Censor Watch
 2011: March
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31st March   

Update: Holy Inquisition...

Maltese Attorney General cites his imaginary god to justify persecution of author of college magazine erotic story
Link Here  full story: Front Against Censorship...Censored article leads to Maltese protest

Peter grech The writer of a controversial short story must realise that there is God above everything and everyone, who is surely greater than the greatest of egos, Attorney General Peter Grech said in his appeal against the writer's acquittal.

Alex Vella Gera was accused of distributing pornography and offending public morals through his short story Li Tkisser Sewwi, which was published in the October 2009 edition of student newspaper Ir-Realta . The newspaper's editor, Mark Camilleri, was similarly charged.

Both were acquitted by Magistrate Audrey Demicoli on March 14. In her decison, the magistrate noted that the story adopted an in your face style to make readers uncomfortable and make them think, and said that the writing could not be considered pornographic or obscene under the legal definition -- which states that obscene material is that which simply aims to corrupt its reader.

The magistrate added noted that the prosecution did not prove what public morals were or how these were offended. She also said that the 2 were exercising their freedom of expression, and that the newspaper's intended audience, university and Junior College students, were mature enough to process it.

But the Attorney General has filed an appeal against both acquittals, stating that Magistrate Demicoli's verdict was erroneous and unreasonable. He dismissed claims that the writing in question had any artistic merit or was in the general interest, stating, at one point, that not every writer could compare himself to DH Lawrence, Oscar Wilde and James Joyce.

This writing is, from start to finish, without pause, without a change in style, an explicit reproduction of sexual acts, including some violent ones, anal and vaginal, with a clear erotic meaning apart from a detailed description of sexual organs and diseases with disgusting consequences which are the result of sexual abuse, Grech wrote in his appeal.

He said that freedom of expression was far from absolute and could be made to bow down completely in the interest of defence, public security, public order, morality, public decency and public health.

He also criticised the drawing attached to the controversial story, a tube of glue, stating that it was evocative and could be understood as a representation of a phallic symbol with semen coming out of it.

He insisted that the charges brought against Vella Gera were proven beyond doubt, and urged the Court to find him guilty and sentence him accordingly.

 

31st March   

Struggle with India...

Indian state bans book suggesting that Gandhi had a gay tryst
Link Here

Great Soul Mahatma Gandhi Struggle A book on Mahatma Gandhi has been banned by the government in his native state of Gujarat.

The book by Joseph Lelyveld contains evidence that India's independence hero had a homosexual relationship. Early reviews in the US and UK suggest that Gandhi was depicted as sometimes racist and that he had an intimate relationship with a German man named Hermann Kallenbach.

Chief Minister Narendra Modi said that its contents were perverse and defamed the icon of non-violence . Modi accused the author of displaying a perverted mentality in writing the book, which he said had hurt the sentiments of masses of people: This publication defames the Mahatma and there is rising anger not only in Gujarat but in the entire country.

Gujarat's state assembly voted unanimously  to ban Great Soul: Mahatma Gandhi and His Struggle With India , even though it has not yet been released in India.

Lelyveld has denied writing that Gandhi was a bisexual, saying his work had been taken out of context.

 

31st March   

Update: Fitna to Continue...

Court case against Geert Wilders continues on
Link Here  full story: Geert Wilders...Geert Wilders winds up the muslim world

dutch high court Geert Wilders will face trial on charges of incited hatred and discriminations against Muslims, after a judge rejected a request to dismiss the case. Wilders was charged with insulting Muslims by comparing Islam to Nazism.

Wilders argues that he is exercising his freedom of speech when he criticises Islam and had won the right last month to seek a dismissal of the case.

But presiding judge Marcel van Oosten said the case would go ahead. He rejected most of the defence's objections but did agree with the defence that part of the indictment against Wilders should be dropped.

The judges said that including the quotes describing the Koran as fascist and that it should be banned were going beyond the brief set out by the Amsterdam appeals court.

The main trial will resume on April 13.

 

31st March   

Update: Quick! Before the Next Lot Take Over...

Banned author takes window of opportunity to publish his Metro graphic novel in Egypt
Link Here  full story: Metro Censors...Egypt's first graphic novel gets censored

metro cover After years of waiting, arrests and a court case against Magdy el-Shafie, his Metro graphic novel will finally see widespread publishing in his country after the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak and the regime that cracked down on the cartoonist.

Shafie's Metro was originally written in 2008, but was quickly banned by the regime and the author was convicted of offending public decency after a lengthy trial.

The controversy started in April 2008, when police broke into the publishing house and confiscated all copies of the book. They then went to all bookstores and took the novel from the shelves, without warrant.

The novel deals with politically sensitive issues and what may have sparked government interest is the limited sexual content of the book. For many, it came as no surprise that the government was using this as a scapegoat to keep politics from reaching a wider audience.

 

31st March   

A Sheltered Teen in a Sheltered Nation...

Australian TV censors have a whinge at a TV showing of softcore film Felicity
Link Here

Felicity DVD Community television station WTV has come in for nutter flak after airing a cut version of an R18+ rated softcore sex film.

The 1978 film Felicity was promoted by its makers as a movie that follows the exploits of a sheltered teen as she sheds her inhibitions and surrenders her blossoming body to a world of bold sexual adventure .

The film was rated R 18+ after censors believed i scenes of intercourse, implied fellatio, lesbian activity and dialogue were discreet enough for restricted viewing.

WTV aired the film on October 22 last year at 9.30pm. The channel edited the film to cut particularly explicit scenes so the film could be classified as MA 15+.

The next day, a viewer complained to the station that the film breached parts of the industry code of practice pertaining to detailed genital nudity in a sexual context, or depiction of sexual acts .

After receiving a response from the station the complainant took the matter to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) ludicrously complaining that: This movie was pornographic in content and possibly displayed children under age 18 involved in sexual acts .

The ACMA ruled the AV 15+ classification, relating to violent content, was an inappropriate rating. The authority also ruled that the station failed to make every reasonable effort to resolve the complaint .

WTV board member John Rapsey said the approval for release in 1978 was evidence the film did not contain material considered child pornography.

 

31st March   

Update: The Army of the Imam...

Turkish authorities seize author and his unpublished book
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship in Turkey...Freedom of speech under duress

Turkey flag Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked by the seizure and destruction of all known copies of the last unpublished draft copy of a book by Ahmet Sik. This work, which explores the relationship between the police and the influential Islamic Gu len Movement, is said to contain revelations about the Ergenekon antiterrorist trial, which has tainted Turkish political life for years.

Not content with preventing its publication and throwing the author into jail, the Turkish judicial authorities searched the three locations where it was thought the draft copy might be found and ordered anyone who might still be in possession of it to hand it over to the authorities or face criminal charges.

Sik's lawyer had said the journalist planned to name the book The Army of the Imam , after influential Islamic preacher, Fethullah Gulen, who is believed to have millions of followers in Turkey.

Sik was jailed earlier this month along with six other journalists, accused of links to an alleged hardline secularist plot to topple Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's government in 2003.

Update: Book seizure noted by the EU

16th April 2011. See  article from  hurriyetdailynews.com

The European Union is expected to convey a series of warnings to Turkey during the next meeting of the EU-Turkey Association Council, which will be held in Brussels on April 19.

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is scheduled to attend the meeting of the council, which is reportedly getting ready to draw attention to a host of issues, ranging from press freedom to energy security, mentioned in a draft document of the EU Common Implementation Strategy.

On the issue of press freedom, the EU report maintained a critical stance, calling on Turkey to enact further legislation in order to better harmonize its laws with the jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights, while expressing concern over the recent arrests of journalists, bans on certain Internet sites and the seizure of a draft manuscript.

 

30th March   

Update: Exempt from Modern Life...

Out of touch MP re-opens old whinge about BBFC exempt music videos
Link Here  full story: VRA Exempt...Video Recordings (Exemption from Classification) Bill

Gloria De Piero Labour's culture spokesman, Gloria De Piero has written to Culture Minister Ed Vaizey to re-open an old whinge about music and sport videos being exempt from the Video Recordings Act.

She wrote:

I have seen some of this content, which includes cage fighting, dangerous combat techniques, topless lap-dancing, illegal drug abuse, and racism. It is clearly unsuitable.

Yet because the video is of a type that which enjoys exemption from statutory classification and because the content falls short of the extreme content which causes the video to lose that exemption, it may be supplied to children. The Government needs to act.

Mr Vaizey expects to make an announcement on the issue soon, she said.

Responsible parts of the video industry do send problematic exempt material to the BBFC for classification but others do not. A BBFC spokesman said:

When the Act was passed in 1984, legislators could not have anticipated some of the material which is legally claiming exemption today.

This means that children can legally obtain this potentially harmful material with no restriction on its supply.

The BBFC believes, along with politicians and parents, that the more extreme music and sport DVDs and some documentaries, should lose their exempt status and be give appropriate age restrictions to protect children.'

Comment: 18 rated sport

1st April 2011. From goatboy

UFC 107 Penn Sanchez DVD There are UFC DVDs available unrated in the UK that almost certainly would have been BBFC 18 had they been submitted.

Heck UFC 107 - Penn vs. Sanchez is unrated and the main event in that one is a total bloodbath.

However UFC bouts have rules decided on by the various US state athletic commissions, and is most certainly a sport.

In addition I doubt they have many fans under 18, I'd guess them going out unrated is just to save the BBFCs fees rather than attracting a young audience.

 

30th March   

Appropriate Adult...

Judged inappropriate by Fred West victim
Link Here

Cromwell Street Murders Detectives Story Fred West's daughter Anne Marie Davis has criticised, Appropriate Adult , an ITV drama on how the serial killer and his wife, Rosemary, were brought to justice.

Davis, whose mother Rena Costello and half-sisters Charmaine and Heather were all murdered, says the two-part show will revive deeply traumatic memories for the families of the Wests' victims.

I felt physically sick when I heard about the plans to turn the tragic events which devastated so many people's lives into a TV drama.

I haven't spoken about this for 10 years, and the only reason I am speaking now is because I want ITV to realise they will be causing unimaginable distress to the families of the young girls who were murdered.

No one should kid themselves. The object of this drama is to make money. But the programme makers have to recognise that a lot of vulnerable young women died.

They were real people and their loved ones are real people too who are still suffering and their wounds will only be reopened by a TV drama like this.

Appropriate Adult, is to focus on the period between Fred West's arrest and his suicide in prison on New Year's Day 1995, as he awaited trial for 12 murders.

An ITV spokeswoman said:

Appropriate Adult is a factual drama which focuses on the involvement of Janet Leach who was appointed as appropriate adult in the police interviews Fred West gave during the investigation.

We have sought to contact as many relatives and victims as we could with assistance from the police, to let them know about the project and try to address any concerns they may have.

We have conducted dozens of interviews with individuals directly involved in the case over several years. It is certainly not ITV's wish to cause distress to the families of the Wests' victims, or their children, and Appropriate Adult does not contain any recreation of the actual crimes themselves. But we believe the factual drama genre is a valid form in which to explore and throw new light on real events.

 

30th March   

Faced Down...

Facebook unsurprisingly take down page claimed to be calling for 3rd intifada
Link Here  full story: Facebook Intifada...Facebook intervene in Palestinian call for action

third intifada logo Facebook has removed a page calling for a new Palestinian uprising against Israel after more than 350,000 people signed up to it.

The page which appeared on the social networking site was called Third Palestinian Intifada and had called for an uprising after Muslim prayers on Friday 15 May. Judgment Day will be brought upon us only once the Muslims have killed all of the Jews, a quote from the page read.

Israel had raised concerns about the page.

Facebook said the page had begun as a call for peaceful protest, even though it used the term intifada with its connotation of violent revolt.  However, after the publicity of the page, more comments deteriorated to direct calls for violence, said Andrew Noyes, Facebook's public policy communications manager. The creators of the page eventually made calls for violence as well, he added.

According to AFP news agency, three new copycat pages have appeared, with more than 7,000 Palestinians signing up to them.

 

30th March   

Offsite: Small Ain't Cheap...

Smallscale TV response to ATVOD re consultation about Year Two Fees
Link Here

Small Scale TV logo Response to ATVOD consultation about Year Two Fees:

My interest in this consultation is limited only to the interests of smaller enterprises and existing/possible/potential ODPS, with turnovers less than ?100,000. It should be noted that I have no objection to the overall concept of content regulation in the public interest, but have an extremely strong objection to regulation which could damage UK-based business against European competition which may exist in a less costly regulatory regime, and world-wide competition which may not be regulated at all.

Over the past year, I have found ATVOD's standpoint to be consistently anti-small-business, characterised by a failure to research the internet video scene and engage properly with smaller organisations, and an air of disinterest in engaging with organisations outside of the UK's major broadcasters.

I would therefore like to see ATVOD return to the spirit of the original Government Directive which states: the Government expects that the fees payable to the regulatory authorities by businesses providing on-demand programme services will be set in such a way as to minimise any potential adverse impacts on small businesses.

...Read the full article

 

30th March   

Update: Plodding On...

Nominet announce group to discuss police take down of internet domains
Link Here  full story: Internet Domain Censorship...In the Domain of Nominet internet censorship

Nominet logo The issue group on 'Dealing with domain names used in connection with criminal activity' has been set up. It brings together expertise and experience from within and outside the domain name industry. We have a list of people [pdf] who will form the core of this issue group, chaired by Professor Ian Walden. The group's first meeting will take place on 4 April 2011.

We are also publishing a background report on this issue which has been prepared by Micheal O'Floinn, an independent PhD researcher at Queen Mary College, University of London.

Stakeholders can submit feedback on the report up until 31 March 2011 by emailing policy@nominet.org.uk .

 

29th March   

Sucker Punch...

Supporting the hype over cuts for an MPAA PG-13 rating
Link Here  full story: Sucker Punch...Moralists rant at the low age rating

Sucker Punch DVD Emily Browning Actress Emily Browning has criticized the MPAA's treatment of a love scene she filmed with Jon Hamm for forthcoming action flick Sucker Punch , written and directed by Zack Snyder.

Browning said:

I had a very tame and mild love scene with Jon Hamm. It was like heavy breathing and making out. It was hardly a sex scene... I think that it's great for this young girl to actually take control of her own sexuality. Well, the MPAA doesn't like that. They don't think a girl should ever be in control of her own sexuality because they're from the Stone Age. I don't know what the fuck is going on and I will openly criticize it, happily. So essentially, they got Zack to edit the scene and make it look less like she's into it. And Zack said he edited it down to the point where it looked like he was taking advantage of her. That's the only way he could get a PG-13 (rating) and he said, 'I don't want to send that message.' So they cut the scene!

See  article from  shadowlocked.com

Snyder has said that the love scene and deletions for violence will be available amongst the deleted scenes of both the DVD and Blu-ray releases.

In regards to additional action, Synder has been quoted as saying that ...the Blu-ray release will feature at least 18 minutes which had to be cut to meet the MPAA's PG-13 regulations .

 

29th March   

Fallout from Japanese Disaster...

European TV channels ban the Simpsons
Link Here

Simpsons Comics Meltdown Matt Groening Controllers at several European TV channels have pulled Simpsons shows in case they 'cause offence' after the Japan disaster.

They want to stop the hit cartoon poking fun at nuclear danger during the battle to save the tsunami-hit Fukushima plant.

Bungling Homer Simpson works at disaster-prone Springfield Nuclear Power Plant, run by money-grabbing Mr Burns, in the hit show. It is a running joke that safety at the plant, that has blown up or come close to meltdown several times, is notoriously slack. Beer-swilling Homer is a Nuclear Safety Inspector, but repeatedly puts the town at risk by neglecting his duties and falling asleep. He even casually tosses away a radioactive rod he finds in his clothes during the hit show's title sequence.

German channel Pro7 was the first to stop the fun. ORF in Austria and SF in Switzerland were quick to follow suit. The Austrian channel is thought to have taken the most extreme action, banning eight episodes until a review next month.

The censored shows include one that features scientists Marie and Pierre Curie dying of radiation poisoning and another which contains jokes about a nuclear meltdown.

TV channels in Japan have no plans to stop the show.

 

29th March   

Update: Unhatcheted...

Americans impressed by the uncut UK release of Hatchet II
Link Here  full story: Hatchet II...Unusual unrated theatrical release

Hatchet Poster Movie 11 Inches The BBFC have passed Hatchet II 18 uncut with the BBFC comment: Contains strong bloody violence and gore.

This is the unrated version that caused so much hassle in the US when the distributors tried for an unrated release as opposed toe the usual R rated release. The exhibitors pulled out after just a few days.

The hassle free UK certificate has been noted and compared with the US release in an  article from  dreadcentral.com :

See how simple that was? No police in theatres. No shutdowns. No silly controversy. Just pay for your ticket and see a movie about a swamp monster with a wireless belt sander. That's right, kids! The UK will be getting Hatchet II as it was meant to be seen when it opens there in theatres this week. Free of all the MPAA stupidity and hoopla.

According to Adam Green, hatchet II has received an 18 Rating with NO cuts enforced. When it opens in cinemas on Friday in the UK - you'll be getting the uncut film!

We sure could take a page from our friends across the pond.

 

29th March   

Updated: Acting Censor...

Bollywood personalities turn down job of chief censor
Link Here

bollywood The post of the censor board chief comes with its fair share of controversies. Little wonder then that most of the Bollywood bigwigs the information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry has approached have turned down the offer.

Industry sources said that the I&B ministry is likely to appoint a woman, but not from the film industry. The last time a person with no film background occupied the post was in 1990 when MP (BJP) BP Singhal was appointed as the chief of the board. Singhal's tenure lasted a few months.

Producer L Suresh, who is one of the board members, said, It is true that most of those approached by the ministry have declined to take up the job. This, I feel, is mainly because it is a thankless job and comes with a lot of responsibility which people in the film industry are not ready to take on.

Suresh confirmed that South Indian actors Amla and Suhasini were approached, but have refused to accept the offer. The other names suggested for the post included producer-director Ramesh Sippy, film-makers Govind Nihalani and Saeed Mirza and actors Shabana Azmi, Ratna Pathak Shah and Raveena Tandon.

Update: New Censor

29th March 2011. See  article from  thehindu.com

leela sampson She's famous in the world of classical dance and choreography, but the country's next film censor chief has never been on the silver screen.

The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has selected noted Bharatanatyam dancer Leela Samson, currently chairperson of the Sangeet Natak Akademi and director of the Kalakshetra dance school in Chennai, as the new chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

 

29th March   

Resident Evil Street Fighter Mercenaries...

BBFC certificates for new video games
Link Here

Resident Evil Mercenaries Nintendo 3DS Super Street Fighter IV PS3 Here's a few keenly awaited games certificates that have got the social networks buzzing.

Free  article from  bbfc.co.uk :

Resident Evil: The Mercenaries was passed 15 uncut with the BBFC comment: Contains strong bloody violence.

From  article from  bbfc.co.uk :

Super Street Fighter IV - Arcade Edition was passed 12 uncut with the BBFC comment: Contains moderate fantasy violence.

From  article from  bbfc.co.uk :

F.3.A.R. was passed 18 uncut with the BBFC comment: Contains strong bloody violence.

 

29th March   

Calls Silenced...

Burma bans Skype for overseas calls
Link Here

Burma flag 2010 In an attempt to limit access to the net and further maintain their stranglehold on communications, Myanmar's ruling generals ordered all public and private Internet cafe's to stop overseas communication through VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) calls, deeming them illegal under existing legislation.

The increasing use of the VoIP overseas calls via Internet services have caused official overseas calls through the [junta's] communication services to decline, affecting state revenue, read the official statement.

Internet phone is a scarce resource in Myanmar, where a SIM card for mobile phones, provided by a state monopoly, can cost a whopping 1,500,000 kyat (almost $1,700), a price that has in fact doubled on the black market due to the extreme limitations imposed on mobile phone ownership. On top of a very high-priced card, phone services are especially expensive for a nation with one of the lowest annual per capita incomes in the world.

Cybercafe' owners have not yet received any official instructions on the matter. However, if they had to cut services, they would lose 30 to 40% of their business because people here use VoIP calls increasingly due to the cheap cost which is more affordable then the government-run overseas call service, The Irrawaddy newspaper reported one owner as saying.

However, the real reasons behind the crackdown are the junta's concerns that software applications like Skype are harder to monitor and control compared to regular calls over mobile phones.

 

28th March   

Update: State Censorship...

Australian censorship review hears a suggestion for federally imposed censorship law
Link Here  full story: Australian Censorship Review... Reviewing censorship law for all media

guy barnett Tasmanian Not So Liberal Senator Guy Barnett has received a mixed response to calls for the federal government to take over the classification and censorship powers of the states and territories.

Barnett canvassed his suggestion of a possible federal takeover at a hearing of the Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs' inquiry into the Australian film and literature classification scheme.

Representatives of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Research In Motion and Telstra welcomed the prospect of more consistency and less duplication in the classification regime, although they indicated Senator Barnett's suggestion was novel .

Legal professionals Peter Arnold and Dr Sarah Ailwood questioned whether Senator Barnett's suggestion was constitutionally valid.

The Australian Law Reform Commission was currently investigating Australia's classification regime in a separate inquiry.

 

28th March   

Biblical Repression...

Russian parliament considers ban on distributing religious literature
Link Here

Duma logo Proposed Russian legal amendments that would ban anyone except registered religious organisations from distributing religious literature have received initial backing from the Duma's Committee on Social and Religious Organisations, Forum 18 News Service has learned.

The Committee has set 30 April as the deadline for comments on the amendments, which also impose fines for this offence .

In May the Committee will review the draft in the light of comments and either pass it to the full Duma or reject it.

Some do not think the draft will be adopted, but it has aroused concern from human rights defenders and some religious communities. Similar proposals have regularly been made, but this is the first time to Forum 18's knowledge that such a proposal has had initial Committee backing. It is unclear how much support this proposal has among senior Russian political figures.

 

27th March   

Update: Shit Censorship...

Censored version of King's Speech fast tracked onto US screens
Link Here  full story: The King's Speech...Censors in need of therapy over strong language

Kings Speech DVD Colin Firth America's MPAA lumbered the uncut King's Speech with an R-rating on account of 'strong language in a speech therapy context'. Worried about the impact this decision might have on the film's box office, the Weinstein Co. have opted to release a new PG-13 in the hopes of attracting a wider audience. The new cut version is set for release in 1,000 screens.

While such a re-release would usually have to wait 90 days from when the old version was pulled from cinemas, however MPAA bosses have signed a waiver which will allow the PG-13 version to be released in quicker succession.

With the Weinstein Co. preparing to head a marketing campaign to explain the changes to America's movie-going public, the new version will feature a number of muted fuck 's, and a few instances in which shit has been substituted in instead.

 

27th March   

Update: Searching for Political Censorship...

And finding it on a Russian search engine
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

yandex logo Russia's most popular search engine was embroiled in a scandal when internet users spotted it blocking images of opposition protests.

Bloggers complained that they typed Russian-language opposition slogans into the Yandex search engine and found that it showed only unrelated images while a rival search engine, Google, came up with images of anti-government protests.

In a post on Friday, blogger Igor Bigdan cited the slogan, It's time to change places, which opposition activists used on a giant banner showing Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and jailed oil magnate Mikhail Khodorkovsky. Google.ru search brought up dozens of images of the giant banner, which activists hung on a bridge opposite the Kremlin last month, while Yandex showed unrelated images including cars and a pigeon.

 

27th March   

Update: Anti-Sex Prejudice Put Above Democracy...

Priest orders Sex Party to take down election posters at polling station
Link Here  full story: Church Interfering in Elections...Australian churches refuse some candidates access to polls

Australian Sex Party Sex Party volunteers at a St Peter's Catholic Church polling booth have been ordered by the priest in charge of the venue to pull their posters down for most of a New South Wales polling day.

No other parties were ordered to take down their signage.

Sex Party President Fiona Patten said the Catholic Church was being paid by the NSW Electoral Commission to hold the election in the Parish Hall and that included hosting signage on the property.

The actions of the church's representative in unfairly discriminating against the Sex Party for its political views, represents an offence under the Discrimination Act. He has also jeopardised our chances of getting a fair and legitimate vote at this booth which could constitute an offence under the Electoral Act. We will be pursuing this issue with the Electoral Commission on Monday and see what our options are, she said.

 

27th March   

Update: Close Call...

New Zealand TV censor censures early evening news programme featuring porn star Nina Hartley
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in New Zealand...Easily offended Broadcasting Standards Authority

cse up logo TVNZ has been fined and ordered to apologise for showing sexually explicit clips from porn movies on its flagship current affairs programme Close Up .

The article on August 11 last year was about porn star Nina Hartley's thoughts on feminism and sexuality.

It showed Ms Hartley posing in only a push-up bra and g-string for photo shoots and acting in porn moves. One scene showed her rubbing her bottom against a man's face while wearing a garter-belt and no underwear, with her pubic hair visible.

The article on Ms Hartley was preceded by a warning saying it would contain adult content and viewer discretion was advised.

The Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) said those images represented an egregious breach of good taste and decency and children's interest rules.

We consider that screening these clips from pornographic movies on free-to-air television and in the PGR time-band [ broadcast at 7pm, PGR means suitable for children to view if they have parental guidance ], amounted to an egregious breach of broadcasting standards. The fact that this item was broadcast, in our view, reflects a significant lapse in judgment by the broadcaster, the decision states.

It ordered TVNZ to air a comprehensive summary of its breaches on Close Up within a month and issued a $3000 fine.

Nutter group Family First has welcomed the BSA decision. Its national director Bob McCoskrie said the sexualisation of news and current affairs was disturbing . He said the article promoted the porn industry under the guise of news.

 

27th March   

Update: Packed with Nutters...

TV companies contend in court that New Zealand TV censors make inconsistent decisions
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in New Zealand...Easily offended Broadcasting Standards Authority

Hung New Zealand TV rivals have put aside their differences for a court battle to get sex scenes past the TV censors of the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

Both TVNZ and TV3 say the authority has become increasingly conservative. Their lawyer, Julian Miles QC, has gone as far as challenging the Broadcasting Standards Authority to reach rational decisions, not personal ones. They say recent rulings are at odds with decisions in the past, and have blamed that on changes to the make-up of the authority because the rulings have obviously been influenced by the change of membership .

They say the BSA has been tougher on the good taste and decency standard since two new members, including the chairman, were appointed in late 2009.

In particular the authority ruled that a man performing oral sex on a woman in the late-night drama Hung , and two teenagers kissing on Home And Away , were inappropriate. Those decisions drove TVNZ and TV3 to join forces last week to appeal the decisions. The Hung incident involved an episode where a woman's genital area was shown before she put her legs over a man's shoulders.

In court last week, Miles pointed to a 2007 decision on an Outrageous Fortune episode that involved a male and female sex scene. In that case, which Justice Raynor Asher said was comparable, the authority declined to uphold the complaint, saying the show pushed the limits of what is acceptable but given the time-slot and expected audience it did not breach the standard.

The Home and Away case turned on a classification issue. On March 24, TV3's long-running G-rated programme showed Liam and Martha kissing. Liam removed Martha's bathrobe, revealing her in a bra and pyjama pants. The pair then moved to a kitchen table.

The authority ruled the scene violated responsible programming and taste and decency standards, and went well beyond what should be included in a G-rated programme .

Miles said a November 2009 Home and Away decision had already dealt with the classification issue. In that ruling, involving teenagers kissing on a bed and a girl removing a boy's T-shirt, the authority dismissed a complaint.

Justice Asher reserved his judgement for a later date.

 

26th March   

Very Expensive Red Tape...

ATVOD get heavy about censorship fees for newspaper websites featuring short videos
Link Here

ATVOD logo 2011 The internet TV censor ATVOD has published determinations that Sun Video, News of the World Video, Elle TV and Sunday Times Video Library are on demand programme services

Video on demand offered by some national newspapers and magazines will be subject to regulation and expeiisve fees, under a unilateral ruling published by ATVOD.

Newspaper and magazine proprietors argued that their video offerings, accessed on-line and by mobile devices, are exempt from new regulations because they are part of online versions of newspapers, not services offering TV-like programmes which are subject to the new law.

But the video on demand co-regulator has rejected the argument. It believes some services are designed to offer TV-like programmes on-demand, and therefore must fall within the scope of regulation and ATVOD fees.

Proprietors will now challenge the ruling by The Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ) by appealing to communications regulator Ofcom. If the ruling is upheld, affected newspapers and magazines will have to pay annual fees to ATVOD and ensure that the regulated video content meets ATVOD rules.

Commenting on the recent rulings, ATVOD Chair Ruth Evans said:

ATVOD has no desire or remit to regulate the press -- whether online or offline -- but we do have a duty to be even-handed and apply the new statutory regulations in a fair and consistent manner. Where video content appears as an integral part of an online version of a newspaper, for example alongside a text based story, then the service falls outside our remit: it is indeed excluded by law.

Many services provided by newspapers and magazines fall exactly into this category and can expect to hear nothing from ATVOD..

But that is not what happens in these particular services. In each case, a catalogue of 'TV like' programmes is offered as a discrete service, comparable with many others. There are clear differences between these services and on-line versions of newspapers.

Ofcom, who are responsible for hearing appeals under the new regulations, have confirmed that an appeal has been lodged with regard to Elle TV and that appeals are expected shortly with regard to Sun Video, News of the World Video and Sunday Times Video Library.

 

26th March   

Sex and 3D Zen...

Hong Kong film update scores some good hype
Link Here  full story: 3-D Sex and Zen...Hong Kong erotic movie in 3D

3d sex and zen extreme ecstasy The Hong Kong producers of 3-D Sex and Zen: Extreme Ecstasy are presenting Singapore with a heavily self-censored release with more than 18 minutes of cuts, executive producer Stephen Shiu Jr. told The Hollywood Reporter.

Executive producer Shiu and director Christopher Sun have sliced off scenes of group sex, oral sex, sadomasochism, and those linking religion and sex for a tamer, 110-minute version for easily offended cinema goers in Singapore. Even then there will be a 21 years age restriction.

We have to trim the major parts of a scene of a female character seducing a monk, said Shiu, adding no physical contact is allowed between a woman and a person in a religious order. We're told that any portrayal of religion and portrayal of sex must be separate.

The same cut version will be released in India.

Three minutes of footage depicting group sex has been left on the cutting floor for the South Korean edition.

The $3 million 3D film has been sold to Singapore, India, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Italy, France, Peru, and Russia.

The enthusiastic international demand serves as compensation for not having the lucrative Chinese market, the filmmakers had ruled out any possibility of bringing the film into China from the outset.

The Hong Kong theatrical version of the period sex romp is set and approved for release on April 14 at 118 minutes, but a full 129-minute director's cut has been made. The producers will decide whether to release it in Hong Kong cinemas depending on public demand and local censors, or on DVD.

European distributors can choose between the two versions.

3D Sex and Zen is a reimagining of the 1991 Category III hit Sex and Zen , produced by Shiu's father Stephen Shiu Sr., which broke records with more than HK$20 million ($2.6 million) at the box office and ushered in an era of Category III erotica in the 1990s. Shiu Sr. produced and wrote the script for the 3D update.

As executive producer, Shui Jr. described the film, in all its versions, as bolder and more graphic than 9 1/2 Weeks , but not to the level of Caligula .

 

26th March   

Updated: Authoritatively Dismissing Whinges from the Easily Offended...

ATVOD make a good start and note that complaints about 'offensive' Frankie Boyle are outside their remit
Link Here

Frankie Boyle Live Through Strangle The Authority for Television On-Demand (ATVOD) cleared Channel 4's video on-demand service for offering a 'controversial' episode of Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights.

When episode two of the series aired on Channel 4 in December, it featured a range of pre-recorded sketches and Boyle making jokes in front of a studio audience, including derogatory remarks about celebrities such as Jade Goody, Heather Mills, Michael Jackson, Katie Price and Susan Boyle.

Ofcom received around 50 complaints about the programme, including one from Price, who accused Boyle of being a bully over comments made about her disabled son Harvey. Another complainant described the sketches and jokes in the programme as atrocious, demeaning and degrading... [and] entirely reprehensible .

As Channel 4 made the show available on catch-up platform 4oD, ATVOD, which this week changed its name from the Association for Television On-Demand, was tasked with addressing the complaints.

Statutory rules for VOD content are significantly less strict than those for TV broadcasts, and do not currently prohibit programming that is deemed offensive. In cases where content might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen , providers must make efforts to prevent young people from accessing the material.

After reviewing Frankie Boyle's Tramadol Nights, ATVOD ruled that the programme would not seriously impair the development of under-18s and so decided not to take any further action. The regulator also noted that Channel 4 had run a warning around the programme on 4oD, despite not being obliged to do so.

Commenting on the decision, ATVOD chair Ruth Evans said: Many viewers may regard the material as highly offensive, including to people with disabilities, and unsuitable for under-18s, but providing such content to under 18s is not a breach of the rules set by parliament if it does not fall foul of the 'might seriously impair' test.

Offsite Comment: Nutters of Mediawatch-UK Unimpressed

26th March 2011. See  article from  mediawatch-uk.blogspot.com

Mediawatch-UK banner The way we are watching television is changing and many of us are now choosing to watch online; this is particularly popular with the under twenty-fives. In this brave new world neither the watershed nor Ofcom's broadcasting code apply.

...

It is bizarre that broadcasters are, quite rightly, unable to broadcast certain material on air until after the watershed but are quite free to broadcast the same material over the internet at any time without there being adequate protection mechanisms in place.

We submit that post-watershed material should only be available to viewers who have been subject to a more rigorous age-verification check than the current tick box system on offer. We would like to see a PIN number which could be provided by the viewer's internet service provider, telephone company or the TV licensing body each of which need to paid for, in the vast majority of cases, by an adult. We believe that there are feasible steps that can and should be taken by broadcasters to control access to post-watershed material by children.

 

26th March   

Update: Rubbish Censorship...

Apple ludicrously censors Eve's breasts in an environmentally themed game
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

filth-fair censored Global charity Wellcome Trust's hidden word game Filth Fair is based on a piece of artwork from renowned painter Mike Wilks (who did The Ultimate Alphabet books), which feature 331 words related to filth, dirt, hygiene, and the history of cleanliness and waste products.

The game is that it's part of its Dirt Season, which also features a BBC TV series, an exhibition in London, and various other events at dirty locations in the UK .

But it wasn't all the talk of poo and other excremental substances that got the game into trouble. Instead, it appears a couple of bare breasts were the cause of the problem.

Eve has now been covered up and you ca get Filth Fair - which is a free app - for your iPhone, iPod touch and iPad, although for some bizarre reason it's age-rated 17.

 

26th March   

Cafe Censors...

China closes down 130,000 internet cafes
Link Here

China flag China has closed 130,000 Internet cafes over a span of six years in its never ending battle against free internet.

Citing a government report from the Ministry of Culture, tech news site Computerworld revealed the extent of regulations imposed on operators running Internet cafes in China. Officials were particularly stringent with cafes that allowed minors under the age of 18 into its premises, as Web content is perceived to endanger their wellbeing.

While the ministry said in the report that it will continue to promote Internet cafe chains that comply with its regulations, it plans to institute harsher penalties on cafes caught for admitting minors.

According to the report, around a third of China's online population surfs the Internet from Internet cafes.

 

25th March   

Update: UN Drops Campaign against 'Defamation of Religion'...

Pakistan has kindly demonstrated exactly how disastrous blasphemy laws can be
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

UN logo The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) welcomed the UN Human Rights Council's significant step away from the pernicious defamation of religions concept.

The Council have now adopted a resolution on religious intolerance that does not include this dangerous concept. The defamation concept undermines individual rights to freedom of religion and expression; exacerbates religious intolerance, discrimination, and violence; and provides international support for domestic blasphemy laws that often have led to gross human rights abuses.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) has promoted this flawed concept at the United Nations for more than a decade.

USCIRF and others have worked hard against the defamation of religions concept for years . Thanks to these efforts, and those of previous administrations and Congresses, more countries each year voted against the defamation of religions concept because they understood that blasphemy laws increase intolerance and violence. Tragically, it took the assassinations of two prominent Pakistani officials who opposed that country's draconian blasphemy laws--Federal Minister of Minorities Affairs Shahbaz Bhatti and Punjab governor Salman Taseer--to convince the OIC that the annual defamation of religions resolutions embolden extremists rather than bolster religious harmony.

In place of the divisive combating defamation of religions resolution, the UN Human Rights Council adopted a consensus resolution on combating intolerance, negative stereotyping and stigmatization of, and discrimination, incitement to violence, and violence against persons based on religion or belief. The resolution properly focuses on protecting individuals from discrimination or violence, instead of protecting religions from criticism. The resolution protects the adherents of all religions or beliefs, instead of focusing on one religion. Unlike the defamation of religions resolution, the new consensus resolution does not call for legal restrictions on peaceful expression, but rather, for positive measures, such as education and awareness-building, to address intolerance, discrimination, and violence based on religion or belief.

See  article from  in.reuters.com

The new three-page resolution omits any reference to defamation , it condemns any advocacy of religious hatred that amounts to incitement to hostility or violence against believers and calls on governments to act to prevent it.

However, diplomats from Islamic countries have warned the council that they could return to campaigning for an international law against religious defamation if Western countries are not seen as acting to protect believers.

 

25th March   

Winners of the Freedom of Expression Awards 2011...

Index on Censorship
Link Here

Index on Censorship logo The 11th annual Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards, sponsored by SAGE, were presented on 24th March at a ceremony in London hosted by Jonathan Dimbleby

The winners were:

Index on Censorship New Media Award, supported by Google

TuniLeaks by Nawaat

TuniLeaks is a selection of the WikiLeaks State Department cables published by Nawaat.org, an independent group blog run by Tunisian net activists.

The TuniLeaks cables revealed the extent of the corruption deeply entrenched in many aspects of Tunisian life. Despite attempts to block the site, news of the cables being released swiftly spread around the country and Nawaat helped informal media networks link communities that had been cut off by government censors.

The other nominees were the Tor Project and Chinese internet activist Wen Yunchao.

Bindmans Law and Campaigning Award

Gao Zhisheng

Gao Zhisheng has been persecuted by the state for speaking out on human rights issues. Gao, a self-taught lawyer, forged a career representing the underdog in cases involving medical malpractice, land redistribution, employment disputes and forced sterilisation.

He has also defended journalists and religious minorities including Christians and members of Falun Gong. In 2005, he resigned from the Communist Party and wrote an open letter to President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Wen Jiabao, documenting the suffering of Falun Gong practitioners and calling on the leaders to end their large-scale, organised abuse.

The other nominees were David Coombs, the criminal defence lawyer leading the defence of Specialist Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old accused of leaking classified material to WikiLeaks; and Sherry Rehman, a member of Pakistan's parliament who submitted a bill proposing amendments to Pakistan's blasphemy law.

The Guardian Journalism Award

Ibrahim Eissa

Eissa is Egypt's leading independent editor, described as a one-man barometer of Egypt's struggle for political and civic freedom . Throughout his career, he has faced prosecution when his push for media freedom has fallen foul of the government.

In 2010, he was fired from his position as editor of the independent newspaper al Dostour, after new owners bought the paper; his popular satellite talk show was also taken off air. His sacking came in the midst of a wider media crackdown in the run-up to the parliamentary elections, when Mubarak's ruling National Democratic Party emerged victorious amid accusations of unprecedented vote rigging.

The other nominee was Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the co-founder of the Thai online news site Prachatai ( Thai people ). She is currently on trial, facing up to 50 years in jail, for comments posted on Prachatai that were critical of the monarchy.

The Intelligent Life Arts Award

MF Husain

Celebrated and critically-acclaimed Indian artist Maqbool Fida (MF) Husain has been battling against censorship in his native India and elsewhere for close to 20 years. Born in 1915, he is recognised as one of India's greatest living artists. He has lived in exile since 2006.

Husain's work has caused controversy in sections of the conservative Hindu community, who regard his depiction of Hindu gods and goddesses in the nude as blasphemous and offensive. Husain has received numerous threats and exhibitions of his work have come under attack on several occasions; in India, he has faced hundreds of legal actions relating to his work.

The other nominees were Gurpreet Kaur Bhatti, a Sikh British playwright, and acclaimed Iranian director Jafar Panahi.

Belarus's prisoners of conscience were awarded a Special Commendation by Sir Tom Stoppard

Sir Tom Stoppard said: This Index on Censorship award is all the more important as the figure of prisoner of conscience should have been consigned to history. Yet in Europe in 2011 there are 42 prisoners of conscience held by the government of Belarus.

This award is dedicated to all the prisoners of conscience who have been detained because they exercised their right to free expression in criticising President Lukashenko.

 

25th March   

Updated: The Best School Shooter Ever...

Game mod winds up games nutter Jack Thompson
Link Here  full story: Jack Thompson...Winding up the Florida Bar with frivilous filings

school shooter School Shooter: North American Tour 2012 is an upcoming Source modification for Half-Life 2 developed by Checkerboarded Studios in association with METOKUR.

In something of a controversy wind up the game is described:

You play a disgruntled student, fed up with something (we're not exactly sure), and after researching multiple school shooting martyrs, he decides to become the best school shooter ever. You decide to arm yourself with the exact same weapons as a previous school shooter such as; Eric Harris' TEC-9, Dylan's sawed-off shotgun, Seung-Hui Cho's akimbo pistols, Nevada-Tan's...box cutter? The possibilities are endless, you are free to do whatever you want. As long as it involves shooting people.

Predictably US games nutter Jack Thompson has risen to the bait.

Presumably the creators of the mod game aren't likely to respond to pressure in the way that Thompson would want, so he has turned to the host game Half-Life 2 and its online environment Valve.

Thompson has written to Valve boss Gabe Newell, who previously ran the company that created Half-Life 2 in 2004:

Dear Mr. Newell:

You either know or should know that the more moral midgets who run Checkerboarded Studios have created a mod for your company's Half-Life which they call School Shooter: North American Tour 2012. This mod is a full-blown Columbine massacre simulator which cannot function without your company's assistance and acquiescence.

...

Given the fact that your company has the technological ability to stop the operation of School Shooter, you must undertake steps immediately to do so.

Speaking for myself alone (for now), you have until five o'clock pm Eastern standard time this Friday, March 18, 2011, to shut down this public safety hazard I predicted years ago this school massacre game would arrive. I hate being right all the time.

GOVERN YOURSELF ACCORDINGLY.

Regards, Jack Thompson

Update: Modding Off

25th March 2011. See  article from  gamepolitics.com

mod db logo Mod hosting site ModDB has succumbed to pressure from outside sources and has removed the Half-Life 2 mod, School Shooter: North American Tour 2012 , from its database.

In an open letter to its community, ModDB founder Scott Reismanis said that the site pulled the mod down after getting quite a bit of mainstream press due to the controversial nature of the content. He went on to say that he got a lot of threatening mail from various sources and the authors of that mail believed that ModDB were the mod's creators.

 

25th March   

TV Trial...

Amanda Knox appeals for ban on US TV programme about her case
Link Here

nurder on trila Amanda Knox, the US student jailed for murdering Meredith Kercher, has appealed to a civil court in Perugia, Italy, to prevent distribution over the internet of a made-for-television film about her case.

The film, called Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy , was broadcast by America's Lifetime network last month and can now be downloaded from the internet.

Knox, who is appealing against her 26-year sentence for stabbing the British student in 2007, told the court she was devastated by this invasion into my life and the way I'm being exploited . Knox told the judge she had seen a trailer for the film. I consider it the pinnacle of the repeated violations by the media against my person, my personality and my story, she said. It does not correspond with the truth.

After the court hearing, Carlo Dalla Vedova, a lawyer representing Knox, called for its removal from the internet, pointing out that one site was now offering the film with Italian subtitles. The case was adjourned to 4 July.

 

25th March   

The Christian Institute Recommends...

Wuthering Heights on Radio 3
Link Here

Christian Institute Emily Bronte's much-loved novel Wuthering Heights has been adapted by BBC Radio 3 to include foul language.

The station's new adaptation will feature Heathcliff and Cathy, two of the book's central characters, swearing as they argue.

While radio broadcasts are not bound by a 9pm watershed, stations are not supposed to air unsuitable material when youngsters are likely to be listening. Adult

There are concerns that school pupils who are studying the book could listen to the adaptation unaware of the BBC's addition of adult content.

Playwright and theatre director Jonathan Holloway has defended his adaptation of the 1847 classic. He said:

For me Wuthering Heights is a story of violent obsession, and a tortuous unfulfilled relationship. This is not a Vaseline-lensed experience. That's what I wanted to elbow out, this idea that it's the cosy greatest love story ever told. It's not.

The f-words are part of my attempt to shift the production to left of field, and to help capture the shock that was associated with the original book when it was published.

A spokesman for Radio 3 said:

The use of strong language by some characters in this production was not undertaken lightly. Language warnings will be broadcast at the beginning of the drama.

The programme is set to air at 8pm on Sunday on Radio 3.

 

24th March   

Extreme Scotland...

Dangerous Pictures law comes into force in Scotland on 28th March 2011
Link Here

scottish government logo The prohibition on the possession of extreme porn law is due to be come into force in Scotland on the 28th of March.

It follows the format of the ban in force in the rest of the UK but extends the prohibition to include the depiction of rape and non consensual penetrative sex.

The Scottish Government has provided some guidance: See Information on the new offence of Possession of Extreme Pornographic Images [pdf] from scotland.gov.uk

There is a factual error in that document as it misrepresents the English law; the Scottish Government apparently doesn't know what an anus is, regarding it as synonymous with buttocks.

I'm not sure about the documents definition of severe injury which includes extensive/multiple lacerations (a vague term in itself). If anybody could clarify that, I'd be grateful.

At least it makes clear that cartoon images remain legal, an issue which was discussed within the Justice Committee but without clear resolution.

The bad news is that Scotland now suffers from greater restrictions to sexual freedom than probably anywhere else in the free world.

 

24th March   

Review of National Censorship Scheme...

Australian government announce wide review of media censorship law
Link Here  full story: Australian Censorship Review... Reviewing censorship law for all media

australian government logo The Australian Government has launched a comprehensive review of the National Classification Scheme to be conducted by the Australian Law Reform Commission.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland has referred the Scheme to the Australian Law Reform Commission and asked it to conduct widespread public consultation across the community and industry.

The Government today released the final terms of reference for the review of the National Classification Scheme following community consultation.

The review will consider issues including:

  • existing Commonwealth, State and Territory classification laws;
  • the current classification categories contained in the Classification Act, Code and Guidelines;
  • the rapid pace of technological change;
  • the need to improve classification information available to the community;
  • the effect of media on children; and
  • the desirability of a strong content and distribution industry in Australia.

The Home Affairs Minister responsible for classification, Brendan O'Connor, said technology is fast moving and the review will examine how the classification can cater for further advances into the future.

A lot has changed in recent years. Australians now access content through the Internet and mobile phones and that poses challenges for the existing classification scheme.

We're also seeing the convergence of different technology platforms and the worldwide accessibility of some content, which also creates new concerns.

Australians need to be confident that our classification system will help them make informed choices about what they choose to read, see, hear and play.

The appointment of a new ALRC Commissioner to work on the review will be announced shortly. The ALRC has been asked to provide its final report by 30 January 2012.  See also Terms of Reference [pdf] .

 

24th March   

Allegedly Extreme...

Court report conflates hardcore porn with factual information about strangling to conclude extreme porn
Link Here

HM Courts Service The BBC reported:

A man accused of murdering a Polish woman he shared a house with viewed extreme pornography on a computer before her death, a court heard.

Tomasz Sobczak, who lived with the victim in the town, is also alleged to have searched the internet for how to strangle a human being .

Birmingham Crown Court was told that a computer belonging to Mr Sobczak had also been used to view a webpage giving details of Polish serial killers. Prosecutor Christopher Hotten, QC, said an Acer computer belonging to Sobczak, a factory worker from Poland, was examined after his arrest. In the day or two leading up to the killing, he (Sobczak) had been viewing not only pornography, but also sites relating to strangulation. It had been used to access hardcore and explicit pornography, particularly on 19 July, he added.

At about nine o'clock on 19 July - the night before the day on which Magda was last seen - the user of Mr Sobczak's Acer computer searched on Google using the Polish which means 'strangling'. Shortly afterwards, the user searched a phrase in Polish, which translated into English means: 'How to strangle a human being'. Other searches found on the laptop looked at how long a person can survive without air, the court heard.

The trial continues.

 

24th March   

Updated: No Hanging Around...

Hanging zombie censored from North American box art for the game Dead Island
Link Here

Dead Island Europe Dead Island North America The North American release of Dead Island video game will not feature the hanging zombie on the game's boxart.

A Deep Silver representative confirmed to IGN the logo will be censored on the front of the game box, but the in-game logo will remain unchanged. The boxart and in-game logo for Dead Island will remain unchanged for its release in Europe.

The censored logo does away with the hanging zombie and changes it so the zombie is simply walking on the ground.

Update: Rules is Rules

24th March 2011. See  article from  gamepolitics.com

Checking out the ESRB's website, it would appear that the original art did ran afoul of advertising guidelines. Here's the pertinent bit from the ratings board's examples of content that publishers should avoid when creating qualifying advertising :.

Repeated blows or gun shots inflicted upon people/creatures, violent blows to the head, guns/weapons pointed at head, impaling, exploding body parts, guns/weapons pointed toward reader/audience, depictions of fatal injuries and/or suicide, strangulation/choking, inflicting wounds with swords/knives, kicks to the groin

Update: A bit of thigh censored from North American box art for Dead or Alive: Dimensions

24th March 2011. Based on article from joystiq.com

deador or alive dimensions japan Dead Alive Dimensions Nintendo 3DS The artwork adorning the cover of Dead of Alive Dimensions for 3DS when it hits the US this May will look similar to the Japanese release except that a bit of inner-thigh has been covered up.

Tecmo tells Joystiq that the ESRB found the original art too racy because it showed too much of Kasumi's right leg. In response, the company's art department whipped up an alternative censored cover.

 

24th March   

Updated: Born This 'Outrageous' Way...

Lady GaGa's new gay anthem gets censored in Malaysia
Link Here  full story: Lady GaGa...Winding up the nutters with sex and religion

Born This Way Lady GaGa's song Born This Way - which celebrates people who live alternative lifestyles, and includes the line no matter gay, straight, or bi/ Lesbian, transgendered life /I'm on the right track baby - has been removed by a number of radio stations after officials deemed it inappropriate for Malaysia.

A spokesperson for the country's Amp Radio said: The particular lyrics in Born This Way may be considered as offensive when viewed against Malaysia's social and religious observances. The issue of being gay, lesbian or bisexual is still considered as a 'taboo' by general Malaysians.

Lady Gaga said she picked the track as the lead single from her second album because of its strong message, adding she hoped it could become an anthem for her generation.

Elton John has said: That was the gay anthem. This is the new gay anthem.

Update: GaGa Protest

24th March 2011. See  article from  musicrooms.net

Lady GaGa has called for her fans in Malaysia to protest about her pro-gay lyrics being banned in their country. She said that she specifically put pro-gay lyrics on the song because she disagrees with exactly the type of censoring happening to her song:

You must do everything you can if you want to be liberated by your society. You must not stop, you must protest- peacefully. I don't believe in violence. I don't believe in negativity. There is no reason to be derogatory. You just need to keep fighting for what you believe in.

 

24th March   

Offsite: Torturous Insult...

European Court clears Basque parliamentarian of royal insult
Link Here

European court buildings In a Chamber judgment in the case Otegi Mondragon v. Spain which is not final (3 months open for appeal), the European Court of Human Rights held, unanimously, that there had been:

  • A violation of Article 10 (freedom of expression) of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The case concerned the criminal conviction of the spokesperson for a left-wing Basque separatist parliamentary group for causing serious insult to the King of Spain, following comments made to the press during an official visit by the King to the province of Biscay.

The applicant, Arnaldo Otegi Mondragon was the spokesperson for Sozialista Abertzaleak, a left-wing Basque separatist parliamentary group in the Parliament of the Autonomous Community of the Basque Country.

In February 2003, on an order by the Audiencia Nacional, the premises of the daily newspaper Euskaldunon Egunkaria were searched and then closed on account of its presumed links with the terrorist organisation ETA. Ten people were arrested, including the newspaper's main editors. Following five days in secret detention, they complained that they had been subjected to ill-treatment in police custody.

During a press conference in San Sebastian on 26 February 2003, when the King of Spain was attending the inauguration of an electricity power station in the province of Biscay, the applicant, as spokesperson for his parliamentary group, stated in reply to a journalist's question that the inauguration, with Juan Carlos of Bourbon, was a genuine political disgrace . He said that the King, as supreme head of the Guardia Civil (police) and of the Spanish armed forces was the person in command of those who had tortured those detained in the police operation against the Egunkaria newspaper. He called the King he who protects torture and imposes his monarchical regime on our people through torture and violence .

In April 2003 the public prosecutor lodged a criminal complaint against the applicant for serious insult against the King .

...Read the full article

 

24th March   

Offsite: Pressing Concerns...

Ofcom clears Iranian TV station over woman's murder reconstruction
Link Here

Press TV logo Ofcom has ruled that Iran's state-run Press TV station, which has offices in London, did not breach the UK's broadcasting rules in transmitting a programme that showed an Iranian woman participating in the reconstruction of her alleged part in the murder of her husband.

In response to a complaint made by the Iranian human rights campaigner Fazel Hawramy, who asked whether it was ethical for Press TV to make the imprisoned son play his murdered father, Ofcom said in a letter, seen by the Guardian, that the broadcaster had not breached its code.

Given the broadcaster's assurances that both Sakineh Ashtiani and her son willingly participated in this programme, we considered that the context was not materially misleading so as to cause harm and offence, Adam Baxter, standards executive of the media regulator, wrote to Hawramy.

...Read the full article

 

23rd March   

Jail Release...

New US DVD of Jackson County Jail
Link Here

JACKSON COUNTY JAIL CAGED HEAT Jackson County Jail is a 1976 action crime film by Michael Miller. See IMDb

The new US release is uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

The film was last seen in Britain when passed X (18) after BBFC cuts for the UK 1977 cinema release

Review from US Amazon : Yvette Is A Dish!

OK, so this movie is a typical Roger Corman production with the usual Roger Corman production values. That makes it, of course, a really worthwhile film. Corman may have made some weirdos, but all of his movies are fun.

Tommy Lee Jones was perfectly cast in Jackson County Jail. I think perhaps only Steve Railsback could have matched the performance. Yvette Mimieux? This is as cruise-speed sexy as she has ever been. And, her performance is Grade A.

This movie has a large cult following for various reasons. And, even though it's not the best of it's genre, it is a film worth the price. Good ole' Roger Corman. Good ole' Yvette!! Good ole' Tommy Lee!! They click.

 

23rd March   

Bigger Momma's House...

A re-edited version of Big Momma's House
Link Here

Big Momma's House DVD cover Big Mamma's House is a 2000 US/German action film by Raja Gosnell. See IMDb

A re-edited version has just been passed 12 uncut for:

  • UK 2011 20th century online
  • UK 2011 20th century video

Presumably this 're-edited version' will be the uncut original version.

Previously it was passed 12A/12 after 55s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2001 20th century Fox R2 DVD
  • UK 2001 Fox Pathe VHS
  • UK 2000 cinema release

The BBFC commented:

  • Cuts for category. Company chose to cut moments of detailed violence in martial arts sequences.

Note that some of the cuts didn't impact the running time as the submitted running time was noted as 14s longer than the cut version.

See pictorial cuts details from movie-censorship.com

  • Cuts to kicks to the head and a knee to the head of promoters of a cock fight
  • A head butt on an escaping bank robber is missing

 

23rd March   

Update: Hopefully Just Infantile Politicking...

Adult games may continue to be banned in Australia even with the introduction of an R18+ certificate
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Brendan O'Connor Last month, Federal Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor told GameSpot AU he has high hopes for resolving the R18+ issue by July this year, relying on a unanimous vote in favour of introducing the adult classification for video games at the upcoming Standing Committee of Attorneys-General (SCAG) meeting in Adelaide.

However, the question of what will happen to games currently rated MA15+ and Refused Classification (RC) has to date remained unanswered. Now, in an interview with GameSpot AU, O'Connor has shed more light on the soon-to-be-finalised R18+ draft guidelines, saying that it would be unlikely that games that have been previously banned by the Classification Board of Australia would be reclassified into the R18+ category should the new rating be introduced. What is far more likely to happen, according to O'Connor, is the reclassification of MA15+ titles as R18+ (with cuts waived).

Gamespot asked: 

What's in the proposed guidelines? What do they say about a possible R18+ category and the current MA15+ category?

O'Connor responded:

The guidelines reflect the following propositions: one, that we need to allow for a set of classifications in games similar to those that we have in film; two, that we need to look at redefining the MA15+ category for games to make sure that games that are played by adults in other countries are not played by children in Australia; three, that we need to look at what a new R18+ classification for games would mean; and finally, that we need to maintain the current Refused Classification (RC) classification. I have significant concerns about games that depict gratuitous violence or sexual acts, and I want to make sure that the introduction of an R18+ classification would not allow such material into this country, or indeed any material that would offend a reasonable person.

We don't refuse many games in Australia. But those games that are currently RC would most likely stay that way. The advice I have received is that it's far less likely that any game that has been RC would get into R18+ if the classification was introduced; it's far more likely that MA15+ games will be reclassified and fit more suitably into R18+. Having said that, it may be that some games that did not make it into MA15+ may find themselves in a position to get into R18+, but as always, these matters are entirely for the Classification Board. The reclassifying of MA15+ games would also mean that some of the modifications in current MA15+ games would no longer be necessary. My problem with these modifications and changes in MA15+ games is that it does not matter if the game has been modified to fit within the current MA15+ guidelines: the content itself is still adult and should not be allowed to be accessed by minors. At the moment, parents see the MA15+ sticker and think that it's some sort of signal that the game in question is suitable for anyone under the age of 18, which means 12- and 13-year-olds are playing these games. This has to stop. It's time for our classification system to grow up.

 

23rd March   

Update: Apple Pickle...

Apple chooses gay rights over christian anti-gay nonsense and free speech
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

exodus app Ever since Apple set themselves up to be moral censors then there was a danger of being caught up in moral conflicts. The latest example perhaps shows where conflicts can arise that simply would not occur in an uncensored system.

Exodus International claims to be the world's largest Christian ministry dealing with homosexual issues. It has a website featuring lots of anti-gay sentiment that surely reinforces the general religious perception that being gay is a sin. However, it does not call for anything in the way of violence, nor is it threatening, nor is it likely to fall under any gay hatred legislation.

But as soon as it branches out from its tolerated and legal website into the world of Apple apps, it opens itself up for censorship, just because a moral censor has previously established a private moral test.

The LGBT rights group Truth Wins Out has established a petition on Change.org:

Exodus International, the notorious ex-gay organization, has just released an iPhone app that, according to its website, is designed to be a useful resource for men, women, parents, students, and ministry leaders. The Exodus website further boasts that its app received a 4+ rating from Apple, meaning that it contains no objectionable content.

No objectionable content? We beg to differ. Exodus' message is hateful and bigoted. They claim to offer freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus Christ and use scare tactics, misinformation, stereotypes and distortions of LGBT life to recruit clients. They endorse the use of so-called reparative therapy to change the sexual orientation of their clients, despite the fact that this form of therapy has been rejected by every major professional medical organization including the American Psychological Association, the American Medical Association, and the American Counseling Association. But reparative therapy isn't just bad medicine -- it's also very damaging to the self-esteem and mental health of its victims.

...

Apple doesn't allow racist or anti-Semitic apps in its app store, yet it gives the green light to an app targeting vulnerable LGBT youth with the message that their sexual orientation is a sin that will make your heart sick and a counterfeit. This is a double standard that has the potential for devastating consequences.

Apple needs to be told, loud and clear, that this is unacceptable. Stand with Truth Wins Out -- demand that the iTunes store stop supporting homophobia and remove the Exodus app.

Currently the petition has attracted about 26,000 signatures.

There's no such measure of support levels for Exodus International but surely being a major example of a US christian group suggests that it has massive support too.

Perhaps Exodus is justified in its concern that Apple is in danger of failing to meet the diverse needs of their customer base by denying them access to all viewpoints regarding sexuality.

Update: Apple chooses gay rights over christian anti-gay nonsense and free speech

23rd March 2011.  See  article from  guardian.co.uk

Apple logo

  Taking a bite out of
freedom of speech?

Apple appears to have pulled an iPhone and iPad app promising freedom from homosexuality through the power of Jesus after coming under fire from gay rights activists.

More than 146,000 people signed a petition calling on Apple to remove the so-called gay cure app backed by Exodus International, a Christian group that describes itself as the world's largest worldwide ministry to those struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction.

The app has been on sale since February 15 but was last night no longer available. Apple has yet to comment on the furore that the app sparked.

 

23rd March   

Update: ASA Pickle...

ASA wrong to choose gay rights over christian anti-gay nonsense and free speech
Link Here  full story: ASA church sodomy advert...Court challenge over sodmy advert censure

Old Bailey A church in Northern Ireland, which had a newspaper ad banned for using the biblical word sodomy , has had the ban overturned in the High Court.

ASA, the UK advert censor banned the ad in 2008, but the court said banning the ad was a breach of the church's rights to free speech.

The judge, Justice Treacy, said the ad quoted well-known passages of the Bible and constituted a genuine attempt to stand up for the church's beliefs.

Justice Treacy said:

Whilst such views and scriptural references may be strongly disdained and considered seriously offensive by some, this does not justify the full scope of the restrictions contained in the impugned determination.

The judge also said the ad must be read in context. He pointed out that at the previous year's Gay Pride march a banner stating Jesus is a fag was carried, uninterrupted, by one of the participants. He also said the advertisement did not condone and was not likely to provoke violence .

Rev David McIlveen described the decision as a landmark ruling, meaning that scripture could be quoted freely.

In 2008 Sandown Free Presbyterian Church placed an advert in the Belfast News Letter calling on people to meet in a gospel witness against the act of sodomy . The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) received seven complaints about the advert and banned any further publication with the comment:

The ASA noted the ad prominently stated Published by the Kirk Session of Sandown Free Presbyterian Church and recognised that readers would understand that the text was representative of the beliefs of a specific group and indicative of their opinion only. We considered, however, that some of the text used in relation to homosexuality, for example, ... declaring it to be an abomination ... , . .. God's judgement upon a sin ... , . .. remove the guilt of their wrongdoing ... , ... a cause for regret that a section of the community desire to be known for a perverted form of sexuality ... , went further than the majority of readers were likely to find acceptable.

We considered that particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of sexual orientation, and concluded that this ad had caused serious offence to some readers.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clause 5.1 (Decency) but did not breach 8.1 (Matters of opinion).

 

23rd March   

Awesome Censorship...

ASA whinge at revealing bikini in a lad's holiday competition advert
Link Here

officers club advert A prize promotion, displayed in the window of an Officers Club shop, stated WIN A LADS HOLIDAY TO AYIA NAPA . It featured two photographs. One showed three girls smiling at the camera and was labelled Ayia Napa 2011 . The second photo showed a woman from the neck to the waist wearing a small bikini top and was labelled Awesome Views . Text below stated START 2011 WITH A BANG! .

1. Five complainants challenged whether the image of a woman's body in combination with the label Awesome Views was offensive, because they believed it objectified women.

2. Five complainants also challenged whether the ad was inappropriately placed where it could be seen by children.

Officers Club 1979 explained that the ad had appeared in all their stores throughout the United Kingdom. They acknowledged they had received a very small number of complaints and explained that these complaints had been resolved by removing part of the imagery.

They said the ad had been targeted at fashion conscious young males in the 16 - 30 age group... and that the images were chosen to reflect the nature of a so called 'lads' holiday to Ayia Napa ... and to attract the attention of our core consumer .

They acknowledged that the images were mildly provocative, but did not consider them to be indecent. They said that it was not their intention for the ad to cause offence.

ASA Assessment: 1. & 2. Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the ad was a prize promotion related to a lads holiday. We considered that the sole focus on the womans chest, in conjunction with the text Awesome views , was likely to be seen as gratuitous and to objectify women. We considered that the image was likely to cause serious offence to some and was not suitable to be displayed in an untargeted medium where it could be seen by children.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 4.1 (Harm and offence) and 8.6 and 8.7 (Protection of consumers, safety and suitability)

 

23rd March   

Update: A Dangerous Documentary...

Bangkok CD seller of Australian TV documentary about the Thai monarchy arrested on lese majeste charges
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Foreign Correspondent TV programme A Thai man could face up to 15 years in prison after he was arrested in Bangkok for selling copies of an Australian documentary about Thailand's royal family, police said Tuesday.

Eakachai Hongkangwan was charged under Thailand's lese majeste rules which prohibit criticising the kingdom's monarchy, after undercover police arrested him with CDs containing the programme in Bangkok on March 10. He was charged on two counts, lese majeste and selling CDs without official permission.

Thailand's monarchy is an extremely sensitive subject in the politically divided nation, which is looking to hold elections in the coming months as it recovers from deadly street protests in April and May 2010.

The documentary was broadcast by the state-funded Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) last April in the midst of a military crackdown on the anti-government Red Shirt demonstrations. The programme was not shown outside the country and could not be viewed over the Internet, but Thailand warned that the broadcast could affect ties with Australia.

Thailand has drawn continued criticism from rights groups for suppressing freedom of speech using the Computer Crimes Act and the lese majeste legislation.

Update: 3 years

16th July 2011. See  article from  prachatai.com

On 4 July, the Criminal Court sentenced Sathian (family name withheld) to 6 years in jail for lese majeste and fined him 100,000 baht for illegally selling video CDs, and, as he pleaded guilty, the penalties were reduced by half.

According to the public prosecutor, Sathian was arrested on 19 March 2011 near the Democracy Monument for unauthorized sales of video CDs and publicizing the contents which were supposedly offensive to the monarchy.

 

23rd March   

Bike Book...

Tommy Sheriden attempts to get biography banned
Link Here

Tommy Sheridan Hero Political Biography Tommy Sheridan is waging a battle from behind bars to prevent publication of a new biography that will allege he referred to women as bikes and faced complaints over his treatment of female members of Militant Tendency. The former MSP, who is serving three years in jail for perjury after lying about his adultery and participation in group sex, has instructed his solicitor to threaten Professor Gregor Gall, and the academic's employer, the University of Hertfordshire, with legal action over the publication of Tommy Sheridan: From Hero To Zero?

The author is a former member of the Scottish Socialist Party, which Sheridan led before stepping down to pursue a civil case against the News of the World in 2006.

Gall began researching his book in 2003 and enjoyed the initial support of Sheridan, who consented to 25 hours of interviews. However Sheridan broke contact with the academic following a split in the SSP.

Gall has said he will not provide his subject with a copy of the manuscript before publication. Gall insisted the publication was a serious academic study and said he had not received any funding for the book from the university.

 

23rd March   

Offsite: Don't Mention the 'P' Word...

China cuts off phone calls when the word 'protest' is detected
Link Here

protest badge A Beijing entrepreneur, discussing restaurant choices with his fiance'e over their cellphones last week, quoted Queen Gertrude's response to Hamlet: The lady doth protest too much, methinks. The second time he said the word protest, her phone cut off.

He spoke English, but another caller, repeating the same phrase in Chinese over a different phone, was also cut off in midsentence.

A host of evidence over the past several weeks shows that Chinese authorities are more determined than ever to police cellphone calls, electronic messages, e-mail and access to the Internet in order to smother any hint of antigovernment sentiment. In the cat-and-mouse game that characterizes electronic communications here, analysts suggest that the cat is getting bigger, especially since revolts began to ricochet through the Middle East and North Africa, and homegrown efforts to organize protests in China began to circulate on the Internet about a month ago.

...Read the full article

 

22nd March   

Authority on Red Tape...

Internet TV censor renames to Authority for Television on Demand
Link Here

ATVOD logo 2011 ATVOD has announced a name change to coincide with the launch of its revamped website.

Formerly The Association for Television On-Demand , it is now rebranded as The Authority for Television On Demand . It will still use the acronym ATVOD .

The name change reflects the shift in ATVOD's status and role following designation by Ofcom last March as the new co-regulator for editorial content on certain video on demand services . Use of the word Authority in a company name requires the formal approval of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and this was secured with the support of Ofcom.

The change coincides with a major revamp of the ATVOD website designed to improve communication with internet TV providers and viewers. The changes include an online complaint facility for users of video on demand services who believe that a service may be in breach of the new statutory rules.

Commenting on the changes, ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said:

The use of 'Association' in our name was no longer appropriate and risked causing confusion over our role as a co-regulator working with the industry and designated by Ofcom to perform statutory functions. 'Authority' is a much more accurate description of our new role, status and function.

The website revamp was timed to coincide with the change in our name and will allow us to communicate much more effectively with users and providers of video on demand services. We are particularly pleased with the new online complaints facility which will make it much easier for users to register their concerns about video on demand programmes.

 

22nd March   

Offsite: Hyper Injunctions...

Courts gag people from even speaking to MPs
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Old Bailey It all started with the reporting of an injunction, supposedly obtained by former Royal Bank of Scotland chief executive, preventing him being identified as a banker . A mildly interesting story, made marginally more so by the fact that the injunction had been breached by an MP during a Parliamentary debate.

But there is more to the story. As bloggers Anna Raccoon, Charon QC and Obiter J have reported, on a Parliamentary debate on Thursday the same Liberal Democrat MP, John Hemming, revealed the details of a number of other (what he called) hyper injunctions. The common feature was that courts had ordered not only that the parties to litigation were to be prevented from revealing details of their cases to the public, but also to their MPs.

...Read the full article

Update: Not So New

22nd March 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk , thanks to pbr

Behold, then, a new innovation: what Hemming calls the hyper-injunction. This double-secret form of super-injunction, unveiled only recently by the MP, specifically bars a person from discussing something with members of Parliament, journalists and lawyers , except for his own defence lawyers.

Its effectiveness is clearly demonstrated by the fact that it's not new at all: the hyper-injunction Hemmings referred to -- concerning allegations to do with ships' drinking water tanks being coated with toxic paint -- dated from 2006, and we're only just hearing about it.

 

22nd March   

Private Eye Snitches...

Indian government proposes to hire private detectives to check and raid cinemas showing uncensored versions of films
Link Here

I&B logo The Indian information & broadcasting (I&B) ministry wants to hire private detectives to blow the whistle on cinema owners who screen films interspersed with pornographic clips.

The detectives will raid cinema halls that screen films with porn scenes and to verify if the films screened by them have proper censor certificates.

The I&B ministry has put forward the proposal to the planning commission.

Former Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) regional officer Vinayak Azad said: A provision to hire private detectives was there in the 10th Five-Year Plan, but it was discontinued. We received many complaints but most were from smaller towns and more often than not they were from movie-goers.

In 2006, the regional censor board of Kerala had engaged private detectives who had detected 104 cases. But Ayyappa Prasad, a senior film critic from Chennai said, It has now reduced in the south as the trend of sleazy heroines and porn films has changed. Earlier, no action used to be taken despite police complaints, as they worked hand-in-glove with exhibitors.

Update: Budgets

5th July 2011. See  article from  indiantelevision.com

The CBFC has demanded a sum of Rs 25 million, at the rate of Rs five million per year, for hiring detectives and providing vital feedback mechanism for Board Members , according to the strategy paper of the Information and Broadcasting Ministry.

Update: Decided

31st December 2011. See  article from  deccanherald.com

The Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has decided to engage detectives to monitor theatres to ensure that exhibitors do not attach salacious bits to films being screened to lure gullible audience to an already certified film.

The detectives are proposed to be hired to assist the board in order to obtain vital feedback for members on the films being screened and assess whether they are actually certified movies. There are many instances where some adventurous exhibitors, in connivance with local cops, secretly insert clips of censored scenes or those containing adult material not in the original films to have audience flocking to the screenings.

To provide for the services of these detectives, the CBFC has now earmarked a total outlay of Rs 25 million during the 12th Five Year Plan of which Rs 5 million will be utilised annually.

The Censor Board wants to ensure that its views about good and healthy entertainment, recreation and education contents are inflicted on the public in accordance with the provisions of the Cinematograph Act.

 

22nd March   

Update: Vulgarity Morality...

Indian government proposes a new panel of censors to take complaints about TV 'vulgarity'
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in India...India considers the regulation of TV for adults

I&B logo Indian Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni said that the Congress will constitute a panel headed by a retired judge to regulate television content in the country.

Soni was reacting to numerous complaints received by Members of Parliament (MPs) on supposedly increasing 'vulgarity' in TV reality shows.

We are right on the threshold of announcing a self-regulatory mechanism to monitor content on television, Soni told the Lok Sabha or the Lower House of the Parliament.

Replying to questions raised by MPs on the action taken by the government to monitor TV programs, the Information and Broadcasting Minister said that the panel once formed would take up complaints from the civil society.

 

22nd March   

Reporting Censorship...

South Australia proposes to criminalise citizen journalists in an illtargeted attempt to stop thugs glorying in their assaults by posting videos on YouTube
Link Here

South Australia flag The South Australian Government has proposed a law that will ban the uploading of footage of assaults or harassment where those subjected to that activity do not consent, as part of its ongoing jihad against online publishing and commentary.

The proposed law, that is claimed by the Government to be aimed at preventing people planning assaults and filming them, would deny journalists and citizens in South Australia the right to upload to the internet (previously) legally obtained footage taken in a public space unless the alleged victim approves its online distribution.

The same restrictions will not apply to traditional media (specifically in the case of video: television stations.) but it's not clear whether a television station (or newspaper) uploading video to their website would also be affected by the law.

There have been a several incidents of videoed violence involving school children in Australia in the last twelve months, and few would condone kids attacking other kids, filming it and uploading it to YouTube. However these incidents are few and far between, and don't require the introduction of draconian censorship to stop them.

In trying to stop these rare incidents of videoed violence, the South Australian Government wishes to take away the rights of the overwhelming majority of people online who do not undertake such activities.  As it is a legal right still to take a picture in a public place, so it should remain a legal right to take video in a public place and to publish that video as you see fit, be that online or elsewhere. It's a fundamental freedom in a free society, a point lost on the South Australian Government.

A better solution would be to introduce penalties for those filming assaults where the person filming the assault is proven to have been involved in the planning and execution of the assault.

 

21st March   

Updated: Island of Death...

First uncut version of a notable video nasty now released
Link Here

Island of Death DVD Island of Death is a 1972 US/Greek horror by Nico Mastorakis. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut after previous BBFC cuts waived for:

Previously the BBFC passed the 2002 Michael Lee/Vipco DVD after heavy cuts: The distributor was required to make several compulsory cuts to scenes of sexual violence, sexualised violence and a dehumanising sexual activity (urolagnia)

  • cuts to scenes of sexual violence
  • cuts to the bathroom rape
  • cuts to a urination sequence.

Before that, Island of Death was cut by 13 minutes and resubmitted as Psychic Killer 2 . The BBFC still banned it for video in 1987.

And most notably, AVI released an uncut video in November 1982 as Island of Death. The film briefly appeared on the video nasties list in November 1983 but was deleted by the next issue. There may have been a confusion with another film with the same name by Narcisco Ibanez Serrador. The video returned to the list in October 1985 and remained on the list throughout so becoming one of the collectable DPP39s

Review from imdb : Rough Diamond

Island of Perversion is a rough diamond from the deep seas of sickness, another gem from 1970s - the golden age of Grindhouse and exploitation! A film where you can still smell the dirt from the backyard and railway station cinemas it was shown in! But it´' a great one, I enjoyed every second of it!

The story is about two totally weird siblings who travel to Mykonos to free the peaceful Greek island from all those who are perverted scum in their eyes: gays, lesbians, nymphomaniacs, hippies... Unfortunately, the version that I watched was cut, so I didn't have the chance to see the notorious goat-rape!

Even though the violence is not that graphic in this film, the director seemed to be possessed by the ambition to make one of the most depraved movies ever! Loved the bad surprise ending!

 

21st March   

Update: Radical idea...

Government set up website to report internet material inciting terrorism
Link Here  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim

Home Offie logo A campaign has been launched in response to a threat from lone terrorists - individuals with no direct links to groups such as al-Qaeda who are radicalised through information they find online.

The Home Office has launched a website (www.direct.gov.uk/reportingonlineterrorism) where members of the public can report material on the internet which could be used to incite terrorism.

British police will then try to take the information down to prevent the radicalisation of people in the UK. [It seems to be missing the step where someone examines the material to see if it is actually a threat...Complainers are not always right, although the police seem to think so].

Tayside Assistant Chief Constable Colin McCashey, Scotland's head of counter-terrorism, said:

The main cause of concern is the use of the internet. We look at that from two angles. One is that if I was in a country 1,000 miles away I could communicate with would-be terrorists, or people vulnerable to radicalisation, via the internet. This has become more of a threat to us.

The other is that we are aware of people who may be sitting in the comfort of their own home, looking at the internet, who are becoming more aware of what is on the internet.

We might be faced with problem individuals who are not part of a network, who are not connected to al-Qaeda, but who take it on themselves and act as a lone terrorist.

It does not take a great deal of imagination to realise how difficult that is to deal with.

 

21st March   

Holy Fuck!...

ASA suffer 'widespread offence' from a gig listing in the Guardian
Link Here

Latin Holy Fuck An ad for music gigs, in the Guide section of the Guardian, was headlined with the name of the band HOLYFUCK . The ad also featured a picture of the band, tour dates and booking information.

One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive and inappropriate for use in a supplement that was likely to be seen by children.

Kilimanjaro Live said Holy Fuck were a Canadian band and that Kilimanjaro had been the bands live promoter in the UK for about 12 months.

Kilimanjaro said the Guide was specifically chosen as it was an industry standard weekly going-out guide that was a hugely successful form of advertising for them. They believed the Guide was an acceptable place to advertise a band with that name because it was an adult oriented entertainment guide aimed at teens and older. They said it was common for editorial in the Guide to contain the word fuck uncensored.

Kilimanjaro said they accepted that the name of the band created potential issues but believed the bands music lent itself to the use of such a controversial word in their name and argued that they had a justifiable right to use the word in the way in which they did. Kilimanjaro said the band were not a controversial act and their name had been used on many gig posters, flyers and tour ads in the time that Kilimanjaro had been working with them without any complaints except the one received by the ASA.

The Guardian said they carefully scrutinised all advertising copy prior to publication and had decided to accept the ad. They argued that the Guide was clearly targeted at a young adult audience who were very unlikely to be shocked by the language in the ad and pointed out that swearwords could also sometimes be found in the Guides editorial content. They believed it was impossible for the band to promote themselves without using their full name.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA noted that the word HOLYFUCK was the name of the advertised band and we also noted that the Guide was targeted at older teens and adults. However, we considered that, because it was placed in an entertainment listings supplement to a national newspaper, the ad was likely to be seen by a wide variety of readers including children. We considered, in that context, that the name HOLYFUCK was likely to cause serious or widespread offence to some readers. [how does it cause 'widespread' offence to just  'some' readers. Sounds like the censors are twisting their own rules]

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

 

21st March   

Update: Blog Propaganda and Identification of Activists...

Russian responses to fears of popular uprising as inspired by social networking
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Facebook logo Western media outlets can't stop glorifying the Internet and social networks as the new tools for empowering grassroots resistance movements. This point is not lost on the notoriously suspicious Kremlin, which is convinced that the West has found a new means for advancing its interests after the color revolutions of the mid-2000s. Since then, the argument goes, the opposition is much more capable of orchestrating a regime change thanks to Twitter technology.

What's more, even weak or poorly organized opposition forces are capable of effecting regime change if their arsenals include Twitter and Facebook. As President Dmitry Medvedev said last week in Vladikavkaz: Let's face the truth. They have been preparing such a scenario for us, and now they will try even harder to implement it.

Medvedev's reaction shows that the Kremlin is taking the threat very seriously. The question now is how the authorities will respond if similar protests erupt in Russia. The siloviki and the presidential administration are the two agencies capable of responding to any Internet-based threat of revolution.

The Federal Security Service and Interior Ministry have demonstrated several times in recent years which approach they believe is best, registering every single Internet user to identify extremists and bring criminal charges against them. That is precisely how the they reacted to the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt. They proposed Criminal Code amendments that would have made the owners of online social networks responsible for all content posted on their sites. Apparently, the idea is not to incriminate the owners of Facebook and Vkontakte of extremism personally, but to force them to pass responsibility on to individual users by requiring each to sign a contract that includes their passport information.

Meanwhile, the presidential administration has traditionally preferred more adventurous methods. A couple years ago, the Kremlin opened its own school of bloggers, and although the school was supposedly later shut down, the same initiative was taken up by the regions. This project was organized by the Foundation for Effective Policy, a think tank run by Kremlin-friendly political analyst Gleb Pavlovsky. The group is charged with a single overriding task: to resist the subversive activity of the West.

As mass unrest continues to shake authoritarian states in North Africa and the Middle East, the siloviki are pushing for the registration of social network users and waiting to pounce on anyone posting an extremist message and the Kremlin is funding pro-government bloggers. This will inevitably be interpreted by analysts as a new political battle between the government against the opposition.

Meanwhile, Russia's 40 million Internet users have shown remarkably little interest in this political struggle. This means that the Kremlin's battle to prevent an imminent Facebook revolution will remain largely virtual.

 

20th March   

Bum Information...

Contradictory information about the cut status of the UK Theatrical Version of Hancock
Link Here

Hancock Disc DVD Will Smith Hancock is a 2008 US super hero action film by Peter Berg. See IMDb

The US Theatrical Version was passed 12/12A maybe after BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 2008 Sony R2 DVD
  • UK 2008 cinema release

The BBFC database does not include any information suggesting that the 12A rated UK Theatrical Version was cut from the US Theatrical PG-13 rated version. But from from article on sbbfc.co.uk :

  • Hancock was passed at PG-13 in the US for Some intense sequences of sci-fi action and violence, and language .

    The distributor wanted a 12A for the same version in the UK, but substantial further cuts to violence and hostile language were required by the BBFC to achieve this category, together with the overlaying of more upbeat music for the climactic fight scene, to signify victory for the hero, and soften the tone and impact of the violence.

    The final 12A version carried consumer advice of Contains moderate violence, strong and aggressive language and crude humour .

A further indicator that the UK Theatrical Version was cut was that a US Theatrical Version was separately identified when submitted for the extended version DVD/Blu-ray. But again this information is a little contradictory as it was passed 12 without BBFC cuts.

The US Unrated/Extended Version was then passed 15 uncut for DVD and Blu-ray.

 

20th March   

Update: Public Morality Undefined and Uninfringed...

Writer cleared in Maltese obscenity case
Link Here  full story: Front Against Censorship...Censored article leads to Maltese protest

Ir-Realta magazine The Labour Party welcomed the acquittal of Mark Camilleri, editor of student newspaper Ir-Realta and writer Alex Vella Gera, who had been accused of publishing pornographic and obscene material.

The party said it felt that the law against the distribution of porn and obscene material should be used for their purpose only, and not to threaten imprisonment for authors and writers. It urged the government not to appeal the sentence and instead to modernise the laws on freedom of artistic expression, in agreement with the opposition.

Following the court judgement, Camilleri said an apology was the least that University Rector Juanito Camilleri could do after having reported the case, and added that it would be good if he stepped down.

Vella Gera described the verdict as a step for freedom of expression in Malta and said artists would therefore not feel they should resort to self-censorship.

Vella Gera had written the article entitled Li tkisser sewwi, a graphic piece of fiction about sexual violence. The 1,300-word story was a first-person narrative by a sex-craved Maltese man who spoke in degrading and sexual terms about women, whom he treats like objects.

The newspaper was distributed at the University before being banned and reported to the police by Prof Camilleri. The editor and the writer were accused of distributing obscene or pornographic material and for undermining public morals or decency, under both the Criminal Code and the Press Act.

The court said the prosecution had produced no evidence to define public morality in Malta and how it had been infringed. The court felt that public morality was something which changed over time, and what offended public morals 20 or 30 years ago did not necessarily do so now as realities changed, including the media.

Furthermore, the publication was limited to students of the University and the Junior College, who were mature students who had free access to a variety of media including books, newspapers and the internet.

It had not been shown how Ir-Realta offended their morality. The writer had exercised his freedom of expression through a literary work and no crime had resulted, the court said.

 

19th March   

Building New Dams...

Netherlands enters the new territory of internet audio/visual censorship
Link Here

commissariaat voor de media logo The Dutch Media Commission (Commissariaat voor de Media) said it will now begin registering audiovisual media services on the internet. The commission will also extend its monitoring of mobile services.

The regulator began last year with an inventory of web content. Web content providers must also abide by rules for, for example, advertising time, or forbidding the broadcast of certain age restricted programmes at certain times of the day.

The commission noted the difficulty in monitoring RTL Netherlands because of its statutory registration in Luxembourg. A something situation applies to monitoring a number of porn channels registered in the Netherlands, but which are aimed at other countries.

This is the first time some media companies have come under Dutch government regulation. The commission last year created a new registration licensing and monitoring department, as well as a new enforcement division.

The Dutch ministry of education, culture and science will have to modify certain rules in order to determine which web radio stations should be regulated and how much the monitoring duties will cost.

 

19th March   

Update: Three Kisses for ICANN...

.XXX domain finally approved
Link Here  full story: ICANN XXX Domain...Long debate about allowing .xxx domain

ICANN logo Sex domain .xxx has been given final approval by the internet governance organisation Icann

The move to create a top level .xxx domain ends a 10-year battle over the virtual red-light district. Icann gave initial approval last year, but carried out further consultation checks over the application.

It is now poised to sign an agreement with the ICM Registry, which is backing the domain, to make .xxx a reality.

Supporters say the domain will make it easier to filter out inappropriate content. But many pornographers worry that the move could ghettoise their content. Religious groups have argued that giving pornography sites their own domain legitimises the content.

ICM said last year that it had more than 110,000 pre-reservations for .xxx domains.

Update: Contracted

3rd April 2011. See  article from  business.avn.com

The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Number on Friday finalized its contract with ICM Registry to run the .XXX sponsored top-level domain. The announcement was made on the ICANN blog in a post by ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey.

 

19th March   

Brett and Melanie and the MPAA...

Film submitted for several different MPAA ratings to highlight the differences in the category rules
Link Here

Brett Melanie Meets Girl People Brett And Melanie: Boi Meets Girl is the seventh in an ongoing series of films from award-winning director Tony Comstock.

The unrated director's cut of the film has now been completed. The Boi Meets Girl Meets the MPAA project will submit the film to the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) and on the basis of the MPAA's feedback, they will produce a  DVD showing the exact difference between the Unrated, NC-17, R and PG-13 rated versions of the film. Monies raised will go to covering MPAA submission fees, re-editing costs, and DVD authoring.

Videos of each rating version of the film will also be uploaded to popular video sharing sites, such as YouTube, Vimeo, Daily Motion, etc to see how various MPAA-rated versions are treated by the vagaries of Community Guidelines.

Tony Comstock said:

We're undertaking this project because kerfuffles over ratings generate a lot of anger and publicity, but they don't seem to leave anyone any better informed about the rating process, and we'd like to change that.

By taking Brett And Melanie through the MPAA process, we'll be able show just what sort of alterations were required to achieve various ratings. And once we have those ratings in hand, we can test the MPAA's content rating system and level of transparency against places like YouTube and Facebook.

 

19th March   

Update: Morality in a Bottle...

Malaysia's first gay film pleases only the morality censors
Link Here  full story: Dalam Botol...Malaysia's first gay movie

dal botol Boy meets boy. Boy falls in love with boy. Boy has a sex-change procedure in a misguided attempt to please his lover. Boy regrets his decision, moves back to hometown and falls in love with a girl.

The plot of ...Dalam Botol ( ...In a Bottle ), Malaysia's first feature film with gay lead characters, is causing a stir in the Muslim-majority country, where consensual sodomy is illegal and depictions of homosexuality in pop culture are taboo.

The film opens next Thursday and will screen in 52 cinemas. It has already provoked the ire of religious organisations. The youth wing leader of the conservative Pan-Malaysian Islamic party (PAS) called it a shocking attempt to promote gay culture.

The film has found little resonance with the country's handful of gay activists, who have joined the religious authorities in criticising the film, although for very different reasons.

Malaysia's film censorship rules require gay and transgendered characters to regret their actions and learn from supposed mistakes, guidelines to which ...Dalam Botol had to conform in order to receive screening permission.

Alex who blogs anonymously about gay issues said that while the film's groundbreaking depiction of gay characters could be seen as a sign of progress, he worried it would reinforce stereotypes in Malaysian culture: The ending is very negative. Having the main character regret being gay and falling in love with a woman is not going to help our image problem here.

This is not the Brokeback Mountain of Malaysia. It presents LGBT people as depressed and confused, said Yuki Choe, a transsexual activist in Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian society is trying to shame us. But whether we like it or not, this is a Muslim country, and it's difficult to be open about your sexuality here.

 

19th March   

Get an Enlivened Life...

Complaints about Swedish adverts for extra-marital dating service
Link Here

victoria milan advert A new Swedish website which challenges individuals to dabble in infidelity in order to help them cope with dull, lifeless relationships has been reported to the advertising ombudsman.

Married travellers waiting for buses in Stockholm are currently being confronted with the challenge Are you married? Liven up your life - have an affair in the form of a billboard campaign from Norwegian firm Victoria Milan.

But criticism of the firm's business idea and advertising message has quickly followed the weekend campaign launch, with the Swedish Advertising Ombudsman (Reklamombudsmannen) having already received complaints.

Many visitors to the firm's Facebook page are openly scathing in their criticism of the Victoria Milan business model: You are the sickest firm I have ever experienced. You are a disgrace to Swedish business... that you encourage infidelity (with all the consequences for couples and not least their children), one person wrote.

Despite the heated response from some quarters, Sigurd Vedal CEO of Victoria Milan is unrepentant: We are a dating site which is very clear and direct, in contrast to many other sites out there. In a very competitive market one has to be clear with one's message and target group .

 

19th March   

Censorship Billboard...

Australia review of outdoor advertising considers state censorship
Link Here

australian association of national advertisers logo The chairman of Australia's federal government inquiry into outdoor advertising says if tougher rules are needed, the possibilities include ratings by the Film Classification Board.

The Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) is gearing up for a fight. It said any kind of classification system for outdoor advertisements would add an unnecessary and burdensome layer of compliance .

The AANA's chief executive, Scott McClellan, said the present system of self-regulation was the most efficient, flexible and cost-effective means of ensuring that advertising continued to meet community expectations.

But the chairman of the government inquiry, Graham Perrett, said while the AANA had some good guidelines in place, not everyone who put up an ad was a member of the AANA and there were plenty of cowboys in the industry: Not every billboard you see goes through those checks and balances. Some advertisers push the boundaries to get attention .

Perrett said because outdoor advertising spanned federal, state and local jurisdictions, regulation was complex but not impossible. He said theoretically the Film Classification Board could classify billboards.

Perrett said the inquiry aimed to report back to the government by the end of June, following public hearings in Sydney and Melbourne.

Meanwhile, the AANA is reviewing its code of ethics.

 

19th March   

Focus on Censorship...

Swaziland bans BBC's Focus on Africa
Link Here

bbc focus on africa The government of Swaziland has banned the daily live transmission of the BBC Focus on Africa programme after one of the news clips, broadcast on the English channel of the state radio, Swaziland Broadcasting and Information Services (SBIS), was critical of the government.

The programme has been off air for the past week. The state radio has been running apologies to listeners of the programme for its absence, claiming that it is due to technical problems.

However, Members of Parliament confronted the Minister for Information Communications and Technology (ICT), Nelisiwe Shongwe, for answers. The Minister conceded in Parliament that the programme has been temporarily suspended. She said the government has taken a decision to censor the programme and said it would be back on air soon.

 

19th March   

Government Truth Differs from Universal Truth...

Somalialand bans Universal TV again
Link Here

Universal TV The breakaway republic of Somaliland has banned Universal Television, a private Somali satellite TV network based in London, from operating in Somaliland.

Ahmed Abdi Habsade, Somaliland's minister of communication and press, charged in a statement that Universal TV, which is directed to the Somali-speaking community, had created clan-related conflicts and was acting against the existence of Somaliland.

Habsade accused Universal of broadcasting video footage showing 12 bodies that the network said were killed by Somaliland military forces during clashes between Somaliland forces and local armed clan militias.

 

19th March   

Offsite: The Funnier Side...

Arab cartoonists get freer hand as governments ease censorship
Link Here

libya cartoon Once a no-fly zone for caricaturists, region's leaders now get skewered

When Saudi political cartoonist Abdullah Jaber drew a caricature of Libyan leader Muammar Al-Qaddafi four years ago, his editor at the Al-Jazirah daily refused to publish it. Never mind that Al-Qaddafi ruled a distant country with no particularly close ties to Saudi Arabia. Cartoonists didn't make fun of the region's leaders.

But even in places like Saudi Arabia, where the anti-government protests sweeping the Middle East have failed to gain traction, red lines are rapidly fading. There is no law prohibiting such caricatures, but editors would simply not approve them, Jaber told The Media Line. But last week I published four caricatures of Al-Qaddafi and no one said a word.

...Read the full article

 

18th March   

The Right to be Forgotten...

EU announces a new form of censorship
Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Impunity Berlusconis Goal Its Consequences

  "Maybe you've been at a party, up until four in the morning and you or someone you know posts photos of you .

Well, it's a harmless bit of fun, but being unable to erase this can threaten your job or access to future employment."

The European Union is to enshrine a right to be forgotten online to ensure that, among other things, prospective employers cannot find old Facebook party photos of someone wearing nothing but a lampshade.

In a speech to the European parliament, the EU justice commissioner, Viviane Reding, warned companies such as Facebook that: A US-based social network company that has millions of active users in Europe needs to comply with EU rules.

In a package of proposals to be unveiled before the summer, the commissioner intends to force Facebook and other social networking sites to make high standards of data privacy the default setting and give control over data back to the user.

The package will also include the right to opt out of advertising and personalisation data being collected via website cookies.

I want to explicitly clarify that people shall have the right -- and not only the possibility -- to withdraw their consent to data processing, Reding said. The burden of proof should be on data controllers -- those who process your personal data. They must prove that they need to keep the data, rather than individuals having to prove that collecting their data is not necessary.

Reding's spokesman, Matthew Newman, said that the laws would make the EU the first jurisdiction to deliver a right to be forgotten .

Maybe you've been at a party, up until four in the morning and you or someone you know posts photos of you . Well, it's a harmless bit of fun, but being unable to erase this can threaten your job or access to future employment.

The rules would give consumers a specific right to withdraw their consent to sharing their data: And after you have withdrawn your consent, there shouldn't even be a ghost of your data left in some server somewhere. It's your data and it should be gone for good.

 

18th March   

Update: Turkey Freer than the USA!...

Turkish plan for profiled ISP internet blocking from August
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

Turkey flag In his speech this week, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan claimed that he doesn't understand why foreigners are all talking about the lack of freedom of speech in Turkey.

Justice and Development Party, or AKP, Vice President Hu seyin Celik said Turkey was years ahead in its legislation and many times more free in terms of press freedom than the United States.

...

However, I understand that this vagueness will go on and will spread to the government's Internet regulations. After Aug. 22 we will have a totally different system. The government is so kind and father-like that it wants us to be fully protected from any kind of harm that the Internet can bring about. This is why they have decided to provide Internet services to us filtered from the source. It is too much hassle to ban websites one by one, therefore they will have bundles and lists. According to the current plans there will be four types of bundles available.

These will be called Standart Profile (Standart Profil), Children's Profile (Cocuk Profili), Family Profile (Aile Profili) and Domestic Internet Profile (Yurtici Internet Profili). All of these profiles will be censored to various degrees so that we will be protected just as our profile needs to be, because our government knows best.

Each profile will have two lists assigned; A black one and a white one. In the black list there will be websites that will be banned and in the white one there will be websites that are allowed to be surfed.

The government says that they ban websites at the source so that our children will be fully protected. There will be no room for the human error of parents. Banning websites will be fully automatic. However, the people who will be in charge of these practices and the standardization of establishing these lists are very vague. The government will be able to censor any website at will. You won't even notice it.

I would also kindly like to warn any foreigners against deigning to think that the new system to be introduced on Aug. 22 violates freedoms. And please don't voice your concerns. Our prime minister can get angry at you. In fact, don't even try to understand it because our government is way ahead of you.

 

18th March   

Updated: A Little Less Repressive...

Hungary passes a few amendments to its widely condemned media law
Link Here

Hungary flag The Hungarian parliament has now adopted amendments to their much criticised and repressive media law passed in December 2010.

The favourable report given by the European Commission following the vote was commented as premature by Reporters Without Borders.

If the dubious notion of balanced reporting no longer applies to blogs, it does still concern other audiovisual media as well as Internet on-demand contents. The law also no longer applies to foreign media unless they are broadcasting to the Hungarian people and are based abroad with the aim of circumventing Hungarian law .

The range of offences punished by the law has been restricted slightly and centred on the concept of incitement of hatred or discrimination. On the other hand journalists must still respect public morality and human dignity - notions that have yet to be defined by the Media Council - or face astronomical fines.

Finally, the Hungarian media will no longer have to get accreditation from the authorities before they start broadcasting. They will have to do so within 60 days of kicking off their operations, however, or face a fine of 3,700 euros.

Update: European Parliament Unimpressed

11th March 2011.  See  article from  monstersandcritics.com

European Parliament logo The European Parliament on Thursday criticized Hungary's changes to its controversial media law as insufficient, following a similar finding by the Organization for Security and Cooperation earlier this week.

A resolution tabled by the Socialists and Democrats, Liberal and Democrats, Green, and European United Left groupings was adopted with 316 votes in favour, 264 against and 33 abstentions.

Lawmakers in Strasbourg called for further review and expressed regret over the fact that the European Commission had only found fault with a few facets of the law.

When the commission doesn't defend basic rights, we will take up the fight, Hannes Swoboda of Austria said on behalf of the Social Democrats.

Update: Demonstrations

18th March 2011. Based on article from politics.hu

Tens of thousands of demonstrators protested Hungary's media law in Budapest on Tuesday, on the day marking the anniversary of the 1848-49 revolution and war of independence from Habsburg rule and the day of press freedom.

Anna Vamos, the protest's chief organiser, said demonstrators were dissatisfied with amendments to the media law and believed they failed to bring the legislation in line with European Union norms. They also protested the media authority's power to arbitrary levy fines on media outlets.

The organisers said the demonstration was the biggest civil protest since the 1989 regime change.

Demonstrations against the media law were also held in the Hungarian cities of Debrecen and Gyula, as well as at the Hungarian embassies in Berlin and Bucharest and at Hungary's Consulate General and UN representation in New York.

 

18th March   

Updated: Disproportionate...

Turkey set to block thousands of blogs over a dispute with one or two
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

Blogger.com logo A ban on Google's blogging platform, Blogger, is expected to fully go into effect within a few days unless it is successfully challenged in court.

A spat over rights to broadcast Turkish football matches has led a local court to issue a blanket ban on the popular blogging platform Blogger, angering Turkish Internet users with what experts said was a disproportionate response.

The court in the southeastern province of Diyarbakir banned the website in response to a complaint by the satellite television provider Digiturk, which owns the broadcast rights to Turkish Super League games. Matches broadcast on Digiturk's Lig TV channel had been illegally posted by several Blogger users on their blogs.

This is a disproportionate response by the court and undoubtedly has a huge impact on all law-abiding citizens, cyber-rights activist Yaman Akdeniz told the Hu rriyet Daily News & Economic Review, adding that millions of Turkish bloggers and blog readers would be affected by the Diyarbakir court decision.

There are more than 600,000 Turkish bloggers actively using Blogger and some 18 million users from Turkey visited pages hosted by the site last month, Akdeniz said.

If two people plan a criminal activity on the phone, should we ban the use of telephones all over the country? asked Deniz Ergu rel, the secretary-general of the Media Association.

Bloggers and their readers reacted angrily and quickly to the court decision, with nearly 9,000 users of the social-networking website Facebook joining a group called Do not touch my blog in less than two days after the decision was announced. Similar campaigns have also been created on other websites, such as Twitter.

Update: Blogger Blocked

5th March 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

The row over who can broadcast football matches in Turkey has now led to Google's Blogger site being blocked.

Google confirmed the Blogger ban in a statement and said those with worries about piracy should turn to its easy to use takedown systems rather than seek a wholesale shutdown.

The process for making a copyright claim for content uploaded to Blogger is straightforward and efficient, and we encourage all content owners to use it rather than seek a broad ban on access to the service, said a spokesperson.

Update: Turkish internet users not happy about shameful censorship

6th March 2011. See  article from  todayszaman.com

digiturk logo In the wake of the court ban, many people have launched protests on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook against the ban imposed on blogspot.com. Thousands of people became members of the Don't Touch My Blog page opened on Facebook.

People are calling for everyone to condemn Internet bans, boycott Digiturk and change DNS settings as well as opposing the current Internet law that makes such bans possible.

A statement released by bloggers at blogumadokunma.tumblr.com said: Digiturk, Google and the Republic of Turkey should be sensitive about the censoring shame from now on, all the anti-censor Internet users should support this movement, and all members of the press should lend their support to freedom of expression.

Tansel Parlak, an activist from the Young Civilians, a nongovernmental organization famous for its use of sarcasm in its protests, said the bans imposed on the Internet in Turkey have gone beyond being tragic-comic and become stupid. It is like cutting all the trees in a forest when you just need a few of them, he said.

Parlak also criticized Digiturk for triggering such a ban and taking a side against bloggers. He said the company's move has prompted many Digiturk subscribers to boycott the company due to the bans imposed on their blogs, which goes against the company's interests in the end. Parlak suggested loopholes in the current legislation that make such bans possible should be eliminated, and legal amendments should immediately be made to prevent further bans on the Internet.

Update: Blogger Restored

18th March 2011. See  article from  cyberlaw.org.uk

Access to Google's blogging platform Blogger was banned two weeks ago by a local court in Diyarbakir upon a complaint by Digiturk.

New evidence showing that Google had taken action against copyright violators led a prosecutor's office in Southeast Turkey to decide Monday to lift the ban on Blogger.

Cyber-rights activist Yaman Akdeniz said: The prosecutor's office in the Southeast province of Diyarbak?r -- home of the court that issued the ban -- decided to lift the ban after the expert opinion found that the accounts linked to the IP addresses on which Digiturk had filed its complaint had been deactivated by Google.

 

17th March   

BBFC Theatre Censors...

BBFC find a new role of classifying theatre plays for broadcast to cinemas
Link Here

frankenstein poster The BBFC has introduced a new 'AsLive' type of certificate plays that are performed live at a theatre but also relayed to cinemas.

Presumably the BBFC base their decision on previous performances and hope that the performers don't adlib a stream of expletives should they forget their lines on the night.

From article from nationaltheatre.org.uk

For the first time ever, National Theatre Live will broadcast two separate performances of a production. Throughout the run of Frankenstein at the National Theatre, Benedict Cumberbatch and Jonny Lee Miller are alternating the roles of Victor Frankenstein and the Creature. Audiences in cinemas will have the chance to see both combinations, with two broadcasts a week apart.

Both versions of the production will be filmed on 17 March. The evening performance, featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the Creature and Jonny Lee Miller as Frankenstein, will be broadcast live to cinemas in the UK and some venues abroad on 17 March at 7.00pm GMT as already announced.

The additional filmed performance with the leading roles reversed -- Jonny Lee Miller as the Creature and Benedict Cumberbatch as Frankenstein -- will be screened in the UK and Europe on 24 March, also at 7.00pm GMT (with worldwide screenings at a later date).

The BBFC has decided that the performance is 15 rated.

Note that although this articles notes this as a first, this is the 5th 'AsLive' BBFC certificate for National Theatre performances.

 

17th March   

Updated: The Devil on Pall Mall...

I Saw the Devil to be shown in London with local council permission rather than a BBFC certificate
Link Here

Saw Devil DVD Choi Moo Seong I Saw The Devil is a South Korean revenge thriller. It has rarely been released uncut, even in its home country, due to levels of graphic violence that would give Antichrist a run for its money. It's also totally excellent.

There are several rape scenes, one of which, is sure to cause trouble at the BBFC. It's a rape scene in which the female victim starts to enjoy it midway through the proceedings. This particular rape myth has always been a major bugbear for the BBFC.

Distributors  Optimum aren't seeking a cinema rating for the film. Instead they have secured permission from Westminster council to show the film uncut exclusively at the ICA from 29th April 2011 (adults only).

The film is scheduled for a DVD/Blu-ray release on 9th May 2011.

Promotional Material from UK Amazon :

“The best serial killer film since Se7en "--Arrow In The Head

A psychotic serial killer is on the loose, committing some of the most diabolical crimes the police have ever witnessed. No one is safe as the body count rises and the killer continues his evil odyssey of sadistic butchery. But when the fiancée of an elite special agent becomes one of his victims, a personal investigation becomes a merciless and brutal game of vengeance. As one violent encounter leads to another, it’s a game where the hunter becomes as unhinged as the hunted.

Directed by one of Korea’s most notorious and revered directors Kim Ji-Woon ( A Tale Of Two Sisters ), I Saw The Devil is as action packed and thrilling as it is extremely dark and disturbing. Reuniting the director with actor Lee Byung-Hun ( A Bittersweet Life, Hero, The Good, The Bad And The Weird ) it also stars Asian cinema legend Choi Min-Sik ( Oldboy ).

Update: Passed 18 without BBFC cuts on DVD

17th March 2011. See  article from  bbfc.co.uk

BBFC logo I Saw the Devil has been passed 18 without BBFC cuts for Optimum DVD/online with the comment: Contains very strong bloody violence and strong sex.

The running time was noted as 138:06s which stacks up with the most commonly quoted 144 minute runtime in NTSC/film. There are however other mentions of a 141 minute version (perhaps the cut Korean version) and a 147 minute version.

From IMDb:

Kim Jee-woon made seven cuts totaling 80 to 90 seconds in order to receive a Korean over 18 restricted rating. Cuts were made to a scene of body parts being eaten by a dog and humans, and a human body being mutilated. Before the censorship, the Korean censors twice gave it a rating that would have prevented a video and mainstream theatrical release.

 

17th March   

Staying on Focus...

IWF release their 2010 Annual Report
Link Here

IWF graph The UK's Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) has launched its Annual Report 2010 in which it reveals the success of a new collaborative project to have child sexual abuse images removed from the web faster across the globe. Results show a dramatic reduction in the length of time these criminal images remain active, down from around a month only a year ago, to an average lifespan of just 12 days today, irrespective of where in the world they are hosted and only a matter of hours if hosted in the UK.

Thankfully the IWF is keeping its focus on its role to remove child abuse images. It does also have a remit to take down other UK hosted material:

  • adult material if it is found to be 'criminally obscene'
  • incitement to racial hatred
  • non-photographic child porn images

But the IWF has only removed about 12 such URLs from about 4300 reports. Hopefully this suggests that the IWF are only taking action only where strictly necessitated by law or remit, rather than just playing safe and taking action against everything reported.

Offsite: Ed Vaziey hints at a IWF like organisation with a remit for wider internet censorship

See  article from  theregister.co.uk by Jane Fae Ozimek

Ed Vaizey Culture Minister Ed Vaizey spoke at the Internet Watch Foundation's (IWF) 2010 Annual Report launch.

He praised the IWF and UK ISPs for having put in place a model for dealing with child abuse and criminally obscene material (the IWF's current remit) that was recognised around the world. Both he and Home Office Minister James Brokenshire indicated that they liked the self-regulatory model and very much hoped it would continue.

Vaizey also indicated that there might be scope in future to extend the IWF's methods -- though not necessarily through the IWF -- to cover other categories of material.

...Read the full article

 

17th March   

And You Can Whipe that Smirk Off Your Face James...

Welsh Tories get a ticking off for supposedly tasteless jokes
Link Here

joel james Two Tory Welsh National Assembly candidates will be allowed to represent the party in May's election despite getting in trouble for making supposedly tasteless, sexist jokes on Facebook.

One of the candidates, Joel James posted supposedly juvenile and sexist comments on Facebook, including a reference to French pornography.

Last July James' friend Dan Saxton, the Tory candidate for Cynon Valley was also noted for posting a tasteless joke involving a little girl on Facebook and in January he posted a sexist joke about how to get a bird into bed .

An internal inquiry was launched last month after the Western Mail passed details of the internet postings to the Welsh Conservatives. The Welsh Conservative Party reported after the inquiry: The party's candidates committee met today and accepted the unreserved and sincere apologies of the candidates concerned for any offence they may have caused. They now recognise that the behaviour they engaged in is not appropriate for Welsh Conservative candidates seeking elected office.

Confirming that the two would nevertheless be allowed to stay on as candidates in May's election, the spokesman said there would be no further comment from either the party or the candidates themselves.

In January Richard Lowe, the Tory Assembly candidate for Alyn & Deeside, resigned after it emerged he had made a sick joke about the missing girl Madeleine McCann. Lowe had the Tory whip withdrawn for four months after making the supposedly tasteless joke. He was forced to apologise for inappropriate comments he posted on Facebook.

 

17th March   

Update: Forced to Grow Up...

Australia's Censorship minister forcefully calls for states to agree on an adult games rating
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Brendan O'Connor Australia's Federal Government is giving the states and territories until July to agree to a new R18+ classification for video games.

Home Affairs Minister Brendan O'Connor forcefully said: We're the only country that allows tens and tens of games to be used by minors that are only used by adults overseas . We're becoming the laughing stock of the developed world.

O'Connor said the issue had been debated by the attorneys-general for the past 10 years and it was time to make a decision.

He wants consensus from the states and territories when they meet in July and if they do not agree, he tips the Federal Government will go it alone: If there is not a consensus around this issue, the Commonwealth will certainly be considering other options.

 

17th March   

Update: Buying into Nutter Idealism...

Forlorn campaign against the commercialisation of childhood
Link Here  full story: Sexualisation...Sexualisation as reported by Linda Papadopoulos

bye buy childhood 1 logo A petition of about 18,500 signatures has been handed to David Cameron calling for an end to marketing of a sexualised nature aimed at children.

The petition was presented to 10 Downing Streetby Rosemary Kempsell, worldwide president of the Mothers' Union, as well as several MPs.

The petition is part of the Bye Buy Childhood campaign launched last year by the Mothers' Union.

It calls upon the Government to prohibit sexualised media, marketing and products aimed at or easily accessed by children under 16 years of age.

Kempsell said, We are delighted that the Government has already taken action to tackle the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood through the Bailey Review. We would like to see this Review make strong recommendations to Government to ensure childhood can remain a precious time free from commercialisation.

Joining Kempsell at Downing Street were MPs Helen Goodman, David Morris, Fiona Bruce and Jim Dobbin.

 

17th March   

Update: Registering Discontent...

Poland Prime Minister to back down on power to refuse registration to websites with video content
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Poland...In the name of dangerous gambling

Poland flag Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said that he wanted a change in a controversial draft law that would censor websites.

Tusk said he would ask the upper house of parliament to scrap sections of the draft law that would require website owners providing audio-visual material to register with the National Broadcasting Council.

Critics said the law amounted to censorship because the council would have the power to turn down websites seeking registration.

The draft law was passed by the lower house of parliament and is now set for the Senate..

Some 10,800 internet have supported a Facebook page with the messgae: Government, leave the internet alone.

 

17th March   

Update: Below the Belt...

Scottish Parliament report whinges at low positioning of lads' mags in shops
Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills

The Scottish Parliament A new Scottish Parliament report has criticised newsagents and other shops that place lad's mags for sale at a child's eye view.

Research commissioned by the Public Petitions Committee found that many shops were in breach of their own guidelines, which say that such titles should be not displayed at children's eye level or below, to ensure that they are not in the direct sight and reach of children .

However, the report by George Street Research, found 59% of 'lads' mags' observed during the fieldwork displayed at a height of 1.5m or less are being displayed with no obvious attempt to hide the front covers.

 

17th March   

Updated: First Impressions...

Government publish draft Defamation Bill and consultation details
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

libel reform campaign logo The Government has now published its promised draft Defamation Bill.

We have had an initial look and weighed it up against the blueprint for reform we launched last week. We welcome where the draft bill contains some of the reforms we set out, including:

  • A more effective and clearer defence of truth (justification)
  • A clearer and wider defence of honest opinion (fair comment)
  • The extension of statutory qualified privilege to benefit NGOs and scientific conferences
  • A single publication rule with a one year cut off

But it comes up short in a few important places:

  • The suggested public interest defence needs more work to properly protect citizen critics
  • There is no commitment to counter the censorship of online discussions by web-hosts and internet service providers who are liable for content they publish
  • There is no commitment to restrict corporations' ability to sue in libel

These measures are going to be open for consultation over the next few months.

Offsite: We will end the libel farce

See  article from  guardian.co.uk by Nick Clegg

nick clegg Shameful libel laws kill debate and smother scientific inquiry. Our coalition bill will let the press be free

We live in an information age, with knowledge flowing in unprecedented ways. Recent weeks have been dramatic proof of that. Twitter helped oust Hosni Mubarak. Thanks to global, 24-hour news reporting, Muammar Gaddafi's actions cannot be hidden. Global citizens watch in real time as events unfold in Japan.

In such an age ideas are everything and openness reigns supreme. Power rests, increasingly, on winning the argument, and censorship has no place.

...Read the full article

Update: American Cheers

See  article from  indexoncensorship.org

The arrival of the draft defamation bill was cheered in the US, where the long reach of libel tourism had prompted domestic bills shielding Americans from judgments that chill free speech from abroad. President Obama just last August signed the SPEECH Act into law. It wasn't aimed explicitly at the UK; rather, it protects Americans from the enforcement of all libel judgments ruled against them in countries that don't afford the same free speech protection as the US First Amendment.

But it was not a secret that the legislation was triggered by my fight against the imposition of English libel laws, said Rachel Ehrenfeld, an American academic whose run-in with a wealthy Saudi businessman in British court became the galvanizing case for libel tourism in the US: I thought that since the United States had fought and won its independence from England in 1776, Ehrenfeld said, there was no reason for Americans to abide by repressive English law.

 

16th March   

Forever Damned...

Two more keenly awaited games passed 18 uncut
Link Here

Duke Nukem Forever PC DVD Two more new 18 rated games that have generated interest amongst gamers.

Duke Nukem Forever has been passed 18 uncut with the BBFC comment: Contains strong violence, sex, nudity, language & drug references.

Shadows of the Damned was also passed 18 uncut with the comment: Contains very strong bloody gore and very strong language

 

16th March   

Update: Injecting a Dose of Common Sense...

ASA turn down complaints about Tramadol Nights poster
Link Here  full story: Frankie Boyle...Whinges about Frankie Boyle and Mock the Week

tramol nights poster advert A poster for a Channel Four comedy show featured the title Tramadol Nights which was written in the style of the fabric craft toy, fuzzy felt. The poster also featured fuzzy felt style images of a badger firing a machine gun, two rabbits attacking each other with hypodermic needles and another who had been stabbed with knives. The ad also featured an animal holding a chainsaw and pools of blood. Issue

Thirteen complainants objected to the ad:

1. Nine complainants said the use of animals made from fuzzy felt was likely to appeal to younger children and that the featured images of drugs and violence were harmful and likely to cause distress.

2. Two complainants objected that the ad was irresponsible because it could encourage the use of recreational drugs.

3. Two complainants objected that the ad was offensive because of the reference to drugs and violence in the context of a child's toy.

CAP Code (Edition 12) 4.11.34.2 Response

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted Channel 4s statement that the advertised programme was shown after 9pm and that this was stated in the poster. However, we also noted the ad appeared in an untargeted medium and considered that, regardless of the target audience of the programme, the ad itself was likely to have been seen by children. We additionally noted the ad featured brightly coloured fuzzy felt animals and considered that such images were likely to attract the attention of younger children. However, we considered that the images of the animals alongside the violence and hypodermic needles were stylised and fantasy-like and that most children would not perceive the images as real or interpret them as a reflection of reality. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause harm or distress to children.

Investigated under CAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not found in breach.

2. Not upheld

We noted the ad featured images of rabbits injecting each other with hypodermic needles and considered that this was an implied reference to drugs. However, we considered that the fuzzy felt images of animals were stylised and clearly removed from reality and that they neither glamorised nor condoned the use of intravenous drugs in humans. We concluded that the ad was not irresponsible.

Investigated under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) but did not found in breach.

3. Not upheld

We noted the ad used fuzzy felt, a well-known childrens toy, to portray a broken society through images of animals, violence and drugs. Whilst we acknowledged that the juxtaposition of the fuzzy felt characters and the violent imagery might make some consumers feel uncomfortable, we considered that most consumers would interpret the sharp contrasts to be absurd and surreal. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

Investigated under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not found in breach.

 

16th March   

Update: Seeing Red...

Designer of Thai web site jailed for 13 years after comments posted were deemed to be insulting to the monarchy
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

nor por chor usa logo A Thai Criminal Court sentenced the webmaster of a United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) website to a total of 13 years imprisonment for lese majeste and violating the Computer Crimes Act.

The court found Thanthawut Taweewarodomkul, who was in charge of the red shirt supporting website norporchorusa.com, guilty of lese majeste for posting articles which were deemed insulting to the high institution.

Thanthawut given a 10 year jail sentence for lese majeste and three years for violating the Computer Crimes Act.

However FACT (Freedom against Censorship Thailand) point out that Thanthawut's defence was that he was only the site designer, and did not contribute to the content. The site's editing, content and administration is based overseas, presumably in the USA.

 

16th March   

Update: Why is MySpace TurkeysSpace?...

Turkey's overwide blocking of websites to be investigated by the European Court of Human Rights
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

European court buildings A European court has asked Turkish authorities to explain their use of the country's law to ban websites, responding to applications by two complainants who say the bans violate their right to freedom of expression.

Users of different websites are being punished because others infringe legal provisions, said complainant Yaman Akdeniz, a cyber-rights activist and a law professor at Istanbul Bilgi University. He applied to the European Court of Human Rights on April 6, arguing that the Turkish government's ban on the website Myspace.com violated his rights.

The decision to consider the case is a landmark one, Akdeniz said, explaining that it was the first time the court had taken up a complaint related to Internet bans.

The court's final decision will set an important precedent for all Council of Europe member countries, Akdeniz told the Hu rriyet Daily News & Economic Review.

Responding to the applications by Akdeniz and another Turkish complainant, the European court issued a request last month to Turkish authorities, asking them to answer by June 9, three questions of a general nature about the use of Turkish law to ban certain websites. The court asked Turkish authorities for explanations regarding the application of legal provisions to ban websites, Akdeniz told the Daily News.

Fellow complainant Ahmet Yıldırım, a doctoral student at Boğaziçi University in Istanbul, applied to the European court Jan. 12, 2010, saying his personal website on Google Sites, which he used to publish his academic work, had been banned by Turkey.

 

15th March   

Updated: Round 2 to the Censors...

Australian appeal board upholds ban on Mortal Kombat game
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban

Warner Bros Interactive Mortal Kombat Mortal Kombat remains banned in Australia after an unsuccessful appeal against the ban. The appeal board released a statement:

A four-member panel of the Classification Review Board has by majority decision determined that the computer game Mortal Kombat is classified RC (Refused Classification).

In the Review Board's opinion, Mortal Kombat could not be accommodated within the MA15+ classification as the level of violence in the game has an impact which is higher than strong. As MA15+ is the highest classification category available to computer games under the Australian Classification Scheme, the Classification Review Board must refuse classification to Mortal Kombat.

Computer games classified RC cannot be sold, hired, advertised or demonstrated in Australia.

 

15th March   

Update: Defending Honest Opinion...

Government set to publish a draft Defamation Bill
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth
angry judge

  Libel tourists
no longer welcome in my court!

Major changes to Britain's antiquated defamation laws will be outlined by ministers with the publication of a bill to provide greater protection for free speech and an end to libel tourism .

The draft Defamation Bill will propose a new defence of honest opinion , which will protect academics from being sued by companies and special-interest groups for damaging their reputations. There is currently a defence of fair comment , but it has to be based on stated and true facts and rarely succeeds.

There will also be new rules to stop celebrities and businessmen from bringing libel cases in Britain unless they can prove that the publication caused them substantial harm in the country. Foreign litigants will have to sue in the country where most of the damage to their reputations was done, rather than using the English courts on the basis that the publication was available in Britain.

Under the new rules, it will be up to a judge to decide whether substantial harm has been caused to reputation in this country. It is expected that if the main damage was done outside this country, UK courts will not accept jurisdiction.

 

15th March   

Extreme Blame...

Inquest into Derrick Bird killings told that he viewed extreme porn
Link Here

HM Courts Service Extreme pornography was found on the computer of gunman Derrick Bird by police, an inquest heard.

A statement from Det Con Mark Littlejohn, who examined the hard drive from Bird's computer.

There were no documents and no family photographs saved anywhere on the machine. The vast majority of the use centred on internet access to extreme pornography sites. These internet sessions tended to take place in the evenings and on average lasted in the region of 20 minutes.

The inquest continues.

 

15th March   

Update: Don't You Dare Do That Again...

PEGI unimpressed by misleading marketing for the We Dare console game
Link Here  full story: We Dare...Daring to include minor sex references in a game

PEGI logo In a further twist, PEGI has now asked Ubisoft to remove the original We Dare advert from the web. It seems that PEGI were not impressed with being falsely accused of a too low rating.

Eurogamer received the following statement:

The Committee concludes that the advertisement does NOT accurately reflect the nature and content of the product and it MISLEADS consumers as to its true nature.

Consequently, the Committee considers imperative as a first measure that the advertisement for the game which was made available online should be taken down immediately. If this is not done within three working days of this decision this Committee will consider further immediate sanctions against the publisher.

 

15th March   

BBC Tackle Easy Offence...

BBC quick to apologise about Hugh Grant remark during rugby interview
Link Here

bruno gq magazi The BBC have issued an apology after Hugh Grant made a controversial comment about gays playing rugby during a TV broadcast.

The actor was watching the England versus Scotland Six Nations game at Twickenham Stadium, London on 13th March when he was invited into the commentary box at half time.

During an interview, Grant revealed he played rugby at school, before joking, I discovered it hurt less if you tackled hard than if you tackled like a queen.

The remark sparked outrage from some viewers, with one writing on Twitter.com, Nice bit of old-school homophobia from him that, wasn't it?

A spokesperson for the BBC told The Sun: We apologise for any offence his comments may have caused.

 

14th March   

Updated: Beyond Nasty...

Fulci's The Beyond gets a new uncut Arrow DVD/Blu-ray release
Link Here

Beyond DVD David Warbeck The Beyond is a 1981 Italian horror film by Lucio Fulci. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2011 Arrow R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon
  • UK 2011 Arrow R0 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2010 Cornerstone R2 DVD
  • UK 2002 Protected/Vipco R2 DVD

Update: Transfer Defect

Based on article from cult-labs.com

An transfer error was spotted during production in that the opening sequence was black & white instead of the intended sepia tones. This was spotted and corrected in time for the majority of retail disks but some black & white pressings have crept into the release.

In an official statement from Arrow Films they will replace any disk with the black & white opening:

Okay folks, when your copy of The Beyond (Blu-ray or DVD) arrives, check it to see if it has the monochrome opening. If it does and you want a replacement all you need to do is drop an e-mail to: info@arrowfilms.co.uk but go through the checklist below to make sure you send the right information:

1. Attach a scan or a good quality photo of your shipping slip or store receipt. If your e-tailer doesn’t send paper-based shipping slips please forward the shipping e-mail you receive (please note this is only for e-tailers that don’t issue paper slips).
2. Include in the e-mail your full title, name and postal address with post/zip code.
3. Please also confirm in your e-mail the retailer name where the disc was purchased from.
4. Send to
info@arrowfilms.co.uk
5. Please allow up to 21 days for processing – where possible Arrow will ship as soon as they can.

Once that is done, please be patient whilst Arrow process and arrange a replacement disc. Please use the checklist before you e-mail Arrow Video to make sure you have provided all the necessary information so that your replacement disc order can be speedily expedited.

This is the same policy for DVDs and Blu-ray Discs and for Arrow Video costumers from all around the world, not just in the UK.

Arrow Video would like to thank customers for their patience and hope that the final discs will bring The Beyond to life like never before.

Previous BBFC cut versions

Previously The Beyond was passed 18 (X) after 9 BBFC cuts totalling 1:39s for:

  • UK 1992 Vipco VHS
  • UK 1987 Elephant VHS
  • UK 1993 Vampix VHS listed as a video nasty
  • UK 1981 cinema release

The cuts were.:

  • 18s have been cut from the prologue, ie the man being killed for witchcraft is missing several chain whippings, I have also heard that it is missing shots of his hands being nailed and his face melting after having acid thrown at it
  • The eye gouging of a drainage mechanic has lost 6s of the gouging
  • 4 cuts totalling 43s have been imposed on the attack of (very unconvincing) spiders on a librarian. These include shots of the spiders biting his lip, nose and tongue and also of them pulling his eye out.
  • 5s has been cut from a cleaning lady being impaled on a nail through the eye.
  • 26s are missing from the blind girl's throat being ripped out by a dog. this includes shots of blood gushing from the wounds and shots of her ear being bitten off.
  • 1s is missing from a child's head exploding after a gunshot.

See review from IMDb : Fulci Lives

The Beyond is one of Fulci's best films. The film takes place in modern day Louisiana as a woman oversees the the renovation of an hotel that she inherits. Strange and gory things start to happen and poof the hotel just happens to be over one of the 7 doors to hell. Very bloody with a slightly incoherent plot the film is a lot of fun and I suspect that no Fulci fan should be without their copy. Visually I think this is Fulci's best film (that I've seen) and the acting is what you'd expect. 7/10

 

14th March   

Update: Intermediary Censors...

India loads ISPs, blog hosts and social networking sites with the job of censorship policing
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn

India flag Draft rules proposed by the Indian government for intermediaries such as telecommunications companies, ISPs and blogging sites will amount to censorship.

Under the draft rules, such intermediaries will have to notify users of their services not to use, display, upload, publish, share or store a variety of content, for which the definition is very vague, and liable to misuse.

Content that is prohibited under these guidelines ranges from information that may harm minors in any way to content that is harmful, threatening, abusive.

Some of the terms are so vague that to stay on the right side of the law, intermediaries may in effect remove third-party content that is even mildly controversial, said Pavan Duggal, a cyberlaw consultant and advocate in India's Supreme Court.

According to the draft rules, an intermediary has to inform users that in case of non-compliance of its terms of use of the services and privacy policy, it has the right to immediately terminate the access rights of the users to its site. After finding out about infringing content, either on its own or through the authorities, the intermediary has to work with the user or owner of the information to remove access to the information.

The draft rules also add new provisions that appear designed to give the government easier access to content from intermediaries. Intermediaries will be required to provide information to authorized government agencies for investigative, protective, cybersecurity or intelligence activity, according to the rules.

The draft rules are secondary legislation framed by the government under the country's Information Technology (Amendment) Act of 2008. Under the IT Act, an intermediary is not liable for any third-party information, data, or communication link made available or hosted by him, if among other things, he has observed due diligence under the draft rules.

Update: XXX

30th March 2011. See  article from  economictimes.indiatimes.com

India will seek to block the internet's newly-formed red-light district after a global agency governing the web approved .xxx suffix for pornography websites last week, a senior government official said.

Last week, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) approved .xxx suffix for pornography websites raising concerns from online pornography businesses and activists about a large scale arbitrary censorship by governments across the world who would now be able to easily identify porn sites because of the new nomenclature.

India along with many other countries from the Middle East and Indonesia opposed the grant of the domain in the first place, and we would proceed to block the whole domain, as it goes against the IT Act and Indian laws, said a senior official at the ministry of IT. Though some people have said that segregation is better, and some countries allow it. But for other nations transmission and direct distribution of such content goes against their moral and culture, he added.

 

14th March   

A Banquet For Seaweed...

Gaza bans books for immoral content and newspapers for opposing Hamas
Link Here

Chicago Alaa al Aswany Hamas police recently confiscated copies of novels from bookstores on the basis of their allegedly immoral content, and Hamas officials bar newspapers from being brought into the Gaza Strip that support the rival Fatah movement, which leads the Palestinian Authority in the West Bank.

At a time when people around the Middle East demand more freedom, Hamas has decided to restrict the freedom of Gaza residents to choose what they read, said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch: Hamas authorities should stop banning books and newspapers now.

Human Rights Watch has also criticized bans by the Palestinian Authority (PA) against pro-Hamas publications in the West Bank, as well as other violations against journalists by its security services.

Dr. Talaat al-Safadi, the owner of the Ibn Khaldun bookstore, told Human Rights Watch that two police officers in street clothes and another in uniform came to his bookstore and confiscated seven copies of A Banquet for Seaweed , a novel by Haidar Haidar, and one copy of Chicago , a novel by Alaa' al-Aswany.

Members of the General Investigation Bureau also confiscated copies of Chicago and A Banquet for Seaweed from the al-Shurouq bookstore in Gaza City, and Internal Security Service officers ordered employees at the Samir Mansour bookstore, near Gaza City's Islamic University, not to sell any copies of the novels.

Hamas security officers also searched for copies of a novel titled Forbidden Pleasure but did not locate any, the rights group reported. The police officers claimed the novels violated Sharia, or Islamic law, bookstore employees said.

Human Rights Watch also urged Hamas authorities to lift an ongoing ban on importing into Gaza three newspapers printed in the West Bank - Al-Ayyam, Al-Quds , and Al-Hayat al-Jadida . Israel had previously barred the newspapers from being taken into Gaza but had lifted the restriction in June 2010 as part of an announced easing of its closure of Gaza's borders. Hamas then barred their entry. A Hamas spokesperson acknowledged that the newspaper bans had been imposed without any basis in Palestinian law.

The Hamas government press office spokesman, Dr. Hassan Abu Hasheesh, told Human Rights Watch that Hamas authorities had long objected to Al-Ayyam because of the paper's harsh criticisms of Hamas, including its use of terms like collaborators to describe Hamas. Abu Hasheesh said that Hamas authorities had corresponded with the editors in 2007 before banning Al-Ayyam in February 2008 for three months because it had published a caricature of the Palestinian parliament.

 

14th March   

Update: Banned in Belarus...

Belarus blacklists UK stars who performed with the dissident Belarus Free Theatre
Link Here  full story: Belarus Free Theatre...Brave underground theatre group

belarus free theatre logo Western actors and musicians including Kevin Spacey, Kelvin Kline, the Pet Shop Boys, Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Sir Ian McKellen, Sir Tom Stoppard and Samuel West, have been put on a blacklist of artists banned in Belarus.

The list was apparently drawn up by the Belarus Council of Ministers but the official government position is that such a list does not exist.

Jude Law, Sienna Miller, Sir Ian McKellen and Samuel West have all been added to the list after they performed at an Index on Censorship event at the Young Vic with dissident theatre group the Belarus Free Theatre on 5 December last year.

Sir Tom Stoppard has supported the Belarus Free Theatre for many years and has been a vocal opponent of President Lukashenko's authoritarian rule.

 

14th March   

Uneducational...

Sri Lankan children banned from internet cafes
Link Here

Sri Lanka Kurunegala, a major city of Sri Lanka have banned the internet cafes for children.

The Senior Superintendent of Police, Vass Gunawardhana has imposed a ban on children logging to the internet via internet cafes.

The internet cafe owners of the city have been strictly instructed not to allow the children under 18, reports said.

According to new regulation if students needs to log into the internet via a cafe, they must produce a letter from the principal of the school or carry their parents along with them.

 

14th March   

Offsite: Sub Judice...

Avoiding contempt of court: Tips for bloggers and tweeters
Link Here  full story: Googling for Sub-Judicy...Sub-Judicy and associated censorship

angry judge Last week the High Court convicted two newspapers, the Daily Mail and the Sun, of contempt of court for the publication on their websites of a photograph of a man toting a gun during the ongoing criminal trial of that man. They are now likely to face large fines.

It was the first such case of contempt relating to an online publication. By way of background, Alex Bailin QC has posted an excellent comment piece on the Inforrm blog. I have also already discussed the judgment, and the ominous warning by the court that instant news requires instant and effective protection for the integrity of a criminal trial .

My post generated comments from concerned bloggers and tweeters asking what this meant for contempt and online publishing going forward. This is a hard question to answer as it mostly depends on which cases the Attorney General chooses to prosecute. But, although the following is not legal advice, reviewing the case-law on contempt provides some indication of may be to come, and common-sense ways in which publishers, including tweeters and bloggers, can avoid being prosecuted.

...Read the full article

 

13th March   

Chris Patten Approved as BBC Trust Chairman...

At least he hasn't seen much on TV to whinge about
Link Here

What Next Surviving Twenty first Century The appointment of former Hong Kong governor Lord Patten as the chairman of the BBC Trust has been approved by the Culture, Media and Sport Committee.

Lord Patten addressed the committee in a pre-appointment hearing and is the Government's preferred candidate to replace Sir Michael Lyons whose term ends on April 30.

The committee today published its report declaring the former Conservative Party chairman a suitable candidate, but recommending he gives up more outside interests before taking up the job.

Members also raised concerns about his limited knowledge of the BBC's radio and television output, but said they were reassured that he would be able to maintain the independence needed for the role of trust chairman despite his strong affiliations to the Conservative Party.

Asked when he had last watched EastEnders , he said: I should think even longer ago then I last had a McDonald's.

 

13th March   

Comment: If You're Not Easily Offended, For God's Sake Say So...

Railways refuse to carry adverts calling for non-religious people to say so on their census forms
Link Here

census poster mum advert This is one from a series of British Humanist Association adverts intended for 4-sheet placement at train stations in March 2011.

They were rejected by the rail companies working in franchise partnership with our media agency. The reason given for this was that the advertising was of a religious nature and risks offending, in their opinion, either with our original for God's sake slogan or with alternative slogans we offered.

The Committee of Advertising Practice advised against running ads with the for God's sake slogan but our media agency agreed to run an alternate slogan on buses only. Our redeveloped slogan will appear on buses in towns and cities across the UK and reads: Not Religious?: In this year's census say so

Meanwhile

See  article from  christiantoday.com

The religious think tank Theos has criticised a new humanist advertising campaign telling people to tick no religion on the census form, saying it is misconceived and unnecessary .

The think tank said people had ample opportunity to deny any religious affiliation if they wanted to, and that humanist claims that respondents are funnelled... into giving a religious response are simply untrue .

Commenting on the campaign, Paul Bickley, Senior Researcher at Theos said the humanists were doing a good job of keeping religion in the news but added that there was clearly a mistake with this campaign:

The campaign grossly exaggerates the extent to which the religious affiliation results of the 2001 census have shaped government policy or influenced spending decisions.

In any case, the British people are quite capable of judging for themselves what box they should tick. They don't need to be told.

Offsite Comment: For God's sake, stop censoring ads

12th March 2011. See  article from  spiked-online.com by Tim Black

Spiked logo The effective banning of UK humanist adverts that dared to mention the G-word confirms that protecting hurt feelings now trumps free speech.

This particular ban involved a set of British Humanist Association (BHA) adverts featuring the slogan, If you're not religious, for God's sake say so . The reason for this rather oblique command is that the BHA wants people in the UK to respond to the 2011 UK census question What is your religion? by ticking the box marked no religion .

Unfortunately for the BHA, the owners of advertising space in UK rail stations, aided and abetted by advice from the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) and the Committee of Advertising Practice, have not only correctly discerned a religious nature to the BHA's campaign, they have also decided that such ads are likely to cause widespread and serious offence . And where there's offence to be caused, censorship is sure to follow.

...Read the full article

Offsite Comment: We are not yet in a country which has to protect religious sensitivities at all costs

13th March 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

The Guardian So the British Humanist Association ads with the headline If You're Not Religious for God's Sake Say So , urging people to tick the no religion box on the census, have been banned because the people who own the advertising space in railway stations think they will cause serious and widespread offence . I mean, Christ on a bike!

...Read the full article

 

12th March   

Cannibalised for Parts...

Ruggero Deodato enlisted to produce a new high definition, animal friendly version of Cannibal Holocaust
Link Here

Cannibal Holocaust DVD Cannibal Holocaust is 1979 Italian cannibal horror by Ruggero Deodato. It was once one of the most notable video nasties during the 1980's moral panic.

Later in 2001 it was passed 18 after a substantial 5:44s  of cuts for DVD. The BBFC commented: Cuts required to scenes involving real cruelty to animals and to eroticised sexual violence

The cuts were:

  • The killing of a muskrat has been deleted
  • Our intrepid adventurers witness the riverside murder and mutilation of a woman presumably by her husband. We don't get to witness:
    • the girl being dragged through the mud and having her legs forced apart
    • the girl struggling and being raped with a wooden dildo
    • the man raising a mudball with spikes and the subsequent shot of genital mutilation
  • Another woman getting raped on the river bank has been removed
  • The disembowelling of a giant turtle has been predictably deleted
  • A monkey gets his head sliced open and its blood is drained into a bowl...but not in the censored version
  • The kicking of a tethered pig has been removed and its subsequent shooting and death
  • The rape one of a native girl by 3 men has been reduced
  • The cannibals eventually overpower the adventurers. The woman in the party gets stripped and raped but not in the UK version.
  • The woman's death scene is missing nudity shots.

Moving on to 2011 it was felt that the cuts for violence would now be waived. However the animal cruelty cuts are still likely to be required. It was also felt that it would be better to re-edit the film to work around the inevitable animal cruelty cuts. And who better to re-edit the film than its director Ruggero Deodato.

Shameless are now working with Deodato on the all-new edit. Deodato is also overseeing production of a new HD master from which the DVD and Blu-ray will be produced.

The new version will be released in summer 2011 with a premiere at Cine-Excess , the Cult Film Conference and Festival at the Odeon Covent Garden, London, 26-28th May.

 

12th March   

Update: Throwing Out the Baby...

US release details for A Serbian Film
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

a serbian film poster Fangoria have revealed the US release details for A Serbian Film:

Distributor Invincible Pictures said that Srdjan Spasojevic's movie will play select theaters across North America from May 13 in an edited version. The unrated A Serbian Film will be released exclusively via digital media distribution outfit FlixFling the same day.

CEO Tom Ashley said: It was always our intention to release this film uncut, but given the recent charges against Sitges director Angel Sala, we have decided to release an edited version. We believe this film deserves to be seen as the filmmakers originally intended and hope to be able to release A Serbian Film uncut in the future.

 

12th March   

Enemies of the Internet...

Reporters without Borders update their list on World Day Against Cyber Censorship
Link Here

World Day Against Cyber Censorship Reporters Without Borders has carried out a new survey of online freedom of expression for World Day Against Cyber-Censorship on 12 March.

One in three of the world's Internet users does not have access to an unrestricted Internet, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Jean-Francois Julliard said. Around 60 countries censor the Internet to varying degrees and harass netizens. At least 119 people are currently in prison just for using the Internet to express their views freely. These are disturbing figures.

Reporters Without Borders is releasing its annual report on the state of online freedom of expression in the 10 countries it has identified as Enemies of the Internet and the 16 countries it is keeping under surveillance because of their questionable Internet policies.

Tunisia and Egypt have been removed from the list of Enemies of the Internet following the fall of their governments, Julliard added. These countries nonetheless remain under surveillance, as does Libya. The gains of these revolutions must be consolidated and the new freedoms must be guaranteed. We have also placed three democracies -- Australia, South Korea and France -- under surveillance because of various measures they have taken that could have negative consequences for online free expression and Internet access.

Internet Enemies

Burma
China
Cuba
Iran
North Korea
Saudi Arabia
Syria
Turkmenistan
Uzbekistan
Vietnam
Countries under surveillance

Australia
Bahraïn
Belarus
Egypt
Eritrea
France
Libya
Malaysia
Russia
South Korea
Sri Lanka
Thailand
Tunisia
Turkey
United Arab Emirates
Venezuela

 

12th March   

Britons Offended by Crap Policing...

Police threaten public order prosecution over jokey football sticker
Link Here

God fucked up A Manchester United fan was told by police she faced legal action unless she removed part of a car sticker which teased Manchester City.

Sarah Webb-Lee had a sticker on the rear window of her car which read: On the first day God created United then completely fucked up and created City.

A local councillor passed on to police a complaint they had received from a resident about the wording of the joke and a police officer was sent to the motorist's home.

Mrs Webb-Lee and her City-supporting husband Graham were informed that the sticker was supposedly offensive under the much abused Section 5 of the Public Order Act. They were asked to either remove it or some of the letters within the swear word, and they did the latter.

Mrs Webb-Lee told the Manchester Evening News: I couldn't believe it when the police turned up. We don't have many rights left but freedom of speech is worth hanging on to. I won't take it down. It's just a bit of banter and you hear worse on the terraces. I see lots of things about United and take it on the chin.

Inspector Stephen Gilbertson said: We received a complaint about the language contained in a car sticker that, by law, is offensive.

 

11th March   

Target Audience...

MPAA downgrade Miral's R to PG-13 on appeal
Link Here

Miral DVD Freida Pinto The US film censors of the MPAA, have agreed to overturn the R rating on director Julian Schnabel's Miral .

Schnabel and producer Jon Kilik had contested the ratings board's decision that denied the film the lower PG-13 . Their appeal succeeded.

I understand the MPAA is by nature a protective organization, but I felt very strongly that they didn't need to protect teenagers from my film, said Schnabel in a statement: Quite the contrary, teenagers are the intended audience for Miral's story. I am very happy the MPAA proved to be open minded and ultimately agreed.

Producer Jon Kilik agreed. We are happy to have the MPAA find that our film respected the guidelines of their rating system, he said. To have lost the ability to share Miral with the generation most affected by the story's message would have been at odds with the meaning and purpose of our film.

BBFC logo For comparison the UK film censor rated the film 12A uncut with the advice: Contains moderate language, violence and injury detail. The BBFC explained further in their extended classification information:

Miral is a drama telling the stories of several generations of Palestinian women living through the occupation of their land since the establishment of the State of Israel in 1948. The film was classified 12A for moderate language, violence and injury detail.

The film contains aggressive and directed uses of the words bitch and whore . This moderate language exceeds the terms of the BBFC's PG Guidelines, where there may be mild bad language only and is therefore more appropriately classified at 12A .

The film contains several sequences of documentary footage from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict depicting violence in military action and street riots that will be familiar from television news broadcasts. There is also one dramatised street riot scene in which a teenage girl is shot and killed. There is, however, little detail in these images which give a sense of the chaos and tragedy of the situation without presenting gratuitous displays of violence. The implied strangling of a character and the beating of a young woman with a stick, as part of an interrogation procedure by security forces, are also presented with discretion and without lingering on the details of the violence being inflicted. The Guidelines at 12A/12 state that Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context . Injury detail is seen in a hospital setting with some sight of injured soldiers but this is not dwelt upon to any undue extent.

A key scene in the film involves the suggestion of a young teenage girl being sexually abused by an older male member of her family. The event dictates the path the girl's life will take and although it is briefly distressing, the abuse is not shown with strong detail and mostly plays off the frightened reactions of the girl's younger sister who is also in the room. The Guidelines at 12A'/'12 state that Sexual violence may only be implied or briefly and discreetly indicated, and must have a strong contextual justification .

The film also contains a discreetly implied suicide, scenes of smoking which are not glamorised to any significant extent, and milder language such as hell and shit .

 

11th March   

Slapped by the BBFC but Tickled Audience Fancies...

DVD release for Love Variations, once banned by the BBFC
Link Here

Confessions Sex Maniac Love Variations Love Variations is a 1971 UK sex education film by David Grant. See IMDb

A short version was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 Odeon Slap & Tickle Double Bill R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 1995 Jezebel VHS

Previously banned by the BBFC in April 1970 for:

  • UK 1970 cinema release

From on article [pdf] from palgrave.com : Not seeking to entertain

Love Variations , one of the first British sex education films to show nudity in the UK, consisted entirely of alternating scenes of a family doctor showing diagrams of sex positions and illustrative tableaux of posed figures faking coition in increasingly unlikely and back-breaking postures.

The producers, of course, stressed their good intentions to the censors. The press book for Love Variations stated, a little disingenuously:

The film does not seek to entertain -- only to inform. The producers wish to point out that although the film is frank, comprehensive and explicit it will almost certainly prove unrewarding to those looking for titillation or sensation and will be of interest only to those motivated by a sincere desire to be informed.

The BBFC, indecisive about how to treat sex education films, accepted this but nevertheless at first rejected Love Variations on the splendidly perverse grounds that since the film was not entertaining it was unsuitable for cinemas, which were essentially places of entertainment.

It was subsequently resubmitted a few months later and passed X uncut. Some people were entertained enough despite BBFC fears. It went on to smash house records at the Jacey Tatler cinema in London,

 

11th March   

Updated: Dirty Dancing...

Nutters of the Parents TV Council take Glee in a good whinge
Link Here

Glee Complete Season 1 DVD The Parents Television Council is up in arms about the latest episode of TV show Glee , which featured Gwyneth Paltrow opening up her shirt, provocative dancing provocatively and two students talking about making a sex tape.

Dan Isett, the group's director of public policy, tells The Hollywood Reporter the scenes he watched were pretty appalling.

Most notably was the discussion between a couple of students about wanting to become famous by making a sex tape, said Isett, referring to a couple who decided not to make a tape after a teacher informed them it would be child pornography because they're under 18. Exactly what kind of message is that?

Isett also whinged about the scene in which Paltrow and several students ripped open their shirts while dancing suggestively to Do You Wanna Touch Me:

If you had a real-life instance of that, I think it's fair to say the teacher involved would no longer be a teacher. But somehow it's acceptable for a fictional teacher to do this. Again, this is a real problem. Real-world teachers don't lap dance with their students.

The Parents Television Council didn't appreciate the show mocking the celibacy club.

From the beginning of the episode, it was pretty clear the gist of it was going to be that abstinence is off the table and we're going to make the celibacy club look like the nerds convention essentially. There was very little doubt -- despite the sort of lip service the show gave to responsible sexual activity -- that the gist of the show was lap dances with students is cool, the celibacy club is not, and when it's presented in that way, it really cheapens whatever discussion there is about consequence and responsibility.

Update: A Touch Too Much

8th March 2011. See  article from  google.com

The episode of Glee has also hit the new for the use of the Gary Glitter's  Do You Wanna Touch Me

Channel 4 has confirmed that it will go ahead with the screening of the episode complete with the song. A Channel 4 spokeswoman said: The scene is editorially justified within the programme and we do not seek to censor material in the proper context.

The song will also feature on a forthcoming album of music from the series to be released in the UK next month.

The song has already made it into the American iTunes top 30. Shamed Glitter is expected to pick up royalties from sales.

Children's charity Kidscape has said the inclusion of the song is wholly inappropriate .

 

11th March   

Job Opportunity...

Chief Executive of the IWF, one of the UK's internet censors
Link Here

IWF logo The internet censors of the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) have set up a website to advertise the post of Chief Executive:

We need a creative strategic leader with a commitment to continuous improvement and the vision to inspire, innovate and develop our organisation. You will be a transformational leader with excellent communication skills who wins hearts and minds. A credible ambassador, you will have experience of effective partnership building and influencing a range of stakeholders across the private, public and not-for-profit sectors. The ability to work effectively with our dedicated Board of Trustees is essential.

We are not looking for someone with expertise in legal or technical issues -- instead we need a Chief Executive with the ability and willingness to learn and an interest in technology. Most importantly we need a leader with objectivity and emotional detachment when dealing with sensitive issues.

 

11th March   

Updated: Dangerous Recipes...

Man on trial for assembling and selling an 'Anarchists Cookbook' of information
Link Here

Anarchist Cookbook A man who published a CD that included how to make bombs is on trial on seven counts of collecting information that could have been used to prepare or commit acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000.

Terence Brown made CDs containing tens of thousands of pages of information from his home in Portsmouth with topics like how to make a letter bomb and how to enter countries illegally , it was claimed.

The prosecution alleges the information could have been used by terrorists to commit atrocities.

Brown called the CDs the Anarchist Cookbook and sold hundreds worldwide in yearly editions for 35 US dollars ( £ 24) each.

Brown allegedly had a now-closed website called www.anarchist-cookbook.com where the CDs could be bought from 2003 until 2008 and buyers either sent cash or used a credit card to pay for the discs.

Parmjit Cheema, prosecuting said compiling such information was illegal if it would cause a threat to people or governments, even though the CDs ran a disclaimer: For educational use only. Do not attempt any activities contained in these CD-Roms. 'Many are illegal and dangerous. She said Brown was not sympathetic to terrorists and the jury was likely to hear he did it to make money.

Update: Jailed for 3 years

11th March 2011. See  article from  mirror.co.uk

A businessman who used the July 7 bombings as a marketing opportunity to promote a terrorists' handbook which he sold on the internet has been jailed for three years.

Terence Brown was found guilty following a trial at Winchester Crown Court of collecting and distributing material that could have led to attacks.

Brown was convicted of seven counts of collecting information which could have been used to prepare or commit acts of terrorism under the Terrorism Act 2000, two counts of selling and distributing the information under the Terrorism Act 2006 and a further count under the Proceeds of Crime Act.

Sentencing Brown, the judge, Mr Justice Blair, said he accepted that he was not a terrorist and acted solely out of financial motivations: Your use of the 7/7 bombings as a marketing tool and the downloading of numerous material and selling of a limited edition was not just irresponsible but incredibly cynical. It must have crossed your mind that the information you were selling could have been used in further incidents in this country or abroad.

 

10th March   

Update: We Dare...Not...

Ubisoft dare not release its flirty fun game for fear of nutter reaction
Link Here  full story: We Dare...Daring to include minor sex references in a game

UBI Soft We Dare PS3 Ubisoft has decided not to release its We Dare game in the United Kingdom.

Ubisoft said: Following the public reaction to the 12+ rating of We Dare, Ubisoft has made the decision not to sell the game in the United Kingdom.

The game was never targeted at the US but twill still be sold in other parts of Europe. No word on Australia where it was passed PG and kicked up a minor nutter stink there too.

 

10th March   

Update: Screwed Again...

Australia bans a cut version of A Serbian Film
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

a serbian film poster In November 2010, the Australian Classification Board banned the 99 minute uncut version of A Serbian Film.

Distributors Accent then prepared a 97-minute censored version that they hoped would achieve the desired R18+. The Classification Board had other ideas, and in late February banned the cut version. 

Note that the UK version runs at about 95 minutes, having suffered 4 minutes of BBFC cuts.

Despite the ban the Board did acknowledge that it was closer to a certificate:

... modifications have lessened the impact of some scenes to a level which is at the upper limit of the R18+ classification, this film contains depictions of explicit sexual violence as well as prolonged depictions of violence with a very high degree of impact.

See  article from  refused-classification.com that tries to piece together the cuts that the distributor had made.

 

10th March   

Update: Censorship App...

Australia proposes to allow apps to be sold without state censorship rating unless flagged for review by the public
Link Here

Brendan O'Connor Australian Home Affairs minister Brendan O'Conner has revealed proposed new laws to Parliament to allow the censorship of apps and games sold online.

Technically the Classification Board should review every app, but because of the sheer size of the app store -- it contains hundreds of thousands of apps -- it is simply impossible to do so because of a lack of resources.

O'Conner says instead of having the Classification Board review every single app, the Government will use the online content system which in based on ratings provided by the store. The store allows users to complain about offensive material. Only apps that receive complaints will be subject to review by the Australian Censorship Board.

If Apple, or any other marketplace provider such as Google, continued to sell content that is refused classification then they would be breaking the law, O'Conner said: We would prosecute people who actually broke the law . People cannot [be allowed to] break the law. People cannot at the moment sell, distribute or watch... games that have been refused classification.

App makers say it would be too cumbersome. MoGeneration chief executive Keith Ahern says the current system within the App Store is working well: The current system is probably more effective than anything the Government can introduce. So maybe the bigger question is, how does the App Store set this? I would say that system has been partly responsible for the success of the app store itself

 

10th March   

Update: Government Need to Kick their Health Kick Habit...

Looking to TV, films and the internet to extinguish the portrayal of smoking
Link Here  full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films

pension health warning Further curbs on the portrayal of smoking on television, in films and on the internet are to be considered by the government, which said the tobacco industry continued to find ways of promoting products despite legislation banning advertising.

The Department of Health in England promised to continue to work to reduce the depiction of smoking and tell regulators and the entertainment industry to consider what more could be done.

Guidelines produced by Ofcom, the UK communications regulator, say smoking should generally not be shown before the 9pm TV watershed and should never be glamorised or condoned.

A spokesman for the BBFC said a public consultation in 2009 had asked whether portrayal of smoking should be regarded as a classification issue, concluding that the overwhelming response was, people did not believe it should be.

Action over internet controls, however, will have to be pursued at a global level, potentially through the World Health Organisation.

The government's tobacco control plan states that the way smoking is portrayed can create the false impression that tobacco use is a normal, or even glamorous, activity, and rarely shows the real life negative consequences of tobacco use .

It adds: Smoking in the media can also give a false impression that tobacco use is more common than it actually is. [Bollox! Far few smoke in the media than in real life]

We remain especially concerned about how these influences affect perceptions of social norms and how they encourage young people to take up smoking.

Update: Even the Box Office Lights Up for Rango

See  article from  blog.moviefone.com

Rango DVD Johnny Depp The unusual, hilarious and endearingly weird Rango hit US theaters last weekend, but the animated PG western is causing a stir among anti-smoking advocates who say that the number of characters who light up are unacceptable.

A lot of kids are going to start smoking because of this movie, said Stanton Glantz director of the Center for Tobacco Control Research and Education at the University of California.

Glantz's group and other smoke-free organizations are renewing efforts with the MPAA to slap an R-rating on any film that shows smoking.

Critics and audiences are praising Rango for being a grown-up cartoon, making references to spaghetti westerns (lots of smoking in those films ... ) and other adult-friendly movies.

A spokeswoman for Paramount said: The images of smoking in the film ... are portrayed by supporting characters and are not intended to be celebrated or emulated.

 

10th March   

Bleeping Censors...

US WWE wrestling bleeped the stars so much that it emphasised that it was a kids' show
Link Here

Mattel Defining Moments Rock Figure Interesting to see that TV censorship can have a serious downside for the broadcasters. This was revealed in a comment piece about the US wrestling shows from WWE:

Remember the last time Stone Cold came to host, just before last WrestleMania?

It was unbearable to watch because they censored nearly every word he said and the programming just showed us that we are actually watching a show catered for kids.

Well recently, USA Network, including Sky Sports around UK and Europe, have stopped censorship on words and allowing the programming to flow without censoring words like Bitch or Ass. We can finally go through their programs without that censor man pressing the censor button every time someone uses those words, and we can finally watch it in peace.

Well, The Rock actually started this. If you remember when he did return to give us that speech, they did censor words, but rumors are circulating that Vince actually told USA network to stop censoring it because that was The Rock's persona, and it would ruin what he was famous for.

 

10th March   

Replying to Criticism...

Slovakia to remove the intimidatory right of reply from its media law
Link Here

Slovakia flag Slovakia has tabled an amendment to parts of its repressive media law.

The previous left-wing government of Robert Fico introduced a strict code three years ago, ordering newspapers to print every response from anyone mentioned in a news article -- which critics saw as a way to intimidate journalists investigating corruption among politicians.

The law had been condemned by human rights watchdogs including the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The amended code, published on the government's website, would limit the right of reply only to cases when the published information is false, incorrect or incomplete.

The new centre-right coalition of Iveta Radicova has pledged to improve freedom of media and is expecting to enact the proposed legislation in July.

 

9th March   

Unforgettable...

Spanish Google resist censoring a page listing that someone would rather forget about
Link Here

agencia espanola de proteccion de datos logo In a case that could have EU-wide implications a Spanish court is asking Google to remove data about a private individual from its index. This is known in Europe as the right to be forgotten.

The immediate case at hand involves a Spanish plastic surgeon who was featured in a critical profile by newspaper El Pais in 1991. The underlying dispute between the surgeon and his patient was resolved and it's not clear from an article in the Wall Street Journal how meritorious the claims were or precisely how the dispute was resolved. The doctor is still practicing, and therein lies the problem.

When users do a search on Dr. Guidotti Russo the critical article comes up on page one of Google, with potential economic consequences for the plastic surgeon. Accordingly he wants to get that article removed from the Google index and the Spanish court and Spanish Data Protection Authority are backing him.

Google is fighting and arguing that Spanish privacy regulators have exceeded their authority and that the move amounts to censorship. The crazy thing is that the newspaper itself isn't being asked to take down the article --- just Google.

The European Commission, as part of its data-protection overhaul, has proposed recognizing the right to be forgotten . France's Senate has also approved similar proposals, which have yet to be ratified by the National Assembly. The right to be forgotten rules may therefore become law in the next two years as the EU's privacy policies get overhauled.

How it would be implemented and what the duties and burdens imposed on online publishers and search engines would be is somewhat unclear. That's where it would create a bureaucratic nightmare where individuals and, by extension, companies could exercise censorship control over what appears about them online and in search results.

On balance the right to know (especially where entities and public figures are involved) should trump the novel right to be forgotten.

 

9th March   

Unchillable...

US Google harangued by Fox over the publication of take down notices
Link Here

chilling effects logo Fox has been caught out trying to use the US Digital Millennium Copyright Act(DMCA) to prevent Google from telling the world the DMCA take-down notices that Google receives.

Google sends take down notices it received to ChillingEffects.org where a list of all the DMCA notices is posted.

According to TorrentFreak, Fox is doing its level best to get Google to delist DMCA complaints on Chilling Effects, which were originally sent by Fox itself.

Google appears to have shrugged and taken down the link knowing that it will be logged again by Chilling Effects and go up under a different link.

 

9th March   

Presumed Guilty...

Injunction lifted on Mexican documentary about injustice
Link Here

presumed guilty Mexican authorities have lifted a ban on a hit documentary that charts flaws in the country's justice system.

The interior ministry had ordered the distributors to accept a judge's order and pull the film, Presumed Guilty. But another court has now overturned that ruling, saying that it was in the public interest for it to be shown.

The film, about a man wrongly convicted of murder, has been a big hit since opening in Mexico last month.

Last week, a judge in Mexico City ordered screenings of Presumed Guilty to be suspended, pending a complaint filed by a prosecution witness in the documentary. He claimed he had been filmed without permission and alleged his right to privacy had been violated.

The judge's ruling provoked a storm of protest and complaints about censorship.

Both the interior ministry and distributors Cinepolis appealed against the injunction.

The ban has now been lifted, although the legal battle is set to continue.

 

9th March   

Update: A Little Less Repressive...

Hungary passes a few amendments to its widely condemned media law
Link Here

Hungary flag The Hungarian parliament has now adopted amendments to their much criticised and repressive media law passed in December 2010.

The favourable report given by the European Commission following the vote was commented as premature by Reporters Without Borders.

If the dubious notion of balanced reporting no longer applies to blogs, it does still concern other audiovisual media as well as Internet on-demand contents. The law also no longer applies to foreign media unless they are broadcasting to the Hungarian people and are based abroad with the aim of circumventing Hungarian law .

The range of offences punished by the law has been restricted slightly and centred on the concept of incitement of hatred or discrimination. On the other hand journalists must still respect public morality and human dignity - notions that have yet to be defined by the Media Council - or face astronomical fines.

Finally, the Hungarian media will no longer have to get accreditation from the authorities before they start broadcasting. They will have to do so within 60 days of kicking off their operations, however, or face a fine of 3,700 euros.

 

9th March   

Updated: Going Down a Storm...

Fox News nonsense about Bulletstorm probably helped sales
Link Here  full story: Bulletstorm...Nutters claim 'worst game in the world'

Electronic Arts Bulletstorm PC DVD Epic Games' president Mike Capps was asked whether the Fox news nonsense (ie games cause rape) helped or hindered early sales of Bulletstorm ?

Capps said:

There are two ways to answer the question. The first is what it does for Bulletstorm and the second is what it does for the industry. For what it did for Bulletstorm... yes, there were people who were very excited about any attention at all. For a game that's over-the-top, they probably helped sell more units than they convinced people to pick at us, he said. What was most exciting about it for me [was the reaction from the media in the industry defending us]. Every journalist said this Fox report is junk... It's wonderful to see a media that's defending free speech.

As for what it does for the industry as a whole I think it's terrible, he noted. There are people who really respect Fox News' opinions and look at that and are convinced that video games are bad.

 

8th March   

More Revenge...

Cuts waived for Revenge of the Ninja
Link Here

Revenge of the Ninja DVD cover Revenge of the Ninja is a 1983 US action film by Sam Firstenberg. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut after the BBFC waived their cuts for:

  • UK 2011 Optimum/Elevation R2 DVD at UK Amazon for release on 30th May 2011

The US release is uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

Previously the pre-cut US VHS was passed 18 after a further 57s of BBFC cuts for the UK 1986 VCI VHS

From IMDb:

The US VHS cut scenes include:

  • In the opening scene when Sho Kosugi's family is murdered, a ninja throws a star at his older son. As he falls, you see a close-up of the star stuck in his head.
  • When Sho Kosugi stabs Brayden in the stomach, blood spurts out for about a good 5-10 seconds before Sho slices his mask in half.
  • Towards the end, when Brayden (evil ninja) hears someone in the stairwell. In the cut version, all you see is Brayden open the door and throw a smoke bomb. The un-cut version has the scene followed by Brayden slicing up both men, including cutting off one of their hands.
  • The last cut scene is when Brayden comes down through the ceiling and stabs two guards in the head with mini-spears.

The BBFC added their usual cuts at the time for martial arts weaponry:

  • Among the footage removed were all shots of throwing stars and nunchakus,
  • plus additional cuts to kicks and blows
  • a deleted blowpipe scene
  • a deleted fight in the gymnasium.

From the running time it appears that the final result is similar to the 1983 cinema version with 5:57s of BBFC cuts.

Review from UK Amazon : Lost Classic

I must say that this cult 1983 classic starring martial arts/gymnast guru Sho Kosugi really is an exciting and infuential work and, probably the pinnacle of the American ninja genre.

The basic plot casts Sho Kosugi as a pleasant but naive oriental art collector who moves with his family to America to set up an art/antique shop. Simple. No problems. Well..... As usual, things aren't what they seem, his American business associate is using Sho and his contacts to import cocaine smuggled inside statues, no doubt he's a tad upset when he realises he's been had, hook, line, sinker, bait box and comfy stool.

This is when the pace of the film steps up a gear with some great stunts from Sho who in one chase scene is hanging on to the back of a van and takes a nasty tumble to the climax of the film, the great skyscraper roof-top duel with his American partner; this scene is probably responsible for a lot of fans claiming it to be the best Ninja film ever made.

Tastefully directed by Sam Fistenberg, with some excellent fight choreography from Sho, the film is only really let down in places by the odd wooden performance and occasional sloppy editing. A classic non the less.

 

8th March   

Update: Licensed to Censor...

Ofcom revoke the licence of the Live 960 babe channel
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Live 960 logo Hoppr Entertainment Ltd held a broadcasting licence the babe channel Live 960.

Hoppr must, under condition 12 of its Licence, furnish Ofcom with such information as it may reasonably require for the purposes of exercising its licensing functions.

In addition, under condition 13 of its Licence, Hoppr Entertainment Limited must notify Ofcom of certain information relating to its directors and ownership structure. This includes (but is not limited to) information pertaining to changes, transactions or events that affect its own shareholdings, or the shareholding of any body corporate that controls it; or of any changes, transactions or events affecting its own directors, or the directors of any body corporate that controls it.

Ofcom Decision

In late June/early July 2010 Hoppr Entertainment Limited underwent a change of control, and it submitted to Ofcom a Change of Control Notification form and signed declaration in accordance with Licence Condition 13 of its licence. Between July and November 2010 Ofcom sought further clarification from Hoppr Entertainment Limited as to its directors and ownership structure. A new Change of Control Notification form was submitted in August 2010 which raised further questions as to the ownership structure of Hoppr Entertainment Limited. Ofcom has repeatedly requested that Hoppr Entertainment Limited submit a Change of Control Notification form and signed declaration which clearly and accurately records its directors and ownership structure. Despite these requests, Hoppr Entertainment Limited has failed to comply.

This is a serious breach of Licence Conditions 12 and 13. As a result, Hoppr Entertainment Limited was notified that its licence was being considered for revocation, and it was given a period in which to provide the required information and to make representations regarding the proposed revocation. No response was received from Hoppr Entertainment Limited.

In order to maintain the integrity of the statutory licensing regime it is imperative that licensees comply with conditions 12 and 13 of their licences. On the basis of Hoppr Entertainment Limited's failure to comply with those conditions, Ofcom has considered that it is necessary, in the public interest, to revoke its licence.

 

8th March   

Update: Letter of Allegation...

The UN criticises Thailand for prosecution of webmaster over forum contents
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

UN logo Two United  Special Rapporteurs have sent Thailand a letter of allegation concerning the case of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the webmaster on trial in Bangkok for charges of lese-majesty and computer crime.

According to the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekkaggya in her annual report to the U.N. Human Rights Council, she sent the letter together with the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, on October 1, 2010.

The February 28 report quotes a reply from the government of Thailand that the case was brought on the basis that views that are disrespectful of the monarchy, or advocate hatred or hostile feelings towards this important national institution, or those which incite hatred or violence are generally unacceptable in the Thai society .

In a second letter sent in February, the government asked the U.N. rights experts not to prejudge the decision of the court hearing the case.

The police charged Chiranuch not because of anything that she did or said herself but for comments posted on her independent news website, Prachatai, by users. She has been held criminally liable as the site administrator. The Bangkok-based Internet news site has since been forced to close its web board because of fears that it or its users could be subject to further criminal actions.

Wong Kai Shing, executive director of the Asian Human Rights Commission, welcomed the U.N. experts' intervention and said that it showed that the case is attracting more and more interest globally, because people around the world are concerned about the use of Thailand's draconian lese-majesty and computer crime laws to stifle legitimate debate.

Wong said:

At a time that the representative of Thailand to the Human Rights Council is holding the council's presidency, it is highly embarrassing that his government is prosecuting someone for speech and computer offences that she did not commit.

The case cannot in any way be justified in terms of international law. The AHRC also completely rejects the government's arguments that it can be justified on particular cultural or national grounds.

The public prosecutor must withdraw the case.

 

8th March   

Monster Spin...

MTV haven't banned Kanye West's Monster, they just won't show it
Link Here

kanye west monster An unofficial cut of Kanye West's music video for Monster hit the Internet months ago. Still, on Monday, it was announced that MTV unsurprisingly rejected West's Monster video for air, asking the artist and label to re-edit it.

There's no doubt that Monster is dark--to the point of almost being a five minute horror show. West greets us with images of dead women throughout, their bodies hanging by rope from the ceiling while other haphazardly lie deceased in bed. One scene in particular shows West holding the severed head of a young lady.

MTV deny 'banning' the video, explaining in a statement:

MTV has not banned Kaye West's 'Monster' video. We have been in constant communication with the label regarding this matter... HOWEVER ... we are still awaiting the edits we requested in order for the video to be suitable for broadcast.

 

8th March   

Updated: No to Censorship!...

Jordan journalists protest against government censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

Jordan flag Around 600 Jordanian journalists demonstrated on Monday in the capital to demand an independent and free media, rejecting government censorship.

No to censorship! Our freedom is protected despite government domination. Security services have tied our hands, they chanted outside the government-owned Al-Rai Arabic-language newspaper.

Artists, MPs and also Information Minister Taher Adwan joined the demonstrators.

 

7th March   

Updated: The Argento Phenomena...

New Arrow DVD and Blu-ray release
Link Here

Phenomena DVD Phenomena (aka Creepers) is a 1984 Italian horror film by Dario Argento. See IMDb .

The Italian Version was passed 18 uncut for

The Italian Version contains scenes not included in the Director's Cut

  • The scene in the bus where the old woman asks Jennifer to close the window on the bus.
  • The scene in which Mrs. Bruckner tells Jennifer that she is not allowed to use her phone to call Mr. Shapiro.

Previously the Director's Cut was passed 18 uncut for:

And before that the short American Version was passed 18 after 17s of cuts for:

  • UK 1986 Palace VHS titled Creepers

The cuts were:

  • The cinema version lost several slashes of a woman's face by a chimp, but the cuts were extended for the video by totally deleting the slashings.

Review from US Amazon : Hooked

Phenomena hooked me right away, even the momentary twinge I felt when the monkey made its appearance (I hate monkeys, especially monkeys in horror movies) was short lived; this monkey is actually a device to move the plot along and never overstayed its welcome. The tension continues to build up, right up to the end, which was a nice surprise. Many elements from prior Argento films make appearances here and everything just works.

 

7th March   

Something to Fear...

Libya turns off the internet
Link Here

Libya flag As fighting inside the country intensifies, Libya's links to the net appear to have been completely severed.

Net monitoring and security firms are reporting that no net traffic is entering or leaving Libya. People inside the country are not be able to send messages or browse sites either. Renesys said the outage was more than just a blip as many sites have been unreachable for more than 12 hours.

During the early days of the rebellion in Libya, net access was restricted but in early March net traffic started to pick up in areas no longer under the control of Colonel Gaddafi's government. Graphs of net activity maintained by Google show a steady rise in traffic to its sites throughout this week. In particular, Libyans were making heavy use of YouTube to post images of the conflict.

 

7th March   

Updated: Warners Get Kombative...

Warner Brothers to appeal Australian ban on Mortal Kombat game
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban

Warner Bros Interactive Mortal Kombat Warner Brothers is appealing a ban on one of the most anticipated game releases of the year, Mortal Kombat .

Earlier this week it was revealed that the Classification Board had banned Mortal Kombat due to its violent gameplay.

Warner Bros Interactive Entertainment Australia said it had decided to appeal to the Classification Review Board over the Mortal Kombat decision. It refuses to budge and submit a cut version of the game, arguing that wouldn't be Mortal Kombat .

After reviewing both the game play and the Board's original decision WBIE Australia believe the violence in the game is on par with numerous other titles readily available for sale in the Australian market .

As such the company wants to exhaust all options to make the game available to Mortal Kombat fans in this country. An identical version of the game will be submitted for appeal.

Warner Bros. said it was considering hiring Classification Board ex-deputy director Paul Hunt to help in its appeal. Hunt now runs his own consultancy, MLCS Management, and has previously helped overturn the banning of other titles by Australian censors including F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin and Aliens vs Predator.

Update: New Zealand

7th March 2011. See  article from  gameplanet.co.nz

Mortal Kombat has received a rating of R18: Graphic Violence in New Zealand.

It will be available to New Zealand adult gamers on PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 on the 21st of April.

 

6th March   

Update: We Dare is Actually Not Very Daring...

Investigating the hype for the party game We Dare
Link Here  full story: We Dare...Daring to include minor sex references in a game

UBI Soft We Dare PS3 Due to be released on Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 later this year, We Dare features over 35 mini-games that take a distinctly adult approach, with marketing materials encouraging two players to kiss a Wii Remote simultaneously, spank each other to control on-screen avatars, and striptease to a variety of songs.

With its highly suggestive trailer and product description, Cubed3 queried PEGI on the seemingly low 12+ age rating.

PEGI stated that they do not look at the surrounding context of a game, only the in-game content. The suggestive naughtiness by the human actors in the YouTube trailer did not figure in the decision for the game rating:

PEGI does not take into account the context of a game when rating it, we only look at the contents of the game. [We Dare] has been rated as a PEGI 12 because it contains mild swearing, minor assault on a human-like character and words/activities that amount to obvious sexual innuendo, explicit sexual descriptions or images and sexual posturing.

       However PEGI:

Do demand that these types of artwork [are] on the same level as the game. In the case of We Dare, the cover and trailer are in correspondence with our guidelines.

It was considered that We Dare might justify a higher rating due to a specific (sexual) atmosphere , but this proposal was rejected by the Video Standards Council, an independent organisation that verifies PEGI ratings for use in the UK:

The game itself is in fact less sexual/offensive than the marketing campaign leads us to believe (for example, you cannot see real spanking in the game. There is a 'stripping game' but you don't have to undress; throwing away keys or anything that reduces your weight is good enough).

 

6th March   

Nutters Enjoying a Good Bitch...

US TV pilot titled Good Christian Bitches proves prophetical
Link Here  full story: Good Chrsitian Bitches...Nutter wind up

Good Christian Bitches Kim Gatlin An ABC pilot called Good Christian Bitches has religious and women's groups up in arms over what they describe as an extremely offensive and distasteful show title.

The comedy drama, based on Kim Gatlin's novel of the same name, centers on the life of reformed mean girl Amanda who returns to her hometown of Dallas to find herself fodder for malicious gossip from the women in the Christian community.

Still in the early stages of production, the show's title may still change before it goes to broadcast.

Christian publisher Tessie DeVore told FOX411's Pop Tarts column that the show, which features the tagline For Heaven's sake, don't let God get in the way of a good story! could put Christians in an unfairly bad light:

I find the title offensive. I don't think those two words should be combined. A show like this can damage perceptions [of Christians in this country].

Melissa Henson of the Parents' Television Council tells Tarts.

In the past, we've raised concerns about changing language standards for television. Once a particular profanity or obscenity has been embraced by a particular show, it quickly becomes mainstream.

And Yana Walton from the Women's Media Center said Christians aren't the only ones who should be upset.

It is not an appropriate term to use to describe any woman, regardless of their faith. Entertainment media, especially music and films, have been normalizing misogynistic language for years.

 

6th March   

Fostering Offence...

Nutters object to a movie showing a foster mother in a poor light
Link Here

nadunisi naigal Activists of Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK) were arrested when they tried to stage a demonstration before director Gautam Menon's house to protest an alleged objectionable scene in his newly released Tamil film.

Carrying banners, 20 activists led by the HMK's organisation secretary Kannan demanding that a scene be deleted from his latest release Nadunisi Naigal . The said scene showed the relationship of the hero and his foster mother in bad light. However, the protestors were arrested before they could reach Menon's residence.

Kannan told reporters that foster mothers enjoyed pride of place in the Hindu Puranas and epics. Krishna nursed a lot of affection for his foster mother Yasoda and so did Rama for Kaikeyi. Hence, the director must delete the objectionable scene from his film and express regret. Otherwise, his outfit would hold demonstrations before theatres screening the film, he said.

In his reaction, Menon said the film was based on a true story and the hero was a mentally affected person, who could not differentiate between right and wrong. The director clarified that the film was not intended to hurt anybody's feelings.

 

5th March   

Update: Opting In to Opting Out, or is that Opting Out of Opting In?...

O2 now blocks adult sites until users make a credit card payment to verify their age
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

o2 logo O2 has been criticised by its customers after it implemented the age verification system without warning on Thursday.

Any of its 20m users who try to access a page that has been rated as 18+ will have to go through a verification page which demands a payment from a credit card.

The company insists that it has taken the step as a child protection measure. Previously it only implemented the block if the buyer or controller of a phone requested it, such as a parent buying for a child.

But the flip from the longstanding opt-in system to an opt-out system, where people have to make a payment on a credit card as an age verification measure -- on the basis that credit cards are only available and accessible to over-18s -- has annoyed users.

Users in its forums have worried that they are being scammed, and complained that O2 is censoring them.

O2 says that the move is not censorship, and that it is not profiting from the verification process. A £ 1 payment is made, but £ 2.50 is then refunded to the credit card and the phone is approved for full access. Customers only have to age verify once.

An O2 spokesperson acknowledged that people would have found it inconvenient and apologised for the lack of publicity for the introduction of the scheme. It could have been handled better, the spokesperson said.

News reports have also being picking on examples of over-blocking when innocuous sites have been put on the 18+ list for very little reason.

Changing to default blocking will surely make over-blocking a far greater issue. When opting for blocking, then it is presumably for the benefit of children and a 'better safe than sorry' approach makes sense. The kids just have to lump it.

But with a default blocking system, then an over-blocking approach will simply irritate users as their favourite websites get blocked for no apparent reason.

And of course there could be grounds for court compensation claims. Companies will be rightfully aggrieved if they lose business due to their websites being incorrectly blocked by O2.

 

5th March   

Update: Continuing Nutter Torture...

FamilyVoice Australia petition court for a Judicial Review of last year's Salo DVD classification
Link Here

Salo 120 Days Sodom DVD FamilyVoice Australia have again petitioned the Federal Court to ban Pier Paolo Pasolini's Salo, Or The 120 Days Of Sodom again. They are claiming that its release last year on DVD was an improper exercise of power by the Classification Review Board.

The Christian activists led by the Not So Liberal senator Julian McGauran, have got Salo banned in Australia for most of the last 36 years.

Salo follows a group of young men and women abducted by fascists and subjected to rape, torture and death in an Italian palace. Described by the board as a serious study of corruption which accompanies the exercise of absolute power , the film was released last year in a boxed set with additional documentary features that the board thought would mitigate the level of potential community offence .

But this did not impress Senator McGauran and FamilyVoice Australia. They moved against the film again, this time in the courts.

The barrister Anthony Tudehope accused the board of a long list of failings when judging the film, in particular the failure to separately identify and assess elements of violence, cruelty and fetishes - even bestiality, though Salo contains no congress with animals.

Tudehope questioned the age of the victims and the actors playing them. Along with a minority of the Classification Review Board, he argued they are children being subjected to child sexual abuse, which was simply not acceptable , he told the court.

But that was not the view of a majority of the board, which found Pasolini's victims clearly sexually mature and that their fate at the hands of the fascists would not offend reasonable adults given the context, purpose and stylised, detached cinematic techniques of the film.

The board's solicitor, Nick Gouliaditis, denied any failures of process in Salo's release. He told the court that assessing the merits of a film required highly subjective judgments which the Classification Review Board has been entrusted to make .

Justice Margaret Stone has reserved her decision for a later date.

 

5th March   

Warming to Graffiti...

Defacement of classic art billboard amuses Minneapolis museum
Link Here

venus rising advert A billboard for a Minneapolis museum has been replaced after someone spray-painted a top and the word Brrr! in red over its depiction of classic nudity from a 16th-century painting.

 The poster is for the Minneapolis Institute of Arts' exhibition of works by the Italian master Titian. The museum chose to feature the famous Venus Rising from the Sea painting on the billboard because it's very typical of paintings in the show, said MIA spokeswoman Anne-Marie Wagener.

venus rising censoredt advert The billboard that was vandalized has been restored to its previous condition, despite objections from museum officials. We said 'We think it's funny, just leave it, don't bother replacing it,' Wagener said Thursday.

But she said Clear Channel Outdoor, the company that owns the billboard, has a policy that ads with graffiti must be taken down so as not to encourage vandalism.

The museum has fielded about 10 calls from 'angry' passers-by who said they weren't comfortable seeing nudity outside of the museum, said MIA marketing director Kristin Prestegaard. Some people said it forced them to talk to their children about nudity in art, a conversation they weren't ready to have.

Both Prestegaard and Wagener said they think whoever did the graffiti was probably just trying to be funny, not censor the image. It would be different if the words 'Brrr!' weren't there and they hadn't given her such a nice, shapely swimsuit, Wagener said. I mean, if you were angry, why would you make it kind of pretty?

 

5th March   

Playing Expat Catch Up...

International BBC iPlayer to be available this year for less than $10 a month
Link Here

iplayer not available The BBC's Director General, Mark Thompson, has revealed that the international version of the BBC iPlayer will definitely be available before the end of this year, and will likely cost less than $10, or approximately EUR7.

Thompson is quoted as saying that the international iPlayer would cost, a small number of dollars per month, definitely fewer then 10.

The BBC iPlayer has huge potential internationally, with a strong BBC brand boosted by shows like Top Gear , and has the capability to earn significant revenues from the international iPlayer that could be re-invested back into the BBC to produce a greater number high quality shows.

 

4th March   

An Insult to Justice...

Football fan prosecuted for mere insult over allusion to Manchester United air crash
Link Here
a message to you rooney video

  See the guy back right
in grey shirt and black cap

A Crawley Town football fan has been given a suspended jail term after he pleaded guilty to mocking victims of the 1958 Munich air crash in the background of a music video.

James Butler was charged with using threatening, abusive or insulting words with intent to cause harassment alarm or distress.

As there was clearly no threat or harassment then the charges must have been for mere insult. It seems hard to believe that this minor insult could have caused any real alarm or distress.

He appeared before Crawley magistrates, where he was sentenced to eight weeks in prison, suspended for 12 months. Butler was also told to pay £ 85 costs and given a 12-month supervision order.

Sentencing him, chair of the bench Rosemary Scott claimed he had offended wide sections of the footballing community: This was a deliberate and planned action targeted at a wider audience and considered grossly offensive to both Manchester United FC and Crawley Town FC and the public in general .

The video was posted on YouTube and Crawley Town's official website. It was a reworking of The Specials' hit, A Message To You, Rudy , adapted by musician Mike Dobie with the new title A Message To You, Rooney .

Club officials failed to realise that in the background Butler was dancing by the stage making aircraft gestures. In the video, he also held his fingers up to show one, nine, five and eight to symbolise the year of the air crash.

Butler was arrested after a Manchester United fan complained.

Magistrates were told that police would apply separately for Butler to be handed a football banning order.

 

4th March   

Seeking Parental Guidance...

Singapore consults on new classification symbols
Link Here

singapore classification symbols logo A new set of film classification symbols is to be introduced in Singapore this June to rate content in film, videos, free-to-air and subscription TV.

The new symbols are to standardise the look in the ratings, said the Media Development Authority (MDA) replacing the current three different sets of rating symbols.

Minister for Information, Communication and the Arts Lui Tuck Yew said that the symbols are still under review.

Members of the public can vote for their preferred symbols at roving interactive media exhibits, also known as Media Transformer, at four anchor events islandwide from March 5 to 27.

When queried, MDA said a date to launch the PG13 rating, as recommended by the Censorship Review Committee in September 2010, has yet to be set.

Film Ratings in Singapore

Cinema/video Ratings were introduced in 1991. Previously films were either passed for exhibition to all or else banned.

The ratings are:

  • G: General: Entertainment suitable for the whole family
  • PG: Parental Guidance: Suitable for most, but not all ages. Parents should guide their young as some scenes may be disturbing to children.
  • NC16: No Children Under 16: Not suitable for those below 16 years of age, as the film may contain more explicit scenes. [Introduced in 1993]
  • M18: Mature 18: For viewers aged 18 and above, these films may contain mature themes which are mire suitable for young adults. [Introduced in 2004]
  • R21: Restricted 21: These films may contain adult issues, themes and more explicit scenes. [When R18 was introduced, it led to concerns over an influx of sex-exploitative films within the first month of the classification system’s inception. The rating was modified to R(A) or Restricted Artistic, to signal that only films of artistic merit would be allowed, and the age limit was raised to 21 years. The rating is only available to cinema films].

 

4th March   

Reasons to Fear...

China threatens foreign journalists over fears of popular protest
Link Here

CPJ logo Police threats to revoke foreign journalists' visas and require advance permission for newsgathering are disturbing new efforts to restrict reporting on protests in China, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today.

Police told some foreign journalists they could lose their accreditation and residence permits if they conduct illegal reporting in parts of central Beijing and Shanghai without permission.

Some journalists reported being told that advance consent would be required for any filming in China going forward. The warnings were given to journalists from The Associated Press, Agence France-Presse, the BBC, and other news outlets.

Wangfujing, a downtown shopping street in Beijing, and a section of Shanghai near the People's Square, were apparently ruled off-limits because of unsigned online calls for Sunday afternoon protests in Chinese cities modeled on recent popular uprisings in the Middle East and North Africa, according to the reports. Turnout in response to the calls, which were first issued February 19, has been weak. Yet police and plainclothed security officials flooded Wangfujing last Sunday, detaining at least a dozen foreign journalists and injuring two.

The Chinese government is doing itself serious damage with these blatant attempts to bully the foreign media into silence, said Bob Dietz, CPJ Asia program coordinator. These vague warnings, contradictory regulations, and intimidation of the international press corps show that China's commitments on press freedom to secure the Olympics were just a veneer.

 

4th March   

Offsite: Marking Music Freedom Day...

The musicians are taking incredible risks
Link Here

music freedom day logo On the Music Freedom Day of 2011, Mark LeVine reminds us that we all owe it to the artists who are risking so much by taking the lead, to stand behind them and ensure that if they are silenced, we will raise our voices as loudly as did they to win their freedom.

The Ancient Israelites had their trumpets and harps. The French Revolutionaries had their republican hymns. The American civil rights and anti-war movement had Dylan, Baez and Hendrix.

And now, Egypt has Ramy Essam.

Essam, a 26-year old singer from the Nile Delta town of Mansoura, was not well-known before the Revolution, but he is one of Egypt's rising stars today.

...Read the full article

 

4th March   

Update: 15 Man Years to Review...

Man jailed for 5 years for posting terrorist propaganda on the internet
Link Here  full story: Glorification of Censorship...Climate of fear caused by glorification of terrorsim

Old Bailey A law student who posted Islamic terrorist propaganda on the internet after becoming radicalised has been jailed for five years.

Mohammed Gul was pouring petrol on the fire and his actions could have spurred others to commit acts of terror, the Old Bailey heard.

Gul was found guilty of five counts of disseminating terrorist publications following a retrial at the Old Bailey.

Judge David Paget said his sentence had to be a deterrent to others and reflect the seriousness of the crime.

The judge praised the anti-terrorist police who, he said, had a Herculean task in reviewing the huge amount of material found on Gul's laptop. It had involved the biggest review of data ever undertaken by the anti-terrorist branch of Scotland Yard and involved 30 officers over a period of six months, he said.

 

3rd March   

Ratings Creep...

Professors finds that more violent content has crept into the US PG-13 film rating
Link Here

  children and media Ron Leone is associate professor at the communication department at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, and a film scholar who studies movie ratings. His latest article, published this week in the Journal of Children and Media examines ratings creep in the United States.

The term refers to the belief that various types of adult content escalate in films with the same rating over time, and Leone's latest study finds that films rated PG-13 today are significantly more violent than those with the same rating a generation ago.

In their latest study, MPAA Ratings Creep: A longitudinal analysis of the PG-13 rating category in U.S. movies , Leone analyzed the content of a sample of PG-13 movies from three different years: 1988, 1997 and 2006. They documented each incident of violence, sexual content, nudity, use of adult language and presentations of substance abuse.

Our quantitative content analysis of 45 films indicated a significant increase in violent content in these films, despite the ratings remaining the same, says the professor: We searched for evidence of 'creep' in all categories, but our results pointed to one conclusion . In the PG-13 rating category, the only area of adult content on the rise was violence.

According to Leone, none of the other four areas showed any statistically significant evidence of ratings creep: Our results suggest a leniency toward violent content by the MPAA ratings board that parallels America's parents' greater comfort with children being exposed to violence than other types of adult content in the unrestricted PG-13 rating category .

 

3rd March   

New US Film Censor...

MPAA appoints its new chairman
Link Here

chris dodd Former US Senator Christopher Dodd, a Democrat from Connecticut, has now been appointed to head the Motion Picture Association of America

The film industry is at a critical juncture, as one of America's largest export industries faces piracy in foreign markets and dwindling audiences at home. Attendance is 22% llower than this time last year, ratings for Sunday's Oscarcast was down 10%, and DVD sales have plummeted.

The times call for savvy in finance and international relations, both strong suits for Dodd, says Toby Miller, professor and chair of the Department of Media and Cultural Studies at the University of California, Riverside.

Hollywood is a major employer and export earner, says Professor Miller. Most of Hollywood revenue comes from DVDs, downloads, and TV. Cinema attendance hasn't been its major contribution economically for decades. Our overseas image is affected by what Hollywood produces. And this job is the key point person to D.C. in terms of regulation, stimulus, and piracy.

 

3rd March   

Daily Mail Need Not Identify Anonymous Forum Commenter...

The right to sue for defamation must be weighed up against the right to privacy
Link Here

daily mail debate logo The Daily Mail does not have to identify the people behind two anonymously posted comments on its website because to do so would breach their rights to privacy, the High Court has said.

Jane Clift was the subject of a news story about being put on a council list of potentially violent people. She demanded information from the Daily Mail that would help her to identify two commenters so that she could sue them for defamation.

But Mrs Justice Sharp said that the posters' rights to privacy were more important than the woman's right to take legal action about comments that were little more than pub talk . She said that Clift's case was not strong enough to merit the identification, and that she should not have taken the comments as seriously as she did.

Mrs Justice Sharp said in her ruling.

It was fanciful to suggest that a sensible and reasonable reader would understand those comments as being anything more than 'pub talk'.

The postings were of two lines and were effectively posted anonymously by members of the public who did not report to have knowledge of the matters they concerned. It is important to put the postings into context as to their meaning and what they were commenting on.

The potential disclosure of information to [Clift] engaged the users' rights to respect for their private and family lives under the European Convention on Human Rights.

It was disproportionate to grant the application.

 

3rd March   

Insultingly Easily Offended...

John Galiano up for prosecution for being a drunken arsehole in a bar
Link Here

john galiano in bar video Fashion designer John Galliano, will face trial over an incident at a Paris cafe' during which he allegedly hurled anti-Semitic and racist abuse at Geraldine Bloch and her companion Philippe Virgiti. He allegedly called her a 'dirty jew face'

The Paris Prosecutors Office has issued a statement saying it has decided to put John Galliano on trial following a police investigation. The proceedings could take place in the second quarter of this year, and Galliano could face up to six months in prison, and up to EUR22,500 in fines, if convicted.

Earlier Galliano, who was fired from his role as creative director of Christian Dior over the allegations, issued a personal statement completely denying the claims made against him, renouncing anti-Semitism and racism, and apologising unreservedly for any offence his behaviour has caused.

In another drunken tirade now on YouTube Galiano hurls a few more insulting remarks eg “People like you would be dead. Your mothers, your forefathers, would all be fucking gassed.”

Update: Fined

11th September 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

British fashion designer John Galliano, who has admitted anti-Semitic insults at a Paris restaurant, has been given suspended fines totalling 6,000 euros ( £ 4,250; $8,400).

The designer, fired by the Dior fashion house over the affair, said he had no recollection of the two events and denied being racist.

Galliano apologised for his behaviour at a one-day trial in June. He blamed drug and alcohol addictions for his outburst.

The BBC's Christian Fraser, in Paris, says the greatest punishment has been the damage to Galliano's career; he was sacked by Dior after his arrest and the cost to his reputation has been far bigger than any fine a court can impose.

Our correspondent says the judges were convinced that this was a man who needed help rather than punishment.

 

2nd March   

Update: Nutters Spank Censors...

Nutters whinge at Australia's PG rating fro We Dare console game
Link Here  full story: We Dare...Daring to include minor sex references in a game

UBI Soft We Dare PS3 A party game for the Wii, We Dare , has been given an Australian PG rating even though the game promotes spanking, stripping and sexual partner swapping.

The Australian Christian Lobby said the We Dare decision showed the classification system was broken . Even the game's publisher, Ubisoft, says the game is intended for an adult audience. Ubisoft had recommended it be rated M.

The Classification Board has defended its decision. It said that despite We Dare encouraging players to engage in spanking, striptease and other risqué mini-games, the visuals on the screen itself are cartoony and tame. The Classification Board is only able to classify games based on the content displayed on screen, not what people do in their living rooms. The Board said: At the PG classification, discreetly implied sexual activity is permitted if justified by context and where the level of impact does not exceed 'mild'.

The Australian Christian Lobby said the game encouraged players to engage in sexual activity not suitable for a child. It said it hoped loopholes in the classification system would be closed following this year's classification review by the Australian Law Reform Commission.

The Australian Christian Lobby said the game encouraged players to engage in sexual activity not suitable for a child. It said it hoped loopholes in the classification system would be closed following this year's classification review by the Australian Law Reform Commission. Parents can have no faith in a classification system when these loopholes are present, said ACL spokesman Lyle Shelton.

Offsite: No Sex Please We're Video Games

See  article from  metro.co.uk

Why are video games so tame when it comes to portraying sex? Why is it acceptable for games characters to hate and kill but not to love? GameCentral examines one of gaming's oldest taboos.

...Read the full article

 

2nd March   

Update: US Police Censorship...

Police given open ended powers to censor the internet without due process
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

us takedown notice The United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has received a great deal of backlash for their actions of seizing tens of thousands of domains over the past year, and accusing site owners of counterfeiting, piracy, and ,most recently, engaging in child pornography. Even a US Senator has pointed out that these actions may violate the constitutional rights of site owners affected, however ICE Director John Morton continues to defend the domain seizures as a noble effort to protect Americans.

Morton points out that websites are property that the government has the right to seize when evidence of a crime is revealed: We can seize and forfeit them just like we seize and forfeit bank accounts, houses and vehicles that are used in other crimes. Any instrument of a crime is subject to our jurisdiction in terms of seizure and forfeit.

Morton also states that the domain seizures are not a tool to censor websites ...BUT... to simply enforce copyright laws: We're about making sure that the intellectual property laws of the United States, which are clear, are enforced. When somebody spends hundreds of millions of dollars to develop the next movie or a billion dollars to develop the next heart medicine, the innovation and the enterprise that went into that effort is protected as the law provides. It's that simple.

Fine words but they will be lost on the tens of thousands of innocent website owners who had their domains seized last month. It is also the duty of these agencies to preserve the rights of Americans. These domain seizure processes need to be reviewed and appropriately overhauled before more mistakes are made and more innocent people are affected.

 

2nd March   

Update: Russian Police Censorship...

Police given open ended powers to censor the internet without judicial oversight
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia flag A new Russian police law has come into force that gives officers the right to take down web sites without a court order but industry representatives said police can already do that under existing legislation.

The police's right is mentioned in a report on intellectual piracy submitted by the Economic Development Ministry to the Office of the United States Trade Representative, which is preparing its own annual piracy survey

The ministry report, first leaked on the Marker.ru news web site, lists the police's right to shut down web sites among measures intended to help crack down on copyright infringement.

The police law provides officers with an instrument to terminate the activity of Internet resources that infringe on Russian and international copyright law, which was previously possible only with the judicial order or during investigation, the ministry said in the report.

The actual police legislation does not mention web sites, but contains vague wording that authorizes the police to order any organization to change or stop operations that contribute to criminal activity in any way.

 

2nd March   

Abortion Poster Aborted...

Suddenly the catholic church gets all anti-censorship
Link Here  full story: US Anti Abortion Advert...The most dangerous place for an African American

most dangerous place advert After the removal of a billboard in New York City which charged that abortion makes a mother's womb the most dangerous place for African Americans, Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan condemned the move as an intolerant gag order.

Likening the ad to anti-smoking campaigns that show the graphic affects of nicotine addiction or world hunger organizations that show pictures of starving children, the New York archbishop said that being confronted by the truth can often be unpleasant. Dolan said that the removed ad is so upsetting because its message is somberly true.

The billboard, sponsored by the group Life Always depicted a young black girl beneath the phrase The most dangerous place for an African American is in the womb.

Pete Costanza, the general manager for Lamar Advertising, said the billboard was being taken down because an objector to the billboard harassed the waiters and waitresses in the Mexican restaurant below the sign. The restaurant has no affiliation with the billboard company or the pro-life group.

 

2nd March   

Update: Protesting the Censorship of Protests...

Yemen continues to attempt to suppress news about anti-government protests
Link Here  full story: News Censorship in Yemen...Yemen news media and southern unrest

Yemen flag For the fifth time, Al-Masdar online, an independent local news website, was blocked by the government last Saturday , according to editor Yaser Al-Arami.

Al-Arami told the Yemen Times that the website was blocked because of its news about recent developments in Aden, Sana'a and other governorates.

Al-Arami revealed that the National Security Bureau has a department specifically tasked with monitoring Yemeni news websites.

Similarly, Al-Jazeera Arabic TV channel reported on Saturday that the Yemeni government requested that two correspondents leave the country immediately.

The channel explained that, Yemen's Deputy Minister of Information told the director of the channel office in Sana'a, Saeed Thabet, to ban the two journalists from reporting on the current protests in Yemen. He also asked them to leave the country entirely. Al-Jazeera added that this is the second time that the Yemeni Government has attempted to ban these two journalists from covering anti-government protests that are taking place in several Yemeni cities.

Jamal An'am, chairman of the freedoms' committee at the Yemeni Journalists' Syndicate told the Yemen Times that Since the anti-government protests broke out in the country, the Yemeni government launched a war against journalists in an attempt to falsify information and history the reality of what is going on. We are worried that the regime is preparing to oppress both protesters and journalists .

 

1st March   

Dubious Claims...

ASA make claims that they can extend their advertising censorship the internet
Link Here

ASA logo From 1 March, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) gets powers to police the claims companies make on websites and social networks. The rules cover statements on sites that can be interpreted as marketing, even if they are not in an advert.

Extending the UK advertising code to non paid-for statements means that these, like paid-for adverts, must not harm, mislead or offend.

Since 2008, the advert censor has received more than 4,500 complaints concerning text on websites that it could do nothing about.

While aimed primarily at sites using the .co.uk domain suffix, the ASA said its powers could also cover .com sites, such as Facebook, if the online space being used was under the control of a UK firm.

However, the transient nature of online content may make the rules difficult to police, according to Vincent-Wayne Mitchell, professor of consumer marketing at London's Cass Business School: I could have an advert up on the internet for a week or for an hour, cause widespread confusion, get sales from that, and then withdraw it. The only punishment that the ASA has is withdrawal, but I can have that as part of my own marketing strategy.

User-generated content, such as comments left by customers on a website, will not be covered by the extended powers.

To encourage firms to comply, the ASA said it would extend a name-and-shame policy which will expose firms that make unsupportable claims. Further sanctions for offenders could see non-compliant material removed from search engines. The ASA said it might also take out adverts to warn people about companies that do not comply with the code.

In anticipation of the extra work it will have to do, the ASA has expanded the number of staff in its complaints and investigations unit by 10%.

 

1st March   

Not Glad to See Jose Luis...

GLAAD complain about the Jose Luis Sin Censura US TV show stirring up anti-gay audience reactions
Link Here  full story: Jose Luis Sin Censura...Spanish language US channel winds up nutters

Jose Luis Sin Censura Caliente Gay campaigners of the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD) and the National Hispanic Media Coalition (NHMC) have filed an FCC complaint against the Spanish-language television talk show Jose Luis Sin Censura ( Jose Luis Uncensored ).

The show is produced by the California-based Liberman Broadcasting and airs in Los Angeles on KRCA, channel 62.

The groups claimed in a statement that the show routinely features indecent, profane, and obscene material, offensive language, nudity, and on-air verbal and physical attacks against women as well as lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people .

The show often prompts guests and audience members to engage in verbal and even physical attacks, especially against people perceived to be LGBT. Many episodes showed the audience standing and shouting anti-gay epithets and profanity at guests, the groups said.

It is extremely disturbing to see a show like José Luis Sin Censura air this violent language with impunity and without any regard for the safety of our community, GLAAD President Jarrett Barrios said: At a time when LGBT youth and adults face harassment and violence, it is unacceptable for media to fuel such a climate of intolerance about our community.

GLAAD has also launched an online petition against the show.

 

1st March   

Blu Blood...

Daughters of Darkness released today on US Blu-ray
Link Here

Daughters Darkness Blu ray John Karlen Daughters of Darkness is a 1971 Belgium/France/West Germany horror by Harry Kumel. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut for:

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

There is also a cut US R Rated release to avoid.

Previously it was passed X (18) after ~1:41s of BBFC cuts for the UK 1971 cinema release

Review from US Amazon : Underrated gem

There's nothing like a bunch of gals trooping around in revealing outfits, or no outfits at all, to perk up the dreary old Stoker legend. And if you can make the head vampire a woman, that certainly can't hurt either. Welcome to Daughters of Darkness.

You just gotta love this film. Daughters of Darkness is one of the best vampire films I have ever seen for a multitude of reasons. The primary reason the picture succeeds is due to the amazing talents of Delphine Seyrig. Who is this enchanting woman and where has she been all my life? I love this lady! She manages to make her character insanely gorgeous and metaphysically eerie at the same time. She slinks around in shimmering outfits dropping suggestive comments, tells horribly gory stories, winks, and grins with the greatest of ease. And her fate at the end of the film is gruesome and disturbing. Just as good as Seyrig is the oppressive atmosphere of the hotel and the desolate surroundings.

Daughters of Darkness deserves five stars for its amazing performances and over the top antics.

Run, don't walk, to pick up a copy of this underrated gem.

 

1st March   

Faulty Religion...

US webhosts take down christian website blaming gays for the New Zealand earthquake
Link Here

bluehost logo A US web hosting provider BlueHost has taken down a US-based Christian website that blamed the recent New Zealand earthquake on gays and lesbians.

The US-based ChristchurchQuake.Net claims the quake was the vengeful act of God, punishing homosexuals for their lifestyles and actions. They wrote:

Do we really want to tempt fate and risk another quake? The morning of the Christchurch earthquake was the opening of 'Gay Ski Week'. The highlight of the week was a party featuring two of NZ's ugliest and butchest lesbians as the main event in Queenstown. Squadrons of imports were to have been brought in for the week --- from Sydney's now booming gay and lesbian area around Oxford St, between the CBD and Kings Cross.

Thousands of angry Internet users emailed and sent complaint letters to BlueHost regarding the website, which was then taken down.

 

1st March   

Freedom of Expression and Criticism...

European Parliament criticises Turkey over the lack of press freedom
Link Here

European Parliament logo The European Parliament in a draft resolution has called on the Turkish government to uphold the principles of press freedom and condemned the violent police crackdown on student demonstrations at Ankara University in December.

The European Parliament is concerned about the deterioration of freedom of the press, some acts of censorship and the growing self-censorship within the Turkish media, including on the Internet, said the draft resolution, written by the European Parliament's rapporteur on Turkey, Ria Oomen-Ruijten, on behalf of the Committee on Foreign Affairs.

The draft evaluated Turkey's 2010 progress report and made recommendations for this year's upcoming report. It is expected to be adopted in the European Parliament within the next two weeks.

Though the resolution welcomes a number of the government's symbolic and goodwill gestures, as well as a number of concrete steps, in the areas of freedom of thought, conscience and religion, protection of minorities and cultural rights, it said systematic improvements are needed to fully recognize the rights of minorities.

The text also calls for a new media law in Turkey in order to achieve full freedom of the press, saying such as law must address issues of independence, ownership and administrative control.

The text welcomes Turkey's new radio and TV laws, drawing attention to the increase in the legal percentage of Turkish media companies that foreign entities are allowed to own. It expresses concern, however, at the fact that broadcasting can be stopped on grounds of national security without the use of a court order or ruling by a judge.

In the resolution, the European Parliament says it notes with concern the practice of bringing criminal prosecutions against journalists communicating evidence of human-rights violations and other issues in the public interest, especially over articles about breaching the confidentiality of a criminal investigation and attempting to influence the judiciary.

It considers the criminalization of opinions as a key obstacle to the protection of human rights in Turkey and deplores disproportioned restrictions to the freedoms of expression, association and assembly, the draft says.

 

1st March   

Update: Challenging a Non-Applied Law...

Constitutional Court challenge for German internet blocking law
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering

, bundesverfassungsgericht On 22 February 2011 the German Working Group against Internet Blocking and Censorship (AK Zensur) submitted their complaint against the German law on Internet blocking to Germany's Constitutional Court.

AK Zensur and many others had fiercely opposed the law and announced that a complaint would be filed when the law was enacted by Parliament in June 2009.

A curious situation emerged when the government changed after the elections in September 2009, taking the liberal party FDP into power in a coalition with the conservative CDU/CSU. The FDP had opposed the blocking law in their election campaign, and before the law came into force, it was agreed that it would not be fully implemented.

In a legally strange move, a non-application directive by the Interior minister stipulated that initially, only take-down was to be attempted, and the governing parties agreed that a review would be held about a year later.

This created something of a legal absurdity as the consequences of the law are not fully felt at the moment when the deadline to complain is expiring. But AK Zensur and its lawyers are confident that even now, many aspects of the law are in clear violation of the German Constitution, and several experts had voiced similar concerns at a parliamentary hearing before the law was enacted. While political support for the ill-fated law has widely diminished, the governing parties have not found the will to abolish it in a new Parliamentary act. AK Zensur is hopeful that with its complaint, it will be able to do the politicians' homework for them.

A website collecting signatures to support the complaint in the political debate will be started soon.