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 2017: March
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 Updated: Outlast Outlawed...

Australian censors ban Outlast 2 video game but then pass a cut version with an R18+ rating which will be distributed worldwide


Link Here 26th March 2017  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban
Outlast Trinity Outlast 2 is a first person survival horror shooter from Warner Brothers. It is PEGI 18 rated in Europe and and M rated in the US.

Kotaku Australia has learned that Outlast 2 has been banned in Australia, predominately for the depiction of implied sexual violence.

Australia's Censorship Board provided a detailed explanation of the reasons to Kotaku. The censors identified multiple scenes where sexual violence is implied in hallucinatory scenes involving the main character, Blake.

One particular scene shows a female creature thrusting against the main character while his wife is tied up in chains. The censors explained:

[ Spoilers! hover or click text ]

In one cut-scene in the game ... a female creature prepares Blake for a ritual. She says, I want to see your true face. Your seed will burn this world. Shortly afterwards, he objects to having psycho-active dust blown into his face, yelling, Nope! Nope! before he stumbles into a forest clearing.

His vision blurring, he witnesses what appears to a ritualistic orgy. His wife, Lynn, calls out for his help, saying, It hurts! Oh god!, as she hangs from chains on a raised platform at the front of the clearing. Humanoid creatures, their skin grey, spattered with blood and scarred, implicity have sex as others pray, or chant, or gesticulate.

One creature has another bent over a rock, thrusting as they implicitly have rear-entry sex, another sits astride the pelvic region of a creature prone on the ground, moving their hips rhythmically as they too implicitly have sex. Two other pairs of creatures in the clearing are also implicitly having sex.

As Blake yells for the creatures to Get away from her! a female creature, her greyish breasts bared, pushes him onto his back, holds his arms to the ground and repeatedly thrusts her crotch against him. As Blake protests, saying No! Stop that! the creature thrusts again, before placing its face over his midsection and then sitting up and wiping its mouth.

Although much of the contact between the creature and Blake is obscurred, by it taking place below screen, the sexualised surroundings and aggressive behaviour of the creature suggest that it is an assault which is sexual in nature. The Board is of the opinion that this, combined with Blake's objections and distress, constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence.

In the Board's opinion, the above example constitutes a depiction of implied sexual violence and therefore cannot be accommodated within the R18+ classification category and the game is therefore Refused Classification.

The Board's report also notes that the game could be passed R18+ should the offending scene be cut.

Update: Australian worldwide censors

25th March 2017 See  article from pastemagazine.com . See also listing from classification.gov.au

R18+The Australian Censorship Board has now passed a cut of Outlast 2 with the adults only rating R18+ for high impact horror themes, violence, blood, gore and sex.

The board told IGN it is satisfied that that the original version of the game that was refused classification has been modified to allow the game to be classified R18+, implying that the game's previously objectionable sexually violent content has been edited.

Developer Red Barrels then issued a statement saying that they have adopted this cut version for worldwide distribution:

Outlast 2 has been rated R18+ by the Classification Branch in Australia and will be released 26th April 2017. There will be only one version of Outlast 2 available worldwide.

 

  Moralist Preacher...

Lebanese film censor bans the Egyptian film Mawlana


Link Here 26th March 2017
Poster Mawlana 2016 Magdy Ahmed Aly Mawlana is a 2016 Egypt mystery drama by Magdy Ahmed Aly.
Starring Amr Saad, Dorra Zarrouk and Ahmed Magdy. IMDb

A seemingly traditional journey of a young sheikh in a governmental mosque who moves from leading prayers to becoming a TV celebrity issuing "fatwas" that are accepted by millions who have become fans of his as a result of his courage and his attempts to deviate from the usual religious rhetoric in a society heavily influenced by fundamentalism. The TV spotlight only shows his eloquent yet sarcastic answers he gives to the callers in a preset scenario, while in the dark and cloudy space around him, bloody struggles for power are raging, struggles he had always tried to avoid.

The organizers of Beirut Cinema Days are inviting everyone to join them in speaking up against censorship in Lebanon. They have organised a protest and discussion panel saying:

We the organizers of Ayam Beirut Al Cinema'iya refuse to accept the censorship of creative art in all its forms and invite you to join us in protest.

During the 9th edition of Ayam Beirut Al Cinema'iya the censor was stricter than in any previous year and did not grant screening permissions for two films Beit El Baher (The Beach House) and Mawlana (The Preacher).

In the statement the organizers also note that the censor asked many other filmmakers participating in the festival to edit out parts of their films.

The Egyptian political thriller Mawlana revolves around a Sheikh who becomes a TV celebrity issuing fatwas to TV audiences across Egypt. The film highlights the issue of close ties between the state and religious institutions. Mawlana is directed by Magdy Ahmed Ali and based on journalist Ibrahim Eissa's novel of the same name.

Upon its release in Egypt, the film sparked controversy but was given a release permit and went on to become a box office hit. In Lebanon, however, the general security censorship board banned the film after it caused a stir among religious authorities in the country. They refused to permit its screening at Ayam Beirut Al Cinema'iya.

Beit El Baher by Roy Dib revolves around Rayya and a group of her friends who reunite for the first time in years at her beach house in the South of Lebanon. Over a casual dinner the characters feast on the building blocks of their personal and communal identities, and recount stories of their past.

In a statement posted on the film's Facebook page, Dib says there wasn't a specific scene or phrase in the film that the censor board had a problem with, they simply notified us that the entire film annoyed them. Even though the film hasn't received an official ban, it wasn't given a screening permit in time for the festival.

In recent months, films including Mounia Akl's short Submarine and Karl Haddad's My name Is have been banned.

 

  Elephants and Rooms...

Germany's press regulator modifies censorship rules about reporting people's religion or ethnicity


Link Here 26th March 2017

presserat logoGermany's media regulator has revised its code on reporting whether crime suspects belong to an ethnic or religious group.

The German Press Council, a voluntary, industry-run body, says information about a person's ethnicity shouldn't be published unless there is a justified public interest in doing so. Previous guidance said such details should only be published if there was a link between a person's ethnicity or religion and the crime.

Numerous German media outlets complained that the old code was hard to interpret during a breaking news situation and that withholding such information left readers searching for it on questionable social media sites and stirred conspiracy theories of media cover-ups of migrant crimes.

 

 Update: Cat Sick Blues...

New Zealand film censors ban horror film rated 15 in Australia after the distributor refuses to implement cuts


Link Here 24th March 2017  full story: Banned Films in New Zealand...OFLC sees films as somehow 'objectionable'
Cat Sick Blues DVD Cat Sick Blues is a 2015 Australia horror by Dave Jackson.
Starring Matthew C Vaughan, Shian Denovan and Noah Moon. IMDb

When Ted's beloved cat dies, the trauma triggers a terrible mental breakdown. His broken brain prompts him to bring his feline friend back - all he needs is nine human lives. Ted dons vicious deadly cat claw gloves and a creepy cat mask, and goes on a murderous rampage. As the butchery escalates, a twisted romance blossoms between Ted and Claire, a young woman who has also recently lost her cat in a horrifying incident.

This Australian censorship board classified the film MA 15+ for strong horror violence and coarse language.

However the New Zealand film censors at the OFLC banned the film as objectionable , with the explanation:

The publication is a low-budget horror film from Australia about a demented serial killer who chooses a rape victim as his next target.

Two excisions were required to remove part of a scene (and related content in a behind-the-scenes component) that causes the DVD to tend to promote and support the use of violence to compel a person to submit to sexual conduct, and the infliction of extreme violence and extreme cruelty under s3(2)(b) and s3(2)(f) of the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993.

If the excisions had been made, the DVD would have been classified R18 due to the high extent and degree of gruesome horror, the infliction of serious physical harm and cruelty, and sexual violence.

The distributor declined to make the excisions, so the DVD is classified as objectionable.

 

 Updated: Beastly homophobic film censors...

Beauty and the Beast banned in Kuwait, effectively banned in Russia, and recently unbanned in Malaysai


Link Here 24th March 2017
Poster Beauty and the Beast 2017 Bill Condon Beauty and the Beast is a 2017 USA family musical romance by Bill Condon.
Starring Emma Watson, Dan Stevens and Luke Evans. IMDb

Disney's animated classic takes on a new form, with a widened mythology and an all-star cast. A young prince, imprisoned in the form of a beast, can be freed only by true love. What may be his only opportunity arrives when he meets Belle, the only human girl to ever visit the castle since it was enchanted.

Malaysian censors ordered cuts to the cinema release of Beauty and the Beast, removing what its creators say is a gay moment. Even after the cuts, the censors imposed a P13 rating (a 13A in UK terms). But according to a media report, Walt Disney decided anyway to shelve the film's Thursday release in the country.

Malaysian Censorship Board (LPF) chairman Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid told The Star Online the film has been approved with a P13 parental guidance classification, with a minor cut.

Since 2010 Malaysia's film censorship rules allow the depiction of gay characters, but only if those characters show repentance or are portrayed in a negative light.

Meanwhile the Russian government has opted to give the film a rather unviable 16+ rating, a restrictive rating preventing children below that age from seeing the film.

Vyacheslav Telnov, director of the Culture Ministry's cinema department, told Russian entertainment site KinoPoisk.ru:

We will issue the film distribution license without any problems. The minimum age is 16+.

A 2013 Russian law bans promotion of homosexuality among minors. The law describes homosexuality as non-traditional sexual relations.

Update: Unbanned after Malaysia loses face

22nd March 2017 See  article from rappler.com

Malaysia flagDisney's movie Beauty and the Beast has won an appeal against censorship and will now be released uncut with a PG 13 rating.

Malaysian authorities had initially demanded cuts but Disney refused to oblige the censors, choosing to instead to appeal the decision

Disney have now won that appeal, a decision perhaps linked to some members of parliament questioning the need to censor the film, arguing that the debacle was giving Malaysia bad publicity.

Update: Banned in Kuwait

24th March 2017 See  article from al.com

UAE flagBeauty and the Beast opened in Kuwait last week with a PG-13 rating, but by this week, the nation's government-owned cinema company, which runs 11 out of the 13 theaters in the Persian Gulf country, announced that all screenings had been canceled and offered a full refund to anyone who had purchased a ticket.

One board member of the National Cinema Co. told the Associated Press:

We were requested to stop the screening and further censor the movie for things that were deemed offensive by the Ministry of Information's censorship department.

At issue, apparently, is a scene in which a supporting character, LeFou, is depicted as having a romantic fascination for Gaston and is shown dancing with another man in a ballroom scene said to be three seconds long.

 

 Update: Siding with repression...

Malaysia imprisons organiser of screening of No Fire Zone, a documentary banned at the behest of the sri Lankan authorities


Link Here 24th March 2017  full story: Censored Films in Malaysia...Film censors and censorship

no fire zone  2017 The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Malaysia.

The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources about the sentencing of Ms. Lena Hendry, former Programme Coordinator of the human rights NGO Pusat Komunikasi Masyarakat (KOMAS).

According to the information received, the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court sentenced Ms. Lena Hendry to a fine of MYR 10,000 (about EUR 2,130) or one year in prison for screening the documentary on the Sri Lankan civil war titled No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka four years ago.

defend lena logo On February 21, 2017, following a successful appeal by the Prosecutor against her acquittal in 2015, the Kuala Lumpur Magistrate's Court had found Ms. Lena Hendry guilty of violating Section 6(1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 for the private screening of the documentary without prior approval from Malaysia's Film Censorship Board.

The Observatory condemns Ms. Lena Hendry's sentencing, which merely aims at punishing her for her legitimate human rights activities. The Observatory calls upon the Malaysian authorities to ensure that all human rights defenders in Malaysia are able to carry out their legitimate activities in all circumstances without any hindrance and fear of reprisals.

 

 Update: A total ban on internet porn in the UK averted...

The government says that it will remove the impractical censorship power requiring the BBFC to ban foreign porn websites that contain material beyond R18 such has as fisting and squirting


Link Here 22nd March 2017  full story: UK Governments Consults on Age Checks for Porn...Government proposes censoring porn websites that are not age verified
DCMS logoBritain has some ludicrous and dated prohibitions on aspects of porn that are commonplace in international porn sites. For example the government requires that the BBFC cut fisting, squirting, gagging on blow jobs, dialogue references to incest or underage sex.

It would be ludicrous to expect all of the worlds websites to remove such commonplace scene from all its films and videos. The originally proposed porn censorship law would require the BBFC to identify sites with this commonplace material, and ISPs would have then been forced to block these sites. Of course this would have meant that more or less all websites would have had to be banned.

Someone has obviously pointed this out to the government, perhaps the Lords had spotted this in their scrutiny.

The Daily Mail is now reporting that this censorship power will be dropped form the Digital Economy Bill. The age verification requirement will stand but foreign websites complying with age verification will not then be blocked for material transgressing some of the stupid UK prohibitions.

A source at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport has acknowledged that the proposals were imperfect , but said the Obscene Publications Act 1959, which covers sex shops, was too outdated to be used to regulate the internet.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport actually went further and said extreme material, including violent pornography and cartoons depicting child sex abuse, will be allowed to stay online as long as distributors put in place checks to ensure it cannot be viewed by children. (But note that downloading films including what is defined as extreme pornography and cartoon child porn would still be illegal). There will be no change to the capability of the IWF to block child porn (and occasionally, illegal adult porn).

Of course pro-censorship campaigners are not impressed by the lost opportunity for total porn censorship. Helen Lewington, of the morality campaign group Mediawatch-UK, claimed that the decision to allow extreme sites to operate behind the age verification barrier risked giving them a veneer of respectability .  She called on peers to reject the amendments this evening. She added:

We are deeply concerned by the Government's apparent change of direction. These proposals will permit some forms of violent pornography to be viewed behind age verification checks.

This will unhelpfully allow what is illegal offline to be legally viewed online, and may in the long term lead to some regarding such material as acceptable.'

Pro censorship campaigner John Carr revealed that the government will now be reviewing the rules on what is currently prohibited from UK adult porn. He set out his pro-censorship stall by claiming that reducing censorship for adults would somehow endanger children. He claimed:

In his speech on the Digital Economy Bill, last Monday night in the House of Lords, Lord Ashton referred to the Secretary of State's announcement in the context of there being a need for a wider discussion about the effects of pornography in society as a whole, not solely in respect of children. I would hope there will be an opportunity to contribute to that aspect of the review. I accept it was never envisaged that the Digital Economy Bill was to be a trigger for a wider debate about what sorts of pornography are more or less acceptable, whether being viewed by children or not. However, just because children cannot view certain types of material that have been put behind an age verification wall, it does not mean that its continued availability to adults does not constitute a threat to children. Such material might encourage, promote or appear to legitimize or condone harmful behaviours which either directly or indirectly put children at risk.

Offsite Comment: Lib Dems lay into the governments censorship efforts

19th March 2017 See  article from libdemvoice.org by Brian Paddick

Lib Dems logoTo add to the list of obnoxious new laws such as the new offence of driving while being a suspected illegal immigrant and giving the police unfettered access to innocent people's web histories, the Tories have waded into the swamp of online pornography and they are completely out of their depth.

The Digital Economy Bill, another universal answer to everything they couldn't get through when we had one hand on the reins of power, professes to protect children from online pornography.

Nonetheless, if we are to prohibit access to online adult material unless there is an age-verification solution in place, the privacy of those who are being forced to part with their sensitive personal information in order to verify their age, must be protected. We have already seen user databases for a couple of major porn sites, containing sensitive personal information, being hacked and the details traded on the dark web. When details of users of the Ashley Madison site were leaked, it reportedly led to two suicides.

...read the full  article from libdemvoice.org

 

 Update: Unconstitutional censorship...

Utah tries to defend its law that allowed it to ban a cinema from showing Deadpool


Link Here 22nd March 2017  full story: Deadpool...Superhero film with a little bit more adult appeal
Deadpool DVD The state of Utah has enacted a censorial local law banning cinemas that sell alcohol from screening R rated movies. And indeed state officials tried to ban such a cinema from showing Deadpool.

This resulted in a challenge to the Utah ordinance on the grounds that censorship is unconstitutional. Utah officials are now trying to get that legal challenge quashed. They are asking a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit filed over liquor and Deadpool , claiming it is somehow not suppressing First Amendment-protected ideas or expression.

The Utah Attorney General's Office argues the law should remain in place because it reduces adverse secondary effects. It claims that:

Judicial opinions and alcohol experts confirm what is commonly known: that combining alcohol and sexual content is an 'explosive combination,' that can lead to sexual aggression and sexual violence, increased drinking, and reported and unreported crime.

The Statute's purpose and effect are to reduce these adverse secondary effects that result from combining alcohol and sexually explicit images.

The state argues that Brewvies' First Amendment free expression rights are only slightly inconvenienced by the law saying:

Plaintiff is free to show whatever sexually explicit R-rated films it chooses, so long as it does not serve alcohol at the same time, and individuals can see the same movies at other theaters. Plaintiff does not have a constitutional right to serve beer while showing movies.

 

 Update: Ban happy chief censor...

Indian film censor bans 77 films in a year


Link Here 19th March 2017  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
nice guys India's crazed film censor, Pahlaj Nihalani, has overseen the banning of 77 films in a 12 month period of 2015-16.

The CBFC banned 77 films in 2015-16, as against 47 films in 2014-15 and 23 films the year before that, clearly indicating a rise when under the governance of Pahlaj Nihalani.

Filmmakers are justifiably unimpressed. Increasing numbers of filmmakers raising their voices against the chief censor, noting that he has been imposing archaic laws on their films.

 

 Update: More EU nastiness...

EU is getting heavy with internet giants who refuse to censor content that the EU does not like


Link Here 17th March 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in EU...EU proposes mandatory cleanfeed for all member states
european commission logoSocial media giants Facebook, Google and Twitter will be forced to change their terms of service for EU users within a month, or face hefty fines from European authorities, an official said on Friday.

The move was initiated after politicians have decided to blame their unpopularity on 'fake news' rather than their own incompetence and their failure to listen to the will of the people.

The EU Commission sent letters to the three companies in December, stating that some terms of service were in breach of EU protection laws and urged them to do more to prevent fraud on their platforms. The EU has also urged social media companies to do more when it comes to assessing the suitability of user generated content.

The letters, seen by Reuters, explained that the EU Commission also wanted clearer signposting for sponsored content, and that mandatory rights, such as cancelling a contract, could not be interfered with.

Germany said this week it is working on a new law that would see social media sites face fines of up to $53 million if they failed to strengthen their efforts to remove material that the EU does not like. German censorship minister Heiko Mass said:

There must be as little space for criminal incitement and slander on social networks as on the streets. Too few criminal comments are deleted and they are not erased quickly enough. The biggest problem is that networks do not take the complaints of their own users seriously enough...it is now clear that we must increase the pressure on social networks.

 

 Update: Censorship via blasphemy...

Pakistan is getting heavy with internet giants who refuse to censor content that Pakistan does not like


Link Here 17th March 2017  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
Pakistan flagPakistani has threatened to ban social media networks if they failed to censor content considered insulting to Islam. The government's Fderal Investigation Agency (FIA) is also in talks with Interpol to identify supposedly blasphemous content.

The FIA has sent a formal request to Facebook but the company's management has yet to respond. Pakistan's interior Minister Nisar Ali Khan urged Facebook to comply:

I hope that the management of Facebook will respect the religious sentiments of 200 million Pakistanis and tens of millions of users of Facebook in Pakistan and will cooperate in that regard.

These requests come after the Islamabad high court ordered the government to start an investigation into online blasphemy and threatened to ban social media networks if they failed to censor content deemed insulting to Islam, lawyers told AFP.

 

 Update: Flaming row...

Myanmar complains that a Thai TV drama insults its historic royalty


Link Here 14th March 2017  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime
ladys flamesThailand, who have a repressive lese majeste law, which metes out extreme punishments for minor criticisms of royalty, has been accused of insulting Myanmar's historic royalty.

A Thai soap opera that appears to depict Burmese palace intrigue has angered some in Myanmar including a descendant of Myanmar's last king. Soe Win, the great-grandson of King Thibaw, has called for the show to be cancelled as it is insulting . He told AFP:

We have asked Thais this, would they accept it if one of our companies here did the same thing about their country.

But producers of the historical drama, called Plerng Phra Nang (A Lady's Flames) , have insisted it is purely fictional.

The lady in question is Ananthip, a character who schemes to seize control of the kingdom. Some have observed she closely resembles Hsinbyumashin, a real-life Burmese palace consort who orchestrated the massacre of scores of royals so that Thibaw could ascend the throne. Thibaw abdicated and the Burmese monarchy was abolished in 1885, when British forces defeated and invaded Burma.

 

 Update: Linked to censorship...

Leaked Report Slams European Link Tax and Upload Filtering Plans


Link Here 11th March 2017

European Parliament logo Earlier this week we explained how the tide is turning against the European Commission's proposal for Internet platforms to adopt new compulsory copyright filters as part of its upcoming Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. As we explained, users and even the European Parliament's Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO) have criticized the Commission's proposal, which could stifle online expression, hinder competition, and suppress legal uses of copyrighted content, like creating and sharing Internet memes .

Since then, a leaked report has revealed that one of the European Parliament's most influential committees has also come out against the proposal . As the IMCO committee's report had done, the report of the European Parliament's Legal Affairs (JURI) Committee not only criticizes the upload filtering proposal (aka. Article 13, or the #censorshipmachine), but renders even harsher judgment on a separate proposal to require online news aggregators to pay copyright-like licensing fees to the publishers they link to (aka. Article 11, or the link tax ). We'll take these one at a time.

JURI Committee Scales Back the EU's Censorship Machine

The JURI committee would maintain the requirement for copyright holders to "take appropriate and proportionate measures to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rightsholders for the use of their works." But the committee rejects the proposed requirement for automatic blocking or deletion of uploaded content, because it fails to take account of the limitations and exceptions to copyright that Europe recognizes, such as the right of quotation. The committee writes in an Explanatory Statement:

The process cannot underestimate the effects of the identification of user uploaded content which falls within an exception or limitation to copyright. To ensure the continued use of such exceptions and limitations, which are based on public interest concerns, communication between users and rightsholders also needs to be efficient.

The committee also affirms that the agreements between rightsholders and platforms don't detract from the safe harbor protection for platforms that Europe's E-Commerce Directive already provides (which is analogous to the DMCA safe harbor in the U.S.). This means that if user-uploaded content appears on a platform without a license from the copyright holder, the platform's only obligation is to remove that content on receipt of a request by the copyright holder.

We would have liked to see a stronger denunciation of the mandate for Internet platforms to enter into licensing agreements with copyright holders, and we maintain that the provision is better deleted altogether. Nonetheless, the committee's report, if reflected in the final text, should rule out the worst-case scenario of platforms being required to automatically flag and censor copyright material as it is uploaded.

European Link Tax Faces its Toughest Odds Ever

The leaked report goes further in its response to the link tax, recommending that it be dropped from the new copyright directive altogether. Given the failure of smaller scale link tax schemes in Germany and Spain , this was the only sensible position for the committee to take. The Explanatory Statement to the report correctly distinguishes between two separate aspects of the use of news reporting online that the Commission's original proposal incorrectly conflates:

Digitalisation makes it easier for content found in press publications to be copied or taken. Digitalisation also facilitates access to news and press by providing digital users a referencing or indexing system that leads them to a wide range of news and press. Both processes need to be recognised as separate processes.

Instead of introducing new monopoly rights for publishers, the JURI committee suggests simplifying the process by which publishers can take copyright infringement action in the names of the journalists whose work is appropriated. This would address the core problem of full news reports being republished without permission, but without creating new rights over mere snippets of news that accompany links to their original sources. Far from being a problem, this use is actually beneficial for news organizations.

The JURI committee report is just a recommendation for the amendment of the European Commission proposal, and it will still be some months before we learn whether these recommendations will be reflected in the final compromise text. Nonetheless, it is heartening to see the extreme proposals of the Commission getting chiseled away by one of the Parliament's most influential committees.

The importance of this shouldn't be underestimated. Although the above proposals are limited to Europe at present, there is the very real prospect that, if they succeed, they will pop up in the United States as well. In fact, U.S. content industry groups are already advocating for the adoption of an upload filtering proposal stateside. That's why it's vital not only for Europeans to speak out against these dangerous proposals, but also for Internet users around the world to stand on guard, and to be ready to fight back.

 

 Update: Twitter turns grey...

Twitter greys out profiles of users with 'sensitive' content


Link Here 11th March 2017  full story: Twitter Censorship...Twitter offers country by country take downs
twitter 2015 logoTwitter is continuing its campaign to add controls and warnings to tweets.

It now presents a warning when users click on a profile that may include sensitive content .  The warning greys out the profile's tweets, bio and profile picture, but gives users the option to view the profile if they wish.

Twitter used to only mark individual tweets with a sensitivity warning, but has now expanded this to censor whole profiles unless users agree to view them.

The warning message given with the greyed out profile says:

Caution: This profile may include sensitive content.  You're seeing this warning because they tweet sensitive images or language. Do you still want to view it?

Twitter did not publicly announce the new feature, and tweeters with profiles being greyed out are not informed by Twitter.

 

 Update: Total thought control...

China bans the sales of foreign books without the express approval of the state


Link Here 11th March 2017  full story: Book Censorship in China...Offical book censors and self censorship

China flagIn the next step in the Chinese government's quest for total thought control it has issued a ban on the sale of foreign publications without an import permit.

The new rules came into effect on the online shopping platform Taobao on Friday banning sellers from offering overseas publications. Taobao said the change, which also includes foreign services relating to publications, will enter into force on March 10, 2017.

An employee who answered the phone at Taobao said the ban included books, movies, and games that hadn't already been given government approval:

If it comes from overseas, then basically, it's not allowed, for the time being at least. Any imported publications will need an import certificate under this system, and they need to be reported to the authorities. Only then can they be sold.

Pan Lu, of the Hubei-based rights group Rose China, said the administration of President Xi Jinping is currently tightening control over every aspect of public discourse. Pan said:

They are clamping down on ideology and public opinion. They can't afford to allow a pluralistic value system to seep into China via the consumer market for foreign publications.

The Chinese Communist Party is terrified that its own single-party ideology is bankrupt, and it is trying to shore up its grip on power by controlling what people think.

Hangzhou-based writer Zan Aizong said the new rules would make it much harder for people to get hold of foreign literature:

This will mean that people will have to resort to selling it on the quiet, because if you are found at the border to have political books in your bag, you will be detained, Zan said.

It's very hard to get books into the country from overseas.

He said the only option left will be to try to download e-books from outside the complex network of blocks, filters, and human censorship known as the Great Firewall.

 

 Offsite Article: Best Avoid Best Buy...


Link Here 11th March 2017
best buy geek squad logo Are Online Porn Watchers In Danger From Geek Squad? US computer repairers get over enthusiastic with a deep scan of PCs looking for possible suggestions of child porn

See article from avn.com

 

 Offsite Article: Obituary: Bill Leak...


Link Here 11th March 2017
bill leak cartoon Bill Leak: a free-speech hero. Brendan O'Neill pays tribute to the great Australian cartoonist

See article from spiked-online.com

 

  Hot under the collar...

Indian film censors criticised by Amnesty International for their anti-gay ban of Lipstick Under My Burkha


Link Here 9th March 2017
Poster Lipstick Under My Burkha 2016 Alankrita Shrivastava Lipstick Under My Burkha is a 2016 India drama by Alankrita Shrivastava.
Starring Shashank Arora, Plabita Borthakur and Sonal Jha. IMDb

Set in the crowded by-lanes of small town India, Lipstick Under My Burkha chronicles the secret lives of four women in search of a little freedom. Though stifled and trapped in their worlds, these four women claim their desires through small acts of courage and stealthy rebellion.

Lipstick Under My Burkha has been deemed too lady oriented in content by the Indian film censors from the CBFC. The board banned the film complaining about continuous sexual scenes, abusive words, audio pornography and a sensitive touch about one particular section of society.

But this is also a film that won a gender equality award at the Mumbai film fest last year, and recently won the Audience Award at the Glasgow Film Festival.  The film will now be the opening movie at the 15th edition of Indian Film Festival of Los Angeles (IFFLA). The festival will be held from April 5-9 in Los Angeles.

Amnesty International India have now criticised the censors asking them not to indulge in moral policing . Commenting on the bans of Lipstick Under My Burkha and the gay film Ka Bodyscapes, Amnesty said:

The recent denial of theatrical release to two films because they deal with women's sexuality and same-sex relations amounts to open censorship of artistic expression.

 

  Recommended by offended churchgoers...

Supporting the hype for the US horror film, Voodoo


Link Here 9th March 2017
voodooVooDoo is a 2017 USA horror by Tom Costabile.
Starring Samantha Stewart, Ruth Reynolds and Dominic Matteucci. IMDb

When Dani, an innocent southern girl, vacations to Los Angeles to evade her increasingly complicated life, she learns that escaping her past isn't as easy as she hoped.

Tom Costabile's brutal horror flick Voodoo, now showing in theaters across the US, has the religious community up in arms over its extreme and controversial view of hades and stance on all things holy. From spiritual forums and bloggers, voicing their opinion about Costabile's depiction of hell (in one shocking sequence our heroine is molested by a demon) to other religious elements within the movie, to personal emails from offended churchgoers, the film is definitely gaining notoriety.

At the other end of the scale, the paranormal horror film -- which fixes on an innocent girl journeying down a frightening, gory path that only the worst of nightmares could summon -- is winning praise from some of the country's top critics for it's originality, old school-style scares and risk-taking.

 

  Free kick...

The Premier League secures court order to block Kodi servers offering pirated content


Link Here 9th March 2017
Raynic X The Premier League has secured a court order to help tackle rights-infringing video streams of football matches via Kodi set-top boxes. The order gives the league the means to have computer servers used to power the streams blocked.

Until now, it could only go after individual video streams which were relatively easy to re-establish at different links.

There have been several arrests of people selling set-top boxes pre-installed with both Kodi software and additional third-party add-ons that make it possible to watch copyright-infringing film and TV streams.

According to a recent survey commissioned by the security firm Irdeto, Kodi boxes are particularly prevalent in the UK.

It reported that 11% of Brits that admitted to watching pirated streams in a survey said they did so via a Kodi box. Doing so is not thought to be illegal. Derbyshire County Council trading standards officers recently explained:

Accessing premium paid-for content without a subscription is considered by the industry as unlawful access, although streaming something online, rather than downloading a file, is likely to be exempt from copyright laws,

That might seem a surprising position for an enforcement department to take, but support for it comes from an authoritative quarter. The European Commission doesn't believe that consumers who watch pirate streams are infringing. From the user's perspective they equate streaming to watching, which is legitimate. The European Commission gave its view during the hearing of an important case currently before Europe's highest court involving the Dutch anti-piracy group BREIN, which wrote in its summary of the hearing:

The case concerns the sale of a mediaplayer on which the trader has loaded add-ons that link to evidently illegal websites that link to content. For a user such a player is plug & play . This king of pre-programmed player usually are offered with slogans like never pay again for the newest films and series and completely legal, downloading from illegal sources is prohibited but streaming is allowed . In summary the pre-judicial questions concern whether the seller of such a mediaplayer infringes copyright and whether streaming from an illegal source is legitimate use.

It has also been reported that the UK government is considering new laws against streaming pirated content, but discussions are at an early stage

 

 Update: No Darker...

Indian film censors of the CBFC ban Fifty Shades Darker


Link Here 8th March 2017  full story: Fifty Shades of Grey Movies...Kink for kids Hollywood style
Fifty Shades Darker Unmasked Edition DVD + Digital Copy DVD Fifty Shades Darker is a 2017 USA romance by James Foley.
Starring Dakota Johnson, Jamie Dornan and Bella Heathcote. BBFC link IMDb

The Theatrical Version is 18 rated in the UK and R rated in the US, but was banned in India. An Unrated Unmasked version will be released on home video.

India: Banned in March 2017

Banned by the CBFC. The film censors nominally noted that the film could be released with all the sex scenes removed but this option was not accepted by the distributors Universal, so the film remains banned.

UK: The Theatrical Version was passed 18 uncut for strong sex.

US: The Theatrical Version was rated R for strong erotic sexual content, some graphic nudity, and language.

Summary Notes

While Christian wrestles with his inner demons, Anastasia must confront the anger and envy of the women who came before her.

 

 Update: America's listening...

Wikileaks reveals a new set of leaked information detailing CIA snooping and hacking technology


Link Here 8th March 2017  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
cia logoWikiLeaks has begun a new series of leaks on the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Code-named Vault 7 by WikiLeaks, it is the largest ever publication of confidential documents on the agency.

The first full part of the series, Year Zero , comprises 8,761 documents and files from an isolated, high-security network situated inside the CIA's Center for Cyber Intelligence in Langley, Virgina. It follows an introductory disclosure last month of CIA targeting French political parties and candidates in the lead up to the 2012 presidential election .

Recently, the CIA lost control of the majority of its hacking arsenal including malware, viruses, trojans, weaponized zero day exploits, malware remote control systems and associated documentation. This extraordinary collection, which amounts to more than several hundred million lines of code, gives its possessor the entire hacking capacity of the CIA. The archive appears to have been circulated among former U.S. government hackers and contractors in an unauthorized manner, one of whom has provided WikiLeaks with portions of the archive.

Year Zero introduces the scope and direction of the CIA's global covert hacking program, its malware arsenal and dozens of zero day weaponized exploits against a wide range of U.S. and European company products, include Apple's iPhone, Google's Android and Microsoft's Windows and even Samsung TVs, which are turned into covert microphones.

Since 2001 the CIA has gained political and budgetary preeminence over the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA). The CIA found itself building not just its now infamous drone fleet, but a very different type of covert, globe-spanning force 204 its own substantial fleet of hackers. The agency's hacking division freed it from having to disclose its often controversial operations to the NSA (its primary bureaucratic rival) in order to draw on the NSA's hacking capacities.

By the end of 2016, the CIA's hacking division, which formally falls under the agency's Center for Cyber Intelligence (CCI), had over 5000 registered users and had produced more than a thousand hacking systems, trojans, viruses, and other weaponized malware. Such is the scale of the CIA's undertaking that by 2016, its hackers had utilized more code than that used to run Facebook. The CIA had created, in effect, its own NSA with even less accountability and without publicly answering the question as to whether such a massive budgetary spend on duplicating the capacities of a rival agency could be justified.

In a statement to WikiLeaks the source details policy questions that they say urgently need to be debated in public, including whether the CIA's hacking capabilities exceed its mandated powers and the problem of public oversight of the agency. The source wishes to initiate a public debate about the security, creation, use, proliferation and democratic control of cyberweapons.

Once a single cyber weapon is loose it can spread around the world in seconds, to be used by rival states, cyber mafia and teenage hackers alike.

Julian Assange, WikiLeaks editor stated that:

There is an extreme proliferation risk in the development of cyber 'weapons'. Comparisons can be drawn between the uncontrolled proliferation of such 'weapons', which results from the inability to contain them combined with their high market value, and the global arms trade. But the significance of Year Zero goes well beyond the choice between cyberwar and cyberpeace. The disclosure is also exceptional from a political, legal and forensic perspective.

Wikileaks has carefully reviewed the Year Zero disclosure and published substantive CIA documentation while avoiding the distribution of armed cyberweapons until a consensus emerges on the technical and political nature of the CIA's program and how such weapons should analyzed, disarmed and published.

Wikileaks has also decided to redact and anonymise some identifying information in Year Zero for in depth analysis. These redactions include ten of thousands of CIA targets and attack machines throughout Latin America, Europe and the United States. While we are aware of the imperfect results of any approach chosen, we remain committed to our publishing model and note that the quantity of published pages in Vault 7 part one ( Year Zero ) already eclipses the total number of pages published over the first three years of the Edward Snowden NSA leaks.

 

  Eeny Meeny Miny Moe...

Primark withdraws Walking Dead t-shirt and grovels for the offence caused


Link Here 8th March 2017
eeny meeny walking deadA Walking Dead T-shirt has been removed for sale by the British clothing retailer Primark, after a complaint that the shirt was racist and fantastically offensive.

The shirt in question bore the image of a baseball bat and the message Eeny Meeny Miny Moe , a reference to a scene from the AMC zombie drama in which Negan is deciding who in the protagonist group to kill with his barb wire mace.

In the scene, Negan continues the phrase with, Catch a tiger by his toe .

Ian Lucraft complained to Primark saying:

We were shocked when we came face to face with a new t-shirt with a racially explicit graphic and text. It was fantastically offensive and I can only assume that no one in the process of ordering it knew what they were doing or were aware of its subliminal messages.

A Primark spokesperson grovelled an apology for the shirt, saying that any offence that the shirt caused was wholly unintentional:

The T-shirt in question is licensed merchandise for the U.S. television series, 'The Walking Dead,' and the quote and image are taken directly from the show. Any offense caused by its design was wholly unintentional and Primark sincerely apologizes for this. Primark has pulled the product from sale.

The t-shirt is widely available with several similar designs also on sale.

 

 Update: Derogatory censorship...

India's film censors re-affirm their ban of the gay film Ka Bodyscapes.


Link Here 8th March 2017  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
Poster Ka Bodyscapes 2016 Jayan Cherian Ka Bodyscapes is a 2016 India / USA gay drama by Jayan Cherian.
Starring Adhithi, Tinto Arayani and Arundhathi. IMDb

Three young people, Haris, a gay painter; Vishnu, a rural kabaddi player and their friend Sia, an activist who refuse to conform to dominant norms of femininity, struggle to find space and happiness in a conservative Indian City.

Ka Bodyscapes was originally banned by the Indian film censors of the CBFC in July 2016.

The distributors challenged the ban in court resulting in a September 2016 court order for the censors to explain their ban and to consider possible cuts instead.

But the CBFC decided to appeal against the court order and re-affirmed their ban in March 2017. A 2nd Revising Committee from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has refused to certify the Malayalam film Ka Bodyscapes, saying it glorified the subject of gay and homosexual relationship and portrayed the Hindu religion in a derogatory manner by showing Hanuman in poor light as gay . It also objected to the portrayal of a Muslim woman masturbating.

 

  Ugly attitudes...

A Russian MP and a US theatre owner take action against a gay subplot in the remake of Beauty and the Beast


Link Here 6th March 2017
beauty and the beast 2017Russian officials are coming under pressure to check if Disney's new film Beauty and the Beast breaches the country's discriminatory law against gay propaganda .

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky said action would be taken after the checks while an MP described the film as shameless propaganda of sin .

The live-action remake of Beauty and the Beast features Disney's first ever gay character and love scene. Director Bill Condon has spoken of an exclusively gay moment in Beauty and the Beast.  It involves LeFou, who is a sidekick of the film's main antagonist Gaston. LeFou, played by US actor Josh Gad, tries to come to terms with feelings for Gaston that swing between lust and admiration, as a side-plot to the main story.

In another groundbreaking moment, the film is to feature the first interracial kiss in a Disney live-action film.

Vitaly Milonov, an MP of the governing United Russia party, urged the culture minister to hold a screening of the film before it was released to see if it complied with the law and to take measures to totally ban it if he found elements of propaganda of homosexuality . Vitaly Milonov is one of the main supporter of the Russian law of 2013

But don't think that Russia is singularly homophobic country who is whingeing at the film. A cinema in the USA is also refusing to show the films for homophobic reasons. The owners of the Henagar Drive-In in Alabama explained:

It is with great sorrow that I have to tell our customers that we will not be showing 'Beauty and the Beast' at the Henagar Drive-In when it comes out, When companies continually force their views on us we need to take a stand. We all make choices and I am making mine.

For those that do not know 'Beauty and the Beast' is 'premiering' their first homosexual character 206 If we can not take our 11 year old grand daughter and 8 year old grandson to see a movie we have no business watching it. If I can't sit through a movie with God or Jesus sitting by me then we have no business showing it.

I know there will be some that do not agree with this decision. That's fine. We are first and foremost Christians. We will not compromise on what the Bible teaches.

 

  Insulting censorship...

Book publishers employ 'sensitivity readers' to expunge anything politically incorrect from novels


Link Here 3rd March 2017
The Taming of the Shrew For the unenlightened I should explain that a sensitivity reader, or beta reader, is a person employed by a publisher to vet an author's works with the aim of identifying and excising any material that might be deemed offensive. Once limited to children's fiction, sensitivity readers are now being enlisted to monitor works intended for adult consumption.

Riptide Publishing explains more in a recruitment advert:

Riptide Publishing, a publisher of the finest LGBTQ fiction, is hiring paid sensitivity readers. Our SRs will read manuscripts during developmental edits with an eye toward any potentially inaccurate, inauthentic, insulting, misrepresentative, harmful, or *-ist themes, phrases, or actions in the text.

Sensitivity readers must be a part of the culture(s) or identity/identities they are reading for.

We need readers in all areas of racial, ethnic, and religious diversity, sexual and gender orientation, and mental and physical illnesses and disabilities.

Pay: $1.50 per 1000 words.

Current needs:

  • Chinese
  • Mexican
  • South Asian/Indian
  • Hindu
  • African-American
  • Anorexia
  • Trans man

Read the ull article: Sensitivity readers, save us from offence! from spiked-online.com

 

 Extract: Fake morality campaigns...

How officials use anti-smoking, anti-drink, public-health 'charities' as a front for authoritarianism. By Christopher Snowdon


Link Here 3rd March 2017

alcohol-action logoThe charade works like this. The government finds (or creates) a charity, lavishes it with taxpayers' money and encourages it to lobby for taxes and regulation. After a few years of astro-turf campaigning by state-funded activists, the government passes laws which punish, stigmatise and exploit its citizens while claiming to be capitulating to the demands of civil society.

 

  An embarrassment to mankind...

Cardiff Metropolitan University bans common words out of ludicrous political correctness


Link Here 3rd March 2017
cardiff met logoludicrous PC extremists at Cardiff Metropolitan University' have banned phrases such as right-hand man and gentleman's agreement under its censorship rules governing what students and staff are allowed to say.

The college's guidance dictates that gender-neutral terms should be used where possible, adding that students should not allow their cultural background to affect their choice of words.

It advises that the terms forefathers , mankind and sportsmanship should be avoided, as part of efforts to embrace cultural diversity through language.

Dr Joanna Williams, a lecturer in higher education the University of Kent and author of Academic Freedom in an Age of Conformity, notes  that advising that certain words are banned is unnecessary . Shed said:

It is a very authoritarian attempt to control the way people think and the language people use.

The idea that in a university people need to be dictated to in this way is really insulting to students and academics, we should be able to cope with words. These words have evolved over a long period of time and they don't have sexist associations.

A spokesprat for Cardiff Metropolitan University spouted:

The University is committed unreservedly to the principle of academic freedom within the law. It is also committed to providing an environment where everyone is valued and treated with dignity and respect. These two commitments are cornerstones of academic life at the University.

 

 Offsite Article: Smile you are on Body Worn Camera...


Link Here 3rd March 2017
big brother watch body cameras Part 1 203Local Authorities. How councils are using body worn cameras. A report by Big Brother Watch

See article [pdf] from bigbrotherwatch.org.uk

 

 Update: Backward looking...

Denmark resurrects old style blasphemy law to prosecute a man for burning a Koran


Link Here 1st March 2017  full story: Blasphemy in Denmark...Danish Not So Free Speech
Denmark flagDenmark is one of the most rational and least religious countries in the world. Yet as of this week, it is one of the very few countries in the Western world where a blasphemy law is in active use.

The country's state prosecution service has decided to bring blasphemy charges (and the suggestion of a fine, not a prison term) against a man who burned a copy of the Koran in his garden and then posted the video on an anti-Islamic Facebook group.

Denmark has considered abolishing blasphemy but a panel of experts recommended in favour of letting the sleeping dog lie. Until this week, the blasphemy law had not been used since 1971, and in fact the last successful prosecution was in 1946.

The Economist commented:

Using the old-fashioned charge of blasphemy (with the implication that religions or philosphical systems have a right to be shielded from attack) is surely the worst possible signal that a liberal democracy could send to a world where trumped-up or malicious charges of blasphemous behaviour are causing untold suffering, from the cities of Punjab to the villages of Nigeria.