 30, 2011, the KCC announced that it will phase out the real-name verification system by 2014. This time, web sites that do not remove resident registration IDs and other sensitive information will be fined.

...Read the full article

 

20th January   

Dam Censors...

Court considers whether one state is allowed to override an India wide film certificate
Link Here

m999 845758eIndia's Supreme Court has slammed the Tamil Nadu state government for banning the screening of film Dam 999 , saying that when the whole country has one constitution, your state can't have a separate constitution .

The court asked how the state government could ban the screening of the film after the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has granted a certificate for the exhibition of the film.

The court, however, did not pass any order actually ifting the state government's ban.

Justice Ganguly said: The law is clear and the freedom of speech and expression has to be protected. If you are apprehending the breach of peace and law and order, it is your duty to take steps to prevent the same.

The court said that the state government had no role to suspend the screening of a film once the censor board has allowed the screening of the film in the entire country and issued a certificate to that effect.

The amil Nadu state government must now explain its actions by Jan 25 in time for the next hearing on Feb 9.

 

20th January   

Couriered Off...

Belarus newspaper seized following a story about the prosecution of a human rights activist
Link Here

vitebsky kurierA 10,000 copy print run of a private Belarusian newspaper, Vitebsky Kuryer, has been seized by police.

The newspaper was apparently seized following the article Ten Facts about the Case of Ales Byalyatski, detailing the proceedings against the prominent human rights defender.

 

20th January   

Up the Revolution...

Egypt bans TV programme that has opposed the revolutionary government
Link Here

al faraeen tv logoA Cairo court has banned a television program that has been attacking Egypt's pro-democracy revolutionaries. The television program is hosted by Tawfiq Okasha, an Egyptian Presidential candidate for the Egypt National Party.

According to Egypt Independent, the General Authority for Investment and Nile Sat authorities should stop the broadcasting of a program titled Misr al-Youm, which is aired by Al-Faraeen private channel and presented by Tawfiq Okasha, the channel's president.

 

19th January   

Gambling on More Censorship...

David Cameron alludes to another route to suffocating people's fun and the economy
Link Here

David CameronPrime Minister's Questions. 18th January 2012.

Tessa Munt (Wells) (LD): I was shocked to discover that mainstream terrestrial television carries adverts for online bingo at 5 o'clock in the afternoon and that 31 hours and 55 minutes each week is dedicated to live casino betting and gaming, which has been classified as teleshopping since 2009. At a time when there is£ 1.45 trillion of personal debt in this country and when we are encouraging people to be moderate in their expectations and behaviour, will the Prime Minister please protect consumers, children and the vulnerable from this kind of activity by asking for a review by Ofcom---

The Prime Minister : The hon. Lady raises an important issue about gambling advertisement on television. I am all in favour of deregulation and trying to allow businesses to get on and succeed. Gambling programmes and betting advertising were not permitted until the last Government allowed them in 2007 and they are strictly regulated by Ofcom and the Advertising Standards Authority. It is not just a question of regulation, as it is also a question of responsibility by the companies concerned. Anyone who enjoys watching a football match will see quite aggressive advertisements on the television, and I think companies have to ask themselves whether they are behaving responsibly when they do that.

Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch) (Lab/Co-op): On the subject of gambling, Hackney has 90 bookies---three times the national average. Will the Prime Minister listen to the debate that took place yesterday and take action this Friday and instruct his Ministers to support the private Member's Bill that will be before the House and will give local authorities more planning powers over bookies?

The Prime Minister : I will certainly look at the debate the hon. Lady mentions and the ideas expressed in it. We are all for localism and giving local authorities greater powers in these sorts of regards. I will look at the suggestion she makes.

 

19th January   

Update: Addicted to Whingeing...

Keith Vaz kicks off yet another Early Day Motion to take a pot shot at video games
Link Here  full story: Keith Vaz...Keith Vaz in votes for knighthood claim

yellow neural connectionEarly Day Motion 2606

Primary sponsor: Keith Vaz
Sponsors: Bob Russell

That this House is deeply concerned by recent research which suggests that frequently using the internet or videogames can have a physical effect on the brain, similar to that of drugs or alcohol; notes that both neuronal connections between brain areas and brain functions including emotions, decision-making and self-control are affected; calls for further research to be conducted into these serious findings; and further calls for the NHS to provide effective support to those who suffer from internet or gaming addictions.

 

19th January   

Update: Parents Not Whingeing Enough...

UK censors to push their ParentPort one-stop complaints website
Link Here

Parent Port LogoUK censors are partnering with Mumsnet and Netmums to push ParentPort - the website where parents can post complaints about supposedly inappropriate programmes, ads, products and services

It seems that there has been a drop in the number of comments and complaints.

The government-backed ParentPort - a joint initiative by censors including the BBFC, ASA, Ofcom, the BBC Trust and the Press Complaints Commission, was launched in Octobe.

Complaints and comments are thought to have spiked in the weeks after its launch but have since fallen off.

The censors declined to provide figures.

 

19th January   

Spanish Inferno...

Internet petition calls for the removal of a photo from a Madrid exhibition
Link Here

inferno sergio parraMore than 20,000 people have signed on to an internet petition demanding that the mayor of Madrid, Ana Botella, should immediately remove a supposedly offensive photograph now on display at the Teatro Espanol in the Spanish capital.

The photograph in question is an image of nude male model who cover his genitals with a print of a famous painting of Jesus Christ by Diego Velazquez. The photograph by Sergio Parra is called Inferno , something which detractors says is a further insult and incitement to Catholics in Madrid.

The internet petition campaign is led by HazteOir.org and MasLibres.org. In 2011, the two largely Catholic pressure groups were successful in getting the same image removed at last year's Theatre Festival in Merida.

The petition makes clear the views of the signatories that their taxes should not be spent on this type of exhibit, demanding that the photo should be removed immediately for offending the religious sentiments and assailing Christians' right to have their symbols respected.

 

19th January   

Offsite: It Shouldn't be a Crime to Insult Someone...

Section five of the Public Order Act has a corrosive effect on free speech. It's time to roll back the culture of offence
Link Here  full story: Public Order Act...Enabling police censorship

The GuardianSometimes you have to feel sorry for the police. Beyond already dealing with a raft of ill-considered laws, politicians also want them to act againstinsulting behaviour. Section five of the Public Order Act is so broad that almost any protester on any subject can be arrested and fined for harassment, causing alarm or distress .

It's not merely theoretical; many ludicrous cases have been prosecuted. The police arrested a student who held up a sign stating Scientology was a cult -- surely a matter of opinion? Kyle Little, a 16-year-old from Newcastle, was fined£ 50 with £ 150 costs for saying woof to a labrador dog in front of police officers. Eventually the magistrates' decision was overturned by a crown court. The very arbitrary nature of deciding what is insulting gives the police a power they can misuse. After a night out with friends, Sam Brown asked a police officer:Excuse me, do you realise your horse is gay? Police took Brown to court after he refused to pay an£ 80 fine. The CPS eventually dropped the case.

...Read the full article

 

19th January   

Offsite: Passing the Morality Baton...

Feminists who campaign against hip-hop are like the Christian squares who railed against rock'n'roll
Link Here

American Gangster Jay Z There is always someone campaigning against the allegedly evil lyrics on hip-hop records. Back in the late 1980s, it was Tipper Gore, wife of Al, and her posse of perfectly manicured, perfectly white Washington wives who spent sleepless nights panicking that hip-hop artists' allusions to sex and violence would warp young people's minds. (This was before the Gores realised that global warming was a bigger threat to mankind than gangsta rap.) Today, the anti-hip-hop baton has been passed from the prim and well-off arm-candy of politicians to feminists and black activists, who fancy that their campaign to excise words likebitch and ho from hip-hop is radical and edgy, when in fact it is only a spin-off of the squeamish censoriousness of Tipper and her girlfriends.

...Read the full article

 

19th January   

The Easily Offended will Just have to Stay Offended...

ASA turns down claim of religious offence by bus advert for underwear
Link Here

calvin klein advertA poster advertising lingerie, seen on the side of buses in early November 2011, stated Introducing Naked Glamour Calvin Klein Underwearand featured five images of a model wearing a bra and briefs.

The complainant, an Orthodox Cherdi Jew, objected that:

  1. the ad was offensive to the large Orthodox Jewish population of Stamford Hill, whose religious beliefs required them not to see images of women wearing only underwear;

  2. it was irresponsible to display the ad in untargeted media in public as it would be seen by children.

Calvin Klein said they did not believe that the ad was offensive or socially irresponsible. They said the ad merely featured the product, their underwear range, being worn by a model. They believed it was reasonable to feature models wearing underwear when advertising these products, and that the ad was neither sexually suggestive nor overtly sexual. They also said their media vendor had not believed that the ad fell into therisky category, and had been happy for the ad campaign to proceed.

ASA Decision: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that there was no explicit nudity in the images, and that the ad was for an underwear range. We considered that the nature of the product meant that viewers of the ad were less likely to regard the ad as gratuitous or offensive, and noted that the poses of the model were natural. We considered that the ad might be viewed by some as mildly sexual in nature, as the underwear featured in the largest image appeared sheer in nature, and the product nameNaked Glamour was featured. However, although we recognised that some people with strongly held religious views may find the ad distasteful, we did not consider that the ad was likely to cause widespread offence or serious offence to those with religious views.

On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Not upheld

We noted the complainant's concerns that this ad, displayed on buses, was likely to be seen by children. We considered that the ad may be viewed by some as mildly sexual in nature, as the underwear featured in the largest image appeared sheer in nature, and the product nameNaked Glamour was featured. However, we did not consider that the images were overtly sexual, and considered that the ad was acceptable for use in outdoor media likely to be seen by children. We therefore concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible.

On this point we investigated the ad under CAP Code  rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.

 

19th January   

Update: Dangerous Websites...

Iran confirms death sentence for webmasters
Link Here

Iran flagAhmad Reza Hashempour was arrested in 2007. A lower court had sentenced him to death, and the Supreme Court this week upheld Hashempour's death sentence on charges ofmembership in anti-religion and blasphemous websites.

During his four-year detention, Ahmad Reza Hashemour spent a long time in solitary where he was physically and psychologically tortured to make television confessions against himself.

This is the latest injustice in the Mozelleen 3 case. Many of the suspects in this case were forced to make television confessions against themselves and to accept the charges leveled against them. Several individuals implicated in this case released open letters several months after their arrests, speaking up about unbearable torture during their detention period. Another suspect in this case, Vahid Asghari, was also sentenced to death this week, after four years in prison.

Update: Death sentence confirmed for Canadian website programmer

19th January 2012. See  article from  xbiz.com

Website programmer Saeed Malekpour's death sentence for developing and promoting porn sites has been upheld by Iran's supreme court. The Iranian-born Canadian resident now faces imminent execution despite a reprieve last June when the sentence was suspended and set for judicial review after his defense lawyers introduced expert evidence amidst an international outcry for justice.

He appeared on state television confessing to a series of crimes detailing his involvement with porn sites that led to his conviction. But in a letter from his prison cell, the programmer ultimately retracted his confessions and claimed he made the statements under duress that included physical and psychological torture and threats against his family.

Malekpour wrote:

Once, in October 2008, the interrogators stripped me while I was blindfolded and threatened to rape me with a bottle of water. While I remained blindfolded and handcuffed, several individuals armed with cables, batons, and their fists struck and punched me. At times, they would flog my head and neck.

Such mistreatment was aimed at forcing me to write what the interrogators were dictating, and to compel me to play a role in front of the camera based on their scenarios.

Saeed's lawyers were told that his death sentence will be issued this week.

 

19th January   

Offsite: You Can't Read This Book...

Why libel tourists love London
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

You Cant Read This Book In an exclusive extract from You Can't Read This Book , the Observer columnist Nick Cohen presents a damning indictment of how the English legal system helps the wealthy and powerful suppress inconvenient truths:

At their best, journalists expose the crimes of the powerful and there were plenty of powerful people worthy of examination in the Britain of the early 2000s. London was awash with money as it competed with Manhattan to be the hub of global finance.

If journalists tried to do what they should do and investigate them, Britain also gave the oligarchs a further privilege: the power to enforce a censorship that the naive supposed had vanished with the repressions of the old establishment. Among the many attractions London offered the oligarchs was a legal profession that served them as attentively as the shop assistants in Harrods food hall.

With an aristocratic prejudice against freedom of speech, the judges imposed costs and sanctions on investigative journalism that would have been hard to endure in the best of times, but were unbearable after the internet had undermined the media's business models. Instead of aiming its guns at the worst of British writing, the law of libel aimed at the bravest.

...Read the full article

 

18th January   

Cannibal Comedy Horror...

New movie Eldorado said to be delayed over BBFC cuts for an 18 certificate
Link Here

Eldorado 3D DVD Steven Craine Eldordo is a new UK comedy horror by Richard Driscoll with Steven Craine, Darren Morgan, Peter O'Toole, Steve Guttenberg, Daryl Hannah

The publicity material reads:

The evening was going to be a normal Blues Brothers tribute show for Oliver and Stanley Rosenblum, The Jews Brothers till their agent JJ decides to send them to a mythical western town called Eldorado. With Cannibals, music and dancing this is not what Oliver and Stanley expected, especially when they find out that they are the main course of the day.

Intriguingly Richard Driscoll notes on the movie's Facebook page:

Due to an ongoing battle with the BBFC for an 18 certification, Eldorado's initial release on Jan 30th will be in 2D only. We have also decided to postpone the premiere until the 25th June, the date of the exclusive Blu-ray 3D release, as we feel that the premiere should be enjoyed in 3D.

Update: Hype

25th January 2012.

The latest Facebook entry by Richard Driscoll reads:

Great news...after much deliberation the BBFC have given Eldorado a 15 certificate with no cuts! However the time taken to reach a decision has meant that the scheduled release will be delayed by a week.

 

18th January   

ASA's Brains Have Been Abducted...

ASA ludicrously demands that served internet adverts accurately adhere to impractical age restrictions on both the advert and the context where it is served
Link Here

Abduction DVD Taylor Lautner An internet video ad, for the 12A rated film Abduction , was viewed on YouTube on 15 September 2011. It appeared before an animated clip called The Duck Song and included action sequences that involved shooting, vehicle chases, punching, a couple kissing and a man who kicked his way through a glass window. The voice-over stated,An assassin wants him dead ... , which also appeared in text on screen.

A complainant, whose two-year-old saw the ad, challenged whether it was irresponsible, because she believed it was inappropriate to be shown during a video that was addressed to children.

Lions Gate UK Ltd (Lions Gate) said the film Abduction was rated 12A. They said they expected viewers of YouTube to be aged 13 years or over and that YouTube had accepted the online ad and scheduled its appearances. They said the TV version of the ad had been cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction and the online version was substantially the same. Lions Gate said they worked hard to avoid causing offence or distress to viewers.

YouTube said they were not able to verify whether the ad had appeared before The Duck Song clip. They said it must have appeared on a YouTube partner page, however, because those were the only pages on which advertising could appear. They said if content on partner pages was flagged as being suitable only for adult users, no ads would appear. YouTube said their terms of service meant that viewers must be aged 13 or over and statedIf you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use the Service. There are lots of other great websites for you. Talk to your parents about what sites are appropriate for you. They said if viewers aged under-13 viewed the site regardless, there was a risk they would see content or ads that were not suited to children under the age of 13. They said the exact ads they saw would depend on a number of factors, including whether the parent had signed into their YouTube account before viewing, whether they had enabledsafe search on their account and what targeting methods the advertiser had used when they placed their ad.

They said there were other methods of targeting for advertisers who wanted their ads to reach as many consumers as possible; for example a banner ad at the top of the homepage or First Watch ads, which allowed advertisers to run an ad so it was seen only once by a user visiting a YouTube partner page on any given day. Those ads could appear on any partner page. However, all advertisers were contractually obliged to make sure the ads werefamily safe and complied with all terms and conditions and YouTube ad policies, including, for First Watch ads, the more restrictive policy that was specific to the home page. YouTube double-checked compliance with the home page policy before accepting ads via First Watch. They said the Lions Gate ad was placed via First Watch and therefore it could appear to any YouTube user, regardless of whether or not they had logged in. They said they considered the ad to befamily safe because although the scenes were cut quickly and much of the filming was dark and suggestive, there was no explicit violence, no blood or scenes of death, no shooting victims (only sounds of shots fired) and no adult language or explicit sexual content.

They said the website was merely a platform and they were not responsible for the content of videos or ads that might appear. It was for advertisers to ensure their ads were targeted appropriately, and partners who did not want ads, including First Watch ads, to appear against content they uploaded did not have to do so. They said they were always willing to listen to comments and suggestions from their users, who could report ads they felt violated their community guidelines or ad policies.

ASA Decision: Complaint Upheld

The ASA noted the ad reflected the content of an action film. We considered, however, it included some scenes, in particular those of shooting, explosions and punching, that were unsuitable for younger children. We noted that in order to create a YouTube account, users were required to confirm that they were at least 13 years old. We also noted, however, material on the site could be viewed without logging in and therefore it was not possible to prevent under-13-year-olds from viewing material. We noted that users could also be unaware of that policy. We also noted that information YouTube provided indicated to potential advertisers that, based on US figures from 2010, they understood seven per cent of unique visitors to be aged two to eleven and a further nine per cent to be aged 12 to 17, with those audiences described as having 39% and 61%Reach of Online Universe respectively. We acknowledged that data was relevant to a different market but considered it nevertheless indicated that children were likely to view footage, and therefore ads, on YouTube. We noted YouTube offered advertisers the option ofage-gating their marketing material, whereby the ad was targeted via the date of birth registration held for users; only users who were logged in and met the relevant age criteria would see such an ad. We considered theThe Duck Song clip during which the ad appeared, was likely to appeal to children and noted the ad was served in such a way that it could be viewed by all YouTube users, even if they had not logged in. Because it included scenes that were unsuitable for younger children and it could be viewed by all YouTube users, we considered the ad was inappropriately targeted. We therefore concluded that it breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 5.1 (Children). Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Lions Gate to ensure that future marketing communications addressed to, targeted directly at or featuring children contained nothing that was likely to result in their physical, mental or moral harm.

 

18th January   

Update: Stitched Together...

New film and stage censorship law proposal in Malta
Link Here  full story: Censorship Law in Malta...Lawnmakers hide obscenity law behind child protection

Malta flagThe 'furore' over censorship that marked 2011's ban on the play Stitching has inspired a draft censorship law. Tourism and culture minister Mario de Marco unveiled a draft law for the self-regulation of theatre productions.

De Marco said a new system of self-regulation will allow producers to set age limits for audiences on new guidelines.

A new four-member guidance board will issue guidelines to be adopted by stage producers when awarding an age-classification to the production and to assist producers who seek its counsel by suggesting appropriate age-classifications for their stage productions, or confirming the age-classification given by the producer and director in the first instance.

The board will be chaired by Adrian Mamo, chairman of the Malta Council for Culture and Arts.

The proposed roles of the guidance board also include the presentation of complaints from the general public about the age-classification given to a production with the Board issuing its advice on whether the age-classification should be reviewed or not. Such advice is not binding on the producer and director, however it must be made public in order to better inform the public.

The government has now launched for public consultation the amendments to the Stage and Film Classification. The consultation process is open for a period of three weeks and ends on the 7 February 2012.

Amendments on the film industry include the reconstitution of the existing Board to a Board of Film Age-Classification, which shall be responsible for the a priori classification of films. The Board of Film Age-Classification will be placed under a duty to publish the age-classifications given to films, citing the reasons for such a classification. The board will no longer be responsible for theatre censorship.

The proposed amendments also include the creation of a film Appeals Board to hear appeals from the aggrieved party in connection with the age-classification given to a named film.

 

18th January   

Brainless Censorship...

South African advert censor bans empty headed church jibe at atheists
Link Here

brainless advertA church advertising campaign that depicted atheists as empty headed has been banned by South Africa's advert censor.

South Africa's Advertising Standards Authority ruled that a billboard that suggested non-believers considered their existence to be accidental was likely to be found offensive.

The offending poster showed a picture of a man holding his hands against his temples in thought above the line An atheist is a man who believes himself to be an accident , famously attributed to British poet Francis Thompson. It was erected last year in a prominent position on the property of the Rivers Church in Johannesburg.

However, the ASA noted that it was obliged to consider the advertisement's content after it received a complaint from a non-Christian member of the public. The ASA wrote:

The church submitted that the advertisement is based on Psalm 14v and Psalm 53v1, which say "only foolish say in their hearts there is no God".

It is apparent that the proverbial line is drawn when advertising propagates statements that undermine the dignity and constitutionally protected right to freedom of religious beliefs of any identifiable sector of society.

The visuals of a man holding the sides of his empty head suggest that atheists are 'empty-headed or lack intelligence, presumably as a result of the above belief communicated.

This is something that would likely offend all atheists in a manner that the Code seeks to prevent.

The church was ordered to pull down the advert immediately and was banned from using the material again.

 

18th January   

Violent Threat Silences Debate...

University debate about sharia cancelled after blatant threat of violence from a man who turned up at the event
Link Here  full story: Religion Trumps Free Speech...Religious intimdation cancels public debate about sharia

queen mary logoA talk on sharia and human rights by NSS Council Member Anne Marie Waters' at Queen Mary College, London was cancelled at the last moment because of an Islamist who made serious threats against everyone there.

The talk was due to take place on 16 January but before it started, a man entered the lecture theatre, stood at the front with a camera and filmed the audience. He then said that he knew who everyone was, where they lived and if he heard anything negative about the Prophet, he would track them down.

The man also filmed students in the foyer and threatened to murder them and their families. On leaving the building, he joined a large group of men, apparently there to support him. Students were told by security to stay in the lecture theatre for their own safety.

Jennifer Hardy, President of Queen Mary Atheism Society, who organised the event said:

This event was supposed to be an opportunity for people of different religions and perspectives to debate, at a university that is supposed to be a beacon of free speech and debate.

Only two complaints had been made to the Union prior to the event, and the majority of the Muslim students at the event were incredibly supportive of it going ahead. These threats were an aggressive assault on freedom of speech and the fact that they led to the cancellation of our talk was severely disappointing for all of the religious and non-religious students in the room who wanted to engage in debate.

The police were contacted about the incident.

Update: Pitiful Security

25th January 2012. See article from freethoughtblogs.com by Maryam Namazie

My One Law for All Co-Spokesperson Anne Marie Waters was to speak at a meeting on Sharia Law and Human Rights at the University of London last night.

It was cancelled by the Queen Mary Atheism, Secularism and Humanism Society organisers after police had to be called in due to Islamist threats. One Islamist filmed everyone at the meeting and announced he would hunt down those who said anything negative about Islam's prophet. Outside the hall, he threatened to kill anyone who defamed the prophet. Reference was made to the Jesus and Mo cartoon saga at UCL.

The University's security guard -- a real gem --arrived first only to blame the speaker and organisers rather than those issuing death threats. He said: If you will have these discussions, what do you expect? Err, to speak without being threatened with death maybe?

 

18th January   

Brat Slap...

A smacking on Coronation Street sets off a few tweets
Link Here  full story: Coronation Street...Complaints and whinges

coronation street smackingThe Mirror reports that 'hundreds of horrified parents' have complained about a Coronation Street episode which showed a child being smacked.

Viewers saw builder Owen Armstrong slapping his girlfriend's 10-year-old adopted daughter Faye's legs.

Both ITV and media regulator Ofcom confirmed they had received complaints about Monday night's episode.

The Mirror cited a few forum postings and tweets to justify its line: 'hundreds of horrified parents'

Actor Ian Puleston said scriptwriters had treated the storyline cautiously:

From the moment it was suggested, they took it very carefully and slowly, so it took a long time to reach the script stage, and rightly so. I'm happy with the finished result.

An ITV spokeswoman said:

We most certainly don't condone Owen's actions -- as will be seen by the ramifications of the slap, and the effect it has on his relationship.

 

18th January   

Updated: Melinda Tankard Reist...

Profile of Australia's leading anti-sexualisation, pro-life, nutter feminist
Link Here

melinda tankard reistLove her or hate her, anti-porn crusader and pro-life feminist Melinda Tankard Reist is a force to be reckoned with. Rachel Hills meets thepro-life feminist increasingly shaping the gender-politics debate.

Melinda Tankard Reist is a woman of strong opinions. She is also a woman about whom people have strong feelings. If you've seen her proselytise on pornography on TV, read her opinions on the sexualisation of girls in the newspapers, or watched her go after do-badding companies on Twitter or through her activist group Collective Shout, chances are you have a few opinions about her of your own.

She's a wowser. A no-nonsense political crusader beloved by both teenage girls and their mothers. A religious conservative in feminist clothing. A brazen careerist. A gifted networker and generous mentor.

...Read the full article

Update: Melinda Tankard Reist threatens to sue blogger over religion claims

17th January 2012. See  article from  smh.com.au

A blogger who characterised anti-porn activist Melinda Tankard Reist as a fundamentalist Christian says she has been asked to apologise - or be sued.

Tankard Reist - who briefed lawyers to warn off liberal blogger Jennifer Wilson - says it's not being called Christian she objects to, but the claim that she is deceptive and duplicitous about her religious beliefs .

The defiant blogger, who goes by the nom de plume No Place For Sheep , said she would continue to make strong criticisms of Tankard Reist - who can also dish it out: I believe someone who makes public comment about morality really needs to be upfront about where they are coming from. She insists that author Tankard Reist is loath to discuss her links to evangelical Baptism.

...read the full article

Offsite: Australian Sex Party has a few words about Melinda Tankard Reist

18th January 2012. See  article from  sexparty.org.au

Australian Sex PartyMorals campaigner and Christian (wouldn't dare call her a Baptist) cum feminist, Melinda Tankard Reist ('The Tankard') has threatened to sue the uber blogger, Jennifer Wilson, writing on her No Place for Sheep site. In her years as advisor and researcher to the wiley old fox and personal mentor, Senator Brian Harradine, you would have thought that The Tankard would have learnt a thing or two about political strategy. Clearly not.

In the recent past, she has slagged off others far more than she was slagged by Ms Wilson. In fact, the Sex Party and the Eros Association have often thought of suing her for defamation for the most unbelievable allegations she has levelled at us in the past. In 2009 and 2010 she alleged in a blog on her website that the Australian Sex Party had links topseudo child pornography .

...Read the full article

 

18th January   

Update: Democracy Fails in Hull...

Councillor suspended for 20 weeks for trivial insult in tweet
Link Here  full story: The R Word...Campaign against the word 'retard'

hull city council logoA Tory Councillor has been suspended from his job for 20 weeks and will be forced to undertake diversity training, after he called members of the publicretards .

Hull City Council received two complaints after Councillor John Fareham used Twitter to insult people who had protested against public spending cuts. He tweeted:

15 hours in Council today very hard hitting day and the usual collection of retards in the public gallery spoiling it for real people.

The council's PC standards committee claimed that his actions breached its code of conduct. Chair of the sub-committee Sheelagh Strawbridge said:

The committee concluded that Councillor Fareham may have caused the authority to breach equality enactments and had brought his office and the Council into disrepute.

 

18th January   

Update: Dubai is Damned Dangerous...

British engineer sentenced to jail for saying 'damned mosques' in exasperation at slow building process
Link Here

UAE flagA British engineer is facing a month in jail after he told colleagues in a meeting, When will we finish with the damn mosques?

The worker, who has not been named, told an appeals court that he did not mean to insult the Islamic religion.

The British engineer works at the parks and recreation section of Abu Dhabi Municipality, and is appealing against a one-month prison sentence imposed by the Court of Misdemeanours. The slow completion of a Mosque in Abu Dhabi caused the British engineer to make the statement that has landed him in court and facing jail.

The engineer told the court he lost his temper during a meeting because the project he was leading was progressing slowly.

He was then reported to the police by his work 'colleagues' for asking the offending question.

A decision on the appeal will be announced on 7th February

Update: Failed Appeal

8th February 2012.  See  article from  7days.ae  

A British engineer has lost his appeal for insulting Islam after he used a derogatory word to ask co-workers when they would be finished building mosques in Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi Appeal Court ruled that the one-month jail sentence would stand. The engineer, who was working for the parks and recreations section of Abu Dhabi Municipality, had said he merely made the comment during the meeting as he was keen to finish designing a mosque garden.

The court heard he loudly asked colleagues the question, inserting a blasphemous word before saying mosque . One of his colleagues then complained to police. The man had previously told the lower court that he did not intend to insult Muslims and was merely emphasising his words to show how keen he was to finish the project. He added that he respected the UAE and Islam and never intended to show disrespect to the mosque on which he was working.

He was appealing the one-month sentence imposed by the Abu Dhabi Court of Misdemeanours.

 

17th January   

Hellish Debut...

New UK DVD/Blu-ray release of Norman J Warren's Her Private Hell
Link Here

Her Private Hell DVD Blu Ray Her Private Hell is a 1968 UK drama by Norman J Warren. With Lucia Modugno, Terence Skelton and Pearl Catlin. See IMDb

Presumably the cut UK Cinema version was passed 15 without BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 2012 BFI DVD/Blu-ray

The release includes 3 minutes of uncensored US alternative footage as extras. This is presumably the material cut for the UK cinema version.

Previously passed X (16) after BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1968 cinema release

Promotional Material:

The cautionary tale of an innocent girl abroad who gets caught up in the sleazy world of modelling, Her Private Hell was the debut feature of British exploitation director Norman J Warren (Satan's Slave, Prey and Terror) and the UK's first narrative sex film.

Beautiful but naive Marisa arrives from the continent for a job as a fashion model but soon discovers she's being groomed for a different purpose. Starring Italian actress Lucia Modugno (Il Generale della Rovere, Diabolik), the film ran for over a year in London and put Britain on the map in the realm of home grown adult features.

Extras Presented in both High Definition and Standard Definition:

  • Original Her Private Hell trailer.
  • Alternative, uncensored US sequences (3 minutes).
  • Screen Tests (4 minutes).
  • Making Her Private Hell (15 minutes): new documentary with cast and crew interviews.
  • Incident (Norman J Warren, 1959, 14 minutes): newly-created HD version of Warren's enigmatic first film.
  • Fragment (Norman J warren, 1966, 11 minutes): exquisite short about a woman's unhappiness after a failed love affair.
  • The Anatomy of a Pin-up (David Cohen, 1971, 30 minutes): modish documentary about attitudes to nude modelling in Britain.
  • Fully illustrated booklet with new essays by Norman J Warren, David Cohen, Lynn Barber and Josephine Botting.

 

17th January   

Extraditing Turkish Injustice...

Turkey seeks to imprison Fergie over expose of horrific children's homes citing bollox about privacy
Link Here

tonight logoThe Duchess of York, who faces charges in Turkey for going undercover and secretly filming children at a state-run home for a 2008 documentary, canceled a recent trip to the United States because of the case, a source and her spokesman said.

The United States and Turkey have an extradition treaty and the cancellation raised the question of whether Sarah Ferguson is avoiding the United States because she fears being sent to Turkey.

The duchess was accompanied by one of her two daughters, Princess Eugenie, to film the ITV Tonight program in Turkey. An ITV press statement at the time of the film's broadcast in 2008 said the duchess, as part of a reporting team, had gone undercover in one of Turkey's worst institutions -- capturing images that will shock and horrify. The hard-hitting program was intended to help investigate the treatment of mentally and physically disabled children, ITV said.

Ferguson feels the work she did in Turkey was completely valid and consistent with her ongoing support for humanitarian causes, spokesman James Henderson told CNN. Ferguson is consulting rights lawyers as well as attorneys in Turkey as she decides what to do next, he said.

The Ankara prosecutor's office in Turkey accused the duchess of violating the private lives and rights of five children while filming a program for Britain's ITV network, Turkey's semiofficial Anatolian news agency reported last week.  Discussing the case, the Ankara chief prosecutor asked for a prison term of up to 22 years, six months, Turkish state TV reported.

What Ferguson is accused of in Turkey would not constitute a crime in Britain.

The Home Office confirmed that it has received a formal request for mutual legal assistance concerning Sarah, Duchess of York.

 

17th January   

Update: Sexually Assertive Women Send Men Gay...

At least according to Tokyo book censors
Link Here  full story: Manga in Tokyo...Tokyo considers age restrictions on comic books

redikomiWhen lawmakers enact censorship they rather assume that the people doing the censoring are somehow morally or intellectually superior to people thought to be in need of censorship.

Tokyo recently enacted a law to give city government powers to censor manga on grounds of promoting illegal or immoral sexual activity.

escapistmagazine.com have published a fine example showing the dregs of intellect that may hide behind the label of 'censor'. This was taken from meeting minutes of the2nd Miyazaki Prefectural Commission for the Promotion of Healthy Youth Development . At this point, the commission was discussing boys love and ladies comics which, although not-pornographic, do tend to be rather risque.

Committee Member A:

In these books there is some violence and cruelty, and most have sexually provocative material.

In particular, many include scenes of women taking the lead ahead of men, and I think they'll promote the prejudiced view that women want this.

And if you keep getting these depictions of women taking the lead, matters soon develop in a homosexual direction and it must become difficult to develop sexually in a normal fashion, mustn't it?

This may not always be the case, but I think for the male consciousness they may end up thinking they cannot take the lead themselves, and so they tend to turn homosexual more often as a result.

I can't help but think it is very dangerous to our young people, should they see this sort of material mixed in amongst normal books.

No objection to these ideas were recorded in the minutes, but some comments have suggested this may be due to the Japanese custom of avoiding public criticisms of others, particularly those more senior.

The group suggested that some manga should be labeled as urgently designated harmful entertainment, but did not recommend any specific titles for the classification.

 

17th January   

Abuse in 140 Characters...

Ceop call for moderation of twitter feeds
Link Here

ceop logoBritain's Child Exploitation and Online Protection (Ceop) centre said more can be done to safeguard children who use the Twitter website.

Apparently social networking sites Facebook and Bebo both report far more incidents of illegal activity to Ceop than Twitter does. Perhaps the 140 character tweets are not the most likely communication method for grooming and the like.

Peter Davies, head of Ceop, said:

Providers of online services have a responsibility to safeguard their environment in order to minimise the risk to children and close down opportunities for offenders.

Many companies work closely with us to enhance their ability to do this, including Facebook and Bebo.

The centre does receive reports relating to material on Twitter but it's important to say these amount to a very small proportion of 1,000 reports a month relating to a wide range of online environments.

Twitter have removed illegal images and other content on our request.

We believe more can be done around the moderation of Twitter feeds and the strengthening of Twitter's reporting mechanisms.

It's important that all providers have in place robust and effective reporting mechanisms so that when illegal, offensive or inappropriate material is posted it is quickly removed and reported to law enforcement as necessary.

 

17th January   

Offsite: An Insult to Free Speech...

Public Order Act: Repeal Section 5
Link Here  full story: Public Order Act...Enabling police censorship

peter tatchell foundation logoSection 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 is a menace to free speech and the right to protest. It has been repeatedly abused by over-zealous police and prosecutors, to variously arrest gay rights campaigners, Christian street preachers, critics of Scientology and even students making jokes.

It is time section 5 was repealed, to allow freedom of expression without the threat of arrest. The opportunity for reform exists. The current Protection of Freedoms Bill could easily be amended.

Some MPs and Lords want to amend it. Alas, the Con-Dem government is hesitating, despite its professed commitment to restore many of civil liberties that were whittled away during the Blair-Brown era.

...Read the full article

 

16th January   

The Latest Last...

Recent US all region Blu-ray release of video nasty Last House on the Left
Link Here

Last House Left Blu ray US Last House on the Left is a 1972 US horror by Wes Craven. With Sandra Peabody, Lucy Grantham and David Hess. See IMDb .

Here's a video nasty release that was previously missed:

US: uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

Story of the Last House on the Left in the UK

First banned by the BBFC for a cinema release in 1974.

The VHS video was released by Replay Video in June 1982. It was an early casualty of the video nasty panic and got banned in July 1983. It stayed on the list throughout and so became one of the collectible DPP39s

A cinema release was banned again in 2000. However it achieved an cinema club circuit release in 2000.

A subsequent DVD release was rejected in 2001

The DVD was again submitted in 2002 but this time the BBFC offered cuts. An appeal against the cuts proved unsuccessful and in fact resulted in additional cuts to those originally requested by the BBFC. The resulting Blue Underground video/DVD release of 2002 suffered31s of censor cuts .

Further 2003 video/DVD releases (including one titled Krug & Company) from Anchor Bay have been edited differently but maintained the previous BBFC 2002 cuts

The DVD was finally passed 18 uncut by the BBFC in 2008

The Krug edit was also passed 18 uncut in 2009.

Current UK Status: Passed 18 uncut

UK: Passed 18 uncut with previous BBFC cuts waived for:

UK: The Krug Edit was passed 18 uncut for:

Summary Review: Brutal Realist Tragedy

While I think that people tend to get a bit hyperbolic when they talk about The Last House on the Left , I do think it's a fairly good film, especially given what the filmmakers were trying to do and considering their lack of experience, the era and the budget. Also, despite a filmic precursor, it just may be the earliest example of the horror subgenre ofbrutal, realist tragedy . However, it has flaws that would be difficult to overlook in a distanced assessment of the film.

But again, focusing on that amounts to hype now, and shouldn't be taken too seriously, lest it lead to inflated expectations. Just as surprising on a first viewing is that The Last House on the Left has an intermittent goofy sense of humor and agroovy attitude that is firmly mired in the early 1970s. The two policemen are really comic relief characters (and very funny at that), but there is also a lot of humor surrounding the criminal quartet--this almost becomes ablack comedy at times. These sensibilities even extend to the music, which has a frequent hillbilly edge and lyrics that supply ex-positional material. Surprisingly, Hess, who plays Krug, wrote the music.

 

16th January   

A Date with Outrage...

Dating show contestants edited out as a danger to ratings and advertising revenue
Link Here

take me out logoITV bosses are said to be 'infuriated' by tabloid 'revelations' about contestants.

The Mirror reports that ITV bosses feel the channel is being dragged through the mud and are demanding tighter controls over future contestants. Top level management told the show's independent production company, Talkback Thames, that letting criminals and ex-prostitutes appear isunacceptable .

Take Me Out , hosted by Bolton comedian Paddy McGuinness, has been the subject of tabloid revelations since it recently returned for a new series.

First week winner Aaron Withers was revealed to have an assault conviction and a career as a £ 50-an-hour gigolo. Then his date, Wen-Jing Mo, admitted to previously working as a £ 200-an-hour escort.

A senior source at the network said:

These revelations are being taken extremely seriously. It is infuriating to be learning about a different scandal every day. Letting these types of people on to what is supposed to be an early evening family show is totally unacceptable. Things need to change -- and fast.

The ITV brand is being dragged through the mud. The experienced people who are making these shows have been left in no doubt as to the level of disappointment and dismay here.

All mention of the couple was censored from the following week's programme which would normally have shown film of the couple on their date in Cyprus.

 

16th January   

Swatsika Spin...

New York gets wound up by jewelry depicting the Buddhist swastika
Link Here

buddhist swastikaBejewelled, a jewelry store in Greenpoint, Brooklyn owned by Miss Young Sook Kim, had been selling Hindu/Buddhist swastika earrings for $5.99.

Despite clearly rotating in the opposite direction to the Nazi swastika, as most Buddhist, and even neo-Pagan swastikas do, pressure from one NY Councilman, as well as politicians, the Anti-Defamation League, and the media, has been brought down hard on Miss Kim.

New York City Councilman Steve Levin personally visited the store and demanded the Korean owner remove them from her shelves.

According to Fox News, A day earlier, politicians and advocates told FoxNews.com that the earrings were the latest example of anti-Semitism in New York and New Jersey. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer demanded that the store immediately stop selling them.

Ron Meier, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League's New York office says that he was instrumental in getting the earrings removed. Although he acknowledges that the owner understood them as Hindu/Buddhist, as far as he's concerned the fact that other people will wrongly interpret it as a sign of evil is reason enough to have it effectively banned.

It took a little while to really bridge the cultural divide, he says, because they really understood it in one way and New York understood it in very much a different way.

 

16th January   

Offsite: Detained at Her Majesty's Government's Pleasure...

High Court finds that government were unlawful in preventing the BBC from interviewing a man that has been held in detention for 7 years without charge or trial
Link Here

Old BaileyThe High Court has ruled that the Justice Secretary's refusal to grant the BBC permission to have and to broadcast a face-to-face interview with terrorism suspect Babar Ahmad was unlawful.

The BBC and one of its home affairs correspondents, Dominic Casciani, had applied for permission to conduct the interview with Ahmad, who is currently detained at HMP Long Lartin, and is fighting extradition to the USA. The BBC also wished to broadcast the interview. The Justice Secretary refused the permission, which refusal the BBC challenged in a judicial review claim.

Ahmad, a British Muslim, was first arrested in 2003 but released without charge after six days. In July 2004, the Crown Prosecution Service concluded that there was insufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of a conviction again him in the UK under the Terrorism Act 2000. However, he was arrested again in August 2004 following a request by the US for his extradition. The Home Secretary made an extradition order in 2005, which was followed by long running legal proceedings in the domestic courts and in Strasbourg.

In the meantime Ahmad has remained in detention for over seven years without charge or trial.

...Read the full article

 

16th January   

Update: Expressing his Concerns...

UN Special Rapporteur visits Thailand with concerns about freedom of expression
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

UN logoA senior United Nations expert made a private visit to Bangkok to discuss and monitor restricted freedom of expression in the Kingdom, especially the controversial lese-majeste law.

Frank La Rue, the UN Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, issued a statement last year expressing concern about Thailand's lese-majeste law.

He hopes he will be officially invited back later this year to examine the law and issues of expression. Freedom of expression is a fundamental element of any democratic society, La Rue said, urging Thai authorities to do what they can to promote it.

La Rue met with members of the House of Representatives' Committee on Human Rights and the Senate Committee on Human Rights, as well as with National Human Rights Commissioner Nirand Pitakwatchara.

He told a group of reporters that liberation movements around the world, the Arab Spring for example, were a consequence of lack of freedom of expression.

Thai group expresses concerns about freedom of expression

See  article from  bangkokpost.com

A group of prominent figures with royal lineage have appealed to Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra to amend the lese majeste law. Eight people with royal lineage signed a letter which they sent to the PM asking the government to change the law.

The letter said the number of lese majeste cases had increased substantially in the span of seven years, from zero in 2002 to 165 in 2009. News about these cases has been reported around the world and resulted in increasingly intense attacks on the institution of the monarchy, it said.

The group cited in support of its move His Majesty King Bhumibol's address on Dec 4, 2005 in which he said putting people who criticised the monarchy in jail only caused trouble to him.

 

16th January   

Offsite: Police Censorship...

Should the Police Censor What Press Photographers Photograph On Public Streets?
Link Here

photo this and that logoIt's a very worrying question, with an extremely worrying answer coming from some members of the police force and even more so from Police Community Support Officers. Having several friends in the police, I know for a fact that nowhere in their training does it state that officers should censor this country's free press.

As long as members of the press aren't breaking police cordons, or on private property after being asked to leave, the police (and I include PCSOs in this) have no power, nor rights to interfere with a photographer going about doing their job of gathering news. In fact, our country goes to war to help people being oppressed by various regimes, yet we find on occasion that we are being oppressed much closer to home, not by fundamentalists or dictators, but by our own police services up and down the county.

Sadly the court case at the Old Bailey, where two of the racist murderers of Stephen Lawrence were finally jailed, illustrated just how ill-informed some members of the police and PCSOs are. Just what is the motivation to stop a story like this being covered? Did these officers in question want to protect the racist murderers from the photographers' cameras or not allow the same cameras to record the dignified Lawrence family after the verdict? This behaviour is absolutely baffling.

...Read the full article

 

16th January   

Offsite: Risk of Censorship...

The Met police are stigmatising hip-hop with the 696 form
Link Here  full story: Licensed Music Censors...Licensing sets up authorities as music censors

Uncensored Explicit As a hip-hop artist, live performance is not only the bread and butter of my career, as it is for all musicians, but also the lifeblood of my existence. Hip-hop is a direct form of communication and live performance is the opportunity to interact directly with your audience -- when your ideas truly come to life.

It's because of this that I have always perceived the 696 form, the now notorious risk assessment form that requests London venues and promoters to describe the type of music being played, to be cause for great concern. It especially worries me when I hear reports of performers being searched by police prior to stepping on stage, as was reported this week. Where is the line to be drawn? Actions like these serve only to humiliate the performers and alarm their audience unnecessarily.

...

The 696 form essentially serves as a means for the Met to place unnecessary demands upon venues and promoters and in some circumstances almost extort them all in the name of ensuring security. There are countless stories of the Met issuing ultimatums on the very day an event is due to take place. Demanding, for instance, that venues and promoters shell out thousands of pounds to cover the costs for extra security and even, in some instances, the presence of armed police. The only other option is that the event does not take place at all.

...Read the full article

 

15th January   

Update: MPAA Told Hands off DNS Blocking...

Obama speaks out against part of the SOPA internet censorship bill
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Barack ObamaThe White House just released a statement commenting on the pending SOPA and PIPA anti-piracy bills in congress. While the Obama Administration sides with the opposition by saying that free-speech should be protected, censorship is evil, and that DNS-blocking is a no go, the statement doesn't mean that the bills are off the table.

Responding to two petitions signed by over 50,000 people each, the Obama administration recited much of the criticism voiced by SOPA/PIPA opponents. The Administration wrote:

Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small. Across the globe, the openness of the Internet is increasingly central to innovation in business, government, and society and it must be protected.

To minimize this risk, new legislation must be narrowly targeted only at sites beyond the reach of current U.S. law, cover activity clearly prohibited under existing U.S. laws, and be effectively tailored, with strong due process and focused on criminal activity.

The only strong position the Obama Administration takes is against DNS blocking. Here, the White House sides with many of the tech experts, and against the MPAA, by concluding that tampering with DNS poses a threat to the Internet.

In fact many of the lawmakers previously in favor of DNS-blocking have suddenly started to back pedal. They probably got a heads up and changed their tone before the White House statement was released. SOPA author Lamar Smith said DNS blocking would be removed from the bill until further notice.

 

15th January   

Updated: The Case of the Hyped Up Outrage...

Complaints about the not quite so nude scenes in the pre-watershed TV show Sherlock
Link Here

sherlockYesterday the Daily Mail ran one of their nonsense outrage stores saying:

Families settling down to watch the Corporation's latest Sir Arthur Conan Doyle adaptation, Sherlock , were shocked to see actress Lara Pulver, playing the great detective's romantic interest Irene Adler, strolling around with no clothes on a full 25 minutes before 9pm.

And of course to back up their claims of 'shocked' families they could no better than find a few random tweets on the subject.

Now the Guardian reports that the BBC have received 100 complaints about the nude scenes. The BBC also adds that it will not edit out nude scenes from the new series of Sherlock when the hit drama is repeated from 7pm this weekend on digital channel BBC3.

The Guardian also points out that perhaps the scenes weren't quite so nude as we were led to believe:

In the New Year's Day episode, A Scandal in Belgravia , Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes meets his match in the form of Adler, who is naked when they first meet. However, thanks to the camera angles and Pulver's carefully placed arms and hands, viewers do not see her completely naked.

The footage of actress Lara Pulver, who plays dominatrix Irene Adler, led to criticism from the Daily Mail for showing the scenes before the 9pm watershed. Sherlock was broadcast on BBC1 over 90 minutes from 8.10pm on Sunday.

The Guardian also asks whether the complaints were in response to the actual TV showing or perhaps more to do with the Daily Mail story:

A spokesman for the BBC said that due to the bank holiday it could not tell when the complaints had been made, or how many came before and after the Daily Mail story.

Update: BBC Response

15th January 2012. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

BBC logoComplaint

We've received complaints from some viewers who felt certain scenes in Sherlock, which was broadcast on 1st January 2012, were unsuitable before the watershed.

Our response

We were very careful to make sure the portrayal of any nudity was discussed during the early stages of planning for this episode of Sherlock, in order to ensure it was appropriate for a pre-watershed audience.

The sequence where Irene Adler meets Sherlock for the first time was filmed in such a way as to offer a suggestion of her nudity. Each scene was carefully framed and the actors positioned so any explicit nudity was avoided, the aim being a slightly flirtatious and humorous encounter between the characters.

With regards to any suggestive language and innuendo which featured in the episode, this was also carefully considered and we believed was sufficiently mild enough and wouldn't exceed the expectations of a pre-watershed audience.

It certainly wasn't our intention to cause offence and in large we've received very positive feedback from viewers.

 

15th January   

Offsite: It's Obscene!...

Podcast with lawyers and campaigners discussing impact of the R v Peacock obscenity acquittal
Link Here  full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury

north pod lawThe podcast is introduced as follows:

Well this week it's all about sex again! And you really probably should ensure your children aren't in the back seats if you're listening in the car. Awkward questions might abound. Ben, Kirstin and regular contributor, Jonathan Holt, talk with Alex Dymock once more following the verdict in the Southwark Obscene Publications Trial and are joined by Myles Jackman, one of Michael Peacock's defence team and journalist David Allen Green to discuss the merits of repealing the 1959 Act and what this verdict means for future prosecutions.

...Listen to the podcast

Sergio has also kindly listed articles discussing this R v Peacock case:

blog.indexoncensorship.org/2012/01/06/obscenity-trial-verdict-michael-peacock-pornography/
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R_v_Peacock
www.freedominapuritanage.co.uk/?p=2042
janefae.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/news-feed-an-end-to-obscenity-law/
lawandsexuality.blogspot.com/2012/01/fisting-in-courtroom.html
www.newstatesman.com/blogs/david-allen-green/2012/01/crown-court-prosecution
www.newstatesman.com/blogs/david-allen-green/2012/01/peacock-trial-fisting
obscenitylawyer.blogspot.com/2012/01/obscenity-trial-of-decade.html
strangethingsarehappening.com/news-obscenitytrial.html
www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jan/07/obscene-publications-act-future-doubt
www.guardian.co.uk/law/2012/jan/06/obscenity-trial-law-digital-age
www.lawgazette.co.uk/blogs/blogs/news-blogs/an-obscene-waste-money
www.lawgazette.co.uk/obiter/bottoms-and-broomsticks
www.newstatesman.com/blogs/the-staggers/2012/01/obscenity-law-depraved-trial
www.politics.co.uk/comment-analysis/2012/01/06/comment-are-we-seeing-the-death-of-obscenity
www.theweek.co.uk/law/44124/sleazy-michael-wins-obscenity-trial-over-fisting-dvds
quietgirlriot.wordpress.com/2012/01/11/freedom-in-a-puritan-age-or-not/
timeritous.wordpress.com/2012/01/09/r-v-peacock-the-last-obscene-publications-act-prosecution/
sexonomics-uk.blogspot.com/2012/01/obscenity-trial-ends.html
www.solicitorsjournal.com/story.asp?sectioncode=2&storycode=19392
www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-16443697
mag.bent.com/news/not-guilty-verdict-in-gay-porn-obscenity-trial/

 

15th January   

Ken Russell: A Bit of a Devil...

BBC 2 documentary on iPlayer
Link Here

bbc ken russellFollowing the recent death of Ken Russell, Alan Yentob looks back over the career of the flamboyant film director responsible for Women In Love, Tommy and The Devils. Friends and admirers - including Glenda Jackson, Terry Gilliam, Twiggy, Melvyn Bragg, Robert Powell and Roger Daltrey - recall a pioneering documentary-maker, talented photographer and fearless film director.

When at the BBC in the Sixties, Russell first established his name with brilliant documentaries on Elgar, Delius and Debussy. Not only did he bring alive their music with inspiring images, he also humanised them by using actors, something unthinkable in factual film-making at the time. His unfettered imagination soon led to feature films. Women In Love earned Glenda Jackson an Oscar and notoriety for a nude wrestling scene featuring Oliver Reed and Alan Bates. Although infamy dogged him with The Devils, he enjoyed considerable commercial success with The Boyfriend and his extravagant take on The Who's Tommy. Furiously creative to the end, Russell showed himself determined to pursue his original ideas, sometimes regardless of the personal cost.

...See Ken Russell: A Bit of a Devil [UK only on iPlayer]

 

15th January   

Grinding Us Down...

New US DVD release of old women in prison film, Savage Island
Link Here

Savage Island DVD Region NTSC Savage Island is a 1985 Italy/US action drama by Nicholas Beardsley.
With Anthony Steffen, Ajita Wilson and Cristina Lay. See IMDb

This is actually a reworking of Hell Prison revamped for the US market with additional material featuring Linda Blair.

US: Uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

Cut by the BBFC

In its only UK release it was passed 18 after 22s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1986 EIV VHS

Summary Review: Turkey

Women who have been captured and sold as slave labor to a South American emerald mine hatch a plan for revolution and revenge.

Rightfully atrocious. Hell Prison was an Italian-Spanish women-as-slaves-on-a-South-American-island-who-revolt thing, brought stateside in 1985, christened with a new title and spiced with fresh footage of Linda Blair as a vengeful ex-employee . Those looking for some hot nude scenes and/or violent confrontations between sexy women in loincloths are bound to be disappointed. But, alas, Linda is once again stuck in a turkey

 

15th January   

Offsite: Using a Hammer to Crack an Internet Poster's Nut...

A scary new Australian censorship enforcement regime applicable to individuals
Link Here

libertus logoAustralia is currently consulting about proposals to apply censorship rules across all media. The Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) are tasked with proposing censorship law that covers all media.

In a long and technical, but fascinating, response from Libertus, many aspects of applying censorship laws across the board are questioned. In particular it is pointed how onerous it can be for individuals or non commercial groups to be faced with commercial levels of fines for publishing material censored under vague definitions. Irene Graham writes:

The ALRC's proposals, if implemented, would significantly extend the breadth of existing Commonwealth law for the intended purpose of enabling criminal prosecution and penalisation of online content providers, including non-commercial content providers (i.e. average everyday Australians). Existing Commonwealth law concerning online content does not apply to content providers, it applies todesignated content/hosting service providers .

The writer is shocked by ALRC proposals which, in effect, would make non-commercial online content providers criminally liable for inability to foresee a classification decision that would be made by a panel of members of the Classification Board (which is not even required to be unanimous, and a panel making a classification decision can be as few as 2 members).

...Read the full consultation response by Irene Graham of Libertus.net [pdf]

 

14th January   

Update: High Priests of PC...

Advert censor explains why ASA is so easily offended by minor joviality about religion
Link Here  full story: Antonio Federici Ice Cream...Ice cream adverts wind up the nutters

SalivationThe Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has dismissed a complaint from the National Secular Society which had accused the ASA of unreasonably restricting freedom of expression by banning advertisements too readily if they risk offending even a few believers.

In a long justification of its enforcement of the Code of Advertising Practice, the wording of which the NSS also attacked, James Best, chairman of the CAP, refused to accept any of the NSS's points about its banning of ads that poke even mild fun at religion.

The complaint arose from the banning of a series of advertisements from the ice cream company Antonio Federici, which, in the ASA's word were offensive, because they believed they mocked Catholicism .

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, said:

When the adverts were banned, the NSS said that the ASA was introducing a new sort of blasphemy law through the back door. This response from the ASA gives us no reason to change that opinion. When did it become illegal to satirise Catholicism?

We have become increasingly concerned about an unreasonable deference to religion by the ASA. We were particularly irked by the banning of the ice cream ads, one of which (in the ASA's own words) showed two priests in full robes who looked as though they were about to kiss. One of the men also wore rosary beads and held a spoon in his hand; the other held a tub of ice cream. The ad included text that stated We Believe in Salivation.

The advertisements were ruled by the Authority to have breached the Code of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the number of complainants is often pitifully small, just six in the case of the priests and ice cream ad.

The Code of Advertising Practice includes the ruling that ads:

should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability.

The NSS complained last year to the ASA, and a high level meeting was arranged between the ASA's chair, Lord Smith of Finsbury (supported by senior executives), and Keith Porteous Wood and NSS senior campaigns officer, Tessa Kendall.

Wood said:

We emphasised the importance of freedom of expression and pointed out that one of their adjudications had recently been overruled by the courts on grounds of freedom of expression. Ironically, the case had been brought by a fundamentalist church, in respect of the banning of its advert criticising Gay Pride parade inBelfast. The ad was headlined 'The word of God against sodomy' and invited those who opposed the parade to meet peacefully.

The NSS is now considering its next step.

 

14th January   

Update: A Handful of TV Complaints...

And New Zealand nutters claim that the county's is going to the dogs
Link Here

bsa new zealand logoSex and strong language on TV shows such as Outrageous Fortune has seen an increase in complaints to New Zealand's Broadcasting Standards Authority over the past five years.

The authority claims increasing complaints reflect the unease some feel at the speed of change in community standards, but nutter group Family First says those standards are being dragged lower by the authority's permissive stance.

The number of complaints received by the BSA which primarily related to issues of taste and decency rose by almost 50% last year to 96 of which 47 were upheld, according to the authority's annual report.

While last year's numbers were inflated by a rash of complaints about broadcaster Paul Henry, the increase was also driven by complaints about frequent coarse language used on Outrageous Fortune and sex scenes from the programme that were shown on 3News at 6.35pm.

Bob McCoskrie, head of Family First, said the trend of increasing complaints on issues of good taste and decency reflected growing public unease about the graphic content and profanity of many TV shows.

A recent survey of 600 young New Zealanders aged 15 to 21 commissioned by Family First reported 57% of females and 45 per cent of males agreed there was too much sex, violence, bad language on TV .

McCoskrie said the survey showed greater concern about sex, profanity and violence on television among older survey respondents:

Our concern is that for the younger ones, 15 to 17, it becomes normalised which is our concern with broadcasting standards full stop in what you allow. The BSA tries to argue that they're representing community standards. We argue that they're creating community standards by normalising it.

But BSA chairman Peter Radich said standards of good taste and decency were changing as they always had:

The pace of change is quickening and this is partly through the influence that the unregulated internet has, more especially on younger people.

Some people find the pace of change unsettling and, as they are entitled to do, they complain. Complaints allow broadcasts to be measured against standards, they allow temperatures to be taken, and for our part, they are welcomed.

 

14th January   

Blocking Watching...

Open Rights Group set up facility to monitor over blocking by mobile phone companies
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

Open Rights Group logoOpen Rights Group (ORG) are researching into the accuracy of the website blocking employed by mobile phone companies. The group wrote in its newsletter:

Last month, we asked ORG supporters to help us find sites that were being blocked by the default Adult filter on their mobile phones. Lots of you replied and asked to get involved. And thanks to that extraordinary team - we've launched a tool to report what sites are being blocked and by whom.

We are getting regular reports and testing blocks on every mobile network. We're seeing just how bad mobile blocking is, and how bad the networks are at dealing with complaints. Forums and joke sites get banned. So do churches. Some MPs want to extend defaultadult censorship to Internet at home as well: but we are already seeing how bad it is on mobile networks. ORG has already been invited to talk to O2 about their systems, as a result of this campaign.

Report blocked websites at blocked.org.uk

3 logoMeanwhile thank to a reader who wrote to MelonFarmers:

Just to let you know; the mobile network Three are blocking access to your site through their 3G networks - The site works fine on Wi-Fi, but on 3G you get asked to contact Three to get a pin to unblock the site, as they have it listed as anAdult content site.

They charge 99p to allow access to adult sites (And it's not straightforward, takes a while to find the right place to do it.). 

They have also blocked Movie-Censorship.com, same reason as above.

 

14th January   

Betting on a Free Internet...

German courts decide that ISPs cannot be forced to block websites judged to be illegal
Link Here

Germany flagCompared with some European countries where courts are telling ISPs that they must block access to certain sites (in Finland and the UK, for example), news from Germany comes as a refreshing change. The German newspaper Der Spiegel reported:

Deutsche Telekom must allow access to online betting sites, even if they are illegal in Germany. So ruled the Cologne Administrative Court.

This follows a decision in Dusseldorf at the end of last year, where a judge had ruled that Vodafone and Telekom were not responsible for the content of Web sites, because they played no role in selecting material, and therefore should not be forced to block access.

Moreover, the latest judgment can be used as a precedent in similar cases, according to the Der Spiegel report.

 

14th January   

Ghostly Hype...

India's film censor cuts Ghost, hyped as the country's most violent film ever
Link Here

ghost crucifictionThe major Bollywood film, Ghost , has received the full censorial treatment. Supposedly excessive gore-content offended India's film censor who made severe cuts.

Director Puja Jatinder Bedi says that some of the cuts have been unjustified. The censor board cut one of the most important scenes in my film. It's a scene where the ghost gets crucified like Jesus Christ. The scene was very pivotal for the screenplay,said Bedi.

The censor board felt that the crucifixion would hurt religious sentiments of the Christian community. Also, the brutality was being perpetrated on a woman. The blood and gore content is high enough for Ghost to be rated as the most violent film ever. So, the censors have toned down all the murder sequences,she added.

However, when contacted, J.P. Singh, the censor board's regional officer at Mumbai, said that the crucifixion sequence had only been reduced, not removed.

That scene is still there in the film. Only its length has been shortened to reduce the impact of the extreme brutality shown on a girl. The examining committee has given five-six cuts. All of them were extremely brutal. There was a scene showing a dead body's legs being cut. Another excessively violent scene showed a girl being beaten for a very long time by many people,said Singh.

 

14th January   

Dangerous Links...

Man extradited to the US over copyright claims about a website that linked to infringing TV content
Link Here

tv shack logoA British student can be extradited to the United States to face charges of copyright infringement over a website he ran offering links to pirated films online, a court has ruled.

Richard O'Dwyer, whose site TV Shack made more than £ 150,000 in advertising revenues, according to US prosecutors, is thought to be the first person extradited to America on such charges. If convicted in New York, he faces jail.

Speaking after the hearing at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court, the 23-year-old said he felt like a guinea pig for the US justice system. His lawyer argued that his site hosted no illegal content, but merely directed users to where it was held online, and said that his client would appeal the ruling.

 

13th January   

Possessed by Censors...

The Possession cut down to a children's horror film
Link Here

dibbuk boxDistributors Lionsgate have got their heart set of a PG-13 rating for the children's horror The Possession.

The film was originally given an R Rating but Lionsgate appealed. The appeal was turned down by the MPAA in November 2011 and so the R Rating stood.

Now Lionsgate have cut down the movie to obtain the required PG-13 rating.

Jeffrey Dean Morgan stars in The Possession, formerly titled Dibbuk Box , with Sam Raimi and Rob Tapert producing, and Ole Bornedal directing. The movie follows a divorced father whose youngest daughter becomes strangely connected to an antique wooden box she purchased at a yard sale.

The film will open at the end of August 2012.

 

13th January   

Giving Sweden a Piece of my Mind...

Nutters wound up by cartoon that's supposedly offensive to cannibals
Link Here

cannibal cartoonThe Swedish newspaper Metro published a comic strip by Norwegian artist Frode Overli, playing on a literal interpretationof cannibalsasking for someone's hand [in marriage].

The paper received a barrage of complaints from readers who perceived the cartoon as somehow racist.

Swedish artist Jason Timbuktu Diakite said:

Frode Overli's comic strip...was the most insensitive and degrading thing I have ever read in your newspaper. It is a crystal clear case of ignorance and lack of insight in what it feels like to be subjected to racism. I feel deeply offended and very sad, Diakite.

The comic strip features a cannibal chief, his daughter, and a prospective suitor.

According to Metro, some 60 readers contacted the paper saying that they felt that the image was racist. The paper has therefore chosen to print an apology, saying that it never meant to offend anyone.

 

13th January   

Nutter Objects Thwarted...

South African advert censor dismisses complaints about Playboy billboard
Link Here

tracy mcgregor advertSouth Africa's Advertising Standards Authority has ruled that a Tracy McGregor billboard in Johannesburg was harmless.

The advert censor dismissed complaints that the billboard depicted women as objects for sexual gratification , degrades the dignity of women and encourages sexual promiscuity .

Tracy McGregor, the 2008 FHM Sexiest Women winner, is shown on the billboard wearing black stilettos and black lace underwear, with one arm over her head. Next to her are the words: Playboy Playmate Parties and the Playboy SA website address is given below.

But a handful of motorists and residents were less than titillated. One said that the billboard promotes pornography and that he was uncomfortable having to explain such images to his young nieces and nephews.

In its response, Playboy SA said the magazine carried far tamer content than some magazines on local shelves, and suggested that those who were offended should focus on the message detergent adverts sent to society about women.

And it seems the advertising body agreed, saying in its ruling that Playboy had chosen not to gratuitously depict a lustful, sexual image . The billboard is not overtly sexual and imagery of a seductively dressed woman is a product relevant to the advertiser.

 

13th January   

Breeding Discontent...

Kennel Club campaigns to get critical BBC documentary banned
Link Here

pedigree dogs exposedJewish dog breeders are urging the BBC to cancel a new film about pedigree dogs because a previous film compared breeders to Nazi eugenicists.

Pedigree Dogs Exposed was aired in 2008. After complaints, the TV censor, Ofcom, found that the Kennel Club had not been given a proper opportunity to respond to an allegation about eugenics and a comparison with Hitler and the Nazi Party.

A follow-up programme is being filmed for broadcast later this year on BBC Four, but the BBC said similar comparisons would be avoided.

But Jewish breeders want the programme, produced by Jemima Harrison, to be pulled entirely, because of the distress the original broadcast caused.

In the 2008 film, a voice-over narrates the history of eugenics, (selective genetic breeding), over an image of the Kennel Club HQ and the annual dog show, Crufts. Images are also shown of Adolf Hitler, Nazi rallies and antisemitic signs. After the 2008 screening, Harrison said:The film-makers acknowledge that the link between the eugenics movement and dog-breeding is an extremely uncomfortable one for many, but it is nevertheless factually correct.

Dog breeder Mike Davidsohn and other breeders have set up a Facebook group with more than 1,500 members called Stop the BBC making another PDE .

 

13th January   

B-Movie Mayhem...

New US DVD release of Anton Holden's exploitationer Teenage Tramp
Link Here

Marias B Movie Mayhem Teenage Tramps Teenage Teenage Tramp is a 1973 US crime drama by Anton Holden.
With Alisha Fontaine, Anthony Massena and Robin Lane. See IMDb

US: Uncut and MPAA R rated for:

  • US 2011 Code Red Maria's B-Movie Mayhem Double Bill R1 DVD at US Amazon

Cut in the UK

Last seen in the UK when it was passed 18 after 49s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1999 Double Vision VHS packaged as if it were a softcore sex film

Summary Review: A harrowing experience

Wayward and uninhibited young runaway Kim has fallen in with a bad crowd. Kim decides to flee said crowd and goes to the west coast to reunite herself with her uptight sister Hilary so she can collect some of the family inheritance. However, evil drug dealer Maury and his flock follow Kim to Hilary's house.

it is a rather unsettling look at clashing life styles in America, here depicted violently for the exploitation fans. It still carries a wallop.

All hell breaks loose when Kim (Alisha Fontaine) arrives on her sister's mansion doorstep.  The Film becomes a harrowing experience with the arrival of Manson-esque cult/gang leader Maury.

 

13th January   

Update: Dictatorship of the Tiny Minority...

India's new TV censor makes first report after 6 months of viewer whinges
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in India...India considers the regulation of TV for adults
sunny leone

  Sunny Leone
Biggest reasons for complaint

India's Broadcast Content Complaints Council (BCCC) received 3,441 complaints in six months since its inception in June last year, with biggest attractions for complaint being a Rakhi Sawant hosted programme and the appearance of porn star Sunny Leone in reality showBigg Boss 5.

The self-regulatory body dismissed most of the complaints, officials said. Just 479 were specific complaints which were considered in remit and were heard by the Counci.

Among these 36 complaints specifically raised issues related to the appearance of Leone on Colors Channel programme Bigg Boss 5. Some of the complainants had claimed that children are being exposed to porn industry as they are getting curious to know who is a porn star.

BCCC upheld the whinges against Leone considering her appearance on Bigg Boss-5 to be promotional material for her own websites. The censor advised the channel to choose future participants with care.

The most complaints, 58, were received about the telecast of a programme Gazab Desh ki azab Kahania which was hosted by Rakhi Sawant on Imagine TV.

A majority of the other complainants objected to depiction of sexuality in television programmes. BCCC took action ranging for advising channels to not telecast programmes during general viewing hours to prohibiting telecast in some cases.

 

12th January   

Update: Red Goes Black...

Reddit to go dark to protest SOPA internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

reddit logoOn January 18, the online community at reddit will go dark for 12 hours in opposition of the Stop Online Piracy Act now being considered in the House and its companion PROTECT IP Act in the Senate. Both bills would give copyright holders tremendous power to have websites blocked, to get their advertising cut off, and to shut down their credit card or PayPal payments.

reddit's community has been organizing all manner of objections to the two bills, including a targeted (and successful) boycott of GoDaddy, which supported the legislation. This time, site admins decided to get involved in order to get the word out to all of reddit's users.

Reddit explained:

Instead of the normal glorious, user-curated chaos of reddit, we will be displaying a simple message about how the PIPA/SOPA legislation would shut down sites like reddit, link to resources to learn more, and suggest ways to take action..

We're not taking this action lightly. We wouldn't do this if we didn't believe this legislation and the forces behind it were a serious threat to reddit and the Internet as we know it.

 

12th January   

Dangerous Musings...

Bangladesh Facebook commentator sentenced to 6 months jail for musing about the death of the PM
Link Here

Bangladesh flagLast August, Muhammad Ruhul Amin Khandaker, a lecturer of the Department of Information and Technology at Jahangirnagar University in Bangladesh, updated his Facebook status to comment on a series of fatal road traffic accidents involving celebritries.

With a heavy dose of irony the lecturer asked on his Facebook profile why the prime minister, Sheikh Hasina, couldn't suffer a similar fate.

Maybe it wasn't clever or very funny, but expressing the wish that a political leader could vanish is the kind of thing stated all over the internet on a daily basis. Clearly there is a line to be drawn between people just wishing they did not have to endure politicians in their life and people who are directly making a threat to the life of an elected leader.

That line is called common sense. But in this case the Bangladeshi government doesn't seem to possess a great deal of it as the High Court just sentenced Khandaker to six months in jail.

 

12th January   

Offsite: Humour is the New Taboo...

Frankie Boyle on Scotland's repressive football sectarianism act
Link Here

Work Consume Die Frankie Boyle What do you think of the Scottish Government's anti-bigot bill to help curb sectarian aggression?

It's basically an attack on freedom of speech. It's the ruling classes telling the working classes what to say and think. Will middle class rugby fans be arrested for singing anti-English songs? The idea is laughable.

...

Of course, some of the songs and words contravene laws on racial hatred, and maybe even on inciting violence. But that's a debate that needs to be had. Why aren't we having that? Because it would be really fucking awkward. Sectarianism is a real problem, but it should be addressed by people engaging with each other -- reconciliation. If we were really serious about this the first step is to end religious segregation in schools. It's a Scottish reaction to think we can get rid of all this with a piece of paper, just so we don't have to make eye contact, talk to each other, agree. In my time in Glasgow I've known a lot of Catholics and a lot of Protestants and you know what? Scratch the surface and we're all the same. Total cunts.

...Read the full interview

 

11th January   

Twelve Fucks and Fifteen Cocksuckers...

J. Edgar rated 15 for infrequent strong language
Link Here

Edgar Blu ray US Leonardo DiCaprio The BBFC have rated Clint Eastwood's J. Edgar as 17 for infrequent strong language.

The decision is explained in the Extended Classification Information:

J. EDGAR is a biopic of J.Edgar Hoover, the founder and head of the FBI. It was classified 15 for infrequent strong language.

The BBFC's Guidelines at 12A/12 state The use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') must be infrequent. The film contains only one use of 'f***ing', which would have been permissible at 12A. However, it also contains two uses of cruder language (in this case 'c***sucker') that were more appropriately classified at 15 where the Guidelines state There may be frequent use of strong language. None of the language is personally directed or accompanied by violence, but is spoken in a derogatory manner about political opponents who are not present at the time.

The film also contains some moderate violence during shootouts between police and mobsters. However, the violence is almost always bloodless and lacking in injury detail.

...

The film also contains some mild bad language, such as damn and Jesus Christ . There are a couple of uses of the term negro , although the term is not used in a pejorative sense, simply reflecting the common terminology of the period in which the film is set. The historical nature of the term and the lack of intent to offend is reinforced by sight of Martin Luther King using it himself in a televised speech.

Seems a bit harsh, but the US film censors seemed to agree that J. Edgar went beyond PG-13 and rated the film as R.

Interesting to note the inconsistent use of asterisks in the BBFC piece. It let one 'fuck' through but censored the next. Is this the BBFC keeping the page itself down to a 12 rating?

 

11th January   

Updated: A Long Memory for Fleeting Expletives...

US court to hear case regarding a couple of 'fucks' uttered on TV a decade ago
Link Here

nypd blue nudeStarting this Tuesday, the US Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments in Case No. 10-1293, better known as Federal Communications Commission, et al v. Fox Television Stations, Inc., et al.

The case will revive a discussion, and start a process to determine, on what federal indecency restrictions should be placed on radio and television broadcasters.

The Supreme Court case concerns incidents at the Billboard Music Awards , shown on Fox. At the 2002 show, Cher referred to critics of her work by saying Fuck 'em. I still have a job and they don't. A year later, Nicole Richie said, Have you ever tried to get cow shit out of a Prada purse? It's not so fucking simple.

The FCC concluded that the broadcasts violated its indecency regulations, though the agency stopped short of imposing fines. Federal law lets the FCC levy a $325,000 fine on each station that airs indecent material between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.

The case will also look at a scene involving brief nudity on a 2003 episode of NYPD Blue.

Of course, the upcoming ruling will also affect radio broadcasters, who are under essentially the same indecency guidelines as their television counterparts. The Obama administration has stated in court that broadcasters should present a relatively safe medium for...children.One hopes, however, that while this case looks at off-the-cuff profanity, the FCC will begin to move closer to specific guidelines so broadcasters can be certain what is, in fact, deemed indecent and what isn't.

Update: Court hears government case for TV censorship

11th January 2012. See article from wlwt.com

US Supreme CourtThe Supreme Court appeared ready to give government regulators the continuing authority to regulate profanity and sexual content on broadcast television after a lively hour of arguments.

The justices and lawyers all stayed polite, not actually using any obscene words, preferring the legally acceptable f-bomb or s-word to describe the controversial content at issue in the high-stakes free speech dispute.

The court will decide whether the Federal Communications Commission may constitutionally enforce its policies on fleeting expletives and scenes of nudity on television programs, both live and scripted.

In many televised instances, one cannot tell what is indecent and what isn't said Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. It's the appearance of arbitrariness about how the FCC is defining indecency in concrete situations, she added.

But with so many programming choices on broadcast, cable and satellite TV, All the government is asking for is a few (broadcast) channels where you can say -- they are not going to hear the s-word, the f-word. They are not going to see nudity, Chief Justice John Roberts said.

The court's ruling, which will come in a few months, could establish important First Amendment guidelines over explicit content on the airwaves.

 

11th January   

Unfaked Dickheads...

Georgia lawmakers consider a bill to criminalise celebrity fake nudes
Link Here

pam dickerson dickheadLawmakers in the US state of Georgia are considering a bill that would make it illegal to alter photos to make it appear someone's head is on a nude body unless they o-k it.

Pam Dickerson filed HB 680 in December. It would make it illegal to Photoshop a photo and post the image online without permission.

A person would break the law if they defamed a person by identifying them in a so-called obscene depiction in such a manner that a reasonable person would conclude that the image depicted was that of the person so wrongfully identified.

The obscene depiction, under the law would include a body showing genitals, pubic areas, buttocks and the female breasts below the top of the nipple. It also includes actual or simulated acts of masturbation, homosexuality, intercourse or physical contact that implies sexual acts, even over a clothed body.

If enacted, any person convicted of violation the law would be guilty of a misdemeanor and would be punished by a maximum fine of $1,000 or by a year in jail, or both.

 

11th January   

Stereotypically Complaining...

Australian Jewish group complains about stereotypes in TV show The Promise
Link Here

Promise DVD Claire Foy The Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ) has complained with the Australian broadcaster SBS about the British-made television series The Promise, which it says conveys anti-Jewish stereotypes.

In a letter to SBS, the Jewish organisation alleges that the series

promotes, endorses and reinforces demeaning stereotypes about Jews as a group. All of the principal Jewish characters (and thus by implication Jews generally) are portrayed negatively and, ultimately, without any redeeming virtues. They are cast as variously cruel, violent, hateful, ruthless, unfeeling, amoral, treacherous, racist and/or hypocritical.

The ancient libel that holds all Jews throughout history to be collectively guilty of killing Jesus has been segued into the equally ludicrous proposition that all Jews are collectively guilty of the wanton shedding of innocent blood, a staple of contemporary Palestinian propaganda. The series also panders to stereotypes about Jews being immoderately wealthy and having acquired their wealth unfairly. The cumulative effect of these consistently negative portrayals of all of the principal Jewish characters and of the series' numerous misrepresentations of the relevant historical background in a way that consistently casts Jews in a negative light is to demean Jews as a group.

The relevant historical events (and their misrepresentation) and the principal Jewish characters are vehicles for attributing negative traits to Jews generally across time and space. 'The Promise' utilizes and reinforces racist tropes about Jews that, but for a brief post-WWII respite, have been embedded in western civilization since pre-Christian times and are not in any way comparable to negative portrayals of other groups.

The four-part series The Promise, written and directed by British filmmaker Peter Kosminsky, tells a fictional story about Erin (played by actress Claire Foy), an 18-year-old British girl who visits her Israeli friend Eliza in Israel in 2005. Erin carries and progressively reads through the diary of her grandfather, Len, which describes Len's experiences while serving as a sergeant in the British army in the 1940s.

First screened in the UK in February 2011 and in France in March 2011, critics and Jewish organizations in both countries condemned the series. The Board of Deputies of British Jews also complained, but Ofcom, the UK's TV censor, said the program was not in breach of any of its guidelines.

 

11th January   

Update: Shame about the Hype...

Steve McQueen's Shame rated as adult only in Australia
Link Here  full story: MPAA NC-17...US adults only certificate is the kiss of box office death

shameThe distributor of Steve McQueen's new filmShame has lashed out at Australia's classification board, saying the internationally acclaimed film doesn't deserve an R18+ rating.

Transmission Films general manager Courtney Botfield says she is disappointed the Australian Classification Board has stamped Shame with the rating, which restricts marketing and tends to dent box office takings.

The classification is harsh, she claims, given the film's level of explicit content and the absence of violence:

We were disappointed, we don't think the film is that terribly explicit to deserve an R rating.

Given that it was rated in a similar classification bracket in the US it was on the cards, but we were pretty confident it wouldn't get one.

In fact the film was rated adults only in both the UK (18 rating), and the US (NC-17 rating).

Botfield says some people will miss out seeing an important film because of restrictions on marketing. She explained:

Mainly it's the trailering. The trailer is automatically rated R and can only play with other R-rated films, of which there are none, so that key marketing tool just disappears.

 

11th January   

Festival of Captivity...

Burma allows a festival of uncensored short films
Link Here

art of freedom logoBurma's movie industry once reached a certain level of acclaim---albeit in Southeast Asia. But state censorship under decades of military dictatorship has long robbed the country's filmmakers of the right to portray aspects of Burmese society such as abject poverty, state oppression, and the wars in ethnic minority areas.

Despite the repression, there are signs that the industry might flourish once again if freedom returns to Burma---at least that is the message gleaned from the uncensored award-winning movies at the Art of Freedom Film Festival in Rangoon, which was held from Jan. 1 to Jan 3.

Organized by pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi and comedian activist Zarganar, the festival, the first of its kind in Burma, chose the top five out of 188 submitted short films for a prize-giving ceremony in Rangoon on Burma's Independence Day.

The movies, which were shown free of charge to Rangoon audiences, depict some of Burma's real life stories under military oppression. The 35-minute movie, Ban That Scene , was voted Best Film by audiences. It satirizes film censorship and corrupt officials within the censorship board, in whose office hangs a sign which reads,Eye Everything With Suspicion.

I am encouraged by the films and I wonder how long these filmmakers were waiting for a chance to make these movies of freedom, wrote Zarganar on his Facebook page. He also expressed his deep frustration over the government clemency that saw the release of just over 30 political prisoners while several hundreds remain behind bars.I expected that I would celebrate this film festival with my colleagues freed from prison, but now I wish to change this festival's name to the Festival of Captivity,he said.

In any case, most artists and observers of the arts are encouraged that in allowing the festival to go ahead, the government's hardline stance toward film-making may be softening as part of its reform program. Many see the festival as a heartening sign, but say they will remain unconvinced until there is a clear relaxation of rules at the state film and video censorship board.

 

11th January   

Not So Democratic Republic of Congo...

DRC closes down Radio France Internationale over 'unappreciated' election coverage
Link Here

rfi logoAuthorities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) shut down broadcasts of the French government-funded Radio France Internationale (RFI) over its coverage of the violent aftermath of the November 2011 presidential elections.

ommunications Minister Lambert Mende said the Council of Ministers had ordered the temporary measure of switching off RFI's six FM broadcast frequencies until the Congolese Broadcasting and Communications Superior Council, the new state-run media censorship agency, had issued a decision.The government did not at all appreciate the way RFI attempts to trivialize the anti-constitutional comedy of Tshikedi, Mende told Agence France-Press.

This decision is part of a pattern of closures to punish Radio France Internationale whenever it reports independently on political news in the DRC, said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. We call on the Congolese media regulatory agency to break with this pattern of political censorship and reverse the decision immediately.

RFI is the most popular news station in the DRC, according to CPJ research.

 

10th January   

Capturing the Nutter Vote...

Leading Republicans commit themselves to prosecuting major porn businesses
Link Here

morality in media logoLeading Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich have each pledged to enforce federal obscenity laws against major commercial distributors of hardcore adult pornography.

The pledges, compiled and published by Morality in Media, are part of the organization's The War on Illegal Pornography mission, which invites Internet users to message the front runners anti-porn sentiments.

None of the other Republican candidates nor President Obama has responded to efforts initiated by MIM to learn their views, the organization said.

 

10th January   

Update: Infant Censors...

Facebook again caught making crap censorship decisions about breast feeding pictures
Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

express yourself mums logoFacebook has again apologised for crap and arbitrary censorship after it deleted a page showing two little girls pretending to breastfeed their dolls.

Express Yourself Mums, an NHS-backed breastfeeding website, discovered its group had been removed on for a supposed policy violation .

The previous day co-owner Sharon Blackstone had posted a picture of her seven-year-old daughter Maya playing with her doll. She said:

After giving her doll a naming ceremony, Maya told me that her baby needed to be fed. As she's only ever seen me breastfeed her little sister, it was the most natural thing in the world for her to pretend to do it the same way.

Like many mums, I got out my phone and took a picture because I thought it was a sweet moment. I shared it with the 600 other mothers on our Facebook page because I thought it was something they'd like to see. After all, don't millions of people post cute pictures of their kids on Facebook?

A few minutes later, my business partner Carly Silver also posted a similar shot of her seven-year-old daughter Izzy cradling her baby doll in her arms.

Last Friday afternoon Express Yourself Mums discovered the page (with 600 fans) had been removed. The reason given was a vague list of restrictions including nudity or obscenity.

Under pressure to reinstate the page from more than 400 women who formed a campaigning group, Facebook has now apologised for the error and reinstated the page. Facebook says any complaint is reviewed by its operation team, which then makes the decision about whether to remove the images or close down the group. A Facebook spokesman said:The group was removed in error. It will be reinstated, and we apologise for any inconvenience caused.

[Presumably the Facebook censorship system is as cheap as possible and gives low grade 'operators' minimal time to make decisions which turn out to be arbitrary. I guess these are re-considered by more senior censors if a fuss is kicked up. One has to wonder how many people and businesses suffer from equally crap decisions but cannot organise sufficient press coverage to get Facebook to reconsider].

 

9th January   

Updated: A Bird Re-plumed...

New UK ArrowDrome DVD of Dario Argento's The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
Link Here

Bird Crystal Plumage ArrowDrome DVD The Bird with the Crystal Plumage is a 1969 Italian/West German thriller by Dario Argento with Tony Musante and Suzy Kendall. See IMDb

The Unrated Version was passed 15 uncut for:

Previously Cut

Previous UK releases were based on the cut US R Rated print that was further cut by the BBFC.

Goodies

  • A reversible sleeve of original artwork
  • Includes interview with director Dario Argento
  • Booklet by Alan Jones author of Profondo Argento

Summary Review: Engrossing Mystery

This was Dario Argento's debut feature, a well-received thriller in which an American writer living in Rome (Tony Musante) witnesses an assault on a woman in an art gallery and is subsequently targeted by the would-be assassin, a crazed psychopath who's been terrorizing the city with a series of brutal murders.

It is a fairly straightforward thriller with horror asides, anchored by a strong narrative, an increasingly bizarre series of supporting characters, and a strong Everyman hero who slots the puzzle together piece by piece before realizing that the most important clue to the killer's identity was there in front of him all the time.

Producers were unconvinced of his directorial abilities and wanted to pull him off the picture during the first few weeks of shooting, but Argento persevered under an iron-clad contract and ultimately proved his critics wrong with the finished product, a genuinely engrossing mystery punctuated by scenes of explicit horror.

 

9th January   

Friday the 13th...

New page to maintain the cuts status of the series of Friday the 13th films
Link Here

Friday 13Th DVD Betsy Palmer A new page has been added to maintain details of the MPAA and BBFC cuts to the Friday the 13th series of films:

  • Friday The 13th (1980)
  • Friday The 13th Part Two (1981)
  • Friday The 13th Part III (1982)
  • Friday The 13th: The Final Chapter (1984)
  • Friday The 13th: A New Beginning (1985)
  • Jason Lives: Friday The 13th Part VI (1986)
  • Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood (1988)
  • Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan (1989)
  • Jason Goes To Hell: The Final Friday (1993)
  • Jason X (2001)
  • Freddy vs. Jason (2003)
  • Friday The 13th (2009 remake)

See BBBC Cuts Friday the 13th Films

 

9th January   

Offsite: Trial Report...

Making a Fist of It: The Law and Obscenity
Link Here  full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury

Old BaileyChris Ashford has written an excellent report of the trial:

On Friday 6 January 2012, a historic case came to a conclusion in Courtroom 7 of Southwark Crown Court in Courtroom 7. Michael Peacock was unanimously acquitted, after a four-day trial that saw the outdated obscenity law of England and Wales in the dock.

Peacock had been charged under the Obscene Publications Act 1959 for allegedly distributing obscene gay DVDs, which featured fisting, urolagnia ('watersports') and BDSM.

Peacock had advertised the DVDs through Craigslist, his own website (which also promoted his services as a male escort), and in a magazine. The Human Exploitation and Organised Crime Command (SCD9) or London's Metropolitan Police --- which encompasses the former Obscene Publications Squad --- saw the advert and began an investigation.

...Read the full article

 

9th January   

A Disturbed Relationship with Democratic Rule...

Germany set to place anti-islamic websites under surveillance
Link Here

Germany flagGerman authorities have announced a plan to place anti-Islamic websites under surveillance because of growing concern that they are becoming more radical and fomenting right-wing violence.

The domestic intelligence agency, the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, said last week it had set up a working group to assess whether German-language sites such as Politically Incorrect and Nurnberg 2.0 , whose stated aim is to oppose the Islamisation of Europe are in breach of the constitution.

The attack by Anders Behring Breivik, the Norwegian extremist who killed 77 people in July and posted a manifesto on the internet, threw a spotlight on the role played by websites as a forum for spreading hatred of Muslims in Europe. Calls for greater scrutiny of the far-right intensified after the revelation in November that a neo-Nazi terrorist cell murdered at least 10 people, eight of them Muslim immigrants of Turkish origin, in a killing spree spanning more than a decade.

The head of the Hamburg branch of the intelligence agency, Manfred Murck, said there were clear signs that the operators of many anti-Muslim sites had a disturbed relationship with the democratic rule of law and often espoused infringements of human rights protected under our constitution.

A member of parliament for the opposition Left Party, Ulla Jelpke, said closer supervision of such sites was long overdue. Blogs and websites such as Politically Incorrect or Nurnberg 2.0 clearly promote a racism that extends deep into society, said Ms Jelpke:

They call into question the dignity and the rights of a whole group of people solely because of their origin or their faith. They thereby clearly run counter to core values of the constitution.

Prejudice against Muslims isn't a problem of the periphery but of the heart of society. That's why it's so dangerous.

 

9th January   

Updated: Life in the Slow Lane...

Iran set to turn off internet access to the outside world
Link Here  full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking

Iran flagA member of Iran's Corporate Computer Systems reports that Iran will be cut off from the World Wide Web once the country launches its own national internet network next month.

Iranian media report that Payam Karbasi, the spokesman for Corporate Computer Systems of Iran, said: With the launch of the national internet, the internet providers can increase the speed of access to their desired websites by two megabytes... however, it will be just like a corporate network, which cannot be accessed by outsiders, and some material cannot be accessed through that network.

The national internet network will allow service providers to decide which sites the users can be accessed speedily, which sites will be provided at the lowest speed, and of course which sites will be totally blocked.

In the past two weeks, Iranian internet users have reported an extreme reduction in internet speed. While access to government sites remains easy, using proxies to access blocked sites only via the slow lane.

Karbasi said: Imagine there is a monitoring system that checks all the internet packages and then allows it to pass through or regards it unclean. Because of the high volume of internet packages, they remain in a line-up in order to be checked, and this causes the reduction in the speed of access.

With the launch of the so-called clean internet network, Iranian authorities aim to separate Iran from the World Wide Web in order to block access to supposedly immoral content and maintain control of what Iranian users can access.

Update: Spy in the Caf

9th January 2012.  See  article from  rferl.org

internet cafeIran's cyberpolice have issued new restrictions for Internet cafes that appear to be part of the Iranian establishment's efforts to impose further controls on the Internet.

According to the new rules, the personal information of citizens visiting cybercafes, such as their name, father's name, national ID number, and telephone number, will be registered. Cafe owners will be required to keep the personal and contact information of their clients and also a record of their browsing history for six months.

Another new rule that has been announced requires cybercafe owners to install closed-circuit cameras and keep the video recordings for six months. The guidelines also say that installing circumvention tools that allow access to banned websites will be illegal at Internet cafes.

Deputy cyberpolice chief Mohsen Mirbehresi has said that owners of Internet cafes should deny Internet access to those who do not show their IDs. Internet cafes have 15 days to implement the restrictions, which were announced on January 3.

 

9th January   

Diary: Free Nominations...

Index on Censorship seek nominations for their Freedom of Expression Awards
Link Here

Index on Censorship logoThe 12th annual Index Freedom of Expression Awards will be held on 28 March.

They will honour those who, often at great personal risk, have given voice to issues and stories from around the globe that would otherwise have passed unnoticed.

Nominations are now being accepted for the awards.

Censorship Lifetime Achievement award

Recognising a lifetime spent in the defence of free expression

Journalism award

This award recognises journalism of dogged determination and bravery

Innovation award

This award recognises the use of computer or internet technology to foster debate, argument or dissent. Nominations can also include those who enhance online freedom through the use of new technologies

Arts Award

Recognising visual and creative arts that support or promote freedom of expression, or artists facing censorship for their work

Advocacy award

Awarded to campaigners who have fought repression, or have struggled to change political climates and perceptions

 

8th January   

Update: Delighted...

Comments about the recent victory over the Obscene Publications Act
Link Here  full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury

Old BaileyThe International Union of Sex Workers is delighted by the unanimous verdicts of not guilty on all counts in the trial of Michael Peacock that concluded at Southwark Crown Court on Friday 6th January.

Michael's courage and determination in pursuing this case was the first challenge to the Obscene Publications Act 1959 for many years. Understandably, most people charged with offences under this Act plead guilty as an innocent plea followed by a court case that returns a guilty verdict will result in a harsher sentence. This has the effect of leaving police and CPS opinion of what isobscene untested.

The DVDs that were the subject of this prosecution were sold through Michael's website, sleazymichael.com, and on Craigslist. They contained scenes of male fisting, urination and BDSM. Michael was charged with six counts of publishing obscene articles likely todeprave and corrupt . The jury saw a substantial amount of the content which the police and CPS deemed illegal and required less than two hours deliberation to return unanimous not guilty verdicts on all counts. Therefore material showing the activities depicted is no longer defined as obscene in law.

It's time to decriminalise sex between consenting adults. Lady Chatterley trial of 1960 (R v Penguin Books) is still quoted as precedent in obscenity trials; the jury's response in R v Peacock shows public opinion has clearly moved on considerably.

Catherine Stephens, activist with the International Union of Sex Workers, says:

In a week that has also seen the collapse of the Sheila Farmer trial for brothel keeping, it is time to decriminalise the sexual activities of consenting adults, whether or not they are in front of a camera. These two trials were an appalling waste of public resources: the law as it stands does nothing to enhance the safety either of the general public or those who work in the adult industry and often actively increases the dangers we face.

Michael Peacock says:

Responsible treatment of pornography would allow adults who want to access sexually explicit materials freedom to do so and protect those who are underage or do not wish to view such content. The current legal framework fails to do either of these things. I give my thanks to my legal team at Hodge Jones Allen, the judge who heard my case and the twelve people who served on the jury whose maturity and commonsense has changed the law.

Hazel Eracleous, Chair of Backlash comments:

Backlash is delighted that a jury decided it is no longer appropriate to prosecute people based on consensual adult sexual activity. We support the rights of adults to participate in all consensual sexual activities and to watch, read and create any fictional interpretation of such in any media. We will continue to raise awareness of the unseen consequences of these draconian laws, provide legal advice and defend those same consenting adults caught up in the Extreme Pornography and Obscene Publication laws.

Myles Jackman, solicitor at Hodge Jones Allen with a specialist interest in obscenity cases states:

This case shows the Obscene Publications Act is no longer effective in the age of the internet.

See also Obscenity trial: the law is not suitable for a digital age from  guardian.co.uk by Myles Jackman.

See also Interview with Myles jackman: Freedom Fister from  vice.com

Jerry Barnett, Chairman of the Adult Industry Trade Association (AITA), says:

We congratulate Michael Peacock on his victory. The idea that depictions of consenting adult sexual activity can be deemed obscene is a throwback to an earlier age. The adult industry continues to develop and adopt technologies that prevent children from accessing sexual content. We see no need for adults to be protected from it -- a free society should protect the rights of adults to participate in any consenting sexual act they choose.

In the Press

The judgement seems to have captured little attention from the newspapers with the exception of the Guardian/Observer which has published several items about the news.

See  article from  guardian.co.uk

Feona Attwood of Sheffield Hallam University, who lectures in sex, communication and culture, and who attended the trial, said:

I think the law does not make sense. All the evidence that was heard was about whether the material had the ability to harm and corrupt. The question now is, what does that actually mean? What is significant is that the jury understood [the issues at stake].

Attwood, like others experts in the field, believes that the law has been overtaken by new understandings of the way in which people think about sexuality and the depiction of sex including whether a process actually exits that leads to moral corruption.

Others who have been deeply critical of the attempted prosecution include solicitor and New Statesman legal blogger David Allen Green. Writing during the case he said:

Obscenity is a curious criminal offence, and many would say that it now has no place in a modern liberal society, especially when all that is being portrayed in any obscene material are the consensual (if unusual) sexual acts between adults.

See also It's time to abolish the obscenity law from  newstatesman.com by Nichi Hodgson

Other Comments

See also Obscenity trial ends from  sexonomics-uk.blogspot.com by Dr Brooke Magnanti

See also An end to Obscenity Law? from  janefae.wordpress.com by Jane Fae

See also 'Obscenity Trial Of The Century' Ends In Acquittal from  strangethingsarehappening.com

See also The End of the English Obscene Publications Act from allvoices.com by Mike Freeman

And from the not so delighted

Few nutter campaigners have commented so far.

From  article at  bbc.co.uk .

The BBC prompted a few words from Vivienne Pattison

Mediawatch-UK said the Obscene Publications Act needed to be tightened up. Its director Vivienne Pattison says the case illustrates the problem with the act:

There is not a list which says what is obscene and what is not. It makes it incredibly difficult to get a conviction on that.

As a society we are moving to a place where porn is considered as kind of fun between consenting adults, but porn is damaging.

 

8th January   

Demon Censors...

Recent US DVD release of video nasty Night of the Demon
Link Here

Marias B Movie Mayhem Night Demon Kanellis Night of the Demon is a 1980 US horror by James C Wasson.
With Michael Cutt, Joy Allen and Bob Collins. See IMDb

US: Uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

Note that the US Amazon import is very much cheaper that the sellers on UK Amazon.

Video Nasty

Released by Vipco in June 1982. Banned as a video nasty in October 1983. It stayed on the list throughout the panic and so became one of the collectable DPP39's

It was last seen in the UK when it was re-released after 1:41s of BBFC cuts on video in 1994 by Vipco

Summary Review: Cheap

Another film that is something like an urban legend: being banned in countries like Germany or Norway and also very hard to find. The reputation of Night of the Demon is much more interesting than the movie itself!

The story is simple: a professor and some students travel to the dark forests to investigate some cruel murders which were caused by a Bigfoot-like monster that looks like Chewbacca from Star Wars . A feeble minded woman who lives in a lonely hut plays an important role in the solution of the mystery.

Well, the acting is bad, the F/X are pretty cheesy and only the many murders featured in this flick will keep you away from falling asleep! These deaths however are pretty are gory and violent, so fans of splatter movies won't be disappointed!

 

8th January   

Ann Widdicombe on Sex Toys...

Daily Mail has a knock at Boots for selling sex toys
Link Here

LELO Ina Purple Dual action Vibrator The Daily Mail has rounded up a handful of people willing to have a knock at Boots for selling sex toys within view of children.

The sex toys are a change of policy for Boots. Seven years ago, the company scrapped plans to sell sex aids alongside toiletries over fears that stocking them could damage its brand. 

A Boots spokeswoman said:

We believe a healthy love life can improve overall health and wellbeing and our customers have told us that they would like to buy these products from us.

Approximately 1,200 stores stock these products and we have worked hard to ensure they are discreetly packaged and merchandised.

There are no laws restricting the sale of these products. However, if someone who looks under 16 tries to buy such a product, Boots staff would use their discretion to decide whether it is suitable for them.'

The toys are sold under the banner Sexual Wellbeing and strapline Help you and your partner have a more positive sexual relationship . Example products are the massage devices Durex Play Dream, Play Discover and Play Delight.

The Daily Mail has rounded up a few inconsequential sound bites and presented this as a customer backlash.

Grandmother Julie Burgess said:

I am appalled. It's completely inappropriate. I'm shocked that a store like Boots is selling sex toys, let alone displaying them so openly.

And Scott Millins:

It's quite disgusting. I've got a nine-month-old baby boy and a three-year-old son and it wouldn't be a problem now, but when my young boys are older, that's definitely not the sort of thing I would want them to see. Children shouldn't know about that sort of thing until they're grown up and in a relationship with someone. It's really not very good at all.

Former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe said:

Boots, which is a family store -- and a very popular one at that -- should adopt standards that Ann Summers have been happy to adopt. That says it all.

Boots said it had received four complaints.

 

8th January   

Update: Traditional Propaganda Virtues...

Censors proud of unentertaining Chinese TV
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in China...TV censors SARFT

SARFT logoSatellite broadcasters in China have cut entertainment TV by two-thirds following a government campaign, state news agency Xinhua has reported.

An order by the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) to curb excessive entertainment came into effect on 1 January. The number of entertainment shows aired during prime time each week has dropped to 38 from 126, said the censor.

The order, which was issued in October 2011, limits each of the country's 34 satellite channels to two entertainment programmes each week and a maximum of 90 minutes of entertainment content every day from 19:30 to 22:00. Broadcasters are also required to air at least two hours of news programming between 06:00 and midnight. They must each broadcast at least two 30-minute news programmes between 18:00 and 23:30.

Satellite channels have started to broadcast programmes that promote traditional virtues and socialist core values, SARFT said in a statement.

Talent shows and reality TV are among the biggest casualties of the cuts. The list of restricted programmes also included talk shows and emotional stories that were deemed to be of low taste , said the Xinhua news report. However the SARFT statement also said that popular dating shows and soap operas will still be on air during prime time on weekends.

 

8th January   

Update: Muddying the Waters...

Chinese Embassy accuses Jeremy Clarkson of woeful disrespect of decency and moral standards
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Crying Out Loud According Clarkson Jeremy Clarkson, the TV presenter, has been ludicrously criticised for making trivial tasteless comments about the Morecambe Bay cockle picking tragedy in which 23 Chinese migrant workers died.

In a column for The Sun newspaper, Clarkson mocked the sport of synchronised swimming as Chinese women in hats, upside down, in a bit of water , adding: You can see that sort of thing on Morecambe Beach. For free.

Hardly worthy of mention but Tracy Brown, a Morecambe town councillor had a little whinge. She said:

I choose to ignore such comments and treat them with the contempt they deserve. In fact, this is beneath contempt. He is just trying to make himself look big at other people's expense. Many people around here were deeply affected by the tragedy.

But then the tiff escalated to international levels: Ms Dai Qingli, a spokeswoman for the Chinese Embassy, went well overboard. She said:

We deplore and oppose Mr Clarkson's comments, which are insulting and show a woeful disrespect of decency and moral standards. We regret that The Sun has publicised such remarks.

 

8th January   

Fatwa on Facebook...

Senior Iranian cleric pronounces that using Facebook is a sin
Link Here

Facebook logoAn Iranian ayatollah has said that the social networking website Facebook was un-Islamic and being a member of it is a sin, the ISNA news agency reported.

ISNA broadcast coverage of the response of Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi-Golpaygani, a senior cleric, to the question about Facebook and Iranian membership in the social networking service. The ayatollah explained:

Basically, going to any website which propagates immoralities and could weaken the religious belief is un-Islamic and not allowed, and membership in it is therefore haram (a sin).

Only the use of websites propagating religious criteria and not leading to any kind of ethical immoralities is of no problem.

 

8th January   

Offsite: True Blood Without the Blood...

India serves up edgy American TV but then makes it incomprehensible via extreme censor cuts
Link Here

kzwzeih+l. sl500 aa300 In an effort to attract younger viewers without offending the older ones, Indian TV is now showing some of America's edgiest shows - but cutting out the edge.

One incident turned an episode of Friends into a legend of unwatchable TV. The show hinged on the gag that two pages in a cookbook got stuck together and the character Rachel mistakenly made a fruit pastry with beef. The station bleeped out the word beef, a show of sensitivity for Hindus' reverence for cows, leaving viewers to guess why her diners were so disgusted.

It's just as perplexing for the suddenly chaste vampires of the lusty True Blood and for the serial killer star of Dexter, who is constantly changing blood-splattered clothes for no apparent reason on Indian TV. Or for David Duchovny's Californication lech Hank Moody, who disappears into a bedroom with a beautiful women and then suddenly appears in a disjointed scene from later in the episode.

...Read the full article

 

7th January   

Update: Obscenity Trial of the Decade...

Jury clears gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM DVDs of obscenity
Link Here  full story: Obscenity in the UK...Gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM found not obscene by jury

Old BaileyR v Peacock

Michael Peacock has been acquitted of all charges after a unanimous jury decision to find Peacock not guilty on 6 counts of obscenity.

Michael Peacock (referred to in the gay porn world as Sleazy Michael) had been charged for distributing supposedly obscene DVDs including representation of gay fisting, urolagnia and BDSM.

The trial was heard before the Southwark Crown Court. The films in question feature: gay fisting (the insertion of five fingers of the fist into the rectum of another male); urolagnia (in this case men urinating in their clothes, onto each others' bodies and drinking it); and BDSM (in this case hard whipping, the insertion of needles, urethral sounds and electricaltorture ). Also there was an example of a staged non consensual scene.

The Obscene Publications Act 1959 features the contentious and ambiguous deprave and corrupt test, whereby an article (for example a DVD) is obscene if it tends to deprave and corrupt the reader, viewer or listener. The Test is defined in Section1 of the Act as:

An article shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect or (where the article comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.

Peacock was represented by Nigel Richardson and Sandra Paul of Hodge Jones and Allen

Myles Jackman, a solicitor specialising in obscenity law, said this outcome was a significant victory for common sense suggesting that the OPA has been rendered irrelevant in the digital age .

In a tweet, Jackman said that SCD9, the Metropolitan Police unit dealing with human exploitation and organised crime, will meet with the Crown Prosecution Service and the British Board of Film Classification to review guidelines on obscenity.

And of course the authorities will be considering whether the law itself now needs changing. No doubt nutter campaigners will now be pushing for something new to replace the OPA now that it no longer supports their censorial views.

Speculation: So what may be the outcome at least in terms of BBFC censorship of R18s?

R18 StoryThe BBFC have been cutting all such material citing the current interpretation of the Obscene Publications Act. But now of course this will change. The BBFC will still be at liberty to cut scenes off their own bat. And indeed the board has been regularly cutting scenes involving penetration by objects that could possibly result in harm justified via its own guidelines.

I think there will be a few changes welcomed by all sides. The current prohibition of female squirting leaves everyone totally baffled as to why. This prohibition can now be rapidly dropped. Perhaps urolagnia can now be generally allowed albeit with restrictions when it is considered by the censors to be degrading.

Perhaps something similar with fisting which could be generally allowed with a proviso that it must not be seen to be causing any discomfort to those participating.

The BDSM issue is not going to be easy. The current ban is at least easy to explain. To allow any level of hurt beyond trifling may prove very difficult to define. Maybe it is still banned by legislation examined during the notable Spanner Case, the judgement of which basically disallows people from giving consent to be hurt. So perhaps the BBFC will just switch justifications but continue to ban BDSM.

And I don't suppose that the non-consensual scene will impact BBFC guidelines at all. This will no doubt continue to be banned from R18s.

 

7th January   

Grinding Us Down...

New US DVD release of White Slave aka Amazonia: The Catherine Miles Story
Link Here

White Slave DVD Region NTSC White Slave (aka Amazonia: the Catherine Miles Story) is a 1985 Italian adventure by Mario Gariazzo. With Elvire Audray, Will Gonzales and Dick Campbell. See IMDb

US: uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

Cut in the UK

It was originally passed 18 after 52s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1987 Avatar VHS

Then it was passed 18 with some cuts waived for

  • UK 2003 Pegasus DVD

Summary Review: Original

A young woman seeks vengeance and finds love when her parents are killed in the Amazon and she is taken prisoner by an indigenous tribe of headhunters.

I have almost all of the cannibal movies ever made and this is one of the most original.

A girl takes a boat voyage with her parents, aunt and uncle. Her parents are killed with blowguns. A tribe of natives takes the girl captive and a warrior takes a particular liking to her, but it is said he killed her parents.

The girl is modestly hot and topless through most of it. This is a must-see for fans of cannibals.

 

7th January   

Update: TalkTalk SafeSafe NotNot...

HomeSafe internet blocking is insufficient for TalkTalk to claim UK's safest broadband
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

HomeSafe logoa. A TV ad for broadband, viewed on 12 September, featured a toy family in a dolls house, guarded by a row of toy soldiers. The voice-over said,Talk Talk homes have the UK's safest broadband thanks to HomeSafe, free for all customers. No wonder thousands of homes join Talk Talk every day. Talk Talk, a brighter home for everyone.

b. A poster for broadband, viewed on 19 September, stated The UK's safest broadband is now £ 3.25 a month and Includes HomeSafe, the UK's first and only network level security .

c. A national press ad for broadband, viewed on 28th August, stated The UK's safest broadband £ 3.25 a month. Our great value phone and broadband gives you all this: Half price for 9 months then£ 6.50 a month for the remaining 3 months. Our ground-breaking new security service, HomeSafe is free to all customers ... . Issue

British Telecommunications (BT) and two members of the public challenged whether the claim UK's safest broadband made in ads (a), (b) and (c) was misleading.

ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that TalkTalk were the only home broadband provider to offer security features that were applied at the network level, rather than to individual devices. We noted that HomeSafe offered three features: content restriction, which allowed parents to restrict access to inappropriate websites; virus alerts, which alerted users if they viewed a suspect website; and a feature which allowed parents to restrict access to social networking and gaming sites during certain times of the day. We noted that most other broadband providers supplied security packages to their customers, and that these required software to be downloaded on each individual computer it was to be applied to, and that they were only able to be used on personal computers running Windows operating systems.

We noted that TalkTalk believed that the claim Talk Talk homes have the UK's safest broadband was accurate as it was based on their being the only broadband provider to offer network level security. However, we considered that the claim implied that customers would enjoy the safest online experience when using TalkTalk broadband. We also considered that the images shown in the ad reinforced this impression, as a father was pictured relaxing in an armchair whilst two children used the internet, giving the impression that using TalkTalk meant the actual online experience was the safest. We considered that customers could interpret safest as referring to a number of features, such as virus protection or protection from hacking, and that Home Safe only offered a basic range of security features. We did not consider that consumers would interpretsafest as referring to blocking of inappropriate content, and restricting access to certain sites at certain times. As Talk Talk were not able to substantiate that customers would enjoy the safest online experience with them, we concluded ad (a) was misleading.

We noted that ad (b) stated Includes HomeSafe, the UK's first and only network level security . However, we did not consider that consumers would interpret this as being the full basis for the claim UK's safest broadband , as the word includes implied that it was only part of a fuller package. We also considered consumers were unlikely to understand what network level security meant, as it was not a commonly used term in home broadband, and that it could be easily misinterpreted to refer to other features such as the security of the wireless connection. We considered that the claim implied that customers would enjoy the safest online experience when using TalkTalk broadband, and that the qualification used did not sufficiently counteract this impression. As Talk Talk were not able to substantiate that customers would enjoy the safest online experience with them, we concluded ad (b) was misleading.

We noted that ad (c) stated Our ground-breaking new security service, HomeSafe is free to all customers . However, we considered that the ad did not make it clear that this was the basis for the claim UK's safest broadband , and that the ad did not provide any details of the features provided by HomeSafe. We considered that the claim implied that customers would enjoy the safest online experience when using TalkTalk broadband, and that the qualification used did not sufficiently counteract this impression. As Talk Talk were not able to substantiate that customers would enjoy the safest online experience with them, we concluded ad (c) was misleading.

Ad (a) breached BCAP Codes rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.9 (Substantiation) and 3.38 (Other comparisons).

Ads (b) and (c) breached CAP Codes rules 3.1 (Misleading advertising), 3.7 (Substantiation) and 3.38 (Other comparisons). Action

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told TalkTalk to ensure that the basis for comparative claims was made clear in future.

 

7th January   

Update: Leaked Judgement...

Court confirms requirement for Twitter to hand over data about supporters of Wikileaks
Link Here  full story: US vs Wikileaks...US aggressively attacks Wikileaks over leaked cables

doj logoTwitter has to provide the U.S. Department of Justice with all account information for three users who allegedly support WikiLeaks, a federal judge has ordered. The data will be used in the investigation into WikiLeaks and its leader, Julian Assange.

U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady denied a motion to suspend previous orders that would allow the DOJ access to the Twitter account information of three people who are suspected of having ties to WikiLeaks.

The information the Department of Justice requested is extensive as Salon reported: It includes all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the 'means and source of payment,' including banking records and credit cards.

In December 2010, a magistrate judge granted the Department of Justice permission to seek the three account holders' Twitter information under a secret order.  The ACLU took the case before a magistrate judge who ruled in favor of the Department of Justice. The case was then presented to an appeals court, presided by Judge O'Grady who upheld the ruling. This most recent decision allows investigators into WikiLeaks to move forward with their request for Twitter account information.

 

7th January   

Re-Indexed...

John Kampfner steps down as Chief Executive of Index on Censorship
Link Here

Index on Censorship logoIndex on Censorship Chief Executive John Kampfner will be stepping down at the end of March. His announcement brings to an end a three-and-a-half year tenure that has seen Index become one of the world's leading free expression advocacy organisations.

John will be working with Google as a part-time consultant on free expression and cultural issues and with the Global Network Initiative from 1 February, as well as undertaking various journalism and book-writing ventures.

Jonathan Dimbleby, Chair of Index on Censorship, said:

I'm very sad to see John depart. He has transformed Index's profile and practices, turning it into the 'go to' destination for anyone interested in free expression and censorship questions in the UK and around the world. His successor will have a great opportunity to build on those achievements. I am delighted that John wishes to be involved with our work in other ways in future.

John Kampfner said:

It's been a fantastic privilege to run an organisation of such passion and stature. I'm particularly proud of the work we've done to transform English libel law, our strong editorial work and our campaigns for freedom of expression around the world. I said originally that I wanted to help take Index to a new level, which I believe has been achieved. I pay tribute to the dedication of our staff and trustees and wish them all success in the future.

 

7th January   

Offsite: I Wasn't a Prude...But...

Joan Bakewell on Sex in society: too much raunch, too young
Link Here  full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

joan bakewell late night line upSex makes one generation fearful for the next. It has always been so. And in each generation, there are always those who consider the more risque edges of the entertainment industry to be going too far. In 1890s Paris, onlookers took against the frills and suspenders of can-can dancers. By the 1950s, its Crazy Horse cabaret was making witty mockery of such shows, while itself leaving little to the audience's imagination. At the same time in Britain, nudes posing in tableaux at the Windmill Theatre were still not permitted to move.

Now I find myself caught up in concerns about the sexualisation of children today. This week, I was quoted as condemning outright Lady Gaga and other performers for seeming obsessed with appearing at their raunchiest in their pop videos and on prime-time television shows. So have I changed sides? Or has the world changed?

...Read the full article

 

6th January   

Update: Parrying Perry...

Government backs off from the idea of ISPs blocking porn unless requested otherwise
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

william hagueThe Government has toned down its support for internet blocking and moved to distance itself from a leading anti-porn campaigner.

Last year, the Government threw its weight behind the idea of ISPs blocking all porn by default unless adults specifically requested a full service.

However the ISPs didn't find this idea practical. They rolled out the compromise idea of providing blocking software to individual subscribers so that they could be tailored as required. ISP's would also ensure that these facilities would be made crystal clear to new subscribers.

Now it appears the Government is distancing itself from the original idea of blocking porn by default at the ISP level. Foreign Secretary William Hague explained in response to an open letter from rights groups:

We believe that parents should be provided with wide tools to enable them to voluntarily block harmful and inappropriate content.

It is important to distinguish between Government encouraging people to make more use of existing protections as a matter of choice, and the Government deciding what people can and cannot do online.

Our plans do not prevent access to legal material, but seek to make it much clearer that protections exist, and to encourage their use.

The Home Secretary also distanced the Government from MP Claire Perry, who has been campaigning for a block on all porn, a stance that has raised concerns among internet freedom groups. Hague said:

The position of Claire Perry regarding the default filtering of adult content is not the position of this Government.

 

6th January   

Update: Miserably Spirited ASA...

Advert censor whinges at flyer for Tequila nightclub event
Link Here  full story: UK Nightclub Adverts...Drink and fun frowned upon by advert censors

tequila flyer advertA circular for a club night at Riverside in Newcastle, delivered as a door drop in October 2011, featured an image of a woman crouching in front of a man with her buttocks on display from beneath her dress. Foam spurted from the man's crotch. Text statedevery Wednesday TEQUILA come and swallow . A cartoon image of a mouth appeared in the top-left corner with the slogandedicated to oral pleasure . The reverse of the circular featured the same image and additional text about the club night. A review stated A spirit-fuelled den of hedonism and debauchery . Other text stated Tequilas [sic] coming to Newcastle ... will you swallow? ... we are here for your pleasure and your pleasure alone ... Tequila is where your hottest and sexiest experiences will take place! What you can remember is sure to be one of your greatest memories of university. Newcastle ... get ready to be seduced. Issue

1. A complainant challenged whether the circular was offensive and unsuitable for an untargeted medium, where it could be seen by children.

The ASA challenged whether the circular:

2. condoned irresponsible consumption of alcohol; and

3. linked alcohol with sexual activity.

Stage One Events Inc. (Stage One Events) apologised that the circular had caused offence in the local community. They said that it had been put through doors in the local area over one weekend as part of a campaign to launch a new student event in a very diluted market. It was felt that this would help the business and would offer a new event to the students of Newcastle and add to the social life of those attending university in the city, whilst also creating jobs in a stagnant market.

ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld

1. Upheld

We noted Stage One Events' argument that they created the circular to launch a new business in the area. We considered, however, that the image on the circular was sexually explicit and noted that claims on the circular come and swallowand dedicated to oral pleasure were clearly intended as sexual innuendo. We considered the text on the reverse of the circular which promised the hottest and sexiest experiences and ended with the claim Newcastle ... get ready to be seducedwere sexually suggestive. We concluded therefore that the circular was likely to cause serious and widespread offence and was not appropriate for an untargeted medium, where it could be seen by children.

On this point, the circular breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

2. Upheld

We noted that the CAP Code required marketing communications to contain nothing that was likely to lead people to adopt styles of drinking that were unwise, including excessive drinking. We considered however that there was a clear inference that excessive drinking was acceptable and condoned from anyone attending the event advertised in the circular. Aside from the fact that the event was calledTequila , named after a well-known high-strength spirit, we noted that the circular included an apparent quote from a newspaper which described the event as aspirit-fuelled den the inclusion of which we considered took a celebratory tone which highlighted the fact alcohol consumption was condoned. We also considered that the claimWhat you can remember is sure to be one of your greatest memories of university encouraged the excessive consumption of alcohol to the point where guests would be so drunk that they could not recall what they had done during the previous evening. Because of a clear association with alcohol and excessive drinking, we considered that the circular condoned irresponsible consumption of alcohol.

On this point, the circular breached CAP Code rule 18.1 (Alcohol).

3. Upheld

We noted that the CAP Code required marketing communications not to link alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success. We considered that the image on the front of the circular was sexually explicit and the accompanying textwill you swallow , come and swallow and dedicated to oral pleasure was sexually suggestive. We further considered that the claims on the reverse of the circular Tequila is where your hottest and sexiest experiences will take placeand Newcastle ... get ready to be seduced had sexual connotations. Because these claims and the image appeared in the circular which advertised an event which was heavily linked to alcohol consumption, gave details of drinks prices and was calledTequila , we considered that there was a link to sexual activity, and the circular gave out the message that drinking alcohol was preliminary to sex or made sexual activity very likely. We also considered that the newspaper quotea spirit-fuelled den of hedonism and debauchery condoned reckless and irresponsible sexual behaviour and alcohol consumption. Because of this, we concluded that the circular was irresponsible.

On this point, the circular breached CAP Code rule 18.5 (Alcohol).

 

6th January   

Specstacularly Easily Offended...

Alan Carr's celebrity fun on New Year's Eve winds up the nutters
Link Here

alan carrs specstacularTV censor Ofcom has received 42 complaints over Alan Carr's New Year Specstacular , which was the main New Year's Eve offering on Channel 4 from 9pm until 11:30.

The programme was heavily plugged as being of an adult nature with Channel 4 continuity announcements before the programme and every subsequent commercial break reminding viewers that it was not for family viewing. Noting the programme contained Strong language, adult humour and full frontal nudity.

The show, based in the fictional Channel 4 HQ nightclub, saw a host of very tipsy, some quite drunk, celebrities mingling with the studio audience. There was plenty of strong language and innuendo to wind up the easily offended.

Viewer complaints whinged swearing, sexual language, nudity and supposedly abusive treatment of the audience. Some raised concerns that children might have seen the show, even though the programme was shown after the watershed, as it was New Year's Eve.

A C4 spokeswoman said: Alan Carr's New Year Specstacular was an irreverent end of year party, appropriately scheduled post-watershed with clear warnings of adult content.

Update: Complaints dismissed

9th February 2012.

Ofcom has decided not to investigate 57 complaints against Alan Carr's New Year Specstacular , after deciding that they raised no relevant issues.

 

6th January   

Update: The Bishop of Sydney Recommends...

Human Centipede 2
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

human centipede 2 uncut Sensible Decision

The Human Centipede II (full sequence) has recently been sent back to the Film Classification Review Board after its original R18+ classification was disputed. In this case it seems that technical skill (I'm not sure acting comes into it) has not just been squandered, but misdirected into something that brings no light to anyone, only darkness.

A good film can be a source of wonder, and not just because of the special effects. When a good director and team bring the technical marvels together with the essential elements of good acting and a good script, some very special films can result. The talents of many people are needed to bring this about, as ever-lengthening lists of credits show.

Not every film can be special and the relentless demand for product in our consumer society inevitably effects quality. All the same, it is sometimes a cause of regret when I think of the talent that is squandered in making a mediocre film, to say nothing of a really bad one, like The Human Centipede II.

The film was initially banned in Britain, a rare occurrence, but was subsequently released after cuts were made. These featured what the British Board of Film Classification described as scenes of sexual and sexualised violence, sadistic violence and humiliation, as well as a scene of a child presented in an abusive and violent context .

The description of the deleted scenes does not make easy reading. They included graphic sight of a man's teeth being removed with a hammer; graphic sight of lips being stapled to naked buttocks; graphic sight of forced defecation into and around other people's mouths, a woman being raped with barbed wire; and a newborn baby being killed.

The plot, such as it is, focuses strongly on the link between sexual arousal and sexual violence and a clear association between pain, perversity and sexual pleasure . Not the sort of film you'd hope your neighbour watches.

The review of its classification in Australia came after an application from the federal Minister for Justice, Brendan O'Connor. On 28 November the review board announced a unanimous decision to refuse the film classification, meaning it cannot be sold or shown in Australia.

Congratulations to the board and the minister on this outcome. Predictably, a few on the margins are bleating about censorship . But most Australians will see the decision as a win for common decency and common sense.

 

6th January   

Update: The Olympic Sport of Gagging...

Olympics organisers outline extensive internet gagging for volunteers
Link Here  full story: Olymipc Sport of Gagging...UK Olympic athletes contracted not to criticise China

Olympics 2012 logoOlympic organisers have set out internet censorship rules for the 70,000 Games Maker volunteers, including a ban on pictures or posts featuring backstage VIPs.

The rules are set out in a document in the Games Makers' area of Locog's website. The document asks people not to mention details about their role, location or about athletes, celebrities and dignitaries.

It says Games Makers should remember to avoid making any public statement on any subject relating to London 2012 without the prior approval of the Locog Communications team - including agreeing to attend any event to speak about any aspect of London 2012.

It sets out how the public realm of social media could pose a risk to the Games in terms of reputation and safety and security.

In a what to do and what not to do section, it warns volunteers:

  • not to disclose their location
  • not to post a picture or video of Locog backstage areas closed to the public
  • not to disclose breaking news about an athlete
  • not to tell their social network about a visiting VIP, eg an athlete, celebrity or dignitary.
  • not to get involved in detailed discussion about the Games online
  • but they can retweet or pass on official London 2012 postings.

 

6th January   

Shame in Bangladesh...

Headteacher arrested as banned book is found in college library
Link Here

Lajja Shame T Nasrin A book by Taslima Nasreen, which is banned in her native Bangladesh on grounds of blasphemy , has led to the arrest of a headteacher.

Yunus Ali was arrested from the KC Technical and Business Management College in Bangladesh this week after police discovered a copy of Nasreen's novel Lajja (Shame) in the college library.

Taslima Nasreen is an honorary associate of the National Secular Society and her book is regarded by Islamic extremists to be blasphemous. She was forced to flee Bangladesh in 1994 after radical Muslims objected to the novel, which depicts the life of a Hindu family persecuted by Muslims in Bangladesh.

Police have said that Ali faced prosecution and could be jailed up to three years if found guilty.

 

5th January   

Updated: Floating New Ideas for Censorship...

Australia bans TV from showing asylum seekers arriving in boats
Link Here

boat people.Australian media companies are angry that immigration officials have pushed through new government media censorship that would ban them from showing video of asylum seekers in Australia.

The Australian Communication and Media Authority says television stations will no longer be allowed to show video of asylum seekers reaching the country by boat.

But media companies are crying foul, saying the the restrictions, implemented at the behest of immigration officials, amount to censorship.

Chris Warren, federal secretary of the Media, Entertainment & Arts Alliance, said this amounts to an effort to prevent asylum seekers from telling their stories to the Australian people: It's an unnecessary restriction, which will get in the way of Australians really understanding what asylum seekers go through.Warren said while there are valid concerns about privacy behind the measure, it's not appropriate for the immigration authorities to step in and, in a heavy-handed way, try to impose restrictions on the media.

Update: Bollox

5th January 2012. See  press release from  acma.gov.au

ACMA logoThe Australian Communications and Media Authority seeks to correct inaccurate media reporting about its recently published Privacy Guidelines for Broadcasters 2011. Its publication concludes the first review of the ACMA's guidelines since their introduction in 2005.

Some media outlets have claimed that the guidelines are imposing new privacy restrictions on the electronic media, said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. This is simply not the case. The regulation of broadcasting content in Australia is largely set out in codes of practice developed by the television and radio industries themselves.

Privacy protections have long been embedded in these codes of practice. The ACMA's revised guidelines do not, and indeed cannot, of themselves create new obligations, and are only intended to assist licensees to comply with their own codes.

The industry codes require broadcasters to take account of both the rights of individuals to privacy and the (ultimately overriding) public interest. Nothing has changed in this regard from the ACMA's existing 2005 Privacy Guidelines. There is no new "media restriction;" there are no new "media rules".

A particular erroneous claim being made is that the guidelines restrict the coverage by the media of the arrival of asylum seekers to Australia.

In fact, the guidelines make no specific mention of asylum seekers, as claimed, nor do they create a new protection, namely that of seclusion, Chapman said.

The notion of seclusion has been around for a long time, has been well explored in the courts and was specifically referred to and accepted in an ACMA investigation report into a 2008 Ten News at Five broadcast. The concept was then explicitly included in the ACMA's draft guidelines released for public consultation in August 2011.

 

5th January   

Updated: Calls for Sanitised Sanitary Advertising...

Transgender groups offended by Australian TV ad for tampons
Link Here

libra advert videoA Libra tampon commercial featuring a trans woman has been labelled transphobic by implying that transgender women are not real women.

The advertisement depicts a blonde woman and an obviously trans woman competitively applying make up and arranging their clothes while in a nightclub bathroom.

The blonde woman then takes a Libra tampon out of her bag which causes the trans woman to storm out of the bathroom.

Sally Goldner of Transgender Victoria told Gay News Network:

It's just an incredibly thoughtless ad. It is pretty clear that it is implied that a transgender woman is not a real woman.

It raises questions to me how the company making the product, the ad company and standards board could allow it to go to air.

I think this really highlights the lack of teeth that groups like the ACMA and the press council have in these areas of respect where vilification happens but there needs to be more respect. It's not just transgender people who are affected.

Goldner added that suggestions have been made calling for an apology and for Libra to do something to support the trans community: Some people have suggested they should fund some positive message about transgender people and really show that they are concerned.

UK transgender activist Jane Fae commented:

It is unfortunate, in this day and age, that some companies still consider that a good way to sell their products is by picking on a minority and making fun. As society has grown up, with the offense given by many everyday jokes better understood – and in many cases also made specifically unlawful through equalities legislation – the range of minorities left for advertisers to pick on has grown ever more eccentric.

Update: Campaign on Hold

5th January 2012. See  article from  janefae.wordpress.com by Jane Fae

Following worldwide outrage, an ad campaign for Libra feminine hygiene products, which had been circulating in Australia and New Zealand, has now been put on hold.

A spokeswoman for Libra product, which is the leading brand of feminine hygiene product in the Australasia region, said today that they were completely taken by surprise by the strength and ferocity of the reaction. They had tested the ad and achieved a positive reaction from their core audience. She said:

It was never our intention to hurt or to offend. The ad was intended as a piece of humour designed to promote a positive image of women.

We were shocked by the reaction from the trans community -- although now that we have had a chance to reflect on comments made, we can understand better their perspective.

We are aware that trans women make use of feminine hygiene products.

She went on. It is the summer holiday period in Australia now, which means many of the marketing team are not available.

However, we will be putting this campaign on hold -- and when the marketing team are back next week, we will be re-evaluating this campaign. It is very unlikely that it will ever air again in its present format.

 

5th January   

As Dotty as Dot Cotton...

Anti-smoking kids group protests against TV soap characters who light up
Link Here

smokeoff logoAn anti-smoking group staged a protest against characters in soaps lighting up.

Youth group D-MYST donned cardboard TVs to parade through Liverpool in their new Smoke Off campaign.

Members want to get smoking out of pre-watershed television programmes, to prevent under-18s seeing unnecessary smoking images.

They are aiming to get 100,000 online signatures so that Parliament considers debating the issue, and will be asking people to sign postcards which will be sent to the TV censor Ofcom.

Dr Paula Grey, joint director of public health for Liverpool said: Smoking among young people in this city is already at a high level, and anything that can be done to stop young people taking up the habit is to be encouraged.

 

5th January   

Whingers Caned...

ASA clears adverts for Back to School Parties at Hustler Club
Link Here

hustler club uk logoA regional press ad for a Hustler Club UK which appeared on 15 September 2011 featured a blackboard, a pile of books on top of which sat an apple and a discarded bra. Text statedBack to school. JOIN OUR SCHOOL GIRL PARTY EVERY FRIDAY FOR FOUR WEEKS STARTING 23RD SEPTEMBER. SEE YOUR FAVOURITE HUSTLER HONEYS & STAFF IN THEIR SCHOOL UNIFORMS .

A reader challenged whether the ad was:

  1. offensive and irresponsible because it promoted the idea of school children as sexual objects; and

  2. unsuitable to appear in a publication which children might see.

ASA Decision: Complaints Not Upheld

1. Not Upheld

The ASA noted the reference to Back to school and associated school items such as books, a blackboard and an apple. We considered that in the context of the ad, the claim Join our school girl party which appeared in conjunction with the claimSEE YOUR FAVOURITE HUSTLER HONEYS & STAFF IN THEIR SCHOOL UNIFORMS was likely to be understood as referring to the Hustler staff as the ones dressed in school uniform. We noted that the ad did not feature any one dressed in school uniform. Whilst we understood that some readers may object to the choice of theme night, we considered that the ad would be unlikely to be seen as promoting school children as sexual objects. We concluded that the ad was not irresponsible and was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and Offence), but did not find it in breach.

2. Not Upheld

We noted the ad did not include any nudity, references to sexual activity and did not feature any one dressed in school uniform. We noted the readership figures of the publication and that it was mostly read by adults. Although we considered the ad was unlikely to be seen by children, we noted that it could attract the attention of some children because it was a full-page ad, that featured a blackboard and the textback to school and because it appeared shortly after the start of the new school term. In any case, we considered that children who saw the ad were unlikely to understand the nature of the adult service being advertised. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to be seen by children and that the ad was not unsuitable for children to see.

On this point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not find it in breach.

 

4th January   

BTVision to Use BBFC Film Certificates...

Apparently 82% of parents prefer to download BBFC classified films...the others want to watch Human Centipede 2
Link Here

bt vision logoThe BBFC has added BT Vision to the roster of platforms that use the BBFC.online classification service.

From January 2012, BT Vision subscribers will see the same classification symbols and content information next to films as those the BBFC provides for cinema releases and DVDs. A BT Vision and BBFC co-branded electronic black card, similar to those UK cinemagoers see before theatrical releases, will also be run before each film begins.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC, said We're delighted to welcome BT Vision to our BBFC.online service. Parents have told us it's important for them to see the classification symbols they recognise before they download or stream a film for family consumption. We asked parents for their views and 82% said they would prefer to download films that are classified with the trusted BBFC symbols and Consumer Advice.

Jacob Ahlin, Head of Film said BT Vision are delighted to become a member of the BBFC, enabling us to clearly label the hundreds of blockbuster and classic films, which are available on BT Vision and giving our customers peace of mind when choosing what to watch with their family.

BBFC.online was launched in 2008 to provide the BBFC's trusted and recognised classifications, category symbols and Consumer Advice to set-top box, video-on-demand and online content providers. The BBFC worked closely with the home entertainment industry to develop the voluntary regulatory service to bring the benefits of the DVD classification system to digital content that is delivered online.

BT Vision join other key industry members working with the BBFC including Walt Disney Studios Home Entertainment Europe, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox, Paramount and platforms including BlinkBox, Picturebox and Talk Talk, bringing the total number of members to 34.

 

4th January   

By By Internet...

Belarus set to turn off internet access to the outside world
Link Here

Belarus flagBelarus labelled as Europe's only dictatorship is certainly living up to its reputation. From January 6th, browsing foreign websites will become an offense punishable by fines, with service providers taking responsibility for the actions of their users.

New legislation requires that anyone doing business in the country may only utilize fully local Internet domains when carrying out their activities online.

As highlighted by the Law Library of Congress, this means that it will become illegal for locals to use a site such as Amazon.com, which has no official Belarusian presence. Indeed, browsing any website outside the country will be punishable with fines of up to $125.

Additionally, the legislation will also hold Internet providers, such as cafe's providing wifi, responsible for the actions of their customers if they are found to be using foreign sites. The same responsibilities lie with home Internet subscribers who share their connections with others.

The initial decree, issued in February 2010 by President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, requires the compulsory registration of all web sites which must then be hosted in the country.

The usual sites are currently listed in the country's Top 20 most-visited list including Google, YouTube, Twitter and Wikipedia, all of which have .com domains and US hosting. Indeed, only two sites in the Belarusian Top 10 currently appear to be legal for local access.

Even Google's Belarusian variant Google.by seems to fall outside the legal reach of citizens of Belarus, hosted as it is in the United States. Twitter, Facebook and Wikipedia have further problems, since the .BY variants of their domains have been registered by other entities.

 

4th January   

Update: SEXy Shopping...

ASA clears Pulse and Cocktails sex shop posters...again
Link Here

Generic Pulse & Cocktails posterThree posters for Pulse & Cocktails sex shops:

a. A large poster sited on a road in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, seen in September 2011, stated in large text SEXy ADULT STORE . An image next to the text showed a woman in a bunny girl outfit, posing with her finger to her open lips.

b. A large poster, which replaced ad (a) sited on a road in Hitchin, Hertfordshire, seen in October 2011, stated in large text SEXy ADULT STORE . An image next to the text showed a woman dressed in a French maid's outfit, holding a feather duster.

c. A large poster sited on a dual carriageway in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, seen in October 2011, stated in large text SEXY SUPERSTORE . An image next to the text showed a woman dressed in a French maid's outfit, holding a feather duster.

Issues:

  1. A member of the public and a local councillor challenged whether ad (a) was unsuitable to be seen by children.

  2. The local councillor also challenged whether ad (a) was offensive.

  3. A member of the public challenged whether ad (b) was offensive and unsuitable to be seen by children.

  4. Two members of the public, who considered ad (c) was demeaning to women, challenged whether it was offensive and unsuitable to be seen by children.

Cocktails Ltd said that all their advertising was done in-house and they had used various forms of media including radio, press and billboard since starting the business in 1997. This advertising had always followed a similar format, promoting asexy shopping theme, including their company name Pulse & Cocktails and also wording used on the store signage to describe the store as either a Sexy Superstore or a Sexy Adult Store instead of the traditionalSex Shop . They said they had always used the word sexy to describe their stores as it was less harsh than the word sex .

They said that the images used on their posters and in the press were of models dressed in fancy dress costume and these varied slightly, depending on the season and had ranged from a Bunny Girl costume, Miss Santa, a Sexy Maid and a Cow Girl. These costumes were not skimpy and were now so mainstream that they could be purchased from general, high street clothing stores and supermarkets. The images used in their advertising were direct from the costume manufacturers and in addition to the advertising, the costumes and images were displayed on their store windows and mannequins.

Cocktails Ltd said that their posters were intended to have a sexier edge because they were advertising their business but they were not intended to be offensive, demeaning to women or overtly sexual , so as to be harmful to children.

Cocktails Ltd stated that they selected the sites for the posters based on proximity to local stores and had not taken into consideration whether or not they were likely to be seen by children. Cocktails Ltd finished by saying that they had seven billboard campaigns at sites in Leeds, Hitchin, Cheltenham, Stoke-on-Trent, Newcastle and Gloucester, which were all within close proximity to one of their stores. These sites had run continuously for several years and had been chosen specifically because of their locations. They said that they did not run generic billboard campaigns randomly throughout the country and the posters advertised specific stores and were purely used for directional purposes to guide customers travelling by car, on to the correct road. '

ASA Assessment: 1, 2, 3 & 4 Not upheld

The ASA noted the complainants' concerns and we considered that the images on each poster were mildly sexual. We also noted that the text on posters (a) and (b) highlighted the letters SEX in the word SEXy and taking into account the service advertised on each of the posters along with the text and the images, we considered that the main message of the posters was of a sexual nature. However, we considered that the posters were not overtly sexual and were therefore suitable for outdoor advertising.

We did, however, consider that because the posters were of a sexual nature they were unsuitable to be seen by children and should be subject to a placement restriction and should therefore not appear within 100m of schools. In the case of each poster, we noted that this was already the case.

We investigated the posters under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach. Action

 

3rd January   

Tattoo Taboo...

Girl with the Dragon Tattoo banned in UAE
Link Here  full story: Girl With the Dragon Tattoo...Banned and cut around the world

girl with dragon tattooThe new film The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo has been very well received by the critics, but will not be screened in the UAE because the film makers have refused to accept the eight cuts suggested by the censors.

Unfortunately, we weren't allowed to make the cuts that were necessary for it to be screened. The filmmakers wouldn't allow it Piroska Szakacs from Empire International told The National.

 

3rd January   

Sexualised Ireland...

Banning padded bras for kids will set the country straight again
Link Here

padded bra for kidsIrish shops could be banned from selling sexy clothes to children under new guidelines being considered for retailers.

The Department of Children and Youth Affairs is expected to address the role of retailers in the early sexualisation of children as part of the Government's strategy for children and young people.

It has reportedly held talks with the National Consumer Agency about developing a code of conduct for retailers that would prevent them from selling clothes to children with sexually suggestive material. Items of clothing which have previously come under fire include heeled shoes for toddlers,cropped tops shaped like bras for girls as young as five and skimpy underwear for pre-teens that include inappropriate slogans.

Children's Minister Frances Fitzgerald noted: In Ireland, there is neither a code of conduct for the retail of children's wear nor even basic guidelines by the BRC. This should be addressed. We should be examining high-level objectives and the types of actions we should take in this country.

 

3rd January   

But Did it Help?...

Kazakhstan turns off the internet in response to unrest
Link Here

Kazakhstan flagKazakhstan's crackdown on independent media and social networking sites last month has sparked a debate about censorship.

The Kazakh government shut down Internet access and mobile phone coverage early last month in the western region of Mangistau after ongoing protests there by oil workers on strike turned violent and police killed 15 people. Journalists were denied access to the region, and media coverage of events there have been restricted.

This strike has been a focal point for censorship, said Johann Bihr, director of Reporters Without Borders' European and Central Asia desk. The situation regarding freedom of speech in Kazakhstan has never been good, but this year especially has seen a violent crackdown. Since it began in May, the independent media that reported this strike have been severely repressed.

For two days following the violence in Mangistau, the government blocked the social networking site Twitter across the country.

Aleksandr Danilov, a blogger in the city of Almaty in eastern Kazakhstan, said that many voices in the Kazakh online community actually support such restrictions.  He wrote:

Kazakh [Internet users] actively discussed the blocking of Internet resources and opinions were divided. There were those who argued for a complete blockage of social [networking] resources in order to prevent provocations. Many argue that by [instant] notifications from Twitter, unrest could well have been coordinated through this social network.

 

3rd January   

Update: People Power vs Media Industry...

Jostling for position to support or oppose SOPA
Link Here  full story: SOPA...Internet censorship in the name of preventing piracy

effThe Stop Online Piracy Act, better known as SOPA, is bad news. Bringing piracy to heel is a noble goal but imposing sweeping, arbitrary laws that can force websites offline with almost no judicial oversight isn't the way to go about it. The average guy on the internet may not care much one way or the other [probably because he's not even aware of what's going on] but some backlash is beginning to be felt: Go Daddy dropped its support for SOPA a couple of weeks ago following calls for a boycott of its services and now Sony, Nintendo and Electronic Arts have all followed suit - sort of.

Sony Electronics, Nintendo and Elecronic Arts, which had previously thrown their weight behind the proposed legislation, are now all notably absent from the most recent list of SOPA supporters. Sony/ATV Music Publishing, Sony Music Entertainment and Sony Music Nashville remain on the list, which is unfortunate, but of greater concern is the continued presence of the Entertainment Software Association, the industry association which counts among its members Sony, Nintendo and EA. The support is still there, in other words, less direct and better camouflaged but still very much a part of the process pushing for the implementation of SOPA.

 

2nd January   

Updated: Trafficking in Body Parts...

Frank Henenlotter's Frankenhooker just downgraded from 18 to 15 at the BBFC
Link Here

Frankenhooker DVD James Lorinz Frankenhooker is a 1990 US comedy horror by Frank Henenlotter with James Lorinz and Joanne Ritchie. See IMDb

The Unrated Version/Director's Cut has just been passed 15 uncut for:

  • UK 2011 Arrow R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon just released on 2nd January 2012

Previous Versions

Previously the Unrated Version/Director's Cut was passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2004 Optimum R2 DVD via UK Amazon
  • UK 1992 Polygram VHS
  • UK 1991 Sky TV broadcast
  • UK 1990 Lazer VHS
  • UK 1990 cinema release

The BBFC had already passed a 15 rated version back in 2000 for Synergy but this was the US R Rated version that is missing 1:45s:

  • UK 2000 Synergy R0 DVD
  • UK 2000 Synergy VHS

Promotional Material:

Finding a girl when you're a nerdy science geek can be hard. But what happens if that special someone dies in a bizarre gardening accident and it's all your fault?

Meet Jeffrey Franken. He's just killed the love of his life and now he's going to rebuild her... From the body parts of the dead streetwalkers who exploded when he introduced them to a lethal new drug -- Supercrack! Little does he know that a good recipe requires the correct ingredients. Jeffrey isn't putting his life back together; he's building... a FRANKENHOOKER!

From the twisted imagination of Frank Henenlotter (Basketcase) and starring James Lorinz (Street Trash), comes a movie that pays a loving tribute to the worst excesses of the American Grindhouse.

THIS EDITION CONTAINS:

  • Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Graham Humphries

  • Double-sided fold-out artwork poster

  • Exclusive collector's booklet featuring brand new writing on the film by Calum Waddell

BLU-RAY CONTAINS:

  • Brand New High Definition Transfer of the film (1080p)

SPECIAL FEATURES:

  • UK exclusive audio commentary with director Frank Henenlotter and star James Lorinz

  • UK exclusive introduction to the film by actor James Lorinz (1080p)

  • Your Date's on a Plate: The Making of Frankenhooker: UK exclusive making of documentary featuring director Frank Henenlotter, star James Lorinz and special effects artist Gabe Bartalos (1080p)

  • A personal UK exclusive tour of the Gabe Bartalos effects lab in Los Angeles, California (1080p)

  • A Salad That Was Once Named Elizabeth: Patty Mullen Remembers Frankenhooker

  • A Stitch In Time: The Make-Up Effects Of Frankenhooker

  • Turning Tricks: Jennifer Delora Remembers Frankenhooker

  • Original theatrical trailer

 

2nd January   

Dam Rumours...

Thai man set to be prosecuted for an online prophecy about a dam break
Link Here

tak damA Thai man who spread a disaster prophecy over the internet is facing legal action by the provincial administration organisation chief, who says the prediction has damaged Tak's economy.

Thongbai Khamsi, 73, a Chanthaburi resident, had publicised claims made by his late son 37 years ago that Bhumibol Dam in Tak would burst at 10pm on Dec 31, 2011. Needless to say that the prophecy proved to be bollox.

Thongbai's son Suthas, or Pla Bu , was said to be a psychic and made his prediction not long before he died at just seven years old of a brain tumour. His father claimed the boy had predicted his own death and had also foreseen the 2004 tsunami. His vision of the Bhumibol dam break included resultant major flooding in downstream areas, including Bangkok.

The prophecy made its way on to the internet and the rumour spread rapidly.

The prediction had generated panic among locals and badly damaged the province's economy, said Songkhram Manassa, president of the Tak provincial administration organisation. He filed a complaint with the local police against Thongbai, claiming he had made a false statement and publicised it online.

A large number of visitors flocked to the dam to either take part in the New Year countdown festivities on its banks or to take photographs of the structure while it is still standing in case the prophecy comes true. Provincial authorities arranged the official countdown event at the dam as a way to prove their confidence that the prediction is false.

 

2nd January   

Fine Words...

Philippines lawmakers look to replace film censors by film classifiers
Link Here

MTRCB logoA group of progressive Philippines lawmakers is pushing a bill aimed at reorganizing the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to address censorship problems in the country.

Bayan Muna Rep. Teodoro Casino said House Bill (HB) No. 5561 seeks to protect and promote freedom of expression in motion pictures and television programs in the country.

The bill will ensure that the MTRCB shall exist to primarily classify motion pictures and television programs in order to aid citizens, especially parents, in guiding and/or supervising their children and young adults in making choices with regard to films and television programs,said Casino, the bill's principal author.

Gabriela Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan, another author of the bill, said it is high time to replace a martial law relic by repealing the Presidential Decree that created the censorship body.

 

2nd January   

Update: Believe or Else!...

Turkey to prosecute man for denying that the universe was created by a god
Link Here

eksisozluk logoA Turkish court has accepted an indictment filed against a man who allegedly insulted Islamic values online.

The lawsuit was filed against AMS. over his remarks allegedly insulting Islamic beliefs on Eksi Sozluk (Sour Times) , a website on which contributors share their comments on various issues and incidents in Turkey.

Prosecutor Altinok, who says the suspect went beyond the limits of freedom of speech by ridiculing Muslim prayer rituals and the Islamic belief that the universe was created by God, seeks up to one-and-a-half years in jail for AMS.

AMS said in his testimony that he did not intend to commit a crime nor to target a group or individual with his comments.

 

1st January   

Update: Complaints Coming...

Beer advert winds up Family First New Zealand
Link Here

santa comes once a year advertA Tui beer advert in the yeah right series of billboards has wound up New Zealand nutters.

The billboard reads Santa only comes once a year. Yeah right .

It has 'offended' Bob McCoskrie, national director of Family First New Zealand, who has slammed it as tacky and adult humour .

McCoskrie said the billboard showed a lack of Christmas cheer from Tui and would prompt questions from innocent children. The sexual innuendo of the billboard was adult humour which parents would prefer not to have to explain to children who ask. He continued:

The 'Yeah right' billboards are well known for making people smile. We'd just ask that they do it without embarrassing parents with awkward questions from kids. Keep adult humour to an adult audience - although many adults would be offended by the sign as well.

We'd encourage families to show their disapproval by boycotting the company products.

Family First is considering laying a complaint about the billboard with the Advertising Standards Authority, but does not expect a ruling in its favour:

By the time they even consider it, the sign will be gone and the damage done. That's why we want a pre-vetting system with community and family representation on the board.

 

1st January   

Paper Dictator...

Argentine president seeks to control the press via control of paper supplies
Link Here

Argentina flagArgentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner has brought in new legislation that makes it harder for the country's news media to criticize her administration, critics said.

Fernandez already faces international criticism for draconian press laws that discourage independent media operations in Argentina.

But, buoyed by an October landslide victory, the government won a congressional vote that gives it control of the country's newsprint supplies, which are currently distributed by a company that has majority shareholding from a media group critical of the government.

Officials claim new rules would make newsprint available to all newspaper publishers at a fair price.

The harshest attacks on Argentina's proposed new bill came from Brazilian newspaper O Estado de Sao Paulo: The Argentine government is making the exercise of freedom of the press extremely difficult with acts of intimidation which do honor to a dictatorial regime, a dictatorship couldn't make it better.

The new legislation also targets journalists who face charges of terrorizing the population through words and pictures.

 

1st January   

Offsite: Could You Be A Criminal?...

So does drawing a cartoon of Mohammed count as inciting violence?
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

UN logoThe US government has been quietly wrapping up a Christmas gift of its own: adoption of UN resolution 16/18. An initiative of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (formerly Organization of Islamic Conferences), the confederacy of 56 Islamic states, Resolution 16/18 seeks to limit speech that is viewed asdiscriminatory or which involves the defamation of religion -- specifically that which can be viewed asincitement to imminent violence.

Whatever that means.

...Read the full article