Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2016: February

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Offsite Article: Orwellian Named Persons...

Link Here28th February 2016
Scottish government to keep a beady eye on parents, backed up by an omnipresent threat to take people's children away if they don't shape up

See article from



Update: Fuming Mad...

Ludicrous class action law suit for US movies featuring smoking to be R rated or higher

Link Here27th February 2016
US film censors, the Motion Picture Association of America, the major studios, and the National Association of Theatre Owners are the targets of a proposed class action lawsuit that if accepted by judge and not barred by the First Amendment, calls for all movies to be rated at least R if they feature tobacco imagery.

The lawsuit claims that since at least 2003, Hollywood has known that tobacco imagery in films rated G, PG, and PG-13, is one of the major causes of children becoming addicted to nicotine. Disney, Paramount, Sony, Fox, Universal and Warner Bros. are said to have been given recommendations from health experts at leading universities throughout the country as well as the American Lung Association, the American Heart Association and the American Public Health Association, and yet are allegedly continuing to stamp their seal of approval on films meant for children that feature tobacco imagery.

Among the films cited are Spectre , Dumb and Dumber To , Transformers: Age of Extinction , X-Men: Days of Future Past , The Amazing Spider Man 2 , The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug , Iron Man 3, Men in Black 3 and The Woman in Black .

The lawsuit demands a declaratory judgment that the industry's film ratings practices amount are negligent, false and misleading and a breach of fiduciary and statutory duties. The lawsuit also aims for an injunction where no films featuring tobacco imagery can be given G, PG or PG-13 ratings.



Hear No Evil...

The Telegraph shuts its ears to reader comments lest it hears the politically incorrect popular uprising against the establishment

Link Here27th February 2016
The Telegraph has suspended readers' comment on stories and features until further notice as part of a review of the way the newspaper engages with its audience. A spokesman for the Telegraph said:

In the process of migrating its site to a new online platform, the Telegraph has suspended the comment function in some areas under transition until further notice.

It's also undertaking research to understand the best way to support reader engagement, but in the meantime they can continue to comment on and share articles through Telegraph Facebook pages, or via Twitter, in the usual way.



Update: Iran bumps bounty on Salman Rushdie's head...

Iranian fatwa inciting the murder of Salman Rushdie continues 27 years on

Link Here26th February 2016
Full story: Satanic Verses...Salman Rushdie irritation of the muslim world
40 Iranian state-run media organisations have raised a further $600,000 (£420,000) to the bounty on Salman Rushdie's head. This backs the fatwa that has been running for the 27 years since Iran's first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, called for Rushdie's murder following the publication of his novel The Satanic Verses.

The fatwa provoked an international outcry and caused the UK to sever diplomatic relations with Iran for nearly a decade. In 1998, Iran's former president Mohammad Khatami said the fatwa was finished , but it was never officially lifted and has been reiterated several times, occasionally on the anniversary, by Iran's current supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, and other religious officials. Iran's deputy culture minister Seyed Abbas Salehi told Fars:

Imam Khomeini's fatwa is a religious decree and it will never lose its power or fade out,

Prominent campaigners have protested the re-awakened fatwa in a letter to the Guardian:

We are outraged to learn that 40 state-run media outlets in Iran have raised $600,000 (£420,000) to add as bounty to Ayatollah Khomeini's death fatwa on the writer Salman Rushdie because of his novel The Satanic Verses. We condemn the Iranian regime, its fatwa and the added bounty. We stand with Rushdie and the many Iranian freethinkers and writers languishing in prison, or facing the death penalty, for exercising their right to free expression and thought.

The Iranian regime must face global condemnation for its incitement to murder. Democratic and secular governments should unequivocally condemn the regime's fatwa and bounty, demand their immediate cancellation, prioritise human rights and free expression, and side with freethinkers rather than appeasing a theocratic regime.

AC Grayling Philosopher , Adil Hussain Activist , Afsaneh Vahdat Women's rights campaigner , Ali A. Rizvi Author of The Atheist Muslim , Ali al Razi CEMB Activist and writer , Aliaa Magda Elmahdy Activist , Alice Carr President of Progressive Atheists of Australia , Annie Sugier President of Ligue du Droit International des Femmes , Anthony McIntyre Writer and historian , Ariane Brunet Centre for Secular Space , Asra Q. Nomani Author, journalist, critical thinker and co-founder of Muslim Reform Movement , Ateizm Dernegi in Turkey , Author Jesus & Mo , Awat Farokhi Political activist , Becky Lavelle President Hull University, Secularist Atheist and Humanist Society , Behzad Varpushty Human rights activist , Benjamin David President of Warwick Atheists Secularists and Humanists , Boris van der Ham Humanistisch Verbond (Dutch Humanist Society) , Caroline Fourest Author , Chris Moos Secularist activist , Christine M. Shellska President of Atheist Alliance International , Claire Kennedy Curator of TEDxExeter , Dan Barker and Annie Laurie Gaylor Co-presidents of Freedom From Religion Foundation , David Silverman President of American Atheists , Deeyah Khan Filmmaker and human rights activist , Derek Lennard Human rights campaigner , Dilip Simeon Labour historian and chairperson of the Aman Trust , Djemila Benhabib Journalist and writer , Elham Manea Academic and human rights advocate , Erin Dopp Activist , Faisal Saeed Al Mutar Iraqi-born writer and activist , Faramarz Ghorbani Political activist , Fariborz Pooya Host of Bread and Roses TV , Farzana Hassan Author , Fateh Bahrami Political activist , Fauzia Ilyas Founder of Atheist & Agnostic Alliance Pakistan , Gita Sahgal Director of Centre for Secular Space , Halima Begum Ex-Muslim researcher and blogger , Harsh Kapoor South Asia Citizens Web , Hasan Salehim Political activist , Hassan Radwan Founder of the Agnostic Muslims & Friends Facebook Group , Ibn Warraq Writer , Ibrahim Abdallah Muslimish NYC organiser , Inna Shevchenko FEMEN Leader , Jane Donnelly Atheist Ireland , Joan Smith Author , Johann Hari Writer , John Perkins Secular Party of Australia , Julie Bindel Justice for Women and the Emma Humphreys Memorial Prize , Karrar Al Asfoor Arab Atheists and Forum for Humanitarian Dialogue , Kate Smurthwaite Comedian and activist , Keyvan Javid Director of New Channel TV , Khalil Keyvan Political activist atheist and ex-political prisoner , Kiran Opal Feminist writer and activist , Kojin Mirizayi President of the Kurdish Society at the University of Kent , Lalia Ducos Women's Initiative for Citizenship and Universal Rights , Laura Guidetti Marea Magazine , Lisa-Marie Taylor Chair of Feminism in London , Lloyd Newson OBE , Maajid Nawaz Author and counter-extremism activist , Madhu Mehra Lawyer and executive director of Partners for Law in Development , Magdulien Abaida Libyan women's rights campaigner , Marieme Helie Lucas Algerian sociologist and founder of Secularism is a Woman's Issue , Maryam Namazie Spokesperson for Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain One Law for All and Fitnah - Movement for Women's Liberation and Bread and Roses TV Producer , Masoud Azarnoush Activist , Mersedeh Ghaedi London Spokesperson for Iran Tribunal , Michael Nugent Atheist Ireland , Mina Ahadi Coordinator of Council of Ex-Muslims of Germany and International Committee against Stoning , Mohamed Mahmoud Director of Centre for Critical Studies of Religion , Monica Lanfranco Marea Review , Mostafa Saber Marxist activist , Nahla Mahmoud Spokesperson of Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain , Naser Kashkooli Activist of the Worker-communist Party of Iran , Nina Sankari Polish secularist and feminist , Peter Flack Leicester Social Forum , Peter Tatchell Human rights campaigner , Polly Toynbee Journalist , Pragna Patel Director of Southall Black Sisters , Ramin Forghani Founder of Ex-Muslims of Scotland , Richard Dawkins Scientist , Roberto Malini Poet, writer and human rights defender, EveryOne Group , Ronald Lindsay President of Center for Inquiry , Rumana Hashem Founder of Community Women's blog and adviser to Nari Diganta , Safia Lebdi President of Insoumis-es and founder of Free Arab Woman , Safwan Mason on behalf of the Council of ex-Muslims of New Zealand , Sam Harris Neuroscientist and author , Samir Noory Chairperson of Committee for Abolishing Death Penalty in Iraq member of group "No to violence against women in Kirkuk" , Sanal Edamaruku President of Rationalist International , Sarah Peace Fireproof Library , Shelley Segal Singer/Songwriter , AC Grayling Philosopher , Sikivu Hutchinson Author Moral Combat: Black Atheists Gender Politics and the Values Wars , Soad Baba Aissa Association pour la Mixité l'Égalité et la Laïcité , Stephen Evans Campaigns manager of National Secular Society , Stephen Law Philosopher , Sultana Kamal Bangladeshi lawyer and human rights activist , Terry Sanderson President of the National Secular Society , Tom Holland Author and historian , Waleed El Husseini Founder of Council of Ex-Muslims of France , Yasmin Rehman Centre for Secular Space , Zari Asli Friends of Women in the Middle East Society



Update: An Addiction to Censorship...

Chinese TV censors ban gay online drama

Link Here26th February 2016
Chinese censors at the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SAPPRFT) have banned a popular gay-themed online drama titled Addiction from the streaming sites this week after 12 episodes. Audiences, who will now miss the last three episodes of the drama involving a gay relationship between two Chinese teenage boys, are enraged over the censorship.

Addiction had, became hugely popular garnering over 10 million viewers. However, the show, involving the lives of four high school students portrayed by new actors, stopped streaming on various sites including and on Monday, reported Global Times , a media outlet closely associated with the country's Communist Party mouthpiece, the People's Daily.



The wrong sort of nonsense...

Indian catholic group calls for the ban of a book claiming that christianity originated as a sect of hunduism

Link Here26th February 2016
The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), a Mumbai-based religious campaign group is calling for the banning of the book Christ Parichay (introduction to Christ) claiming it somehow hurts religious sentiments of Christians.

The book by Ganesh Savarkar claims that Jesus Christ was a Tamil Hindu and that Christianity was a sect of Hinduism and that the Essence cult rescued Jesus Christ after he got crucified and revived him using herbs from the Himalayas.



ASA's Top Ten Ads for 2015...

As determined by those which best wind up the easily offended

Link Here25th February 2016

The advert censors at ASA have published 2015's Top 10 most complained about ads

ASA notes that while these ads drew complaints about harm and offence, 75% of its caseload is made up of complaints about misleading ads. Guy Parker, ASA Chief Executive, said

Our Top 10 for 2015 will no doubt get people talking about whether the ads are or aren't offensive, but there are important issues at stake here. Advertisers must take care not to cause serious or widespread offence, but we don't play a number's game. And while matters of offence can grab the headlines, the bulk of our work is the less glamorous task of tackling misleading advertising. That's why we're taking a more proactive approach to address the issues which affect consumers the most before complaints need to be made.

2015's most complained about ads are: 

1. Ltd

1,513 complaints -- Not upheld

A TV and internet ad featured a man walking down a street and dancing whilst wearing denim shorts and high heeled shoes. We received complaints that the ad was offensive. Many complainants thought this was due to the man's clothing and dance moves and because they believed the content was overtly sexual. While acknowledging that some viewers might have found the ad distasteful, we did not judge the ad to be offensive and in breach of the Code.

 2. BV

683 complaints -- Not upheld

This TV and cinema ad prompted complaints that the ad was offensive and encouraged bad language amongst children by using the word "booking" in place of a swear word. We did not uphold the complaints, judging that it was a light hearted play on words that couldn't be mistaken for an actual swear word. We also ruled that the ad was unlikely to encourage swearing amongst children; any children that did pick up on the joke were unlikely to have learned bad language through the ad itself.

 3. Paypal (UK) Ltd

464 complaints -- Not upheld

Two children in Paypal's Christmas ad which appeared on TV and Video-on-Demand (VOD) were worried that their parents hadn't been shopping for Christmas Presents. Complaints expressed concern that the ad revealed the truth about Father Christmas. We did not uphold the complaints. Independently, Paypal changed the scheduling of its commercial.

 4. BV

407 complaints -- Not upheld

Complainants found this TV ad featuring a man sitting on a boat before jumping off and swimming ashore, offensive due to its use of the word "booking". Consistent with the previous ruling, we judged that the content of the ad was a light hearted play on words that couldn't be mistaken for an actual swear word and that the ad did not break the advertising rules.

 5. Protein World Ltd

380 complaints - Not upheld

Before investigating complaints that a poster featuring a woman in a bikini was offensive, the ASA told Protein World that, due its ASA's concerns about a range of health and weight loss claims, the ad could not appear again in its current form. The ASA concluded, however, that that ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

6. British Heart Foundation

219 complaints -- Not upheld

We received complaints about a British Heart Foundation TV, VOD and cinema ad which showed a boy sitting in a classroom talking to his dad who had died from a heart attack. Complainants considered the ad to be distressing for adults and children to see. We noted that the ad had been scheduled to not appear around children's programming. We also recognised that some people might find the ad upsetting but judged it was unlikely to cause widespread distress.

 7. BV

201 complaints -- Not upheld's TV and VOD ad showed a story of a couple who met at a hotel. Complainants thought the word "booking" in the ad had been substituted in place of a swear word and thought it was offensive. Consistent with our previous decisions, we judged that the content of the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

 8. Department of Health

181 complaints -- Not upheld

A TV and VOD ad, which was part of an anti-smoking campaign from Public Health England, showed a man rolling a cigarette, which had blood and flesh inside it. A poster ad also showed a cigarette which contained flesh. We received complaints that the ads were graphic and gruesome and were therefore offensive and irresponsible. We acknowledged that some people might find the ads unsettling but noted that they also contained an important health message. We concluded that the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

9. Nicocigs Ltd

145 complaints -- Not upheld

We received complaints about a TV ad for an electronic cigarette. Many objected that the advertising of e-cigarettes was allowed and many thought the ad was appealing to children. Strict advertising rules for e-cigarettes were introduced in 2014 following a public consultation. We also noted that the ad wasn't scheduled around programming that was likely to appeal to children and the ad's style was not appealing to them. On that basis we judged that the ad did not break the advertising rules.

 10. Omega Pharma Ltd

136 complaints -- Upheld (this figure relates to 2015 complaints only, more complaints were received in 2016)

A TV, YouTube and VOD ad for XLS Medical, a slimming aid, featured two women exchanging text messages before heading on holiday. After seeing a photo of her friend who had lost weight, the other woman in the ad was unhappy about not being able to fit into her holiday wardrobe. We banned the ad because it presented an irresponsible approach to body image and confidence.



Petition: Satanic Justice...

Members of an Iranian heavy metal band are being held on blasphemy charges

Link Here25th February 2016
Full story: Blasphemy in Iran...Repression of free speech
Two members of the Iranian heavy metal band Confess are being held for blasphemy after they were arrested by the state's religious guard and accused of writing satanic music.

Nikan Siyanor Khosravi and Khosravi Arash Ilkhani are believed to have been arrested and jailed on November 10. Held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison by the Revolutionary Guards until February 5, the pair wrote and released their own heavy metal albums and ran a record label. Extreme punishments are available for the prosecuting authorities

Their latest album, released in October, included tracks named Teh-Hell-Ran and I'm Your God Now , both of which would likely rankle with the state's hardline Islamic leadership.

Tara Sepehri Far, a researcher for Human Rights Watch, told MailOnline the pair likely faced up to five years in prison. She said it was likely they would be facing insulting sacred beliefs charges, as other musicians had been in the past, rather than insulting the prophet , which is punishable by death. She added:

Iranian musicians, especially the ones who play non-classical western music, are navigating a minefield. Due to severe censorship, most of these groups are performing underground.

Anything from the content of their lyrics to the style of the music they play might violate unwritten regulations that musicians are expected to adhere to by various authorities.

Social media accounts of those close to the band expressed concern about the pair's plight, and included messages of support and the sharing of the #freeconfess hashtag.

Sign the petition from :

Help Free CONFESS they were arrested by the Army of the Guardians of the Islamic Revolution and are facing charges of blasphemy, advertising against the system, running an illegal and underground band and record label promoting music considered to be Satanic writing anti-religious lyrics and granting interviews to forbidden foreign radio stations.



Update: From the man with the annotated face...

Annotated version of Hitler's long banned Mein Kampf becomes a best seller in Germany

Link Here24th February 2016
Hitler's autobiography Mein Kampf (My Struggle) was long banned in Germany where it was considered too dangerous for people to read. Now, it's a German best-seller.

An annotated version currently ranks second in nonfiction on the German weekly Der Spiegel's authoritative bestseller list,

It's almost certainly not because of anything German bookstores are doing: In fact, most had virtually hidden the book from customers, according to a BBC report in January. Some had refrained from advertising it, while others ordered only a single copy. But online sales picked up, and in-store sales soon followed.

Critics have claimed that banning the book from being reprinted has added to the mystery surrounding it and did more harm than good.

However, the book that is currently topping the German bestseller lists is far different from Hitler's original version. The new 2,000-page edition is heavily annotated with remarks by experts to help put Hitler's comments into context.



Updated: Rabid Censorship...

Madonna banned from singing Holy Water at Singapore gig

Link Here24th February 2016
Madonna has been banned from performing the track Holy Water , taken from last year's album Rebel Heart , at her live show at Singapore's National Stadium on 28 February. The show has also been labelled with an adults only R18 rating.

A spokesperson for the music censors at the Media Development Authority stated:

In determining the rating, MDA had carefully reviewed the proposed setlist and consulted the Arts Consultative Panel. Religiously sensitive content which breached our guidelines, such as the song 'Holy Water', will thus not be performed in Singapore.

Update: Recommended by the Archbishop of Singapore

24th February 2016.  See  article from

In a missive to his flock, Archbishop of Singapore, William Goh denounced Madonna's music and stage props as blasphemous and warned believers not to support those who denigrate and insult religions .

The monsignor met government officials to express the Church's concerns about the Singapore stop of Madonna's global Rebel Heart tour .



Update: Down the Tubes...

InterContinental hotels joins the list of those claiming the moral high ground by ending in-room adult movies when in fact free porn has killed the business

Link Here24th February 2016
The InterContinental Hotels Group has decided to remove on-demand pornography from every location in its international chain.

Dawn Hawkins of Morality in Media, now known as the National Center on Sexual Exploitation crowed about the decision:

We are grateful to Intercontinental Hotels Group for the priority the company placed on working with the National Center on Sexual Exploitation in order to ensure that none of its hotels profit from sexual exploitation. InterContinental Hotels Group has committed to rigorously enforce a brand standard prohibiting the distribution of pornography across all of its brands, such as Holiday Inn and Crowne Plaza.

Free streaming pornography has largely made in-room, on-demand pornographic services unprofitable. Robert Habeeb, president and CEO of First Hospitality Group, estimated that a 200-room hotel could make just $2,000 a month from the rental of pornography.



Offsite Article: Not Just TV-Like...

Link Here24th February 2016
Jerry Barnett notes that the government's new porn censorship proposal is a lot wider than just Video on Demand and will require robust age verification for the likes of Google Image Search and Instagram

See article from



Serial killer book censored...

Pickton: In His Own Words banned by popular consent

Link Here23rd February 2016
A memoir apparently written by a Canadian serial killer has been withdrawn within hours of appearing for sale online.

Former multi-millionaire pig farmer Robert Pickton was convicted in 2007 of murdering six women. Charges relating to 20 other deaths were suspended. Another inmate helped him smuggle the book out of prison.

The publisher requested its removal from retailer Amazon and apologised to victims' families. Officials in British Columbia had earlier vowed to prevent Pickton, who says he is innocent, from profiting from sales of the memoir, entitled Pickton: In His Own Words. Amazon users had also called for it to be removed.

British Columbian officials also asked Amazon to stop selling the memoir, which was published by Colorado-based Outskirts Press, a firm that specialises in helping authors self-publish books.

In the book, the serial killer said he was innocent and was framed for the killings by Canadian police, the Vancouver Sun reported .



Rated 12 for mild language and strong openness...

David Cooke reflects on high profile classification decisions from his tenure as BBFC Director. He will retire on 12 March 2016 following 12 years in post

Link Here22nd February 2016

David Cooke joined the BBFC in September 2004 and has overseen the day to day running of the BBFC, three large scale public consultation reviews of the Classification Guidelines and the introduction of a new policy for classifying content depicting sexual and sadistic violence.

As a Member of the Board of Classification along with the President and the two Vice Presidents, David has been involved in the Board's highest profile decisions since 2004, including the passing of 9 Songs at 18 uncut, handling the advice process which enabled the first Hunger Games title to be classified 12A after reductions, and the shift from PG to 12A in the Harry Potter series with Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  David Cooke said:

I have hugely appreciated the interest and support of the viewing public during my time at the BBFC. I believe we have made real advances in online child protection, and in the provision of rich and useful information about content. All my colleagues at the BBFC have been a pleasure to work with. We now provide a better service to the industry, without compromising our standards, and we have a more respectful relationship with content creators themselves. I shall miss this endlessly fascinating work, but I know that the BBFC will be in very good hands with David Austin as its new CEO.

Patrick Swaffer, BBFC President said:

David's strong intellect, vision and leadership skills have ensured that, during his 12 year tenure, the BBFC has developed new services to reflect the changing technological landscape, consolidated its position as the provider of trusted age ratings and enhanced its reputation with the public, industry and other stakeholders. He achieved this with a skilful management style combining both direct involvement and careful delegation, applied with his quietly wry humour.

His clear and articulate exposition of the basis for classification and the reasons for individual decisions have ensured that the role of the BBFC has become more widely understood and highly regarded. He leaves the BBFC in excellent shape. On behalf of all the staff at the BBFC I want to thank him and wish him well for the future.

Graham Lee, Chairman of the BBFC Council of Management said:

David has provided excellent foresight and leadership in the development of the bbfc into a strong, efficient and well trusted organisation. We will miss his intellect, understanding and good company.

In addition to classifying film and video content, David Cooke helped the BBFC develop its services in line with technology, including new voluntary online regulation services for Video-on-Demand content, the introduction of a classification framework for mobile network operators, and the launch of an initiative to age rate UK online music videos.

Prior to joining the BBFC David Cooke held six government Director level posts, in the Cabinet Office, Northern Ireland Office and Home Office, working on topics such as the Northern Ireland Peace Process, devolution, asylum, criminal justice performance and broadcasting. David is also an Executive Board member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS).

David Austin will take up the post of BBFC Director on 12 March 2016, when David Cooke retires. David Austin is currently Assistant Director at the BBFC, coordinating the BBFC's policy work and leading on its public affairs outreach. He is also responsible for managing the BBFC's research, communications and education programmes.



Petition: No Censorship in A Rated Movies!... petition to call for an end to censorship for adult only movies in India

Link Here22nd February 2016

I paid 600 rupees for a movie that I really wanted to see. I couldn't understand half of the movie. The censor board had removed half the dialogue because they thought it was vulgar.

They think Indians, even mature adults need to be protected. That our culture and morals will disintegrate because of a movie with some bad words.

This is ridiculous. The censor board needs to be reformed right away. We cannot let them treat us like 5-year-olds.

The CBFC should not be allowed to ruthlessly censor movies. If a movie gets an Adult rating - they should not make ridiculous cuts in the movie. If the movie producers want a U/A rating - then perhaps it can be allowed.

A committee led by Shyam Benegal is asking for suggestions to revamp the CBFC. I want to show him that Indians are sick of mindless and needless censorship. Sign my petition and ask your friends to do the same.

Because of this mindless censorship, it's becoming harder and harder to watch movies in the theatre. We are not 5-year-olds, we are adults who can handle mature content. A movie will not ruin our morals or our culture. But censorship will ruin our country.

The petition has been signed by 11,165 supporters.



Following Britain's censorship lead...

India plans optional network level website blocking for parents

Link Here22nd February 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
Indian Telecom companies including Bharti Airtel BSE 3.26% , Vodafone , Reliance Communications, Telenor and Reliance Jio Infocomm are said to be considering a plan to offer optional network level website blocking for parental control.

Telcos and Internet service providers (ISPs) are in active talks with New Zealand-based Bypass Network Services (BNSL) to deploy its Buddy Guard parental control solution, said Matthew Jackson, the company's cofounder.

Buddy Guard is aimed primarily at parents who may want to regulate the online behaviour of their children. Consumers can choose to opt for the control on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.

Jackson said the interest of telecom companies and ISPs in parental control had risen after last year's temporary porn ban.

The option may be debuted by one of the bigger fixed-line ISPs by February-March and by a telecom company within four months, starting with a few service areas and widening its reach gradually.



Update: Extreme Ratings...

Court reduces rating for movie Salafistes from 18 to 16

Link Here21st February 2016
Full story: Film Censorship in France...French age ratings are generally lower than most
Salafistes is a 2016 France documentary by François Margolin and Lemine Ould M Salem (as Lemine Ould Salem)
Starring Michael Fassbender, Kate Winslet and Seth Rogen. IMDb

French film censors at the country's culture ministry had issued an unprecedented, and commercially unviable, 18 rating for  François Margolin's Salafistes. France's 18 rating had previously been reserved exclusively for hardcore porn films. Salafistes is a documentary featuring interviews with North African jihadists.

Now a Paris court has overturned the 18 rating and replaced it with a 16 rating. The French 16 is the usual certificate awarded to the most violent mainstream films.

Director François Margolin said:

They {French film censors] said that we were apologists for terrorism, that we were playing the jihadists' game. But the judges agreed that we were doing exactly the opposite.



Blacked Out...

French cinemas refuse to show Black, a Romeo and Juliette tales set in Brussels

Link Here21st February 2016
Black is a 2015 Belgium action drama by Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah.
Starring Sanaa Alaoui, Martha Canga Antonio and Aboubakr Bensaihi. Youtube link IMDb

A 15-year-old girl in a black gang in Brussels must choose between loyalty and love when she falls for a Moroccan boy from a rival gang. The city of Brussels, plagued by high rates of youth unemployment, is home to nearly forty street gangs, and the number of young people drawn into the city's gang culture increases each year.

A film about gangs set in the tough Brussels suburb where a jihadi cell planned the Paris terror attacks, has been pulled from French cinemas.  A spokesman for Paname Distribution said:

due to the reluctance of cinemas to show Black in the current climate, we took the decision to cancel its cinematic release.

Black was a hit in Belgium despite some cinemas refusing to show it after the violence and an over-16 certificate which its makers condemned as "unjust" given characters were mostly teenagers. France adopted the same 16 rating.

Black will now be released online.



The Egyptian Guide for Using Censorship...

Author jailed for 2 years for sex references in a novel

Link Here21st February 2016
Egyptian author Ahmed Naji has been given a two-year prison sentence for supposedly violating public modesty after publishing a book with references to sex and drugs.

The case was initially overturned in January, but after an appeal by the prosecution the case returned to court and Naji was given the maximum possible sentence.

It was a private prosecution where charges against the author after an except of his novel The Guide for Using Life was published in the magazine Akhbar al-Adab . The editor of the magazine, Tarek El Taher, was also given a fine equivalent to £885.

Naji had previously said that The Guide for Using Life had been approved by the Egyptian censorship board.

Naji was detained in court and remained in custody as the preparations began for his appeal.

Mai El-Sadany, an expert on Egyptian law at the Robert F Kennedy Center for Human Rights in Washington DC said:

Today's verdict is a travesty for freedom of expression and justice more broadly. It comes in the context of a broader crackdown which has brought us the detention of academics at airports, the harassment of cartoonists for their artwork, and the raiding of publishing houses



Offsite Article: From ATVOD to Ofcom...

Link Here21st February 2016
Full story: Ofcom Video Sharing Censors...Video on Demand and video sharing
Out of the Frying Pan, Into the Fire. By Jerry Barnett

See article from



Michael Moore invades the MPAA...

US cinema chain overrules MPAA R rating and releases Where to Invade Next? with a 15 rating

Link Here20th February 2016
Michael Moore's latest film, Where To Invade Next , is a documentary journey across the globe to borrow traits from different countries for America to use.

Cinema chain Alamo Drafthouse, with cinemas in 13 states, has decided to relax its R-rating policy for the film. CEO Tim League said in a statement that the company can't believe the film was ever rated R in the first place:

For the first time ever, we are relaxing our 18-and-up age policy for one film. Why? We simply don't believe Where to Invade Next should have received an R rating from the MPAA. We don't want that rating and our own age policies to get in the way of teens and their parents seeing this film. So, for the run of the Where to Invade Next we will allow teens age 15 and up on their own...yes, it's that important.

Tim League, who is also one of the distributors for Where To Invade Next, insisted that this decision wasn't about selling tickets. Instead, it's about making sure that young American voters get to see the film's message.

Michael Moore had previously gone above and beyond in his attempt to get Where To Invade Next's R-rating rescinded. He wanted it to receive a PG-13 so that it had a better chance to succeed at the box office. However, last year, he lost his appeal after he refused to make any cuts to the film, which the MPAA decreed were necessary.

The MPAA decided to provide Where To Invade Next with an R-rating because of its use of language, some violent images, drug use and brief graphic nudity. But Tim League decided to elaborate on these offences, revealing that Where To Invade Next includes some use of swear words, students enjoying free college education, children eating healthy food in school, Italians on holiday, bloody violence in American prisons, and a naked German man leaving a hot tub.



Updated: An offence against free speech...

Georgia debates and then rejects a new blasphemy law

Link Here20th February 2016
The central Asian state of Georgia is planning to introduce a blasphemy law criminalising insults to religion.

The bill would mean a 300 lari fine, around £84, or a week's average salary, for insults to religious feelings . The desecration of a religious building or symbol would result in a fine of 500 lari, equivalent to about £140. In each case, a second offence would attract double the fine.

However there has also been criticism of the bill. Rusudan Gotsiridze, an Evangelical Baptist, and the first female bishop in Georgia has spoken out against the bill, describing it as terrible and warning:

This law is not going to protect anyone; at least not the minorities, and will be a powerful tool against freedom of speech.

Republican Party MP and member of the coalition, Tamar Kordzaia, has also criticised the measure:

A perceived insult to religious feelings should be disputed by an individual. The state can never know if some particular action is offensive to a particular individual.

The ruling coalition endorsed the plans at a meeting of the misleadingly named human rights committee.

Update: Rejected

20th February 2016. See  article from

Georgia has dropped a proposed anti-blasphemy bill ardently opposed by freedom-of-speech activists. The draft appeared to be causing a split in the ruling Georgian Dream coalition -- never desirable in a parliamentary election year. Saying that the bill needs more work, parliamentarian Soso Jachvliani on February 15 withdrew his own proposal, which already had been conditionally approved by parliament's human rights committee. Parliamentary Speaker Davit Usupashvili announced that the legislature has stopped discussion of the legislation.

Amongst the critics, One Georgian Orthodox priest, Deacon Tamaz Lomidze, described it as absurd:

Who can define religious feelings? What judge can rule on whether a certain action is insulting to someone's religion?

Amnesty International said that the bill threatened to:

Outlaw criticism of religious leaders and institutions, and suppress free speech on topical political and social issues, including the rights of women, of lesbian, gay, transgender and intersex people, and of religious minorities.



Offsite Article: The war on humour is no laughing matter...

Link Here20th February 2016
When Stephen Fry is holding the line for comic freedom, we're in real trouble. By Tom Slater

See article from



ASA gets even more politically correct...

Pro censorship campaigner Reg Bailey becomes advert censor

Link Here19th February 2016
The UK advert censor has appointed the pro-censorship campaigner Reg Bailey, who led the government's review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood, to the council that decides whether to ban advertisements.

Bailey, the former chief executive of the Mothers' Union, will join the Advertising Standards Authority's council of 13 members. Bailey crowed:

Having direct and indirect experience of the ASA throughout my career, both as a marketer and a campaigner for children's rights, I've admired its commitment to and effectiveness in tackling misleading, harmful or irresponsible advertising.

ASA chairman, Chris Smith spouted:

One of our priorities is to protect children from inappropriate content, ensuring that the ads they see and hear are responsible. Reg's background in marketing allied with his expertise on children's wellbeing and issues that impact on young people will further enhance Council's discussions in this area.



Update: Absolute Control...

China bans foreign companies from publishing anything on the internet

Link Here19th February 2016

A Chinese ministry has issued new rules that ban any foreign-invested company from publishing anything online in China, effective next month.

The Ministry of Industry and Information Technology's new rules could, if they were enforced as written, essentially shut down China as a market for foreign news outlets, publishers, gaming companies, information providers, and entertainment companies starting on March 10.

Issued in conjunction with the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television (SARFT), they set strict new guidelines for what can be published online, and how that publisher should conduct business in China. The rules state"

Sino-foreign joint ventures, Sino-foreign cooperative ventures, and foreign business units shall not engage in online publishing services.

Any publisher of online content, including texts, pictures, maps, games, animations, audios, and videos, will also be required to store their necessary technical equipment, related servers, and storage devices in China.

Foreign media companies including the Associated Press, Thomson Reuters, Dow Jones, Bloomberg, the Financial Times, and the New York Times have invested millions of dollars--maybe even hundreds of millions collectively--in building up China-based news organizations in recent years, and publishing news reports in Chinese, for a Chinese audience.

But the new rules would allow only 100% Chinese companies to produce any content that goes online, and then only after approval from Chinese authorities and the acquisition of an online publishing license. Companies will then be expected to self-censor, and not publish any information at all that falls into several broad categories, including:

harming national unity, sovereignty, and territorial integrity disclosing state secrets, endangering national security, or harming national honor and interests inciting ethnic hatred or ethnic discrimination, undermining national unity, or going against ethnic customs and habits spreading rumors, disturbing social order, or undermining social stability insulting or slandering others, infringing upon the legitimate rights of others endangering social morality or national cultural tradition



Offsite Article: Is this the most inane government consultation of all time...

Link Here 19th February 2016
The government's online porn consultation asks people how to implement imaginary powers to deal with an imaginary problem in order to create a regulator they scrapped 3 months ago.

See article from



Updated: Deadhead at the CBFC...

Indian film censor makes 7 cuts to Deadpool even for an adults only rating

Link Here17th February 2016
Deadpool is a 2016 Canada / USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Tim Miller.
Starring Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano and Ryan Reynolds. Youtube linkBBFC link IMDb

India's crazed chief censor Pahlaj Nihalani has ordered 7 cuts to Deadpool, even for an adults only A rating. He tried to pass off the ludicrous censorship as at least better than in China where the film was banned:

We have made very general cuts. If you look at what has happened to Deadpool in China, it was apparently banned because any number of cuts was seen to hamper the storyline of the film. I can assure you the cuts we've requested in no way affect the storytelling.

The CBFC cuts were:

  • Mute the words: asshole, motherfucker, bitch, blowjob, touching myself, vagina, dick, cunt, ...
  • Delete visuals of bullet hitting people and splitting their heads open.
  • Delete visuals in love-making scene of all nudity, jerking of bodies and double entendre
  • Delete visuals of lady on a poster touching her private parts
  • Delete visuals of bare bodies is a strip tease club
  • Delete visuals of blood spurts in the climatic fight.

Update: Abundance of 'Fuck's allowed to remain

17th February 2016. See  article from

While India's Central Board Of Film Classification (CBFC) has removed strong language like arsehole , blowjob , motherfucker , dick , cock and bitch from Deadpool , the CBFC has allowed the word fuck a free rein in the film. Censor chief Pahlaj Nihalan explained:

We were aware of the 'F' word recurring in the soundtrack. There was no way we could remove them without affecting the dialogues. The word is used like an exclamation, how we use 'Arrey' or 'Oh Teri!' in Hindi and not as an abuse.

We can't be rigid about the use of cuss words. If the 'f..' word is used repeatedly as a term of exasperation or exclamation we can't remove it from the entire film.



Update: Fallout 3 unbanned...

A fallout with Germany's games censors has been patched up

Link Here17th February 2016
Full story: Fallout 3...World censors ban Fallout 3
German game censors have officially lifted their ban on the popular post-apocalyptic RPG, Fallout 3.

Germany originally banned Bethesda's Fallout 3 in 2009 citing its overly violent content, and eventually ended up offering gaming fans in the country a censored version of the open world title. Now, however, as IGN Germany has reported, with just three years left before the end of the statutory ten-year sentence for its banning, it seems as if the development studio "initiated a difficult and rarely-successful trial" with the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Minors (BPjM) in order to get Fallout 3 delisted from the banned list.

The censors hearing the appeal said in a statement that Fallout 3 will be removed from the list because its content is no longer classified as harmful to minors from today's perspective.

Indian and Australian games censors also banned Fallout 3. The games censorship regime in Australia has changed since the ban so perhaps if the Bethesda appeal was initiated by plans for some sort of re-release then perhaps the ban will be overturned in Australia too.



Mediawatch-UK recommends...

Woman's Hour season on feminist literature: The Fear of Flying by Erica Jong

Link Here17th February 2016
Radio 4 is to broadcast a mid-morning adaptation of the seminal feminist novel, Fear of Flying , complete with strong language and sexual descriptions. The BBC said it will will not censor the swearwords or sexual content.

The BBC station will air a five-part adaptation of Fear of Flying, the 1973 novel by the feminist writer Erica Jong , next week.  The first episode, which will air on Monday at 10:45am, features a reference to finger-fucking , and there are also mentions of the zipless fuck , and descriptions of how the central character longs to be filled up with a giant prick spouting semen .

While television has a 9pm watershed, no similar restrictions apply to radio. The BBC says that Radio 4 is an adult network, that listeners will be given a series of warnings about graphic content, and that children will be back at school after half term.

Vivienne Pattison, the director of Mediawatch-UK, said:

This could be on in the kitchen, or the car. A lot of children might hear it. I don't think it is acceptable. Lots of people don't realise there is no watershed on radio, and get quite shocked.

A BBC spokesman said:

Radio 4 is an adult network and the drama slot after Woman's Hour is long established with listeners expecting it to deal with a full range of adult issues which, on occasion, and when appropriate to the situation, include a realistic reflection of strong language.

Fear of Flying is recognised as one of the most seminal, culturally significant pieces of feminist writing from the past 50 years and its broadcast will be contextualised by discussions on Woman's Hour and strong language warnings.



The Canute Consultation...

Government consults on age verification for porn and the censorship of foreign websites that don't comply

Link Here16th February 2016
The Government has put porn viewers on notice that perhaps it might be wise to download a few 64 Gb memory sticks worth of free porn so that they have enough to last a lifetime. The government has launched a consultation suggesting that foreign porn websites should be blocked, censored and suffocated of funds if they don't comply with don't comply with an 18 age verification process and compliance to the discriminatory government censorship rules that ban anything slightly kinky especially if favoured for women's porn.

The tome and ideas in the consultation are very much along primitive and unviable age verification methods that has so successfully suffocated the UK porn business. In fact the consultation notes that the UK impact on the multi billion pound porn industry is insignificant and amounts to just 17 websites.

There seems little in the consultation that considers how the porn industry will evolve if it is made troublesome for adults to get verified. I suspect that there is already enough porn in existence on people's hard drives to circulate around and last several life times for everybody. Perhaps this should be known as the Canute Consultation.

Anyway, the government writes in its introduction to the consultation:

The UK is a world leader in the work it does to improve child safety online, but we cannot be complacent. Government has a responsibility to protect citizens from harm, especially the young and most vulnerable.

That is why we committed in our manifesto to requiring age verification for access to pornographic material online, and are now seeking views on how we deliver on our commitment. The Consultation Survey

Our preferred method of capturing your responses to our consultation questions is via the dedicated online survey. Please click on the link to share your views with us. Other documents

In order to base policy development on evidence, DCMS commissioned experts from across the UK to conduct a review of evidence into the routes via which children access online pornography. The report of the expert panel was formally submitted in November 2015 and provides helpful context to the issue. Please see document above.

Also published above is our regulatory triage assessment which considers the potential costs to UK businesses.

Respond online

or write to:

FAO Child Online Safety Team
4th Floor
Department for Culture, Media and Sport
100 Parliament Street
London SW1A 2BQ

Responses are required by 12pm on 12th April 2016.



Offsite Article: Don't criminalise the selfie-generation...

Link Here16th February 2016
By criminalising young people between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, our political and justice systems show how disconnected they are from technological change and social values. By Myles Jackman

See article from



Less Crude...

Grimsby suffers BBFC advised cuts so as to obtain a 15 rated cinema release

Link Here15th February 2016
Grimsby is a 2016 UK action comedy by Louis Leterrier.
Starring Penélope Cruz, Rebel Wilson and Isla Fisher. Youtube linkBBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 15 for strong sex references, violence, drug use, strong language after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:

  • 2016 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • This film was originally shown to the BBFC, for advice, in an incomplete form. The BBFC advised the company it was likely to be classified 18 but that their preferred 15 could be achieved by making reductions to a couple of scenes of crude humour. When the film was submitted for formal classification, these sequences had been acceptably reduced.
Summary Notes

MI6's top assassin (Mark Strong) has a brother. Unfortunately for him, he's an English football supporter (Sacha Baron Cohen) from the town of Grimsby. Nobby has everything a man from the poor English fishing town of Grimsby could want - 9 children and the most attractive girlfriend in northern England (Rebel Wilson). There's only one thing missing in his life: his little brother, Sebastian. After they were adopted by different families as children, Nobby spent 28 years searching for him. Upon hearing of his location, Nobby sets off to reunite with his brother, unaware that not only is his brother an MI6 agent, but he's just uncovered a plot that puts the world in danger. On the run and wrongfully accused, Sebastian realizes that if he is going to save the world, he will need the help of its biggest idiot.



Updated: Bar Talk...

Deadpool film makers speak of a bar scene that was too 'offensive' for an R rating. But there will not be a Director's Cut

Link Here15th February 2016
Deadpool is a 2016 Canada / USA action Sci-Fi adventure by Tim Miller.
Starring Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano and Ryan Reynolds. Youtube linkBBFC link IMDb

Uncut and R rated in the US. Banned in China

Deadpool has been rated R by the US film censors at the MPAA. Now there is little hype suggesting that the once scene in the film had to be toned down to achieve that R rating.

The director Time Miller recently held a Q&A session at a Los Angeles fan event where he offered some details on some of the things they had to cut. One particular fight has an extended version with a couple more beats of violence that I liked, but the biggest scene they had to pare down was a bar scene. he explained:

In particular, there was a bar scene that was too vulgar for even the R-rated Deadpool . That bar scene was particularly mean and offensive to a lot of people because T.J. [Miller] and Ryan [Reynolds] got together and wrote a version of the scene that we just said, 'Oh my God, this is too far.' I mean there were so many people offended, it would have really been - we couldn't do it. It was just mean and so I said, 'No. We don't have to do that.'

The director added that fans shouldn't expect the full version of this scene to show up on the impending Blu-ray and DVD release. T.J. Miller added that they did get carried away with this offensive stretch of dialogue and said:

We did kind of go back and forth and it just got more and more hateful. Ryan's a very, very good improvisor, and he's very funny and, like, one of the sweetest guys. It was very... heavy duty. There were some riffs that I don't think - 'You look like a trucker took a shit on your shoulders and then shaped ears onto it.' So it's like, we're missing some of those things.

Update: 15 rated by the BBFC

2nd February 2016. See article from

The BBFC has just passed Deadpool 15 uncut for strong bloody violence, strong language, sex references for UK cinema release.

Deadpool is released in UK Cinemas 10 February.

Update: Director's Cut

2nd February 2016. See  article from

Director T.J. Miller revealed that there would be a Deadpool director's cut to be released this year, which would even be more raw than what fans will see onscreen in the current US R rated/UK 15 rated theatrical version. Miller commented:

[The Director's Cut's] going to be even more raw, that's pretty heavy duty.

Update: No Director's Cut

15th February 2016. See article from

Deadpool director Tim Miller was on hand for Collider's IMAX preview screening of the film, and during the Q&A there was talk about deleted material and a possible director's cut. Miller's response was that of a compromise, as while there are some deleted scenes that are coming to the DVD and Blu-ray, his final say on a director's cut went as follows:

I don't wanna be all Joss Whedon on you, but no there's not [a director's cut... There are some deleted scenes that have some extra stuff, but I'm pretty happy with this cut. I like it.



Offsite Article: No Sex Please, We're British...

Link Here15th February 2016
Pandora Blake Battles UK Censorship

See article from



Update: RuBlacklist Blacklisted...

Russian internet censors block website monitoring internet censorship

Link Here14th February 2016
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia and its repressive state control of media
 A human rights organization that monitors web-censorship and pirate site blocks in Russia has been ordered to be blocked by a local court. A legal challenge was initiated bit it failed to convince prosecutors.

When it comes to blocking websites, Russia is becoming somewhat of a world leader. Although not in the same league as China, the country blocks thousands of websites on grounds ranging from copyright infringement to the publication of extremist material, suicide discussion and the promotion of illegal drugs.

The scale of the censorship is closely monitored by local website Roscomsvoboda. More commonly recognized by its Western-friendly URL , the project advocates freedom on the Internet, monitors and publishes data on block, and provides assistance to Internet users and site operators who are wrongfully subjected to restrictions.

It was advise on circumventing blocking that appears to have irked authorities, prompting a court process against the site that began in the first half of 2015. However, while the courts want the circumvention advice URL banned, it is standard practice in Russia to block URLs and IP addresses, meaning that RuBlocklist will be blocked in its entirety.

The website next says that it will takes its case against censorship to regional court and Russia's supreme court if necessary.



2016 Freedom of Expression Awards...

Index on Censorship unveils shortlist

Link Here14th February 2016

An Aleppo-based journalist training women to report on the crisis in war-torn Syria, an Indonesian comic who jokes about Islamic extremism and a 19-year-old campaigner against repression in Eritrea are among those shortlisted for the 2016 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards .

Drawn from more than 400 crowdsourced nominations, the Index awards shortlist celebrates artists, writers, journalists and campaigners tackling censorship and fighting for freedom of expression. Many of the 20 shortlisted nominees are regularly targeted by authorities or by criminal and extremist groups for their work: some face regular death threats, others criminal prosecution.

Judges for this year's awards are Nobel Prize-winning author Wole Soyinka, pianist James Rhodes, tech entrepreneur Bindi Karia, Colombian journalist Maria Teresa Ronderos, human rights lawyer Kirsty Brimelow QC and Bahraini campaigner Nabeel Rajab.

Jodie Ginsberg, CEO of Index on Censorship said:

Censorship is not something that happens 'somewhere else. It occurs on a daily basis in every country, in every part of the world. The shortlist honours those who are among the bravest and most creative in tackling such threats.

Awards are offered in four categories: journalism; arts; campaigning; and digital activism.

Nominees include Good Chance Theatre who work in the infamous "Jungle" refugee camp in Calais, France; imprisoned Bahraini academic and blogger Dr Abduljalil Al-Singace, who has continued to protest in prison despite being subjected to torture and abuse for daring to speak out on human rights abuses in his country; GreatFire, an anonymous group that battles China's severe web censorship; and Pravit Rojanaphruk, a veteran reporter who was arrested, interrogated and forced out of his job for criticising Thailand's military government.

Other nominees include Zaina Erhaim, who returned to her native Syria to report on the conflict and train women to tell unreported stories; Sakdiyah Ma'ruf, a female Muslim stand-up comedian from Indonesia; and campaigner Nkosilathi Emmanuel Moyo, a Zimbabwean who fights corruption in his country, currently in hiding after sending Robert Mugabe a prison uniform for his 92nd birthday this month.

Winners, who will be announced at a gala ceremony in London on 13 April, become Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards Fellows and are given support for their work.



Offsite Article: Student Censors...

Link Here14th February 2016
Full story: University Censorship...Universities vs Free Speech
Peter Tatchell finds that just believing in free speech is enough to get him 'no platformed' by students

See article from



Three strikes against the snooper's charter...

Three parliamentary committees have now passed damning judgement on the Home Office's draft Investigatory Powers Bill. But will they listen?

Link Here13th February 2016

Three parliamentary committees have now reported on the Home Secretary's draft Investigatory Powers Bill. All three have raised major criticisms of both the powers proposed and the way they are set out.

The first was the report of the Science and Technology Committee , on February 9th, which criticised the lack of clarity in the bill, and highlighted the need for integrity and security in online transactions.

Then we had the Intelligence and Security Committee, with the first report from the new committee. Long derided as weak, too close to and too trusting of the agencies it was supposed to be overseeing, it caused ripples in the establishment with its short and to the point 15-page report.

In that report they savaged the bill, describing it as a "missed opportunity". They say that "the privacy protections are inconsistent and in our view need strengthening", and that some of the provisions -- equipment interference, bulk personal data sets, and communications data -- "are too broad and lack sufficient clarity". The proposals around communications data are described as "inconsistent and largely incomprehensible".

Their criticisms are so deep that they express specific concern that it may not be possible to fix the bill by the end of 2016, and suggest the Home Office make sure to take the time to get it right. They say "the draft Bill has perhaps suffered from a lack of sufficient time and preparation and it is important that this lesson is learned prior to introduction of the new legislation." Given that aspects of this legislation were claimed to be ready to be passed into law in 2012, this is utterly damning.

The largest report was that of the Joint Committee set up specifically to examine this bill, released this morning, February 11th. Whereas the one set up to consider the 2012 draft Communications Data Bill, on which I served, was chaired by the independently minded Lord Blencathra, this one was chaired by a former chair of the Intelligence and Security Committee (from its rather more cosy and quiescent days), Lord Murphy. They also had a very abridged timetable, and say on numerous occasions that they simply didn't have the time to properly analyse important sections of the legislation.

Despite this, the 182-page report contains some heavy criticism of the bill, in many cases calling on the government to address criticisms or change the legislation, and they specifically call for some powers to be removed from the bill.  In a rather derisory remark, they say of the Home Office that:

We recommend that more effort should be made to reflect not only the policy aims but also the practical realities of how the internet works on a technical level.

This is the Home Office's third effort to get legislation in this area correct. The first effort was slated by a Joint Committee, and the replacement that was then drawn up was not deemed to be good enough even to present to parliament. This third version has now faced a triple whammy of criticism, and it is now clear that the Home Office will have to make substantial changes if it wants to get legislation through.

I hope the Home Office will listen to the criticism, especially from the ISC, and produce a better bill for parliament. If they do, we can be in a better place than the one we have now, where RIPA and other obscure legislation gives widespread uncodified powers in ways that were never intended. If not, I foresee a rocky road for them in parliament, and many embarrassing defeats.

If the Home Office get this right, we can benefit from both better security and better protection for privacy. If they refuse to listen, they have the power to worsen both.



Updated: The Censorship Line...

Thailand to ask facebook to censor content the government doesn't like

Link Here13th February 2016
Thailand's military dictators are moving to heighten its online censorship by persuading social media networks Facebook and Line to comply with court orders to remove content the government doesn't like.

The junta-appointed National Steering Reform Assembly (NSRA) will meet executives in the coming three months, council member Major General Pisit Paoin told Reuters.

A similar request was made last month to Google over content on YouTube.  .

Update: On the Line

13th February 2016. See  article from

Thailand's military dictators have turned their attention to the censorship of the Line messaging app. They have arranged a meeting with managers from Line to be held at the Thai parliament.

The Thai government will call on Line to censor content that the government does not like.

Line said earlier in a statement:

The privacy of Line users is our top priority. Once we have been officially contacted, we will conduct due diligence of the related parties and consider an appropriate solution that does not conflict with our company's global standards, or the laws of Thailand.

The Thai government also commented on three meetings with Google executives. The first was held unofficially in December 2015, while the second and third were official meetings in January. As a result, the government said it received good cooperation from Google to reduce processing and take-down time for inappropriate [video] content from YouTube.



Captain Crocbuster...

Ludicrous Swedish censorship rules ban beer labels

Link Here13th February 2016
A Swedish microbrewery has told The Local how its new labels were banned by the state-run alcohol monopoly Systembolaget.

Three labels were banned, including a super-heroine hunting a massive sea beast and a police officer wrestling a ferocious crocodile.

The sea beast label was rejected citing a censorship rule banning anything perilous whilst the policeman advert was banned over a rule banning the depiction of professional jobs on drinks labels

As a background point, it should be noted that Systembolaget is tasked with the job of keeping alcohol sales down rather than encouraging it. So the censorship rules are very repressive with no extravagant advertising allowed, no two-for-one deals and no overly creative labels.

The brewers are now waiting to see if their fourth version gets the go-ahead. It shows the super-heroine standing in safety on the beach, looking for the Lake Storsjön monster somewhere in the distance.



Offsite Article: A Bit Rich...

Link Here13th February 2016
O2 to sell 'anonymised' personal data of its customers who travel on the tube so that advertisers can target the affluent

See article from



Miserable Phuckers...

ASA dismisses miserable whinges about a Phat Phuc event at a Vietnamese restaurant

Link Here12th February 2016

Two posters for a noodle bar seen on a train on 19 October and at a train station on 13 November featured text that stated, GET YOUR NOODLE ON! FIRST TUESDAY OF EVERY MONTH FOUR DELICIOUS NOODLE BASED DISHES . The posters also showed two slogans with text that stated PHAT PHUC ...THE HANOI BIKE SHOP .

The ASA received complaints from two members of the public:

  1. one complainant objected that the ad was offensive because it featured a slogan, which when spoken sounded like a swearword; and

  2. one complainant objected that the ad was inappropriate for public display where children could see it because it featured a slogan that sounded like a swearword when spoken.

Hanoi Bike Shop stated that they were a Vietnamese canteen and that Phat Phuc was the name of an event that had been running since March 2015 and was also used for naming some of their noodle dishes. They clarified that Phat Phuc in Vietnamese was pronounced Fet Fook and meant Happy Buddha.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA understood that the word happy in Vietnamese was correctly spelt as Phuc and although it was pronounced as Fook, we acknowledged that it sounded similar to the expletive fuck.

However, we noted that the Hanoi Bike Shop sold Far Eastern cuisine, which both posters had made sufficiently clear. In the context of the posters, we considered that viewers who might have been offended by bad language were likely to recognise that Phuc was from a reference to Southeast Asian language, was different from the expletive and would not necessarily be pronounced in the same way. We therefore, concluded that the posters were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. Not upheld

As mentioned above, we acknowledged that while the expletive had not been used, the two words, depending on the pronunciation, might sound similar. However, we considered that younger children who were unlikely to comprehend that Phuc was a Vietnamese word were also unlikely to read or pronounce it as the expletive. While some older children might have pronounced it as the expletive, given the context of an ad for a Vietnamese restaurant and that the word was taken from this language we did not consider that this made it unsuitable for them to see. We therefore concluded that the posters were not irresponsibly placed where children could see them.



Update: Searching for 'Brexit'...

Google to censor all EU searches under the disgraceful 'right to be forgotten'

Link Here12th February 2016
Full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Google says it will remove links, censored under the right to be forgotten, from all versions of the search engine when viewed from countries where the censorship was invoked.

Now, removed results will not appear on any version of Google, including Until now, search results removed under the right to be forgotten were only omitted from European versions of Google - such as or

EU internet censors previously asked the firm to do this. The French data protection authority had threatened the company with a fine if it did not remove the data from global sites, such as, as well as European ones.

This censorship will be applied whenever a European IP address is detected but all users outside Europe, will still see a set of unedited results. Hopefully European VPN users operating via non European countries will also be unaffected by Google's geo-blocking.

The BBC understands that the change will be in effect from mid-February.




Parliamentary committee adds to the governments calls for new governance of the BBC

Link Here12th February 2016
The BBC's governing body, the BBC Trust, has lost confidence and credibility and should be abolished , according to a British parliamentary committee report on the BBC Charter review.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee report claims that while the BBC is an extraordinary national and global institution , it needs a radical overhaul of its governance arrangements .

On the subject of BBC censorship, the report called for a new complaints procedure that would see all complaints handled initially by the BBC itself, with both industry and editorial issues then escalated to UK TV censor Ofcom.

The chair of the committee, Jesse Norman, said:

Based on more than six months of evidence and testimony, we believe the [BBC's] current structure, including the BBC Trust, needs to be abolished. In or judgment the key functions can and should be absorbed within Ofcom, the industry regulator, with suitable changes.



Out of Line...

Indonesian government calls for discriminatory ban on gay emojis

Link Here12th February 2016
The Indonesian government has called for gay emojis to be banned from instant messaging apps, and plans to force providers to remove them.

Homosexuality is not illegal in Indonesia but is a sensitive religious issue.

The government acted after messaging service Line included lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) stickers, which were later removed following complaints from some Indonesian users.

The Indonesian government's spokeswoman for communication ministry Ismail Cawidu said WhatsApp, owned by Facebook, would be instructed to delete their LGBT stickers as well:

Social media must respect the culture and local wisdom of the country where they have large numbers of users.



Insight for all ages...

BBFC introduces long BBFC Insight for children

Link Here11th February 2016
As part of Safer Internet Day 2016, the BBFC launched a new child-friendly long BBFCinsight, which is now available on the CBBFC website for children and families.

A new competition will also ask children to tell the BBFC what information they would like to see in long BBFCinsight on CBBFC.

The theme of Safer Internet Day 2016 is Play your part for a better internet and the BBFC is encouraging children and their parents to check child-friendly long BBFCinsight on CBBFC for films they want to watch on Video-on-Demand services.

Age ratings are not required by law for films available on Video-on-Demand services, but many platforms choose to use the BBFC's well known and trusted age ratings. Research carried out in 2015 also shows online classification checking is now approaching the level of checking undertaken by parents for cinema films with 81% checking age ratings for Video-on-Demand content.

Long BBFCinsight on CBBFC lets children know why a film received a particular classification and gives them extra information about scary or sad scenes, or other issues they might want to know about before watching the film. Long BBFCinsight on CBBFC is available for films classified U, PG and 12A at the cinema, or 12 on DVD/Blu-ray or online.

Lucy Brett, BBFC Head of Education said:

Through our education work we speak to thousands of children and young people each year and it is clear that many of them watch films and videos online regularly. We want to help them make the most informed decision they can about their viewing which is why we are offering younger viewers more information about the films they want to watch, and tailoring BBFCinsight, which is written for adults, for younger learners who use our children's website, CBBFC.

We also want children to tell us what they want and need to know and a new competition will allow children to tell us what sort of information they find most useful in BBFCinsight. The competition will challenge young film fans to write their own long BBFCinsight for favourite films viewed at home, in the cinema or online, letting us know how we can keep our insight smart, short, relevant and up to date for younger viewers.

Children and their families can see how to check long BBFCinsight in a new short video from the BBFC. The video also reminds families to use legal websites to watch films online, and for children to check with an adult before they use a new Video-on-Demand service.

CBBFC lets children and their parents, choose a Video-on-Demand film that's right for them and any friends or family they might want to watch it with. The CBBFC website can be accessed from a desk top or laptop computer and is also available on mobile and tablet devices.

An example of some the key points of the children's long BBFCInsight is as follows


There is a single use of mild bad language and some very mild bad language.

There is also some mild comic violence when the chipmunks become involved in a bar fight. One of them throws cocktail sticks, which briefly stick to a man's face; the man is not injured and the sticks quickly fall off. In the same scene, people grapple with each other and there is some shoving.

In another scene, one of the chipmunks is hit by a car when saving someone else. He hits the windscreen and then lands on the ground; he is very briefly unconscious and his friends are worried but he wakes up and is unharmed.



Slavishly PC...

'Outrage' at S for Slave t-shirt spotted on ASOS marketplace website

Link Here11th February 2016
A t-shirt has generated a little outrage on the market place fashion website, ASOS. The shirt features a large S in a circle with the caption, "slave". The 'outrage' was compounded by a product image featuring a black model.

ASOS Marketplace withdrew the shirt saying:

Whenever we find product that violates our policies we remove it immediately. There is also a 'report this item' link under every product picture.

Wasted Heroes, the company making the shirt, explained that the shirt is intended as a statement, of sorts, about being slavish to a brand. A spokeman added:

It really was extremely stupid of us



Pouncing on Beyonce...

'Outrage' at Super bowl half time performance by Beyonce alluding to the Black Panthers and police brutality

Link Here11th February 2016
Beyonce and her powerhouse backup dancers have generated a bit of a controversy by referencing police brutally and the 60's radical group, the Black Panthers. Beyonce was performing at the halftime show at the Super Bowl.

Her support for the Black Lives Matter movement were featured in her performance, earning her praise for speaking out against institutional racism as well as complaints that she denigrated law enforcement.

In particular, the performance, as well as the release of a new video Formation the day before, have offended pro-police elements in the U.S., who are now calling for a Beyonce boycott.

Beyonce's performance featured her and her dancers wearing outfits that paid tribute to the Black Panthers, the radical socialist organization in the U.S. that challenged police brutality against African Americans between the 1960s and 70s. Beyonce's dancers raised their arms with fists clenched alluding to the black power salute.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, meanwhile, denounced her Super Bowl performance as "outrageous," claiming she used her platform to "attack" police officers.

Meanwhile Toronto councillor Jim Karygiannis suggested that Beyonce be banned from entering Canada, claiming the pop star promotes gun culture and anti-police sentiments.



On-demand and online research: consumption and concerns...

Ofcom solicits 'concerns' of VoD viewers

Link Here 8th February 2016
Full story: Ofcom Video Sharing Censors...Video on Demand and video sharing

Ofcom regulates on-demand programme services (ODPS) that are notified and based in the UK, to ensure that providers apply the relevant standards. Ofcom also has a duty to advise the Government on the need for protection of consumers and citizens in their consumption of audio-visual services, and in particular the need to protect children.

Ofcom seeks to understand people's use of, and concerns about, notified ODPS in the broader context of all on-demand and online audio-visual services in the UK, and has therefore carried out quantitative consumer research for this purpose. A

. Comparisons are made to the 2014 data throughout this report where relevant.

This survey covers the full range of audio-visual content that is available on demand and online: sourced either directly via the internet, via an app, or via a provider of a service; for example, programmes on BBC iPlayer, clips on YouTube and films provided by ondemand services from Netflix.

In this report we examine online and on-demand consumption of audio-visual content among adults and teens, and their concerns regarding that content.

The report adds about viewer 'concerns'

The top mentions in 2015 among all concerned adults include: violence (50%), welfare of children/young people (32%), bullying/victimising (31%), racism (30%), discrimination (29%), bad language (28%) and pornography (24%). Concerns regarding violence, bullying and racism have significantly increased among adults since 2014, while concerns regarding sexually explicit content have decreased.



Fifty shades of strong sex references...

The BBFC reduces the rating of Fifty Shades of Black from 18 to 15

Link Here7th February 2016
Fifty Shades of Black is a 2016 USA comedy by Michael Tiddes.
Starring Marlon Wayans, Kali Hawk and Fred Willard. Youtube linkBBFC link IMDb

An inexperienced college student meets a wealthy businessman whose sexual practices put a strain on their relationship.

It was originally passed 18 uncut for cinema for very strong sex references for:

The film distributors appealed to the BBFC for a reconsideration of a 15 rating. The BBFC agreed, commenting:

This work was originally classified 18 uncut on 27/01/2016. This determination was formally reconsidered by the BBFC at the request of the submitting company. The BBFC carefully considered the arguments put forward by the submitting company, looked again at the relevant submitted material, and concluded that a revision to the original determination was appropriate.

The film is now passed 15 uncut for strong sex references.

Note that a BBFC typo suggested that the original 18 version was cut. This has now been corrected and the BBFC confirms that no cuts have been made to either version.



Updated: Antichrist Banned in France...

Religious censors get court to revoke 16 rating for Lars Von Trier's film. Then they turn their attention to The Hateful Eight

Link Here7th February 2016
Full story: Lars Von Trier Films...Censor baiting fiilm director
Antichrist is a 2009 Denmark/Germany/France/Sweden/Italy/Poland drama by Lars Von Trier.
With Willem Dafoe, Charlotte Gainsbourg and Storm Acheche Sahlstrøm. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

The film was banned in France in February 2016

Promouvoir, an extremist Catholic pressure group initiated a court case some time ago claiming that the films local 16 rating was incorrect and that the film should be restricted to adults only. The moralists won the case and the court agreed that the film is unsuitable for under 18 and revoked the film's 16 certificate.

Until the film can be re-rated, it is banned from cinema and TV.

The BBFC explained some of the censorship issues when issuing an uncut 18 rating:

At '18', the BBFC's Guidelines state that the more explicit images of sexual activity are unlikely to be permitted unless they can be exceptionally justified by context and the work is not a 'sex work'. A 'sex work' is defined as a work whose 'primary purpose is sexual arousal or stimulation'. It is clear that ANTICHRIST is not a 'sex work' but a serious drama exploring issues such as grief, loss, guilt and fear.

The brief images of explicit real sex (sight of a penis penetrating a vagina during a consensual sex scene and sight of the man's penis being masturbated to climax) are exceptionally justified, in this context, by the manner in which they illustrate the film's themes and the nature of the couple's relationship. Their relationship is depicted throughout in a graphic and unflinching fashion, both psychologically and physically.

The BBFC has permitted comparable explicit images in a number of previous features at the '18' level (eg L'EMPIRE DES SENS, 9 SONGS, SHORTBUS and Lars von Trier's earlier film, THE IDIOTS) where it has been clear that the purpose of the work - and the individual images in question - is not simply to arouse viewers but to illustrate characters, relationships and themes.

Update: Hateful moralists

7th February 2016. See  article from

Buoyed by their success in getting the 16 age rating for Antichrist overturned, religious extremists at Promouvoir (Promote) are now setting their sights on Quentin Tarantino's 12 rated The Hateful Eight .

The Catholic group is now threatening to have Quentin Tarantino's new film pulled from cinemas. They claim that the film  had been granted its certificate illegally .

It also threatened to take action against the French teen film Bang Gang , one of the hits of this year's Toronto film festival.

The French 12 rating for Blue is the Warmest Colour was withdrawn in December 2016 over its extended lesbian scenes. This was the result of court case issued by the religious campaign group Promouvoir (Promote). Abdellatif Kechiche's film is currently banned from cinema and TV and as the film has not yet received a revised certificate.




No Laughing Matter...

PC MP calls for a ban of the rugby anthem Delilah

Link Here7th February 2016
The Labour MP Chris Bryan is calling for the classic Tom Jones song Delilah to be banned from Six Nations rugby matches claiming that it glorifies domestic violence.  The politically correct claims the song is about killing a prostitute .

Bryant spouted:

I know that some people will say, 'Oh, here we go, he's a terrible spoilsport,' but the truth is that that song is about the murder of a prostitute. Chris

It is a simple fact that when there are big international rugby matches on, and sometimes football matches as well, the number of domestic violence incidents rises dramatically.

It goes right to the heart of the issues we are discussing. There are thousands of other songs we could sing.

I have sung 'Delilah' as well - everybody loves doing the 'She stood there laughing' moment- but if we are really going to take this issue seriously in Wales, we have to change how we do things.

The Sixties hit is an unofficial anthem at Cardiff matches, with male voice choirs and even Tom himself singing it before every game. The lyrics read:

I saw the light on the night that I passed by her window
I saw the flickering shadows of love on her blind
She was my woman
As she deceived me I watched and went out of my mind

My, my, my, Delilah
Why, why, why, Delilah

I could see that girl was no good for me
But I was lost like a slave that no man could free
At break of day when that man drove away, I was waiting
I crossed the street to her house and she opened the door
She stood there laughing
I felt the knife in my hand and she laughed no more

So before they come to break down the door
Forgive me Delilah I just couldn't take any more



Update: Loopholes Within Loopholes Will Lead to Unbridled Surveillance...

A report on the UK's Investigatory Powers Bill

Link Here 7th February 2016

The House of Commons Science and Tech Committee has published its report on the draft Investigatory Powers Bill, influenced by comments submitted by 50 individuals, companies, and organizations, including EFF. The report is the first of three investigations by different Parliamentary committees. While it was intended to concentrate on the technological and business ramifications of the bill, their conclusions reflect the key concern of lawmakers, companies, and human rights groups about the bill's dangerously vague wording.

The Investigatory Powers Bill, as written, is so vague as to permit a vast range of surveillance actions, with profoundly insufficient oversight or insight into what Britain's intelligence, military and police intend to do with their powers. It is, in effect, a carefully-crafted loophole wide enough to drive all of existing mass surveillance practice through. Or, in the words of Richard Clayton, Director of the Cambridge Cloud Cybercrime Centre at the University of Cambridge, in his submissions to the committee: the present bill forbids almost nothing ... and hides radical new capabilities behind pages of obscuring detail.

The bill is 192 pages long, excluding over 60 pages of explanatory notes. Our comments to the committee focused on just one aspect of the bill, what they call equipment interference. Despite our emphasis on just one small part of the bill, our analysis revealed multiple ambiguities and broad new powers that would allow the security and intelligence agencies, law enforcement and the armed forces, to target electronic equipment such as computers and smartphones in order to obtain data, including communications content. The bill also provides for the UK government to compel companies and individuals to comply with its surveillance demands, including those located outside Britain, and to bar companies from revealing that they were the subject of such demands. As the committee says in its conclusions, We believe the industry case regarding public fear about 'equipment interference' is well founded.

The bill also includes a new mandate for data retention whose breadth is similarly ambiguous. Terms like internet connection records, telecommunications service, relevant communications data, communications content, technical feasibility, and reasonable practicable were all criticized in the report for their vague and overbroad use. The government's excuse is that it wants to create a future-proof bill, but loose language is bad for businesses trying to understand what obligations they are under. And it's certainly bad for civil liberties when governments exploit those ambiguities to obtain or hold onto new powers.

The details of these definitions and safeguards surrounding them should not be punted into secondary legislation. As the committee notes, a disturbing degree of detail about the Investigatory Powers Bill is deferred to future Codes of Practice. We've been down this road before in the UK. IPB's predecessor, the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (2000) also placed its devilish details into future statutory instruments, which were often slipped past Parliamentarians with little warning or debate. The result was years of expansion of RIPA powers, to the point where powers originally intended for the intelligence services were delegated to over four hundred public bodies. Even the head of MI5 , Lady Manningham-Buller, who lobbied for the RIPA powers, was shocked by the eventual overreach:

I can remember being astonished to read that organizations such as the Milk Marketing Board, and whatever the equivalent is for eggs, would have access to some of the techniques. On the principle governing the use of intrusive techniques which invade people's privacy, there should be clarity in the law as to what is permitted and they should be used only in cases where the threat justified them and their use was proportionate.

This is why, as the committee says, it is essential that this timetable does not slip and that the Codes of Practice are indeed published alongside the Bill so they can be fully scrutinized and debated.

We would go further: EFF believes that a productive discussion around the Investigatory Powers Bill can only begin once all the cards are on the table. The UK government needs to answer all the questions raised by the committee, including those currently postponed to Codes of Practice, and embed those answers in a revised bill, which can then be more seriously considered, or it's destined for a future of abuse followed by dismantlement in the courts.

The series of successful challenges in the UK and EU against previous surveillance law and practice shows that vague and unbounded language cannot survive a serious challenge in the courts. If the UK government wants its surveillance rules to stand the test of time, it needs to build them on a firm foundation of clarity, necessity, and proportionality.



No rights to know the rules about rights issues...

Video producers complain about the draconian and arbitrary censorship by YouTube

Link Here7th February 2016

Youtube's DMCA system troubles hit a prominent group of video creators:

YouTube: What The Hell YouTube? Part 1

They got it fixed after waiting 3 weeks but only after making a video complaining about the problems. The official routes for complaint didn't work at all, and they still don't understand why:

YouTube: What The Hell YouTube? Part 2



Offsite Article: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies...

Link Here7th February 2016
Film makers discuss why they chose to make it for a child friendly PG-13 rating

See article from



The Boy and the Beast...

Strong language cut an MPAA PG-13 rating

Link Here5th February 2016
The Boy and the Beast is a 2015 Japan action animation fantasy by Mamoru Hosoda.
Starring Bryn Apprill, Kumiko Asô and Morgan Berry. Youtube link IMDb

Strong language has been cut differently for the dubbed and subtitled versions for US release.

US: The dubbed version is MPAA PG-13 rated for some violence.

US: The sub-titled version was PG-13 rated for some violence and language.

The MPAA noted:


Summary Notes

The latest feature film from award-winning Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda (Summer Wars, Wolf Children): When Kyuta, a young orphan living on the streets of Shibuya, stumbles into a fantastic world of beasts, he's taken in by Kumatetsu, a gruff, rough-around-the-edges warrior beast who's been searching for the perfect apprentice. Despite their constant bickering, Kyuta and Kumatetsu begin training together and slowly form a bond as surrogate father and son. But when a deep darkness threatens to throw the human and beast worlds into chaos, the strong bond between this unlikely family will be put to ultimate test-a final showdown that will only be won if the two can finally work together using all of their combined strength and courage.



Extract: Comment is no longer free...

The Guardian notes that public opinion has turned against immigration and islam and the newspaper will end online comments for related articles so as to avoid toxic comment

Link Here5th February 2016

The Guardian/Observer. has very recently announced that it will be heavily restricting comment on articles dealing with three sensitive subjects -- race, immigration and Islam, on the grounds that there has been a change in mainstream public opinion and language that we do not wish to see reflected or supported on the site and those subjects in particular attract too much toxic comment.

Most pieces on those themes will not now not be open for comment. Occasional selected pieces will be open, but for a shorter period than the usual three days, and only when it is judged that enough moderation resources can be deployed there and that it is possible to have a constructive discussion on them, whatever that means.

See full article from



Update: Ratings you can't trust...

World Health Organisation calls for stupid ratings for movies to support its pet anti-smoking campaign

Link Here1st February 2016
Full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has ludicrously called for films showing smoking to be given an adult rating.

Movies showing use of tobacco products have enticed millions of young people worldwide to start smoking , the WHO claimed in a statement.  Dr Douglas Bettcher, WHO's director for the department of prevention of non-communicable diseases, added:

With ever tighter restrictions on tobacco advertising, film remains one of the last channels exposing millions of adolescents to smoking imagery without restrictions. Smoking in films can be a strong form of promotion for tobacco products.

Of course WHO is unconcerned by the effects of film censors being forced to award blatantly stupid ratings and the effect that this would have on parents' trust and support of movie ratings.

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