An interesting article in Wired reports on a a recent Westminster eForum meeting when the British establishment got
together to discuss, porn, internet censorship and child protection.
A large portion of the article considers the issue that porn is not generally restricted just to 'porn websites'. It is widely available on more mainstream wesbites such as Google Images. Stephen Winyard, director and VP of ICM Registry and council
member of the digital policy alliance, argued that Twitter is in fact commercially benefiting from the proliferation of pornography on the network:
It's on Twitter, Reddit, Tumblr, mobile apps - Skype is used hugely for adult content. But Twitter is the largest platform for promoting pornography in the world - and it takes money for it. They pay Twitter money to advertise adult content.
Another good good pint was that the Digital Censorship Bill going through parliament was targetting the prevention of children 'stumbling across' porn. Hence a bit of partial blockade of porn may somehow reduce this problem. However Adam Kinsley of Sky
pointed out that partial blockage may not be so effective in stopping kids actively looking for porn. He noted:
The Digital Economy Bill's exact objectives are a little uncertain, but we are trying to stop children stumbling on pornography -- but they are not 'stumbling', they are looking for it and Twitter is where they will [find] it. Whether what the government
is proposing will deal with that threat is unclear. Initially, it did not propose ISPs blocking content. When it comes to extremist sites, the Home Office asks social media platforms to take down content. The government does not ask us to block material
- it has never done that. So this is a big deal. It doesn't happen with the IWF; it doesn't happen with terrorist material, and it wasn't in the government's original proposal. Whether they got it right and how will we deal with these millions of sites,
We're not really achieving anything if only dealing with a few sites.
The Bill is incredibly complex, as it stands. David Austin, from the BBFC, pointed out that for it to implement the bill correctly, it needs to be effective, proportionate, respectful of privacy, accountable - and the
Tens of millions of adults that go online to see legal content must be able to continue to do so.
At the same time, he said:
There is no silver bullet, no one model, no one sector that can achieve all child protection goals.
India's gay community have celebrated a small victory over the film censors of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).
India's censorship appeal board, the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal (FCAT) has overturned 10s of cuts specified by the CBFC before granting a music video a U/A (PG) certificate. The video, Miss You by Friends of Linger, would otherwise by A
(18) rated which would bar the film from TV, which was the whole point of the video.
In a period of around ten minutes on 25th January, the FCAT watched the video, read the appeal, discussed it, posed a few questions and then said the appeal was successful.
The band's front man, Sharif Ranganekar, wrote:
The FCAT in effect turned this tiny song into a moment that could be viewed as a shift in acceptance of gay content in mainstream television. However small the shift might be, it could well be an indication of something bigger that many LGBTQs are
hoping for. If we place this against the backdrop of hostility, hate, right-wing politics and the patiently-awaited Supreme Court verdict, the FCAT's conclusion to overturn a CBFC order is not very small. It could be a precedent, a filmmaker out of
Mumbai told me. Some gay activists felt the occasion should be celebrated and the song performed at gay parties.
The video is probably the first of its kind in the Indian context. Two men in love, the love lost to marriage and the recollection of a relationship is what made this video a story to tell. When Manav Malvai, the director, showed me the story-board, I
was sure we had a sensitive script. But the CBFC thought otherwise. In response to our mid-September (2016) application, we received an A certificate. Of course, this meant that the video would never get to TV in India. I did not accept this and filed an
application seeking a review.
The CBFC returned with a UA with cuts response on October 21 . What the censors found objectionable was a ten-second shot of two men -- Pran Saikia and myself -- lying in bed only in shorts. Mind you, we were neither making love or even hugging
each other. It was a scene of separation and hardly intimate -- a word used by the CBFC.
By then, even sections of the press hinted that the CBFC was homophobic but this was denied. At that time, Miss You had become incidental to what was a larger issue of acceptance of the LGBTQ community.
Finally, after viewing the video, the FCAT showed a fairness that one hopes is reflective of a changing time. They used the word sensitive to describe the video, relevant for its content and the ten seconds that the CBFC had wanted cut as
intrinsic to the narrative.
Parliament's Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee said it would investigate the establishment's concerns about the
public being supposedly swayed by propaganda and untruths.
The inquiry will examine the sources of fake news, how it is spread and its impact on democracy. Damian Collins, the committee chairman, said the rise of propaganda and fabrications is:
A threat to democracy and undermines confidence in the media in general. Just as major tech companies have accepted they have a social responsibility to combat piracy online and the illegal sharing of content, they also need to help address the
spreading of fake news on social media platforms, he said.
Consumers should also be given new tools to help them assess the origin and likely veracity of news stories they read online.
The committee will be investigating these issues as well as looking into the sources of fake news, what motivates people to spread it and how it has been used around elections and other important political debates.
The MPs want to investigate whether the way advertising is bought, sold and placed online has encouraged the growth of fake news. They also want to address the responsibility of search engines and social media to stop spreading it.
New research suggests that online hoaxes and propaganda may have only had limited impact in the US presidential election, however. According to a study by two US economists, fake news which favoured Donald Trump was shared 30 million times in the three
months before the election, four times more than false stories favouring Hillary Clinton. But the authors said that only half of people who saw a false story believed it, and even the most widely circulated hoaxes were seen by only a fraction of voters.
Rapper Tiny Doo has filed a lawsuit against the city of San Diego and two police officers for what he claims was his unlawful arrest in July 2014 on gang conspiracy charges.
The charges were based on rap lyrics about shootings and gang activity featured on Tiny Doo's 2014 No Safety album. The rapper was imprisoned for seven months, but was released after a judge dismissed the charges.
Tiny Doo told ABC 10 News:
The prosecutor in my case admitted I wouldn't be charged if I sang love songs. As if creating art illustrating the impossible choices poverty presents my community and the magic of our survival isn't an act of love. My arrest and incarceration sent me a
clear sign that my government does not think I am worthy of First Amendment rights.
Thai media organisations have issued a joint statement against the media regulation bill, calling on the National Reform
Steering Assembly (NRSA) to drop the draft and threatening to step up their opposition to the measures until their voices are heard.
At the Thai Journalists Association office, scores of media practitioners gathered yesterday to discuss the contentious censorship bill and show resistance to the NRSA's media reform panel.
The statement denounced the bill as restricting press freedom by opening the way for state authorities to interfere in the media's affairs through the so-called Media Professional Council. The statement was endorsed by 30 media organisations
including the Thai Journalists Association, Thai Broadcast Journalists Association, and Society of Online News Providers, plus regional groups such the Network of Southern Journalists and Network of Northern Journalists.
The Media Professional Council, a key feature of the proposed bill, would play a crucial role in regulation of the press It would be made up of 13 members, four of whom would be permanent secretaries from the Office of the Prime Minister, plus the
Finance, Culture and the Digital Economy and Society ministries.
Confederation of Thai Journalists president Thepchai Yong pointed out that the permanent secretary is nominally a civil service post but it is appointed by politicians. So, they would be nothing but politicians' proxies.
The council could revoke a group's licence if practitioners failed to comply with regulations. Thepchai said the balance of power would be lost if politicians could check and scrutinise the press when it should be the other way around, with the media
If the bill is backed by the NRSA, it will be forwarded to the Cabinet and the National Legislative Assembly for consideration.
Moralist TV campaigners at Parents TV Council have praised a new TV comedy, The Mick . The PTC writes:
The Parents Television Council is urging its members and the public to tell Verizon to stop underwriting graphic content on Fox's new TV show, The Mick, which disturbingly features minor children using explicit language and put into sexualized
situations. Ads for Verizon FiOS and Pixel were aired on The Mick.
In the show, teens are shown smoking, drinking, and swearing, as their alcoholic, drug-using aunt does nothing to set boundaries or stop them. A six- or seven-year-old boy accidentally ingests a balloon filled with drugs; a teenage girl has sex with an
adult man and engages in a drinking contest with her legal guardian, among other egregious examples.
PTC President Tim Winter. said:
Verizon should refuse to be associated with such destructive and harmful TV content on 'The Mick.' Apparently the show's producers and network executives believe such disturbing content is appropriate for the public airwaves, even at times when children
are likely to be watching. Verizon must choose whether it will invest its media dollars to underwrite such content. Child characters should not be used for 'shock value,' and supporting a show that makes children participants in that kind of vulgarity
directly calls into question Verizon's corporate standards
The PTC recently documented that broadcast TV shows are more frequently using children to say explicit language and put them in adult situations, a trend that The Mick continues.
As the internet censorship bill continues its progress through Parliament, news websites have been noted a few opinions and sound
A couple of weeks ago David Kaye, the UN's Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, wrote to ministers to warm them that their proposals could breach international law . In his
letter, he said:
I am concerned that the age-verification provisions give the Government access to information of viewing habits and citizen data. Data provide to one part of government can be shared with other parts of government and private sector companies without a
person's knowledge and consent.
He also warned:
While I am cognizant of the need to protect children against harmful content. I am concerned that the provisions under the bill are not an effective way for achieving this objective as they fall short of the standards of international human rights law.
The age-verification requirement may easily be subject to abuse such as hacking, blackmail and other potential credit card fraud.
He also expressed concern at the bill's lack of privacy obligations and at a significant tightening control over the Internet in the UK.
Murray Perkins, a senior examiner with the BBFC, has indicated that the depiction of violent and criminal pornographic acts would be prohibited both online and off, in accordance with the way obscenity laws are interpreted by British prosecutors.
And the way British prosecutors interpret obscenity laws is very censorial indeed with many totally mainstream porn elements such as squirting and fisting being considered somehow obscene by these government censors.
Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, said in an earlier statement the legislation would lead to unprecedented censorship. He noted:
Once this administrative power to block websites is in place, it will invariably be used to censor other content.
Of course pro-censorship campaigners are delighted. Vicki Shotbolt, chief executive officer for Parent Zone, gloated about the end of people's freedom to access porn.
This isn't about reducing anyone's freedom to access porn. It is simply bringing the online world more in line with the offline.
= Europe has voiced legal doubts about the current regime of ISPs defaulting to internet censorship unless
subscribers actively choose to opt out of the censorship. So now the government has introduced a new clause into the Digital Censorship Bill currently in the House of Lords explicitly enabling ISP network level website blocking.
Thomas Ashton, a minister from the DCMS has tabled the following amendment:
(1) A provider of an internet access service to an end- user may prevent or restrict access on the service to information, content, applications or services, for child protection or other purposes, if the action is in accordance with the terms on which
the end- user uses the service.
(2) This section does not affect whether a provider of an internet access service may prevent or restrict access to anything on the service in other circumstances.
Germany has decided to abolish a law which censors criticism of foreign leaders.
After the spectacular attempt at censorship by Turkey's president Erdogan, international heads of state will no longer be able to ask the German government to prosecute people deemed to have offended them under an obscure passage of German law.
Comic Jan Boehmermann sparked a diplomatic row between Ankara and Berlin when his insulting and satircal poem aired on German television last March. It described Erdogan as stupid, cowardly and uptight before descending into sexual references and
language later described by judges in Hamburg as abusive and libellous content . The outraged Turkish leader filed a complaint with German prosecutors on the basis of lese majeste.
German ministers have now agreed to scrap a line of the penal code known as lese majeste , which prohibits insulting the representatives of international governments. Justice Minister Heiko Maas called the law outdated and unnecessary .
The idea of lese majesty arose in an era long gone by. It no longer belongs in our criminal law.
The Bundestag lower house still has to confirm the law change.
Insulted foreign leaders can still pursue their own libel and defamation cases, in the same way as anyone else.
State senators and representatives in South Dakota unanimously passed Senate Concurrent Resolution 4 , declaring that pornography is a public health crisis leading to a broad spectrum of individual and public health impacts and societal harms.
In all, 50 legislators voted for the bill, with the sponsor Senator Jenna Netherton saying that South Dakota should join other states in trying to educate the public about the harms of porn and prevent children from watching it.
The resolution, which is virtually identical to the one passed in Utah last March, was written by the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), and that pro-censorship group seems to be shopping similar bills to legislatures around the country --
including, most recently, Tennessee, where Senator Mae Beavers is doing the nasty.
And notably while pontificating about porn, the same South Dakota legislature is refusing to enact a ballot measure, passed by 60 percent of voters, instituting campaign finance, lobbying reforms, public financing for campaigns and creating the first
independent ethics commission in the state's history.
A major fetish forum Fetlife has announced that censorship pressures have lead to the removal of 100's of groups and 1000's of fetishes from
John Baku of Fetlife posted (edited for brevity):
I apologize for the deletion of 100s of groups and 1,000s of fetishes without any warning, let alone sufficient notice. I apologize for not making this announcement earlier and leaving everyone in the dark, and most importantly, I
apologize for letting many of you down.
I wish we could have done things differently, but even upon reflection, I believe we did what we had to do to protect the community and FetLife with the information we had when we made each decision along the way.
Before making any decisions, we consulted with multiple parties. We consulted with the team, partners, financial institutions, the NCSF (National Coalition for Sexual Freedom), the FSC (Free Speech Coalition), lawyers, and anyone
else we thought might have insight for us.
So, why did we make the announcement? Everything falls under one of three categories: financial risk, legal risk, and community risk.
Let's first talk quickly about the financial risk and get it out of the way because I don't want it to detract from the high priority issues i.e. the legal and community risks. A merchant account is what allows us to process credit
cards on FetLife. The ads you see on FetLife covers the cost of approximately 1/2 the cost of our servers and bandwidth -- that's it. Hence, without a merchant account, FetLife runs at a loss every month -- and we are not talking a couple of dollars a
month, we are talking significant losses.
Last Tuesday we got a notice that one of our merchant accounts was shutting us down. One of the card companies contacted them directly and told the bank to stop processing for us. The bank asked for more information, but the only
thing they could get from the card company was that part of it had to do with blood, needles, and vampirism.
Three days later, we get another notice, this time from our other merchant account. They got a similar call from the same card company, and they were asked to close our account. This time they were told it was for Illegal or
Hence we can no longer process credit cards on FetLife and will most likely not be able to for a while.
The Legal Risk
There are numerous things at play here:
A highly publicized rape case in Australia involving a member of the community; An organization that participated in the anti-porn bill that wants to see sites like FetLife taken off the internet; Talk of reviving the obscenity task
force in the US; The Digital Economy bill in the UK that's being debated currently; BPjM in Germany; and We've been one of the most liberal, if not the most liberal, adult site on the web which makes us the perfect target; We can put our heads in the
sand, but that is both naive and irresponsible. All of the above have real legal risks attached to them with potentially equally real consequences. Maybe not to you directly but it does to FetLife, the team behind FetLife, and myself.
The Community Risk
The one thing that bonds us all together is our love for the kinky community. Without the kinky community, without sites like FetLife, many of us would not have a place to call home, a place in which we are accepted and understood,
and dare I say a place in which we feel free to be ourselves.
If we hope to win the war, if we want our society to be more accepting of us, then we can't give them a reason to vilify us. People always need someone to blame, and we need to stop making ourselves the easy target.
Both FetLife and the NCSF believe that the proposed changes will give us the opportunity to flourish as a community while better protecting ourselves from outside attack.
With the help of the NCSF, lawyers, partners, and merchant providers, we came up with the following pillars that will make up our guidelines:
Nothing non-consensual (abduction, rape, etc.)
Nothing that impairs consent (drugs, alcohol, etc.)
No permanent or lasting damage (snuff, lacerations, deep cutting, etc.)
No hate speech (Nazi roleplay, race play, etc.)
Nothing that falls under obscenity (incest, etc. )
We hope to be able to publish our new content guidelines shortly as well as implement changes to caretaking so that we don't ever find ourselves in a similar situation again.
The Lost City of Z is a 2016 USA action historical biography by James Gray.
Starring Charlie Hunnam, Tom Holland and Robert Pattinson.
Rated PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, brief strong language and some nudity.
The MPAA commented: NOTE: RE-RATE. FILM EDITED. PREVIOUS "R" RATING, BULLETIN NO. 2450 (11/9/16) VOIDED. ONLY THIS EDITED VERSION IS RATED.
The film was previously rated MPAA R for brief violence in November 2016. The producers appealed the decision but presumably lost as the movie was then cut for a PG-13 rating
The Lost City of Z tells the incredible true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett, who journeys into the Amazon at the dawn of the 20th century and discovers evidence of a previously unknown, advanced civilization that may have once inhabited the
region. Despite being ridiculed by the scientific establishment who regard indigenous populations as "savages," the determined Fawcett - supported by his devoted wife, son and aide de camp returns time and again to his beloved jungle in an attempt to
prove his case, culminating in his mysterious disappearance in 1925.
Split is a 2016 USA horror thriller by M Night Shyamalan.
Starring James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy and Haley Lu Richardson.
Kevin, a man with at least 23 different personalities, is compelled to abduct three teenage girls. As they are held captive, a final personality - "The Beast" - begins to materialize.
The Classification Review Board received an application to review the classification of the film Split. Split was classified M (something like a PG-15) with the consumer advice Mature themes, violence and coarse language by the Classification
Board on 8 December 2016.
The Classification Review Board met on 25 January 2017 to consider the application but did not change the rating, but slightly modified the consumer advice. The board announced:
A three-member panel of the Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the film Split is classified M (Mature) with the consumer advice Mature themes, violence and occasional coarse language .
The Classification Review Board convened today in response to an application from an aggrieved party, Consumers of Mental Health WA (Inc) (CoMHWA) to review the decision made by the Classification Board on 8 December 2016 to classify Split M with the
consumer advice Mature themes, violence and coarse language .
US: Rated PG-13 for disturbing thematic content and behavior, violence and some language.
UK: Rated 15 for sustained threat, abduction theme
French authorities ordered the blockage or removal of more than 2,700 websites in 2016, Interior Minister Bruno Le Roux announced. He said
that his government has requested blocks for 834 websites and that 1,929 more be pulled from search engines' results as part of the fight against child pornographic and terrorist content. He said:
To face an extremely serious terror threat, we've given ourselves unprecedented means to reinforce the efficacy of our actions.
Perhaps to obscure censorship details, Le Roux unhelpfully didn't detail any stats on what type of websites were blocked.
French authorities can block sites without a judge's order under a 2011 law that was brought into effect in after jihadist attacks killed 17 people at a satirical magazine and a kosher supermarket.
A BBC comedy depicting brides of terrorists in a spoof reality show-style sketch has been criticised for being insensitive .
Revolting's Real Housewives of Isis a skit, based on the popular US television model recently exported to Britain, features actors dressed as brides of Isil fighters taking selfies and showing off suicide belts.
The Telegraph then listed a few politically correct whinges lifted from social media with none being from campaign groups or politicians etc.
Update: Why shouldn't we mock female jihadists?
7th January 2017 See article from ibtimes.co.uk
by Sara Khan, director of the counter-extremism and women's rights organisation Inspire
The short trailer provides a taste of not only the dry wit and sarcasm we Brits are well known for, but also provides the viewer a window into the ridiculous and absurd rationale of some of the women who chose to leave the UK for the murderous death
As someone who has studied some of these female supporters and Isis' ideology on women, it was clear the writers had well and truly done their homework. They brilliantly displayed the oxymoron death to the West attitude of these British women,
while mocking their all too obvious Western traits, la nguage, tastes and outlook.
TV censor Ofcom has inevitably decided not to launch an investigation into the satirical BBC sketch that featured The Real Housewives Of ISIS.
In the end, 55 viewers complained to Ofcom, which today announced it had assessed the complaints, but decided not to take the matter further. A spokesman said the show did not raise issues warranting investigation.
Virtual reality headset manufacturer Oculus have announced that all games made available on its Oculus Store must have an age
classification determined using tools from the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC). The company writes in a blog post:
We're committed to helping everyone on the Oculus platform make well-informed purchasing decisions. That's why we are now utilizing the International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) to give people trusted and familiar ratings for all Oculus experiences.
Moving forward, all titles in the Oculus Store will need to show age and content ratings assigned through the IARC rating process. This change will make it easier for developers to get age and content ratings for your app from multiple territories
simultaneously. It also provides consumers a consistent set of familiar and trusted ratings that reflect their own cultural norms regarding content and age-appropriateness.
In order to give people consistent ratings no matter where they live, all titles in the Oculus Store must have IARC assigned ratings. New titles submitted to the store will receive an automatic prompt to obtain their rating through IARC by answering a
simple set of questions. IARC will provide a rating for each applicable region and rating authority at the conclusion of the questionnaire. The ratings will then be automatically applied to the title. Existing titles will need to complete the IARC rating
process no later than March 1, 2017 to avoid removal from the Oculus Store.
Wicked Campers are known as a brash, unapologetic company that built its reputation on homourous slogans plastered across
But almost a year on from a nationwide furore that saw New Zealand's Chief Censor ban a handful of its vans from the road, the feeling is that the company has been somewhat tamed. Golden Bay's Pohara Campground assistant manager Leigh Johnson said:
They are not like they used to be 12 months ago. It think they have toned it down.
The film censor's ban meant that the specific vans were banned from public places in New Zealand and Wicked could face a fine of up to $200,000 per offence if it continued to use them.
Murchison's Riverside Holiday Park, leaseholder Robin Sandford, said it seemed:
All the bad ones had disappeared. I don't know if they have taken them off the road or what but we don't see a lot of them coming in here. I saw two in the last two weeks and there was nothing offensive on them. They were funny but they weren't
Young people in France will soon be allowed to watch real sex scenes at the cinema, as the government relaxes its film classification laws.
Culture minister Audrey Azoulay is set to announce that under-18s will no longer be automatically blocked from seeing a film that contains non-simulated sex. The 18 certificate will now only be automatically applied to films that include sex or violence
that could seriously hurt the sensitivity of minors , the ministry of culture said.
It's believed Ms Azoulay will bring in the change, which overturns a decree from 2003, by early February before she leaves office.
France's cinema classification board was last summer forced to slap an over 18 rating on the 2015 film Love after a lawsuit from a far-right group, which complained about its 3D-animated non-simulated sex scenes in Gaspar Noe's Love .
Presumably films such as Love and Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac will now be 16 rated. The French 18 rating has, before this hiccup been reserved for hardcore pornography.
Gal*Gun Double Peace is a Japanese shooter action game from PQube
A Japanese rail shooter where the player assumes the role of Houdai Kudoki, a high-schooler who has no luck with girls. A cupid-type angel accidentally shoots Houdai with a laser that condenses all of Houdai's romantic opportunities (for the rest of his
life) into the next day. Houdai must use a pheromone shot to give the girls euphoria which subdues them and allows him to confess to his true love.
The game has just been banned by the New Zealand film censors of the OFLC who issued the following reason for the ban:
The game tends to promote and support the sexual exploitation of children and young persons, and the use of coercion in relation to sexual conduct. It depicts young female high-school students in a way that emphasises their sexual availability. For
example, doki-doki mode involves the player touching and rubbing the girls to bring them to a state of euphoria , essentially a sort of orgasm. The game also continuously frames high school students as sexually compliant objects to be fetishized
and touched regardless of their consent.
The game's lack of difficulty further supports the idea that the intention of this game is for the titillation and arousal of the player, rather than gameplay mastery. It is therefore likely not only to attract people with a prurient interest in young
persons, but also to reinforce the belief that a sexual interest in young persons is acceptable, which contributes to their sexual exploitation in wider society.
The game is M rated by the ESRB in the US (17+) and 16 rated by PEGI in Europe.
Members and supporters of the National Secular Society gathered in Portcullis House this week to discuss the future of free speech, two years after the attack on Charlie Hebdo .
The Society was honoured to be joined by Caroline Fourest, who helped edit the Survivor's Edition of Charlie Hebdo published shortly after the massacre.
She discussed the shameful treatment of Charlie Hebdo following the massacre by some UK media outlets: after the attack, Sky News cut her off in the middle of an interview when she tried to show a cartoon of Mohammed. Those who defy Islamic blasphemy
laws don't just face violence and threats, she said, but demonisation from the regressive left.
She stressed the need for secularists to condemn anti-Muslim bigotry but criticised the term Islamophobia , arguing that it conflated Muslims with Islam, and stifled discussion about the religion.
Introducing the event, Keith Porteous Wood, the executive director of the National Secular Society, said:
The heartening outpouring of solidarity, the sense of indignation and outrage, the crowds shouting 'Je Suis Charlie' had offered a brief glimmer of hope.
But the solidarity didn't last, our collective outrage quickly gave way to bitter disputes, and bile against Charlie from those who blamed the victims for their own murder. The crowds went home.
The panel also featured writer and journalist Nick Cohen, Jodie Ginsberg of Index on Censorship and Martin Rowson. Nick Cohen urged those present to buy Caroline Fourest's book, In Praise of Blasphemy , after she said that, despite it being a
bestseller in France, no UK publisher would touch it. He accused people of making feeble excuses for not showing genuine solidarity with Charlie Hebdo , arguing that there were very good reasons to be frightened of publishing a Mohammed cartoon, but that
few would admit that was the true reason.
Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship, said that a pincer movement was attacking free speech. She pointed to Government proposals for extremism disruption orders as one example, and criticised Tony Blair and other politicians for
calling for laws against offending religious feelings. She said that society lacked the ability to debate productively and that whatever you did, however innocuous you think it is, somebody will claim to be offended . People went very
quickly after the attack from saying Je Suis Charlie to, Je Suis Charlie, but... and too many claim to defend free speech but in practice out only the kind I like.
Guardian cartoonist Martin Rowson spoke about the resistance of the paper to publishing a cartoon of Mohammed, and said that any organisation that did so would face tremendous threats, without the safety in numbers that might have been hoped for in the
aftermath of the attack two years ago. Rowson added that one of the great threats to freedom of speech was the belief that the greatest human right of all was a right to not be upset.
Jim Fitzpatrick MP, who sponsored the room for the NSS, congratulated the Society on hosting the event and said that it was inspiring to hear such a strong defence of free expression.
The Walking Dead producers toned down some of the violence in the first half of season seven after a backlash to a gruesome killing scene in the season opener.
Executive producer Gale Anne Hurd acknowledged that the negative response to the bludgeon slayings of two key characters in the premiere prompted producers to make adjustments in episodes that were still in production. She said:
We were able to look at the feedback on the level of violence. We did tone it down for episodes we were still filming for later on in the season.
Hurd made it clear that the response made an impact on the production team. This is not a show that is torture porn, she said. After the response to the finale, she said they gave strong consideration to making sure we don't cross that line.
Last year, a coalition of over 70 social justice groups and individuals released a list of demands to
Facebook founder and CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, asking him to address their concerns over Facebook's use of censorship in compliance with law enforcement.
Several organizations reported on activists whose facebook accounts were censored while covering the civilian uprisings in Charlotte, NC. Other incidents include the removal of live footage from anti Dakota Access Pipeline protests, the temporary
disabling of Palestinian journalists' accounts, and reports that Facebook sent data to help police track and surveil protesters in Ferguson, MO and Baltimore, MD. , Reem Suleiman, campaigner at SumOfUs said:
We're still in the dark about how Facebook censors users and collaborates voluntarily with law enforcement. Facebook needs to come clean with the hundreds of thousands of people asking for transparency and public accountability.
Brandi Collins, Campaign Director for Color Of Change said:
Social media platforms like Facebook are a powerful tool for Black people to draw attention to injustices our community faces That's why we're so concerned that a powerful company like Facebook has been quick to silence Black voices by censoring
individual Facebook users at the request of law enforcement. We recognize Facebook is under pressure from law enforcement and the company has a responsibility to protect its users' freedom of expression. Unfortunately, each time we've tried to engage
Facebook around these issues, our suggestions have been dismissed or ignored. We will continue to publicly call for an overhaul of Facebook's current policies and practices until the company refuses to enable the censorship of Black communities.
Although the group is calling on Facebook to censor its own activists less, the coalition wrote to Facebook to ask for its opponents to be censored more:
At the same time, harassment and threats directed at activists based ont heir race, religion, and sexual orientation is thriving on Facebook. Many of thesea ctivists have reported such harassment and threats by users and pages on Facebook only to be told
that they don't violate Facebook's Community Standards. Similar experiences have been reported by Facebook users from a variety of communities, yet your recent response indicates you are adequately addressing the problem. We disagree.
China has blacklisted 55 artists, mostly musicians, a majority of whom are from Hong Kong and Taiwan, who have participated in pro-democracy movements or expressed political views that China deems objectionable.
Works by some pop artists from Hong Kong and Taiwan disappeared from Chinese major streaming services, reported Global Times.
One artist on the list, Hong Kong singer Denise Ho, started seeing her music disappear from Chinese streaming services in September 2016. Trouble began for the singer in 2014 when she joined the pro-democracy Occupy Central campaign in Hong Kong (also
known as the Umbrella Movement) and became the first celebrity to be arrested for her activism in the movement.
Taiwanese punk band Fire EX also made it on the list. The band had created songs for Taiwan's 2014 Sunflower Student Movement that protested a trade agreement with mainland China that protestors claimed would leave Taiwan economically vulnerable to
The blacklist also bans film directors and actors, eight Japanese artists, three US artists, one Australian band, one band from the Czech Republic, one Korean band, one Romanian band, and one Chinese band in exile. US punk band Strike Anywhere and
Japanese punk rock band Softball were both part of an annual concert in Taiwan that is known for its anti-China stance.
Researchers from Leicester and Birmingham City University have revealed some of the key concerns audiences have
with television they find offensive .
Dr Ranjana Das from the School of Media, Communication and Sociology and Dr Anne Graefer from the Birmingham School of Media travelled to towns and villages across Britain and Germany and watched daytime TV with audiences, viewing programmes audiences
themselves reported to be offensive or problematic and then conducting interviews with them.
They found that rather than being concerned with swear words, bad language or flashy lighting, audiences' greater concerns were with wider issues -- such as those around the construction of characters, the relative power and positions of the
actors/creators behind characters and the absence and erasure of faces and issues. Dr Das said:
We were keen, in our fieldwork, to probe audiences' expectations of the regulatory process in the context of media content they themselves identified as problematic or outright offensive.
In analysing responses which argued for a clearer role of institutions to better serve the needs of audiences, when it came to the production and regulation of content they found problematic, we found a closer alignment with the democratic ideals behind
the media's and media institutions' responsibilities.
In investigating people's expectations of actors and institutions in their responses to television content that startles, upsets or just offends them, the researchers suggest it is crucial to treat a conversation on free speech and censorship with
caution. Dr Das added:
It is never just about being for one or the other -- as audiences clearly despise totalitarian censorship regimes for right reasons. But equally, they place expectations on producers and regulators to create a media sphere which is engaging, responsible
and which contributes to good outcomes for citizens.
The BBC is to assemble a team to fact check and debunk 'fake' news. News chief James Harding told staff that the BBC would be weighing in on the battle over
lies, distortions and exaggerations . But he didn't mention the BBFC news policy of under exaggerating political motivations when these run counter to political correctness.
The plans will see the BBC's Reality Check series become permanent, backed by a dedicated team targeting false stories or facts being shared widely on social media. Harding said:
The BBC can't edit the internet, but we won't stand aside either. We will fact check the most popular outliers on Facebook, Instagram and other social media.
We are working with Facebook, in particular, to see how we can be most effective. Where we see deliberately misleading stories masquerading as news, we'll publish a Reality Check that says so.
And we want Reality Check to be more than a public service, we want it to be hugely popular. We will aim to use styles and formats -- online, on TV and on radio -- that ensure the facts are more fascinating and grabby than the falsehoods.
The BBC's Reality Check team will focus on content that is clearly fabricated and attempting to mislead the public into thinking it has been produced by a reputable news organisation.
The BBC is refusing an order to pay £9 million a year to the TV censor Ofcom, in a behind-the-scenes row over the cost of the corporation's new
Ofcom, which will take on responsibility for censoring the BBC in April, is locked in a private battle after warning BBC executives that it wants to appoint double the number of staff the BBC Trust, the broadcaster's current ruling body, currently
employs to censor the broadcaster.
The move will add more than £5 million to the regulatory bill currently footed by the licence fee payer, roughly equivalent to what the BBC spends on a six-part drama series .
The corporation is understood to have appealed to Karen Bradley, the culture secretary, to force Ofcom to reduce its fees. Sue Owen, permanent secretary at the DCMS, is understood to have written to Sharon White, the chief executive of Ofcom, calling on
her to cut the planned fees, but White is said to have argued that the proposed charges are 'reasonable'.
The corporation is said to be particularly annoyed that Ofcom has demanded £6.5 million for the past financial year, which covers a period before the broadcaster assumes its full regulatory duties.
Ofcom insists that it will have a more wide-ranging role than the Trust, and will have to hold the BBC to account on new political correctness issues such as diversity targets.
A complaint about the packaging of K Cider promoting immoderate drinking and urging the consumer to drink rapidly or down the product in one, has not been upheld by the Independent Complaints Panel of the Portman Group.
The complainant, Portsmouth City Council, believed that the combination of the strength of the product plus the fact the product is served in a 500ml non-resealable can encouraged consumers to drink immoderately. The council commented on the promotional
As once opened [the product] must be consumed or rapidly lose quality of taste etc. This encourages people to drink the entire can in one serving... thus breaching the Portman Group Code under paragraphs 3.2(f) and 3.2 (g).
The product was brought to the attention of the Panel prior to the consultation on the Chief Medical Officers' (CMOs') 2016 Low Risk Drinking Guidelines, and was put on hold until the Guidelines Review had concluded. The Panel noted that the current
CMOs' guidelines did not contain a daily or single occasion drinking guideline, and the Panel could not infer from the evidence presented to the CMOs by the Guidelines Development Group that 4.2 units on a single occasion was an immoderate (whether
because of increased risk to health or safety or otherwise) level of drinking. The Panel therefore concluded that there was insufficient evidence to find a breach of Code paragraph 3.2(f).
The Panel could not see anything on the packaging that would encourage a consumer to drink rapidly or to down a product in one. Accordingly, the Panel did not uphold the product under Code paragraph 3.2(g).
Secretary to the Independent Complaints Panel, Kay Perry said:
Alcohol producers must be mindful not to encourage immoderate or irresponsible drinking when designing the packaging of their products. If they are in any doubt, the Portman Group Advisory Service is free and confidential, and responds to all enquiries
within two working days.
xXx: Return of Xander Cage is a 2017 USA action adventure thriller by DJ Caruso.
Starring Vin Diesel, Donnie Yen and Deepika Padukone.
Extreme athlete turned government operative Xander Cage (Vin Diesel) comes out of self-imposed exile, thought to be long dead, and is set on a collision course with deadly alpha warrior Xiang (Donnie Yen) and his team in a race to recover a sinister and
seemingly unstoppable weapon known as Pandora's Box. Recruiting an all-new group of thrill-seeking cohorts, Xander finds himself enmeshed in a deadly conspiracy that points to collusion at the highest levels of world governments.
India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) Has cut xXx: Return of Xander Cage for a U/A rating (PG in UK/US terms).
The cuts list was leaked online and reads:
Added anti-smoking disclaimer to the beginning, middle and smoking scroll wherever smoking appears on the screen.
Deleted the words Ass hole, Son of a Bitch, balls, baller and fucking wherever it appears.
Deleted the visuals of girls lying on the bed.
Deleted visuals of girl pouring liquor.
The cuts list clocked in at 12s of cuts (and 2 minutes of anti smoking propaganda were added)
The cuts to strong language don't quite square with the BBFC Insight that notes a few things that the Indian censors missed but didn't note the use of the word 'fucking'.
Indian news papers have been having fun noting that the word 'baller' is sporting term rather than a sexual term.
In the UK the film was passed 12A uncut for moderate action violence, sex references. The BBFC Insight adds:
There are verbal sex references, for example to safe words and to a stop-off at the old rub and tug . There is some focus on women's bodies, often when they are dancing or wearing swim suits or underwear.
The film also contains some mild bad language and a rude middle finger gesture.
But to be fair to the Indian film censor, the BBFC would also require cuts for the equaivalent PG rating.
Ministers have summoned media bosses for censorship talks about 'accuracy' in journalism amid growing concern over the
rise of 'fake' news. Matt Hancock, the minister of state for digital and culture policy, has asked UK newspaper industry representatives to join round-table discussions about the issue.
The UK government's decision to hold talks on the issue follows Hancock's statement to the House of Commons last November that ministers were considering the implications of the dissemination of fake news on social media sites .
The News Media Association took the opportunity to plug its own brand of 'quality journalism', such as that from the Daily Mail. Lynne Anderson, the News Media Association's deputy chief executive said:
There is now an urgent need to look at the value chain of digital news, and the industry is ready to play a full part in working towards finding a solution which sees the content creators fairly rewarded for their investment in news production. The
recent debate around fake news has again highlighted the vital importance of the quality journalism produced by news media publishers which underpins democracy by holding power to account.
Sky have pulled the broadcast of an episode of their satirical series Urban Myths after Michael Jackson's children said they were
'sickened' and 'offended' by the portrayal of their father, played by Joseph Fiennes.
The episode is a tongue-in-cheek dramatisation of a rumoured road trip taken by Jackson, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlon Brando in 2001, after 9/11.
The casting of a white actor as Jackson had already proved contentious, prompting accusations of whitewashing, though many pointed out that the singer's skin had been considerably lighter by this point and he had undergone cosmetic surgery.
However, Jackson's children were 'enraged'. Paris- Michael said:
It angers me to see how obviously intentional it was for them to be this insulting, not just towards my father, but my godmother, Liz, as well. Where is the respect? They worked through blood, sweat and tears for ages to create such profound and
remarkable legacies. Shameful portrayal.
Speaking to the Guardian this week, Ben Palmer, the series director, said people should not jump to conclusions and described Fiennes's performance of Jackson as a really sweet, nuanced, characterful performance .
In 2016, Professor Joshua Silver complained to West Midlands Police that British Home Secretary Amber Rudd had committed a hate crime while giving a political speech at the Conservative Party conference.
During an interview with Andrew Neil on BBC2's Daily Politics, Prof Silver said:
I didn't actually see the speech but I've read the draft. And I've looked at all the feedback that there was to the speech. I've read the speech carefully and I've looked at all the feedback. It's discriminating against foreigners, you pick on them and
say we want to give jobs to British people and not to foreigners. It was interpreted that way..
During the subsequent discussion on the programme, former Conservative Party leader Michael Howard responded by stating:
Of course it wasn't a hate incident... What Amber Rudd said was no different from Gordon Brown when he said there should be British jobs for British workers. I think Mr Silver should be thoroughly ashamed of himself because what he's doing is to bring a
well-intentioned piece of legislation into disrepute.
The BBC subsequently reported that West Midlands Police had not formally investigated the speech, but had recorded it as a non-crime hate incident in accordance with national police guidelines
Offsite Comment: Hate crime reporting risks becoming a tool for censorship
Mr Silver's complaint is vexatious. It reveals the tyranny of elite liberal thinking which labels anything that contradicts political correctness as
wicked and wrong -- perhaps actionable. Of course actual hate speech is thoroughly iniquitous. But there is a difference between saying something bigoted with the intention of causing distress, and voicing an entirely legitimate opinion.
The police are not investigating Ms Rudd, but this incident will be recorded in the hate crime figures. Hopefully Ms Rudd will now see the error of her department's approach towards hate . If a crime has been reported, it should be
investigated. If something is not a crime then why is data on it being gathered? Hate crime rules risk -- as Mr Silver showed us -- becoming a tool for censorship, a way of threatening people with the law simply for their opinions. That cannot be
If a middle-of-the-road speech now counts as a hate incident , we're all screwed.
Amber Rudd's notorious party conference speech 203 in which she floated the idea of employers reporting on the number of foreign and British-born people they employ 203 has been recorded by the police as a hate incident , a new lesser category of
hate crime that Rudd herself helped to introduce in July last year. In her desperation to prove she was taking post-Brexit hate crime seriously, she has effectively criminalised herself.
Embrace is a 2016 Australia / Canada / Dominican Republic / Germany / USA / UK feminist documentary by Taryn Brumfitt.
Starring Renee Airya, Jade Beall and Taryn Brumfitt.
When Body Image Activist Taryn Brumfitt posted an unconventional before-and-after photo in 2013 it was seen by more than 100 million people worldwide and sparked an international media frenzy. EMBRACE follows Taryn's crusade as she explores the global
issue of body loathing, inspiring us to change the way we feel about ourselves and think about our bodies.
The BBFC rating for Embrace has been changed. The film has now been passed 12A for infrequent strong language, nudity, brief surgical detail after 9s of BBFC category cuts for 2017 cinema release.
The BBFC commented:
Company chose to reduce the number of uses of strong language (by bleeping spoken uses and blurring written uses) in order to obtain a 12A classification. An uncut 15 classification was available.
The BBFC Insight reveals a few more details about the content after cuts:
Infrequent strong language ('fuck') is seen on a website page. There is also milder bad language, including uses of shit , arse and God , and some bleeped and visually obscured additional uses of stronger language.
There is brief sexualised nudity, including a shot of pole dancing. Several scenes feature non sexual nudity, including female genital nudity.
Images of cosmetic surgery feature brief sight of scalpels cutting into flesh and brief bloody detail during Botox injections.
The BBFC originally passed the film 15 uncut for strong language, nudity, brief surgical detail for cinema release. A few days later the consumer advice was changed to remove the reference to nudity and surgical images. The original advice was restored
after the rating was reduced to 12A.
Never cut by Australian and New Zealand censors but the film made the news after the director successfully appealed against an Australian MA 15+ rating and won an M rating instead. In New Zealand the film censor exceptionally overruled the Australian
A Lithuanian actress and former politician made a Nazi-like gesture on a TV show, which was
subsequently taken off the air.
The actress Asta Baukute was about to win, she jumped off her seat upon recognizing a melody by Lithuanian composer Simonas Donskovas, who is of Jewish heritage. She then made the gestures and yelled Jew, Jew, Jew in Lithuanian.
Neither the show host, the contenders nor anyone in the audience objected to her gesture.
Lithuania's public television, LRT, apologized for a live show called Guess the Melody in which a popular actress made gestures representing Adolf Hitler's moustache while raising her arm in a Nazi-style salute. LRT's deputy manager, Rimvydas
Paleckis, expressed shock on the channel's Facebook page, saying:
This is in no way compatible with our values. The show is closed.
The local Jewish community expressed dismay at the incident.
Tell Me Another
Talking Pictures TV, 24 August 2016, 19:00
Talking Pictures TV is an entertainment channel broadcasting classic films and archive programmes.
Tell Me Another was a talk show originally broadcast between 1976 and 1979 in which stars of the 1960s and 70s recalled personal anecdotes of their experiences in show business.
A complainant alerted Ofcom to the use of the word coon , which they found offensive.
The word featured in an anecdote told by the comedian and singer Joan Turner when describing her first professional appearance on stage at the age of 14 in a theatre in east London in 1937. She described how the dancing girls in the troupe used to tan
their legs: in those days the girls didn't wear tights...they used to make their legs up with what they call 'wet white', but it was actually brown . She told how, because her legs were cold and very pale, she borrowed wet white from a
dancer and used it to darken her legs and face. Her booking agent however responded by saying, Take that bloody stuff off. You look like a bloody chocolate coloured coon... put that on again, you're not coming on! .
Ofcom considered Rules:
Rule 1.14: The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed .
Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context... Such material may include, but is not limited to...discriminatory treatment or language (for example on
the grounds of...race) .
Talking Pictures TV said that the word complained about occurred in an episode originally broadcast in ITV regions at 18:30 in 1978 and later. It said while we don't wish to defend the use of the term 'coon', we recognise that this was part of the
lexicon of the era when the series was first broadcast .
The Licensee pointed out that the word coon was included for the first time only in Ofcom research on offensive language published on 30 September 20161 - a date after the episode of Tell Me Another was broadcast. Previous Ofcom research,
including that of 2012 did not assess the word coon .
Talking Pictures said as a result of this case it had stopped broadcasts of this particular episode of Tell Me Another, and also reviewed the whole series against Ofcom's 2016 offensive language research, to ensure it contained no language that raised
concerns. It said it had also increased the frequency of warnings before archive movies and TV shows to forewarn viewers of outdated language.
Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 1.14 and 2.3
In our view it was not the interviewee's intention to be discriminatory towards an ethnic minority or to cause offence. However, we considered that the use of the phrase bloody chocolate coloured coon clearly conveyed a negative reaction by the
booking agent to Ms Turner's skin colour. Even though the phrase was not directed at anyone from an ethnic minority or used in an aggressive manner, it also would have been likely to have been seen by viewers as conveying a discriminatory and racist
attitude on the part of the booking agent. These factors, in our view, would have been likely to increase the potential level of offence and on balance made the use of these words inconsistent with viewers' expectations for this programme on this channel
at this time, and particularly for any who may have come across this material unawares.
We acknowledged that the language was broadcast in the context of a comedy entertainment programme made in the 1970s which contained what was intended to be a comic anecdote about comments made in 1937. However, this offensive language (as acknowledged
by the Licensee) was broadcast to viewers with no warning beforehand alerting them to potentially offensive language, and without any editorial voice, commentary or other context to mitigate sufficiently the potential offence. We did not consider the
fact that the programme had been made many years previously or that the anecdote referred to an earlier era, when attitudes were different, provided sufficient context in this case. In particular, we took into account that this programme was broadcast
before the watershed with a potential for children to be in the viewing audience, who would not necessarily have been aware of historical differences in attitudes to offensive language.
Given all these factors, in this case we considered the word coon was an example of the most offensive language broadcast before the watershed in breach of Rule 1.14.
Proposed changes to censorship law in Kenya have filmmakers, bloggers, actors and many
others in the media industry worried that their free speech will be curtailed.
Officials at the Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB), the government agency that regulates the creation, broadcasting and distribution of films, propose that the board would have extended powers to regulate film and stage productions as well as
publications, including online content.
ISPs would be required to ensure that anyone who uses their platforms to publish content is registered with the board, and would be required to prevent use of their services for hosting or distributing pornography, radicalization materials, hate speech
and glamorization of use of drugs and alcohol, among other content. Internet service providers who fail to comply with these provisions face a fine of 2 million shillings ($19,655) upon conviction, or a prison term of up to two years, or both.
In addition, compliance officers would be able to seize film that they feel violates the law. However, some fees, including those paid to the board for reviewing films, would be removed.
Opponents of the proposal say it would take the country back to the 1990s, when the media and arts were heavily censored by the government, because the plan would increase the board's power and expand its scope.
According to current law, a film cannot be made in Kenya without a license from the board. Film producers are required to submit a full description of the scenes and the full text of the spoken parts of the entire film for approval, as well as to pay
fees, before a license is granted. Changes to the film are subject to further review. Police can intervene, by force if necessary, to stop the making of a film if in an officer's opinion it endangers the safety of any person or property, among
Organizations in the arts industry have rejected the board's proposed law and have approached the Ministry of Sports, Culture and the Arts about an alternative bill.
Kimani Njogu, the chairman of the Kenya Creative Economy Working Group, says that if his organization's push for an alternative bill does not succeed, it is prepared to go to court to seek interpretation on the constitutional provisions on freedom of
Sam Sedgman, a pro-censorship writer commented n the Guardian:
Self-proclaimed super-villain Yiannopoulos has made a living from saying and doing hateful things, and has successfully embroiled himself in numerous headline-grabbing controversies. Whether it's saying that gay rights have made us dumber ,
calling transgender people mentally ill , calling rape culture a fantasy , or being banned by Twitter for allegedly encouraging trolls to attack Ghostbusters actor Leslie Jones with a tirade of racist and sexist abuse, you can usually find
him saying something pathologically awful.
So when a major publishing house pays $250,000 to print the work of an alt-right figurehead like him, it gives credence to these ideas, and makes them part of the mainstream. It endorses them. It empowers everyone who agrees with them to act on their
worst impulses, and spread hate speech.
Offsite Comment: English PEN backs Milo Yiannopoulos' 'right to offend'
However English PEN is a campaign group that believes in free speech without the buts. The group writes:
English PEN has said Milo Yiannopoulos' right to freedom of expression must be respected, amid the furore surrounding the far-right editor's lucrative book deal with Simon & Schuster US.
Offensive ideas should be debunked and discredited, not censored, said Robert Sharp, head of campaigns and communications for the free speech organisation. He added that demands for S&S US to cancel the deal were tantamount to censorship
The right of Mr Yiannopoulos to write and to offend is integral to the principle of freedom of expression, said Sharp. Likewise, Simon & Schuster US has the right to make an editorial judgment over whether to publish his book. Demanding
that the publisher cancels the book deal amounts to a call for censorship, and should be resisted.
Fox showed a censored opening episode of season 7 of The Walking Dead at 9pm. The episode showed Negan bludgeoning two
popular characters to death. Fox carried the episode uncut on its on demand service and the original was indeed quite gruesome by TV standards.
Ofcom published its complain bulletin this week and commented that the episode was investigated and found not in breach of its censorship rules.
Ofcom didn't publish further details but the story was followed up by The Sun. An Ofcom spokesperson said:
Our investigation found that Fox took appropriate steps to edit the programme for the 9pm showing.
This is a well-established series, and we believe the scenes would have been consistent with many viewers' expectations.
However, Ofcom confirmed to The Sun that Fox has been warned about how future broadcasts are presented to fans.
Liberty is launching a landmark legal challenge to the extreme mass surveillance powers in the Government's new Investigatory Powers Act -- which lets the
state monitor everybody's web history and email, text and phone records, and hack computers, phones and tablets on an industrial scale.
Liberty is seeking a High Court judicial review of the core bulk powers in the so-called Snoopers' Charter -- and calling on the public to help it take on the challenge by donating v
ia crowdfunding platform CrowdJustice
Martha Spurrier, Director of Liberty, said:
Last year, this Government exploited fear and distraction to quietly create the most extreme surveillance regime of any democracy in history. Hundreds of thousands of people have since called for this Act's repeal because they see it for what it is -- an
unprecedented, unjustified assault on our freedom.
We hope anybody with an interest in defending our democracy, privacy, press freedom, fair trials, protest rights, free speech and the safety and cybersecurity of everyone in the UK will support this crowdfunded challenge, and make 2017 the year we
reclaim our rights.
The Investigatory Powers Act passed in an atmosphere of shambolic political opposition last year, despite the Government failing to provide any evidence that such indiscriminate powers were lawful or necessary to prevent or detect crime.
Liberty will seek to challenge the lawfulness of the following powers, which it believes breach the public's rights:
Bulk hacking -- the Act lets police and agencies access, control and alter electronic devices like computers, phones and tablets on an industrial scale, regardless of whether their owners are suspected of involvement
in crime -- leaving them vulnerable to further attack by hackers.
Bulk interception -- the Act allows the state to read texts, online messages and emails and listen in on calls en masse, without requiring suspicion of criminal activity.
Bulk acquisition of everybody's communications data and internet history -- the Act forces communications companies and service providers to hand over records of everybody's emails, phone calls and texts and entire web
browsing history to state agencies to store, data-mine and profile at its will. This provides a goldmine of valuable personal information for criminal hackers and foreign spies.
Bulk personal datasets -- the Act lets agencies acquire and link vast databases held by the public or private sector. These contain details on religion, ethnic origin, sexuality, political leanings and health problems,
potentially on the entire population -- and are ripe for abuse and discrimination.
In a challenge to the Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act (DRIPA) by MP Tom Watson, represented by Liberty, the CJEU ruled the UK Government was breaking the law by indiscriminately collecting and accessing the nation's internet activity
and phone records.
DRIPA forced communications companies to store records of everybody's emails, texts, phone calls and internet communications and let hundreds of public bodies grant themselves access with no suspicion of serious crime or independent sign-off.
Judges ruled the regime breached British people's rights because it:
Allowed indiscriminate retention of all communications data.
Did not restrict access to the purpose of preventing and detecting precisely defined serious crime.
Let police and public bodies authorise their own access, instead of requiring prior authorisation by a court or independent body.
Did not require that people be notified after their data had been accessed.
Did not require that the data be kept within the European Union.
DRIPA expired at the end of 2016 -- but its powers are replicated and vastly expanded in the Investigatory Powers Act, with no effort to counter the lack of safeguards found unlawful in the case.
The mobile phone companies use an algorithmic approach to the blocking of websites for mobile device users who are under 18 or else adults who have not got themselves verified as adults.
The BBFC acts to decide appeals against the phone company decisions. Note that the only options available to the BBFC are for websites to made available to all or else restricted to verified adults.
The BBFC commendably publish these appeal decisions.
From the latest batch of two appeals in the preceding 3 months, the BBFC have considered
The Urban Dictionary provides factual definitions of slang terms which often involves string language and sex references. For Example:
the idea that censorship is bullshit....nothing needs to be censored.....if you don't want to watch swearing, violence, or sexual content, DON'T WATCH IT! simple as that.....nobody is making you watch it.....they have disclaimers for a reason....and if
you don't want your kids watching that shit, tell your kids what they can and cannot watch.....and if they don't listen to you then you are a bad parent for not teaching your kids to do what you say.
every time i watch tv there's nothing but censorshit everywhere.
that movie sucked because of the censorshit.
The BBFC advised that the website should be blocked to under 18s, explaining:
We noted that it was an online dictionary of slang words and phrases. While a broad range of terms were explained (with definitions from a broad range of contributors), we found that very strong language and sex references were present in a significant
minority of these explanations. Sex references included crude descriptions of activities including masturbation, oral sex, and urination and defecation during sex. In addition, there were references to rape and paedophilia, and definitions of
discriminatory terms, which were delivered in an irreverent tone intended to shock or amuse. Given the crude and potentially offensive nature of this content, and the lackof context that accompanied it, we did not consider the website suitable for people
under the age of 18.
It seems bizarre that teenagers should be blocked from a dictionary explaining their own terms, but there you go, that's censorshit for you.
The website owner contacted the BBFC to complain that the site was blocked by adult filters despite, in the complainant’s view, containing no material that would restrict it to access by adults only.
The BBFC viewed the website on 21 and 22 November 2016. We noted that it was a politically minded site containing a large number of articles and posts. While the views expressed may be subject to debate, and some people will disagree with the positions
of the articles and blogs, they were nonetheless expressed in the spirit of providing a legitimate side to an argument. We found no content on the site that would we would classify 18.
Daniel Pipes has written up the tale of the censorship of his website by O2:
O2, the second-largest mobile telecommunications provider in the United Kingdom, has banned my website, ostensibly only to those under 18 years of age but in fact to everyone using O2.
The fine print reads: "To prove your age you'll need to have your credit card handy. Click Continue below or call our free automated service on 61018 ." In other words, you have to go to immense trouble to read or see my work, something
presumably few internet surfers will bother to do. (This is particularly odd when one recalls that O2 already has the credit card of nearly every one of its customers.)
In contrast, O2 makes available without having to prove anything no end of Islamist and related websites, including such anti-Zionist delights as Al-Muntada Trust, the Palestinian Forum in Britain, and Friends of Al-Aqsa.
For weeks, the German and international public sphere has been bombarded with a campaign
against so-called fake news. Now Der Spiegel is reporting that the government now wants to establish a Defence Centre against Misinformation , a type of censorship and propaganda agency.
The Defence Centre will be set up in the Federal Press Office under Steffen Seibert. The new centre is supposed to strengthen the political power of defence of the population and force social networks such as Facebook, Google and Twitter to
censor content posted by users.
The acceptance of a post-factual age would amount to political capitulation, an internal paper quoted by Der Spiegel said. The paper insisted that authentic political communication remains crucial for the 21 century as well.
Accordingly, wide-reaching measures would have to be formulated to deal with the disinformation campaign, fake news and the manipulation of public opinion.
The World Socialist Web Site notes:
In reality the plans for an Orwellian Truth Ministry have nothing to do with concerns about false news reports. Instead, the established parties, the state media and private media corporations fear that they are losing their monopoly on public opinion.
The Internet has provided millions of people with the possibility, for the first time, of obtaining access to information that has not been selected and filtered by the official media. This has been behind the fear in the media and political parties.
The ruling class is reacting to growing social tensions and political discontent in the same way it has in the past: with police, prosecution and the suppression of free speech.
Maybe German politicians are just panicking about the unpopularity of their free-for-all immigration and refugee policy.
Last year the state of California passed a new law that banned sites that offer paid subscriptions, and allow people to post CVs and bios, from
publishing individuals' ages. The law came into effect on 1st January 2017, and it is now being challenged by IMDb who have not taken down celebrity birthdays.
The state of California introduced the new law as a politically correct move against age-discrimination. Perhaps they would have done better to frame the birthday ban more in terms of privacy protections, date of birth is quite a key piece of information
enabling identity fraud.
MDb believes that the law is a violation of the First Amendment and it says the state has chosen instead to chill free speech and to undermine access to factual information of public interest rather than trying to tackle age-discrimination in a
more meaningful way. IMDb has now filed a lawsuit against the Californian law.
The BBC have responded to complaints about a Robbie Williams concert playing before and after the New Year countdown.
It is now a characteristic of the BBC News to desperately avoid mentioning anything that may not be politically correct even if t leaves readers totally baffled. Here is what the BBC said about the complaints:
We received complaints from some viewers unhappy with elements of the Robbie Williams concert broadcast in the build-up to and after the fireworks.
BBC One has a long-standing history of ringing in the New Year with our audience. In recent years we have sought to enhance this special night by showcasing special live performances by some of the most successful artists/entertainers around.
Robbie Williams is no exception to this; he is one of the UK's most successful solo male artists with an incredibly successful songbook of popular hits and millions tuned in to watch his live performance. Robbie's on-stage persona is now very well known,
intended as tongue-in-cheek and that is very much part of his appeal. However, we do appreciate that it may not be to everyone's taste.
Although the live concert started nearly two and a half hours after the 9pm watershed, and followed a late evening of adult-skewed programming, namely Mrs Brown's Boys and The Graham Norton Show , we were mindful of the wider audience who
might join BBC One to watch the fireworks. Robbie Williams was aware of this, and we placed particular emphasis on the part of his concert running up to the fireworks.
This was not a BBC event and whilst it was unfortunate that some of the staging, Robbie's stage antics, and the language upset some viewers, we hoped it was at least clear from watching it that Robbie had been clearly briefed about any use of strong
language beforehand by BBC Management.
We hope that for the majority of viewers watching BBC One, the tone of the overall concert remained within general audience expectations for what was billed as a unique late-night Robbie Williams live performance.
It's a good job other news sources can actually say what was actually going on. The Metro revealed:
Robbie Williams will have royally pissed off the BBC after getting his live audience to swear on TV.
The notoriously naughty singer was live from Central Hall in Westminster on December 31 building up to Big Ben's momentous chimes with a New Year's Eve concert and after two songs, he was quick to tell everyone that Beeb bosses had banned him from saying
the F word, the C word, and the S word .
But that wasn't going to stop Robbie, who instead realised that he was never told he couldn't get his fans to swear for him. What followed a rendition of his hit Come Undone with the crowd singing the words he was not allowed to sing -- and fans
at home were loving it.
Update: Ofcom uninterested
24th January 2017
Ofcom have dismissed 14 complaints about the Robbie Williams televised concert without a formal investgation.
Australian advert censors of the Advertising Standards Board have upheld complaints about an unofficial tourism advert promoting holidays in the New Territories (NT). The advert read 'CU' (see you) 'in the' (smaller letters) 'NT'.
The censors ruled that the language was obscene and not appropriate in advertising in any form .
Many believed it was an official tourism campaign after it went viral in November , but the territory's tourism authority said it was not involved. The creators of the ad, NTOfficial.com, describe themselves as a brand that aims to represent the true
spirit of the Northern Territory .
The BBC were a bit cryptic about describing the advert and only included half the picture. The BBC described the advert as follows:
An unofficial slogan for Australia's Northern Territory has been declared obscene by a standards watchdog, two months after it swept the internet. The advert used an acronym for See You in the Northern Territory to effectively spell a
Beginning January 15, HBO plans to air in America a European TV series which will culminate with an IMPURE ATTACK on the PAPACY in one of its final episodes.
This program, The Young Pope, offends God, insults and slanders the good reputation of the Papacy, thus doing serious harm to souls, and, using the 'pontiff' in a scene of an adulterous sexual act, implies that holy priestly celibacy is too much of a
struggle to maintain.
For HBO to bring this scandalous and anti-Catholic series, and especially this impure episode, to its nearly 40 million American subscribers is a great offense against God and ruinous to America's soul.
The following are two headlines about the episode:
Actor Jude [Law] grabs Ludivine Sagnier's bare breasts as his character Pius XIII struggles with celibacy in shockingly racy scene from The Young Pope .
LOOK away now if you're easily offended -- as Sky series The Young Pope prepares to broadcast a shocking sex scene involving the pontiff.
Actor Jude Law plays the fictional Pope Pius XIII as he gets to grips with a blonde's breast while in his holy white robes.
A Bristol taxi firm has generated a little outrage by resurrecting a previously controversial advert campaign suggesting that if beer goggles
are kicking in then perhaps it's time to call a cab.
The campaign for CityFox taxis features male and female adverts of overweight people next to the slogan: if I start to look sexy book a taxi .
Inevitably the advert featuring the woman has 'outraged' local feminists. Bristol Women's Voice said it was appalled
by the ad as it reinforces harmful gender stereotypes and sends the message that women are to be judged by their physical appearance .
However there are no reports of the feminists being concerned about men being judged by their appearance.
The same theme was previously used by West Quay Cars of Southampton in 2015, and on that occasion, advert censors of the ASA dismissed complaints saying that the adverts were light hearted and would not cause widespread offence.
CityFox has now decided to scrap the campaign anyway. However CityFox told the Bristol Post that it would not apologise for the campaign which also featured a dishevelled male on a flyer aimed at female passengers.
On December 23, Apple removed the Chinese versions of the newspaper's apps as well as their English counterparts in an act of compliance with a censorship order from the Chinese government.
An Apple spokesperson Fred Sainz issued this statement to TechCrunch:
For some time now the New York Times app has not been permitted to display content to most users in China and we have been informed that the app is in violation of local regulations. As a result, the app must be taken down off the China App Store.
Elrow, a Barcelona club which takes events around the world, caused controversy after they pictured Shiva smoking and drinking to
promote an Indian-themed night at Manchester's Albert Hall.
The deity Shiva was depicted with a chicken beak with a cigarette hanging out his mouth whilst holding a mobile phone with an open Champagne bottle and an inflatable hammer.
The Albert Hall has apologised any offence caused and has changed the image used on its online promotions.
Hiten Mistry, the president of the Kings College London Hindu Society, told student newspaper, The Tab:
The Elrow Bollywood picture is disrespectful and insulting to many, including the Hindu community. Shiva is one the principal deities of Hinduism and Elrow has depicted Shiva in an unacceptable manner with a party mask and cigarette. Also, to use
something that many people consider sacred for an event like this is inappropriate. In addition to this, Bollywood and Hinduism are two different things.
The picture, which was originally the cover photo for the Facebook event, has now been cropped and only displays the title of the night.
This is a disaster. In late December, State Senator Doug Ericksen proposed a new law that would give authorities the ability to charge protesters with economic terrorism, and slap them with serious felony charges that could lead to jail time, just
for making their voices heard.
The outrageous bill, which has now had been formally introduced for consideration during the 2017 legislative session, would make any form of protest that causes an economic disruption a class C felony, punishable by up to 5 years in prison. It
wouldn't just apply to people who engage in illegal acts or vandalism, it could be used to prosecute any person or group who organizes a protest that authorities deem as disruptive. Broadly interpreted, this law could apply to time honored
traditions of nonviolent dissent like boycotts and civil disobedience.
We've already hit our initial goal of 50,000 signatures on the petition. But now that the bill has been introduced, we need to get even more people speaking out. If everyone reading this shares the video, we can easily get 100,000 signatures before we
deliver it to the Washington State lawmakers.
Charging protesters with terrorism clearly violates the First Amendment and is an attempt to silence legitimate dissent. Please sign the petition telling lawmakers to reject this dangerous legislation.
Here's the text of the petition:
Organizing and participating in protests is a basic Constitutional right guaranteed by the First Amendment. I urge all lawmakers to reject any legislation that criminalizes protesters or labels protests as a form of economic terrorism.
The British government has opened up a public consultation about implementing Section 40 of the Crime and Courts Act 2013. Let the government know what you think about this disgraceful press censorship law
The German publisher of a special annotated edition of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf says sales have soared since its launch a year ago.
About 85,000 German-language copies have been sold. Publisher Andreas Wirsching said the figures overwhelmed us . At the end of January the publisher will launch a sixth print run.
Unlike the Nazi-era editions, this edition of Mein Kampf (My Struggle) has a plain white cover - without a picture of Hitler, and includes copious notes by scholars.
The BBC adds the 'balance' that 85,00 copies does not make the book a runaway hit . The BBC's Damien McGuinness in Berlin writes:
The fact that the Nazi manifesto reached number one in Der Spiegel's non-fiction charts in April is cited as evidence that Adolf Hitler's propaganda is making a comeback in Germany.
For a German non-fiction book sales of 85,000 are not bad. But the figures don't indicate a runaway hit. The current biggest non-fiction seller is The Hidden Life of Trees, a book about the ecosystem of woodland, which has sold half a million
copies so far.
A bill allowing Israeli courts to force social media companies to remove content defined as incitement has passed its first reading in parliament.
The Facebook bill sponsored by ministers Gilad Erdan and Ayelet Shaked would allow Israeli courts to immediately order content taken down if it is deemed to pose a public, personal or state security risk and constitutes a criminal offense.
Facebook adheres to its own removal policy when it comes to online content and freedom of speech issues and has generally not removed as much as state censors would like.
Tehilla Shwartz Altshuler of the Israel Democracy Institute has criticized the Facebook bill as too broad. She commented that the bill will not solve the problem and will hurt freedom of expression for all.
Facebook has once again drawn sharp criticism over its censorship policies after the social media giant reportedly blocked a photo
of the historic naked statue of the sea god Neptune that stands in the Piazza del Nuttuno in Bologna, Italy.
Local writer Elisa Barbari said she chose a photograph of the 16th century 3.2-metre high bronze Renaissance statue of the sea god holding a trident to illustrate her Facebook page titled, Stories, curiosities and views of Bologna.
However, Facebook reportedly objected to the nude image of the iconic statue. In a statement, the social media company told Barbari:
The use of the image was not approved because it violates Facebook's guidelines on advertising. It presents an image with content that is explicitly sexual and which shows to an excessive degree the body, concentrating unnecessarily on body parts.
Inevitably when sufficient bad press is generated by Facebook's ludicrous aversion to trivial nudity, the company admitted that it had again made a ghastly mistake and grovelled:
Our team processes millions of advertising images each week, and in some instances we incorrectly prohibit ads. This image does not violate our ad policies. We apologise for the error and have let the advertiser know we are approving their ad.
Iran has blocked the popular Clash of Clans mobile game app.
Government internet censors called for restrictions citing a report from psychologists, who said it encouraged violence and tribal conflict. The censors claim that the app could also negatively affect family life if teenagers got addicted to the game.
In a statement, Iran's deputy attorney general Dr Abdolsamad Khoramabadi said the vast majority of the committee backed the call to limit who could play the app.
Some Iran-based players said local reports had suggested that an age limit would be imposed, but for now the game is blocked for everybody, (bar those using VPNs and the like).
Utah's most prominent anti-porn lawmaker wants to give people the ability to sue pornographers in the hope that someone, somewhere
will be able to prove that watching their product causes emotional and psychological damage.
State Senator Todd Weiler received national attention for penning a 2016 resolution declaring a public health crisis caused by pornography. He not only wants to limit access to sexually explicit material to children and teens, but he believes
pornographers should be held liable for the impacts their products have on adults. He said:
Right now porn is available without any warnings and labeling, without any protections online. This would just open the valve for a cause of action. Let these attorneys go after these cases.
If the Legislature passes his proposal, he said, he expects courts to initially reject claims that pornography causes real harm: But I think, eventually, the tide will turn.
Weiler is pinning his hopes on some sort of ludicrous analogy with tobacco use, where court challenges broke through big business defence of their deadly trade. But of course there simply aren't millions of porn users dropping dead, and even anti porn
campaigners haven't really come up with many harms beyond instilling bad attitudes to women.
How New Zealand tries to keep down film censorship costs by accepting lower categories from other countries, but notes that films are still 'soft banned' when censorship costs make distribution unviable
A Czech unit set up to censor 'fake news' ahead of the country's two elections starts operations on Sunday.
The Center Against Terrorism and Hybrid Threats, a department of the Interior Ministry, plans to rebut disinformation supposedly produced to manipulate elections by what the counter-intelligence community believes are Russian-backed websites.
President Milos Zeman likened the ministry's efforts to censorship in his annual Christmas speech.
However the Interior Ministry says that the news censor has neither a button to turn off the internet nor the right to remove content.