Censor Watch
 2012: March
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31st March   

Update: Howe Censorial...

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Elspeth Howe introduces Lords private Members bill to mandatorily block adult content unless adults specifically ask otherwise
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

elspeth howeThe first legislative attempt to introduce an opt-in system for accessing adult internet content, has been introduced to the House of Lords. Of course private members bills have little chance of becoming law unless they capture a large consensus of support including the government.

The Online Safety Private Members Bill was introduced by Baroness Elspeth Howe, who wants to require ISPs and mobile phone companies to block adult content, unless an adult user specifically asks for it.

And the bill has predictably won the backing of the Christian  campaign group CARE, who claim it is important that the government look at providing a safe online environment for web savvy children.

The Private Members Bill is calling for ISPs and mobile phone operators to provide a service that allows adult customers to make decisions about what sort of content they want blocking on their home broadband or their children's mobile phones.

Howe's Bill is based on MP Claire Perry's campaign. The government said at the time that they are in favour of the proposals put forward, but would like the industry to self-regulate and bring about these changes without amending primary legislation. Last year the industry made the pledge to bring forward self-regulatory measures, but did not go as far as endorsing the requirement to have an opt-in to access pornography through a filter at network level.

Howe said:

Historically, most internet content has escaped regulation. A laudable industry-wide effort in the UK resulted in the Clean Feed system that blocks illegal child abuse imagery, but there has always been a reluctance to block, or limit access to, other forms of adult material due to the international nature of internet content.

 

31st March   

Updated: Unrated...

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Weinstein Company to release the documentary Bully unrated
Link Here

bully projectBully , a new documentary premiering Friday, will be released with no rating, following a failed effort to have the MPAA rating changed from R to PG-13.

The movie's rating attracted national attention, thanks to a Change.org petition started by 17-year-old Katy Butler. The petition MPAA: Don't let the bullies win! Give 'Bully' a PG-13 instead of an R rating! has almost achieved its goal of gaining half a million signatures.

The film's no rating status will prevent it from being screened in certain theaters, which is a risk The Weinstein Co. decided to take.

Update: Nutters of the Parents TV Council Unimpressed

31st March 2012. See article from parentstv.org

The Parents Television Council responded to the announcement that the Weinstein Company will release the documentary Bully unrated by calling on all major theaters, including AMC, to adhere to their own policies not to exhibit unrated films. PTC warns that showing unrated content is a threat to the continued viability of the ratings system. PTC President Tim Winter said:

This move, regardless of intentions, sets a precedent that threatens to derail the entire ratings system. If a distribution company can simply decide to operate outside of the ratings system in a case like 'Bully,' nothing would prevent future filmmakers from doing precisely the same thing, with potentially much more problematic material.

It is unfortunate that the serious problem of schoolyard and online bullying is being overshadowed by a misguided and manufactured controversy over the MPAA rating. It's even more unfortunate that the MPAA ratings system, which only exists as a tool to help parents make informed viewing decisions for their own families, is being deliberately undermined by Weinstein and his colleagues in the entertainment industry, and that their efforts may well spell the demise of a system that has benefited parents and families for over forty years.

Either ratings mean something, or they don't. The MPAA's job is not to make subjective judgments about the merit of a film or the importance of the film's message. The MPAA's sole task is to take an objective measure of the adult content in a film, and apply the appropriate rating. Though the MPAA's system is not perfect, it has been remarkably consistent at least in this regard: any more than a single 'sexual expletive' (usually the 'F-word') will lead to an R-rating. 'Bully' employs multiple uses of this 'sexual expletive,' and that is why it was given an R-rating.

 

31st March   

Australia Doesn't Dare...

Nonsense about Madonna's cleavage being too much for the easily offended in Australia
Link Here

madonna truth or dare advertThe Australian TV stations ABC has deemed Madonna's ad for her new her perfume, Truth or Dare, too sexy.

The 30-second television commercial shows the singer cavorting in a low-cut corset and fishnet stockings, while singing and writhing to the dance beat, I'm a bad girl.

Now network executives have ordered the black-and-white perfume ad to be digitally altered to cover the offending shots of her cleavage.

Among the content changes that have reportedly been requested are digitally altering the singer's bra to make it bigger and extend higher, covering more of her chest, and also making her corset longer to cover more of her behind.

Once the requested changes have been made, ABC will only air the perfume ad after 9pm, with the exception of the daytime talk show The View.

Update: National Cleavage Day

3rd April 2012. See article from vanityfair.com , thanks to Nick

It seems that ABC's censorial nonsense is there way of celebrating National Cleavage Day, celebrated anually on 31st March.

 

31st March   

Update: Censored Skype Messages...

Microsoft censors Messenger to remove pirate bay URLs
Link Here

Pirate Bay logoMicrosoft has confirmed that users of its instant messaging app will not be able to send each other links to popular torrent site The Pirate Bay.

We block instant messages if they contain malicious or spam URLs based on intelligence algorithms, third-party sources, and/or user complaints. Pirate Bay URLs were flagged by one or more of these and were consequently blocked, Redmond told The Register in an emailed statement.

Microsoft declined to give any more details for their censorship choice.

 

31st March   

Update: Kyle Riles...

Australian media censor censures the Kyle and Jackie O Show
Link Here

Kyle & Jaclkie O ShowAustralian radio personality, Kyle Sandilands made derogatory and offensive comments about a female journalist that amounted to a breach of the radio code of practice, Australia's media censor has judged.

Last November Sandilands called a news.com.au journalist a piece of shit and a fat slag and told her to watch your mouth or I'll hunt you down after she reported on the negative reaction to his TV show the night before.

His derogatory comments, made on November 22, are believed to have cost his employer, Southern Cross Austereo, about $10 million in sponsorship, with advertisers walking from the 2Day FM's Kyle and Jackie O Show in disgust.

The ACMA has begun formal steps to impose a second licence condition on the broadcaster which would prohibit the station from broadcasting indecent content and content that demeans women or girls.

ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said:

The Authority found the comments by Mr Sandilands deeply derogatory and offensive and in all the circumstances a licence condition is the appropriate response.

Although the comments conveyed hatred, serious contempt and severe ridicule on the grounds of gender, they were not considered likely to incite those feelings in others, he said.

 

31st March

 Offsite Link: Taking the Vows of Dedication...

Link Here
The Hammer blog details progress on the restoration of Rasputin, the Mad Monk

See article from blog.hammerfilms.com

 

31st March

 Offsite Link: Comparative European Film Classifications...

Link Here
Dutch film classification group provide service comparing cinema classifications across 7 European countries

See article from kijkwijzer.nl

 

31st March

 Offsite Link: A Scottish license to kill culture...

Link Here
Bureaucrats north of the border seem to be on a mission to bleed all the spontaneity out of Scotland's thriving cultural scene. By Tiffany Jenkins of Spiked

See article from spiked-online.com

 

30th March   

Updated: Can 'Healing on the Streets' Heal Belief in Nonsense?...

Group of MPs challenge the ASA for banning adverts containing nonsense healing claims
Link Here  full story: Censors vs Religious Healing...Censors unimpressed by claims of religious healing

healing on the streets bathLast month the advertising censors at the ASA banned a christian group, Healing on the Streets - Bath, from making nonsense claims about their healing services.

They censured a leaflet which stated:

NEED HEALING? GOD CAN HEAL TODAY!

Do you suffer from Back Pain, Arthritis, MS, Addiction ... Ulcers, Depression, Allergies, Fibromyalgia, Asthma, Paralysis, Crippling Disease, Phobias, Sleeping disorders or any other sickness?

We'd love to pray for your healing right now! We're Christian from churches in Bath and we pray in the name of Jesus. We believe that God loves you and can heal you from any sickness.

Now MPs from the Christians in Parliament group are challenging the ASA decision. Gary Streeter (Con), Gavin Shuker (Lab) and Tim Farron (Lib Dem), have written to Chris Smith, Chairman of the Advertising Standards Agency:

We are writing on behalf of the all-party Christians in Parliament group in Westminster and your ruling that the Healing On The Streets ministry in Bath are no longer able to claim, in their advertising, that God can heal people from medical conditions.

We write to express our concern at this decision and to enquire about the basis on which it has been made. It appears to cut across two thousand years of Christian tradition and the very clear teaching in the Bible. Many of us have seen and experienced physical healing ourselves in our own families and churches and wonder why you have decided that this is not possible.

On what scientific research or empirical evidence have you based this decision?

You might be interested to know that I (Gary Streeter) received divine healing myself at a church meeting in 1983 on my right hand, which was in pain for many years. After prayer at that meeting, my hand was immediately free from pain and has been ever since. What does the ASA say about that? I would be the first to accept that prayed for people do not always get healed, but sometimes they do. That is all this sincere group of Christians in Bath are claiming.

It is interesting to note that since the traumatic collapse of the footballer Fabrice Muamba the whole nation appears to be praying for a physical healing for him. I enclose some media extracts. Are they wrong also and will you seek to intervene?

We invite your detailed response to this letter and unless you can persuade us that you have reached your ruling on the basis of indisputable scientific evidence, we intend to raise this matter in Parliament.

Update: Oops...the letter was a mistake

30th March 2012. See  article from  huffingtonpost.co.uk

Lib Dems logoIt seems that the Lib Dems were not impressed by their MP, Tim Farron, signing the letter.

Liberal Democrat president Tim Farron has now apologised for the wording of a letter which called for a ban on adverts that claimed God could heal sick people to be overturned, but stood by his belief that prayer could help.

Following the publication of the letter Farron apologised to Liberal Democrat members, many of whom disagreed with his decision to sign the letter. In a post on the grass-roots Liberal Democrat Voice website, Farron said it was not a well-worded and that he should not have signed it as it was written . He said:

The reference to the ASA providing indisputable evidence is silly, and the implication that people should seek faith healing at the expense of medical intervention is something that I just don't believe in

For what it's worth, I also think that the Fabrice Muamba reference is crass. So on all those fronts, I should just say sorry and not bother defending myself. I shouldn't have signed that letter as it was written, so I apologise for putting some of you in quite a difficult position.

 

30th March   

Comments: PC Extremists Bay for Tweeter's Blood...

Tweeter jailed for racist insults in the UK
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block

Ragged Union JackA student who admitted posting racially offensive comments on Twitter about footballer Fabrice Muamba has been jailed for 56 days.

Swansea University student Liam Stacey, 21, from Pontypridd, admitted inciting racial hatred over remarks about the Bolton Wanderers player, who collapsed during a FA Cup tie at Tottenham.

A district judge in Swansea called the comments vile and abhorrent . Sentencing Stacey at Swansea Magistrates' Court, District Judge John Charles told him: In my view, there is no alternative to an immediate prison sentence.

Stacey broke down in tears as he was led away to begin his jail term.

The troubles started when Muamba collapsed. Stacey tweeted: LOL. Fuck Muamba he's dead!!! #haha.

A number of people challenged Stacey on Twitter following his first comment, and he responded with a number of offensive posts aimed at other Twitter users. Such as the one reported by the the Huffington Post, suggesting one of his detractors go pick some cotton.

He later tried to delete his tweets but was arrested the following day at his student house in Swansea. When interviewed by police, Stacey said he had been drinking since lunchtime on Saturday and was drunk when he made the comments.

Jim Brisbane, chief crown prosecutor for CPS Cymru-Wales, said:

Racist language is inappropriate in any setting and through any media. We hope this case will serve as a warning to anyone who may think that comments made online are somehow beyond the law.

A Swansea University spokesperson said:

The student remains suspended from the university pending the conclusion of our disciplinary proceedings.

Offsite Comment: The Tweet Police

28th March 2012. See article from spectator.co.uk by Nick Cohen

spectator nick cohen logoThis morning Swansea magistrates jailed a 21-year-old student called Liam Stacey for eight weeks for posting racially offensive comments on Twitter about Fabrice Muamba.

...

I've no doubt that he's a vile man, who by the sound of it was drunk at the time he posted, but what remains disturbing about the case is that the Crown offered no evidence that Stacey had incited racial violence or any other crime. That his speech was racist was enough to send him down.

This verdict, like so many others, shows how little confidence the judiciary has in wider society. It's as if the judges, politicians and the police believe that a neo-Nazi can turn the usually placid British into Ku Klux Klan supporters with a few inflammatory words; that we are a bomb just waiting for someone to light the fuse and ignite us.

...Read the full article

Offsite Comment: Twitter prosecutions: The CPS is attempting to deprive us of our liberty for the use of words

29th March 2012. See article from dailymail.co.uk by Abhijit Pandya
30th March 2012. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk by Alexander Boot

Daily Mail logoA man, Liam Stacey, has been imprisoned in the UK for using Twitter.

Yes, imprisoned for using words that do not constitute incitement of any sort. Such is the tragic state of affairs for liberty in this country.

The most important liberty of all being at stake: that absolute freedom of one's body from interference from the State.

That he lost his liberty for a mere vulgar prank, which had no attack on another's physical body that should justify the loss of liberty of his own, is not the most worrying aspect of Stacey's prosecution and conviction.

Not at all...

...Read the full article

Offsite Comment: Don't jail tweeters, that's not where the real racist problem lies

29th March 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk by Joseph Harker

The GuardianAm I the only one to think that 56 days in jail for a drunken rant, despicable though it was -- so noxious, in fact, that no newspaper has the stomach to publish it -- is a bit severe? Yes, punish him; but if he is to change his behaviour, which we all want to see, he hardly needs a sentence of this length. I'd be happy to see him do some community work, where he might come into contact with some of those he currently dehumanises.

At the moment, it seems, the criminal justice system is unleashing all its energy on the little guys. Twitterers, train ranters, even footballers -- for venting their emotions in public. These are all issues which, a few years ago, would have gone mostly unnoticed by all but the victims. Now, though, these incidents are likely to be recorded, replayed, retweeted, stuck on YouTube and viewed by millions. And the state seems keen to go after these quick wins to try to claim that racism will no longer be tolerated.

...Read the full article

Offsite Comment: How the disgraceful Twitter jail sentence is being seen in Australia

30th March 2012. See  article from  abc.net.au by Brendan O'Neill

China flagIf you thought it was only authoritarian states like China or Iran that imprisoned pesky bloggers and tweeters, think again.

This week, Britain became a fully paid-up member of that clique of illiberal intolerant, tweeter-harassing states.

...Read the full article

More details of what Stacey actually said

9th April 2012. See  article from  dougstanhope.com , thanks to goatboy

Doug Stanhope Deadbeat Hero DVDAfter some digging I found screen shots of Liam Stacey's tweets in question. Just stupid, what's the worst thing I can say for attention repetitive garbage. Dick for the sake of being a dick. Go rape your mother and go suck a nigger dick you aids ridden cunt . Like he took all the worst words he knew would get reactions and cut n pasted them. Definitely a shithead but inciting racial hatred?

Not really a White Power/Nazi Rally call to arms that should qualify for a prison sentence.

Update: And as if the sentence wasn't extreme enough

23rd May 2012. Based on article from  minivannews.com

Liam Stacey jailed for using Twitter to mock heart-attack football star Fabrice Muamba has been banned from his university for the rest of the year. He has now been suspended from Swansea University as a top up to his jail sentence.

 

30th March   

Updated: The Hunger Games...

A pre-cut version is further cut by the BBFC for a 12A rated cinema release
Link Here  full story: The Hunger Games...UK version gets cut for a 12A

The Hunger Games Jennifer LawrenceThe Hunger Games is a 2012 US Sci-Fi action film by Gary Ross. With Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. See IMDb

A pre-cut version was further cut by 7s by the BBFC for a 12A rating for intense threat, moderate violence and occasional gory moments for:

  • UK 2012 cinema release

The BBFC commented:

  • The company chose to make cuts in order to achieve a 12A classification. A number of cuts were made in one scene to reduce an emphasis on blood and injury. These cuts, which were implemented by digitally removing sight of blood splashes and sight of blood on wounds and weapons, were made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy.

    An uncut 15 classification was available.

    These cuts were made in addition to reductions already made following an earlier advice viewing of an incomplete version

The US release is PG-13 rated

Update: Pre-cuts Outlined

14th March 2012. See article from bbfc.co.uk

The BBFC have updated their page describing cuts to The Hunger Games. They have now outlined the pre-cuts.

The BBFC comments now more fully explain the cuts:

  • This work was originally seen for advice in an unfinished form. The company was advised that the film was likely to receive a 15 certied 12A classification could be achieved by making a number of cuts and visual reductionont>

    When the finished version of the film was submitted for formal classification, cuts had been made in four scenes of violence and in one scene showing details of injuries. These reductions were implemented by a mixture of visual cuts, visual darkenings and the digital removal of sight of blood.

    In addition to the reductions already made during the advice process, the Board required further reductions in one scene following formal submission of the finished feature. A number of cuts were made in one scene to reduce an emphasis on blood and injury. These cuts, which were implemented by digitally removing sight of blood splashes and sight of blood on wounds and weapons, were made in accordance with BBFC Guidelines and policy.

    An uncut 15 classification was available.

Offsite Comment: 13-year-olds should be allowed to see splashes of blood

14th March 2012. See  article from  blogs.telegraph.co.uk by Brendan O'Neill

Brendan O'NeillAnd secondly, the whole point of The Hunger Games is that it is bloody and gory and gross and mental. As anyone who has spoken to a teenage fan will know, the thing that adolescents love about this trilogy of books, written by Suzanne Collins, is their violence (and also their strongly anti-state undertone).

The reason teens love these books is because, unlike Twilight (which actually has lots of blood but absolutely no personality), they are quite violent and disturbing. The trilogy's army of young fans will be able to handle seven seconds of red stuff.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Daily Mail have been trawling Twitter and Mumsnet for comments from 'concerned parents'

27th March 2012.  See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Daily Mail logoSome parents have complained the film scenes of murder and bloodshed were too graphic to be appropriate for children and suggested it should be rated 15.

Scenes that have upset some parents include one where a girl screams for her life as she stung to death by killer wasps, another when a young child is skewered with a spear, another battered with a brick and scenes were piles of bodies lay fallen after bloody battles between the combatants. The film's star, Jennifer Lawrence has defended the film's content

Some took to social networking sites such as Mumsnet and Twitter to voice their concern.

One mother said: It is really good, but I thought it was really stretching the 12 rating. [My 12-year-old] was so distressed at one particular part, not long before the end that we had to leave the cinema.

Another added: You don't see much gore but it's implied and some death scenes are quite shocking. You see a lot of dead faces and it's very realistic. There's one bit where the whole cinema rocked back in its seats and went "aaargh" together.

Others suggested it should have been rated 15 to avoid the risk of younger children being brought to see it by parents unfamiliar with the content.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Daily Mail find a couple of experts to whinge at The Hunger Games

28th March 2012.  See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Daily Mail logoGeoffrey Beattie, professor of psychology at Manchester University, says watching teens killing each other will have a stronger effect on young people than adult battle scenes. He said:

If you identify with the characters then it is going to seem more familiar and ... the things that happen will feel more visceral and have a stronger emotional impact on you.

There is a danger that there is so much death or violence that teens become desensitised.

Writing about the film on her website, best-selling author and paediatrician Dr Meg Meeker said:

Kids process images they construct in their minds from written words differently than they process large, hyper-real images on a screen. Starlets: The film which stars Jennifer Lawrence and Liam Hemsworth grossed ?5million in the UK in its opening weekend

During the preteen and teen years, children's minds are mentally pliable. They are being hard-wired... So, when an image comes into a teen's brain it melds into that wiring and sticks.

Offsite: But Support from the Telegraph

30th March 2012.  See article from telegraph.co.uk by Robbie Collin

Telegraph logoThe BBFC have got the 12A rating spot on. There's nothing in The Hunger Games that a 12-year-old shouldn't see, but more importantly, there's a lot that they should.

...Read the full article

 

30th March   

Sun City Goes Dark in Delhi...

Gay art exhibit closed in Delhi after a complaint and police action
Link Here

sunil gupta sun cityIndian police have forced closure of an exhibition of eminent photographer Sunil Gupta at Alliance Francaise in Delhi following an anonymous complaint that its content was supposedly obscene.

Gupta's exhibition, Sun City and Other Stories: Paris-San Francisco-Delhi, had opened to an enthusiastic response, and was scheduled to run till mid-April. An exploration of gay life, the exhibition featured 16 colour pictures taken by Gupta in France two years ago. The project involved a fictional narrative loosely based on the French science fiction film La Jetee , using homosexuality as a medium to connect to the life in Paris.

Gupta said the Alliance Francaise management informed him that the exhibition would be shut down for a day because of a fair at the cultural centre. However, I was informed by a third party in the evening that it would remain shut. No formal letter was sent...the decision was taken by the Alliance, he added.

Members of the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust issued a statement protesting the unexplained shutdown:

If major institutions like them [Alliance Francaise] cannot stand up against complaints made by a single individual and support the work of an artist they have invited to exhibit, they do not deserve the respect or patronage of the art community ... We hope the Alliance will clarify the circumstances which have led to yet another instance of moral policing against the freedom of expression.

 

30th March   

Update: Dangerous Uploads...

Australia's advert dutifully ban Mossimo Peep Show advert on the grounds that it somehow condones sexting
Link Here

mossimo peep show advertAustralian anti-sexualisation nutters Collective Shout! , launched a campaign against an Australian clothing store, Mossimo , who introduced an advertising campaign in shops and on Facebook alluding to peep shows.

Collective Shout! reported the campaign to Australia's advertising censors at the Advertising Standards Bureau (ASB).

The ASM report explained:

Window display with the words Peep show and take a peek inside accompanied by images of men and women in lingerie. In one image the woman is pulling at the man's underpants so that they are coming away from his waist

Example Complaint

These windows are in plain view of children and provide complete approval of something that is illegal. It takes away the choice I get to make as a parent regarding the view my children should be allowed to make but it also made me feel the complete objectification of women. On the one hand I am being encouraged as a parent to protect my children from this sort of thing on the internet and provide strict parenting controls to protect and value my children but in a shopping centre they are being confront with something that not only provides a distorted perception for women but ok's doing this in secret. This is entirely unacceptable material for display to the general public.

Mossimo Response

Mossimo is a cheeky, irreverent and light-hearted brand! In the same vein, the Mossimo Peepshow Facebook campaign is a cheeky, irreverent, light-hearted and slightly controversial promotion that is consistent with Mossimo Underwear's brand positioning.

Mossimo believes that the Mossimo Peepshow Facebook app represents the best way to talk to its target audience in a language and a medium with which they are both familiar and use regularly. In this respect, the company believes that is no different to underwear advertisements in catalogues, print or other media channels, which are employed by other brands to talk to their customers. Indeed you could argue that the annual Victoria's Secret Parade which airs on Channel 10 despite being rated PG is far more risqué.

ASB Decision: Breach of the code for condoning sexting

The Board considered that the overall impression of the images was suggestive of images taken in a person's home and is suggestive of sexting - the practice of, in particular, young people sending explicit photographs of themselves via mobile phones.

The Board noted that sexting is an issue of concern in Australian society. The Board considered that the woman appears young and that the issue of sexting is of particular concern where it concerns young men and women and older children. The Board considered that the images of Liz on the website were sexualised and suggestive of sexting .

The Board considered that these images were not appropriate considering that the target audience of the advertisement is likely to include young men and women - the same audience considered to be at risk with regards to the issue of sexting .

The Board determined that these images did not treat sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and that the images breached section 2.3 of the Code.

The Board then considered section 2.6 of the Code:

Advertising or Marketing Communications shall not depict material contrary to Prevailing Community Standards on health and safety.

While accepting the Advertiser's commitment to refusing to publish inappropriate photos, the Board considered it possible that younger people would see the current advertisement as condoning or at least giving some legitimacy to the behaviour of uploading images of themselves in underwear and that this is a message that the community views as unacceptable.

The Board considered that this advertisement depicted material contrary to prevailing community standards on online behaviour and safety and was in breach of section 2.6 of the Code.

 

30th March   

The Ghost of Censors Past...

Horror allowed to boom in Malaysia as long as the religious good win out over the ghostly bad
Link Here

pontianakHorror films were effectively banned in Malaysia for three decades for celebrating the other-worldly in violation of Islamic teachings. But since strongman premier Mahathir Mohamad retired in 2003, and popular culture was allowed to relax a bit, they have risen from the dead.

Three of Malaysia's six top-grossing films are fright flicks made in the past two years, and the genre made up more than a third of domestic movies in 2011.

Horror films have struck a chord because they reflect the country's village culture and the traditional superstitions that trouble Malay hearts, says director Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nazri. Horror movies are the type that will be close to our culture, said the director of 2011 box-office hit Ghost Pillion Rider , about a motorcycle speedster haunted by the spirit of a girl who died aboard his bike.

After a 30-year lull in Malaysia when censors stopped approving scary movies citing Islamic, Fragrant Night Vampire hit screens in 2004. The film, about a pontianak , or vampiress spirit, a recurring Malay legend and movie subject, was a huge hit and even won accolades abroad.

Malaysian filmmakers suddenly realized there is a lot of money to be made in horror films, so they jumped on the bandwagon, said Andrew Hock Soon Ng, a film expert: However modern we are, we are still very much regulated by our traditional belief systems .

Mahathir, still an influential repressive voice, last year called such films a bad influence that stoked panic. The National Fatwa Council, which issues Islamic edicts, called them counter-productive to building a developed society.

However there has been no fatwa or any hint of a new ban actually appearing, but like all Malaysian movies, horror films are policed by the Film Censorship Board. It orders objectionable scenes cut and positive messages inserted, such as Islam winning out in the end over the supernatural. In Ghost Pillion Rider , for example, the reckless motorcycle-racing protagonist repents, becoming more religious and responsible.

 

30th March   

Update: Miserable China...

Chinese press censors seize 6 million publications considered illegal
Link Here  full story: Pornography in China...Always under the cosh

fhm chinaChinese officials have confiscated more than six million publications deemed illegal during the first two months of this year. In all about 1,442 cases were involved, China's national pornographic and illegal publication office said.

The office has intensified investigation and punishment to some government authorities who serve as a protective shield for the illegal act of producing and selling porn and illegal publications, a statement said. It will launch stricter crackdowns in sectors such as printing, Internet communication and publication market to eliminate illegal publications, it said.

The repression of pornography and illegal publications has expanded in scope from printed publications to online releases in recent years.

 

29th March   

Just a Hitch...

According to the ASA, nothing to get all worked up about
Link Here

todd indurance advertA poster for Todd Insurance Broker featured a woman walking through an office, away from the camera. One side of the woman's dress was tucked into her underwear. Text next to the image stated What are the odds? Further text stated Life's full of little surprises. Make sure you're covered for Home, Car, Travel and Business Insurance .

A complainant challenged whether the ad was:

  1. offensive because it degraded and objectified women; and

  2. irresponsible because it could be seen by children.

W Todd and Son Ltd did not believe that the poster was offensive or irresponsible. They said the poster was created by a female designer as part of a structured campaign that used the line, What are the odds? accompanied by an image of a recognisable mishap. They said the campaign was intended to be quirky and fun and took a light-hearted approach to thinking about insurance. They added that there was a male version of the poster planned for later in the campaign.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted the complainant's objections to the ad. We noted that the image in the ad showed the women's dress tucked into her underwear and that her underwear, bottom and legs were visible. However, we did not consider that the image was sexually explicit. Neither did we consider the image, or the accompanying text, sexually suggestive. We considered that the image and the text What are the odds? was a play on a recognisable and embarrassing situation, but we did not consider that the approach used in the poster degraded women or was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. We considered that the ad was a light-hearted approach to thinking about the chances of little surprises happening in life. Because we did not consider the poster sexually explicit or suggestive, or degrading to women, we considered that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence. We also considered that it was suitable to be shown on a poster site that could be seen by children. For these reasons we concluded that the poster had not breached the Code.

We investigated the poster under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and Offence) but did not find it in breach.

 

29th March   

Pink Flamingos...

The BBFC agreed to pass John Water's gross comedy at 18 uncut in 2008, but unfortunately the release was cancelled
Link Here

Pink Flamingos DVDPink Flamingos is a 1972 US crime comedy by John Waters. With Divine, David Lochary and Mary Vivian Pearce. See IMDb

The BBFC agreed to an uncut 18 rated DVD release in 2008 but the release was cancelled.

The BBFC addressed the 3 remaining cuts:

  • Probably the most difficult scene was the one featuring a man assaulting a woman with live chickens. However, a careful viewing of the scene suggested that the handling of the chickens, although rough, was no stronger than other scenes of animals being manhandled that had been passed in other films. Furthermore, although the chickens were killed, the killing was quick and clean and therefore not in breach of BBFC policy on animal cruelty.
     
  • The scene showing a man masturbating and injecting semen into a woman's vagina was grotesque and repulsive, rather than erotic. Although the Board had previously expressed concerns about the non-consensual nature of the scene, the datedness of the film and the lack of credibility of the scene, argued against intervention.  With regard to the sexual violence in the scene, the Board's conclusion was that the scene was so over-the-top and so divorced from reality, that the likely response was disgust, shock and horror, rather than arousal.
     
  • The brief explicit fellatio could be justified by the wider context of the film, in that the whole purpose of the film was to shock, disgust and amuse (in a blackly comic fashion), rather than to arouse, and the explicitness of the image was important in creating the film's effect.

Previous Versions

Released uncut for the pre-cert video:
  • UK 1981 Palace VHS

After a long delay, out of fear of a BBFC rejection, the video was eventually passed 18 after 3:04s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1990 Castle VHS

The cuts, justified on grounds of sexual violence, degradation, animal cruelty, and obscenity, were:

  • Cuts were made to remove sight of chickens being roughly handled and killed during a bizarre sexual assault on a woman. [The chicken is crushed between the copulating lovers].
  • Cuts were made to reduce a scene in which Channing the butler masturbates over a captive woman and injects semen into her vagina with a syringe
  • Cuts were made to reduce a scene in which a man flexes his anus in close up, making it look as if the anus is singing .
  • Cuts were made to remove all sight of Babs fellating her son in explicit detail
  • Cuts were made to remove sight of Babs eating real dog excrement.

The elastic singing anus cuts were restored for:

  • UK 1997 cinema release

Then the excrement eating cuts were additionally restored for:

  • UK 1999 EIV VHS

 

29th March   

Update: European Court Filtered Out...

European Parliament trade committee somehow decides not to consult the European Court about legality after all
Link Here  full story: ACTA Trade Restrictions...Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

European Parliament logoThe European Parliament's international trade committee has rejected a proposal by David Martin, an MEP who is drafting the Parliament's position on ACTA. Martin wanted to ask the European Court of Justice for its opinion on the controversial anti-piracy treaty, but the committee decided that wasn't needed and will now vote in June on whether to approve ACTA. Opponents of the treaty see the development as a victory.

In a February announcement, EU trade chief Karel De Gucht said that following discussion with fellow Commissioners, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) would be referred to the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

The treaty, which is aimed at harmonizing global copyright enforcement globally, has largely been formulated behind closed doors and its critics fear it will only lead to censorship and surveillance of Internet users.

The plan was to ask the ECJ to look at ACTA and decide if it conflicts with the EU's fundamental rights and freedoms, including freedom of expression and right to privacy.

ACTA will now be pushed through committees in the European Parliament during April and May and then to a final full Parliament vote at its June plenary session.

If ACTA dies in European Parliament, then it's a permakill, and the monopoly lobbies will have to start fighting uphill, said Pirate Party founder Rick Falkvinge in a comment. If ACTA passes, the same monopolists get tons of new powers to use, and close the door for the foreseeable future behind the legislators for a very necessary reform of the copyright and patent monopolies.

After its existence was first discovered by the public in 2008 after documents were uploaded to Wikileaks, ACTA's opponents now have just 10 weeks to pull out the stops.

 

29th March   

Update: Straight Laced...

Ludicrous Apple censors ban Geometric Porn app
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

geormetric porn videoThe Geometric Porn website describes itself as:

Something abstract existing in thought or as an idea but not having a physical or concrete existence. Visual geometry containing the non-explicit description of sexual organs or activity. Arising in the mind it intends to stimulate erotic rather than aesthetic or emotional feelings.

GeometricPorn is a project by Luciano Foglia, a multidisciplinary visual artist. He has been working in the design industry for over ten years focusing on interactive design, code based animations and music. His personal time is spent exploring new ways of expression in music and art, working from his studio in London, Hackney Wick.

Geometric Porn App has been rejected by Apple censors as explained on the website:

Reasons for Rejection:

16.1: Apps that present excessively objectionable or crude content will be rejected. We found that many audiences would find your app concept objectionable, which is not in compliance with the App Store Review Guidelines.

 

29th March   

Updated: Miserable Bigwigs...

Indonesia assembles a group of senior nutters, censors and the politically correct to battle against porn
Link Here  full story: Anti-Porn Law in Indonesia...A front for the implementation of shariah
suryadharma ali

  Chief Religious Censor

The Indonesian government has formed an anti-porn task force to monitor and enforce an anti pornography 2008 law that prohibits just about anything vaguely sexy.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, who formed the group under a presidential regulation signed on March 2, created the Pornography Prevention and Management Task Force to more effectively coordinate state bodies.

The government stated on its website:

The task force will work under the President and be responsible to the President, and will serve as a coordinating institution, which will coordinate efforts to curb and handle pornography.

Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Ali will serve as executive chairman of the task force and Agung Laksono, coordinating minister for people's welfare, will act as the organization's chair. Other members include State Minister for Women's Empowerment and Child Protection Linda Gumelar, Justice and Human Rights Minister Amir Syamsudin and Education and Culture Minister Muhammad Nuh.

Update: As expected, extreme repressive ideas result from putting a nutter in charge of defining pornography

29th March 2012. See  article from  thejakartaglobe.com

The government's controversial anti-pornography task force, headed by Religious Affairs Minister Suryadharma Al, is now working on measures to repress anything sexy in Indonesia. A discussion that includes coming up with a massively broad definition of pornography, which could potentially equate to dictating how women dress.

We think that there should be general criteria [for women's clothing]. For example, women's skirts should go past their knees, Suryadharma said in Jakarta on Wednesday.

The task force, he said, is in the process of gathering suggestions from the public about what activities should be classified as pornographic and how best to repress them.

Masruchah, the deputy head of the National Commission on Violence Against Women (Komnas Perempuan), immediately slammed the proposed legislation, calling it a violation of women's rights.

Offsite Article: Minister's bid to ban miniskirts using anti-pornography law angers Indonesian women

23rd April 2012. See  article from  thenational.ae

One opposition politician, Rieke Dyah Pitaloka, from the Indonesian Democratic Party of Struggle, told the Jakarta Post that the government should be focusing on more important issues. The way women wear their skirts, below or above the knees, will not impact others, she said.

One of the country's main women's groups, the National Commission on Violence Against Women, has denounced the proposed ban as absurd and repressive.

One of the commissioners, Nurherwati, said it bolstered the still common perception in Indonesia that rape victims were to blame for their ordeal.

The pornography law, she said, was supposed to protect women, but it actually criminalises them . Ms Nurherwati gave the example of a striptease dancer in Bandung, West Java, who was prosecuted under the law, although she was a trafficking victim. When women reported sexual assaults, she said, the first thing police ask is, 'What did you do to get raped?'

...Read the full article

 

28th March   

Update: Canberra Leads the Game...

ACT to adopt the new R18+ adult games rating next week
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Australia ACT flagCanberra, Australia's capital, will start using the new R18+ rating next week.

ACT Attorney-General Simon Corbell said:

This is part of a national reform that will allow adult gamers to view R18+ material in the same way that can already be done for film and printed material, said  But at the same time it will also provide protection to parents and children by giving parents better guidance about what material is and is not appropriate for people under the age of 18.

 

28th March   

Advert Censors of Little Stature...

Advert with 'Midgets' Causes the Widespread Offence of One Person
Link Here

christmas eve with midgets advertClaims on Bar Fusion's Facebook page, for a Christmas event at a bar, viewed on 9 December 2011, featured text which stated CHRISTMAS EVE WITH MIDGETS! FOR THE 1ST TIME IN TUNBRIDGE WELLS THIS CHRISTMAS EVE PARTY WITH OUR VERY OWN XMAS MIDGETS that's right MIDGETS!!!!!!!!! ENTRY JUST £ 5 ALL NIGHT . Beneath this text was an image which included the text To you & friends, from Santa's club. December 24th. XMAS EVE With Our Xmas Midgets .

A complainant objected that:

  • the ad, and in particular the use of the word midgets , was offensive to short statured people; and

  • the ad was irresponsible, because it reinforced negative attitudes towards short statured people.

Bar Fusion said it was never their intention to cause offence and with hindsight they felt they must apologise for doing so. They said the night and artists were booked by an outside promoter who used the term. They therefore believed it was acceptable to use the term and that it would not cause offence. They said once it become apparent that the ad had caused offence, they removed the ad.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that Bar Fusion did not intend to use the ad in future. However, we noted the ad stated CHRISTMAS EVE PARTY WITH OUR VERY OWN XMAS MIDGETS that's right MIDGETS!!!!!!!!! and considered the ad portrayed the presence of individuals of short stature as an attraction and source of entertainment. We therefore considered the ad was likely to cause serious and widespread offence. We also considered the ad promoted negative attitudes towards individuals of short stature and was therefore irresponsible. On that basis, we concluded that the ad breached the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence). Action

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Bar Fusion to ensure that ads were prepared with a sense of social responsibility and did not cause serious or widespread offence in future.

 

28th March   

Extract: Lost Souls at the BBFC...

Robin Cooke talks about 100 years of film censorship at the BBFC
Link Here

Island Masters Cinema Format Blu rayAs the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) celebrates its 100th year, its director David Cooke reflects on some of the films that have challenged the censor over the decades.

One of the best examples is 1932's Island of Lost Souls, the first non-silent screen adaptation of HG Wells' Island of Dr Moreau, starring Charles Laughton and Bela Lugosi. Scene from Island of Lost Souls Island of Lost Souls was first rejected by the British censor in the 1930s

Originally rejected in 1933 - and again in 1957 - the film was eventually classified with an X certificate with cuts in 1958. In 1996 these cuts were restored and the film gained a 12 certificate.

In 2011, it was resubmitted for a new DVD/Blu-ray release and was passed as a PG - making it viewable by children, though it carries the warning: Contains mild violence and scary scenes .

When we had to classify it again last year, we went for PG on the basis of the comparison with the Doctor Whos and the Harry Potters, explains BBFC director David Cooke.

...Read the full article

 

28th March   

Update: Tired Old Minds of Teachers and Old Fogies...

Teachers to debate call for more stringent legislation on computer games
Link Here
Bully Scholarship Edition Xbox 360

  Tender young mind takes on tired old mind

The head of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers is whingeing that parents ignore age restrictions and allow their children to play violent computer games.

The Association of Teachers and Lecturers will raise their concerns about children spending hours a day playing inappropriate computer games at debate during their annual conference in Manchester next week.

ATL head Dr Mary Bousted said some of these games were very violent and could have an effect on tender young minds of children and young people . And she was sure her conference would hear how parents are ignoring age restrictions of computer games. She told reporters:

Of course, they're extremely difficult to enforce, just like films, like TV.

It's about reminding parents and carers that they have a very real responsibility for their children and that schools can't do it alone.

If they're up to 12 or one o'clock playing computer games, and coming to school exhausted, not interacting with other children, that's not good preparation for school, and not good preparation for life.

The fact that children spend hours locked in their rooms playing computer games, which means they're not interacting, they're not playing and not taking exercise.

The motion being debated calls for the union's executive to commission research which will allow it to lobby government for the introduction of more stringent legislation on computer games.

 

28th March   

Updated: Turkish Jewish Group Ignores the 'Day of No Outrage'...

'Outraged' by an inane shampoo advert in Turkey that features a ranting Hitler
Link Here

hitler shampoo advert videoA Turkish shampoo commercial featuring Adolf Hitler has drawn 'outrage' from Jewish groups worldwide and calls for it to be banned immediately.

It's totally unacceptable to make use of Hitler, the most striking example of cruelty and savagery, the Turkish Jewish Community said in a statement.

The commercial for Biomen, a men's shampoo, shows a gesticulating Hitler delivering an enthusiastic speech, urging male customers to buy the product that is a 100% male shampoo.

The United States-based Anti-Defamation League (ADL) joined in the 'outrage'. Abraham H. Foxman, the national director of the ADL said:

Using Hitler, who was responsible for the mass murder of six million Jews and millions of others in the Holocaust to sell shampoo is a disgusting and deplorable marketing ploy.

It is an insult to the memory of those who perished in the Holocaust, those who survived, and those who fought to defeat the Nazis.

Update: Storm Troopers Wade In

28th March 2012.  See  article from  bbc.co.uk

A Turkish TV advert for men's shampoo, featuring Adolf Hitler, has been withdrawn following complaints from the country's Jewish community. Turkey's Jewish community threatened legal action over the unacceptable use of Hitler to promote the product.

The Istanbul-based advertising firm, Marka, and the company that produces the product, Biota Laboratories, both confirmed that, after just ten days on air, the decision had been taken to withdraw the advert for Biomen shampoo.

The Jewish community seemed more upset than they were supposed to be, Beril Mardin, account director with the Istanbul-based advertising firm Marka told the BBC.

 

27th March   

Update: Internet Companies Asked to Pro-actively Censor Social Media...

Government committee seems to envy Chinese censorship of the press and internet
Link Here

Houses of ParliamentIn a report published on 27th March 2012, Parliament's Joint Committee on Privacy and Injunctions says Parliament should not introduce any new privacy statute. It concludes that in weighing the competing rights to privacy and freedom of expression, each case must be judged on its own merits. The bar for limiting freedom of expression must be set high, but the Committee says that the courts are now striking a better balance in dealing with applications for privacy injunctions. It rejects criticism that privacy law has been judge-made , noting that it evolved from the Human Rights Act.

The Committee says the most important step towards improving protection of privacy is to provide for enhanced censorship of the media. The Press Complaints Commission lacked the power, sanctions or independence to be truly effective. Substantial changes to press regulation are needed to ensure that it encompasses all major news publishers including, in time, major bloggers.

The reformed media censor should:

Have access to a wider range of sanctions, including the power to fine; be cost-free to complainants be able to determine the size and location of a published apology, and the date of publication play a greater role in arbitrating and mediating privacy disputes

The body dealing with complaints should include representatives who have experience of working in the print media, but should not include any full-time employees of news publishers or individuals who have a demonstrable conflict of interest.

To make self-regulation work, all publishers must sign up to the new regulator. One possible mechanism the Committee suggests is for advertisers to agree to advertise only in publications that are members of the press regulator and subscribe to its rules.

A standing commission comprising members of both Houses of Parliament should be established to scrutinise industry-led press reforms and to report on them to Parliament. If the industry fails to establish an independent regulator which commands public confidence, the Government should seriously consider establishing some form of statutory oversight. This could involve giving Ofcom or another body overall statutory responsibility for press regulation, the day-to-day running of which it could then devolve to a self-regulatory body.

The Committee says that major internet corporations should take active steps to limit the potential for breaches of court orders through use of their products and, if they fail to do so, legislation should be introduced to force them to. In addition, the Attorney General should be more willing to bring actions for civil contempt of court in respect of injunctions being breached online.

It also concludes that parliamentarians should ensure that material subject to an injunction is only revealed in Parliament when there is good reason to do so. Gratuitous or repeated revelation of such information could lead to new parliamentary rules to prevent it. The media must be legally protected when reporting Parliament, and so qualified privilege should apply to the reporting of all proceedings in Parliament.

 

27th March   

Ofcom Announce a Performance Review of ATVOD...

An aborted ludicrous flat rate fee structure, rules that suffocate the nascent adult VOD industry, expensive fees just to adjudicate on a handful of complaints. ATVOD will pass with flying colours
Link Here

ATVOD logo 2011Christopher Wollard, group director of Ofcom, has written to ATVOD:

Two years ago, Ofcom designated ATVOD (the Authority for Television on Demand) as co-regulator of editorial content included in on-demand programme services ('ODPS').

Paragraph 13 of the Designation says that: The Designation shall be subject to a formal review by Ofcom at the expiry of two years from the date of this Designation taking effect [i.e. 18 March 2012] .

We propose to take the opportunity of the formal review of the Designation to take a broader look at how co-regulation is working.

To this end, the terms of the review, which have been agreed by Ofcom's Content Board, are to:

  • (a) assess whether Ofcom's tests for co-regulation are still being met, and that ATVOD remains an appropriate regulatory authority

  • (b) consider how ATVOD is discharging the designated functions and whether it is meeting the obligations and conditions

  • (c) identify any issues arising from the co-regulation of ODPS that would merit further consideration

  • (d) consider whether to continue the designation, and if so, whether there are any aspects of the designation that may require amendment

Ofcom are keen to hear from stakeholders, particularly VOD providers. Contributions are invited up until 21st May 2012.

Ofcom expect to announce the results of the review in summer 2012.

 

27th March   

Dangerous Protest...

Azerbaijan musicians beaten up by police 'censors'
Link Here

bulistan logoClaims that Azerbaijani police savagely beat performers at a protest must be independently investigated by the authorities, Amnesty International said as Jamal Ali and his band's bass player, Natig Kamilov, continued to be held in custody.

After Ali insulted President Ilham Aliyev's late mother during the band Bulistan's performance in the capital Baku, the two men were arrested along with the event's organizer Etibar Salmanli.

After the incident, a court charged all three men with petty hooliganism and ordered them to spend five to 10 days in administrative detention.

The police's violent assault on the performers at Saturday's peaceful protest must be promptly and thoroughly investigated by an impartial authority, and those responsible brought to account, said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's Director for Europe and Central Asia.

Jamal Ali and Natig Kamilov are being denied access to their families and lawyer. During their court hearing they said they had been beaten again while in police custody.

Azerbaijani authorities have effectively criminalized peaceful anti-government protest in city centres, by banning demonstrations and imprisoning those who organize and take part in them. Police frequently use excessive force to break up peaceful, but officially unsanctioned demonstrations.

 

26th March   

Updated: Don't Go in the House...

First uncut UK video nasty release set for ArrowDrome DVD
Link Here

Dont House DVD Dan GrimaldiDon't Go in the House is a 1979 US horror film by Joseph Ellison. With Dan Grimaldi, Robert Osth and Ruth Dardick. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut with all previous BBFC cuts waived for:

ArrowDrome DVD Features:

  • Reversible sleeve of original artwork
  • trailer,
  • teaser
  • booklet by horror expert Anthony Timpone!

Previously cut by the BBFC

Passed 18 after 3:07s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1987 Apex VHS

The BBFC cuts were again

  • Cuts to nudity and close ups of the scene involving a naked girl in chains being set on fire

Shock Horror Astounding Artwork VideoPreviously banned as a video nasty

Passed X (18) after extensively reduced shots of nudity and graphic close ups from the scene of the chained woman being burned alive, for:

  • UK 1980 cinema release
The cut cinema version was first released on pre-cert video for:
  • UK 1982 Arcade VHS
The uncut version then followed on pre-cert video for:
  • UK 1983 Arcade VHS

The video was then banned as a nasty in July 1983, but was dropped in March 1984 after promises that only the BBFC approved version would be sold.

Summary Review : A Bit Lacklustre

A slasher film about a victim of child abuse (Dan Grimaldi) who grows up to become a maniacal construction worker. He stalks women at discos, takes them home, then hangs them upside-down in a special steel-walled room and sets them on fire.

Don't Go in the House gets off to a fairly good start, but after the first murder scene things begin to slowly fall a apart and it goes from a good movie to an average movie that never is able to get off the ground.

The screenplay written by Joseph Ellison, Ellen Hammill and Joseph R. Masefield starts off well enough with some good insight into the mind of the villain, but there comes a point to where the story never moves forward and in a sense it feels like the same scene is playing out over and over again.

Don't Go in the House isn't a terrible film, but it's just a bit lackluster, while it does have it's moments it just never reaches its full potential.

 

26th March

 Offsite Article: Bill Maher Calls for a 'Day of No Outrage'...

Link Here
Worthy retort to the modern trend for bullies to become 'outraged' at the most innocuous little quips

See article from newsfeed.time.com

 

26th March   

Bangladesh Ignores the 'Day of No Outrage'...

Court orders the blocking of 'outrageous' web pages
Link Here

Bangladesh flagThe High Court in Bangladesh has ruled that five supposedly blasphemous Facebook pages and a website must be blocked.

The court heard the pages were deemed to have offended Muhammad and other religions.

The case was brought by two teachers from Dhaka University and Dhaka Centre for Law and Economics who claimed the pictures hurt the religious sentiment of Muslims. The lawyer making the petition, Muhammad Nawshad Zamir, claimed to the AFP news agency that some of the images were close to pornography. Zamir added that the pages also contained disparaging remarks about the holy book of the Koran, Jesus, Lord Buddha and Hindu gods . He declined to name the Bengali-language website.

This is the first time the country's High Court has intervened, although two years ago Facebook was blocked in Bangladesh for a short period until caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad and obnoxious images of the country's leaders were removed.

 

26th March   

The Not So Democratic Republic of Congo...

Television station attacked after criticism of provincial government
Link Here

DR Congo flagA private television station in the Democratic Republic of Congo has been raided by unidentified men.

Radio Television Kindu Maniema (RTKM) who broadcast from the capital of Maniema province was attacked by a group of men, who set fire to the station's satellite antenna, and damaged the station's offices.

Programme presenter Mira Dipenge went into hiding five days ago, fearing he would be arrested following orders from the governor of the province, Tutu Salumu.

In early February, Salumu ordered station management stop broadcasting call-in programmes in which callers could criticise his management of the province.

 

25th March   

Update: Bare Arsed Hype...

YouTube provide a cuts list required for Madonna's new music video, Girl Gone Wild
Link Here

girl gone wild videoMadonna's new video for Girl Gone Wild has been restricted to adults by YouTube. It is supposedly too raunchy for general viewing, with scenes including partial nudity and a close-up of a man's PVC-clad crotch.

YouTube censors have told Madonna's management that if they want it to be available for viewing by all, they must edit out shots of bare bottoms, a man rubbing his crotch and an implied masturbation scene where a man gyrates before a mirror.

A rep for YouTube told the New York Post

YouTube has decided the video is too raunchy and should only be viewed by those 18 or over, and actually, the video is hard to find on the site. YouTube has sent Madonna's team a list of shots that should be cut to make it appropriate for everyone.

While we don't comment on individual videos, we review all videos flagged by our users against our community guidelines. In some cases we age-restrict flagged material that, while not in violation of those guidelines, contains images that may be unsuitable for younger users.

Madonna's team are working on an edited version of the video for YouTube.

 

25th March   

The Protector...

New UK DVD release of Jackie Chan action film set in America
Link Here

The Protector DVD Jackie ChanThe Protector is a 1985 Hong Kong/US police actioner by James Glickenhaus. With Jackie Chan, Danny Aiello and Sandy Alexander. See IMDb

The Unrated Version was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2012 Showbox/Cine Asia/Hong Kong Legends R2 DVD at UK Amazon just released on 19th March 2012
  • UK 2007 Contender/Hong Kong Legends R2 DVD

Previously a cut US Rated version was released in the UK

The R Rated Version was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1986 Warner VHS
  • UK 1985 cinema release

See pictorial cuts details from movie-censorship.com : 16s of MPAA cuts to violence:

  • cuts to the shooting of the giant
  • cuts to criminal being electrocuted on pinball machine
  • cuts to shooting of Michael

Summary Review: Not a Successful US Intro for Jackie Chan

Billy Wong is a New York City cop whose partner is gunned down during a robbery. Billy and his new partner, Danny Garoni are sent to Hong Kong to investigate a kidnapping. Once in Hong Kong, the pair causes no end of trouble for both drug kingpin Mr. Ko and the local authorities.

It is open to debate but the Hong Kong seems to be generally preferred. See below.

Dissatisfied and immensely disappointed with the US Version, Jackie Chan went back and re-shot and added new sections of the film for the Hong Kong Version, including the addition of a whole new subplot. But he removed all of the nudity from his version.

 

25th March   

Playing a Nutter Game...

US lawmakers want to label nearly all video games with a health warning about violent games
Link Here  full story: Violent Games in the US...Attempts to restrict video games from minors
US SenateUS lawmakers have proposed a bill that would label most video games with the warning:

Exposure to violent video games has been linked to aggressive behavior.

Joe Baca and Frank Wolf have introduced the Violence in Video Games Labeling Act citing the supposed negative effects that video games have on people's health, despite increased findings that suggests otherwise.

Baca spouted.

The video game industry has a responsibility to parents, families and to consumers, to inform them of the potentially damaging content that is often found in their products,  They have repeatedly failed to live up to this responsibility.

If the bill passes, the only games that would be exempt would be those with an ESRB rating of Early Childhood (EC). All others would require the warning on the game box, regardless of whether the game actually featured violent content.

Previous attempts to pass the bill occurred in 2009 and 2011. The Entertainment Software Association, which represents video game publishers in the US, called the bill unconstitutional. In a statement made to Game Informer, the trade group said:

We would commend Representatives Baca and Wolf to the reams of bourgeoning academic research demonstrating that video games can be innovative learning and assessment tools in engaging and educating America's youth, especially in core subjects such as science, technology, engineering and math.

 

25th March   

Extract: Crap Internet Blocking...

Monitoring T-Mobile USA's Web Guard
Link Here

web guard logoT-Mobile USA offers a feature to censor access to certain kinds of content. This is called Web Guard. Supposedly Web Guard is supposed to inhibit access to content that falls under the following categories: Alcohol, Mature Content, Violence, Drugs, Pornography, Weapons, Gambling, Suicide, Guns, Hate, Tobacco, Ammunition.

We were able to extract part of the list of censored content and discovered that sites that do not fall under these categories were also censored. This feature is enabled by default on all prepaid accounts and although it can be disabled by customers who wish to do so (if over 18 years of age), it is not clearly stated in the error page how to do so.

While most of the censored sites are legitimately categorized, there are certain ones that do not fall under the categories of the block. Here is a list of sites that we found to be censored, but that we don't believe belong to any of the banned categories.

...Read the full article

 

25th March   

Updated: The People's Patois...

Chinese internet users develop coded language to work around banned words
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Kikkoman Soy Sauce 1L

Don't look at me..
I was just out getting soy sauce

Scaling the wall. Buying soy sauce. Fifty cents. A mild collision. May 35. Mayor Lymph. River crab.

These words --- mild, silly, inoffensive --- are part of the subversive lexicon being used by Chinese bloggers to ridicule the government, poke fun at Communist Party leaders and circumvent the heavily censored Internet in China. A popular blog that tracks online political vocabulary, China Digital Times, calls them part of the resistance discourse on the mainland.

...

Perry Link, the author of Liu Xiaobo's Empty Chair , described the use of code words and Aesopian allegory by Mr. Liu and other popular bloggers like Han Han: Harmony, for example, is a key word used in the government's rhetoric, and Internet writers use hexie, or river crab, which is a near-homonym of the Chinese word for harmony, to mean repression.

To be harmonized, these days, is to be censored.

Officials are aware, of course, of its barbed meaning on the Internet, said the Chinese writer Yu Ha in an essay in the IHT Magazine, but they can hardly ban it, because to do so would outlaw the 'harmonious society' they are plugging. Harmony has been hijacked by the public.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Naming the Unnameable

25th March 2012.  See  article from  watoday.com.au

Teletubbies Happy Birthday DVD[A few] days ago, Beijing was hosting an innovative tug-of-war for the elderly; this game has nine contestants in all, wrote one internet user, in a thinly veiled reference to the nine members of the Politburo Standing Committee, the country's top political body.

The first round of the contest is still intense. The teletubby team noticeably has the advantage and, relatively, the Master Kong team is obviously falling short.

Teletubby is code for Wen Jiabao, who chided Bo publicly before his ousting - the Chinese version of the children's TV show, Tianxianbaobao, shares a character with the Premier's name. The popular instant noodle brand Master Kong is known as Kang Shifu in Chinese and stands in for Zhou Yongkang, who is reportedly supportive of Bo.

...Read the full article

 

25th March   

Update: Internet for Mummies...

Egypt gears up for internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Egypt...Egypt blocks political and porn websites

Egypt flagWhat started out as a call by an Egyptian member of parliament, has now reached the Ministry of Telecommunications taking its initial steps to block Internet pornography in the country, local daily, Egypt Independent reports.

According to the newspaper, Minister of Telecommunications and Information Technology Mohamed Salem announced that the National Telecommunications Regulation Authority (NTRA) is forming a committee to tackle to methods in which the censorship will be implemented. The committee will also reportedly consist of members of parliament.

The extremist MP, Dr. Younis Makhioun said last month that access to pornography has had a negative effect on families, and has even led to divorce and rape.

Makhioun and Salem are not the only supporters for the ban of Internet pornography, with the parliamentary committee for Transportation and Telecommunications asking not only that access to these sites be blocked, but are also pushing for legislation that will allow for the punishment of ISPs that don't comply with the ban.

Several ISPs already offer customers the option to block their own personal access to adult content, including Egypt's largest ISP, TEData, with its Family Internet service , which allows users to block supposedly indecent content .

 

25th March   

Agent Vinod...

Indian spy film banned in Pakistan
Link Here

agent vinodPakistan's censor board has banned the Bollywood film Agent Vinod .

A statement from IMGC Global, the Pakistani distributor of the film, confirmed that the movie had been banned by the censor board of Pakistan .

There was no official word from the board but sources told PTI that the film, which centres round the exploits of an Indian spy played by Saif Ali Khan, was banned as it contained references to the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) that could hurt the sentiments of people in Pakistan .

The statement issued by IMGC Global quoted the firm's chairman, Amjad Rashid, as saying that Agent Vinod had been banned due to the contents of the movie . Rashid suggested that films should not hurt either the religious or national sentiments of Pakistanis or decelerate the Indo-Pakistan peace-building process .

 

25th March   

Updated: Responding to a Pussy Riot...

Russian lawmaker proposes an increase in fines for for blasphemy
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Russia...Offending religious beliefs or desecration of holy objects or symbols

Russian Duma logoA Russian lawmaker has proposed a ten-fold increase in fines and up to 15 days' administrative arrest for insulting religious beliefs.

Under a bill proposed by United Russia Party member Alexander Sidyakin, fines for offending religious beliefs or desecration of holy objects or symbols would be increased from the current $17-$34 to $170-$340, RIA Novosti reported.

Sidyakin said current fines are insignificant and cannot serve as a deterrent against offending religious feelings.

He said the bill came in response to a stunt by the feminist group Pussy Riot in downtown Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral. Five masked members of the female group stormed the church to perform a punk prayer criticizing what it called the church's links to the Kremlin. See video of Pussy Riot's impromptu performance from youtube.com .

After the incident, Vsevolod Chaplin, a church spokesman, demanded blasphemy be made a criminal offense.

Update: Arrested

11th March 2012. See  article from  huffingtonpost.com

pussy riot in churchTwo members of the Russian feminist band Pussy Riot , who were arrested on charges stemming from a February demonstration inside a Moscow church, have now declared a hunger strike, RT reports.

Band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova and Maria Alyokhina have announced the hunger strike in protest of their arrest over the weekend and the court's decision today to keep them behind bars, supporters told the Russian news site Gazeta.ru.

Police arrested six people on Saturday on charges stemming from a Feb. 21 incident at Moscow's Christ the Savior Cathedral in which five members of the band staged a five-minute performance before police caught up to them.

The five church performers, just a few of the dozens of women who make up the band, pulled the stunt in protest of the church's alleged support of Vladimir Putin, the Moscow Internet television station SOTV reports.

Since forming last September, the group has conducted a number of flash performances in visible areas around Moscow as part of their declared mission to confront Russia's authoritarian rule, sexism, ethnic intolerance, and social atomization, the station reports.

There was plenty of support for the jailed pair at an opposition rally in Moscow, which saw up to 15,000 gather in the city centre.

Pussy vs Putin said one sign in English at the demonstration while another called for Pussy Riot for the Eurovision . One protester held up the female torso of a shop dummy with Free Pussy Riot written on the back. The two women were included in a list of political prisoners read out from the stage.

Update: Chief Rabbi Weighs In

13th March 2012. See  article from  interfax-religion.com

The Judaic community of Russia has sharply condemned the recent performance by the punk group Pussy Riot in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior.

Andrey Glotser, the press officer for Russia's chief rabbi, told Interfax-Religion:

These people did not only insult Christians, they insulted all believers. These young women turned a temple into a cheap political platform. In addition, the way they expressed their views was so inappropriate that I personally absolutely understand to what degree they generally don't care about their fellow citizens, at least those who believe in God,

The protesters have committed blasphemy in a place where people pray to God, which means that they don't care about any temple and, if we look at the situation more broadly, they don't care about other people. Their desire to demonstrate their views was stronger than respect for other people.

One can have different opinions personally about the activities of Vladimir Putin or any other politician, and one can have different opinions about a religion, in particular, the work of the Russian Orthodox Church, the Muslim ummah, or the Jewish community, but this attitude does not give a person license to express his viewpoint in such barbaric ways as this group did.

Update: Still detained

15th March 2012. See  article from  rferl.org

Moscow City Court has upheld a lower-court decision to keep two members of the feminist punk group Pussy Riot in pretrial detention until at least April 24.

About 20 supporters of the women gathered near the court on March 14, and three of them were detained by police.

Update: So much for christian tolerance, forgiveness and turning the other cheek

25th March 2012.  See  article from  rferl.org

patriarch kirill,More than 2,000 people have signed an open letter to Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, asking the clergy not press charges, over the Pussy Riot stunt in a church.

But Kirill has told Russian TV he was sickened by their protest and saddened that Russian orthodox believers would defend the band. He said:

Those people don't believe in the power of prayer, they believe in the power of propaganda, in the power of lies and slander, in the power of Internet and mass media, in the power of money and weapons. We believe in the power of prayer. I call on the whole Russian Orthodox Church for passionate and diligent praying for our country, for our trust, for our people, for God to forgive us our sin.

However not all religious leaders are so unforgiving, others including Vsevolod Chaplin, the influential head of the Orthodox Church's social affairs department, have said the women should not be imprisoned.

 

25th March

 Offsite Article: Privacy court injunctions to be addressed to Twitter, Facebook and the like...

Link Here
Telegraph pre-announces some of the findings of the UK parliament's privacy and injunctions committee

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

24th March   

BBFC Podcast Episode 4: Horror...

The latest in the BBFC's interesting mix of news and info
Link Here

bbfc podcast 4 logoListen to episode 4 of the BBFC podcast where we talk about the latest films, BBFC education work, and how the BBFC classifies horror across the age categories.

 

24th March   

Le Knee Jerks...

Sarkozy proposes law to ban people accessing the websites of terrorist or hate groups
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in France...Web blocking in the name of child protection
Nicolas SarkozyThe terrorist attacks by an Al Qaeda-influenced gunman may signal a new wave of Internet surveillance in France.

President Nicolas Sarkozy used a televised address to propose a new set of laws that criminalize accessing websites affiliated with terrorist sympathizers and hate groups. He said:

From now on, any person who habitually consults Web sites that advocate terrorism or that call for hatred and violence will be criminally punished,

Don't tell me it's not possible. What is possible for pedophiles should be possible for trainee terrorists and their supporters, too.

Sarkozy was referencing French laws that criminalize access to Internet sites with child pornography.

Comment: Not everyone who accesses such sites supports terrorism or hate

1st April 2012. See  article from  en.rsf.org

France's National Digital Council requested in a letter to the president on 23 March voicing concern about the proposal and stressing that fundamental freedoms should not be sacrificed in order to combat cyber-crime and defend national security.

Your proposal raises several questions as regards, for example, the method of identifying the person who commits this offence, existing legislation (such as the eCommerce directive) and the fact that Internet service providers are not obliged to keep a user's browsing history, the council's letter said. Furthermore, use of these sites by certain professions (such as journalists and university academics) and their ability to look at them regularly could raise legitimate difficulties when it comes to enforcing this offence.

 

24th March   

Updated: Pandering to the Morality in Media Sanitarium...

Rick Santorum promises to enforce prohibitions banning adult hardcore porn in the USA
Link Here

rick santorumRick Santorum writes on his website:

America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography. A wealth of research is now available demonstrating that pornography causes profound brain changes in both children and adults, resulting in widespread negative consequences. Addiction to pornography is now common for adults and even for some children. The average age of first exposure to hard-core, Internet pornography is now 11. Pornography is toxic to marriages and relationships. It contributes to misogyny and violence against women. It is a contributing factor to prostitution and sex trafficking.

Every family must now be concerned about the harm from pornography. As a parent, I am concerned about the widespread distribution of illegal obscene pornography and its profound effects on our culture.

For many decades, the American public has actively petitioned the United States Congress for laws prohibiting distribution of hard-core adult pornography.

Congress has responded. Current federal obscenity laws prohibit distribution of hardcore (obscene) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops and through the mail or by common carrier. Rick Santorum believes that federal obscenity laws should be vigorously enforced. If elected President, I will appoint an Attorney General who will do so.

The Obama Administration has turned a blind eye to those who wish to preserve our culture from the scourge of pornography and has refused to enforce obscenity laws. While the Obama Department of Justice seems to favor pornographers over children and families, that will change under a Santorum Administration.

I proudly support the efforts of the War on Illegal Pornography Coalition that has tirelessly fought to get federal obscenity laws enforced. That coalition is composed of 120 national, state, and local groups, including Morality in Media, Family Research Council, Focus on the Family, American Family Association, Cornerstone Family Council of New Hampshire, Pennsylvania Family Institute, Concerned Women for America, The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, and a host of other groups. Together we will prevail.

Update: Nutters harangue Mitt Romney to follow Rick Santorum's anti-porn promises

21st March 2012. See article [pdf] from waronillegalpornography.com

adf logoDear Governor:

Greetings and best wishes. We are writing to seek a meeting with you in the near future to discuss the necessity of enforcing federal obscenity laws should you be elected president. Those laws prohibit distribution of obscene (hardcore) pornography on the Internet, on cable/satellite TV, on hotel/motel TV, in retail shops, through the mail, and by common carrier.

The U.S. Department of Justice has stopped all enforcement of these laws at a time when our nation is suffering an untreated pandemic of harm from pornography.

Illegal adult obscenity contributes to addiction, divorce and break up of families, harm to children who have easy access to the material, violence against women and misogyny, as well as to sexual trafficking. Children are targeted by the pornography industry, and they often engage in sexually exploitive behaviors as a result of their exposure to pornography. Many suffer life-long consequences.

Consumption of adult pornography leads many to consume harder and more deviant material over time and even leads many to consume child pornography, contributing to the widespread and increasing problem of child pornography distribution in America.

We believe that the next president needs to understand that a wealth of research now exists that provides overwhelmingly evidence of the great harms caused by pornography. We deserve to have the nation's obscenity laws enforced. There is widespread public support for enforcement of these laws, which were passed overwhelmingly by the United States Congress.

We look forward to meeting with you and thank you for your consideration

Alan E Sears: President, CEO, & General  Counsel, Alliance Defense Fund
Tony Perkins: President, Family Research Council
Phil Burres: President, Citizens for Community Values
Bishop Harry Jackson: Washington, DC
Mathew d Staver: Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel
Tim Wildmon: President, American Family Association
Donna Rice Hughes: President, Enough is Enough
Laura Lederer: President Global Centurion
Ted Baehr: Chairman, Christian Film & Television Commission
Josh McDowell: Josh McDowell Ministry
Austin Ruse: President, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute
Patrick A Trueman: President & CEO, Morality in Media
Dr Richard Land: President, Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission

Comment: Rick, If You're Against Porn, Don't Watch It

23rd March 2012. See article from facebook.com
See  article from  business.avn.com

alan graysonIn 2008, Florida's 8th Congressional District elected what would turn out to be one of Congress's most liberal members, Alan Grayson.

But having been voted out of his congressional seat in 2010 hasn't stopped the feisty former New Yorker from commenting on a wide variety of social issues ... including porn.

He has excellently responded to Rick Santorum's nutter pandering call to prosecute makers and sellers of hardcore porn. He wrote:

In a TV interview on Sunday, Rick Santorum said that if he is elected President, he will file criminal charges against the distribution of pornography. Santorum specifically referred to exposure on the Internet, so presumably he would censor the Internet.

The Internet Police. What a concept.

...

I have a dramatically simpler idea.

Rick, if you're against pornography, then don't watch it.

You see how that works? Let me give you some more examples.

If you're against contraception, don't use it.

If you're against abortion, don't have one.

If you're against Moslems, don't become one.

If you're against gay marriage, don't have one.

If you're against unions, don't join one.

If you're against universal health care, just keep your distance from doctors and hospitals.

If you're against homosexuality, then feel free to limit your sexual interest to the 3 billion human beings of the opposite gender.

What I'm basically trying to say to Rick Santorum, and everyone like Rick Santorum, is this: mind your own business.

Courage,

Alan Grayson

Update: Santorum Withdraws

11th April 2012. See  article from  business.avn.com

Former Senator Rick Santorum surprised few today with his decision to pull up stakes and suspend his campaign for the Republican nomination for president.

This also means that, unless he is tapped for the ticket, Santorum's so-called war on porn is officially a dead issue. Romney may share the same belief about prosecuting porn, but he is so uncomfortable with any subject that is even remotely messy that it is inconceivable he will ever mention the p word without having been forced to do so, and even then he'll probably just walk away from the issue altogether.

 

24th March   

New Fist of Fury...

New UK DVD release of Jackie Chan action film
Link Here

New Fist Of Fury DVDNew Fist of Fury is a 1976 action film by Wei Lo. With Jackie Chan, Nora Miao and Ming Cheng Chang. See IMDb

A shortened version/Re-edited Version was passed 15 with previous BBFC cuts waived for:

  • UK 2012 15 rated Showbox/Cine Asia Special Collector's Edition R2 DVD at UK Amazon just released on 19th March 2012
  • UK 2007 15 rated Contender DVD

The same version was passed 18 for:

  • UK 2002 18 rated Eastern Heroes DVD

This version is shortened of about 6 minutes of dialogue.

A History of Different Versions

A very short version was passed 15 without BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 2007 Contender DVD
Passed 18 after 2:58s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1989 Videosino VHS

More material was excised than that required by BBFC to remove the sight of nunchakus

An abridged version was passed 18 after 1:01s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1988 Squarecape VHS

The BBFC cuts were reduced just to remove the sight of nunchakus

Passed X (18) after BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1978 cinema release

From IMDb. The cuts were:

  • The film suffered extensive cuts which removed footage of nunchakus and fighting staff plus numerous edits to groin kicks, punches and an ear clap.

 

24th March   

Pants Censorship...

Dubai art fair censors four exhibits
Link Here

after washing by shadi alzaqzouqThe Art Dubai art fair has, every year since its inception 2007, has unsurprisingly seen censorship problems relating to the content or message of its featured works.

The authorities have forced organisers to remove four works from the 2012 fair, two of which directly deal with the Arab Spring.

The first work is entitled After Washing , a round painting by Palestinina artist Shadi Alzaqzouq. The canvas depicts a woman wearing a foulard (veil) and holding a pair of men's pants upon which with the words clear off are written in Arabic. According to French daily Liberation, the artist had already been denied a visa by the authorities.

you were my only love by zakaria ramhaniThe second is You Were my Only Love by Moroccan Zakaria Ramhani, a large canvas depicting a scene from the Egyptian revolution, where members of the police and military have stripped and beaten a protester.

These two pieces were to be displayed at the Artspace Dubai gallery. The gallery's director, Maliha Al Tabari, said that the intervention had not been officially sanctioned. She said she would put the two works in display in the London gallery which she has just opened.

The two other works which were taken down were a statue of a naked man by Lebanese scultor Nadim Karim, and a painting by Iranian Khorow Hassanzadeh which were deemed offensive to Imam Ali .

 

24th March

 Offsite Article: Big Boss Big Brother...

Link Here
Campaign against employers demanding access to the Facebook accounts of their employees

See article from aclu.org

 

23rd March   

Updated: Bullied by US Theatre Owners...

Weinstein Company thwarted in its quest to get Bully exhibited for the teen market
Link Here

bully projectThe Weinstein Company was not well pleased by the MPAA R Rating for the film Bully (aka The Bully Project ) for the amount of strong language.

After the failed appeal against the rating, the Weinstein co initially threatened to pull out of the MPAA and then suggested that they would release the film unrated.

These suggestions seem to have wound up the theatre owners and others in the industry leading to a press release from the Weinstein Co stating their position:

National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) President & CEO John Fithian sent Harvey Weinstein a letter dated February 24 on behalf of NATO stating that they may urge theater owners to treat BULLY as an NC-17 rated film. With an NC-17 rating, children under the age of 18 will not be permitted to see the movie even with a parent or guardian present. The NC-17 threat comes in response to The Weinstein Company's (TWC) suggestion to release BULLY, which has the sole purpose of educating children and highlighting how bullying has become a national crisis, in theaters unrated after the MPAA failed to lower the R rating given for some language.

As a company we have the utmost respect for the National Association of Theatre Owners, but to suggest that the film BULLY could ever be treated like an NC-17 film is completely unconscionable, not to mention unreasonable. In light of the tragedy that occurred yesterday in Ohio, we feel now is the time for the bullying epidemic to take center stage, we need to demand our community takes action.

Update: Just Six Expletives

5th March 2012. See  article from  arabtimesonline.com

It seems that all the fuss about the R Rating of the Bully is down to just 6 expletives.

John Fithian, president of the National Association of Theatre Owners, wrote to Harvey Weinstein, explaining that 'rules is rules' and that it would not be a good idea for Weinstein to try and release the movies unrated:

Grateful As a father of a 9-year-old child, I am personally grateful that (the Weinstein Co.) has addressed the important issue of bullying in such a powerful documentary. Yet were the MPAA and NATO to waive the ratings rules whenever we believed that a particular movie had merit, or was somehow more important than other movies, we would no longer be neutral parties applying consistent standards, but rather censors of content based on personal mores.

That leaves the makers of Bully with the question of whether to edit or bleep the expletives, which are part of the antagonistic behavior documented between kids in the film. Right now, director Lee Hirsch is declining to do that, and has the backing of Weinstein. The director says such editing would minimize the harsh realities of bullying.

To cut around it or bleep it out, it really absolutely does lessen the impact and takes away from what the honest moment was, and what a terrifying feeling it can be (to be bullied), says Hirsch: I feel a responsibility as a filmmaker, as the person entrusted to tell (these kids') stories, to not water them down.

Update: Passed PG in Canada

9th March 2012. See article from hollywoodreporter.com

consumer protection bc logoBully has been rated PG by British Columbia film censors. Parental guidance is advised for the documentary in the western Canadian province, and the film comes with a warning of coarse language; theme of bullying.

Director Lee Hirsch, who has been campaigning against the restrictive R Rating awarded by the US film censor, said:

Last night, I learned of the B.C. board's decision to grant Bully a PG-rating. I am thrilled that kids of all ages can now join their parents, teachers, social work advocates and leaders to bring about change for this deeply important cause.

Meanwhile in the US a petition with 200,000 Signatures will be delivered to the MPAA calling for a PG-13 rating.

Update: Nutters praise the censors but seem a bit confused about public opinion

10th March 2012. See article from hollywoodreporter.com

PTC logoThe Parents Television Council has praised the MPAA for maintaining the R rating for Bully despite pressure from the public and the film's distributors to lower it to PG-13.

The group says its position is based on the language reportedly used in the film. The MPAA also cited language as the reason for the rating.

The council also called for increased public involvement in the ratings process. [...er... the same public that's campaigning for the lower rating?]

Update: Another PG in Canada and Support from Congress

13th March 2012.  See  article from  hollywoodreporter.com

US SenateConservative Alberta became the second Canadian province to give the Lee Hirsch documentary about an epidemic of U.S. school bullying a PG-rating. The Alberta censors included a parental guidance warning, indicating themes or content in Bully may not be suitable for all children.

Meanwhile, the advocacy tools website Change.org has announced that 20 members of the US Congress have signed on to a petition asking the MPAA to lower the R rating it gave to director Lee Hirsch's documentary Bully .

The bipartisan group, led by Representative Mike Honda wrote:

We are writing to express our sincere disappointment in the MPAA's decision to issue an 'R' rating for the soon-to-be-released documentary Bully. This important project shows the real life anguish of many teenagers in this country who are tormented, harassed, and bullied by their peers. This truth should be shared with as wide an audience as is appropriate and possible. We believe an R-rating excludes the very audience for whom this film is desperately important.

The petition started by high school student Katy Butler, has garnered over 275,000 signatures, helped by public support from Ellen Degeneres and New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees.

Update: More PGs in Canada

14th March 2012.  See  article from  hollywoodreporter.com

Manitoba and Ontario are the latest provinces to give the Lee Hirsch documentary about school bullying a PG-rating.

Movie classification boards in British Columbia, Saskatchewan and Alberta last week gave Bully PG-ratings ahead of its theatrical release.

Update: The Hunger Games vs. Bully

23rd March 2012. See article from kansascity.com

The Hunger Games Jennifer LawrenceLawmakers, parents' advocates, filmmakers and teenagers are complaining that language and sex are scrutinized while violence gets a pass ( Bully received an R because it contains scenes of teens hurling profanities). Critics also say that the system of five alpha and alphanumeric characters are blunt tools rather than nuanced instruments and that the overall process is too secretive and rigid.

Michigan Representative Hansen Clarke said:

The hypocrisy is that the very movies that contribute to violence can be seen by teenagers because they get a PG-13, [referring to The Hunger Games]. And the one film ('Bully') that actually teaches them to respect others is given an R.

Dan Isett, public policy director of the nutter group, Parents Television Council, agrees a rethinking is necessary. Like Clarke, he believes movies such as The Hunger Games - and a lot of other films that are approved for teen viewing - merit R ratings:

Certain movies will never get an R no matter what's in them. That's the problem when the ones policing the system have an economic incentive to give films a certain rating.

Yet some legislators, such as California's Representative Linda T. Sanchez, say the rating panels are thinking too narrowly by counting swear words and body parts while ignoring the larger context. It seems like the MPAA missed an opportunity here, she said of Bully, arguing that raters should have taken into account the movie's message.

The MPAA says that making its system more flexible would require raters who can offer value judgments. And that, the group's chief, former U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut, says, takes it into a messy thicket. Who am I going to hire to do that? Writers? Critics? Dodd said in his office last week as the Bully controversy was building. That's not a business we want to be in.

 

23rd March   

Updated: Deleting our Thoughts, our Voices and our Culture...

Google boss comments on censorship being one of the 3 obstacles the internet faces in the next decade
Link Here

eric schmidtGoogle boss Eric Schmidt has been speaking of three of the biggest obstacles the Internet (and the companies and people using that Internet) face in the next decade:

  1. Hackers and cybercriminals
  2. Privacy. While remarking on the difficult in public policy in balancing the public's right to know with individuals' right to privacy, he subtly implied that regulation may not be the best way to address privacy issues. He added: I certainly hope that ranking and other such things will emerge that can distinguish between truth and falsehood.
  3. Censorship. This is a fight near and dear to Google's heart, as those seeking to censor the Internet often point to search engines as culprits in pointing the way to the material they find objectionable. With governments building walled gardens and filtering the information they fear, people don't know what's censored, said Schmidt. We face the very real possibility of a future where software silently deletes our thoughts, our voices and our culture.

But he ended on a hopeful note. The Internet and technology are like water. They always find a way to break through.

 

23rd March   

A Bumper Year for Appeals against MPAA Ratings...

8 appeals so far for 2012 US movie releases
Link Here

MPAA logoThe MPAA, which administers the US ratings system via its Classification and Rating Administration, has already heard eight appeals for films scheduled for release this year. That's double the number the group heard for movies released in 2011 and surpasses the seven appeals it heard for 2010 films.

Failed appeals were:

  • Bully , a documentary about bullying.  Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R for strong language to PG-13.
  • Sea Level , an action adventure. Producers failed to get the rating reduced to G.
  • Killer Joe , a crime drama. Producers failed to get the rating reduced from NC-17 for graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality to R.
  • Haywire , starring Gina Carano in an action picture.  Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R for some violence to PG-13.
  • This Means War.   Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R.
  • Apart . Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R.
  • The Possession , a thriller. Producers failed to get the rating reduced from an R and so made cuts for a PG-13

The only successful appeal was:

  • The Perks of Being a Wallflower , a high-school romance. It was reduced from R to PG-13

I think studios are starting to push a little harder, said Ethan Noble, who runs Motion Picture Consulting, a company that assists filmmakers and studios with ratings and who has worked on numerous appeals, including the one for Bully. And while I think that this is the best system we can have, there does seem to be a disconnect between what the ratings board wants and what filmmakers think should be allowed.

That disconnect, say Noble and others, comes from changing social mores about language and other areas of explicit content while the MPAA, Noble said, is basically using the same system it's had in place for years.

 

23rd March   

Update: A Thin Legislative Programme...

Israel proposes law to ban thin fashion models including Naomi Campbell
Link Here  full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts

NAOMI CAMPBELL Different Photograph AvailableIsrael is set to introduce a law banning underweight models from adverts.

Under the proposed legislation publications would also have to disclose when they use altered images to make women and men appear thinner.

The ban appears to be the first time a government has used legislation to take on a fashion industry accused of abetting eating disorders by idealising extreme thinness.

The law, which will not apply to foreign publications sold in Israel, requires models to produce a medical report, dating back no more than three months, at every shoot that will be used on the Israeli market, stating that they are not malnourished by World Health Organisation standards. WHO says a body-mass index below 18.5 is indicative of malnutrition.

That ludicrously means that models such as Kate Moss with a BMI of around 17 and Naomi Campbell with a BMI of around 6.5, would be considered too thin.

Top Israeli model Adi Neumman said she would not pass under the new rules, because her BMI was 18.3. She said she ate well and exercised. She also said the legislation should have focused on health and well-being, not weight.

 

23rd March   

Rating Appeals Process at the MPAA...

Background to the debate about the rating for Bully reveals a few details of the MPAA appeals process
Link Here

MPAA logoImplemented by longtime MPAA chief Jack Valenti largely to avoid government censorship, the US movie rating process is a well-worn, if murky, system.

A group of modestly salaried employees watch dozens of movies every month and offer an initial rating. The MPAA does not reveal the identities of these individuals, or their qualifications, other than to say they are parents who are not affiliated with the film industry.

If producers are not happy with the rating that panel gives a film, they can take it to an appeals board of at least nine people. The MPAA does not say who is on the appeals board, though it is believed to be composed mainly of a rotating group of studio and theater executives - and representatives of religious groups are sometimes present. (The MPAA itself gets one vote.) A maximum of two people are allowed to argue on behalf of the film at an appeals session, which is closed to the public. Records of such sessions are sealed.

To win an appeal, a filmmaker must receive the support of two-thirds of the appeals panel. The ratings are overseen by the MPAA's Los Angeles-based Classification and Ratings Administration, headed by Joan Graves.

Only producers, not the public, can appeal ratings.

The MPAA says film ratings do not assess the value or social worth of a movie or censor any aspect of a film. They simply provide clear information to parents (and all interested moviegoers) about a film's content.

The group's chief, former U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd of Connecticut cites a study commissioned by the MPAA and conducted in 2005 by a company called the Opinion Research Corp. that found 76% of parents with children younger than 13 believed the ratings were useful or very useful.

He also noted that few ratings are appealed. We had something like six appeals out of more than 400 cases last year, he said. That says that we're doing something right.

 

23rd March   

The Deadly Spawn...

New UK DVD from Arrow
Link Here

Deadly Spawn Michael Robert ColemanThe Deadly Spwn is a 1983 Sci-Fi horror by Douglas McKeown. With Charles George Hildebrandt, Tom DeFranco and Richard Lee Porter. See IMDb

UK:   Passed 15 uncut for:

Promotional material from our exclusive feed with Cult Labs :

The Deadly Spawn (Arrow Video)

They Crawl, They Breed, THEY EAT!

Something awful is coming, hurtling through the void in a meteor that's on a collision course with Earth. What terrifying entry in the annals of horror will be unleashed when the sinister intergalactic payload smashes into our planet? Answer? THE DEADLY SPAWN!

Two foolish campers witness the crash and investigate. They become the first eviscerated victims of the alien menace. Soon, a small, heartland American town will be under siege as the carnivores from outer space multiply and feast on the locals.

Can a gang of plucky kids stand up to these invaders from another world? Will the planet be overwhelmed? Find out in THE DEADLY SPAWN, A classic serving of low budget schlock from the golden era of independent American horror.

Disk Features:

  • -Digitally re-mastered windowboxed transfer in the original full frame aspect ratio
  • -Reversible sleeve with original and newly commissioned artwork by Craig Kraaken
  • -Double-sided fold-out artwork poster
  • Collector's booklet featuring writing on the film by Calum Waddell and Tim Sullivan (2001 Maniacs) and an interview between Tim Sullivan and Special Effects Director John Dods.
  • Two Audio commentaries with writer and producer Ted A. Bohus and editor Marc Harwood.
  • A Comic-style prequel with its own musical score
  • Alternate opening sequence with new effects and credits
  • In the Workshop of S/FX Director John Dods
  • A selection of archive TV interviews featuring the filmmakers
  • Stills gallery featuring behind-the-scenes images, pages from the script, artwork and more!
  • Outtake Reel
  • Audition Tapes
  • Original Theatrical Trailer

 

22nd March   

Battle Royale...

The hunger for films with youngsters battling to the death
Link Here

Battle Royale Complete Collection Blu rayBattle Royale is a 2000 Japan action film by Kinji Fukasaku. With Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda and Tarô Yamamoto. See IMDb

US: The Director's preferred Theatrical Version is MPAA Unrated for:

  • US 2012 Anchor Bay Complete Collection (Theatrical + Directors Cut for both BR I & BR II) RA Blu-ray at US Amazon just released on 20th March 2012
  • US 2012 Anchor Bay Complete Collection (Theatrical + Directors Cut for both BR I & BR II) R1 DVD  at US Amazon just released on 20th March 2012
UK: The Director's preferred Theatrical Version was passed 18 uncut for:

Kinji Fukasaku's blood-soaked drama Battle Royale has never been officially released in the US until now.

Anchor Bay has released a 4-Blu-Ray/DVD package with the theatrical and director's cuts, the more politically provocative sequel Battle Royale II, and a bonus disc of documentaries and ephemera. The elaborate extras signal a clear bid to capitalize on the film's fervent stateside fan base.

Our release strategy is extremely focused around the anticipation for The Hunger Games, says an Anchor Bay rep.

The movie depicts near-future dystopia in which a dictatorial Japan controls its rebellious youth by selecting a high school class, sending it to an island, and forcing the students to kill one other. Released in 2000, it made an instant impact in Japan, where it was banned to children under 15. There's been a persistent rumor that Battle Royale was officially banned by the U.S. government as well. This is nonsense, but even Anchor Bay's press release alludes to it, although it blames civic groups for keeping the film off the American market.

Untrue as they may be, rumors of U.S. censorship are telling. Fans want to believe there's something dangerous about the movie. New York Asian Film Festival programmer Grady Hendrix says he's seen the phenomenon before. Just like saying 'banned in China' helps a small art film, saying 'banned' helps raise interest, he says. We've done it for the festival. People want to see things they're not supposed to see. It's smart marketing. In the case of Battle Royale, the fans themselves did most of this marketing.

 

22nd March   

Case Dismissed...

ASA dismisses complaints about an NSPCC mail shot using a DVD case
Link Here

nspcc dvd advertA DVD case, sent as a direct mailing from a children's charity, viewed in December 2011, featured text which stated: KERRY'S FATHER ASKED HER TO DO THE UNTHINKABLE. AND THEN HE FILMED IT . The reverse of the box included the name and address of the recipient and the NSPCC details. The leaflet, inside the DVD case, included further information about ChildLine and a donation form. The leaflet stated: THE FOOTAGE OF KERRY IS NOW WITH THE POLICE. AS IS HER FATHER. BECAUSE SHE WAS ABLE TO TALK TO CHILDLINE .

  1. Seven complainants objected that the text on the cover of the DVD case was disturbing and offensive.

  2. One complainant objected that the text on the cover of the DVD case could cause distress to individuals who had suffered abuse.

  3. One complainant objected that the DVD case was inappropriate for children to see.

The National Society For The Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) said they relied on mailings generating a good level of response from donors and it was therefore important that the mailing stood out. They said the pack recounted the experiences of two children and drew on real examples of the NSPCC's work. They said it was their policy to be truthful about their services and challenges faced by children and young people. They said the wording on the outside of the DVD case did not contain details of the abuse that the child had suffered. The NSPCC said they made every effort to ensure that the mailing was addressed only to individuals over the age of 18 years.

ASA Decision: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted that the NSPCC aimed to raise awareness of the issue of child abuse and that such a distressing subject was likely to cause discomfort when presented in any medium. Nevertheless, we took the view that any discomfort inherent in the subject of child abuse ought to be balanced by the worthwhile purpose of raising awareness of it. We considered that recipients were likely to understand the importance of the issue the mailing presented and that individuals who had suffered abuse would be likely to appreciate the work of the NSPCC and the message contained within it.

We noted that the DVD case was personally addressed to the intended recipient and that the NSPCC logo appeared beneath the address. We also acknowledged that text on the front cover of the DVD did not provide details of the abuse that the child had suffered.

In that context, we considered that the ad made clear its intended purpose, but was not likely to cause excessive distress or serious or widespread offence.

On points 1. & 2., we investigated the ad under CAP Code  rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find it to be in breach.

We noted the complainant did not state that children had been distressed by the ad and that the NSPCC had attempted to ensure that the mailing was personally addressed only to individuals over the age of 18 years. We also noted the wording on the outside of the DVD case did not contain specific details of the abuse the child had suffered and, whilst we considered that adults would understand the references on the DVD case, we considered it unlikely that children would.

Because the NSPCC had taken steps to target their mailing, and because children were unlikely to understand the message given by the text, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause harm to children and was not irresponsible.

On point 3, we investigated the ad under CAP Code  rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) but did not find it to be in breach.

 

22nd March   

Update: Gypsier TV...

Ofcom clears Channel 4 over two programmes, My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and Gypsy Blood
Link Here  full story: Big Fat Gypsy Wedding...TV winds up the easily offended

bigger fatter gypsierChannel 4 has been cleared by Ofcom for running a series of posters promoting the TV series My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding. Billboards and other media adverts for the second series of the show used the words Bigger. Fatter. Gypsier.

More than 300 complaints were rejected after organisations such as the London Gypsy and Travellers Unit said the word gypsier in the advert was shocking and potentially racist.

January's Gypsy Blood documentary was also cleared of causing offence. More than 500 complaints were received by Ofcom about the 90-minute True Stories programme on Channel 4.

The TV censor said its rules had not been broken and that scenes, including children fighting and animal cruelty, showed context and were justified as part of the documentary.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) also rejected complaints about promotion surrounding My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding's second series.

 

22nd March   

Update: Sofa King Right...

Sofa King boss appeals the ASA ban on his advertising slogan
Link Here

sofa king low advertThe owner of the Northampton Sofa King furniture has appealed an advert by the Advertising Standards Authority.

Last month, the ASA found an advert reading The Sofa King -- Where the prices are Sofa King Low! was supposedly likely to cause serious or widespread offence because it alluded to ''so fucking low'. The ASA claimed that the advertisement alluded to a word so likely to offend that it should not be used in advertisements at all.

But Mark Kypta, who has run Sofa King and used the slogan for 10 years, has argued the decision was not consistent with similar cases, including the ASA's rejection of 52 complaints against Burger King advertisements in 2010.

In 2010, 52 complaints were made against a Burger King advertising campaign that used phrases such as king tasty , king delicious and no king parking . The ASA allowed the advertisements, stating they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence because they did not contain any explicit bad language.

Kypta is arguing that this reasoning should apply to the Sofa King's advertising too.

 

22nd March   

Updated: Blocking to Excess...

Pakistan orders up internet censorship system that can block 50 million URLs
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking

Pakistan flagLast month, Pakistan's government put out requests for proposals for a massive, centralized, Internet censorship system. Explaining that ISPs and backbone providers have expressed their inability to block millions of undesirable web sites using current manual blocking systems, the state-run National Information Communications Technology Research and Development Fund said it therefore requires a national URL filtering and blocking system.

The new system would need to handle up to 50 million [blacklisted] URLs, and would operate across the entire Pakistani Internet.

The research fund intends the system to be designed and built within the country, by companies, vendors, academia and/or research organizations with proven track record.

Fifty million URLs is quite a tall order, but not, sadly, for the demands of an Internet censorware device. Censorship, managed by routers and software built by a number of companies, scales rather easily to such demands. Companies like McAfee sell blocking systems for corporate intranets with databases in excess of 25 million web addresses. Such databases have been re-purposed for national firewalls in countries like Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for many years.

Update: Order Cancelled?

22nd March 2012. See  article from  publicaffairs.linx.net
See also Netizen Report: Resistance Edition  from  advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org
See also Index on Censorship joins a global coalition of NGO’s to call for the withdrawal of censorship plans in Pakistan from  indexoncensorship.org

The Pakistan Ministry of Information Technology (MoIT) is to withdraw plans to install a national level URL Filtering and Blocking System , according to the Express Tribune.

Secretary IT Farooq Ahmed Awan was reported to have said that the URL project has been withdrawn due to the concern shown by various stakeholders.

The MoIT has yet to confirm the reports.

 

22nd March   

Update: Hare Krishna Book Not Banned...

Russian censors lose their court appeal to ban Hindu holy book as extremist
Link Here  full story: Religious Book Censorship in Russia...Russia prosecutes holy books over supposed extremism

Bhagavad gita As It Is ebookA Russian court has dismissed an appeal supporting the ban of an edition of the Hindu holy book Bhagavad Gita As It Is , in a case that triggered protests in India. The book is a used by the Hare Krishna movement.

In December, a court in the Siberian city of Tomsk had rejected a plea by prosecutors to rule the edition to be "extremist" and therefore banned.

Prosecutors had filed an appeal in the higher court against the decision and so as to re-impose the ban.

The controversial commentary on the text was written by A C Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada, the founder of the  Hare Krishna movement. Followers in Russia saw the case as part of efforts by the Russian Orthodox Church to restrict their activities.

The Bhagvad Gita, one of the most popular texts for Hindus, takes the form of a conversation between the god Krishna and prince Arjuna.

 

22nd March

 Offsite Article: Google to be criticised by MPs over links to controversial content...

Link Here
Guardian pre-announces some of the findings of the UK parliament's privacy and injunctions committee

See article from guardian.co.uk

 

21st March   

Satan's Slave...

New US all region DVD release of Norman J Warren's Satan's Slave
Link Here

Satans editon Katarinas Nightmare TheaterSatan's Slave is a 1976 UK horror  by Norman J Warren. With Michael Gough, Martin Potter and Candace Glendenning. See IMDb

US: Uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

  • US 2012 Scorpion Katrina's Nightmare widescreen R0 DVD at US Amazon just released on 20th March 2012

Publicity Material: Widescreen

Now for the first time, anywhere in the world, in widescreen in its completely uncut version.

The British release is missing a notable scene (which the director apparently didn't like anyway)

UK: A hybrid version was passed 18 with previous BBFC cuts waived for:
  • UK 2004 Starz/Anchor Bay Norman Warren Collection R2 DVD at UK Amazon

This version is based on the more violent International Version but is missing the sexually violent scene where Stephen smothers a woman with a pillow into unconsciousness. On re-awakening Stephen cuts off her clothes and threateningly traces the scissors across her body. See pictorial version details from movie-censorship.com

Prior to submission to the BBFC, the director removed the notorious scissors scene where scissors are traced over a woman which he had apparently 'never liked anyway'.

The notorious alternative bedroom scene, which was to have been included as a DVD extra, was abandoned after the BBFC asked for cuts.

So if the reports are to be believed, then this version is the Director's Cut but is missing a notable deleted scene from the DVD extras

And before that it was cut by the BBFC

The International Version was passed 18 after 1:04s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1997 Sovereign/Satanica VHS

The BBFC cuts were:

  • edits to a whipping and branding scene
  • edited much of Potter's bedroom assault.

The 1997 Satanica video featured an alternate print which was pre-edited by the director to remove a scene where scissors are traced over a woman and restored many of the original cinema cuts, although the film was then cut by 1 minute 4 secs by the BBFC to edit a whipping scene and much of the bedroom assault.

Summary Review: Bizarre artwork

A young girl is caught up in a devil cult run by her evil uncle and cousin. She can trust no one and even people she thought were dead comes back to haunt her.

The film has a reasonably interesting story, attractive characters, at least one sleazy psycho guy, and plenty of nakedness and blood. Since its about an evil Satanic cult, there's also a few cool ritual scenes with daggers, baphomets and robes, along with an attractive young blonde being offered up to the dark lord. One of the coolest parts of this movie is the opening sequence, if only because of the eerie off-key piano music and bizarre artwork.

The gore, including a nude woman tied to a bed and threatened with scissors, a woman's head crushed, a gory fall off a steep ledge, a blonde stripped naked before being branded and whipped by a priest, a woman slashed with a jagged piece of glass, another nude assaulted by a crucifix, and a nail driven into an eye, is lively enough for the twisted among us

 

21st March   

Update: An Ofcom Storm of Prudery...

Widespread offence of 1 person winds up the easily offended TV censors
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Storm TV logoStorm Night
Storm, 9 December 2011, 23:30

Storm is a free to air babe channel (Sky channel number 966). The licence for the service is held by Chat Central.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to the broadcast of inappropriate content during Storm Night on 9 December 2011.

The female presenter was wearing: a grey pleated skirt, pulled up over her stomach and under her bare breasts; a striped tie draped over her shoulders; a novelty necklace; and white trainers and socks. The presenter was not wearing any underwear.

During the broadcast she lay back on a desk, facing the camera with her legs tightly closed. At various points during the broadcast she changed position and covered her genital area with either a flat or cupped hand.

Approximately 20 minutes into the broadcast she opened her legs to camera and placed a cupped hand over her genitals, clearly applying pressure against her genital area.

She also poured white lotion onto her breasts, which remained there for the duration of the broadcast.

Ofcom considered rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code:

Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.

Ofcom has previously published rules on what Ofcom considers to be acceptable to broadcast on these services post-watershed.

adult chat broadcasters should at no time:

  • broadcast anal, labial or genital areas or broadcast images of presenters touching their genital or anal areas either with their hand or an object; and
     
  • at no time broadcast shots of presenters using liquids of a sort in a way which suggests the liquid is ejaculate.

Ofcom Decision Breach of rule 4.2

In Ofcom's view the images highlighted above were strong and clearly capable of causing offence. We noted that the broadcast included material that is clearly inconsistent with Ofcom's guidance. For example: the presenter was clearly applying pressure against her genital area with her hand and used body lotion in a way that suggested it was ejaculate.

Ofcom noted that in conjunction with those images the presenter performed various other actions including: stroking her body; shaking her breasts to camera; and miming fellatio. Her position on screen (reclining on the desk facing the camera) also resulted in her genital area becoming the focal point of the shot, despite the fact there were no actual images of her genitals, intrusive or otherwise. Ofcom considered the material included images that are not permitted in „adult chat advertising content that is available without mandatory restricted access.

Ofcom considered that because the presenter was not wearing any underwear, the chances of the material contravening the relevant rules and guidance was significantly increased because she had to ensure her genital area was adequately covered by her hand each time she changed position.

Ofcom does not prohibit nudity in adult sex chat services. However, as set out in Ofcom's guidance, images of presenters touching their genital or anal areas either with their hand or an object are prohibited within the context of „adult chat advertising content that is freely available without mandatory restricted access. In light of this we would caution against the use of naked presenters when broadcasting this content.

Ofcom found this material in breach of Rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code.

 

21st March   

That's a Bit Rich!...

ASA dismisses batch of whinges about Harvey Nichols 'Walk of Shame' advert
Link Here

walk of shame videoAn ad uploaded onto YouTube by Harvey Nichols, titled A Harvey Nichols Christmas 2011 - Ever Faced the Walk of Shame? , was viewed between 6 and 12 December 2011. The ad showed several women in evening wear making their way home in the early morning, apparently after a night out. The women all looked dishevelled and uncomfortable, and some were given second looks from passers-by. On-screen text then appeared, which stated Avoid the Walk of Shame this Season , followed by footage of a smartly-dressed woman approaching the entrance of a flat and confidently acknowledging a postman.

The ASA received several complaints:

  1. One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it reinforced negative stereotypes of women, and in particular those women who chose to have casual sex.

  2. One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive and sexist, because it was demeaning to women.

  3. One complainant challenged whether the ad, and in particular a scene of a woman wearing ripped tights, was offensive, because it implied sexual violence.

  4. Three complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it suggested that lower class women who had one-night stands should feel shame, whilst more wealthy women who behaved in the same way should feel proud.

  5. One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it mocked less wealthy women and those who did not have model figures.

Harvey Nichols & Company (HNC) said they were sorry to hear that the ad had offended or caused concern. They said their intention had been to raise a smile by reminding people of a familiar hazard of the Christmas party season -- of waking up somewhere unfamiliar the day after a night out and having to embark on the journey home in attire that was less than suitable for the morning rush hour. HNC said that, in the past few years, that phenomenon had been popularly referred to as the Walk of Shame , but the ad was intended to convey the idea that women did not have any reason to be ashamed. Rather, it was intended to highlight the fact that society tended to be judgemental, and to suggest, playfully, that a woman's choice of outfit could go some way to offsetting that tendency. They said their intention was to show that women could also do the Stride of Pride , which was how men were popularly referred to in the same situation.

HNC said the response to the ad suggested that the vast majority of people who saw it had enjoyed it and taken it in the spirit with which it was intended. They said it had been enjoyed and celebrated by women's magazines and, after 725,000 views on YouTube, the ad had received 1223 likes and only 221 dislikes.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Not upheld

The ASA noted HNC's view that the women had not necessarily had one-night stands. However, like the complainants, we understood the term Walk of Shame to be popularly understood to refer to an early morning journey home specifically after a one-night stand. We therefore considered that, by referencing the Walk of Shame , the implication of the ad was that the women had had casual sex the previous night. Nonetheless, we noted that whilst the ad mainly depicted women on the Walk of Shame who looked dishevelled and uncomfortable, the final scene showed a woman who appeared neat and confident. We considered the ad did not, therefore, reinforce negative stereotypes of women generally, or women who chose to have casual sex in particular, nor that it was sexist or demeaning to women.

We understood one complainant believed the ad was offensive because the scene of a woman wearing ripped tights implied sexual violence. However, we considered the majority of viewers would not interpret the scene in that way, because ripped or laddered tights were common in everyday situations.

We noted the ad depicted women of a range of sizes and in a variety of dress styles. We also noted they were shown in a range of locations and situations which did not necessarily suggest they belonged to a specific social class or had a certain level of wealth. We therefore considered the ad did not imply that lower class women who had one-night stands should feel shame whilst more wealthy women should feel proud, or that it mocked less wealthy women who did not have model figures.

We acknowledged that some people might find the theme of the ad distasteful, but we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On all points, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

 

21st March   

Extract: A Book Fair Missing a Few Key Pages...

London Book Fair is highlighting Chinese authors, but somehow only those that are state approved
Link Here

london book fair 2012 logoThe London Book Fair is facing claims it has bowed to pressure from Chinese authorities by failing to invite dissident and exiled writers to next month's event and choosing only state-approved authors.

Bei Ling, an exiled poet and essayist, has written to the British Council, the organisers of the cultural programme of the fair, which is one of the biggest international publishing events in the world, expressing his surprise over its plans to host Chinese state-approved writers and organisations.

I was amazed that no independent voice, no exiled or dissident writer from China is being represented at the London Book Fair, he told the Guardian, accusing the fair, which is focusing on China this year, of self-censorship to keep Chinese authorities on board.

It is shocking enough that the book fair has worked with Gapp (General Administration of Press and Publication, the agency responsible for regulating publications in China). In order to ensure that their guest country was happy they exercised self-censorship and didn't push for other, non-state-approved writers, although without them you don't get a full picture of literary China, he said.

...Read the full article

 

21st March   

A Total Policing State...

Facebook poster of angry rant charged with 'sending a message that was grossly offensive'
Link Here  full story: Twitter Twits...Police overreact to trivial insults via Twitter and Facebook
facebook trial soldiersPolice have dropped charges of racial aggravation against teenager Azhar Ahmed for comments he posted on Facebook last week.

He is now being charged under the Communications Act 2003 with sending a message that was grossly offensive on March 8.

He has denied the charge, according to The Yorkshire Post.

So that means if you say anything the police deem grossly offensive on social media you can be hauled up in court.

Comment: Total Policing State

16th March 2012 See  article from  guardian.co.uk

Comments about the army on a Yorkshire teenager's Facebook page seem to be too much for the new total policing state. By Richard Seymour.

...Read the full article

Update: Court Adjourned

6th July 2012. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Azhar Ahmed appeared in court charged with making offensive comments on Facebook about the deaths of six British soldiers. He has been accused of committing an offence under the Communications Act of sending a grossly offensive message.

The District Judge heard no evidence and adjourned the trial until 14 September due to an unexpected legal problem.

Around 20-30 far right protesters appeared at Huddersfield Magistrates Court for the hearing and packed out the public gallery.

 

21st March   

Heads in the Cloud...

South Korea proposes measures to further restrict access to internet porn
Link Here

South Korea flagThe South Korean government has proposed further measures to prevent teenagers from easy access to pornographic websites and adult content on mobile phones.

Social security numbers will no longer be used for the age verification needed to view adult content. Social security numbers have been frequently stolen and used by teenagers to gain access to pornographic sites.

Instead, credit card numbers and an Internet personal identification number called i-PIN will be used for online identification from August.

The government will also distribute software that will block access to adult content on smartphones within the first half of the year as well as a content-filtering program that will recognize adult material by analyzing colors and sounds of the content and turn them off by default, according to officials.

The government plans to make it mandatory for all online file-storage companies, dubbed webhard services in Korea, to be equipped with content blocking programs. Webhard services have been regarded as the main source for teenagers downloading adult content.

The government will also increase penalties for internet porn related offences.

 

21st March

 Offsite Article: Extreme Season on Film4...

Link Here
A season of boundary-pushing films leads up to the network premiere of Lars Von Trier's Antichrist, with intros by Mark Kermode. Some of the boundaries now have customs posts and crowd controls though

See article from film4.com

 

21st March

 Offsite Article: Confusion Follows China Real Name Policy Deadline for Microblogs...

Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Early days as China removes anonymity options from Twitter like microblogs

See article from voanews.com

 

20th March   

Night of the Bloody Apes...

The first uncut release of video nasty set for a future release from Nucleus Films
Link Here

Night Bloody Apes Elias MorenoNight of the Bloody Apes is a 1969 Mexican horror by Rene Cordona Jr. With José Elías Moreno, Carlos López Moctezuma and Armando Silvestre. See IMDb

It has just been passed 18 uncut for strong gore, violence, nudity and sexual violence, with previous BBFC cuts waived and distributor cuts restored for:

  • UK 2012 Nucleus DVD

Previously Precut

A heavily pre-cut version was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for:
  • 2002 Film 2000 DVD
  • 1999 Sovereign/Satanica VHS

In 1999 the video was released on the Satanica label, in a version that was obviously taken from Vipco's planned cut version (Vipco's logo remains). This time the distributor removed every single violent scene before submitting it to the censors. Strangely the scene where the doctor assistant is killed contains several shots of a completely different character being killed, whose demise doesn't happen until a few scenes later in the film.

See pictorial cuts details from movie-censorship.com :

  • Cuts to Julio's surgical transplant operation to receive an ape's heart
  • Extensive cuts to Julio's attack, rape and murder of a woman in a hospital room
  • Cuts to Julio's murder of man by slashing at his throat and then fleeing.
  • Cuts to Julio's assault on a woman in the park who gets stabbed in teh stomach.
  • Cuts to a man getting his eyes gouged out.
  • Cuts to a second heart surgery operation.
  • Cuts to Julio ripping a man's head off.
  • Cuts to Julio scalping a man.
  • Cut's to Julio crushing a male nurse's face

Video Nasty

It was released nearly uncut in January 1983 by Iver Film Services. By November 1983 it had been listed as a video nasty and suffered a successful prosecution. It remained on the list throughout the panic and so became one of the collectable DPP 39s.

Summary R eview: Pretty Grim

A mad scientist attempts to cure his son's leukemia by doing the first ape-to-human heart transplant. He decides to put a gorilla's heart into the lad and orders his flunky to prepare the gorilla! . There is actual footage of a graphic open heart surgery inserted in the ape operation scenes. This of course causes the boy to turn into a big stinky man-ape...

The film is a very cheap Mexican 'horror' and it is pretty grim.  And really most of the film is so comic book and likeable, dammit, that you can forgive the rather shoddy idea of using said transplant footage as a main point of sale.

People say that really bad films are funny to watch because they are so bad. I have only found this to be the case with one film before now, Death Wish 3, but now Night Of The Bloody Apes has become one of my pet films. A desert island treasure.

 

20th March   

Alton Towers Attraction Rated 12A by the BBFC...

Confusing as to whether it is open to under 12's when accompanied by their parents
Link Here

nemesis sub-terra logoFollowing unprecedented feedback from a testing panel during its beta phase, Alton Towers Resort has been compelled to seek advice from esteemed film classification body the BBFC, to help assess its new psychologically terrifying underground attraction, Nemesis Sub-Terra , which opens to the general public on 24th March 2012.

For the first time in history for a theme park attraction, the BBFC agreed to assess Nemesis Sub-Terra, so that Alton Towers Resort could protect its younger visitors from the intense and disturbing effects of the new attraction and consider appropriate restrictions.

Now in its 100th year of operation, until now the BBFC has only rated content in the form of film releases, DVDs/Blu-Ray, digital downloads and video games. The BBFC considered carefully the feedback and unique nature of the attraction (which is neither a ride, performance nor a maze) and agreed to lend their advice.

Murray Perkins, Senior Examiner at the BBFC commented:

The BBFC is seeing a real blur of the old boundaries of visual content and physical experience in both 3D and 4D cinema, and at theme parks. Applying our experience of the public's acceptability of moments of threat on screen, to more physical experiences, is something we have begun to do as cinema and other theatrical experiences evolve.

After experiencing the attraction first-hand, based on 100 years of experience and line with British public opinion, we would recommend that Alton Towers Resort classify the new Nemesis Sub-Terra a '12A'. The BBFC's Guidelines at '12A'/'12 allow moderate physical and psychological threat, provided that the disturbing sequences are not frequent or sustained. Nemesis Sub-Terra contains some intense moments, in some respects comparable with scary scenes which may be experienced in horror or science fiction films at '12A'/'12. But while some people will no doubt find this a frightening experience, the personnel monitoring the site are soon on hand to guide the public to safety.

Katherine Duckworth from Alton Towers Resort commented:

The classification advice from the BBFC is important for the Resort to ensure the wellbeing of our guests. We are aware the enforcements that will now be implemented will mean that many of our younger visitors are unable to experience Nemesis Sub-Terra, which we are obviously concerned about. However, the Alton Towers Resort prides itself on offering a variety of rides for all ages and we hope that those under the age of 12 will continue to enjoy our other attractions.

 

20th March   

Update: Games Rating Bill Goes Up a Level...

Australian lower house passes legislation to introduce an adult rating for games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

australian parliamentComputer game ratings for adults-only are a step closer after Australia's lower house passed legislation on Monday.

The new laws will bring computer games in line with the classification system for films and make Australia more consistent with international standards.

The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Amendment (R18+ Computer Games) Bill 2012 passed the House of Representatives with bipartisan support.

It now proceeds to the Senate.

 

20th March   

Some Serious Censure...

Ofcom whinges at the occasional instances of strong language that accidentally slip out before the watershed
Link Here

Ofcom have a regular whinge at strong language that slips out before the watershed. Broadcasters usually explain the accidental slip up. The latest examples are;

road wars logoRoad Wars
Pick TV, 11 January 2012, 18:00

Road Wars is a fly-on-the-wall documentary featuring the work of traffic police squads in the UK and USA. The licence for Pick TV is held by British Sky Broadcasting Ltd ( Sky or the Licensee ).

Ofcom was alerted to offensive language in this broadcast by two complainants. During this episode, a man was arrested on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs and taken to a police station. On the way to the station, the man became violent and during an altercation that followed he used offensive language. The words fuck or fucking were broadcast five times.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.14 of the Code, which states:

The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed... .

Sky apologised for any offence caused to viewers by the broadcast of offensive language in this programme. The Licensee said that upon discovering the incident it launched an immediate investigation and concluded that the broadcast of this post- watershed version of Road Wars resulted from human error.

Hanging up DVD Diane KeatonHanging Up
Sony Entertainment Television, 29 January 2012, 20:00

Hanging Up is a comedy drama in which three dysfunctional sisters clash over who should take on the burden of looking after their ailing father. The film has been given a 15 certificate rating by the BBFC.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to the use of the word fucking in this broadcast of the film. Approximately 40 minutes into the film there is the following interchange between sisters Maddy and Eve:

Maddy: I've told you a million times, stop talking to me as if I'm like you!

Eve: Oh, fuck you! [turns to another character] And fuck you!

Sony said that the unedited version of this film carried a restriction that should have automatically prevented it from being scheduled before 9pm, but that a software upgrade on 5 November had disabled a block automatically preventing this post-watershed content from being scheduled before the watershed.

Ofcom concluded in both cases that the words 'fuck' and 'fucking' broadcast before the watershed were a clear breach of Rule 1.14.

Ofcom Warning to Broadcasters

Ofcom also found Swedish channel TV6 in breach of its rules for an episode of Vampire Diaries shown at 19:00. In this case it was violence that was considered too much for the pre-watershed hour.

Ofcom further decided to publish a general warning to broadcasters against 'fucking' accidents

Ofcom logoOfcom has recently noted a number of cases where material which was originally produced for a post-watershed timeslot has been transmitted unedited or inappropriately edited for transmission pre-watershed or when children are particularly likely to be listening. This material often contains unsuitable language or violence. In such cases broadcasters frequently explain that such failures have occurred as a result of transmission and/or human errors.

All broadcasters are reminded that they are under a clear duty to ensure that robust procedures are in place, supported by a sufficient number of appropriately qualified and trained staff, to ensure full compliance with the Code.

All broadcasters must check their compliance procedures regularly to confirm they are effective enough to fulfil this requirement. Failure to have adequate procedures in place to ensure compliance with Ofcom's codes is a serious matter.

Ofcom recently made clear that it expects broadcasters to exercise particular care in relation to the protection of children and the compliance of material broadcast before the watershed on television, and on radio when children are particularly likely to be listening.

Broadcasters are put on notice that any serious or repeated failings in this area are likely to result in Ofcom taking further regulatory action, for example, the consideration of the imposition of statutory sanctions

The Daily Mail prodded Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch-uk for a sound bite:

Vivienne PattisonI'm really glad that Ofcom is taking it seriously because it is something we have brought up with them.

What I would really like to see is for them to show teeth and rather than a rap on the knuckles I would like to see some serious censure. We need real and meaningful sanctions.

I think what people want is a regulator with teeth that can show some leadership and be taken seriously.'

 

20th March   

Update: Manga is Not a Crime...

Man arrested by Canadian Customs re Manga comics has been cleared of criminal charges
Link Here  full story: Canadian Customs...Taking a particular interest in banning gay material

manga-is-not-a-crime logoThe Comic Book Legal Defense Fund and the Comic Legends Legal Defense Fund are pleased to announce that the Crown has withdrawn all criminal charges in R. v. Matheson, the case previously described as the Brandon X case, which involved a comic book reader who faced criminal charges in Canada relating to comic books on his computer. The defendant, Ryan Matheson, a 27-year-old comic book reader, amateur artist, and computer programmer has been cleared of any criminal wrongdoing.

After a search of his laptop in 2010, Matheson was wrongfully accused of possessing and importing child pornography because of constitutionally protected comic book images on that device. He was subjected to abusive treatment by police and a disruption in his life that included a two-year period during which he was unable to use computers or the internet outside of his job, severely limiting opportunities to advance his employment and education.

Matheson has agreed to plead to a non-criminal code regulatory offense under the Customs Act of Canada. As a result of the agreement, Matheson will not stand trial.

Although the outcome of this case is ultimately positive, comic book readers should be aware that there are still dangers for traveling with comics in Canada. Michael Edelson, who managed the defense said:

Aside from the very positive outcome to this story, your members should be cautioned concerning the search and seizure regime here in Canada exercised by the Canadian Border Services Agency. Moreover, they should also be aware that although anime and manga is legal in many areas of the United States and Japan, etc., to possess and utilize, the Canadian authorities may take a different view if this material is found on any laptops or mobile devices when you enter the country.

Edelson’s firm has created a new advisory on traveling with comics and manga in Canada that is available here: CBLDF – Legal Memorandum – Canada Issues . The CBLDF’s previous advisory, which addresses the issues of traveling with comics through international borders is located here: CBLDF Advisory – Comic Book Art at Intl Borders

Please visit cbldf.org today to make a donation in support of paying off Ryan's legal defense and creating new tools to combat abuses like this from happening in the future. You can also support this effort by becoming a member of the CBLDF. Every contribution helps CBLDF get Ryan back on his feet, and furthers our efforts to protect the First Amendment rights of comics and manga.

 

20th March   

Update: Whimps Cast Out...

Expendables 2 to be R rated despite whimpy hype about a PG-13 rating
Link Here  full story: Expendables...Tough guys and whimpy censorship

EXPENDABLES Movie Poster Promo FlyerThe Expendables was an R Rated tough guy actioner with no shortage of strong language and arterial blood spurts.

But previous hype about The Expendables 2 suggested the filmmakers were targeting a tame PG-13.

Chuck Norris explained in an interview for Gazeta:

In 'Expendables 2', there was a lot of vulgar dialogue in the screenplay. For this reason, many young people wouldn't be able to watch this. But I don't play in movies like this. Due to that, I said I wouldn't be a part of that if the hardcore language is not erased. Producers accepted my conditions and the movie will be classified in the category of PG-13.

Sylvester Stallone has also confirmed that the sequel will indeed be knocked down a ratings peg:

The PG13 is true, but before your readers pass judgement, trust me when I say this film is LARGE in every way and delivers on every level. This movie touches on many emotions which we want to share with the broadest audience possible, BUT, fear not, this Barbeque of Grand scale Ass Bashing will not leave anyone hungry.

But now, Sylvester Stallone says that the PG-13 rating was nothing more than a rumor. He told StalloneZone:

After taking in all the odd rumors and hearsay, The Expendables II is an R.

 

19th March   

Update: Diplomatic Gesture...

Iran blocks another UK embassy website
Link Here  full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking

iran for iranians logoTehran has blocked another UK Foreign Office website in Iran as part of its ever-tightening stranglehold of censorship , the foreign secretary has said.

William Hague said UK for Iranians was launched on March 14 to reach out to its citizens but access from the country was blocked on March 17. Iran had already blocked the main British embassy website in December 2011.

Britain last year closed its embassy in Tehran and expelled Iran's diplomats. It followed an attack on the embassy building, which Iran described unacceptable behaviour by a small number of protesters . However, British diplomats said they believed it was likely the attack had state backing.

In a statement Hague said the UK for Iranians website had been established to explain UK policy and engage with Iranians and that the blocking of the site was only a very small part of what Iranians endure daily . He said Iran's government had jammed international television channels, closed film and theatre productions, rewritten traditional Persian literature and banned the publication of some books and newspapers.

 

19th March   

Twitter Police...

Police admit taking regular action against supposedly racist tweets
Link Here

Twitter logoA man has been arrested after allegedly making racist remarks on Twitter relating to critically ill footballer Fabrice Muamba.

South Wales police confirmed the arrest of a man for allegedly making racially offensive comments on Twitter.

Officers did not confirm that Muamba was the target of the remarks.

However, police forces throughout the UK regularly take action against those who post racially offensive remarks on Twitter but rarely feel the need to issue a public statement indicating it has happened.

Update: More Details

23rd March 2012. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Liam Stacey a university student, has admitted posting the comments on Twitter, which were forwarded to police by disgusted fellow users.

After pleading guilty to inciting racial hatred the 21-year-old undergraduate was released on bail on condition he stays off Twitter and other social networking sites.

And he was warned by magistrates that all options would be considered when he is sentenced next week.

His messages -- which started with LOL [laugh out loud]. Fuck Muamba. He's dead!!! -- provoked several Premier League stars into complaining.

 

19th March   

Vetting a Repressive Press Censorship Law...

South African Constitutional Court considers whether newspapers and magazines need to submit to state censorship prior to publication
Link Here

south africa constitutional courtCompelling South Africans to obtain approval before they could tweet, Facebook or blog on anything relating to sexual conduct would silence all online expression on the topic, the Constitutional Court has heard.

The court is considering the legality of amendments to Section 16 of the Film and Publications Act requiring that newspapers, magazines, and maybe even online news websites are vetted by state censors prior to publication.

The Home Affairs minister and the Film and Publications Board, supported by the organisation, Justice Alliance of SA, are seeking to uphold the sections of the Film and Publication Act that the South Gauteng High Court previously found to be inconsistent with the constitution.

The act came into force in March 2010, but is now being examined by the court.

Print Media SA and the SA National Editors Forum believe large numbers of publications will have to be submitted to the Film and Publications Board in matters of substantial public interest. It will have severe negative consequences for the publication in terms of deadlines, and for the public.

An argument submitted by an organisation called Section 16, argued that this would mean that even cartoons such as Zapiro's series on the rape of lady justice, or an arbitrary blogger's observations on a report that a politician was caught with a prostitute, would have to be pre-classified.

The parties are also questioning why newspapers were given an exemption, because they fall under the self-regulatory system of an ombudsman and a Press Code, but not magazines.

Legal counsel for the home affairs minister told the Constitutional Court that publications that fell outside those regulated by the press code would have to submit content for classification ahead of publication, and this did not amount to censorship.

Under the act, publication without approval is a criminal offence and could lead to imprisonment for up to five years.

The act was supposedly intended to protect children from exposure to and involvement in inappropriate content, especially sexual content.

 

18th March   

The Harry Novak Collection...

BBFC unbans Mantis in Lace, banned in 1968 for a new UK DVD release on the Revelation label
Link Here

The Harry Novak Collection VolumeMantis in Lace is a 1968 US erotic thriller by William Rotsler. With Susan Stewart, Steve Vincent and James Brand. See IMDb

UK: Passed 18 uncut for strong sex, sexualised nudity, hard drug use and bloody violence for:

  • UK 2012 Freemantle/Revelation Harry Novak Collection R2 DVD at UK Amazon for release on 23rd April 2012

Previously Banned

UK: Banned by the BBFC for:
  • UK 1972 cinema release

Summary Review: Trippy

A topless dancer attracts, seduces, then murders the men she sleeps with using household tools.

This little gem is one of the first key films to combine gore with sleaze. Groovy 60s psychedelia, go-go dancers, sexploitation and horror, all beautifully photographed by Laszlo Kovacs, collide in a kaleidoscope of color and LSD laden sensibilities.

Not to everyone's tastes though, but Susan Stewart will win a few converts.

 

18th March   

ASA Just About Hide their Nutter Credentials with Figleaves...

Stiletto shoes make lingerie advert too sexy for posters near schools
Link Here

figleaves poster advertA poster ad for the Figleaves.com lingerie company seen on 25 November 2011 showed a woman standing by a mantelpiece wearing a bra, knickers, stockings and stiletto shoes. Text stated Figleaves.com everyday luxury for everybody . Issue

The ASA received four complaints.

  1. Three complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive.

  2. Two complainants challenged whether the ad was unsuitable for display where it might be seen by children.

Figleaves said it was a major retailer of high-class lingerie and believed its presentation and promotion of its products was in the utmost of good taste. They said they tried to present their brand in an aspirational and stylish manner; they did not believe it was offensive or salacious in any way. They considered the photography in the ad was more tasteful and less provocative than other current outdoor campaigns and was done in the best possible manner relevant to the product being featured. They did not believe the ad had caused widespread or serious offence because of the low number of complaints the ASA had received.

Figleaves did not accept the ad was inappropriate for children to see. They said they had used a model who was of a suitable age so as not to cause question of age appropriateness. They believed there was no question as to at whom the ad was targeted. They said that very similar imagery was common place for underwear brands, perfume and fashion ads.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted the ad was for a lingerie company and we recognised that their advertising would understandably feature a model wearing lingerie. In this instance, we noted that the model was wearing a matching bra and knickers set, as well as black stockings and stiletto shoes. We noted the complainants' concerns that the ad was overtly sexual but we noted also that the ad did not show any nudity and that the image used was relevant to Figleaves. We understood that the ad may not appeal to everyone. However, we considered that, given the context, which was for underwear, the ad was not overtly sexual and therefore, it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to those who saw it.

However, we considered that the stiletto shoes worn with the stockings, her facial expression and body language were sexually suggestive. Because of that, we considered the ad was inappropriate for children to see and therefore, the ad warranted a placement restriction to prevent it from being displayed within 100 m of schools. We understood that such a restriction had already been applied to the ad and we therefore concluded that in this instance, the ad was not socially irresponsible.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code (Edition 12) rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

 

18th March   

I'm a Palestinian...

Campaigners, judges and bus companies debate what's allowed for the wording of political adverts on the sides of buses
Link Here

im a palestinian advertA long-running dispute over Pro-Palestinian bus adverts in King County, Washington state finally came to a compromise. Adverts were allowed to run on buses, but the message was very different from what was originally requested.

The new ads are part of a campaign titled, I'm a Palestinian, with the saying equal rights for all underneath. The messages will run with pictures of everyday Palestinians on Metro Transit buses.

The ads were sponsored by SeaMAC, the Seattle Mideast Awareness Campaign devoted to the Palestinian cause, which attempted to launch an ad in 2010 with the message, Israeli war crimes...your tax dollars at work with a picture of a demolished house by an Israeli military strike.

The 2010 ads were denied by a federal judge on the basis of threats made by those opposed to the ads. The judge said that officials had a reasonable basis for limiting the content of the ads on public buses, citing safety concerns in part because threats of violence and disruption from members of the public (from e-mails, phone calls, and anonymous photographs) led bus drivers and law enforcement officials to express safety concerns, and the court finds that it was reasonable for the cancellation of the ads.

The ACLU civil liberties organization joined the fray and helped with a legal defense. The ACLU continues to represent SeaMAC in a continuing appeal against King County regarding the initial banned adverts.

 

18th March   

High Stakes in Bulgaria...

A sure bet that blocking gambling websites will lead to wider internet censorship
Link Here
Bulgaria flagBulgarian ISPs and campaigners have asked newly-inaugurated President Rosen Plevneliev to veto the Gambling Act and return it to the Parliament.

The Parliament have just decided to mandate ISPs to ban access to sites that offer unlicensed online gambling.

In an open letter to Plevneliev, the civic initiative No to ACTA and Internet Control, Internet Society Bulgaria, and the Association of Independent Internet Providers, note that the veto would allow a larger and deeper debate on alternatives for effective fight against unlicensed gambling sites - alternatives that do not violate citizens' rights.

The organizations point out that more and more countries are tempted to censor and limit access to internet sites and the new Act makes filtering a fact in Bulgaria. They stress that filtering internet traffic is an extremely dangerous precedent because instead of prevention and prosecution of the owners of unlicensed gambling sites that violate the law, the authorities will punish consumers by limiting their access to sites. The declaration adds:

Global experience shows that the appetite of governments to control internet is not going down; to the contrary -- it is on the rise. Tomorrow, those who want to control internet for the right content can decide to limit access to Facebook and Twitter.

 

18th March   

Montage of Repression...

Police raid Angolan weekly after president gets easily offended by satirical photo montage
Link Here

folha 8 logoThe Committee to Protect Journalists has condemned the Angolan police raid at the independent weekly Folha 8, which was conducted in connection with a politicized investigation into the publication of a satirical photo montage. Officers confiscated all of Folha 8's computers, effectively crippling the operations of one of the country's two remaining independent publications.

In an interview with news agency LUSA, Folha 8 editor William Tonet said the raid was connected to a public prosecutor's December 2011 criminal investigation into the paper's re-publication of an Internet photo montage lampooning President Jose' Eduardo dos Santos, the Vice President and the military adviser to the president. No formal charges in the investigation have been filed, but the newspaper's computers could be used as evidence against them in the case, local journalists told CPJ.

The seizure of Folha 8's computers is a crude act of censorship meant to silence one of the few remaining independent news outlets in Angola, said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. Satire is not an outrage against the state--it's an important part of robust debate in a free society. We call on authorities to return Folha 8's equipment at once and put an end to this politically motivated investigation.

 

17th March   

Update: Jesus Wept!...

BBC tell vicar that religious exclamations are part of everyday language
Link Here  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

For Crying Out Loud AccordingThe BBC has said religious exclamations are part of everyday language and refused to apologise to a vicar who complained about comments made by Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson.

Clarkson was filmed shouting Jesus wept while driving a KTM X-bow open top sports car and said: God Almighty while driving a Bentley powered by a Spitfire engine.

Graeme Anderson, the vicar of St Mary's church in Radcliffe-on-Trent in Nottinghamshire accused the BBC of double standards where religion was concerned. He whinged:

I found his comments very, very offensive and I think many Christians would also. Related.

They belittled, trivialised and cheapened Jesus Christ and Christianity. I was really quite surprised as he is a BBC presenter and it is blasphemous.

In a statement, the BBC said:

We're aware that blasphemous language, including the casual or derogatory use of holy names or religious words, can be a source of particular offence to some members of the audience, but judgements about its use are difficult because they depend on tone and context.

There is no consensus about words that are acceptable, when, and by whom, as different words cause different degrees of offence to different people. Some of the words and phrases that can cause offence have, whether we like it or not, become part of everyday language and it would be unrealistic for broadcasters to suggest they are not widely used in a range of contexts.

 

17th March   

Kindle Book Censors...

Amazon suspend the Kindle account of Digital Managa
Link Here

digital manga logoDigital Manga wrote:

As March 15, 2012, Digital Manga Inc.'s account has been suspended from the Kindle platform. While we're working to try and amend the situation, we will not be able to publish titles to the Kindle for the foreseeable future. Our account was suspended under troubling circumstances - we have had titles cited for content violation , and while we screen every title to ensure they adhere to Kindle's standards, their guidelines are notoriously vague, and prohibit Pornography and hard-core material that depicts graphic sexual acts.

There is no definition of pornography versus erotica officially available from amazon. In the past, we considered our titles the latter, and strive to comply with Amazon's guidelines. However, with such vague guidelines and a veritable library of erotica in written and drawn form already available on the Kindle, it is difficult to discern exactly what rules Amazon wanted us to comply with. We also find it disheartening that our titles depicting male homosexual romance have been banned while erotica depicting other forms of intercourse flourishes. What makes relationships between men more objectionable than erotic tristes between men and women? This is a question we imagine you're all asking yourselves right now, and a question that we need Amazon to answer for us.

While we work to restore our account, we encourage yaoi fans to explore alternate platforms for reading manga. Our titles are available on emanga.com, Nook (including free apps for your PC, iPad, or Android tablet), and on the DMP App for Apple products and Android Tablets. This event has also led us to pursue the possibility of making digital manga available through other platforms. We look forward to continuing to bring you all the best in manga content, yaoi or otherwise, and appreciate your continuing support.

For Information the Kindle content rules re porn are simply:

See article from kdp.amazon.com

Pornography

We don't accept pornography or offensive depictions of graphic sexual acts.

Offensive

Content What we deem offensive is probably about what you would expect.

Thankfully Amazon soon changed their stance, and Digital Manga posted again:

See article from digitalmanga.com

Due to the events that transpired on Thursday, March 15th we were prepared for the worst. But thanks to the massive outpouring of fan support protesting Kindle's illogical censorship policies and flimsy guidelines, Digital Manga's Kindle account was restored in record time. We had expected an uphill battle, but manga fans and advocates of equal rights made their voices heard and Amazon realized how loud you all can be. This morning, we received this email:

After reviewing your response, we have reinstated your account and we will once again accept your books for possible publication.

Please be advised that all of your submissions must comply with our Content Guidelines for publishing in the Kindle Store and that your future submissions may be subject to additional review prior to being published. This may result in a delay in publishing.

 

17th March   

Update: Nastygrams...

US ISPs will start sending file sharing warning letters from July
Link Here  full story: International 3 Strikes Laws...File sharers threatened with loss of internet access
US flagThe record industry in July will start sending ISPs offending IP addresses for graduated responses in piracy cases.

Cary Sherman, CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America, said most of the participating ISPs are on track to begin implementing the program by July 1. The ISPs that have joined up with the RIAA are Comcast, Time Warner, Verizon, AT&T, Cablevision and Comcast.

The program requires that ISPs send out one or two educational notices to those customers who are accused of downloading copyrighted content illegally. If the customer doesn't put a halt to the practice, the ISP is then asked to send out confirmation notices asking that they confirm they have received notice.

Legal expert Doug Lichtman, a UCLA law professor spoke to an adult industry seminar about these copyright alerts. Calling them warm 'nastygrams,' Lichtman told the adult industry that they should adopt the system, and that file sharers could be persuaded to be come paying consumers.

 

17th March   

Update: India Shares MPAA Concerns...

Court orders a mass block of file sharing websites in India
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
India flagAn Indian court has ordered all of the country's ISPs to block 104 web sites that it claims offer illegal music downloads.

The Indian court's ruling came in the week that MPAA chairman and CEO Chris Dodd told the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry conference, We encourage the Indian film industry to reject as we have, the false argument that you cannot be pro-technology and pro-copyright at the same time.

The ISPs must block the web sites using both DNS and IP address blocking with deep packet inspection to reinforce the ban. Indian ISPs will implement the block by doing much more than just poisoning DNS servers, including IP address blocks and deep packet inspection (DPI). While DPI cannot see within SSH tunnels it can detect whether traffic is being tunnelled and can in theory drop it indiscriminately.

 

17th March   

No Respect for Freedom...

Art censored by officials who claimed disrespect for Kuwait's repressive tradition
Link Here

shurooq amin paintingKuwaiti artist Shurooq Amin is in shock after her exhibition of paintings was shut down without an explanation.

Reports say that government officials walked into the show, three hours after its opening, and took the paintings down, saying they had received a complaint over the content of the paintings.

In an interview with Al-Qabas newspaper, Amin attacked censorship in Kuwait saying the men who closed down her show interpreted the paintings the way they wanted, saying they were disrespectful of the society's tradition and took them down.

Blogger Abrar AlShammari commented via a post entitled Paint to Freedom:

We can't find proper books in our own country anymore, now with Virgin being shut down and all the good writers banned in the other bookstores. Our movies are censored, and instead we're fed a bunch of media advertisements to turn us into consumerist robots during those 15 minutes that the cinema had cut out. Our writings are censored, it's inappropriate to write about love and inappropriate to address the endless issues our society is facing. How does denial help anyone? Why is it believed that if we pretend a problem doesn't exist, it'll go away? It only gets worse the more it's ignored

The intellectuals of the Arab society need to unite to fight censorship and ignorance and regression.

The paintings seemed controversial for some people as they tackle the sex taboo. The exhibition was entitled It's a man's world .

In reaction to shutting down her exhibition, Amin posted her paintings on her website shurooqamin.com .

 

17th March   

Updated: Blaming Sadistic Tendencies on Toys...

Uzbekistan MPs propose ban of foreign made toys that supposedly lead to sadistic tendencies
Link Here

Arab Dagger 15Members of the pro-government Milliy Tiklanish (National Revival) party in Uzbekistan's lower house of parliament have proposed a bill to protect the moral health of children and teenagers by limiting the import of foreign-made toys.

A supporting article by government-run UzDaily.uz has denounced:

toys that harm the spiritual and moral development of children and teenagers and lead to sadistic tendencies. Unfortunately, right now, our children mostly play with toys that are produced outside the country and are not tied to our national traditions.

 

17th March

 Offsite Article: Free Speech Under Fire...

Link Here
Western nations appear to have fallen out of love with free speech and are criminalizing more and more kinds of speech through banning hate speech, blasphemy and discriminatory language

See article from latimes.com

 

16th March   

Scaredy Cats...

ASA consider Paranormal Activity 3 adverts too scary to show before 9pm
Link Here

Paranormal Activity Triple Blu ray DigitalThree TV ads for the film Paranormal Activity 3 broadcast in October 2011. The ads, each ten seconds in length, featured quickly changing scenes shot in the style of video-camera footage.

  • a. The first ad featured a young girl sitting in a garden, while a man said Kirsty has been talking to this imaginary friend . This was followed by a young girl whispering in the corner of a darkened room, then standing in a darkened doorway watching a woman sleeping. A woman said Oh My God! and a girl asked Did you hear that? ; furniture was shown moving around violently, before a girl was seen screaming. On-screen text that stated DISCOVER HOW THE ACTIVITY BEGAN was interspersed throughout the brief scenes.
  • b. The second ad featured a man who said There was something in the house , which was followed by shots of darkened interiors of a home. A woman said We're getting out of here before she was invisibly pulled backwards and, screaming, violently thrown onto a bed. On-screen text that stated DISCOVER HOW THE ACTIVITY BEGAN was interspersed throughout the brief scenes.
  • c. The third ad showed two young girls standing in front of a mirror with a video camera set up behind them. One of the girls said Remember the rules? and turned off the light. The red recording light of the video-camera was shown on screen, while the girls chanted Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary . One of the girls shone a torch under her chin and screamed. The other girl screamed as well and said Katie, it's not funny! before they left the room. The light from the hall revealed a silhouette of a figure standing in the room.

All three ads were cleared by Clearcast with a post 7.30 pm restriction.

1. Twenty nine viewers challenged whether the ads were likely to cause distress to children and adults. 9 reported that their children, aged between 10 and 16 years, had been upset by the ads, and 11 reported personal distress.

2. Fifteen of the complainants challenged whether the ads were suitable for broadcast before 9 pm.

Clearcast said all three ads were approved with a post 7.30 pm timing restriction, which prevented the ad from being shown in and around children's programmes. They said, when they viewed the ads, they recognised the potential to cause distress to some viewers and in particular children, but nonetheless believed the short duration of the ads alleviated the potential for harm or offence, because they did not maintain a level of sustained threat and tension for a period long enough to leave a lasting impression on the average consumer.

ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld

The ASA considered that, although the ads were brief, the general tone was one of fear and threat, with young children screaming in both ads (a) and (c) and a screaming woman being thrown violently backwards in ad (b). We noted the ads appeared to have been shot on a home video camera and took place in a recognisable domestic setting, with ordinary people, which added to the sense of threat.

We noted the ages of those children reportedly upset by the ads ranged from 10 to 16 years. Although we acknowledged that the restriction preventing the ads from being shown before 7.30 pm had kept the material away from younger children, we considered that the overall atmosphere of fear and menace portrayed was nonetheless likely to be upsetting to some older children watching television after that time. We considered that a post 7.30 pm restriction was not sufficient and a post 9pm restriction ought to have been applied in order to minimise the possibility of children seeing the ads.

We also noted some adult viewers were unsettled or disturbed by the ads. However, although we sympathised with their reaction, we nonetheless considered that the ads did not go beyond what viewers would normally expect from ads promoting a 15-certificate horror film.

We considered that a post- 9 pm restriction should have been applied in order to reduce the likelihood of children seeing the ads and concluded that they were unsuitable for broadcast before that time.

The ads breached BCAP Code rules 4.1 (Harm and offence) and 32.3 (Scheduling), but did not breach rule 4.10 (Harm and offence).

 

16th March   

Update: Doing the Dirty on Oscar...

Les Infideles cut to avoid controversy at the Oscars
Link Here  full story: Les Infideles...French comedy suffers from PC censors

les infidelesA joke about the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America was cut from Jean Dujardin's, Les Infideles , new film so he could win an Oscar, it has emerged.

The French star of the silent comedy The Artist won the Best Actor Oscar. But what many of the Americans voting for him did not know was that he produced and acted in a potentially devastating sketch in Les Infideles, which he is currently promoting in France.

A source close to the makers of Les Infideles confirmed that Dujardin played a love cheat French businessman in one of the scenes cut out of the film. In the removed extract, the Frenchman had travelled to New York to conduct an affair, while telling his wife that he was working hard in an office in Manhattan.

As he is about to seduce his lover in a hotel room, the businessman receives a phone call from his wife and tells her: Yes, yes, my darling, everything is fine. Meanwhile, the September 11 terrorist attacks of 2001 can be seen starting outside the window behind him, as a passenger plane flies in to the World Trade Centre. Original news footage was used in the sketch.

The source said: Yes, the scene was considered too much for America. It would have been provocative, especially in the run-up to the Oscars and other awards.

The film has previously come in for a bit of nutter stick. Posters for Les Infideles were taken down in Paris in response to whinges from the politically correct

 

16th March   

Update: Dangerous Exposure...

Journalist threatened with torture for reporting on FGM in Liberia
Link Here

Liberia flagThe Committee to Protect Journalists calls on Liberian authorities to ensure the safety of journalists who have been repeatedly threatened for exposing the practice of female genital mutilation in the country.

Mae Azango, a reporter for the daily FrontPage Africa and New Narratives, a project supporting independent media in Africa, told CPJ she had gone into hiding after receiving several threats for an article she published about Liberian tribes practicing female genital mutilation on as many as two out of every three girls in the country. They left messages and told people to tell me that they will catch me and cut me so that will make me shut up, Azango said: I have not been sleeping in my house.

Wade Williams, the editor of FrontPage Africa, said that several people around town had confronted her over the article, which was widely discussed on radio programs. Williams also said that the newspaper and its personnel were receiving threatening phone calls: They said that for us putting our mouth into their business, we are to blame for whatever happens to us.

Liberian police must immediately investigate these threats and ensure the safety of Mae Azango and other FrontPage Africa staff, said CPJ Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita: The people behind these threats seem to be secure that they can act with impunity. Authorities must send a clear message that threats of violence are crimes, and that they will uphold the law.

 

15th March   

The Cold Light of Day...

BBFC create a children's version of a new Bruce Willis action film
Link Here

THE COLD LIGHT DAY SIGOURNEYThe Cold Light of Day is a 2012 US action film by Mabrouk El Mechri. With Henry Cavill, Bruce Willis and Sigourney Weaver. See IMDb .

Passed 12A for moderate action violence and infrequent strong language after BBFC suggested cuts for category were implemented for:

  • UK 2012 cinema release

The BBFC commented:

  • This film was originally seen for advice. The company was advised that the film was likely to receive a 15 classification but that their preferred 12A could be achieved by making cuts in two scenes:

    - to reduce a focus on injury in one scene and
    - to remove a large blood spurt in another.

    When the film was submitted for formal classification, these changes had been made and the film was classified 12A .

The US cinema release is MPAA PG-13 rated.

 

15th March   

Updated: Killer Rating...

William Friedkin's Killer Joe given the dreaded NC-17 rating
Link Here

killer joeThe MPAA has given an NC-17 rating to William Friedkin's crime drama Killer Joe , prompting Liddell Entertainment to announce it will appeal the ruling.

The film stars Matthew McConaughey and Emile Hirsch and is due for its U.S. premiere at SXSW in March and a domestic launch this summer.

Hirsch portrays a 22-year-old drug dealer who has his stash stolen by his mother and has to come up with $6,000 quick or he's dead. Desperate, he turns to Killer Joe (McConaughey) when he finds out that his mother's life insurance policy is worth $50,000.

Update: Appeal turned down

15th March 2012. See  article from  deadline.com

The Classification and Rating Appeals Board has upheld the NC-17 rating given to the movie Killer Joe .

The Classification and Rating Administration (CARA) had assigned the movie the NC-17 rating for graphic aberrant content involving violence and sexuality, and a scene of brutality.

In the appeal brought by LD Entertainment, the Appeals Board heard statements on behalf of Killer Joe from David Dinerstein, President of LD Entertainment, and Tracy Letts, Pulitzer Prizewinner, Playwright and Screenwriter.

 

15th March   

Human Rights of Equality, Diversity, Political Correctness, and Censorship...

Nutter group Gherush 92 calls for a ban on Dante's The Divine Comedy
Link Here

Divine Comedy Wordsworth Classics LiteratureIt is a world-renowned work of literature and one of the foundation stones of the Italian language, but Dante's The Divine Comedy has been condemned as racist, homophobic, anti-Islamist and anti-Semitic.

The classic work should be removed from school curricula, according to Gherush 92, a nutter group that ludicrously claims to be a human rights organisation. The group acts as a consultant to UN bodies on racism and discrimination.

Dante's epic is offensive and discriminatory and has no place in a modern classroom, claims Valentina Sereni, the group's president.

Sereni told the Adnkronos news agency that it represents Islam as a heresy and Mohammed as a schismatic and refers to Jews as greedy, scheming moneylenders and traitors. Homosexuals are damned by the work as being against nature and condemned to an eternal rain of fire in Hell. Sereni added:

We do not advocate censorship or the burning of books ...BUT... we would like it acknowledged, clearly and unambiguously, that in the Divine Comedy there is racist, Islamophobic and anti-Semitic content. Art cannot be above criticism,

Although supposedly not advocating censorship , they called for the book to be banned anyway, from schools and universities, or at least have its more offensive sections fully explained. 

Of course those being patronised by Gherush 92 are in little need of such bollox. For instance, Franco Grillini, the head of Gaynet, a gay rights' organisation, said the suggestion that Dante's writings should be prohibited marked an excess of political correctness .

 

15th March   

Updated: Miraculously Easily Offended...

Red Bull walking on water advert winds up the Catholic Diocese of Rio de Janeiro
Link Here

red bull walking on water videoA Red Bull commercial has caused huge controversy for allegedly mocking Jesus' miracle of walking on water, and could be banned in Brazil by the National Advertising Council (CONAR), according to Brazilian publication Globo.

In the cartoon ad, Jesus and two of his disciples are sitting inside a small fishing boat. Jesus suddenly gets up and with frustration says: Well guys, that is it! Nothing is going to happen today! I am getting out of here! He leaves the boat and apparently walks on the water. Eventually explaining: There is no miracle here! You just have to be smart and find the rocks to step on.

Local media outlets are reporting that the Catholic Diocese of Rio de Janeiro is considering legal action.

Red Bull has denied any intention of mocking Jesus. The communication department explained:

Red Bull's intention was just to kid around. We even mentioned on the advertising that Jesus didn't need to drink a Red Bull to walk on the water. All we did was to suggest that you need to be smart to walk on the water.

According to CONAR, if the latest commercial is deemed offensive, it will have to be banned unless modifications are made.

Update: Withdrawn in South Africa

15th March 2012. See  article from  eyewitnessnews.co.za

Red Bull South Africa has pulled its Jesus walks on water television campaign following complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

Father Christopher Townsend said religion and faith should never be ridiculed. [Even if it's being ridiculous]: We are used to Red Bull advertising being very cheeky and satirical ...BUT... there is a certain level where it oversteps the mark.

 

15th March   

Extract: Doonesbury Aborted...

The topic of the mockery of abortion legislation proves a little touchy for some newspapers in the US
Link Here
doonesbury on abortionIt seems that some newspaper editors think that abortion does not belong in the funnies section of their papers, and their reluctance is getting national attention.

The comic strip that is causing the uproar is Gary Trudeau's Doonesbury. Several newspapers around the country have decided not to publish the popular satirical comic this week because of a storyline dealing with those now-infamous ultrasounds.

Although Doonesbury often deals with politics, it has been more than 20 years since Trudeau last tackled the subject of abortion. In a recently released statement defending the strip, Trudeau said: This is happening in statehouses across the country...it's lunacy, and lunacy, of course, is in my wheelhouse.

...Read the full article

 

15th March

 Offsite Article: How can insulting soldiers be 'racially aggravated'?...

Link Here
Police arrest man for angry Facebook post about soldiers in Afghanistan

See article from blog.indexoncensorship.org

 

14th March   

Update: Pally Again...

Paypal book censors back off from general bans but may still object to specific books
Link Here  full story: Paypal Book Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as censors of erotic books

paypal logoPayPal retracted its threat to close the accounts of online booksellers who sell works that they claim could be considered obscene.

In a statement posted on its website today, PayPal announced that in the future it will not reject e-books that consist only of text unless they contain child pornography, or ... text and obscene images of rape, bestiality or incest (as defined by the U.S. legal standard for obscenity...).

PatPal committed to limit its objections to particular books rather than rejecting entire classes. It also said that it is developing a process that will allow an author to challenge a PayPal notice that a book violates its policy.

The PayPal statement does not fully resolve all issues, however. It is not clear whether legal material would be affected by PayPal's policy regarding e-books that contain child pornography, some of which may be legal.

This decision recognizes the important principle that neither PayPal nor any other company involved in payment processing has any business telling people what they should read, said Joan Bertin, executive director of the National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC).

 

14th March   

Bare 2 Bear...

ASA dismiss whinges as it seems that partial nudity is to be expected in perfume adverts
Link Here

vip 212 videoA TV ad for VIP 212 fragrances featured a line of people waiting outside a nightclub and a doorman pointing towards a sign which stated THIS IS A PRIVATE PARTY . A woman was seen surreptitiously crawling through the crowd and a man was prevented from trying to enter via a back door. Various people were seen socialising inside the party. A woman was shown from behind, apparently topless, facing a large stuffed polar bear. Another woman was shown, again from behind, throwing open her coat causing a shocked reaction from another woman standing in front of her.

Four complainants objected that the ad was offensive and inappropriate for broadcast at a time when children might be watching.

Puig said that the ad for the VIP 212 perfume was created in line with the overall brand concept of Are you on the list? . They believed the ad would not in any way cause serious or widespread offence and that the levels of nudity were of the kind expected in other ads for fragrance or shower products and were not inappropriate for broadcast around programmes which children would be likely to be watching.

Clearcast believed the ad was not offensive or inappropriate for broadcast at a time when children would be watching and stated that the content was typical of its genre and featured beautiful people in a stylised backdrop. They stated that the ad had been shot in black and white and illustrated the avant garde nature of the party through the fancy dress costumes and the stuffed polar bear. They stated that within this surreal party there were some slightly risque' elements but believed it was commonplace in perfume ads to include artistic shots of provocatively dressed women. They agreed with Puig that ads for shower products often included more flesh and believed the woman seen with the polar bear was sensual, but not overtly sexual.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted the ad featured young, attractive and glamorous characters at an exclusive party. We also noted the ad featured a brief image of a naked woman with her back to the camera, facing a stuffed polar bear and an image of another woman, also with her back to the camera, opening her coat causing a shocked reaction from the person standing in front of her. Although we understood that some viewers may have been uncomfortable with the innuendo presented in the ad, we considered that the black and white images provided a stylised image of a modern, slightly fantastical, party scene and that any partial nudity was fleeting. We considered that the brief images of the women were not presented in an excessively sexual or provocative way and that the content was likely to be in line with most viewers' expectations of a perfume ad. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence and that a timing restriction to prevent the ad from being broadcast at a time when children were likely to be watching was unnecessary.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 4.2 (Harm and offence) and 32.3 (Scheduling) but did not find it in breach.

 

14th March   

The Burning Moon...

New US DVD release of noted German gore fest
Link Here

Burning Moon Andrea ArbterThe Burning Moon is a 1997 Germany horror by Olaf Ittenbach. With Andrea Arbter, Ellen Fischer and Ronald Fuhrmann. See IMDb

A German gore fest that has never even been submitted to the BBFC

US: Uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

  • US 2012 Intervision R0 DVD at US Amazon just released on 13th march 2012

Germany: Uncut for:

Summary Review: Unbelievably gory

The Burning Moon centers on two bedtime stories that a delinquent brother reads his kid sister. These disturbingly morbid stories focus on a serial killing blind date and a murderous, psychotic priest.

The Burning Moon is an unbelievably gory splatter film from German Director Olaf Ittenbach. In the movie a little girls older, drug addicted brother tells her horrifying bedtime stories filled with some of the most over the top splatter ever seen. I have seen many gruesome splatter movies and this one is definitely near the top of the list.

 

14th March   

Updated: Large Corporations to Retain the Upper Hand in Libel Court...

Government libel reform diluted according to free speech campaigners
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

Ministry of Justice logoThe Libel Reform Campaign welcomes the Government's commitment to a Defamation Bill but current proposals do not yet address the extensive problems of libel bullying and the chill on public debate

The Ministry of Justice has published a statement in response to the report of the Joint Scrutiny Committee on the Draft Defamation Bill last year. Its commitment to a Bill is welcome recognition of the serious problems faced by NGOs, scientists, bloggers and authors -- problems set out in wide-ranging evidence by the Libel Reform Campaign and by hundreds of individuals and organisations.

The Government has said it will make changes to introduce a single publication rule and reduce libel tourism and has proposed many beneficial and well-grounded changes to procedure and existing defences.

However, the Government's initial response falls short of what is needed in some important areas:

  • The current libel laws chill speech on matters of public interest and on expressions of opinion on matters in the public realm. We need a new effective statutory public interest defence. Instead, the Government is only proposing minor changes to an already complex, unwieldy and expensive defence, called Reynolds Privilege .
  • Libel laws are used by corporations and associations to squash any criticism and manage their brand. The laws need rebalancing to protect the ordinary individual or responsible publisher, by restricting the ability of such non-natural persons to sue for libel or threaten to do so.
  • The law allows trivial and vexatious claims. There should be easier strike out of trivial or inappropriate claims at an early stage.

Jonathan Heawood, Director, English PEN:

We have heard overwhelming evidence from scientists, bloggers, investigative journalists and authors that libel law urgently needs to be reformed. Our view is that the Government's initial response falls short of what's required for a bill that addresses their concerns. It's hard to understand this diluted response to the public and parliamentary calls for meaningful libel reform.

John Kampfner, Chief Executive, Index on Censorship:

We are disappointed to learn that the Government does not intend to address corporations' use of libel laws to silence criticism in the defamation bill. There are numerous recent instances of corporate bodies and other organisations intimidating individuals who submit their products and practices to scrutiny. We urge the Government to take the opportunity to introduce measures that would constitute a fairer remedy.

Dr Evan Harris, policy advisor to the Libel Reform Campaign:

We need reform that not only provides clear and effective defences to frivolous and chilling libel actions but also sufficiently high hurdles before people are dragged into expensive court actions so that vexatious or trivial libel suits are deterred.

Update: Scientific Journals to be Exempted from Libel Claims

14th March 2012. See  article from  independent.co.uk

Journal Scientific Exploration 24 SummerScientists and academics could be given greater protection from libel claims under changes being considered by Ken Clarke, the Justice Secretary. He told MPs that articles in peer-reviewed journals could be protected as a result of the draft Defamation Bill.

Julian Huppert, a Liberal Democrat who sat on the parliamentary joint committee which examined the Bill, raised the issue with Clarke in the Commons. He said the committee recommended that qualified privilege should be extended to peer-reviewed academic articles in journals.

Huppert asked Clarke:

Do you agree that it is in the public interest for scientists and other academics to be able to publish bona fide research results without fear and that, unless the publication was maliciously false, they should be protected from defamation actions?

The Justice Secretary replied:

We are proposing that peer-reviewed research should be protected and we are now obviously considering the draft of the final Bill in the light of the joint committee's report.

 

14th March   

Update: Taking Tweets Seriously...

A study of Chinese censorship of a Twitter like service shows that the system is agile, priority driven and seems likely to employ a high degree of human intervention
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Vietnam flagThe New Scientist has reported on a study into the way that that Great Firewall of China censors internet users and particularly how this has been adapted to social networking sites.

As expected, the communists are hypersensitive to criticism of the state - but also to people slating internet censorship itself.

The US study also shows Beijing's censorship machine adapts quickly to emerging issues. It's also location-dependent, being far more active, when required, in dissident regions.

David Bamman, a computer scientist and linguist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, got the idea for the research last summer when he noticed how quickly false rumours of the death of former Chinese president Jiang Zemin disappeared from China's Twitter equivalent Sina Weibo. So with colleagues Noah Smith and Brendan O'Connor he decided to study the censorship mechanism more closely.

They studied the Twitter like Sina Weibo and download nearly 57 million messages for a snapshot of 3 months. They then compared these with Sina Weibo's archive to see which tweets were deleted.

As might be expected, criticism of state propaganda was not tolerated. Messages attacking China's Ministry of Truth were zapped, as were ones involving calls for the resignations of incompetent government officials, such as that of the railways minister after a horrific train crash . Complaints about Fang Binxing - architect of the web censoring Golden Shield Project, nicknamed the Great Firewall - were also highly deleted - as were mentions of a pair of Communist Party meetings which became a code word for arranging pro-democracy protests last spring.

The researchers suggest that this agility and infrequent updates to more background censorship issues points to a high level of human involvement and a nuanced approach, rather than total automation. There also seems to be a priority system by location. Bamman explained: In Tibet there was an overall deletion rate of 53% - against 12% in Beijing and 11% in Shanghai. The research will be published in a forthcoming issue of the open access journal First Monday.

 

14th March   

Updated:: World Day Against Cyber-Censorship...

Reporters Without Borders award their annual Netizen Prize on 12th March
Link Here

world day against cybercensorship logoLaunched by Reporters Without Borders in 2008, World Day Against Cyber-Censorship (on 12 March 2012) is intended to rally everyone in support of a single Internet without restrictions and accessible to all.

The fight for online freedom of expression is more essential than ever. The Arab Spring has clearly shown, by creating new spaces for exchanging ideas, that the Internet is a vehicle for freedom. In countries where the traditional media are controlled by the government, the only independent news and information are to be found on the Internet, which has become a forum for discussion and a refuge for those who want to express their views freely.

However, more and more governments have realized this and are responding by trying to control the Internet and by stepping up surveillance of Internet users. Netizens are being targeted by government reprisals. More than 120 of them are currently detained for expressing their views freely online, mainly in China, Iran and Vietnam. World Day Against Cyber-Censorship pays tribute to them and their fight for Internet freedom.

With support from Google, Reporters Without Borders will award the Netizen Prize, on Monday 12th March, at 6 p.m. The ceremony will take place in Paris. The Netizen Prize will be awarded annually to a blogger, online journalist or cyber-dissident who has helped to promote freedom of expression on the Internet. The winner will receive 2,500 EUR in prize money.

Last year the prize was award to the members of the Tunisian independent collective blog Nawaat.

Nominees For The Netizen Prize 2012:

  • Leonardo Sakamoto, Brazil
  • Residents Of The Village Of Wukan, China
  • Maikel Nabil Sanad, Egypt
  • Grigory Melkonyants And The Golos Team, Russia
  • Media Centres Of The Local Coordination Committees, Syria
  • Paulus Le Van Son, Vietnam

Update: And the Winner Was...

14th March 2012. See  article from  english.ruvr.ru

The Netizen Prize this year was awarded to the Syrian internet centers of Local Coordination Committees (or LCC) which, staffed by local civic journalists have continued to collect and disseminate information online on the protests ravaging their country.

Actually, it was awarded to a 27-year-old Syrian activist living in Canada who accepted it on behalf of the Syrian LCCs. The activist blogger preferred to remain anonymous to protect her family still residing in Syria. She said:

The Netizen Prize proves that our voices were heard and that we succeeded in delivering the stories of millions of Syrians who are struggling on the ground to achieve what they have always dreamed - to live in freedom and dignity.

 

14th March   

Updated: Good Christian Bitching...

One Million Moms Recommend ABC's new TV show, GCB
Link Here  full story: Good Chrsitian Bitches...Nutter wind up

gcb advertOne Million Moms (OMM) is a nutter project from the American Family Association. The Southern Poverty Law Center who monitors such groups designates them as an anti-gay hate group.

OMM's is currently calling for a boycott against Toys 'R' Us for selling the gay wedding issue of Archie. They have also called for a boycott of Dallas-based J.C. Penney store. The reason was the company's new spokeswoman, Ellen DeGeneres who is gay,

OMM director Monica Cole has now told a Christian news website that the group is calling for a boycott of GCB , the new ABC show about drunken, back-stabbing, big-hair, Park Cities ladies. On their website, One Million Moms put out an action alert about the show, which reads:

OMM is disgusted with the new program Good Christian Belles which is blasphemy at its worst! It is based on the book Good Christian B*tches and mocks Christianity repeatedly.

This anti-Christian program blasphemes God, Jesus Christ, God's Church, and the Bible. As Christians, we will not stand for this Christian-bashing program. No other religion has to contend with this ridicule so why should we?

The network's irresponsible behavior must be accounted for. They are deliberately attempting to sabotage our faith. Their actions are damaging and destructive to our religion.

As Christians we must demand respect. Together we will defend our Christian values and beliefs.

And they're already claiming a victory.  Kraft pulled their ad for Philadelphia Cream Cheese a few days ago, which OMM claims the company decided to do after consumer complaints started to pile up.

Update: One Million Moms Ignored

14th March 2012. See  article from  popcultureblog.dallasnews.com

Newt Gingrich has now joined the nutter attack on ABC's GCB , claiming it to be anti-Christian bigotry.

The group One Million Moms has called for a boycott of the show, labeling it blasphemy at its worst. B ut after just two weeks on the air, GCB seems to be doing OK.

It's common for a new series to lose 20% of its audience between the pilot and the second episode. But GCB dropped only 4%, going from 7.56 million viewers in week one to 7.25 million in week two. That's impressive audience retention. Much more importantly, GCB gained share among 18- to 49-year-olds, those coveted, credit card carrying, disposable income-laden consumers.

 

14th March   

Premium Rate Censorship...

PhonepayPlus announces its budget for the next financial year
Link Here

phonepayplus logoUK premium rate services (PRS) regulator PhonepayPlus has confirmed its budget for 2012/2013, following consultation with industry and approval from Ofcom.

It expects the total cost of PRS regulation in 2012/13, covering PhonepayPlus' core activity and the Registration Scheme, to be around GBP 4.09 million.

PhonepayPlus has announced the adjusted industry levy for 2012/13 together with a new Registration Scheme fee structure for the coming financial year.

 

14th March

 Offsite Article: Chile fell 47 spots in the latest Reporters Without Borders Press Freedom Index...

Link Here
Journalist Jason Sudar provides a personal example of why, when capturing evidence of police brutality and being detained for his efforts

See article from huffingtonpost.com

 

13th March   

Update: Legality Not Morality...

MasterCard distance themselves from Paypal's unilateral book censorship
Link Here  full story: Paypal Book Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as censors of erotic books

mastercard logoLast week, BannedWriters wrote an open letter to MasterCard, asking them if they could confirm or deny whether pressure from them was behind PayPal's move to refuse the sale of erotica books containing taboo subject matter.

Chris Monteiro, Corporate Public Relations, MasterCard Incorporated responded:

Thank you for your inquiry as to whether MasterCard played a role in the recent decision by PayPal to limit certain content belonging to your members. We appreciate the opportunity to explain our policies and hope to provide clarity regarding this matter. To be clear, MasterCard had no involvement in the decision made by PayPal to refuse to process payments for certain books.

MasterCard maintains a set of standards that prohibit the use of MasterCard-branded cards and systems for illegal activities. These standards require MasterCard's customers to comply with all applicable laws and not to engage in illegal behavior, or in behavior that would cause MasterCard to violate any laws. In this particular scenario, MasterCard would not take action regarding the use of its cards and systems for the sale of lawful materials that seek to explore erotica content of this nature.

 

12th March   

World Day Against Cyber-Censorship...

Reporters Without Borders announce their Enemies of the Internet for 2012
Link Here

world day against cybercensorship logoThe 2012 list of the Enemies of the Internet

  • Bahrain [new entry]
  • Belarus [new entry]
  • Burma
  • China
  • Cuba
  • Iran
  • North Korea
  • Saudi Arabia
  • Syria
  • Turkmenistan
  • Uzbekistan
  • Vietnam

Two countries, Bahrain and Belarus, have been moved from the under surveillance category to the Enemies of the Internet list, joining the ranks of the countries that restrict Internet freedom the most: Burma, China, Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Vietnam. They combine often drastic content filtering with access restrictions, tracking of cyber-dissidents and online propaganda. Iran and China, in particular, reinforced their technical capacity in 2011 and China stepped up pressure on privately-owned Internet companies in order to secure their collaboration.

Iran has announced the launch of a national Internet. Iran and Vietnam have both launched a new wave of arrests, while the bloody crackdown on protests in Syria is hitting netizens hard and is enabling the regime to perfect its mastery of online surveillance with Iran's help. Turkmenistan has fought its first battle in the war over Information 2.0 while North Korea, which is developing its online presence for propaganda purposes, is confronted with an increase in smuggling of banned communications equipment across the Chinese border. In Cuba, bloggers supportive of the government and those critical of the regime argue online.

Saudi Arabia has continued its relentless censorship and suppressed coverage of a provincialuprising. Uzbekistan took measures to prevent Uznet from becoming a forum for discussing the Arab springs. There is one light of hope: the situation is improving in Burma, where the military have permitted the release of journalists and bloggers and the unblocking of news websites, but the legislative and technical tools for controlling and monitoring the Internet have yet to be dismantled.

Bahrain offers an example of an effective news blackout based on a remarkable array of repressive measures: keeping the international media away, harassing human rights activists, arresting bloggers and netizens (one of whom died in detention), smearing and prosecuting free speech activists, and disrupting communications, especially during the major demonstrations.

In Belarus, President Lukashenko's regime has increased his grip on the Web as the country sinks further into political isolation and economic stagnation. The Internet, a space used for circulating information and mobilizing protests, has been hit hard as the authorities have reacted to revolution via the social media. The list of blocked websites has grown longer and the Internet was partially blocked during the silent protests. Some Belarusian Internet users and bloggers have been arrested while others have been invited to preventive conversations with the police in a bid to get them to stop demonstrating or covering demonstrations. The government has used Twitter to send messages that are meant to intimidate demonstrators, and the main ISP has diverted those trying to access the online social network Vkontakte to sites containing malware. And Law No. 317-3, which took effect on 6 January 2012, reinforced Internet surveillance and control measures.

The 2012 list of countries under surveillance

  • Australia
  • Egypt
  • Eritrea
  • France
  • India [new entry]
  • Kazakhstan [new entry]
  • Malaysia
  • Russia
  • South Korea
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Tunisia
  • Turkey
  • UAE

The countries under surveillance list still includes Australia, whose government clings to a dangerous content filtering system; Egypt, where the new regime has resumed old practices and has directly targeted the most outspoken bloggers; Eritrea, a police state that keeps its citizens away from the Internet and is alarmed by its diaspora's new-found militancy online and on the streets of foreign cities; France, which continues its three-strikes policy on illegal downloading, with suspension of Internet access, and where administrative filtering is introduced by an internal security law and appears with increasing frequency in decrees implementing laws; and Malaysia, which continues to harass bloggers (who have more credibility that the traditional media) in the run-up to general elections.

The under surveillance list also includes Russia, which has used cyber-attacks and has arrested bloggers and netizens to prevent a real online political debate; South Korea, which is stepping up censorship of propaganda from its northern neighbour and keeps an array of repressive laws; Sri Lanka, where online media and journalists continue to be blocked and physically attacked; Thailand, where the new government sends bloggers to prison and is reinforcing content filtering in the name of cracking down on lese-majeste; Tunisia, where freedom of expression is still fragile and content filtering could be reimposed; Turkey, where thousands of websites are still inaccessible, alarming filtering initiatives have been taken and netizens and online journalists continue to be prosecuted; and the United Arab Emirates, where surveillance has been reinforced preventively in response to the Arab Spring.

Since the Mumbai bombings of 2008, the Indian authorities have stepped up Internet surveillance and pressure on technical service providers, while publicly rejecting accusations of censorship. The national security policy of the world's biggest democracy is undermining freedom of expression and the protection of Internet users' personal data.

Kazakhstan, which likes to think of itself as a regional model after holding the rotating presidency of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 2010, nonetheless seems to be turning its back on all its fine promises in order to take the road of cyber-censorship. An unprecedented oil workers strike, a major riot, a strange wave of bombings and the president's ailing health all helped to increase government tension in 2011 and led to greater control of information, especially online information: blocking of news websites, cutting of communications around the city of Zhanaozen during the riot, and new, repressive Internet regulations.

Venezuela and Libya are no longer under surveillance.

Thailand put on Warning

If Thailand continues down the slope of content filtering and jailing netizens on lese-majeste charges, it could soon join the club of the world's most repressive countries as regards the Internet.

More than 5,000 pages with content deemed to be critical of the monarchy were taken down between December and March, Thailand's national police spokesman Piya Utayo told reporters.

 

12th March   

Update: Enemies of the Internet...

2000 Chinese people paid for snitching on internet porn
Link Here  full story: Pornography in China...Always under the cosh

Vietnam flagOver 2,000 people in China have been paid for reporting internet and mobile phone pornography to the authorities in 2011.

More than nine million yuan (around £ 1 million) were awarded to a total of 2,129 people, Xinhua reported. People who offered important tip-offs were paid 1,000 to 10,000 yuan.

Four organisations handled 1.26 million tip-off cases from December 2009 when they began soliciting public information till the end of 2011. The organisations were:

  • China Internet Illegal Information Reporting Centre,
  • 12321 Internet Obscene and Trash Information Reporting Centre,
  • Internet Illegal Conduct and Crime Reporting Centre,
  • Reporting Centre of the National Office Against Pornographic and Illegal Publications

The organizations had asked people for greater efforts in snitching up porn on the internet and mobile phones.

 

12th March   

Australian Censor Doesn't Like to be Called a Censor...

Anti-adult games politician, Michael Atkinson, whinges about newspaper article referring to his 'attempts to censor internet blog forums'
Link Here
Michael AtkinsonMichael Atkinson was a South Australian Attorney general who came to the notice of Melon farmers for his strong support of the censorial idea that 18 rated games should be totally banned in Australia.

He complained to the Australian Press Council about an article in The Advertiser of September 6, 2011 on the resignation of Mike Rann. The article contained a few sentences about each of several former and new ministers. The description of Atkinson began:

The party's most eccentric figure sparked voter anger with an attempt to censor internet blog forums ...

Atkinson complained that use of the word censor misrepresented the legislation he introduced to extend to the internet the long-established law that, during election periods, letters to the editor intended to influence the result of the election should bear the author's real name. He complained the newspaper refused to publish a letter to the editor in which he had sought to correct the record.

The newspaper responded that the legislation amounted to censorship because it would have reduced the right to free speech and was an attempt to close down legitimate debate.

The Press Council concluded there are strong grounds for arguing the term censor is an inaccurate or unfair description of the effect of legislation which does not prevent people from expressing themselves on the internet but simply requires them to provide their names in the same way as has long applied to letters in newspapers.

In any event, having used such a strong and disputable term, the newspaper had a clear obligation to publish Atkinson's letter or discuss with him ways in which it could be edited for inclusion. Accordingly, the complaint is upheld on that ground.

 

12th March   

Update: More TV Censorship...

Pakistan proposes vague laws against TV programmes that criticise the state
Link Here

pakistan ministry of information and broadcasting logoPakistan's government has proposed measures taking aim at TV coverage that criticises the organs of the state or undermines Pakistan's solidarity as an independent and sovereign country.

Campaigners have condemned the restrictions as impossibly vague, and some see the powerful hand of Pakistan's military behind them.

Government officials claim the proposed restrictions are not meant to intimidate or impose censorship on the media... BUT ...are instead intended to prod the raucous TV news industry to regulate itself. You have to define certain rules for their own betterment.

Firdous Ashiq Awan, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, said: It's not that government wants it; the whole nation wants it. There must be some rules and regulations.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority, which operates under the information minister, contends that its proposals are benign, but the agency has the power to punish alleged violations by imposing fines and pulling broadcast licences.

The government's goal is not to educate the media or the public, said Hamza Farooq, a Karachi journalist: They are just trying to pressure the media. He and others pointed out that the release of the proposed rules coincides with stepped-up coverage of the long-running Baloch insurgency.

 

12th March

 Offsite Article: Minnesota Girl Alleges School Privacy Invasion...

Link Here
School pressurised 12 year old pupil into handing over passwords enabling staff to comb through private communications

See article from edition.cnn.com

 

11th March   

Immortals...

US release of uncut R Rated DVD and Blu-ray
Link Here

Immortals Henry CavillImmortals is a 2011 US fantasy by Tarsem Singh. With Luke Evans and Henry Cavill. See IMDb

US: Uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

  • US 2012 20th century Fox 2D/3D RA Blu-ray just released on 6th March 2012 at US Amazon
  • US 2012 Universal RA Blu-ray just released on 6th March 2012 at US Amazon
  • US 2012 Universal R1 DVD just released on 6th March 2012 at US Amazon

Cut in the UK

UK: Passed 15 after BBFC cuts for category for:
  • UK 2012 Universal R0 Blu-ray/DVD
  • UK 2012 Universal Steelbook 2D/3D R0 blu-ray
  • UK 2012 Universal R2 DVD
  • UK 2011 cinema release

The BBFC consumer advice reads:

  • Contains strong bloody violence

The BBFC commented on their cuts:

Company chose to make cuts to reduce violence in order to achieve a 15 classification. Cuts included:

  • removal of the bloody focus on a throat being cut

  • reducing the focus on young women dying, having been burnt

  • reducing the focus on eye gouging

  • removing the shot of a beheading, and

  • 'reducing some focus on large splashes of blood resulting from characters being killed.

An uncut 18 classification was available.

 

11th March   

Extract: A Weak Response from the Paypal Book Censors...

Forbes finds that it is not Visa pushing book censorship on Paypal
Link Here  full story: Paypal Book Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as censors of erotic books

forbes logoThere has been a lot of criticism of PayPal across the web, in the erotica and general fiction communities in the last few days. PayPal responded on their blog, saying:

Unlike many other online payment providers, PayPal does allow its service to be used for the sale of erotic books. PayPal is a strong and consistent supporter of openness on the Internet, freedom of expression, independent publishing and eBook marketplaces. We believe that the Internet empowers authors in a way that is positive and points to an even brighter future for writers, artists and creators the world over, but we draw the line at certain adult content that is extreme or potentially illegal.

The problem here is in the weasel words extreme and potentially . How is PayPal to say what is extreme? Or potentially illegal? If they are concerned about facilitating the sale of illegal content they should work with the community to figure out what to do about it, not impose ill-defined and vague strictures on the publishing and distribution companies that use their services.

Then we have:

Some feedback we're getting is a belief that PayPal is forcing its moral beliefs on others and restricting people's right to free speech. We can tell you with 100 percent conviction that this is not our intention. While we understand that people don't always agree with our policies, this decision has nothing to do with our personal views on the content or any desire to limit free-speech rights.

It may not be PayPal's intention to censor fiction, but it is the effect of their policy nonetheless. But we didn't mean it like that is a poor response.

...

Blogger Madeleine Morris, writing on Banned Writers, published a response from Visa to her enquiries about the issues which disputes this view:

Dear Ms. Morris,

Thank you for your email regarding PayPal's recent decision to limit the sale of certain erotica content. First and foremost, we want to clarify that Visa had no involvement with PayPal's conclusion on this issue. Nor have we seen the material in question. This fact is made clear by PayPal's recent blog post where it states that its own policies drove the decision.

[T]he sale of a limited category of extreme imagery depicting rape, bestiality and child pornography is or is very likely to be unlawful in many places and would be prohibited on the Visa system whether or not the images have formally been held to be illegal in any particular country. Visa would take no action regarding lawful material that seeks to explore erotica in a fictional or educational manner.

[...] Visa is not in the business of censoring cultural product. We recognize, as courts in the U.S. and elsewhere have long recognized, that this is a challenging topic. Bright lines are difficult to establish. We welcome the input of all stakeholders regarding our policies as we work to sustain a network that supports global commerce, while respecting the laws of the countries where we operate.

However you look at it, PayPal is imposing its moral position on writers and publishers because it is asking for work to be taken down that has not been found illegal.

...Read the full article

 

11th March   

Diary: Dead by Dawn...

Edinburgh's horror film festival takes shape
Link Here

Dead by Dawn logoDead by Dawn
Thursday 29th March to Monday 2nd April 2012
Filmhouse Cinema, Edinburgh

Highlights:

  • CABIN IN THE WOODS
  • BELOW ZERO (presented by screenwriter Signe Olynyk and co-producer Bob Schultz)
  • SLOBOS DE ARGA (Spanish werewolf movie presented by director Juan Martinez)
  • RED NIGHTS
  • HAUNTERS
  • RED TEARS
  • JUAN DE LOS MUERTOS (Cuban zombies)

4 day festival passed are £ 70

 

11th March   

Update: Just Not Cricket...

Libel tourism case as former New Zealand Cricketer sues in the UK over a dispute with an Indian tweeter primarily affecting his reputation in India
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

uk tourism logoEx-New Zealand cricketer Chris Cairns, who is suing a former Indian Premier League boss over a Twitter posting, has his case heard by the UK High Court in the latest example of libel tourism.

Chris Cairns is taking legal action over a  January 2010 tweet by Lalit Modi alleging that he was involved in match fixing.

The action is taking place in London despite claims by Modi's lawyers that there were only 35 readers of the tweet in England and Wales. Evidence for Cairns put the figure at around 100.

Padraig Reidy of Index on Censorshop said:

The Cairns case is one of the most clear-cut cases of libel tourism we have seen.

While cricket is an international game, the alleged libel took place in India, concerned conduct in India, and primarily affects Cairns's reputation in India.

Plans to prevent libel tourism were put forward by the Government last year. The proposed new rules would block celebrities and businessman from bringing such actions in this country unless it could be proved that publication caused them substantial harm in England and Wales.

 

11th March   

TV Censors...

Israeli troops raid and close down two Palestinian TV stations
Link Here

alwatan tv logoReporters Without Borders is deeply shocked by the raids that Israeli troops carried out on two Palestinian TV stations in the West Bank in the early hours of 29 February, seizing equipment and thereby forcing the stations to close.

These arbitrary and illegal operations served yet again to intimidate Palestinian media and journalists, the victims of repeated attacks by the Israel Defence Forces, Reporters Without Borders said: We urge the Israeli military to return the confiscated equipment and allow the two stations to resume broadcasting.

The raids were carried out by members of the IDF accompanied by intelligence officers on Al-Watan in Ramallah and Al-Quds Educational TV in Al-Bireh (about 2 km outside Ramallah). Both stations are located in territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority.

The IDF claimed that the raids were carried out on two pirate TV stations because they were broadcasting without a licence on frequencies that endangered communications with civilian aircraft.

 

10th March   

Update: Game On...

The Bunny Game set to be release in the US in July 2012
Link Here  full story: The Bunny Game...Banned by the BBFC

The Bunny Game posterAdam Rehmeier's The Bunny Game , banned in the UK, will hit the US in July from new distributor Autonomy. This will be their first release.

Screen Daily reported that Derek Curl, David Gregory and Lewis Tice's new distributor aims to release uncompromising cinema on a worldwide scale and will handle four films this year, starting with Adam Rehmeier's torture porn. Autonomy president Curl said:

The Bunny Game is the last word on the torture-porn sub-genre. I was shocked by its audacity and the raw honesty that it depicted, making me question our collective enjoyment of extreme violence in cinema. At Autonomy Pictures we are not afraid to release such a film, which will undoubtedly inspire heated reaction, because it will allow audiences to make up their own minds.

 

10th March   

Clash of the Titans...

BBFC provide interesting archive material about their clash with the distributors of the 1981 fantasy film by Desmond Davis
Link Here
Clash The Titans Laurence OlivierClash of the Titans is a 1981 US fantasy by Desmond Davis. With Laurence Olivier, Harry Hamlin and Claire Bloom. See IMDb

Back in 1981 it was passed A (PG) after 9s of BBFC cuts for category for:

  • UK 1981 cinema release

From cuts details on IMDb :

  • Removed the close up of Calabos stabbing a man's back with a trident
  • shortened the scene where Calabos is stabbed in the stomach by Perseus to remove sight of Calabos in agony.

Since then it was passed 15 uncut for:

  • UK 1987 MGM VHS

And passed 12 uncut for moderate fantasy violence for:

...Read the full article in which the BBFC publish several letters and documents about how they decided on the 1981 cuts.

 

10th March   

Update: Censors Devalue Freedom...

South Africa's TV censor unilaterally decides that freedom of expression rates below women's rights to whinge at porn
Link Here  full story: Satellite Sex in Africa...MultiChoice consider adding porn channel
icasa logoSouth Afica's TopTV's bid to air TV porn channels was banned in part by the country's TV censor because it deemed women's rights and dignity outweighed the right to freedom of expression.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) released the reasons for its ban:

On the issue of balancing the rights of women to equality and human dignity with the right of freedom of expression, ICASA is of the view that the right of women to equality and human dignity overrides TopTV's right to freedom of expression, as well as the rights of viewers to receive pornography on television in the home.

ICASA holds this view because it regards the consumption of pornography as one contributing factor, amongst others, to the normalization of violence against women in SA.

In its statement  ICASA summarised:

  1. The right of women to equality and human dignity overrides TopTV's right to freedom of expression, as well as the rights of viewers to receive pornography on television in the home.
  2. TopTV's failure to take ICASA's public consultation process seriously damaged its application.
  3. ICASA sees no reason to expand access to pornography given government's restrictions on the content through the Film and Publications Act.

Satellite pay-TV broadcaster TopTV is now seeking legal advice before deciding on their next move.

 

10th March   

Out of the Picture...

German newspaper Bild unilaterally decides that free swinging expression rates below women's rights to whinge at porn
Link Here

bildAfter 28 years and 5,000 semi-clad and sometimes completely naked women, Germany's biggest-selling tabloid Bild, has announced that it was dropping its Page One Girl.

Bild is Europe's best-selling and the world's seventh biggest newspaper. It presented the decision as a spontaneous attempt by male staff to atone for decades of embarrassing sexism, although commentators said it was more likely it was driven by commercial concerns.

It is perhaps a small step from the viewpoint of women, the paper wrote in an editorial-style report. But it is a big step for Bild and for every man in Germany.

The paper said the decision had been made on International Women's Day, when the paper was run and edited solely by men. Three hundred female staff from secretaries to section editors were given the day off.

But the German media commentator Christian Meier said that the Bild's circulation figures have been declining for years and the paper desperately needs to attract new readers, particularly within the female market.

 

10th March   

Update: The Supreme Council of Cyberspace...

Iran's elite appointed as internet censors
Link Here  full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

  Chief internet censor

Iran's supreme leader has ordered the creation of an internet censorship agency that includes top military, security and political figures in the country's boldest attempt yet to control the internet.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei claimed that the grandiously named, Supreme Council of Cyberspace, will be tasked with preventing harm to Iranians who go online, state TV reported.

The report did not spell out specifically the kind of harms that the council would tackle. But officials have in the past described two separate threats: computer viruses created by Iran's rivals aimed at sabotaging its industry, particularly its controversial nuclear program, and a culture invasion aimed at undermining the Islamic Republic.

The Supreme Council of Cyberspace Censorship will be headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and includes powerful figures in the security establishment such as the intelligence chief, the commander of the powerful Revolutionary Guards, and the country's top police chief. It also includes the speaker of parliament, state media chiefs, government ministers in charge of technology-oriented portfolios, and several cyber experts.

 

10th March

 Offsite Article: The King of the BBFC's Speech...

Link Here
BBFC infomercial about consumer advice and the always useful extended classification information. By David Cooke

See article from huffingtonpost.co.uk

 

9th March   

Kombative Censors...

Australia bans Playstation Vita version of Mortal Kombat
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban
Mortal Kombat Komplete Edition PlayStationThe Sony PlayStation Vita version of the Warner Brothers classic fighting game reboot Mortal Kombat has been banned by the Censorship Board.

The game was submitted to the misleadingly named Classification Board of Australia by Warner Brothers despite previous console versions of the game being similarly banned for explicit violence. The publisher felt that the impact of the violence in the Vita version of Mortal Kombat would be lessened by the portable console's smaller screen size.

Obviously, the censors didn't agree.

Warner Bros. clarified that the version submitted was the same, unedited version of Mortal Kombat for the Vita that will be released globally, except Australia, on April 19.

 

9th March   

Update: Nude Photo Revolutionaries Calendar...

Join the screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy
Link Here

nude photo revolutionariesThe Nude Photo Revolutionaries Calendar was launched on 8 March 2012, International Women's Day, in homage to Egyptian atheist, student and blogger Aliaa Magda Elmahdy who posted a nude photo of herself, announcing the post on Twitter under the hashtag, #NudePhotoRevolutionary.

You can download and/or purchase the calendar via article from freethoughtblogs.com

The calendar is the idea of campaigner Maryam Namazie to support Aliaa Magda Elmahdy and join her screams against a society of violence, racism, sexism, sexual harassment and hypocrisy . Namazie says:

What with Islamism and the religious right being obsessed with women's bodies and demanding that we be veiled, bound, and gagged, nudity breaks taboos and is an important form of resistance.

The calendar is designed by SlutWalk Co-founder Toronto, Sonya JF Barnett who says:

I felt that women needed to stand in solidarity with Aliaa. It takes a lot of guts to do what she did, and the backlash is always expected and can quite hurtful. She needed to know that there are others like her, willing to push the envelope to express outrage.

Others who join the scream include mother and daughter Anne Baker and Poppy Wilson St James, teacher Luisa Batista, We are Atheism Founder Amanda Brown, atheist bloggers Greta Christina and Emily Dietle, FEMEN activist Alena Magelat, photographer Mallorie Nasrallah, actress Cleo Powell, freethinker Nina Sankari , writer Saskia Vogel, and mother Maja Wolna. The women are photographed by Julian Baker, Adam Brown, Grzegorz Brzezicki, Lucy Fox-Bohan, Agnieszka Hodowana, Ben Hopper, N. Maxwell Lander, Mallorie Nasrallah, Mark Neurdenburg, Vitaliy Pavlenko, and Michael Rosen.

On nudity and the calendar, Mallorie Nasrallah says:

When a tool of oppression can be turned in to an assertion of power, it is a beautiful thing. Nudity when celebrated harms no one, and when made shameful and barbaric harms everyone. Nina Sankari says: In solidarity with Aliaa Magda Elmahdy, I would like to stress that our bodies (and thoughts) belong to us and to nobody else. Anne Baker says Men in frocks constrain, control and intimidate women the world over in the name of God ... it has to stop. Greta Christina says: Sexual freedom is an important freedom --- but it's one that commonly gets ignored or trivialized. Maja Wolna says: Irrespective of sex, sexual orientation, religion or culture we are equal. Personal dignity is a foundation of human civilization. Amanda Brown says: Dogma will never determine where I sit, what I wear, or how I live and Poppy Wilson St. James says: I find it strange that it is more acceptable to seen on screen violence and guns than even a nipple. There is something wrong with our mindset if that is what we accept as the norm and shy away from nudity which is a completely natural state.

Saskia Vogel says:

This calendar hopefully will reach people who are uncomfortable with empowered female nudity, and encourage them to reconsider their feelings about the nude figure. Luisa Batista says: I think the calendar is important, because it may help to open people's eyes and hearts. Women -- and men -- who are afraid, may find courage and feel supported by the quotes and faces and bodies of the people in the calendar.

According to Emily Dietle, If it weren't for people who took a strong stand against misogyny and for free-expression, we'd still be in an age where showing your ankles was taboo. Alena Magelat says: Our naked body is our challenge to patriarchy, dictatorship and violence. Smart people we inspire; dictators are horrified .

The women in the calendar stand firm in solidarity with Aliaa Magda Elmahdy and the countless women across the world who are denied basic rights, freedoms and dignity.

Join the Scream on Facebook and on Twitter under the hashtag #NudePhotoRevolutionary.

You can download and/or purchase the calendar via article from freethoughtblogs.com

 

9th March   

Rotten to the Core?...

Ofcom's Project Apple is considering whether News International is fit and proper to hold the broadcasting licence for Sky TV
Link Here

Sky TVNews International's involvement in the U.K. phone-hacking and bribery scandal has drawn attention from regulators, who are examining the company's fitness to hold a broadcasting license through its stake in Sky.

The ramifications of the scandal are being scrutinized by a special team, dubbed Project Apple, at TV censor Ofcom, according to minutes released under a Freedom of Information Act request published on Ofcom's website.

Ofcom, which has the ability to revoke a broadcaster's license, will determine whether the scandal has compromised News Corp.'s ability to manage the U.K.'s biggest pay-TV company.

 

9th March   

Wallflower Power...

The Perks of Being a Wallflower downgraded to PG-13 on appeal
Link Here

perks-of-being-a-wallflower-profileThe Perks of Being a Wallflower has now been downgraded from R to PG-13 by the Classification and Rating Appeals Board of the MPAA.

Erik Feig, president of production at Lionsgate Motion Picture Group and Stephen Chbosky, the director, screenwriter and author of the novel on which the movie was based, appeared before the board to make their case for the lower rating.

Originally, the Classification and Rating Administration assigned the movie an R rating for teen drug and alcohol use, and some sexual references.

However the booking of Emma Watson, of Harry Potter fame, suggested that the producers had a younger audience in mind. The movie is about 15-year-old high school freshman who is taken under the wings of two seniors while he copes with his first love, played by Watson, the suicide of his best friend and his own mental illness.

 

9th March   

Update: A Letter to the Paypal Book Censors...

The topics PayPal would ban have been depicted in world literature since Sophocles' Oedipus and Ovid's Metamorphoses
Link Here  full story: Paypal Book Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as censors of erotic books

Oedipus Trilogy ebookTell PayPal: Don't Censor Books

PayPal, which plays a dominant role in processing online sales, has taken full advantage of the vast and open nature of the Internet for commercial purposes, but is now holding free speech hostage by clamping down on sales of certain types of erotica. As organizations and individuals concerned with intellectual and artistic freedom and a free Internet, we strongly object to PayPal functioning as an enforcer of public morality and inhibiting the right to buy and sell constitutionally protected material. Recently, PayPal gave online publishers and booksellers, including BookStrand.com, Smashwords, and eXcessica, an ultimatum: it would close their accounts and refuse to process all payments unless they removed erotic books containing descriptions of rape, incest, and bestiality. The result would severely restrict the public's access to a wide range of legal material, could drive some companies out of business and deprive some authors of their livelihood.

Financial services providers should be neutral when it comes to lawful online speech. PayPal's policy underscores how vulnerable such speech can be and how important it is to stand up and protect it.

The topics PayPal would ban have been depicted in world literature since Sophocles' Oedipus and Ovid's Metamorphoses. And while the books currently affected may not appear to be in the same league, many works ultimately recognized for their literary, historical, and artistic worth were reviled when first published. Books like Ulysses and Lady Chatterley's Lover were banned as obscene in the United States because of their sexual content. The works of Marquis de Sade, which include descriptions of incest, torture, and rape, were considered scandalous when written, although his importance in the history of literature and political and social philosophy is now widely acknowledged.

The Internet has become an international public commons, like an enormous town square, where ideas can be freely aired, exchanged, and criticized. That will change if private companies, which are under no legal obligation to respect free speech rights, are able to use their economic clout to dictate what people should read, write, and think.

PayPal, and the myriad other payment processors that support essential links in the free speech chain between authors and audiences, should not operate as morality police.

Signed by:

American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression
Association of American Publishers
Authors Guild
Comic Book Legal Defense Fund
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Feminists for Free Expression
Internet Archive
National Coalition Against Censorship
Northern California Independent Booksellers Association
Peacefire
PEN American Center
Southern California Independent Booksellers Association
Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance
Woodhull Sexual Freedom Alliance

 

9th March   

Updated: Grabbing the Headlines...

Tunisia puts editor on remand to face obscenity charges for sexy but modest celebrity picture on the front page of his newspaper
Link Here

gq sami khedira embracing naked modelReporters Without Borders calls for the immediate release of Nasreddine Ben Saida, the publisher of the Arabic-language daily Attounissia, and the withdrawal of all charges against him, the newspaper's editor, Habib Guizani, and one of its journalists, Mohammed Hedi Hidri.

The first media executive to be jailed in the post-Ben Ali era, Ben Saida has been held since 15 February, when he, Guizani and Hidri were arrested by the vice squad on the prosecutor-general's orders for printing a photo of German-Tunisian football player Sami Khedira embracing a topless model so as to hide the nudity on the front-page of that day's issue, which was seized from newsstands.

Guizani and Hidri were released after being questioned, but a judge ordered Ben Saida placed in pre-trial custody on charges that carry a possible sentence of six months to five years in prison and a fine of 120 to 1,200 dinars (60 to 600 euros).

By bringing criminal charges, the prosecutor's office is showing that journalists can still go to prison for a newspaper article and is sending an extremely disturbing signal to all those who defend freedom of expression.

This is a hypocritical reaction because photos of this kind often appear on the cover of foreign magazines sold in Tunisia, Reporters Without Borders said.

Update: Fined

9th March 2012. See  article from  independent.co.uk

A Tunisian court has fined a newspaper publisher for supposedly violating public morals by printing a photograph of a footballer's girlfriend shown naked but mostly obscured.

Nasreddine Ben Saida was fined 1,000 dinars ( £ 420) and the court ordered all copies of the issue destroyed.

Critics called the case an attack on media freedom.

 

8th March   

Model Censorship...

ASA strangely unprovoked by sexy Agent Provocateur advert
Link Here

agent provacateur videoA video on the Agent Provocateur website, viewed on 4 November 2011, showed a woman in a nightgown in her home. She was shown answering the telephone before several women, who were wearing revealing lingerie with stockings and long boots, appeared at the window. The women were shown dragging the other woman through the house and adopted a series of poses, some sexual, alone and with the other women. The group of women appeared to attack the woman's body; she then she re-appeared wearing similar revealing lingerie to the group. Issue

The complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because she believed it was disturbing and misogynistic.

Agent Provocateur said the video was produced in support of the online launch of their new Soiree 2011-2012 collection, because the limited edition range had previously been available only in global destination boutiques. The film was a unique take on the horror genre with a signature Agent Provocateur sensibility and eroticism. They said one of the gowns in the collection reminded the film's director of the type of gown that was worn by victims in classic 1950s Hammer horror films. The style suited Agent Provocateur perfectly, because in the past horror was the only way of showing sex in a film. Sex and horror had always been woven together but, they understood, had never been parodied in a film for a fashion label. They said the online video had been viewed over 450,000 times since its launch and there had not been any other complaints. They said they always tried to communicate with a sense of humour and did not condone violence in any form.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

The ASA noted the online video appeared in the context of the website of a luxury lingerie retailer. We acknowledged some viewers might find some of the scenes distasteful but considered the highly stylised nature and clearly fictional content of the video meant it was unlikely to be interpreted by most viewers in the way the complainant suggested. We considered the ads did not demean women and were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to visitors to the Agent Provocateur website. We also considered the ad was unlikely to cause fear or distress without justifiable reason. We therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code.

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

 

8th March   

A Bookfair Without Books...

Holding a bookfair in Saudi when just about everything is banned
Link Here

riyadh international bookfair logoThe International Book Fair in Riyadh, which kicked off Tuesday, appears to be surrounded by a wall of censorship from both the state and the Salafis, who waged a campaign to ban it.

The absence of Syrian publishing houses was conspicuous this year after the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information banned them from the book fair in a political move.

The Iraqi publishing house Dar al-Jamal was also banned for the second year in a row. In addition, the space preserved for known publishing companies was reduced.

Religious warnings were issued that called for people not to attend the book fair and buy destructive books.

These edicts came out weeks before the Riyadh Book Fair opened, as rumors mounted that the Ministry of Culture and Information had banned 40 Islamic publishing houses from participating, which the ministry later denied.

This annual book fair is considered the most important cultural event in the kingdom. It includes books that local bookstores do not normally carry. In addition, it is an opportunity for Saudi and Arab intellectuals to come together at seminars held on the sidelines of the fair.

The issue that might prove most problematic for organizers this year is that by the Saudi Ministry of Culture and Information to allow men and women to attend the book fair at the same time, which is a departure from the norm. That means hardliners will likely intensify their attacks on the event.

 

8th March   

Update: Forgotten Secrets...

BBC World News restored in Pakistan
Link Here  full story: BBC Censored in Pakistan...BBC news banned after disputed documentary

bbc world news logoBBC World News television has been restored in Pakistan after being taken off air in November 2011.

Welcoming the move, the BBC said it hoped there would be no further disruption to its services.

Pakistani cable operators had blocked the channel after it broadcast a documentary called Secret Pakistan . The documentary questioned the country's commitment to tackling Taliban militancy, arguing that some in Pakistan were playing a double game.

Last month, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani told the BBC he wanted to see the channel back on air.

 

8th March   

Thin Research...

Researchers claim that government censorship is justified to prevent beautiful people appearing in adverts
Link Here

London School of Economic logoGovernments are justified in using the law to prevent modelling agencies from using very skinny women on catwalks and stop magazines from printing adverts and photographs that suggest extreme thinness is attractive, according to research from the London School of Economics.

The first-ever economic analysis of anorexia, studying nearly 3,000 young women in the UK and the rest of Europe, found that the social and cultural environment influences decisions by young women to starve themselves in search of what they perceive to be an ideal body shape.

Anorexia, say the researchers, is a socially transmitted disease and appears to be more common in countries such as France, where women are thinner than the European average. It mostly affects girls and women between the ages of 15 and 34, they found, who were willing to trade off their health against self-image.

LSE economist Dr Joan Costa-Font and Professor Mireia Jofre-Bonet from City University say that reducing the mass circulation of pictures of emaciated models and celebrities and restricting adverts in which they feature could lift some of the social pressure women feel to be thin.

Government intervention to adjust individual biases in self-image would be justified to curb the spread of a potential epidemic of food disorders, they write in their paper, to be published in the academic journal Economica later this year.

 

8th March   

Bloggers are Responsible for their Comments not the Blog Host...

High Court judgement confirms that Google is not responsible for claims of libel about comments posted on Blogger.com
Link Here

Old BaileyA former Tory local council candidate has failed in his libel action against Google over comments posted about him on a blog.

Payam Tamiz started legal proceedings against Google after allegedly defamatory comments were written about him on the London Muslim section of Blogger.com.

Google argued that it had no control over any of the content and had no way of knowing whether the comments posted were true or not.

In a written judgement handed down at the high court on Friday, Mr Justice Eady said Google should not be regarded as a publisher under the established principles of the common law.

Eady said that even if Google was regarded as the publisher of the offending words, it would be exempted from liability in accordance with regulation 19 of the European Union's electronic commerce directive 2002.

 

7th March   

Update: Obscene Censorship...

Canadian horror filmmaker prosecuted for supposed obscenity
Link Here  full story: Wound...New Zealand nutters wound up by Wound

inner depravity 2 logoA Montreal courtroom is booked for April determine whether a local filmmaker's graphic horror flick is obscene.

Remy Couture faces obscenity charges for creating Inner Depravity , a short film series depicting gory scenes of murder and sexual assault.

The goal was to reproduce the deviant mind of a serial killer, said Couture, a special effects make-up artist who's worked on films such as Barney's Version .

The series, which once won most deranged movie of the year at a film festival, was posted online in 2005 and was eventually forwarded to Interpol and police in Montreal.

According to a statement on Couture's website, Interpol was alerted to the film series by a German web surfer who was under the impression that the on-screen murders actually occurred. Police arrested Couture and raided his studio.

Couture maintains that he created the series to flex his skills as a make-up artist who got his professional start in the horror genre. The website featuring his project was only available to web surfers above the age of 18, he said in a statement. You can see the same thing in big budget movies so why mine is worse than the others, I don't understand, he told CTV Montreal.

Police charged Couture with production of obscene material, mainly for his depictions of graphic sexual violence. The charges, however, have drawn criticism from fans and some in the artistic community. He pushed some boundaries because it is shocking with what you can see, but it's in an artistic way, said Alexandre Duguay, a movie critic and horror aficionado.

Couture's lawyer Veronique Robert said this is the first time she's seen someone face obscenity charges for the content of a horror film. Previous obscenity cases have dealt with pornography.

Couture's trial will begin in front of a jury in late April, three years after his arrest.

 

7th March   

Update: Searching for Censorship...

Spain asks European Court to comment on the legality of demands of Google to de-list personal information
Link Here  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU

European Court of JusticeSpain's highest court wants the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to decide if requests by Spanish citizens to have data deleted from Google's search engine are lawful.

The Spanish court said it had asked the ECJ to clarify whether Google should remove data from its search engine's index and news aggregator.

Madrid's data protection authority has received over 100 requests from Spanish citizens to have their data removed from Google's search results. An example case is a plastic surgeon who wants to get rid of archived references to a botched operation.

The Spanish judges also asked the ECJ whether the complainants must take their grievances to California, where Google is based, or whether  they can be addressed by Google Spain.

Google has maintained that it cannot lawfully remove any content for which it is merely the host and not the producer, a principle enshrined in EU law on eCommerce since 2000. Google told the Spanish prosecutor it needed more legal justification for removing references to events in an individual's history.

 

7th March   

Vogue for Sexualisation Reports...

A French government report calls for anti-sexualisation measures
Link Here

beauty at what ageA French government report is calling for a ban on mini-miss beauty pageants and children's lingerie to combat what it describes as the hyper-sexualisation of children.

The moves follow a controversy over a Vogue magazine photographic shoot featuring images of a 10-year-old French girl in a typical Vogue fashion setting. While the feature initially failed to rouse anger in France, it caused outrage in America where the pictures were considered inappropriate, prompting the French government to announce its inquiry.

The parliamentary report, translated as Against Hyper-Sexualisation: A New Fight For Equality , calls for a ban on child-size adult clothing, such as padded bras and high-heeled shoes for children, and an end to beauty competitions for the under-16s.

Chantal Jouanno, the author of the report and a senator and former sports minister, has also called for the outlawing of young models in advertising campaigns and the return of uniforms in primary schools as part of a series of measures to stem the psychological damage she claims is being done to children.

She argued that while the sexualisation of children is not widespread in France, it is increasing and becoming acceptable because of what she described as the insidious normalisation of pornographic images.

The government report criticised the marketing of padded bras for eight year olds, thong underwear, make-up kits, and leggy dolls, all aimed at pre-pubescent girls under the age of 12.

As well as banning clothing and make up considered inappropriate for young girls, Jouanno also proposes making it illegal for top fashion houses or companies to use models under 16 in their campaigns.

Reintroducing school uniforms was a way of combatting competition between pupils over fashion label clothes which highlight social inequalities, said the report.

 

7th March   

Coloured Judgement...

Ofcom to consider the heinous use of the word 'coloured' instead of 'black' during a ITV News report
Link Here

itv news logoTV censor Ofcom is to investigate ITV News after a presenter used the taboo word coloured when reporting on racism in football. Richard Pallot, an ITV News reporter, used the word in a report last month whilst attending a racism in football summit at Downing Street.

ITV took to Twitter, to apologise for the use of the word, which was broadcast during a lunchtime bulletin, as well as editing the comment out of all catch-up editions on ITV Player, and the ITV News website.

Ofcom will consider whether ITV News broke broadcasting rules covering the prevention of harm and offence to viewers, along with maintaining generally accepted standards, according to the Guardian newspaper.

An ITV News spokesman said at the time:

ITV News apologises for the inappropriate use of the word 'coloured' in a report on racism and football in today's news at 1.30pm. We take this error very seriously and we regret any offence caused.

Red Dwarf star Danny John Jules was amongst one of the first to criticise, taking to Twitter to say:

An @ITV news report on David Cameron's 'Race Pow-Wow' at No 10 and the DINOSAURS referred to Black players as 'COLOURED'. WTF? Dumb Fuckwits! (sic)

 

7th March   

Dangerous Scotland...

Warnings that Scotland's repressive Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act also applies to websites in the rest of the UK
Link Here
attacking scots

  Coming for English webmasters

Scotland's Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act was brought in to crack down on sectarian songs, chants and abuse at football matches, but also applies to such messages posted on the net.

It came into force on 1 March and there is concern in the media in Scotland, and further afield, about how they are to comply with the law

The act also applies to people or organisations based outside Scotland. The law would also apply to Twitter and Facebook if they allowed offensive material to remain on their sites, as it would to any publishers based in England. The practicalities of getting them into a Scottish court might be more onerous, but nonetheless the threat is there and it would not be the first time that an English publisher has been up in a Scottish court because of ignorance of the law.

Removing material as promptly as the new law appears to require is going to require intense moderation of sites, or else pre-moderation of message boards, building in delays which many users used to immediate posting would find unacceptably slow.

...Read the full article

The article continues that even the legal defence of innocent dissemination may not apply. This is where websites can claim they are not aware of content posted but do react to complaints. This defence is usually used against civil claims and may not be effective in criminal cases arising from the Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications Act.

 

7th March   

The Town...

New US Ultimate Collector's Edition contains a new cut with an alternative ending on All Region Blu-ray/R1 DVD
Link Here

Town Blu ray US Ben AffleckThe Town is a 2010 US crime drama by Ben Affleck. With Ben Affleck, Rebecca Hall and Jon Hamm. See IMDb .

US: Extended Cut with Alternative Ending is MPAA R Rated for:

  • UK 2012 Warner Ultimate Collector's Edition (+theatrical + extended version, both on Blu-ray only) R0 Blu-ray/R1 DVD via UK Amazon and at US Amazon

Reviews suggest that the alternative ending fits the film well.

The film has previously been released in its Theatrical Version and a well received Extended Cut with an extra 25 minutes of material, mostly adding depth to the characters.

 

6th March   

Update: Frankie Cocozza's X Factor...

Ofcom seems to judge strong language transgressions on the speed of apology and the depth of grovel
Link Here  full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

Frankie CocozzaThe X Factor Results Show
ITV1, 23 October 2011, 20:00

This one hour live episode of The X Factor revealed which contestants had received the highest number of votes to keep them in the competition. Channel TV complied the programme on behalf of the ITV Network for ITV1.

A total of 108 complaints to Ofcom highlighted the use of the word 'fuck'.

Ofcom noted that at approximately 20:42 presenter Dermot O'Leary announced that the contestant Frankie Cocozza had received enough votes to secure his place in the following week's show, to which Frankie Cocozza responded: Fucking have it. Get in there.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.14 of the Code, which states:

The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed (in the case of television) ...

Channel TV said it deeply regretted Frankie Cocozza?s unexpected and unprompted outburst and had already apologised directly to viewers who had contacted ITV to complain.

The Licensee said that to prevent the broadcast of offensive language on the show judges, contestants and guests are all briefed carefully before they take part in the programme. Channel TV said that until now this has been all that was needed .

Channel TV said: Reviewing the footage it [i.e. Frankie Cocozza's use of bad language] was barely audible above the studio furore but is just about discernable in a quieter domestic setting . In its view not all viewers would have heard the offensive language as it was broadcast.

The Licensee explained that had we appreciated that the comment was audible to viewers, we would have asked [presenter] Dermot O'Leary to make an immediate apology . Channel TV said it only became apparent towards the end of the broadcast, through monitoring online social media activity, that in fact Frankie Cocozza had used some offensive language and that it had been heard by some viewers.

As a result, the hosts of The Xtra Factor on ITV2 (which is broadcast live immediately after The X Factor Results Show) apologised for any offence caused, as did Frankie himself.

The Licensee pointed out that an audio edit was made to remove the offensive language from ITV?s online catch up service (ITV Player).

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 1.14

Ofcom noted that the word fucking was clearly audible to viewers who were watching the programme at approximately twenty minutes before the 9pm watershed. This was particularly unacceptable in the context of a programme that attracts a substantial family audience.

Later that evening when the Licensee realised the offensive language had been audible to viewers, an apology was broadcast during a live interview with Frankie Cocozza on The Xtra Factor on ITV2. One of the hosts stated: Apologies to anyone who heard the swearing to which Frankie responded: yes, sorry . Ofcom noted however that this apology was broadcast approximately 44 minutes after the offensive language occurred, and on a different channel.

Ofcom was particularly concerned that a high profile live programme such as this did not already have adequate systems in place to monitor the transmission output of the programme as it was broadcast. We considered that in this instance the offensive term was clearly audible to viewers. Had there been suitable compliance procedures in place the broadcaster could have responded in a more timely and appropriate fashion. Licensees are reminded that broadcasting live programme content can pose special challenges and as a result extra measures may be needed to ensure compliance with the Code.

The programme was in breach of Rule 1.14 of the Code.

 

6th March   

Extract: Who's behind the Paypal Book Censorship?...

The Paypal ban on erotica may be part of a larger move towards censorship
Link Here  full story: Paypal Book Censors...Paypal unilaterally decide to act as censors of erotic books

ashwordsRe Paypal's ban on text based erotica and small self publishing companies:

While the government in the US is not able to censor speech, there is little preventing a private company like Paypal or its credit card partners from taking these actions. Yet, Smashwords is not giving up hope. In its latest update, Smashwords notes that it had managed to get the deadline extended as well as the definitions of prohibited content relaxed. It also wants to clarify that neither it nor Paypal are the real villians in this issue.

A lot of people have been attacking Smashwords for my decision to comply with PayPal's requirements. They're pointing their arrows at the wrong target, and they're not helping their cause. We're working to effect positive long term change for the entire Smashwords community, and that includes all our erotica authors and readers.

Over the weekend, many Smashwords authors and publishers demanded we abandon PayPal and find a new payment processor. It's not so simple, and it doesn't solve the greater problem hanging over everyone's head. PayPal is trying to implement the requirements of credit card companies, banks and credit unions. This is where it's all originating. These same requirements will eventually rain down upon every other payment processor. PayPal is trying to maintain their relationships with the credit card companies and banks, just as we want to maintain our relationship with PayPal. People who argue PayPal is the evil villain and we should drop them are missing the bigger picture. Should we give up on accepting credit cards forever? The answer is no. This goes beyond PayPal. Imagine the implications if credit card companies start going after the major ebook retailers who sell erotica?

...Read the full article

 

6th March   

Out of the Shadows...

Philippines FHM cover withdrawn after accusations of racism
Link Here

fhm bela padillaMen's magazine FHM pulled a magazine cover after being accused of racism.

The March edition of the Philippines FHM had featured white actress Bela Padilla posing in a pink swimsuit surrounded by dark-skinned models, accompanied by the caption stepping out of the shadows .

When the magazine uploaded a sneak preview of the cover on their Facebook page, it was recieved with criticism from readers who branded the concept racist . One reader posted: Seriously, did you guys not sense how racist this concept was?

Comments on Twitter followed including shame on FHM Philippines , and accused the magazine of being racist as well as sexist and horrendously backwards .

Bosses at FHM were quick to respond and the March edition of the magazine featured a different cover when it went on sale this week. Still Bela Padilla, but this time by herself.

And of course the 'controversy' has propelled the previously little-known actress, 'out of the shadows' and into the spotlight. She appeared on BBC News this week to defend the thought process behind the original concept. Her name also began trending worldwide on Twitter where she has gained an army of new followers offering their support. Don't fault Bela, she just did her job, one fan Tweeted.

 

6th March

 Offsite Article: Dame Prude Joan...

Link Here  full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report
Joan Bakewell blames teenage magazines for sexualising girls with 'coarsening trash on a huge scale'

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

5th March   

Refused Classification Prohibited...

Legalising the sale of hardcore in Australia
Link Here  full story: Post Censorship Review...Responding to ALRC recommendations on media censorship

australia content regulationThe Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) report about rationalising media censorship across all formats has proposed some sensible reforms to remove some of the more ludicrous anomalies in Australian media censorship.

The current so called 'Refused Classification' (RC) category will be narrowed down a little and renamed to the more sensible tag, 'Prohibited'.

The ALRC first recommended that RC be renamed Prohibited to avoid confusion:

The plain meaning of the term is confusing, because content that is 'Refused Classification' has, in fact, received a classification. That is, the term is open to misunderstanding, because it does not make it clear that the content has been subject to a classification decision-making process.

The ALRC has recommended that the government should review prohibitions on the depiction of sexual fetishes in films and detailed instruction in the use of proscribed drugs , as well as refining prohibition on content that promotes, incites or instructs in matters of crime to be only limited to serious crime .

ISPs would only be required to block prohibited content once it has been classified as being prohibited, the ALRC said, and, given the large amount of content online, the ALRC suggested that only a sub-category of prohibited content should be blocked by the filter, such as child-abuse material.

Another important recommendation of the review is that adult X18+ hardcore content need not be classified beyond the self declared X18+ label. At present such material may only be sold in shops in Canberra and the Northern Territory. It is recommended that it would be made legal across Australia.

But the regulation should be refined to protect minors from accessing the content. The ALRC conceded that it would not be possible for the Classification Board to classify all adult content online, suggesting that ISPs should take reasonable steps to restrict access to the content by minors, such as promoting family friendly filters, or potentially implementing age-verification tools for sites that the ISP knows to be classified X18+.

Pirate Party Supportive of ALRC Recommendation

See  article from  delimiter.com.au

pirate party australia logoGovernment politicians have said little so far about the recommendations. However the Pirate Party have responded.

Pirate Party Australia has welcomed some of the recommendations made by the Australian Law Reform Commission (ALRC) about reforming the current classification system.

Several recommendations in the ALRC's final report conform to the Pirate Party's policies, the party said in a statement. David W. Campbell, Party President said that the recommendation to use the term Prohibited in place of the spineless and vague 'Refused Classification' label was a move in the right direction. Too much content is left in limbo. Hopefully this is a victory for common sense, and we will see less content lumped in with materials that truly deserve to be illegal, such as child pornography.

Speaking about freedom of expression, the Party statement approved the possible redefinition of the Prohibited category to narrow its scope and review the prohibitions on depictions of sexual fetishes. The Party believes that it is indicative of a progressive society and feels it is necessary to bring the category in line with what are socially acceptable practices to certain communities legally engaging in the practices depicted.

The Party however, raised an objection to the inclusion of a recommendation which has appeared to some to compel Internet Service Providers (ISP) and other intermediaries to filter the Internet. The Party has been continuously campaigning against the compulsory Internet filter proposed by Stephen Conroy, the present Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

The inclusion of the toxic notion of Internet Service Provider obligations is once again flogging the dead horse of privacy encroachment and destructive breakdown of Australian citizens' rights, Campbell elaborated. Saying that the recommendation tries to convert ISPs into enforcement agencies, Campbell referred to the technical impracticalities of restricting any content on the Internet without destroying it. This expansion of 'intermediary liability' constantly rears its head in all facets of Internet governance --- it is both unwarranted and unnecessary, he said.

 

5th March   

Updated: News Media Council...

Australian inquiry recommends the establishment of a press censor
Link Here

report into media regulationAn inquiry into Australia's news media has recommended that a new press censor body be established to set and monitor journalistic standards.

The inquiry was launched in September 2011 in the wake of Britain's phone-hacking scandal. The report called for a News Media Council to handle public complaints.

The review, headed by former judge Ray Finkelstein, found that current self-regulation mechanisms did not make media organisations sufficiently accountable and said more needed to be done to bolster public confidence.

The new council would apply to news and current affairs across print, online, radio and television. The inquiry said it should be funded by the government but independent of it. The report said:

The establishment of a council is not about increasing the power of government or about imposing some form of censorship ...[But]... It is about making the news media more accountable to those covered in the news, and to the public generally.

The press censor would handle complaints and should have power to make a news outlet publish an apology, correction or retraction, the report said.

Update: Bloggers to be drawn into Australian press censorship

5th March 2012. See  article from  theregister.co.uk

Bloggers whose writings receive just 41 page impressions a day could be drawn into Australian press censorship under a proposed new model of media regulation for Australia. The recommendation comes from the Finkelstein report.

The report's central suggestion is that the government should create and fund a new central body , called the News Media Council, to handle all complaints about media. Such a body is needed, the report argues, because Australia currently has multiple overlapping media regulators, most of which are ineffectual. There's also no regulator at all for online media.

The authors try to define just what media should be subject to the new body's oversight and decides that publishers must be in the business of creating news, a definition it says could include bloggers because there are many newsletter publishers and bloggers, although no longer part of the 'lonely pamphleteer' tradition, who offer up-to-date reflections on current affairs.

The report then says If a publisher distributes more than 3000 copies of print per issue or a news internet site has a minimum of 15 000 hits per annum it should be subject to the jurisdiction of the News Media Council, but not otherwise. The report adds that These numbers are arbitrary, but a line must be drawn somewhere. 15,000 page impressions a year computes to just 41 page impressions a day.

 

5th March   

Dogged by the US...

US internet censors forcibly take Down Canadian gambling website
Link Here

bodog logoUS internet censors at the Department of Homeland Security have seized a domain name registered outside of the US, by individuals who are not American citizens, and who registered with a Canadian registrar.

What is unique about this case is that the American authorities did not get the domain's registrar - a Canadian company - to pull the domain. Instead they went to Verisign, which operates the entirety of .com, and had them pull the glue records, the warrant states.

The domain in question,  bodog.com,  is a big name in online gambling. It was set up and run by Canadian billionaire Calvin Ayre. He, and three others involved with the site, have been indicted and could be extradited to the US if the authorities catch them.

The indictment claims that Bodog paid out $100m in winnings to US gamblers, in violation of US law. The company is also accused of spending $42m to promote the site in various US states, including Maryland. The move came after an undercover investigation by the FBI, and with the help of a snitch who used to work at Bodog.

Sports betting is illegal in Maryland, and federal law prohibits bookmakers from flouting that law simply because they are located outside the country, said US attorney Rod Rosenstein in a statement.

By going to the root operator of .com and having the records pulled - bypassing the registrar entirely - the DHS has sent the world exactly one message: anything hosted in the US, registered in the US, or using a domain whose root is controlled by a US corporation is subject to American law.

 

5th March   

Reflecting Reality...

Research finds that computer game developers depict religion as violent and problematic
Link Here

Castlevania Lords of Shadow PS3Recent video games have begun depicting religion as a violent, problematic force, according to research from a new University of Missouri study.

Greg Perreault, a doctoral student at University of Missouri's School of Journalism, studied five extremely popular games from the last few years that incorporate religion heavily into their storylines: Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XIII, Assassin's Creed, Castlevania: Lords of Shadow , and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion.

In each case, Perreault found that religion became equated with violence within the video games' narratives. Perreault said in a press release:

In most of these games there was a heavy emphasis on a 'Knights Templar' and crusader motifs. Not only was the violent side of religion emphasized, but in each of these games religion created a problem that the main character must overcome, whether it is a direct confrontation with religious zealots or being haunted by religious guilt.

Just because religion was associated with violence, however, does not mean it was always depicted as evil. For example, Perreault noted that in Mass Effect 2 , the character of Thane is an extremely spiritual assassin who assists the player.

Of those five games, Mass Effect 2, Final Fantasy XIII, and The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion all deal with religions created specifically for the game. The remaining two titles, Assassin's Creed and Castlevania: Lords of Shadow , both center around Catholicism.

Still, Perreault emphasized that he did not believe game developers were attacking religion with these themes:

It doesn't appear that game developers are trying to purposefully bash organized religion in these games. I believe they are only using religion to create stimulating plot points in their story lines. If you look at video games across the board, most of them involve violence in some fashion because violence is conflict and conflict is exciting. Religion appears to get tied in with violence because that makes for a compelling narrative.

While Perreault's study of just five games is far from an exhaustive survey of all of modern video games, he does believe game writers should be aware of how they use religion in their plots.

 

5th March

 Offsite Article: Human Centipede 3...

Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse
Tom Six announces the Final Sequence with Dieter Laser (mad surgeon Dr Joseph Heiter) and Laurence R. Harvey (Martin), inevitably claiming that it will make Full Sequence look like a Disney film.

See article from empireonline.com

 

4th March   

Thin End of the Wedge...

Tumblr Bans 'Thinspiration' Blogs
Link Here

tumblr 2012 logoTumblr, the popular blogging site, announced on Feb. 23 it is enforcing a new policy that will prohibit blogs that promote eating disorders and other self-harm.

The Tumblr blog announced:

We are deeply committed to supporting and defending our users' freedom of speech, but we do draw some limits. As a company, we've decided that some specific kinds of content aren't welcome on Tumblr.

The eating disorder community sometimes referred to as thinspo (short for thinspiration ) or pro-ana (anorexia nervosa) is one of the fastest growing communities on Tumblr.

Bloggers who continue to share this content will be given a short amount of time to edit their posts and, if they fail to do so, will be removed from the site.

If one was to search by using keywords such as pro-ana, thinspo, thinspiration, purge, bulimia, or anorexic, public service ads will appear alongside, stating the dangers of eating disorders, as well as adding contact info in order to get help.

 

4th March   

Stereotypically Easily Offended...

Light hearted TV advert set amongst tribal natives gets taken off air in Spain
Link Here

reina advert videoFootballer Pepe Reina got caught up in a nonsense race row in Spain after a television commercial starring the Liverpool goalkeeper was pulled by broadcasters due to its apparent racial and sexual stereotyping.

The 26 second advertisement for the Spanish insurance firm, Groupama, shows Reina in a jungle scene, being greeted by a spear-carrying tribe and their leader.

With Reina's name translated as Queen in Spanish, the tribe leader appears to suggest a sexual relationship with Reina by saying: Me King, you Queen. Reina responds with raised eyebrows, before sarcastically saying: I feel safe, la la la.

The tone of the clip prompted condemnation from campaign group Operation Black Vote, and was subsequently removed from the screens of Spanish television. Simon Woolley, a director of Operation Black Vote, said:

I'm shocked on so many levels. Firstly, how would the Spanish feel if the English stereotyped Spanish people as backward, stupid and animalistic homosexuals?

Secondly, what does this say about Pepe Reina? The Liverpool goalkeeper has lived and worked in the UK for nearly a decade -- does he think it's OK to characterise black people this way? Does he think his black team-mates will laugh at his joke?

Groupama responded:

Groupama Seguros does not consider that this advert contains either offensive or any discriminatory content.

 

4th March

 Offsite Article: You Can't Read this Book...

Link Here
Books banned in India. By Hasan Suroor

See article from thehindu.com

 

3rd March   

Break: No Mercy Just Pain!...

BBFC cut German survival horror film set in Canadian redneck territory
Link Here

Break DVD Marina Anna Eich2009 Germany horror by Matthias Olof Eich.
With Lili Schackert, Esther Maaß and Ralph Willmann. See IMDb

Passed 18 for strong gore, violence and sexual violence after 53s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2012 Trinity R2 DVD

The BBFC commented:

  • Company was required to remove elements of nudity from a scene of sexual violence that eroticise sexual violence in a potentially harmful manner.

Promotional Material: Survival Horror

When Anna discovers a pair of severed human feet dangling from a tree in the Canadian woods she quickly realises the camping trip with her three friends is going to be more than they bargained for. The terrified girls begin to realise humans are the preferred prey in this area and that they are being hunted. Armed with crossbows, two brutal rednecks start to pick them off to perform gruesome forms for torture, and a blood-soaked battle for survival begins ...

 

3rd March   

Three Very Wise Ice Cream Men...

Antonio Federici's humour at the expense of religion is OK as long as it is not sexy
Link Here

tonio federiciA magazine ad for ice cream was headed, THE THREE VERY WISE ICE CREAM MEN . The ad featured a traditional Christmas nativity scene but it had Mary holding a spoon and the three wise men bearing gifts of ice cream. Issue

13 complainants objected that the ad was offensive on religious grounds, particularly at Christmas time.

Antonio Federici said they did not believe that the ad would cause offence to the majority of people of saw it. Assessment

ASA Decision: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted that the ad was based on the biblical story of the wise men visiting the baby Jesus, but featured the wise men bearing gifts of ice cream rather than gold, frankincense and myrrh. We also noted that Mary was holding a spoon. We noted that the ad appeared at Christmas time, which the complainants found offensive on religious grounds. We acknowledged that the ad might not be to everyone's taste; however, we considered that most consumers would understand that it was light-hearted take on the biblical story rather than a mockery of Christian belief. Because we did not consider that the ad would cause widespread or serious offence, we concluded that it had not breached the Code.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

 

3rd March   

Staged Protest...

Protestors whinge at film makers recreating Lahore in India
Link Here

vishva hindu parishadHindu extremists in India have protested against the shooting of a film by director Kathryn Bigelow on the grounds that the film-makers were portraying Pakistan on Indian soil.

The film, with the working title Zero Dark Thirty , is about the hunt for Osama Bin Laden.

The film-makers were denied permission to film in Pakistan so they converted parts of the Indian city of Chandigarh to look like the Pakistani city of Lahore.

Billboards with Urdu signs were put up on shops in a market in the north Indian city and auto-rickshaws were running with Lahore number plates. Burqa-clad women and men dressed in traditional Pakistani clothes roamed the streets.

But for right-wing Hindus, the use of India to portray sworn enemy Pakistan was too much.

The small group of protesters shouted slogans and some of them were seen arguing with cast and crew members. Vijay Bhardwaj, a leader of the radical Vishva Hindu Parishad group said:

We strongly oppose this and we will not let them put Pakistani flags here and we will not let them shoot for the film.

 

3rd March   

Preventing Moralist Bullying...

Oklahoma decides to ditch idea to tax violent video games to fund charities
Link Here
Oklahoma state sealA bill that would have imposed a 1% tax on the sale of violent video games in the state of Oklahoma has been rejected, Eurogamer reports.

The bill lost a subcommittee vote by a narrow margin of 5-6, largely due to concerns over a founding premise that linked video games to bullying and obesity among children.

The tax would have applied to any game rated Teen, Mature or Adult Only by the ESRB, whether violent or not.

Half of all the money recouped from the tax would have been donated to the Childhood Outdoor Education Revolving Fund - a charity dedicated to outdoor education initiatives. The other half would have been donated to the Bullying Prevention Revolving Fund.

 

3rd March   

Cairo Exit Forcibly Exited from Film Festival...

Film banned in Egypt for the taboo topic of a muslim/coptic christian affair
Link Here

cairo exitEgyptian film-makers and critics denounced the authorities for banning the screening of a supposedly taboo film about a love story between a Christian woman and a Muslim man.

We denounce the fact that censorship authorities have prevented the screening of Hesham Issawi's Cairo Exit at the Luxor African Film Festival, dozens of film-makers and critics said in a signed statement.

They charged the censorship authorities had failed to respond to festival organisers on whether they could screen the movie even outside the main festival.

The festival organisers suggested to the censorship authorities that the film be shown only to members of the jury, critics and journalists but they never replied, the statement said. The censorship authorities stalled, preventing the film from being screened.

Under Egyptian law, films must obtain a written permit from censorship authorities in order to be screened. Anyone violating the procedure could be sentenced to jail.

Cairo Exit deals with the ultra-sensitive issue of a relationship between a Muslim and a Coptic Christian. It was screened at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last year.

Religious conflict between Moslems and Coptic is one important taboo in Egyptian media.

 

3rd March   

Putting up with Crap Censorship...

Economics of mass internet censorship leads to shameful and incompetent overblocking
Link Here

techdirt logoTechdirt has apparently been deemed harmful to minors in Germany. The German Media Control Authority has apparently been pushing internet youth filters to protect kids from dangerous things online. So far, it has officially approved two internet filters.

It was discovered that Techdirt was one of many blocked sites as the filter claims that Techdirt has pornographic images and depictions of violence. We do?

Local Hanno reached out to a spokesperson for the JusProg filter, and got the usual runaround. We do not want to censor political opinions. BUT... The spokesperson claims that the system is automated and looks at links. When asked why Techdirt was blocked, it was explained that since we use certain words perhaps twenty times in discussions about pornography and censorship, the system deemed us clearly a danger. Apparently, we can appeal to JusProg, but it appears that might require some familiarity with German... So, in the meantime, let's just hope that we haven't already damaged the youth of Germany too much.

 

3rd March   

Dangerous Porn...

Vietnam man jailed for 2 years for porn posts to a government website
Link Here

Vietnam flagAssociated Press is reporting that an official has been sentenced to two years in prison for posting porn to a government website.

Phan Ngoc Quan was convicted of illegally accessing the official Tra Vinh province website.

AP reported that a police investigation found Quan uploaded pornography to the website in 2010 and 2011, and that he subsequently confessed to the charge.

 

3rd March

 Offsite Article: Outsourcing Facebook Censorship to Morocco...

Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
An investigation finds that outsourcing censorship and moderation to Morocco and Mexico is cheap. And shock horror, the local workers aren't saddled with expensive nonsense like CRB vetting.

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

3rd March

 Offsite Article: Protests at City Beach Stores...

Link Here  full story: Collective Shout...Nutter campaigners against sexualisation and the like
Australian nutters from Collective Shout have been out and about picketing shops for selling products to youngsters that vaguely make reference to sex

See article from collectiveshout.org

 

2nd March   

Update: Offensive Football Law...

Scotland's law against football and internet sectarianism comes into force
Link Here

scottish police federation logoPolice are continuing to voice concerns about new laws targeted at offensive behaviour and religious hatred in and around football grounds.

They warn that there is still confusion around areas such as the definition of sectarianism.

As the contentious Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Act 2012 comes into force today, the organisation representing rank and file police officers -- the Scottish Police Federation (SPF) -- said earlier misgivings had not changed.

Brian Docherty, the newly installed chairman of the SPF, said doubts remained, particularly around the definition of sectarianism. He said:

Reservations are still there. But the law has passed and we now have to run with it regardless of concerns over impact on resources.

 

2nd March   

Sacrificed...

Nintendo reject The Binding of Isaac game on grounds of religion
Link Here
The Binding Isaac Unholy EditionEdward McMillen, game developer from Team Meat, has said the firm's looking into bringing The Binding of Isaac to Sony platforms after it was rejected by Nintendo for 3DS due to what the platform holder deemed to be questionable religious content .

Speaking to Joystiq, McMillen said he thinks it's a bit primitive to 'censor' something due to religion, but it's [Nintendo's] platform and their choice on what they want to support .

The Binding of Isaac game follows Isaac, a young boy who is in possibly the worst situation imaginable. After his mother heard commands from God that she followed without question, she is commanded to kill her son in sacrifice to prove her devotion. Isaac manages to escape into the basement, and is on the run as he fights off demons both physical and mental, discovers secrets about his mother's past, and ultimately confronts her in an effort to survive.

The censor free PC platform sees a UK release of The Binding of Isaac on 16th March 2012.

 

2nd March   

Updated: Playing Musical Executive Chairs at ATVOD...

How many expensive censors does it take to handle a handful of complaints and to suffocate Britain's VOD industry?
Link Here

ATVOD logo 2011The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) has announced the appointment of Gidon Freeman, Sophie Jones and Chris Ratcliff as Non-Independent Board Members and Directors.

Gidon Freeman is Director of Regulatory and Government Affairs at NBC Universal International. He works on regulation and government affairs issues across NBC Universal's various businesses internationally.

Sophie Jones is Head of Corporate Relations at Channel 4. She is responsible for public policy, regulatory affairs and stakeholder communications at Channel 4.

Chris Ratcliff is Programming Director for Portland TV. Chris was previously Managing Director of adult distribution company Hot Rod Productions. He rejoined Portland TV in 2007 to manage Portland's adult broadcasting output and their respective on demand services.

Gidon, Sophie and Chris are expected to take up their appointments at the end of March. They replace Simon Hunt (of Virgin Media), Simon Milner (formerly of BT) and Chris Loweth (formerly of Channel 5).

Welcoming the appointments, ATVOD Chair Ruth Evans said:

We are delighted that Gidon, Sophie and Chris have agreed to join the Board. Between them they offer a wealth of experience in a variety of areas and will help to ensure that ATVOD understands the perspectives of the wide range of service providers who fall within ATVOD's remit as we work to ensure that consumers enjoy the regulatory protection provided for in law.

We would also like to express our thanks to the outgoing Directors -- Simon Hunt, Simon Milner and Chris Loweth -- for their outstanding contribution to the development of ATVOD, especially in its crucial first two years as the co-regulator for UK video on demand services.

 

2nd March   

Update: Not Very Private...

EU Justice Commissioner says that Google's privacy policy is in breach of EU law
Link Here  full story: Behavioural Advertising...Serving adverts according to internet snooping

EU flagChanges made by Google to its privacy policy are in breach of European law, the EU's justice commissioner has said.

Viviane Reding told the BBC that authorities found that transparency rules have not been applied .

The policy change, implemented on 1st March, means private data collected by one Google service can be shared with its other platforms including YouTube, Gmail and Blogger.

Google said it believed the new policy complied with EU law. It went ahead with the changes despite warnings from the EU earlier this week.

Offsite Comment: Thoughts on Google's Privacy Policy changes

2nd March 2012. See  article from  privacyinternational.org

Google wants to be able to provide an ID card equivalent for the Internet.

...Read the full article

 

2nd March   

Update: We Need to Widen the Definition of Beauty to Include the Ugly...

Lynne Featherstone spouts touched up bollox at the UN
Link Here  full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts

UN logoEqualities Minister Lynne Featherstone held a world-first United Nations event into the portrayal of women in the media on Wednesday 29 February.

She joined delegates in New York pontificate over the use of supposedly misleading images of women used by the media across the globe.

The minister warned how, in extreme cases, such images can lead to eating disorders and a rise in demand for cosmetic surgery, as well as damaging self-esteem.

Delegates discussed how the media use air-brushed perfect images and create a distorted vision of beauty that is unrepresentative and impossible to obtain. Distorted

Lynne Featherstone said:

We need to challenge this culture of conformity and widen the definition of beauty to include all ages, shapes, sizes and ethnicities. And we need to help people recognise that their value goes beyond just their physical appearance.

This is an issue affecting girls at an increasingly young age, with children of five worrying about dieting, and it is paramount that we work together to take action and support each other in every way we can.

 

2nd March   

Update: Predatory Censorship...

Morocco bans newspaper from including an extract from a French book about the king of Morocco
Link Here  full story: Royal Censorship in Morocco...Law puts the Moroccan king above comment

Le Roi predateur Catherine GracietThe International Publishers Association is speaking out after authorities in Morocco banned the Spanish-language daily newspaper El Pai's from distributing its February 26 issue because of an excerpt it featured from the French book Le Roi predateur (The Predator King).

The book, written by Catherine Graciet and Eric Laurent, offers a critical look at the King of Morocco, and is being published in France by the French house Le Seuil.

The IPA is calling the cancelation of the paper in Morocco an act of censorship. IPA member Olivier Betourne, said:

By prohibiting the issue of the El Pais daily, which included excerpts of The Predator King, the Moroccan authorities go against the wind of freedom which is currently blowing in the MENA region. Not only does IPA condemn the censorship of the Spanish daily, it also urges Morocco to authorize the distribution in Morocco of The Predator King.

 

2nd March   

Gumus...

Uzbekistan takes issue with Turkish TV series
Link Here

gumus logoActor Kivanç Tatlitug starred in TV series Gümüs with the actress Songül Öden.
Three state-run televisions in Uzbekistan have banned the broadcasting of this Turkish TV series on the grounds that they contain unsuitable content.

According to local news, sources close to state television said the real reason behind banning Turkish TV series was the rebellious situation of some characters in those series.

It is also said that some scenes in the series were inappropriate to the mindset of Uzbek people.

 

1st March   

Classification: Content Regulation and Convergent Media...

Australian law Reform Commission publishes its report on rationalising media censorship
Link Here  full story: Post Censorship Review...Responding to ALRC recommendations on media censorship

australia content regulationAll media in Australia should be classified, and censored, in the same way, according to a landmark report published today.

Conducting the first review of Australia's classification laws in 20 years, the Australian Law Reform Commission found that the rapid rise of new forms of media had overtaken existing classification laws.

The review would have far-reaching implications for Australia's media. Radio and television broadcasters are subject to regulation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Television broadcasters are also subject to guidelines under the Commercial Television Code of Practice.

The report recommended:

  • One set of laws establishing obligations to classify or restrict access to content across media platforms.Clear scope of what must be classified: feature films and television programs, as well as computer games likely to be MA 15+ or higher, that are both made and distributed on a commercial basis, and likely to have a significant Australian audience.
  • A shift in regulatory focus to restricting access to adult content, by imposing new obligations on content providers to take reasonable steps to restrict access to adult content and to promote cyber-safety.
  • Co-regulation and industry classification, with more industry classification of content and industry development of classification codes, but subject to regulatory oversight.
  • Classification Board benchmarking and community standards, with a clear role for the Classification Board in making independent classification decisions that reflect community standards.
  • An Australian government scheme that replaces the current co-operative scheme with enforcement under Commonwealth law.
  • A single regulator with primary responsibility for regulating the new scheme.

Professor Flew of the ALRC said:

Classification criteria should also be reviewed periodically, to ensure they reflect community standards,

One category that may no longer align with community standards is 'Refused Classification' or 'RC'. The scope of this category should be narrowed, and the ALRC suggests changes for government to consider.

[So it is recommended that hardcore porn be legalised for sale across Australia with self classification by the industry. But all this in return for the adult industry taking on board strict conditions to ensure that the material is not sold to under 18s. In fact, any such restrictions will apply equally to softcore and even mainstream R18+ horror films for adults].

 

1st March   

Jupe Likes 69...

Indonesian music censors whinge at sexy lyrics in a modern popular genre of music named dangdut
Link Here

ns17873911 1303402350julia-perezTen dangdut songs with the titles Jupe Likes 69 Best, Rocking Van, Sorry I Got You Pregnant, Accidentally Pregnant, Anything Goes, Just One Hour, Pimping Love, Breaking Womens' Law, Here's Something Long and Crocodile Hole have been banned for broadcasting by Indonesian provincial censors.

Dangdut is a genre of Indonesian popular music that is partly derived from Malay, Arabic, and Hindustani music. It developed in the 1970s among working-class Muslim youth, but beginning in the late 1990s reached a broader following in Indonesia, Malaysia, and the southern Philippines.

The West Nusa Tenggara Broadcasting Commission (KPID) has decreed that radio and television broadcasters are prohibited from airing the songs, which it claims have pornographic lyrics.

The KPID took two weeks to examine 300 of the most popular dangdut songs after receiving a complaint from a nutter group which it said included academics and cultural scientists from the province.

KPID head,  Badrun A.M., claimed that the body did not take the step to impose censorship lightly.

In principle we do not wish to curb the creativity of anyone's art, ... BUT ... the KPID also wishes to protect the public from the negative impacts of listening to these songs. There's the potential for children and teenagers to copy what they hear.

The head of the broadcasting supervisory agency said that the words to Julia Perez' song Jupe Likes 69 Best were delivered in an erotic voice, with lustful sighs and emphasis on lyrics which portrayed intimate relations and the singer's preferred mode of sexual intercourse.

More vulgar still, according to Badrun, was Rocking Van by Lia M.J. and Asep Rumpi, which he said, promoted sex outside of marriage, and went into details of sex positions.

This is very vulgar, and completely inappropriate to be heard by our community here in West Nusa Tenggara. Not to mention 'Pimping Love' which tells the story of a husband who sells his wife as a prostitute --- this does not represent our Eastern culture, he said.