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 2015: January
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31st January

  Kingsman: The Secret Censor...

Director Matthew Vaughn denies that cuts were made to obtain a 15 rating
Link Here
Poster Kingsman the Secret Service 2015 Matthew VaughnKingsman: the Secret Service is a 2015 UK action crime comedy by Matthew Vaughn.
Starring Colin Firth, Michael Caine and Taron Egerton. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

A while ago the BBFC passed the film 15 for strong bloody violence, strong language after BBFC advised pre-cuts for cinema release: The BBFC commented:

This film was originally seen for advice in an unfinished version. The company was informed the film was likely to be classified 18, but that their requested 15 could be achieved by making some reductions in scenes of violence. When the finished version was submitted for formal classification, reductions had been made and the film was passed 15.

Now Director Matthew Vaughn has denied that changes were made to obtain the 15 rating. From an interview with Den of Geek:

Den of Geek: I should ask you just to clarify the certification of the film in the UK ...

Vaughn: I haven't changed a fucking frame!

Den of Geek: Absolutely nothing? The BBFC posted that certain changes were made prior to submission to get a 15 certificate in the UK ?

Vaughn: Nothing. You've seen it! They're pretty intelligent people, the BBFC. And I think they get it right most of the time. They watched it, and I sat down with them. The violence is fun. You don't see people grimacing. They're laughing with it. It's like Tom & Jerry. It's over the top and colourful and playful.

Perhaps the inference from this conversation is that there is no uncut 18 version and the 15 rated version will be final.

However an article from movie-censorship.com gives more hope of an uncut version:

The British cut of the movie clocks in at 128:34 minutes while the German release has a duration of 129:25 minutes. The difference of 51 seconds is quite large and isn't due to rounding up. Also, logos can most likely be ignored since the film's sole distributor is 20th Century Fox. Therefore, it's quite possible that the film's UK pre-cuts won't affect other markets.

 

31st January

 Update: A Damn Good Thrashing with a Feather...

Fifty Shades of Grey gets a 15 rating in Australia, but it doesn't stop Morality in Media whingeing about sexual violence
Link Here
Poster Fifty Shades of Grey 2015 Sam TaylorjohnsonMedia Censorship in Australia has noted that the country's Censorship Board has awarded a 15 rating to Fifty Shades of Grey.

The Australian Classification Board gave an MA15+ rating to the film for strong sex scenes, sexual themes and nudity...

An Ma15+ means:

The content is considered unsuitable for exhibition by persons under the age of 15. Persons under this age may only legally purchase or exhibit MA15+ rated content under the supervision of an adult guardian.

morality in media logoMeanwhile the US Morality in Media campaign group has launched its miserable campaign against the film: 

National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) is a new name for Morality in Media (MIM). The organization ichanged its name early in 2015.

National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCSE) has launched an aggressive national campaign against the controversial film, Fifty Shades of Grey .  NCSE's new webpage,  FiftyShadesIsAbuse.com  highlights 50 plus ways that Fifty Shades  harms and provides various actions that the public can take, including signing a  boycott petition  and joining the  #50DollarsNot50Shades  campaign, which calls on patrons to forgo the film and donate to women's shelters  instead.

Hollywood is advertising the Fifty Shades  story as an erotic love affair, but it is really about sexual abuse and violence against women, said Dawn Hawkins, executive director of National Center on Sexual Exploitation. Hawkins noted that the public sees too much sexual abuse and violence against women in real life and urged Hollywood to take this into consideration when setting the entertainment agenda. The porn industry has poised men and women to receive the message that sexual violence is enjoyable.  Fifty Shades  models this porn message and Hollywood cashes the check, said Hawkins.

 

31st January

  Judged too small a sample...

Senior judge makes claims that internet porn makes rapists and murderers commit worse crimes
Link Here
baron thomas of cwmgieddJohn Thomas, the Lord Chief Justice has claimed to MPs that extreme internet pornography is causing rapists and murderers to commit worse crimes than before the time when such horrific material was available online,

However his claim appears to be on rather shaky grounds being based on just two cases. The most senior judge in England and Wales said he had dealt with two deeply disturbing criminal cases which had been influenced and intensified by shocking internet pornography.

He told MPs of the House of Commons' justice select committee:

The first of the two cases has left me in no doubt that the peddling of pornography on the internet has a tremendous effect on that individual.

What's available now to download and to see is simply horrific and it played a real part in ... the way in which this particularly horrible murder was carried out.

The first case referred to by Lord Williams concerned Jamie Reynolds , a sexual deviant who killed 17-year-old Georgia Williams by hanging her at his parents' house in 2013. In the second case, former soldier Anwar Rosser murdered four-year-old Riley Turner in a savage and gratuitous attack.

graph showing violent crime fall as internet access increasesI Beg to Differ M'Lud

See  article from  mirror.co.uk
See  article from  backlash-uk.org.uk

Nick Cowen, an academic and researcher at the campaign group Backlash, responded to Thomas's claims saying it was impossible to suggest that porn was making men more likely to rape and murder.

In fact, he suggested that the arrival of hardcore pornography may have even made society LESS violent:

You cannot establish a strong relationship between images someone looks at and what crimes they commit. Violent crime is actually on the decline for all manner of reasons. Some recent evidence suggests pornography may be contributing to that, although the effect is small.

He pointed to a Home Office graph which shows the UK has become less violent since the 1990s, when internet pornography first became available.

And Some Unsubstantiated Claptrap from Safermedia

Safer MediaPippa Smith, chair of the religious campaign group SaferMedia told Mirror Online about a number of cases described to her by colleagues and psychotherapists. She told of a 18-year-old boy who had watched so much porn that he developed fantasies about punching women in the face and even began to follow strangers late at night.

Today's men are part of a guinea pig generation for porn exposure, she spouted, and the consequences could be dire:

Pornography has become much more violent and abusive and it can lead some to view ever more perverse material and even act it out. So for those who say porn is harmless, it is just not true.

 

31st January

 Update: One Million Moms Recommend...

Carl's Jnr burger advert for the 2015 Super Bowl
Link Here

carls jnr advert 2015 videoThe Christian moralist campaign group, One Million Moms whinges:

Carl's Jr. and Hardee's, both owned by CKE Restaurants, are at it again by using sex to sell burgers. Their new ad is extremely inappropriate to air at any time, but especially while families are likely watching. Their All-Natural commercial will surely ruin family time once again.

The commercial that will be shown at the Super Bowl features a woman who appears to be naked as she walks through a farmer's market. This is as close to complete nudity as you can get because she appears to be nude until the end when she is in full view wearing a string bikini top and tiny shorts while eating a hamburger from Carl's Jr.

The only indication of who sponsored this ad is in the final few seconds of the commercial. Carl's Jr. and Hardee's regularly bank on the sex sells philosophy. There is no need for a burger to be promoted by sex appeal, and this advertising ploy is why 1MM will not give up.

Families should be able to watch the game together if they choose. Last year's game was remarkably improved from years past because viewers were not bombarded with sexually explicit and disgusting ads during every commercial break. Parents should remain on guard, but it is encouraging to see that our voice kept crudeness to a minimum. That is 1MM's goal again this year.

 

31st January

  Searching for Privacy...

Google agrees to be more open how it uses people's personal data
Link Here
information commissioners office logoGoogle has agreed to rewrite its privacy policy after pressure from the UK Information Commissioner's Office. The firm must make it easier for users to find out how their data is collected and what it is used for and submit to a two-year review.

The deal follows an investigation by the regulator. Similar reviews are continuing elsewhere in Europe. It is understood that Google will seek to strike a similar deal with other European regulators.

The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) found that Google was too vague when describing how it uses personal data gathered from its web services and products .

Google will also provide unambiguous and comprehensive information regarding data processing, including an exhaustive list of the types of data processed by Google and the purposes for which data is processed .

Among other clarifications, Google will have to include information about who may collect anonymous identifiers - which are similar to cookies - and the purposes to which they put that data.

It will also be made to ensure that passive users are better informed about the processing of their data . The ICO defines passive users as people who use Google, but who are not signed in. Jump media player Media player help Out of media player. Press enter to return or tab to continue.

 

31st January

 Offsite Article: When will gamers understand that criticism isn't censorship?...

Link Here
Call Duty Advanced Warfare PS4Guardian PC claptrap but it does outline a PC attempt at censorship of male oriented computer games

See article from theguardian.com

 

31st January

 Offsite Article: France gets heavy with dissenters...

Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
France flagLong jail terms after crackdown on speech that glorifies terrorism

See article from theguardian.com

 

30th January

 Updated: Leela Samson loses her appeal...

Indian film censor resigns after her ban on the movie MSG is overturned on appeal
Link Here  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
CBFC logoIndia's censor board chief has resigned after reports that a film rejected by her panel has been cleared for release.

Leela Samson quit after an appeals board approved the film Messenger of God , directed by and starring Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

Samson's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) had found the film unsuitable for the public, reportedly because it promoted superstition. She also accused the state-run CBFC of corruption and coercion .

Messenger of God was cleared by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal.

A CBFC member, Nandini Sardesai, said supported her boss saying:

We all saw the movie. It was the collective decision of eight of us that the movie was not suitable for public viewing.

Later 9 members of the Central Board of Film Certification sent their resignation letters to the Information and Broadcasting Minister on citing interference and corruption in the ministry. In their letter to the I&B Minister, CBFC members said:

The events that led to the Chairperson Ms. Leela Samson resigning from her position are merely the proverbial last straw. We have been asking for some critical changes, which are imperative to the functioning of the CBFC. Not a single positive step has been taken by the Ministry.

Government sources said the members who have quit were on their way out anyway adding that a new censor board will be announced soon.

Update: Now 13

18th January 2015. See  article from  indiantelevision.com

The resignation count has risen to 13 members resigning to support Leela Samson.

Update: New censor

20th January 2015. See  article from  ibnlive.in.com

pahlaj nihalaniFilmmaker Pahlaj Nihalani has been appointed as new chairperson of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC). This comes after Leela Samson resigned last week.

Nihalani said he will do his job without any controversy and he also said that there was nothing wrong in the way MSG - Messenger of God was cleared by appellate Tribunal.

Nine new members have also been appointed to the board to replace those resigning with Samson.

Update: State censors

22nd January 2015.  See  article from  theguardian.com

The composition of the new board, especially the number of BJP (the ruling Indian nationalist party) sympathisers on it, does little to allay the accusations made by Samson and her co-workers. In the runup to last year's general elections, Nihalani directed a music video praising the current prime minister, Narendra Modi. During a television interview on Tuesday, he said he was proud to be a BJP person , and called Modi his action hero and the voice of the nation . He blames the previous government, saying the [board's] problems started during their tenure.

Three other new members are either BJP leaders or have ties to its nationalist parent organisation, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh. One of them even contested the 2014 general elections on a BJP ticket.

MSG is now slated for release on 6 February. The chief minister of Punjab, whose state had earlier banned the film due to the communique regarding public safety concerns, has said the government will review the order.

Update: A vulgar censor

24th January 2015.  See  article from  timesofindia.indiatimes.com

 India's new film censor quickly set out his stall by having a good whinge at supposedly vulgar TV. He whined that there is too much nudity on television and internet which should be controlled. Speaking to TOI Pahlaj Nihalani whinged:,

Nudity is available online and on certain TV programs like live fashion shows. It should be in sync with the rules followed in films. There should be one policy for nudity (portrayal of sex in films).

He said that while films on TV, promos went through a certification process, many live programmes were subject to self-regulation. The self-regulation is not being followed. There is vulgarity on TV...it should be controlled, he said.

Nihalani who in a recent interview described PM Narendra Modi as his action hero defended his words:

I am a big fan of BJP. I admire Modiji for his leadership qualities and people are very happy that he is in power. There are expectations from him and as a citizen of this country I am motivated to move ahead.

Update: Ranting and raving

30th January 2015.  See  article from  filmibeat.com

sunny leoneIndia's new chief film censor, Pahlaj Nihalani, has been ranting and raving about increasing film censorship. He has also has a whinge about the internet and 'how it will affect the nation's youth':

I am talking about the material that is uploaded. For instance, take Sunny Leone. We accepted her as an artist. And with her popularity, everybody, from school kids to grown ups, have watched her sites (adult films). People are paying money to watch her. How can there be tolerance for all this? What will the new generation learn?.

I don't mind being called conservative if I have to serve the nation. You have to take care of the new generation, on whom the future of the country depends. So how can we allow ourselves to give them wrong education? The censor board is very liberal. But what is the modern generation watching? We are giving them the license to see anything. How is this projecting our culture? Everything is free online and as you can see the youth is misusing it. Even for the online platform, I feel there should be rules and without censorship material should not be uploaded.

On television, they watch content without any censor. Many live programmes come without censor, especial the comedy and fashion shows. So much vulgarity they show on TV. On many live shows you can see short skirts and lingerie. How can you tolerate all this? What is the meaning of censorship then?

 

30th January

  Speak Now...whilst you still can...

Taylor Swift thinks she owns the English language and trademarks phrases from her lyrics
Link Here
Speak Now Taylor SwiftSinger Taylor Swift has trademarked phrases including this sick beat and we never go out of style , in the United States.

The phrases are all lyrics from her current album, 1989. The trademark ruling prohibits others from using her lyrics on items such as t-shirts, stickers and bags.

 

30th January

 Offsite Article: The new war against PC...

Link Here
Spiked logoIt's too late and it's picked the wrong target. Why almost everyone is wrong about political correctness. By Brendan O'Neill

See article from spiked-online.com

 

29th January

 Update: More Dead...

Channel 4 airs an extended version for the 2013 Evil Dead
Link Here  full story: Evil Dead...Remake re-awakens the franchise
Evil Dead DVD Jane LevyEvil Dead is a 2013 USA horror by Fede Alvarez.
With Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Jessica Lucas. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

An extended version of Evil Dead, the 2013 remake, has just been broadcast by Channel 4.

This unheralded version has sparked interest on forums, but is something of a puzzle. The version featured about 4 minutes of additional material and seemed complete in terms of violence. This rather disproves theories about it being a US TV version. It is a common pattern for US TV to add in deleted material to replace or compensate for the cutting of any sex and violence.

Director Fede Avarez has been asked about the current extended version but wasn't able to throw any light on the matter.

Before the release of the original release of the film the director spoke of brief cuts to achieve a US R rating and also of the possibility of an extended version. But shortly before the premiere, Alvarez proclaimed that the Theatrical Version was his Director's Cut and no more was heard of an alternative version...until now.

 

29th January

  Drunk on Self Importance...

Alcohol Concern ludicrously thinks David Beckham should be banned from advertising adult products because he was once popular with kids
Link Here

haig club videoA TV ad and an online video for Haig Club whisky:

The ad featured David Beckham, who was riding a motorcycle, and others travelling through a craggy landscape to meet each other. The actors were all shown congregating in smart attire, with Beckham carrying a bottle of Haig Club. He poured the drink into tumblers for them and they were then shown posing for photographs while, initially, holding their tumblers. The background changed to show different countries and settings, and the arrangement of the group also changed, with the characters no longer holding their glasses, before returning to the original group photograph. The ad ended with a shot of the product and the caption Haig Club single grain scotch whisky Welcome.

The ASA received two complaints.

Alcohol Concern, who considered that David Beckham would have strong appeal to those under 18 years of age, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible because it:

1. featured David Beckham promoting an alcoholic beverage; and

2. implied that drinking was a key component of social success or acceptance, and that refusal was a sign of weakness.

3. Alcohol Concern and one other complainant challenged whether the ad implied that drinking was a key component to the success of a personal relationship or social event.

ASA Assessment: Not in breach

1. Not upheld

The ASA considered that, as a recently-retired footballer, David Beckham would be likely to hold general appeal for some children. Nonetheless, we noted that he had not played for a UK club in the last decade and was therefore unlikely to have particular resonance for children on the basis of his sporting career alone, or have strong appeal on that basis. We understood that Alcohol Concern specifically noted that Beckham had won a Nickelodeon Kid's Choice Sports Legend award earlier this year, and that they felt this demonstrated a strong appeal to children. However, we also understood that the award's recipient was chosen by Nickelodeon, rather than being voted on by children, and that the award was primarily an American one. We considered that, although it suggested the potential for some appeal to children, the opinion of the largely-American Nickelodeon channel was insufficient to demonstrate that Beckham held strong appeal to children in the UK.

We also noted that Beckham had been prominently involved in promoting Sainsbury's Active Kids and UNICEF campaigns, but considered that these were unlikely to contribute particularly to his appeal to children or to indicate that he had a strong appeal to them. We noted that Beckham was widely known for his commercial and ambassadorial roles, as well as his family, albeit with football as the reason for his initial fame. We considered that, although Beckham's early career would have meant that he held strong appeal to children at that time, the shift from football to commercial ventures, as well as his move to play in foreign leagues and subsequent retirement from football, meant that he was no longer likely to hold such appeal to children in 2014. Because we considered that David Beckham did not have strong appeal to children and was not likely to be a figure whose example children would follow, we concluded that the ad had not breached the Code.

2 & 3. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the whisky was shown as part of a social occasion and was one aspect of the theme of the ad. However, we considered that the preamble to the photograph scene demonstrated a well-established friendship and sense of ease between the characters that was already present before the drink was poured. We also noted that the only photograph in which the drink was shown was the present-day image and that the other scenes showed the history of the group's friendship without the presence or consumption of alcohol. We understood that one of the complainants had concerns about the use of the word Club in the brand name as depicted in the ad. Although we noted that the end frame of the ad also included the word welcome and that this carried an allusion to social activity, we considered that consumers would recognise the use of the word Club as a reference to the name of the brand rather than a suggestion that purchasing or consuming the product would lead to social success or belonging. In light of these elements we concluded that the ad did not imply that drinking was a key component of social success or acceptance, the success of a personal relationship or social event, or that refusal was a sign of weakness.

 

29th January

  Smashing up Phil Neville...

BBC responds to complaints about throwaway comment by football pundit
Link Here
bbc sport fa cup logoThe BBC have responded to complaints about Phil Neville FA Cup punditry during the Arsenal vs brighton Tie.

As usual the BBC responds to complaints without actually detailing what was being complained about.

For the record, Neville said he would smash team-mates in training if he saw them perform a no look pass like Tomas Rosicky's during Arsenal's 3-2 FA Cup win over Brighton and Hove Albion:

If that was a training session and somebody did that, I'd be first over there and I'd probably look to two-foot him or take him out of the game. If somebody did that in training to me, winding me up, I would be straight in there. I'd smash them.'

The BBC responded on their website:

FA Cup Match of the Day, BBC One, 25 January 2015

Complaint

We received complaints from some viewers unhappy with the comments made by Phil Neville during the programme.

BBC Response

When analysing the playing style of Tomas Rosicky, Phil attempted a tongue-in-cheek comment. This comment was not meant to offend in any way, but on reflection, Phil acknowledges that the language he used was unfortunate.

That said, Mark Chapman did immediately challenge him and the tone of the discussion was light-hearted enough to suggest that the panel were not condoning any kind of violence or setting an example to a younger audience.

BBC Sport will, however, remind the team to take extra care during discussions during our live programmes.

 

29th January

  In the Face of Threats...

Facebook censors images of Mohammed in Turkey
Link Here
Facebook logoFacebook has agreed to censor pages showing images of the religious character Mohammed in Turkey despite Mark Zuckerberg giving his support to freedom of speech proclaiming Je Suis Charlie .

A court in the Turkish capital, Ankara, ruled that several Facebook pages were deemed to be insulting the Prophet Mohammed and Facebook agreed to block access on January 25. The court had threatened that if the ruling was not adhered to, Facebook access would be wholly removed in the country.

The company's decision comes after Mark Zuckerberg said on Facebook that the site followed the laws of the country but we never let one country or group of people dictate what people can share across the world . The billionaire added:

I'm committed to building a service where you can speak freely without fear or violence... #JeSuisCharlie. Related Articles

 

29th January

 Offsite Article: A little angry bird told me...

Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
angry birds logoThe Guardian details how GCHQ and NSA hoover up personal data leaking from apps such as Angry Birds

See article from theguardian.com

 

28th January

  A Twisted Definition of Tolerance...

Jewish leaders in a disgraceful call for censorship and a European blasphemy law, subtly hiding it behind a ban on reprehensible cultural practices
Link Here  full story: European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation...Orewellian organisation campaigns for a new EU-wide blasphemy law
european council on tolerance and reconciliation logoEuropean Jewish leaders, backed by  former EU heads of state and government, are calling for pan-European legislation outlawing antisemitism and criticism of religion.

A panel of four international jewish leaders backed by the misleadingly named European Council on Tolerance and Reconciliation (ECTR) have spent three years drafting a 12-page document on 'tolerance' . They are lobbying to have it converted into law in the 28 countries of the EU.

The proposal would outlaw antisemitism as well as criminalising a host of other activities of what the group deems to be violating fundamental rights on religious, cultural, ethnic and gender grounds.

The group head the list with some justifiable prohibitions, female genital mutilation, forced marriage, polygamy, but then slip in extensive censorship and blasphemy items, eg criminalising xenophobia, and creating a new crime of group libel , ie public defamation of ethnic, cultural or religious groups. Then to try and generate a little support, the group extends the list to include women's and gay rights.

The proposed legislation would also curb freedom of expression on grounds of a bizarre definition of 'tolerance'. The document twists the meaning of tolerance to try and justify the end to the right of freedom of expression:

Tolerance is a two-way street. Members of a group who wish to benefit from tolerance must show it to society at large, as well as to members of other groups and to dissidents or other members of their own group.

There is no need to be tolerant to the intolerant. This is especially important as far as freedom of expression is concerned: that freedom must not be abused to defame other groups.

But the document goes much further, calling for the criminalisation of overt approval of a totalitarian ideology, xenophobia or antisemitism.

Education in tolerance should be mandatory from primary school to university, and for the military and the police, while public broadcasting must devote a prescribed percentage of their programmes to promoting a climate of 'tolerance' .

The panel was chaired by Yoram Dinstein, a war crimes expert, professor and former president of Tel Aviv university.

The drafters are currently touring the parliaments of Europe trying to drum up support.

 

28th January

  Sniping...

Arab American campaigners unhappy with the Hollywood film, American Sniper
Link Here
American Sniper DVD UltraVioletAmerican Sniper is a 2014 USA action biography by Clint Eastwood.
Starring Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller and Kyle Gallner. Youtube link IMDb

A Navy S.E.A.L. recounts his military career, which includes more than 150 confirmed kills.

A group calling itself the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) has written to director Clint Eastwood and star Bradley Cooper claiming an increase in threats against US muslims. The ADC said:

A majority of the violent threats we have seen over the past few days are result of how Arab and Muslims are depicted in American Sniper.

The group said it had collected hundreds of violent messages targeting Arab and Muslim Americans from movie-goers , mainly from Facebook and Twitter.

The letter asked Eastwood and Cooper to speak out against such messages in an effort to reduce the hateful rhetoric .

 

28th January

  Sad Story...

GoDaddy bullied into pulling Super Bowl advert featuring a puppy
Link Here

godaddy puppy advert videoWebsite hosting company GoDaddy has upset puppy lovers. It said that it would pull its latest Super Bowl ad over complaints that it somehow promotes inhumane breeding practices.

In the ad, an adorable golden retriever puppy falls off the back of the truck, then travels day and night to return home to his owners.

I'm so glad you made it home, the puppy's owner says when she greets him. Because I just sold you on this website I built with GoDaddy.com.

The Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals whinged:

If you can buy a puppy online and have it shipped to you the next day, it's likely you're supporting inhumane breeding.

The PC lynch mob bayed for blood on Change.org in petition that raised about 40,000 signatures:

Essentially, Go Daddy is encouraging private breeding/puppy mills while shelter animals wait patiently for their forever homes or worse -- to be euthanized. Animal rights are no laughing matter and to portray them as such is cruel and irresponsible.

GoDaddy CEO Blake Irving responded.

What should have been a fun and funny ad clearly missed the mark and we will not air it.

 

28th January

 Update: Rajan Zed Recommends...

Fox TV's Sleepy Hollow
Link Here  full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
Sleepy Hollow Season 1 DVDThe professional whinger Rajan Zed has claimed that a recent episode of Fox's supernatural TV show, Sleepy Hollow somehow distorted hindu concepts.

Zed described the Kali Yuga episode as highly inappropriate portrayal of Hindu goddess Kali and urged public apologies from all those responsible for it, including 21st Century Fox Chairman Rupert Murdoch, Fox Television Group Chairman Gary Newman, and creators Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci.

Zed said that goddess Kali was highly revered in Hinduism and was meant to worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effects in TV shows.

Free speech denier Zed claimed that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more ...BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Zed further said no faith, larger or smaller, should be ridiculed at.

 

27th January

  I am not calling for a ban...BUT...

British MP Thomas Docherty calls for the banning of Hitler's book, Mein Kampf
Link Here
Mein Kampf Adolf HitlerThe Scottish Labour MP Thomas Docherty has written to the British culture secretary inferring that Adolf Hitler's book, Mein Kampf should be banned.

He is calling for a national debate on whether the sale of the book should be banned in the UK.

Docherty has written to culture secretary Sajid Javid about the text, pointing out that it is currently rated as an Amazon bestseller . An edition of Mein Kampf is currently in fifth place on Amazon's history of Germany chart, in fourth place in its history references chart, and in 665th place overall. He wrote:

I think that there is a compelling case for a national debate on whether there should be limits on the freedom of expression.

And of course the inevitable '...BUT...' He said i n his letter there are:

Many who would argue that the publication of books as repulsive as Mein Kampf is the price of living in a democracy, and that by allowing academic study of books such as this, we ensure that our society understands better the causes of fascism and the origins of Nazism.

...BUT...

there are also many who would argue that such a book, which sought to incite racial hatred and fuel antisemitism, is too offensive to be made available.

And of course he doesn't want to be as vulgar as actually calling for a ban, he would much rather find somebody else to utter those words:

I'm not saying it should be banned, I am saying we should absolutely have a debate about whether or not it should be banned,

Could you have for argument's sake a system of academic licensing, a system in which institutes of learning were permitted to publish and teach it? Let's have the debate. Let's ask, in the 21st century, are there limits to free speech?

 

27th January

 Update: Quality Nonsense...

Rajan Zed professionally offended by ginger beer label
Link Here  full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
brookvale union ginger beerA religious activist group says it plans to complain to Australia's advertising watchdog about a brewer that is using images of Hindu gods on its ginger beer bottle labels.

Aussie firm Brookvale Union, which uses the slogan Quality nonsense , apologised to Hindus offended by the labelling after receiving complaints in 2013, but the Universal Society of Hinduism has issued a new public complaint that the offending bottles are still on sale.

The bottles, which feature Hindu deities Ganesh and Lakshmi, carry the slogan Spicy yet mild, dry but wet, smooth yet sharp, tight but loose .

The group also says that the company has not removed the supposedly objectionable images from its website, which it had said it would when the issue was first raised two years ago.

The Universal Society of Hinduism's president Rajan Zed called on Brookvale Union to recall all the soft drink bottles carrying the images from the market, and show some responsibility, respect and maturity and understand the hurt feelings of Hindu community by saying sorry again. The free speech hating Zed spouted:

Hindus are for free expression and speech as much as anybody else if not more ...BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at trivializing it tormented the devotees.

Inappropriate usage of Hindu deities or concepts or symbols for commercial or other agenda is not okay as it hurts the devotees. Lord Ganesh and Goddess Lakshmi are highly revered in Hinduism and they are meant to be worshipped in temples or home shrines and not to be used in selling beer for mercantile greed.

 

27th January

 Offsite Article: North East blue movie producer says the law on porn is an ass...

Link Here
facesitting protestGood to see local press being supportive of the British adult industry being snuffed out by David Cameron's censorship

See article from thenorthernecho.co.uk

 

26th January

  Lest it 'offends' the terrorists...

Don't call a terrorist a terrorist. A fascinating lesson in BBC political correctness and news reporting.
Link Here
bbc news logoThe Islamists who committed the Charlie Hebdo massacre in Paris should be not be described as terrorists by the BBC, a senior executive at the corporation has said.

Tarik Kafala, the head of BBC Arabic, said the term terrorist was too loaded to describe the actions of the men who killed 12 people in the attack on the French satirical magazine. Kafala told The Independent :

We try to avoid describing anyone as a terrorist or an act as being terrorist. What we try to do is to say that 'two men killed 12 people in an attack on the office of a satirical magazine'. That's enough, we know what that means and what it is.

Terrorism is such a loaded word. The UN has been struggling for more than a decade to define the word and they can't. It is very difficult to. We know what political violence is, we know what murder, bombings and shootings are and we describe them. That's much more revealing, we believe, than using a word like terrorist which people will see as value-laden.

Kafala's are in line with the BBC's editorial guidelines on reporting terrorism. The guidelines state:

[The BBC] does not ban the use of the word. However, we do ask that careful thought is given to its use by a BBC voice. There are ways of conveying the full horror and human consequences of acts of terror without using the word 'terrorist' to describe the perpetrators.

The value judgements frequently implicit in the use of the words 'terrorist' or 'terrorist group' can create inconsistency in their use or, to audiences, raise doubts about our impartiality. It may be better to talk about an apparent act of terror or terrorism than label individuals or a group.

When reporting an attack, the BBC guidelines say it should use words which specifically describe the perpetrator such as bomber , attacker , gunman , kidnapper or militant .

[But such obvious avoidance of attributing terrorists to causes does little except emphasise that the BBC is providing a propaganda slant on the news. It just comes across as politically correct double speak].

 

26th January

 Update: Baby...

Indian film banned in Pakistan over sensitivity of being depicted as terrorists
Link Here  full story: Banned Films in Pakistan...Sensitive issues of image and religion
Poster Baby 2015 Neeraj PandeyBaby is a 2015 India action crime mystery by Neeraj Pandey.
Starring Kerem Sarikaya, Ali Balkan Avci and Zachary Coffin. Youtube link IMDb

An elite counter-intelligence unit learns of a plot, masterminded by a maniacal madman. With the clock ticking, it's up to them to track the terrorists' international tentacles and prevent them from striking at the heart of India.

Baby is an Indian action movie about a spy mission to catch a dreaded terrorist. It has now been banned by Pakistan's film censors. The Dawn newspaper reported:

Censor boards in Islamabad and Karachi have decided to ban the film because it portrays a negative image of Muslims and the negative characters in the film also have Muslim names.

All CDs and DVDs of the film have also been banned in Islamabad. A representative of the film's distributor, Everready Pictures informed the paper that the film has been banned in Pakistan.

Earlier, director Neeray Pandey was quoted as saying that the film was not anti-Pakistan. The board routinely bans films deemed to have anti- Pakistan themes.

 

26th January

 Update: Dictator's Club...

North Korea persuades Cambodia to ban The Interview, at least from cinema and TV
Link Here
Interview Blu ray UltraViolet James FrancoIn a January 8 letter to Cambodia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the North Korean Embassy asks the government to confiscate all copies of The Interview from Cambodia's DVD shops and keep the movie off big and small screens alike.

In the letter, the embassy complains that pirated copies of the film are already being openly sold at malls around Phnom Penh.

This is generated by the plot of the hostile forces manipulating to break the long traditional friendship between the Kingdom of Cambodia and the DPR [Democratic People's Republic of] Korea.

The letter asks the government:

To take appropriate measure to see that the 'Interview,' byproduct of U.S. maneuvers against DPR Korea, would be no longer sold in the sublime Kingdom of Cambodia and also would never be broadcast on any Cambodian TV channel or shown at any movie house.

Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said the film would not be shown on television.

Even before the letter from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, my ministry already made request to all TV and Pay TV stations not to broadcast this film.

The traditional practice here isn't to offend nor hurt the country having diplomatic relations with Cambodia.

Culture Minister Phoeurng Sackona said the movie would also not be making it to the big screen. However the local DVD trade is harder to control. Eg at City Mall, every DVD shop had the movie for sale Sunday.

Last week, the New York Times reported that shop owners in Rangoon had copies of the movie confiscated by police.

 

26th January

 Offsite Article: A Fall from Grace...

Link Here
Skyfall DVD Daniel Craig_updatedITV cuts over a minute from the Christmas Eve 8pm showing of Skyfall

See article from movie-censorship.com

 

25th January

  Pre-VRA...

BBFC Podcast 26 discusses the first half of James Ferman's reign at the board
Link Here
James FermanThe BBFC describe the latest episode as:

This episode of the podcast looks at the first half of James Ferman's career as Director of the BBFC, focusing on key classification decisions and events from 1975 to 1984. We'll examine the remainder of his time as Director in a future episode.

 

25th January

 Extracts: Fighting the Good Fight...

Pandora Blake debates and opposes Cameron's suffocating porn censorship
Link Here
pandora blake spanked, not silenced logoPandora Blake runs a very popular website on the theme of Spanking. She has taken a prominent role in opposing the Government's discriminatory new law censoring British porn, and particularly targeting kinks focusing on women's enjoyment of sex.

She has recently posted 3 articles on the topic:

Channel 4 debate on UK porn protest

You have all probably seen this already, but I haven't mentioned it here yet, on 12th December after the facesitting protest outside Parliament against the new UK porn laws, I was invited to debate the issue on Newsnight.

See article and video from Newsnight from pandorablake.com

Video blog about UK porn censorship

I finally got round to making a video blog about the new UK porn censorship laws. The Audiovisual Media Services Regulations (AVMS) 2014 impose dramatic restrictions on the sort of online porn that can be published in the UK, disproportionately targeting fetish, queer and feminist porn with no reference to whether the content was ethically and consensually produced. These laws criminalise me and my site Dreams of Spanking, and put me and other independent UK porn producers in a very precarious position. If you want to know more detail about the laws, exactly what is restricted, and how they affect me, watch this.

See video blog from pandorablake.com

Help me fight the new UK porn laws

The best chance for me and every other producer affected by this is to join forces and support Backlash, the campaign group who are lobbying against these regulations, as well as defending freedom of sexual expression on many other fronts. The best way to support them, if you can, is by donating hard cash. They explain on their website:

The majority of our income is spent on legal support for people who fall foul of laws and practises that criminalise, or discriminate against, their consensual and victimless sexual practises. We also endeavour to advocate our beliefs in such freedoms and make challenges to the legislative process where we can.

Any producer who refuses to comply with these regulations and ends up in court will need every bit of support Backlash has to offer.

See article from pandorablake.com

See also fund raiser from  indiegogo.com

 

25th January

  Best Kept Archived...

Fear of muslim violence leads V and A museum to disclaim possessing images of Mohammed
Link Here
v and a logoThe Victoria and Albert museum has attempted to conceal its ownership of a devotional image of the religious character Muhammad, citing security concerns, in what is part of a wider pattern of apparent self-censorship by British institutions that scholars fear could undermine public understanding of Islamic art and the diversity of Muslim traditions .

Similar images have been shown in exhibitions across Europe and America without prompting outrage, much less protests or a violent response.

British museums and libraries hold dozens of these images, mostly miniatures in manuscripts several centuries old, but they have been kept largely out of public view. Fear of displaying them is apparently driven by controversy about satirical or offensive portraits of Muhammad by non-Muslims, despite the huge difference in form and purpose.

When the V&A was asked if it held any images of Muhammad after the attack on the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo , it said there were none. A US expert later provided a link to a poster in its collection, with the inscription Mohammad the Prophet of God . That page in the database was deleted last week, but can still be found in a cached version. A spokeswoman said their original response was an honest error .

Other British institutions with images of Muhammad in their Islamic art collections show some on websites, but have shied away from exhibitions.

 

25th January

 Updated: Supporting Violent Censorship...

International events to support the censorship of Charlie hebdo
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

Niger flagNiger 

18th January 2015. See  article from  theguardian.com

At least five people died when rioters burned churches and cars and attacked French-linked businesses across Niger on Saturday, in violent protests against the publication of a cartoon of Muhammad on the cover of Charlie Hebdo magazine.

President Mahamadou Issoufou said all five of the dead were civilians, with four of them killed inside burned churches or bars.

Ten people have died in two days of violence across the west African nation. Five died and 45 were injured in clashes on Friday in Niger's second largest city, Zinder, where a French cultural centre and cafe were also hit.

mardom-e-emrooz george clooneyIran

18th January 2015. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

An Iranian newspaper has been shut down after the country's authorities accused its front page headline of supporting the Charlie Hebdo magazine.

The article's headline quoted Hollywood actor, George Clooney, saying: I am Charlie Hebdo.

But the accompanying article did not actually express support for Clooney's statement, nor for the magazine itself.

The editor of Mardom-e-Emrooz - or Today's People - confirmed his paper was ordered to close for publishing the story.

Clooney was one of many actors to arrive at the Golden Globe awards to wear Je Suis Charlie pins.

France flagFrance

18th January 2015. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Numerous French media websites have been momentarily taken down by hackers.

The sites of Le Parisien, Marianne and 20 Minutes were among those affected, although most were soon restored. The French government said some 20,000 sites had been targeted.

On Thursday, the head of cyber security for the French military, Vice Admiral Arnaud Coustilliere, said that structured groups and well known Islamist hackers were behind the attacks against the 20,000 sites, but did not elaborate.

cumhuriyetTurkey

18th January 2015. See  article from  ft.com

Turkey's prime minister has accused Turkish newspapers of sedition for publishing a controversial cartoon of Mohammed.

Ahmet Davutoglu made his comments a day after Cumhuriyet, a secularist newspaper, republished the cartoon and other extracts from Charlie Hebdo. Davutoglu  said:

The freedom of the press does not mean the freedom to insult, above all if this is against our Prophet. Printing the cartoon is heavy sedition.

Later in the day Turkish prosecutors opened an investigation into Cumhuriyet's publishing excerpts from Charlie Hebdo, in response to complaints that the paper had incited hatred.

Russia flagUpdate: Russia

19th January 2015. See  article from  uk.reuters.com

Russian Muslims rally against depiction's of Mohammad. Authorities say some 15 to 20 thousand people gathered at the rally in the city of Mahgas in the North Caucasus. The rally concluded peacefully but nevertheless it was still an implcit show of support for murderers.

 

Update: Australia

25th January 2015. See  article from  independent.co.uk and  article from  theguardian.com

Australia flagAbout 800 muslims rallied in Sydney to protest against the justifiably negative media coverage of Islam and French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's depictions of Mohammed.

Police said 14 people were told to move on from the rally for breaching the peace. But no one was charged and the event was calm with a huge group of demonstrators praying on the street.

Some of the 800-strong demonstrators in the Lakemba suburb -- which has a large population of Lebanese Australians -- held up placards with the slogan Je suis Muslim. Other protesters held up signs saying insult to one prophet is an insult to all prophets.

Earlier Australia's prime minister, Tony Abbott, had told the protestors to lighten up . Abbott said on radio that  he hoped there would be only a few protesters:

Frankly I don't think any of us really want to be in the business of insulting anyone, but on the other hand we all believe in free speech, and I have to say some people are a bit thin-skinned about free speech.

I just hope the organisers of this protest lighten up a bit, and accept that in our robust democracy, a lot of people say a lot of things, and sometimes it's right, sometimes it's wrong, and we just have to accept the rough and the smooth together.

Update: Palestine and Senegal

25th January 2015.

'Thousands' of Palestinians rallied in the occupied West Bankto protest against the publication of cartoons depicting Mohammad. Simultaneous demonstrations were held in the cities of Ramallah and Hebron.

Around 1,500 people including the prime minister marchedin Senegal against caricatures of Mohammed. Premier Mohammed Dionne was joined at the demonstration in Dakar by cabinet colleagues, civil society activists, lawmakers, religious leaders and hundreds of members of the public. I'm not Charlie -- I am a Muslim , Freedom of expression is not the freedom to insult , Do not touch my prophet read placards brandished by demonstrators.

Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

28th January 2015.  See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Pakistan flagTens of thousands of Muslims took to the streets in Pakistan in anger at the Mohammed cartoons published by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.

The largest rally was held in Karachi, where 25,000 people shouted slogans including death to France , death to the blasphemers and (We are) ready to sacrifice life for Prophet Mohammed .

Speaking at the Karachi protest, the chief of Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan's main Islamic Party, demanded Pakistan call a meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, a group of Muslim countries. He urged the United Nations to curb the menace of blasphemy through changes to international law.

 

25th January

 Update: Dam It! Jam It!...

One Million Moms recommend Kellogg's Pop Tarts
Link Here
kelloggs pop tarts advertChristian morality campaign group, One Million Moms has taken easy offence at a trivial Kellogg's advert. The group writes:

Kellogg's new Pop Tart commercial includes a double entendre that is inappropriate and unnecessary. Foul language or the implication of it is not needed in this commercial, but that is exactly what Kellogg's intended with their play on words.

The animated commercial has a mom pop tart and a dad pop tart admiring their newborn baby pop tart at the hospital nursery when a nurse walks in. The dialogue includes: He so has your peanut butter. Well, he's got your jelly. Then the nurse, while rubbing her hands together ready to devour the baby pop tart, says, Time for a feeding. The parents say, No! Ah, Jam It! The advertisement could have ended with No! but Kellogg's chose to include a phrase that sounded just like a curse word.

Kellogg's should be more responsible in their marketing decisions. Let them know that as a parent and consumer you are offended the company cares more about financial gain than the impression made on our children.

 

25th January

 Updated: Gandhi-Bot...

US beer makers apologise over using Gandhi's image on a beer can.
Link Here  full story: Rajan Zed...Taking easy offence at hindu imagery
gandhi boy beerNew England Brewing Company, a Connecticut based craft beer company, has apologized for a Gandhi-themed brew but has not said if it plans to recall the product.

The brewer's website describes the beer as:

Gandhi-bot is an intensely-hopped double India pale ale. The beer is aromatic and fully vegetarian and an ideal choice those looking to self purify and seek out truth and love.

The packaging depicts an animated, robot-stylized Gandhi-like figure, holding his hand up in a blessing pose.

Rajan Zed, a perennial Hindu whinger, condemned the product and stated that Mahatma Gandhi abhorred drinking and trying to sell a beer named after the icon is highly damaging to his legacy.

A petition was recently filed in Hyderabad that branded the beer's offensive image as punishable under Indian law.

Matt Westfall, the head brewer apologized via a statement to the Press Trust of India news agency:

We do apologize if the good people of India find our Gandhi-Bot label offensive. Our intent is not to offend anyone but rather pay homage and celebrate a great man who we respect greatly.

However, the company has made no indication that it plans to remove the beer from its line-up.

Update: Gandhi-Bot canned

25th January 2015.See  article from  newkerala.com

A US brewery will be rebranding their beer, which uses Indian independence leader Mahatma Gandhi's name and image, after easily offended Indians expressed their 'outrage' calling the act condemnable.   The New England Brewing Company's Gandhi-Bot India pale ale features a cartoon image depicting a robot version of the Gandhi.

The brewer was sued by a lawyer in southern India, after which they apologized and said in a statement:

After careful consideration we feel that renaming Gandhi-Bot is the right move. Taking these steps will allow us to express our support for the Indian-American community while also limiting any economic losses.

The beer, which had been distributed for about 5 years, was being promoted on as fully vegetarian and an ideal aid for self-purification and the seeking of truth and love .

 

24th January

 Update: A Questionable Decision...

Director of latest Woman in Black film criticises the BBFC for its new rule that anything scary has to be 15 rated
Link Here  full story: The Woman in Black...Cut by the BBFC for a 12A
Woman Black Angel Death DVDThe Woman in Black: Angel of Death is a 2015 UK horror thriller by Tom Harper.
Starring Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine and Phoebe Fox. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb
The film was passed 15 uncut by the BBFC for strong horror, threat for UK cinema release in 2014.

In the US it was rated PG-13 for some disturbing and frightening images, and for thematic elements.

Now the film's director, Tom Harper, has sharply criticised the BBFC over its decision to give his Hammer horror sequel a 15 certificate.

Harper questioned the grounds on which the classification for the horror sequel was made. Harper told Screen:

Personally, I was disappointed it ( Angel Of Death ) was a 15 There was no blood, no swearing. Obviously, there are some uncomfortable scenes within it. It was always intended to be a 12A.

The director said the filmmakers were presented by the BBFC with a whole long list of - to my opinion - questionable reasons as to why Angel Of Death was made a 15 rather than a 12A, eg one of the moments highlighted by the BBFC was a lady appears behind a door and a door slams .

The original The Woman In Black, directed by James Watkins and starring Daniel Radcliffe, was certificated 12A in 2011 and its success in attracting a young teenage audience contributed to its becoming the most successful UK horror movie ever at the British box office. The BBFC received a few complaints that it was a bit scary and so introduced a new rule that even if a film is not violent it can receive a 15 rating for being scary (for eg doors slamming).

The BBFC explained its 15 rating:

There is strong and sustained threat and horror throughout, as people are threatened and attacked by the title character. Much of the threat is towards children and there is sight of both dead children and children who are forced to harm themselves by the ghost. There are scenes of wartime threat, relating to the Blitz, and nightmare sequences featuring strong threat. There is some impression of blood on bodies and in medical contexts.

Even with the 15 certificate, The Woman In Black: Angel Of Death did strong business at the UK box office and has made an estimated $7m since its release at the start of the year.

 

24th January

  Pirated Ideas...

Julia Reda of the Pirate Party publishes a draft report into overhauling EU copyright law
Link Here
EU flagJulia Reda, a politician for the German Pirate Party and member of the European Parliament, has released her draft report for the overhaul of EU copyright. In her role as rapporteur, Reda says that EU copyright rules are maladapted to the increase of cross-border cultural exchange facilitated by the Internet.

Last November, Julia Reda, a politician for the German Pirate Party and member of the European Parliament, was tasked with producing a report on the implementation of the 2001 InfoSoc Directive.

The draft [pdf] acknowledges the need for artistic works to be protected under law and calls for improvements in the positions of authors and performers in relation to other rightholders and intermediaries.

The document recommends that public sector information should be exempt from copyright protection and calls on the Commission to safeguard public domain works while recognizing rightsholders' freedom to voluntarily relinquish their rights and dedicate their works to the public domain.

Copyright lengths are also tackled by Reda, who calls on the Commission to harmonize the term to a duration that does not exceed the current international standards set out in the Berne Convention .

On Internet hyperlinking the report requests that citizens are allowed to freely link from one resource to another and calls on the EU legislator to clarify that reference to works by means of a hyperlink is not subject to exclusive rights, as it is does not consist in a communication to a new public.

The document also calls for new copyright exceptions to be granted for research and educational purposes to not only cover educational establishments, but any kind of educational and research activities, including non-formal education.

The final report will be put to an April vote in the Legal Affairs Committee and then to a vote before the entire Parliament during May.

Comment: Dissenting voice

28th January 2015. See  article from  torrentfreak.com by Amelia Andersdotter of the Swedish Pirate Party

Julia Reda's proposals for a new European copyright can be summarized as more of the same . She wants the European Union to make a regulation, which means directly applicable at the member state level. This regulation, she suggests, can contain all of the current bits of copyright. This is by itself useful, especially for American technology companies that want to repeat their US successes and are confronted with a European market that is highly fragmented by its wildly disparate copyright laws.

...Read the full article

 

24th January

 Updated: Comments on Charlie...

A round up of essays
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

Spiked logoWe must have the freedom to offend anyone...

Aussie cartoonist Bill Leak on satire, censorship and mocking Muhammad.

24th January 2015. See  article from  spiked-online.com by Brendan O'Neill
 

index logoEnough of the moderate Muslim ...

18th January 2015. See  article from  indexoncensorship.org By Padraig Reidy

It is now eight days since a murderous gang set about killing cartoonists because they had blasphemed and Jews because they were Jews.

Since then, we have gone from revulsion at the acts of the killers to an obsessive focus on the actions of their victims (or at least their victims at Charlie Hebdo: there is relatively little discussion of the slain shoppers in the kosher supermarket).
 

index logoAs a Muslim, I know there is no God-given right not to be offended...

18th January 2015. See  article from  indexoncensorship.org by Rashid Razaq

Satire is scary for people who can't live with doubt. Because satire is all about creating doubt

Spiked logoFrom Je suis Charlie to Nous Sommes Voltaire ...

Despite the outburst of solidarity, free speech is still in the firing line.

16th January 2015. See article from spiked-online.com by Mick Hume
 

comment is free logoAdd faithophobia to my crimes

I have no respect for religions that have little respect for me Now is a time to remember that tolerance has to be reciprocal or it is not tolerance at all

15th January 2015. A surprisingly critical  article from  theguardian.com by Suzanne Moore
 

the spectator logoReligion of peace is not a harmless platitude

To face Islamist terror, we must face the facts about Islam's history

15th January 2015. See  article from  spectator.co.uk by Douglas Murray
 

ministry of truth logoThe BBC, Charlie Hebdo and Jesus & Mo

14th January 2015. See  article from  ministryoftruth.me.uk

If, like me, you were watching BBC Question Time on Thursday evening then you will have undoubtedly noticed that the venerable Dimbers dropped something of a bombshell during the opening debate on the Charlie Hebdo murders by referring to BBC editorial guidance which explicitly prohibited the use of images depicting Mohammed in very clear and unequivocal terms:

The Ministry of Truth seeks investigates the BBC's censorship rules about images of Mohammed
 

Spiked logoWhat if Charlie Hebdo had been published in Britain...

It would have been crushed. Here's how.

14th January 2015. See  article from  spiked-online.com
 

brendan oneillRestore the right to offend...

We must defend the right to be scurrilous. And shocking. And blasphemous. Freedom of speech doesn't mean a thing if we only defend it

14th January 2015. See  article from  brendanoneill.co.uk

 

23rd January

 Updated: We are sorry to interrupt your browsing but the government wants to censor your internet...

Sky Broadband censor people's internet first and then ask them if they want to turn it off
Link Here  full story: Crap Internet Blocking...Cheapo automated filters are not up to the job
sky logoAn Ofcom Report on Internet Safety Measures [pdf] has just been published and reveals that about 21% of parents now use website blocking systems made available by ISPs. Presumably the government would like to see this increased. And as if by magic, Sky has announced that they will be a bit more aggressive about forcing existing subscribers to make a choice about using the ISP's censorship options.

Sky Broadband have announced they will force web-filters on all customers , starting this week, unless the account-holder opts out. They say :

When trying to visit a website deemed unsuitable for children under the age of 13 during the day, customers will see a page reminding them to make a choice about filtering. At this point, they can accept the current setting, change their protection levels or simply turn Sky Broadband Shield off.

...

It's better for people to make their own choice, but until they do, we believe this process to be the safest one. Meanwhile we can ensure that they're protected from phishing, malware and sites unsuitable for young children.

The Open Rights Group comments:

Open Rights Group logoThis approach will increase harm for websites and web surfers, and there is still little evidence of the benefit to children, so why are they doing it?

All ISPs promised David Cameron they would make all customers choose whether to use filters or not. Sky is not offering a choice however - they are imposing filtering unless customers opt out - an approach that the government rejected after running their own consultation. In addition, most households do not contain children so, Sky's default-on approach seems over-reaching.

Could Sky Broadband be seeking to increase adoption of web filters through "nudge" tactics in order to avoid Government criticism for a lack of uptake? Public interest in activating filters has been low since the Government started pressuring ISPs to introduce them in summer 2013. Ofcom said in July 2014 that just 8% of Sky Broadband subscribers had switched them on. The same report showed a 34% adoption-rate for competitor TalkTalk, who promote filters aggressively, and have made them the default option for new subscribers for a long time. Nudge tactics rely on the principle that most people don't bother changing defaults. 

If Sky's agenda were neutral, they would block all web-access for an account until the account-holder had stated their preference about filters: on or off. Instead they intend to block only those sites "deemed unsuitable for under 13s."

If people are inconvenienced by Sky Broadband filters only as much as they are on their mobiles, many won't bother to change the defaults, as it may feel like a lot of hassle if your surfing habits fall foul of overblocking infrequently. Meanwhile others might suffer disproportionately more overblocking depending on the information they seek. We suspect resources on sexual health and sexual orientation for instance are blocked in error more often than other types of site. If you are not the account holder, and you can't get to a site you need, your only recourse would be to discuss it with the person controlling the account. That could be a parent, partner, landlord, room-mate, fellow student, etc.

Sky Broadband may claim increased popularity for filters when in reality the figures would be inflated artificially. People who don't want or need them might be too apathetic, or too reluctant to be on a list of "people who requested the bad sites", to switch them off.

Sky Broadband are asking their customers to choose but they are not giving them the information they need to make an informed choice. Their explanations about filters mention none of their disadvantages or limitations. Far from being perfect, web filters block sites nobody could object to, while failing to block others that are unquestionably adult in nature. If Sky Broadband are confused about this they could consult the Department of Dirty for advice.

Filters are not a parenting panacea and do not substitute for responsible supervision of children online. At ORG we believe parents need help understanding the web, advice on how to talk to their children about online risks, and support to be able to supervise their children effectively. Some may choose filtering as part of their solution - but the rest of us shouldn't be forced to have it just in case.

We also need more transparency about how filters work, what they block, and means of redress for website owners when things go wrong. That's why we built our checking tool at blocked.org.uk - though we would prefer ISPs to take responsibility for this themselves.

Update: TalkTalk HassleHassle CensorCensor

 23rd January 2015. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

TalkTalk logoInternet provider TalkTalk is to become the latest to censor pornographic websites by default.

Any customer who has so far ignored online prompts from the company will find adult material automatically blocked under a scheme being rolled out next month.

The move follows Sky's decision to default to a censored internet unless households specifically ask for it to be turned off. Pressure was last night building on BT and Virgin Media to introduce a similar approach to censorship.

Furthermore all TalkTalk customers will be hassled every 12 months to re-affirm their decision to allow or block websites.

 

23rd January

 Updated: Deathly Censorship...

India author announces his retirement from writing after death threats
Link Here
One Part Woman Perumal MuruganA critically acclaimed Indian novelist has announced his retirement from writing following threats and protests by rightwing Hindu and caste groups prompted by his book about a woman's efforts to get pregnant with a stranger through a religious ritual.

Perumal Murugan, whose sensitive portrayals of rural life in a little-known corner of India have won plaudits from literary commentators, announced on Facebook this week that he planned to stop writing and ask his publishers to withdraw all seven of his works of fiction from sale.

The author's decision follows an 18-day campaign of protests in Tamil Nadu about his novel Madhorubagan (One Part Woman), first published in 2010 and in English in 2013. The campaign forced him to seek police protection for his family.

Murugan is the latest in a series of creative artists to be targeted by activists in India, raising questions about freedom of expression in India.

An editorial in the Times of India newspaper at the time condemned the growing power of bullying self-appointed censors displaying a Victorian hangover with a Taliban temperament .

Update: The case is examined in the Madras High Court.

23rd January 2015. See  article from  nytimes.com

The story of the latest victim of censorship by intimidation in India , the Tamil-language author Perumal Murugan, was taken up by the Madras High Court.

Activists affiliated with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the Hindu right-wing group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh had called for the book to be banned because it offended them. Weeks of threatening phone calls to Murugan culminated in late December with a mob burning copies of the novel in the town where it is set.

The main source of the mob's ire were passages that evoke an ancient temple ritual that Murugan, does believe occurred in the past. It involves consensual sex between anonymous men and married women who had failed to conceive.

The Madras High Court has wisely asked the group that filed the Murugan case, the Tamil Nadu Progressive Writers and Artists Association, to broaden its petition to the larger issue of violent threats to freedom of expression. The court said: Our largest concern is extrajudicial groups wielding power to decide what is right and what is not right, and asking authors what to write and what not to write.

 

23rd January

 Offsite Article: Dispatches to America...

Link Here
arms of the british governmentjpg logoChris Ratcliff provides the US industry with a detailed run down of the UK Government's latest internet porn censorship rules

See article from xbiz.com

 

23rd January

 Offsite Article: An Adult Approach...

Link Here  full story: Hatred...Computer game sets out to wind up the easily offended
PEGI logoPEGI won't censor the computer game Hatred in Europe. Here's why

See article from pcgamesn.com

 

22nd January

 Update: Morality in Media Recommends...

The Dirty Dozen: Top companies, organisations and institutions that have wound up the morality campaigners
Link Here
morality in media logoMorality in Media (MIM) has announced its 2015 Dirty Dozen List, the top contributors to what MIM claims as sexual exploitation. 

Dawn Hawkins, executive director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation and MIM lauded the nominees:

The Dirty Dozen List has led to sweeping policy changes for past targets, including Google, Verizon, and Department of Defense. Despite the incontrovertible evidence of harm, many companies and organizations still choose to engage in sexual exploitation to make a profit or push an agenda.

The Dirty Dozen:

U.S. Department of Justice. The DOJ refuses to enforce existing federal obscenity laws against pornography despite the fact that these laws have been upheld by U.S. Courts and previously enforced. Pornography is a public health crisis and DOJ must not be on the side of pornographers.

Verizon. Verizon profits from sexual exploitation by pushing it into homes through multiple ways, including pay-per-view movies on their FIOS TV, as an Internet Service Provider and as a wireless carrier. They've even defended child themed porn as a benefit to their consumers. It's time Verizon had a change in policy.

Fifty Shades of Grey. This bestselling series and film glamorizes and legitimatizes violence against women through sexual violence, abuse of power, female inequality, and coercion. Help us inform mainstream pop culture and news outlets that are promoting the material and the abusive lifestyle it promotes.

Backpage.com. Backpage.com is the leading U.S. website for prostitution advertising, generating nearly 80 percent of all the online prostitution advertising revenue. Law enforcement officials say trafficked children and women are sold on Backpage daily and the site is even actively opposing laws that make it a felony to advertise sexual services of children.

Hilton Hotels. This top hotel chain provides hardcore pornography movie choices with themes that include: children, incest, rape, sexual slavery, and extreme violence. Other popular hotels, such as Marriott and Omni, refuse to profit from this exploitation.

American Library Association. For years, ALA has encouraged public libraries to keep all computers unfiltered and to allow patrons, including children, access to pornography. As a result, child sexual abuse, sexual assault, exhibitionism, stalking and other lewd behavior takes place in libraries across the country.

American Apparel. American Apparel's advertising strategy is to normalize the objectification of women. To sell products, the company regularly features nude or provocatively posed young girls with an emphasis on women's breasts and buttocks.

Sex Week. University campuses are overwhelmed with reports of sexual violence, yet many of these schools welcome so-called sex week celebrations where pornography, violent sexual practices and the hook-up culture are promoted as harmless fun.

Facebook. In recent years, Facebook has taken measures to curb exploitation, but they have a long way to go as the world's most popular social networking site. It has become a top place to trade pornography and child pornography, as well as a place of prostitution and sex trafficking.

CKE Restaurants. Owner of over 3,300 Carl's Jr. and Hardee's locations, CKE Restaurants utilizes sexual suggestions and explicit images of the female body in commercials and print ads to sell hamburgers.

YouTube. Google has worked to curb exploitation in other tools they offer yet they still allow hundreds of hours of porn videos to be uploaded to YouTube each day. Google does little to enforce their policies prohibiting such content and the SafeSearch feature is far from reliable.

Cosmopolitan Magazine. The staple of the supermarket checkout line is a porn magazine. Cosmo glamorizes things like public, anal or violent sex in nearly all of their issues. It's time that Cosmo be sold to adults only and have the cover wrapped like all other porn mags in retail shops.

 

21st January

 Update: Daily Mail awards its 'Sickest Ever' accolade...

Hatred computer game gets a rare Adults Only rating from the ESRB
Link Here  full story: Hatred...Computer game sets out to wind up the easily offended
esrb aoThe ESRB has rated Creative Destruction's ultra-violent mass shooting spree game Hatred as Adults Only, with content descriptors for Intense Violence, Blood and Gore, and Strong Language.

And while an AO rating isn't considered a ban, it will likely keep it from ever seeing retail shelf space in places like Target, Best Buy, GameStop, or Walmart, because North American retailers won't carry AO games.

Valve's Steam digital distribution platform doesn't carry AO-rated games either, but the game has been greenlit by the community. Whether Valve will let the game be published on its platform after this rating remains to be seen.

The Daily Mail has discovered the controversy seeking game and writes:

Hatred game becomes second in history to get adults only rating as critics slam makers for sickest ever storyline.

It has been dubbed the sickest ever video game because players only have one aim - to massacre as many people as possible in a genocide crusade .

'Hatred' is the story of a lone wolf gunman who hates the world and acts out his fantasy of brutally murdering the public and police because no life is worth saving .

The hooded killer uses machine guns, knives and explosives to kill in the streets, in schools and public buildings because of his bitter hatred of human worms .

 

20th January

 Update: One Million Moms Recommends...

Naked and Afraid on the Discovery Channel
Link Here
naked and afraidChristian moralist campaign group, One Million Moms spouts:

Parents are under the assumption that the Discovery Channel is safe and educational, but this is not true. The title of this program is a give-away, and with a TV-14 rating, you can be assured this is not a show for family viewing.

The show Naked And Afraid has cast members who are dropped in the jungle with no food, no shelter, and no clothes. The two humans selected, one male and one female, must work as a team but they have never met before in their lives. The program shows them stripped naked, blurring out frontal body parts but never blurring out their backsides. Even though the frontal body parts are blurred out, showing so much skin is considered soft porn. In cold temperatures, they must survive by using each other's body heat, pressing their bare bodies together to keep warm.

This decision to air a reality program full of nudity is harmful to the cast members and their families, and to all children and families that happen to view the show. This ultimate sexual exploitation of families is disturbing and inexcusable.

Discovery Channel has lost its moral compass and should be ashamed to air nudity and call it entertainment. This program needs to be canceled immediately. Previews and promos for this show air all throughout the day and on many other networks.

 

19th January

  Throwing Punches...

Nick Clegg slams politicians like David Cameron who proclaim free speech yet seek to constrain it
Link Here

nick cleggNick Clegg has spoken of the irony of politicians who defend free speech and press freedom yet advocate a huge encroachment on the freedom of all British citizens.

In a key passage from his speech at the Journalists' Charity, Clegg said:

The irony appears to be lost on some politicians who say in one breath that they will defend freedom of expression and then in the next advocate a huge encroachment on the freedom of all British citizens.

Let me be really clear , we have every right to invade the privacy of terrorists and those we think want to do us harm, but we should not equate that with invading the privacy of every single person in the UK. They are not the same thing.

The so-called snoopers' charter is not targeted. It's not proportionate. It's not harmless. It would be a new and dramatic shift in the relationship between the state and the individual.

People who blithely say they are happy for their communications to be open to scrutiny because they have 'nothing to hide' have failed to grasp something fundamental about open democratic societies:

We do not make ourselves safer by making ourselves less free. Free speech means bad ideas can be exposed and good ones promoted.

But how is the marketplace of ideas supposed to work if law-abiding people can't communicate freely about our ideas with others, free from surveillance?

How can we test our assumptions about the world and discover new ideas if our web browsing is being monitored? Free speech and privacy therefore go hand in hand.

Roy Greenslade of the Guardian noted: I am surprised that this speech has not been given greater media coverage and I'm grateful to the report on the News Media Association for bringing it to my attention.

David CameronAnd right on cue, David Cameron has spouted off about the right for British people to offend religions.

This is the same politician that has presided over a police regime where people are regularly being jailed for trivial bad jokes on twitter.

This is the same politician that has championed the PC lynch mob in its crusade to destroy people's lives over minor PC transgressions.

This is the same politician that has brought in new censorship decrees without consulting the people or parliament that has destroyed the British adult internet industry.

This is the same politician that has championed shoddy internet filtering that simply isn't fit for purpose.

This the same politician that wants to strip away every last vestige of people's privacy and to leave them prey to hackers, scammers and criminals.

 Cameron has been speaking to CBS News about the right to publish material that was offensive to some. He rightfully disagreed with a comment made by Pope Francis, who warned that people who mock religion are asking for a punch. He said:

I think in a free society, there is a right to cause offence about someone's religion. I'm a Christian - if someone says something offensive about Jesus, I might find that offensive, but in a free society I don't have a right to, sort of, wreak my vengeance on them.

All would have been well and good if he hadn't already created/interpreted laws that have seen people jailed and punished for offending religions.

He also said as long as publications acted within the law, they had the right to publish any material, even if it was offensive to some. But then again the leaders of Russia, China, Iran, Saudi Arabia and North Korea could all make the same statement. It all rather depends on how repressive the law is.

 

19th January

 Updated: Australian games censors recommend...

Hotline Miami 2, banned by the Censorship Board
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban
hotline miami 2The Australian Censorship Board has just banned the upcoming video game, Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number.

The censors were offended at an implied rape featured in the game. The censors wrote in a report:

In the sequence of game play footage titled Midnight Animal, the protagonist character bursts into what appears to be a movie set and explicitly kills 4 people, who collapse to the floor in a pool of copious blood, often accompanied by blood splatter. After stomping on the head of a fifth male character, he strikes a female character wearing red underwear. She is knocked to the floor and is viewed lying face down in a pool of copious blood. The male character is viewed with his pants halfway down, partially exposing his buttocks. He is viewed pinning the female down by the arms and lying on top of her thrusting, implicitly raping her (either rear entry or anally) while her legs are viewed kicking as she struggles beneath him. This visual depiction of implied sexual violence is emphasised by it being mid-screen, with a red backdrop pulsating and the remainder of the screen being surrounded by black.

The censor's rules say that games that

depict, express or otherwise deal with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that they offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults to the extent that they should not be classified; will be Refused Classification.

And so the game was banned.

Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

18th January 2015. See article from devolverdigital.tumblr.com

Publisher Devolver Digital and developer Dennaton Games have released a joint statement explaining that the censorship board had stretched the facts to justify their ban:

devolver logoWe are aware of the recent report published by the Australian Classification Board in regards to Hotline Miami 2 and have been in communication with them. As such, we and Dennaton Games would like to clarify a few things:

First, to clear up any possible misconceptions, the opening cinematic that was first shown in June of 2013 has not changed in any way. We also want to make clear that players are given an choice at the start of the game as to whether they wish to avoid content that alludes to sexual violence. The sequence in question is presented below in context, both after choosing the uncut version of the game and after choosing to avoid content that alludes to sexual violence.

Second, in response to the report itself, we are concerned and disappointed that a board of professionals tasked with evaluating and judging games fairly and honestly would stretch the facts to such a degree and issue a report that describes specific thrusting actions that are not simply present in the sequence in question and incorrectly portrays what was presented to them for review.

Though we have no plans to officially challenge the ruling, we stand by our developers, their creative vision for the storyline, its characters and the game and look forward to delivering Hotline Miami 2: Wrong Number to fans very soon.

hotline miami videoAnd if you want to see the silly censorship for yourself than the scene causing the ban has been uploaded to youtube. See video .

 

19th January

  Defective TV censors...

Turkish TV censor fines TV company for airing lesbian themed music video
Link Here
elliphant kiss videoTurkey's TV censor has issued fines to two TV music channels for broadcasting videos that showed sexuality scenes, including one that featured a lesbian kiss.

The Supreme Board of Radio and Television (RTUK) fined Genk TV for airing Elliphant's 2014 One More music video.

The also whinged at Power TV for singer Pitbull's music video for Don't Stop the Party , for scenes of of passionate fondling of a woman's half naked body, as well as footage and gestures similar to pornography .

In justifying the fines, RTUK cited the bigoted remarks on homosexuality made by Cem Kece's, head of the Turkish Sexual Health Institute. Kece claims that homosexuality is a a defect and against human nature, and the result of parenting mistakes.

 

19th January

 Update: MSG: More Spiritual Grief...

Banned by the Indian censor, unbanned on appeal, re-banned in the Punjab
Link Here  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
msgAmidst the censorship drama at the Indian film censor's office, the Punjab government Saturday banned the screening of the film MSG - The Messenger Of God , which features Dera Sacha Sauda sect chief, Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh.

The film was cleared by the Certification Appellate Tribunal's (FCAT) despite not getting clearance from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and its revising committee.

Update: Box office hit

20th February 2015. See article from zeenews.india.com

MSG - The Messenger, featuring Dera Sacha Sauda sect head Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh, has left the cash registers ringing at the Box-Office.

The film was released on February 13 in 4,000 screens across the country. It collected a whopping Rs 61.15 crores at the Box Office within just four days of its release.

The movie was given a release certificate by the Censor Board in early February. But the Punjab and Uttarakhand government has banned the screening of the film claiming law and order problems.

 

19th January

 Offsite Article: Obama and Cameron's solutions for cybersecurity will make the internet worse...

Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
Barack ObamaDrafting policies to imprison people who share an HBO GO password? Eliminating end-to-end data encryption? They can't be serious, By Tim Stanley

See article from theguardian.com

 

18th January

  Don't like the PC mob?...

Well now that makes YOU a terror threat. Comments about the fast tracked Counter-Terrorism and Security Bill by Peter Hitchens
Link Here
Theresa May

 

18th January

 Offsite Article: Because encryption also safeguards information from malicious prying eyes...

Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
David CameronThe US does not seem very impressed by Cameron's idea to ban encryption on the internet

See article from theguardian.com

 

17th January

 Update: N'est pas Charlie...

Hateful and violent protests held around the world
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

hebdo protestsFrench President Francois Hollande has affirmed the French right to free speech, saying that anti-Charlie Hebdo protesters in other countries do not understand France's attachment to freedom of speech.

His remarks come a day after throngs of Muslims around the world held protests against the depiction of Muhammad by the French satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, with some of the demonstrations inevitably turning violent.

In Niger, at least four people were killed in the southern town of Zinder, where protesters set fire to a French cultural center and several churches and attacked Christian shops with clubs and Molotov cocktails, while police responded with tear gas. Three civilians died, including two who were shot by police during an attack on their station. A police officer was run over and killed, while 45 other people were injured. It was reported that the chanting mob threatened in local Hausa language:

Charlie is Satan, let hell engulf those supporting Charlie.

Violent demonstrations also occurred in Karachi, Pakistan, where several hundred protesters clashed with police. A photographer with the French news agency AFP was reported to be among three people wounded. Around 300 people from a little known Pakistani religious group rallied, carrying placards that read Down with Charlie Hebdo and a banner demanding that those drawing the caricatures be hanged. Protests also took place in other major Pakistani cities, including Islamabad and Lahore.

A Charlie Hebdo poster was burned in the Philippines on Monday as 1,500 people staged a protest march against themagazine.

In Algiers, Algeria, police clashed with demonstrators who threw rocks and bottles around the waterfront area of the capital. Hundreds of people had earlier marched peacefully through the capital, waving placards saying: I am Muhammad. In Sudan, protesters took to the streets of Khartoum to protest against France and Charlie Hebdo. Some carried large banners bearing such slogans as Death for French and Charlie Hebdo offends the Prophet.

Largely peaceful marches took place in the capitals of West African countries Mali, Senegal and Mauritania.

In Amman, Jordanians gathered to protest against satirical French cartoons, after Friday prayers. In Yemen, protesters gathered Saturday in front of the French Embassy in Sanaa, chanting slogans.

And in the UK a protest will be held in Bradford on Saturday evening. Bradford West MP George Galloway is scheduled to be among the speakers at the event.

 

16th January

 Update: The Pope Ain't Charlie...

The Pope seems argues that a punch is in order for those that insult religion
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
Sermon on the mount

  ...Turn the other cheek...

...unless of course he insults your religion, then thump him
 

Pope Francis as said there are limits to freedom of expression, warning that anyone who hurls insults should expect retaliation. The Pope's provocative statement was in reference to last week's terror attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo. He threatened:

One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith. There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity ... in freedom of expression, there are limits.

If my good friend Dr. Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, he can expect a punch. It's normal. You cannot provoke. You cannot insult the faith of others. You cannot make fun of the faith of others.

However he got into a bit of moral tangle by adding

Each person not only has the freedom but also the obligation to say what he thinks in the name of the common good.

But what happens if he criticises religion in the name of the common good, and that the religion considers this criticism to be an insult. Then it seems that a punch is in order.

However the pope draws the line at a punch. He added:

No one can kill in the name of God. This is an aberration.

 

16th January

  Oxford University Press huffs and puffs...

But still bans pigs from children's books
Link Here
Story Three Little Picture PuffinJane Harley is primary publishing director at Oxford University Press. She has responded to press reports that the publisher has banned pigs and porn from children's education books on grounds of muslim sensitivities. She wrote:

In order to make an impact around the world, there are other sensitivities that, although not necessarily obvious to some of us, are nonetheless extremely important to others.

While we should be mindful of these cultural sensitivities, a healthy dose of common sense is also required. Cultural taboos must never get in the way of learning needs, which will always be our primary focus. So, for example, a definition of a pig would not be excluded from a dictionary, and we wouldn't dream of editing out a pig character from an historical work of fiction. We also maintain entirely separate guidelines for our academic titles which are relevant to scholarly rather than educational discourse.

...[BUT]...

What we do, however, is consider avoiding references to a range of topics that could be considered sensitive in a way that does not compromise quality, or negatively impact learning. So, for example, if animals are depicted shown in a background illustration, we would think carefully about which animals to choose. In doing so we are able to ensure children remain focused purely on their learning, rather than cultural characteristics.

So Oxford University Press does indeed censor pigs from most contemporary children's books.

 

16th January

 Update: Fabled Propaganda...

Thai military government will publish children's books of fables to try and teach the kids to love the Thai military government
Link Here  full story: Thai Coup 2014...Media censorship prominent in Thai Coup
cultural promotion departmentThe Thai Ministry of Culture aims to promote propaganda featuring the junta's controversial 12 Thai values by publishing books of fables.

Nuntiya Swangvudthitham, Director-General of the Department of Culture Promotion (DCP), under the Ministry of Culture responsible for preserving and promoting Thai values , revealed that the DCP will publish books of moral fables  to promote the junta's 12 Thai values as new year 'gifts' for the nation's youth.

The junta's controversial 12 Thai values were prompted by Prayut Chan-o-cha, the junta leader, shortly after the coup in May 2014 to promote what he claimed as the intrinsic national values of Thai people. The values include loving the nation, religions, and monarchy, having discipline and respect for the law and elders, and of course, possessing the 'correct' understanding of democracy with the monarchy as head of the state.

Last year, the Ministry of Education (MOE) came up with a similar plan to promote the junta's values by implementing the so called Merit Passport, a notebook where each student keeps a daily record of their behaviour, attitudes, and activities, from grade one to grade nine. If implemented, the Merit Passport would become an important criterion in the competitive university admissions procedure nationwide.

The DCP announced that the books of fables will be distributed nationwide through the Culture Council Association of Thailand, the Chalermraja Cultural Centre, and over 7,000 schools nationwide.

 

16th January

 Update: Bum Decision...

Posters for gay play banned from London's Underground
Link Here
my-night-with-reg full advertPosters for the revival of Kevin Elyot's play My Night with Reg have been banned from appearing at London Underground stations for featuring male nudity.

A Transport for London press officer told the Standard they hadn't seen the ad but: if it has been rejected it means that it doesn't meet the guidance that we have set.

The comedy is set in London's gay community in the mid-1980s, against the back drop of the mounting AIDS crisis.

 

16th January

 Updated: Comments on Charlie...

A round up of essays
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

Spiked logoFrom Je suis Charlie to Nous Sommes Voltaire ...

Despite the outburst of solidarity, free speech is still in the firing line.

16th January 2015. See article from spiked-online.com by Mick Hume
 

comment is free logoAdd faithophobia to my crimes

I have no respect for religions that have little respect for me Now is a time to remember that tolerance has to be reciprocal or it is not tolerance at all

15th January 2015. A surprisingly critical  article from  theguardian.com by Suzanne Moore
 

the spectator logoReligion of peace is not a harmless platitude

To face Islamist terror, we must face the facts about Islam's history

15th January 2015. See  article from  spectator.co.uk by Douglas Murray
 

ministry of truth logoThe BBC, Charlie Hebdo and Jesus & Mo

14th January 2015. See  article from  ministryoftruth.me.uk

If, like me, you were watching BBC Question Time on Thursday evening then you will have undoubtedly noticed that the venerable Dimbers dropped something of a bombshell during the opening debate on the Charlie Hebdo murders by referring to BBC editorial guidance which explicitly prohibited the use of images depicting Mohammed in very clear and unequivocal terms:

The Ministry of Truth seeks investigates the BBC's censorship rules about images of Mohammed
 

Spiked logoWhat if Charlie Hebdo had been published in Britain...

It would have been crushed. Here's how.

14th January 2015. See  article from  spiked-online.com
 

brendan oneillRestore the right to offend...

We must defend the right to be scurrilous. And shocking. And blasphemous. Freedom of speech doesn't mean a thing if we only defend it

14th January 2015. See  article from  brendanoneill.co.uk

 

15th January

 Update: More Spiritual Grief...

Indian film censors look set to ban MSG after pressure from religious groups and the government
Link Here  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
msgMSG: The Messenger of God is a 2015 India action comedy drama by Jeetu Arora and Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan.
Starring Gurmeet Ram Rahim Singh Ji Insan, Daniel Kaleb and Fllora Saini. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

India's film censor board has refused to clear MSG: The Messenger of God featuring self-styled guru Ram Rahim Singh.

The Censor Board (CBFC) has decided to refer the decision to the Film Certification Apellate Tribunal (FCAT). Officials said a review committee of the Board took the decision unanimously. CBFC chairperson Leela Samson told PTI:

It has been unanimously decided to refer the film to the tribunal FCAT.

Whilst waiting for the results of the appeal the movie will miss its opening date previously set for 16th January 2015.

In the movie, Ram Rahim Singh depicts himself as a god. The censors apparently have objections to Ram Rahim being shown to be performing miracles and curing terminal diseases.

Singh is head of a spiritual orginsation called Dera Sacha Sauda (DSS). He said he was not averse to cutting some scenes if the censor board objected to them. He claimed that:

The only aim of the film is to spread messages against social evils like drug addiction, female foeticide. There is nothing wrong in it. If the board finds any portion of the film objectionable, I will happily get them removed.

I have not showed myself as God but as a human. I have not criticised any religion in the film.

The Home Ministry had sent an advisory to states where the movie is set to play which said:

Various Sikh organisations and individuals are opposing the movie on the ground that its release would disturb the communal harmony and law and order. They also opine that glorification of DSS chief, facing serious criminal cases, should not be allowed.

Meanwhile in the UK, the BBFC have passed the film 12A uncut for moderate violence, sex references, drug use, for its upcoming cinema release.

 

15th January

 Update: Turkey Ain't Charlie...

Turkish court orders ISPs to block websites with Charlie Hebdo special edition cover
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
Turkey flagA Turkish court has ordered the telecommunications censor to ban access to websites showing Charlie Hebdo's front cover with the image of the religious character Muhammad, a state-run news agency said.

The Anadolu Agency said the ban, which would block access to the websites in Turkey, was ordered by a court in the southeastern city of Diyarbakir, according to the Dogan news agency. The decision came from the court, because a lawyer in Diyarbakir filed a petition saying the websites were a danger to public order.

 

15th January

 Update: Thailand follows the UK lead...

Thailand's military dictators give the green light to a bill introducing mass snooping of all communications
Link Here  full story: Intenet Snooping in Thailand...Threatening that Facebook users should be careful what they 'like'
Thailand flagAccording to Thai Netizen Network, the cabinet has given the green light to the proposed Cyber Security bill to establish a National Committee for Cyber Security, under the Ministry of Digital Economy and Society (MDES), whose former title was the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT). The Cyber Security Bill was one of eight proposed bills on telecommunications which are aimed at restructuring and tightening control of telecommunications in Thailand.

In the draft, the National Committee for Cyber Security will be operated under the supervision of the Minister of Digital Economy and Society to oversee threats to national cyber security, which is defined as cyber threats related to national security, military security, stability, economic security, and interference on internet, satellite, and telecommunications networks.

Most importantly, the committee is authorized to access all communication traffic via all communication devices, such as post, telephone, mobile phone, internet, and other electronic devices. The committee will also have the authority to order all public and private organizations to cooperate against any perceived threats to national cyber security.

 

14th January

  Shocking...

Facebook introduces restrictions on violent videos posted on its pages
Link Here
Facebook logoFacebook has begun placing warnings over videos posted to its site, stating their contents might shock, offend and upset if viewed.

The alerts prevent the videos from automatically playing in feeds unless they are clicked, unlike other clips.

The site is also preventing graphic videos and photos from being shown to any user who has identified themself as being under 18 years old.

Facebook allows news reports and other documentary images depicting beheadings and other types of murder to remain online. And among the first posts to be affected are uploaded files containing video footage of policeman Ahmed Merabet being shot dead in Paris by a terrorist involved in last week's Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Inevitable some campaigners don't think the restrictions go far enough.

Stephen Balkam, chief executive of the Family Online Safety Institute, told the BBC he wanted cover pages to be placed over graphic material to prevent people from seeing distressing images without warning, and an age-gate system implemented to make it harder for under-18s to find the material.nner.

Arthur Cassidy, who runs a branch of the Yellow Ribbon Program suicide-prevention group, said Facebook should implement an outright ban on clips and pictures of extreme violence. He claimed that large numbers of children used the service and said it was likely that many would try to work around the new restrictions.

 

14th January

 Campaign: Save Soho...

Protecting performing arts in Soho
Link Here
save sohoSave Soho is a coalition of performers, residents and politicians who have now come together out of concern after the closure and repossession of world renown club Madame Jojo's.

Save Soho's aim is to protect and nurture iconic music and performing arts venues in Soho that are disappearing at a terrifying rate. These closures are an attack on Soho's vibrant creative history and enduring character. With the support of the mayor of London, Save Soho is reaching out to to the landowners, so that we can offer them the rich experience of all our supporters in the entertainment industry to advise on future plans. Together, we can safeguard the future of the performing arts in Soho.

Stephen Fry, Chairman of Save Soho said:

Save Soho is not about shrieking at landowners or trying to shame them or anything of that nature. Save Soho is really hoping to be given a small consultational part in their plans.

Tim Arnold, Founder of Save Soho said:

Soho has always depended on building around and adding to what has gone before, not by demolishing it.

 

14th January

  Moral Training...

New Chinese rules require online authors to undergo propaganda indoctrination training
Link Here
sarft logoThe Chinese government is to force authors publishing their work online to register with their real names, as the authorities keep up the pressure on freedom of expression.

According to new regulations from the government's Bureau of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, which administers repressive control over media and publications, any authors posting literary works online must be in possession of a certificate, requiring real-name registration.

The new rules also call for further professional and moral training for authors of online literary works.

Of course things are pretty similar in the west with 'moral training' being renamed as 'cohesion sensitivity training' or 'attending an diversity awareness seminar'.

The use of a pen-name is a time-honored tradition in Chinese literature and journalism, and many writers use pseudonyms to mask their identities if they wish to write something which might be construed as critical of the regime. But pervasive state surveillance of individuals means that the authorities often know the identities of such authors.

Zhang Yu, secretary for the writers' group Independent Chinese PEN, said the move represents yet another attack on freedom of expression in China. Zhang told RFA:

This shows that they want to take their interference with writers' freedom of expression to the next level This will make it much easier for them to maintain surveillance of authors, using various types of software and other methods. In actual fact, the authorities are able to find out who an author is using various types of technology, whether they use their real names or a pseudonym.

The whole point of this [real-name] system is to create a sense of threat, so that authors will censor themselves.

 

14th January

 Offsite Article: Government Dictatorship...

Link Here
arms of the british governmentjpg logoHow statutory instruments replaced acts of parliament. (Or how the Government can close the entire British adult internet industry without hardly even mentioning it to parliament). By Jane Fae

See article from politics.co.uk

 

13th January

  Fetish Theme...

Eyebrows raised over BBFC cinema rating just announced for The Duke of Burgundy
Link Here
Poster Duke of Burgundy 2014 Peter StricklandThe Duke of Burgundy is a 2014 UK drama by Peter Strickland.
Starring Sidse Babett Knudsen, Chiara D'Anna and Eugenia Caruso. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

A woman who studies butterflies and moths tests the limits of her relationship with her lover.

The film has just been  passed 18 uncut by the BBFC for sexual fetish theme for cinema releaase.

Some commentators have registered surprise at the 18 certificate as the film has no nudity, strong language, violence or gore. Like the consumer advice suggests, the film seems to be rated 18 just for having a fetish theme.

Perhaps someone is paving the way for an 18 rating for Fifty Shades of Grey , when in fact the tame sex may be worthy of a 15 rating.

 

13th January

  Cameron Est Stasi...

EU and UK governments quick to call for extreme surveillance powers
Link Here

David CameronIn the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in Paris, EU ministers have issued a joint statement calling for ISPs to help to report and remove extremist material online.

The statement was signed by interior ministers from 11 European countries, including the UK's Theresa May, on 11 January, with French ministers and security representatives from the US, Canada and EU in attendance. It called for tighter internet surveillance and border controls.

But of course David Cameron wants to go further. According to the Independant, Cameron could block WhatsApp and Snapchat if he wins the next election, as part of his plans for extreme surveillance powers announced in the wake of the shootings in Paris. He said that he would stop the use of methods of communication that cannot be read by the security services even if they have a warrant.

But that could include popular chat and social apps that encrypt their data, such as WhatsApp. Apple's iMessage and FaceTime also encrypt their data, and could fall under the ban along with other encrypted chat apps like Telegram.

The comments came as part of David Cameron's pledge to revive the snoopers' charter to help security services spy on internet communications. He said: In our country, do we want to allow a means of communication between people which [...] we cannot read? But companies such as WhatsApp have remained committed to keeping their services encrypted and unable to be read by authorities.

Politics does make for strange bedfellows. Cameron's announcement comes just days after the Iranian government decided it was taking a similar step and banned WhatsApp, along with comms software Tango and LINE.

See also Why MI5 does not need more surveillance powers after the Paris attacks  from  theguardian.com by Henry Porter.

 

13th January

 Update: All is Forgiven...

But violent and aggressive censorship continues while Charlie Hebdo publishes a special edition
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
le soirThe offices of a Belgian newspaper that republished cartoons from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo were evacuated on Sunday after receiving an anonymous bomb threat.

The evacuation of Le Soir, a French-language daily, came as thousands of people marched through Brussels in solidarity with France following Islamist attacks on Charlie Hebdo and other sites.

Meanwhile in Ireland , a Muslim lecturer has said that he would consider legal advice if a member of the Irish media retweets or publishes a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed from Charlie Hebdo, The Journal.ie reported.

Ali Selim, of the Islamic Cultural Centre of Ireland was asked by Niall Boylan on the 4FM radio programme if he retweeted the cartoon would his life be in danger? Selim replied: Not your life would be in danger but definitely we will check the Irish law and if there is any legal channel against you, we will take it.

charlie hebdo forgivenThe front cover of Wednesday's edition of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, the first since last week's attack on its offices that left 12 people dead, is a cartoon of Muhammad.

The cover shows the prophet shedding a tear and holding up a sign reading Je suis Charlie in sympathy with the dead journalists. The headline says All is forgiven . A record 3m copies are to be printed, in 16 languages.

The cover cartoon was drawn by the weekly's cartoonist Luz, who survived the massacre because he was late arriving at the office.

Newspapers around Europe, including Liberation, Le Monde and Frankfurter Allgemeine have used the image online. The BBC showed it briefly during a newspaper review on Newsnight. In the US, the Washington Post, USA Today, LA Times, Wall Street Journal. The Guardian is running this cover as its news value warrants publication.

 

 

12th January

 Update: Paris est Charlie...

France marches en-masse to support Charlie Hebdo and the right to free speech
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
paris est charlieAround 1.5 million people take to the streets of Paris on Sunday in a show of defiance and unity against muslim terrorism.

Dozens of world leaders joining the millions of people marching to commemorate and celebrate the victims of last week's terror attacks. The interior ministry said there were too many people to count but most estimates put it at somewhere between 1.5 million and 2 million. And an estimated 3.7 million took to the streets across the whole country.

Parisiens of all ages, religions and nationalities turned out to show their respect for the victims and their support for the values of the Republic. On est tous Charlie (We are all Charlie), they chanted, waving French flags, singing La Marseillaise, brandishing pens, pencils, placards and banners in French, English and Arabic.

On a political and diplomatic level, it was unparalleled. Protocol rules were ignored as around 50 world leaders congregated in the French capital. Presidents, prime ministers, statesmen and women took buses from the Elysee palace to join the march from Place de la Republique to Place de la Nation, two of Paris's best-known squares.

Charlie Hebdo staff, including those who survived Wednesday's attack, wore white headbands bearing the name Charlie.

 

 

12th January

 Update: More censorship by violence...

Arson attack at German newspaper that printed Charlie Hebdo cartoons
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
hamburger morgenpost logoA German newspaper that reprinted the Muhammad cartoons from the French satirical paper Charlie Hebdo has been the target of an arson attack. No one was hurt in the attack.

Several stones and an incendiary device were thrown through the window of the archive of the regional tabloid daily, the Hamburger Morgenpost, early on Sunday morning. The paper had printed three Charlie Hebdo cartoons on its front page after the Paris massacre, running the headline This much freedom must be possible!

A police spokesman told AFP:

Rocks and then a burning object were thrown through the window. Two rooms on lower floors were damaged but the fire was put out quickly.

Two people were detained and an investigation has begun, police said. Police declined to provide further information about the suspects, but it is assumed that they are muslims.

 

12th January

 Obituary: Brian Clemens...

British script writer noted in TV and films dies aged 83
Link Here

Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter DVDBrian Clemens OBE was an English screenwriter and television producer, possibly best known for his work on The Avengers and The Professionals.

He wrote the original pilot episode for The Avengers in 1961and was the script editor, associate producer and main scriptwriter for The Avengers series on ITV, from 1961 to 1969.

He followed several other successes with a twist-in-the-tail anthology series Thriller (ITV 1973-1976; aka Menace), for which he wrote all the stories as well as 38 of the scripts.

Then his company created as a French/Canadian/British co-production The New Avengers (ITV 1976-1977).

His company went on to produce The Professionals on ITV, from 1977 to 1983.

He also enjoyed success in the movies.  He wrote and produced for Hammer films Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde and, in 1974, wrote and directed Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter . He also wrote the screenplays and/or stories for the feature films Operation Murder (1957), The Tell-Tale Heart (1960), Station Six-Sahara (1963), The Peking Medallion (1967), And Soon the Darkness (1970), See No Evil (1971), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), The Watcher in the Woods (1980), and Highlander II: The Quickening (1991) .

 

12th January

 Offsite Article: Off Topic: How the EU is throttling online business with idiotic VAT reform...

Link Here
vat messDo you enjoy shopping online with small businesses? The EU is poised to wreck it through sheer incompetence

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

11th January

 Update: Warning of increased chatter in government circles...

Government response to Paris terrorism is to resurrect the Snooper's Charter
Link Here  full story: Prostitution Law in Ireland...Government solicits public suggestions for changes to the law
Houses of ParliamentEd Miliband told the Andrew Marr Show he would not support new emergency legislation if it was modelled on the snooper's charter. He said he would adopt a cautious and considered approach in answer to calls for increased surveillance powers for the intelligence agencies.

Miliband was speaking after Lord West of Spithead, the former security minister in Gordon Brown's government, called for a revival of the data communications bill, known as the snooper's charter.

Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat deputy prime minister, declined to offer support for the bill, proposed by the home secretary, Theresa May, that would give the police and security services the ability to track the email and internet use of UK citizens.

West told the same programme that it would be wrong to rush in legislation. But he criticised Clegg for forcing the government to abandon the data communications bill. He said:

Normally we stop plots because we get a heads up because we know people are talking to each other. That is why that intercept is so important. Most of the plots we have stopped in this country because of that initially indicator. If they are talking then it is really difficult to do anything about it.

Responding to calls to revive the communications data bill, aka the Snoopers Charter, Emma Carr, director of privacy and civil liberties campaign group Big Brother Watch, said:

Big Brother Watch logoIt is wholly unacceptable for this tragedy in Paris to be used as a means to call for a return of the Snoopers Charter. It is the wrong solution and would divert resources from focused surveillance operations at a time when the agencies are already struggling to cope with the volume of information available.

The Government is introducing legislation to solve the important problem of who is using a specific Internet Protocol address, but the powers within the Snoopers Charter go too far, as recognised by a number of Political figures and two Parliamentary committees.

Instead, the government should focus on the number of failures to continue monitoring those suspected of posing a threat. Those failures should be used as a blueprint to re-evaluate the decision making and record keeping processes of the intelligence agencies, as well as the training and resources allocated within the counter terrorism community.

 

11th January

 Updated: Censorial Gits...

India introduces internet censorship by blocking some big name and important websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
india government logoThe Indian government has asked ISPs and mobile operators to block access to 32 sites in the name of its censorship laws GitHub, Archive.org, Imgur, Vimeo, Daily Motion and Pastebin are some of the more familiar names included on the list.

The leader of the Bharatiya Janata political party spouted some unlikely sounding bollox that the banned websites contained some content from ISIS.

Already it seems that some ISPs have taken action and cut access to a number of the websites. The Times Of India reports that its correspondents were not able to access Pastebin, DailyMotion or GitHub using Vodafone's 3G service, although they were able to get on the three sites via rival operator Airtel's service.

The addition of GitHub, a massively popular site for the community development of code seems a particularly harmful decision for India's technology industry. And surely there will be a powerful lobby calling for the unblocking of at least this site.

Update: 4 sites unblocked

2nd January 2015. See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com

According to IANS , the Government decided to unblock four websites after they gave assurances to the government that they will not allow pasting on Jihadi propaganda. The sites that were unblocked were Website creation & hosting site Weebly.com , Video hosting platforms Vimeo.com & Dailymotion.com and software repository gist.github.com .

The original list of censored websites is:

  1. justpaste.it/
  2. hastebin.com
  3. codepad.org
  4. pastie.org
  5. pastee.org
  6. paste2.org
  7. slexy.org
  8. paste4btc.com/
  9. 0bin.net
  10. heypasteit.com
  11. sourceforge.net/projects/phorkie
  12. atnsoft.com/textpaster
  13. archive.org
  14. hpage.com
  15. ipage.com/
  16. webs.com/
  17. weebly.com/
  18. 000webhost.com/
  19. freehosting.com
  20. vimeo.com/
  21. dailymotion.com/
  22. pastebin.com
  23. gist.github.com
  24. ipaste.eu
  25. thesnippetapp.com
  26. snipt.net
  27. tny.cz (Tinypaste)
  28. github.com (gist-it)
  29. nipplr.com/
  30. termbin.com
  31. www.snippetsource.net
  32. cryptbin.com

Update: Pastebin Unbinned

7th January 2015. See  See  article from  zdnet.com

Pastebin tells ZDNet that the Indian government's wide-ranging internet block, which had included the site , has been removed and Indian citizens are again able to access Pastebin -- but 27 sites still remain banned under the order .

According to Pastebin's statement to ZDNet, there is still no verifiable explanation for India's government-ordered internet censorship.

Update: Unblocked

11th January 2015. See  article from  huffingtonpost.in

The Indian government has ended its blocking of all the 32 websites censored for the unlikely reason that the sites were being used by terrorists.  A source said:

Order was issued on Thursday to unblock all 32 websites that were blocked following complaint of Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad that ISIS is disseminating content through them. All websites has responded that they will work with government and removed jehadi content,

 

11th January

 Offsite Article: Unless we overcome fear, self-censorship will spread...

Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
The GuardianWe take on the powerful, and ask you to admire our bravery, only if they are not a paramilitary force that may kill us. By Nick Cohen

See article from theguardian.com

 

10th January

 Update: France Est Charlie...

Charlie Hebdo to publish a special survivors edition next week with state support
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
charlie hebdo le journal des survivantsCharlie Hebdo plans to publish a journal des survivants next week, as pledges of money and other forms of support continue to pour in from media organisations in France and elsewhere.

About 20 surviving Charlie Hebdo staff gathered at the offices of French newspaper Liberation, for their first editorial meeting since the terrorist attack on its Paris headquarters in which 12 people, including eight of the title's journalists and two policemen, were killed.

Those at the table included the cartoonist Luz, who escaped the carnage because he was late on Wednesday, reporter Laurent Leger, columnist Patrick Pelloux and the paper's lawyer, Richard Malka.

The journalists asked for their privacy to be respected while they work on next Wednesday's special survival edition, which will be limited to eight pages instead of the usual 16. A million copies are to be printed, a huge increase on its usual 60,000 print run.

The Liberation building, located close to the Charlie Hebdo premises, is now under armed police guard. Visitors are only allowed in with a specific invitation from a staff member and have to leave via the adjacent car park.

Prime minister, Manuel Valls and culture minister, Fleur Pellerin have promised 1 million euro to the paper to guarantee its survival. The Guardian Media Group has pledged £100,000, while more funding has come from the TV station Canal+ and Le Monde which has supplied the computers.

Asked about the irony of the French state propping up the deliberately provocative Charlie Hebdo, one Liberation staff member said: It's normal. This is a democracy.

 

10th January

 Update: Rules are made to be broken...

The BBC gets in a tangle about a rule prohibiting the broadcast of an image depicting Mohammed
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
BBC logoThe BBC got in a tangle about its own rules banning the representation of the religious character Muhammad in any shape or form , it has emerged after a Charlie Hebdo cover featured on BBC1's flagship 10pm news on Thursday.

The news bulletin featured library footage of Charlie Hebdo editor Stephane Charbonnier, who was shot and killed in Wednesday's terrorist attack on the French satirical magazine's Paris offices, holding up a special edition of the magazine four years ago featuring a cartoon of Muhammad on its front page threatening readers with a hundred lashes if you don't die laughing .

It appeared to contradict the BBC's own editorial guidelines which were coincidentally read out on BBC1's Question Time , which followed the news.

 Question Time presenter David Dimbleby said: I wouldn't be doing my duty if I didn't read this out from the BBC editorial guidelines. Dimbleby quoted extensively from a section of the guidelines on the use of still photographs and images which said:

Due care and consideration must be made regarding the use of religious symbols in images which may cause offence.

The Prophet Mohammed must not be represented in any shape or form.

The BBC1 programme also tweeted a link to the BBC guidelines but the page had been censored by Friday afternoon.

The BBC then made up some bollox about the guidelines being in the process of being revised. The BBC said in a statement:

This guidance is old, out of date and does not reflect the BBC's long-standing position that programme makers have freedom to exercise their editorial judgement with the editorial policy team available to provide advice around sensitive issues on a case-by-case basis.

The guidance is currently being revised.

 

10th January

 Update: What a bunch of big girl's blouses...

Chinese TV censors ludicrously cut cleavage from popular TV series. (Just like Thai TV censors too)
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in China...TV censors SARFT
empress of chinaThere's been a bit of an online backlash in China over censors cutting all cleavage from scenes in a popular TV drama about China's only female emperor.

The drama, The Empress of China , also known as the Saga of Wu Zetian was pulled from the schedules of commercial satellite station Hunan TV for technical reasons late last month, Xinhua reported.

When it returned a few days later, the show, starring the famous Chinese actress Fan Bingbing in the title role of Wu Zetian had been conspicuously edited.

Scenes of female characters, with cleavage showing dressed in period costume, had been cropped out, leaving only close-ups of their heads.

The Global Times insisted that a system of control was necessary. it wrote in a propaganda piece: 

The reality is that censorship exists in many countries and it is unlikely to be reversed in China.

Changes to The Empress of China sparked fury among mainland internet users, who argued that censors had gone too far. An online survey released by the Sina Weibo microblogging service on Monday found that nearly 95% of respondents disapproved of the censorship of The Empress of China.

Some mainland bloggers, who renamed the drama The Saga of Wu's Squeezed Breasts , mocked the decision by censors. They circulated a series of edited pictures on social media, showing people how to highlight the head and hide the breasts when it comes to other characters.

The Global Times newspaper noted the defiance in an editorial:

While the censorship was largely done out of moral concerns, the resulting public outcry should serve as a warning for the future. While it is powerful, censorship lacks authority. In this sense, when using censorship, more considerations should be given to public opinion to garner support and avoid similar incidents.

 

10th January

 Offsite Article: TV censorship of the PG movie, Men in Black 3...

Link Here
Men Black DVD Will SmithPictorial details of a heavily cut Chinese version shown at 7pm by Channel 4

See article from movie-censorship.com

 

10th January

 Offsite Article: Moral Panic 2.0: the era of progressive censorship...

Link Here
Spiked logoCalls for dangerous art to be banned are now made by liberals. By Jacob Mchangama of Justitia

See article from spiked-online.com

 

10th January

 Offsite Article: Football beats itself over its head with a selfie stick...

Link Here
Mpow Self portrait Photographers Combination SmartphonesMiddle-class bores are sucking the life out of football stadiums. Is a selfie stick really more dangerous than a pair of fists? By Brendan O'Neill

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

9th January

 Extract: An Officer and a Gentlemen...

The BBFC recall the classification decision at the time when the AA rating gave way to the 15 rating
Link Here
Officer Gentleman DVD Richard GereAn Officer and a Gentleman is a 1982 USA romance by Taylor Hackford.
Starring Richard Gere, Debra Winger and David Keith. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

Zack Mayo is a young man who has signed up for Navy Aviation Officer Candidate School. He is a Navy brat who has a bad attitude problem. GySgt Foley is there to train and evaluate him and will clearly find Zack wanting. Zack meets Paula, a girl who has little beyond family and must decide what it is he wants to do with his life.

In memory of musician Joe Cocker, the BBFC take a look at the film file for An Officer and a Gentleman (1982), which won two awards for its theme tune Up Where We Belong, performed by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes.

The BBFC describes the borderline decision in rejecting a 14 certificate, then awarding a 15 certificate. And then having to fend off a few people who thought that it should have been given an 18 rating.

...read the full article

 

9th January

 Update: Stand up for free speech...

Publish Charlie Hebdo's cartoons
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

we must censor hebdoIndex on Censorship, the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund, freeDimensional, PEN America, FreeWord, Reporters Without Borders, Article 19 and English PEN call on all those who believe in the fundamental right to freedom of expression to join in publishing the cartoons or covers of Charlie Hebdo on January 8 at 1400 GMT.

We believe that only through solidarity, in showing that we truly defend all those who exercise their right to speak freely, can we defeat those who would use violence to silence free speech. We ask media organisations, individuals and everyone who supports free speech to join together in this action.

Each publication will select a cartoon, a range of cartoons, or covers that they believe best reflect the right to free expression and publish at the same time globally. The idea is a moment of unity in which we show that together we stand up for journalism and the right to free speech, no matter what, and to show our support and respect for those killed on January 7.

Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship said:

The ability to express ourselves freely is fundamental to a free society. This includes the freedom to publish, to satirise, to joke, to criticise, even when that might cause offence to others. Those who wish to silence free speech must never be allowed to prevail.

Suzanne Nossel, Executive Director, PEN American Center said:

Satire is both a privilege and a necessity in a free society. The freedom to question, to expose, to mock ultimately makes institutions, belief systems, and leaders stronger. The resort to murderous vengeance for the crime of drawing and publishing cartoons represents a terrifying perversion of religious values and an assault on our shared values. No matter how offensive, speech is never a justification for violence.

charlie hebdo decapitatedComic Book Legal Defense Fund Executive Director Charles Brownstein said:

The attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices is tragic, but it is also proof of just how powerful cartoons and cartoonists can be. Despite threats and prior attacks, the publishers, editors, and cartoonists of Charlie Hedbo never relented in using satire to question the world around them. CBLDF stands with Charlie Hebdo and their dedication to free expression.

Lucie Morillon, Programme Director, Reporters Without Borders said:

This unspeakable act of violence has challenged and assailed the entire press Journalism as whole is in mourning. In the name of all those who have fallen in the defence of these fundamental values, we must continue Charlie Hebdo's fight for the right to freedom of information.

Jo Glanville, Director of English PEN, said:

This is a time for all writers, publishers, editors, artists and free speech groups to stand in solidarity. In the face in one of the most devastating attacks on press freedom and freedom of expression in Europe's recent history, we need to reaffirm our commitment to speaking out and standing up for free speech. This action today is the first step.

Supporters of the call

Some of the publications and organisations joining us at this hour include:

  • The Guardian
  • New Statesman
  • Mail and Guardian
  • Folha de San Paulo
  • City Press
  • Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
  • Pen America
  • Article 19
  • English Pen
  • Reporters Without Borders
  • Conway Hall
  • Atheist NI
  • The Art Newspaper
  • New Humanist
  • Stephen Fry
  • Los Angeles Times

And some were understandably reticent

See  article from  theguardian.com

Publishing Muhammad cartoons would have been too risky, says Amol Rajan Editor of Independent newspaper said he had to balance principle with pragmatism, despite wanting to publish Charlie Hebdo cartoons on the front page

After the Charlie Hebdo Massacre, Support those Fighting the Religious-Right

See statement from freethoughtblogs.com

free thought blogs logoThe persistent demand for the extension of blasphemy laws around the world is a real danger for all. France has a long, and now growingly endangered,  tradition of secularism; which allows dissent from religions and the right to express this dissent. It has had a rich tradition to mock and caricature powers that be,  religious or otherwise. Let us keep this hard won right which cost so many lives in history, and, alas, still does, as Charlie Hebdo's twelve dead and numerous wounded demonstrate.

...Read the full statement

Sharia law, apostasy and secularism conference

Paying tribute to Charlie Hebdo and the many persecuted for criticising islam and religion

See details from ex-muslim.org.uk

7th February 2015, One day conference near London Kings Cross 9am registration; 10am-5:30pm

 Speakers at the 7 February conference will include Activist Ahmed Idris, Campaigner for Secular Education Aliyah Saleem, Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Amal Farah, Activist Atoosa Khatiri, Secular Activist Chris Moos, Director of the Centre for Secular Space Gita Sahgal, Founder of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Morocco Imad Iddine Habib, Spokesperson of One Law for All Maryam Namazie, Spokesperson of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain Nahla Mahmoud, Human Rights Campaigner Peter Tatchell, Southall Black Sisters Director Pragna Patel, Founder of Ex-Muslims of Scotland Ramin Forghani, Nari Diganta's Rumana Hashem, National Secular Society President Terry Sanderson and Women's Rights Campaigner Yasmin Rehman.

And on a lighter note...

See some  fine words and fine cartoons from washingtonpost.com

banksy on hebdoCharlie Hebdo: In their words and works, American cartoonists condemn Wednesday's attack, hail slain satirists as heroes

And on a not so light note: Religion deserves fearless disrespect'

See  article from  freethinker.co.uk

Author Salman Rushdie yesterday made a statement about the attack on the Paris office of Charlie Hebdo that left 12 people dead. He said:

Religion, a medieval form of unreason, when combined with modern weaponry, becomes a real threat to our freedoms.

This religious totalitarianism has caused a deadly mutation in the heart of Islam and we see the tragic consequences in Paris today.

I stand with Charlie Hebdo, as we all must, to defend the art of satire, which has always been a force for liberty and against tyranny, dishonesty and stupidity.

"Respect for religion'" has become a code phrase meaning "fear of religion".

Religions, like all other ideas, deserve criticism, satire, and, yes, our fearless disrespect.

 

9th January

  Two Show on One Show...

The BBC responds to 400 whinges about Rita Ora's plunging neckline on The One Show
Link Here
rita ore one show videoAbout 400 viewers have complained after Rita Ora, the pop star, appeared on BBC One with a plunging neckline.

The singer, known for her I Will Never Let You Down song, wore a low-cut dress with a thigh-high split as she attended the launch of BBC talent show The Voice UK . However, her most daring outfit came later in the day when she appeared on The One Show in a white trouser suit with nothing underneath the blazer.

399 people complained to the BBC. On the BBC's Points of View message board, one whinged:

Isn't it about time the BBC had a dress code? I do not want to see her boobs hanging out on a family programme. I find it quite disgraceful.

And another prude wrote: I am no prude ...BUT... found it totally inappropriate.

The BBC responded on its website:

Complaint

We received complaints from some viewers unhappy with Rita Ora's choice of attire on The One Show.

Response

The One Show allows guests to choose their own attire and pop stars often opt for something glamorous or striking. The BBC doesn't feel that Rita's outfit would be outside of most viewers' expectations, but we appreciate that tastes vary.

 

9th January

  Booking Hell...

Thanks to all the moaning minnies who brought this fine Booking.com advert to my attention
Link Here
booking com videoThe Advertising Standards Authority has launched a formal investigation into Booking.com's latest Booking Dot Yeah advert after a viewers whinged that it was offensive.

A spokesperson for the advert censor said:

The general nature of the complaints is that the ad is offensive and unsuitable to be seen by children because they consider the repetition of 'booking' suggests a swear word. We will publish our findings in due course.

The new campaign, which started being shown on TV screens and in cinemas in December, follows on from similar adverts earlier in the year.

 

9th January

  Copyrighting Wrongs...

Pirate Party MEP is set task of revising EU copyright legislation
Link Here
Pirate PartyStrangely unreported by mainstream media, there is a major revision of the copyright monopoly underway in the European Union. And the person in charge, Julia Reda, is a Pirate Party representative. The tide is turning.

For years net activists and freedom-of-speech activists have been fighting against the copyright industry's corrupt initiatives. In country after country, the copyright industry was practically calling out for mail-order legislation, and receiving it every time.

The collateral damage to liberties has been immense, and has spilled far outside the net. In the US, people are complaining that copyright monopoly law is now unintentionally preventing them to modify items they legally own, such as cars or games consoles. They're absolutely wrong: that was the exact intention with the most recent round of revisions to copyright monopoly law to limit property rights and to lock people out of their own possessions.

As activists fought, and won! against software patent monopolies in Europe in 2005, it became clear that we couldn't fight one bad thing after another, never having the initiative, always being on the defense against onslaught from corporate mail-order legislation. For every exhausting victory, there were nine bad laws being passed in the shadows. We had to go on the offense. We had to aspire to write the law ourselves, keeping corporate lobbyists firmly out of any corrupt influence.

On January 1, 2006, I founded the Swedish and first Pirate Party. It's now on its tenth year, and on its second term in the European Parliament. This term, that European Parliament is revising the copyright monopoly. It starts out by evaluating what works and what doesn't with the current set of laws on the matter. And the rapporteur for that dossier, meaning the person writing the actual legislative document , is Julia Reda, representative for the Pirate Party from Germany.

Let's take that again: a Pirate Party representative is writing the European Union's official evaluation of the copyright monopoly, and listing a set of necessary changes.

Now, just because it's a pirate writing the legislative document, that doesn't mean that document is going to pass a vote in the European Parliament no matter what it contains. It needs to be negotiated to get majority support, as usual and as appropriate in a parliamentary democracy. The first of those votes is in the Legal Affairs committee on April 16, and the vote in the European Parliament as a whole is on May 20. So pirates aren't in charge ; democracy is, as it should be.

But the initiative has shifted. It is no longer solely initiated by mail-order lobbyists for corrupt incumbents who gladly sacrifice civil liberties and the entire Internet to preserve an unjust and immoral lucrative monopoly. For the first time, legislation on the matter is initiated by net liberty activists.

 

8th January

  Fifty Tame Shades of Grey...

US film censors pass new Fifty Shades of Grey movie as suitable for older children.
Link Here  full story: Fifty Shades of Grey...BDSM book scores an international hit
Poster Fifty Shades of Grey 2015 Sam TaylorjohnsonFifty Shades of Grey is a 2015 USA sexy romance by Sam Taylor-Johnson.
Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan and Jennifer Ehle. Youtube link IMDb

Literature student Anastasia Steele's life changes forever when she meets handsome, yet tormented, billionaire Christian Grey.

The US film censors of the MPAA have awarded the film an R rating for:

Strong sexual content including dialogue, some unusual behavior and graphic nudity, and for language.

An R rated film is considered suitable for children aged 17 and above. The rating also means that younger children may see the film in a theatre if accompanied by a parent or guardian.

Clearly this openness to children rather restricts the amount of sex allowed in an R rated film and means that Red Shoes Diary type chocolate box erotica is about as sexy as these films can become.

Of course the marketeers will now have a damn good try at convincing you otherwise.

 

8th January

 Update: Je suis Charlie!...

The cry of defiance: Vast crowds rally across the world to condemn the censorship massacre
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
je suis charlieTens of thousands took to the streets in Europe to show their solidarity with those killed by gunmen at the offices of satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The scenes were replicated across France, in London and around the world with crowds holding placards bearing the slogan Je Suis Charlie. Others were seen carrying enlarged versions of the some of the newspaper's anti-Islamist cartoons.

Meanwhile the website of French newspaper Le Monde last night showed an interactive map of vigils being held across the world in Dublin, Edinburgh, Amsterdam, Brussels, Madrid, Rome, Berlin, Vienna, Moscow, and as far afield as Tunis, Lima, Rio de Janeiro and Madagascar.

In London, hundreds of people filled Trafalgar Square at a silent vigil for those killed when masked gunmen stormed the newspaper's headquarters. Many held pens, pencils and notebooks in the air to show their support for the journalists, cartoonists and police officers who lost their lives.

The Heart is in defying censorship, but the mind says otherwise

Whilst there is a spirit of defying censorship, practicality, and fear of being killed, has rather dictated that self censorship has increased across the world.

The HuffingtonPost post reports :

Following a deadly terror attack Wednesday morning on the offices of Charlie Hebdo , a satirical French newspaper known for lampooning religion with caricature-based cartoons, many outlets have censored their coverage of the publication's depictions of the Prophet Muhammad.

The New York Daily News opted to obscure the front page of a Charlie Hebdo publication in its coverage of the attack. It blurred a cartoon from a 2011 Getty photo of Charlie Hebdo Editor Stéphane "Charb" Charbonnier , who was among those killed in Wednesday's attack. The Daily News did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Telegraph took a similar approach and blurred the cover of a Charlie Hebdo paper in its live blog, then ultimately removed the image entirely , reports Politico.

And a bizarre response from Associated Press, the agency censored images of Christ over some politically correction notion of fairness after censoring images of Mohammed. An article at Gawker.com explains:

Politico's Dylan Byers reports that the Associated Press removed an image of Andres Serrano's 1987 photo Piss Christ from its photo library in the wake of today's deadly attack on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Removing images of the artwork seems preposterous. I searched AP's library for Piss Christ before this post went up found at least one photo of Serrano posing in front of his most well-known work , which depicts a crucifix submerged in the artist's own urine. But a few minutes later, it was gone. What gives?

In fact the AP pulled the photos after the conservative Washington Examiner noted that it pixelated Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting Mohammad but left images of Piss Christ intact.

Nick Cohen writing in the Spectator suggests that defiance will probably be short lived, and it won't be long before free speech gets re-relegated back to its proper place below the right to not be 'offended'.

Tonight everyone is defiant. I am just back from a Je suis Charlie vigil in Trafalgar Square, and the solidarity was good to see. I fear it won't last. I may be wrong. Perhaps tomorrow's papers and news programmes will prove their commitment to freedom by republishing the Charlie Hebdo cartoons.

But I doubt they will even have the courage to admit that they are too scared to show them. Instead we will have insidious articles, which condemn freedom of speech as a provocation and make weasel excuses for murder without having the guts to admit it.

The Financial Times was first out of the blocks:

Charlie Hebdo is a bastion of the French tradition of hard-hitting satire. It has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling Muslims.

The writer forgot to add that Charlie Hebdo has a long record of mocking, baiting and needling everyone. It is a satirical magazine in a free country: that is what it does.

 

8th January

  Hide the Pride...

US distributors try to maximise the market for the movie Pride by downplaying gay elements on the DVD cover
Link Here
Pride DVD Ben SchnetzerUS marketeers have straight-washed 2013 British film Pride so that it appeals to a wider US audience.

The DVD cover of the movie, based on the campaign of a gay and lesbian activist group, has been altered to remove references to the film's focal theme of homosexuality.

In UK promotional material a banner reading lesbians and gays support the miners is seen behind the marching crowd. On the US version this banner has been digitally removed, and the synopsis has eradicated any hint of homosexuality. In particular  original UK promotional material referring to a London-based group of gay and lesbian activists, has been changed to London-based activists.

Ben Roberts, of the British Film Institute, told The Independent:

I'm not surprised that the US distributors have taken a decision to sell more copies by watering down the gay content.

It's an unfortunate commercial reality both here and in the US that distributors have to deal with. LGBT material is largely marginalised outside of rare hits like Brokeback Mountain.

Gay author Matt Cain criticised the move, saying it went against the spirit of the film, but said it will be a positive thing if it means more people buy the DVD and watch it.

A few people took to Twitter to criticise the decision to downplay the gay theme.

 

7th January

 Extract: Rated 15 for being scary...

An interview with The Woman in Black: Angel of Death director, Tom Harper
Link Here  full story: The Woman in Black...Cut by the BBFC for a 12A
woman in black angel of deathThe Woman in Black: Angel of Death is a 2015 UK horror thriller by Tom Harper.
Starring Helen McCrory, Jeremy Irvine and Phoebe Fox. Youtube link IMDb

40 years after the first haunting at Eel Marsh House, a group of children evacuated from WWII London arrive, awakening the house's darkest inhabitant.

The National Student interviewed director Tom Harper in a conversation that briefly touched the topic of BBFC classification.

The National Student: This film has received the more restrictive 15 rating, whereas the first film the studio chose to cut in order to get a 12A and get younger audiences in there. Is this part of a deliberate aiming of the film to older audiences?

Tom Harper: I think the BBFC is slightly tighter now than it was then, partly in response to the first Woman in Black. Personally I think that's ridiculous as there is such immediate access to all sorts of content on the internet to anybody. Sure, I think the film is scarier, but compared to some there is no blood or gore or swearing or sex.

The National Student: I think the BBFC's approach is now to consider the overall tone of a film more than individual parts. Do you think that's an interesting way of viewing horror? Apparently it's Sustained threat that helped earn Angel of Death a 15 certificate.

Tom Harper: Sure, but I think it's an arbitrary thing to sit and make a decision about that with no specific criteria, I mean with sustained threat it's.... well, my feeling is that the American system is much better where if your parents say you can go and see it then you can go and see it. Personally I'm about empowering people to make their own decisions.

...Read the full interview

 

7th January

 Updated: Childish Reasons...

Morocco film censor confirms the ban on the Biblical epic, Exodus
Link Here
Poster Exodus Gods and Kings 2014 Ridley ScottExodus: Gods and Kings is a 2014 UK / USA / Spain drama by Ridley Scott.
Starring Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton and Ben Kingsley. Youtube link IMDb

Epic adventure Exodus: Gods and Kings is the story of one man's daring courage to take on the might of an empire. Using state of the art visual effects and 3D immersion, Scott brings new life to the story of the defiant leader Moses as he rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.

Morocco's Reviewing Commission has confirmed the ban of the Hollywood film, Exodus: Gods and Kings.

Minister of Communication, Mustafa El Khalfi, tweeted that he welcomes the commitment of the Director of the Moroccan Cinematographic Centre (CCM) to respect the law and that the decision taken by the Commission does not breech the freedom of artistic creation guaranteed by the Constitution.

The minister said he supported the decision banning the film because it portrays God. However, God is not shown explicitly at any stage in Exodus. The portrayal of God is only an interpretation of the scene in which a child delivers messages to Moses.

CCM director and film censor Sarim Fassi Fihri said that the film approval Commission, the Ministry of Culture, the owners of cinemas and film distributors, and the Cinematographic Center, had all seen the film and had reservations about a scene which depicts God as a child during the period of revelation to Moses.

Update: Unbanned in Morocco

7th January 2015. See  article from  washingtontimes.com

Morocco's movie organization has now announced that the film will be shown in Morocco after Fox Studio agreed to cut sections deemed supposedly sacrilegious to Islam.

The center's statement said that Scott and Fox Studios agreed to remove two lines of dialogue that referred to the personnification of the Divine.

 

7th January

 Update: Ultimate Censorship...

Muslim terrorists murder editor and staff in an attack on a satirical French magazine that offended them
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists

je suis charlieMuslim terrorists have shot dead 12 people at the Paris office of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo .

Four of the magazine's well-known cartoonists, including its editor, were among those killed, as well as two police officers. A major police operation is under way to find three gunmen who fled by car.

President Francois Hollande said there was no doubt it had been a terrorist attack of exceptional barbarity .

The masked attackers opened fire with assault rifles in the office and exchanged shots with police in the street outside before escaping by car. They later abandoned the car in Rue de Meaux, northern Paris, where they hijacked a second car.

Witnesses said they heard the gunmen shouting We have avenged the Prophet Muhammad and God is Great in Arabic ( Allahu Akbar ).

French media have named the three other cartoonists killed in the attack as Cabu, Tignous and Wolinski, as well as Charlie Hebdo contributor and French economist Bernard Maris.

The satirical weekly has courted controversy in the past with its irreverent take on news and current affairs. It was firebombed in November 2011 a day after it carried a caricature of the religious character Muhammad.

 

7th January

 Update: Bravely Defying Terrorist Censors...

The Interview will open at British cinemas despite the threat of North Korean terrorist attacks
Link Here  full story: The Interview...Sony hacked possibly by North Korea and threats curtail film release
the-interviewThe Interview is a 2014 USA action comedy by Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen.
Starring James Franco, Seth Rogen and Randall Park. IMDb

Dave Skylark and his producer Aaron Rapoport run the popular celebrity tabloid TV show "Skylark Tonight." When they discover that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un is a fan of the show, they land an interview with him in an attempt to legitimize themselves as journalists. As Dave and Aaron prepare to travel to Pyongyang, their plans change when the CIA recruits them.

Sony has announced that The Interview will be released in UK cinemas on 6 Februaryfollowing limited screenings in the US.

The film's theatrical release was originally shelved after the hackers responsibly for a cyber attack on Sony threatened to bring a bitter fate to cinemas.

But after a huge backlash and the surprise intervention of President Barack Obama, the studio released The Interview online and in selected American cinemas over Christmas.

 

7th January

  Ivan the Terrible...

Russian film fund CEO seeks to censor homosexuality from a Peter Greenaway biopic of Sergei Eisenstein
Link Here
Sergei Eisenstein Collection Generalnaya BronenosetsBritish director Peter Greenaway's new biopic about legendary Soviet film director Sergei Eisenstein is now under threat following a warning from the Russian State Film Fund that they will refuse participation in the movie if references to Eisenstein's homosexuality are not removed from the script.

Nicholas Borodachev, CEO of the film fund, told Izvestia:

I do not want to talk about it [homosexuality], but this topic in the script doesn't suit us. The director, in turn, insists that this aspect of Eisenstein's life is important for the picture. Of course, bear in mind that the script is written in the style of Peter Greenaway, but we would like to see the film a little differently. If something goes wrong, we will not participate in the project.

The film, scheduled to begin shooting in 2015, has been entitled The Eisenstein Handshakes and will be jointly funded by Switzerland, France and the Russian State Film Fund. Recounting the life, work and travels of the iconic director.

Naum Kleiman, an eminent film critic and former director of Moscow's Museum of Cinema, added that:

This issue [of homosexuality] has no relation to the facts. If you shoot a biopic about the great artist, you need to talk about his work and how Eisenstein's art influenced the history of cinema. What does his personal life have to do with anything here? I never take the side of censorship ...BUT... in this case we are talking about morality and a sense of tact.

 

7th January

 Update: Inoffensive...

Ofcom dismisses whinges about a rape storyline on EastEnders
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints
Eastenders Replica Albert Square InchesTV censor Ofcom has cleared the BBC of breaching broadcasting rules over a rape storyline, which prompted a few complaints.

The episode, shown in October, featured scenes from before and after the rape of Queen Vic landlady Linda Carter, played by Kellie Bright.

More than 90 people complained to Ofcom about the episode, while more than 250 complaints were made to the BBC.

Ofcom have now responded that said graphic content had been avoided and that warnings had been given to viewers. A spokesman said:

After carefully investigating complaints about this scene, Ofcom found the BBC took appropriate steps to limit offence to viewers. This included a warning before the episode and implying the assault, rather than depicting it.

Ofcom also took into account the programme's role in presenting sometimes challenging or distressing social issues.

 

7th January

  Off Quay...

Taxi adverts offend Southampton University's Feminist Society
Link Here
west quay cars advertThe PC lynch mob has turned its attention to amusing adverts encouraging drivers to call a cab if they have had enough to drink.

The adverts for Southampton-based West Quay Cars have male and female variants with the latter featuring a 'larger', middle-aged woman with the caption: If I Start To Look Sexy - Book A Taxi.

Miserable members of Southampton University's Feminist Society criticised the advert and called for students to boycott the firm. One campaigner wrote:

It's disgusting that in 2015 sexism is alive and well in Southampton, enough for it to be an acceptable ad campaign, especially in the New Year when companies too often try to make a profit over negative self body image.

The taxi firm denied the poster is sexist, adding it was disappointed with the negative feedback, but apologised to the bullies anyway. Manager Lee Haynes told The Tab:

We apologise for any offence that may have been caused by either of the posters. We refute the claim that either our advertising or West Quay cars as a company is sexist or discriminatory in anyway.

 

7th January

 Offsite Article: 2015 The Year to Vote for Freedom...

Link Here
Pirate Party UKLoz Kaye, leader of the Pirate Party UK sees opportunities to use the upcoming election to leverage some liberal concessions from the freedom hating Labour and Conservatives

See article from sexandcensorship.org

 

6th January

  Correlational Violence...

Research finds that media violence simply does not correlate with actual societal violence
Link Here

Call Duty Advanced Warfare XboxDoes Media Violence Predict Societal Violence? It Depends on What You Look at and When

By Christopher J. Ferguson*

Abstract

This article presents 2 studies of the association of media violence rates with societal violence rates. In the first study, movie violence and homicide rates are examined across the 20th century and into the 21st (1920 - 2005). Throughout the mid-20th century small-to-moderate correlational relationships can be observed between movie violence and homicide rates in the United States. This trend reversed in the early and latter 20th century, with movie violence rates inversely related to homicide rates. In the second study, videogame violence consumption is examined against youth violence rates in the previous 2 decades. Videogame consumption is associated with a decline in youth violence rates. Results suggest that societal consumption of media violence is not predictive of increased societal violence rates.

Research, led by psychologist Christopher Ferguson and published in the Journal of Communication , has found that there was no link between violent media and behaviour and has also questioned the methodology of previous studies suggesting the two were related.

Ferguson and his team point out that many laboratory-based studies into the effect of media violence have measured aggression in test subjects through less aggressive outcomes ranging from filling in the missing letters of words through delivering nonpainful noise bursts to a consenting opponent.

The study points out that these studies also commonly provide exposure to brief clips of media, rather than full narrative experiences and that the resultant aggressive behaviors are also outside a real-world context in which the aggression appears to be sanctioned by the researchers themselves.

In the first of two historical studies the researchers examined the correlation of violent films and societal violence, analysing the frequency of violent acts in the top-grossing titles between 1920 and 2005.

The study notes that film violence followed a rough U pattern during this time period, but that societal violence fluctuated differently, with the latter half of the 20th century even showing an increase in film violence associated with reduced societal violence .

A second study into video game violence used data from the Entertainment Software Ratings Board (ESRB) to estimate the violent content of popular games from 1996 to 2011. This was then compared with data on youth violence during the same years, with the study finding a correlation between falling youth violence and the popularity of violent games.

During this time period youth violence dropped precipitously , despite maintaining very high levels of media violence in society with the introduction of videogames.

 

6th January

  Card Tricks...

Thailand seeks to control internet and phone usage by tying together mandatory registration of SIM cards and general internet access
Link Here
sim cardThailand's telecoms police plan to make it mandatory to register all mobile-phone SIM cards and then to use mobile phone numbers as personal ID for access to public Internet nationwide.

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has said it will ask Cabinet to approve a plan to register prepaid mobile phone users as part of the national censorship policy. NBTC secretary general Takorn Tantasith explained:

SIM registration is the first step to force all to have individual numbers, then the next step is the 'Single Sign On' policy.

The policy will require users of mobile phones to register their user name and password to access the Internet on all networks nationwide.

The agency would propose the plan, known as Single Sign On , to Cabinet to enact the registration process within six months.

Years ago, the NBTC tried to impose controls requiring operators to register the details of people who buy new prepaid SIM cards but few consumers cooperated, as they were reluctant to provide copies of their ID cards. But now the NBTC has suggested to method to make the registration process a little more practical.

Business operators who sell SIM cards will download an app onto their mobile phones. They will use the app to take a picture of the SIM card code and the buyer's ID card. The app will then immediately send data to the NBTC's computer server, connected with the servers of the five telecom operators. The NBTC server will verify the identity-card information and, if correct, send the verified data back to the telecom operator's server, to activate the SIM card. The data will not be stored on mobile phones of shop staff. Expats who don't have Thai ID cards can use passports.

 

6th January

 Offsite Article: David Cameron's Internet Porn Censorship...

Link Here
facesitting protestThis Anti-Porn Law is Our Clause 28. By Itziar Bilbao Urrutia

See article from sexandcensorship.org

 

6th January

 Offsite Article: Cyber Customs...

Link Here
FTC logoThe MPAA has a new plan to stop internet copyright violations at the border

See article from theverge.com

 

5th January

  Netflix Goes all Territorial...

Netflix website disables access via VPN and proxy
Link Here
netflix logoNetflix is starting to block subscribers who access its service using VPN services and other tools that bypass geolocation restrictions. The changes, which may also affect legitimate users, have been requested by the movie studios who want full control over what people can see in their respective countries.

Due to complicated licensing agreements Netflix is only available in a few dozen countries, all of which have a different content library.

Some people bypass these content and access restrictions by using VPNs or other circumvention tools that change their geographical location. This makes it easy for people all around the world to pay for access to the U.S. version of Netflix, for example.

The movie studios are not happy with these deviant subscribers as it hurts their licensing agreements. Previously entertainment industry sources in Australia complained bitterly that tens of thousands of Netflix VPN-pirates were hurting their business .

Over the past weeks Netflix has started to take action against people who use certain circumvention tools. Thus far the actions are limited in scope, so not all VPN users may experience problems just yet. However, TorGuard is one of the VPN providers which noticed a surge in access problems by its users, starting mid-December.

Netflix is reportedly testing a variety of blocking methods. Eg querying the user's time zone through the web browser or mobile device GPS and comparing it to the timezone of their IP-address.

TorGuard told us that if Netflix continues with a strict ban policy, they will provide an easy solution to bypass the blocks. Other services, such as Unblock-us are also suggesting workarounds to their customers.

 

5th January

 Offsite Article: But nearly all crimes are defined as 'serious' crimes these days...

Link Here  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
home affairs committeeParliamentary committee accuses communication companies of not handing GCHQ key evidence to combat serious crimes such as sending offensive tweets

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

3rd January

  Spud Wars...

A few Irish people get all outraged by Channel 4 comedy set during potato famine
Link Here

Incredible Hulk Green Potato HeadA few Irish people are getting wound up over Channel 4 commissioning a comedy series on the Irish potato famine, a tragedy thought to have cost a million lives.

The sitcom, called Hungry , has been revealed by Dublin-based writer Hugh Travers, who told the Irish Times that we're kind of thinking of it as Shameless in famine Ireland.

Easily offended Dublin councillor David McGuinness claimed the show was intended to embarrass and denigrate one of the most painful periods in Irish history. He whinged:

Jewish people would never endorse making a comedy of the mass extermination of their ancestors at the hands of the Nazis, Cambodians would never support people laughing at what happened to their people at the hands of the Khmer Rouge and the people of Somalia, Ethiopia or Sudan would never accept the plight of their people, through generational famine, being the source of humour in Britain. I am not surprised that it is a British television outlet funding this venture.

Diall O'Dowd, of the Irish-American site Irish Central blog, ludicrously asked: How about a comedy about Ebola with black kids dying on screen and doctors telling funny jokes about them?

Channel 4 said:

We have commissioned a script set in 19th century Ireland by Dublin-based writer Hugh Travers and Irish-based production company Grand Pictures - however this is in the development process and is not currently planned to air.

 

3rd January

  A blasphemy against modern democracy...

Irish government breaks promise to hold a referendum on blasphemy law
Link Here
IrelandIrish atheists and secularists have accused their government of breaking a promise to call a referendum over the Republic's controversial blasphemy laws in the lifetime of the current coalition.

Atheist Ireland expressed disappointment that the government had quietly dropped plans for a plebiscite to rid the country of the outdated legislation, which secularists have argued are incompatible with modern Ireland .

Last year, the Fine Gael-Labour coalition had promised a referendum on the blasphemy law to coincide with two other votes on gay marriage equality and lowering the age for when a citizen can become president of the state.

Earlier this month, however, the government confirmed that referenda will be held in the spring on gay marriage and the age of a presidential candidate, but excluded a national vote on blasphemy.

 

3rd January

 Offsite Article: Microaggression: desperately seeking discrimination...

Link Here
Spiked logoPC extremists seek offence in the innocent and trivial

See article from spiked-online.com

 

2nd January

  Cuts of the Year...

A list of the 41 films and videos cut by the BBFC and distributors in 2014
Link Here

House Hill Naidra Dawn ThomsonCut of the year: House on the Hill

7 minutes and 12 seconds of compulsory BBFC cuts for

House on the Hill is a 2012 USA crime horror by Jeff Frentzen.
Starring Naidra Dawn Thomson, Shannon Leade and Stephen AF Day. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

Summary Notes

Based on a true story, HOUSE ON THE HILL is a true crime melodrama with strong horror elements, chronicling the outrageous 1980s murder spree of serial killer Leonard Lake, who would target, kidnap, rob and kill people -- and even whole families. Sonia, the only survivor of Lake's killing spree, teams up with a private investigator to help him locate a woman who disappeared into Lake's compound. In the process, Sonia recounts the horrors of the house, where Lake and his accomplice would force her to videotape the killings.

UK: Passed 18 for strong violence, sexual violence after 7:12s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:
  • 2014 Lighthouse Digital Media video
The BBFC commented:
  • Cuts required to remove or reduce scenes of sexual and sexualised violence. Cuts required in line with BBFC Guidelines, policy and the Video Recordings Act 1984.

Sexy Battle Girls Region NTSCRunner Up: Sexy Battle Girls

6 minutes and 50 seconds of compulsory BBFC cuts for

Sexy Battle Girls is a 1986 Japan action film by Mototsugu Watanabe.
Starring Kyôko Hashimoto, Ayumi Taguchi and Yutaka Ikejima. BBFC link IMDb

Summary Notes

Mirai, a high school girl, is transferred to an upscale private girls school. She soon finds out the school not only cultivates young minds, but also supplies young bodies to rich politicians. Moreover, the school's headmaster ripped apart her family. She undergoes special training, and fights her way to sweet revenge!

UK: Passed 18 for strong sex, nudity, sexual violence after 6:50s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:
  • 2014 Salvation Films [Subtitled] video
The BBFC commented:
  • Cuts required to scenes of sexual violence. Cuts required in accordance with BBFC Guidelines, policy and the Video Recordings Act 1984.

Soulmate Anna WaltonMost Talked About Cuts of 2014: Soulmate

Soulmate is a 2013 UK mystery by Axelle Carolyn.
Starring Anna Walton, Tom Wisdom and Tanya Myers. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb
Cut by the BBFC for providing details that may assist suicide. Uncut in the US.

Summery Notes:

Widowed Audrey retreats to an isolated Welsh cabin after a failed suicide attempt, to recuperate. Still haunted by the tragic death of her husband and struggling with her psychosis, she begins to hear strange noises.

UK: Passed 15 for strong violence, gore after 2:33s of BBFC cuts for:

The BBFC cuts were:

  • Cuts were required to remove a detailed focus on a particular suicide technique.

See  pictorial cuts details from  movie-censorship.com . The distributors deleted the entire pre-credits scene depicting a suicide. The distributors had in fact 3 options:

  • No cuts and the film would be banned
  • 16s of cuts to remove just the vertical cutting details of the suicide but leaving the suicide otherwise in place. This would then have been 18 rated. (Suicide in films for under 18s is a very sensitive area these days).
  • Deleting the suicide film entirely resulted in a 15 rating.

See article from starburstmagazine.com :

The BBFC demanded 16 seconds be removed from the two and a half minute scene in order to be granted a rating, but the required edits ended up masticating the opening to such an extent Carolyn decided it would be better to just remove it entirely rather than risk it coming across as precisely the kind of watered down, almost romanticised portrayal of suicide she was intentionally trying to avoid. As this was by far the most graphic scene of the whole film, without it the rating ended up downgraded to a 15.

Compulsory Cuts by the BBFC (ie not related to distributor requested category cuts)

9 films and videos suffered compulsory BBFC cuts

Battle Girls: Time Paradox (sexualised cartoon character depicting under 16yo)
Found
(erect penis during a scene of sexual violence)
Gun Woman
(sexual violence)
House on the Hill
(sexual violence)
Ninja: Shadow of a Tear
(animal cruelty)
Sexy Battle Girls
(sexual violence)
Soulmate
(suicide technique)
The Spanish Chainsaw Massacre
(sexual violence)
Video Nasties: the Definitive Guide 2
(animal cruelty cuts to a compilation of trailers, not the feature documentary)

The Full 2014 Cuts List

41 (non-porn) films and videos were cut by the BBFC and/or by the distributor in 2014.

Aindhaam Thalaimurai Sidha Vaidhiya Sigamani
Battle Girls: Time Paradox
The Equalizer
Found
Govindudu Andarivadele
Gun Woman
Hercules
Horns
House on the Hill
I'm a Porn Star
The Inbetweeners 2
The John Cena Experience
Kaththi
Kingsman: the Secret Service
The Love Punch
The Maze Runner
Mr Fraud
My Dog the Champion
Naan Sigappu Manithan
Nimirndhu Nil
Ninja: Shadow of a Tear
Paul Zerdin - No Strings
Pompeii
Poojai
Pop Party 13
Pudsey the Dog: the Movie
Punjab 1984
Queen
Rummy
Sapthamashree Thaskaraha
Sexy Battle Girls
Soulmate
The Spanish Chainsaw Massacre
Step Up: All In
Taken 3
A Tiger's Tail
Veeram
Video Nasties: the Definitive Guide 2
Viking Adventures From the British Museum
A Walk Among the Tombstones
The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet

 

2nd January

  A Grimy Hellhole...

Pakistan complains about being depicted as the bad guys in Homeland
Link Here
Homeland Season 1 3 Damian LewisPakistan has complained that the American TV drama Homeland , which was based on the Israeli show Hatufim (Hostages) , depicted their country as a grimy hellhole .

A Pakistani source cited by the New York Post condemned the portrayal of Islamabad as a war zone where shootouts and bombs go off... nothing is further from the truth, describing the capital instead as a quiet, picturesque city with beautiful mountains.

Officials also took issue with a plotline that insinuated that Pakistani security officials harbor terrorists, which they called an insult to the ultimate sacrifices of the thousands of Pakistani security personnel, and also with the Urdu dialect spoken on the show. The accent is far from the local accent, a source said.

 

1st January

 Offsite Article: Was 2014 the year the lads' mag finally died?...

Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
nuts final issueAfter a long and vocal feminist campaign against lads' mags, Nuts magazine folded in 2014. Pete Cashmore, who worked there for a decade, recalls its final days

See article from telegraph.co.uk