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 2010: March
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31st March   

Update: Four Lions at the BBFC...

BBFC comment on classifying material that may offend the easily offended
Link Here

Four Lions DVD Riz Ahmed Chris Morris's 2010 UK terrorist comedy was passed 15 uncut by the BBFC with the consumer advise: Contains strong language and sex references.

The BBFC explain their decision as follows:

Four Lions is a satirical comedy about British Muslims who aspire to be suicide bombers. It has been passed 15 for strong language and sex references.

There are over fifty uses of strong language, mostly in English but several in untranslated Urdu, which go beyond what is acceptable under the BBFC's Guidelines at 12A/12 where The use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') must be infrequent . In terms of sex references, strong verbal references to sexual behaviour are permitted at 15 and the verbal descriptions of sex in this work fell short of containing the strongest references which might have placed it at 18 instead.

The theme is treated in a manner designed to satirise, rather than to promote or endorse, terrorist activity and is therefore appropriately contained at 15 where No theme is prohibited, provided the treatment is appropriate for 15 year olds . Few of the range of individuals and groups portrayed in the film escape its comic and satirical scope: this may give rise to offence in some quarters, but this would not have been mitigated by artificially raising the category to 18.

Four Lions also contains moderate comic violence, and self referential uses of Paki which in this comic context are not endorsed.

 

31st March   

Updated: Rap Filth...

New Zealand finds a rap song horror video to whinge at
Link Here

dirty sesh forever video New Zealand anti-violence groups are calling for a taxpayer-funded music video to be banned, slating the slasher-style clip as violent, misogynist pornography .

An extended, online version of the video for Nathan King's second single Forever depicts the rapper, who performs under the name Derty Sesh , crouching over a bound woman with a knife to her head, before stabbing her in a frenzy and cutting out her organs.

The clip, which features shots of mutilated women's bodies and body parts, then segues into the television version of the video, which shows the rapper stalking a young couple in a park, dispatching the boyfriend, then driving the woman to a secluded hut.

The television version ends with the woman screaming as the hooded rapper appears; in the online version, he assaults her.

Kim McGregor, director of Rape Prevention Education, has written to the prime minister and a number of cabinet ministers asking them to push for the video to be banned. She had shown the clip to a focus group of young professional women, who had been deeply upset by its content.

King said he had never really thought about the implications of the video: I understand where they're coming from but it's entertainment, it's fake. I don't really want to go around stabbing anybody, he said. It's me creating a scene from a movie in one song.

The main thing I wanted to do was just shock people, you know. Get people to be 'That's way out of line', and to push the edge visually. I thought I'd come with something different, a lot darker.

Maria McMillan, spokeswoman for the Roundtable for Violence against Women said: This isn't satire or commentary. It's simply another cliched depiction of a 'fantasy' of women being stalked, bound and [placed] in a state of terror, deliberately aimed to shock or titillate in the hope that it'll sell a bunch of unoriginal pop-rap albums. The last thing we need is another man celebrated for hurting women.

Update: Forever didn't last very long

31st March 2010. Based on article from  nzherald.co.nz

oflc nz logo A music video depicting the stalking and killing of a woman has been removed from YouTube by its record label, at the same time the censor's office is taking a look at it at the request of the Department of Internal Affairs.

The video for rapper Derty Sesh's second single, Forever , has been pulled from YouTube by Move The Crowd Records.

Anti-violence groups had called for the taxpayer-funded video to be banned from television over the weekend, with Rape Prevention Education director Kim McGregor describing it as depicting extreme misogyny .

Chief censor Bill Hastings told NZPA the Department of Internal Affairs had submitted the video to the Office of Film and Literature Classification.

 

31st March   

Update: Dawn of the Gamers...

Hundreds of zombies protest a lack of Australian adult rating for games
Link Here

r18 zombies A public demonstration against the lack of an R18+ rating in Australia, which featured marchers dressed as zombies, went off without a hitch—but with plenty of lurching—in Sydney over the weekend.

Rhys Wilson, head of the group Aus Gamers Limited which organized the protest, wrote on Facebook, I want to thank each and every one of you guys for making yesterday easily one of the best days of my life. I haven't heard any complaints from anyone, and I'm more than happy to do this again later in the year, assuming I'm not killed in a freak manure truck accident.

IT Wire estimated the crowd of gathered ghouls at between 500 and 600 strong, easily surpassing a November 2009 similarly-themed march, which drew around 175 participants.

 

31st March   

Update: Bongo Republic Lawmaking...

Lib Dems will oppose the passing of a bill without debate to enable direct website blocking powers for the government
Link Here

House of Commons logo The Liberal Democrats have called for the Digital Economy bill to be scrapped and re-introduced afresh in the next Parliament, and say they will oppose its rushed passage if, as expected, it is speeded through to become law in the wash-up ahead of a general election.

Paul Burstow, the Liberal Democrat chief whip, told the Guardian that although the party's opposition might not be enough on its own to prevent the bill from passing, he hoped that the arguments being put forward - that the issues needed more debate than has been possible - might sway one of the other parties into delaying its passage.

During the negotiation and discussion in the wash-up we will make it clear that we think that it isn't a suitable way to deal with the issues remaining such as site blocking, Burstow said. We will put amendments down and make the case and hope that the government and the Conservatives will agree that it shouldn't proceed at this stage, Burstow said.

The government published a new clause 18 for the bill to replace one which has raised the ire of lobbying groups. The key difference from the previous clause appears to be that the secretary of state for business would have the final say on whether an internet site could be blocked.

Hundreds of people protested outside Parliament last week over those provisions of the bill. The Open Rights Group has also been critical of the amount of time that has been devoted to debating it: while it has had three readings in the House of Lords, including a committee stage, it has had only one reading in the Commons, and if it proceeds to the wash-up it will not receive a detailed line-by-line examination in committee. Instead, it would be pushed through with the minimum of debate.

 

31st March   

Updated: Censorship Advice...

New censorship guidelines for Malaysia
Link Here

filem malaysia logo New film censorship guidelines, set to take effect on March 15, have received guarded reception from the local artistic community.

Malaysian Film Producers Association president Ahmad Puad Onah, said: With the new guidelines, the Film Censorship Board is willing to discuss the story and give options to filmmakers on how to change certain scenes that may be deemed offensive.

It is very helpful. Previously, the censorship board only accepted the finished product. So, the filmmakers have to bear the extra cost of omitting whatever needs to be cut and even suffer losses if the film is banned.

He was among those in the local film community who had a chance to view and discuss the new guidelines. Ahmad said: My worries are the verbal and oral instructions given. The minister still can cut out scenes if these are 'deemed' sensitive in relation to current issues, even though these comply with the guidelines.

The four key areas that the filmmaker has to consider is the need to be sensitive towards public order and safety, respecting religious aspects, social culture and moral values.

It will also encourage producers to exercise self-censorship. As filmmakers, we need to heed the negative ramifications of producing provocative and offensive subjects. If we are making a movie for the Malaysian audience, of course we need to abide by the laws of the country.

Film maker Datuk Paduka Shuhaimi Baba said: I think it is a good move as I think the board is trying to be more liberal and they are now breaking a lot of barriers. They now allow us to submit and discuss the script if they feel we have touched on taboo areas, which makes it less stressful for movie makers. The board is more open to discussion and involving related parties like filmmakers in drafting the guidelines reflects this fresh approach.

Update: Moral Censorship

23rd March 2010. Based on article from heraldsun.com.au

pfm logo Gay men can at long last be depicted in Malaysian films - so long as they repent or even go straight in the end.

Strict censorship rules in the mostly Muslim country mean books and films are routinely banned or scenes deleted that are deemed detrimental to moral values or religious sensitivities.

The new censorship guidelines reverse a ban on scenes featuring homosexuality, Malaysian Film Producers' Association president Ahmad Puad Onah said. But there's a catch: We are now allowed to show these scenes . As long as we portray good triumphing over evil and there is a lesson learnt in the film, such as from a gay (character) who turns into a (straight) man. Previously we are not allowed to show these at all.

The new rules, he insists, will allow greater freedom of expression for film-makers. But kissing, undressing and obscenity scenes will still be banned: We can do almost anything now but we are urged to give due considerations on the film's impact on certain areas like public order, religion, socio-culture elements and moral values.

It is not just homosexuality - subjects such as illegal racing can also be depicted. A report at the weekend said local movie V3 Road Gangster was being shown in the cinemas since the illegal racers either died or were caught by police at the end.

Update: Be moral or you'll be censored

31st March 2010. Based on article from  google.com

filem malaysia logo Malaysia's censorship guidelines — made public on the Home Ministry's Web site this week make the dishonest claim that adults should be free to choose whatever material they wish to watch, as long as the material is legitimate in terms of the law and does not have the potential to cause harm.

...But... the new rules list dozens of elements that might be objectionable, but indicates a movie containing them might not necessarily be prohibited. In another departure from previous guidelines, it notes that curse words might be allowed based on whether they are appropriate in the context of a film.

All profanities and scenes of amorous kisses will be excised if they are overly explicit, such as involving nudity.

Religious sensitivities in this Muslim-majority country take up a chunk of the guidelines, which discourage scenes of Muslims drinking alcohol, gambling and becoming involved in vice. ...BUT... it would be permissible if the filmmaker wants to depict a person's transformation from being evil to good.

Also, depictions of Muslims who convert to other religions should not highlight the benefits (of the act) without showing its ...BAD... consequences.

Sex scenes, including homosexuality and unnatural sex, remain discouraged, extending to erotic voices and kissing on body parts that could arouse sex, including the neck, chest and ears. Women should not wear bikinis that are too tiny and tight, according to the guidelines.

Passionate hugs between men and women or gay people are also discouraged.

Movies that should be promoted include those highlighting virtues such as respect for God, honesty, courage and environmental preservation.

 

31st March   

Comment: Evidence of Censorship...

Spectator blog becomes the first to be censured by the PCC
Link Here

spectator rod liddle logo Spectator columnist Rod Liddle has become the first blogger to be censured by the Press Complaints Commission.

On the Spectator's website, Liddle wrote that the overwhelming majority of London's violent crime was carried out by young, Afro-Caribbean men. But the PCC ruled the former BBC Radio 4 Today editor's words breached Clause 1 (Accuracy) of its code. It said the significant ruling showed publications' websites would be held to the same standards as print editions.

Liddle had written that the overwhelming majority of street crime, knife crime, gun crime, robbery and crimes of sexual violence in London is carried out by young men from the African-Caribbean community .

Although the Spectator had provided some evidence to back up Liddle's assertion, it had not been able to demonstrate that the 'overwhelming majority' of crime in all the stated categories had been carried out by members of the African-Caribbean community , Stephen Abell of the PCC said.

He added that the ruling was significant because it demonstrated that the PCC expects the same standards in newspaper and magazine blogs that it would expect in comment pieces that appear in print editions . There is plenty of room for robust opinions, views and commentary, but statements of fact must still be substantiated if and when they are disputed.

Offsite: Liddle censure a plus for serious newspaper and magazine websites

31st March 2010. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

greenslade bg logo Roy Greenslade writes in a well meaning blog:

A US reporter calls to ask whether I think the Rod Liddle censure by the Press Complaints Commission amounts to a constraint on the freedom of the press.

It is a natural consequence of America's journalists being appalled by the fact that we subject our newspapers and magazines to a self-regulatory regime that conflicts with their own constitutional right to freedom of expression.

So I reply that it is, of course, a constraint. But with freedom comes responsibility and it is surely irresponsible to present an opinion as a fact.

...

By showing that a magazine website cannot get away with publishing an inaccurate statement, the PCC has reinforced the public perception that British online journalists cannot put up any old rubbish online.

...Read the full article

But really...you only have to read about how many 'trafficked' sex workers there are arriving in Britain every year, or how many will be coming to the London Olympics, or how many children have been 'harmed' by watching post watershed programmes on iPlayer, to realise what a load of bullshit is published by major newspapers.

 

31st March   

Comment: Tank Man Returns to China...

Tiananmen Square massacre links appear on Google's search engine in China
Link Here

Tank Man Google's Chinese search engine was defying local law by returning links involving the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests and the Xinjiang independence movement, according to a report from NBC News.

NBC was able to access previously-censored links from Google.cn, including the famous 1989 image of a lone man blocking a line of Chinese tanks in Tiananmen Square. A search for tank man in Chinese characters on the search engine returned just one link to the photo - though several are available from the company's engine overseas.

Meanwhile, searching for Tiananmen Square massacre , Xinjiang independence and Tibet Information Network turned up long lists of previously censored results.

NBC did say, however, that search results were erratic and that in some cases, access to verboten sites was indeed denied.

Update: Google to Make Rapid Departure from China

21st March 2010. Based on article from telegraph.co.uk

Google China logo Google is expected to announce the closure of google.cn by as early as April 10 after the Chinese government refused to acquiesce to demands that it stop self-censorship of the site.

It is understood that Google will continue to operate other services in the country and will maintain its research and development operations.

It is understood that Sergey Brin, who founded Google with Larry Page while the pair were students at Stanford University, has been personally involved with the investigation into gmail attacks and the decision to withdraw from China.

Reports from China said Google will compensate the division's employees following the closure.

Update: China whinge at Google for highlighting Chinese censorship

24th March 2010. Based on article from business.timesonline.co.uk

China flag China hit back at Google last night after the internet search giant closed its flagship Chinese site, carrying out a threat issued two months ago in a dispute over censorship.

The company stopped censoring its search results in China and redirected users of the Google.cn service to its uncensored Google.com.hk site based in Hong Kong. The White House, which had backed Google in its dispute, expressed disappointment that an American company felt compelled to take such a drastic step.

Beijing isssued a furious riposte to Google, accusing it of violating the terms of the agreement it made when it opened its self-censored Chinese search engine in 2006. An official in charge of the Internet Bureau of the State Council Information Office said: This is totally wrong. We're uncompromisingly opposed to the politicisation of commercial issues, and express our discontent and indignation to Google for its unreasonable accusations and conducts.

The world's largest internet company has been in talks for two months with Beijing over its threat to shut down its Chinese-language search engine and close its offices, rather than kowtow to government censors. It delivered the ultimatum after alleged cyber attacks aimed at its source code and at the Gmail accounts of Chinese human rights activists. The company said the attacks originated in China.

Offsite: Google Explain

31st March 2010. Based on article from  facthai.wordpress.com

Google China logo From an interview with David Drummond of Google.

Although we have gained market share, it has become more and more difficult for us to operate there. Particularly when it comes to censorship. We have had to censor more. More and more pressure has been put on us. It has gotten appreciably worse — and not just for us, for other internet companies too.

So we increasingly came to feel that the original premise of our entry into China was being undermined. We thought when we went in that we could help to open the country and things could get better by our being there. Things seemed to be getting worse.

And what happens now?

We don't know what to expect. We have done what we have done. We are fully complying with Chinese law. We're not operating our search engine within the Firewall any more. We will continue to talk with them about how to operate our other services.

...Read the full article

 

31st March   

Jealous Religion...

Sri Lankan author arrested for book about converting to islam
Link Here

Sri Lanka An expatriate Sri Lankan woman who wrote two books about her conversion from Buddhism to Islam has been arrested while on holiday in Sri Lanka, apparently for causing offence to Buddhists.

Sarah Malini Perera, who was born in Sri Lanka but has lived in Bahrain since 1985 and converted to Islam in 1999, was arrested last week under the country's emergency laws, according to the police.

They declined to give precise details of the writer's offence, but suggested that her books were deemed to have caused offence to ethnic Sinhalese Buddhists.

Sri Lanka's constitution guarantees freedom of religion, but also says that the state shall give Buddhism the foremost place and accordingly it shall be the duty of the state to protect and foster the religion.

Ms Perera recently completed two books on her conversion, called From Darkness to Light and Questions and Answers , and was having them printed in Sri Lanka.

 

31st March   

OFLC...

The New Zealand film censor
Link Here

oflc nz logo The New Zealand's film and publication censorship is implemented by the Office of Film and Literature Classification (OFLC), currently headed by Bill Hastings.

Its legal remit is via the Film, Video and Publications Classification Act 1993. This evolved from the Video Recordings Act 1987, which was passed as an urgent response to the video format that emerged in the early to mid-1980s, but was outside the reach of the existing film censorship law, the Films Act 1983.

OFLC Classification Labels:

Film and DVD labels are colour- coded, much the same as traffic lights:

  • Green means anyone can view a film.
  • Yellow means that anyone can view the film, but the film may contain material, such as violence or sexual themes, which may offend or upset some people. Parental guidance is advised before children view the film.
  • Red means that the film is legally restricted and can only be viewed by the audience specified. There are no exceptions to this restriction.

All labels have a rating or classification symbol and usually a note briefly explaining the nature of the film that may be of concern to viewers - for example, whether the film contains violence or sex.

  • G - Unrestricted: Anyone can be shown or sold this.
  • PG - Unrestricted: Parental guidance may be needed for younger viewers.
  • M - Unrestricted: More suitable for viewers over 16 years.
  • R13 - Restricted: It is illegal for anyone to show or sell this to someone under 13 years of age.
  • R15 - Restricted: It is illegal for anyone to show or sell this to someone under 15 years of age
  • R16 - Restricted: It is illegal for anyone to show or sell this to someone under 16 years of age.
  • R18 - Restricted: It is illegal to show or sell this to someone under 18 years of age
  • R - Restricted: There is a special restriction. Refer to the words on the right of the label for the full conditions.
  • RP16 - Restricted: It is illegal to show or sell this to someone under under 16 years of age unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.
  • RP13 - Restricted: It is illegal to show or sell this to someone under under 13 years of age unless they are accompanied by a parent or guardian.

A guardian is considered to be a responsible adult (18 years and over), for example, a family member or teacher who can provide guidance.

The Labelling Body is a private organisation representative of producers, distributors and exhibitors that exercises statutory functions independently of the Classification Office.

Before issuing a label, the Labelling Body will cross-rate, rate, or refer the DVD to the Classification Office. The Labelling Body will cross-rate any DVD rated G, PG or M in Australia, or U, PG or 12A in the United Kingdom.

The Labelling Body will rate any DVD title not previously rated in Australia or the United Kingdom. Once a DVD title has been rated or classified, a person may supply an unlimited number of identical copies to the public provided each is labelled.

The Labelling Body will refer a DVD to the Classification Office if it has been classified MA15+ or higher in Australia, or 15 or higher in the United Kingdom, or if the Labelling Body is of the view that the DVD has content that would be restricted under New Zealand law.

Fees

The Film, Video and Publications Classification Act 1993 requires any person who wishes to sell, hire, exchange or loan, in the course of any business, any film, video or DVD, to obtain a label for that film, video or DVD from the Film and Video Labelling Body.

Failure to do so is an offence which carries a maximum fine of $3000 for an individual or $10,000 for a company.

  • $30.38: The fee for any DVD rated G, PG or M in NZ, G, PG or M in Australia, and  U, PG, 12 or 12A in the UK.
  • $236.25: The fee for any DVD over two hours to be rated G, PG, or M.
  • $275: The fee for any DVD to be classified by the OFLC waived by 75 per cent.
  • $1100: The fee for any DVD to be classified by the OFLC.

An application for the discretionary waiver requires evidence that the DVD is old, has artistic or cultural value or importance, is relatively unavailable and that the supply of the DVD is unlikely to produce commercial gain.

 

31st March   

Haystack...

Media Guardian's Innovator of the year beats Iranian web censorship
Link Here

haystack logo Media Guardian's Innovator of the year is Austin Heap who helped create Haystack, a system for beating Iranian web censorship

Austin Heap followed the last Iranian results on Twitter, and recognised that Iran's censorship had stepped up. He sent a tweet to fellow computer geeks and made contact with Daniel Colascione, based in Buffalo, New York.

The pair worked for 72 hours without sleep to deconstruct the filtering methods of the Iranian telecommunications agency. Then they created Haystack, a censorship workaround that directed requests from computers in Iran through servers elsewhere in the world, hidden in a stream of innocent-looking traffic. They also devised technology to protect the identities of Haystack's users. All this made it possible for people on the ground in Iran to reach blocked sites safely and securely, to organise inside the country and communicate with the world.

Haystack immediately turned Heap himself into a target: the Iranian government blocked his blog, and he received death threats via Twitter and even over the phone. At times he required 24-hour police protection.

Haystack, funded by voluntary donations, landed him an invitation to the US state department, and audiences with political parties in the UK including the Labour party. As much as we've tried to innovate with technology, he said, during a recent trip to London, I think the real innovators of the year are the people with their phones, the people on the streets, the people in Iran and the other people around the world who are standing up for the human rights that they deserve. We can give them the tools, but without the people, the tools are useless.

Heap continues to work with Haystack, and has a list of countries, from Australia to Afghanistan, that he will be tackling next.

From haystacknetwork.com

Haystack is a new program designed to provide unfiltered internet access to the people of Iran. The software package is compatible with Windows, Mac and Unix systems, and specifically targets the Iranian government's web filtering mechanisms.

Haystack is not an ordinary proxy system. It employs a sophisticated mathematical formula to hide users' real Internet traffic inside a continuous stream of innocuous-looking requests. In addition to providing anonymity, Haystack uses strong cryptography, ensuring that even if users' traffic is detected, it cannot be read. Trying to find and decipher our users' traffic amidst all the other traffic on the web really is like trying to find a needle in the proverbial Haystack.

Update: Oops, somebody may have found the needle

16th September 2010. Based on article from  washingtonpost.com

Haystack, a company that has created software designed to circumvent Iranian government censors, has stopped testing its program amid criticism of faulty security.

Haystack founder Austin Heap said in an interview Monday that concerns about how his much-touted software program works and whether it is secure are valid.

For the time being, we are going to stop human testing and rely instead on machine testing, Heap said.

He said in a blog Monday that the software is being reviewed by a third party and testing will resume if it passes muster.

The move comes after Foreign Policy (a division of The Washington Post Co.) technology writer Evgeny Morozov and engineers said that lax security in the Haystack program could hurt users in Iran by exposing them to government authorities.

 

31st March   

Rubbish and Trash...

Vybz Kartel and Mavado banned from performing in Barbados
Link Here

Pon Di Gaza 2 0 Explicit The Barbados Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones, has publicly thrown his support behind the decision to ban controversial Jamaican artistes Vybz Kartel and Mavado from performing in Barbados.

He noted that children needed positive influences in their lives that could be celebrated and not exposure to negatives cultures.

I am glad for that decision. We will only allow persons to come to Barbados whose work we can celebrate.

Jones added that similar censorship needed to be placed on calypsonians who wrote rubbish and trash during the Crop Over season: I have no problem with music, but we need musicians to write good lyrics. Society demands an expression of beautiful talent that reinforces our values .

 

30th March   

Digitally Challenged...

New Zealand reviews its censorship laws
Link Here

nz ministry of justice logo The first steps are being taken towards a possible overhaul of New Zealand's censorship legislation.

Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs officials have been meeting key stakeholders and industry and government body officials during the past fortnight to gather submissions for a tightly targeted review of the current laws. However, that scope may widen, given that the present act has been described as unwieldy and expensive and badly out of step with technology.

The Film, Video and Publications Classification Act 1993 evolved from the Video Recordings Act 1987, which was passed as an urgent response to the video format that emerged in the early to mid-1980s, but was outside the reach of the existing film censorship law, the Films Act 1983.

One person keen to see reform is Wellington's Aro Video owner, Andrew Armitage. Last year, he launched an online campaign , seeking to end what his store and others like Christchurch's Alice in Videoland saw as economic censorship and laws that unfairly disadvantaged the medium of DVD.

We are grossly over-regulated, while the competitive streams are vastly under-regulated. It's an uneven playing field at the moment, and it means many films and television programmes are not available on DVD because the distributor cannot justify the classification costs. Getting some DVDs past the censor can cost as much as $1100 a disc.

New Zealand's chief censor, Bill Hastings, says he is sympathetic to their plight: It is kind of a perfect storm - new ways of downloading entertainment content and the recession. I can understand people feeling a lot of pain because some people are getting a free ride, while they feel they are paying too much. We want as many video stores to remain as possible and DVDs to be available for as low a compliance cost as possible . Our fees haven't changed for 13 years. I don't know what other government agency can claim that.

Hastings, who has also been involved in the tightly targeted review of the legislation, believes that digital technology is the biggest challenge facing censorship in New Zealand. At the moment, we have a lot of different agencies - the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA), the Ministry of Culture and Heritage, my office and the Film Video Labelling Body, all doing their own thing.

Hastings says he has three ideas that could fix things pretty well .

  • The first is to include digital content in the definition of film.
  • Second, we need to incorporate free into the definition of supply, so that everything can be consistently labelled. Right now, the legislation is triggered only when something is offered for trade, exchange or hire.
  • Third, we need the ability to print digital labels. This should substantially reduce industry compliance costs, increase ease of enforcement and provide more information to the consumer.

I want a repeal of the section of my act which exempts video games, unless they are restricted. That is a crazy advantage that one segment of the industry enjoys. Surveys show consumers are confused when they go into a shop with weird foreign labels all over the place. We want consistency and we don't believe the compliance costs will be huge.

Hastings has the same response for those who want to raise the threshold for trans-Tasman cross- rating of films and DVDs. Currently, if a film gets an M rating in Australia, it automatically gets an M rating in New Zealand, but complaints have been aired. Happy Feet, an animated film about penguins for example, was initially given Australia's G rating. But then our phones rang red with complaints from parents about how their toddler begged them to leave the cinema because of the leopard seal (that attacked the cute penguins), so in the end we raised it to PG.

As for the flood of 'objectionable' material available online, Hastings would prefer to do something rather than nothing: You can't have every country in the world subject to overseas servers sending them things without them doing something about it.

Hastings says ministry officials have high hopes of having censorship reforms in place by next year, but he is sceptical. There's no way that will happen. It is too complicated.

 

30th March   

Updated: Progress Report...

Tanya Byron to report on progress of Byron Report recommendations
Link Here

Tanya Byron TV's Dr Tanya Byron is to meet with Gordon Brown at the end of the month to discuss progress

Two years on from the now infamous Byron Report on video games age ratings, TV presenter Dr Tanya Byron is to return to her work and review the progress that has been made since her set of proposals in 2008.

Byron is currently meeting UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) officials and industry stakeholders to assess progress, and will report to the Prime Minister at the end of March.

Update: Less talk … more action

30th March 2010. Based on article from  thescotsman.scotsman.com

Action to protect children from pornography and other online 'threats' must be accelerated to keep up with advances in technology, a Government adviser has warned. Tanya Byron called for less talk … more action on issues such as parental controls on mobile phones, and warned youngsters could now access adult sites with extraordinary ease .

The TV child psychologist said the creation of Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) and a national safety strategy had made the UK a world leader in tackling the issue. But said it must speed up to stay ahead .

In the two years since I published my first review, a lot has changed – we have a huge number of under-aged children on social networking sites; we know that there are location-based devices; we know that there is an extraordinary ease of access to pornography for children and young people.

Speeding up, we need to see a code of practice for companies and providers, we need to really think about parental controls for mobile phones that can access the internet.

Less talk and a little more action, a little more delivery would be a good thing.

She also criticised a lack of sufficient consultation with young people and parents and urged the Government to push through new rules on video game classification before the election.

 

30th March   

Bite the Bullet...

New uncut Arrow release of The Stendhal Syndrome
Link Here

The Stendhal Syndrome DVD The Stendhal Syndrome is a 1996 Italian thriller by Dario Argento

The 2010 Arrow DVD is said to be the full uncut Original Italian Version but no mention of a longer version on the BBFC database.

See article from cultmovieforums.com

Note that some DVDs were released without the English subtitles for the Italian soundtrack. (There is an English dub though). Arrow will replace (with bonus) bare disks, returned to

Arrow Video Returns
Orchard Villa
Porters Park Drive
Shenley
Herts
WD7 9DS

The 2004 Arrow DVD release is the uncut English Version marketed outside of Italy but is missing 2 minutes of uncontentious scenes present in the Italian version.

From version details on IMDb :

  • Missing scene where Anna calls the husband of one of Alfredo's victims
  • Missing scene where Anna meets Marie's mother (Veronica Lazar).

The re-released 1999 Marquee DVD is the pre-cut 1996 Guild video version. Although an uncut version was accidentally issued for a while.

Pre-cut by distributors Guild Pathe in 1996 by 11 cuts totalling 2m:47s:

  1. In the rape of Anna (Asia Argento) by Alfredo (Thomas Kretschmann) 12s are removed that show Alfredo rolling a razor blade around in his mouth and then removing it. A couple of response shots from Anna are also effected.
  2. 14s have been removed from the subsequent rape of another woman whilst Anna is still watching. A shot of Alfredo holding a gun next to the victims face. The infamous slow motion close up of a bullet being fired through the victims mouth and face has been removed along with the view though the newly made hole. This cut is rather ineptly done as Anna screams and then gets covered in blood without any obvious reason.
  3. An entire scene lasting 100s has been eliminated showing Anna returning home to a rather cold and unfriendly reception from her family. Scene setting only.
  4. Alfredo moves on to another rape of a woman in a dress shop.10s of Alfredo hitting the woman in the face have been cut along with another 6s of a slow motion bullet going off by the woman's head. The bullet reflects an image of Alfredo as it passes him by.
  5. Anna gets raped again in Alfredo's hideout but we miss 11s of the action, Some screaming by Anna, s hot of Alfredo from Anna's point of view and Anna being hit in the face.
  6. In this version, Anna suffers 10s less of a razor blade being drawn down her cheek and she loses a view of Alfredo.
  7. Eventually Anna gets the upper hand and she gets to give Alfredo a beating with her gun. She hits him 6 times in the original but only 4 times in this version.

Review from US Amazon : Rewarding film experience

This movie is definitely one of Argento's best. As usual the movie features Argento's masterful camerawork and artistic set design.

The movie also features enough scares to satisfy any horror fan. Where this movie truly shines, however, is in it's psychological aspects. It is unbearable at times to watch the tortures which Argento puts his daughter Asia through.

After an intense first half, the movie shifts it's tone radically. Unbelievably it becomes more disturbing.

If not for a few cheesy cgi effects this would be a perfect movie. Still, if you can sit through it and keep your eyes on the screen, it would be hard to find a more rewarding film experience.

 

30th March   

Update: Culture of Disobedience...

Indonesia's repressive anti-porn law to be ignored in Bali and Papua
Link Here

Indonesia flag Authorities in two Indonesian provinces said that they will not comply with a controversial anti-pornography law they say would stifle traditional Balinese and Papuan culture.

Komarudin Watubun, deputy house speaker for the Papua provincial council, said it would be impractical to impose the law in Papua: The people here in Papua have never bothered with the law. It's like other laws in Indonesia where many people just realize that it cannot be enforced so why should we bother with it.

Meanwhile, Bali's governor Made Mangku Pastika said he has long objected to the anti-pornography law since it goes against Balinese society: We reject porn crimes, but this law also does not suit the sociological and psychological aspect of Balinese society .

Law professor Adrianus Meliala, from the University of Indonesia, said the law's provisions are unlikely to be applied evenly across the country: Law enforcers are reluctant to perform legal actions which are not popular and will cause a controversy, so they will avoid charging people .

 

29th March   

Update: US Concerns about Australian Censorship...

How can US criticise Chinese internet censorship when Australia is just as bad
Link Here

Australian Chinese flag The Obama administration has questioned the Rudd government's plan to introduce an internet filter, saying it runs contrary to the US's foreign policy of encouraging an open internet to spread economic growth and global security.

Officials from the State Department have raised the issue with Australian counterparts as the US mounts a diplomatic assault on internet censorship by governments worldwide.

The news is a blow to Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, who is defending the plan for internet companies to mandatorily block swathes of websites.

That the US government joins a widening coalition of agencies with concerns about the plan is sure to turn up the political heat on Senator Conroy.

Responding to questions about the filter, commentary website The Punch reports today that US State Department spokesman Noel Clay has raised concerns on the filter plan: The US and Australia are close partners on issues related to cyber matters generally, including national security and economic issues . We do not discuss the details of specific diplomatic exchanges, but can say that in the context of that ongoing relationship, we have raised our concerns on this matter with Australian officials.

 

29th March   

Updated: Inappropriate Images...

New Thai movie winds up Buddhist campaigners
Link Here

nak prok The Association of Buddhist Relations have said that the film Nark Prok ( Naga Hood ) gave Buddhist monks a bad image and vilified the religion as a whole.

The association's chairman Adisak Wannasin said he would lodge a petition with the Thai Culture Ministry asking it to review its decision to allow the film to be screened.

Adisak said the film included inappropriate images like showing three men dressed as monks touching women - an act that is forbidden under the discipline of monkhood. According to the screenplay, the three saffron-clad men are bandits planning to rob a temple.

Somkiat Sorralump, a member of the House committee on religions, arts and culture, said his panel would take drastic action if the film ended up getting screened. He said the panel believed the movie was meant to make Buddhism look bad. The producers want to destroy Buddhism, he added.

Update: Temple thriller

29th March 2010. Based on article from  bangkokpost.com

Romping, gun-slinging monks (spurious monks, it turns out) have roused 'anxiety' among Thai religious groups - and even a senator. What has happened since last week's release of the contentious film Nak Prok ( In the Shadow of the Naga ) is not so much a debate as grumbles and subterfuges.

Somchai Khemklad and Ray McDonald are crooks disguised as monks in a controversial movie which critics say harms the image of Buddhism.

Opponents are unhappy that the integrity of Buddhism is compromised by the film's posters, which show muscular men in precariously-clad saffron robes, baring fangs and swinging guns.

Members of a religious group marched to the office of Sahamongkol Film, who produced the film, demanding what I'm not sure, since Nak Prok has got the permission to play, with an 18-plus rating and warning captions.

The studio agreed to take off the posters by the end of this week. Meaning: after two weekends in the cineplexes, the film is likely to have generated the majority of its income and the removal of the posters will hardly matter. I don't know if the protestors were trying to get the film banned, which is impossible, since it had already passed the censors.

Nak Prok tells the story of two bandits who disguise themselves as monks and hole up in a forest temple. If nothing else, the film defines a new sub-genre: temple thriller.

The film was canned for three years for fear of a ban but is now making decent money.

 

29th March   

Updated: Old Ways Return to Russia...

Russia bans Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf
Link Here

Mein Kampf Adolf Hitler Russian prosecutors have banned the 1925 semi-autobiographical book, saying its outline of racial supremacy encouraged extremist and violent behaviour.

The ban was initiated after a regional office of the prosecutor sought new ways to combat extremism and found the book was being distributed in the Ufa region.

Hitler dictated the book to his aide Rudolf Hess while in prison in Bavaria after the failed Munich Beer Hall putsch of 1923. It sets out his doctrine of German racial supremacy and ambitions to annex huge areas of the Soviet Union.

Mein Kampf has been banned in Germany since the Second World War.

 

29th March   

Moral Poverty...

Philippines censors ban 2 short films
Link Here

ayos ka video Two films directed by internationally acclaimed Filipino directors Jeffrey Jeturian and Brillante Mendoza for ABS-CBN's short film project, AmBisyon, were banned (rated X) by the Philippines Movie & Television Review & Classification Board (MTRCB).

Jeturian's film Ganito tayo ngayon, Paano na tayo bukas? focused on the state of the economy. His camera follows a newspaper from the time it is delivered to a homeowner to when it is used to wipe feces from a foot of a cart-pushing vendor.

Jeturian uses a newspaper printed with the same controversial advertisement that came out in early January trumpeting the Arroyo administration's economic successes. The film ends with President Arroyo's photo on the crumpled newspaper.

The MTRCB said the film was banned for undermining the faith and confidence of the people in government.

Mendoza's film, Ayos Ka, is a music video whose hopeful soundtrack is a stark contrast against images of poverty, prostitution, drugs and murder.

The MTRCB claimed Mendoza's film is injurious to the prestige of the Republic of the Philippines and its people.

ANC, ABS-CBN's 24-hour news channel, produced the AmBisyon 2010 film series in the name of public interest. It sought to offer a nation on the verge of a critical election the chance to focus on issues, not personalities. In a statement, ANC said it will appeal the ruling.

Update: Ayos Ka unbanned

1st April 2010. See  article from  abs-cbnnews.com

The MTRCB have relented on their ban of Ayos Ka and instead issued an age restricted R rating

 

29th March   

Update: The Sour Taste of Censorship...

Apple's farcial censorship splutters on
Link Here

Apple logo After nearly two years of criticism of its censorship of adult content in the iPhone App Store, Apple appears to be gearing up to sell explicit content for both the iPad and the iPhone and iPod touch.

Links to new explicit software categories in iTunes indicate that Apple plans to finally deliver adult content for both the iPad and for existing iPhone OS devices, segregated from other content with parental controls in the same way that iTunes has long sold music with explicit lyrics.

The system uses the same parental controls preferences (below) that can restrict movies to the MPAA-designated G, PG, PG-13, and R ratings, or TV shows to the broadcaster-initiated TV-Y, TV-Y7, TV-G, TV-PG, TV-14 and TV-MA classifications.

Currently, Apple has its own rating system for App Store software titles, which sets thresholds at 4+, 9+, 12+, and 17+. However, the company has prohibited the sale of software that includes pornography or other adult subject matter, at times removing titles it deemed obscene.

This policy has attracted widespread criticism due to the fact that adult content is freely available over the web in the iPhone's Mobile Safari browser. Any App Store titles that incorporate an embedded web browser, including Facebook, are listed as 17+ for this reason, and can potentially display content that is more explicit than Apple allows in native App Store titles.

 

29th March   

Offsite: Bikini Atoll Banned...

How Internet censorship harms schools
Link Here

Net Nanny Student Teacher PC Last week, I wrote about how Web filtering software, designed to protect children from porn and other harmful content on the Internet, is being used in an excessively heavy-handed fashion, and frequently blocks students from accessing legitimate educational materials. ( Internet filtering as a form of soft censorship. )

Readers took me to task -- I think correctly -- for failing to provide examples. So I went back to the source of my information in that blog, Professor Craig Cunningham, of National-Louis University, to ask for specifics.

...Read full article

 

28th March   

BBC Filth...

Sunday Express dances to the Vivienne Pattison Tune
Link Here

express logo An Ofcom investigation has suppoedly revealed 'millions' of children are bypassing strict guidelines and parental controls and watching shows meant for adults by using popular TV internet services such as BBC iPlayer.

Most TV catch-up websites, like iPlayer, ITV Player, and Channel 4's 4oD, operate a voluntary system which makes parents responsible for setting up a PIN or password to block access by children if they wish. Channel Five's web player Demand Five requires a log in and email address to access content which cannot be broadcast on TV until after 9pm when young children are in bed.

But TV regulator, Ofcom, found that 3% of children from five to seven have internet in their own bedrooms, which they can use to watch the TV-on-demand websites. It also discovered that only 12% of parents with children aged five to 15 had bothered to set up a PIN or password, and almost 40% of parents had no idea the safeguards even existed.

There are 19 million households with an internet connection in Britain, so this means that millions of children are downloading post-watershed adult material every day, sometimes without their parents' knowledge. [I think the Sunday Express really need to explain their nonsense reasoning here]

The Sunday Express has been shown exclusively a document on catch-up websites from the TV watchdog, Mediawatch. It details how easy it is for young children to access post-watershed shows featuring sex and violence and gives a comprehensive list of programmes they could access without a PIN or password. These include documentaries on sex and violence, dramas like Being Human, Misfits and Wallander and comedy such as Live At The Apollo .

I'm very disturbed by what I was able to access, said Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch. I don't want these shows banned, just access to them restricted. It makes a mockery of the watershed.

Pattison has written to the Government, broadcasters and Ofcom urging that the Digital Economy Bill is amended to force catch-up sites to install compulsory PIN or password access.

A Culture Department spokesman said: Parental controls do already exist for video on demand services. Parents should be aware of what their children watch online and use these controls.

Pattison responded: Banning post-watershed material on catch-up players is a blunt instrument, but that may be the only way to do it.

Labour MP Barry Sheerman, Chairman of the Children, Schools and Families Select Committee, said: Our broadcasters who put this sort of filth online should be forced to ensure children are unable to access it.

 

28th March   

Polluted Minds...

Vietnamese officials whinge at art in French cultural centre
Link Here

Vietnam flag Vietnamese officials 'offended' by a nude statue have asked a French cultural centre in Hanoi to remove the artwork.

The L'Espace centre told sculptor-painter Phuong Vu Manh that six officials, including police and Ministry of Culture representatives, visited the gallery, and were all angered by his work, the artist said.

The sculpture, called A Statue of Phuong Vu Manh depicts him painted green, labelled with diseases and on a drip, to depict, he says, how pollution affects people in modern society.

The statue had been on display for about 10 days. He suspected that the removal of a floral display obscuring the statue's private organs may have triggered officials' disapproval.

 

28th March   

Last Critical Voice...

TV station owner arrested for comments disrespectful to President Chavez
Link Here

Columbia flag The owner of Venezuela's only television channel that remains critical of President Hugo Chavez has been arrested. Attorney General Luisa Ortega said a warrant was issued for the arrest of Guillermo Zuloaga, owner of the TV channel Globovision, for remarks that were deemed offensive to the president.

Zuloaga said that military intelligence agents detained him at an airport.

Ortega said pro-Chavez MPs requested the probe, arguing that Zuloaga should be prosecuted for offensive and disrespectful comments during a meeting of the Inter American Press Association.

 

28th March   

Ethically Challenged...

Ofcom to investigate the Islam Channel
Link Here

islam channel logo Britain's leading Muslim TV channel was last night accused of encouraging marital rape and promoting hatred and intolerance.

TV censor Ofcom launched an investigation after being handed a major report by counter-terrorism think tank Quilliam on the London-based Islam Channel, which has a worldwide audience of two million.

The report claims the Islam Channel's presenters and guests regularly make derogatory statements about women and their role in society .

In one programme, a guest tells viewers that Muslim women cannot refuse their husbands' sexual advances. He says: The idea that a woman cannot refuse her husband's relations – this is not strange to a Muslim because it is part of maintaining that strong marriage. He said the concept of a woman's individual choice was something which is part of the Western culture, but not Islam .

A presenter said the main sources of problems facing modern society were caused by women. Viewers were told the majority of the people in hell will be women because they are the cause of calamities, hardship and suffering .

Last night an Ofcom spokesman said: This report raises some serious allegations. We will investigate where our rules may have been broken.

 

27th March   

Frozen Out...

Finnish government reports proposes the axing of the state film censor
Link Here

VET logo A Finnish education ministry working group has proposed in a report on that the Board of Film Classification should be terminated in its current form.

The working group sees government-approved private-sector agents setting ratings in the future.

The working group also proposed the creation of a new agency to spread awareness about audiovisual content.

 

27th March   

Update: Defamation Nonsense...

Defamation of religion resolution renewed at UN with diminished majority
Link Here

UN logo The non-binding defamation of religion resolution that has been an annual fixture at the United Nations Human Rights Council was has been passed again – but only narrowly.

Voting in favour were 20 states, including China, Cuba and Saudi Arabia. 17 — mostly Western nations — opposed, including the United States and the Netherlands. 8 states abstained. (Last year the vote was 23 in favour, 11 opposed and 13 abstentions).

The resolution was similar to one passed last year, but also included a section slamming the recent Swiss referendum vote to ban the construction of minarets in the country.

Pakistan introduced the resolution, accusing Western countries of targeting Muslims and using pressure instead of reason to influence votes. The only religion specifically mentioned as being discriminated against was Islam. Opponents noted tight restrictions on Christians, Jews and others in states such as Saudi Arabia and Libya, which were not mentioned in the adopted text.

The United States opposed the resolution, which it said failed to galvanize international support for real solutions to improve the lives of people on the ground. It called the resolution ineffective and an instrument of division.

 

27th March   

Who Pays the Censor?...

Ofcom suggests a fee of £2500 on each VOD provider
Link Here

ATVOD logo UK video-on-demand providers must pay a combined £375,000 to two bodies that will regulate their industry.

The Association for Television On Demand (ATVOD) was last week confirmed by Ofcom to co-regulate, along with it, the VOD sector.

Ofcom says 150 VOD services must pay the fees - but, despite reviewing the sector last year, it has not published a list identifying the companies affected.

Indeed, singling out those services which fall under the joint Ofcom-ATVOD auspice is tricky. The EC directive applies to TV-like services, which it says must not contain any incitement to hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality ; must provide appropriate protection for minors against harmful material and sponsored programmes and services must comply with applicable sponsorship requirements .

But what TV-like means is open to interpretation, as media continue to converge and innovate. After commissioning research in to the topic, Ofcom says the scope should extent to services that provide access to programmes that compete for the same audience as television broadcasts, and therefore, are comparable to the form and content of programmes included in broadcast television services . Only services that have editorial responsibility over their content are covered.

Specifically, Ofcom says catch-up TV websites and set-top box services, TV archives and movie VOD services [doesn't sound very TV-Like to me!] fall under regulatory scope.

Ofcom has opened a consultation with three options for raising the money:

  • Option A: Charging based on services' revenue, so as not to disadvantage smaller providers.
  • Option B: A mixture of revenue-based fee and a flat £1,000 fee.
  • Option C: A flat £2,500 fee. [Ofcom preferred option]

 

27th March   

Talk about Propaganda...

BBFC chat about Chatroom cuts
Link Here

chatroom Chatroom is a 2010 UK drama by Hideo Nakata

The BBFC cut the 2010 cinema release for a 15.

This film was originally sent to the BBFC at the script stage. Based on a reading of the script the BBFC informed the company that the film was generally likely to fall within the desired 15 classification. However the company were advised that some scenes had the potential to take the film to 18 , or be otherwise problematic, dependent on how they were shot. In particular the BBFC advised that scenes featuring child actors should not be filmed in such a way as to sexualise the performers. It was also advised that scenes featuring suicides should be kept discreet and that novel detail which could be copied should be avoided. In a couple of cases the company were advised that specific lines of sexual dialogue should be removed or changed for the 15 classification.

A version of the film was subsequently submitted to the BBFC prior to formal submission and most recommendations from the original script had been addressed.

On formal submission of the finished version the changes remained evident and the film was classified 15 .

The BBFC explained their 15 rating:

Chatroom is a drama about a group of teenagers who meet on an online forum. The film was passed 15 for a suicide theme and strong sex references.

The film deals with the dangers of online interaction, especially relating to vulnerable individuals. It deals with subjects such as bullying and sexual predators targeting the young, as well as websites and forums that showcase and promote suicide. There are scenes that feature a girl jumping out of a window, a young boy taking a drug overdose after he has been the victim of online bullying and another teenager hanging himself. However, none of these sequences linger on the fate of the victims or offer novel instructional detail. Furthermore, the film depicts the deaths as shocking and offers a critique of the malign influences that caused them. There is also a scene in which one of the leading characters deliberately cuts himself in the arm but this is contextualised by the audience knowing that he has a history of self-harming, which points to his mental state and explains his actions in the film's narrative. Again, no undue detail is presented and this, as well as the suicide scenes, meet the requirements of the BBFC Guidelines at 15 which state that dangerous behaviour (for example, hanging, suicide and self-harming) should not dwell on detail which could be copied . The Guidelines at 15 also state that No theme is prohibited provided the treatment is appropriate for 15 year olds . In the case of Chatroom , the appropriate treatment is provided by the warning elements of the film and by the highlighting of the dangers of an online world.

The strong sex references in the work occur in the context of online sex chat and paedophiles posing as children or teenagers to lure the unwary. However, these references also have contextual justification in terms of illustrating the potential dangers of the online world. At 15 , the BBFC's Guidelines state that There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour, but the strongest references are unlikely to be acceptable unless justified by context .

The film also contains infrequent strong language.

 

27th March   

Pre-teen Networking...

Ofcom reports that Social Networking sites are popular with the under 13s
Link Here

Facebook logo A quarter of children aged 8-12 who use the internet at home say they have a profile on Facebook, Bebo or MySpace, new Ofcom research revealed. These sites have a minimum user age of 13.

But 83% of these children have their profile set so that it can only be seen by friends, and 4% have a profile that can't be seen.

Nine in ten parents of these children who are aware that their child visits social networking sites (93%) also say that they check what their child is doing on these types of sites. However one in six parents of this group are not aware that their child visits social networking sites.

Ofcom's annual Children's Media Literacy Audit provides an overview of media literacy among children and young people and their parents and carers.

The report also includes internet audience data which showed that amongst 5-7 year old home internet users, just over a third (37%) visited Facebook in October 2009 (but did not necessarily have a profile).

 

27th March   

Update: Supreme Hate...

Men jailed for Holohoax website to appeal to the Supreme Court
Link Here

Uk Supreme Court The men who became the first to be convicted of inciting racial hatred online are to petition the Supreme Court for leave to appeal against the convictions.

The move by Stephen Whittle, along with Simon Sheppard follows the decision of the Court of Appeal Criminal Division to certify three points of law in the case - although it denied permission to appeal, meaning the pair have to petition the Supreme Court directly.

Lawyers for the two men confirmed that they would be filing petitions with the Supreme Court. The case will raise important issues about whether material placed on the internet counts as written material, and whether the courts have jurisdiction in cases involving material posted online from abroad.

Sheppard was convicted of 16 offences and Whittle of 5. In January the Court of Appeal rejected their appeals against conviction, but reduced Sheppard's sentence of four years and 10 months by a year and Stephen Whittle's term of two years and four months by six months.

The Court has now certified three issues in the case as a point of law of general public importance. These cover whether a document stored in a computer memory and/or displayed on a screen is written material within the meaning of Section 29 of the Public Order Act 1986, the issue of the correct test of jurisdiction for criminal cases involving or arising from the use of the internet, and whether, for the purposes of Section 19 of the Public Order Act 1986, making material generally accessible or available to placing or offering it to the public via the internet counts as publication to the public or a section of the public.

 

27th March   

Donny Osmond Goes GaGa...

Joining the hype for Lady GaGa's Telephone
Link Here

Telephone Lady Gaga Using his daily radio program - The Donny Osmond Show - as a platform, Donny Osmond today jumped into the controversy surrounding the recently released Lady Gaga Telephone video featuring Beyonce. The video has been criticized by nutters for its depiction of violence and sex.

Osmond said:

I'm all for freedom of speech and against any form of censorship ...BUT... all I know is that I'm a parent and I'm upset about this.

Unlike 20 years ago, in today's modern, viral world in which content becomes instantaneously available irrespective of age, I wonder whether the music industry might need to rethink its marketing policies with regard to making an explicit music video containing profanity, sexual exploitation, nudity, and graphic violence available to anyone with Internet access. I wouldn't want my child to watch this video. Would you? What do you think? Should these two extremely gifted female role models for millions of young girls, maybe, have given a little more thought to the effect it might have on their core audience?

 

27th March   

Offsite: Fuddy Duddy Janet Street-Porter...

I believe Facebook is a toxic addiction
Link Here

Facebook logo Janet Street-Porter is no fuddy-duddy. But here, she reveals her growing alarm over young Britons' obsession with social networking websites...

A year ago, I wrote Life's definitely too short to log on to Facebook . A series of tragic deaths has given that throwaway phrase a chilling new meaning.

Social networking isn't just - as I complained last year - a pointless waste of time, because for a worrying number of young people it is proving to be harmful, if not deadly.

...Read full article

 

26th March   

Updated: Killer Bitch at the BBFC...

Sounds interesting
Link Here

killer bitch Our upcoming Killer Bitch film had to change its title to Killer Babe to satisfy a major UK retailer who objected to the word Bitch or B***h or B**** . Apparently bitch was considered offensively sexist but babe was/is not. That retailer has now seen what is in the actual movie itself and has backed out of stocking it.

So we are reverting to the original title Killer Bitch , known and loved by many including, I can only presume, Joan Collins.

Meanwhile, indecision still reigns in the labyrinthine corridors of the BBFC (the British Film Censors). They had their normal screening of the movie by a single Examiner... then an uncommon second screening for other Examiners... then a third screening for the BBFC's Director... and they still couldn't reach a decision... So now there will be a fourth screening for the BBFC Chairman this week and, allegedly they will then decide on Friday or Monday. Frankly, if they are going to have this many screenings to this many people, I think the least they could do is buy a copy.

But, as a result of all this delay, the release of the DVD has been put back to Bank Holiday Monday 3rd May, coincidentally 24 hours after the British Erotic Awards Film Day on 2nd May.

Update: News of the World Recommends Killer Bitch

21st March 2010. Based on article from newsoftheworld.co.uk

notw logo Ultra-violent rape scenes starring Jordan's husband Alex Reid are to be cut from his new movie. Reid's gangster gore-fest Killer Bitch is currently with the BBFC, who will demand some of the sickest scenes are cut if the movie is to get even an 18 certificate.

Among the 'sickening' scenes, cage-fighter Alex was seen stripping co-star Yvette Rowland down to her red and black lingerie before straddling her. A fully naked Reid then grabs Yvette in a stranglehold and throttles her, swearing and grunting in front of the cameras.

The 'sick' rape scene prompted Jordan - real name Katie Price - to demand Alex back out of the film and sparked controversy after she revealed she was the victim of rape in response to the criticism.

A movie insider said: They are looking at making cuts to the scenes Alex is involved in, which many on the film find unfair as the storyline is very hard hitting and realistic. It was an aggressive rape scene but the woman ends up supposedly enjoying it. Alex didn't have any qualms about being naked in front of everyone. It was all very aggressive and he was really throwing himself into the role, grunting furiously. Aside from that there are some other violent scenes. Reid also gets a thumping from other real life hardmen. Some of Alex's scenes will make the final cut and we're all hoping some of the rape scene makes it. But it's the only scene that the BBFC are scrutinising.

Our source added: Many people who worked on the film fear it is too violent for release. Alex's fight scenes are all in the film, and not subject to cutting. They are very brutal scenes, especially a fight with Alex and 'Stormin' Norman Buckland, the new Guv'nor of unlicensed British boxing and former bare-knuckle champion. It was a real heavy duty fight, regardless of the camera being present.

Update: Killer Bitch passed 18 uncut

23rd March 2010. Based on article from killerbitch-themovie.blogspot.com
See also 18 uncut decision for Killer Babe from bbfc.co.uk

BBFC logo The BBFC has now passed Killer Bitch uncut, although only just. At one point we were told it was more likely than not that there would be cuts demanded. The movie was passed after a normal screening by a BBFC Examiner; an abnormal second screening by more than one Examiner; a special screening for the BBFC Director; a special screening for the BBFC Chairman; and a letter from the movie's director defending what is shown in Killer Bitch .

There were two scenes that were said to be of special concern. One was the much-commented-on Alex Reid sex scene which has been widely referred to in the press (but never by us) as a rape scene. The other cause for BBFC concern was, we were told, a scene involving porn megastar Ben Dover.

Update: Paper Work's a Bitch

26th March 2010. Based on article from thescotsman.scotsman.com

BBFC logo The distributors hit a setback after a mistake over the certificate for Killer Bitch. It was this week given an uncut 18 rating by the BBFC after being submitted under the different name Killer Babe .

Film-makers have been told it must be resubmitted before release.

Update: Babe Becomes a Bitch

17th April 2010. Based on article from  bbfc.co.uk

BBFC logo The film was resubmitted and passed 18 uncut again but this time with the title Killer Bitch

 

26th March   

Updated: The Debating Game...

Alan Titchmarsh discusses violent video games
Link Here

alan titchmarsh games video Last Friday's Alan Titchmarsh Show had a brief discussion about violent video games which featured some chap who's editor of VideoGames.com, also present were actress Julie Peasgood and Kelvin Mackenzie, former editor of The Sun.

The chap seemed to be fighting his corner quite well until Julie Peasgood opened her mouth saying that many of these games promoted, violence, racism and sexism , which got a huge round of applause from the audience. This statement was allowed to go unchallenged, which was a shame as I would have liked to have heard what games she'd played that promoted these things.

But anyway, she then went on to say that A recent study in the US found a direct link between children's behaviour and the violent video games they play .

The chap countered that argument by saying that the UK Governments own research by Tanya Byron found no evidence that was true, which resulted in a few jeers from the audience. Which I found quite disturbing considering the audience would accept an emotive unsubstantiated claim, whilst pouring scorn on a stated fact.

Kelvin Mackenzie then chimed in about James Bulger's killers being corrupted by violent media, which really made me seethe considering that story was a press fabrication by the very paper he used to work for.

Again, the guy who worked for the games site made some good points, but he obviously wasn't a seasoned debater. He seemed to be playing defence most of the time, when he would have been better going on the attack and forcing the other 2 to try and substantiate their claims, which would have crumbled under the slightest scrutiny.

Comment: Peasgood spotted acting in violent video game

23rd March 2010. From Dan

Take 2 Martian Gothic Unification I just watched the anti-video game bollox on Alan Titchmarsh.

Why didn't they just burn the guy from the video games website and have done with it?

Julie Peasgood thinks violent for entertainment is wrong? But apparently she lent her voice to a horror game:

See article from computerandvideogames.com :

Hordes have you have been left fuming by the claims of actress-cum-'sexpert' Julie Peasgood on the Alan Titchmarsh Show last week - on which CVG editor Tim defended the games industry.

She's the one who said video games were addictive and promote racism , remember? Oh - and we quote - was categorically against violence for entertainment . And yet a bit of digging... and hey presto. There's the credit for Julie's appearance voicing Harroway in survival horror video game Martian Gothic: Unification .

According to Wikipedia: In Martian Gothic, the player is able to assume the roles of three characters sent from Earth to a Martian base called Vita. Upon arrival the player finds that all the residents are apparently dead and must gradually uncover the secrets and nature the last undertaking by Vita 1's crew; the discovery of ancient Martian "Pandora's Box" which, when opened, started a chain of chaotic events that led to the base's downfall, and death of all almost its inhabitants.

However, during the player's progress of uncovering the truth, searching for any possible survivors, and solving Vita 1's many mounting problems, the player finds that the dead crew have become re-animated like zombies who wish to feast upon the team of three's flesh.

Comment: Peasgood spotted acting in violent film

23rd March 2010. From Andy

House Long Shadows MGM On the Alan Titchmarsh show, while discussing violent video games, Julie Peasgood comments: I am categorically against violence for entertainment, it is just wrong .

Am interesting comment coming from an actress who starred in the cannon produced horror film House of the Long Shadows , who's character if I'm not mistaken dies a violent death when her face is eaten away with acid.

Interesting how somebody who can have such strict beliefs, abandons them when there is a pay cheque involved!!!

Offsite: Audience whipped up into a censorial frenzy

Thanks to article from mediasnoops.wordpress.com
26th March 2010. Based on article from gamesetwatch.com by Lewis Denby

tim wingham Hearing the floor manager tell the octagenarian crowd to 'really let your feelings be known if he says something you don't agree with' seconds before filming was pretty disconcerting. I hope you noted the targeted 'he' in that sentence. I certainly did.

Tim Ingham admits he didn't expect anything less, though. As you might be aware, the CVG game website editor recently appeared on UK television's The Alan Titchmarsh Show, as part of a feature on the dangers of violent gaming to children.

...Read the full article

Petition: Petition for a public apology from The Alan Titchmarsh Show

26th March 2010. Sign the petition at petitionspot.com

We, the undersigned, call on The Alan Titchmarsh Show to issue a public apology for their unfair and biased representation of the computer gaming industry on 18/3/10. We also call on Julie Peasgood to issue a public apology for hypocritically criticising an industry to which she has contributed.

Our grievance with the programme falls into three parts:

Breach of the Ofcom code

We feel that The Alan Titchmarsh Show has breached the Ofcom broadcasting code several times during the course of this programme. Specifically:

  • Tim Ingham recounts how the audience was encouraged before recording began to specifically boo him when they disagreed with him. No such recommendation was made regarding the other guests. This is a clear violation of article 7.2 of the Ofcom code, which requires that all contributors be treated fairly and equally.
  • Ingham states that Kelvin MacKenzie's positive responses to his points were largely edited out to make him seem more sceptical. This violates articles 5.7 and 7.6 of the Ofcom code, which require that views not be misrepresented and that editing reflect the contributions made.
  • Julie Peasgood cited a piece of research but failed to name it. This violates article 7.9 which states that material facts must be presented in a fair way. By failing to identify the study, Peasgood offered no chance of rebuttal.

Perpetuation of misconceptions

We feel that very little research was undertaken by The Alan Titchmarsh Show before this discussion took place. Alan Titchmarsh did not know the names of the games and clearly did not understand that video games are classified and age-restricted in exactly the same way as films. This show perpetuates the misconception that all video games are aimed at children.

Julie Peasgood

Julie Peasgood provided voice acting for the character of Harroway for the PC and PlayStation survival horror game Martian Gothic: Unification , released in 2000. This game carries the ESRB rating Mature (17+), and contains several scenes of graphic violence. Yet Peasgood makes no mention of this during the show. Instead she makes categorical statements such as:

  • Video games are addictive, they promote hatred, racism, sexism, and they reward violence. What kind of a message is that?
  • I am categorically against violence for entertainment. It is just wrong.

To make such accusations while at the same time profiting from the industry you are criticising is a sickening display of hypocrisy.

In conclusion, we the undersigned seek a public apology from The Alan Titchmarsh Show for its breach of Ofcom guidelines and its perpetuation of misconceptions about video games, and from Julie Peasgood for her hypocritical statements and exaggerated claims.

...Sign the petition

Comment: Research research

26th March 2010. From DarkAngel on the Melon Farmers Forum

I believe the "research" Julie Peasgood reffered to was THIS study by American Psychologist Craig A Anderson of Iowa State University, which appeared in the March issue of the American Psychological Associations bulletin. The extract can be viewed here [pdf] .

However, his findings, not to mention methods of compiling data, have come in for heavy criticism from others. Not least, Christopher Ferguson and John Kilburn of the department of behavioural applied science and criminal justice at Texas A&M International University.

The Washington Post gives details here ...

Another thing, if you do some digging, it seems that Craig Anderson clearly has some sort of axe to grind against violent media. Most of his research seems to be dedicated to proving links between violent media and behaviour.

 

26th March   

Updated: Hallelujah...

Stephen Green gets wound up by Eric Idle's Not the Messiah
Link Here

Not The Messiah Poste On Thursday, 25th March, a number of cinemas in the UK will be screening Eric Idle's Not the Messiah – a musical version of The Life of Brian.

The film is being promoted by Classic FM – much to the annoyance of Britain's most comical Christian, who is demanding that CFM pulls its trailers for the movie, and ditch an accompanying competition.

Stephen Green of Christian Voice said in an email:

The film sponges off the life and sacrifice of Jesus Christ and this mock-oratorio parodies the glorious music of Handel's masterwork. It is even billed as a spoof of Handel's Messiah . It has the song from Life of Brian which 'Brian' sang while hanging from the cross, Always look on the bright side of life . Crucifixion is not funny. It even has Hail to the Shoe sung to the music of the Hallelujah Chorus . That isn't funny either.

While pretending Not the Messiah is not blasphemous or offensive, Idle is well aware of what he is doing – mocking the Gospel of Jesus Christ. According to Eric Idle: There is no controversy .. it's only people stupid enough to realise Christ is in the movie twice, and Christ isn't Christ, so there's no real controversy… It's very simple – you either get it or you don't .

But Eric Idle is an avowed atheist and a supporter and reader of both Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens. He has a song on Atheist Nexus: Fuck Christmas . This is a man with an agenda and a big anti-Christ chip on his shoulder. I think we get it. He is out to mock religion and people of faith; and it's a great pity that Classic FM has joined him, showing contempt for their Christian listeners.

Update: Classic Misunderstanding

26th March 2010. Based on article from mediawatchwatch.org.uk

Stephen Green had a good crow after the Classic FM promotion of Not the Messiah came to an end. In a press release from christianvoice.org.uk he wrote:

Leading classical music radio station, Classic FM, have dropped all their promotion of Eric Idle's Not the Messiah , in response to a deluge of complaints from Christian listeners.

It took a couple of hours this morning for Classic FM executives to realise they had made a terrible mistake in promoting it.

Faced with hundreds of distraught emails sent over the weekend, and bombarded with so many telephone calls they stopped taking them, managing director Darren Henley ditched Not the Messiah quicker than you can say Whose bright idea was that?

Listeners were not amused to find their radio station promoting a militant atheist production insulting Jesus Christ and doing violence to Handel's Hallelujah Chorus in the run-up to Easter. By 10am on Monday morning the competition was over and all reference to Not the Messiah , including images from the show, had been removed from the website..

Stephen Green, National Director of Christian Voice, said: I am also pleased that Christian Voice was able to play a small part in explaining to Mr Henley the offence caused by the station's promotion of Eric Idle's atheist rant.

We give all the praise to God for the change of heart at Classic FM and we hope and pray they will be more discerning in future.'

But it appears that Stephen Green may have been a bit hasty.

Classic FM  Director Derren Henley explains that the Not the Messiah ad campaign had run its natural course, and Christian Voice's complaining campaign had nothing to do with it stopping.

Henley wrote:

Following an email campaign, a number of incorrect views about Classic FM's involvement in this event appear to have gathered momentum in the online community and I hope that you will allow me to take this opportunity to correct them:

1. Classic FM broadcast an advertising campaign for this event which ran from last Wednesday until last weekend. The station also ran a competition to win tickets to the event on the station's website which also ended last weekend. No further advertising activity was booked to run either on-air or online after the weekend.

2. At no point did Classic FM ever intend to broadcast this event on air, nor did it ever enter into any negotiations to broadcast the event on air, so any assertion that any programme content has been withdrawn from broadcast is simply incorrect.

3. Classic FM has never been a financial supporter of this event and nor was it ever the promoter of the live event – and that relationship has in no way changed over the past week.

 

26th March   

The Good, The Brave, and the Twitterers...

Winners of the 10th annual Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards
Link Here

Index on Censorship logo The 10th annual Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards honour those who, often at great personal risk, have given voice to issues and stories from around the globe that would otherwise have passed unnoticed.

The Winners New Media Award supported by Google.vThis award recognises the use of computer or internet technology to foster debate, argument or dissent.

Twitter (USA)

Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables users to send and read messages with a 140-character limit.

Twitter was thrust to the fore of international politics during the contested 2009 Iranian elections. During the huge protests that followed, the site played a pivotal role in mobilising protesters and facilitated a direct line of communication between demonstrators, news outlets and engaged people around the world.

Maintaining its service in the face of a totalitarian regime, Twitter demonstrated how social networking can have a direct impact on the world stage.

It was used as a powerful tool in protecting free expression in the UK when solicitors Carter-Ruck, acting on behalf of Trafigura, the multi-national oil company, tried to prevent the press from publishing details of a parliamentary question about a report into the alleged dumping of toxic waste in the Ivory Coast. Within hours #trafigura and #carterruck were the site's most popular topics.

Bindmans Law and Campaigning Award. This award is given to lawyers or campaigners who have fought repression, or have struggled to change political climates and perceptions.

Charter 97 (Belarus)

Charter 97 is a campaign movement dedicated to principles of independence, freedom, democracy and respect for human rights. In Belarus its website is the main independent source of information on human rights and free expression activities in the country. The site comes under constant attack by hackers thought to be working for the country's secret service and Charter 97 are regularly forced to move offices.

Along with her team, Head of Press Natallia Radzina works to bring to light the cases of arrest, detention and harassment of critical journalists and human rights activists, despite being arrested on a regular basis.

Only because of such courageous and talented people like Natallia Radzina and the whole team of Charter 97, devoted to truth and morality in journalism, do we Belarusians and the whole world know what is happening in the last dictatorship in Europe , says Natalia Koliada of the Belarus Free Theatre.

The Guardian Journalism Award . This award recognises journalism of dogged determination and bravery

Radio La Voz (Peru)

Operating in Bagua Grande in the Utcubamba Region of Peru, Radio La Voz was founded in 2007 by respected broadcast journalist Carlos Flores Borja and his sons. The aim of the station is to broadcast cultural programmes and information about environmental protection and human rights, fight political corruption and support local communities.

Radio La Voz lost its licence in June 2009 after the government accused the station of supporting violence against security forces when deadly clashes shook the area in mid-2009.

Thirty-four people were killed as Amazonian communities protested about the opening up of huge tracts of land to foreign investment. To date no government representative has offered any evidence to support the veracity of its allegation against the radio station.

Flores Borja says that La Voz was only doing its duty as an independent media source. He claims the government took advantage of the moment to silence a voice critical of its policies . On 16 February 2010, the case against Radio La Voz was dropped.

Sage International Publishing Award. This award is given to a publisher who has given new insight into issues or events, or shown a perspective not often acknowledged, or given a platform to new voices

Yael Lerer/Andalus Publishing Press (Israel)

Founded in 2000, Andalus is a unique Israeli publishing house dedicated to the translation of Arabic literature and prose into Hebrew. The name reflects nostalgia for the period in Andalusia between the 8th and 15th centuries where Hebrew and Arab cultures coexisted.

The publisher and founder Yael Lerer hopes to reverse the decline of Hebrew-speaking Israelis reading Arab literature and promote a greater understanding of the region's Arabic cultural heritage in Israeli society. Born in Tel Aviv, Lerer's idea emerged after she learnt Arabic and began reading literature and poetry in the original, leading her to see how foreign Arab culture was to her, despite having had Arab friends and colleagues for years. Andalus publishes literature from Lebanon, Syria, Sudan and Algeria – countries it is nearly impossible for ordinary Israelis to visit – as well as Palestinian writers and poets.

Special Commendation

Heather Brooke (UK)

Without journalist Heather Brooke's tireless campaign to uncover details of MPs' expenses, we might never have discovered the details of MPs' duck houses, moats and trouser presses. Her dogged five-year freedom of information battle was later made into a film by BBC4.

In 2008, Brooke won a High Court case against the House of Commons authorities for full details of MPs' second home allowances. The court said: We have no doubt that the public interest is at stake. We are not here dealing with idle gossip, or public curiosity about what in truth are trivialities. The expenditure of public money through the payment of MPs' salaries and allowances is a matter of direct and reasonable interest to taxpayers.

Brooke is the author of The Silent State and Your Right to Know , a citizens' guide to using the Freedom of Information Act. She is a consultant and presenter on Channel 4 Dispatches documentaries and a honorary professor at City University's Department of Journalism.

 

26th March   

Update: Down the Pan...

Indonesia's reputation for tolerance in tatters after confirmation of anti-porn law by Constitutional Court
Link Here

Indonesia flag Indonesia's Constitutional Court has thrown out an appeal of a controversial anti-porn law, in a blow to some secular parties, minorities and artists who had said it threatened freedom of expression.

Already the law, which some Indonesians said is ambiguous, has been used to jail dancers in a nightclub and is seen as a threat to the country's precarious reputation for tolerance.

The court said concerns about the law's ambiguity, lack of regard for certain ethnic and religious minorities, and its potential to incite vigilantism, were exaggerated. There was one dissenting opinion from the panel of eight judges.

Although the law has been passed, its effectiveness and implementation are still questionable, said Maria Farida Indrati, the only female judge on the panel: This is because of the ambiguity in the articles and explanations of the law. Those who will be directly affected by this law are women and children. So where is the protection as stated in the law, she added.

In the final legislation, pornography is described as pictures, sketches, photos, writing, voice, sound, moving picture, animation, cartoons, conversation, gestures, or other communications shown in public with salacious content or sexual exploitation that violate the moral values of society. Offenders face up to 15 years imprisonment.

 

26th March   

Updated: Jobsworth Dermot Ahern...

Hope for Irish referendum that could remove recent blasphemy law
Link Here

Atheist Ireland logo Dermot Ahern, the Irish Justice Minister, is proposing a referendum this autumn to remove the newly-introduced offence of blasphemy from the Irish Constitution, along with two other referenda that the government is already committed to.

Atheist Ireland, which tirelessly campaigned against the law that made Ireland the laughing stock of the Western world, revealed that the Minister told the Sunday Times:

I was only doing my duty … there was an incredibly sophisticated campaign [against me], mainly on the internet.

And that there had been:

A lot of nonsense about that blasphemy issue and people making me out to be a complete right-winger at the time … I was only doing my duty in relation to it, because clearly it is in the constitution.

AI thanks everyone who has helped to make the campaign against this new law as effective as it has been to date. It is now important we maintain the pressure on this issue to ensure that the referendum happens as proposed and, more importantly, that it is won.

AI added: We reiterate our position that this law is both silly and dangerous: silly because it is introducing medieval canon law offence into a modern plularist republic; and dangerous because it incentives religious outrage and because its wording has already been adopted by Islamic states as part of their campaign to make blasphemy a crime internationally.

A final decision on a blasphemy referendum rests with the cabinet, but if Ahern remains justice minister after this month's reshuffle, he is likely to propose that it be added to the autumn list. The government is already committed to referenda on children's rights and establishing a permanent court of civil appeal.

Update: There may be some delay

26th March 2010. Based on article from irishtimes.com

Dermot Ahern There were no plans in the immediate future for a referendum deleting the constitutional prohibition on blasphemy, Minister for Justice Dermot Ahern told the Dáil.

Ahern said that he remained of the view that, on the grounds of cost, a referendum on blasphemy should not be held on its own. It should be run, possibly together with one or more referendums.

Labour justice spokesman Pat Rabbitte claimed that the Minister's statement was a backtracking on what he understood the position to be from the Taoiseach in the Dáil.

Ahern repeated that he would be happy to propose to the Government a referendum on blasphemy at the appropriate time: I did indicate that given the fact the programme for government indicated that we would have two or three referendums – if my memory serves me correctly – in the lifetime of the Government, it may be appropriate to add on a referendum relating to to the article to which you refer .

 

26th March   

Comment: Premier Hype...

Daily Mail kindly provides Kick-Ass maximum publicity
Link Here

Kick Ass Creating Comic Making Movie Film censors were blasted by rent-a-quote nutters last night for handing a 15 rating to a film peppered with obscenities and violence.

Kick-Ass , co-written by Jonathan Ross's wife Jane Goldman, is billed as a comedy action adventure.

Tory MP David Davies, who sits on the home affairs select committee, said he was horrified the film would be seen by 15-year-olds.

And Vivienne Pattison, of Mediawatch UK, said: It just sets up a context of behaviour for 15-year-olds that they can go and see this and it reinforces this sort of behaviour.

In the film, a teenage boy decides to make a stand against street crime by becoming a superhero called Kick-Ass . The most 'shocking' scene shows actress Chloe Moretz, who was aged 11 at the time, playing heroine Hit Girl, using obscene language. She tells a group of assailants: OK you cunts, let's see what you can do now. She also repeatedly calls other characters motherfuckers .

On its website, the BBFC defends the swearing saying: Although some people might be offended by a child using this type of language, the predominant effect is comic.

Comment: Online Daily Mail Readers Kick-Ass

26th March 2010. From Shaun

It is interesting to note that in the Daily Mail, that the Kick-Ass film article reader comments get marked well down when someone suggests it should be censored.

Many respondents on the Daily Mail website seem to be against censorship rather than for it, when the subject comes up, which is often.

Not that that paper seems to learn anything from this.

 

26th March   

Hit when Down and then Sodomised...

BBFC give new film, Remember Me, the full 12A treatment
Link Here

Remember Me Robert Pattinson Remember Me is a 2010 US romantic drama by Allen Coulter

The BBFC cut the 2010 cinema release for a 12A: This film was originally shown to the BBFC in an unfinished version. The BBFC advised the company that the film was likely to receive a 15 classification but that the requested 12A certificate could be achieved by making cuts in two sequences. The company were asked to remove a strong verbal sex reference (to being sodomised') and to reduce a scene of strong violence in which the hero continues to beat a man who has already been knocked to the ground. When the finished version of the was submitted, these changes has been made and the film was classified '12A .

 

26th March   

Update: Easily Offended PM...

Theatre director on charges of insulting the Turkish prime minister
Link Here

laz marks Director and actor Haldun Açiksözlu stands trial under charges of insulting the prime minister in the theatre play Laz Marks .

The show has been playing for one year in cooperation with the Leman Culture and Cans,enlik Actors.

The play has been shown in about 80 different provinces and districts. The complaint was filed after the performance in Rize as part of the Laz region on the eastern Black Sea coast. The Rize Magistrate Criminal Court demands a two years eight months prison sentence for Açiksözlu by reason of insulting the Prime Minister .

 

26th March   

Musical Activism...

Zimbabwe musician creates news website to promote freedom of expression
Link Here

viomak news logo Zimbabwe banned and censored protest singer Viomak has launched her own news site www.viomaknews.com. The news site which features her own stories and opinions is like a diary of her musical activism life since 2005.

The singer whose stories are banned in State newspapers for her stance against ZANUPF and Mugabe also promotes freedom of expression through music in a country that is struggling politically, economically and socially .She was also banned by the independent Zimbabwe Standard newspaper after she suspected the paper's reporter Vusumuzi Sifile-Sibanda of being a CIO.

With six protest music albums under her name the singer cum political activist is well known for her courage in tackling the situation in Zimbabwe head on through protest music and vibrant activism that has also seen her spearhead a campaign to have Zimbabwe leaders declare their personal assets to monitor corruption.

Her activism and outspokenness has seen her amass a lot of enemies which is one reason why she is banned in Zimbabwe newspapers. Zimbabwe's Censorship and Entertainment Control Act censors undesirable music and it doesn't allow the distribution or selling of undesirable recordings so writing her stories in State newspaper is forbidden.

The singer also runs an internet radio station VOTO (Voices of the Oppressed) that promotes the work of Zimbabwe protest artists. Her protest music is banned on state radio so in 2007, she was instrumental in setting up an internet radio station to evade music censorship.

 

25th March   

Competition: The House of the Devil...

3 copies to be given away to readers of Melon Farmers
Link Here

The House of the Devil DVD The Give Away:

Just email Dave at webmaster@melonfarmers.com by midday on  5th April 2010.

Mention The House of the Devil and I will enter you in a draw for the three region 2 DVDs available to Melon Farmers readers.

Only one entry per reader and you must be at least 18 years old to enter. 

The Movie:

Set in the 80s and directed by master of horror Ti West ( Cabin Fever 2 ), The House of the Devil stars Jocelin Donahue as pretty cash strapped college student Samantha. Desperate to find a deposit on a new flat, Samantha accepts a one off babysitting job for a rather sinister sounding employer. The money is too good to turn down so Samantha puts her doubts aside and sets off with her boisterous friend Megan who insists on coming along to make sure all is ok.

The house turns out to be an eerie and isolated mansion quite a bit further out of town and upon arrival both the girls feel uncomfortable. However when the employer agrees to up Samantha's wage, she is persuaded to stay and Megan promises to return at midnight to collect her. However no sooner does Megan leave but things begin to spiral out of control and Samantha soon finds herself trapped in the house.

As a lunar eclipse darkens the night sky, Samantha finds that her employers - cult favourites Tom Noonon ( Manhunter ) and Mary Woronov ( Rock and Roll High School ) - have something truly terrifying in store for her and it soon becomes clear that she will end this night with a bloody fight for her life.

Acclaimed across the world as an unrelenting, unforgettable journey into the darkest realms of fear itself, The House of the Devil will make you pray for the dawn.

house of the devil video Extras:

  • Commentary with Writer-Director - Editor Ti West and actress Jocelin Donahue
  • In The House of the Devil - Behind the scenes
  • Three Deleted Scenes

See also YouTube trailer

The Result

Congratulations to Gavin, Greg & Robert

 

25th March   

Updated: Game On...

Michael Atkinson quits as South Australia's Attorney General
Link Here

michael atkinson The long running refusenik for an adult ratings for games has resigned from his post of South Australia's Attorney General. He will continue to represent his constituency of Croydon though.

Based on article from australiangamer.com

Despite winning his election (Gamers 4 Croydon only gained about 1% of the vote), Michael Atkinson has decided that amount of trouble his position has brought him isn't worth the effort anymore - and it's not just the R18+ debacle that has brought him down. He's also had trouble trying to bring in a law that would censor people from using Fake names online. That one backfired when his example of a Liberal sock puppet turned out to be a real person living in his constituency.

So while G4C may not have won their seat, they still seemed to have managed to achieve one of their aims. Let's hope the new Attorney General sees reason and the R18 debate can be put to rest.

Update: Election Games

23rd March 2010. Based on article from gamepolitics.com

gamers4croydon logo Pre-election, Atkinson claimed that no one cared about the lack of an R18+ rating in Australia other than gamers and also predicted that the Gamer4Croydon party would struggle to receive one percent of the votes.

Well, in Croydon, according to ABC.net election data, Gamers4Croydon's candidate against Atkinson, Kat Nicholson, managed to achieve 3.7% of the vote, assisting in eating away at 14.4% of Atkinson's vote from the previous election. Despite that erosion, Atkinson still won rather easily however, garnering 52.7% of the vote. Nicholson came in fifth out of seven candidates in the Croydon suburb, besting candidates from the Family First Party and Australian Democratic Party.

In a post on the G4C website entitled Here's Your 1%, President Chris Prior expressed pride at what the upstart party accomplished:

With so very little to work with, we have contributed to two other incumbents losing their seats, and all of our lower house candidates polled higher than the 1% we apparently wouldn't get. In the upper house, we outpolled the majority of groups, including a significant number with more resources, more experience, and much more time.

Update: New Attorney-General said to be pro R18+

25th March 2010. Based on article from smh.com.au

gamers4croydon logo The South Australian premier has announced that former backbencher John Rau will replace Michael Atkinson as Attorney-General of the state.

Chris Pryor of the Games4Croydon party said last night via Twitter that the long-serving Rau is a supporter of the R18+ classification for games (and a nice guy to boot) .

Pryor blogged on Monday that seeing the role of Attorney-General filled by someone other than Mr Atkinson was a primary founding goal of Gamers4Croydon . With less than 6 months to prepare, no political experience, and only a few thousand dollars funding, we have achieved that goal. Unfortunately there are never any guarantees in politics, but we have removed the largest impediment to classification reform.

The next meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General is held in Melbourne on April 29. It is not yet known whether the introduction of an R18+ games rating will be discussed.

 

25th March   

Bad Joke...

Brazilian court fines Google for jokes posted by users of social networking site
Link Here

orkut logo Google is on the receiving end of ire of Brazilian authorities over pages containing supposedly 'dirty' jokes on the social networking site Orkut.

On the 23rd March, a Brazilian court in the northern state of Rondonia slapped Google with a fine of 2,700 dollars for each day that the pages remained up on the site.

The court also ordered Google to stop sipposedly sleazy material from being posted on its social networking site, brushing aside the Google argument that it did not have the technical means or workforce required to police or censor pages on Orkut.

The lawsuit reportedly arose after two teenagers complained that the jokes on Orkut pages offended them.

 

25th March   

Breeding Whingers...

Kennel club complaint at Peta advert dismissed by the advert censor
Link Here

kennel club logo An advert which showed a white puppy with an Adolf Hitler style moustache was not offensive, the advert censor has said.

The Peta (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) poster showed a Maltese terrier with a black comb strategically placed across its upper lip and a caption reading: Master Race? Wrong for People. Wrong for Dogs. Boycott Breeders. Adopt.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) rejected a complaint from the Kennel Club that the ad was offensive. The ad originally appeared in Birmingham to coincide with the Crufts dog show.

An ASA spokesman said: The ASA carefully assessed three complaints that we received about Peta's advertisement but did not consider there were grounds for a formal investigation. We acknowledged that the image and text were emotive but did not consider the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence or to mislead. Consumers were likely to understand that the advertisers were expressing their opinion.

Peta spokeswoman Poorva Joshipura said: It is not our ad that is offensive but the false and dangerous belief that some breeds or races are superior to others. We are asking people to take a bite out of cruelty by boycotting breeders and saving the life of a dog or a cat from a rescue shelter instead.

The Kennel Club said: We put a complaint in to the ASA on behalf of all of the responsible pedigree breeders - and indeed pedigree dog owners - who love and care for their dogs and who know that they lead very healthy and happy lives. We believe that to these people the advert is highly offensive and very misleading.

 

25th March   

Not Suitable for Public Articulation...

Akon banned from Sri Lanka over Buddha statue appearing in music video
Link Here

My Ghetto Akon Sri Lanka has refused to issue a visa to R&B star Akon, who was due to perform there next month, saying he offended the country's Buddhists.

The ban comes after protests over one of the star's music videos featuring scantily-clad women dancing in front of a statue of Buddha.

In a statement, the government said the video for Sexy Bitch by David Guetta, featuring Akon on vocals, triggered a lot of disappointment among Buddhists . It added some of Akon's lyrics were not suitable for public articulation .

On Monday, hundreds of people protested the head offices of the Maharaja Broadcasting and Television Network, the media sponsor of the planned concert.

Two Facebook groups protesting against the concert have surfaced: The We Hate Akon (Abuse Music Video Against Lord Buddha) group has more than 8,000 followers while another, Akon Who Disgraced Buddhism — STOP Sri Lanka Concert , has 800 adherents.

Considering the controversial video images, offensive song lyrics and strong protests coming from various cultural, religious groups and organisations in the country, the government was compelled to take this decision, the government said.

 

25th March   

Update: Googling for 'Bollox'...

Google and Yahoo! criticise Australia's internet censorship
Link Here

Australian Chinese flag Yahoo! and Google have criticised Australia's plans to enmesh the nation into a sophisticated internet censorship structure, which, according to some, will restrict freedom of internet by prohibiting access to legal information.

Statements made by Yahoo and Google are among the 174 complaints submitted by the public regarding the internet filtering proposal, which will soon go into review.

Commenting on the controversial internet filter, Lucinda Barlow of Google Australia said in a statement that moving to a mandatory ISP-level filtering regime with a scope that goes well beyond such material is heavy-handed and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information.

Yahoo representatives on the other hand, pointed that the technological advanced internet filter has the potential to go beyond blocking child pornography to blocking socially controversial content like gay and lesbian issues.

 

25th March   

A Vulgar Whinge...

Zed grade whinger calls for more film censorship in India
Link Here

Rajan Zed The Hindu perennial whinger, Rajan Zed, is asking for immediate restructuring of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) of India because of continuous increase in the unnecessary vulgarity and violence in Indian films.

Zed, in a statement said that it appeared that the Board of the largest filmmaking country had lost the sense of India's cultural milieu and was ignoring the directions given in the Cinematograph Act.

Zed, who is the president of Universal Society of Hinduism, claimed that they were fully supportive of the artistic freedom and expression and did not want any unnecessary censorship ...BUT... were highly concerned about the increasing presence of the immodest and risqué scenes in the movies which were there simply for mercantile greed having nothing to do with cinematic elements.

Rajan Zed pointed out that CBFC chairperson Sharmila Tagore and her team needed to be retrained in what India stood for and what were our moral perimeters.

 

24th March   

Gaff Gag...

Straw proposed ban on disclosing information about senior Royals
Link Here

UK Government arms The government is trying to change the law to protect the Prince of Wales from scrutiny when he intervenes in public affairs.

Jack Straw, the justice secretary, has tabled an amendment to the Constitutional Reform and Governance Bill to impose a blanket ban on anyone disclosing information about Prince Charles, the Queen and Prince William.

The move comes after a freedom of information (FoI) application revealed how Charles scuppered a £3 billion redevelopment of Chelsea Barracks.

The royal family is exempt from direct requests for information under the Freedom of Information Act. However, public bodies can be asked to release information that may include details about the royals.

Critics of Straw's amendment say it would seriously undermine freedom of information laws. More than 60 MPs have signed an early day motion calling for it to be dropped. Clarence House said Charles had not lobbied for the changes.

 

24th March   

Here's Lenny...

Advert censor finds Lenny Henry's The Shining as too scary for kids
Link Here

shining lenny henry advert A TV ad for Premier Inn featured Lenny Henry in a parody of the film The Shining . He was casually dressed in a checked shirt, jacket and jeans, and was shown in a menacing fashion attacking a door with an axe and putting his head through the hole, whilst saying Here's Lenny . The ad then showed another, smartly dressed, Lenny Henry on the other side of the door, who calmly said A bad night's sleep at some hotels can really make you grumpy . The tone of the ad and the music then changed to a relaxing one as the smartly dressed Lenny Henry described why guests would have a good night's sleep at Premier Inn.

The ad was cleared by Clearcast who considered a timing restriction to keep it away from children was not necessary.

Eight viewers, who had seen the ad on the children's channel Nick Jr, challenged whether it was suitable to be broadcast at times when children might see it.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted that the ad had been broadcast on Nick Jr in error. Nevertheless, we considered that the aggressive behaviour portrayed by Lenny Henry at the start of the ad, and the menacing tone and music of that scene, were likely to frighten and cause distress to younger children. We also considered that, because young children would not understand the ad's reference to The Shining , they would be unlikely to appreciate the comic context in which the menacing Lenny appeared, and could find him threatening. We therefore concluded that an ex-kids timing restriction, which would have meant that the ad should not have been shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children, should have been applied to the ad.

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children.

 

24th March   

Cut Off from Humanity...

Nigerian court silences Facebook debate about amputation for theft
Link Here

Facebook logo A Nigerian Islamic Sharia court has banned Twitter and Facebook debates on the country's first wrist amputation for theft, according to court papers seen by AFP.

A Kaduna court ordered the Civil Rights Congress (CRC), one of the country's leading rights groups, to suspend its Twitter and Facebook online debates on the amputation, which was carried out in 2000.

The court granted an interim injunction restraining the respondents either by themselves or their agents... from opening a chat forum on Facebook, Twitter, or any blog for the purpose of the debate on the amputation of Malam Buba Bello Jangebe, said the order.

Jangebe was the first person to have had his right hand amputated on the orders of a Sharia court in Zamfara State, a year after 12 northern Nigerian states adopted the strict Islamic penal code.

The order followed a suit filed by the Association of Muslim Brotherhood of Nigeria, a pro-Sharia group based in the northern political capital of Kaduna, which argued that Internet forums would be used as a mockery of the Sharia system as negative issues will be discussed .

 

24th March   

Quilty Pleasures...

Liberty quilts 'shock' Linda Papadopoulos
Link Here

Liberty Lucky Lips A series of quilts featuring sexual images have gone on display in the windows of Liberty.

The five top shelf quilts will be shown until 11 April when they will be available to buy in the store for between £2,500 and £3,000.

They were designed by Liberty's head of visual merchandising Maxine Groucutt to publicise a showcase of new quilting fabrics called Quilty Pleasures.

This was launched last week in collaboration with the Victoria & Albert Museum, which is staging an exhibition showing 300 years of quilt-making from 1690 to modern works by Grayson Perry and Tracey Emin.

According to Liberty, The Great Marlborough Street displays will illustrate a scene of sexual tension and ambiguity with an embroidered quilt at the centre of each ... these windows will shock as well as entertain, all in the name of quilts .

The installations have been given suggestive names such as Hot Lunch, Male Service and Girls That Do .

Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos said she was 'shocked' by the quilts, adding that they presented children with images they were not ready to understand.

 

24th March   

Censors and Gatekeepers...

Updated details of old ban to The Gatekeeper's Daughter
Link Here

gatekeepersdaughter The Gatekeeper's Daughter (La fille du garde-barrière) is a 1975 France comedy by Jérôme Savary

The BBFC rejected the 1975 cinema release.

There's been no UK release since.

Based on article from ovguide.com :

This very curious completely silent comedy includes some dramatic sequences and some fairly pornographic ones. The movie is made with titles, very much in the manner of early silent films.

 

24th March   

Opposition Denied...

Hungary pass holocaust denial law
Link Here

Hungary flag Hungarian lawmakers have passed legislation against denial of the Holocaust.

The Hungarian Social Party, which sponsored the bill, along with a wide Christian-Jewish coalition pushed the law through.

The bill passed by a vote of 197-1; however, there were 142 abstentions, signalling the lingering ambivalence of many Hungarian lawmakers over the issue.

Those who publicly hurt the dignity of a victim of the Holocaust by denying or questioning the Holocaust itself, or claim it insignificant, infringe the law and can be punished by a prison sentence of up to three years, according to the new legislation.

The main opposition party, Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union, was among those who abstained.

The law takes effect in early April.

 

23rd March   

Update: Damning Jamming...

EU calls on Iran to stop jamming western broadcasts
Link Here

EU flag The European Union has called for Iran to stop censoring the Internet and jamming European satellite broadcasts.

European Union foreign ministers meeting in Brussels have called for Iran to put an immediate end to its electronic interference - specifically jamming broadcasts coming from Europe.

Iran has been jamming foreign satellite broadcasts, including those from the BBC and VOA, since late last year. Ordinary Iranians also have problems accessing the Internet.

In a statement, the EU ministers said Iran is breaching freedom of expression commitments laid out in an international treaty it had signed.

But at a news conference, EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton offered no details about what sanctions, if any, the bloc might impose. She said the specifics would be worked out later: We are very concerned about what is happening in terms of broadcasting, said Catherine Ashton. We have not yet moved further forward in terms of what further actions to take. As you know, we remain very concerned about what is happening in Iran. And we remain very concerned to ensure the Security Council debate is able to take forward the issues more broadly of what needs to happen next.

Update: Iran blocks France 24 news website

4th April 2010. See  article from  google.com

News channel France 24 accused Iran of blocking its website to users there, the latest in a series of international broadcasters to complain of censorship by the Islamic Republic.

France 24 learned today from various sources that its website france24.com was no longer accessible from Iranian territory, the French rolling news station said in a statement, describing the move as censorship .

 

23rd March   

Updated: Censorial Static...

Voice of America radio jammed in Ethiopia
Link Here

Voice of America logo International shortwave radio monitors have confirmed that VOA broadcasts in the Amharic language are being jammed in Ethiopia.

The static began February 22 on all five VOA shortwave frequencies aimed at East Africa in the 25 and 31-meter shortwave bands.

The other foreign broadcast heard in Ethiopia, the German government's Deutsche Welle Amharic language program, also reports experiencing some interference, in the past few days.

VOA and Deutsche Welle were jammed around the time of the last parliament election in 2005, and again before the 2008 nationwide local elections. The next crucial parliament vote is scheduled for May 23.

Ethiopian officials have often described VOA's Amharic Service as the voice of the opposition , saying its broadcasts reveal an anti-government bias.

The Voice of America is a multi-media international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. Government. VOA broadcasts more than 1,500 hours of news and other programming every week in 49 languages.

Update: More Damning Jamming

23rd March 2010. Based on article from portalangop.co.ao

US flag The United States condemned Ethiopia's blocking of Voice of America broadcasts.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi earlier admitted to jamming the US government-funded VOA broadcasts in Amharic, saying he was prepared to censor the broadcasts because of the service's destabilizing propaganda.

Update: Website Blocked

1st April 2010. See  article from  indexoncensorship.org

The Ethiopian government has been accused of blocking the website of US broadcaster Voice of America (VOA) as a row over press intimidation continues to escalate in the Horn of Africa. Residents of the capital Addis Ababa have been unable to access the site since early on Sunday,

 

22nd March   

Saints and Scoundrels...

Philip Pullman sent threatening letters over his new book
Link Here

Good Jesus Scoundrel Christ Myths Novelist Philip Pullman has been threatened by religious nutters over his new book, The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ.

He has received scores of letters condemning him to eternal hell or damnation by fire and accusing him of blasphemy.

Many refer to the title itself, for which there is clearly a passionate objection from some out there, said Pullman.

Published next week, the book is written in the form of a gospel. It says that a man called Jesus lived 2,000 years ago but that Christ, as the son of God, was the invention of the disciple Paul.

The letter writers essentially say that I am a wicked man, who deserves to be punished in hell, said Pullman. Luckily it's not in their power to do anything like sending me there.

Pullman, famous for the trilogy His Dark Materials , was partly inspired to write the book by Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury. I was at a debate with him at the National theatre, and he asked why I had not put Jesus in His Dark Materials. So I told him that I would in my next book. And that's what I have now done. The two men will discuss the book on Radio 4's Start the Week on Easter Monday.

 

22nd March   

Diary: The Gorbals Vampire...

Back in the good old days of 1954 when comic books were to blame
Link Here

PAPERCUTZ COMICS Tales Crypt Stinky The Gorbals Vampire
BBC Radio 4 at 2300 GMT on Tuesday 30th March
Later available on BBC iPlayer.

When Pc Alex Deeprose was called to Glasgow's sprawling Southern Necropolis on the evening of 23 September 1954, he expected to be dealing with a simple case of vandalism.

But the bizarre sight that awaited him was to make headlines around the world and cause a moral panic that led to the introduction of strict new censorship laws in the UK.

Hundreds of children aged from four to 14, some of them armed with knives and sharpened sticks, were patrolling inside the historic graveyard.

They were, they told the bemused constable, hunting a 7ft tall vampire with iron teeth who had already kidnapped and eaten two local boys.

There were no records of any missing children in Glasgow at the time, and media reports of the incident began to search for the origins of the urban myth that had gripped the city.

The blame was quickly laid at the door of American comic books with chilling titles such as Tales From The Crypt and The Vault of Horror, whose graphic images of terrifying monsters were becoming increasing popular among Scottish youngsters.

These comics, so the theory went, were corrupting the imaginations of children and inflaming them with fear of the unknown.

A few dissenting academics pointed out there was no mention of a creature matching the description of the Gorbals Vampire in any of these comics.

But their voices were drowned out in the media and political frenzy that was by now demanding action to be taken to prevent even more young minds from being polluted by the terrifying and corrupt comic books.

The government responded to the clamour by introducing the Children and Young Persons (Harmful Publications) Act 1955 which, for the first time, specifically banned the sale of magazines and comics portraying incidents of a repulsive or horrible nature to minors.

 

22nd March   

Update: Pill Averse...

Church pressure unites Irish meeting venues to refuse euthanasia activist
Link Here

Peaceful Pill Handbook Revised International Australian euthanasia activist Dr Philip Nitschke has been banned from four Irish venues during a European tour of his controversial right-to-die workshops.

The director of Melbourne-based assisted suicide group Exit International had earlier been detained in France on his way to Britain during the tour.

While Dr Nitschke has faced problems booking venues before, he says the level of opposition he's faced in Ireland is extraordinary. He said the cancelled bookings were due to church pressure rallied in a well-orchestrated campaign of censorship as he sought to educate Irish people on voluntary euthanasia.

I fully respect the Church's right to hold their opinions but I take issue with those who try to ram their opinions down the throats of non-believers and people who elect to reconcile their faith with their right to know about safe suicide, Dr Nitschke said.

The workshop has since been rescheduled at Seomra Spraoi in Dublin.

 

21st March   

Fighting the Censor...

UFC to challenge Bavarian TV ban
Link Here

blm logo The increasingly popular mixed martial arts fights of the Ultimate Fighting Championship have come under fire from the Bavarian television censors.

The Bavarian TV censor, Bavarian Regulatory Authority for Commercial Broadcasting (BLM), has issued a preliminary order barring UFC programming from the Munich-based network German Sports Television (DSF).

Zuffa, the UFC's parent company, will appeal the order and, if unsuccessful there, file a lawsuit in a German court.

DSF has been restricted to broadcasting UFC programming between the hours of 11pm and 6am. since the BLM approved its request to air in March 2009. But now BLM head Dr. Wolfgang Flieger said, The Committee deems these television formats unacceptable by the sheer massiveness of the portrayed violence. In these shows you can witness acts of breaking taboos, such as hitting a downed opponent. These acts contradict the general principle of a public-service broadcasting …

 

21st March   

Valued Obscenity...

Auctions related to the Oz obscenity trial of 1971
Link Here

oz schoolkids The controversial and pioneering 70s style magazine, Oz, will feature in two Bonhams sales

Richard Neville, the editor of counter-culture magazine Oz, sat naked for a David Hockney drawing. This is now up for auction at Bonhams as part of its Post War and Contemporary Art and Design sale on March 10.

Modesty intact , the image by David Hockney, was drawn to raise funds for his 1971 obscenity trial. The picture (estimated at £10,000-15,000) was used, alongside drawings of Neville's co-editors Jim Anderson and Felix Dennis, to raise funds for the Oz obscenity trial in 1971.

The trail followed the prosecution of Neville, Anderson and Dennis for publishing a sexual Rupert Bear cartoon parody in an issue of the magazine edited by a group of school kids.

Hockney was one of dozens of artists who donated works to the Oz defence fund. The original drawings of the editors naked were put up for auction at the time, along with numbered lithographs, combined into a triptych.

The trial became a cause célebre, testing boundaries on censorship which had remained largely unchallenged since the Lady Chatterley's Lover court case in the early 1960s. The three were found guilty and sent to prison where the shaving of their heads caused yet more controversy, though the convictions were later overturned on appeal.

A complete set of the 48 issues of OZ magazine published between 1967 and 1973, including the infamous Schoolkids issue, is also being offered by Bonhams in the Printed Books, Maps and Manuscripts sale on March 23. The complete set is estimated at £1,000-2,000.

 

21st March   

Update: No Scrutiny of the Digital Economy Bill...

UK parliament proving to be a cheap second rate copy of the real thing
Link Here

House of Commons logo The Open Rights Group has revealed that in the last 3 days more than 10,000 outraged citizens have written to MPs demanding a debate on the Music Industry's Digital Economy Bill (DEB).

To the absolute dismay of most outside the music and movie industries, some of the most controversial elements of the Bill are unlikely to receive any major scrutiny and will be dealt with quickly under the so-called wash-up , a short period between the announcement of an election and parliament being closed down.

It's a deeply unsatisfactory and very worrying development, a senior executive from an ISP told The Guardian. The fear is that no one will know what is being cooked-up before it becomes law. It's legislation on the hoof.

But this situation suits the BPI just fine. This week a leaked memo from the BPI fell into the hands of Cory Doctorow which showed that the LibDem amendment – a proposal under the DEB which would allow for websites to be blocked if, essentially, the BPI didn't like their activities – was in fact written by the BPI. Very cosy.

But the controversies don't end there. Doctorow also received an internal document prepared by the BPI's Director of Public Affairs and prospective Labour parliamentary candidate, Richard Mollet. In the document he admitted that the only reason the DEB had a chance of passing is because MP's are resigned to voting on it without debate.

Translation: if MPs got to debate the Bill, they would tear it to unrecognizable pieces as they realized what terrible rubbish it really is, wrote Doctorow.

According to Jim Killock at the Open Rights Group, UK citizens aren't leaving anything to chance with 10,000 of them having written to their MPs in the last three days to demand a debate on the Digital Economy Bill: It is outrageous for corporate lobbyists including the BPI, FAST and UK Music to demand that MPs curtail democracy and ram this Bill through Parliament without debate, says Killock, adding: The British people did not elect UK Music and the BPI to write our laws.

 

21st March   

A New TV Censor...

New appointment to the BBC Trust
Link Here

BBC Trust Ben Bradshaw, the Culture Secretary, has announced that Richard Ayre has been appointed as a member of the BBC Trust for four years commencing on 1 August 2010.

The BBC Trust is responsible for representing the interests of licence fee payers. The Trust also ensures that the BBC's activities are not anti-competitive.

Richard Ayre is currently the Ofcom Content Board member for England and Chairman of Ofcom's Broadcasting Review Committee. He will step down from this role in advance of becoming a BBC Trustee. He conducted Ofcom's 2007 enquiry into the misuse of premium rate telephone calls in TV programming. Ayre was formerly the BBC's Controller of Editorial Policy and Deputy Chief Executive of BBC News. After leaving the BBC he worked for seven years on the board of the Food Standards Agency and has been the Law Society's Freedom of Information Adjudicator since 2001. He is a former Chairman of Article 19, the International Campaign for Freedom of Expression, and also of the African Caribbean Reporters' Trust. He lives in east London with his partner, the artist Guy Burch.

Richard Ayre said: I'm keen to play a part in ensuring a BBC that delivers what licence fee payers have a right to expect of the world's leading public service broadcaster. But I'm also determined to help protect the BBC's editorial independence as we enter a time of severest pressures on the public sector.

 

21st March   

Updated: No Radio Liberty...

Kyrgyzstan bans US funded radio and TV news services
Link Here

Radio Azttyk logo The Committee to Protect Journalists is disturbed by reports that the Kyrgyz government has pressured several radio and television stations to stop carrying programming from the Kyrgyz service of the U.S. government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL).

At least four private radio stations and one television channel halted RFE/RL programming on March 10, said Tyntchtykbek Tchoroyev, director of the Kyrgyz service. The service, also known as Radio Azattyk, provides both radio and television programming.

The stations had been transmitting the programming since December 2008, when the state broadcaster, the National Television and Radio Corporation (KTR), stopped carrying RFE/RL programs. At the time, KTR said it would resume the broadcasts if RFE/RL agreed to clear its content with the government in advance. RFE/RL would not agree to that condition.

Kyrgyz authorities have recently warned local stations that they may face additional hurdles in their license renewals if they continue to carry Radio Azattyk programming, RFE/RL said in a statement.

Some local stations in southern Kyrgyzstan are still carrying RFE/RL programs, Tchoroyev said.

We are deeply disturbed by reports that Kyrgyz authorities have threatened local stations' licenses should they continue to carry RFE/RL programming, said CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova. Media outlets must be free to carry whatever content their listeners, not state regulators, demand. The government of President Kurmanbek Bakiyev must uphold its commitments to press freedom and curb its knee-jerk reaction to criticism in the media.

Update: Harangued by the OSCE

21st March 2010. Based on article from asianews.it

OSCE logo In an official letter, the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has urged the Kyrgyz government to stop censoring online media.

Kyrgyz authorities are putting unprecedented pressure on independent media. Ordinary Kyrgyz are also outraged by fee hikes of essential services, encouraging the opposition.

In its letter, the OSCE has called on the Kyrgyz government to respect its international obligations to protect freedom of speech and to restore access to a number of online media sources and to Azattyk Radio (the Kyrgyz Service of RFE/RL).

Similarly, Press freedom violations seem to be increasing in frequency and intensity, Reporters Without Borders and other groups have lamented.

Since 10 March, agencies like ferghana.ru, centrasia.ru and paruskg.info (whose editor Gennady Pavlyuk was murdered last December) have been blocked.

Local sources report that independent media have been pressured not to report certain news or lose their licence. Consequently, many have refrained from publishing articles critical of the government.

The opposition press has also been targeted. All 7,000 copies of the newspaper Forum were seized by the police in Bishkek on 15 March without any explanation, whilst its editor, Ryskeldi Mombekov, and five other journalists were detained.

Update: More Press Repression

4th April 2010. See  article from  cpj.org

CPJ logo Authorities in Kyrgyzstan should halt their ongoing crackdown on independent and opposition news outlets, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. A Bishkek court suspended a pro-opposition newspaper on Wednesday—the third such suspension this month—while financial police confiscated newsroom computers belonging to an independent Web-based television channel on Thursday, effectively taking it off the air.

We are deeply disturbed by the actions of Kyrgyz authorities to systematically unplug their citizens from independent and opposition news sources, CPJ Europe and Central Asia Program Coordinator Nina Ognianova said.

On Wednesday, the Oktyabrsky District Court in Bishkek suspended the pro-opposition, Kyrgyz-language newspaper Forum, according to the regional news Web site Ferghana. The court acted on a complaint filed by the Oktyabrsky District Prosecutor's Office in Bishkek, which said a March 30 Forum article contained appeals to forcibly overthrow the constitutional order, the Bishkek-based news agency AKIpress reported.

Prosecutors are continuing to investigate the paper in connection with the piece, titled When the motherland falls upon hard times, may all her sons turn into lightning bolts, said Sultan Kanazarov, Ferghana's Kyrgyzstan bureau chief. Forum has been suspended for the duration of that investigation, he said.

 

20th March   

Dangerous Cartoons...

Cartoons are set to become dangerous on 6th April 2010
Link Here
Anime girl of indeterminent age

How the fuck are we expected
to know how old she is?

The Statutory Instrument bringing into effect (among other things) the provisions of the Coroners and Justice Act regarding prohibited images of children has now been published.

The start date for these provisions will be April 6th 2010.

The Dangerous Cartoons clauses are found in Part 2 Chapter 2 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009 , also see explanatory notes .

 

20th March   

Update: Putting the Swiss Knife into Video Games...

A resolution to ban 'killer games' passes in Swiss parliament
Link Here

Switzerland flag Two resolutions dealing with violent videogames have been passed by the Switzerland's National Council.

The first resolution, proposed by Christian Democratic Party member and National Councillor Norbert Hochreutener, would make it illegal to sell PEGI 16 or 18-rated games to minors.

The second resolution, backed by Social Democrat Evi Allemann, called for a complete ban of violent and adult-themed videogames.

Alleman's proposal passed on a 19-12 vote. A translated passage from Alleman's motion states:

The Federal Council is asked to submit to Parliament a statutory basis, which allows the manufacture, touting, importation, sale and distribution of game programs, to prohibit, in which cruel acts of violence against humans and humanlike creatures for the game success.

The passing of the motions will now set off the process of drafting laws to implement the two motions.

 

20th March   

Update: Hidden Economy...

The Economist pulls another issue from distribution in Thailand
Link Here

economist thailand One of the world's most popular English-language news publications will not be distributed in Thailand this week because of an article on the nation's monarchy.

In an email issued to subscribers, the UK-based magazine The Economist, said that due to the sensitive nature of the publication's coverage of the Thai monarchy, the March 20th edition will not be distributed in the South East Asian country. There were no indications that the online edition of The Economist would be affected.

The article in question examines concerns in Thailand over the question of potential royal succession and how it relates to recent political unrest in the country.

Friday's self-censorship by The Economist marks the fourth time since late 2008 that the publication has been pulled from circulation in the Thai kingdom over a story about the nation's monarchy.

 

20th March   

Update: ClearPlay...

Self censorship DVD facility to render films fit for kids
Link Here

clear play logo A new service that automatically screens out content unsuitable for children from DVDs launches in the UK this weekend.

The service, ClearPlay, uses technology integrated into DVD players to filter out violence, language and other material unsuitable for a general viewing audience. ClearPlay seamlessly skips and mutes censored content based on seven categories that can be set to meet viewing preferences. The system works with hundreds of films already released and new ClearPlay Filters are made available within 48 hours of a popular DVD or Blu-ray disc release date.

ClearPlay's seven filter categories enable viewers to screen out content for religious reasons or to exclude sexual content.

ClearPlay International CEO Andrew Duncan said: We're very excited about the launch of ClearPlay after several years of careful development work. What we know from our research is that parents are concerned about inappropriate content but don't like the conflicts around censorship at home. One of the biggest disputes over TV choices comes from arguments with kids about whether something is suitable for watching or not. ClearPlay effectively ends the important but tiresome debates and enables families to get on with more important debate about who makes the popcorn.

DVD players with ClearPlay technology have just become available in France and will appear on the market in the UK in July.

The technology is also adaptable to video on demand services and ClearPlay is currently in talks with digital TV operators in the UK about a potential launch on their platforms.

A team of ClearPlay censors work behind the scenes to develop filters for each film. The filters are tested and coded and material, including images, language and violence are carefully censored from the film.

ClearPlay director Skip Riddle added: Cleary there are some films that don't lend themselves to filtering but the vast majority do. Often the aspects of a film that give it a 15 certificate are connected with a few very short sequences or a bit of bad language. ClearPlay is perfect for these films.

 

20th March   

Diary: Mass Lobby for Libel Law Reform...

At the House of Commons
Link Here

Libel Reform Campaign logo Mass Lobby for Libel Law Reform
House of Commons
Tuesday 23rd March from 2pm

This Tuesday 23rd March we are organising a mass lobby of MPs for libel law reform at the House of Commons from 2pm. Some of the parties are wavering - they don't want to commit to reforms unless they are under pressure to. We need everyone to help to bring that about before manifestos are published and Parliament rises for the election. Can you come to a mass lobby in the House of Commons on Tuesday 23rd at 2pm? This is the closest we've been to fundamental libel law reform in a century, but we need everyone to help it succeed.

Come to the Cromwell Green entrance to the Houses of Parliament. You will have to allow about 20 minutes to pass through security and to get to Committee Room 15 between 2 and 3pm. We will hear from high profile Champions of the campaign on why the political parties need to commit to reform libel laws which are unjust, against the public interest and an international menace and, we hope, from spokespeople for the parties on justice matters. Your MP may be there if you wrote to them. We can ask them en masse what they are doing to get a manifesto commitment for libel law reform or you can ask them personally.

 

20th March   

Diary: Freedom v. Security...

Big Brother Watch debate
Link Here

Big Brother Watch logo Freedom v. Security
The Marquis of Granby pub, 41 Romney Street, LONDON SW1P 3RF
24th March, 2010 at 06:30pm

DOUGLAS MURRAY (Centre for Social Cohesion) and ALEX DEANE (Big Brother Watch) go head to head to debate Freedom v. Security at the launch of a new series of regular monthly Free Spirits debates (organised by The Freedom Association) in the heart of the Westminster Village.

FREE ADMISSION.

Open to all.
Cash bar.
Voluntary collection to help cover costs.

 

19th March   

ATVOD are the new VOD Censors...

Pete Johnson previously of the BBFC is the Chief Exec
Link Here

ATVOD logo The Association For Television On Demand (ADVOD) has confirmed a series of senior appointments as it takes over video on-demand regulation from Ofcom.

Ofcom has now officially handed over statutory powers to independent body ATVOD for supposedly light touch regulation of online video, including all consumer protection standards and guidelines for taste, decency and sponsorship requirements.

In response, ATVOD has restructured its operation. Former deputy chair of Ofcom's consumer panel Ruth Evans has been appointed to lead the organisation as its new independent chair.

Aside Evans, the five-strong ATVOD board includes former Channel 4 News editor Sara Nathan, Advertising Association chief executive Tim Lefroy, ASA Council member Nigel Walmsley and broadcasting compliance specialist Ian McBride. Sky's Daniel Austin, BT's Simon Milner, Virgin Media's Simon Hunt and Five's Chris Loweth will provide the ATVOD board with an industry perspective.

The organisation has further hired Pete Johnson as its new chief executive, after he previously managed VOD and packaged media regulatory policy for the BBFC.

This is a landmark moment for video on-demand services in the UK which offer programmes that are comparable to those shown on traditional TV channels, said Johnson, who will outline ATVOD's regulatory policy on March 25 at IPTV World Forum: On UK services, children will be protected from the most extreme content, and for the first time use of product placement and sponsorship will be subject to controls and restrictions.

Recent Ofcom research suggests that there are around 150 operators on the UK market that meet the statutory criteria for providing TV-like VOD services. All providers must now contact ATVOD before April 30 to outline their service propositions, with any firms meeting the criteria required to pay a fee based on the overall cost of regulating the sector . ATVOD said that it will soon launch a six-week consultation with Ofcom into the fee structure, in which all stakeholders will be able to have their say.

 

19th March   

Pre-watershed Law...

Mediawatch-UK partake in a little legal advice for their Spring Newsletter
Link Here

Mediawatch-UK banner MediaWatch-UK have just published their Spring Newsletter.

They are leading of the lack of an effective age verification method for post-watershed TV programmes which are available 24/7 on iPlayer and the like.

Mediawatch-UK contend that Audio Visual media law mandates age verification:

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

But their argument was easily countered by Ofcom who said that :

they consider there is no requirement under these Regulations for broadcasters to use protections for post-watershed content because material which has previously been broadcast on television without regulatory intervention is, by definition, not ‘material which might seriously impair'.

Mediawatch also highlight their legal contention that the infliction of point in the TV series Balls of Steel is a matter for the police:

Mediawatch-UK has been working with a lawyer whose legal opinion is that, whilst this infliction of pain may not have been in breach of the Broadcasting Code, it may well have been in breach of the Offences Against the Person Act regardless of whether or not the performers consented to this abuse.

Mediawatch printed this story as an ongoing campaign but it must have just missed the deadline that police quickly dismissed their notion and said that a criminal investigation was not appropriate .

Mediawatch also have a  piece about the strong language review by the BBFC. But nothing the BBC will ever do can keep Mediawatch happy with their uncompromising view:

We do not think strong language should be used at all before the watershed or in programmes likely to appeal to children. We believe the strongest swearwords should be barred at all times. Can there ever be a justification for using them? Are there really no other words which would suffice?

Lads mags also come under the nutter spotlight. Mediawatch are running a campaign to get MPs to sign up for:

Early Day Motion 412 from edmi.parliament.uk

That this House believes that politicians, retailers, publishers and distributors have a collective responsibility to protect children and young people from displays of sexually graphic material that they are not emotionally equipped to deal with; calls for an urgent review of existing guidelines drawn up between the Home Office and the National Federation of Retail Newsagents; further believes that such a review must consider the availability of sexually graphic publications to children and young people, the positioning of these publications on the shelves of retailers, and the potential for concealing these publications in bags and consider the question of age-rating such publications; and further believes that failure to follow the revised guidelines could lead to calls for legislation covering all aspects of the availability and display of sexually graphic material to children and young people throughout the retail and publishing industries.

It is currently signed by 149 censorial MPs

 

19th March   

Pre-censorial Tension...

US TV companies get wound up by the word 'vagina' in tampon advert
Link Here

kotex advert An advertising campaign for tampons is rejected by US television networks for daring to include the word vagina

For years, advertising for tampons and sanitary products have been shrouded in nebulous euphemism. So what happens when a US tampon-maker drops the coy messaging and goes straight for the jugular. Its ad gets banned by the major US television networks for mentioning the word vagina.

Even when the company substituted down there for vagina, two of the networks still wouldn't run the ad, so the company was forced to drop the idea altogether.

 

19th March   

Update: Slow Pass Filter...

Australian internet censorship delayed
Link Here

Australian Chinese flag The Rudd Government's nasty internet filter legislation is still being drafted and is unlikely to be debated in parliament until at the middle of June and might be pushed back even further.

Internet lovers, gamers, media - journalists, entrepreneurs and lovers or freedom of expression have been rejoicing and see the latest development as a victory of sorts in the internet control war .

Australian Communications Minister Stephen Conroy had originally planned for the filter to be debated this week, but his office confirmed the drafting of the legislation was still not finalised and discussions with ISPs and other stakeholders on outstanding issues were still taking place.

The Government will take the time to ensure that it gets the legislative framework right, advised a spokesprat for Senator Conroy: Discussions with ISPs and owners of high traffic sites on the implementation of ISP filtering are ongoing. The Government is also considering the responses to the consultation paper on improved transparency and accountability measures which will feed into the legislative framework.

The Bill will be introduced when these processes are completed, the spokesprat said.

It is currently unclear whether the internet filtering plan has a hope in hell of getting through the Senate.

The Greens are opposed to the scheme, and the opposition says while it supports in principle measures to protect children online, it has reservations about mandatory ISP level filtering.Shadow communications spokesman Tony Smith said the coalition will wait until the draft legislation is tabled before it formalises a policy on the issue

 

19th March   

Update: Maltese are Cross...

As state persecutes student author and publisher over sexy text story
Link Here

Ir-Realta Writer Alex Vella Gera is to be taken to court for his text story containing explicit language published on student publication Ir-Realta' .

Student editor Mark Camilleri, 22, is already undergoing criminal proceedings for publishing Vella Gera's story Li Tkisser Sewwi in the October issue of the University campus newspaper. The case has generated much controversy.

The author is now facing the same charges as Camilleri and the court case is expected to be heard on April 20. Camilleri is being charged with breaching Article 208 of the Criminal Code, which deals with the distribution of pornographic or obscene material among others, which could lead to a prison sentence of up to six months or a fine of up to €465.87.

He is also being charged with Articles 3 and 7 of the Press Act, which in this case deal with printed matter directly or indirectly injuring public morals or decency . Under these charges, guilty parties could face up to three months in prison or a fine.

The contentious story, written in 1997, dealt with the male narrator's sexual exploits, written in crude language, and included detailed references to sex with the various women he had. The author said the story had already been published on a blog around five years ago.

Absurd criminal proceedings

Based on article from timesofmalta.com

A group which represents 90 authors, artists and other people involved in culture, has written to the Minister of Injustice and the Parliamentary Secretary for Culture urging them to stop the absurd criminal proceedings being taken against editor Mark Camilleri and author Alex Vella Gera for their article in Ir-Realta.

Grupp said the two government members are politically responsible for the persecution of the author and editor, and for the direct assault on freedom of expression and artistic freedom .

Such actions place our country in the same league as anti-democratic and intolerant regimes, which over the years have garnered a reputation for repressing freedom of thought and expression, whether they use violent means to do so or rely on legal arguments to justify their actions.

The group also appealed to the justice minister and the parliamentary secretary, in their respective remits, to abolish censorship of the arts, to update laws defining obscenity and to stop the criminalisation of art .

Update: Appeal for Euro Help

1st April 2010. See  article from  timesofmalta.com

EU flag The assistance of Malta's MEPs for the removal of censorship is being sought by the Front Against Censorship which in a letter to the country's representatives in the EU said it was very worrying that the Maltese were still not enjoying some of the most fundamental European freedoms.

The Front said that 2009 would be remembered as the year when the supposedly modern and European Maltese State escalated its actions against freedom of speech through draconian actions such as the punishment of carnival revellers for dressing up as Christ, the ban of the play Stitching , the threat of a prison sentence to a newspaper editor for publishing an erotic story and the suspended prison sentence to an artist for a visual which criticised the Catholic religion.

The Front said censorship on arts and entertainment went against the core European principles of liberty and freedom of expression: We are humbly urging you to present this case of affairs to the European Parliament in order to raise the alarm on a European level regarding Malta's repressive and outdated censorship laws.

 

19th March   

Updated: Negative Pakistan...

Pakistan censors ban Bollywood film Lahore
Link Here

lahore Bollywood films are a huge craze across the border in Pakistan. But the newly released Lahore , by director Sanjay Puran Singh Chauhan, has been banned. Ironically the film itself talks of a peace initiative between India and Pakistan and some portions have been shot in Lahore in 2009.

Based on kickboxing, the critically acclaimed film — which has been shown at several international festivals — has been denied a release because authorities in Pakistan reportedly don't approve of the title. In addition, they feel Indian films show Pakistan in a negative way.

Sanjay was told that Pakistan censor board objected to certain scenes: especially one where a Pakistani girl asks for forgiveness from an Indian character. Also the title Lahore didn't go down well with the board.

 

18th March   

Rated R for Re-Launched...

MPAA improve their film ratings website
Link Here

cara logo The Motion Picture Association of America has relaunched its film ratings website, www.filmratings.com, with enhanced features.

The official website of the Classification and Ratings Administration (CARA) features an expanded printable database of films rated all the way back to 1968, when the ratings system was created. Users can search by title, year of release or rating.

Other features include detailed explanations of the process and history of the system, ratings definitions, answers to frequently asked questions and a place for parents to sign up for Red Carpet Ratings, a free weekly email service that provides ratings information on current films.

The outgoing chairman Dan Glickman said the purpose of the revamped site is to bring added transparency to the ratings process.

The sole purpose of the ratings system is to provide parents with clear and concise information about the content of a film in order to help them determine whether a movie is suitable for their children . We overhauled our film ratings website so that we can continue to provide additional clarity, enhanced information and added transparency about the system to maximize our communication with parents.

All of our film raters share one essential attribute: parenthood! Each time we rate a movie we ask the primary question, 'What would I want to know about this film before I decide to let my child see it?' Joan Graves, chairman of CARA, said in a statement. Our goal is to help make parents' jobs easier, by providing clear information about films so parents can make choices for their kids according to their values, keeping in mind their children's individual sensitivities. It's a responsibility we take seriously, and we are excited to have a more user-friendly website to provide information to parents on the ratings process and about the ratings themselves.

The site also features a section on the MPAA's Advertising Administration, which ensures that movie advertising is appropriately placed before the right audience. Every film that is submitted for an MPAA rating is required to have its advertising approved by the Advertising Administration before it is displayed to the public.

The Advertising Administration reviews about 60,000 pieces of film advertising annually, including theatrical, home video and online trailers; print ads; radio and TV spots; billboards; posters; and other promotion materials.

 

18th March   

Update: Heated Debate...

ASA dismisses complaints about drowning puppy climate change advert
Link Here

Act on C02 advert A TV ad for the Government's Act On CO2 campaign showed a young girl being read a bedtime story by her father. Gentle, sorrowful music played throughout. The voice-over stated There was once a land where the weather was very very strange. There were awful heat waves in some parts and in others terrible storms and floods. Images in the storybook showed a cartoon horse, pig, sheep and other animals staring in dismay at a dried up river bed and a cartoon rabbit crying at the sight of it. The voice-over continued Scientists said it was being caused by too much CO2, which went up into the sky when the grown-ups used energy. The storybook showed black smoke rising up from an urban scene, from cars on the road and people's houses, and forming a cloud of CO2 in the shape of a monster in the sky. The camera panned to the father and daughter reading the story together. The voice-over continued They said the CO2 was getting dangerous, its effects were happening faster than they had thought. Some places could even disappear under the sea and it was the children of the land who would have to live with the horrible consequences. The storybook showed a flooded town with people clinging to the roofs of buildings and cars in the rain and a cartoon cat floating on an upturned table and a dog sinking under the water. The voice-over continued The grown-ups realised they had to do something. They discovered that over 40% of the CO2 was coming from ordinary every day things like keeping houses warm and driving cars, which meant if they made less CO2 maybe they could save the land for the children. A child in the picture book switched off a light in her house. The little girl turned to her father and asked Is there a happy ending? A voice-over stated It's up to us how the story ends. See what you can do. Search online for Act on CO2 .

Many viewers complained that (amongst other more political issues) that

  • the theme and content of the ad, for example the dog drowning in the storybook and the depiction of the young girl to whom the story was being read, could be distressing for children who saw it
     
  • the ad should not have been shown when children were likely to be watching television;

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that some complainants were concerned that their children or grandchildren had been upset or worried by the ad. However, we also noted the ad had been given an ex-kids restriction by Clearcast, which meant that it should not be broadcast in or around programmes specifically made for children and should, as a consequence, avoid younger children watching television on their own.

We acknowledged that the subject of climate change was routinely taught in schools and was already a matter of public discussion amongst all age groups, and considered that the animated storybook imagery in the ad was likely to indicate to adults and children alike that this was a narrative about what could happen rather than what would happen.

We considered that, whilst the ad might be alarming for some young people who saw it, the storybook presentation, which featured line-drawn animals and showed the story being read by an adult, was likely to ameliorate that.

We concluded that, when shown in the context of the timing restriction applied by Clearcast, the ad was unlikely to cause harm or undue distress to children.

 

18th March   

Update: Offended by Libel Tourism...

Saudis use UK libel courts to attack Danish newspapers over the Mohammed cartoons
Link Here

Politiken cover The Danish minister of justice has called on the European Commission to put a stop to a lawsuit by a Saudi lawyer who is using the UK's famously libel-happy courts to go after Danish newspapers for their publication of cartoons of Mohammed.

It's fundamentally reasonable that judgments in the EU can often be exercised across borders, the minister, Lars Barfoed, said according to the Berlingske Tidende newspaper.

But it would be taking it to the extreme if a UK court could rule against the Danish media and then require compensation and court costs to be paid.

Britain is said to be the libel tourism capital of the world. In English and Welsh courts, the burden of proof is borne by the accused rather than the complainant, and as a result they have become the jurisdiction of choice for oligarchs and mafiosi, Saudi billionaires and even totalitarian governments.

On Monday, the Danish government said that they had had enough. Danish justice minister Lars Barfoed demanded that Brussels step in to prevent lawyer Faisal Yamani from suing the Danish papers for damages in British courts on behalf of 95,000 descendents of Mohammed who claim they and their faith have been defamed.

In August 2009, Yamani asked 11 Danish publications to take down the Mohammed cartoons from their websites. While most papers have refused to do so, the left-leaning daily Politiken, finally agreed to do so in February. Rebuffed by the Danish publications, Yamani has moved his fight to UK jurisdiction, where even publication on the internet in a foreign country in another language is considered as good as published domestically.

 

18th March   

Update: Future Not So Rosé...

Wine tasting banned from French TV
Link Here

edonys tv logo You might think that French officials would have raised their glasses in celebration of a project to create the first Gallic television channel dedicated to wine. Instead, they appear intent on driving the station into exile, possibly to Britain, after deciding that it will fall foul of the toughest laws on alcohol promotion outside the Muslim world.

Edonys, a private group which hopes to start broadcasting later this year, has been warned by France's Higher Audiovisual Council that it will receive authorisation only if it drops plans for programmes featuring wine-tastings and expert discussions. The broadcasting authority deemed these illegal under a law that prohibits all direct or indirect propaganda in favour of alcoholic drinks on television.

However, the station is refusing to amend its schedule and executives are now looking for a base outside France. Britain, Luxembourg and Belgium are among the options.

He said that the station would instead target wine-lovers in Belgium and other francophone countries with looser regulations. He said that Edonys also intended to start broadcasting English-language programmes for the UK and Northern European countries next year. It is likely to be a pay channel available by cable or satellite.

 

18th March   

Martyrs to the BBFC...

Old cuts to the Bill Douglas drama Comrades
Link Here

Comrades DVD Vanessa Redgrave Comrades is a 1986 UK drama by Bill Douglas

The BBFC passed the 2009 BFI DVD 15 uncut

Previously the BBFC cut 3s from the 1987 cinema release and 1989 Virgin video for a PG certificate.

From cuts details on IMDb

  • Cut during a scene hinting at oral sex between McCallum and his dog.

 

18th March   

Update: Gambling on Less Opposition...

Polish government again pondering internet censorship
Link Here

Poland flag Although the Polish government said it had abandoned the idea of blocking web sites with supposedly dangerous content, it is still seems determined to censor the internet.

Deputy Finance Minister Jacek Kapica has come up with an alternative solution to the online betting problem, which would enable him to exercise absolute control over the web, say critics. Kapica's idea is to create a special unit within the customs service, which would control the web and block sites if a court decided that they contained 'dangerous' content or would enable internet users to gamble online, according to the Dziennik Gazeta Prawna daily.

The censors would be appointed by the Finance, Justice and Infrastructure Ministries.

The minister's idea is, in fact, a return to the previous government's proposal to create a black list of web sites with dangerous content which should be blocked. The proposal was severely criticized by internet users who claimed that the draft bill would violate the freedom of expression on internet. After the protest PM Donald Tusk assured internet users that the government would abandon the idea and in the future consult them on legislation concerning internet.

 

18th March   

Update: Censoria Dramatica...

Australian government seek to prosecute US website for offending Aboriginees
Link Here

Encyclopedia Dramatica You would think after all these years on the internet we would have figured out how to deal with basic jurisdictional issues, but there are still plenty of countries who think that the laws in their country can reach over borders and be applied to people and websites in completely different countries, just because they don't like it.

The latest such example involves the guy who runs Encyclopedia Dramatica, which might be simply described as... 4chan's version of Wikipedia. However you want to describe it, it's filled with content you probably don't want your mom looking at. But, it's quite an institution at this point.

But it turns out that the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission (HREOC) is upset about a deliberately offensive article about Aborigines, and is threatening to take the site's operator, Joseph Evers, to court. The thing is, the stuff on Encyclopedia Dramatica are deliberately offensive to pretty much everyone. That's the point. But the nice thing about the internet is that if you don't like that sort of thing, you can avoid it. Furthermore, Evers is in the US and isn't breaking any US laws.

It also turns out that Encyclopedia Dramatica is apparently on Australia's secret censorship filter list.

 

18th March   

Updated: Naked Hype...

Bollywood's first full frontal sex scene
Link Here

lsd Never before has it happened in the history of Bollywood films that a complete frontal nude scene has been shot. But the film Love Sex aur Dhokha has chosen this unconventional route of telling a tale of love, sex and betrayal through candid points of view.

The controversial scene in question was shot with Indian actors. Reveals a source, The script required the scene to be shot with full frontal. It took a lot of courage for both the actors to do it. LSD does not aim to shock audiences but does aim at mirroring reality .

LSD features a bunch of newcomers with no mainstream trappings to it. Also, sex and voyeurism form a major driving force of the narrative of this film which is now ready and heading towards 19th March release.

Balaji Motion Pictures and Dibaker Banerjee's Love Sex aur Dhokha talks about how voyeurism is indeed a reality in today's society.

Reveals a source from Balaji, Ekta and Dibaker went on a nation wide hunt for these actors after the script was in place. Since the film mirrors reality, having known faces would not have done justice to the story. This is the reason why the makers have adopted a marketing strategy of not going out with the LSD's actors' identities since it would only increase the audience's curiosity.

Adds the source, LSD has been in the news for its offensive lyrics, controversial subject, cuss words used in the film and never seen before nude scenes. Not revealing the actors starring in the film will only further pique audience curiosity about the film.

Dibakar says, I am apprehensive about the reaction of the members of the censor board as this kind of film needs that kind of sensitivity. I am all for the creative integrity of the subject matter and my job is to see that the message is delivered. It's not about the sex scene but how to retain the integrity of the story while remaining within the legal limits of the land. I'd say it's a genre-defining film and the most emotionally draining, gut-wrenching film I've made till now. There's a lot of heart burn in LSD.

Update: Full frontal hype all bollox

18th March 2010. Based on article from movies.ndtv.com

The hyped scene showing a bare-backed woman on top of a man in director Dibakar Banerjee's much talked-about film Love Sex Aur Dokha will be blurred on screen.

The director says: We had submitted a DVD of the film to the censor board so they'd recommend cuts in advance and avoid delays. The censor preview recommendation suggests that we blur the sex scene.

We were told this scene was too graphic and needed tempering. There's no way the censors could allow the love-making scene. We've clearly been told that even before the film is submitted for censoring.

 

17th March   

Socially Correct...

CAP/BCAP update their advertising rules with more child protection, social responsibility and taste-decency censorship
Link Here

CAP logo The Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP) and the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) have launched new UK Advertising Codes, following a comprehensive review and a full public consultation.

Consumer protection and social responsibility have been maintained at the heart of the Advertising Codes to ensure that all ads are legal, decent, honest and truthful. Key changes include:

  • The creation of a single Broadcast Code for TV and radio in place of the existing four – making it more user-friendly, clearer and joined-up.
  • An over-arching social responsibility rule for TV and radio that will afford greater protection to consumers.
  • Further commitment to protecting children:
  • A new scheduling rule for TV and radio keeps ads for age-restricted video games away from children's programming.
  • Strengthened data protection rules for children, prevent marketers collecting data from U12s without parental consent.
  • A new section in the Broadcast Code on environmental claims to provide greater clarity for advertisers and the public.
  • Relaxation of the TV scheduling restriction on condom advertising. They can now appear pre-watershed but must be kept away from the youngest viewers (U10s). Ads must also comply with the strict rules on taste and decency and socially responsible advertising.

This was the first ever concurrent review of all the Advertising Codes in nearly fifty years of their history. The thorough process involved assessing more than 400 pieces of legislation and 30,000 consultation responses. Participants included a wide range of stakeholders such as Government, parents and children's groups, consumer protection bodies, regulators, charities and religious organisations, as well as the industry. The responses helped shape CAP and BCAP's views and the final Advertising Codes.

The new Codes will come into force on 1 September 2010, allowing advertisers nearly six months to familiarise themselves with the changes and ensure campaigns comply with the new rules. CAP and BCAP are also providing a comprehensive range of training and advice resources for all those involved in commissioning, producing or publishing ads to help make sure they comply with the rules.

 

17th March   

Protection For, Of, and Against Children...

Catholic bishops whinge at pre-watershed condom adverts on TV
Link Here

cbcew logo The advertising censors are to allow condoms to be advertised on daytime TV in defiance of church nonsense that it will encourage under-age sex. A new code will permit condoms to be promoted before the 9pm watershed around any programme, providing it is not designed for children under ten.

The move follows claims from the Government's Independent Advisory Group on Sexual Health and HIV that greater access to condoms is necessary to reduce the levels of teenage pregnancy and sexually transmitted disease.

But bishops and family campaigners say it will normalise the idea of children under 16 having sex. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England and Wales said: It is profoundly inappropriate to advertise condoms to children. Promoting the use of condoms cannot be separated from promoting sex, and the sexualisation of the target audience, which will be extended to children from ten to 16.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland said: Government sexual health strategies including public health advertising in recent years have amounted to pouring petrol on a fire. Every public health message has contributed to a worsening of the problem and allowing unrestricted advertising of condoms is likely to do the same.

The new UK Advertising Code, announced yesterday, also puts the TV industry at odds with church leaders on both pornography and gambling. It will allow pornographic films and magazines to be advertised on subscription adult TV channels.

Proposals to allow commercial abortion clinics to advertise their services on TV and radio have been delayed. It is not clear if they will be pursued.

 

17th March   

Update: Hidden Face of Censorship...

Australian R18+ campaigners mysteriously have their Facebook page banned
Link Here

Australlia Grow Up logo Citing a supposed violation of its terms of use, social website Facebook has removed the group page of the pro R18+ organization Grow Up Australia .

A message from Facebook, while not specific, offered that groups that are hateful, threatening or obscene are not allowed. Additionally, Facebook removes groups that attack an individual or group, or advertise a product or service. The group had boasted around 37,000 members before its removal.

While a logical guess might theorize that members of the group had posted hateful comments about a certain South Australian Attorney General, Grow Up Australia wrote that it did not believe that any administrator-provided content had provoked the ban, and that it had also been vigilant in moderating member content.

The group has setup a Facebook Fan Page while it attempts to lobby Facebook to reinstate its group page.

 

17th March   

Wide Eyed Artists...

Tokyo considers legislation to impose age restrictions on anime comic books
Link Here

Ashita no Joe Asao Takamori Some of Japan's leading anime artists have voiced their opposition to a government proposal to outlaw sex and violence in children's comics and impose an age limit on anyone buying sexually explicit anime.

Headed by such well-known figures in the industry as Fujiko Fujio A, the creator of Hattori the Ninja and the Laughing Salesman , and Tetsuya Chiba, who draws the Tomorrow's Joe manga, the artists told reporters in Tokyo that the law would affect their freedom of expression.

Machiko Satonaka, another manga artist, said that the proposed legislation, created by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government, pertains to freedom of expression and is open to a variety of interpretations. She added that she was horrified that the city government was planning to regulate comic characters because no one is actually being harmed.

The city assembly, which will vote on the proposed law on Friday, wants to restrict comics and animated images that contain sexually provocative depictions of nonexistent minors - an ambiguous concept that is taken to mean characters that people could reasonably assume to be minors, based on their appearances.

The new law would require the manga and animation industry not to sell works that depict sexual situations involving minors while also identifying works that depict rape and other violence as harmful materials and restrict minors' access to such comics.

 

17th March   

Updated: The Missionary Position:...

All sex is bad, particularly on daytime TV
Link Here

this morning logo Those tuning into This Morning , eager to see their favourite cookery and fashion features, were instead confronted by two couples simulating sex live on air.

In one scene a young couple were shown testing out how to have sex when there is a height difference, while an older pair revealed the best positions to adopt when one party is tired.

It then featured a short interview with 23-year-old Dannii Frost, who complained she had never had an orgasm with her partner of three years. Although presenter Philip Schofield kept a straight face as the spectacle unfolded, it was too much for co-host Holly Willoughby, who spent most of the time giggling and pulling faces.

But not everyone was laughing last night. A few viewers have turned to internet message boards and to media groups to complain about the ITV daytime programme, which is dedicating much of its output this week to dealing with viewers' sexual problems and questions.

Vivienne Pattison, director of MediaWatch UK, said: I've had people ringing in to complain about this and they are right to do so. Lots of people were offended. This was broadcast well before the watershed and when young children are likely to be watching. It is not appropriate. ITV have crossed a line here.

However Schofield was unrepentant, writing on his Twitter page: I am loving the "outrage" at This Morning's sex week. It was all perfectly decent and you got two warnings. And he warned that the rest of the week would cover sex toys, sexual taboos and infidelity.

Update: Ofcom's Position

17th March 2010. Based on article from broadcastnow.co.uk

Ofcom logo Ofcom is not planning to investigate viewers complaints about This Morning 's sex-themed week, Sex Up Your Life.

The regulator confirmed this morning that complaints had been made about models simulating sex positions on the morning television programme. A spokesman said there were no plans to investigate the complaints, which focused on the suitability of the show pre-watershed.

 

17th March   

Update: Banging On...

TV censor continues to tease the Bang Babe channels
Link Here

Babe Channel The UK TV Censor, Ofcom, has issued a final warning about the sexy content of the Tease Me babe channels

Bang Channels Ltd is licensed by Ofcom to provide the services known as Tease Me, Tease Me 2, Tease Me 3. Bang Media (London) Ltd is licensed by Ofcom to provide the service on Freeview known as Tease Me TV.

Ofcom has recently published in Broadcast Bulletins 151, 152 and 153 various breaches of the Broadcasting Code against each of Bang Channels and Bang Media. Ofcom also published various breaches of Condition 11 (retention and production of recordings) of their Licences. Since these breaches were serious and repeated, Bang Channels and Bang Media were warned that Ofcom was considering these contraventions for statutory sanction.

Despite these published findings, Ofcom is concerned that Bang Channels and Bang Media are continuing to transmit content that is in breach of the Code in that it appears similar in nature to that already found in breach of the Code on a number of occasions.

Ofcom therefore on 12 March 2010 issued formal directions against each of Bang Channels and Bang Media requiring them:

  • to comply forthwith with the Broadcasting Code (in particular sections 1 and 2) and Condition 11 of their licences (retention and production of recordings);
  • to stop transmitting forthwith any content which is materially similar to that already found in breach of the Broadcasting Code by Ofcom; and
  • immediately to confirm these actions to Ofcom in writing.

Failure to comply with a Direction given by Ofcom could give rise to consideration of a statutory sanction and may result in the revocation of relevant licences.

 

17th March   

A Landscape of Censorship...

Spanish ministry asks for cuts to corruption criticisms in housing construction TV documentary
Link Here

ecogistas en accion logo Environmental organisations in Spain have condemned a decision by the environment ministry to censor a television documentary on the construction of illegal housing on the Mediterranean.

The programme -- to be aired on TVE public television -- shows an infinite number of ecological disasters caused by the actions or failures of various administrations and which led to the creation of an artificial and devastated coastal landscape, Ecologists in Action said.

The newspaper El Pais said the programme referred to the involvement of local officials and companies in illegal activities and corruption in the construction of housing along the Mediterranean coast.

It said the ministry acknowledged that it requested the cutting of two minutes of the programme that alleged that the situation is the result of poor urban planning and over-building.

Ecologists in Action condemned the unacceptable decision as censorship, and together with Greenpeace it called for the full version of the programme to be broadcast.

 

17th March   

Offsite: Blurring into Old Fogies...

MTV's weirdly conservative censorship
Link Here

mtv logo When I excitedly flicked on one of my favorite movies, Hustle & Flow , when I saw it was being aired on MTV this weekend, I was reminded of how weirdly obsessed it remains with being safe and politically correct – concepts that are squarely at odds with its reputation as a destination for disaffected youth.

The movie is a great fit for the network, since it's about an aspiring rap star, and even co-stars Ludacris, a real-life rap star who is an MTV mainstay. But the plot revolves around a man who makes his living as a pimp who deals drugs on the side. When I tuned in, Terrence Howard's character was handing a client a bag of weed, a delivery that the network blurred out. Bleeping out language that will get your network fined is one thing; but censoring objects and content in a movie that is all about offensive objects and content is futile – either air a movie about a drug dealer, or don't. But don't air a movie about a drug dealer then blur everything associated with dealing drugs.

...Read full article

 

16th March   

Update: Cinema Chain Smoking...

Nutter researchers think they can undermine the credibility of film classification to suit their own agenda
Link Here
101 Dalmations still

  Don't smoke kids.
Smoking addles the brain and
you may turn into a barmy researcher

The analysis of hundreds of films released in the past decade found that young Britons see more cigarette use in movies than their US counterparts because the UK censors judge more films to be family friendly.

Researchers warn that the more smoking adolescents witness onscreen, the more their chances of taking up the habit increases, with those who see the most tobacco use about three times more likely to start smoking than those who watch the least.

The study, compiled by Dr Christopher Millett of Imperial College London and Professor Stanton Glantz of California University, advocated an overhaul of the ratings system: Awarding an 18 rating to films that contain smoking would create an economic incentive for motion picture producers to simply leave smoking out of films developed for the youth market .

The researchers assessed the number of onscreen smoking or tobacco occurrences in 572 top grossing films in the UK between 2001 and 2006, including 546 screened in the United States, plus 26 high-earning films released only in the UK. They then divided the total box office earnings of each film by the year's average ticket price to calculate the estimated number of tobacco impressions delivered to audiences for each film.

Among the films assessed, over two thirds featured tobacco. Of these more than nine out of ten were classified as suitable for adolescents (15 or 12A) under the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) system.

The study, which will be published in Tobacco Control, found that in all, 5.07 billion tobacco impressions were delivered to UK cinema-going audiences during the period, of which 4.49 billion were delivered in 15 and 12A rated films. Because 79% of the films rated only for adults in the US (R) were classified as suitable for young people in the UK young Britons were exposed to 28% more smoking impressions in 15 or 12A rated movies than their US peers.

Dr Millett said: The decision to classify a film as appropriate for youths clearly has economic benefits for the film industry. A film classification policy that keeps on-screen smoking out of films rated suitable for youths … would reduce this exposure for people under 18 years of age and probably lead to a substantial reduction in youth smoking.

However, Sue Clark, spokeswoman for the BBFC, said imposing an 18 rating on films which feature scenes of smoking is not going to happen .

She said: Sometimes smoking is included in a film for reasons of historical accuracy. The only time we would consider stepping in is if we felt a film was actively promoting smoking. But I have never seen a film that did that.

 

16th March   

Anti-Leak Report Leaked...

US report proposed to undermine wikileaks by outing contributors
Link Here

Wikileaks logo Wikileaks have published a 2008 U.S. counterintelligence investigation into WikiLeaks.

It reports: The possibility that current employees or moles within DoD or elsewhere in the U.S. government are providing sensitive or classified information to Wikileaks.org cannot be ruled out.

It then suggests a plan to fatally marginalize the organization. Since WikiLeaks uses 'trust as a center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insiders, leakers or whisteblowers, the report recommends The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistlblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Wikileaks.org Web sit .

 

16th March   

More T-Shirt Nonsense...

A bit worrying when airport security staff show a lack of common sense
Link Here

freedom or death shirt A man was told to hide his T-shirt because airport security staff claimed the slogan it bore was an incitement to terrorism.

Lloyd Berks arrived at Gatwick Airport wearing a trendy white Levi Strauss T-shirt sporting the phrase Freedom or Death in turquoise lettering. Beneath the slogan is a picture of a skeleton dressed in armour.

The Gothic imagery is common on the high street but 'security' officers decided it was threatening and told the father of two, who was travelling with his partner and two young children, to turn the T-shirt inside out. The man obliged but he has accused the airport of being over-zealous and attacking civil liberties.

Berks was stopped at a security checkpoint by Gatwick staff. They said airlines might be worried by my T-shirt because its "threatening". I thought they were joking at first. I was with my family. I was hardly a terrorist risk. And the T-shirt is trendy, not an incitement to terrorism. I've never heard of anything more ridiculous. It's an attack on people's civil liberties. What has happened to common sense? Have people forgotten how to use it?

Dylan Sharpe, campaign director of Big Brother Watch, said it was yet another example of how paranoid we have been made by terrorism: This is a sad example of the terrorism paranoia which increasingly affects every part of public life. T-shirt slogans do not imply malicious intent and the pathetic security officers should have known better.

A spokeswoman for Gatwick Airport has since apologised. She denied the airport had a policy on T-shirt slogans. She said: London Gatwick does not apply a policy relating to appropriate or inappropriate T-shirt slogans worn by passengers passing through airport security. While safety and security are our highest priorities, we also expect staff to apply common sense and judgment.

 

16th March   

Update: Turkishness Is...Insulting Free Speech...

Website editor on charges for comments made by forum poster
Link Here

gercek gundem logo Baris Yarkadas, the editor of the online newspaper Gercek Gündem (Real Agenda), is facing up to five years in prison at a trial that started on 3 March 2010.

Proceedings were initiated in response to a complaint brought by the president's office. He is charged with insulting President Abdullah Gül under article 299-2 of the criminal code for failing to remove a comment posted by a reader.

We call for the immediate withdrawal of this baseless charge, Reporters Without Borders said. It is incomprehensible that Yarkadas should be accused of insulting the president when he did not himself write the comment, which was anyway neither rude nor insulting. This prosecution is indicative of a desire by the government to intimidate and silence its critics.

The reader accused President Gül of allowing his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan, to defy him. Bravo, you have trampled on the honour of the great republic of Turkey, he wrote.

Yarkadas is facing other prosecutions. He is charged with offending Nur Birgen, head of the Institute for Forensic Medicine's expertise section, by reporting allegations that human rights NGOs have made against her.

 

16th March   

In Denial...

Venezuela is planning to censor the internet
Link Here

Columbia flag Venezuela is not planning to censor the web or to shut down social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook, officials said, after President Hugo Chavez called for regulation of the Internet.

Opposition leaders, bloggers and media freedom groups are worried Chavez's socialist government is preparing to clamp down on the networking sites or install tight controls such as those used by Cuba, Iran and China.

Chavez last week said authorities should act against news and opinion site Noticerodigital after it published user comments claiming that a senior minister had been assassinated. He said the nation's laws must apply to the Internet.

The government is also planning to change the structure of the Internet in Venezuela by installing a unique connection point. It says such a system is more efficient and provides faster access, but critics worry it will lead to censorship.

 

16th March   

Facing up to Easy Offence...

Moroccan Secular group incurs the wrath of Facebook
Link Here

deleted facebook group Over the past few years, Facebook has come under scrutiny a number of times for its seeming hypocrisy on what types of groups it deems inappropriate. Although the site's terms of service (TOS) ban everything from nudity, to speech deemed hateful, to using a pseudonym to open an account, they are selectively enforced.

The TOS appear only to be enforced when enough users report a group as inappropriate, and once a group is removed, its creators often find it impossible to get it back. Users whose personal accounts are removed sometimes create a new account, only to find it deleted again soon afterward.

Moroccan activist Kacem El Ghazzali was recently subjected to Facebook's TOS when a group he had created, entitled Jeunes pour la séparation entre Religion et Enseignement (youth for the separation between religion and education), was promptly removed. El Ghazzali emailed Facebook, but received no response. Two days later, his personal account had been deleted from Facebook as well. He says that while the group was live, he received emails from Muslims who opposed the group, as well as other groups he had created.

El Ghazzali's group, and his account, both appear to have been well within both U.S. law and Facebook's TOS. Why then, did Facebook delete them? Was it under pressure from another country's government, or did enough people simply report the group that Facebook automatically removed it? In any case, why doesn't Facebook offer recourse for its users to report accounts and groups removed in error, as other sites such as YouTube and Blogger do?

Since his account and groups do not appear to be in violation of Facebook's TOS, it seems that Facebook is now policing speech, possibly at the behest of a foreign government.

 

15th March   

Update: Turning a New Leaf Salad...

Gordon Ramsey claims an end to his strong language
Link Here

Ramsays Kitchen Nightmares DVD Gordon Ramsay has vowed to cut out the strong language.

He reckons that at 43 he's now too old for the four-letter tirades. The cocky chef has also decided to ease up on bullying the owners of dodgy diners on screen.

Gordon said he counted 298 'fucks' when two episodes of Kitchen Nightmares were condensed into one last year. He said: I wasn't proud of that. There has come a time when I'm getting a bit tired of the foul-mouthed bully chef.

But Gordon admitted he won't be able to axe the F-words completely and turn into a touchy-feely chef.

Gordon's long-standing cooking colleague and Hell's Kitchen star Angela Hartnett urged him to soften his image. She said: People don't like the aggression so much. They no longer want to see him or Simon Cowell make people cry.

 

15th March   

Prudery in Fashion...

India gets wound up by catwalk nipples on Fashion TV
Link Here

fashion tv logo A television channel that showed footage of a model's naked breast as part of its coverage of a fashion show by the late British designer Alexander McQueen is to be taken off the air in India, according to government officials.

Fashion TV, which broadcasts internationally via satellite and cable systems, has been suspended for nine days, India's Information and Broadcasting Ministry said.

The offending programme, shown last September, depicted women with nude upper body which was offending [sic] against good taste and decency , a ministry statement said. The visuals were found to be obscene, denigrating women and were not suitable for children and unrestricted public exhibition, it added.

 

15th March   

Self Harm...

Royal College of Psychiatrists calls for internet ban on images of self harm
Link Here

Royal College of Psychitrists logo The Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) has called for internet images that "romanticise" self-harm to be removed after 50% rise in young people being admitted to hospital for deliberately cutting themselves.

There were 1,758 admissions for self-harm with a sharp object among people under 25 in 2004-5. This rose to 2,727 in 2008-9, according to the BBC research.

Dr Margaret Murphy, chair of the RCP child and adolescent faculty, said: The RCP is seriously concerned at the recent growth in the number of internet sites featuring images and video footage of young people engaging in self-harm and, in particular, websites which appear to promote self-harm.

 

15th March   

Update: No News on Southern Unrest...

Yemen government seizes broadcasting equipment of news channels
Link Here

Al Jazeera logo The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns Yemeni authorities' seizure of equipment enabling the pan-Arab satellite news channels Al-Arabiya and Al-Jazeera to broadcast live from the country.

The move came after both channels had broadcast clashes between police and protesters in the southern town of Daleh, as well as rallies in the north against the crackdown. The stations can still report and transmit taped coverage.

We condemn this arbitrary seizure and ask the authorities to allow Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya to resume their live broadcasts without delay, said CPJ Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. To suddenly assert that the confiscations are due to lack of authorization is not credible given than both channels have been broadcasting from Yemen for years without such a claim by authorities.

Al-Arabiya's bureau chief in Sana'a, Mahmud Munassar, told CPJ that his employees were briefly detained and questioned. He called the raid an intimidation tactic designed to silence the channel's coverage of Yemen. Al-Arabiya received the green light from the president of the republic in 2009 to bring live broadcasting equipment into Yemen, Munassar told CPJ. The Sana'a government is clearly trying to cover up its policies in the south.

 

15th March   

Update: I CANNot...

XXX domain decision delayed until June
Link Here

ICANN ICANN has delayed its ruling on the proposed .xxx internet porn domain until this summer.

At a meeting in Nairobi, Kenya, the ICANN board voted to push a decision to its next get-together in Brussels this June, while giving its CEO and chief counsel two weeks to prepare recommendations on how to proceed with the .xxx proposal. These recommendations will then be open to comment for 45 days.

The last rejection came in 2007, but in recent weeks, an independent panel of judges ruled that the organization was wrong to do so. The 2007 rejection was not consistent with the application of neutral, objective, and fair documented policy, the panel said.

The ICANN board is not obliged to follow the panel's decision, and in a blog post following the decision, ICANN CEO Rod Beckstrom made a point of saying that it was not unanimous and that there was ample public opposition to the .xxx proposal.

Under the proposal, porn sites would not be required to use the .xxx domain, and if they did use it, they could continue use other domains as well.

 

15th March   

Offsite: The Infidel...

Religion and comedy: drawing the line before you get killed
Link Here

the infidel I've written and co-produced The Infidel , a movie about a Muslim who discovers that he was born a Jew, which comes out on April 9. As part of the build-up to the movie, the company behind it is running an online competition called Which Religion Is Funniest?, a nationwide search for the best religious joke.

All this will hopefully provoke, if not necessarily answer, all those questions that are worth asking when comedy and religion meet: when does a religious joke become a racist joke? Can a comedian joke only about his or her own religion? Is it the culture or the religion that is being laughed at? Is religion being laughed at, or with? And the big perennial, where do you draw the line?

Well, one place where you might perhaps draw the line is before you get killed. In Life of Brian times, making a film that some people thought was offensive to their faith led to nothing more frightening than a late-night TV argument with Malcolm Muggeridge and the Bishop of Southwark; now, as Theo van Gogh can't tell you, blasphemy can have much more serious consequences. Because The Infidel is about Muslims and Jews, it's created around me a certain amount of what I might describe as God!-what-he-is-thinking-about?-ness. I don't personally feel that the movie is offensive to either community, but that didn't stop Simon Schama, who was at one of the early screenings, saying to me afterwards: I adored it. So funny. Get some security.

...Read the full article

Update: BBC pulled out of The Infidel production

14th April 2010. See  article from  freethinker.co.uk

The BBC had originally been a co-producer of The Infidel, but, says Baddiel, then got cold feet: The BBC changed character. The BBC became much more wary about doing anything that might be considered to be offensive, trouble making or whatever.

Update: Banned in Dubai

23rd August 2010. See  article from  cbc.ca

They've had strong sales of the film in the Middle East, though it didn't get past the censorship board in Dubai.

A distributor in conservative Iran, where Djalili has a big YouTube following, bought it, but Israel is so far a holdout.

 

15th March   

Offsite: Detecting Lies...

Academic paper doubting lie detector capability banned by libel
Link Here

francisco lacerda Francisco Lacerda, a professor of phonetics at Stockholm University, is one of two scientists threatened with legal action after the publication of a scientific article condemning the use of lie detectors. The Israeli company Nemesysco, which manufactures detectors, has written in a letter to the researchers' publishers that the researchers may be sued for libel if they continue to write on this subject in the future.

One year ago, Francisco Lacerda, a professor of linguistics at Stockholm University, and Anders Eriksson, professor of phonetics at the University of Gothenburg, published an article in the International Journal of Speech Language and the Law, a magazine for voice experts working for the police and security services. The article entitled "Charlatantry in forensic speech science" gave an overview of the last fifty years of research in the field of lie detectors. The article's conclusion is that there is no scientific evidence to show that lie detectors actually work.

...Read the full article

 

14th March   

Any Old Bollox...

Mediawatch-UK snitch to police over old Balls of Steel shows
Link Here

Balls Steel Complete Season DVD Scotland Yard has received a complaint about a Channel 4 alternative comedy series in which two men inflict pain on each other for fun.

The programme – Balls Of Steel – features Michael Locke and Matthew Pritchard, who perform masochistic acts including giving each other electric shocks and stapling paper to their tongues.

The pair – who go under the name Pancho and Pritchard, The Pain Men – are shown trying to outdo other performers to win an audience vote. The Pain Men. In one episode, entitled Kitchen Nightmares, one of them pressed raw onion into the open eyes of the other. In a further scene, called School Discipline , one of them beats the other's buttocks with a whip.

43 complaints were previously made to the TV censor when the shows were first televised, Ofcom ruled Channel 4 had not breached its code.

Nutter group Mediawatch-UK claims Channel 4 has breached an 1861 law which forbids people from inflicting bodily harm on each other, even by consent.

The nutters have now written to the Metropolitan Police asking the force to investigate further. But Scotland Yard said a criminal investigation was not appropriate .

 

14th March   

Whingers Unsatisfied...

ASA doesn't uphold complaints against Durex Play O Gel
Link Here

durex play o advert A TV ad for durex Play O, a gel for women, depicted the facial expressions of a number of women who were experiencing sexual ecstasy but who appeared to be singing an aria. The ad closed with a pack shot while the voice-over said Feel like never before. durex Play O. Pleasure enhancing gel for women. durex play. All you need .

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with a post-11pm timing restriction. Issue

Two viewers, who saw the ad at approximately 10pm on Channel 4, challenged whether it was offensive and unsuitable for broadcast.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA noted that the viewers saw the ad after 10pm but were of the opinion that it was unsuitable for broadcast at any time. We acknowledged the viewers' concern, and appreciated that advertisers and broadcasters needed to be aware of the sensitive nature of ads for this type of product. We considered that this ad was not overtly graphic, contained no explicit material and was unlikely to cause offence, provided it was scheduled appropriately.

We understood that the post-11pm scheduling restriction applied by Clearcast would have helped to avoid exposure to viewers under the age of 12 years. We noted, however, that Channel 4 had broadcast the ad shortly after 10pm in the first instance and shortly after 10.30pm in the second instance. We checked the audience index figures for those ad breaks in the relevant programmes, and noted that they did not attract a significant proportion of younger viewers, and concluded that neither programme had demonstrated a particular appeal to younger children.

Although the ad was broadcast by Channel 4 earlier than Clearcast's scheduling advice, in consideration of the child audience index figures for the ad breaks and surrounding programmes, we considered that it had been scheduled appropriately and was unlikely to cause offence to viewers.

 

14th March   

Enemies of the Internet 2010...

Russia and Turkey come under surveillance by Reporters without Borders
Link Here

Reporters without Borders logo The Enemies of the Internet list drawn up again this year by Reporters Without Borders presents the worst violators of freedom of expression on the Net: Saudi Arabia, Burma, China, North Korea, Cuba, Egypt, Iran, Uzbekistan, Syria, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, and Vietnam.

Some of these countries are determined to use any means necessary to prevent their citizens from having access to the Internet: Burma, North Korea, Cuba, and Turkmenistan – countries in which technical and financial obstacles are coupled with harsh crackdowns and the existence of a very limited Intranet.

Saudi Arabia and Uzbekistan have opted for such massive filtering that their Internet users have chosen to practice self-censorship. For economic purposes, China, Egypt, Tunisia and Vietnam have wagered on a infrastructure development strategy while keeping a tight control over the Web's political and social content (Chinese and Tunisian filtering systems are becoming increasingly sophisticated), and they are demonstrating a deep intolerance for critical opinions. The serious domestic crisis that Iran has been experiencing for months now has caught netizens and the new media in its net; they have become enemies of the regime.

Among the countries under surveillance are several democracies: Australia, because of the upcoming implementation of a highly developed Internet filtering system, and South Korea, where draconian laws are creating too many specific restrictions on Web users by challenging their anonymity and promoting selfcensorship.

Turkey and Russia have just been added to the Under Surveillance list. In Russia, aside from the control exercised by the Kremlin on most of its media outlets, the Internet has become the freest space for sharing information. Yet its independence is being jeopardized by blogger arrests and prosecutions, as well as by blockings of so-called extremist websites. The regime's propaganda is increasingly omnipresent on the Web. There is a real risk that the Internet will be transformed into a tool for political control.

In Turkey, taboo topics mainly deal with Ataturk, the army, issues concerning minorities (notably Kurds and Armenians) and the dignity of the Nation. They have served as justification for blocking several thousand sites, including YouTube, thereby triggering a great deal of protest. Bloggers and netizens who express themselves freely on such topics may well face judicial reprisals.

Other countries, such as the United Arab Emirates, Belarus and Thailand are also maintaining their under surveillance status, but will need to make more progress to avoid getting transferred into the next Enemies of the Internet list. Thailand, because of abuses related to the crime of lese-majesté ; the Emirates, because they have bolstered their filtering system; Belarus because its president has just signed a liberticidal order that will regulate the Net, and which will enter into force this summer – just a few months before the elections.

 

14th March   

Update: Out of the Shadows...

Shadow treasurer opposes Australian government internet censorship
Link Here

joe hockey Shadow treasurer Joe Hockey has launched an attack on the Australian government's internet filtering scheme, in one of the first cases of a senior Opposition figure coming out publicly against the policy.

What we have in the government's Internet filtering proposals is a scheme that is likely to be unworkable in practice. But more perniciously it is a scheme that will create the infrastructure for government censorship on a broader scale, said Hockey in a wide-ranging speech on freedom to the Grattan Institute.

Hockey said that of course people wanted to stop unlawful material being viewed on the internet, and that there were appropriate protections that are in place for that. But I have personal responsibility as a parent, he added. If I want to stop my children from viewing other material that I feel is inappropriate then that is my responsibility to do something about it – not that of the government.

Protecting liberty is about protecting freedoms against both known and future threats. Some may argue that we can surely trust a democratically-elected government in Australia to never try to introduce more wide-spread censorship. I am not so sure!

Ultimately Hockey used the speech to strongly push the cause of individual liberty in Australian society. Quoting Benjamin Franklin, he said: Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.

 

14th March   

A Bum Rap...

Australian police arrest man for the strong language in rap music playing on his car stereo
Link Here

Welcome In what could be a legal test case, 19-year-old Nathan Michael Wilkie faces a charge of offensive behaviour after Asutralian police arrested him when he was listening to music by underground rapper Kid Selzy on his car stereo, the Herald Sun reports.

The Warrnambool Magistrates' Court heard he was listening to lyrics such as "shut your fucking mouth bitch, fucking motherfucker" .

The court was told the arresting officers found the music offensive and derogatory to females.

Wilkie allegedly told officers: You're a joke, go do some real police work.

The man is believed to be the first person charged under Australian law with offensive behaviour for listening to music.

Through his lawyer, Amanda Chambers, Wilkie plans to plead not guilty when his case continues on June 11.

Police are expected to play Kid Selzy's latest album, The Creepshow , at the next hearing.

 

14th March   

Diary: Epic Zombie March March...

Public demonstration in support of R18+ for games
Link Here

zombies protest Epic Zombie March March
Hyde Park Fountain, Sydney
Saturday 27th March, 2010 at 11am

A group dressing as zombies to protest the lack of an R18+ video game classification in Australia will return to Sydney later this month.

The hoard, which last protested over the state of games classification late last year, has the support of online video game activists and the Sydney Flash Mob which is rallying support through Facebook.

Zombies will gather for the protest march beginning at Hyde Park Fountain on March 27.

Around 200 people took part in the first zombie protest march in Sydney last November.

 

13th March   

They're So Big!...

Politically correct feminist whinges at bra adverts
Link Here

Puritans Erotic underwear advertisements should be banned from London buses to protect children from being bombarded with sexual images, a Conservative MP has said.

Nadine Dorries tabled a 10-minute-rule Bill in the House of Commons which seeks to place restrictions on images of partial nudity in advertising.

The MP for Mid Bedfordshire drew attention to a recent Armani advertising campaign on buses in the capital which featured images of Megan Fox, the film star, in scant lingerie.

The 14ft billboard space on London's double-decker buses has been used to promote underwear ranges in recent months.

Dorries said it was the sheer size of the posters that most offended her. You can't help but see these. On the Armani ads you can barely see the name of the company, she said.

Everyone knows I'm not a politically correct feminist ...BUT... this is part of a wider trend towards the objectification of women.

Her Bill also calls for lads' mags such as Nuts and Zoo , which contain semi-nude photographs of women, to be removed from the lower shelves in newsagents to put them out of the reach of children. It will be introduced formally to Parliament on March 31.

 

13th March   

Words Can Never Hurt Me...

Except in a British court where a man is fined for a Facebook insult
Link Here

Facebook logo A man has been ordered to pay £165 for calling his ex-girlfriend an 'offensive' name on Facebook.

Darren Mattox admitted posting a message that was grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character when he appeared at Wrexham Magistrates Court.

He used the word in a posting to ex-girlfriend Ashleigh Speed.

The Crown Persecution Service spokesman said: " There have probably been only a handful of cases resulting from offensive material either on Facebook or YouTube."

A spokeswoman for the Magistrates Association said: Its certainly not a common offence. I haven't come across it in the 20 years I've been sitting as a magistrate, but I imagine it may become more common.

Mattox admitted the offence. He was fined £65, plus £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge.

Rod Williams, defending, said: Mattox went to see his son at hospital – that is the one and only time he has seen his son. He became increasingly angry and frustrated and it's because of this that he has posted these messages. There was a whole background of animosity. The comment certainly wasn't particularly abusive or offensive. He basically made a posting calling her an offensive name.

 

13th March   

Symbolic Censorship...

DRM crazed Ubisoft find their Silent Hunter 5 banned in Germany
Link Here

Silent Hunter 5 PC DVD computerbase.de is reporting that the Collector's Edition of the much derided Ubisoft's Silent Hunter 5 PC game has been recalled in Germany due to the appearance of anticonstiutional symbols in the game.

This would indicate that some type of Nazi symbol or imagery was left in the local edition of the game, which is verboten according to German laws.

Edge received confirmation from Ubisoft that the game's standard edition was not recalled, only the special edition.

 

13th March   

Anna Span...

Noted British porn director to stand for parliament for the Lib Dems
Link Here

hug a hoodie Anna Arrowsmith, also known as Anna Span, is the new Liberal Democrat candidate for Gravesham in Kent.

She is also the auteur of hundreds of female-friendly porn films. Her neighbours in Tunbridge Wells may or may not be disgusted to learn that some of these, including Be My Toyboy , were shot in the front room.

Last year she won a battle with the British Board of Film Classification to be allowed to show a scene of female ejaculation.

She said that campaign was idealistic. It was about saying to the censors that you can't tell the women of this country what their bodies can or cannot do.

How seriously will the voters take Ms Arrowsmith, 38, on the election trail? She wants to be respected for her business and campaigning record but knows that her career will present a problem for some. There will be some people who will never like porn, she says. People approach sex in different ways. For some people it is only an emotional act. For others it is a variety of different acts. Some people will never accept that. They are probably the same people who never had a one-night stand. There will be some people who are conservative and very anti-porn. I think on the whole these days people are far more liberal.

What about the Liberals? Aren't some of them going to be affronted by a pornographer in their midst? I don't think so. On the whole they are a sexually liberated bunch.

Fed up with seeing porn films that focused on women pleasuring men she has carved a niche making films in which a third of shots show the woman, a third the man and a third the couple together. She says that the films she makes are humorous and that there is no airbrushing. Nearly half her customers are women, she says: Women definitely need this. She laughs at the idea that for all her talk of being a feminist she is really in pornography for the money. For years she made very little. Now, I do OK — nice house in Tunbridge Wells. No way am I the millionaire I thought I would be.

In her Tory-Labour marginal a Lib Dem victory is a long shot, but she is determined to become an MP eventually.

 

13th March   

Update: Obscene Law...

Erotic dancers jailed in Indonesia
Link Here

Bel Air Cafe An Indonesian court jailed six people under the country's anti-pornography law for performing an erotic dance at a bar in the early hours of New Year's Day.

The four female dancers, the show promoter and bar manager received a two and half months each for a performance in Bandung, West Java, which violated a repressive anti-pornography law that came into effect in October 2008.

They have been proven guilty of showing an erotic dance in front of the public, prosecutor Dodi Junaidi told AFP, adding that the judge in his ruling also fined them one million rupiah ($109) each.

The law criminalises all works and bodily movements deemed obscene and capable of violating public morality.

 

13th March   

Over Analysing the Joke...

ASA doesn't uphold complaints over little old lady joke
Link Here

shock and soul logo A regional press ad, for a vintage clothing store, appeared in the Islington Gazette.

It showed an elderly lady about to cross a road, carrying bags of shopping. Text superimposed on the lady stated Silk Dress Coming Soon . Further text stated SHOCK AND SOUL VINTAGE CLOTHING .

A complainant thought the ad was offensive, because it implied the lady would not be alive for much longer, and her clothes would soon be available to buy at the advertised shop.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA considered the ad presented a joke which was not overt, and its meaning might be overlooked or not understood by some readers. Those who did engage with it were likely to view the ad as suggesting that the lady's clothes would soon be available to buy at the advertised shop. Because she was elderly, we considered the ad went further than merely suggesting that she would no longer be in need of the dress in future; the implication was that she would die soon. Although the joke was morbid, and likely to be considered tasteless by some, we considered the ad did not make fun of infirmity, lack of mobility or illness and did not associate any particular negative characteristics or stereotypes with elderly people. The joke was impersonal because it related to the fact of death, not to traits of character. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

 

13th March   

Update: Stealth Mode...

New Zealand has stealthily started internet filtering
Link Here

NZ Internal Affairs New Zealand's Department of Internal Affairs (DIA) has started an internet filter which is being used by ISPs Maxnet and Watchdog.

Thomas Beagle, spokesperson for online freedom lobby Tech Liberty says he's very disappointed that the filter is now running, it's a sad day for the New Zealand internet . He told Computerworld the filter went live on February 1 but DIA has delayed announcing that until it held a meeting with its Independent Reference Group. He says he's disappointed the launch was conducted in such a stealthy mode .

The manager of the Department of Internal Affairs' Censorship Compliance Unit, Steve O'Brien, denies any subterfuge in the launch, saying the trial has been going on for two years and that has been communicated to media for quite some time : The Independent Reference Group has met and the filter system processes were demonstrated as set out in the code of practice, that is that the website filtering system prevents access to known websites containing images of child sexual abuse .

Tech Liberty understands that Telstra Clear, Telecom and Vodafone have said they will implement the filter, with Orcon, Slingshot and Natcom saying that they won't.

 

12th March   

Update: Big Mouth...

TV censor clears Vinnie Jones over the use of the word 'retard'
Link Here

Vinne Jones Ofcom said that its TV programme code guarantees freedom of expression to broadcasters as well as the audience's right to view programmes without interference from the authorities.

It made the defence as it rejected a request, made by the mother of two disabled children, to discipline Channel 4 after Vinnie Jones said the word retard on a Big Brother off-shoot programme.

The regulator claimed it was editorially justified because the insult was directed at someone who is not disabled, and because viewers of the reality show expect a certain level of outspoken banter .

Lloyd Page, a spokesman for Mencap, the learning disability charity, said: As someone with a learning disability, I was disgusted and hurt to hear the word 'retard' used on Big Brother. We will never change people's attitudes if this sort of thing carries on. I hope Ofcom will realise why we want this to stop.

Nicky Clark, who made the complaint, added: Channel 4 has a commitment to ensure that diversity is fully and positively represented on its channel. If we are to have our faith restored in Channel 4's suitability to broadcast the Paralympics, it needs to show that it regrets this incident by apologising on air.

She had complained to Ofcom about an exchange shown on Channel 4's digital channel, E4, during an episode of Big Brother's Big Mouth in January this year.

Vinnie Jones was asked how he had known that Davina McCall, the presenter, had entered the Celebrity Big Brother house in a chicken costume rather than a fellow contestant. He replied that it was because she was walking like a retard , at which McCall laughed.

Ofcom rejected the complaint that the term was offensive, claiming that the context showed that it was not directed at anyone with any disabilities, and had been used light-heartedly.

 

12th March   

Update: Censorial Sect...

Scientologists attempt to ban German TV film
Link Here

ard logo Germany's state broadcaster is locked in a row with the Church of Scientology which wants to block an upcoming feature film that depicts the organisation as totalitarian and unethical.

Bis Nichts Mehr Bleibt , or Until Nothing Remains , dramatises the account of a German family torn apart by its associations with Scientology. A young married couple joins the organisation but as the wife gets sucked ever more deeply into the group, her husband, who has donated much of his money to it, decides to leave. In the process he loses contact with his young daughter who, like his wife, is being educated by Scientology instructors.

Scientology leaders have accused Germany's primary public TV network, ARD, of creating in top secret a piece of propaganda that sets out to undermine the group, and have demanded to see it before it is broadcast.

According to the makers of Until Nothing Remains , the €2.5m (£2.3 m) drama, which is due to air in a prime-time slot at the end of March, is based on the true story of Heiner von Rönns, who left Scientology and suffered the subsequent break-up of his family.

Scientology officials have said the film is false and intolerant. Jürg Stettler, a spokesman for Scientology in Germany said: The truth is precisely the opposite of that which the ARD is showing. The organisation is investigating legal means to prevent the programme from being broadcast. Stettler said the organisation was planning its own film to spread our own side of the story .

 

12th March   

Update: Artless Censors...

Australia strips out artistic defence from laws governing images of children
Link Here

Australian Film Classification Board Australia is planning on forcing artists who create images of nude children to pay a fee of $500 per image to have them classified by the government as genuine art and not child pornography.

The removal of the so-called artistic purpose defense is one part of across-the-board changes to child pornography laws announced by Attorney-General John Hatzistergos that were spurred nearly two years ago by the case of artist Bill Henson, whose photo exhibit featuring images of naked children sparked intense debate throughout the country. Despite being later approved by the classification board, the case highlighted the need for more clarity with respect to images of child sexual abuse.

The new definition will encompass what is termed child abuse material, said Hatzistergos. That means it covers depictions that reasonable persons would, in all the circumstances, regard offensive.

Those depictions, he said, would include where the person is a child who is a victim [of] cruelty, physical abuse, the child is engaged or is apparently engaged in a sexual pose or sexual activity. It also will apply when the child is in the presence of someone engaging in any of these activities or where the private parts of the person [who] appears to be a child are shown.

 

12th March   

Update: Apple Censors Newspaper App...

German publisher's trade association considers making a complaint
Link Here

fipp logo The International Federation of the Periodical Press (FIPP) is considering making a complaint to Apple over the computer firm's request that German publisher Springer censor the naked girls on one of its iPhone apps.

Springer-owned tabloid Bild's Shake the Bild Girl app allows iPhone users to undress a model. Each time the user shakes the phone, the girl strips an item of her clothing. While Bild features naked women daily in its pages, Apple ruled that the girls in its iPhone app should wear bikinis.

The Association of German Magazine Publishers (VDZ) asked FIPP last week to approach Apple over the issue. The VDZ chief executive, Wolfgang Fuerstner, has warned that Apple's move might represent a move towards censorship. In an interview with the German magazine Der Spiegel he said: Publishers can't sell their soul just to get a few lousy pennies from Apple.

Bild Digital CEO Donata Hopfen agreed: Today they censor nipples, tomorrow editorial content.

 

12th March   

Update: Newspapers Caned in Malaysia...

Newspaper banned from criticising nasty sharia canings
Link Here

A caning Reporters Without Borders condemns the censorship and self-censorship which the home affairs ministry has imposed on Malaysia's leading English-language daily, The Star, by issuing it with a warning about an article criticising the caning of three Muslim women under Sharia law.

As one of the country's most widely-read newspapers, The Star should have a free hand to provide its readers with the broadest range of news and views on social issues, Reporters Without Borders said. We urge Prime Minister Abdul Razak to reconsider this decision and to quickly amend the 1984 Publishing and Printing Presses Act, whose licence renewal system denies newspapers the security they need.

In response to the pressure from the government and Muslim groups, the newspaper was forced to publish an apology and withdraw the offending article from its website. Written by managing editor P. Gunasegaram and published in the paper on 19 February, the article, entitled Persuasion, not compulsion, said the sentence of caning passed on 9 February on three Muslim women accused of adultery was disproportionate. It was the first time in years that a Malaysian court has issued such a sentence.

After receiving the home affairs ministry's warning letter, the newspaper refused to publish an article by one of the newspapers contributing columnists, Marina Mahathir , in which she argued that Sharia laws were written by men, not God, and as such were open to debate. She finally posted the column on her blog .

 

12th March   

Murdoch on Censorship...

The world does not think of the Middle East when it thinks of creative content
Link Here

Rupert Murdoch Ringmaster Information Circus The Middle East must open up its markets to foreigners and renounce media censorship if it wants to harness a powerful wind of creative energy blowing through the region, Rupert Murdoch said.

Speaking at the inaugural Abu Dhabi Media Summit, the chairman and chief executive of News Corporation, parent company of The Times, said that the world did not think of the Middle East when it thinks of creative content . Even Arab citizens, he said, preferred to watch Hollywood movies or American television .

 Murdoch warned his hosts not to use censorship to bury inconvenient stories. Throughout my life, Murdoch said, I have endured my share of blistering newspaper attacks, unflattering television coverage and books that grossly distort my views or my business or both. Countries that buried bad press ended up promoting the very panic and distrust that they had hoped to control . In the long run, this is counterproductive.

 

11th March   

Update: Nutter Bait...

BBFC pass Michael Winterbottom's The Killer Inside Me as 18 uncut
Link Here

Killer inside Vintage Crime Lizard The BBFC have passed the eagerly awaited Michael Winterbottom film as 18 uncut.

No doubt the likes of the Daily Mail will be contributing further to the films publicity.

Anyway the BBFC kindly explained their decision as follows:

The Killer Inside Me is an adaptation of Jim Thompson's noir crime novel of the same name about a psychopathic small town Sheriff. It was passed 18 for very strong violence, sadomasochistic sex scenes and child abuse.

The film features several scenes of very strong violence. These include sadistic killings and beatings, with some focus on female victims' fear and terror (for example sight of a woman urinating after being beaten). There is some focus on the infliction of pain and injury , including a long sequence featuring a strong beating to a female character's face. This is shown from the perpetrator's point of view. There are also some strong bloody shootings.

There are scenes of sexual violence and threat, including a discreet child rape scene, and several shots of strong sadomasochistic sexual activity and violence. There is some focus on the aftermath of such activity, with focus on female characters with bruises and welts and cigarette burns, including black and white photographs of a bruised woman in a sexual pose. There are scenes suggesting child abuse including sight, from a child's point of view, of a female character with bruised and welted buttocks as she invites him to punch and hurt her.

In line with the consistent findings of the BBFC's public consultations and the Human Rights Act 1998, at 18 the BBFC's Guideline concerns will not normally override the principle that adults should be free to choose their own entertainment within the law. Although several scenes are undoubtedly very strong and impactful, with the potential to cause offence to some viewers, the clear generic context (a film noir) and presentation of complicated and disturbing ideas was permissible at 18 . No material was found to be in breach of the criminal law, or created through the commission of a criminal offence. Although there are portrayals of strong sexual and sadistic violence and sadomasochist sexual behaviour, the scenes in question do not eroticise or endorse sexual assault or pose a credible harm risk to viewers of 18 and over.

The Killer Inside Me also includes some strong sex scenes, some strong bloody detail after beatings and shootings and scenes of threat as characters are in danger. There are also brief references to suicide, although these lack any detail or novel information.

 

11th March   

Update: Forgive Them Lord, They Know Not What They Do...

Blasphemous Polish prosecutors despoil heavy metal icon for ripping a bible asunder on stage
Link Here

Satanica Behemoth Adam Nergal Darski, frontman for Poland's heavy metal band Behemoth , has been formally charged for destroying a copy of the Bible over two years ago.

While it is a crime in Poland to destroy any religious iconography, there must be at least two formal complaints before a charge is laid. The first charge was made in 2008 – and recently an undisclosed number of additional complaints were lodged against Darski.

At the first hearing Darski said what he does on stage is part of artistic license and it wasn't intended to offend religious feelings. This was countered by an expert on religious history and studies from Jagellonian University in Krakow, who stated that every copy of a Bible could be considered a religious icon.

The case will now go to court, and if found guilty, Darski could face two years in prison.

Last month it was reported that the national conservative Polish political party Prawo i Sprawiedliwosc (PiS), was orchestrating efforts to prosecute Darski for offending people's religious beliefs.

 

11th March   

Update: Dogged by Censorship...

British artist given suspended fine over depiction of Turkish PM as a dog
Link Here

Collage with Turkey PM as dog A British artist has accused Turkey of censorship after an Istanbul court fined him almost $4,500  for caricaturing the country's prime minister.

Artist Michael Dickinson displayed in 2006 an illustration that superimposed the head of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan onto the body of a dog.

The court suspended the fine, on the condition that Dickinson does not produce similar art for the next five years.

It's censorship. It's a threat. It's punishing people who are expressing their opinion, Dickinson told dpa, the day after the verdict was handed down. There is a lack of freedom in a country where journalists can be arrested or cartoonists fined for expressing their opinion, said the artist, who has been living in Turkey for the last 23 years.

Dickinson's illustration was first shown as part of an Istanbul anti-war exhibition. The artist was later arrested and charged with insulting the Turkish prime minister. A local court initially acquitted Dickinson in 2008, but a state prosecutor asked that the case be reopened.

 

11th March   

Update: Gangs of Whingers...

ASA doesn't uphold complaints against radio advert for 1 Day
Link Here

1 Day DVD A radio ad, for the film 1 Day , featured a character saying I owe my man a hundred grand rude boy and Tell me exactly how you're gonna get my money to me . The sound of two gun shots was heard, followed by a character saying We need to go do what we gotta do blood . As hip-hop style music played in the background, a voice-over stated One day to settle a debt, one day to make it right. Mobo says the film 1 Day is a British grime musical revelation. 'Thrilling' says Total Film. 1 Day in cinemas now, certificate 15 . Issue

One listener thought the ad was offensive and could cause harm to young, impressionable listeners, because it condoned the use of gun violence.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA considered that the gun shots were not the ad's focal point and sounded relatively muted and brief, and listeners would realise that they were set in the context of an ad for a film. We considered the sound effects and the audio clip from the film represented its content, and any violence implied by the gun shots was not gratuitous or graphic. We considered that listeners were unlikely to infer from the ad that it was acceptable to resort to violence in order to settle a debt in real life. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to be seen as condoning the use of gun violence and was unlikely to cause offence or harm to listeners.

 

11th March   

Censoring the News...

Ivory Coast bans France 24 TV News over reports of deaths at protest
Link Here

france 24 logo Ivory Coast has suspended satellite TV news station France 24 over a headline reporting many deaths during a protest, the government said on Wednesday, despite the fact that five people were killed.

The National Council for Audiovisual Communication scrambled France 24's signal late on Monday and it has not been restored.

The council (CNCA) President Franck Kouassi told Reuters the station would remain suspended until further notice.

 

11th March   

Update: Freedom of Repression...

Newspaper and journalist fined for criticising ruling family
Link Here

al al youm The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns a Kuwaiti court's decision to fine a journalist and two newspapers for statements deemed offensive to the ruling family and the prime minister.

A criminal court in Kuwait fined opposition writer and journalist Mohammed Abdulqader al-Jassem 3,000 Kuwaiti dinars (US$10,500) for publishing an article in November critical of Prime Minister Sheikh Nasser Mohammed al-Ahmad al-Sabah, who is also a member of the ruling family. The article alleged that media outlets backed by the prime minister had been stoking tensions between the country's Sunni and Shiite communities. The independent daily Alam Al-Youm, which published the article, was also fined the same amount.

We urge the Kuwaiti judiciary to overturn these sentences, said CPJ's Middle East and North Africa Program Coordinator Mohamed Abdel Dayem. The press should be able to freely criticize government officials even if they are members of the ruling family. It is outrageous that criticizing public officials is a crime in Kuwait.

 

10th March   

CleanFeed Force Fed...

Government bully ISPs who don't use IWF internet blocking
Link Here

IWF logo Public bodies have been banned from using internet companies that refuse to block a range of websites specified by the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF).

The ban on public bodies signing contracts with companies that do not actively block paedophile sites was announced by the Office of Government Commerce.

In an instruction to all departments, agencies and quangos, it said that they should deal only with contractors who agreed to block a list of sites known to carry abusive images. The list, containing between 500 and 800 websites, is maintained by the IWF and updated twice daily.

An action note issued to all departments said the new policy applied to contracts with internet firms, mobile operators, search providers and filtering companies. The note said: The Government should lead by example and require its suppliers of internet services to deploy the list across services they provide to Government.

The move follows intensive lobbying of the Government by children's charities, which have long protested against the failure of internet providers to block illegal sites. John Carr, of the Children's Charities' Coalition on Internet Safety, said he was delighted by the Government's action: Although almost all of the internet service providers active in the domestic market are blocking access to child abuse websites, some very large companies that supply internet connectivity in the business market are not doing so. We hope this will help them to change their mind. Now they have a business reason to do the right thing.

 

10th March   

Facing Down CEOP...

CEOP berates Facebook for not using its abuse reporting button
Link Here

emeregency stop The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) called on the social networking website Facebook to feature its alert button following the conviction of Peter Chapman for the murder of Ashleigh Hall. Chapman posed as a teenager on Facebook in order to 'groom' Ashleigh, 17, before raping and murdering her.

Jim Gamble, the chief executive of CEOP, said 267 reports of suspicious activity on Facebook had been received in 2009 but users had been unable to log their concerns directly with his agency. Facebook itself had brought only a handful of cases to the attention of the unit, which investigates online paedophile activity.

Facebook indicated that it would resist the demand to put the CEOP alert button on its site because it believed its own reporting system was adequate. Sources said that Ashleigh Hall had also made contact with her murderer via MSN chat sites, which do carry the CEOP button, but she did not use it to alert the authorities.

A spokesman for Facebook said: The safety of Facebook users is our top priority. We have reporting buttons on every page of our site and continue to invest heavily in creating the most robust reporting system to support our 400 million users.

Update: CEOP Advert to Appear on Facebook

13th July 2010. Based on article from  independent.co.uk

Facebook users will be able to report suspicious online behaviour and access internet safety advice with the launch of a new application. Users of the social networking site will be able to access an advice centre from their homepage, where there will be a dedicated facility for reporting inappropriate sexual behaviour.

The facility is the result of a initiative between Facebook and the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and users will be able to add the ClickCEOP service as an application to find information about online safety.

An advert for ClickCEOP will appear on the homepage of every user aged between 13 and 18.

 

10th March   

Update: Coming Up to 2 Years...

Turkish newspaper highlights the ongoing YouTube ban
Link Here

milliyet logo The Turkish courts banned YouTube in May 2008, and now a new protest campaign launched by the editorial team of the Milliyet newspaper is drawing attention to how long the country has been prevented from using the website.

The initiative, which was was launched on February 19, is not the first campaign of this type. But it's notable because previous protests came from the blogosphere and, as a result, did not receive international coverage. The current ban is the fourth such action by the Turkish courts since 2007; hopefully, this campaign will draw attention to this policy of censorship.

The editors of Milliyet were inspired to act by a February 16 piece in the Wall Street Journal by David Keyes, a founding member of Cyberdissidents.org. Keyes wrote that there is nothing European, let alone cultural, about prohibiting citizens from viewing YouTube. Turkey's status as the 2010 European 'Capital of Culture' should be suspended until this ban is repealed.

In announcing the protest campaign, Milliyet columnist Mehves, Emin said: Everybody has changed their DNS settings and can access YouTube, just like the Prime Minister does and has said he does. This is why people have become insensitive about this ban. But YouTube is still blocked in Turkey and this affects Turkey's image negatively and this issue needs to be resolved. So as the editorial team of Milliyet Cadde, we agreed to show everyday how many days have passed since the ban.

 

10th March   

Update: Because One Website is Blocked All Should be Blocked...

Bombay High Court refuses petition to extend porn website blocking
Link Here

bombay high court Taking into account the differing perceptions of what can be lascivious and prurient , the Bombay high court turned down a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a blanket ban on websites with sexual content on the internet.

A public interest litigation (PIL) initiated by NGO Janhit Manch had sought a court direction to the Union government to ban freely available sexual content on the internet. The PIL stated that the pornographic and sexual content on the Net was adversely influencing the minds of the country's youth, who could be misled into delinquency .

According to Janhit Manch, the government had rightly banned an adult website, www.savitabhabhi.com,and must follow suit in the case of other pornographic and sexually explicit websites as well.

The judges, however, felt that they should not direct authorities to monitor websites. Their order said, If such an exercise is done, then an aggrieved party, depending on the sensibilities of persons whose views may differ on what is morally degrading or prurient, will be sitting in judgment even before a competent court decides the issue .

The court said Janhit Manch was free to lodge a complaint against any sites which, according to them, may be publishing or transmitting obscene content.

 

10th March   

Update: Banging On...

Ofcom continue to get wound up by Bang Babes
Link Here

Babe Channel Bang Babes is an adult sex chat service, owned and operated by Bang Channels Limited, and available freely without mandatory restricted access on the channels Tease Me and Tease Me 3 (Sky channel numbers 912 and 959). Both channels are situated in the adult section of the Sky electronic programme guide ( EPG ). These channels broadcast programmes after the 21:00 watershed based on interactive 'adult' sex chat services: viewers are invited to contact onscreen female presenters via premium rate telephony services ( PRS ). The female presenters dress and behave in a sexually provocative way while encouraging viewers to contact the PRS numbers.

Ofcom have published another set of multiple whinges about these programmes:

Bang Babes, Tease Me, 7 November 2009, 23:30

Ofcom noted that the broadcast featured two presenters. Both women were topless. The presenter in black was shown apparently licking and spitting on the other presenter's genital area. She also pulled down the other presenter's thong, pulled her buttocks apart and licked her anal area. During the broadcast the presenter in black was shown bent over on all fours with her thong moved to the side to briefly reveal her genital area. The presenters licked and sucked each other's breasts. The broadcast also included close up shots between the presenters' legs while they apparently touched and rubbed each other's genital area.

Bang Babes, Tease Me, 13 November 2009, 23:00

Ofcom noted that the broadcast featured a presenter wearing a black thong and black stockings. Her top was pulled down to reveal her breasts. During the broadcast she adopted various sexual positions, including kneeling on all fours with her buttocks to camera and also lying on her back with her legs spread wide apart. While doing so the presenter repeatedly: pulled her buttocks apart to reveal her anus and genital area; spat on her fingers and vigorously rubbed saliva around her anal and genital area and rubbed her thong against her genitals; opened her legs to expose extensive labial detail; mimed the insertion of an object into her anus and the performance of oral sex on a man using her fingers; and spat saliva over her breasts.

Bang Babes, Tease Me, 24 November 2009, 22:00- 23:59

This broadcast featured two presenters. One presenter was wearing black fishnet stockings and a black thong. She was not wearing a top. The other presenter was wearing a red bra pulled down to expose her breasts, a red thong and red 9 stockings with large holes in them. During the broadcast the presenters were shown apparently licking each other's genital and anal area in a realistic way and on one occasion this act was carried out while one of the presenters had pulled her thong to the side. The presenters also licked each other's breasts, spat into each other's mouths and apparently simulated masturbation on each other in a realistic way by rubbing each other's genital area. The presenter in black was also shown miming oral sex using a phone and lightly slapping the other presenter across the face.

Bang Babes, Tease Me, 25 November 2009, 00:00 - 05.30

This broadcast also featured two presenters. One presenter was wearing a skimpy pink thong, pink socks and pink fingerless gloves. Her pink bra was pulled down to expose her breasts. The other presenter was wearing a skimpy red thong and black fishnet stockings. Her black fishnet top was pulled down to show her breasts. During the broadcast the presenter wearing pink pulled the other presenter's thong to the side and briefly but clearly inserted a lollypop into her vagina. The two presenters then sucked the lollypop. In addition, the presenters were shown bent over on all fours at various times, and due to the skimpy thongs they were wearing genital and anal detail was shown. The presenters touched and apparently licked each other's genital and anal areas in a realistic way. The presenters were also shown: miming the insertion of an object into their anus; miming oral sex using their fingers and a phone; spanking each other; and licking each other's breasts.

Promotion of the www.bangbabes.tv website address

In addition, after viewing the content complained of Ofcom noted that during all four broadcasts the website www.bangbabes.tv was promoted. When accessed by Ofcom this website featured images of a strong sexual nature equivalent to BBFC R18-rated material ( R18-rated equivalent material ) which could be readily viewed without appropriate protections.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 1.24 ('adult-sex' material is restricted to overnight services with mandatory restricted access)
  • Rule 2.1 (generally accepted standards)
  • Rule 2.3 (material which may cause offence must be justified by context) of the Code.

And predictably Ofcom found that all of these rules had been Breached

Ofcom also had a whinge about the following programmes where recordings weren't made available.

Tease Me, 31 October 2009, 00:00-05.30
Tease Me 3, 31 October 2009, 00:00-05.30
Tease Me, 5 November 2009, 00:00-05.30
Tease Me, 15 November 2009, 00:00-05.30
Tease Me 2, 24 November 2009, 22:00- 23:59

The Licensee said that on 30 November 2009 Ofcom requested recordings of five separate transmissions representing over twenty hours of broadcast footage. It added that it has invested heavily in developing off-air recording technology, which would facilitate the making of recordings. However, it stated that even the most advanced and robust of systems would have huge difficulty downloading over twenty hours of video footage.  It estimated that Ofcom's request cost its compliance team over eighty man hours or two working weeks .

So Ofcom also recorded a Breach of Licence Condition 11 (Retention and production of recordings)

Ofcom ended with the note:

On 8 February 2010 in Broadcast Bulletin 151 Ofcom published a number of breaches of the Code against Bang Channels Ltd. On 22 February 2010 in Broadcast Bulletin 152, Ofcom published further breaches of the Code. Broadcast Bulletin 152 also contained breach findings recorded against another Licensee, Bang Media (London) Ltd. These decisions relate to Bang Media's channel on Freeview, Tease Me TV. In the current Broadcast Bulletin (153) Ofcom has published further breaches of the Code.

Ofcom considers these breaches to be both serious and repeated. As is made clear in Broadcast Bulletins 151, 152 and 153 these breaches are serious and/or repeated and are therefore being considered by Ofcom for statutory sanction. Bang Media and Bang Channels are controlled by the same person and all editorial compliance decisions regarding both Bang Media and Bang Channels are taken by one compliance team.

For these reasons Ofcom will consider for sanction together all serious and/or repeated Code or licence breaches for which Bang Media and Bang Channels are responsible.

Comment: Look Again Ofcom

11th March 2010. from IanG

Ofcom said: "In addition, after viewing the content complained of Ofcom noted that during all four broadcasts the website www.bangbabes.tv was promoted. When accessed by Ofcom this website featured images of a strong sexual nature equivalent to BBFC R18-rated material (R18-rated equivalent material) which could be readily viewed without appropriate protections".

This is still an outright LIE Ofcom. There was/is no such material on this site available without a credit card and age verified subscription. And more to the point, YOU'RE not qualified nor empowered by law to make any such judgements. Strong sexual material means real, unsimulated, explicit sex acts - that's according to the BBFC's clear, concise, published guidelines. There was/is NO such material on this site available to anyone who isn't a verified adult subscribing member.

YOU need a refresher in what R18 ACTUALLY looks like Ofcom, because clearly, you've got some very strange and incorrect ideas about it.

 

10th March   

Update: Venezuelan Crime Problems Solved...

Violent video games have been banned
Link Here

Mercenaries World Flames Xbox 360 A law introduced last year that would ban violent videogames and toys in Venezuela has now been enacted.

Under the law, importers, producers, distributors or sellers of the banned toys and games could face fines and jail time ranging from two to five years. In a story dated March 3, Prensa Latina reported that the law had been passed.

The law, when initially proposed to Venezuela's National Assembly, proposed that the country's consumer protection society be granted full power in determining what games and toys were deemed violent, though no indication was given into what criteria might be used to judge the goods.

As it was drawn up, the law also featured provisions for teaching crime prevention classes in school, public campaigns to warn about the dangers of videogames. A government campaign to promote games that taught children respect for an adversary was also included, though no word on if this, or any, additional provisions were a part of the new law.

The ban on violent games and toys is apparently seen as a way to somehow combat crime and violence in the country.

 

9th March   

Diary: World Day Against Cyber Censorship...

For a day of unfiltered internet access for all
Link Here

world day against censorship logo World Day Against Cyber Censorship
12th March 2010

Reporters Without Borders will celebrate World Day Against Cyber Censorship on 12 March. This event is intended to rally everyone in support of a single Internet that is unrestricted and accessible to all. It is also meant to draw attention to the fact that, by creating new spaces for exchanging ideas and information, the Internet is a force for freedom. However, more and more governments have realised this and are reacting by trying to control the Internet.

Reporters Without Borders will mark the occasion by issuing its latest list of Enemies of the Internet. This list points the finger at countries such as Iran, China, Saudi Arabia, Vietnam and Tunisia that restrict online access and harass their netizens. A list of countries that have been placed under surveillance for displaying a disturbing attitude towards the Internet will also be released.

Reporters Without Borders will award the first Netizen Prize, with support from Google, at 7 p.m. on 11 March 2010, on the eve of World Day Against Cyber Censorship. The prize will be given to an Internet user, blogger or cyber-dissident who has made a notable contribution to the defence of online freedom of expression. The award ceremony will take place at the Paris headquarters of Google France.

Reporters Without Borders has designed a logo to symbolise the defence of online free expression. It represents a computer mouse freeing itself from its chains. The logo can be downloaded free of charge and is available in various colours. Do you want to show your support for World Day against Cyber-Censorship? Do you want to defend an Internet without restrictions and accessible to everyone? Don't hesitate to download this logo and post it on your blog or website or add it to your email signature.

 

9th March   

Updated: Vivienne Pattison Recommends...

Spartacus: Blood and Sand
Link Here

Spartacus Blood Sand Andy Whitfield Mediawatch-UK are whingeing about an American TV series about the Roman Empire.

Spartacus: Blood And Sand has featured full-frontal nudity, violence and sex scenes of orgies since it first aired in the US in January.

The show, which stars Scottish actor John Hannah and pulled in more than a million viewers this week, is looking for a post-watershed UK home.

But Mediawatch-UK says the programme should not be allowed in Britain, even late at night.

We can no longer ignore the fact that what viewers see on television has an impact on society, said 'outraged' director Vivienne Pattison: Even the Government is asking the producers of soap operas to include safe-sex messages in their programmes now. There are numerous studies linking exposure to violence on TV with violent behaviour at large and if there is the slightest possibility that explicit sex and violence on screen can cause this harm, is it worth the risk in the interests of entertainment?

The lobby group also said it was concerned that children might eventually find the programme online. Once this programme is shown on television it will be much easier for children to access – particularly via video-on-demand online services, she added.

The TV show focuses loosely on the historical figure of Spartacus – a Thracian gladiator who led a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic in 73BC.

Update: Slaves to Nonsense

9th March 2010. Based on article from entertainment.timesonline.co.uk

Vivienne Pattison Forget stoic legionaries marching along spear-straight roads; never mind glorious mosaics and monumental architecture; as for heroic literature — no chance. The Romans, to judge by this new version of Spartacus, were mainly preoccupied with sex, intrigue, bloody violence and more sex.

As well as full-frontal nudity, the show features scenes of extreme gore. In one gladiatorial fight, the winner slices off his opponent's face and wears it as a mask.

Perhaps not surprisingly, not everyone is keen to tune in and last week there were calls for the show to be banned even before it has arrived. Vivienne Pattison, director of the campaign group Mediawatch UK, said: I'm not saying the Romans weren't violent. And I don't have a problem with bodies per se. But porn is filtering into society and it's worrying. This programme absolutely encapsulates this problem.

Broadcasters can tell us they're holding a mirror to that society and reflecting back on our own; but I'd argue we are just taking all that in and becoming immune to it.

Is it necessary to see the knife go in, turn round, come out, blood spurt, all the rest of it? You've only got to look at how casual violence has grown to a level that didn't exist before it was so widespread on television. Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

The British satellite broadcaster Bravo has bought the show, and has rights to show it online. It means that for up to seven days after its transmission on television, viewers will be able to watch episodes online at any time. The so-called watershed is then ineffective and Mediawatch UK fears Spartacus could be easily watched by children.

Pattison said: Why is it entertaining to watch people being slashed like that with blood everywhere? In no place in society would that be acceptable other than on television. It doesn't even add to the storylines. She plans to campaign for a ban.

Comment: Ban this Filth!

10th March 2010. Thanks to Dan

Just been reading Viv Pattison's bollox about the programme Spartacus.

Like Beyer before her she seems completely unaware she's being used to further the publicity of sex and violence laden TV shows.

Or that her cries to BAN THIS FILTH will only get more people to tune in!

 

9th March   

Update: Not So Friendly...

Babe channels fined £24,000 by the TV censor
Link Here

bedroom tv logo Friendly TV, 3 April 2009 to 5 July 2009 Bedroom TV, 4 April 2009 to 22 April 2009

Both Friendly TV and Bedroom TV provide daytime chat and (post watershed) adult sex chat services encouraging viewers to call a premium rate service ( PRS ) telephone number and talk to an onscreen presenter.

Bedroom TV ceased broadcasting in November 2009. Friendly TV ceased broadcasting in January 2010.

Springdoo Media Ltd owns and operates the television service Friendly TV.  User Generated Broadcasting Ltd owns and operates the television service Bedroom TV. Springdoo Media Limited and User Generated Broadcasting Limited are sister companies under common ownership and control. All editorial compliance decisions regarding the companies were taken by a centralised compliance team.

On 26 February 2010, Ofcom published its decision to impose a statutory sanction on Springdoo Media Limited in respect of its Friendly TV service, for seriously and repeatedly breaching the Ofcom Broadcasting Code and for failing to comply with condition 11 of its Television Licensable Content Service Licence ( licence ). Ofcom also published its decision to impose a statutory sanction on User Generated Broadcasting Limited in respect of its Bedroom TV service, also for failing to comply with condition 11 of its licence.

Summary of Decisions

Springdoo Media Limited (owner of Friendly TV) was found in breach of the following Code rules:

  • Rule 1.6: transition to more adult material post-watershed
  • Rule 2.1: generally accepted standards
  • Rule 2.3: material that may cause offence must be justified by context.

Ofcom found Springdoo Media Limited in breach of these rules due to the following conduct:

  • Broadcasting strong and explicit sexual images which were not suitable for broadcast in the period immediately following the 21:00 watershed on a service which was freely available to view without access restrictions (breach of Rule 1.6). The broadcast of such images, so close to the watershed, caused serious concern for Ofcom.
  • Broadcasting sexual material that would have exceeded the expectations of viewers watching a channel without access restrictions, especially those who may have come across this content unawares (breaches of Rules 2.1 and 2.3).

Ofcom imposed a financial penalty of £6,000 in respect of these Code breaches by Springdoo Media Limited.

Springdoo Media Limited (owner of Friendly TV) and User Generated Broadcasting Limited (owner of Bedroom TV) were also both found in breach of  Licence Condition 11: The Licensee shall adopt procedures acceptable to Ofcom for the retention and production of recordings in sound and vision of any programme which is the subject matter of a Standards Complaint

Ofcom imposed financial penalties on Springdoo Media Limited and User Generated Broadcasting Limited of £6,000 and £12,000 respectively for breaches of condition 11 of their licences.

In total, Ofcom imposed a total financial penalty of £24,000.

 

9th March   

Self Congratulatory Censorship...

Advert Association proposes that website self promotion should come under the remit of the advert censors, ASA
Link Here

advertising association logo The Advertising Association (AA) has submitted the industry's recommendations to the Committee of Advertising Practice (CAP), for the extension of the non-broadcast Advertising Code in digital media, which will be administered by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). This landmark move for advertising self-regulation seeks to address societal concerns and will increase protection for consumers and children.

The recommendations, if accepted, will bring companies' marketing communications on their own websites, and other non-paid for space online, such as brand activity on social networking sites, within scope of the CAP Code. All other marketing communications activity in paid-for space online - such as search marketing and display advertising - is already within the ASA's remit and subject to the CAP Code.

It is anticipated that the extended remit will come into force during the third quarter of 2010, once formally ratified by CAP and the ASA, and after appropriate consultation.

This announcement represents a response to recommendations made in recent high level reports such as the Byron Review, Digital Britain and the Buckingham Report.

The non-broadcast and broadcast Advertising Codes were reviewed last year, and a full consultation process has recently been completed. The new Codes are expected to be published this month and will come into effect in the Autumn, at the same time as the new extended digital remit.

 

8th March   

Nutters Go to War...

Texas nutters style themselves as 'the Special Forces of spiritual warfare'
Link Here

repent amaril logo A little over a year ago, Amarillo's swingers geared up for their New Year's Eve party at Route 66 Party and Event Rental, a downtown business owned by a prominent couple, Mac and Monica Mead.

Few in this conservative, church-heavy city knew about the weekend parties, and the swingers liked it that way. Everybody in the lifestyle has to be very, very discreet, says Mac.

The Meads enforced strict rules at the members-only club: no drugs, no single men, no audio-visual equipment. Most couples, even ones who had been in the lifestyle for years, are on a first-name basis only. The location of the club is (or was) to be kept strictly private. So imagine the swingers' surprise when they arrived at their New Year's Eve bash to find two dozen protesters, local media in tow, holding signs and singing songs. This was a most unwelcome coming-out party.

Some protesters, mostly young men in their teens and early 20s, wore black hoodies and military fatigues. The men, Amarillo would soon learn, were foot soldiers of Repent Amarillo, a new, militant evangelical group that advertises itself as the Special Forces of spiritual warfare. Their leader, David Grisham, a security guard at nuclear-bomb facility Pantex who moonlights as a pastor, explained the action. We're here to shine the light on this darkness, Grisham told the Amarillo Globe-News. I don't think Amarillo knew about this place. This is adultery. This is wrong. There's no telling how many venereal diseases get spread, how many abortions. The goal, Grisham says, was not just to save the swingers' souls, but to shut the club down.

For the past year, this Bible Belt city of 200,000 has been consumed by a culture clash between Repent Amarillo and their targets, a list that includes everything from gay bars to liberal churches. For the Route 66 swingers, Grisham's special forces have been a near-constant presence. Jobs have been lost, families estranged, assault charges filed and businesses shuttered. So far, no public official has stood up to defend these businesses, which operate legally. To the contrary, Repent Amarillo has managed to turn the city's own laws and employees into an effective weapon. Amarillo, it turns out, doesn't have the stomach to stick up for gays, swingers, strippers or even Unitarians. Absent a peacekeeper, the conflict might end up being settled the old-fashioned way, frontier-style. This will not end until somebody gets hurt, either us or them, one swinger warns.

Repent has made it clear that its crusade won't end with the swingers. Last January, community theater group Avenue 10 was set to open Bent , a play about the persecution of homosexuals during Nazi Germany. The day before opening night, the fire marshal, police and code enforcers showed up, tipped off by a Repent associate, according to Sirc Michaels, co-founder of the theater. Avenue 10 didn't have the right permit for holding events, and the space was shut down.

What's next for Repent? They've posted a Warfare Map on the group's Web site. The map includes establishments like gay bars, strip clubs and porn shops, but also the Wildcat Bluff Nature Center. Repent believes the 600-acre prairie park's Walmart-funded Earth Circle, used for lectures, is a Mecca for witches and pagans. Also on the list are The 806 coffeehouse (a hangout for artists and counterculture types), the Islamic Center of Amarillo ( Allah is a false god ), and compromised churches like Polk Street Methodist (gay-friendly).

 

8th March   

Update: Sanity Starts to Prevail...

Green MPs will vote against Australian internet censorship
Link Here

australian greens logo Australian Greens MP, Lee Rhiannon, said at the National Day of Action against the government's internet filter that all five Greens senators will vote against the internet filtering Bill.

We absolutely need to defeat this incredibly irresponsible piece of legislation that is now before the federal parliament, she said to attendees in Parramatta Park in Sydney. My colleagues in the federal parliament — we have five Greens senators — will vote against it. What we need to ensure is that some sanity starts to prevail and that we win the numbers.

The filter curtailed freedom of speech, she said. There were also better ways to protect children against pornography, such as education, which she said had been pointed out by a 2008 report written by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

That's a report to the government. They've been told that. We know they've been told [that] by a lot of their MPs who actually understand how the internet works. They've been told about this by official government bodies, but they're pushing on with their censorship.

So I do urge all of you when you leave here today to take away a commitment to sign the petitions, to write your letters, to write your emails, ring up the politicians, she said.

Fewer than 100 people at any one time actually showed up at Saturday morning's protest in Parramatta Park in Sydney's west. There are a number of MPs who do not support this legislation and are saying to their leaders, to Mr Abbot and Mr Rudd: 'This is madness. It will not work. It will make us look like a fool internationally, let alone amongst Australians once they catch on.'

Debate had begun, she said. Now, the community needed to give it legs by voicing disapproval.

 

8th March   

Offsite: Boys are being Treated as Blame Objects...

Teenage boys watching internet pornography are treating their girlfriends like sex objects
Link Here

Daily Mail logo Many women would argue that the very idea of being chaperoned is restrictive and demeaning.

And yet among today's teenage girls, the chaperone has made a surprising and - as we shall come to see - disturbing comeback.

Today's chaperone is called, in teenspeak, a third wheel . And she is not being forced on girls by concerned or controlling adults worried about honour and etiquette.

Type the words sex pictures into Google and it returns 83 million results in less than one-tenth of a second

The third wheel (the verb is to third wheel') has been re-invented by the girls themselves because they want protection from the sexual demands of their boyfriends.

When I spoke to many teenage girls in researching the subject, they told me these demands are both 'disturbing and upsetting , and they are certain they're being fuelled by what their boyfriends are watching online: hard-core, explicit porn.

This deeply worrying trend is finally starting to be noticed by those in authority.

Psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos has just published a government report into the sexualisation of children, and is certain that exposure to porn is having an adverse affect on the lives of today's teenagers.

...See the full article . The comments are worth a read too.

Comment: Unobjective

By Shaun

Many males find female nudity stimulating They have evolved do to so. BUT The vast majority of them DO NOT go on to treat their women as objects. It's simply complete rubbish and fake science to make such an assertion.

Milton Diamond, a professor of anatomy and reproductive biology at the University of Hawaii at Manoa has just published a study asserting that the OPPOSITE is true and that rape and sex crimes ALWAYS reduce wherever pornography is freely available, and there is MUCH evidence from around the world to support this.

Do a search on Google for: Pornography, Public Acceptance and Sex Related Crime: A Review

Objectification is specifically mentioned and there is research which shows it simply does not happen. Note that the paper also asserts that strict religious upbringing collerates highly with sex crime, so where's the appropriate control on religion I wonder?

Comment: Our biology knows what it needs

By IanG

We may believe we are far nobler and that we seek some deeper emotional and intellectual friendship with our sexual partners, indeed, this non-sexual bonding is usually reserved for same-sex friends and those whom we are not sexually attracted to. However, when seeking our soul mate we generally consider a long term partnership in terms of physical, emotional and intellectual compatibility. If one of these aspects remains unfulfilled then the relationship can be compromised - the eye can wander in search of more physically appealing partners, the mind may seek new challenges or like-minded souls and, as a consequence, the emotional ties, the things we call love and trust that bind soul mates together, can become strained.

It may be convenient for some to consider the mind and body as separate entities but, we are one whole, one complete being. Indeed, the idea that the flesh may be weak while the spirit is strong is deeply flawed. The flesh is controlled by the spirit, the psyche, the thought, the reflex, our hopes and dreams. We do as our mind directs (and often subconsciously). The body is but a vessel for the mind and, despite everything society may believe, our mind is but biology and our biology knows what it needs not just for our personal survival but for the survival of our very species and what's best for our offspring.

In terms of sexuality, only rapists (and perhaps traffickers/pimps) treat other people as sex objects to be used and abused. Where there's mutual attraction or some mutually beneficial arrangement (i.e. partnerships and/or paid-for sexual encounters') there's no objectification but, indeed, a degree of mutual respect, social interaction, even pleasure in the fulfilling of some inherent socio-sexual need for all parties involved (that maybe sexual for one and, perhaps, monetary for the other but, it could be emotional, re-humanising, de-fusing and satisfying nonetheless).

And it should be stressed that it is far better for hormone-filled young lads to work off their excess testosterone with pictures of naked ladies than getting their 14-17 y/o girlfriends pregnant - isn't it?

Our sexuality is only something we alone can control and, how we choose to do that is our business alone. It should be noted that pornography has always been part of human society. And just because some religiously deluded twits in the middle of the 19th century thought they could protect children by turning sexually explicit materials into 'obscenity' has done nothing to protect children from sexual abuse and, indeed, has only increased their naivety and vulnerability to sexual exploitation and abuse.

Comment: Boys Abusing Women

9th March 2010. By Dan

Just been reading all the crap on the Daily Mail.

Underlying all this is the belief that male sexuality, and in particular young male sexuality is dangerous, sexist and a threat to women. Young boys looking at pictures of nude women in magazines is apparently abusing women.

 

7th March   

Blood Red Sumptuous in Blu...

New release of Dario Argento's Suspiria
Link Here

Suspiria Blu ray DVD Jessica Harper Suspiria is a 1977 Italian horror by Dario Argento

The BBFC haven't required cuts since the 1998 Nouveaux video but previously they cut the 1977 cinema release and cuts persisted into the 1990 EIV video.

  1. Heavy cuts to the blind man getting his throat torn out by his own guide dog, particularly the close ups of the dog tearing chunks of flesh
  2. A 2s close up of Sara's (Stefania Casini) throat being cut in the room of wires is missing.

Review from UK Amazon : Dreamlike

The plot follows Suzy Bannion (Jessica Harper), an American ballet student, travelling to Germany to study at an exclusive dance academy in the Black Forest. After one of the students and her friend are hideously murdered in the first of Argento's breathtaking set-piece killings, Suzy discovers that the academy has a bizarre history and, as the body count rises, she gets involved in a hideous labyrinth of murder, black magic and madness.

With a distinctive dreamlike look courtesy of Luciano Tovoli's cinematography that emphasises primary colours, and a unique score by Italian progressive rock band Goblin, this is the film Argento film that has been crying out for a decent Blu-Ray release. An initial Italian Blu-Ray release was universally vilified for it's appalling transfer, so this new release has been eagerly awaited.

The remastered HD transfer is, on the whole, absolutely stunning showcasing new levels of detail that will be a revelation even for those familiar with the film. The colours saturate the screen giving life to Tovoli's cinematography. Occasionally the transfer betrays it's origins with the odd scene that doesn't seem to match the overall quality of the image, but don't let that put you off. Apart from viewing Suspiria on the big screen with which nothing can compare, this represents the definitive way to view Argento's classic.

The extras add value with an informative commentary by Argento expert Alan Jones and critic Kim Newman; a new documentary featuring contributions from Argento, Claudio Simonetti (of Goblin), Norman J. Warren, Newman and academic Patricia MacCormack; and extended interviews with Warren, Newman and MacCormack.

 

7th March   

Braverheart...

BBFC cuts waived to Mel Gibson's Braveheart
Link Here

Braveheart Blu ray Mel Gibson Braveheart is a 1995 US action film by Mel Gibson

The BBFC waived their cuts for the 15 rated 2009 20th Century Fox Blu-ray noted as the Uncut Version.

Previously the BBFC cut:

  • The front view of Wallace's (Mel Gibson) revenge cutting of the magistrate's throat, has been substituted for a less graphic side shot to obtain a 15' cert.

 

7th March   

Update: High Score...

Australian games for adult consultation receives 55,000 responses
Link Here

R18+ banned Australians, it seems, are more than a little interested in the issue of video game classification. Figures released by the Federal Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor show that more than 55,000 submissions were received into the recently completed public submission process on whether Australia should introduce an R18+ rating for games, with the Minister stating that the large response rate indicated a high level of interest in this issue in the Australian community.

O'Connor said the Federal Attorney General's Department would now prepare a report on the consultation for the Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG), a group made up of all of Australia's various Federal, State, and Territory AGs. The introduction of an R18+ rating needs the unanimous approval of all SCAG members, with the next SCAG meeting due in April this year.

The high number of responses follows a concerted campaign by video game activists around the nation to drum up interest in the debate. Independent advocacy group Grow Up Australia's partnership with retailer EB Games netted more than 16,000 responses, with an EB Games spokesperson saying the company solicited a further 30,000 submissions.

 

7th March   

Seduced by Censorship...

Internet censorship in Afghanistan
Link Here

Afghanistan flag Afghanistan will set up an Internet filter to block Internet sites with sexual or violent content, a minister said.

Information and Culture Minister Sayed Makhdoom Raheen said the new Internet bans were not linked to media freedom issues.

We have specified that four sites which announce sexual issues, drug trafficking and cultivation, violence issues -- like making bombs and gambling -- must be banned. The intention is to stop the seduction of the youth generation, Raheen said.

Regarding filtering terrorist-linked sites like the Taliban's, Raheen said he had not ordered a ban on the site which normally shows footage of Taliban attacks, including suicide raids, as well as military and political statements.

However, it has not been possible to access the site for several days. The Taliban, say the site has been blocked.

 

7th March   

Update: Searching for Repression...

And finding it at Middle East Bing
Link Here

Bing logo A new report has now revealed that Microsoft censors its Bing search engine returns in Arab countries even more heavily than the countries themselves do using national Internet filters.

The study covered the United Arab Emirates, Syria, Algeria, and Jordan, and found heavy censorship of anything relating to sex.

It is interesting that Microsoft's implementation of this type of wholesale social content censorship for the entire Arabian countries region is in fact not being practiced by many of the Arab government censors themselves, reads a new report from the Open Net Initiative (ONI). It adds: It is unclear, however, whether Bing's keyword filtering in the Arab countries is an initiative from Microsoft, or whether any or all of the Arab states have asked Microsoft to comply with local censorship practices or laws.

ONI performed the study by testing the search terms inside the countries. Banned words include sex, intercourse, breast, nude, and many more in both the English and Arabic language.

When someone attempts to search most sex-related terms, Bing informs searchers: Your country or region requires a strict Bing SafeSearch setting, which filters out results that might contain adult content.

 

7th March   

Update: Censor taken to Court...

Journalist group file court challenge to censor over the banned film Balibo
Link Here

AJI logo The Jakarta chapter of the Alliance of Independent Journalists have filed a lawsuit against the Indonesian Censorship Institute for its decision to ban the film Balibo .

Hendrayana, executive director of the Legal Aid Center for the Press (LBH Pers), which is representing AJI Jakarta in proceedings at the State Administrative Court, said the ban was a violation of the public's right to information.

In early December, the censorship institute, also know as the LSF, banned the film, which tells the story of five Australian journalists killed when Indonesian troops took over the border town of Balibo in East Timor in October 1975. A sixth journalist died weeks later when Indonesian forces invaded Dili.

Hendrayana said the LSF had no clear reason to ban the film and officials' worries that its screening might hurt bilateral relations between Indonesia and Australia had proved to be unfounded.

Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa has previously said the restriction was to protect the country's image abroad. Minister of Culture and Tourism Jero Wacik has said the film was not fit to be screened and could damage relations between Indonesia, East Timor and Australia.

Update: Australian media call to put Balibo ban on presidential agenda

10th March 2010. See article from encoremagazine.com.au

Australia's  Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance has asked Foreign Minister Stephen Smith to raise the banning of Robert Connolly's film Balibo with Indonesian President Susilo Bamban Yudhoyono during his visit to Australia this week.

The fact that the government of Dr Yudhoyono will not even allow the film to be shown to the Indonesian public suggests that this matter is far from resolved, said MEAA's federal secretary Christopher Warren.

As far as this country's community of journalists is concerned, the failure of Indonesian power holders to acknowledge and take appropriate action for what happened in Balibo in 1975 represents an important barrier to the development of full and cordial relations between Australia and Indonesia.

 

7th March   

Update: Sharia TV Censor...

Aceh proposal for TV censorship adhering to sharia law
Link Here

Indonesia flag The Aceh office of the Indonesian Broadcasting Commission has proposed a draft of the province's broadcasting qanun , or bylaw, that will be used as a standard to censor films, TV and programs to ensure they adhere to Islamic law.

The draft, however, received strong opposition from the local branch of the Independent Journalists Association (AJI), which objected on the grounds that the proposed measure violated press freedom laws.

Mukhtaruddin Yakob, head of the local branch of the AJI, said the draft had been submitted at the end of January to the governor's office for preliminary review: The proposed qanun is inconsistent with the [national] Press Law and the Broadcasting Law, he told the Jakarta Globe.

Mukhtaruddin said the qanun would require inappropriate censorship of the program content of broadcasters operating in the staunchly Islamic province.

The proposed bylaw would require radio and television stations to broadcast live the obligatory weekly prayer on Fridays and prohibit them from airing crime reconstructions, obscene material and sexual harassment cases.

It also bans broadcasters from airing fund-raising efforts that are not in the Muslims' interests, Mukhtaruddin said.

Under the qanun, movies, television shows (including soap operas and documentaries) and commercials would be subject to censorship by the Aceh Film Censorship Board and Aceh Film Advisory Board (Bapfida).

 

7th March   

Offsite: Dangerous Acting...

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's tyranny is crushing Iran's artists
Link Here

Body Lies DVD Leonardo DiCaprio Golshifteh Farahani knows how dangerous it is now to be an artist in Tehran. In 2008 she became the first Iranian-based actress in almost 30 years to appear in a Hollywood blockbuster. Starring opposite Leonardo DiCaprio and Russell Crowe in Ridley Scott's Body of Lies , she hoped the film would be appreciated in her homeland for its critical stance on America's politics in the Middle East.

She was wrong. When she returned to Tehran the then 24-year-old was subjected to seven months of inquisition from the authorities of the Islamic republic. Reprimanded for not having asked the permission of the government, she became a regular guest of the Information Ministry and intelligence services.

...Read full article

 

6th March   

Anti-religious Commentary Justified...

Catholic and muslim conference calls for ban on anti-religious comments in the media
Link Here

Vatican Anti-religious commentary distributed by media outlets can create tensions and incite violence and therefore must be banned, said Vatican and Muslim representatives.

Attacking religion in the mass media especially via satellite television channels must be opposed considering the dangerous effect that these broadcasts can have on social cohesion and on peace between religious communities, said a statement issued after the annual meeting of officials from the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue and from al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.

The Feb. 23-24 meeting in Cairo focused on the role religions can play in either causing or preventing religious violence.

The meeting's final statement said greater attention must be paid to the fact that manipulating religion or religious beliefs for political or other interests can lead to violence. It called for ending discrimination on the basis of religious identity and said that if laws are to be just they should guarantee the fundamental equality of all people regardless of religious affiliation. The ideals of justice, solidarity and cooperation between all people must be promoted so as to foster peace and prosperity, it said.

 

6th March   

Updated: Copyright on Bad Ideas...

Lib Dem peers propose a state internet filtering law
Link Here

House of Lords logo Not So Liberal Democrat peers have proposed a new clause for the Digital Economy Bill that sets the ball rolling for state internet filtering:

Lord Razzall and Lord Clement-Jones have proposed the following new clause

Preventing access to specified online locations

In Part 1 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, after section 97A insert—

97B Preventing access to specified online locations

(1) The High Court (in Scotland, the Court of Session) shall have power to grant an injunction against a service provider, requiring it to prevent access to online locations specified in the order of the Court.

(2) In determining whether to grant an injunction under subsection (1), the Court shall have regard to the following matters—

(a) whether a substantial proportion of the content accessible at or via each specified online location infringes copyright,

(b) the extent to which the operator of each specified online location has taken reasonable steps to prevent copyright infringing content being accessed at or via that online location or taken reasonable steps to remove copyright infringing content from that online location (or both),

(c) whether the service provider has itself taken reasonable steps to prevent access to the specified online location, and

(d) any other matters which appear to the Court to be relevant.

(3) An application for an injunction under subsection (1) shall be made on notice to the service provider and to the operator of each specified online location in relation to which an injunction is sought.

(4) Where—

(a) the Court grants an injunction under subsection (1) upon the application of an owner of copyright whose copyright is infringed by the content accessible at or via each specified online location in the injunction, and

(b) the owner of copyright before making the application made a written request to the service provider giving it a reasonable period of time to take measures to prevent its service being used to access the specified online location in the injunction, and no steps were taken, the Court shall order the service provider to pay the copyright owner's costs of the application unless there were exceptional circumstances justifying the service provider's failure to prevent access despite notification by the copyright owner.

(5) In this section—

copyright owner includes a licensee with an exclusive licence within the meaning of section 92 of this Act,

infringing content means content which is produced or made available in infringement of copyright,

online location means a location on the internet, a mobile data network or other data network at or via which copyright infringing content is accessible,

operator means a person or persons in joint or sole control of the decisions to make content accessible at or via an online location, and

service provider has the meaning given to it by section 97A(3) of this Act.

Update: Shared Interests

5th March 2010.

Lord Clement-Jones one of the proposers of the  new clause became the talk of the internet when it was noticed that he receives significant money from a law firm standing to gain from measures in the Digital Economy Bill

See Register of Interests from publications.parliament.uk

CLEMENT-JONES, Lord

Partner of DLA Piper (international law firm) and adviser to its global government relations practice.

The member is paid £70,000 in respect of his services as Co-Chairman of DLA Piper's global government relations practice

Update: Amendment Passed

5th March 2010. Based on article from guardian.co.uk

One of the most contentious parts of the controversial digital economy bill was voted down by the House of Lords last night – only to be replaced by a clause that campaigners say is even more draconian.

The Liberal Democrats forced through a surprise amendment to the bill's notorious clause 17 on Wednesday – in a move that dealt a defeat to the government but troubled critics, who suggest it will have the opposite effect that its creators intend.

Instead of sweeping new powers that threatened sweeping alterations to British copyright law, the Lib Dems added a clause that gives extra oversight to the high court.

The new proposal – which was passed in the House of Lords by 165 votes to 140 – gives a high court judge the right to issue an injunction against a website accused of hosting a substantial amount of copyright infringing material, potentially forcing the entire site offline.

Putting forward the amendment, Lib Dem peer Lord Clement-Jones said that it would placate concerns over the so-called three strikes rule – which could see those accused of sharing files illegally online having their internet connections cut off – and added that it was a more proportionate, specific and appropriate way to approach infringement than the previous proposals made by the government.

But instead of making the proposed system more transparent and accountable, critics say it will simply leave it open to abuse.

This would open the door to a massive imbalance of power in favour of large copyright holding companies, said Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group. Individuals and small businesses would be open to massive 'copyright attacks' that could shut them down, just by the threat of action. This is exactly how libel law works today: suppressing free speech by the unwarranted threat of legal action. The expense and the threat are enough to create a 'chilling effect'.

In particular, there are concerns that the amendment could follow in the footsteps of America's controversial Digital Millennium Copyright Act, which has been accused of encouraging companies to file bogus copyright claims to block material they dislike.

The high costs and dangers of dealing with copyright claims in court mean that many web hosts simply take down the material in question without checking whether the copyright case is legitimate – even going as far as shutting down entire websites in some cases.

The new amendment could also have dire implications for websites like YouTube, where users can upload copyright-infringing material without the knowledge of the site's owners.

Update: A Good Summary from Metro

6th March 2010. Based on article from metro.co.uk

Metro Video-sharing websites such as YouTube could be blocked in Britain after a last-minute change to a new law

They are facing a major clampdown on using copyright material under an amendment passed by the House of Lords.

The change grants TV and music companies the right to demand their material is taken down. If the request is refused, they can take their challenge to court, where high legal costs will make it pointless to launch a defence.

Under the new law, copyright holders must ask ISPs and the website itself to remove the material or any links to other sites hosting it. If it is not taken down, a court order can force the ISP to block the site.

The amendment is aimed at websites with substantial amounts of copyrighted material. However, critics say the law, which is set to be passed in April, is unclear about what substantial means and that it is unfair to block an entire site over a few minor breaches. They say ISPs would simply shut out a site rather than risk the high legal costs of defending a case.

Nicholas Lansman, secretary-general of the Internet Service Providers Association, said: Our members are extremely concerned that the full implications of the amendment have not been understood.

 

6th March   

Diary: The Big Libel Week...

The impact of our libel laws on documentary film makers: what you don't get to see
Link Here

Libel Reform Campaign logo The impact of our libel laws on documentary film makers: what you don't get to see
Thursday 11th March, 6:30pm
Free Word Centre, 60 Farringdon Road, London, EC1R 3GA

As part of the Big Libel Week, the Libel Reform Campaign will be hosting a free event on the effect of our libel laws on documentary film makers. Speakers include:

  • Tracy Worcester is a documentary film maker who directed and produced the film Pig Business (there will be a screening of an extract from this)
  • Christopher Hird is a leading figure in UK independent documentary making and runs Dartmouth Films
  • Duncan Campbell is an investigative journalist and filmmaker who specialises in privacy, civil liberties and secrecy issues. He has faced successive libel actions for twenty years.

 

6th March   

Conflict of Interests...

Video shops cite child interests in campaign to hobble DVD kiosk competitors
Link Here

dvd kiosk The ongoing feud between brick-and-mortar video store owners and the DVD kiosk industry is heating up in one Indiana county, where retailers with Redbox and MovieCube kiosks have been told to remove all DVDs rated above G or face prosecution under state law.

Paul Black an attorney representing the owner of several area video stores, convinced the Vanderburgh County prosecuting attorney to send letters to roughly a dozen retailers with DVD kiosks earlier this year, telling them to stop providing access to videos, movies, games, etc. that contain an R or PG rating or are unrated.

The letter goes on to warn that the county sheriff's office will follow up to see that your kiosks no longer contain these videos which are prohibited to be disseminated to minors. The letters site Indiana state law, which calls for class D felony charges against a person who knowingly or intentionally disseminates matter to minors that is harmful to minors.

We asked the local prosecuting attorney to look into whether these kiosks could possibly violate state law, Black said. We're not on a particular crusade ...BUT... you can just walk up to any of these kiosks and rent adult material. There's a danger in availability. We card people in liquor stores, minors don't have access to cigarette machines. This is a level playing field issue.

First, overall, we have clear processes in place to restrict the rental of DVDs to the appropriate age of consumer, and we believe our kiosks are being operated in full compliance with the law, said NCR spokesman Jeff Dudash. The kiosks are operated consistent with the industrywide practices for DVD vending kiosks all over the United States.

Gary Cohen, SVP of marketing and customer experience for Redbox said: Confirmation of age is a requirement of Redbox, he said. When renting a movie from Redbox, customers must confirm they are 18 years of age or older with a valid debit or credit card.

In the event a customer selects an 'R'-rated title, the customer must confirm they are 18 years of age to proceed with their rental. Whether renting movies online, from a kiosk, from a store or purchasing content from the Web, parental supervision is the most important factor in entertainment access and selection.

Cohen also noted that the courts have uniformly ruled that attempts to restrict rentals based on Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) ratings violate the First Amendment.

 

6th March   

Chilling Effects...

Laughable police censorship of naked snow lady
Link Here

snow lady Cops ordered a New Jersey family to cover up their snowlady after receiving a complaint that the frosty front yard figure was X-rated.

While neighboring snowmen were allowed to flaunt their nudity with coal-eyed jauntiness, Elisa Gonzalez and her kids heeded the warning from the police.

They dressed their controversial snowlady in a green bikini top and hip-hiding blue sarong.

I thought she looked more objectified and sexualized after you put the bikini on, Gonzalez, 44, of Rahway told the Newark Star-Ledger.

Gonzalez, a court reporter, said her family's twist on the favorite winter pastime was influenced by the armless ancient Greek statue Venus de Milo. She admits the snowbabe was curvaceous, bodacious and booty-licious - but hardly obscene.

Rahway police received an anonymous complaint of a naked snow woman and dispatched an officer to Gonzalez's Colonia Blvd. home to investigate. Gonzalez said the cop who came to her house said, It's very good, adding that the cop was apologetic about asking her to tone down the display.

 

5th March   

Updated: Threatening to Make a Mockery of the Law...

Campaigner prosecuted for religious hatred with claims that cartoons are 'threatening'
Link Here
Adam paintng

  By the way, I've just invented blasphemy
Thought you'd like a bit of fun

A campaigning atheist who left leaflets mocking Jesus Christ, the Pope and the Koran in the prayer room of an international airport has gone on trial charged with religious harassment.

The materials left by Harry Taylor at Liverpool's John Lennon airport included one image showed a smiling Christ on the cross next to an advert for a brand of no nails glue. In another, Islamic suicide bombers at the gates of paradise are told: Stop, stop, we've run out of virgins.

A further cartoon showed two Muslims holding a placard demanding equality with the caption: Not for women or gays, obviously.

Taylor, a self-styled philosophy tutor, denied bearing a grudge against people of faith and said he was only trying to convert believers to atheism. He said: The airport is named after John Lennon and his views on religion were pretty much the same as mine. I thought that it was an insult to his memory to have a prayer room in the airport.

The leaflets were discovered by Nicky Lees, the airport chaplain, who told the court she felt deeply offended and insulted by their contents. [But didn't mention feeling threatened].

Outlining the case against Taylor, prosecutor Neville Biddle said that he had gone beyond freedom of expression by leaving the insulting, threatening and abusive images in a room used for worship. He said: Of course people have a right to speak freely and have a right to insult people. It is one of the most important rights we have and it must be jealously guarded ...BUT... it is a right not without some prescription. Mr Taylor exceeded that right.

The defendant from Salford, Greater Manchester is charged with three counts of religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress under the Crime and Disorder Act. The alleged offences took place on separate dates in November and December 2008.

Taylor denied the charges and said it was preposterous to suggest that people could be incited to violence by the cartoons. He said: I am not hostile to religious people but I am hostile to religion. He told the court that he adapted cartoons cut out of newspaper and magazines like Private Eye and added captions of his own.

The images shown to the jury included a drawing of the Pope with a condom on his finger, and a picture of a woman kneeling in front of a Catholic priest captioned with a crude pun. In another image sausages were were labelled as The Koran .

The trial continues.

Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006

Based on article from opsi.gov.uk

29A Meaning of “religious hatred”

In this Part “religious hatred” means hatred against a group of persons defined by reference to religious belief or lack of religious belief.
Acts intended to stir up religious hatred

29B Use of words or behaviour or display of written material

(1) A person who uses threatening words or behaviour, or displays any written material which is threatening, is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.

29C Publishing or distributing written material

(1) A person who publishes or distributes written material which is threatening is guilty of an offence if he intends thereby to stir up religious hatred.

29J Protection of freedom of expression

Nothing in this Part shall be read or given effect in a way which prohibits or restricts discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions or the beliefs or practices of their adherents, or of any other belief system or the beliefs or practices of its adherents, or proselytising or urging adherents of a different religion or belief system to cease practising their religion or belief system.

Update: A Disgraceful Verdict

5th March 2010. Based on article from liverpooldailypost.co.uk

The jury of ten women and two men, at Liverpool Crown Court took just 15 minutes to find Harry Taylor guilt of religiously aggravated intentional harassment, alarm or distress after viewing the grossly abusive and insulting images in court.

Harry Taylor is now on bail awaiting sentencing on 23 April. Religiously aggravated offences carry a potential seven-year prison term.

The National Secular Society have supported Taylor. They claim that new laws dealing with religiously aggravated offences amount to a blasphemy law in another guise.

Terry Sanderson, president of the society, said: This is a disgraceful verdict, but an inevitable one under this pernicious law. It seems incredible in the 21st Century that you might be sent to prison because someone is 'offended' by your views on their religion . . . Mr Taylor struck me as slightly eccentric and he acted in a provocative way, challenging the necessity for the prayer room. He didn't cause any damage and he didn't harm anything, nor was he threatening or abusive. Yet he might still end up behind bars because some Christian has decided they are offended.

In a multicultural society, none of us should have the legal right not to be offended. This law needs to be re-examined urgently.

 

5th March   

All Practical Measures...

Rudd considers an ombudsman to censor material on social networking websites
Link Here

Facebook logo Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said he would consider introducing an internet ombudsman after Facebook tributes to two dead children were defaced with pornography.

Rudd said he would look into an idea put forward by Independent Senator Nick Xenophon to appoint an official who would be responsible for taking complaints and action against such material.

We actually need to do everything we can to combat cyber crime, Rudd said: The role of cyber crime and internet bullying on children is, frankly, frightening and we need to be deploying all practical measures.

Memorial pages on the social networking site for eight-year-old Trinity Bates and Elliott Fletcher, 12, who were allegedly murdered in separate incidents this month, have been vandalised with offensive material.

 

4th March   

Dress Sense...

Advert censor clears road safety TV advert that distressed a few younger kids
Link Here

girl who didnt dress bright A TV ad, for Department for Transport Think! campaign, featured a cartoon character of a pale young girl clutching her midriff, wearing a neck brace and with a plaster on her head. She looked at herself stepping into the road as the lights of a fast car approached. Three cartoon children, all wearing reflective bands and stickers, walked past the sad looking injured girl. The voice-over stated The girl who didn't dress bright in the dark. She always liked to look her best, So didn't wear a nice bright vest, Or any clothing that was bright, When she was out at nearly night, But traffic couldn't see her see, And now she isn't so trendy, A car drove right into her guts, And covered her with bruisy cuts .

The ad was cleared by Clearcast who considered a timing restriction to keep it away from children was not necessary. Issue

Five viewers, most of whom saw it on children's channels, believed the ad was unsuitable for broadcast when young children could see it, because their own children, ranging in age from four to seven, had been distressed by it.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA understood that the ad was aimed at children between the ages of six and 11, but noted the ages of the children upset by the ad were younger than, or at the lower end of the targeted age group. We noted the efforts made by the DfT, their agency and Clearcast to tone down the material in order to avoid distressing younger children who could be more easily upset. We recognised that individual child sensitivities might vary, but nonetheless considered that older children were unlikely to have found the ad disturbing. We did not dismiss the reported distress lightly, but considered that it was not always possible to avoid causing upset to some more sensitive children and noted the ad did not appear to have adversely affected the vast majority of children who saw it. We noted the importance of the road safety message and considered that a timing restriction to keep the ad away from programmes made or aimed at children, in order to avoid upsetting some young viewers, would have seriously reduced the likelihood of children in the targeted age group from seeing it.

We concluded that a scheduling restriction in order to direct the ad away from all children was not warranted on this occasion and that the ad had been scheduled appropriately.

 

4th March   

Family Business...

Chief nutter, Donald Wildmon, retires from the American Family Association
Link Here

American Family Association logo The American Family Association has announced today that the organization's founder and longtime leader, Donald Wildmon, has resigned after more than 30 years as chairman of what has long been one of the leading anti-gay organizations in the country.

According to a press release, Wildmon has resigned due to ongoing health concerns caused after he was bitten last summer by a mosquito carrying the St. Louis encephalitis virus. Wildmon said that he will continue to work with AFA, and that his son, Tim, who has been with the organization for 24 years, is expected to succeed him as chair.

According to the press release: The retired United Methodist minister [Donald Wildmon] began AFA in 1977 in his dining room with a typewriter and a used offset press. Today the ministry operates on a $20 million annual budget with 175 employees. The ministry owns and operates 180 radio stations, a monthly magazine with a circulation of 170,000 and an internet presence of 2.5 million supporters.

Here are just a few examples of how Wildmon has used his budget and his influence to try and stall LGBT rights:

  • Wildmon is first national religious leader to call on GOP officeholders to purge their staffs of LGBT people after the Congressman Mark Foley scandal in 2006.
  • Wildmon calls on his supporters to take action against McDonald's after the fast food chain joins the National GLBT Chamber of Commerce in 2008.
  • Wildmon and his AFA troops worked to pass Proposition 8 in California in 2008.
  • Wildmon called for a boycott of PepsiCo because the company supported gay rights.

 

4th March   

Offsite: Michael Foot...

Free speech campaigner and politician dies aged 96
Link Here

Michael Foot Kenneth O Morgan Michael Foot was not only a principled politician, writes Paul Anderson. The former Labour party leader was a passionate journalist and a lifelong defender of free expression

Michael Foot, who has died at the age of 96, is best remembered these days as a politician — and a very important one he was too. He was the leader of the left in the Labour Party from the late 1950s until he took a government job in the 1974 Labour government, and then was Labour leader from 1980 to 1983.

But before that — and after that — he was primarily a journalist, and probably the most consistently active campaigner in Britain for freedom of speech in general and journalistic liberties in particular during the 1940s and 1950s.

...Read full article

 

4th March   

EIRIN...

Film censors of Japan
Link Here

eirin logo EIGA RINRI IINKAI aka EIRIN (Film Classification and Rating Committee) is an independent, non-governmental organization, which has been responsible for the classification of motion pictures since 1956.

When classifying films EIRIN considers eight criteria:

  • theme
  • language
  • sex
  • nudity
  • violence
  • horror
  • drug use
  • criminal behavior
  • context 

EIRIN has four categories

  • G stands for general viewing and means the film is suitable for audiences all ages
  • PG 12 means parental guidance is requested for those under 12 years of age
  • R 15+ is for only those 15 and above
  • R 18+ is only for those 18 and above.

Since EIRIN's rating system is based somewhat on the U.S. and British model, its age restrictions are similar, although the Americans and the British have more categories.

Softcore Sex

Japanese law forbids films from depicting sexual organs and indecent images of minors.

Censorship of sexually explicit content, however, led to the creation and popularity of soft-core porn, or pink films, starting in the 1960s. By the 1980s, however, adult videos had become the norm.

Because EIRIN banned the the display of genitalia or pubic hair, fogging it out or blurring it with a digital mosaic, the producers of pink films developed elaborate ways to self censor, using various props positioned at strategic locations to hide taboo areas.

Despite a drastic decline in the popularity of pink films in recent years, the genre still enjoys a cult following domestically and overseas.

Currently, EIRIN allows the screening of foreign films that display female or male genitalia if the material is not pornographic and fulfils certain conditions.

Hardcore Sex

In the case of adult porn videos and games, several self- regulating organizations are responsible for the screening process and with advising member companies on the changes needed to avoid breaking the law.

Such organizations include the Nihon Ethics of Video Association (Biderin), which was the oldest of the lot but ceased screening activities after it was raided by police in 2007, the Ethics Organization of Computer Software (Sofurin), and the Contents Soft Association.

Organisation

EIRIN tasks five commissioners of various professional backgrounds with executing its policies, maintaining its category divisions and appointing examiners.

The management team consists of five staff members and nine examiners who are responsible for reviewing films and trailers, making category decisions, and advising on cuts or modifications.

According to Kiyotoshi Kodama, EIRIN's secretary general, at least two film examiners are responsible for viewing a single movie.

By simple arithmetic, considering that we handle around 600 films per year, a single examiner would view roughly 150 films during the course of a year, he said.

Kodama said that since the examiners base their evaluations on set principles, their ratings in most cases are unanimous.

But on those rare occasions when examiners disagree, or when the film's applicant objects to an assigned rating, a film can be brought back for further consideration by other examiners.

Although EIRIN has no legal power to ban a film, the rules stipulated by the Japan Association of Theatre Owners, which covers the owners of most of the nation's cinemas, forbids its members from screening films that haven't been classified and OK'd by EIRIN.

EIRIN's income is derived entirely from examination fees, which are currently Yen 2,740 (£20) per minute, plus tax.

 

4th March   

Censored...

Noted Iranian film maker arrested over support for opposition
Link Here

Offside DVD Sima Mobarak Shahi Artists from around the world have called for the release of the Iranian film-maker Jafar Panahi, who was arrested in a raid on his home in Tehran. The award-winning director, a vocal supporter of the Opposition, was seized on Monday night along with his wife and daughter and 15 house guests.

It is a very shocking development and further demonstration of the intolerance of the regime, said Ken Loach, the British director. I hope all people working in films will call for his release, and speak out in solidarity for him and all Iranian film-makers working under similar conditions. It is completely unacceptable.

Panahi had supported Mir Hossein Mousavi, the opposition leader, in last year's disputed parliamentary elections. He was previously arrested in July at a ceremony commemorating Neda Soltan, the anti-Government protester who was killed by security forces Last month, Panahi was denied permission to leave Iran to attend the Berlin Film Festival.

Panahi's work has received critical acclaim for its unflinching portrayal of social tensions in contemporary Iran. In 2000, he won the top prize at the Venice Film Festival for The Circle, which depicted women struggling with the country's inherent sexism. His most recent feature, Offside , depicted a group of women defying a ban on them attending football matches, and attempting to enter the national stadium disguised as men to watch a crucial World Cup qualifier. The film won the 2006 Silver Bear award in Berlin.

Despite his international success, the critical stance in most of Panahi's work has led to conflict with government censors. Most of his films are banned from being shown in Iranian cinemas.

Update: Hunger Strike

22nd May 2010. See  article from  news.bbc.co.uk

The internationally acclaimed filmmaker Jafar Panahi has begun a hunger strike to protest at his imprisonment in Iran, opposition websites say.

The writer and director was arrested in March along with members of his family.

Panahi's family were released shortly after their arrest, but he was taken to Evin prison in Tehran.

His wife, Tahereh Saeidi, told the opposition Rahesabz website the director had informed her by phone that he had stopped eating and drinking until he was allowed to see his family and a lawyer.

 

4th March   

God Almighty!...

Italian football federation bans 'god' cusses
Link Here

figc logo An Italian football coach has been banned for taking God's name in vain

According to the disciplinary watchdog of the Italian football league, the Verona club's coach proffered a blasphemous expression that was to make him the first victim of a zero-tolerance policy on irreverence.

Di Carlo, whose side narrowly avoided relegation last season, was banned from the touchline for a game after the outburst.

The Italian federation, Federcalcio, decided last month that the time had come for disciplinary action to be taken against players and coaches heard taking God's name in vain. The president, Giancarlo Abete, declared it would intervene with official decisions to make clear that blasphemy is within the definition of 'offensive, insulting or abusive language' in the rules [that warrant sending-off] .

Chievo's coach was not the only one caught out; one of his players, Michele Marcolini, was deemed to have said God as he left the field after a red card.

 

4th March   

War Censorship...

Afghanistan bans the filming of military strikes
Link Here

Afghanistan flag Afghanistan has promised to clarify new restrictions on news coverage of Taleban military strikes, and hinted that it may row back from the most draconian measures, which had amounted to a total ban on filming during attacks.

The United States said it planned to raise the issue with Kabul, a day after the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS) spy agency summoned journalists to its headquarters and threatened to arrest anyone filming while strikes are under way.

 

3rd March   

Update: On Par with Zimbabwe...

RAI suspends TV political talk shows in run up to regional elections
Link Here

RAI TV Italian journalists and opposition politicians accused state broadcaster RAI of censorship after it announced it was suspending political talk shows ahead of key regional elections this month.

The board of RAI, dominated by supporters of Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, voted to suspend the shows ahead of the March 28-29 polls to avoid possible sanctions from a parliamentary committee.

RAI is required by law to guarantee equal airtime to politicians of all sides and can face sanctions if it is found to have breached the rules. To avoid the problem, the broadcaster will temporarily replace some of the talk shows -- a staple of Italy's political and media diet -- with a series of moderated debates between the candidates.

This puts an unprecedented silencer on the freedom of the press, said Giovanni Floris, presenter of the weekly political talk-show Ballaro . We're going to do anything and everything we can to beat this and go on the air.

The accusations of censorship were dismissed as ridiculous by Enzo Fassano, a legislator for Berlusconi's People of Freedom party (PDL) and a member of the committee that oversees RAI: All this amounts to is a few presenters taking a break for a couple of weeks so the candidates can debate fairly .

The consumer union Federconsumatori said it would explore whether suspending the talk shows may violate RAI's public service obligations. This situation puts us on the same level of democracy and free press as Zimbabwe, said Federconsumatori's head, Rosario Trefiletti.

 

3rd March   

Diary: National Day of Action...

Stop the Filter and Block the Filter protests
Link Here

stop the filter National Day of Action
6th March 2010

Organisers of the Stop the Filter and Block the Filter national day of action have revealed a mix of protests, information sessions and picnics on Saturday March 6 to protest against the Federal Government's plans for a mandatory ISP-level internet filter.

Protests are being organised by the Stop the Filter group in Brisbane and Perth, which organisers said would be suited to people who already know about the filter and wish to protest. The group was also arranging a rally in Melbourne on the same day, but this was located at the Victorian State Library and would be information-focused .

It will be a somewhat more relaxed affair in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth, where the Block the Filter group has organised cyber safety picnics. These were suited to parents, families and people who are unfamiliar with the filter.

 

3rd March   

Diary: FAB Fest 2010...

3 days of movie excess in Edinburgh
Link Here

fab fest 2010 logo FAB Fest 2010
Filmhouse, Edimburgh
Friday 30 April to Sunday 2 May

Fans of the fantastic world of weird and wonderful cinema can start making plans for the weekend of Friday 30 April to Sunday 2 May, when you will be served up a feast of movies that will entertain, enlighten, enthrall, and chill your bones to the core! FAB Fest will showcase many stunning UK premieres, loads of very special guests to meet and greet, plus giveaways and Q&As, all taking place over 3 days of non-stop movie excess.

  • KAIFECK MURDER - Supernatural chills in Bavaria!
  • THE END - Audacious, gripping and utterly original.
  • THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION OF LITTLE DIZZLE - Best director award winner, this dazzling new film is a genre-defying cult classic in the making.
  • 8TH WONDERLAND - Award-winning, ground-breaking fantasy epic. (PLUS GUESTS / Q&A)
  • LIFE IS HOT IN CRACKTOWN - The latest gut-wrenching urban horror from legendary New Yorker Buddy Giovinazzo, who will be the festival's guest of honour and will also screen the director's cut of his cult classic debut COMBAT SHOCK.
  • A DAY OF VIOLENCE - Unrelentingly brutal new British sensation. (PLUS GUESTS / Q&A)
  • RESURRECTING THE STREET WALKER - Superb British horror that heralds a major new talent. (PLUS GUESTS / Q&A)
  • NEIGHBOR - An astonishing modern Grand Guignol masterpiece. (PLUS GUESTS / Q&A)
  • REEL ZOMBIES - The most downright clever zombie movie of the last few years. (PLUS GUESTS / Q&A) PLUS five more films still to be confirmed...

FAB Fest is a three day festival running in Cinema One at Filmhouse in Edinburgh. FAB Fest passes are only £65 per person, and are on sale now from the Filmhouse box office:

 

3rd March   

Dam Censorship...

Egyptian Supreme Court throws out government ban on President Nasser movie
Link Here

nasser and amer Egypt's Supreme Administrative Court has turned down an appeal submitted by the government and the Ministry of Defense against the release of a movie about former President Gamal Abdel Nasser and his deputy Abdel Hakim Amer.

The court said it upholds the freedom of opinion, expression and artistic creativity, which are supported by the Egyptian Constitution.

Mamdouh el-Leithy, who wrote the screenplay for el-Raees wal Mousheer ( The President and the Marshal ), filed a lawsuit in 2006 after authorities ordered that filming should stop. According to el-Leithy, these authorities said the script would reveal secrets regarding Nasser and Amer's relationship and had to be changed before production could continue.

The court ruled that only the Government Censorship Authority has authority to determine which movies are appropriate for screening. The court's ruling also stated that the Government Censorship Authority should not abandon its jurisdiction in deference to another state institution.

Nasser Amin, head of the Arab Center for the Independence of the Judiciary and the Legal Profession, who also acts as lawyer for el-Leithy, described the ruling as historic because it entrenches the principles of freedom of opinion and expression.

 

3rd March   

Next Mandatory TV Filtering?...

Australia to develop its own TV parental control standard
Link Here

ACMA logo The Australian Communications and Media Authority is seeking industry and public comment on the determination of a technical standard that will make parental lock a required feature for digital television receivers.

A parental lock is a feature of digital television receivers which allows controlled access to programs based on their classification, for example, G, PG, M or MA.

Mandating the inclusion of parental lock in digital receivers will support parents and guardians in protecting their children from inappropriate or harmful content on television, said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

The ACMA will determine a technical standard in the second quarter of this year that will require domestic reception equipment used for receiving digital television services to have a parental lock capability.

The ACMA has developed a discussion paper to outline the approach it intends to take in determining the parental lock standard, and now seeks comment on a number of issues concerning determination of this technical standard.

The ACMA is seeking to understand industry and public views on:

  • whether there are any particular types of digital television receivers that should be exempt from meeting the requirements of the standard;
  • the need for labelling and record-keeping obligations as part of the compliance arrangements that accompany the standard
  •  the date by which equipment supplied to the market should comply with the standard.

The ACMA will consider submissions received before it determines the parental lock standard. The closing date for comment is 2 April 2010.

 

3rd March   

Update: Censor Power...

Film makers criticise state control embodied in new film censorship law
Link Here

Indonesia flag There are claims the latest law governing filmmaking in Indonesia is stricter than its predecessor dating back almost 30 years.

Director Riri Riza and producer Mira Lesmana say producers and directors had been hoping for more self regulation in the revised regulation.

But Lesmana told Radio Australia's Connect Asia program that the new law hands all power to the government: It puts the government in total control of all the activities of making a film, from permits, from what to say and what not to say, all the way up to penaltie s. Which for us is just going totally backwards to what we wanted.

She says even self-funded projects have to follow the regulations: We don't have a classification board. What we have is a censor board and there is no film whatsoever that can be shown in the cinema if you don't have censor cards saying that it is suitable.

Riza says one aspect of the new law is that 60% of screen time has to be reserved for Indonesian productions, regardless of quality: That is something that you call government intervention in the industry . It's trying to regulate whatever aims in the film industry, which is dangerous.

He says he wants to remind the Indonesian government that Article 28 in our constitution that protects the freedom of saying whatever you want to say and freedom to access information .

 

3rd March   

Update: Lies about Lies...

Iran bans opposition newspaper for 2 months
Link Here

etemaad logo The Iranian state news agency IRNA reports that the country's leading reformist newspaper has been banned for two months for spreading lies.

No additional details were provided, but the pro-reform Etemad daily had recently published an interview with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's press adviser, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, in which he criticized the conservative opposition to the Iranian president.

Etemad has been banned several times over the past decade.

 

3rd March   

Bad Marks for Egypt...

UN criticises lack of freedom of expression
Link Here

UN logo Egypt came under review Wednesday, Feb 17, 2010, for the first time at the United Nations Human Rights Council for its rights record.

Western countries criticized the emergency laws in effect since 1981, along with related restrictions on freedom of press, expression and unions and the imprisoning of journalists and bloggers.

The accusations included the death penalty, torture and illegal detentions and the use of violence against religious minorities.

Human Rights Watch had called on Egypt to

  • epeal the emergency laws
  • lift its longstanding abusive emergency regulations
  • hold security forces accountable for serious human rights abuses such as arbitrary arrest and incommunicado detention
  • end systematic torture and unfair trials before state security courts
  • halt its systematic arrest and harassment of peaceful political activists, as well as bloggers and journalists
  • halt the policy of using lethal force to stop African migrants and asylum seekers from crossing the Sinai border into Israel

The government has never confirmed the number of those arbitrarily detained under emergency law orders issued by the interior minister, but Egyptian human rights organizations estimate that between 5,000 and 10,000 people are held without charge.

Security officers arrested a group of bloggers and political activists who had traveled to the southern town of Nag Hammadi to pay their condolences to the families of 6 Christians shot and killed on Coptic Christmas Eve.

 

3rd March   

Update: No Kano Do...

Religious police ban music festival in Nigeria
Link Here

Nigeria flag Sharia police ordered the closure of an annual music festival funded and organised by the French embassy in northern Nigeria at the weekend.

We have banned the music festival for the reason that we were not notified and our permission was not sought, Abubakar Rabo Abdulkarim, head of the film censorship board in the northern Kano region, told AFP.

The French embassy said they had been told they could not stage the event at the local French cultural centre as they did not have prior authorisation.

Following a notification by the Kano state censorship board, the Kano festival of music is cancelled the French embassy said in a statement emailed to AFP.

 

2nd March   

Update: Wake Up and Smell the Coffee...

Britain to ban open Wi-Fi hotspots
Link Here

free wifi logo The government will not exempt universities, libraries and small businesses providing open Wi-Fi services from its Digital Economy Bill copyright crackdown, according to official advice released earlier this week.

This would leave many organisations open to the same penalties for copyright infringement as individual subscribers, potentially including disconnection from the internet, leading legal experts to say it will become impossible for small businesses and the like to offer Wi-Fi access.

Lilian Edwards, professor of internet law at Sheffield University, told ZDNet UK that the scenario described by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in an explanatory document would effectively outlaw open Wi-Fi for small businesses , and would leave libraries and universities in an uncertain position.

This is going to be a very unfortunate measure for small businesses, particularly in a recession, many of whom are using open free Wi-Fi very effectively as a way to get the punters in, Edwards said.

Even if they password protect, they then have two options — to pay someone like The Cloud to manage it for them, or take responsibility themselves for becoming an ISP effectively, and keep records for everyone they assign connections to, which is an impossible burden for a small café.

In the explanatory document, Lord Young, a minister at BIS, described common classes of public Wi-Fi access, and explained that none of them could be protected. Libraries, he said, could not be exempted because this would send entirely the wrong signal and could lead to 'fake' organisations being set up, claiming an exemption and becoming a hub for copyright infringement .

Young added that free or coffee shop access tends to be too low-bandwidth to support file-sharing and, under the bill, such a service is more likely to receive notification letters as a subscriber than as an ISP . He recommended that they secure their connections and install privacy controls, to reduce the possibility of infringement with any cases on appeal being considered on their merits .

 

2nd March   

Update: Daily Mail Kick-Ass...

As they spot a Jonathan Ross connection to the cussing teen Hit-Girl
Link Here

Kick-Ass trailers Jonathan Ross's wife, Jane Goldman. has caused 'outrage' with a film she has written featuring a 'foul-mouthed' 11-year-old assassin called Hit-Girl

The character, called Hit-Girl, slices off people's legs and shoots bullets through a man's cheek. In one scene, the young serial killer – played by 13-year-old American actress Chloe Moretz – screams at her victims: Okay, you cunts, let's see what you can do now.

In another, she tells her vigilante father she wants a puppy for her birthday. When he looks surprised, she says: I'm just fucking with you, Daddy , and asks for a razor-sharp knife instead.

Kick-Ass, released next month, is based on a comic book series that is advertised with the slogan Sickening violence: Just the way you like it .

The film has already provoked complaints in the U.S. after children were allowed to access violent trailers of the film online. Nell Minow, a lawyer and one of the complainants, said: These particular trailers are even worse than normal because they depict a child and so are more interesting to a child. Isn't there a limit to what we can ask children to do on screen?

Robert Thompson, professor of popular culture at Syracuse University, said: It's still enough of a real taboo that when you hear some of those words coming out of the mouth of an 11-year-old kid, it's really shocking. But that's the whole point.

Protests about the film have also erupted in Australia where John Morrisey of the Family Association said: The language is offensive and the values inappropriate – without the saving grace of the bloodless victory of traditional superheroes.

...Read full nonsense

 

2nd March   

Update: A Destructive Character...

Kazakhstan sets up internet censorship centre
Link Here

Kazakhstan flag Kazakhstan has created a new centre dedicated to censoring blacklisted websites ranging from pornography to those deemed to promote political extremism, an official announced.

The Central Asian country has been criticised for restricting freedom of expression even as it seeks to woo foreign investment.

The new service, called the centre for computer incidents, is similar to Internet watchdogs that exist throughout the world, the head of Kazakhstan's state communications agency, Kuanyshbek Esekeyev, told parliament. Esekeyev said the authorities had many questions regarding 'religious and political extremism on the Internet.

He said the centre's function would be to monitor websites which have a pornographic or extreme character . At the current time work is being carried out with an entire blacklist of sites which have a destructive character for society.

 

2nd March   

Update: Opposing a Censorial Government...

Australian opposition parties speak favourably of R18+ for games
Link Here

australian greens logo Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said the Greens plan to stay ahead of the R18+ debate in 2010.

The Greens don't have a formal position on the absence of an R18+ classification for video games just yet, Ludlam said. We plan on being informed by the material that comes through in the public consultation, and we'll be forming an official stance soon.

Personally, I've formed a view, and I suspect my colleagues have as well. We want to stay ahead of the debate this year, and we're already talking to the industry and to people with a range of different views.

My personal stance is that [the absence of an R18+ for games] is a real anomaly. I think it's making the situation worse. We know that in some instances material that should otherwise be classified R18+ is instead diverted into the MA15+ category. That's a sign that there needs to be some kind of reform. I think we do need R18+ for games, but only on the condition that there is a good look at the way that we classify video games in this country to make sure that some of the very real concerns that have been raised by parents and child protection groups are acknowledged as well.

Ludlam believes the public consultation will result in a solid base of reasonably well-researched support for a change to the system. His views on South Australian Attorney-General Michael Atkinson are not so positive.

I think the position he took to block the rest of the country from moving forward was really unhelpful, and I don't think he necessarily provided the arguments to back up the position he took.

These thoughts are echoed by marginal parties Australian Sex Party (ASP) and the Pirate Party Australia, who both support the introduction of R18+ for games.

ASP founder Fiona Patten says, quite frankly, that Australia's classification system is fucked. Having worked as a lobbyist and an activist for the adult industry for nearly 20 years, I became demoralised by the fact that in 2008 we had more censorship than when I started, Patten said. There is simply no consistency across mediums in our classification system--what is legal in a book is not legal in a magazine, what is legal in a magazine is not legal in a film, and what is legal in a film is not legal in a video game. Personally, I think we should throw out the existing system and start again.

In a similar vein, the Pirate Party Australia also supports R18+ for games, releasing a press statement earlier this month expressing disgust at Michael Atkinson's stance on censorship. Matt Redmond, a Pirate Party spokesperson, said: Every citizen in a democracy has the right to question the government, and in doing so has the right to protect himself from censure.

 

2nd March   

Update: Sexualisation of Young People Review...

The 36 recommendations
Link Here

Sexualisation of Young People Review The government  commissioned  a report, Sexualisation of Young People Review , from Dr Linda Papadopoulos.

For completeness here is the full list of recommendations  No doubt the government will take it as inspiration for more censorship.

Education and schools

1) All school staff to have training on gender equality. Specialist training should be given to those who teach Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) education and citizenship.

2) The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) to issue statutory guidance to schools to promote a whole school approach to tackling gender inequality, sexual and sexist bullying and violence against women and girls.

3) References on sexualisation, gender stereotypes and pornography to be included in DCSF's revised Sex and Relationships Education (SRE) guidance for schools. New SRE resource materials should be made available for teachers who work with children with special education needs and learning difficulties.

4) Schools to ensure that all incidents of sexual bullying are recorded and reported separately to other forms of bullying.

5) New practical How To guidance on tackling sexualisation is disseminated to all schools.

6) Primary schools should make specific reference to the influence of the media on body image and personal identity within a new programme of study on 'Understanding Physical Development, Health and Wellbeing'.

7) A module on gender equality, sexualisation and sexist/sexual bullying be developed as part of the DCSF's Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) programme.

8) Media literacy should be taught not only through PSHE education but also through English, drama, the arts, history and citizenship.

9) More investment in youth workers to enable them to work with young people outside of mainstream education around the issues of sexuality, sexist and sexual bullying and gender equality.

10) The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) to further develop its current online resource centre where parents can access internet safety advice.

11) Digital literacy to be made a compulsory part of the national curriculum for children from the age of five.

12) The government should work with internet service providers to block access to pro-anorexia ('pro-ana') and pro-bulimia ('pro-mia') websites.

13) A schools campaign to be developed which promotes positive role models for young men and young women and challenges gender stereotypes.

14) Schools should encourage girls to value their bodies in terms of their physical ability. This should be linked to the work of the 2012 Get Set education programme.

15) Local Authorities must be accountable for treating victims of child sexual abuse and ensure that specialist services receive adequate funding for the treatment of children who have been abused.

16) One-to-one confidential help in school/college from a trained professional such as a psychologist to be made available to every child and young person.

Media and awareness-raising

17) A national campaign to be launched to address the issue of teenage relationship abuse, including a specific pack for primary and secondary schools so that they can build on issues arising from the campaign.

18) A working group of high profile women in media together with academics should be set up to monitor and address gender inequality in the media.

19) The establishment of a media award that promotes diverse, aspirational and non-sexualised portrayals of young people.

20) The government to launch an online one-stop-shop to allow the public to voice their concerns regarding irresponsible marketing which sexualises children with an onus on regulatory authorities to take action. The website could help inform future government policy by giving parents a forum to raise issues of concern regarding the sexualisation of young people.

21) Information on body image, selfesteem, eating disorders and e-safety to be included in the government's proposed Positive Parenting booklets for parents of older children.

22) The government should support the Adversing Standards Agency (ASA) to take steps to extend the existing regulatory standards to include commercial websites.

23) The introduction of a system of ratings symbols for photographs to show the extent to which they have been altered. This is particularly critical in magazines targeting teen and pre-teen audiences.

24) The content of outdoor advertisements to be vetted by local authorities as part of their gender equality duty to ensure that images and messages are not offensive on the grounds of gender.

25) Broadcasters are required to ensure that music videos featuring sexual posing or sexually suggestive lyrics are broadcast only after the watershed.

26) The current gap in the regulatory protection provided by the Video Recordings Act 1984 to be closed by removing the general exemption for 'works concerned with music'.

27) Regulation of UK-based video on demand services to be strengthened to ensure that they do not allow children to access hardcore pornography.

28) Games consoles should be sold with parental controls already switched on. Purchasers can choose to unlock the console if they wish to allow access to adult and online content.

29) This idea should be extended to 'child friendly' computers and mobile phones where adult content is filtered out by default.

Working with businesses and retailers

30) The government to support the NSPCC in its work with manufacturers and retailers to encourage corporate responsibility with regard to sexualised merchandise. Guidelines should be issued for retailers following consultation with major clothing retailers and parents' groups.

31) The existing voluntary code for retailers regarding the placements of 'lads' mags' should be replaced by a mandatory code. Lads mags' should be clearly marked as recommended for sale only to persons aged 15 and over.

32) The government overturns its decision to allow vacancies for jobs in the adult entertainment industry to be advertised by Jobcentre Plus.

Research

33) A new academic periodical to be established and an annual conference series should be held focusing solely on the topic of sexualisation.

34) Funding be made available for research that will strengthen the current evidence base on sexualisation. This should include trend research into teenage partner violence and frequency of sexual bullying and abuse.

35) Clinical outcome research to be funded and supported to find the most effective ways to identify, assess and work with the perpetrators and victims of child sexual abuse.

36) A detailed examination of media literacy programmes should be carried out jointly by the DCSF, and the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).

 

2nd March   

Offsite: An Adult Approach to Censorship...

Ban on games for adults fails to reflect Australian community standards
Link Here

paul hunt A former member of Australia's Classification Board has submitted an incredibly well-written and reasoned response to the government issued Discussion Paper, regarding the topic of adding an R18+ rating category for games.

The 17-page response was crafted by Paul J Hunt, who served as Deputy Director of the Classification Board and as a senior executive with the Office of Film and Literature Classification. He also lists himself as a parent of teenagers who play computer games and a child of Seniors who play computer games.

Hunt begins his argument by imparting first-hand knowledge into the current problems with the rating system:

When I made a decision, or participated in a decision, that a computer game was unsuitable for minors, I was forced to refuse classification for that game. It was not because I thought that the game depicted, expressed or otherwise dealt with matters of sex, drug misuse or addiction, crime, cruelty, violence or revolting or abhorrent phenomena in such a way that it would offend against the standards of morality, decency and propriety generally accepted by reasonable adults. It was simply because the game was not OK for kids.

Not being able to restrict computer games to adults was an impediment to my ability to reflect Australian community standards.

..Read full Paul Hunt's Consultation Response [pdf]

 

1st March   

Update: Po-faced Thought Police...

Race relations watchdog unimpressed by police over-reaction to Anyone But England football shirts
Link Here

Anyone But England T-Shirt The race relations watchdog has dismissed police concerns over Anyone But England World Cup T-shirts being sold in Scotland, describing the garments as harmless fun.

Trevor Phillips, the head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, said that the slogan was good natured banter that was unlikely to cause offence .

His comments come after Grampian Police asked Slanj, an Aberdeen-based kilt-maker, to consider removing a window display of T-shirts because of its potential to cause disturbance .

Phillips said the commission would react swiftly to any serious evidence of racism, but over-reacting to jokes risked making it appear like po-faced thought police .