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28th February

  CAAN Special Bulletin...

Rape porn Bill introduced to Parliament (England, Wales and NI)
Link Here

Please distribute this notice as widely as possible

CAAN logo On 5 February the government introduced a Bill to Parliament that will extend S63(7) CJIA 2008 to cover the possession of pornography that depicts rape. Unless the proposed legislation is dropped or amended it may have greater implications for the general public than the first four categories that were originally criminalised. This is because material that depicts rape can be difficult to define. It is believed that it was for this reason that the offence was not included after the original public consultation in 2005.

However, in 2010 the Scottish Parliament introduced its own possession offence legislation (S42 CJ&L(S)A 2010) which included a category that depicts rape. In the light of this, and recent demands from many feminist and religious groups, that material that depicts rape be made an offence to possess, the government has brought forward new legislation.

Many CAAN members will be appalled that there really does exist some material that features real rape being committed and this is occasionally shared by exceptionally nasty people. But the publication and sharing of such material is already a criminal offence. Many of us have no sympathy for those who possess extremely brutal and callous depictions of rape, even those where models have consented to appear as victims , but the current legislation is sloppy, it is poorly drafted and will impact upon relatively soft bondage and domination themed material. The legislation will also include anything that involves penetration with any object. So, if you were to possess an image of a submissive man, gagged, in bondage, with a butt plug being inserted, how could you prove that this was not rape? It could well be the case that the lucky man involved is having the best day of his life, but his facial expression might be interpreted by police as pain and the gag as proof that there was no consent to the act.

Nearly a third of the UK population (British Sexual Fantasy Research Project: 2007), fantasise about types of forced sex, often involving bondage, gags and invariably a dark dungeon. There is a huge amount of porn that caters for this demand, but anything without a BBFC certificate will be very dangerous to view/possess.

CAAN is doing everything we can to secure a sensible amendment to the legislation to protect those into bondage, submission and/or domination. We are also keen to protect people from prosecution for possession of material that features consensual non-consent but we fear this will be difficult. To understand more about the theme of consensual non-consent please read this article .

Working with the 4 other campaigns (Backlash, Campaign Against Censorship, Sex & Censorship and the Sexual Freedom Coalition) we have warned MPs and peers of the dangers of this legislation, explaining the potential for thousands of harmless people to have their lives destroyed. The government has pointed to the experience in Scotland and notes that it is believed there has only been one conviction for possession of material that depicts rape. However the government also predicted that S63(7) CJIA 2008 would only result in a handful of convictions but the reality was very different, with over 1,000 people charged with offences per annum. In the year 2012/13 1,348 people were charged under S63(7) for possession of the first four categories of extreme porn. By criminalising possession of rape material, a category which will include some sexually explicit bondage and entirely consensual material, a category that will include material in which millions of people have an interest, it is likely that prosecutions will soar.

Let there be no doubt that we are in engaged in war on two fronts. The state is determined to seize control over the internet and is equally determined to marginalise the lives of those who are into even the mildest forms of BDSM. Evidence is also mounting that police investigations and prosecutions are disproportionately being directed at the LGBT community. As a consequence we fear that the new legislation poses a serious threat to minority groups and have adopted the stance that if anything depicts a real rape, where there is no consent, that cannot be tolerated; but anything that is consensual should not be criminalised. Finding a watertight definition or dividing line between the various different categories of material that exist is impossible and so we oppose the creation of this new category.

Please write to your MP and explain why this is an exceptionally dangerous piece of legislation. Please also write to members of the House of Lords. This step is also important because we believe it is more likely that this part of the legislation is more likely to be scrutinised in the Lords than in the Commons.

If you have any other suggestions or can offer any assistance please get in touch: info@caan.org.uk

The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill (HC Bill 169) was introduced to Parliament on 5 February. Here is a hyperlink

 

28th February

  Halfords' David...

ASA dismisses whinges about Halfords TV advert referencing nude posing for art
Link Here

halfords favour video A TV ad for Halfords featured two men in a garage. The older man was fitting a battery in the younger man's car. The older man said, You're good to go then , to which the younger man replied, Thanks so much Bob. Let me know if I can ever return the favour. Bob said, There is one thing. Pose for me David. I'm tired of painting you from memory. David smiled weakly while Bob stood holding a paint palette and paintbrush. The garage door was seen slowly closing. A voice-over stated At Halfords we fit batteries in the car park from 6.99. Much cheaper than a favour. The final shot showed a series of paintings. One painting was of a centaur with a naked torso and David's face. Others were sketches of a nude man. On-screen text stated #WorstFavour. halfords we ft. Cheaper than a favour . Issue

1. Some of the complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it was sexually suggestive and implied that an older man was taking advantage of a younger man in a sexual way. Some of the complainants referred to the Jimmy Savile case and drew parallels between the ad and teenagers being groomed for sexually explicit pictures by paedophiles.

2. Some of the complainants challenged whether the ad was unsuitable for children to see.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not Upheld

The ASA understood that in an ad based on the theme of owing an unpleasant favour, an older man asking a younger man to pose for him could be considered inappropriate. However, we considered that the overall tone of the ad was supposed to be light-hearted and surreal and, while Bob was noticeably older than David, David was clearly a grown man in his twenties.

We considered that some viewers might interpret the events of the ad to mean that Bob thought about David in a sexual way but, while we noted that Bob clearly considered David a muse for his paintings, as evidenced by his comment I'm tired of painting you from memory , we did not consider that his actions or behaviour went further than that. Although we acknowledged that David looked uncomfortable at being asked to pose for Bob, it did not seem to be because he was concerned about Bob's intentions or thought Bob was interested in him in a sexual way. Bob seemed shy and embarrassed when asking David to pose for him and we considered that David's reaction was an awkward laugh of disbelief rather than one of fear or concern. We noted that after Bob had made his request, the garage door slowly closed as Bob faced David, holding his palette and paintbrush. We noted that this could have connotations of entrapment or secrecy, but considered it was not unusual for a model posing for a painting to do so in private.

We noted that David appeared shirtless in Bob's sketches and it was not clear whether they were painted before or after the encounter. However, we accepted that they were the sort of sketches an amateur artist would be likely to produce and we considered the images, particularly the one depicting David as a centaur, were more likely to be considered bizarre than sexual or sinister. Overall, while we acknowledged that many viewers found the ad distasteful, we considered it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

2. Not Upheld

We noted that a number of complainants had interpreted sexual tension and sinister tones in the ad and felt that Bob's behaviour was predatory. However, we considered that there were no overt suggestions of sexual activity between the two characters. While we noted that David appeared shirtless in Bob's completed painting, we considered that he was depicted as a centaur, a mythical creature that was traditionally pictured shirtless with the legs of a horse, and that the resulting image was fantastical rather than sexual. We noted that around the completed painting were rudimentary sketches of a naked torso and back, but they were not graphic or explicit. We considered that any sexual innuendo or imagery in the ad was subtle and was unlikely to be noticed by children and we therefore concluded that the ad was suitable for children to see.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 4.1 (Harm and offence) and 32.3 (Scheduling), but did not find it in breach.

 

28th February

 Updated: Anally Sensitive...

Console versions of South Park: The Stick of Truth censored in Europe
Link Here
South Park The Stick Truth Ubisoft has censored the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 versions of 18-rated comedy role-playing game South Park: The Stick of Truth in Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The PC version remains unaffected.

BT.com reported on a note sent to press alongside copies of the game that revealed the changes, which amount to seven scenes of about 20 seconds each:

  • A mini-game in which the doctor is performing an abortion on the player.
  • A mini-game in which the player is performing an abortion on the character Randy.
  • Five anal probing scenes involving someone actively being probed. The scenes play out as normal before and after the active probing sequences.

Each censored scene is replaced by an image background and a description text selected by South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, Ubisoft said.

Speculation suggests that the censorship was applied to the entire region to appease the lowest common denominator of game censors, ie those in Germany.

Meanwhile in Australia

See  article from  gameplanet.com.au :

Ubisoft has said in a statement that a cut version of The Stick of Truth has now been accepted by the country's game censor:

A modified version has now been approved for release, under the guidance of R18+. No full sequences have been removed from the game, only small sections amounting to less than five minutes of game play. These modifications in no way detract from the narrative of the game, meaning the player will still enjoy an authentic South Park experience.

Update: Further cuts in Germany

28th February 2013. See  article from  gamespot.com

The German version of South Park: The Stick of Truth will not feature any swastikas, Ubisoft has confirmed. The Nazi symbols were discovered by VG247 during a recent play-through. An Ubisoft representative told the site:

With regards to the German version, all Nazi symbols have been removed from the game in accordance with German law.

 

28th February

  Financial Games...

America proposes to use the tax system to discriminate against violent computer game producers
Link Here
US Senate The US House Ways and Means Committee released details on in its long-awaited tax reform bill. It is a wide package of measures but includes a kick in the teeth for computer games producers.

The executive summary calls for an improved, permanent R&D tax credit, finally giving American manufacturers the certainty they need to compete against their foreign competition who have long had permanent R&D incentives.

But on page 24 of the same summary that the tax credit is specifically not available for violent video game makers, offering a provision for preventing makers of violent video games from qualifying for the R&D tax credit.

Speaker of the House John Boehner says it is unlikely that the bill will be taken up this legislative session.

 

28th February

  Beware of the Dog...

Leeds students get all aggressive and yap about jokey greeting cards
Link Here
beware of the dog greetings card Some greeting card companies have taken rude jokes to the point where they offend the easily offended.

Helena Brooks, a student at Leeds University, recently found a card on sale in her university union shop that read:

Beware of the dog. (She might look sexy in those hot pants but she's probably got Chlamydia.)

She then tweeted a picture of the offending card, with the message:

Is this really okay to be selling in Leeds Uni Union? For a union that's just banned page 3 how is this appropriate?

Her complaint racked up support and the university union eventually responded by deciding to remove the card, made by company Brainbox Candy. Mark Williams, a Brainbox Candy director, told a Telegraph contributor:

We certainly don't set out to make cards that are sexist or offensive, far from it. But often how far do you go? Our cards are meant to be fun and irreverent and certainly not meant to offend.

Offsite Comment: Leeds University's war on filth

28th February 2013. See  comment from  spiked-online.com

Spiked logo Student unions are becoming increasingly intent on mollycoddling students instead of treating them as adults capable of forming their own opinions. LUU is trying to be progressive by appealing to feminist sentiment and banning offensive material; in fact, it is just patronising and pandering to a bunch of prudes.

...Read the full comment

 

28th February

 Updated: Soap Storm...

Twitter storm over gay kiss on Coronation Street
Link Here  full story: Coronation Street...Complaints and whinges
coronation street logo Around 100 viewers complained to Ofcom with many furious that a gay kissing scene was aired in Coronation Street before 8pm when children are watching.

Todd (Bruno Langley) locked lips with Marcus (Charlie Condou). After the full-on snog, the pair were shown heading semi-naked to the bedroom.

Most of the complainants say the gay kiss should not have been shown so early in the evening because it was too sexually suggestive , while others claim it had no place being broadcast at all.

Viewers inevitably took to Twitter to express their 'outrage', but the examples are too trivial to bother repeating.

Update: Inevitable Ofcom tells the whingers to bugger off

28th February 2013. See  article from  digitalspy.co.uk

TV censor Ofcom received over 100 complaints about the scene but an Ofcom spokesperson said:

Ofcom can confirm that it is not investigating the scene in Coronation Street as it was not in breach of generally accepted standards. Our rules do not discriminate between scenes involving opposite sex and same sex couples.

 

28th February

 Updated: Recommending Dark Horse by Katy Perry...

Petition claims music video is blasphemous
Link Here
katy perry dark horse video A petition has been started to get Katy Perry's latest music video banned. The fantasy video for the song Dark Horse includes a necklace disintegrating in a flash of CGI lighting effects. Apparently the necklace has script bearing the name of the Muslim religious character, Allah.

Shazad Iqbal of Bradford, England, condemned the video claiming that the image of the  disintegrating necklace is somehow blasphemous and should be banned from YouTube. The petition states:

Such goes to show, that blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an opposition of God) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames,

This is the reason for lodging the petition so that people from different walks of life, different religions and from different parts of the world, agree that the video promotes blasphemy, using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion.

By Tuesday afternoon, the petition had been electronically signed by more than 42,000 people, a number dwarfed by the 30 million views the video has garnered on YouTube since Feb. 20.

Update: Necklace gets removed but have muslims achieved any more 'respect'?

28th February 2013. See  article from  freethinker.co.uk

Today we learn that, although the video of Katy Perry's latest single has been cut by censors. The bit that was deemed "offensive" has been removed.  It showed the zapping of an Allah pendant worn by a character in the video.

Shazad Iqbal of Bradford set up a petition claiming this was tantamount to "blasphemy". More than 50,000 people signed the online petition, and now the petitioner is cock-a-hoop:

Guys I'm thrilled to let you all know the name of Allah has been removed from the 'Dark Horse' video we couldn't have done it without everyone's support so I thank each and every one of you deeply, our voices have been heard! God bless you all.

This clearly shows that our voice has been heard, having gained so much publicity on the matter and by getting everybody talking we have put the message out there that such inappropriate material will not be accepted.

 

27th February

  The US Censorship Framework...

Director of Raid 2 reveals that the movie was cut for an R rating
Link Here
Poster Raid 2 2014 Gareth Evans The Raid 2 is a 2014 Indonesia action crime thriller by Gareth Evans.
With Iko Uwais, Julie Estelle and Yayan Ruhian. YouTube icon IMDb

Following in the footsteps of the popular original, The Raid , the sequel has also suffered brief cuts for a US R rating from the MPAA.

Director Gareth Evans tweeted the news:

For folks in the US, The Raid 2 has just been rated R. And in all honesty the few cuts we made are so minimal. We are literally talking frames - and not too many of them. I'm fucking happy.

Update: Director's Cut set for German release

3rd March 2013. From  movie-censorship.com

Movie-Censorship is reporting that Germany is set to release the uncut version rather than a US R rated version. Hopefully the same will apply to other European releases.

 

27th February

  One massive explosion of debauchery...

ASA considers Leeds Council's whinges about web pages for nightclub event company, Tequila UK
Link Here
freshers Pages on Facebook and Twitter, the website www.tequilauk.com and three videos on Youtube promoted the Tequila club night in Leeds:
  • a. A photo album entitled Tequila - Freshers Violation 3 October 2013 on Tequila UK's Facebook page contained images taken at a club night, including several of young people holding or drinking alcohol. A sequence of five photos showed a young woman lying on her back with whipped cream and shot glasses on her breasts. Alcohol was poured into the glasses, and a subsequent image showed her sitting up beside a young man who was making a licking motion in the direction of her breast.
  • b. Tequila UK's Twitter page stated, as the description of the account, Tequila @ Mezz club - dedicated to oral pleasure ... come and swallow . Six photos were visible on the left of the page; pictures included people dancing together in groups. One man shown was topless and another was pouring liquid directly into his mouth from a bottle. A third image appeared to show someone grabbing their crotch.
  • c. The home page of the website www.tequilauk.com featured scrolling images across the top of the page. One showed the torso of a woman wearing a cropped top. Whipped cream and filled shot glasses were placed on her stomach and cleavage and in her mouth. Text stated WELCOME TO TEQUILA - COME AND SWALLOW . The next image showed a man lifting his shirt and a woman licking his chest. Text stated A NOTORIOUS DEN OF HEDONISM AND DEBAUCHERY . The third image was a crowd scene of people dancing in a club, beneath a sign that read TEQUILA . Text stated DEDICATED TO ORAL PLEASURE FOR OVER 21 YEARS . The fourth image showed a young topless man lying on his back, with whipped cream smeared across his body. Empty shot glasses had been placed on his abdomen and in his mouth, and a man standing next to him appeared to be about to fill the glasses from a bottle of spirits he held in his hand.
  • d. A page on the website www.tequilauk.com promoted the event FRESHERS VIOLATION . Text stated FU*K ME I'M A FRESHER! Introducing pole dancers, tequila cards, tequila cage and more ... Lie on the bar, open your mouths and let someone pour you some TEQUILA - things are gonna get dirrrty - lets[sic] clean these freshers up!! . The page included an image of a topless young woman lying on the floor with her finger in her mouth and her other hand holding her trousers near to her crotch. A sign placed across her chest stated TAKE ME . On the right of the page was an image of a woman wearing only underwear being touched by another woman stood behind her. A faded-out background image showed a young woman wearing a top that stated TEQUILA and drinking from a spirit bottle.
  • e. Another page on the website www.tequilauk.com promoted the event TEQUILA CLASSIC . Text stated TEQUILA Classic brings together over 20 years of cream, baby oil, glitter and, of course, Tequila in one massive explosion of debauchery . The page included an image of a woman whose dress had ridden up around her waist, leaving her buttocks exposed, crouching in front of a man. Foam spurted from the area of the man's crotch. Text written across the image stated come & swallow . The same image of the woman in her underwear as in ad (d) was shown. The background image was the same as in ad (d) but had been cut off above the woman's jawline.
  • f., g. and h. Three videos on Tequila UK's Youtube channel, entitled Tequila Takes on 2013 , Tequila Exam Slam and Tequila Slammers Reunion respectively, contained footage of young people attending Tequila UK club nights. The videos showed the consumption of alcohol, including young people drinking multiple shots and pouring spirits directly into each other's mouths. Women in various states of undress were shown lying on a bar, with whipped cream and shot glasses being placed on their bodies and with other people drinking the alcohol and licking the cream. The footage was interspersed with interview scenes which made frequent reference to alcohol and sex and contained swearing. The videos included partial nudity, predominantly of women, and in some cases featured a soundtrack containing profanities. In one video a man talked about how much he enjoyed seeing a woman on the bar with whipped cream on her body, and with other women licking it off.

Leeds City Council challenged whether:

  1. ads (a) to (g) were irresponsible, offensive and harmful, because they were sexist and promoted misogyny and the objectification of women;
  2. ads (b) to (f) and (h) were offensive, because they contained nudity, sexually suggestive language and imagery and profanity;
  3. ads (f) to (h) were irresponsible, because they could be viewed by those aged under 18; and
  4. ads (f) to (h) were in breach of the Code, because they implied, condoned or encouraged excessive consumption of alcohol and featured alcohol being handled or served irresponsibly.

The ASA challenged whether:

  • 5. ads (a) to (e) were in breach of the Code, because they implied, condoned or encouraged excessive consumption of alcohol and featured alcohol being handled or served irresponsibly;
  • 6. ads (a) to (h) breached the Code, because they linked alcohol with seduction, sexual activity or sexual success and implied that drinking alcohol was a key component of the success of a social event; and
  • 7. ads (a) to (h) breached the Code, because they showed people drinking alcohol or playing a significant role in the ads who appeared be under the age of 25.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that a number of women were shown in the ads in states of partial undress, with whipped cream and shots placed on their bodies, and in some cases were seen to derive male attention from that action. For example, in ad (a) where the man pretended to lick the woman's breast and in ad (g) where a man described loving seeing women ... all over each other as they drank shots placed on another woman's body. We also noted the images in ads (d) and (e), including in particular the pictures of a topless young woman holding a sign stating TAKE ME and of a woman crouching in front of a man's crotch accompanied by the text come & swallow . We considered that the portrayal of women in ads (a) to (g) was at some points distasteful, and acknowledged that some people might view the ads as being sexist and reducing women to the status of objects for male gratification.

We considered, however, that the overall tone of each ad was one of a party atmosphere, and that they gave the impression of young people, both male and female, enjoying a night out. We also noted that the nudity was not exclusively female, and that one ad showed a man with shots lined up along his body. We considered that consumers visiting Tequila UK's website, Facebook, Twitter or Youtube page were likely to be those who had heard about the club night and were interested in finding out more about the events held with a view to attending, and that the ads were unlikely to be seen by that audience as being sexist or promoting misogyny or the objectification of women. We therefore concluded that ads (a) to (g) were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and were not irresponsible or harmful in their portrayal of women.

2. Upheld

We noted Tequila UK's comments that the language within the ads was not explicit, but considered that that was not always the case, such as with the text F*CK ME I'M A FRESHER! in ad (d). We also considered that the use of the slogan come and swallow , particularly in ads (c) and (e) where it was accompanied by images of a woman with whipped cream and shots placed on her body and a woman crouching in front of a man's crotch respectively, was sexually explicit and would be likely to cause offence to some. We noted that the ads also featured a variety of other sexual references, partial nudity and, in respect of ads (f) and (h), frequent profanities, including in the soundtracks.

As outlined at point (1) above, we considered that the likely audience for the ads would be people who were interested in finding out more about Tequila UK club nights. We also recognised that they were likely to be predominantly young adults because the promoted events were for students, and that some of the ads' content, and in particular the soundtracks to ads (f) and (h), reflected youth culture. Notwithstanding that fact, we considered that the content of the ads was likely to cause serious offence to some consumers because of the sexually explicit imagery and text, nudity and profanity. We therefore concluded that the ads breached the Code.

3. Upheld

We considered that the likely audience for the ads was young adults who were interested in finding out about the student club nights run by Tequila UK. Notwithstanding the concerns outlined above that the ads were likely to cause serious offence to that group, we considered that the content was particularly unsuitable for young audiences and that Tequila UK should have put measures in place to ensure that it was not visible to children, who were defined under the CAP Code as those aged under 16. We therefore concluded that ads (f) to (h) were in breach of the Code because they could be viewed by those aged under 16.

4. Upheld

Ads (f), (g) and (h) contained scenes of people drinking body shots off each other's bodies and free pouring of alcohol (mainly spirits) directly from the bottle into people's mouths. We considered that those scenes depicted the handling, serving and consumption of alcohol in an uncontrolled and irresponsible manner and were likely to encourage unwise styles of drinking. We were also concerned by other elements of the ads which implied or condoned the excessive consumption of alcohol. Those included: lyrics used in the soundtrack to ad (f) at the point that people were drinking shots from a woman's body that stated Hear the beat, now let's hit the floor/Drink it up and then drink some more ; a scene in ad (g) showing a girl staggering to get up from the ground whilst holding a drinks bottle in her mouth; and an interview scene with a clubber who described his approach to the night out as being to get fucked up, then get fucked (ad (h)), as well as more general interview scenes which appeared to show the interviewer approving of drunken behaviour. We considered that the ads featured alcohol being handled and served irresponsibly and condoned and encouraged the excessive consumption of alcohol, and therefore concluded that they breached the Code.

5. Upheld

Ad (a) showed a variety of images of different groups of people, and no one was depicted with more than one drink in their hand or in any other way that explicitly suggested they had consumed, or would be consuming, excessive amounts of alcohol at the event. We considered that consumers would understand that the images had been taken over the course of an evening and for the most part did not condone or encourage the irresponsible handling or drinking of alcohol. However, one sequence of images within ad (a) depicted the use of body shots. As outlined at point (4) above, we considered that that method of serving alcohol was irresponsible and implied a reduced level of control over the rate and amount of consumption.

Body shots also featured in ad (c), paired with text that we considered reinforced the idea of excessive consumption: COME AND SWALLOW and A NOTORIOUS DEN OF HEDONISM AND DEBAUCHERY . Ad (d) included a background image of free pouring and language that we considered also implied excessive consumption: Lie on the bar, open your mouths and let someone pour you some TEQUILA . Ad (b) contained an image showing a man tipping his head back and pouring liquid from what appeared to be a spirit bottle into his mouth. Although none of the images in ad (e) showed the consumption of alcohol, the text referred to a massive explosion of debauchery with Tequila as one of its components. We considered that all of those factors, as well as the company description visible in ads (c), (d) and (e) as a spirit fuelled den of hedonism and debauchery , implied the excessive consumption of alcohol and concluded that ads (a) to (e) therefore breached the Code.

6. Upheld

A number of the ads contained sexually suggestive scenes, including images of people embracing, partial nudity, body shots and interview scenes such as that described at point (4) above, the majority of which prominently featured alcohol. We considered that most of those scenes implied a link between alcohol and seduction, sexual activity or sexual success, and furthermore that the use of the event name Tequila , either alone or with phrases such as a spirit fuelled den of hedonism and debauchery and, because of the clear double meaning therein, come and swallow and dedicated to oral pleasure in the ads was sufficient to establish that link even in the absence of any images containing alcohol. We considered that the degree of focus throughout the ads on alcohol and drinking resulted in the implication that alcohol was a key component of the success of Tequila UK club nights. We therefore concluded that ads (a) to (h) breached the Code.

7. Upheld

We acknowledged that attendees of the student club nights hosted by Tequila UK were likely to be young adults. However, the CAP Code stipulated that people shown drinking or playing a significant role in ads that featured or referred to alcoholic drinks must neither be nor seem to be under 25. We considered that all of the ads featured people who seemed to be under the age of 25, and that even when they were not drinking those people were playing a significant role - for example, the image on the right of the page in ads (d) and (e) of the woman in underwear being touched by another woman. We therefore concluded that the ads breached the Code.

 

27th February

 Updated: Hat Tip to Hitler...

Turkish parliament passes law allowing government to block any website without court oversight
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey flag The Turkish government has pushed draconian internet censorship legislation through parliament. The new law was met with outrage in Turkey, with opposition parties accusing the government of wanting to introduce ever tighter control by bypassing the courts.

The regulations were adopted after a heated parliamentary debate during which one MP of the main opposition People's Republican party (CHP) compared the Turkish prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, to Hitler. Hasan Oren said:

When you came into power you talked of increasing democracy in Turkey, but now you are trying to implement fascism. Remember that Adolf Hitler used the same methods when he rose to power.

The law now needs to be signed by the Turkish president, Abdullah Gul, to come into effect.

The new measures will allow Turkey's telecommunications authority (TIB) to block any website within 24 hours without first seeking a court ruling. The law also obliges internet providers to store all data on web users' activities for two years and make it available to the authorities upon request.

Update: Signed into law

19th February 2013.  See  article from  israelnationalnews.com

abdullah gul Turkey's president, Abdullah Gul has signed into force a repressive law voted in by the government that would introduce further censorship of web use.

Gul said on his Twitter feed he promulgated the law - which the opposition and rights groups say infringes on citizens' freedoms - after the government assured him it would soften parts of it through later amendments. He claimed:

I am aware of the problems mainly on two points.... These concerns will be taken into account in the new law

The government is now proposing that the internet censors of TIB will have to inform a judge about any decision to block a web page, according to the Hurriyet newspaper. The judge would then have to issue a ruling within 48 hours or the TIB move would be deemed invalid.

Update: Protests

23rd February 2013. See  article from  sacbee.com

Police used water canon and tear gas on Saturday against hundreds of people protesting against a new Internet law introducing even more censorship for Turkish surfers.

Protesters threw glass bottles, stones and other objects in the direction of heavily armed police officers, who made several arrests. Later Saturday evening the demonstrators erected barricades and lit fires in garbage cans. The protests are taking place in Istanbul's main shopping area in Istiklal street, near Taksim Square, the site of clashes between protesters and police in August.

Update: Amended

27th February 2013. See  article from  todayszaman.com

The Turkish Parliament has amended the Internet censorship bill that has caused outrage in Turkey.

The bill was approved by President Abdullah Gul last week, but he asked lawmakers to revise several articles he considered to be anti-democratic. One of the points he highlighted was the need to seek a court order for blocking websites in the hope of avoiding arbitrary decisions.

Two articles of the controversial Internet censorship law which were considered problematic by the president have been changed three weeks after the bill was approved in Parliament.

According to the changes, the Telecommunications Directorate (TIB) will be able to obtain Internet traffic data only with a court order, except when there is the threat of cyber attack or viruses. The TIB will now need the decision to block content to be approved by a criminal court of peace within 24 hours and the court will have 48 hours in which to reach a decision.

 

27th February

 Updated: Naked Prudery...

Politician adds prudery to political correctness over children's book with nude drawings of ordinary people
Link Here
Tous a poil Claire Franek A strange prudishness has seized a section of political opinion in France. The leader of the main centre-right opposition party, Jean-François Copé, declared on television last week that his "blood ran cold" when he read a children's book called Tous à poil ( All in the Buff ).

The book has comical drawings of ordinary people, policemen, bakers, and teachers, taking off their clothes. Its aim is to teach small children not to be obsessed with perfect bodies.

According to Copé, the book is being forced on primary school children as part of a campaign by an ideologically rigid socialist government to subvert traditional attitudes to gender and the family.

Tous à poil had sold only 1,000 copies before Copé's comments on television made it sound like a blend of the Marquis de Sade and Karl Marx for five-year-olds. Sales have since rocketed and the book is now the second best-selling French-language book on Amazon.

Copé's remarks have been widely mocked by in French media. The French are, after all, supposed to be relaxed about nudity; there is hardly a French movie without a nude scene; and French advertisers use female bodies (always perfect) to sell everything from cars to pasta.

All this would be mildly amusing if the remarks were not part of a campaign to radicalise the political debate in France along moral and cultural "identity" lines. Copé was trying, clumsily, to hitch himself to a bandwagon launched in recent months by ultra-Catholic conservatives and by the extreme nationalist right.


Update: French booksellers pose naked to support children's book on nudity

27th February 2013. See article from theguardian.com

After a children's book showing people naked was attacked by politicans of France's UMP party, a group of publishers and booksellers decided to register their displeasure, by posing naked (apart from strategically placed books that is).

Jean-François Copé appeared on television earlier this month to denounce Tous à Poil, a children's picture book in which characters including a policeman and a school teacher are shown getting undressed, and naked, before plunging into the sea. The authors, Claire Franek and Marc Daniau, wrote it to take the shame out of being naked. But Copé, president of France's centre-right Union pour un Mouvement Populaire party, said that when he saw the book, he was outraged.

His comments backfired, sending the book racing to the top of bestseller lists in France, and drawing widespread condemnation, with minister for education Vincent Peillon calling Copé a spokesperson for extremist groups. .

 

27th February

 Update: Sultan of Brunei threatens nasty punishments for those criticising his plans to introduce sharia law...

And of course, for those that don't!
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Brunei flag The Sultan of Brunei has ordered his citizens to stop criticizing his plan to institute a nasty version of Sharia law, telling them they'll be sorry once the law is implemented.

He announced last October that Brunei would gradually institute Sharia law punishments such as flogging, severing limbs and death by stoning beginning April 1.

Criticizing the sultan is forbidden, but the citizens of Brunei have still expressed their displeasure with Sharia law over social media. One poster dared to express displeasure:

It is truly frightening to think that we might potentially be stoned to death for being lovers, that we may be fined for being of a different sexual orientation, and that what we wear will be regulated.

But now the Sultan said in a speech:

They cannot be allowed to continue committing these insults, but if there are elements which allow them to be brought to court, then the first phase of implementing the Syariah Penal Code Order in April will be very relevant to them

 

27th February

 Offsite Article: Four parts of Sochi 2014 the Russians didn't want their citizens to see...

Link Here
sochi 2014 logoSome of the biggest talking points from the Winter Olympics were muted in the host country

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

27th February

 Offsite Article: Where will this one lead?...

Link Here
no kids zoneCampaigns, both in the UK and the US, are trying to put a stop to the use of images of children in tabloids

See article from theguardian.com

 

26th February

  ASA bans innuendo until 11pm...

E-cigarette TV advert restricted until late night hours
Link Here
vip tv advert video Two TV ads, which also appeared on the advertiser's YouTube channel, for VIP Electronic Cigarettes:

a. The first TV ad showed a woman speaking directly to the camera, she stated, I want you to get it out I want to see it Feel it hold it Put it in my mouth I want to see how great it tastes. On-screen text stated www.vipecig.co.uk Contains Nicotine . A symbol also appeared that indicated the product was not suitable for those aged under 18 years. Further on-screen text stated THE GREAT TASTE OF VIP and VIP E-cigarettes & E-liquids . An accompanying female voice-over stated, If you're gonna Vape, Vape with VIP.

c. The second TV ad showed a man speaking directly to the camera, he stated, Do you want to see it? I can get it out if you'd like. You can feel it hold it Put it in your mouth And see how great it tastes. On-screen text stated www.vipecig.co.uk Contains Nicotine . A symbol also appeared that indicated the product was not suitable for those aged under 18. Further on-screen text stated THE GREAT TASTE OF VIP and VIP E-cigarettes & E-liquids . An accompanying female voice-over stated If you're gonna Vape, Vape with VIP .

The ads were cleared by Clearcast with a post-21:00 restriction.

The ASA received 1,156 complaints.

A number of complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive, because:

  1. they were overly sexual in nature;
  2. they understood the term vape , used in a sexual context, to be wordplay on the term rape ; and
  3. they were sexist, degrading and exploited women.
  4. A number of complainants challenged whether the ads: were irresponsible, because they sexualised and glamorised e-cigarettes and smoking; and
  5. irresponsibly promoted a smoking-related product, for which the health effects were yet to be established, to young viewers.
  6. A number of complainants challenged whether ads (a) and (c) were appropriately scheduled, because they could be viewed by children.
  7. One complainant challenged whether ad (a) was irresponsible, because it failed to carry an appropriate health warning associated with nicotine products.

ASA Assessment

1. & 6. Upheld

The ASA acknowledged the complainants' concerns that the presentation of the ads included implied references to oral sex. We noted the ads contained no explicit sexual imagery and concluded by revealing that the commentary related to an e-cigarette.

However, we considered the sexually provocative presentation of the male and female characters in conjunction with a graphic description of oral sex was likely to cause serious and widespread offence to viewers who viewed ads (a) and (c) during normal evening viewing. We acknowledged the post-21:00 timing restriction would reduce the risk of younger children seeing ads (a) and (c), but because of the references to oral sex, we considered a post-21:00 timing restriction was not sufficient to avoid offending viewers and that a post-23:00 timing restriction should have been applied. On that basis, we concluded that ads (a) and (c) breached the Code.

To view ads (b) and (d), consumers needed to locate the ads on the advertiser's YouTube channel. In that context, we considered ads (b) and (d) were not likely to cause serious and widespread offence to those viewers. We therefore concluded that ads (b) and (d) did not breach the Code on point 1.

2. Not upheld

We considered the presentation of the ads made clear that the term vape related to the use of e-cigarettes and did not equate to wordplay on the word rape. We therefore considered the use of the term vape was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

3. Not upheld

We considered the woman, in ads (a) and (b), was not depicted as a sexual object, nor did it suggest that the woman was in distress. We considered the comments of the man, in ads (c) and (d), were suggestive in tone, but were not demeaning or sexist. We also considered ads (c) and (d) did not make clear to whom the character's comments were addressed. In that context, we considered the ads were not likely to be viewed as sexist, degrading or exploiting women. We therefore concluded that the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence on this point.

4. Not upheld

We noted that nicotine-containing e-cigarettes could be sold legally in the UK, were not a prohibited category under the CAP and BCAP Codes, and were therefore permitted to be advertised, within the confines of the Advertising Codes. We therefore considered the advertising of those products would not automatically be found to be harmful providing they were advertised in a responsible manner.

Whilst the ads were sexual in tone, we considered the ads did not glamorise the nicotine product nor did they encourage excessive or inappropriate use. Also, the ads did not include any reference to smoking. We therefore considered the content of the ads did not encourage smoking or the harmful use of a nicotine product. We therefore concluded that the ads were not socially irresponsible.

5. Not upheld

As noted previously, e-cigarettes could be advertised in compliance with the Advertising Codes provided they were advertised in a responsible manner.

Notwithstanding our concerns about the sufficiency of the timing restriction that had been applied to ads (a) and (c), we considered the original post-21:00 timing restriction would reduce the risk of younger children seeing those ads. We noted that, in order to view ads (b) and (d), consumers would need to search for them on YouTube. We therefore considered ads (b) and (d) were unlikely to be viewed children. In addition, we considered the presentation of the ads did not include content of particular appeal to children.

Because the ads did not include content of particular appeal to children and because the original placement of the ads reduced the risk of children seeing the ads, we concluded that the ads did not irresponsibly promote the advertised product to young viewers and therefore did not breach the Code on this point.

7. Not upheld

We understood there was no requirement for the advertised product to carry a health warning. Notwithstanding that, we considered it important that ads for e-cigarettes stated whether or not the advertised product contained nicotine. We judged that to be material information the consumer needed to know in order to avoid the likelihood of being misled. Because the ad made clear that the advertised product contained nicotine, we concluded the ad was not misleading on this point.

Ads (a) and (c) must not be broadcast again before 23:00. We told VIP Electronic Cigarettes to ensure ads were not likely to cause serious or widespread offence in future and to ensure that they were appropriately scheduled.

 

26th February

  Recommending Dark Horse by Katy Perry...

Petition claims music video is blasphemous
Link Here
katy perry dark horse video A petition has been started to get Katy Perry's latest music video banned. The fantasy video for the song Dark Horse includes a necklace disintegrating in a flash of CGI lighting effects. Apparently the necklace has script bearing the name of the Muslim religious character, Allah.

Shazad Iqbal of Bradford, England, condemned the video claiming that the image of the  disintegrating necklace is somehow blasphemous and should be banned from YouTube. The petition states:

Such goes to show, that blasphemy is clearly conveyed in the video, since Katy Perry (who appears to be representing an opposition of God) engulfs the believer and the word God in flames,

This is the reason for lodging the petition so that people from different walks of life, different religions and from different parts of the world, agree that the video promotes blasphemy, using the name of God in an irrelevant and distasteful manner would be considered inappropriate by any religion.

By Tuesday afternoon, the petition had been electronically signed by more than 42,000 people, a number dwarfed by the 30 million views the video has garnered on YouTube since Feb. 20.

 

26th February

  Lookin' to Score a Few Points for Political Correctness...

Brazils tourism board censors light hearted t-shirts
Link Here
looking to score Sports brand Adidas have accepted a request from Brazil's miserable tourism board to ban two T-shirts it marketed ahead of this year's World Cup because they make jokey reference to Brazil's well established  sex industry.

One shirt shows a bikini-clad woman with open arms on a sunny Rio de Janeiro beach under the word-play Looking to Score. The other has an I love Brazil heart resembling the upside-down buttocks of a woman wearing a thong bikini bottom.

The shirt designs touched a nerve in Brazil, where people often complain about foreign stereotypes of Brazilian sensuality, even when there is an underlying truth to it.

They also irked Brazil's government, which is campaigning aggressively to shed the country's reputation for sexy fun.

 

26th February

 Offsite Article: Should meat be displayed in butcher shop windows?...

Link Here
hanging pheasantsA family butchers in Suffolk has been forced to remove the carcasses hanging in its window display after a petition. So what do others make of the decision?

See article from theguardian.com

 

25th February

  MPs Take Great Pleasure in the Bondage and Domination of British Subjects...

Extension of Dangerous Pictures Act passes 2nd Reading in the House of Commons
Link Here

House of Commons logo Criminal Justice and Courts Bill
2nd Reading Debate. 24th February 2014

The extension of the Dangerous Pictures Act to cover simulated depictions of non consensual sex passed 2nd reading with little debate, just MPs queuing up to say a few lines to welcome the new law:

Chris Grayling (The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice ; Epsom and Ewell, Conservative):

The final provisions in part 1 deliver on a commitment that is important to me and the Prime Minister. The Bill will make it a criminal offence to possess pornography that depicts real or simulated rape. I am sure that both Houses will share my view that such images are wholly unacceptable and that it is right to close this gap in the law.

Sadiq Khan (Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice; Tooting, Labour)

We welcome clause 16, which bans the possession of extreme pornographic images depicting rape. A number of victim groups and experts have called for that change, and the Government and the Justice Secretary should be commended for listening to the evidence.

Elfyn Llwyd (PC Westminster Leader; Dwyfor Meirionnydd, Plaid Cymru)

My final point on part 1 concerns the new offence introduced in clause 16 that criminalises the possession of pornographic materials depicting rape and non-consensual sexual penetration. I truly applaud the Government's efforts in this regard to minimise the use and dissemination of extreme pornographic materials, and particularly the work they are doing to minimise the opportunities for children to come into contact with this filth. In my view, however, there can be no benefit to society or to the individuals involved if persons convicted of sex offences are left languishing in prison without treatment or, worse, released into the community

Bob Neill (Bromley and Chislehurst, Conservative)

I welcome the changes in relation to rape. Pornographic depiction of rape does seem an obvious matter to deal with---Rape Crisis South London in my constituency has done a lot of work on it---and I am glad that that has been recognised. I think that my hon. Friend the Member for Ealing Central and Acton would agree with me that there may still be gaps in the adequacy of sentencing for other sexual offences, particularly in relation to videos and DVDs of various kinds---we might be able to look at that in due course---but the change is a valuable step forward that we should all welcome.

Andy Slaughter (Shadow Minister (Justice); Hammersmith, Labour)

We support the ban on the possession of extreme pornographic images depicting rape and other non-consensual sexual penetration. That is a welcome victory for campaign groups such as Rape Crisis South London and the End Violence Against Women Coalition.

 

25th February

  I'll Rephrase That...

BBFC seem to be tinkering with the phrasing of consumer advice
Link Here
BBFC logo The BBFC seem to be changing the way that it phrases consumer advice.

The long running format was to link advice phrases using a grammatically correct list. Eg for Before the Winter Chill, the BBFC noted:

Contains strong language and infrequent gory images

However today's listings have advice rephrased in the form

Contains infrequent gory images, strong language

Vague Advice

Using proper English is a bit vague when used in short phrases. For example, BBFC consumer advice may read:

Contains strong language and sex.

Does that mean 'Contains strong language and strong sex' or does it mean  'Contains strong language and an unqualified level of sex'. Regular readers will now that BBFC always qualifies the level of sex so can infer that the 'strong' applies to all the elements in the list until the next adjective. However casual readers wont know this. It would be easy enough to get it right, just ensure that all elements have an adjective and don't worry about repeating them, eg 'Contains strong language and strong sex'. The repeat emphasises the adjective so is probably still correct English.

 

24th February

  Passed 15 for moderate scariness...

BBFC guideline changes for 2014 come into effect
Link Here
bbfc guidelines 2014 The BBFC's latest update to their guidelines has come into effect today.

The changes won't make any difference to more than a handful of films, but the main changes are:

  • Antisocial behaviour will become a new issue to consider U, PG and 12 rated films
  • There will be less violence allowed in U rated films
  • 12 rated films may contain more strong language at the discretion of the BBFC
  • 15 rated films will contain the full range of strong language, previously some films were rated 18 just for strong language.
  • Some films may be rated 15 instead of 12 just for being scary, even when the low level of violence does not really require a 15.
  • R18 films may now contain 'moderate' BDSM'. Previously this was limited to 'mild' BDSM

See also detailed changes to guidelines

 

24th February

  Shown the Blue Card...

BBC delays 'as live' football match due to strong language from the crowd
Link Here
bbc alba logo Football fans were waiting to watch the Scottish premiership match Ross County vs St Mirren, 'as live' on BBC Alba at 5.30pm last Saturday.

When it was discovered just how much swearing could clearly be heard, transmission was delayed by more than five hours until after the watershed.

A BBC spokeswoman said the channel had no choice but to delay the broadcast, in compliance with the rules set by Ofcom, where no programme that carries offensive language can be broadcast pre-watershed .

 

24th February

  Special Status Tarnishing...

Hong Kong protestors oppose Chinese encroachment on the press
Link Here
Hong Kong flag Thousands rallied outside Hong Kong's government headquarters on Sunday, demanding the city's leader uphold media freedoms amid growing anger toward perceived behind-the-scenes intrusions on local media outlets.

Tensions have been rising between forces backing democratic institutions in Hong Kong and China's Communist Party leaders, as the city proceeds with political reforms that could lead to an unprecedented direct election for its next leader in 2017.

Carrying Free Speech, Free Hong Kong banners, some 6,000 protesters, including working journalists, demanded Hong Kong protect media freedoms as a core value underpinning the financial hub's success and global reputation.

In recent years, Hong Kong journalist and rights groups have warned of mainland Chinese propaganda officials influencing local newsrooms, deepening ties between Hong Kong media bosses and Beijing, greater censorship, and the dismissal of influential liberal journalists.

Activists say the firing of a popular radio talk show host opposed to the local government earlier this month is proof of encroaching censorship. Staff at the Ming Pao newspaper, known for independent reporting critical of China, have also criticized the appointment of an editor with suspected pro-Beijing leanings.

 

24th February

  Silenced...

Azerbaijan enclave bans foreign music
Link Here

Azerbaijan flag The Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic is a landlocked exclave of the Republic of Azerbaijan. It has a bit of history censorial pronouncements.

And the latest is that the Nakhijevan TV and Radio broadcasts Committee has banned foreign music from being broadcast. Now exclusively Azerbaijani music sounds on Nakhijevan radio.

The ban includes also such genres as rock, rap, including the Azerbaijani language, and which is most surprising Turkish songs as well.

The head of the Nakhijevan Autonomy Vasif Talibov, who was included in the list of the world's predators of press by the organization of Reporters without Borders , is known for a number of extravagant bans. In November 2013 he banned giving foreign names to trade centers in Nakhijevan. In August he forbade the women serving in governmental offices to wear nylon pantyhose.

 

24th February

 Updated: The Hindus: An Alternative History...

Prescriptive Hindus get book banned after taking easy offence
Link Here
Hindus Alternative History Wendy Doniger The publisher Penguin has been accused of cowardice after it agreed to withdraw and pulp all remaining copies of a widely-acclaimed book on Hinduism to settle a civil claim from a Hindu extremist group.

The book, The Hindus, An Alternative History , by respected American academic Wendy Doniger, was published in 2009 ironically to try and offset the view that the religion is prescriptive and shame-based and to reveal compassionate and tolerant roots.

But it provoked an angry response from Hindu extremist groups who said it took a Christian missionary approach to denigrate the faith and defamed revered religious characters.

Soon after its publication, a civil case was launched by six complainants led by Dina Nath Batra. Doniger's book had intended to show the Hindu religion in a poor light and had been disrespectful of its Gods and Goddesses, he argued.

His group's claim cited the book's cover jacket which shows Lord Krishna sitting on the buttocks of a naked woman, surrounded by naked women. He claimed that the picture had attempted to ridicule, humiliate and defame the Hindus and denigrate the Hindu traditions .

Penguin was accused of surrender and cowardice by commentators and freedom of expression campaigners after copies of the settlement were released. Under the terms of the deal, Penguin agreed to stop the distribution and sale of the book in India and destroy all remaining copies of the book. In exchange, Batra and his fellow litigants agreed to drop all civil and criminal cases against the publisher.

Doniger told friends in India she was angry about the settlement and indicated she had not been consulted about it in advance. She said For all the people who have expressed outrage over this, I am deeply grateful, she told friends by email. She said she did not believe it would be possible to stop people buying the book online, although it did not appear possible today to purchase the book on Amazon from India or via local rivals.

Update: Calling for Penguin to oppose the censorship

24th February 2013. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

A group of leading Indian and international academics, including Ashis Nandy, Partha Chatterjee, Romila Thapar and Martha Nussbaum, have initiated a petition on change.org urging Penguin to:

Contest the suit against The Hindus through the higher courts, to ensure that a strong precedent upholding freedom of expression be established.

The petition also urged lawmakers, jurists and the legal bureaucracy to undertake a revision of Indian penal laws to protect works of serious academic and artistic merit from motivated, malicious and frivolous litigation .

 

23rd February

  Anchorman 2...

A supersized R rated extended version is set for US theatrical re-release
Link Here
Anchorman 2 Legend Continues DVD Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues is a 2013 USA comedy by Adam McKay.
With Will Ferrell, Christina Applegate and Paul Rudd. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Will Ferrell has announced that Anchorman 2 would be returning to theaters for a week, in a completely separate, R-rated version. The movie, described as super-sized, will hit theaters (again) on February 28th.

Ferrell said that he and director Adam McKay briefly contemplated splitting the sequel into two separate halves. Instead, they had editors working on parallel cuts of a single movie, so this re-release will be completely different, featuring almost 800 brand new jokes and raunchier material (it was rated R by the MPAA).

 

23rd February

  No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka...

Indian film censors ban Channel 4 documentary
Link Here
no fire zone video No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka is a 2013 UK Channel 4 TV documentary by Callum Macrae.
With Rufus Sewell. YouTube icon IMDb

The film has now been refused a censor certificate for release in theaters by the Indian Central Board of Film Certification.

The censors banned the film on the supposed grounds it may strain friendly relations with Sri Lanka. Claiming that most of the visuals are of a disturbing nature .

The ban on the film will add to the controversy over the Indian government's refusal to grant a visa to the film's director, Callum Macrae to attend a premiere of the documentary in New Delhi and Mumbai in November last year.

I find it very disturbing that a country whose independent history is rooted in the struggle for democratic rights and free speech should have taken what is, in effect, an act of overt political censorship, Macrae said.

In protest against the ban -- and supported by a group of journalists in India -- the production team have decided to make the film available for free streaming online in India. It will be available from Sunday 23 February on http://nofirezone.org/watch -- both in English and in English with Hindi subtitles. The film will also be available for free in Malaysia, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The revelation of the Indian ban follows what appears to be a concerted campaign by the Sri Lankan government to pressurize foreign governments to stop the film being seen.

 

23rd February

  3.50...

Flm about sex trafficking banned in Cambodia
Link Here
3 50jpg 3.50 is a 2013 Cambodia/Singapore crime thriller by Chhay Bora.
With Doung Cheanick, Leang Honglee and Eunice Olsen. YouTube icon IMDb

When a young Cambodian village girl is sold off into prostitution, a brash American documentary filmmaker ventures deep into the underbelly of Phnom Penh to pursue her story and rescue the girl, crossing paths with various other lives affected by the unspeakable terrain of the country's virginity trade.

The film has been banned in Cambodia. Not quite officially banned, it's just that the censors won't issue a certificate:

Filmmaker Chhay Bora, who directed the yet-to-be released 3.50 , said that the censorship board has never explained to him their grounds for evaluating movies.

It's like walking in the jungle with no road map to follow, said Bora, whose film on sex trafficking was supposed to be released last October but never received final approval. Although his script was approved, Bora said that the censorship board has failed to reach a verdict on the final version. No specific cuts have been ordered by the ministry, he said, but feedback he received suggested that censorship board members were concerned about the movie's heavy social commentary.

The Ministry of Culture film department said they didn't ban the film, but they didn't grant the licence yet, said Bora, adding that although the film's dialogue did not seem to cause controversy, the censorship board expressed concern over not less than 10 shots. Some of the criticism, Bora said, was over shots that the board claimed represented Cambodia in a bad light, such as a taxi driver throwing a cigarette out the window and a scene within the impoverished White Building community on Sothearos Boulevard.

Bora also said that other scenes were too political for the censors' comfort, such as a shot of a character walking down a dusty road with Prime Minister Hun Sen's office visible in the background.

Bora also said that the board insisted that all plot conflicts be resolved before the credits roll. In particular one of his characters, after escaping a brothel, is last seen joining a group of other former sex workers instead of trying to return home. Her ultimate fate is never revealed, but the possibility of her returning to sex work is not ruled out.

The censors said: why don't you find a solution for her, to find an NGO or new job? And I said that's not my job. The filmmaker has no possibility to solve the social problem.

 

23rd February

  Making Waves...

Brisbane Council bans film festival advert with a gay take on iconic From Here to Eternity image
Link Here
brisbane queer film festival advert An advertising poster of two men in a passionate embrace has been censored by Brisbane City Council'.

Lifestyle chairman Krista Adams has deemed the image too confronting and banned it, pending a review by the Advertising Standards Board.

The image in question, a parody of Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr's passionate beach embrace in the 1953 film From Here to Eternity , was designed as a publicity poster for the Brisbane Queer Film Festival which begins at the Powerhouse on March 28.

The ban could potentially expose the council to liability under the anti-discrimination act, by anybody who feels aggrieved by this decision.

While many in Brisbane's gay community are 'outraged', Powerhouse artistic director Kris Stewart played down council's decision.

We got word from Krista there were reservations about one of the three images we had planned. My sense was it is a very sexualised image and the decision would have been the same whether it was two men or a man and a woman.

 

23rd February

  Ray Ban...

Turkish province whinges at TV series depicting Mohammed as a beam of light
Link Here
sefkat tepe The govenor of the Turkish province of Konya has banned a TV series from filming in the province after it aired a scene depicting the religious character Muhammad.

The programme known as Sefkat Tepe , two weeks ago was criticized for showing a depiction of Muhammad as a beam of light.

Producers of the show, which is aired on Samanyolu TV, blasted the decision and hit back at criticism, claiming that it was part of a smear campaign against Turkey's Hizmet Movement, which owns the channel.

 

23rd February

 Offsite Article: Chinese movies do well at the Berlin International Film Festival...

Link Here  full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids
blind massageSuccess speculatively attributed to a relaxing of film censorship rules

See article from theglobeandmail.com

 

22nd February

  Fiddling Whilst Pompeii Burns...

Pompeii cut for a 12A rated theatrical release after seeking BBFC advice
Link Here
pompeii Pompeii is a 2014 USA/Germany action romance by Paul WS Anderson.
With Kit Harington, Carrie-Anne Moss and Emily Browning. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

UK: 2D and 3D versions were passed 12A for moderate violence and threat after BBFC advised pre-cuts for category for:

  • 2014 cinema release
The BBFC commented:

This work was originally seen for advice. The company was advised that the film was likely to receive a 15 certificate but that their preferred 12A classification could be achieved by making some changes.

The company was advised:

  • to reduce stronger moments of violence where there was a dwelling on particular acts and
  • to reduce the emphasis on blood on bladed weapons.

When the film was formally submitted, changes had been made which addressed these concerns. Consequently, the film was passed 12A.

 

22nd February

  Advert banned for Jamster's Nude Scanner 3D app...

Advert censors invent an app to reveal 'offensiveness' wherever they look
Link Here
nude 3d scanner app advert A TV ad for a mobile app, Nude Scanner 3D , shown during six episodes of Hollyoaks. The ad showed a clothed woman holding an umbrella. A hand appeared which held a mobile phone. The phone then scanned the woman which revealed her naked with her breasts and crotch blurred out. The naked image then rotated, showing the woman from the waist up. The voice-over stated, The 3D nude scanner is available for your mobile. Prank your friends to think you can see what any of them look like without clothes on. Just send scan to xx xxx to get the fun app now. Or also go to xxxxxxx.co.uk and join Jamster action for £4.50 per week. On-screen text stated For entertainment purposes only ... 16+, Bill payer's permission .

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction.

Twenty-six viewers complained about the ad:

  1. Twenty-one viewers challenged whether the ad was appropriately scheduled because it was shown at times when it could be seen by children, including young teenagers.
  2. Seven viewers, some of whom stated that the ad was demeaning to women, challenged whether the ad would cause serious or widespread offence.
  3. Seven viewers challenged whether the ad could encourage anti-social behaviour.

ASA Assessment

1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA welcomed Jamster's assurance that the ad had been removed from broadcast. We noted the ad featured a naked woman, with her breasts and crotch pixilated, who rotated in order to show her front and back. We acknowledged that the models featured on the app would not be shown fully naked, that the voice-over contained one reference to pranking and that on-screen text stated for entertainment purposes only . However, we considered that viewers may have assumed that the image would be fully nude because the ad had not made that clear. We also noted the visual of the woman was held on-screen for the majority of the ad and that she appeared in a playful and provocative pose. Because the ad focused on the product's apparent ability to enable the user to view naked images of women using the camera on their phone, and had a prolonged focus on the female model, we considered it was unsuitable for a child audience and was likely to be viewed as demeaning to women and, therefore, offensive.

We acknowledged the ex-kids restriction that was applied to the ad which meant that it should not be shown during programmes that were likely to be of particular appeal to children. We obtained the Broadcasters' Audience Research Board (BARB) figures and noted that the proportion of children who had watched Hollyoaks during the times when the ad was viewed by the complainants was, on two occasions, above the threshold at which a TV programme was said to have particular appeal to audiences who were under 16 years of age. Furthermore, on those broadcasts and on one other broadcast, the threshold of children between the ages of 10 and 15 who had viewed Hollyoaks was also above that threshold. We considered that whilst younger children may not understand the references to a nude scanner , that was unlikely to be the case for older children and we considered them to be the group most likely to have been interested in downloading the app.

Because the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, we concluded it should not have been broadcast at any time, including during programmes of particular appeal to children.

On these points, the ad breached BCAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) 32.1 (Scheduling of television and radio advertisements) and 32.3 (Under-16s).

3. Not upheld

We noted the ad had not contained language or on-screen text that encouraged the app to be downloaded to make fun or humiliate others. Whilst we considered the ad to be demeaning to women and unsuitable for children, and acknowledged that some viewers might find the product distasteful, we concluded that the ad itself was unlikely to condone or encourage bullying or anti-social behaviour.

On this point we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Responsible advertising) 4.9 (Harm and offence) and 5.4 (Children) but did not find it in breach. Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Jesta Digital GmbH to ensure their future advertising was not demeaning to women and contained nothing that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

 

22nd February

 Comment: In the Lap of PC Extremists...

Advert censors make up feeble excuses to ban strip club advert
Link Here

beavers strip club advert A regional press ad for Beavers strip club in Watford featured an image of a woman from her shoulders to her knees from behind. She was wearing lacy underwear and knee-high boots. Text over the image stated Excuses ... Sorry baby, the car broke down . Text next to the image stated BEAVERS STRIP CLUB & BAR, UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT, NEW DANCE PRICES 9pm - 12pm 15 & 20, FREE ENTRY BEFORE 10PM .

Two complainants challenged whether the ad:

  1. was likely to cause widespread or serious offence; and

  2. was irresponsible because it would be widely seen throughout the local community.

Beavers Strip Club & Bar (Beavers) did not respond to the ASA's enquiries.

The ASA was disappointed by Beavers lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code rule 1.7 (Unreasonable delay). We reminded Beavers of their obligation to respond promptly to our enquiries and told them to do so in future.

ASA Decision: Complaints upheld

1. Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the ad was for a strip club and bar and, as such, the image was relevant to the service being advertised. We considered that the image of the woman from behind, showing her from the shoulders to the knees, wearing only underwear and knee-high boots was sexually suggestive. We considered the text Sorry baby, the car broke down implied that it was customary for users of the service to do so without the approval of their partners, which, given the sexualised nature of the activity, and coupled with the sexually suggestive image, we considered was demeaning to women. Because of that, we concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and Offence).

2. Upheld

We noted that the ad was half a page in size and included a sexually suggestive image of a woman, which comprised over a third of the ad. We considered the ad was likely to be widely seen throughout the local community and, because we considered the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, we concluded that the ad was irresponsible.

The ad breached CAP Code rule 1.3 (Responsible advertising). Action

The ad must not appear in its current form. We told Beavers not to use images and text that were likely to cause serious or widespread offence in the medium in which they appear.

Update: You could knock me down with a feather!

letter writing 22nd February 2013. Thanks to Alan

You really couldn't make this up, could you?

We considered that the image of the woman from behind, showing her from the shoulders to the knees, wearing only underwear and knee-high boots was sexually suggestive.

You could knock me down with a feather! It's a fucking advert for a strip club, for heaven's sake. Of course it's sexually bloody suggestive. Can we now expect the ASA to censor adverts for solemn masses, with shocking revelations about the religious allegiance of the Roman Pontiff, because they could cause serious and widespread offence to extreme protestants?

 

22nd February

 Offsite Article: Is a restricted Internet our 21st century Prohibition? It's starting in Britain...

Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
Prohibition 2 DVDThe fact that this new form of censorship is being directed by a government that has overseen widespread electronic mass surveillance of its people suggests they may soon alienate those that value their freedom.

See article from computing.co.uk

 

21st February

 Extract: Twenty five years on from Rushdie...

And we are too frightened to say we are scared. By Nick Cohen
Link Here  full story: Jesus and Mo...Atheist cartoons offend the easily offended

ch4 censored jesus and mo In my You Can't Read This Book , I gave 10 rules for fighting back against dictatorial regimes and movements. The simplest, and the most important was:

If you are frightened, at least have the guts to say so. Once one did not write the word liberal and add hypocrite . Since the Rushdie Affair, the reflex has become automatic. The worst aspect of the fear the ayatollahs spread was that Western intellectuals were afraid of admitting that they were afraid. If they had been honest, they would have forced society to confront the fact of censorship. As it was, their silence made the enemies of liberalism stronger.

...Read the full article

 

21st February

  Internet Blackout...

Venezuela shuts down large chunks of the internet to censor widespread protest
Link Here

Venezuela flag For the last month, Venezuela has been caught up in widespread protests against its government. The Maduro administration has responded by cracking down on what it claims as being foreign interference online. As that social unrest has escalated, the state's censorship has widened: from the removal of television stations from cable networks, to the targeted blocking of social networking services, and the announcement of new government powers to censor and monitor online. Last night, EFF received reports from Venezuelans of the shutdown of the state Internet provider in San Cristo'bal, a regional capital in the west of the country.

The censorship began early last week when the authorities removed a Columbian news network , NTN24, from Venezuelan cable, and simultaneously published a reminder that TV stations could be in violation of a law that forbids the incitement or promotion of hatred , or foment citizens' anxiety or alter public order.

Venezuelan Internet users on a variety of ISPs lost connectivity last Thursday to an IP address owned by the content delivery network, Edgecast. That address provided access to, among other services, Twitter's images at pbs.twimg.com. A separate block prevented Venezuelans from reaching the text hosting site, Pastebin .

No official explanation for the loss of access to these general purpose communication platforms was given by either the government or the ISPs (the country's largest ISP, CANTV , is government-owned).

William Castillo , the director of CONATEL , the country's media regulator, later claimed that Internet censorship was necessary to fight off online attacks. He said that his organization had blocked several links where public sites were being attacked.

Last week also saw the Venezuelan government prepare more systematic monitoring and blocking online. The country's official gazette published last Thursday the details of a new government institution , CESPPA ( The Strategic Center for Security and Protection of the Country ). Among its broad powers, CESPPA can unilaterally classify and censor any information it sees as a threat to national security. Its structure includes two new Directorates: the Directorate of Information and Technology Studies, which will be in charge of processing and analyzing information from the web ; and the Directorate for Social Research, intended to neutralize and defeat destabilization plans against the nation . The Center will also provide for a network of situation rooms to be placed in all public institutions (the state ISP, CANTV, is defined as a public institution).

When first announced in October, CESPPA was criticized for being an unconstitutional attack on press freedom. With its new details revealed, it's clear that it will also have a wide mandate to monitor and control all online communications in the defence of the state.

Even before CESPPA can flex its new powers, however, the Venezuelan government appears to have taken the most drastic step yet against its citizens' free expression online. Starting late Tuesday night, reports reached EFF of the shutdown of CANTV's Internet access in areas of San Cristobal, the capital of the state of Tachira , and one center of the protests. Venezuelan technologists have been organizing online to spread information about bypassing censorship and restoring connectivity via the Twitter account @accesolibreve .

With shifting excuses for increasingly heavy-handed Internet controls, the government is undermining its own legitimacy abroad and among its own citizens. The censorship and blackouts must end.

 

20th February

  Beeping Battlecam...

Ofcom rules that bleeping isn't enough to mask strong language as easily offended viewers guess what was said
Link Here

battlecam logo Battlecam Comedy
FilmOn.TV, 15 November 2013, 15:30

FilmOn.TV is an entertainment channel broadcasting on digital satellite platforms.

The programme Battlecam Comedy was a recording of highlights of a stand-up comedy competition compared by Alki David, the owner of FilmOn.TV.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to adult material contained within the stand-up routines, that they considered inappropriate to be broadcast at 15:30.

Ofcom assessed the episode. Although all instances of offensive language had been bleeped , much of the comedy was adult in nature. By way of example, we noted the following: The first comic, while discussing what it would be like if he were a gynaecologist, mimed inserting his fingers into an imaginary woman's vagina. He then tasted his fingers and said syphilis?

Later, he said:

Men, we love you ladies, but we just love your [bleep] a little bit more...if we could remove the [bleep] from the chick and just take it to work and just pull it out and use it during the day in our 15 minute break...we would .

Ofcom also noted there were 48 occasions where strong language had been bleeped over the course of the programme's 16-minute duration.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.3: Children must...be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them .

  • Rule 1.16: Offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed (in the case of television)..., unless it is justified by the context. In any event, frequent use of such language must be avoided before the watershed .

  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context (see meaning of context below). Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence .

FilmOn said it was truly sorry and explained that an internal compliance request had been made before the broadcast to make sure that any offensive words are bleeped out when a show is shown outside of the watershed . The Licensee said that the problem is our compliance team have taken that literally and instead of taking into account the tone and suitability of a program they have just gone by our instruction and not used common sense

Ofcom decision: Breaches of Rules 1.3, 1.16 and 2.3

Ofcom first considered whether the programme was suitable for children. We noted that the programme featured a series of stand-up comedy routines which made references to subjects of an adult nature frequently and throughout (see examples listed above). In Ofcom's opinion, broadcast material dealing so clearly, graphically and unambiguously in the context of comedy entertainment with adult subjects such as pornography, masturbation, sexual acts, and incest was clearly not suitable for children.

Ofcom understands that FilmOn.TV had only begun broadcasting a few days before 15 November 2013. There had therefore been little opportunity for the expectations of the potential audience for this new service to have developed. Nonetheless in Ofcom's view (as was acknowledged by the Licensee), the audience for freely available television channels broadcast pre-watershed would not expect material of this nature, clearly aimed at an adult audience, to be broadcast before the watershed.

When offensive language is bleeped, viewers cannot identify what expletives have been used but can of course guess. In its guidance Protecting the Under-Eighteens: Observing the watershed on television and music videos 1, Ofcom noted that: If the use of the masked offensive language in a programme is frequent, such that the programme requires multiple instances of bleeping, there can be a cumulative effect on viewers similar to that of the offence caused by repeated broadcast of the unedited offensive language.

Taking this into account, Ofcom considered that the 48 instances of bleeped language in this case did amount to frequent use of offensive language.

Although Ofcom acknowledges that FilmOn.TV was a new service at the time of the broadcast of this programme in this case, we were concerned that the Licensee's comments reflected a lack of understanding by its compliance team of the requirements of the Code. Licensees must ensure that they have compliance arrangements in place from the moment they start broadcasting to ensure compliance with the Code.

Breaches of Rules 1.3, 1.16 and 2.3

 

20th February

  No Wonder the Youngsters Want to be Rebellious...

Miserable old censors get grumpy about a jokey hip flask
Link Here

fck my liver flask The website www.urbanoutfitters.co.uk featured a hip flask. The website stated F**k My Liver Hip Flask ... Drink like the rebel you are with this F**K My Liver printed hip flask . Text on the hip flask stated FUCK MY LIVER . Issue

A complainant challenged whether the website was irresponsible because it could encourage excessive drinking.

Urban Outfitters said it was their intention to produce a funny and light-hearted ad to attract the attention of consumers that reflected their street style attitude. They said they did not encourage drinking and that they did not sell alcoholic beverages. Urban Outfitters said the phrases fuck my liver and drink like the rebel you are were meant to represent an attitude of disregard for others' beliefs and the phrases were meant to be taken as light-hearted statements that portrayed a rebellious attitude that disregarded healthy living and as such, were not meant to be taken seriously.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld: Upheld

The ASA considered the advertiser's assertion that the two phrases represented an attitude of disregard and that Fuck my liver did not necessarily relate to alcohol consumption. However, we considered that the strong link with the product's purpose and the reference to liver would be interpreted as a direct reference to alcohol consumption. We considered that the phrase Fuck my liver was a message to actively disregard well-known advice about the negative effects of alcohol on the liver.

We also considered that the word rebels was, due to popular culture, likely to be seen as a reference to those who rejected normal conventions and were likely to take activities to an extreme. We therefore considered that in the context of a product for consuming alcohol, the phrase Drink like the rebel you are was likely to be seen as a direct encouragement to consume excessive amounts of alcohol, portraying drinking alcohol as a challenge.

Because Urban Outfitters advertised a product directly linked with the consumption of alcohol in a way that was likely to encourage excessive drinking, we concluded it was irresponsible and therefore breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising), 18.1 and 18.4 (Alcohol). Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told URBN UK Ltd t/a Urban Outfitters not to use words or phrases which were irresponsible, encouraged excessive drinking or portrayed drinking alcohol as a challenge.

 

20th February

 Update: Guessing that most will be 12 rated with the occasional 15...

Sexy music videos set to require BBFC vetting from 6th April 2014
Link Here  full story: VRA Exempt...Video Recordings (Exemption from Classification) Bill
DCMS logo The Department for Culture, Media and Sport looks set to bring a new law into effect on 6th April 2014. The law will remove the current blanket exemptions for music, sports, religious and educational videos.

Videos that would be U or PG rated will continue to be exempt but videos that would be rated 12 or higher now need to be censored by the BBFC before they can be legally sold in the UK.

The mechanism to predict whether videos require censorship is provided by a long list of content that would likely trigger at least a 12 rating. If none of the triggers apply then the video need not be submitted.

The changes are applied via a Statutory Instrument meaning that it doesn't require debate in parliament.

The draft bill was as follows but it is possible that changes were made after a public consultation

The  new regulation amends Section 2 subsections (2) and (3) of the Video Recordings Act 1984:

Subsection (2) of the current Video Recordings Act reads

(2) A video work is not an exempted work for those purposes if, to any significant extent, it depicts--

  • (a) human sexual activity of acts of force or restraint associated with such activity;
  • (b) mutilation or torture of, or other acts of gross violence towards, humans or animals;
  • (c) human genital organs or human urinary or excretory functions;
  • (d) techniques likely to be useful in the commission of offences;

This will be replaced by

The Video Recordings Act 1984 (Exempted Video Works) Regulations 2014

(2) A video work is not an exempted work for those purposes if it does one or more of the following-

  • (a) it depicts or promotes violence or threats of violence;
  • (b) it depicts the immediate aftermath of violence on human or animal characters;
  • (c) it depicts an imitable dangerous activity without also depicting that the activity may endanger the welfare or health of a human or animal character;
  • (d) it promotes an imitable dangerous activity;
  • (e) it depicts or promotes activities involving illegal drugs or the misuse of drugs;
  • (f) it promotes the use of alcohol or tobacco;
  • (g) it depicts or promotes suicide or attempted suicide, or depicts the immediate aftermath of such an event;
  • (h) it depicts or promotes any act of scarification or mutilation of a person, or of self-harm, or depicts the immediate aftermath of such an act;
  • (i) it depicts techniques likely to be useful in the commission of offences or, through its depiction of criminal activity, promotes the commission of offences;
  • (j) it includes words or images intended or likely to convey a sexual message (ignoring words or images depicting any mild sexual behaviour);
  • (k) it depicts human sexual activity (ignoring any depictions of mild sexual activity);
  • (l) it depicts or promotes acts of force or restraint associated with human sexual activity;
  • (m) it depicts human genital organs or human urinary or excretory functions (unless the depiction is for a medical, scientific or educational purpose);
  • (n) it includes swearing (ignoring any mild bad language); or
  • (o) it includes words or images that are intended or likely (to any extent) to cause offence, whether on the grounds of race, gender, disability, religion or belief or sexual orientation, or otherwise.

These Regulations do not apply in relation to any supply of a video work which was first placed on the market before [6th April] 2014

 

20th February

 Extract Kaufman's War...

The director of Troma's War recalls his war with the MPAA
Link Here
Tromas War Tromasterpiece Carolyn Beauchamp Troma's War is a 1998 US action adventure by Michael Herz & Lloyd Kaufman.
With Carolyn Beauchamp, Sean Bowen and Rick Washburn. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

It was massively cut in the US to achieve an R rated theatrical release. This version was released on VHS in the UK without further cuts. However the BBFC cut the Director's Cut for 1992 cinema release. The Director's Cut is available uncut on US DVD.

Lloyd Kaufman was not impressed with the massive MPAA cuts. He explains:

Troma's War is a very underrated movie, and it got totally fucked by the MPAA . Richard Heffner , who just made a noise like a frog and was president of the MPAA, told Michael Herz over the phone that our movie stunk. The MPAA is not supposed to do that, and they disemboweled our movie. They took out punches and jokes and things that were perfectly acceptable in movies like Die Hard . I think Heffner's words were "No fuckin good, or something. It was very unpleasant.

Our violence is, as you know, cartoon violence. That movie followed The Toxic Avenger and Class of Nuke 'Em High , so we had built up some steam. But the only way we could get into movie theaters in 1986 was with an R rating. And the film was cut down to something like a G-rated movie. I'm very bitter about it; I hope Dr. Heffner burns in hell, quite frankly. And I don't like to speak ill of the dead, but the nerve, the arrogance, the hubris of his comments!

Read the full article

 

19th February

  Different Takes Guts...

The same old censorship from the misery guts at ASA who whinge at a GiffGaff advert
Link Here

different takes guts video Two video ads promoted a mobile phone network:

  • a. A video ad entitled Different Takes Guts #giffgaffguts, which appeared on YouTube and Facebook, was set in a swimming pool complex. Various people all dressed in white, including wedding dresses and bikinis, and others, dressed as mummies in bandages, were seen running down corridors. The people jumped into an empty swimming pool, as large plastic containers full of what appeared to be blood, guts and other organs were lowered in, and the participants started throwing the contents around and smearing blood on their faces and bodies. At various points the blood and guts were thrown across and onto the camera. A close-up of a drink showed an eyeball and a character opened her mouth to reveal another eyeball. One man was shown holding his nose and diving under the surface of a hot tub full of blood and guts, helped by others who pushed his shoulders and back down. The ad ended by showing the floor of the pool and the characters covered in blood. On-screen text read Different takes GUTS .

  • b. A short video ad on YouTube, entitled Do you have the guts? featured people, some of whom were covered in blood, having mug shots taken and holding an identification panel which stated DIFFERENT TAKES GUTS , a date and #giffgaffguts .

Issue

  1.  Fifteen complainants challenged whether ad (a) was likely to cause offence and distress; and

  2. Two complainants also challenged whether ad (a) was inappropriately placed because it was likely to be seen by children and would cause them distress and harm.

  3. One complainant also challenged whether ad (b) was likely to cause offence.

CAP Code (Edition 12) 4.1 4.2 5.1 Response

Giffgaff said that the ads had appeared around Halloween and had been created to celebrate Halloween. They stated that the aim of the ads had been to be playful and humorous rather than frightening and to highlight that being different took guts . They did not consider that ad (a) contained material that could cause physical, mental, moral or social harm to children and they did not believe it was likely that the ad had caused serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.

Google stated the ads had been reviewed by YouTube LLC and did not violate their community guidelines or advertising policies.

Facebook stated the ads did not violate their ad guidelines and they had not taken any further action.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that ad (a) appeared around Halloween, where horror or gory imagery was often more prevalent. We understood, however, that some complainants had seen the ad before videos, which were not related to Halloween or to horror films, such as music videos, and we also noted that there was no warning regarding the nature of the ad's content. We considered that the scenes of blood, guts and other organs being thrown around were extensive, graphic and excessively gory and considered that the depiction of eyeballs in blood and in a character's mouth were particularly graphic. We therefore considered the ad's scenes were likely to cause revulsion and distress to viewers. Although we considered that viewers would note that the characters were not frightened and would infer that the blood and organs used were likely to be fake, we considered that the images were sufficiently realistic and graphic to cause offence and distress to many viewers and concluded that the ad was in breach of the Code.

On that point, ad (a) breached CAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence).

2. Upheld

We noted that the ad campaign was aimed at viewers who were 18 years old and older, but understood that ad (a) was not age-gated and could therefore be accessed by children. We considered that the graphic horror scenes would be likely to cause offence and distress to children, as well as adults, as set out under point 1, and therefore concluded that ad (a) was in breach of the Code.

On that point, ad (a) breached CAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) and 5.1 (Children).

3. Not upheld

We noted the characters featured in ad (b) had blood on their face or body and, in some cases, were covered in blood. Although we considered that some viewers would find that distasteful, we did not consider that the ad was likely to cause offence or distress.

We investigated ad (b) under CAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

 

19th February

  Old Pants...

Russia is set ban sexy underwear in favour of traditional frumpy cotton pants
Link Here
old pants A trade ban on lacy lingerie has Russian consumers and their neighbours with their knickers in a twist.

The ban will outlaw any underwear containing less than 6% cotton from being imported, made, or sold in Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. And it has struck a chord in societies where La Perla and Victoria's Secret are panty paradises compared to Soviet-era cotton underwear, which was often about as flattering and shapely as drapery.

On Sunday 30 women protesters in Kazakhstan were arrested and thrown into police vans while wearing lace underwear on their heads and shouting Freedom to panties!

The panty restrictions will go into effect from 1 July. Analysts have estimated that 90% of lingerie products would disappear from shelves if the ban goes into effect this summer as planned.

 

19th February

 Offsite Article: NSALeaks...

Link Here
WikileaksSnowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters

See article from firstlook.org

 

18th February

 Update: Insulting Free Speech...

French satirical magazine in court for a trivial insult about the Koran
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
charlie hebdo logo Easily offended French Muslims are taking satirical paper Charlie Hebdo to court for blasphemy over a front page insult of the Koran.

A court in Strasbourg set the hearing into Charlie Hebdo's supposed blasphemy for 7 April.

A Muslim legal defence group brought the case over a front page headlined The Koran is shit .

Blasphemy is not an offence in France. The trial will be a test case because, although it bans public insulting religious communities established on the territory , the agreement on the law only recognises Catholicism, three forms of Protestantism and Judaism.

A hearing has also been set for the 7 April in a case against former decentralisation minister Claude Goasguen that accuses him of offending the honour and dignity of the Muslim community . Speaking to a gala organised by a pro-Israel group, KKL, Goasguen claimed that the history of the Holocaust could no longer be taught in French schools because people are so scared of the reaction of young Muslims who have been drugged in the mosques .

 Lawyer Khadija Aoudia, acting for one of France's two major Muslim associations, the CFCM, said that media coverage of Goasguen's remarks feed Islamophobia and create a strong feeling of rejection .

 

18th February

  Searching for Censorship...

Bing found to be censoring Chinese language searches even in the USA
Link Here
bing logo Microsoft's Bing search engine has been found out returning pro-state results for Chinese-language searches, even when those searches come from outside of China, activists claim.

The Guardian noted that a number of Chinese-language activist blogs are reporting that the results they have been seeing on Bing searches from within the US are very different than those returned from English-language search queries. Using similar tactics to search both Chinese and English terms on Google Search showed no such discrepancy, as the engine returned similar page results in both language searches.

Among the censored queries were searches in Chinese for the Dalai Lama, Falun Gong, and the June 4 (Tienanmen Square) protests.

Microsoft, for its part, has denied the censorship, claiming that a combination of systems errors and incorrectly-flagged pages led to the results noted in the reports. Bing senior director Stefan Weitz told the Reg:.

Due to an error in our system, we triggered an incorrect results removal notification for some searches noted in the report but the results themselves are and were unaltered outside of China.

Offsite: Not so fast. A deeper analysis of Bing search results

18th February 2013. See  article from  techinasia.com

The strong representation of harmonious results on the US version of Bing would understandably raise eyebrows. But allegations that Microsoft is kowtowing to the Chinese government ought to be treated with the same skepticism.

...Read the full article

 

18th February

 Offsite Article: Remembering the good old days when film censors were dictators and egotists...

Link Here
BBFC logoTwenty years ago today, James Ferman , the director of the BBFC, was in the process of dismissing 13 part-time film examiners after they criticised him for refusing to liberalise the standards for film censorship in the UK

See article from neverenoughworlds.co.uk

 

17th February

 Update: Playing Easily Outraged...

The Telegraph has a knock at Google's Play Store after one parent complains that adult books are sold side by side with children's books
Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
google play store logo The Daily Telegraph has decided to take a pop at Google's Play Store for mobile apps. There doesn't seem much evidence of 'outrage' but when did that ever stop the tabloids.

The Telegraph rolls out the outrage bandwagon:

Google is profiting from the sale of hundreds of pornographic images and books depicting sadistic acts, incest and rape which are readily available to children. It is selling titles with graphic images and content alongside children's literature on its Google Play book store.

More than 100 of the books are in fact little more than pornographic magazines and openly advertise the fact that they contain hundreds of graphic images. Free samples are available to download, and they can be accessed on computers, tablets and mobile phones.

Despite the graphic nature of the images Google has no age verification in place or parental restrictions, other than requiring a child to declare that they are aged 13 and above to use the Google Play store.

One parent wrote to her MP, Stephen Barclay to raise her concerns after discovering that her son had been downloading the images on his phone:

I feel they are not bothered about this problem. I don't think many parents are aware of this situation so [they] are unable to keep their children safe, as Google keeps advertising. I would like ... to find a solution through government to put a stop to this situation and make Google more responsible.

A Google spokesman said that the company did not issue age-ratings for books because there is no certification system. The company argues that:

A 13--year-old could freely walk into any book store and browse/purchase any book he/she chose to pick up.

 

17th February

  Everyone can hear you scream 'offensive'...

Joke in artwork of a Brighton restaurant offends the easily offended
Link Here
meatliquor The MeatLiquor Bar in Brighton has removed supposedly offensive artwork after silly claims of trivialising sexual assault. The slogan read:

With my sausage in your mouth no one can hear you scream

The local paper, the Argus, refused to print the slogan in its article about the 'outrage'.

The restaurant has now removed the poster and made a donation to the easily offended campaigners of Survivors' Network by way of apology.

Fabia Bates, director of domestic abuse campaigners, Survivors' Network, whinged:

It is horrifying that in 2014 MEATLiquor find it acceptable to use references to rape in their decoration.

Their justification that the image was part of a spoof campaign and was meant to be playful is even more concerning. Rape is wrong, unlawful and causes unimaginable distress to more than 85,000 women and 9,000 men in the UK every year. It is not a topic to be joked about or taken lightly. This kind of message serves only to validate the unacceptable level of tolerance and misunderstanding about rape in our society.

Katie Russell from charity Rape Crisis weighed in:

The combination of imagery and slogan on this poster is clearly intended to make reference to very serious sexual violence against women.

It is sexist, offensive, and potentially deeply distressing for the large numbers of survivors of sexual violence who will inevitably see a poster displayed in a public place. It's extremely ill-considered and irresponsible for a business to attempt to trivialise sexual violence in this way.

A spokeswoman for MEATLiquor said:

The decor is designed to be playful and cheeky, and while we regret any offence that has been taken in this case, we wish to make clear that at no time have we intended to condone or trivialise such serious matters.

This is the first occasion we are aware of in which a diner has considered our decor in our 'peek a boo room' to have transgressed what they consider to be acceptable, and we are sorry that this is the case. We have taken immediate action to redact the material in question.

 

17th February

 Update: Caught Fixing Opinion Polls...

Turkish journalists protest against government censorship
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Turkey...Not so free press

Turkey flag In Turkey , around 200 journalists protested against censorship and government pressure on the media . Many referred to the ruling party when they chanted AK Party get your hands off the media .

Last week, recordings were leaked on the Internet purportedly of Turkish TV executives manipulating an opinion poll and sacking reporters under government pressure. Journalist Hilmi Hacaloglu explained:

The government is trying to control the media by using the bosses or the journalists close to them. Journalists are saying they've had enough and we gathered here in the traditional press district.

The protests have reignited a debate about restrictions on press freedom , something the EU candidate nation is very familiar with.

 

16th February

  Naked Prudery...

Politician adds prudery to political correctness over children's book with nude drawings of ordinary people
Link Here
Tous a poil Claire Franek A strange prudishness has seized a section of political opinion in France. The leader of the main centre-right opposition party, Jean-François Copé, declared on television last week that his "blood ran cold" when he read a children's book called Tous à poil ( All in the Buff ).

The book has comical drawings of ordinary people, policemen, bakers, and teachers, taking off their clothes. Its aim is to teach small children not to be obsessed with perfect bodies.

According to Copé, the book is being forced on primary school children as part of a campaign by an ideologically rigid socialist government to subvert traditional attitudes to gender and the family.

Tous à poil had sold only 1,000 copies before Copé's comments on television made it sound like a blend of the Marquis de Sade and Karl Marx for five-year-olds. Sales have since rocketed and the book is now the second best-selling French-language book on Amazon.

Copé's remarks have been widely mocked by in French media. The French are, after all, supposed to be relaxed about nudity; there is hardly a French movie without a nude scene; and French advertisers use female bodies (always perfect) to sell everything from cars to pasta.

All this would be mildly amusing if the remarks were not part of a campaign to radicalise the political debate in France along moral and cultural "identity" lines. Copé was trying, clumsily, to hitch himself to a bandwagon launched in recent months by ultra-Catholic conservatives and by the extreme nationalist right.

 

16th February

 Update: Rue de Censors...

Paris workers censor street art protesting at Hadopi file sharing law
Link Here
bloodsuck hadopi City workers in Paris have been instructed to remove political messages from street art this week, including several paintings protesting against local anti-piracy law Hadopi . Among the targets were several creations by Finnish artist Sampsa, who painted dozens of anti-Hadopi statements across the city.

One of the works, which displayed the text The Blood Sucking Hadopi alongside a kid being chased by a giant mosquito. The city workers decided that the text went too far and removed it in its entirety. The rest of the mutilated painting remains in place, although its original message has been completely lost.

The irony of the city's actions is that it has censored an artist who has spoken out against a law that is supposed to protect artists. Needless to say, the move was heavily criticized by many members of the public.

TorrentFreak talked to Sampsa who is disappointed that his work was destroyed, but is also glad for the public support he's received.

Creating street art is simply a tool for activism. I am glad people in France are upset about what happened in Butte aux Cailles -- it shows at least someone is paying attention to certain lines that shouldn't be crossed.

Despite the setbacks Sampsa is not going to stop, on the contrary in fact. The French three-strikes law is about to be transformed into system where alleged file-sharers will receive automatic fines , something the artists is heavily protesting against.

 

15th February

 Update: Drawing Conclusions...

Iraqi newspaper office bombed after publishing caricature of Iran's supreme leader
Link Here
iraq cartoon ayatollah Independent Iraqi daily newspaper Al-Sabah Al-Jadeed has survived numerous attempts to destroy it over its 10 year existence. But on 10 February, the newspaper's Baghdad office was bombed and now its future is in doubt. The daily may need to find a new office, employees are fleeing, and its website is facing one DoS attack after another.

A few hours later the bombing a militia-like group entered the building. They came threatening us in broad daylight, so to speak, says Ismael Zayer, editor in chief. The group escaped after employees managed to warn the police.

The bomb attacks followed a social media campaign to demand the closure of the newspaper after it published its weekly supplement Zad on 6 February. The supplement was devoted to the 35th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution in Iran and on the cover featured a caricature of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. The cover caricature is a tradition for Zad, a supplement that came into existence in the first months of the Arab Spring. These cartoons are never intended to be offensive or convey a negative message, they are just an alternative to uninteresting photos of VIPs.

 

15th February

  Linked to Sensibility...

Top European Court finds that hyperlinks can be published to freely available content without fear of copyright claims
Link Here
European Court of Justice Does publishing a hyperlink to freely available content amount to an illegal communication to the public and therefore a breach of creator's copyrights under European law? After examining a case referred to it by Sweden's Court of Appeal, the Court of Justice of the European Union has ruled today that no, it does not.

One of the key roles of the EU's Court of Justice is to examine and interpret EU legislation to ensure its uniform application across all of those member states. The Court is also called upon by national courts to clarify finer points of EU law to progress local cases with Europe-wide implications.

One such case, referred to the CJEU by Sweden's Court of Appeal, is of particular interest to Internet users as it concerns the very mechanism that holds the web together.

The dispute centers on a company called Retriever Sverige AB, an Internet-based subscription service that indexes links to articles that can be found elsewhere online for free.

The problem came when Retriever published links to articles published on a newspaper's website that were written by Swedish journalists. The company felt that it did not have to compensate the journalists for simply linking to their articles, nor did it believe that embedding them within its site amounted to copyright infringement.

The journalists, on the other hand, felt that by linking to their articles Retriever had communicated their works to the public without permission. In the belief they should be paid, the journalists took their case to the Stockholm District Court. They lost their case in 2010 and decided to take the case to appeal. From there the Svea Court of Appeal sought advice from the EU Court.

Today the Court of Justice published its lengthy decision and it's largely good news for the Internet. The Court writes:

In the circumstances of this case, it must be observed that making available the works concerned by means of a clickable link, such as that in the main proceedings, does not lead to the works in question being communicated to a new public

The public targeted by the initial communication consisted of all potential visitors to the site concerned, since, given that access to the works on that site was not subject to any restrictive measures, all Internet users could therefore have free access to them.

Therefore, since there is no new public, the authorization of the copyright holders is not required for a communication to the public such as that in the main proceedings.

However, the ruling also makes it clear that while publishing a link to freely available content does not amount to infringement, there are circumstances where that would not be the case. the Court explains:

Where a clickable link makes it possible for users of the site on which that link appears to circumvent restrictions put in place by the site on which the protected work appears in order to restrict public access to that work to the latter site's subscribers only, and the link accordingly constitutes an intervention without which those users would not be able to access the works transmitted, all those users must be deemed to be a new public.

So, in basic layman's terms, if content is already freely available after being legally published and isn't already subject to restrictions such as a subscription or pay wall, linking to or embedding that content does not communicate it to a new audience and is therefore not a breach of EU law.

 

15th February

 Update: One Million Moms Recommend...

Sports Illustrated: 50th Anniversary Issue
Link Here  full story: One Million Moms...Moralist whingers against anything sexy
sports illustrated 50th The morality campaigners of One Million Moms spout:

The cover of the Sports Illustrated 50th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue features three topless models hugging with their backs turned and focuses on the thong bikini bottoms they wear. There is also a side view of one model's breast. The SI Swimsuit Issue is nothing but soft porn and most closely resembles Playboy magazine. This soft core pornography is displayed in many family stores, often at checkout counters which is extremely offensive, disgusting and disrespectful to families. This type of publishing is also degrading to women.

Families should be able to enter supermarkets, convenience and drug stores without being subjected to indecency. Since SI is pushing pornography this magazine needs to be removed from stores, or at least moved to the magazine aisle so families can avoid being exposed to this filth. Customers can choose to avoid the magazine aisle, but they cannot escape when the magazine is displayed at the checkout counters and lanes. Also, SI should place this in a nontransparent plastic cover to protect minors who are browsing the magazine aisle.

The 2014 issue hits newsstands and digital formats next week.

TAKE ACTION

Send an email letter to Sports Illustrated now! Let them know they are pushing pornography and that this year's issue in particular is nothing more than soft porn. Also, request they only display their swimsuit edition on the magazine aisle in nontransparent plastic bags and away from entrances, checkout counters and lanes.

Even though SI has an opt-out option for magazine subscribers, families should let the company know that if the magazine refuses to cover the models appropriately without anything exposed then you will cancel your entire magazine subscription. This way, you will no longer financially support a company participating in the printing of soft porn. Sports Illustrated needs to realize families do not want indecency shoved in their face.

 

15th February

 Offsite Article: Sex, violence and movie certification...

Link Here
Wolf Wall Street Limited SteelbookFrom its inception, cinema has provoked fears about debasement and corruption of its audiences, especially in terms of the way language is used

See article from ft.com

 

15th February

 Offsite Article: Salsa Sauce...

Link Here
Cuban Fury DVD Nick FrostNick Frost speaks of strong language in Cuban Fury and how he prefers to see his films target a 15 rating

See article from birminghammail.co.uk

 

14th February

 Update: Stimulating Conversation...

Primary teacher whinges at playground conversations supposedly stimulated from playing Grand Theft Auto
Link Here  full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters
Grand Theft Auto Xbox 360 Primary school kids are supposedly initiating games involving simulating rape and sexual intercourse scenes from adult video game series Grand Theft Auto, a school has warned.

Pupils have also been having conversations about sexual acts and play acting extremely violent games resulting in injury , according to staff at south Wales primary school Coed-y-Brain. They were also having detailed playground discussions about drug use.

Headteacher Morian Morgan sent a letter to parents expressing his worry about some of the pupils' concerning playground behaviour at the school. He blamed the worrying behaviour on the 18-rated and violent computer game series which sees players take on the role of criminals in America's dark and seedy underworld.

I think some of the parents will tell you that they have been equally naive. But I must stress it's not a matter of me condemning parents at all. . ..[BUT]...

 

13th February

  Finland Wins the Premier League...

Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom League Table 2014
Link Here
Reporters without Borders logo The Reporters Without Borders World Press Freedom Index 2014 has created a little news around the world.

China seems intent on dropping further down the table by appropriately censoring the press from mentioning the countries rock bottom rating of 175 out of 180.

A directive from the press censors of the State Council Information Office translated as:

All websites are kindly asked to delete the article 180 Countries Ranked in 2013 Press Freedom Index; China at 175th and related content.

While this kind of state-imposed censorship is hardly a new occurrence in ultra-paranoid China, in fact it is a daily occurrence, this particular decree is somewhat ironic given the subject matter of the banned article.

The UK has slipped three places down the league, to 33rd. According to RSF, this was due to the country distinguishing itself by its harassment of The Guardian following its publication of the NSA and GCHQ leaks by the whistleblower Edward Snowden .

That incident, and the White House administration's reaction to the Snowden affair and the jailing of Chelsea Manning over the Wikileaks revelations, also resulted in the United States falling by 13 places to 46th in the list.

Thailand again improved slightly, moving up five positions to 130th place in this year's index, It was ranked 135th last year and 137th in 2012.

1 Finland
2 Netherlands
3 Norway
4 Luxembourg
5 Andorra
6 Liechtenstein
7 Denmark
8 Iceland
9 New Zealand
10 Sweden
11 Estonia
12 Austria
13 Czech Republic
14 Germany
15 Switzerland
16 Ireland
17 Jamaica
18 Canada
19 Poland
20 Slovakia
21 Costa Rica
22 Namibia
23 Belgium
24 Cape Verde
25 Cyprus
26 Uruguay
27 Ghana
28 Australia
29 Belize
30 Portugal
31 Suriname
32 Lithuania
33 United Kingdom
34 Slovenia
35 Spain
36 Antigua and Barbuda
37 Latvia
38 El Salvador
39 France
40 Samoa
41 Botswana
42 South Africa
43 Trinidad and Tobago
44 Papua New Guinea
45 Romania
46 United States
47 Haiti
48 Niger
49 Italy
50 Taiwan
51 Malta
52 Burkina Faso
53 Comoros
54 Serbia
55 Argentina
56 Republic of Moldova
57 Republic of Korea
58 Chile
59 Japan
60 Mauritania
61 Hong Kong
62 Senegal
63 Tonga
64 Hungary
65 Croatia
66 Bosnia and Herzegovina
67 Guyana
68 Dominican Republic
69 United Republic Of Tanzania
70 Mauritius
71 Nicaragua
72 Sierra Leone
73 Malawi
74 Lesotho
75 Benin
76 Togo
77 Timor-Leste
78 Armenia
79 Mozambique
80 Kosovo
81 Madagascar
82 Republic of the Congo
83 Cyprus North
84 Georgia
85 Albania
86 Guinea-Bissau
87 Panama
88 Mongolia
89 Liberia
90 Kenya
91 Kuwait
92 Bhutan
93 Zambia
94 Bolivia
95 Ecuador
96 Israel
97 Kyrgyzstan
98 Gabon
99 Greece
100 Bulgaria
101 Côte d'Ivoire
102 Guinea
103 Seychelles
104 Peru
105 Paraguay
106 Lebanon
107 Fiji
108 Maldives
109 Central African
110 Uganda
111 Brazil
112 Nigeria
113 Qatar
114 Montenegro
115 Tajikistan
116 Venezuela
117 Brunei Darussalam
118 United Arab Emirates
119 South Sudan
120 Nepal
121 Algeria
122 Mali
123  Macedonia
124 Angola
125 Guatemala
126 Colombia
127 Ukraine
128 Afghanistan
129 Honduras
130 Thailand
131 Cameroon
132 Indonesia
133 Tunisia
134 Oman
135 Zimbabwe
136 Morocco
137 Libyan Arab Jamahiriya
138 Palestine
139 Chad
140 India
141 Jordan
142 Burundi
143 Ethiopia
144 Cambodia
145 Myanmar
146 Bangladesh
147 Malaysia
148 Russian Federation
149 Philippines
150 Singapore
151 Democratic Republic of Congo
152 Mexico
153 Iraq
154 Turkey
155 Gambia
156 Swaziland
157 Belarus
158 Pakistan
159 Egypt
160 Azerbaijan
161 Kazakhstan
162 Rwanda
163 Bahrain
164 Saudi Arabia
165 Sri Lanka
166 Uzbekistan
167 Yemen
168 Equatorial Guinea
169 Djibouti
170 Cuba
171 Lao
172 Sudan
173 Islamic Republic of Iran
174 Vietnam
175 China
176 Somalia
177 Syrian Arab Republic
178 Turkmenistan
179 North Korea
180 Eritrea

 

13th February

 Update: Bigger, Fatter, Richer Lawyers...

Traveller campaigners seek judicial review of Ofcom's decision to not uphold complaints about Channel 4's Big Fat Gypsy Weddings
Link Here  full story: Big Fat Gypsy Wedding...TV winds up the easily offended
bigger fatter gypsier A campaigning group representing the Gypsies and Travellers is seeking a judicial review of an Ofcom ruling dismissing concerns about unfair racial stereotyping in Channel 4' s Big Fat Gypsy Weddings.

The Traveller Movement claimed the TV censor treats powerful broadcasters more favourably than ordinary people. It is seeking a judicial review over Ofcom's decision in November last year to dismiss complaints that Big Fat Gypsy Weddings and spin-off Thelma's Gypsy Girls perpetuated racist stereotypes, broke regulations regarding consent to be filmed and reinforced misconceptions and prejudices towards the Gypsy and Traveller communities.

Ofcom's ruling followed a year-long investigation, after receiving about 340 complaints about the show.

The Traveller Movement claimed Ofcom's ruling was reached following a "flawed investigation", with Channel 4 named as an "interested party" in the proceedings. It is also complaining that under Ofcom's standards procedures only the broadcaster, in this case Channel 4, is allowed to see and challenge a draft report of the investigation findings.

 

13th February

  New Zealand Recommends...

Rap group Odd Future
Link Here
Odd Future Vol 2 Bonus SICP 3451 Immigration New Zealand is refusing to allow members of a controversial rap group to enter the country.

California rap group Odd Future were due to play at the Rapture hip hop concert headlined by Eminem in Auckland on Saturday, however, they have now had their visas revoked.

In a statement Immigration New Zealand said Odd Future had been deemed to be a potential threat to public order for several reasons:

Including incidents at past performances in which they have incited violence. In one instance, a police officer was hospitalised following a riot incited by Odd Future.

The group's leader Tyler the Creator is well-known for using homophobic slurs and graphic descriptions of violence against women in his lyrics.

The decision comes amid growing calls to axe the controversial rap group from a concert headlined by Eminem unless the act promises to censor their lyrics. The Human Rights Commission has today written to Auckland council saying the group should not be allowed to play on council-owned land unless they exclude explicit lyrics from their performance.

 

13th February

  Clutching at Straws...

Morality in Media draw a tenuous link between porn and the much exaggerated issue of sex trafficking
Link Here
pornography sex trafficking Morality in Media has announced StopTraffickingDemand.com, a website dedicated to propaganda attempting to link porn with sex trafficking. The site will bring together moralist commissioned research, nutter testimony and personal accounts to try and convince the public there is a connection between the two.

Claimed links between pornography and sex trafficking include:

  • porn-users often seek to act out what they have viewed in pornography;
  • pornography is often used as a training tool to show victims how to perform;
  • pimps often use pornography to advertise their victims and to make more money;
  • trafficking takes place within the mainstream porn industry.

 

13th February

 Offsite Article: Never Heard of Safe Search...

Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
mediawatch banner logoMediawatch-UK persuades the Telegraph to publish a whinge about porn on Google Images

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

12th February

 Update: Full Length But Not So Wide...

Snowpiercer set to get a limited US release in its full length format
Link Here
snowpiercer Snowpiercer is a 2013 South Korea/USA/France action Sci-Fi drama by Joon-ho Bong.
With Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton and Luke Pasqualino. YouTube icon IMDb

Summary Notes

In a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off most life on the planet, a class system evolves aboard the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe via a perpetual-motion engine.

A disagreement between filmmaker and distributor Harvey Weinstein over length and pacing of the Bong Joon-Ho helmed Snowpiercer has been resolved.

Weinstein bought U.S. rights on the movie back in 2012. A wide release was in the contract, until the director turned in a cut of just beyond two and one-half hours. Weinstein had a fit of cultural vandalism and demanded that the running time be cut down by 20 minutes.

The resolution is that the director keeps the length of his action film intact but instead of a wide release, it will initially receive a limited release at a reduced amount if cinemas.

This gives the opportunity for further cinemas to opt to show the uncut movies and so build up a wider release on merit. However the implication is that if the movie doesn't take off in this form then Weinstein will use this as a justification for trying again with a shortened version.

 

12th February

  Censor Objects Whinge at Sex Objects...

ASA whinges about slightly sexy models used in Cyprus based dating website
Link Here

kovla logo Two internet display ads promoted an introduction service:

  • a. The ad featured a woman in a black bra and knickers, with one hand to her breast.

  • b. The ad featured a woman in a pink bra and knickers, posing with her thumbs inside the waistline of her knickers, near her crotch.

Both ads stated Kovla.com Find a date in your area! Join for free . Issue

The complainant challenged whether:

  1. the ads were offensive because they objectified women;

  2. the ads were unsuitable for display in an untargeted medium; and

  3. ad (a) was irresponsible, because the woman appeared to be underweight.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA welcomed the fact that the ads were no longer appearing and that Kovla would take greater care to ensure their marketing was compliant with the Code in future. However, we noted that both ads featured women in their underwear, looking directly at the camera with their mouths slightly open, and posed with their hands on their bodies in what we considered to be provocative and sexualised positions. Whilst the ads did not include explicit nudity we considered that they presented the women as sexually available and portrayed them as sexual objects. We therefore considered that the ads were likely to cause serious or widespread offence, and concluded that they were in breach of the Code.

On that point, the ads breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

2. Upheld

We understood that the ads had been seen on a general website that could be accessed by all consumers and was not restricted in any way. We considered that the ads were sexually suggestive and presented the women as sexual objects and therefore concluded that they were unsuitable for an untargeted medium where they could be seen by children.

On that point, the ads breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

3. Not upheld

We noted the woman featured in the ad was slim, and that the outline of some of her ribs could be seen in the image. We also noted that her pose accentuated her curves and waist. We considered, however, that whilst the model looked slim she did not appear to be underweight, and concluded that the image was not irresponsible.

On that point, we investigated ad (a) under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising), but did not find it in breach. Action

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We told Kovla Ltd to ensure future ads did not contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, and to take particular care when placing ads in an untargeted medium where they could be seen by children.

 

12th February

 Offsite Article: World press freedom index 2014...

Link Here
Reporters without Borders logoBiggest rises and falls in the 2014 World Press Freedom Index

See article from rsf.org

 

11th February

 Update: The Day We Fight Back...

A Call To the International Community to Fight Against Mass Surveillance
Link Here

the day we fight back logo The Snowden revelations have confirmed our worst fears about online spying. They show that the NSA and its allies have been building a global surveillance infrastructure to "master the internet" and spy on the world's communications. These shady groups have undermined basic encryption standards, and riddled the Internet's backbone with surveillance equipment. They have collected the phone records of hundreds of millions of people none of whom are suspected of any crime. They have swept up the electronic communications of millions of people at home and overseas indiscriminately, exploiting the digital technologies we use to connect and inform. They spy on the population of allies, and share that data with other organizations, all outside the rule of law.

We aren't going to let the NSA and its allies ruin the Internet. Inspired by the memory of Aaron Swartz, fueled by our victory against SOPA and ACTA, the global digital rights community are uniting to fight back.

On February 11, on the Day We Fight Back, the world will demand an end to mass surveillance in every country, by every state, regardless of boundaries or politics. The SOPA and ACTA protests were successful because we all took part, as a community. As Aaron Swartz put it, everybody "made themselves the hero of their own story." We can set a date, but we need everyone, all the users of the Global Internet, to make this a movement.

Here's part of our plan (but it's just the beginning). Last year, before Ed Snowden had spoken to the world, digital rights activists united on 13 Principles . The Principles spelled out just why mass surveillance was a violation of human rights, and gave sympathetic lawmakers and judges a list of fixes they could apply to the lawless Internet spooks. On the day we fight back, we want the world to sign onto those principles. We want politicians to pledge to uphold them. We want the world to see we care.

Here's how you can join the effort:

1. We're encouraging websites to point to the Day We Fight Back website, which will allow people from around the world to sign onto our 13 Principles, and fight back against mass surveillance by the NSA, GCHQ, and other intelligence agencies. If you can let your colleagues know about the campaign and the website ( thedaywefightback.org ) before the day, we can send them information on the campaign in each country.

2. Tell your friends to sign the 13 Principles! We will be revamping our global action center at en.necessaryandproportionate.org/take-action to align ourselves with the day of action. We'll continue to use the Principles to show world leaders that privacy is a human right and should be protected regardless of frontiers.

3. Email: If you need an excuse to contact your members or colleagues about this topic, February 11th is the perfect time to tell them to contact local politicians about Internet spying, encourage them to take their own actions and understand the importance of fighting against mass surveillance.

4. Social media: Tweet! Post on Facebook and Google Plus! We want to make as big of a splash as possible. We want this to be a truly global campaign, with every country involved. The more people are signing the Principles, the more world leaders will hear our demands to put a stop to mass spying at home and overseas.

5. Tools: Develop memes, tools, websites, and do whatever else you can to encourage others to participate.

6. Be creative: plan your own actions and pledge. Take to the streets. Promote the Principles in your own country. Then, let us know what your plan is, so we can link and re-broadcast your efforts.

All 6 (or more!) would be great, but honestly the movement benefits from everything you do.

 

11th February

 Update: Government jihad against extremist videos...

The Home Office is attempting to convince ISPs to block religious extremist videos hosted abroad
Link Here

Home Offie logo The British government is attempting to block all online extremist videos that they claim are helping to radicalise impressionable young men. The Home Office is in talks with internet companies to block violent religious films that are hosted abroad. The plans have been drawn up by James Brokenshire, the ex-security minister who is now the immigration minister.

One minister told the BBC that about 2,000 Europeans are thought to be fighting in Syria, including at least 200 known to the British security services. It is feared that fighters returning to the UK will seek to radicalise young men in particular to launch terrorist attacks both at home and abroad.

Since February 2010, the Counter Terrorism Internet Referral Unit, or CTIRU, has taken down more than 21,000 pieces of illegal terrorist online content. If the CTIRU and prosecutors deem material to be illegal it can be blocked from parts of the public sector, including schools and hospitals. But this does not extend to domestic users - and filters can be turned off.

James Brokenshire said

Through proposals from the extremism taskforce announced by the prime minister in November, we will look to further restrict access to material which is hosted overseas - but illegal under UK law - and help identify other harmful content to be included in family-friendly filters.

The Home Office also hopes it can also make it easier for people to report extremist content online.

Emma Carr, deputy director of campaign group Big Brother Watch, said:

Politicians and civil servants should not be deciding what we can see online. If content is to be blocked then it should be a court deciding that it is necessary and proportionate to do so.

 

11th February

  Nightbreed...

The Cabal Cut is Dead, Long Live the Director's Cut
Link Here
nightbreed cabal cut When Scream Factory revealed it was at work on restoring Clive Barker's original vision of his 1990 directorial effort Nightbreed on Blu-ray. The presumption was that this was going to be The Cabal Cut , a 160-minute cut of the creature feature that has been making the film festival and convention circuit rounds.

But that is not the case. In John Nicol's Fangoria #330 interview with Seraphim Films' Barker and Mark Miller, it has been revealed that Scream Factory's presentation will be a Director's Cut.  Miller explained:

I've seen footage that hasn't even made it into the version at the screenings. The story is all there. Clive's vision is complete. It's a thing of beauty. Shout! Factory is going to restore it with tender loving care.

The Cabal Cut was created by us in-house from the footage we found in the storage rooms. This 160-minute beast has every bit of Nightbreed footage we had access to incorporated into the cut. We put everything we found back in a) just to be able to say we'd seen that version and b) because we needed as much of the proverbial scultpor's rock to chip away from for what would become the finished masterwork: The Director's Cut.

Miller goes on to say that the restoration process is well underway and that some scenes from The Cabal Cut are being cut or trimmed.

No release date for The Director's Cut has been set.

 

11th February

 Update: Wasting everybody's time, (including yours for reading this)...

BBC patronise whinger who complained about food wastage in a Top Gear supermarket race
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

topgear supermarket sweep Top Gear
BBC Two, 2 & 3 February 2014

We've received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy that there appeared to be food wasted during an item where the presenters raced cars around a supermarket.

Top Gear's response

Since we were making a tribute to 80s Hot Hatches, the supermarket challenge was filmed in the context of ram raiding shops, which was a phenomenon of that period. As such, there would inevitably be damage, especially at the speed Jeremy and Richard were driving. Like all TV shows we have a budget for props, and the money this time happened to be spent on supermarket produce, but although the wastage looked substantial we were mindful to choose the cheapest foodstuffs -such as juices -that would give us maximum visual impact for the least amount of damage.

 

11th February

  Trying to Trip Up the BBC...

BBC responds to complaints about overenthusiastic commentators
Link Here

sochi 2014 logo Sochi 2014, Snowboarding slopestyle,
BBC Two, 9 February 2014

 

BBC commentators got carried away at the prospect of a British medal and ended up cheering when a competitor had a mishap. This resulted in complaints and a statement from the BBC that, as usual, refuses to describe what actually sparked the complaint. The BBC responded to complaints as follow:

We received complaints from viewers who were unhappy with the standard of commentary during the Snowboarding slopestyle final.

The BBC's response

This was a truly historic occasion for Team GB and the commentary team were understandably very excited, however we acknowledge that on occasion this excitement got the better of them and this is something that we will work on for future events.

 

11th February

 Updated: Perhaps just a few jokey bad taste pictures circulated for fun...

Even the police fall victim to the Dangerous Pictures Act
Link Here
Metropiltan Police badge A number of armed policemen who were assigned to guard Downing Street are being investigated over allegations that they used their mobile phones to exchange extreme pornography, it has emerged.

Three officers were from the diplomatic protection group (SO6), a unit already in the spotlight recently as a result of the Plebgate affair that led to the resignation of cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, were arrested on 19 December, Scotland Yard confirmed. A fourth policeman who was not arrested was interviewed on 8 January in connection with the investigation and placed on restricted duties.

The Metropolitan police said that the images identified by the investigation were of an extreme sexual nature but did not involve children and that a file had been passed to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) for consideration.

Searches were carried out at the home addresses of the arrested officers, who were questioned at a central London police station. One of them has been suspended from duty while two others have been placed on restricted duties.

Update: Extreme Unfairness

11th February 2013. See  article from  theguardian.com

Three of the armed police officers assigned to guard Downing Street who were investigated over allegations that they used their mobile phones to exchange extreme pornography will not face criminal charges.

Three officers from the diplomatic protection group (SO6), a unit already in the spotlight recently as a result of the Plebgate affair that led to the resignation of cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell, were arrested on 19 December, Scotland Yard confirmed. A fourth officer who was not arrested was interviewed on 8 January in connection with the investigation and placed on restricted duties.

Scotland Yard said on Saturday three officers will not face charges but the CPS had yet to make a decision on the fourth officer.

 

11th February

 Offsite Article: Adults Only Rating Banned by the US Games Industry...

Link Here
esrb aoGame ratings were designed to open the door for different kinds of content, not limit what can be shown or addressed in a video game.

See article from polygon.com

 

10th February

 Extract: From the Archive: Robocop...

BBFC reveals thoughts about its 18 uncut rating for the original theatrical release in 1987
Link Here
Robocop DVD Peter Weller RoboCop is a 1987 USA action crime film by Paul Verhoeven.
With Peter Weller, Nancy Allen and Dan O'Herlihy. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

The Theatrical Version was cut for an R rating. This cut version was released in the UK without further BBFC Cuts. The cuts were restored for the Director's Cut released in the US and UK

The BBFC commented:

The violence and gore, in combination with scenes of drug use, pushed Robocop clearly into the 18 category in 1987. The strong comic book influence was recognised, as was the clear distinction between good and bad, with a hero always on the side of right giving the film a firm moral base .

Overall, the slightly offbeat and tongue-in-cheek tone of the film serves to ameliorate the loving care and attention with which Verhoeven treats the violence. Robocop (1987) was passed 18 uncut for theatrical release, and all subsequent video, DVD and Blu-ray releases have been passed 18, uncut.

...Read the full article

 

10th February

  Bollox about websites with video downloads being somehow 'TV like'...

ATVOD clarifies the disgracefully complex rules defining which services and websites are subject to its censorship
Link Here
ATVOD logo 2011 The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) has published new guidance on the scope and application of the censorship rules that apply to video on demand services.

The new guidance, on which Ofcom was also consulted, does not signal a proposed change in the interpretation of the scope of the regulations, but is merely intended to provide greater clarity.

Commenting on the new guidance, ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said:

The factors which determine whether a service is covered by the statutory regulations enforced by ATVOD are complex. The new guidance has been developed with stakeholders to ensure that it provides as much clarity as possible, especially to businesses -- large or small - who are considering launching a service which offers on-demand access to audio-visual material.

 

10th February

 Update: Blocking Protest...

Turkish police violently disperse crowds protesting at internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Turkey flag Police in Turkey have fired water cannon and teargas to disperse hundreds of people protesting in  Istanbul, against new repressive controls on the internet approved by parliament this week.

Demonstrators hurled firecrackers and stones on Saturday at police officers who cordoned off Taksim Square in the centre of the city.

The new powers, once approved by the president, will let authorities block web pages within hours on their own authority.

The Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan ludicrously claimed that censorship rules would not impose censorship:

These regulations do not impose any censorship at all on the Internet ... On the contrary, they make it safer and freer.

 

10th February

  Obscenely tortured legal process to confirm the bleedin' obvious...

Indian Supreme Court judges that simple non revealing nudity is not obscene
Link Here
boris bekker and friend A nude or semi-nude picture of a woman cannot be called obscene per se unless it is designed to excite sexual passion or reveal an overt sexual desire, the Indian Supreme Court has held.

Quashing a case against a newspaper for publishing a nude photo of German tennis legend Boris Becker with his fiancee in 1993, a bench of justices said:

A picture of a nude/semi-nude woman, as such, cannot per se be called obscene unless it has the tendency to arouse feeling or revealing an overt sexual desire. The picture should be suggestive of deprave mind and designed to excite sexual passion in persons who are likely to see it, which will depend on the particular posture and the background in which the nude/semi-nude woman is depicted.

Only those sex-related materials which have a tendency of exciting lustful thoughts can be held to be obscene, but the obscenity has to be judged from the point of view of an average person, by applying contemporary community standards.

The bench said the photograph, in which Becker had posed nude with his dark-skinned fiancee Barbara Feltus as a mark of protest against the practice of apartheid, wants to convey message to eradicate the evil of racism and to promote love.

We should, therefore, appreciate the photograph and the article in the light of the message it wants to convey, that is to eradicate the evil of racism and apartheid in the society and to promote love and marriage between white skinned man and a black skinned woman.

When viewed in that angle, we are not prepared to say that the picture or the article which was reproduced by Sports World and the Anandabazar Patrika be said to be objectionable..

The picture was first published in the German magazine Stern and then in the Sports World and the Anandabazar Patrika in 1993. A lawyer in Kolkata then filed a complaint against the Editor, the Publisher and the Printer of the newspaper as well as against the Editor of Sports World. This complaint initiated the legal process that led to the current judgement.

 

9th February

  More Dangerous Porn...

Government publishes extreme porn extensions to include images depicting non-consensual sex
Link Here
House of Commons logo The Criminal Justice and Courts Bill has been published and includes a section extending the definition of extreme porn to include depictions of non-consensual sex.

S63 CJIA 2008 will be extended to include rape material, but the definition looks to be so wide that it might include the majority of bondage related material.

This is the crucial bit: -

Clause 16 will extend CJIA 2008 S 63 (7) legislation by inserting provisions which include: -

16(2)C: after subsection (7) insert---

(7A): An image falls within this subsection if it portrays, in an explicit and realistic way, either of the following: -

(a). an act which involves the non-consensual penetration of a person's vagina, anus or mouth by another with the other person's penis, or

(b). an act which involves the non-consensual sexual penetration of a person's vagina or anus by another with a part of the other person's body or anything else, and a reasonable person looking at the image would think that the persons were real.

(7B): For the purposes of subsection (7A): -

(a): penetration is a continuing act from entry to withdrawal;

(b): vagina includes vulva.

16 (3): In section 66 (defence: participation in consensual acts): - a. before subsection (1) insert---

(A1): Subsection (A2) applies where in England and Wales: -

(a): 5a person (D) is charged with an offence under section 63, and

(b): the offence relates to an image that portrays an act or acts within subsection (7)(a) to (c) or (7A) of that section (but does not portray an act within subsection (7)(d) of 10that section).

(A2): It is a defence for D to prove---

(a): that D directly participated in the act or any of the acts portrayed, and

(b): that the act or acts did not involve the infliction of any non-consensual harm on any person, and

(c): if the image portrays an act within section 63(7)(c), that what is portrayed as a human corpse was not in fact a corpse, and

(d): if the image portrays an act within section 63(7A), that what is portrayed as non-consensual penetration was in fact consensual.

My reading of this is that it is for the defence to prove that that any act was consensual. If it looks non-consensual (and a large proportion of bondage material will be interpreted that way) then the person found to be in possession of such material will have to prove that the act was in fact consensual.

The Impact Assessment

There is an impact assessment which provides more information, but some of it is misleading (for example 1. the justification is said to be the desire to reduce violence against women and 2. an inference might be drawn from the 1 case that is believed to have been prosecuted in Scotland). The reality is that in England thousands of people have been caught out by S63(7) and thousands more will now fall foul of the new law.

Page 7 of the IA suggests that there will be some protection but I can't see any: -

28. There are minor risks that anti-censorship groups could see this step as an infringement on private consensual sexual activities, for example staging consensual acted rape scenarios. However, we intend to provide a limited defence to address some of these concerns. Alongside this the measure is likely to be well received across Parliament and a range of women's rights groups in particular.

29. We also intend to make available for the purposes of the images covered in the extended offence, the existing defence for participants possessing images of themselves, provided that no harm was caused to any participant, or if harm were caused, it was harm which was and could be lawfully consented to.

 

9th February

  Mr Selfridge Moans...

Ofcom considers the depiction of sex in a pre-watershed showing of the drama, Mr Selfridge
Link Here

Mr Selfridge DVD Jeremy Piven Mr Selfridge
ITV3, 30 September 2013, 20:00

Mr Selfridge is a fictional drama series loosely based on the lives of the London department store founder Mr Selfridge, his family and fictional characters representing various members of staff in the department store at the start of the twentieth century.

The series was originally broadcast on ITV at 21:00. This episode was part of a repeat of the series broadcast from 20:00 on ITV3, which specialises in repeats of programmes of contemporary and classic dramas.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to a sex scene broadcast at 20:15 which featured the character Lady Mae Loxley, a London socialite, and Victor Colleano, a waiter at Selfridges & Co. The complainant considered it to be unsuitable for broadcast before the watershed. The scene in question took place in Lady Mae's bedroom and was approximately ten seconds in duration. It started immediately after the end of the first advertising break in the programme with sounds of heavy panting. It showed Victor on top of Lady Mae having sex and the couple reaching a sexual climax. During the sequence the couple were shown naked from the waist up, with the rest of their bodies covered by a duvet, and with Lady Mae's long hair fully covering her breasts.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.20 of the code which states:

Representations of sexual intercourse must not occur before the watershed (in the case of television)...unless there is a serious educational purpose. Any discussion on, or portrayal of, sexual behaviour must be editorially justified if included before the watershed...and must be appropriately limited.

ITV said that this period drama had very little content that would be problematic for children and was expected to appeal to adult viewers rather than children. Although ITV accepted that the scene was briefly sexual it considered it was editorially justified by the context because it revealed a turning point in the relationship between Lady Mae and Victor. ITV said that the scene was post-coital...and neither character was shown nude . It also considered that despite some sexual content the scene was sufficiently brief and that there was no explicit depiction of intercourse . However, ITV apologised for the offence caused and said it had reconsidered the content in light of the concerns raised. Consequently, the Licensee said it would edit the scene for any future scheduling before the watershed and would reserve the original version for 21:00 transmission only.

Ofcom Decision

Rule 1.20 states that any representations of sexual intercourse must not be broadcast before the watershed unless there is a serious educational purpose, and that any portrayal before the watershed of sexual behaviour must be editorially justified and appropriately limited. We noted ITV's comments that the scene was briefly sexual and that there was no explicit depiction of intercourse . Although the sequence was brief and only showed the characters' naked bodies above the waist, it clearly depicted the couple having sex and reaching a climax.

Given that this scene was featured in a period drama series for general entertainment, there was clearly no editorial intention for this scene to be considered as having a serious educational purpose as required by Rule 1.20. Further, it was Ofcom's view that, although this scene had some editorial justification in the context of this period drama, this was not sufficient (and nor was the sequence appropriately limited) to justify its broadcast in this programme at 20:15.

Ofcom took into consideration however that this scene was relatively brief, limited to some extent in what it showed, and was scheduled on ITV3, which typically broadcasts dramas with a greater appeal to adults. Ofcom also took into account that ITV would edit the scene for any future showings of this programme before the watershed. We therefore concluded that this matter should be resolved.

 

9th February

 Comment: Bag a Slag...

Miserable Nottingham Council bans fun speed dating event claiming the event brings the city into disrepute
Link Here
bag a slag advert Misreable Nottingham Council employees have stepped in to protect the city's reputation after a Bag a Slag night sparked phoney 'outrage'.

The Old Angel, in Stoney Street, Hockley, found itself at the centre of a media frenzy after it advertised the alternative speed dating night on Valentine's Day using the slogan bag a slag, grab a hag .

The event was pulled by the pub last night after the city council's licensing team said its licence could be taken away if it used inappropriate promotions .

A council spokesprat said the event could bring the city into disrepute and that the pub eventually saw sense .

Offsite Comment: Slags, Hagas and the Limit of Offence

9th February 2013. See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.co by David Flint

Here's the background. The Old Angel is a city centre pub in Nottingham. Smack in between the ultra trendy area of the Lace Market and the hipster haven of Hockley, it stands out as a defiant blot on an otherwise fashionable landscape, being a rough n ready punk rock pub. It's regular clientele are a motley crew of punks, metalheads and general alternative types, and it doubles up as a live venue for bands, who play upstairs -- we've run reviews of gigs held here from time to time. It's probably fair to say that this is a pub where you will either feel instantly at home or immediately alienated from, given how determinedly unfashionable it is.

...Read the full article

 

9th February

  Doing a lap of your own car...

Jeremy Clarkson has fun while his devoted whingers do what they are best at
Link Here
Top Gear Challenges Augmented Reality A few whingeing viewers of Top Gear have knocked Jeremy Clarkson for taking part in a 'dangerous' stunt on the show.

The presenter was seen climbing out of the window of a moving car while he was driving it in an effort called doing a lap of your own car . Which, fairly obviously, involved doing exactly the latter while his co-hosts Richard Hammond and James May watched from the back seats. The routine was labelled a Don't -try-this-at-home nostalgia trip.

I think this is what George Michael was trying to do, he said, taking another swipe at the singer he'd previously insulted by referring to his car crash into the Hampstead branch of Happy Snaps back in 2011.

The Independent columnist wrote:

The problem is, once you've showed a nation of teenagers what they definitely shouldn't do with a vehicle by doing it, having fun and surviving the entire ordeal, the seed has been sewn. And that's exactly what the seven people who phoned the BBC to complain about the programme were raging about.

 

9th February

 Offsite Article: End Game...

Link Here
Fast Furious DVD Vin DieselFootage of real-life deaths has become a disturbing new online commodity

See article from independent.co.uk

 

8th February

 Update: Blocking Transparency...

Sex and Censorship call on the public to expose the disgraceful, negligent and secretive website blocking algorithms used by ISPs
Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
sex and censorship logo When the large ISPs rolled out their poorly-named porn filters in December, they all arrived missing an essential feature: a tool to check whether each filter blocked a specific URL or not. Without these tools from Sky , BT or TalkTalk , anti-filter campaigners resorted to using the only such service available, which happened to be from O2 . O2 , being a mobile provider, had actually been filtering content since 2004, but its URL checker ( urlchecker.o2.co.uk ) had largely been ignored for several years.

The storm of abuse that O2 received in December was therefore quite unfair: it was targeted, not for being the worst offender, but for being the most transparent of all the mobile and broadband Internet providers. Unsurprisingly, it wasn't long before O2 took its URL checking service offline; and although the company denies this was done to stop people sending angry tweets, the page is still offline today, displaying the message:

Our URL checker is currently unavailable as we are updating the site.

Perhaps the provider really is updating the site... but let's not hold our breaths. If I were a manager at O2 , I probably would have reached the same conclusion: there's no point being transparent when transparency is bad for business. Every other ISP, watching O2's support Twitter ID get bombarded during early December, will have also decided not to offer an online URL checker. Quite simply, market forces will punish any provider that breaks from the pack and provides information about how its filter works, and which sites it blocks.

It is therefore disgraceful that the government allowed the filtering to be put in place without mandating provider transparency. Countless sites have undoubtedly been blocked in error, but it is very difficult to find out which ones are blocked by which providers.

Sadly, we cannot expect Claire Perry MP, who is responsible for this mess, to call for this problem to be remedied. Transparency will reveal the huge extent of overblocking, which will be as bad for her career as it is for ISPs reputations.

It is up to the public to expose this deliberate suppression of information, and to shame government into action. If you care about Internet freedom, please tweet BT , TalkTalk , Sky , David Cameron and Claire Perry to ask why we cannot easily see what is being censored; and also ask O2 when their URL checker will be back online. Use the #CensoredUK hashtag in your tweets, and we will retweet them!

 

8th February

  Whingers told to take a running jump...

Advert censor dismisses complaints about kids laughing at a cat's mishap on a Tesco tablet
Link Here

tesco hudl advert A TV and video-on-demand (VOD) ad for a tablet PC:

  • a. The TV ad showed two young boys looking towards the camera, watching something off screen. The older of the boys said, Watch, watch. The boys continued watching, before bursting into laughter. The older boy said, Do you want to see it again? Watch, watch. The shot then changed to show a tablet device, which played a video clip of a cat attempting to jump from one roof to another, and missing, with a screech. On-screen text stated Let's watch ... Let's laugh ... Let's share ... Let's hudl ... .

  • b. The VOD ad was the same as the TV ad and appeared during Sex Box on 4OD. Issue

The ASA received 43 complaints.

  1. A number of complainants challenged whether the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

  2. A number of complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and harmful, because they felt it was likely to encourage cruelty to animals.

  3. 3One complainant challenged whether the ad was unsuitable for broadcast before 9 pm.

Tesco Stores Ltd told us they did not believe the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence because the action took place in a natural, relaxed and informal setting, with much laughter, which they did not feel fitted with the notions of widespread offence or cruelty. They said the ad was intended to be amusing and to characterise the fun aspect of the product along with emphasising the opportunity for sharing, learning and having fun with family and friends.

Tesco Stores did not accept that the ad was likely to encourage cruelty to animals, which they did not condone. They pointed out the cat had jumped off the roof by its own volition and had not been forced or encouraged to jump, and that the children's laughter was simply their natural reaction to the cat's mishap. They said the footage was licensed from a company that specialised in cat funnies and that contact had been made with the owner of the cat to ensure that it had not suffered any injury.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

Whilst the ASA acknowledged that some viewers were likely to find the ad distasteful, we accepted that the ad simply showed the children's natural reaction to viewing a video clip which featured a cat misjudging a jump. We noted that the footage did not show the cat being encouraged or forced to jump and we therefore considered there was nothing in the ad that could be emulated or that was likely to encourage cruelty to animals. We concluded that the ad did not breach the Code and that it did not require any scheduling restriction.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 and 4.4 (Harm and offence) and BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility), 4.2 and 4.4 (Harm and offence) and 32.3 (Scheduling), but did not find it in breach.

 

8th February

 Extract: RoboCop...

The bloody birth of the original film
Link Here

Robocop Remastered Blu ray Peter Weller When director Paul Verhoeven submitted his cut to the MPAA for certification, they weren't at all ready to pass it with the R rating he and Orion Pictures wanted. Scenes such as the melting of Paul McCrane's character, Emil, in a vat of toxic waste, and the gunning down of an OCP board member by the ED-209 enforcement droid, required pruning to push it down from an X.

Verhoeven resubmitted it repeatedly with fragments shorn off here and there -- somewhere between 12 and 17 times -- until it was finally passed as R. He maintains that the cuts actually rendered the film's violence more disturbing than the over-the-top kind in his original edit, which was restored in its gruesome entirety for an unrated home entertainment reissue.

...Read the full article

 

8th February

  Braced for Trouble...

Air New Zealand has fun with a bikini clad air safety video
Link Here
airnz safety in paradiase advert Air New Zealand's sexy new safety video featuring bikini-clad models from Sport Illustrated magazine has been criticised for supposedly objectifying women.

Air New Zealand says it has produced the the world's most beautiful safety video , dubbed Safety in Paradise .

The video is the latest in a string of safety dramatisations to feature on the national carrier's aircraft and will be rolled out gradually on all routes from February 12.

But gender extremist Deborah Russell, who viewed a preview about the making of the video, said she objected to the use of highly sexualised images in a safety video:

My concern is that as a woman I get on a plane to go to a business meeting say - something serious - and I am confronted by women in bikinis in what are highly sexualised images.

That jars. I want to be taken seriously but it seems that suddenly they are saying that my sexuality is all that matters about me.

The airline said it expected the video would engage customers in core safety messages and drive passenger traffic on its Auckland-Rarotonga and Los Angeles-Rarotonga services.

This is 'money can't buy' global attention focused on a key destination and our airline.

Air New Zealand spokesperson Andrew Aitken said the airline was not concerned about a potential backlash from passengers over the portrayal of women in the video.

Not at all. We have been careful to ensure Safety in Paradise has been produced in a way that is tasteful.

Air New Zealand said extensive tests with a cross section of customers and staff has been done in a bid to ensure the video struck the right balance between entertainment and its important safety messages.

 

8th February

  When Mr Dig Bites...

Telegraph culture editor calls for BBFC style age classification for sweary books (and so most likely to be 15 rated)
Link Here
When Dog Bites Brian Conaghan

 

8th February

 Offsite Article: India's courts caught in pornophobia...

Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
index logoCleansing Internet browsers of smut would wipe out fundamental liberties. By Saurav Datta

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

5th February

 Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast 18...

Link Here
BBFC PodcastAn interview with BBFC Assistant Director, David Austin, about the new BBFC Classification Guidelines

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

5th February

 Offsite Article: Self-regulation cannot be anything other than a very short term, and very imperfect, solution...

Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
elspeth howeElspeth Howe explains why she is continuing to push for internet wrecking censorship in the name of protecting the children

See article from uk.news.yahoo.com

 

5th February

 Offsite Article: The law isn't there to protect us from Dieudonnes odious views...

Link Here  full story: Dieudonne Mbala Mbala...Comedian winds up with near anti-semitic humour
Ragged Union JackOur banning of Dieudonne shows that the UK has grown feeble. A robust society should be able to handle the stresses of pluralism

See article from theguardian.com

 

4th February

  Beyond the Nightmare Maker in a Damaged Brain...

Video nasty news of releases in 2014
Link Here
the beyond The Beyond is a 1981 Italian horror film by Lucio Fulci
With Catriona MacColl and David Warbeck. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Cut by the BBFC for cinema release. Then the same version was banned as a nasty. Passed uncut on DVD.

The Beyond is now due for a 2014 Blu-ray release from Grindhouse Releasing

Nightamer maker is a 1982 USA horror by William Asher.
With Jimmy McNichol, Susan Tyrrell and Bo Svenson. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Banned as Video Nasty in 1983. Banned again by the BBFC for video in 1987. Not released since

But now set for a 2014 DVD from Code Red

Nightmares in a Damaged Brain is a 1981 USA/Italy horror by Romano Scavolini.
With Baird Stafford, Sharon Smith and CJ Cooke. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Cut by the BBFC for cinema release. Then banned as a video nasty. The cut US R rated version was then release without BBFC cuts in the UK. There is a an uncut Unrated version that has yet to be released in the UK

Now set for a 2014 Blu-ray from Code Red

 

4th February

  Patronising Claptrap...

ATVOD respond to ludicrous whinge about the portrayal of the town of Barry on the Channel 4 programme Karaoke Nights
Link Here

karaoke nights Karaoke Nights on Channel 4 is a positive, uplifting film about people who are dealing with life's challenges in Barry, South Wales, and singing their blues away in the town's many karaoke pubs.

Programme makers said Karaoke Nights was an accurate portrayal of town life, but residents said it had depicted an unrealistic view of people's behaviour.

A Barry resident complained about the town's portrayal on Channel 4 to the Video on Demand censor, ATVOD, as he watched the programme on catch up TV.

ATVOD policy and Investigations officer Jhaapjeet Chodha went well overboard on patronising the ludicrous complainant:

After reviewing the complaint and responses from Channel 4, we have concluded that your complaint does not raise an issue which could amount to a breach of ATVOD's rules.

The statutory requirements that apply to video on-demand services are not the same as for traditional television broadcasts, and there are a limited number of situations in which ATVOD is able to take action.

We considered whether your complaint raised an issue which could amount to a potential breach of ATVOD's Rule 10 Harmful Material: Material Likely to Incite Hatred which states that an on-demand programme service must not contain any material likely to incite hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality or Rule 11 Harmful Material: Protection of Under Eighteens which states that 'if an on-demand programme service contains material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, the material must be made available in a manner which secures that such persons will not normally see or hear it.' However, the matter was not considered one which raised issues of incitement to hatred or impairment of children's development.

 

4th February

  What's wrong with these people?...

BBC respond to complaints about a trivial joke in the BBC sitcom, Outnumbered
Link Here
Outnumbered 4 DVD Hugh Dennis Outnumbered is a BBC sitcom. Presumably the joke being referred to was Hugh Dennis suggesting that the utilities board employ a computer that isn't on the autism spectrum when faced with a bill for £0.00.

Complaint

We've received complaints from some viewers who were unhappy with a joke made in Outnumbered.

BBC's response

We would like to assure viewers that the reference to autism during Outnumbered was not intended to make light of the condition or to demean anyone who is affected by it. We feel this was in line with the established comic approach of Outnumbered and was never meant to deliberately offend anyone.

 

4th February

 Updated: Rubbed Out...

Edinburgh's licensed massage parlours under threat
Link Here
Edinburgh Proposals to scrap the licensing of saunas and massage parlours in Edinburgh will be considered by councillors today. The number of parlours has already been reduced after recent police raids.

Edinburgh is the only Scottish city to operate a licensing scheme, part of a tolerant approach to the sex trade.

If all are withdrawn, the saunas could stay open, subject to trading standards and public health rules.

Speaking last week, Gavin Barrie, City of Edinburgh Council's convener of the regulatory committee, said it was no longer appropriate to consider saunas and massage premises for a public entertainment licence.

Update: Licenses terminated

4th February 2013.  See  article from  heraldscotland.com

Edinburgh City Council have announced that six saunas which had previously been granted entertainment licences would lose that protection in 28 days. The council has terminated the licences of six establishments: Paradise, The New Gentle Touch, the Dundas Street Sauna, Scorpio Leisure, Blair Street Sauna and New Town Sauna.

The move marks a change in the city's long-standing tolerance of the sex trade and it follows a number of police raids, which were widely regarded as a sign that the policy of turning a blind eye to such premises over the past two decades had come to an end.

But during a meeting yesterday, the council said the arrangement was no longer effective and decided it would be scrapped. This does not mean the saunas will close but they will now be open to more frequent raids by the police.

MSP Margo MacDonald, who supports the licensing of saunas, said that the raids flew in the face of promises to keep policing local after the merger of the eight distinct forces.

Representatives of sex workers said the decision not to license saunas could put them more at risk. The charity Scot-Pep, which campaigns for the rights of sex workers, said it was disappointed by the council's decision. Its spokeswoman said:

This will mean women are working in constant fear of traumatising and counterproductive raids on their workplaces. Premises will be driven underground, away from service providers such as health workers.

 

4th February

 Update: Gesture Politics...

French comedian Dieudonne banned from the UK
Link Here  full story: Dieudonne Mbala Mbala...Comedian winds up with near anti-semitic humour
Home Offie logo The French comedian at the centre of the quenelle iracism row has been banned from entering the UK, the Home Office has said.

Dieudonne M'bala M'bala had said he would visit the West Bromwich Albion striker, who faces a ban for performing the comic's quenelle gesture. The quenelle involves touching or gripping your shoulder with one hand while holding the palm of your other hand outstretched and pointing to the ground. Some describe it as a combination of the bras d'honneur with a bent arm (which means up yours ) and the Nazi salute.

Dieudonne has been convicted six times of hate speech against Jews.

A spokeswoman for the Home Office said:

We can confirm that Mr Dieudonne is subject to an exclusion order.

The Home Secretary will seek to exclude an individual from the UK if she considers that there are public policy or public security reasons to do so. 'Indecent'

 

4th February

 Offsite Article: This afternoon's play was shit. It pissed me off...

Link Here
radio 4 drama logoWitty complainant uses the strong language that he is complaining about in a Radio 4 drama. The BBC are not amused and whinge about his language

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

3rd February

  ATVOD reveals concerns that its bluff is being called...

Given that all the kids are watching porn, then the distinct lack of depraved, corrupted, and seriously harmed children, proves that the legal underpinning of ATVOD censorship is all just bluff
Link Here
ATVOD with award for service to foreign industry ATVOD is destroying the British adult website industry by imposing rules that simply don't allow viable operation. In particular it demands that any visitor must supply a credit card (sorry debit card only holders, you are not allowed to view porn!). And who's going to supply credit card details to a potentially dodgy porn site where they are not even allowed to look round first and see a sample of what they are buying.

ATVOD does allow alternative age verification systems but these involve typing in lost of personal information that would be a paradise for identity thieves if people were foolish enough to go along with it.

And ATVOD is able to impose these onerous rules by claiming that hardcore porn seriously harms children.

The European Audio Visual Media Services Directive provides a justification for censorship that was implemented in UK law in the Communications Act:

If an on-demand programme service contains material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, the material must be made available in a manner which secures that such persons will not normally see or hear it .

ATVOD claim that hardcore porn qualifies as material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen. And so the censor has the authority to impose draconian censorship.

However it is not actually proven that hardcore porn 'seriously harms' kids. Even anti-porn campaigners speak in terms of kids picking up bad attitudes rather than being seriously harmed. But given that all the kids are watching porn, and society is getting by pretty much as normal then the case for claiming serious harm looks to be untrue. In fact if anything society seems to be getting better with crime rates on a steady decline. There doesn't seem to be a problem of Britain being overrun by depraved, corrupt and seriously harmed children.

Perhaps ATVOD should ask some of the parents of the many children who have seen porn. Is Your child seriously harmed?. I don't suppose many will say yes. They are still just normal kids.

Alarm Bells Ring at an ATVOD board meeting

Recent minutes from ATVOD's December board meeting reveal that the censor feels a little bit under threat, and is seeking a new law that provides a firmer footing for its censorship regime. Such a law is currently being debated by the government as indicated by board meeting minutes:

DCMS Strategy Paper

Issues relating to Access Services were discussed under item 10. The Board NOTED the Government's plans to legislate to outlaw material which goes beyond R18 and to remove any doubt that R18 material needs to be kept out of reach of children.

The Board NOTED that the proposed common framework for media standards might include provision for protection of minors, hatred, consumer protection and protecting individuals. Meetings with other media regulators were being held under Ofcom's chairmanship to consider this issue.

ATVOD is also seeking that banks and payment services refuse payment services to adult websites by similar claims to the above that providing hardcore porn in a way that can be seen by children contravenes the Obscene Publications Act: 

An article shall be deemed to be obscene if its effect or (where the article comprises two or more distinct items) the effect of any one of its items is, if taken as a whole, such as to tend to deprave and corrupt persons who are likely, having regard to all relevant circumstances, to read, see or hear the matter contained or embodied in it.

Effectively ATVOD is claiming that hardcore porn depraves and corrupts kids. But again the reality of so much porn viewing and so few depraved and corrupt kids rather disproves this claim.

And in fact it seems that the banks agree that ATVOD is overstating its case. The board meeting minutes reveal:

The Board CONSIDERED the following:

  • The Payments Industry's conclusion that the Obscene Publications Act does not provide adequate grounds for blocking payments and that firmer statutory underpinning is required . The briefing paper to DCMS setting out options was noted;

  • A working party has been established with the payments industry to consider how preventing payments might operate in practice and the Board will receive reports of meetings in November and December;

  • The statutory underpinning and who gathers information are two key issues to be resolved;

And perhaps most tellingly of all, ATVOD seem to admit that there is real risk to ATVOD if new legislation isn't forthcoming:

Risk Register

The Board APPROVED the proposed changes to the Register.

For the next update of the Risk Register consideration would be given to the risk to ATVOD of an absence of relevant legislation in relation to R18 material.

Of course if ATVOD is found to have been censoring without legal underpinning, then perhaps it would be possible for those business that have been trashed by ATVOD to claim compensation. That would surely get ATVOD panicking.

 

3rd February

 Correction: Savage Axe Experiments...

Video nasty news of releases in 2014
Link Here
human experiments Human Experiments is a 1980 US thriller by Gregory Goodell.
With Linda Haynes, Geoffrey Lewis and Ellen Travolta. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb s
The BBFC passed the 1979 cinema release without cuts. The video was released by Jaguar in 1981. It was listed as a video nasty in July 1983 but was soon dropped in March 1984.

There hasn't been a release since...until now.

Scorpion have announced a US R0 DVD release at a date to be specified. See product page from scorpionreleasing.com

Correction from Scream! Factory

It was previously reported that Scream Factory will release Human Experiments on  US Blu-ray. This is not the case, and only Scorpion will be releasing the film.

Deep River Savages is a 1972 Italy horror romance by Umberto Lenzi.
With Ivan Rassimov, Me Me Lai and Prasitsak Singhara. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Raro has announced that Deep River Savages will be released on US Blu-ray during 2014.

Axe is a 1977 US horror by Frederick R Friedel.
With Leslie Lee, Jack Canon and Ray Green. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

It was previously announced that US distributor Severin is set to release a US Blu-ray release in 2014. The company has now confirmed a UK release too.

 

3rd February

 Update: Anti-Gay Propaganda...

Russian newspaper fined for quoting a teacher who said that gay sex is normal
Link Here  full story: Gay in Russia...Russia bans gay parades and legislates against gay rights
Russia flag A Russian court has fined a newspaper editor for publishing an interview with a gay school teacher who was quoted as saying homosexuality is normal.

Alexander Suturin, editor of the Molodoi Dalnevostochnik, a weekly published in the city of Khabarovsk, was ordered to pay a fine of 50,000 rubles (£870) for supposedly publishing gay propaganda .

The prosecutor claimed that the statement: My very existence is effective proof that homosexuality is normal, goes against logic. She said:

By offering it to underage readers, the author is misleading them about the normality of homosexuality.

Suturin is to appeal against the ruling.

 

3rd February

 Offsite Article: UK Government Admits Filters Have Failed...

Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
sex and censorship feb logoThe government can't hope to prevent overblocking any more than the ISPs can, but at least they can ensure that key UK charities are not blocked. This announcement is an admission of failure.

See article from sexandcensorship.org

 

3rd February

 Offsite Article: Freedom of speech: Is it my right to offend you?...

Link Here  full story: Jesus and Mo...Atheist cartoons offend the easily offended
Telegraph logoFascinatingly detailed account of the religious censorship of the Jesus and Mo website

See article from independent.co.uk

 

3rd February

 Offsite Article: D notices, the MoD, and the threat to a very British way of keeping secrets...

Link Here
The GuardianMandarins are upset that the venerable story-clearance system failed to operate for the NSA leaks. But they should value any kind of consensual arrangement with a free press. By Peter Preston

See article from theguardian.com

 

2nd February

 Update: Parents TV Council Recommends...

Dads
Link Here  full story: Parents TV Council...US moralists whinge at TV sex and violence
dads The Parents Television Council is calling on its members to file indecency complaints over an episode of Fox Broadcasting's Dads , which featured an implied depiction of and references to semen, and references to masturbation. The episode was rated TV-14 and aired at 8 pm Eastern/7:00 pm Central on January 14.

The following are the sexual scenes that were featured in this episode:

  • Veronica: You don't have a caring bone in your body.
    Eli: Yes, I do. My bone cared for her twice last night. And a bendy third time.
     
  • Warner uses a UV light to disinfect Veronica's desk.
    Warner: These things are amazing. It even lights up semen.
    Warner's dad enters, waving "Hi" to everyone. The UV light picks up traces of semen, presumably, on his hand.
     
  • Camila tries to watch television with David and Crawford nearby.
    Camila: What about that show "Girls"?
    David: Hey, I'm trying to get erections, not lose them.

PTC President Tim Winter said:

We are urging members of the public to file a formal FCC indecency complaint over this episode of 'Dads.

Parents who have been told repeatedly by the entertainment industry to rely on the TV content ratings system have been fooled once again given this episode's very low TV-14 rating. How is a semen scene appropriate for 14-year-old children?

If parents can't rely on the television ratings system to give them accurate and consistent information about the programs their families might be watching, then the system is worthless -- serving only to give the networks cover as they continue to push the limits of what is deemed acceptable for the broadcast medium.

We urge the FCC to investigate this 'Dads' episode on behalf of families across the nation.

 

2nd February

 Offsite Article: Weinstein, Tarantino and the standoff over movie violence...

Link Here
Reservoir Dogs DVD Quentin TarantinoThe mogul showed courage in breaking Hollywood's code of silence, but what do we know about movie violence? By Andrew O'Hehir

See article from salon.com

 

2nd February

 Offsite Article: Julian Huppert welcomes advertising ban rethink...

Link Here
ASA logoASA rethink their advert ban demanding bike helmets when in fact it is not even a legal requirement

See article from libdemvoice.org

 

1st February

 Update: BBFC Living and Growing...

Sex education videos for schools now have to be submitted to the BBFC
Link Here

Living Growing VHS Sarah Kennedy Sex education videos used in schools are to be given age ratings for the first time amid evidence that growing numbers of concerned parents are pulling their children out of classes.

From February, the government will scrap a regulation which exempts sex education videos from age classification. So for example, the BBFC will decide whether sex education videos are PG rated and so suitable for primary school. If the depictions of sex in the videos are anything more than implied and the language is goes beyond mild references and innuendo , they will be effectively banned from primary school.  Also schools will be told to send parents letters detailing the content of sexual education videos before they are shown in class.

The new policy follows 'outrage' over a sex education video made by Channel 4 called Living and Growing . The video included a segment for eight year olds showing a naked cartoon couple chasing each other around a bedroom with a feather before having sex. Another segment, aimed at children from five, asked them to name the body parts on a drawing of a naked man and woman.

Ed Vaizey, the culture minister, said:

Ensuring children are protected from inappropriate content in the best way possible, is vitally important. The new classifications will mean that children are better protected from harmful content and parents will have the information they need to make confident decisions about whether certain DVDs are suitable for their children to watch.

The BBFC will be given the powers after a consultation found that teachers were concerned that growing numbers of parents, particularly from ethnic minority backgrounds, are pulling their children out of sex education classes. The consultation, conducted by the BBFC, also assessed parent's concerns about Channel 4's controversial Living and Growing DVD, which was shown in thousands of schools. Teachers said that the feather duster scene, in which a cartoon couple chased each other, conveyed a message that sex is fun and something for children and teenagers to be excited by .

David Austin, the head of Policy at the BBFC, said:

We hope to help schools and help parents find out more about the content of sex education videos before their children see them. What we haven't tended to look at [in the past] is sex education videos for younger children.

There was a lot in the [Living and Growing] video that was suitable. There was one with a cartoon with a woman straddling a man having sex, there was another of a man chasing a woman with a French tickler.

Parents didn't like that, and the company has started selling an edited version.

 

1st February

 Update: Recommended by Romania...

Lars Von Trier's Nymphomaniac Volume II banned from public exhibition but soon unbanned
Link Here
nymphomaniac 2 Nymphomaniac: Volume II is a 2013 Denmark/Belgium/France/Germany/UK mystery drama by Lars von Trier.
With Charlotte Gainsbourg, Stellan Skarsgård and Stacy Martin. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

The Romanian cinema board has banned Lars von Trier's Nymphomaniac II as supposedly unfit for public viewing, a decision the distributor says is unique in Europe.

The movie was due to be released Feb. 7 but the National Center of Cinematography told the distributor the film would be labeled IM 18 XXX, banned to minors and the general public.

Distributor Independence Film called it a case of censorship which is unique in Europe, and said it would appeal.

Nymphomaniac I is already running in Romanian cinemas.

Update: Romania shamed into sacking the censor and unbanning the film

1st February 2013. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

A ban on the second half of Danish director Lars von Trier's two-part film Nymphomaniac in Romanian cinemas has been reversed. The film will now be released as planned on 7 February.

Its distributor, Independenta Film, called the initial decision to ban Nymphomaniac: Volume II by the CNC (Centrul National al Cinematografiei) a case of censorship which is unique in Europe .

Georgica Severin, chairman of the Romanian senate's culture committee, also criticised the decision, pointing out the fact that Nymphomaniac: Volume I was already running in the country's cinemas.

The Hollywood Reporter said the president of the ratings commission, Cristina Corciovescu, had been dismissed and that the film's rating had been changed to Romania's version of an 18 certificate. It quoted an email from Antoine Bagnaninchi, managing director of Independenta film, which said it was great publicity for the film but very bad for the image of Romania .

 

1st February

 Extract: Government Censorship...

Video of David Cameron's henchmen visiting the Guardian to smash up their computers
Link Here

guardian comuter destruction In two tense meetings last June and July the cabinet secretary, Jeremy Heywood, explicitly warned the Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger, to return the Snowden documents.

Heywood, sent personally by David Cameron, told the editor to stop publishing articles based on leaked material from American's National Security Agency and GCHQ . At one point Heywood said: "We can do this nicely or we can go to law". He added: "A lot of people in government think you should be closed down."

...

With the threat of punitive legal action ever present, the only way of protecting the Guardian's team -- and of carrying on reporting from another jurisdiction -- was for the paper to destroy its own computers. GCHQ officials wanted to inspect the material before destruction, carry out the operation themselves and take the remnants away. The Guardian refused [and did the job themselves].

...Read the full article

 

1st February

 Updated: Reduced to Censorship...

Easily offended Ulster council censors the Reduced Shakespeare Company from staging The Bible: The Complete Word of God (Abridged)
Link Here
Complete Word God Bible Abridged A comedy show about the Bible, which producers say has been endorsed by hundreds of clergy, has been axed from the Theatre at the Mill in Newtownabbey amid claims it was anti-Christian .

The Reduced Shakespeare Company was due to kick off its latest UK tour by presenting The Bible: The Complete Word of God (abridged) at the council-run venue. But earlier this month, calls for the show to be cancelled were made by DUP councillors.

The party's Robert Hill told UTV that members of the public had approached representatives asking them to get it stopped on the grounds that it was offensive.

UUP Mayor Fraser Agnew also told UTV:

There were a lot of people concerned about the nature of this play, that it was anti-Christian - and we have established indeed it was anti-Christian, he said.

I believe there's got to be some form of censorship, otherwise you'll have all sorts of things happening.

The show's producer Davey Naylor told UTV that the production had toured extensively around the world over the past 20 years. The company has even performed the show at the Jerusalem Festival in Israel without objection, he said, calling for people to come and see it before branding it unholy. This is the very first time in the almost-20year life of the show that a performance has been cancelled because of the complaints of a few.

Playwright Austin Tichenor, co-author of the script and one of the managing partners of the Reduced Shakespeare Company, said:

We find it quite staggering that this type of censorship still appears to flourish in the UK and would like to apologise to all the audience members who bought tickets and are therefore unable to see the show. We'd also like to thank everyone for the hundreds of messages of support we have received. It's a shame these voices are drowned out by the few dissenting, uninformed ones.

Update: Comedian Jake O'Kane wades in

25th January 2013. See  article from  bbc.co.uk . Thanks to Nick

Jake OKane Tear Comedy Tour One of NI's leading comedians has criticised the council zealots who have banned a play in County Antrim. Jake O'Kane said unionist councillors who took the decision weren't elected to be moral guardians . O'Kane said:

I haven't seen the play, and unfortunately I'll never be able to see the play because councillors have decided that we will not be allowed to see the play.

It's like getting in a time machine and they went back to before the Reformation and the Enlightenment.

There was £ 7m spent on this theatre, it opened in 2010, and they may as well close the doors. If they are going to be the moral guardians of what we see and don't see, that theatre is dead in the water.

We already have laws, we have hate speech laws, that dictate what the arts can and cannot do. If it is hateful, if it is against minorities, the laws are already there to censor that.

We don't need a bunch of unionist councillors in Newtownabbey deciding what we can or cannot go to see.

They call themselves moral guardians - they weren't elected to be moral guardians. We elected them to empty our bins, make sure the leisure centres were open - that's the powers they have.

They didn't put on their manifesto that they were going to decide what we can or cannot see.

Patrick Corrigan of Amnesty International said:

It is well established in international human rights law that the right to freedom of expression, though not absolute, is a fundamental right which may only be restricted in certain limited circumstances to do with the advocacy of hatred.

It is quite obvious that those circumstances are not met in the context of this work of comedy and thus that the cancelling of the play is utterly unjustified on human rights grounds.

Such interference with freedom of speech and artistic expression should be of concern to freedom lovers everywhere.

Update: Saddened by a culture of censorship

27th January 2013.See  article from  u.tv

caral ni chuilin Culture and Arts Minister Caral Ni Chuilin has described the cancellation of a controversial play about the Bible as disappointing:

I was disappointed to hear of the decision to cancel the production of The Bible: The complete Word of God (abridged). I know that the play has travelled extensively and been performed on the international stage for the past 20 years.

I am saddened that audiences here will not be offered the opportunity to see the performance and judge for themselves the virtues of the show.

I fully support the views of the Arts Council that the artist's right to freedom of expression should always be defended and that the arts have a role in promoting discussion and allowing space for disagreement and debate.

Update: Council shamed into revoking the ban

28th January 2013. See  article from  theguardian.com . Thanks to Nick

newtownabbey council logo A ban on a play which was claimed to be blasphemous has been lifted by a council in Northern Ireland .

Members of the artistic board at Newtownabbey, Co Antrim reversed an earlier vote, allowing the Reduced Shakespeare Company to now stage The Bible: The Complete Word of God at Theatre at the Mill, which is run by Newtownabbey borough council.

Councillors who backed the play claimed the ban made them look like a laughing stock.

Update: The inevitable protest

1st February 2013. See  article from  belfasttelegraph.co.uk

free presbyterian church logo 70 fundamentalist Christian protesters made their voices heard at the second sold-out night of the controversial play The Bible: The Complete Word Of God (Abridged) .

Members of the Free Presbyterian Church sang hymns and passed out leaflets at the entrance of the Theatre At The Mill in Newtownabbey as theatre-goers made their way to the play.

The protesters, led by Rev Brian McClung of the Newtownabbey Free Presbyterian Church, handed over a letter of protest to Newtownabbey Borough Council. McClung described it as perverse human nature that the play had sold so many tickets since opposition was raised. He said:

Primarily we are here tonight to stand up for the honour of God's word. We believe this play mocks the word of God.

We are offended because people are mocking the scriptures and we are here to show our offense. Supposedly the council and society is to have regard for minorities, but they don't seem to have much regard for evangelical Christians when it comes to things like this.

 

1st February

 Extract: An Immature Censor...

CEO of Indian Censor Board speaks of film censorship in terms of what is suitable for his 5 year old daughter
Link Here

CBFC logo It an interesting introduction to his modus operandi, the new CEO of India's censor board has described his objection to some of India's recent blockbusters is based on the reactions of his wife and five year old daughter.

In an interview to the Mumbai Mirror , Rakesh Kumar, was quoted as saying: After watching Shudh Desi Romance, my five-year-old daughter asked me, 'Dad, isn't there too much love in this movie?' More recently, I went to see Yaariyan with her and came out visibly embarrassed. Now, I have decided not to see even a UA film with my kid.

Predictably, reactions were fierce. Movies with a UA rating in India are tagged for parental guidance, as they might be inappropriate for young children. These movies have mild sex scenes, gory images of violence and crude language. Kumar, a former employee of the Indian Railways, might feel inappropriate content is making it to the big screens, however, it only serves to highlight that the censorship of movies cannot be viewed from the perspective of a five year old girl.

...Read the full article

 

1st February

 Update: Not So Extreme...

Koran unbanned in Russia
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship in Russia...Religious works found to be extremist
Russia flag A Krasnodar court has overturned a ban on a popular Russian translation of the Koran (though the court has still not issued the written ruling), while a Tver court has overturned a ban in Russia on the main Jehovah's Witness international website.

Yet bans on religious literature amid controversial extremism accusations continue, Forum 18 News Service notes. Four more Jehovah's Witness texts were ruled extremist in December 2013. And no moves have taken place to lift a less publicised extremism ban on 68 Islamic texts, Nirzhigit Dolubayev, a lawyer representing one of the publishers in the case, told Forum 18.

Fines continue on mosques and individuals for possessing any of the 68 books - which include collections of hadiths [sayings of the religious character Mohammed].

 

1st February

 Offsite Article: Jesus and Mo and Channel 4 News...

Link Here  full story: Jesus and Mo...Atheist cartoons offend the easily offended
ministry of truth logoChannel 4 News had just one job to do here, which was to present its viewers the facts they needed not only to make sense of the story but to form their own opinion of it and decide for themselves whether this cartoon is offensive

See article from ministryoftruth.me.uk

 

1st February

 Offsite Article: They can arrest us, but we won't stop saying it...

Link Here
Spiked logoVideo report: Spurs fans speak up for their right to use the word Yid.

See article from spiked-online.com