Censor Watch
 2011: February
  Menu Censorship News Latest
  Home Daily UK Ratings from the BBFC
  Links Melon Farmers


28th February   

Updated: The Daily Mail Recommends...

We Dare console game with a PEGI 12 rating
Link Here  full story: We Dare...Daring to include minor sex references in a game

UBI Soft We Dare PS3 A new sexy party computer game has 'outraged' parents with lurid adult content which they claim will encourage orgies and under-age sex.

The Nintendo Wii game We Dare has styled itself sexy but has only been given a 12+ rating.

Many parents insist it is not suitable for a console which is popular with families and teenagers.

In an 'explicit' trailer, two girls can be seen virtually kissing, the couples stripping to their underwear and spanking each other. And other parts of the two-minute video, viewed over 150,000 times on the Internet site You Tube, are suggestive of orgies, pole-dancing and wife-swapping.

The game is to be released on the Wii and Playstation 3 next month, with the promotion line The more friends you invite to party, the spicier the play!   It is described as a sexy, quirky party game that offers a large variety of hilarious, innovative and physical, sometimes kinky, challenges .

Parents have described the 12+ certificate as appalling and unbelievable . Laura Pearson from Birmingham, said: I have a 13-year-old daughter and if I knew she was playing such a highly charged sexual game with boys, I would be appalled. It is encouraging under-age sex. The video pretty much shows them swapping partners, girl-on-girl kissing. That kind of thing is not something that young teenagers should be exposed to.

George Hardy, a 46-year-old father, said: No wonder we have problems in society with unsafe sex and under-age sex when kids can get hold of games like this. This sort of computer game will only serve to fuel sexual tensions and, in a worse-case scenario, sexual touching or assault. Imagine a room of testerone-fuelled teenagers playing this, something could get out of hand. It sounds drastic but I could see it.

Keith Vaz Recommends

See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

VSC logo The body responsible for classifying computer games in Britain yesterday defended the 12+ certificate.

Laurie Hall, director general of the Video Standards Council, said: The average 16-year-old would think everything in We Dare was beneath them -- although the game contains innuendo and suggestion, if it showed anything sexual it would be have received a 16 rating . Hall added that a part of the game which included characters stripping did not show anything more revealing than cartoon characters in bras and pants and said that it was in the context of a game about characters losing weight.

He said that a YouTube trailer for the game was more extreme than anything in the game itself. There is no sexual activity, he said. There is suggestion and innuendo if you're that way inclined but you don't actually see anything .

Labour MP Keith Vaz, a long-time critic of aspects of the video games industry, said: The new 'We Dare' game has clearly been wrongly marked as a 12 plus. As a family friendly console, Wii must ensure that there are proper checks and a full consultation before games are graded for use by children. This game should not be released until these checks are made.

Update: PG in Australia

28th February 2011. See  article from  smh.com.au

Australia PG Meanwhile, the upcoming Nintendo Wii and PS3 game We Dare is due for release in Australia on March 3 and has been rated PG by the Classification Board. The box promises flirty fun for all , above an image of a plush pink chair draped in lingerie and padded handcuffs.

The game has caused an uproar amongst British tabloids which quoted parents accusing it of promoting orgies and lesbian sex to kids as young as 12.

 

28th February   

Treated as Adults...

Egyptian film makers call for age rating to replace the current system of censorship cuts
Link Here

Egypt flag 531 Egyptians from the country's cinema industry are calling for the cancellation of censorship imposed on films. The group includes actors, producers and filmmakers.

They released a statement calling for the dismantling of the institution that aims at preserving public morality, order and interests of the state.

The world has been changing, but Egypt stood still for a long time, as the sword of censorship was on every neck that wanted to work legitimately in the industry, read the statement.

The statement called for the immediate halting of censorship cuts and asked to wait until the widely anticipated elections to deploy the age-rating system used in most countries.

Egypt's only censorship rating system is declaring a film for adults only, meaning not for people under 21-years-old. Originally it demanded that filmgoers show some form of identification to see such a film but this has not been followed in recent times.

Most American films that are shown in the country are cut. The censorship of foreign films includes nudity, however brief and any sexual scenes including kissing. The censorship committee is known to leave bloody and gory scenes in films.

 

28th February   

Update: Books Unbound...

Book censorship relaxed in post revolution Tunisia
Link Here  full story: Jasmine Revolution...Popular uprising to dipose President Ben Ali

la regente de carthage Tunisian bookshops changed dramatically after the January 14th revolution swept former President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali from power. Books that were once banned and covertly brought into the country are now being displayed freely.

I couldn't find a copy of La Régente de Carthage which exposes the corruption and influence of Leila Ben Ali on Tunisian political and economic life, student Suha Bin Mustapha told Magharebia at the El-Kitab bookstore in Tunis: I am now making a request to reserve a copy that the owner said would be available by the end of the month.

Tunisia's interim government on January 22nd lifted licensing restrictions on the importation of books, publications and films, opening the floodgates to foreign media. The constraints were imposed by the Ben Ali regime to control the flow of information.

Lifting restrictions on importing books is a key demand that has been called on by voices of enlightenment, modernity and the democracy of culture and knowledge in Tunisia, said Moktar Kalfaoui, a writer for the website Alawan.

In the past, possessing these books meant persecution, losing a job, or even imprisonment, according to bookstore customer Nora.

In previous years, the Tunisian International Book Fair earned a poor reputation because of strict censorship imposed on imported works, forcing exhibitors to focus on cookbooks and fiction.

The Tunisian culture ministry used to claim that it only prohibited books that promoted religious extremism and terrorism. But there were several complaints from Arab and foreign publishers regarding the ban on political themes. In the end, many just didn't bother to attend the fair.

 

27th February   

Update: Carry On Game Makers...

EA bow to nutter pressure and remove innuendo from Bulletstorm skill titles
Link Here  full story: Bulletstorm...Nutters claim 'worst game in the world'

ea logo Easily bullied game makers EA have pandered to the easily offended and  will censor some of Bulletstorm's sexual innuendoes.

Skill titles will be renamed in a patch to be issued next week.

EA's Steve Wordsmith, issued the following statement:

After getting countless complaints about the sexual nature in Bulletstorm, we finally had to do something about it. I personally had no idea how dirty people's minds really were. It's quite sad to see your work get changed like this, but after all the negative attention about this game, EA pretty much forced us to make the words more kid friendly. I'm baffled. I spent some quality time coming up with words that fit the action on screen. How can people associate words like topless, rear entry, or gag reflex as something dirty? These words have very clear intent on the happenings on the screen.

Topless for example, happens when you successfully cut an enemy in half. What else was I supposed to put there that would be precise to the player? If you look at the bottom half of the dead enemy, you can clearly see he's missing his top half, ergo the term topless. Rear entry is talking about shooting a guy in the back. The terminology seemed to be basic knowledge to me. People have both a front side, and a back side, which can also be called the rear.

The one that annoys me the most is gag reflex. You must have a really sick mind to think gag reflex is sexual. Ever take a bite of food to big and start choking? Ever throw up before? You can thank your gag reflex for that. Honestly, to even think that any of these things have a sexual nature, you got to have a really dirty mind to begin with. Sadly it looks like people who won't even play this game have the dirtiest minds, and EA has forced us to change the names into something more kid friendly.

Changes include: Topless which will be changed to Pull Yourself Together , Gag Reflex will become Choke on That! and Double Penetration will be turned into Two Guns, One Dead Body .

 

27th February   

Updated: Porn Again...

Radio documentary by Jacqui Smith. Hope someone is keeping a careful eye on the production expenses
Link Here

porn again Porn Again
BBC Radio 5 live.
21:30 on Thursday 3 March

Jacqui Smith has made a documentary for BBC Radio 5 live looking at pornography in Britain today.

The ex-MP was embarrassed in 2009 when it was revealed that her husband had watched pornographic movies on paid TV, then she used parliamentary expenses to foot the bill.

She has certainly captured the limelight with loads of publicity in the media. Fuelled by some ludicrous whingeing that people were picking on her over expenses because she is a woman.

For purposes of research I did watch the sort of pornography that's available on the internet, Smith tells Nicky Campbell: One of the most interesting things... the people that work in the industry, I liked them more than I thought I would.

Update: Counselling for those who can’t tell the fantasy from reality

27th February 2011.See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Expenses fantasist Jacqui Smith will tell the sex industry: Put your money where your mouth is. Fund real sex education in schools, promote safe sex and invest in relationship counselling for those who can't tell the fantasy from reality.

David Turtle, of the anti-porn nutters at Mediawatch UK, retorted: The adult entertainment industry is only concerned about its profits. It's naive to think it is going to be effective in helping teenagers who are at risk from this material. If Ms Smith was so concerned about the issue, why didn't she do more to deal with it when she was Home Secretary?

Smith also talks in the show about rows over porn she had with her husband Richard Timney. She said: Somebody I care a lot about and who cares about me has watched pornography. I have argued with him about it and he takes a different view from me.

 

27th February   

Update: New Brooms, Same Old Design...

Journalists strike in Tunisia over continued government censorship
Link Here  full story: Jasmine Revolution...Popular uprising to dipose President Ben Ali

Tunisia flag Journalists and technicians from Tunisia's state-run television broadcaster have gone on strike over continued government censorship.

We are on strike demanding an end to all the pressure and to stop the censorship, and to allow us to work freely ... We will not accept restrictions anymore, one of the striking journalists told Reuters.

Tunisia's First National Television channel remained on air on Saturday, but without news programming.

First National's striking workers are demanding new managers.

 

27th February   

Updated: Kombative Censorship...

Australian censors ban Mortal Kombat game
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban

Warner Bros Interactive Mortal Kombat The console game Mortal Kombat has been banned in Australia.

The censors said that the game was 'Refused Classification'.

Warner Brothers said:

The highly anticipated video game Mortal Kombat, published by Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) in Australia, has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board and will not release in Australia. We are extremely disappointed that Mortal Kombat , one of the world's oldest and most successful video games franchises, will not be available to mature Australian gamers. WBIE would not market mature content where it is not appropriate for the audience. We understand that not all content is for every audience, but there is an audience for mature gaming content and it would make more sense to have the R18+ classification in Australia. As a member of the iGEA, WBIE is reviewing all options available at this time.

Ron Curry, CEO of the Interactive Games & Entertainment Association had this to say:

The granting of another RC to a video game clearly designed and targeted at ADULTS again highlights the shortcomings of the current classification scheme. In particular, the absence of an adult classification.

And indeed the BBFC, with a complete range of age classifications avaialbale, passed the game 18 uncut with the comment: Contains strong bloody violence.

Update: Decapitations, dismemberment and spraying blood

27th February 2011. See  article from  skynews.com.au

Australia's Government censorship board said that the game contains excessive levels of violence, and is unsuitable for a minor to see or play, specifically citing more than 60 death scenes, with graphic images of decapitations, dismemberment and spraying blood .

Despite the exaggerated conceptual nature of the fatalities and their context within a fighting game set in a fantasy realm, impact is heightened by the use of graphics which are realistically rendered and very detailed.

 

27th February   

Update: Data Protection Bollox...

Councils asked to open up meetings to bloggers
Link Here

eric pickles Councils should allow bloggers to film their meetings, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles has said.

Pickles said it was important local bloggers were given the same access as professional journalists at a time when budget decisions are being made:

Fifty years ago, Margaret Thatcher changed the law to make councils open their meetings to the press and public. This principle of openness needs to be updated for the 21st Century. More and more local news comes from bloggers or citizen journalists telling us what is happening at their local council.

Many councils are internet-savvy and stream meetings online, but some don't seem to have caught up with the times and are refusing to let bloggers or hyper-local news sites in.

Opening the door to new media costs nothing and will help improve public scrutiny.

Pickles said a decision by Tameside borough council, in Greater Manchester, to accredit professional journalists to use the micro-blogging website Twitter meant local bloggers, the public and even councillors are not permitted to 'tweet' because they are not considered members of the press .

And he pointed out that Windsor and Maidenhead borough council had raised concerns about videoing, citing 'Data Protection'. Blogger Chris Taggart published footage on his own website of his unsuccessful efforts to film the council's meeting. Windsor and Maidenhead said a motion to allow people to film their meetings provided anyone wishing to record them complies with obligations under the Data Protection Act had been proposed.

Local government minister Bob Neill has written to local councils to remind them that meetings are already open to the public. It also reassured councils that giving greater access will not contradict data protection law requirements in most cases.

 

27th February   

Losing It...

Vietnam demands an online games curfew from 10pm until 8am
Link Here

Vietnam flag The Vietnamese government instituted an online curfew and has ordered service providers and Internet cafe' owners to block online game access after 10:00 PM. The Vietnamese Ministry of Information and Communication has told all ISPs operating in the country to block access to online games from 10 PM to 8 AM.

The government has given ISPs and cafes a deadline of March 3 for the ban to be implemented. Those who do not comply can expect to face some serious fines or be put of business.

This new decree from the Vietnamese government is the latest in a series of measures to curb online game playing among children. It seems that this new ban affects adults as well.

 

27th February   

The Last Black Swan...

Indonesia sets protectionist tax that may see an end to Hollywood cinema imports
Link Here  full story: Hollywood Film Ban in Indonesia...Hollyood films taxed off Indonesian screens

Indonesia flag Indonesians are fighting to keep Hollywood films in local theatres after warnings that a new tax on foreign-made movies could lead to studios pulling out of the country.

Indonesian authorities see the tax as a way to protect the domestic film industry.

Hollywood as represented by the MPAA has responded that the release of Oscar-nominated Black Swan could be the last for a Hollywood film in this nation of 237 million. Distributors from Europe and Asia have made similar warnings.

Film-lovers have taken to social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter to complain, while the country's largest cinema chain begged for the government to drop the tax.

We'll see theatres close one by one unless a solution is found, warned Noorca Massardie, spokesman of 21 Cineplex, which has more than 500 screens.

It's outrageous! one woman wrote on Facebook. They're taking away our right to watch high-quality films. She noted that domestic industry, still in its infancy stage, leaves much to be desired.

Minister of Culture Jero Wacik said the tax will be reviewed with a final decision expected in two weeks.

Offsite: The Ghost of Cinema Past

11th June 2011. See  article from  monstersandcritics.com

The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) stopped distributing films to Indonesia in February after the Indonesian government introduced a new system of calculating and charging royalties on imported films.

I'm sick and bored of not being able to watch good movies in the cinema, said Marisca Djojopranoto, a 25-year-old a film lover in Jakarta: I miss the cinema so much .

Movie fans are not the only ones lamenting the absence of Hollywood films on the big screen. Cinemas are losing between 40 and 50% of their revenues, said Djonny Sjafruddin, chairman of the Indonesian Cinema Operator Association.

We are just showing what we have and what we have are films about ghosts, Sjafruddin said: It's a major blow for the cinemas and if this continues, many of them may fold, he said, adding that some theatres had reduced screening frequencies and the number of studios used.

Locally produced films, mostly of the horror genre with bizarre titles such as In the Embrace of the Teen Ghost's Widow and Dancing Karawang Ghost, have taken over at the box office. Such films don't cost a lot to produce and they can make a little profit, Sjafruddin said.

 

26th February   

Update: Weinstein's Profit Impediment 'Cured'...

The King's Speech now available in a muted PG-13 version
Link Here  full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

Kings Speech DVD Colin Firth The has assigned a PG-13 rating to an alternative version of The King's Speech in which, a source said: the 'fucks' that earned it an R rating have been muted out.

The MPAA said it also has waived a rule that requires the distributor to fully withdraw the original version of the film from theaters for 90 days before replacing it with an alternative.

 

26th February   

Updated: New TV Censor...

BBC Trust close to appointing a new chairman
Link Here

What Next Surviving Twenty first Century Chris Patten is expected to be named BBC Trust chairman.

His pitch to win the job of BBC Trust chairman was simple -- give me the job and I will stand up to both the government of the day and the organisation itself, if necessary.

Now Patten's name sits with David Cameron for approval having been put forward by Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt. Insiders said that the prime minister's consent was expected to be a formality.

Patten's closest rival was Sir Richard Lambert, the former director general of the CBI and one-time editor of the Financial Times. Other candidates were Dame Patricia Hodgson, the principal of Newnham College, Cambridge; Richard Hooper, a former chairman of the Radio Authority; and Anthony Fry, the investment banker.

Update: The Chosen One

26th February 2011. See  article from  thescotsman.scotsman.com

Lord Patten has been chosen as the government's preferred candidate to succeed Sir Michael Lyons as chairman of the BBC Trust.

The one-time Conservative Cabinet minister will now appear before the culture, media and sport select committee next month in a pre-appointment hearing.

 

26th February   

Update: Thorny Issues...

BT and Virgin speak against Ed Vaizey's ISP porn blocking plan
Link Here

bt broadband logo BT Broadband and Virgin Media have challenged the government's proposal to block Internet porn arguing that education and parental control are more effective.

Ed Vaizey recently proposed that ISPs block porn for customers unless they opt out of the blocking scheme.

In an online debate hosted by the Daily Telegraph, both companies expressed concern over Vaizey's proposal noting that the plans hadn't been thought through.

They cited defining the boundaries of adult content, responsibility for censorship and a host of practical and legal concerns as thorny issues.

Duncan Higgins, Virgin Media's head of broadband media said that parents need to control what their children view on the web: There needs to be a real drive to getting parents to understand the issue, he said.

Tim O'Sullivan, BT's public affairs director echoed Virgin's stance and said, BT offers parental controls and we believe such controls and education are the best way to approach the issue.

Britain's two major ISPs will reportedly issue new printed and online parental control guides in March. BT broadband users will also have the opportunity to install the company's free Family Protection software.

 

26th February   

It's Satire, Not Satan...

Jerry Springer the Opera still attracting protests in the US
Link Here

Jerry Springer Opera David Soul There were two shows going on at Cleveland's Beck Center for the Arts last Friday night.

Almost 100 people, from babes-in-arms to grandparents, were gathered outside the theater in protest to what was going on inside the theater. Placards carried by children and grandparents alike screamed Beck Center Promotes Blasphemy and Just Say No to Jerry Springer in opposition to the regional premiere of Jerry Springer The Opera , a show that pokes fun at Christianity among other subjects.

It's not fair to Christians, said one picketer: If this were about anti-Semitism or anti-Muslim, the place would burn to the ground, stated another.

A few supporters among them bore signs spouting It's Satire, Not Satan and Pray for a Sense of Humor, while advocating free speech and freedom for the arts. They were all but drowned out by bagpipes, The Lord's Prayer and other hymns.

So, what was the ruckus all about? Jerry Springer The Opera, a musical riff on the titular Springer and his trashy talk show, has attracted naysayers wherever it has been produced. It's at Beck through to March 27.

 

26th February   

The Innocent Have Nothing to Fear...

China takes internet blocking action against jasmine
Link Here

jasmi China's censors increased Internet controls and security officials harassed and detained writers and activists in the wake of an online appeal for a Jasmine Revolution in China, according to international human rights groups and news reports.

Censors blocked the word jasmine after overseas dissident-run news website Boxun and Chinese Twitter users broadcast calls on February 19 to mobilize street protests modeled on recent unrest in the Middle East, according to international news reports. (Twitter is generally blocked in China but accessible to users of proxy networks based overseas.) Only a handful of protesters appeared, although calls continued for government protests characterized as strolls to continue every Sunday around China, according to The Associated Press.

Reports that Chinese police are detaining and harassing bloggers and activists are deeply concerning, said Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia program coordinator. China must allow information on political dissension to circulate freely.

Hong Kong-based Chinese Human Rights Defenders said Ran Yunfei, a Sichuan-based political writer and blogger, was taken by police on February 20 and formally detained on suspicion of subversion of state power on February 24, according to an official notice sent to his wife. Other overseas groups said police detained Ran on February 20. CPJ could not independently confirm the nature of the charges. Hong Kong University-based China Media Project reported that Ran had been charged with the less serious inciting subversion of state power, citing local online reports.

At least two others were detained after transmitting information about the Jasmine Revolution online, according to overseas rights groups:

 

26th February   

Proxy Server?...

Thailand finds another reason to block websites
Link Here

babe-101 logo Thailand's Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will ask the Technology Ministry to block a website accused of illegally offering a surrogate-mother service using Vietnamese women in Thailand.

DSI deputy director-general Narat Sawettanan said that the agency still could not pinpoint the network of people involved with the operation offering a surrogacy service for Taiwanese couples.

The broker company so far had been charged with human trafficking, while a group of pregnant Vietnamese women and babies would be temporarily cared for at Baan Kretakan.

The charges follow the raid on the company in Bangkok, when police arrested four Taiwanese staff and one Chinese.

The authorities 'rescued' 13 Vietnamese women, seven of them allegedly pregnant with children destined for other people. Another had just given birth at a private hospital.

Commercial surrogacy is prohibited in Thailand under medical practice and hospital services regulations.

 

26th February   

Offsite: Trolling...

Daily Mail line up another internet 'issue' about how nasty people can be when cloaked by anonymity
Link Here

Troll Blu ray US Michael Stephenson Robert was preparing to go to work at the local car plant when he made a tragic discovery: in a sudden and apparently savage act of despair, [his son] Tom had hanged himself behind the shed at the bottom of the garden.

Of course, no parent should ever have to bear the agony of such untimely loss. But the grief of their son's suicide was only the start of a dreadful nightmare for the Mullaneys --- triggered by a bizarre new internet trend known as trolling .

Only days later, sitting at his computer reading messages of condolence from Tom's friends, Robert came across one of several photographs of his son and could not believe what he was seeing.

The pictures had been digitally doctored: in one, a noose had been added to the image and whoever was responsible, posting under the name Derrick Smith , had written a caption which said: Hang in there Tom!

I was horrified, says Robert, 48. It's disgusting that somebody can degrade a memorial in that way. At first I saw the images on Facebook, which were so distressing I can't describe them, then there were vile comments.'

...Read the full article

 

25th February   

Update: South Park Jail...

25 years for inciting violent attacks on South Park Creators
Link Here  full story: South Park and Religion...South Park offends the easily offenced

South Park Jail A man who admitted posting online threats against the creators of the animated TV series South Park has been jailed for 25 years.

Zachary Adam Chesser encouraged violent jihadists to attack South Park writers for an episode that depicted Mohammed in a bear suit, court documents said. Chesser also admitted that he tried to go to Somalia to join Al-Shabaab, an Islamic militant group that the United States considers a terrorist organization.

He posted online messages that included the writers' home addresses and urged online readers to pay them a visit, the documents said.

His actions caused people throughout the country to fear speaking out -- even in jest -- to avoid being labeled as enemies who deserved to be killed, U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride said: The fact that a young man from Northern Virginia could support such violence and terror is a sobering reminder of the serious threat that homegrown jihadists pose to this country.

Chesser was born in the United States and converted to Islam in high school.

 

25th February   

Update: Tourist Visa Denied...

British court refuses to hear Ukrainian libel case
Link Here  full story: Libel Tourism...UK prosecutions of books published abroad

libel tourists not welcome An attempt by a billionaire Ukrainian businessman to sue a Ukrainian newspaper in the High Court in London has been rejected by a judge.

John Leslie dismissed the case brought against the Kyiv Post by businessman Dimitry Firtash, saying that the link to the English jurisdiction was tenuous in the extreme .

Firtash had sought to sue the newspaper over an article it published about his gas company, RosUkrEergo AG, which he says suggests corruption.

He wanted to bring the case in London even though the Kyiv Post article was thought to have been downloaded from the internet by only 21 people in the United Kingdom.

Dismissing the case, Leslie said: There is no substantial connection to this jurisdiction.

Solicitor Mark Stephens, who represented the newspaper, said: This is one of the worst cases of libel tourism I've encountered in recent years. This is a dispute between a Ukrainian oligarch and a Ukrainian paper about matters in the Ukraine. It has no connection with the UK and the learned Master Leslie quite rightly threw the case out.

 

25th February   

Hooligan Villages...

Cartoon likening party policies to concentration camps causes trouble in the Netherlands
Link Here

adriaan soeterbroek cartoon The Dutch public broadcaster VARA published a website cartoon which took a pot shot at Geert Wilder's far right PVV party.

The cartoon by Adriaan Soeterbroek likened a policy to create hooligan villages to Nazi concentration camps.

Wilders was not impressed and said: it was a disgusting cartoon. It must be removed from that website immediately, or the PVV will not attend the VARA provincial elections debate .

The cartoon has now been removed following death threats to staff.

The VARA says it removed the cartoon after careful consideration, saying that while freedom of expression is a key right some of its staff felt too threatened to continue working. The broadcaster has reported the incident to the police.

 

25th February   

Deplorable But Hardly Surprising...

Iraq bans TV coverage of public demonstration
Link Here

Iraq flag Reporters Without Borders deplores announcement by Iraq's military banning live satellite TV coverage of a demonstration in Baghdad's Tahrir Square on security grounds, and supports the Iraqi media that have condemned the ban as an act of censorship.

Announcing the ban at a news conference, Baghdad military command spokesman Gen. Qassem Atta said no vehicle would be allowed anywhere near the big planned demonstration because of the danger of car bombs. To provide live coverage, TV reporters need to be accompanied by satellite uplink trucks.

The authorities are cleanly using security as a pretext for preventing live coverage of these protests, Reporters Without Borders said. The aim is to prevent Iraqis and the rest of the world from seeing the scale of the discontent. This violates the right of journalists to work without obstruction.

Previously Silenced

Based on article from en.rsf.org

Reporters Without Borders is outraged by the destructive attack that 50 masked gunmen carried out on the headquarters of Naliya Radio and Television (NRT) in Sulaymaniyah, in northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, to prevent it from continuing to cover unrest in the city.

The service was  launched on 17 February and was Iraqi Kurdistan's first independent satellite TV station. It had existed for 72 hours and had provided a total of just 17 hours of broadcasting when the attack took place.

In this short space of time, it had distinguished itself by its live coverage of the protests against the Kurdistan Regional Government that had erupted on 17 February and it had broadcast footage of police firing on demonstrators and the resulting bloodshed. NRT's executive had been receiving threats since the day it was launched.

 

25th February   

Asian Extreme Film Research...

Invitation to a survey about Asian extreme films
Link Here

asian extreme film research logo Emma Pett asks:

I want to find out about your experiences and opinions as a viewer of Asian Extreme cinema. Right now there are a lot of claims circulating in the UK about why people watch different forms of extreme cinema, and what this might do to them. These claims often involve assumptions about film audiences that aren't based on any actual research. Through this questionnaire I aim to gather viewers' own understandings of what they enjoy in Asian Extreme films.

The research is the focus of my PhD which I'm conducting at Aberystwyth University, supervised by Professor Martin Barker and Dr Kate Egan. It is part of a collaborative project with the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). This means that I will have the chance to present my research findings to the BBFC, once they are complete. But the actual research is being designed and conducted entirely independently. I also guarantee that anything you tell me will be fully anonymised in everything I say and write.

At the beginning of the questionnaire you'll see I've listed ten Asian Extreme films. I'm aware that there are lots of films I've missed off this list. These ten films have been chosen either because of their popularity, or because of censorship issues they've raised. Sorry if I've missed out your favourite film, but this way I can make sure that my research will be of direct relevance to the BBFC.

See questionnaire

 

24th February   

Porn Research...

Invitation to a survey about the everyday use of pornography
Link Here

porn research Clarissa Smith, Feona Attwood & Martin Barker are embarking on a research project about the everyday usage of pornography. They are inviting users to contribute via an online anonymous survey. They write:

We want to emphasise from the outset that the research we are conducting is unlike almost all the previous research that has been conducted on pornography. In the past, pornography has overwhelmingly been assumed to be a problem , and the only really important questions to ask about it are -- how much do people (and especially children) encounter it, and how great is the harm that it does? This research is different.

Our project is concerned with the everyday uses of pornography, and how the people who use it feel it fits into their lives. Pornography is of course a highly topical issue, subject to many opposing views and strong opinions . And we are not saying that there are no moral or political issues. But we are saying that the voices of users and enjoyers have been swamped. In fact, there is very little research that engages with the users of pornography, asking how, when and why they turn to it.

We want to gather the thoughts and responses of people who have chosen to use pornography of their own accord. We believe that there can be many different and complicated reasons for looking at pornography. We also don't believe that all the materials that go under that label, pornography , are the same -- only to be distinguished by how extreme or explicit they are.

We are hoping to gather thousands of responses from both frequent and infrequent users of pornography. The more we can gather, the more confidently we will be able to present the results in the on-going public debates on this issue. We want to know some very simple things, like what you view, how you find it, how often, what you particularly like, what is exciting and how this fits in with your feelings about sex, your body, and your pleasures.

If you don't know us, we are happy to tell you about ourselves, you can learn in detail about our previous work in this kind of area. If you just want to move to the questionnaire, we will just say here that all three of us have been involved in questioning the basis of moral campaigns about the media. Clarissa Smith has been researching pornography since the mid-1990s and has written widely about the problems of censorship and the attempts to legislate against sexually explicit materials. Feona Attwood's research is in the area of sex in contemporary culture and controversial media. Martin Barker has been involved in such work since the early 1980s, beginning with the so-called video nasties campaign.

The questionnaire we are asking you to fill in has been carefully designed. It will enable us to understand the patterns of use of porn by ordinary people. You'll find the questionnaire is a mix of multiple choice and open questions, and we will only be able to use what you say if you answer all the questions. Please feel free to add as much detail as you like in the spaces available about your pleasures and disappointments in pornography, how you use it and why. We reckon it will take you between 20-30 minutes to complete.

Once this project is completed (which will probably be around the end of 2011), we promise that it will be made widely available, including via this website.

Thank you -- and if you agree that these issues badly need more knowledge and less assumption and bias, help us by passing on this weblink to other people.

 

24th February   

Updated: Barbadians Patronised by their Censors...

Black Swan banned by the film censors of Barbados
Link Here

Black Swan Natalie Portman Barbados' Film Censorship Board is taking another look at the award winning film, Black Swan , after initially banning it last week in a move that triggered an appeal by one cinema and sparked a petition by disappointed movie goers and other residents.

The Board will decide this week, after another screening, whether Barbadians will get to see the film in cinemas after all.

The Board instituted the ban deeming the film inappropriate for viewing because of offensive sexual behaviour. The movie features a scene depicting a lesbian encounter.

Barbados is just one of two countries that have banned Black Swan , the other being the United Arab Emirates. It has been rated R in most other countries.

After the ban was announced, the Olympus Theatres filed an appeal and the Film Censorship Board agreed to review the movie.

An online petition, Against the Affront to Freedom of Expression in Barbados by the Barbados Board of Film Censors , and a Facebook group entitled For Freedom of Thought and Expression in Barbados have been gaining momentum and had reached 247 signatures and 459 members, respectively, by this morning.

The online petition makes several demands of the Film Censorship Board, including that it reverse its decision to restrict freedom of expression by banning the film ; understand the meanings and intent of MPAA film ratings (or the rating from the films originating country), that is, to inform parents on the suitability of a film for viewing by children, and to protect artistic freedom; refrain from changing a films rating; and hold a limited screening of films to unbiased members of the public and rely on their input before pronouncing a ban. The petition says

The Barbados Board of Film Censors chose to censor this film, without any discussion about its content with the public, and subsequently failing to publish adequately explained reasons behind its decision. We believe that freedom of expression is a key pillar in a democratic society, and when leaders choose to censor material without consulting the public, particularly artistic material which may be of cultural significance, our whole society loses.

Indeed, in this case, it is patronizing that the board doesn't think that Barbadians can handle a film that has won such prestigious awards, and that people the world over are enjoying...Banning art sets a dangerous precedent, which encourages those around the world who wish to restrict freedom of expression.

Update: Unbanned

24th February 2011. See  article from  google.com

The Barbados film censorship board has reversed a decision to ban the cinema release of Black Swan over its sexual and violent content.

The Cinematograph Film Censorship Board reviewed its decision after a theatre filed an appeal. The board has announced that the movie will now be shown with an "R'' rating.

 

24th February   

Betting on Censorship...

Norway considers state internet censorship in the name of protecting its monopoly on betting
Link Here

rikstoto logo Norway is deciding whether to start ISP blocking of online gambling sites that allow players from their country to gamble on the internet within Norway's borders.

The reason for this extreme censorship measure is that it has become apparent that even though legislation was passed in July of 2010 to block all financial transactions to all offshore gambling sites, players that gamble at these online gaming websites have increased despite the new ban.

A survey was taken and the results showed that about 4% of Norwegians over the age of 18 years old are still gambling at offshore gaming sites.

Besides the suggestion to block IP addresses, Norway is also considering taking legal action against operators that still accept players from Norway. The Culture of Censorship Minister has said that the need to consider filtering IP addresses of online gambling sites may be necessary.

 

24th February   

Update: A Little Less Repressive...

Hungary introduces a few amendments to its widely condemned media law
Link Here  full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

Hungary flag The Hungarian government put a number of amendments to its repressive media law to parliament Wednesday, with their formal adoption expected next week or in mid-March at the latest, AFP reported.

The amendments, signed by Justice Minister Tibor Navrasics, were drawn up last week after Hungary came under heavy fire from many of its European Union partners.

Nevertheless, the changes -- which covered areas such as balanced reporting, fines, media registration rules and freedom of speech issues -- do not go far enough, critics say.

Four paragraphs will be amended in a law that contains 226 (paragraphs), the deputy editor-in-chief of Hungary's leading newspaper Nepszabadsag, Gabor Horvath, told AFP last week. We are happy to see that four important points will be modified by the Hungarian government following the agreement with Brussels, but we believe these amendments are insufficient, because the basic situation has not changed.

The media representative for the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, Dunja Mijatovic, also pressed for further action. If the Hungarian government is now going to change the laws, then the media legislation needs to be amended also in light of protecting OSCE commitments such as media pluralism and the free flow of information, she said. I ask the Hungarian authorities to seize this opportunity, and render their media legislation in line with the OSCE commitments that they have signed up to.

 

24th February   

Update: 'Pornography Harms' Bollox...

John Stagliano refutes nutter campaign
Link Here

buttman dvd Adult film maker John Stagliano (Buttman) issued the following statement decrying the recent attacks on personal liberties by moral crusaders:

This week, the group 'Pornography Harms' continued its campaign to ban free speech and adult entertainment through a letter circulated around Capitol Hill with the goal of spurring elected officials into enacting the group's dangerous agenda. The letter cites worn-out and debunked claims that view.

Recent statistics show those claims simply are not true. A study from a Clemson University economist showed that violent and sexual crimes have actually decreased as Internet usages have increased. The study's author found that states whose Internet access expanded the fastest saw rapes and sexual crimes decline the most.

We are tired of being slandered. It is apparent that if people are left free to consume pornography, if they so choose, the world is a healthier, less violent place.'

In 2008, the Department of Justice's Obscenity Prosecution Task Force brought charges against Stagliano in a trial which gained national attention over its free speech implications. In July of 2010, the trial ended in a Judicial Acquittal after the Judge ruled there wasn't sufficient evidence presented by the prosecution to convict. Groups such as Pornography Harms have lobbied government agencies and elected officials to continue to stifle first amendment / free speech rights through similar prosecutions.

The recent Pornography Harms letter urges readers to donate to Morality in Media, an organization with a long history of First Amendment suppression tactics and alignment with other censorship driven groups. They have frequently used similar outlandish claims and factual distortions as part of their extremist agenda, such as claiming there's a link between gay marriage and mass killings. If these anti-speech activists are initially successful with their censorship agenda, they won't stop until they have turned all broadcasts and publications in line with their narrow worldview.

The only real violence involved is prosecuting someone like me with an obscenity law, a law that you can't know in advance when you are breaking it.'

 

24th February   

Offsite: Bullshit Meter into the Red...

The Irrationality of the Anti-Sex Lobby
Link Here  full story: Sexualisation...Sexualisation as reported by Linda Papadopoulos

freedom in a puritan  age logo When it comes to the public discussion of sex there's a lot that's wrong. The main problem is misinformation, with biased sources spreading information that is at best poorly researched and at worst completely incorrect.

The main themes in this loosely-united area of public disapproval include pornography and adult entertainment, sex trafficking, the rights of people in sex work, and the possible sexualisation of children by exposure to all of the above.

It's known that there is no credible research tying adult entertainment to crime and violence against women. It's clear that the numbers surrounding the trafficking claims don't add up. The fact that sex workers deserve protection, not persecution, is self-evident. And to the critical reader, it's apparent that the people pushing an anti-sex agenda are ignoring vast swathes of ethical and commendable research into sexuality.

Sexualisation of children, in particular, is a lightning rod for many of the public anxieties surrounding sex. I'm particularly interested in this topic for a few reasons. First, because the claims surrounding it bear little relationship to demonstrable reality; second, because both the right and the left appear to have reached consensus on the topic. Last, because so many people are parents, it's an issue that has more power to influence the voting population than, say, what a few misguided feminists think about pornography they never watch anyway. Now maybe I read The Handmaid's Tale just a few times too often as a girl, but when the feminists and the bible-bashers agree on something, my bullshit meter goes into the red.

...Read full article

 

24th February   

Cape Town Saved from Sexploitation...

South African ASA whinges at Sexpo poster
Link Here

sexpo logo A poster used to advertise the Cape Town Sexpo in November last year will never be used again, Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) said.

Sarah Howarth, a spokesperson for Sexpo pointed out that the 2010 campaign had been checked with the ASA before going public.

Complaints against the poster were lodged with ASA by eight people after posters depicting the upper body of a woman showing her breasts that are provocatively covered by red suspenders were erected in Cape Town.

Those who lodged the complaint argued that the advert depicted women as sex objects and it was demeaning to women in general. The ASA website said that some complainants said that the poster was erected near schools and was not suitable for children to view.

ChristianView Network director Philip Rosenthal said the ruling meant public places would be protected from pornography: It is a significant step to protect of women and children from the sexploitation industry promoted by the Sexpo .

 

24th February   

Jordan has been Destroyed by Nightclubs...

Clerics demand the closure of nightclubs
Link Here

Jordan flag We demand the government close all nightclubs, which work under the pretext of promoting tourism, 109 muslim clerics, among them a former cabinet minister, MPs, Islamist leaders, university professors and mosque preachers, said in the joint statement.

We also demand the authorities combat prostitution and brothels, and introduce laws that fight all anti-Islamic and unethical acts which destroy our society, the statement said.

A group of MPs has separately asked the government to close nightclubs in two western Amman streets named after the holy cities of Mecca and Medina because it is insulting to Islam and Muslims.

 

23rd February   

Update: Lads Mags Go Top Shelf...

Supermarkets set to implement display restrictions on lads mags
Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills

loaded gemma Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, the Co-op group and BP petrol stations have agreed to put the magazines behind plain covers or on the top shelf following nutter pressure.

But WHSmith said the measures went too far. The National Federation of Retail Newsagents has also refused, saying it is not in a position to tell independent corner shops how to operate.

The moves come after on going campaigning, most recently by Mumsnet, which found 'enormous' unease in a survey of mothers about the publications and their images of scantily-clad women.

But WHSmith said its existing restrictions were sufficient to protect children. We have a strict display policy in place that requires men's lifestyle magazine titles be displayed at minimum height of 1.2 metres, equivalent to the average adult chest/shoulder height, a spokesman said.

The policy requires men's lifestyle magazines to be displayed away from children's or women's magazines, and away from other product ranges which children may be shopping for, e.g. toys and stationery.

Justine Roberts, founder of Mumsnet, which is running the Let Girls Be Girls campaign against the sexualisation of children through advertising, clothing and music, said the store's stance was frustrating . It's great that so many retailers are supporting Mumsnet's campaign. But it's frustrating that WHSmith are arguing that shelf height of 1.2m, that of an eight-year-old child, is a sufficient barrier.

Asda has ordered compulsory modesty boards for the magazines and changed its policy so publishers can no longer pay to have magazines displayed at the front of stores. Tesco is rolling out nationwide a trial in which the titles are put at the back of the top shelf.

 

23rd February   

Verifiably Unconstitutional...

US Congressman intends to introduce bill requiring strict age verification for adult websites
Link Here

age check US Representative Jim Matheson, a Democratic member of Congress is preparing a bill that would require porn sites to use sophisticated age verification technologies. He also wants to impose a 25% tax on porn sites to pay for the enforcement of the age verification.

Historically (pornography) has been age-restricted at a point of sale that's a brick-and-mortar store, Matheson told the Deseret News recently: For us to assume that since it's on the Internet that we should ignore it is wrong. As a society we've already made a decision that we want to restrict sales to a certain age.

Attempts to impose mandatory age verification on porn sites is nothing new, of course, and extend all the way back to the first Child Online Protection Act (COPA), which was passed in 1998 but which never took effect after the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a 2007 lower court decision that found the law facially in violation of the First and Fifth Amendments of the United States Constitution. COPA required all commercial distributors of material harmful to minors to restrict their sites from access by minors.

Content bases taxes also have a hard time when faced with constitutional challenges.

 

23rd February   

Whingers Silenced...

Achmed the Dead Terrorist ringtone advert not racist
Link Here

Achmed the Dead Terrorist A TV ad for Fox Mobile ringtones featured the American ventriloquist, Jeff Dunham, with his dummy, Achmed, the Dead Terrorist . The ringtones used some of the phrases from Dunham's act which included Silence! I kill you , Stop touching me and Knock, knock. Who's there? Me. I kill you .

A viewer challenged whether the ad was offensive because he believed it was racist towards Muslims.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA understood that the ad featured the puppet Achmed, the Dead Terrorist, which was a well-known part of Jeff Dunhams ventriloquism act.

We understood that that particular comedy act touched on the theme of terrorism and we also understood that there would be viewers who found the puppet character and comedy theme of terrorism distasteful or offensive. However, we noted that at no time did the ad make any reference to terrorism or the Islamic faith. We also noted that, whilst the ad showed some footage of the act, its emphasis was on the phrases Silence! I kill you, Stop touching me and Knock, knock, whos there? Me, I kill you which were available to download as mobile phone ringtones. Whilst we understood that some viewers might find those ringtones distasteful, we considered that the content of the ad accurately reflected the nature of the product being advertised. Because the ad itself contained no direct reference to terrorism or the Muslim religion, we concluded the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

 

23rd February   

Update: Censorship Rules that Facebook Knocked Up...

Facebook ban partially nude pregnant profile picture
Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

claudia schiffer vogue A mum-to-be photographed in Demi Moore's famous naked pregnancy pose was left 'stunned' when Facebook banned it from her profile.

Angela Hurst got a professional snapper to set up the tasteful shot in which she covered her modesty.

Angela was so proud of the result she made it her profile picture. Just three days later Facebook removed it because its terms of use bar nudity .

Husband David said: The picture's lovely. This is a huge over-reaction.

 

23rd February   

Viewer 'Fury'...

One woman tweets about pikey comment on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff
Link Here

craig revel horwood Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood has caused tabloid 'fury' by calling the gypsy community pikeys and demanding they are banned from TV.

He was on Channel 5's The Wright Stuff discussing Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star Paddy Doherty.

Craig said: Be a gypsy and stick to your codes and don't involve us. And get off our TVs. All those pikeys though, darling. Do we really need them?

Show host Matthew Wright said: That's an offensive term to gypsies like using the N-word to black people. You will have to apologise.

Craig said: I do apologise to the nation for the pikey remarks. I take it back.

'Disgusted viewers' pledged to complain to TV watchdog Ofcom. Alison Perry said on Twitter: Craig Revel Horwood just told ‘pikeys’ to ‘get off telly’. Hello, Ofcom.

Is this the weakest excuse ever to run a 'viewer fury' piece about a TV programme?

 

23rd February   

Offsite: Viona...

Artists detained after winding up the Russian authorities
Link Here

viona On a chilly Moscow morning last November, 10 plainclothes policemen broke into the Moscow apartment where Oleg Vorotnikov and Leonid Nikolayev were sleeping. Screaming at everyone to stay on the ground, the officers handcuffed the two men, pulled plastic bags over their heads and threw them into a police van. They drove north for 10 hours while police allegedly kicked and abused the two men, who have been held in a pre-trial detention centre in St Petersburg until this week. But Mr Vorotnikov and Mr Nikolayev are not drug dealers or dangerous murderers on the run -- they are artists.

The two men are part of Voina, a radical art collective that has infuriated the Russian authorities with a series of increasingly audacious stunts, and whose jailing has caused concern in Russia about a return to a Soviet-style censorship of the arts. Over the past three years, the group's installations and performances have included organising the mock execution of migrant workers in a Moscow supermarket, an impromptu expletive-filled punk rock performance in a courtroom, throwing live cats at McDonald's cashiers and painting an enormous penis on a bridge in St Petersburg.

...Read the full article

The two artists have now been released on bail.

 

22nd February   

Update: Facebook Put in their Place...

New York Academy of Art fires off excellent attack on Facebook censors
Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

assael steven simo The New York Academy of Art wrote on their blog:

As the Academy makes its first bold forays into the expanding worlds of social media, we find ourselves reeling from a recent exchange with facebook, and on the edge of an interesting debate.

Just today, facebook alerted me that an image which violates their Terms of Use was removed from the New York Academy of Art's facebook page. A drawing by Steven Assael is in an exhibition curated by the Academy and shown at the Eden Rock Gallery in St. Barth's.

As an institution of higher learning with a long tradition of upholding the art world's traditional values and skills, we, the Graduate School of Figurative Art, find it difficult to allow facebook to be the final arbiter -- and online curator -- of the artwork we share with the world.

If facebook is a new online Salon de Paris, where a faceless group of curators determine what artwork the public should see, well then please consider our website the Salon de Refuse's!

And so we now ask: How is FACEBOOK controlling ART?

An Unwritten policy that sometimes allows drawings?

See  article from  ndtv.com

So what happened?

Facebook now says it made a mistake. While the company bans nude photographs, its representatives say the company has an unwritten policy that allows drawings or sculptures of nudes.

We count many amateur -- and some professional -- artists among our employees, and we're thrilled that so many artists share their work on Facebook, Simon Axten, a Facebook spokesman, claimed in a statement: In this case, we congratulate the artist on his lifelike portrayal that, frankly, fooled our reviewers. [yeah yeah!] Each member of our investigations team reviews thousands of pieces of reported content every day and, of course, we occasionally make a mistake. We're sorry for the confusion here and we encourage the artist to repost his work.

But this sounds like bollox from from facebook:

A number of other figurative artists say they too have had their work removed by Facebook, and in some cases had their accounts blocked. They say they feel that Facebook is taking aim at their work and accuse it of censorship.

It seems like they have really gone after artists, said John Wellington, an artist in New York who is a graduate of the academy. The images they are taking down are clearly paintings. After one of his paintings was taken down recently, Wellington said he deleted from Facebook all the images that he had uploaded that showed a nipple, for fear that his account would be disabled.

Richard T. Scott, another graduate of the academy, who lives in Paris, said some images he had uploaded were also removed. He said he knew of more than 50 paintings, including some entered into an online contest of figurative drawings, that were deleted by Facebook. Scott said he was particularly concerned because Facebook had allowed him to showcase his work and to be discovered by galleries and collectors. For figurative painters, Facebook has been a democratizing force, and it has been pivotal for my career, he said.

 

22nd February   

New US Film Censor...

MPAA close to appointing a new chairman
Link Here

MPAA logo A weekend report from the New York Times says that former Democratic Senator Chris Dodd is set to become the new chairman of the Motion Picture Association of America..

The 30-year Senate veteran is poised to take over the $1.2 million position and the job of coordinating the policy goals of the various member studios.

Dodd's hiring comes after reports that several candidates turned down the job.

 

22nd February   

No Serious Discussion, Just a Crappy Sound Bite...

Mediawatch-UK recommend Emmerdale's assisted suicide storyline
Link Here

Emmerdale Dingles Richer Poorer DVD A paralysed character in ITV's soap Emmerdale is to die in a 'controversial' assisted suicide storyline, The Sun reveals.

Industry whingers Mediawatch-UK 'slammed' the storyline. Spokesman David Turtle said: Emmerdale has been trying to push the boundaries for some time just to boost ratings. It's a soap, not a serious discussion about a serious topic.

 

22nd February   

Offsite: BBC Comedy Should Not be Afraid to Offend...

But is!
Link Here

BBC logo The Guardian have been sepaking to BBC's head of in-house comedy, Mark Freeland.

The BBC introduced stricter compliance procedures in the wake of the controversy over the lewd messages Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross left on Andrew Sachs's voicemail and faces accusations that it takes fewer creative risks. Meanwhile Channel 4, proud of its reputation as the home of edgy comedy, is awaiting Ofcom's verdict on a joke made by Frankie Boyle in Tramadol Nights about the disabled son of Katie Price.

Freeland rejects suggestions that the BBC has lost its nerve in comedy, citing Psychoville and Stewart Lee's Comedy Vehicle as examples of bold shows broadcast since the Sachs affair. Coming up tonight is Mrs Brown's Boys, a raucous, late evening BBC1 sitcom starring Brendan O'Carroll as the all-fecking, eponymous Dublin housewife. Freeland reckons British comedy is experiencing a golden age that compares favourably with US output in the genre.

People were saying comedy had gone into its shell. But it hasn't retreated from saying the unsayable, he argues. As long as your processes are right and you've made a judgment call that you can back up... I find the fact that I'm sitting on a very combustible slate very exciting.

Tramadol Nights, Freeland accepts, would probably not be made by the BBC. He also claims to welcome the BBC soul-searching in the wake of Sachsgate, largely because it reminded programme-makers of the limits and especially strictures on bullying.

There is a common decency which I hope people have adhered to in anything that comes out of here. But at the same time, if I thought we had lost our bottle then we are not doing our job as we ought to, he adds.

...Read the full article

 

21st February   

Updated: Texas Police Recommend...

Call of Juarez: The Cartel
Link Here

Call Juarez Cartel Playstation 3 The video game, Call of Juarez: The Cartel , is set to release this summer. Unlike the previous releases in the series, The Cartel is set in the present day and focuses on a bloody road trip from Los Angeles to Juarez, Mexico. But apart from this, little information has yet been released about the game

The modern-day setting combined with the title has rubbed law enforcement officials in south Texas up the wrong way. Gang and drug cartel-related violence is very real to towns in southern Texas bordering Mexico.

Brownsville Police Chief Carlos Garcia says that any game involving organized crime sets a bad example:

Unfortunately there are companies that are looking to capitalize on the violent situation in Mexico which has had a very negative impact on the country, said Garcia. There have been spillover cases in certain areas of our country with cases of kidnappings and murders. This is a serious topic and this is just another violent video game.

It doesn't matter if it deals with the cartel in Juarez, the Gulf Cartel or the Sinaloa Cartel. It is simply not something that is appropriate for our youth, Garcia added. This leaves lasting images and ideas in teenagers who get caught up in the game and may try to make it a reality and live the violent lifestyle they see in these games.

While Cameron County Sheriff Omar Lucio admitted that he was not familiar with the game, he says that he agrees with Garcia that any type of media that glamorizes the criminal lifestyle should be discouraged.

The title itself leads one to believe that the game deals with narcotic trafficking organizations. Games like these create a false idea in the minds of teenagers who are still developing and may grow up and want to imitate these characters. Sadly enough these kind of games are protected by freedom of speech, but the violence that comes from cartels is not a game and it affects us all.

Update: Chihuahua lawmakers recommend Call of Juarez: The Cartel

21st February 2011. Based on article from globalvoicesonline.org

chihuahua flag The video game Call of Juarez: The Cartel by game developer Ubisoft has drawn criticism from Mexican and US officials even before anything substantive is known about the game beyond the promotional statement:

You'll embark on a bloody road trip from Los Angeles to Juarez, Mexico immersing yourself in a gritty plot with interesting characters and a wide variety of game play options. Take justice into your own hands in this modern Western shooter.

Mexican blogger Ismael Flores explains that legislators in the state of Chihuahua,where Ciudad Jua'rez is located, have now called on the Secretariat of Governance and the Secretariat of Economy to prohibit the sale of the video game in Mexico.

It remains to be seen whether Mexico's federal government will act upon the request. But of course if they do they will have to answer why they are not spending their time concentrating on banning the real violence in Jua'rez.

 

21st February   

Bird Watching...

Nutter objects whinge at Tesco t-shirt whimsy
Link Here

bird watching t shirt Tesco is under nutter fire for selling a T-shirt with a logo which critics claim promoted voyeurism .

Women's groups said the shirt - which showed silhouettes of women in the sights of binoculars beneath the slogan Bird Watching - was objectionable and Tesco's decision to sell it deeply concerning .

This T-shirt is objectionable on so many levels, said Anna van Heeswijk of campaigners Object: It promotes voyeurism, dehumanises females into sex objects and uses sexist language to refer to women as 'birds'. These messages about women are worrying.

Somali Cerise of the End Violence Against Women coalition, added: It is deeply concerning that a major high-street retailer such as Tesco sells products that perpetuate the sexualisation of women. Our research shows that sexual harassment of young women is commonplace. Products like these T-shirts create a culture of acceptance and normalisation of sexual harassment.

Tesco  said no offence had been intended. It said: The T-shirt, which was intended as a humorous item of casual wear, was on clearance and is no longer on sale.

 

21st February   

Updated: Fighting Censorship...

Connecticut bill to uncensor UFC
Link Here

ufc logo Mixed martial arts, an intense and increasingly popular sport that blends boxing, wrestling, karate, judo and other forms of fighting, is currently not permitted in Connecticut. But the legislature is considering a bill that would sanction MMA matches, provided they are regulated and the ticket revenue is taxed.

State Rep. Matthew Lesser has introduced legislation that would open the door for Connecticut to join 46 other states that have legalized MMA.

Lesser said he was spurred to raise the bill by a constituent who is an MMA fan.

It doesn't seem to make sense to tell fans from Connecticut that they have to leave the state to watch it.

Lesser says MMA could also boost the state's bottom line. Average ticket sales for an Ultimate Fight Championship match topped $2.8 million in 2007. UFC, the company that promotes most of the top-ranked MMA matches, is also a major player in the pay-per-view market. Taxes on MMA gate receipts could provide a pretty significant economic boom, he said.

Massachusetts and Maine both recently legalized MMA, but New York is one of four states that has not. That provides an opportunity for Connecticut, given its proximity to the Empire State, Lesser said.

MMA has been criticized for its violence. Senator John McCain famously referred to it as human cockfighting. Lesser's bill would regulate it, just as boxing is regulated by the state.

MMA's fan base overlaps with that of professional wrestling. Lesser said Connecticut-based World Wrestling Entertainment is lobbying against the MMA bill.

Update: The Sport Has Grown Up

21st February 2011. Thanks to goatboy. See article from web.archive.org

The John McCain quote is out of date, he was against it when it was no rules ( UFC 2 may well be the most violent video the bbfc have ever passed, no joke) but the state athletic commissions wrote up a list of rules to turn it into a legit sport and McCain has since said The sport has grown up. The rules have been adopted to give its athletes better protections and to ensure fairer competition.

Interestingly there appears to be little in the way of MMA regulation in the UK and UFC has run here many times.

 

21st February   

Updated: The Latest 'Worst Game in the World'...

Fox News hypes Bulletstorm
Link Here  full story: Bulletstorm...Nutters claim 'worst game in the world'

Electronic Arts Bulletstorm PC DVD Fox News seem well impressed with the latest video game and have written a glowing piece of hype:

Parents had better beware: There's a Bulletstorm on the horizon.

In the new video game Bulletstorm due February 22, players are rewarded for shooting enemies in the private parts (such as the buttocks). There's an excess of profanity, of course, including frequent use of F-words. And Bulletstorm is particularly gruesome, with body parts that explode all over the screen.

But that's not the worst part.

The in-game awards system, called Skill Shots, ties the ugly, graphic violence into explicit sex acts: topless means cutting a player in half, while a gang bang means killing multiple enemies.

And with kids as young as 9 playing such games, the experts FoxNews.com spoke with were nearly universally worried that video game violence may be reaching a fever pitch.

If a younger kid experiences Bulletstorm's explicit language and violence, the damage could be significant, Dr. Jerry Weichman, a clinical psychologist at the Hoag Neurosciences Institute in Southern California, told FoxNews.com.

Violent video games like Bulletstorm have the potential to send the message that violence and insults with sexual innuendos are the way to handle disputes and problems, Weichman said.

Carol Lieberman, a psychologist and book author, told FoxNews.com that sexual situations and acts in video games -- highlighted so well in Bulletstorm -- have led to real-world sexual violence: The increase in rapes can be attributed in large part to the playing out of [sexual] scenes in video games, she said.

The game was rated M (mature 17+) by the ESRB, the US game ratings organisation.

In the UK. the BBFC rated the game 18 uncut with the comment: Contains frequent strong bloody violence and strong language

Offsite: Caught with her hand in the porky pie jar

12th February 2011.

Somehow gamers don't seem to putting up with the same bullshit that anti-porn and anti prostitution campaigners get away with. Games aren't quite so immediately morally reprehensible, and so lies are allowed to be challenged by media editors and the likes.

So when Carol Lieberman made the above claims about games being connected to real-world sexual violence on Fox News, writers were up for the challenge. After all there is very little sexual content in Popular gaming to base such conclusions on.

See article from wired.com :

wired logo Pundits and legislators have been attacking the gaming industry for decades now, pinning the blame for tragic events like the shootings at Columbine and Virginia Tech on violent videogames. This week, self-described media psychiatrist Carole Lieberman took that war of words one step further, claiming explicit games trigger rapes.

Despite the seriousness of Lieberman's allegations, when Wired.com asked her multiple times to clarify her comments, she failed to cite a single study, statistic or piece of evidence that proved her point.

Perhaps it's because such studies simply don't exist.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Nutter sound bites fail to make any impact on the games industry

17th February 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

The Guardian Later Carole Lieberman sent out a mass email to journalists providing links to her sources on violence, rape and video games, it turned out to be a selection of eight studies, none of which tied sexual content in games with real-life sexual violence. John Walker at PC gaming site Rock, Paper, Shotgun carried out a painstaking analysis of the studies and his article is worth reading, if only for the fact that it highlights just how inconclusive the links are between simulated and real-life violence.

...

And to most of us, it should be obvious by now, that such isolated attacks are not worth worrying about. Video games are part of the mainstream, they have powerful advocates, they make billions of dollars -- there is no threat. EA barely bothered to muster an official response; the developers themselves tweeted about it quickly and dismissively. There is serious work to be done on the psychology of interactive entertainment, but it won't be carried out by Fox or Lieberman.

In this country, Labour MP Keith Vaz who has made regular confused attacks on violent games, has allegedly found his point of view increasingly isolated within parliament. Last month, culture minister Ed Vaizey told Gamesindustry.biz:

I'm constantly teasing Keith and I think he is aware of the sea-change in videogames and that, particularly with the new generation coming into parliament, there are now many more MPs who grew up with games as a normal part of their life.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Amazonbombed

21st February 2011. See  article from  foxnews.com

Bad Girls Carole Lieberman After psychiatrist Carole Lieberman told FoxNews.com of a connection between violent games and rape, the site Destructoid ran the headline, Games cause rape psychologist's book gets raped. The article described how Lieberman was Amazonbombed -- meaning gamers posted dozens of scathing and profane reviews of her books to the online retail site. (See example at US Amazon )

One commenter, timetheterrible, at Destructoid wrote:

Since this woman's outright untruths will never be recognized or discussed on a platform as large as Fox News, people vent their frustration at the situation by publicly questioning her credibility.

...Read the full article

 

21st February   

Death Grip Loosened...

North Korea plans for a very restricted internet
Link Here

North Korea flag In December's Pacific Review, academics Cheng Chen, Kyungmin Ko and Ji-Yong Lee outlined Pyongyang's alleged plan to build an Internet with North Korean characteristics.

They estimate that at present, Internet access in North Korea is restricted to no more than a few thousand people in Pyongyang. Others have to make do with a domestic intranet. Built in 2002, it encompasses several web sites including email, e-commerce and chat room services.

But North Korea has apparently outgrown this arrangement, and its intranet is reportedly no longer able to handle an increasing volume of information. According to the authors, Kim Jong-il's regime has realized that blocking the Internet in its entirety is a recipe for continuing technological backwardness, and so it has resolved to relax its death grip over the use of the Internet as part of its economic development strategy.

What will this entail? According to Kim Heung-kwang, a computer scientist who defected from North Korea, the government has developed a roadmap to broaden access, in a heavily controlled form. This roadmap is said to be a seven-year plan that's heavily focused on monitoring, filtering and blocking information. A series of controls is supposed to act as a mosquito net. Bad things---new ideas, news and culture---would be kept out. Good things, such as foreign investment, would be allowed through. The final stage of the roadmap is supposed to be the opening up of the Internet to enterprises, organizations and the general public.

The regime's goal, according to the defector, is not to allow free personal access to the Internet, but rather to permit North Korean Internet users to access the Internet within a specific time and limited hours, and with restricted sources and defined ranges, and only for public benefits.'

 

21st February   

Mixed Blessings...

Gay-only hotels to be investigated for discrimination
Link Here

EHRC logo The Equality and Human Rights Commission is examining whether gay-only guesthouses breach new laws designed to prevent people being treated unfairly in the provision of goods or services.

Last month, Christian owners of a guesthouse in Cornwall became the first to be found guilty of discrimination under equality laws after they refused to let a homosexual couple stay in a double room, in a legal action supported by the EHRC.

Now, the watchdog says it must establish an objective balance by considering if gays-only accommodation also defies the legislation.

John Bellamy who runs a homosexual hotel in Bournemouth for men only, said that the new legislation could result in the closure of exclusively gay guesthouses. While he said he welcomed the new equality laws for tackling discrimination, he added that it had come at a price . I knew we'd get this as the new legislation is a double-edged sword, said Bellamy, who runs Hamilton Hall, which advertises that clothing is optional at the hotel. We've been campaigning for this law for years so that everyone is equal, but it could spell the end of gay-only resorts.

 

20th February   

A Load of Wank...

Mediawatch-UK recommend Jamie's Dream School
Link Here

jamies dream school Channel 4 is facing a nutter 'storm' of criticism over Jamie Oliver's new TV series which features two teenage boys being asked to produce sperm samples for analysis in a science class.

The scenes will be featured in Jamie's Dream School , in which he attempts to turn around a group of troubled teenagers by sending them to a school run by celebrities.

The controversial biological test was set up by leading fertility expert Professor Robert Winston to interest the 20 pupils, who have been removed or excluded from mainstream education, in the excitement of science .

In the one-hour programme, to be screened next month, the 70-year-old Labour peer asks two boys in the mixed class of youngsters aged 16 to 18 to leave the room to produce a sperm sample for investigation under microscopic analysis where it will be compared with the sperm of other animals.

Lord Winston, who has presented a string of BBC documentaries on human development, admitted in a newspaper article:

It was as close to the edge as you could get but that's how I wanted my lessons to be. I got some boys to leave the room and come back with a sample of their own seminal fluid for the class to look at under the microscope. Instantly kids of both sexes were very excited. I could have brought samples with me into the classroom but everyone knows that that wouldn't have been the same as looking at your own body. Every scientist, if he is good at his job will have experimented on his own body at some point.

A Channel 4 source insisted viewers would not see the samples being collected. A spokesman said all the pupils involved in the programme were given a fortnight's warning about the experiment, which took place while the show was being filmed in North London at the end of last year, and could have opted out. He went on: Written consent was given by the parents of the boys providing samples. All of the students were happy with the lesson and found it enlightening.

But David Turtle, spokesman for the pressure group Mediawatch-UK, said:

This is just a cheap way to get boost ratings and increase advertising revenues. From our point of view it's condoning a form of behaviour in a classroom situation. If you're going to have a proper discussion about reproduction and sexuality you don't do it like this.

We have serious concerns about the programme and we have concerns about Jamie Oliver as a role model for young people. Mr Winston's involvement seems very unusual.

Former Home Office Minister Ann Widdecombe:

I think it's hugely distasteful. I am amazed Channel 4 are letting it go out. It is horrible.

It's yet another step towards the road that there is no limit to what you can put on television these days.

 

20th February   

Updated: For Fear of Violence...

Dancing girls in Lahore forced out of work
Link Here

hira mandi Performances by the famous dancing girls of the Pakistani city of Lahore have come to an end because of increasing cfears of violent attacks.

As the BBC's Haroon Rashid reports, Pakistan's deteriorating law and order situation - including bomb blasts near the bazaar where the girls operated - has forced them into prostitution and other risky ventures.

This old neighbourhood of crumbling buildings is no more a place for men to stray from their arranged marriages and spend time with beautiful women trained in the arts of song, dance and seduction.

Just a few days ago, the women of this area, popularly known as Heera Mandi, used to attract men by wearing these anklets. The vast majority of dancing girls did exactly as their name suggest - dance for a male clientele. Only a handful worked in the sex trade.

Lahore police spokesman Shahzad Asif Khan says that officers were unable to provide the women with adequate security: This was a centuries-old culture. But unfortunately, over a period of time - and especially in the last seven or eight years - extremism has grown. In the last 10 months alone, there have been cracker blasts forcing the few remaining women to leave. The dancing girls' culture is almost non-existent now.

ActionAid researcher Daud Saqlain fears the future will not bode well for former dancing girls, some of whom have been forced into prostitution because hardliners objected to them performing relatively innocuous dances in public: Over the last decade we have seen the unfortunate growth of home-based sex work. Because of poverty and limited opportunities, some women have had no choice but to switch from dancing to sex work.

While some women have moved to other areas of the city, others have headed to far-off places such as Britain and the United Arab Emirates. Many former dancers have not turned to prostitution but have adjusted to the security threat by setting up their own websites to attract affluent customers to privately owned houses in middle-class areas.

Historian Dr Mubarak Ali told the BBC that the end of the dancing girls tradition was another nail in the coffin of Lahore's artistic and cultural heritage, which had been whittled away by radicalisation since the 1970s: Lahore before partition was a very cosmopolitan city . Women rode bikes and no-one objected to it. But the winds of change started blowing because of the support given by former dictator Gen Zia ul-Haq to religious groups.

All Pakistani music festivals, theatre performances and other events have stopped being hosted here because of the fear of terrorism.

Update: Dance banned from Lahore's theatres

20th February 2011. Based on article from  minivannews.com

pakistan dance The Lahore Arts Council's (LAC) decision to ban all dance performances besides classical dance in commercial theatre plays has infuriated producers and artistes who believe the LAC is trying to damage their business. The decision was made to facilitate quality theatre, claimed an LAC spokesperson when asked about the ban.

How many films are made in Pakistan annually? From the handful that are made how many have songs that we can use in our plays? If we don't have performances on Indian songs and cannot include any dance performances other than classical dance, then what are we left with, said the chairman of Commercial Theatre Producers Association, Chaudhary Zulfiqar Ahmad.

Some artistes and producers don't follow certain moral standards when including dance performances in their plays, they should be banned -- not the dances. Only a limited section of audience appreciates classical dance while large numbers of theatregoers have little or no interest in such performances. This ban will have major financial repercussions on commercial theatre at the LAC, he added.

Suggesting a remedy to the vulgarity in commercial theatre, Ahmad said that the arts councils should strictly censor the scripts and not impose a ban. The script of a play is first approved by the LAC and the Punjab Arts Council and only then is it sent to the Home Department for clearance. Writers on the panel of the arts council approve the scripts. Each script submitted mentions the dance performances included in a play. If the arts council has objections to any dance performance or dialogue, it should censor that instead of making a rule to ban all dances featuring Indian songs. As far as Indian songs are concerned, many of them are sung by Pakistani singers and are popular here. If we can allow them in the form of CDs, DVDs and screen them in our cinemas, why then can't we include them in our stage plays, questioned another producer who is doing plays at Alhamra, he spoke condition of anonymity.

 

20th February   

Offsite: Sex is Dangerous Again...

'Think of the children' now pervades every aspect of our thinking about sex.
Link Here  full story: Sexualisation...Sexualisation as reported by Linda Papadopoulos

David Cameron Those who celebrated the death of New Labour puritanism may yet live to regret its successor: the new Tory obsession with sexualisation . For this is a moral panic that looks set to be even wider in scope, even more finger-waggingly repressive in effect, than anything the last lot came up with.

Its been coming for a while. The turning point, that is. We've had a decade of new Labour nannying on sex and sexuality. In hindsight, though, that may turn out to have been preferable. For whilst New Labour may have been concerned with sexual exploitation, they appeared still to believe that once that particular issue had been sorted out, sex, on the whole, was not a bad idea.

Of course, the ultimate exploitation, which government rightly reacted to, was exploitation of children. Yet the battlecry --- think of the children --- now pervades every aspect of our thinking about sex.

...Read full article

 

20th February   

Offsite: Little Sponges...

An interview with Vivienne Pattison
Link Here

Vivienne Pattison Heather Bellamy: In the last year many people have been discussing the sexualisation of children in our society. Children accessing pornography online would be part of that. However the issue is far bigger; for example, last year Westfield Shopping Centre in London ran a series of pornographic advertising billboards for clothing that anybody could see just walking into the Shopping Centre. Did you pick up on that?

Vivienne Pattison: Yes and there was an outcry and I'm very pleased about that. Retailers and broadcasters or whoever it is, they go so far and then they suddenly realise that they've gone too far and they'll hit a public wall of approbation and people are absolutely furious about it. I don't think that we can point our fingers at any one section and say, it's your fault that children are sexualised like this; it's part of a massive thing. Children are like little sponges soaking up; in educational terms, soaking up all the messages around them. They pick things up from billboards, on the television, they access the internet and they see stuff in shops. All these things go together to form a very complex jigsaw of the way in which they view the world.

...Read full article

 

19th February   

VOD a Soft Touch...

Video on Demand censor ATVOD consults on how to apply large fee increase
Link Here

Hasbro 00271 Monopoly Crazy Machine ATVOD have estimated that they need to make a large increase to fees charged for their (so far) mainly invisible 'service'.

In fact if they stick with their fixed rate model then their fee would raise from to £ 2900 to £ 3968.

But the flat rate scheme, as unsurprisingly supported by the large industry players who answered the consultation, has been seen as barrier to market entry by small players. (See www.smallscale.tv ).

So for 2nd year fees, ATVOD are again consulting industry stakeholders, but this time ATVOD have proposed a clearer concession scheme for small VOD providers. They have also proposed options for tiered fee payments according to the turnover of the VOD provider.

Perhaps the consultation should be widened out to monopoly watchdogs and fair trade agencies.

The basic proposals for year two fees are:

  • £ 150 Concessionary rate for non profit organisations and charities
  • £ 250 Concessionary rate for micro commercial providers with turnover < £ 50,000
  • £ 500 Concessionary rate for small commercial providers with turnover  £ 50,000 to £ 100,000

For larger VOD providers:

  • Option A fixed rate fee of £3968
  • Option B1 sliding scale of turnover based fees: £1000, £6165 and £12,330
  • Option B2 sliding scale of turnover based fees: £1000, £6975 and £13,950
  • Option C sliding scale of turnover based fees: £1000, £1823, £3645, £7290 and £14,580

ATVOD invite written views and comments on the issues raised by 5pm on Friday 1 April 2011.

For larger consultation responses please email contact@atvod.co.uk attaching your response in Microsoft Word format, together with a consultation response coversheet.

Responses may be posted to

Year Two Fees Consultation
The Chief Executive
ATVOD
Thames Court
1 Victoria Street
Windsor
SL4 1YB

 

19th February   

Update: Australian Coming of Age Set for July 2011...

Australia's Censorship minister seeks a July vote to establish an R18+ for games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Brendan O'Connor The Australian Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor has told GameSpot AU that he wants to resolve the issue of Australia's lack of an adult classification for video games by July this year. With the absence of New South Wales Attorney-General John Hatzistergos from the upcoming SCAG meeting in March preventing ministers from taking a vote on the R18+ for games issue, O'Connor hopes to use the time to dispel any concerns and discuss in detail the soon-to-be-finalized R18+ guidelines.

O'Connor believes that the inquorate March SCAG meeting will still be a good opportunity for ministers to take a closer look at the new guidelines presented and come to a more concrete decision on how to proceed with the R18+ issue. The vote to introduce the guidelines will also be the vote that introduces R18+, something O'Connor is planning for the July SCAG meeting.

O'Connor told Gamespot that: the Commonwealth's position is that we need an R18+ classification for video games in this country. This is a sound argument insofar as doing the right thing and protecting minors; it is also a reasonable argument as it allows for adults to access material that is accessible by other adults in other countries; and it fits in with evolving changes in technology. So, [R18+ for games] is good public policy, and that's what I'll continue to say to people.

 

19th February   

Dangerous Texts...

Uganda's phone companies told to check and block SMS messages with protest key words
Link Here

Uganda flag A major Ugandan mobile phone company has agreed to check, and if necessary block, SMS messages sent via its network during the country's ongoing presidential and parliamentary election, the company said.

The Uganda Communications Commission [UCC], directed all telecom and bulk SMS service providers this week to start scrutinizing and blocking messages with words that are likely to incite violence during the country's tightly contested presidential and parliamentary polls.

The Ugandan government is trying to block the opposition from using cell phone messages and social networking sites to organize protests after the poll.

According to Khumalo, the work of filtering the messages is mainly for the bulk SMS service providers who use MTN's facilities to transmit the messages. Some of the key words that have been singled out by the UCC include Tunisia, Egypt, Mubarak or Ben Ali.

 

19th February   

Spank...

ASA take a more reasonable attitude to the watershed than Ofcom
Link Here

foot locker spank advert A TV ad, for Foot Locker, showed a man and woman rushing into a bedroom. The woman removed the man's trousers and he lay face down on the bed. The woman then straddled the man and began to hit him across the backside with different trainers. The man attempted to guess the brand of trainer correctly; if he was wrong, he was hit again. On-screen text at the end of the ad stated Foot Locker. It's a sneaker thing.

Clearcast applied a post-7.30 pm scheduling restriction to the ad.

One viewer, who saw the ad at 11 am on ESPN, while watching with her 3-year-old son, challenged whether the ad was distressing, particularly for children, and was inappropriately scheduled.

ESPN said it was generally the case that ratings on the channel were very low during the daytime, when there was no live sport scheduled, and that the general viewing figures at the time the ad was broadcast were minimal and did not even register on the BARB figures. The child index overall was therefore also typically low at that time.

Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad relied on adult humour, which was odd and surreal in tone. Although we acknowledged that the humour might not be to every viewers taste, we considered that most adult viewers would understand that the ad was intended to be comedic and would not be distressed by the action.

We noted that the man was not displaying any visible signs of pain when being smacked and did not consider that the ad featured a realistic and disturbing portrayal of violence. Therefore, although we considered that children would be unlikely to understand the basis of the ads humour, we did not consider that they would be frightened or upset by the action depicted in the ad. Nonetheless, in light of the ads adult content and tone, we did not consider that it was suitable for very young children to see. However, we noted that the audience data showed that the general viewing figures at the time the ad was broadcast (for both adults and children) were very low, and that only a small proportion of children under the age of 16 years had watched the channel on that day. We therefore understood that the likelihood of young children viewing the ad was low.

We noted that the broadcaster had not applied Clearcasts post-7.30 pm scheduling restriction in this instance, but understood that it would apply that restriction in future. However, because we understood that showing the ad on ESPN at that time generally avoided young children, we concluded it was not unacceptable to have broadcast the ad at that time.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 4.1 (Harm and offence), 5.1 (Children), 32.1 and 32.3 (Scheduling), but did not find it in breach.

 

19th February   

Nutter Theories Consigned to Old Emotional Memories...

Violent video games don't desensitise players to violence
Link Here

Grand Theft Auto IV Complete According to researchers at Ryerson University (Toronto, Canada), violent video games do not desensitize players to violent imagery. The study was lead by Holly Bowen and co-authored by psychology professor Julia Spaniol.

Researchers examined the impact of chronic exposure to violent video games on emotional memory and responses to negative stimuli.

Emotional long-term memory helps us avoid negative situations, Bowen said. This has significant implications for public health. For example, if you remember the negative experience of being involved in a bar fight, you will avoid future situations that may lead to an altercation.

Participants were shown 150 images representing three different stimuli: negative, positive and neutral scenes. One hour later, the students viewed those same images again (along with a new set of 150 distractor images) in random order. As each image was displayed, participants had to respond whether or not they had seen it before. Finally, at the end of the experiment, the students completed a self-assessment test regarding their state of emotional arousal.

The researchers believed going into the study that game players would prove to be less sensitive to the negative images and therefore show reduced memory for these materials. The results showed no difference in the memory of video game players and non-players. Exposure to video games were not associated with differences in self-reported arousal to emotional stimuli.

The findings indicate that long-term emotional memory is not affected by chronic exposure violent video games, said Bowen. Researchers caution that further study is needed to see if these results apply to all age groups and not just young adults.

 

19th February   

Offsite: Father Censor...

Designer of the Great Firewall of China speaks of his 6 VPNs
Link Here

Great Firewall of China The father of the Great Firewall of China (GFW) has signed up to six virtual private networks (VPNs) that he uses to access some of the websites he had originally helped block.

I have six VPNs on my home computer, says Fang Binxing, 50, president of the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications. But I only try them to test which side wins: the GFW or the VPN.

I'm not interested in reading messy information like some of that anti-government stuff.

...Read the full article

 

18th February   

Human Rights in Politically Challenged Times...

A British Bill of 'Rights'
Link Here

Ragged Union Jack Government statement to the House in response to allowing appeals for sex offender registration:

I can tell the House today that the Deputy Prime Minister and Justice Secretary will shortly announce the establishment of a Commission to investigate the creation of a British Bill of Rights.

It is time to assert that it is Parliament that makes our laws, not the courts; that the rights of the public come before the rights of criminals; and above all, that we have a legal framework that brings sanity to cases such as these.

 

18th February   

Human Rights in Politically Challenged Times...

Suddenly rights become relative in judgement of public order offence appeal
Link Here

Old Bailey Judges staunchly defended the rights of the majority as they threw out an appeal by a group of Muslims against their conviction for hurling hate-filled abuse at soldiers.

The High Court ruled that the men were not acting within their human rights when they heckled and jeered members of the 2nd Battalion Royal Anglian Regiment as they marched through Luton after returning from Afghanistan.

After the Luton protest, five Muslim men were convicted of using threatening, abusive or insulting words likely to cause harassment, alarm of distress. They appealed against their convictions at the High Court, arguing that they were legitimately exercising their rights to freedom of expression and to protest under European human rights laws.

But in their ruling two judges said the men's actions had gone well beyond legitimate expressions of protest . Tellingly, they added that the focus on minority rights should not result in overlooking the rights of the majority .

Lord Justice Gross said: There was all the difference in the world between expressing the view that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan were illegal or immoral and that British forces should not be engaged in them and the abusive and insulting chants of the appellants. To attend a parade of this nature and to shout that this country's soldiers were "murderers", "baby killers", "rapists all of you" who would or should "burn in hell" gave rise to a very clear threat to public order.

Lord Justice Gross added that freedom of expression was not an unqualified right and the justification for invoking the criminal law is the threat to public order .

In striking the right balance when determining whether speech is "threatening, abusive or insulting", the focus on minority rights should not result in overlooking the rights of the majority , he added.

Luton South MP Gavin Shuker described yesterday's dismissal of their appeal as a victory for common sense : Describing our servicemen and women as baby killers and rapists is incendiary and was deeply distressing.

 

18th February   

Prominent Corrections...

The Press Complaints Commission outline the prominence of online apologies, corrections and adjudications
Link Here

PCC logo One of the key functions of the Press Complaints Commission is the negotiation of published remedies to complaints, in the form of letters, corrections and apologies. Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Code requires that corrections and apologies be published with due prominence .

Online corrections and apologies

The following points are relevant:

  • Negotiation: in cases involving the Commission, prominence should be agreed with the PCC in advance .
  • For stand-alone corrections and apologies, editors should give consideration to appropriate placement on the relevant section where the original article appeared (such as the news or showbusiness section, for example).
  • If the resolution to a complaint is a stand-alone text (an apology, correction or letter), it will generally be appropriate to link to the original article under complaint (should it still be published online) and for the original article to link back to it. If the original article has been removed, then how long the apology, correction or letter should remain online should be the subject of negotiation with the PCC.
  • Corrections or apologies that appear on the original article should be clearly marked.
  • If the outcome of a complaint is that the text of the article is significantly amended, then consideration should be given to the publication making explicit reference to the existence of the alteration. How quickly the text has been amended will be a factor in this consideration.
  • Care must be taken that the URL of an article does not contain information that has been the subject of successful complaint. If an article is amended, then steps should be taken to amend the URL, as necessary.
  • Online corrections and apologies should be tagged when published to ensure that they are searchable.

Online prominence of upheld adjudications

  • Consideration must be given to the adjudication appearing in the relevant section of the website. This can be discussed in advance with the PCC.
  • If an article has been found to be in breach of the Code by the PCC, it should either be removed from the archive and replaced by the adjudication, or a link to the upheld adjudication should be prominently displayed on the article itself. This can be discussed in advance with the PCC.
  • The adjudication, when published, should be tagged to ensure that it is searchable.

 

17th February   

Obituary: David F Friedman...

Producer of genre classics from Blood Feast to Ilsa: She-Wolf of the SS
Link Here

Blood Feast DVD US NTSC David F. Friedman, a film producer who cheerfully and cheesily exploited an audience's hunger for bare-breasted women and blood-dripping corpses in lucrative low-budget films like Blood Feast and Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S. , died on Monday in Alabama aged 87 from heart failure.

Friedman plumbed the low-rent depths of the movie business with a sense of boldness and a sense of fun. In the early 1960s he and a partner, the director Herschell Gordon Lewis, made a handful of films in a genre known as nudie-cuties, in which young women would perform ordinary household tasks or cavort in sun-dappled settings half-dressed or entirely undressed.

In 1963,  Friedman and Lewis made the gleefully gore-soaked Blood Feast , considered by many to be a groundbreaking film in the horror genre, the first so-called splatter film. It tells the story of a murderous Egyptian caterer in Miami who is especially fond of decapitating women. To promote the film, Friedman warned viewers that it might be sickening and supplied theaters with airline vomit bags to distribute to customers. Made for $24,500, the film reportedly earned millions.

Friedman and Lewis followed Blood Feast with two other gore fests that are exemplars of their ilk: Two Thousand Maniacs! , which takes place in a Southern town during a Civil War centennial celebration in which the townspeople take their revenge for losing the war on visiting Yankees; and Color Me Blood Red , about a painter who gets his distinctive reds from the blood of his murder victims.

Friedman made films in the soft-porn vein --- they had titles like Trader Hornee and The Erotic Adventures of Zorro --- and eventually, while serving as chairman of the Adult Film Association, made a handful of hard-core movies as well.

Perhaps his most famous title was Ilsa: She-Wolf of the S.S. , about a sadistic and insatiable female Nazi prison guard, generally considered a camp classic of sexploitation.

 

17th February   

Update: Australia Just Can't Bear to Grow Up...

Censorship ministers avoid making adult games decision for another 3 months
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

R18+ banned Last December Australian attorney generals unanimously agreed to draft a set of preliminary guidelines for the introduction of an R18+ classification for video games in Australia.

Now, it appears the decision to introduce R18+ for games once and for all will once again be delayed. This time, the culprit is the upcoming New South Wales state elections, which will be held on Saturday, March 26. The NSW attorney general's department has confirmed to GameSpot AU that NSW Attorney General John Hatzistergos will not be attending the next meeting on March 4 because of the proximity of the election and will therefore be unable to partake in any voting process. Because any decision regarding R18+ requires all state, territory, and federal attorneys general to vote and reach a unanimous decision, it will be impossible for any voting to take place.

 

17th February   

Update: Hypnotised by an Alien...

Italian police take down satirical blog about Berlusconi
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states

italy police block Italian Postal Police have closed an internet blog after an article was posted on February 4 that stated I want to kill Berlusconi and described the Italian prime minister as a hypnotizing alien.

The web master, Valieria Rossi was questioned by police at the central police station in Savona. The site, savonaponente.com, was blocked and Rossi's computers were confiscated by police.

The Bologna public prosecutor ordered the action taken under slander, threats and instigation to criminal association laws.

 

17th February   

Updated: Mass censorship...

US takes down 84,000 websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

us takedown notice The US Government has yet again shuttered several domain names this week. The Department of Justice and Homeland Security's ICE office proudly announced that they had seized domains related to counterfeit goods and child pornography. What they failed to mention, however, is that one of the targeted domains took down 84,000 innocent websites with it.

Thousands of site owners were surprised by a rather worrying banner that replaced their website. Advertisement, distribution, transportation, receipt, and possession of child pornography constitute federal crimes that carry penalties for first time offenders of up to 30 years in federal prison, a $250,000 fine, forfeiture and restitution, was the worrying message they read on their websites.

The shared domain in question is mooo.com, which belongs to the DNS provider FreeDNS. It is the most popular shared domain at afraid.org and as a result of the authorities' actions a massive 84,000 subdomains were wrongfully seized as well. All sites were redirected to the US takedown banner.

Eventually the domain seizure was reverted and the subdomains slowly started to point to the old sites again instead of the accusatory banner.

Meanwhile: Hilary Clinton scolds other nations for internet censorship

Based on article from bbc.co.uk

hilary clinton US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned repressive governments not to restrict internet freedom, saying such efforts will ultimately fail.

She said the US was committed to global internet freedom and announced that the US government would invest an additional $25m to help online dissidents and digital activists fight state repression.

She named China, Syria, Cuba, Vietnam and Burma as countries restricting online speech, and noted that Egypt's attempt to stifle protesters by switching off the internet was unsuccessful. Social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook were important tools that gave voice to people's aspirations.

She acknowledged that the internet has a problem with hateful speech which can inflame hostilities, but said that efforts to curb such content often become an excuse to violate rights to free speech: The best answer to offensive speech is more speech. People can and should speak out against intolerance and hatred .

...BUT...she drew a sharp distinction between Wikileaks' possession of secret government correspondence and internet freedom.

Fundamentally, the Wikileaks incident began with an act of theft, Clinton said: Government documents were stolen, just the same as if they had been smuggled out in a briefcase.

 

17th February   

Transparent Claims...

Government consults about extending the Freedom of Information Act to the ASA
Link Here

Freedom of Information logo The Ministry of Justice is in consultation about expanding the scope of the Freedom of Information Act to include the advertising censors at the ASA.

The ASA will argue that it should not be covered by the act because it could compromise the goodwill it shares with the advertisers it relies on for funding.

There are also concerns that commercially sensitive information provided to confirm advertising claims may be compromised.

The censor will also argue that it already provides a transparent service.It claims on its website that it tries to be helpful and transparent when answering queries and will provide detailed information and responses wherever possible .

The proposal to add the ASA to the bodies covered by the act will be included in the Freedom Bill. A statutory consultation between the Ministry of Justice and the ASA will follow with a decision expected later this year.

 

17th February   

Updated: Latest Last Tango...

Last Tango in Paris released on US Blu-ray
Link Here

Last Tango Paris Blu ray US Last Tango in Paris is a 1972 France Italy drama by Bernardo Bertolucci. See IMDb

The BBFC waived their cuts for:

  • UK 2000 MGM R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2000 MGM VHS
  • UK 1988 Warner VHS
  • UK 1978 X rated cinema release

The US release is uncut and NC-17 Rated for:

Previously passed X by the BBFC after 10s of cuts for:
  • 1973 cinema release

From IMDb:

  • The BBFC originally demanded 20s of cuts to include edits for language but these were successfully appealed by the director. In the end a 10s shot of Paul putting his fingers between Jeanne's buttocks was censored from the sodomy scene.
  • The BBFC was also concerned about a scene of sexual dialogue, but decided that it could not be cut without damaging the film.   

 

16th February   

Lady Hermit...

New US release of a Shaw Brothers film once banned from UK release
Link Here

CELESTIAL FILMS LADY HERMIT Lady Hermit is a 1971 Hong Kong martial arts film by Meng Hua Ho. See IMDb

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

The only time it was put forward for a UK release, the BBFC banned it from cinemas in 1972.

Review from IMDb: Quite spectacular

The film offers two wonderful swordswomen for the price of one. Shaw Brothers' top female martial arts star of the late 1960s, Cheng Pei Pei, stars as the title character, a famous veiled crusader who fights bad guys with her sword but has dropped out of sight when the film opens. Shih Szu plays an eager, whip-wielding aspiring swordswoman who seeks to track down Lady Hermit and become her student.

The villains are a gang of evil Taoist monks, led by Lady Hermit's old adversary, Black Demon. Lady Hermit and her two followers engage the gang in a series of extremely lively sword battles which are spread throughout the entire film. There are several great set pieces, including a bit where the characters fight on one of those perilous rope bridges across a gorge and the bad guys cut the ropes and Shih Szu has to hang on to the dangling remains of the bridge and climb and fight her way to the top. The climactic battle in a towering pagoda is quite spectacular.

 

16th February   

Update: Ready for Complaints...

Channel 4's Dispatches uncovers intolerance being taught in islamic schools
Link Here

dispatches logo An Islamic school in Birmingham says it is drafting a complaint to Ofcom in light of a Channel 4 Dispatches show.

Lessons in Hatred and Violenc e, aired on Monday evening, showed footage of a preacher at Darul Uloom School with extreme views.

Dispatches said it stood by its investigation and that numerous adults had been filmed teaching contempt for other religions.

The programme captured a class leader making offensive remarks about Hindus. He ranted that: Disbelievers are the worst creatures .

Head teacher Mujahid Aziz said the school had been misrepresented.

A spokesman for Dispatches, which used a hidden camera installed by a reporter at the school, said its investigation had shown footage of numerous adults, on different occasions, teaching pupils as young as 11 contempt for other religions and for wider society: We stand by our investigation and think the programme speaks for itself .

See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Meanwhile police have arrested a man over alleged assaults on children at aMarkazi Jamia mosque in Keighley, West Yorkshire.

The Dispatches documentary filmed what appeared to be a preacher hitting and kicking children during Koran lessons at the school.

West Yorkshire Police confirmed they had arrested a 59-year-old man in connection with the incident after viewing the secretly filmed footage.

Update: Charged

25th May 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

A 59-year-old man has been charged with 10 offences of common assault on children at a mosque, police said.

The charges follow a police investigation into allegations of assaults on children made in a Channel 4 documentary broadcast earlier this year.

The Dispatches programme, Lessons in Hate and Violence, secretly filmed a man allegedly hitting and kicking children during Qur'an lessons at the Markazi Jamia mosque school in Keighley, West Yorkshire, in December 2010.

West Yorkshire police said the man, who was arrested in February, had been released on bail to appear before Keighley magistrates on 2 June.

Update: Jailed

27th November 2011. See  article from  yorkshirepost.co.uk

The religious teacher who was caught on a secret camera kicking and slapping children in a Keighley mosque was jailed for 10 weeks.

Sabir Hussain admitted four charges of assaulting boys at the Markazi Jamia Mosque, in. Keighley, West Yorkshire, as they learned The Koran.

He was arrested after secret filming was screened on a Channel 4 documentary earlier this year.

He immediately lodged an appeal against his sentence but an application for bail was rejected.

 

16th February   

Attacks on the Press 2010...

CPJ reports on a dangerous world for journalists
Link Here

CPJ logo It's a double-edged sword. Technology has made the life of journalists so much easier and yet so much more difficult. Even in the least-developed countries, where simple infrastructure such as paved road is a luxury, access to mobile phones, the portability of satellite broadcasting systems, the growth of delivery platforms, and the popularity of 24-hour news channels enable a news story to make it into the homes of hundreds of millions of people instantly.

Which is a problem for those who want to control the flow of information. Reporting is hard to manipulate when the information can be on television, radio, and the Web before anyone else can get their hands on the message. So what are the options if this reporting is to be stopped?

More and more, intimidation has become the tool of choice: Scare journalists into staying away from a story; make sure they understand their interference is not welcome. A few dead bodies along the way should help. Perhaps nowhere is that more clear than in Mexico, where drug-related bloodshed has encompassed thousands of lives, including those of many journalists. To drive home their brutal point, gangs dump beheaded and mutilated bodies on roadsides. When that isn't enough, spraying the offices of media outlets with machine gunfire adds a little emphasis.

As we know, the ruling authorities pose the greatest threat in many places, targeting news sources directly or imposing restrictive rules that make the job of reporting important stories that much harder. Few countries are an exception to this rule; every government would love to control the flow of information.

So what happens in an era of blogging, tweeting, social media, and citizen journalism, where anyone can be a reporter or mobilize support for an idea? What does that do to the flow of information and who controls it?

That is, perhaps, the biggest game-changer. For journalists, it blurs the lines between official and unofficial media, making it harder for established news organizations to distance themselves from what might be perceived as politically biased viewpoints. It has particularly affected news media in the United States, where traditionally neutral channels now feature more programming and personalities with a clear and usually outspoken point of view. The raising of the public temperature through aggressive commentary may help ratings, but it doesn't necessarily help journalists do their jobs effectively.

CPJ report that the most dangerous countries for reporters are:

  1. Pakistan: 8 journalists killed
  2. Iraq: 5
  3. Honduras: 3
  4. Mexico: 3
  5. Indonesia: 3
  6. Somalia: 2
  7. Thailand: 2
  8. Nigeria: 2
  9. Angola: 2
  10. Afghanistan: 2
  11. Philippines: 2

 

16th February   

My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding...

Complaints about the Channel 4 documentary series
Link Here

my big fat gypsy wedding logo Irish Travellers living in Britain have attacked the Channel 4's My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding , claiming it fuels hatred and suspicion of Traveller communities.

The Irish Traveller Movement in Britain called upon Channel 4 to give Britain's Gypsies and Travellers air time for a right of reply: We are hearing every day distressing accounts from parents whose children are being bullied and called names. Venue bookings are being cancelled. We are hearing about the deep sense of embarrassment and shame many have been left with by such a narrow, misrepresentative and unjust portrayal of their community and culture.

Romany Gypsies have also complained that the programme creates the impression that the only Gypsies in Britain are Irish Travellers.

Travellers' Times has reported the programme to the broadcast watchdog Ofcom. The website has argued that the portrayal of the Gypsy community is not only inaccurate but also misleads the audience and leads to harm and offence .

One of the most controversial parts of the series is the concept of grabbing , where young men physically grab young women in a dating-ritual at weddings.

Channel 4 has defended itself against the criticism. In a statement, it said: The series features a mix of Irish Travellers and Romany Gypsies and the programme makes a clear distinction between these different groups. Whenever a person is introduced, we are careful to identify who they are and what community they come from. The series is an observational documentary and made predominantly from the perspective of Gypsies and Travellers talking about their own experiences. We have intentionally avoided many commonly held stereotypes and attempted to provide a balanced view.

 

16th February   

Focking Whingers...

TV 3 get away with the word 'fucking' on grounds that it is less 'offensive' in Denmark
Link Here

tv3 denmark logo A TV ad for TDC, a telecommunications provider, featured a man and a woman dressed in nude suits. The woman sang a song in Danish, the lyrics of which included the phrase ... jag er sa* fucking stolt ... . Issue

One viewer, who saw the ad on TV3 Denmark, thought the ad contained the word fucking and the swearing was offensive.

TDC said the ad was part of a long running and well-known humorous campaign, introduced in Denmark in September 2009, based around three famous comedic actors playing the roles of a middle-aged married couple and their neighbour. The husband and wife were naturists. The neighbour had no phone, Internet or TV and the couple's aim was to get him updated on telecommunications. The campaign had been rolled out on national Danish TV as an ongoing series of ads.

Viasat Broadcasting UK provided a translation of the ad and the song it contained. They said the phrase identified by the complainant, Det idag vi fejrer slverfest, jag er s fucking stolt , translated into English as It is today we celebrate our silver anniversary, I'm so damn proud . Viasat argued that the English word fucking had become part of the Danish language as a slang word, it had lost some of its original English meaning and with it its level of offence, and the pronunciation of it had even changed to focking , to sound more Danish. They (as bilingual Danish and English speakers) did not believe fucking was the correct Danish translation of the word in the context of the ad. They said the word was not used in the ad in a negative, offensive or hurtful way, but was intended to emphasize how proud the wife was of her husband, and was more akin to the milder term damn . They continued that the word fucking was used as a Danish word in a Danish sentence in the ad, and should not be seen as having the same meaning or connotations as the word fucking might have in the UK. Although it was a swear word, fucking was used as an expression in both positive and negative situations and they did not believe it would be considered offensive in Denmark, although they appreciated that if the ad had been broadcast to a UK audience, some viewers might have found the word offensive. Viasat believed that, although the Danish population had a good understanding of English, they would associate the word fucking with its mild Danish meaning.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA understood that fucking , although a swear word in Danish, was much milder than, and did not have the same offensive connotations as, the word fucking in English. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to viewers in Denmark.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

 

16th February   

Update: Blocked in Bahrain...

More internet censorship correlating to Middle East unrest
Link Here  full story: Iran Jams Western Media...BBC, Voice of America and Deutsche Welle

bahrain police shooting protestors video In the midst of protests in Bahrain's capital of Manama that resulted in over 200 arrests and at least one death, evidence suggests that the government has clamped down on the Web, blocking access to specific YouTube pages and videos as well as, possibly, video live-streaming site Bambuser.com.

In particular the blocked video appears to show police firing at unarmed protesters:

 

16th February   

The 1958 Beer Riots...

New Zealand beer advert banned for looking like a real historical documentary
Link Here

db beer advert A beer commercial which looked too much like a historical documentary has been criticised by New Zealand's Advertising Standards Complaints Board and the version will be barred from broadcast.

The television and cinema campaign supported a relaunch of Dominion Breweries' DB Export branded beer by telling the story of former DB brewer Morton Coutts' attempt to brew the world's best beer in New Zealand.

A complainant objected to the use of real footage of the 1951 waterfront dispute to illustrate violent protests that the advertisement says took place after Arnold Nordemeyer's Black Budget of 1958.

A majority of the complaints board considered the television and cinema advertisements to be in a documentary type style, achieved by the use of the contrasting black and white screen-shots, the music, and the accompanying authoritative narration . When coupled with the use of the actual footage of the riots, from a different historical event, the ad gave the impression that the advertisements were portraying a credible and realistic depiction of history , said the board's decision.

The majority of the complaints board was of the view that the television and cinema advertisements ... were likely to mislead and deceive consumers given the realistic and accurate depiction of history conveyed in the advertisements.

 

15th February   

Spitting Blu...

The original I Spit on Your Grave gets a new uncut release on US DVD and Blu-ray
Link Here

Spit Your Grave Region NTSC I Spit on Your Grave is a 1981 US revenge film by Meir Zarchi. See IMDb

US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

In the UK the BBFC required 2:54s of cuts for:
  • 2010 101 Films DVD/Blu-ray

The BBFC commented on their cuts:

  • Company was required to make cuts to scenes of sexual violence in order to remove potentially harmful material.

This version was banned by the Irish censor in 2010.

But more famously iit was Released in January 1982 first under the Wizard label and then labelled Astra. The video was one of the prime targets of the moral press and it was listed as a Video Nasty in July 1983. It stayed on the list throughout so is therefore one the collectable DPP39s

Review from US Amazon : Brutality

Over the years my memory had embellished the film; nonetheless, it still shocked me, today.

It is easy to forget that there are actors following a script. The film is evenly paced and unrelenting. One is forced to confront the brutality of rape and violence.

The actress is quite convincing and deserves recognition. The rape scenes are borderline snuff quality except for the fact the editing and directing have moments of brilliance. The men are sickening and easily hated; they are just vicious animals without any redeeming qualities, yet they are believable. Let us not forget, there are men who commit these atrocities. One can appreciate why she seeks revenge.

Without question, the rape scenes are some of the most disturbing moments in cinematic history. The castration scene is unparalleled. The special effects are just that, effective.

The DVD is an excellent package. I Spit on Your Grave isn't presented as a low budget film. It is art; it's not a slasher flick; it's not meant for entertainment.

 

15th February   

Update: Pressing the Case...

Major newspaper takes government to court over unconstitutional media repression
Link Here  full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

nepszabadsag logo Hungary's largest-circulation national daily has turned to the Constitutional Court over the new media package, the paper said.

Editor-in-Chief Karoly T Voros submitted complaints that the legislation curbed press freedom and freedom of opinion in 16 areas, the paper said.

Among the complains listed, were the new media authority's supervision over print media, powers to impose fines, regulatory powers over new media, and the requirement that reporting must be balanced in the printed media.

 

15th February   

Update: No Pride in Hungary...

Budapest Gay Pride banned over media law protest
Link Here  full story: Media Censorship in Hungary...Repressive media censor established in 2011

Hungary flag Hungarian police have blocked this year's annual Budapest Gay Pride parade with organisers claiming that it was a politically motivated ban.

The Budapest police chief has withdrawn the permission that was granted earlier to the organisers of the 2011 gay pride march, Sandor Steigler, head of the organising Rainbow Mission Foundation, told AFP.

The organisation was preparing a court appeal, he added.

Last week, the organisers of the march applied for an extension to their usual downtown route, which police had earlier accepted. The extension would have taken the march in front of parliament, where marchers planned to protest against Hungary's controversial media law and the upcoming new constitution, both perceived as detrimental to the cause of gay rights, Steigler said.

It was this protest against the repressive new media law that seems to have triggered the Gay Pride ban.

 

15th February   

Update: Every Which Way But Lose...

Court case against Geert Wilders has no tenable outcome
Link Here  full story: Geert Wilders...Geert Wilders winds up the muslim world

dutch high court Dutch anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders has been granted the right to challenge the charges against him of inciting hatred.

The ruling was made by a new panel of judges appointed after the initial trial collapsed in October when Wilders complained of bias against him.

One of the judges told the court that if the objections were successful, the case will be closed .

The charges against him of inciting hatred and discrimination against Muslims, Moroccans and other groups date back to remarks he made in 2006 and 2008. He called Islam fascist and compared the Koran to Hitler's book Mein Kampf.

The prosecution told his initial trial last year that the comments were not criminal.

The first trial eventually fell apart when a separate panel decided that the judges' decision not to allow expert witnesses to provide evidence that Islam is in fact a violent religion. This decision was found to be biased against Wilders and a retrial was ordered.

Update: Trial Date

16th February 2011. See  article from  islamophobia-watch.com

The trial of PVV leader Geert Wilders on discrimination and inciting hatred charges will resume on March 14 when his lawyer Bram Moszkowicz will restate his opening remarks to the Amsterdam court, news agency ANP reports.

The public prosecutor will respond two days later.

The court is expected to decide whether the case should continue or be abandoned on March 30.

 

15th February   

Whipped into Shape...

Australian nutters whinge at fitness centre billboard
Link Here

wellness at newmarketjpg advert A billboard promoting a fitness centre featuring the bottom of a whip-wielding woman has been slammed as sexist, led to complaints and 'polarised' the community.

The Advertising Standards Bureau will review the billboard. Bureau communications manager Alison Abermethy said a number of complaints had been received about the Health Club @ Newmarket billboard.

Resident Virginia Druett claimed she found the image offensive: To portray a woman as just the bottom part of the body is an insult to every woman in Australia Women have strived for centuries to be treated with respect and equality and this is just so demeaning. How this has passed through censorship just amazes me.

 

15th February   

Criticism Silenced...

DR Congo radio station closed after phone-in criticism of poor security
Link Here

DR Congo flag Journaliste En Danger (JED) condemns the closure of Radio du Peuple Oicha, a community radio station operating in eastern DR Congo. JED demands that the authorities allow the radio station to re-open without conditions.

According to information obtained by JED, Radio du Peuple Oicha was closed on 3 February 2011 until further notice on the orders of Maliamungu Sebuyange, deputy administrator of the territory. Sebuyange criticised the station for its coverage of the current insecurity in Beni after it aired a live phone-in broadcast on 2 February, where callers denounced the safety situation in the region. Beni has recently been stricken by an upsurge in robberies and murders.

Listeners were only denouncing the current climate of insecurity in the Beni territory, with no intention of offending the territorial authority, Jose Bashizi, programme director at Radio du Peuple Oicha, told JED.

 

14th February   

Update: Complaints Department in Overdrive...

BBC response to complaints about Mexican jokes during Top Gear
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Top Gear Apocalypse Digital Copy Top Gear, comments about Mexicans
BBC Two

We received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with comments made about Mexicans in the programme on 30 January 2011.

The producers of Top Gear have apologised to the Mexican Ambassador for the comments made about him during the show. Whilst the majority of the piece on the Mastretta had been discussed in advance with BBC Editorial Policy staff, the comments about him were ad libbed by the presenters during the recording. The BBC's Editorial Guidelines are very clear about singling out individuals for irreverent/mocking/ comments. Those guidelines were not adhered to and the Top Gear production team has apologised for this. The comments about the Ambassador have been removed from all repeats of the programme.

With regard to the other comments made about Mexicans, these were indeed playing off a stereotype, and that practice is something that regular viewers of Top Gear will be familiar with, as the presenters often make jokes about the perceived characteristics of various nationalities when talking about the cars made in those countries. It is something that has been done in the past with the French, the Germans, the Americans and the Italians, so Mexico was not singled out for special treatment in this case.

Comments made by the Top Gear presenters are clearly exaggerated for comic effect - to imply that a sports car is no good because it will spend all day asleep is self evidently absurd, and not meant to be taken as vindictive. The Top Gear audience understands this clearly and treats these remarks accordingly.

The UK prides itself on being a tolerant nation, but one of the contributing factors towards that tolerance is the fact that jokes made around national stereotyping are commonplace, and are indeed a robust part of our national humour. Typically the most comedic ones are negative - for example our own comedians make material out of the fact that the British are supposed to be terrible cooks, terrible romantics, and forever happy to come second. In fact, some of the more humorous complaints we have received from Mexico are based on stereotypical retorts, with one excellent one in particular referring to the presenters as effete tea drinkers.

In line with that British tradition, stereotype-based comedy is allowed within BBC guidelines, in programmes where the audience has clear expectations of that being the case, as it indeed is with Top Gear. Of course it may appear offensive to those who have not watched the programme or who are unfamiliar with its humour.

It was not the intention of the programme to offend Mexicans but rather to use a clearly unbelievable stereotype of Mexicans to humorous effect.

 

14th February   

Offsite: Biased Towards the Religious Lobby...

Australia pussyfoots around its censorship laws
Link Here

Australia Government: Attorney-General's Department Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland and Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor have announced a shake-up of censorship law in Australia through a review of the 1995 Classification Act.

This act determines where the line is drawn on various categories and forms of media. It legislates different levels of intensity and explicitness in images and words, setting out what can be accessed by various age groups in Australia. It designates whether different media can be viewed in private (for example by a couple in their home) or in public, such as at a movie theatre.

The Classification Act is primarily concerned with what we commonly call entertainment, news and information. More than any other federal act, its success relies on accurately gauging public opinion, and it is one of the main pieces of legislation that defines Australian morality .

Julia Gillard's government is asking the Australian Law Reform Commission to undertake the review, with submissions being sought throughout this year.

It will be unable to report to the government until at least mid-2012 and the government most likely won't be able to act on the recommendations until 2013 -- close to another federal election. Hence it could be 2014 before this review bears any fruit.

At the same time, there are four other reviews of the Classification Act, or aspects of it, being undertaken by various agencies.

In an appalling waste of resources, the Senate committee on legal and constitutional affairs has also announced an inquiry into the Australian film and literature classification scheme .

...Read the full article

Update: Consultancy Submissions

16th March 2011. See  submissions from  aph.gov.au

 

14th February   

Offsite: Monks in the Movies...

Moral censorship in Thailand
Link Here

Syndromes Century DVD Nantarat Sawaddikul If, to a degree, art manifests the temperament of society, the depiction of monks in films has increasingly shown a complicated perception of Thais towards the institution once untouchable. Likewise, the unpredictable decisions of the censors highlights an even more complicated dynamics between art and Buddhism --- one of the pillars of the nation that cannot be undermined.

If a film has a moral lesson, we won't object to it, says Dr Amnaj Buasiri, director of the Sangha Supreme Council. Monks can be portrayed as funny, but if it's too disrespectful, we'll ask the director to cut certain things. In general we look at the whole film and see if it means to spread a good message or not.

Last year the envelope was pushed: the film Nak Prok (In the Shadow of Naga) featured a contentious setup in which a gang of robbers disguised themselves as monks and ran the temple as if it was a mafia den. The film, almost miraculously, passed the censors without a cut --- the Sangha Supreme Council contended that the bad guys are fake monks, not real ones. It had a quibble, though, over a scene showing a (real) monk tattooing a man, and the film was required to add a warning caption that such practice is against the monkhood's rules.

Still, the lenient attitude towards Nak Prok was a stark contrast to the highprofile ruckus in 2007 when the censorship board demanded an innocuous scene of a monk strumming a guitar and two monks playing with a radiocontrolled toy be axed from the award winning film Syndromes and a Century . When the director, Apichatpong Weerasethakul, refused to comply, a longrunning protest from the film community and media experts took place. That case exemplified how an attempt to tease and portray monks based on reality is an issue of dire sensitivity, if not exactly a taboo.

In Mindfulness and Murder , slated for release in April, a monk becomes a homicide detective when a dead body turns up in his temple. It transpires that the monk is an ex-cop; so now he preaches impermanence as well as forensic investigation. Last year, in Apichatpong's Cannes-winning Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives , a young monk sneaks out of his quarters, takes a shower, changes into layman's clothes, and ends up at a karaoke joint in one of the year's most mind-warping cinematic melancholia. Observers had expected a ballyhoo, yet the film passed the rating committee without any fuss.

Monking around, it seems, remains an act of tiptoeing a thin line.

...Read the full article

 

13th February   

How I made those unkindest of cuts...

BBFC examiner relates his experiences to an Indian audience
Link Here

popcornessayists One may sensibly query if there is any relevance to a censorship body in the 21st century when the internet remains a relatively untrammelled, free-floating entity, difficult to control or regulate.

Most viewers' instinctive reaction would be an emphatic no . But what is a regulatory body to do when, for instance, a film with immense appeal to young people (Rules of Attraction) contains a scene showing a young woman slowly undressing before sitting in a bathtub, taking off her rings and slitting her wrist vertically with a razor blade in an extreme close-up shot. A suicide prevention specialist said few know of how lethal vertical cuts on wrists can be, leading to a speedy and certain death. The scene in the film, played to the beguiling soundtrack of Nilsen's Can't live, if living is without you . . ., presented a glamourised suicide scene and showed what was, in the Board's parlance, an imitable harmful technique .

An example emerged recently in a low-budget American work called Terrorists, Killers and Other Wackos : a collection of clips collected from the floors of editing rooms, cobbled together and set to a jaunty soundtrack. Nothing was sacrosanct: real deaths, suicides, executions, horrific injuries, a close-up of a man having his hand sliced off at the wrist. All served up without any documentary or other context and with the express intent to entertain. It made for jaw-dropping, eye-watering viewing, and the DVD would almost certainly have found a ready market, probably among feckless young men at drink-driven parties. It was also acknowledged that the work was very unlikely to lead to anyone rushing out to copy or imitate the gory actions on view. However, there was an extremely disturbing quality to such unashamedly exploitative material that made it impossible to release without some amount of soul-searching and debate. However, despite my own revulsion at the film, I continued to find it tough to accept that the organisation I worked for had a remit that included protecting the moral fabric of the nation. Who was I to tell people what they could and couldn't watch, all the while being relatively undisturbed myself by watching the same material? Most BBFC cuts are made in the porn category (sensibly, an entirely legal product in the UK, although hardcore material can only be sold in licenced sex shops). The Obscene Publications Act 1959, brought in to unsuccessfully proscribe D.H. Lawrence's Lady Chatterley's Lover, is also still much in use, notably in the area of porn. It is, thankfully, a law that is almost never used to proscribe printed material any more, but the moving image is apparently still fair game.

Are people really likely to be depraved and corrupted merely by watching porn performers do odd things to each other on screen? All but the very prudish would probably---at least, secretly--- think not. But such acts as the dripping of hot wax on certain body parts have remained on the Department of Public Prosecution's list of obscene material for a long time and there will be little appetite in government to take on what could turn into a rather (forgive the pun) sticky issue.

And so the BBFC soldiers on into the 21st century, doing what it does with sincerity and good intent.

...Read the full article

 

13th February   

Rastafuryans...

Rastamouse children's cartoon promotes diversity to some, and racism to the easily offended others
Link Here

Rastamouse Bag  Bling Michael Souza He is an animated reggae-singing mouse who has become a hit for the BBC, entertaining children with his attempts to fight crime and spread love and respect.

Yet dreadlocked Rastamouse has provoked more than a hundred complaints to the corporation with parents expressing fears the show is racist and encouraging the use of slang.

 

13th February   

No Pooftas...

Village nutters wound up by sandwich board whimsy
Link Here

bruces no pooftasjpg Mike Saqui has been livening up his New Forest hotel by writing fun, comical messages on a sandwich board outside his building.

But the latest in the series caused nutter 'uproar' in his village with a sign saying: Poofters welcome here .

Mike Saqui, owner of The Penny Farthing Hotel, meant the sign to be a pointed reference to the case where a Cornish B&B owner refused to let in gay couples.

Chairman councillor Mark Rolle told the parish council meeting this week that he had been offended by the slogans. He said: There have been some amusing signs occasionally. But last weekend I found one that incensed me. The realms of decency were overstepped - we could be branded a village of bigots.

However, other councillors disagreed. Leonard Cornell said: It's not offensive, it's a fact. On its website it is listed as gay friendly.

Saqui said:

This is a just a storm in a teacup and the parish council has overreacted. I've been writing fun, comical messages on the A-board for the last 10 years and no harm is meant by them. We have a small minded parish council who have their knickers in a twist and I just want to get on running a business. This is the political correctness culture gone mad. The latest message is not homophobic, we welcome gays, lesbians or whoever.

After we did receive a complaint and I took the board in - and then I received complaints from people saying 'don't let the naysayers win.

I can't believe the police were sent round to have a word either, it's a ridiculous waste of their time. A few bad apples on the parish council will not stop me writing my messages.

 

13th February   

Update: Generation Y...

Critical Cuban blog unblocked
Link Here  full story: Generation Y...Visa censorship in Cuba

genreation y logo Dissident blogger Yoani Sanchez said that the Cuban government has unblocked access to her blog, which had been off limits on the island's Internet since 2008.

In a posting on Twitter, she wondered how long Cuban Internet users would be able to view her Generation Y blog but exulted in the opening, however brief: In the long night of censorship, a small hole has opened. My blog Generation Y returns to the insular light.

Her blog criticizes the Cuban system and the difficulties of daily life on the communist-led island.

Sanchez has won a number of international prizes and was named one of the 100 most influential people in the world by Time Magazine in 2008. Her blog is translated into 15 languages and she has more than 100,000 followers on Twitter.

The unblocking came as Cuba hosted an international computer science conference.

Update: Banned from Travel

11th January 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

The dissident Cuban blogger Yoani Sanchez, famed for her outspoken online critiques of the country's communist regime, has issued an appeal to Brazil's president, Dilma Rousseff, to help her leave Cuba.

Sanchez, a Havana-based writer who has been accused by Cuban authorities of conducting a cyberwar against the government, has not been able to leave the country since 2004 because of migration rules that require Cubans to receive government permission to travel.

She has now been invited to the Brazilian state of Bahia in February for the screening of a documentary about press freedom in Cuba and Honduras in which she features.

In the video appeal to Rousseff, posted on YouTube, Sa'nchez called on Brazil's first female president to intervene:

Please help me, who says it is her 19th attempt to get travel permission from Cuban authorities. Through this small video I want to send a very respectful [and] very humble message ... to the president of Brazil, Dilma Rousseff.

Unfortunately I am forbidden from leaving my own country -- I have not committed any crime.

Update: Travel Ban Repeated

13th February 2012. See  article from  amnesty.org

The Cuban government must reform an arbitrary exit permit scheme that affects all Cubans and is used to punish freedom of expression, Amnesty International said after a prominent blogger was again blocked from travelling abroad.

On Friday, Cuba's migration authorities denied blogger and activist Yoani Sa'nchez an exit permit (white card or tarjeta blanca) for the 19th time in four years. As on previous occasions, no reason was given for the decision.

The well-known author of Generacion Y had been invited to speak at the premiere screening in Brazil's Bahi'a state on 10 February of a documentary on freedom of expression in Cuba and Honduras. Brazil had already issued her a visa to enter the country.

The Cuban government's repeated denial of exit permits to critics like Yoani Sa'nchez can only be seen as retaliation for the expression of their legitimate political views and activism, said Javier Zuniga, Special Advisor to Amnesty International: Those fighting for freedom of expression, association, and movement must be authorized to leave and re-enter the country without arbitrary restrictions, and the Cuban authorities must end other tactics used to clamp down on peaceful dissent.

 

12th February   

Updated: Mums Against ISP Internet Blocking...

Mumsnet change their mind and come out against the idea
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

Mumsnet logo The politically influential online community Mumsnet has withdrawn support for a campaign to make ISPs block access to all adult content unless the customer specifically asks the ISP to let them see it.

The campaign, started by Claire Perry MP with the backing of morality in media activitists SaferMedia, has received a sympathetic hearing from Ed Vaizey, the Minister for the Internet.

Mumsnet site admins assumed their community would happily support a campaign that claimed to protect children and make the ISPs take responsibility for Internet content, and established a campaign page on the website. But the campaign was met with robust criticism from within the Mumsnet community that the proposal was technically unworkable, an illiberal censorship that would quickly lead to blocking Wikileaks, and that it was dangerous to shift blame to ISPs for bad parenting.

Perhaps the most telling argument was that the Mumsnet site itself could be blocked over its depictions of breast feeding.

The Mumsnet campaign page in favour of Internet blocking has now been deleted, leaving only a 300-entry discussion thread and write-ups by Mumsnet bloggers to document the policy blunder.

Update: Safermedia describe the Mumsnet decision as an 'hysterical reaction'

12th February 2011. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

Safer Media Claire Perry, who writing in yesterday's Telegraph, defended the policy of filtering the web to protect children, was surprised to learn of Mumsnet's u-turn on the matter and said that she would be taking it up with the founders of the site.

Pippa Smith, co-chairwoman of Safer Media, the Christian group behind the campaign for anti-pornography filters to be switched on by default, said: I am surprised that parents would be critical of the campaign because the idea is to help parents. If internet users have to opt in to view pornography parents don't have to worry about protecting their children from it...I think there has to be censorship to protect children. If you're over 18 you won't be censored [under the proposals] . [But parents will be faced with blocked websites if they have opted for filtering for their children. At the moment it would be quite tricky to set up a separately configured connection for each family member.]

When asked about Mumsnet's about-turn on the matter, she replied: You do hear of the odd story of hysterical reactions on this kind of online forum. I'm not concerned about our campaign on the basis of what is said on one website.

 

12th February   

Religious War Mongers...

Nutters and congressmen declare war against people who enjoy porn
Link Here
Sermon on the mount

  Don't worry about God, Heaven,
the meaning of life, and all that stuff...
Just keep banging on about the evils of porn

Christian nutters and members of Congress are urging the Obama administration to vigorously enforce federal obscenity laws against illegal pornography.

Groups including, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission and CitizenLink (Focus on the Family's family advocacy arm) sent out an 'urgent' memo asking supporters to put pressure on the Department of Justice.

Regrettably, our government is not enforcing existing federal laws against pornography. We ask for your help right now to reverse this course, said ERLC president Dr. Richard Land.

The ERLC and CitizenLink are among nearly 60 national and state groups that have formed a coalition called the War on Illegal Pornography. It exists to press the Justice Department to prosecute mainstream porn that is widely available to the public.

The leaders of the mean minded campaign are Senator Orrin Hatch and U.S. House Representatives Mike McIntyre & Randy Forbes. They sent letters to Attorney General Eric Holder, calling on him to combat the growing scourge of obscenity in America.

They lamented that though evidence of the supposed harms - such as violence, addiction and sex trafficking - of hardcore adult pornography is greater today than ever, current laws are not being enforced. [Perhaps they should compare these supposed harms with the recorded death and destruction resulting from the growing scourge of religion in the world] .

Congress has put laws on the books, but those laws will not be effective until they are enforced, Hatch said simply. McIntyre and Forbes echoed the sentiment. Congress has for decades passed laws seeking to curb the production and distribution of obscene pornography, including on the Internet. A consistent and strong commitment to enforcing these laws can have a significant impact. They also noted in their letter that adult obscenity is not protected by the First Amendment. We believe it is imperative that the Department, with cooperation by the FBI, investigate and prosecute all major producers and distributors of adult obscenity. We need your leadership.

Every second, $3,075.64 is being spent on pornography, according to Internet Filter Review. An estimated 28,258 people, mostly men, view pornography every second. And every 39 minutes, a new pornographic video is being created in the United States. Pornographic websites number 4.2 million, making up 12 percent of all websites. [Given this massive scale, then perhaps they should wonder how on earth it is so hard to record the harmful consequences of porn or even show any real correlation with harm].

Coming out strongly against pornography, the ERLC, which is part of the Southern Baptist Convention, calls it the satanic counterfeit of God's perfect design for us sexual beings.

Relaxed attitudes toward human sexuality have turned the biblical notion of wholesome and monogamous sexual relations between husbands and wives on its head. . Scriptural standards of sexual morality have been abandoned; God's design for sex has been perverted beyond recognition. Pornography perverts and distorts all of the God-given purposes for sexual intimacy.

The War on Illegal Pornography coalition is asking the public to contact their senators and representative to endorse a letter addressed to Holder for the sake of our families and community.

 

12th February   

Update: Political Censors...

Ofcom to investigate complaints about extremist material on Press TV
Link Here  full story: Press TV...Political censoship merges with TV censorship

press tv logo Ofcom has confirmed it is investigating the satellite channel, Press TV, after receiving a complaint from a viewer over its extremist messages.

Press TV is Iranian based and broadcasts in English and Urdu.

Programmes on Peace TV have included praise for mujahideen fighting British troops in Iraq, labelled Jews as an enemy of Islam and made claims about the 9/11 terror attacks being an inside job .

Press TV have come in for newspaper attention as a key figure in the company, Zakir Naik, has been banned from entering the UK for extremist preaching and that his presence was not conducive to the public good . The decision, later upheld by the High Court, was based on a sermon the Mumbai-based preacher had posted on the internet during which he said every Muslim should be a terrorist .

In his failed appeal against Ms May's decision, held last November, the cleric's lawyers revealed Naik was director and chairman of Universal Broadcasting Corporation Ltd, a company registered in Britain. UBCL owns a subsidiary firm, Lords Production Ltd, which has held the broadcasting licence for Peace TV since 2007.

Conservative MP Patrick Mercer, former shadow minister for security, said: The Home Secretary dealt with Naik extremely effectively. I think she will be furious to discover he still has a licence to spread his poison on satellite television. Ofcom should revoke it immediately.

An Ofcom spokesman said: We are in the middle of an investigation about Peace TV. Ofcom will not tolerate extremism on British television, and transgressors will be dealt with.

 

12th February   

Update: Debate in the Public Domain...

Debating police and Nominet powers to shut down websites at the domain registry level
Link Here  full story: Internet Domain Censorship...In the Domain of Nominet internet censorship

Nominet logo Police plans to shut down web domains are to be debated in public.

In November, the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) tabled a plan to give such powers to Nominet, which oversees the .uk domain.

SOCA wants the power formalised as Nominet has no obligation to shut domains found to be used by criminals.

Those who want to take part are being asked to put their names forward by 23 February at the latest.

Nominet said earlier that it wanted to create a balanced group of stakeholders that would talk over the policy and its implications. A decision on who will be in the group will be taken by 2 March, said Nominet, and it is expected to have its first meeting later that same month.

 

12th February   

Update: With an Eye on Egypt...

Iran jams BBC Persia
Link Here  full story: Iran Jams Western Media...BBC, Voice of America and Deutsche Welle

  bbc persia logo BBC Persia has been working with the BBC's Arabic TV service to broadcast rolling news from Egypt, and the broadcaster news coverage of events in Egypt.

This has prompted Iran to jam the channel since Thursday.

Many Iranian viewers claimed to have been watching events unfold in Cairo and elsewhere in the region extremely closely, the corporation said, and BBC Persian has vowed to continue its broadcasts to Iran and its coverage of the turmoil in Egypt.

Perhaps the Iranian authorities have something to fear. On Friday hundreds of thousands of Iranians chanted slogans supporting the Arab uprisings, while denouncing the United States, as they marched to mark the anniversary of the Islamic revolution. Egyptians, Tunisians, your uprisings are just and we are with you, the crowds chanted.

 

12th February   

Updated: Fake Blood on the Lens...

Film maker explains how trailers get a higher BBFC rating than the feature even with the same material
Link Here

fake blood on the screen video Pat Higgins is the Writer/Director of straight-to-DVD horror movies such as Hellbride, KillerKiller, The Devil's Music & House on the Witchpit.

He explains how his Trash House DVD ended up with an 18. He also asks how the MPAA could give the same rating for both the King's Speech and Saw 3D

See the video

Update: The Hidden Cost of Easter Eggs

8th February 2011. See video from youtube.com

devils music easter egg video Pat Higgins, director of The Devil's Music, explains economic censorship resulting from the BBFC fee structure for DVD extras.

See the video

 

11th February   

BBFC Watch and Rate...

Pat on the back from Ed Vaizey
Link Here

Ed Vaizey Creative Industries Minister Ed Vaizey, has welcomed the BBFC's new Watch and Rate scheme, which provides classifications for straight to download content, as good for the industry and good for the public.

Speaking after seeing a demonstration of the new scheme, he said:

The Watch and Rate scheme is a welcome addition to the work done by the BBFC.

The internet has completely changed the way we access videos and music so it is good to see the BBFC adapting to meet the demands of the online world.

The BBFC is providing industry with a quick and cost effective classification system for straight-to-download content and the public with an age rating system they trust and understand.

Age ratings will help parents protect their children from inappropriate content and provide people with more confidence about the content they and their families are watching.

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

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

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

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said:

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

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

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

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

Stephen Joy, Production Manager of Entertainment One said:

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

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

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

 

11th February   

Update: Top Gear Top Notch Mexican Offence...

Lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, and easily offended
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Top Gear Apocalypse Digital Copy The BBC has apologised for remarks made on the television programme, Top Gear , that caused 'outrage' in Mexico.

The comments about Mexicans were made when they were discussing Mexican sports cars. Reviewing the Mastretta, Richard Hammond said vehicles reflected national characteristics: Mexican cars are just going to be lazy, feckless, flatulent, overweight, leaning against a fence asleep looking at a cactus with a blanket with a hole in the middle on as a coat. The presenters, known for their edgy jibes, then described Mexican food as refried sick .

Jeremy Clarkson added that he was confident he would not receive any complaints about their comments because the Mexican ambassador would be asleep.

But somebody on the ambassador's staff must have been awake, as the ambassador demanded an apology, calling the remarks offensive, xenophobic and humiliating .

In a letter to Mexico's ambassador in London, the BBC said it was sorry if it had offended some people, but said jokes based on national stereotyping were part of British national humour.  

Our own comedians make jokes about the British being terrible cooks and terrible romantics, and we in turn make jokes about the Italians being disorganised and over dramatic, the French being arrogant and the Germans being over-organised, the BBC said. It added that stereotype-based comedy was allowed within BBC guidelines in programmes where the audience knew they could expect it, as was the case with Top Gear . Whilst it may appear offensive to those who have not watched the programme or who are unfamiliar with its humour, the executive producer has made it clear to the ambassador that that was absolutely not the show's intention .

Hundreds of Mexicans contacted the BBC Spanish-language website BBC Mundo to protest about the remark  More expressed outrage in e-mails to Mexican newspapers and websites, where the Top Gear jibes have received huge coverage. The matter was also raised in the Mexican senate, where lawmakers were considering a motion of censure.

An all-party group of British MPs also urged the BBC to apologise, calling the remarks ignorant, derogatory and racist .

Update: Too Close to Home for Comfort

11th February 2011. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Scenes in which Top Gear presenters Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May poked fun at Mexicans will be cut before the show is broadcast in the United States next week. The show is broadcast on the BBC America channel

 

11th February   

No Freedom for Sexual Freedom...

Dangerous Pictures Act lives on in government's liberty-lite reforms
Link Here

backlash logo The Coalition's Protection of Freedoms Bill published today shows up Liberal inability to make really extensive changes in rolling back Labour's many new laws curtailing civil liberties.

Sexual freedom of expression is evidently a freedom too far.

Section 63 of the CJIA 2008, the so called extreme images law, will not be repealed. This despite it being in the top ten of Civil Liberties laws voted for repeal in the online consultation exercise in 2010, and opposed by Liberals in Parliament when originally enacted.

Backlash research, to be made public shortly, will show that s63 offences are several hundred times higher than projected by the then government when the law, based merely on a hunch and moralistic shudder, was whipped through Parliament.

Alexandra Dymock of Backlash, the sexual civil liberties organisation fighting a growing number of legal cases for incorrect prosecutions, said:

Most lawyers don't understand this law and advise their clients to plead guilty.

Already there have been too many miscarriages of justice and ruined lives that result from this ill-conceived, insufficiently researched, ineptly written and incompetently prosecuted law.

This law is a waste of valuable legal aid and police resources. It should be repealed. We will continue to lobby for repeal during the passage of this Bill .

 

11th February   

Updated: Separatist Banners...

Pakistan to disband the central film censor in favour of provincial boards
Link Here

Pakistan flag Pakistan has decided in principle to devolve the Central Board of Film Censors (CBFC) to provinces.

According to documents available with The Express Tribune, Cabinet Secretary Nargis Sethi chaired a meeting of the federal and provincial bureaucracy to discuss matters related to devolution of the culture ministry.

Participants unanimously decided to transfer film censor boards located in Lahore and Karachi to the respective provincial governments along with assets and staff. Other provincial governments will establish their own boards. Provincial governments will also make any required legislation.

Participants also decided that those laid off in the Federal Film Censor Board, Islamabad, and other provinces will be transferred to provincial governments according to their domiciles.

Update: Recentralised

11th February 2011. See  article from  nation.com.pk

The Implementation Commission is facing a lot of problems in the devolution of some of the subjects to provinces under the 18th Amendment. The Central Board of Film Censorship (CBFC) is one such gray area.

Sources in the ministry of culture informed The Nation that efforts were underway to keep the central board of films censorship intact as an autonomous department.

 

11th February   

Offsite: Hammering in the Wedge in the Turkey...

Reports from Turkey about website blocking creep
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

yaman akdeniz An obsession with child protection in the UK and throughout the EU is encouraging a cavalier approach to law-making, which less democratic regimes are using to justify much broader repression on any speech seen as extreme or dangerous.

That was the accusation made by academic and online legal expert, Dr Yaman Akdeniz, at last week's Onscenity Conference in London. Dr Akdeniz, now an Associate Professor of Law with Istanbul's Bilgi University, was concerned with what he saw as a domino effect .

He said: The UK and EU are supporting measures that allow for websites to be censored on the basis of purely administrative processes, without need for judicial oversight.

...Read the full article

 

11th February   

Offsite: The Big Off Switch...

Report reveals that most of Egypt's internet was cut off at a single switch
Link Here

Emergency Stop Button The Egyptian government shut down most of its country's internet by simply throwing a switch in a crucial data center in Cairo.

That according to a February presentation to the Department of Homeland Security's Infosec Technology Transition Council, obtained by Wired.com.

The presentation argues that the Egyptian Communications Ministry acted quite responsibly in the procedure it used to cut ties from the net, after the shutdown was ordered by Egypt's much-feared intelligence service.

Most of the outage was effected through a breaker flipped in the Ramses exchange, and the rest was phone calls and arm-twisting, the presentation says.

...Read the full article

 

10th February   

Update Censorstorm...

Bulletstorm cut in Germany
Link Here  full story: Bulletstorm...Nutters claim 'worst game in the world'

Electronic Arts Bulletstorm PC DVD The nutter hyped Bulletstorm has been given a USK 18+ rating by the German Entertainment Software Rating Board.

Even with an 18+ rating, the game had to be significantly cut by removing ragdoll physics effects, blood, blood splatter, and dismemberment.

The game was rated M (mature 17+) by the ESRB, the US game ratings organisation.

In the UK. the BBFC rated the game 18 uncut with the comment: Contains frequent strong bloody violence and strong language

 

10th February   

Update: Scary...

Nutters claim web blocking consensus with government and ISPs
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

Claire Perry Claire Perry the nutter backbench MP has claimed there is a scary degree of favourable consensus between campaigners, the government and ISPs on introducing internet blocking that would mean internet users would have to opt in to access pornography.

Claire Perry, the Conservative MP for Devizes, said a meeting on Monday had been very productive . Perry is backing a campaign by Christian groups who fear the influence of the internet on children. They want network-level filters that would block legal sex sites by default.

Despite her comments about the meeting on Twitter, ISP sources denied they gave any ground to Perry on the issue. They remain opposed to the campaign on both principle and technical grounds.

ISPs favour educating parents and offering software and services that allow them to control access to pornography at home.

Eg BT have announced a new Family Protection desktop package free to account holders, arguing that at this time these [network level] controls can't match the functionality offered by PC-based parental-control software .

Ed Vaizey said: More needs to be done to help parents protect their children and the roundtable was a useful first step.

 

9th February   

Think Before You Drink and Tweet...

Press Complaints Commission finds that there can be no expectation of privacy over public tweets
Link Here

Twitter logo The Press Complaints Commission has made its first ruling about the republication of information originally posted on Twitter.

In response to complaints about articles published in the Daily Mail and the Independent on Sunday, the Commission concluded that there had been no breach of Clause 3 (Privacy) of the Editors' Code of Practice.

The complainant was a civil servant working at the Department for Transport. The articles reported on a number of messages she had posted on her Twitter account about various aspects of, and her feelings towards, her job. In the complainant's view, this information was private: she had a reasonable expectation that her messages would be published only to her 700 or so followers; she had included a clear disclaimer on her Twitter feed that the views expressed there were personal, and were not representative of her employer.

In their defence, both newspapers argued that the complainant's Twitter account was not private. The posts could be read by anyone and not just those individuals who actively chose to follow her. The complainant had taken no steps to restrict access to her messages (although she did so after the Daily Mail article appeared) and was not publishing material anonymously. In addition, the newspapers argued that it was reasonable to highlight the messages in light of the requirements of the civil service code on impartiality. It was also reasonable for newspapers to give a view on whether it was acceptable for the complainant to have talked about such things as being hungover at work and to consider what this said about her judgement.

In reaching its decision on the case, the Commission judged that the publicly accessible nature of the information was a key consideration . It was quite clear that the potential audience for the information was actually much larger than the 700 people who followed the complainant directly, not least because any message could easily be retweeted to a wider audience. It also took into account the type of information that had been published by the newspapers, which in this case related directly to the complainant's professional life as a public servant. In all the circumstances, the Commission concluded that the newspapers' actions did not constitute an unjustifiable intrusion into the complainant's privacy.

PCC Director Stephen Abell commented: This is an important ruling by the Commission. As more and more people make use of such social media to publish material related to their lives, the Commission is increasingly being asked to make judgements about what can legitimately be described as private information. In this case, the Commission decided that republication of material by national newspapers, even though it was originally intended for a smaller audience, did not constitute a privacy intrusion.

 

9th February   

Update: League of Internet Safety...

Russia to recruit an army of 'simple people' to censor the internet
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia flag One day there will be thousands of volunteers out there patrolling the Russian Internet. That at least is the dream of a new organization, the League of Internet Safety.

The league is formed by the three major mobile providers: Mobile TeleSystems, VimpelCom, and Megafon, and the state telecom company Rostelecom. It also features the head of Mail.ru, Dmitry Grishin, on its board of trustees, which is headed by the Communications and Press Minister Igor Shchyogolev.

Shchyogolev says thousands of volunteers, or simple people, would monitor the Internet and tell the league when they see dangerous content.  The league will also provide grants to develop filters to protect children from seeing adult material on the web too.

The league's stated purpose in the next year will be to fight against child pornography, organizers say. But they inevitably talked about expanding that mission to policing other negative content.

Pavel Astakhov, the children's ombudsman who is also a trustee of the league, called on Internet users themselves to refrain from putting anything negative, extremist, disgusting or dangerous online.

Bloggers, for their part, reacted skeptically to the new organization.

Anton Nossik, one of the country's most famous bloggers and Internet businessman, pointed out that China, which has far more control of the web than Russia, had its own cyber-militia to screen websites to report to the authorities.

Another blogger Maxim Kononenko slammed the idea, claiming that organizations like the Friendly Internet had limited success. He suggested that the League of Internet Safety would end up being sold as a business in the future.

Others suggested that the league was just another way for the state to abuse the Internet for its own purposes. In recent years, the security services and Kremlin-backed youth organizations have been active on the Internet, harassing those they view as ideological opponents.

 

9th February   

Dancing on Thin Ice...

Trivial Dancing on Ice spat leads to thousands of viewer complaints
Link Here

Dancing on Ice An onscreen spat during the Dancing on Ice talent show seems to have struck a chord with complainers.

Karen Barber, who is the head coach on the ITV show after being axed as a judge, had tried to defend war hero Johnson Beharry following a series of cutting remarks.

But judge Jason Gardine Gardiner snapped back: If your opinion still mattered you'd be on the panel.

He told friends he was angry that producers had forced him to apologise on live TV following his outburst. A source said: Jason was furious he had been made to apologise. He kept saying: "Everyone in Britain has gone PC mad. Everyone in the UK is so scared of being offended, it's going to get to the point where you won't be able to say anything on TV at all. The whole thing is ridiculous, the world has gone absolutely mad".

The Daily Mail reports that 3,000 viewers complained about his attack to ITV and Ofcom.

 

9th February   

Update: Well Endowed with Nutters...

Swedish advert censors think that men are as obsessed as women about body image
Link Here  full story: Sexist Advertising in Sweden...Sweden considers banning sexist advertising

swedish boxers advert Sweden's advertising ombudsman upheld a complaint against the advertisement, promoting a television operator called Boxer, in which a photo shop character called Robert stretches out on a sheepskin rug wearing only a pair of straining, white boxer shorts.

Even if the intention was to present a humorous link between the man and product, the man is presented, through his posture and lack of clothing, as a mere sex object in a way that could be deemed offensive to men in general, the ombudsman's office claimed in a statement.

It added that Robert's legs, chest, arms and abdomen are very muscular, and the outline of his genitalia is visible through his underpants .

A complainer argued that the focus on the organ and its size had nothing to do with the product, and even if that was the case, it is no way to portray either a man or a woman . It was also claimed that Robert's physical shape could place pressure on impressionable men who aspire to have the same physique.

The advertisement sparked lively debate on internet comments sites, with many men stating they found it harmless and inoffensive, and that the ombudsman should get a life .

An editorial in Aftonbladet, a leading Swedish newspaper, said that the ombudsman had to act on equality grounds because it would have upheld a complaint if Boxer had used a female image.

 

9th February   

Update: Causing Unrest...

Sudanese newspaper censorship in fear of Tunisia/Egypt style uprisings
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

almidan wspaper Amnesty International calls on Sudan to release 16 people seized during a raid on a newspaper headquarters in Khartoum.

16 people, including nine members of staff working with the Communist party-affiliated newspaper Al-Midan, were arrested by National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) agents.

The Sudanese government must immediately release all those detained during this blatant attempt to stifle free speech, said Erwin van der Borght, Amnesty International's Africa Program director: The people of Sudan have every right to peaceful protest without fear of arrest, assault and harassment. And the media have every right to freely report these events.

The Al-Midan newspaper was banned from distributing an edition which carried reports covering protests in Khartoum inspired by those in Tunisia and Egypt. Opposition newspaper Ajrass Al Hurriya and independent Al Sahafa were also stopped from distributing similar reports.

 

8th February   

Feed Over Email...

US government produces technology to bypass website filtering by encoding censored data into emails
Link Here

bbg logo The U.S. government has developed technology that can cut through Web censorship barriers in countries like China and deliver news and information to people who don't have currently have access to it.

The Feed Over Email (FOE) system, outlined in a recent report by the Broadcasting Board of Governors, uses email to transport censored data to end users. A server encodes the required internet data (pages, files, applications, RSS feeds etc) and encodes them into an email. The end user runs a client program to decode the data into familiar internet formats.

The government hopes that FOE will allow people to receive the latest news from censored Web sites and also complement existing anti-censorship tools, according to the report. People also can use the tool to download other anti-censorship software, such Tor, Freegate, or Ultrasurf.

The technology was tested between February and June 2010 in the Chinese cities of Hong Kong, Beijing, and Shenzhen and performed well in all tests, according to the report. However, the agency said it's unclear how it will work when publicly available.

The U.S. has undertaken previous efforts to help bypass government Internet censorship, but the report marks the first public disclosure of technological efforts to do so.

 

8th February   

Updated: Banana Suckers...

Supporting the hype for Rhianna's new single S and M
Link Here

Loud Rihanna Rihanna's new single S&M has provoked TV censors across the world. It has been axed from the BBC's daytime radio playlist in Britain and the promo is said to be banned in 11 countries.

The song's suggestive lyrics and the accompanying video - in which the she is seen writhing in latex, tying a man to a bed, and sucking a banana - are also subject to an age restriction on YouTube.com.

Britain's Daily Mirror reports that BBC bosses have refused to allow DJs on its flagship station Radio 1 to play the song before 7pm. A BBC spokesman tells the publication, We are waiting for an edited version before deciding whether it will be played in the daytime.

Update: S&M too much for the BBC

8th February 2011. Based on article from mtv.com

Now it seems that even the song's title is giving the BBC fits.

In the latest U.K. Top 40 Singles chart, which is compiled by the British-based Official Charts Company and was unveiled Sunday on Radio 1. In this week's chart, S&M officially debuts, but, strangely enough, it did so with the title Come On.

Are you fucking kidding me??? I'm on it! Rihanna wrote in one tweet after being asked by a fan about the new title. When asked by another fan if she was OK with the change, she replied: Absolutely Not!

Update: BBC edit

10th February 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

The BBC Edit broadcast as Come On , edits out all references to 'sex', 'chains' and 'whips'.

 

8th February   

Whinger Told to Fuck Off...

Australian advert censor dismisses complaint about the use of the acronym MILF
Link Here

JENNIFER COOLIDGE Original Signed Artist It is okay to use the acronym MILF in adverts according to the Australian advertising censor.

The Ad Standards Board (ASB) was considering a complaint over a Ticketmaster promotion for a tour by the actress Jennifer Coolidge.

According to the complaint: As this is a special offer, you need to enter a code word into the Ticketmaster booking engine to receive the discount. The code that you are asked to enter is MILF. This seems innocent enough except that MILF is an acronym commonly used in the porn industry for MOMS I'D LIKE TO FUCK . My objection is about the casual and insidious use of pornography (in this case a term used in pornography) to sell to the general public.

The ASB dismissed the complaint, ruling:

The Board noted the complainant's concerns that the word MILF is linked to pornography. The Board noted that the term MILF was coined in a film featuring Jennifer Coolidge and that it is an acronym for words meaning a sexually attractive older woman. The Board considered that it is not a term directly related to the pornography industry but to Jennifer Coolidge's character in the film American Pie and has subsequently been used to describe attractive mothers generally.

The Board considered that whist the word MILF did relate to the sexual attractiveness of a woman, you would need to understand the meaning of this acronym in order to understand the sexual reference. The Board considered that in the context of the advertisement for the Jennifer Coolidge tour, this word and implied reference is relevant and unlikely to be viewed or understood by children.

Whilst some members of the community may not like this word, it has become part of the common vernacular, is not generally considered offensive, and in this context is not inappropriate.

 

7th February   

Porn Sunday...

300 US churches kindly hype porn
Link Here

porn sunday logo Super Bowl Sunday, is being dubbed Porn Sunday by more than 300 pastors, who will talk openly about pornography with their congregations.

Event organizer Craig Gross, founder of XXXchurch.com, said the centerpiece of Porn Sunday will be a 39-minute video featuring him and several NFL players talking openly about the problems created by the $13 billion-per-year industry.

About 95 million people will watch the Super Bowl, Gross said, but research indicates that 40 million people visit porn websites every day. And 47% of Christians say pornography is a problem in the home. Porn revenue, he said, is bigger than the combined revenues of football, baseball and basketball leagues in this country.

But pornhub.com, which describes itself as the leading provider of adult content online, believes these types of public discussions lead to greater awareness of adult offerings online and likely will result in greater traffic on the site, Pornhub marketing Vice President Corey Price said.

 

7th February   

Recipe for Intolerance...

Iran TV bans cookery shows featuring foreign food
Link Here

hells kitchen logo Iran has banned TV cooking shows featuring foreign food.

The prohibition was announced by Ali Darabi, the deputy head of Iran's state broadcasting company.

The ban is seen as a part of a nationalism campaign, perhaps reacting to increasingly popular foreign or American culture being imported into Iran.

 

7th February   

Offsite: Modern Warfare...

Interview with a BBFC games examiner
Link Here

lego death The BBFC Talks Modern Warfare 2, Censorship and How They Keep Gaming Standards High. An interview with James Blatch of the BBFC.

Not Actual Game Footage: Is violence more acceptable in a game if it isn't happening to a human being? If a robot or alien is being brutally decapitated for instance, does that make it more acceptable? If yes then why?

James Blatch: In simple terms: YES. It's all about context (a bit of a mantra here in Soho Square). In the Lego series of video games, the player is basically blasting little Lego pieces to bits, that's something my five year old does with the real thing and on the Wii all the time (so far he seems normal...). But if it were the real Luke and Leia, even without blood effects, we might be looking at raising the category

...Read the full article

 

7th February   

RedTube Free of Blame...

Pay site operator blames loss of revenue on free porn so sues RedTube
Link Here

Red Tube logo Free porn has a lot to answer for in terms of a negative effect on the adult industry, but it isn't against the law as Kevin Cammarata found out.

He made a complaint against Redtube.com owner Bright Imperial Limited of Hong Kong claiming: The ubiquitous distribution of free adult videos through redtube.com has had a massive negative impact on the business model of adult website proprietors. Now that consumers have the ability to watch high quality adult videos for free on redtube.com, fewer are making the choice to pay other adult website proprietors for the same content.

He claimed that Redtube.com has caused many millions of dollars of damages to proprietors of adult entertainment websites and was a violation of California's Unfair Practices Act.

This case was nothing to do with copyright violations. The free videos are all legal and are basically trailers tempting people to buy subscriptions and the like. Presumably the law cited is to prevent 'dumping' where an entity drives competitors out of business by selling at impossibly low prices with a view to cleaning up later.

The Appeals Court's ruling showed some initial sympathy for Cammarata's grievance which is common among porn producers. According to one adult entertainment executive, the formerly profitable subscription-based websites 'have been brought to their knees' by the tube-based sites, they observed. But the justices could find no evidence that Redtube's marketing strategy had anything to do with putting Cammarata out of business so dismissed the charges.

If Cammarata's subscription-based website lost revenue after Redtube and other tube-based websites came on the scene it was because the tube-based business model is more efficient, not because of alleged predatory pricing by Bright, the court concluded.

 

7th February   

Hindu Art Censors...

Art Summit threatened over paintings by India's best known artist
Link Here

mf husain The India Art Summit has been called the world's biggest fair of modern and contemporary Indian art . With 84 galleries exhibiting the work of about 500 artists, it has grown in both size and stature since its inception in 2008.

For the third event running (there was no summit in 2010), the organisers had to take down the works of India's best-known artist, MF Husain, after threats of violence and vandalism.

Delhi Art Gallery's Ashish Anand, who exhibited the paintings, said he received more than two dozen threatening emails, some containing abusive language.

Could you please stop exhibiting this bastard's paintings? I am very disappointed being an Indian and definitely look for revenge in case of any such artworks being allowed to exhibit, read one email.

Considering the violent record of various Hindu right-wing groups it was inevitable that the organisers would remove the 'offending' paintings.

However the following day, the organisers of the summit remounted Husain's work citing assurances from the police and Ministry of Culture that there would be adequate security. This was seen as a victory against Hindu extremists.

The intimidation of artists, writers, intellectuals and journalists by right-wing extremists is now an accepted fact of day-to-day life. Earlier this year, young Aditya Thackeray, the 20-year-old leader of the Yuva Sena, the youth wing of the right wing nativist party Shiv Sena, demanded that Mumbai University remove Rohinton Mistry's 1991 novel Such a Long Journey from its syllabus because, he claimed, it offended Maharashtrians. The University's vice-chancellor fell over himself to comply. When the Shiv Sena demanded that producer Karan Johan change the name of a fictional magazine, Bombay Beat, to Mumbai Beat, in his equally fictional film, Wake Up Sid, the producer rushed to grovel in apology. It bears repeating that India was the first country to ban Salman Rushdie's Satanic Verses.

 

7th February   

A Useless Curse...

Nigerian arrested for cursing his state governor on Facebook
Link Here

african witchdoctor A Nigerian was recently jailed for posting a curse on his Facebook profile about the governor of Jigawa.

Writing in the local Hausa dialect, Moukhtar Ibrahim Aminu asked for divine punishment to be delivered upon Governor Sule Lamido.

He was arrested and held for seven days for defamation.

His curse translates into English as: Allah curse Sule Lamido and all his useless friends. Allah make Sule Lamido and his friend useless, according to the U.K. Press Association. Many people in the region believe that such curses can actually damage people for life.

Aminu was arrested at the request of the governor.

 

7th February   

School for Censors...

School gets court injunction to ban Indian film over supposed damage to reputation
Link Here

dazed in doon Ashvin Kumar's film on Doon School, Dazed In Doon release has been held up by a court order issued in Dehradun .

Says Ashvin: The petition filed by the Doon school alleges that its reputation will be damaged if the film is screened. The court has granted an order that forbids me from screening, distributing and exhibiting the film.

Earlier, the headmaster wrote a letter to the I&B Ministry asking them not to issue a censor certificate.

 

5th February   

iCensor...

BBFC provide a free iPhone app with their latest ratings and information
Link Here

bbfc app The BBFC have provided a new app available for iPhone and iPad with the description"

Check out the latest film and DVD classification decisions from the BBFC. Whether you are at home, at the cinema or out and about, get detailed information about why the film or DVD you are thinking of seeing or buying got the classification it did.

Interesting to note the rating has been rated:

Rated 9+ for Infrequent/Mild Profanity or Crude Humor

Presumably the app is not carrying the full range of certificates lest Apple get offended by titles such as Rocco Siffredi's Stick your iPhone up your Arse 17.

 

5th February   

Update: Unmoderated Danger...

Thai webmaster on trial for other people's postings on the forum
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Prachatai logo The trial has started of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, executive director of the Thailand-based independent news Web site Prachatai. She stands accused of 10 different violations of the country's draconian 2007 Computer Crime Act (CCA), each of which carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison.

The case centers on comments posted by users of a Prachatai Web board that authorities have charged were defamatory of the Thai monarchy--a criminal offense under Thai law. Chiranuch has been charged under the CCA's Section 15, which pertains to the liability of online intermediaries, including Internet service providers (ISPs) and webmasters.

Prosecution witness Aree Jivorarak, head of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology's (MICT) said in his testimony that when his office brought the comments to Chiranuch's attention she immediately deleted them in her capacity as the Web board's moderator.

Chiranuch told CPJ that Prachatai's online forums received thousands of comments daily in 2008--when the alleged CCA violations occurred--and that it was impossible to police instantly every comment that was posted.

Defense witnesses are expected to argue in upcoming hearings that the CCA's Section 15 is out of step with laws governing intermediary liability in many Western countries and that the Thai law applies unreasonable obligations to webmasters.

 

5th February   

Update: Invited for Filter Coffee and Nut Fudge...

Mediawatch-UK and Safermedia get their meeting with Ed Vaizey
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn
buttonholing ed vaizey

  Nudging Ed Vaizey

The nutters of Mediawatch-UK and Safermedia are looking forward to Monday's meeting with government minister Ed Vaizey.

The political campaigners are pushing their demands for ISP blocking with adult material only enabled for those that opt in and verify their age.

Mediawatch rant on about all the worlds ills seemingly down to porn on the internet but don't really consider too much about the practicalities of trying to define a filter to match the needs of all ages from tots to parents.

But Mediawatch-uk have made a little progress they now seem to support the idea that adults are allowed access to porn. Last time this was mentioned they wanted to put people in prison for 3 years for the possession of R18 porn. Mediawatch-UK wrote on their blog:

We support the proposal for an opt-in system to block adult sites at source unless specifically requested.

Of course once the blocking process is place the next step will be to 'nudge' society pressurising people not to opt in.

According to the Internet Service Providers' Association (ISPA), they together with a number of ISPs have also  been invited to the meeting. Representatives of UKCCIS and children's charities will also be present.

I bet they haven't invited anyone to represent the views of the millions of people who enjoy various forms of adult interests on the net..

 

5th February   

Updated: Burning an Effigy of the Film Censors...

Indians protest against banning of a film by preventing the screening of other films
Link Here

jai bolo telangana Almost half the cinemas in Telangana were forced to stop screening of films in protest against the censor ban of N Shankar's film, Jai Bolo Telangana , a film based on the decades-old Telangana agitation.

Posters of films in which Seemandhra actors worked were burnt at a couple of places while Telangana activists staged protests in front of cinema halls demanding the clearance to Jai Bolo Telangana .

Unconfirmed reports said that in Mahabubnagar district, protestors burnt the reels of two movies, Wanted and Golconda High School .

The shut-down call given by the Kakatiya University Student Joint Action Committee (KUJAC). Students burnt posters of movies and an effigy of the Censor Board.

Update: Passed adults only after cuts

5th February 2011. Based on article from timesofindia.indiatimes.com

Jai Bolo Telangana , the controversial movie on Telangana separatist struggle, was finally cleared by the censor board on Thursday, but surprisingly with an A certificate.

All those who have been waiting to watch a hardcore Telangana agitation movie could be in for a surprise. Jai Bolo. .. is reportedly as much a love story in the backdrop of the fight for a separate state.

The censors who watched Jai Bolo Telangana for the second time suggested 10 cuts for the film. Sources said some of the dialogues had to be snipped, which the members felt were 'obscene'. Some visuals were also considered 'obscene'.

Censors also insisted upon the producer/director N Shankar to include a disclaimer in the beginning of the movie so that the film could be understood in the 'right context'.

It was decided to give the film an 'A' certificate because the subject is such that only mature minds can understand, CBFC Hyderabad regional officer Dhanalaxmi told TOI.

The censor certificate will be issued once the director executes all the suggested cuts, as he as agreed to do.

Meanwhile, earlier during the day lawyers from Telangana region staged a protest at the Central Board of Film Certification's (CBFC) Hyderabad regional office at Masab Tank demanding that the film be cleared without any delay. They also wanted that it should be given a U certificate for all ages.

 

5th February   

Something Stinks in Malawi...

New law to ban publications against the 'public interest'
Link Here

i fart in your geral direction An amendment to Malawi's penal code, which became law last week, allows the government to ban any publication deemed contrary to public interest for an unspecified period of time, institutionalizing political censorship of the press, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

The new law gives the information minister unchecked discretion to block a publication he or she deems against the public interest. Previously the law only prohibited importation of publications considered seditious.

The ability of a single political appointee to decide what newspapers, local or foreign, citizens read is against the public interest and is an assault on Malawi's constitutional guarantee of press freedom, said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. We call on parliament to repeal this arbitrary legislation immediately.

The new law follows threats by Mutharika to close down newspapers that criticize his administration. Authorities had failed in an attempt to ban the tabloid Weekend Times in November over its frequent stories exposing fraud and sex scandals of public figures.

I fart in your general direction

Based on article from bbc.co.uk

Meanwhile a far more important legal prohibition on farting has captured the attention of the worlds press.

The Local Courts Bill, to be introduced next week reads: Any person who vitiates the atmosphere in any place so as to make it noxious to the public to the health of persons in general dwelling or carrying on business in the neighbourhood or passing along a public way shall be guilty of a misdemeanour.

There seems to be a fair debate about whether this applies to farting or not.

Two of Malawi's most senior judicial officials are arguing over whether a new bill includes a provision that outlaws breaking wind in public.

Justice Minister George Chaponda says the new bill would criminalise flatulence to promote public decency . Just go to the toilet when you feel like farting, he told local radio.

However, he was directly contradicted by Solicitor General Anthony Kamanga, who says the reference to fouling the air means pollution. How any reasonable or sensible person can construe the provision to criminalising farting in public is beyond me, he said, adding that the prohibition contained in the new law has been in place since 1929.

 

4th February   

Classical Dance Censorship...

Chinese pressure on New Zealand dignitaries rebuffed
Link Here

shen yun curtain-call New Zealand's Prime Minister Keith Locke has accused China of exporting its censorship of the Falun Gong to his country, pressuring politicians to boycott a concert by a Chinese performing arts group, reported TVNZ.

Locke has said the Chinese Consul General in Auckland, Liao Juhua, had sent a letter to Auckland Councillor Cathy Casey, asking her not to attend the Shen Yun Performing Arts group's upcoming performances in New Zealand. The letter had said the group had affiliations with the Falun Gong movement.

While some politicians might laugh off this ham-fisted attempt to stop them from attending a cultural performance, others may feel pressured to avoid the event worried about what their presence at the concert could do to sister city or parliamentary relations with China, Locke was quoted as saying.

The letter had called the Falun Gong a heretical and an anti-society cult .

Noting that he had received a similar letter on behalf of 29 Auckland-based Chinese organisations, Locked has said, I am also concerned that some Chinese organisations in Auckland may be acting in league with the Auckland consulate in this matter.

The Shen Yun Performing Arts group performs classical Chinese dance at Auckalnd's ASB Theatre from Feb 3 to 11.

 

4th February   

National Treasures...

Door art fails to ward off the evil spirits of Chinese censorship
Link Here

ai weiwei door art The ancient Chinese New Year tradition of decorating your doorway with Door Guardians and Spring Couplets to ward off evil spirits, has just received new inspiration from a prominent artist dissident.

This year, Door Guardians designed by outspoken dissident and artist, Ai Weiwei, have become a very popular New Year charm for scaring the evil.

One of his couplets says: Eliminate Cruelty and Evil, We Want Fairness--Diminish Ghosts and Demons, We Want Righteousness.

Another one, freely translated, says: Kill the Ghosts and Demons, Let Peace be Our Measures--Escape Police and Special-Forces, Here Come National Treasures.

National Treasures refers to new slang terms invented by Internet users aimed at tricking the regime's censorship software and breaking through the Internet blockade.

Predictably Chinese censors were not impressed and they rapidly closed down Weiwei's website. No doubt there will be further hassles for the artist as he has had several run-ins with the authorities before.

 

4th February   

Yes to Fairer Society, No to Fairer Votes Campaign...

More easily offended people calling for harsh punishments over a minor bad taste joke
Link Here

tweets logo A voting reform campaigner was disowned after posting an 'outrageous Islamophobic' joke on Twitter. Ben Donnelly was dismissed from his volunteer post for the Yes To Fairer Votes campaign after his comments provoked the easily offended.

The campaign, which wants a switch from first-past-the-post to the alternative vote (AV), moved quickly to axe Donnelly after details of his tweet were leaked to the Standard. The tweet read: Says in the Holy Qu'ran Mohammad used to get his neighbours to vote by AV which of his 4 wives he'd shag each night.

Muslim groups were 'outraged', with Labour MP Khalid Mahmood calling for Mr Donnelly to be referred to the police. This is outrageous and totally Islamophobic, Mahmood said. What has Islam got to do with AV?

Mohammed Shafiq, chief executive of Muslim youth organisation the Ramadhan Foundation, described the joke as disgusting .

A Yes campaign spokesman said: These comments were utterly disgraceful. Conduct like this will not be accepted by the campaign. We apologise for any offence taken and are as offended by these appalling comments as any other right-thinking person.

Donnelly issued a statement through the Yes campaign saying sorry for the tweet, which has been deleted from his account: I apologise unreservedly for any offence caused . My comments were thoughtless and I bitterly regret them.

 

4th February   

Update: Premier League Doesn't Understand EU Offside Rules...

European Court suggestion that free trade law allows subscription to mainland European TV services
Link Here  full story: No Free Trade for Satellite TV...Subscription to EU channels whilst in the UK

European Court of Justice Pub landlord Karen Murphy is defending her right to show English Premier League matches in her pub using a fully paid up subscription to Greek satellite TV.

In a decision that could change the way sports rights are sold across the continent, the European court of justice was advised that forbidding pubs from buying in cheap football coverage from overseas operators was incompatible with European free trade laws.

Murphy was taken to court by a company representing the league over her decision to import a Greek decoder to show the games rather than paying Sky, which holds the rights in the UK. She has fought the case all the way to the highest European court.

Juliane Kokott, one of the eight advocate generals of the European court of justice, advised that selling on a territory-by-territory basis represented a serious impairment of freedom to provide services , adding that the economic exploitation of the [TV] rights is  not undermined by the use of foreign decoder cards as the corresponding charges have been paid for those cards .

Because Murphy had paid the legitimate rights holder in Greece, she was entitled to receive its satellite broadcasts. Whilst those charges are not as high as the charges imposed in the UK there is ... no specific right to charge different prices for a work in each member state, Kokott said. Selling on a basis of territorial exclusivity was tantamount to profiting from the elimination of the internal market .

Kokott's opinion is not binding, but the Luxembourg court usually follows the advice of advocate generals. The court is expected to deliver its verdict later this year. As well as the criminal case against Murphy, civil cases against two importers of the decoder cards are being considered in parallel.

 

4th February   

Update: Mob Censorship...

Foreign journalists find themselves hounded by mobs
Link Here  full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking

Egypt flag Dozens of foreign journalists were arrested, attacked and beaten as the Egyptian government and its supporters embarked on what the US state department called a concerted campaign to intimidate the international media.

Human rights workers also fell victim to crowd violence, while police raided the offices of two groups in Cairo, the Hisham Mubarak Law Centre and the Centre for Economic and Social Rights, and arrested observers. Amnesty International said one of its staff was detained at the law centre, with a Human Rights Watch colleague.

A group of reporters from Daily News Egypt, an independent, English-language paper, were among those targeted. They were set upon by a group of passers-by in Dokki, west of the Nile, that quickly swelled into a 50-strong crowd after they ventured out of their offices to investigate a story about rising petrol prices.

It was terrifying, said Amira Ahmed, the publication's business editor. They were chanting: 'We've found the foreigners, don't let them go,' and calling us traitors and spies.  Like many who were caught up in similar incidents today, Ahmed said the most chilling part of the encounter was the mob mentality that took hold: t he people who were showing up had no idea why we were the targets. They just took up the cry of 'foreigners' and 'journalists' and joined in. There was no leader we could appeal to for reason.

The Egyptian interior ministry arrested more than 20 foreign journalists in Cairo, including the Washington Post's bureau chief and a photographer. Al-Jazeera said three of its journalists were detained.

On the streets, it was impossible to interview protesters without a crowd gathering, shouting accusations and jabbing fingers. The antipathy to the media appeared to extend to both opponents and supporters of the regime.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs described the systematic targeting of journalists in Egypt as unacceptable, and called for those detained to be freed. The leaders of France, Germany, Britain, Italy and Spain said in a joint statement that the attacks against journalists are completely unacceptable .

 

4th February   

Professor Plum is Innocent...

ASA find accusation against Harrods Magazine to be false
Link Here

harrods at night An ad, in Harrods Magazine, for clothing and accessories sold in the store, showed a woman lying at the foot of a staircase, with a blood stain on the floor near her head. A man holding a heavy candlestick was standing next to her and text below him stated Professor Plum with the candlestick in the hall?

One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive and likely to condone violence.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

Although we noted that the ad depicted a scene which heavily implied that a violent act had taken place, we noted that the presentation was very stylised and the focus was on presenting the fashion and jewellery, rather than portraying a realistic image of violence. We considered that readers would clearly associate the image with the well-known board game Cluedo and would understand, in that context, that the scene related to the object of the game, namely, discovering which Cluedo character had committed a murder, in which room and with which object. We therefore considered that readers would see the image as a darkly humorous representation of a popular board game and, in light of that, concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause offence or condone violence.

We investigated the ad under rules 4.1 and 4.4 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

 

4th February   

Obituary: Maria Schneider's Last Tango...

Another tragic finale
Link Here

maria schneider French actress Maria Schneider, best known for her role in Last Tango in Paris , has died in Paris aged 58 after a long illness.

Born in 1952 in Paris, Schneider was the daughter of French actor Daniel Gelin.  She began her film career in uncredited roles before being given her first break in 1970 film Madly .

Last Tango in Paris provoked such controversy that the actress resolved never to do nude scenes again. Yet she was briefly seen naked three years later in Jack Nicholson film The Passenger , albeit in long shot. She was last seen on the big screen in 2008 French film Cliente , about a married construction worker who leads a double life as a gigolo.

The actress was 19 when she was cast opposite Brando in Bernardo Bertolucci's iconic censor challenging drama of 1972. The film was banned in several countries due to its buttery content.

In Britain the film was passed X after 10s of cuts for its 1973 cinema release

From IMDb:

  • The BBFC originally demanded 20s of cuts to include edits for language but these were successfully appealed by the director. In the end a 10s shot of Paul putting his fingers between Jeanne's buttocks was censored from the sodomy scene.
  • The BBFC was also concerned about a scene of sexual dialogue, but decided that it could not be cut without damaging the film.

See  case study from  sbbfc.co.uk : Obscenity Prosecution

The Festival of Light, a pro-censorship pressure group, started a concerted campaign to prevent the film reaching British cinema screens, circulating copies of the script to MPs and writing to local authorities - with considerable success, since several dozen banned it.

However, it received favourable write ups from the film critics and played unopposed in most areas.

Events took an unprecedented turn, however, when Edward Shackleton, a Salvation Army member, brought a private prosecution against the film's distributors for publishing obscene material. The case ultimately collapsed when it was found that the Obscene Publications Act (OPA) did not apply to film.

 

3rd February   

Possessed by Hype...

'Exorcist' spews green bilge about demonic possession all in the name of movie hype
Link Here

Rite Anthony Hopkins An American exorcist has blamed the internet for rising numbers of young people who say they are possessed by the Devil.

Websites dedicated to the occult, witchcraft, Tarot cards, psychics and séances were increasingly exposing young people to demonic influences, claimed Fr Gary Thomas.

The priest, whose story has just been made into a major Hollywood film, The Rite starring Sir Anthony Hopkins, claimed that pornography and drug abuse were also doorways to harassment by evil spirits.

He said there were no statistics on how many people might be possessed but said there was a definite increase:

What I can tell you is that there are more and more Catholics involved in idolatrous and pagan practices. That's really why there's more demonic activity. There's the absence of God in the lives of a lot of people.

A lot of parents today have no critical eye of faith with which to even recognise the dangers their children are in. A lot of this is going on with the internet. There are lots and lots of demonic websites.

A demon doesn't show up. He has to be invited in … The involvement in pagan, satanic, or occult practices are the classical ways.

Pornography is a doorway. But addictions of any kind can be – not are, but can be – a doorway, but it's coupled with other things. For instance, drug use alone isn't going to invite the demonic in, but coupled with the occult it could.

The Rite will be released in Britain on February 25.

 

3rd February   

Update: Skins Blemished by Nutters...

Proactiv skin spot remover removes advert spot from Skins
Link Here  full story: Skins...Nutters wound up by the idea of teenage sex

proactiv advert Another advertiser has left MTV's Skins after pressure from Parents TV Council about the shows supposedly provocative and controversial nature.

Skin care product Proactiv said: We have officially requested that MTV revise our traffic schedule so that Proactiv spots cease airing during Skins, declared Kendra Elliot, the vice president of Proactiv.

Proactiv had been receiving complaints from 'perturbed' viewers. Elliot added, While our spots may air inside a particular program, it is not representative of our specific desire to support the programming and content of that particular show.

 

3rd February   

Update: Stoners Stand Down...

Councillor escapes prosecution after offending Yasmin Alibhi-Brown with a jokey tweet
Link Here  full story: Twitter Twits...Police overreact to trivial insults via Twitter and Facebook

yasmin alibhai brown The authorities will take no further action will be taken against a Birmingham Conservative councillor who joked that a journalist to be stoned to death.

Councillor Gareth Compton made the remark about Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on his Twitter page in November after he took issue with what she said on a radio debate. Compton, who remains suspended from the Tory party, later apologised.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has dropped the case after Ms Alibhai-Brown refused to make any complaint. The member of the public who initially reported the incident to police also failed to provide a statement, the CPS said.

Alibhai-Brown appeared on Radio 5 Live's breakfast show discussing human rights in China. Afterwards, Compton tweeted: Can someone please stone Yasmin Alibhai-Brown to death? I shan't tell Amnesty if you don't. It would be a blessing, really.

Speaking at the time, Alibhai-Brown said she had been upset that somebody felt it was OK to say such things: If I, as a Muslim woman, had said about him what he said about me then I would be arrested in these times of the war against terror .

 

3rd February   

Chief Blocker Resigns...

Peter Robbins steps down as IWF Chief Executive
Link Here

IWF logo Peter Robbins has announced that he will step down as Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation in July. He has held the post since 2002.

In his time at the IWF Peter transformed the organisation, expanding its funding base and securing annual revenues around five times those the IWF has on his appointment. He led the organisation through the controversial adoption and roll-out of the URL based blocking service, commonly known as Cleanfeed , and gave the IWF an internationally prominent profile in Internet governance circles.

Eve Saloman, Chair of the IWF Board said:

On behalf of the IWF Board, I would like to thank Peter for all his hard work. He has provided clear and steady leadership to the IWF for many years and overseen our considerable growth into the successful and respected body we now are. We are immensely grateful and wish him every success in the future.

 

3rd February   

Update: Journalists Attacked...

Egypt restores the internet but only after taking steps to ensure that reporters are properly censored
Link Here  full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking

Egypt flag Supporters of President Hosni Mubarak have begun violently attacking journalists reporting on the streets of Cairo today, a shift in tactics from recent media censorship, the Committee to Protect Journalists said. CPJ calls on the Egyptian military to provide protection for journalists.

The Egyptian government is employing a strategy of eliminating witnesses to their actions, said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. The government has resorted to blanket censorship, intimidation, and today a series of deliberate attacks on journalists carried out by pro-government mobs. The situation is frightening not only because our colleagues are suffering abuse but because when the press is kept from reporting, we lose an independent source of crucial information.

Internet Restored

See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Internet access in Egypt appears to have returned to normal, according to firms measuring traffic levels in the country.

Facebook and Twitter are now available and the four major Egyptian internet service providers are back in business.

 

3rd February   

No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise...

Video game passed 18 uncut by the BBFC
Link Here

no more heroes paradise The BBFC rating for another up n coming video game has generated the usual interest in internet chat.

Sega's No More Heroes: Heroes Paradise has been passed 18 uncut with the BBFC comment: Contains strong bloody violence and strong language

The BBFC also notes that game contains 60:00s of video (cut scenes).

 

3rd February   

Nutters Thwarted...

Indian actress cleared of obscenity over TV dance performance
Link Here

mallika sherawat Mallika Sherawat has won a case against her for a supposedly obscene dance performance.

On a live TV New Year's eve party in 2006, Mallika had performed at a suburban five-star hotel in Mumbai. But the performance, in a skin-coloured body suit, did not go down well with morality campaigner Vinod Jain who filed a formal complaint against Mallika and fought the case in a sessions court, alleging that she dressed obscenely and even her dance was obscene.

Speaking to the Mumbai Mirror, Jain said that he would carry on fighting the case at the High Court.

 

2nd February   

Less But More...

New Shameless New York Ripper Blu-ray passed 18 after the usual BBFC cuts
Link Here

new york ripper blu The New York Ripper is a 1982 Italian horror by Lucio Fulci. See IMDb .

An extended version was passed 18 after 29s of BBFC cuts for

  • UK 2011 Argent/Shameless Online
  • UK 2011 Argent/Shameless Blu-ray at UK Amazon for release on 25th April 2011
  • UK 2011 Argent/Shameless DVD at UK Amazon for release on 25th April 2011

The BBFC commented:

  • Compulsory cuts were required to remove sexualised violence (a naked and bound woman's stomach and breasts being mutilated with a razor blade)

Shameless commented:

  • The version includes 3 minutes of footage not in the previous Shameless release and 15 seconds of footage not in the Blue Underground Blu-Ray. The BBFC cuts have been implemented by substitution and do not effect the running time.
  • Both DVD and Blu-ray will be released on 25 April 201
  • Extras: A presentation by Antonella Fulci, daughter and curator of Lucio Fulci's work.
  • Extras: A brand new, exclusive 20 min interview with Antonella Fulci and writer Dardano Sacchetti.
  • Extras: A fan booklet on the making of New York Ripper.

See review from US Amazon Darkest and goriest

The New York Ripper was a great Italian horror film from Lucio Fulci, the film was filled with plenty of gruesome death scenes and lots of sleaze, sex and nudity in fact its probably one of the sleaziest Italian horror flicks I've ever seen. It was also notorious for being banned in the U.K. This is easily one of Lucio Fulci's darkest and goriest films out there (O.K. maybe not THE goriest, I still think that Cat In The Brain holds that title), there is one scene that was quite sick and perverse that's guaranteed to make you squirm, yes I'm talking about the "Golden Toes" scene.

When an old man finds a prostitute's severed hand under the Brooklyn Bridge the police decide to do a little investigating. It seems that the victim was heard speaking to a strange duck-voiced man. As the murders add up the police detective who's investigating the case recruits a psychology professor to help find out who this Donald Duck voiced maniac could be

This is a typical Fulci flick which means that the plot gets thinner during the course of the film and the bad acting which was adequate especially for this type of film could have been better but that's not important, if your a hardcore Fulci or exploitation fan then you'll obviously love this as the death scenes were quite brutal and very nasty.

I have to admit that I really liked this film a lot and it was one of Fulci's best, while not a classic like Zombi 2 , it was still great and enjoyable.

 

2nd February   

Yakuza 4...

Video game passed 18 uncut by the BBFC
Link Here

Sega Yakuza 4 PS3 The BBFC rating for another up n coming video game has generated the usual interest in internet chat.

Sega's Yakuza 4 has been passed 18 uncut with the BBFC comment: Contains strong bloody violence and strong language

The BBFC also notes that game contains 384:00s of video (cut scenes).

 

2nd February   

Addicted to Censorship...

ASA see Belle d'Opium advert as a reference to drugs
Link Here

belle dopium video A TV ad, for Belle D'Opium perfume, featured a woman dancing to a drum beat. The woman pointed to her inner elbow and ran her finger along the inside of her forearm. She was then shown lying on the floor as a voice-over began I am your addiction, I am Belle D'Opium. The new fragrance by Yves St Laurent.

Thirteen viewers objected that the ad was irresponsible and offensive, because the woman's actions simulated drug use.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA understood the ad had been carefully choreographed and styled to create Belle and her movements as a way of emphasising the powerful and intense qualities of the perfume, and to play on the idea the perfume had addictive qualities like a woman or opium. However, we noted that the ad broadcast on TV was only 20 seconds of the full one-minute ad featured on the Belle d'Opium website, and that it had been cut to feature predominantly the quickest and most dramatic music and scenes from the full ad.

We noted that two of the key scenes, the circular symbol and wings gesture scenes, were omitted from the TV ad, and other key scenes were altered. We considered that the fast changing scenes and urgent music, created a less flowing, more frantic atmosphere in the ad, which might not enable viewers to interpret the ad as a stylised expression of femininity and bewitchment, as intended.

We were concerned that in the context of the ad, Belle running her finger down her inner arm could be seen to simulate the injection of opiates into the body. We were also concerned that following that scene, Belle was shown moving in a series of short, rapid scenes, before the ad concluded with her body seizing upwards while lying on the floor, an action we considered could be seen to simulate the effect of drugs on the body. While we recognised the name OPIUM was a well-known designer perfume brand and did not consider it irresponsible or offensive to advertise OPIUM branded products, and while we noted the consumer research found that most viewers did not consider the ad to be offensive, we nevertheless considered the woman's actions simulated drug use, and therefore concluded it was irresponsible and unacceptable for broadcast.

The ad breached BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility), 4.1 (Physical, mental, moral or social harm), 4.4 (Health and safety), and 4.9 (Violence, crime, disorder or anti-social behaviour), but did not breach 4.2 (Serious or widespread offence).

 

2nd February   

Free Speech Show Trial Defused...

Lars Hedegaard acquitted of hate speech after over generalising about honour crime
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Denmark...Danish Not So Free Speech

hedegaard gagged cartoon The president of the Danish Free Press Society has been acquitted on racism charges in something of a show trial.

Lars Hedegaard was accused over a statement which was made to a blogger: Girls in Muslim families are raped by their uncles, their cousins, or their fathers.

The court ruled that it does not constitute racism or hate speech explaining that although it found Hedegaard's comments to be insulting, the acquittal was handed down due to the fact that Hedegaard did not know that his controversial comments would be published.

Hedegaard had previously expressed regret for the statements, which were made during a 35-minute interview at a Christmas party with the author of the blog snaphanen.dk. However, he had maintained that what he said did not constitute racism under the Danish penal code.

Hedegaard released a statement following his acquittal.

My detractors – the foes of free speech and the enablers of an Islamic ascendancy in the West – will claim that I was acquitted on a technicality, the statement read. That is absolutely true. However, the public prosecutor has been privy to the circumstances surrounding my case for a year – and yet he chose to prosecute me. Obviously in the hope that he could secure a conviction given the Islamophile sentiment among our ruling classes. My acquittal is therefore a major victory for free speech.

 

2nd February   

Thinking Blocks...

Government asks Ofcom to study the practicality of ISP website blocking for file sharing websites
Link Here

DCMS logo Ofcom will review sections of the Digital Economy Act to see if they are workable following public comments submitted in the Your Freedom exercise.

Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt has asked Ofcom to assess whether the Act's reserve powers to enable courts to block websites dedicated to copyright infringement could work.

The site-blocking measures need secondary legislation before they can be introduced and the review will inform the Government's decision on the next steps to take.

Hunt said: The Digital Economy Act seeks to protect our creative economy from online copyright infringement, which industry estimates costs them £400 million a year. I have no problem with the principle of blocking access to websites used exclusively for facilitating illegal downloading of content. But it is not clear whether the site blocking provisions in the Act could work in practice so I have asked Ofcom to address this question. Before we consider introducing site-blocking we need to know whether these measures are possible.

The review will look at areas such as whether it is possible for internet service providers (ISPs) to block access to the sites, how robust such a block could be and whether specific parts of a website can be blocked effectively.

 

1st February   

Update: I Don't Believe in Censorship B.B.B.B.BUT...

Uttering 'bullshit' helps King's Speech director get over his censorship impediment
Link Here  full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

Kings Speech DVD Colin Firth It's been prize winning week for the movie King's Speech , but producer Harvey Weinstein is now considering cutting the film to PG-13 to broaden the audience.

At issue is a series of 'fucks', uttered by Colin Firth playing King George VI, as he attempts to overcome his stutter.

Director Tom Hooper says he doesn't support cutting the film ...BUT... he said that it might be bleeped.

Speaking to EW, Tom Hooper said,

I wouldn't support cutting the film in any way. I think we looked at whether it's possible to bleep out the f—s and stuff, but I'm not going to actually cut that part.

He said that no final decision has been made about creating a PG-13 friendly edit, but reiterated: I'm not going to cut the film.

Co-star Helena Bonham Carter said:

I don't think it needs to be cut down. I think every 13-year-old knows [the words], I think every 8-year-old [does]. It's the whole point of it. It's not to be offensive. I think they said they were going to put the bleeps.

 

1st February   

Update: Iranians Green with Envy?...

Authorities fear that news from Egypt may spark popular uprising in Iran
Link Here  full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking

photo hamed saber According to Reuters, many online news sources including Reuters itself and Yahoo News are newly blocked in Iran.

Harder news stories from foreign outlets have been replaced by government-approved suggestions.

With protests in Egypt gaining momentum, Iran is hedging its bets by limiting the influx of breaking news out of its Middle Eastern neighbor.

In Iran, Political unrest remains from when the country exploded into social media-fuelled 'Green' protests following the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last June.

 

1st February   

Update: The Word is Unacceptable...

Religious TV company ends Word TV over discriminatory comments against gays
Link Here

word tv logo Evangelical minister and television personality Charles McVety says he is the victim of political censorship and intends to take legal action after Crossroads Television System permanently cancelled his show this week.

The tension between the reverend and the Christian broadcaster began in December, when the TV censors of the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council said Crossroads broke their rules when McVety made disparaging on-air remarks about gays.

A station spokeswoman, meanwhile, denied the cancellation of Word TV was a consequence of bowing to political pressure. Rather, it was based on the show's lack of compliance with the CTS code of ethics, Carolyn Innis said.

In December's ruling, the council said McVety's description of Toronto's gay pride parade as a sex parade, as well as his characterization of gay events as malevolent, insidious and conspiratorial, were in breach of the standards.

His show was initially pulled from the air but the station let him back the following week on condition that the TV company could pre-vet the show. But on Sunday night, any viewers tuning in to see McVety were instead met with a notice alerting them that the show had been cancelled.

 

1st February   

Religious Gay Hatred...

First charges under gay hatred law
Link Here

Crown Prosecution Service Five men have been charged with stirring up gender hatred for handing out leaflets outside a mosque suggesting that gay people should be executed.

It is the first time that anyone has been prosecuted for an offence of inciting hatred on the grounds of sexual orientation.

The men are accused of handing out a leaflet entitled The Death Penalty? in Derby. The leaflets, which were also pushed through letterboxes, are understood to have called for homosexuals to be executed.

Sue Hemming, a lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: The charges relate to the distribution of a leaflet, 'The Death Penalty?', outside the Jamia Mosque in Derby in July 2010 and through letterboxes during the same month. This is the first-ever prosecution for this offence and it is the result of close working between the Crown Prosecution Service and Derbyshire Police.

The Attorney General, Dominic Grieve QC MP, is allowing this prosecution to proceed.

 

1st February   

Update: Pandering to the Lynch Mob...

Harsh prison sentence for Indonesian celebrity whose home video porn went viral
Link Here  full story: Ariel Celebrity Porn Video...Indonesian celebrity home videos online

nazril irham A court in Indonesia has sentenced one of their best known pop stars to three-and-a-half years in prison for making and distributing sex videos on the internet.

The tapes of Nazril Irham, or Ariel as he is known, and two other celebrities, were made public last June.

He is the first celebrity to be charged under Indonesia's repressive pornography law that came into effect in 2008.

Ariel had made three sex videos featuring him and separately, two female celebrities. He was found guilty of giving an opportunity for others to spread, produce and prepare a pornographic video , according to the verdict.

As a public figure, the defendant should be aware that fans might imitate his behaviour, claimed Judge Singgih Budi Prakoso. He said that Ariel had done nothing to prevent the wide distribution of the videos. Cultural divide

The singer's lawyer said he would appeal against the sentence and criticised the judges' admission that they were influenced by public pressure.

Outside the court, hundreds of protesters had gathered calling for harsh punishment. The trial had become a target for protests by hardline Muslim groups who have adopted pornography as a banner issue, claiming it symbolises what they have called the nation's moral decline.

 

1st February   

Updated: Extreme Censorship...

Iran inflicts death sentence on two porn site administrators
Link Here

Iran flag Iranian courts have sentenced two people to death for running porn sites, prosecutor general Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi said, quoted on the Islamic republic's official IRNA news agency.

Dolatabadi said that the two unnamed administrators of porn sites have been sentenced to death in two different courts and the verdicts have been sent to the supreme court for confirmation.

Update: Tortured

8th February 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

A 35-year-old Iranian web programmer is facing imminent execution in connection with developing and promoting porn websites, charges that his family insist are trumped up.

Saeed Malekpour, a permanent resident of Canada who was arrested in October 2008 after his arrival in Tehran, is convicted of designing and moderating adult content websites, acting against the national security, insulting and desecrating the principles of Islam, and agitating the public mind.

Speaking from Toronto, Malekpour's wife, Fatemeh Eftekhari, said her husband has been informed of the verdict and has been transferred to solitary confinement for the sentence to be administered if the supreme court sanctions it. She says her husband was a web programmer who had written photo uploading software that was used in a porn website without his knowledge.

Malekpour, who has been kept in Tehran's notorious Evin prison for the past two years, was arrested by plainclothes officers and was initially kept in solitary confinement for almost a year without access to legal representation.

A year after his arrest Malekpour was put on state television to confess. He later retracted the confessions in a letter sent from inside prison in which he said they were taken under duress.

A large portion of my confession was extracted under pressure, physical and psychological torture, threats to myself and my family, and false promises of immediate release upon giving a false confession to whatever the interrogators dictated, he writes in the letter.

Once in October 2008 the interrogators stripped me while I was blindfolded and threatened to rape me with a bottle of water. He went on to say: While I remained blindfolded and handcuffed, several individuals armed with cables, batons, and their fists struck and punched me. At times, they would flog my head and neck. Such mistreatment was aimed at forcing me to write what the interrogators were dictating, and to compel me to play a role in front of the camera based on their scenarios.

Malekpour's sentence has prompted reactions from human rights activists and organisations who have launched a campaign to save his life. Lawrence Cannon, the Canadian foreign affairs minister, has also expressed concerns over his sentence.