Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2009: April

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30th April   

Update: International Criticism...

Human rights groups call on Thailand to revise lese majeste laws
Link Here
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

I posted a video of the king on the Internet, Suwicha Thakor told Reporters Without Borders from behind a plexiglas screen in Bangkok’s Klong Prem prison on 20 April. The police should have told me what I was doing was wrong. It is not right to be sentenced to 10 years in prison for this. I am not a problem for the country or its security. I am in prison for nothing.

Suwicha was given the 10-year sentence on 3 April on a charge of lese majeste. Reporters Without Borders wrote to the king yesterday asking him to grant Suwicha a royal pardon.

Reporters Without Borders and 31 other human rights, press freedom and journalists organisations have issued a joint appeal to the Thai government for a revision of article 112 of the Thai criminal code on lese majeste.

Since a new government took over last December, the authorities have stepped up enforcement of the lese majeste law and the Internet has been one of the leading victims. Access to more than 50,000 websites is currently blocked because of content critical of the monarchy. Around ten people are being prosecuted (or have been prosecuted) for lese majeste and two of them have been convicted. The crime of lese majeste is punishable by three to 15 years in prison.

Call to the Prime Minister to review the lese majeste law:

We, human rights groups, journalists and the victims of arbitrary lese majeste prosecutions appeal to Thai authorities to review criminal code article 112 on national security offences, under which any defamatory, insulting or threatening comments about the king, queen, crown prince or regent is deemed to be a crime of lese majeste punishable by three to 15 years in prison.

Access to more than 50,000 webpages has been blocked because of content critical of the monarchy, some 10 people are currently being prosecuted on lese majeste charges, at least two are in prison, and more held without bail.

This situation has gone unresolved far too long.


30th April

 Offsite: Ireland Goes Sharia...

Link Here
Full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law
For God's sake, why have blasphemous libel?

See article from


29th April   

Update: Pandering to Nonsense...

Irish Minister of Injustice proposes Saudi pleasing blasphemy law
Link Here
Full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law

A new crime of blasphemous libel is to be proposed by the Irish Minister for Injustice in an amendment to the Defamation Bill, which will be discussed by the Oireachtas committee on injustice today.

At the moment there is no crime of blasphemy on the statute books, though it is prohibited by the Constitution. Article 40 of the Constitution, guaranteeing freedom of speech, qualifies it by stating: The State shall endeavour to ensure that organs of public opinion, such as the radio, the press, the cinema, while preserving their rightful liberty of expression, including criticism of Government policy, shall not be used to undermine public order or morality or the authority of the State. The publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious, or indecent material is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law.

Last year the Oireachtas Committee on the Constitution, under the chairmanship of Fianna Fáil TD Seán Ardagh, recommended amending this Article to remove all references to sedition and blasphemy, and redrafting the Article along the lines of article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which deals with freedom of expression. It also stated that a special protection for Christianity was incompatible with the religious equality provisions of Article 44.

Minister for Injustice Dermot Ahern proposes to insert a new section into the Defamation Bill, stating: A person who publishes or utters blasphemous matter shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable upon conviction on indictment to a fine not exceeding €100,000.

Blasphemous matter is defined as matter that is grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion; and he or she intends, by the publication of the matter concerned, to cause such outrage.

Labour spokesman on justice Pat Rabbitte is proposing an amendment to this section which would reduce the maximum fine to €1,000 and exclude from the definition of blasphemy any matter that had any literary, artistic, social or academic merit.


29th April   

Update: Fleeting Justice...

FCC win their case to censor US TV over fleeting expletives
Link Here
Full story: FCC TV Censors...FCC wound up by nudity and fleeting expletives

The US Supreme Court has ruled that the FCC can penalize broadcasters for airing as little as one single expletive over the air. The decision will not affect cable TV, satellite broadcasts or the Internet, none of which is transmitted over public airwaves.

In a 5-4 decision written by Justice Antonin Scalia, the court reversed a ruling by the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals that said the FCC's decision to sanction fleeting expletives was arbitrary and capricious under federal law. That court decision had agreed with Fox Television stations, which broadcast the Billboard Music Awards, that such isolated utterances are not as potentially harmful to viewers as are other uses of sexual and excretory expressions long deemed indecent and banned by federal regulators.

Even isolated utterances can be made in vulgar and shocking manner, and can constitute harmful first blows to children, Scalia wrote in the opinion.

Dissenting were liberal Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer. In a statement by Breyer, signed by the others, they said the FCC failed adequately to explain why it changed its indecency policy from a policy permitting a single 'fleeting use' of an expletive, to a policy that made no such exception.

The court pointed out that broadcasters can go back to the federal appeals court in New York and argue that the FCC policy violates the 1st Amendment.

Bono's televised strong language at the 2003 Golden Globes led the FCC to reverse a longstanding policy that had punished only repeated expletives and declare that a single use of certain words could be sanctioned as indecent.

The new policy was developed under FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, a George W. Bush appointee who resigned in January.


29th April   

Have I Got Nutters for You...

Nutter calls the police in over ill-judged jest on Have I Got the News For You
Link Here

The Metropolitan Police have received a complaint from George Hargreaves, the leader of The Christian Party over a jest on Have I Got News For You

Openly gay Tory MP Alan Duncan has weighed in on the Miss California gay marriage row.

Miss California Carrie Prejean had been asked by blogger Perez Hilton her thoughts on gay marriage at the Miss America contest last week. She replied: I believe that a marriage should be between a man and a woman."

Appearing on BBC comedy news quiz, Alan Duncan called her a silly bitch. I don't agree with her at all. A few minutes later he added: If you read that Miss California has been murdered, you will know it was me, won't you?

Fellow guest Katy Brand appeared shocked by the comment, saying: That's a hell of a statement to be making on camera there, Alan.

The complainant George Hargreaves said: How can we stop gun and knife crime when the man who thinks he will be the next Home Secretary makes death threats?

Duncan said yesterday: Of course it was in jest. It is a comedy show after all. I'm sure Miss Prejean's very beautiful and that if we were to meet we would love each other. I have no plans to kill her. I'll send her a box of chocolates - unpoisoned.


29th April   

Updated: Faith Fighter...

Nutters whinge at Faith Fighter flash game
Link Here

Nutters are calling for a ban on an online game where holy figures such as Jesus and the prophet Muhammad fight to the death.

Critics say the free Faith Fighter flash game is deeply provocative and disrespectful towards all world religions.

Muslims are particularly outraged because Islamic tradition prohibits drawings of Allah.

Hindus and Buddhists are also upset as the god Ganesha and Buddha are two of the six players .

This game is going out of its way to upset people and I think it should be taken off the internet, said Douglas Miller, pastor of the Link Church in Birmingham: Playing violent video games will ultimately affect your behaviour and this game is deeply offensive and provocative.

A spokesman for the Federation of Muslim Organisations said: In the current climate, this game can only create fear about religion. 'Having images depicting Muhammad in this way is also very offensive to our faith.

Brian Appleyard, former chairman of the Buddhist Society, called the game an offensive futile project.

Update: Inciting Intolerance

29th April 2009. Based on article from

The repressive Organisation of the Islamic Conference - representing muslim nations - have released a statement about the Faith Fighter computer game which has led to its replacement on the Molleindustria website.

When his attention was brought to the online game, a spokesman of the OIC Islamophobia Observatory in Jeddah expressed his concern stating that the computer game was incendiary in its content and offensive to Muslims and Christians.

He said that the game would serve no other purpose than to incite intolerance. He called on the Internet service providers who are hosting the game to take immediate action by withdrawing it from the web.

Molleindustria have now replaced the game with Faith Fighter 2 a game to show your love and respect for the easily offended deities (complete with a blob over the face of Mohammed).

Update: Showing Faith in Faith Fighter

2nd May 2009. See article from

Molleindustria have brought the original Faith Fighter 1 game back


29th April

 Offsite: 30 Years On...

Link Here
The Williams Report still offers a better framework for film classification than the OPA

See article from


28th April   

Update: Forbidden Art...

Russian museum directors under duress for banned art which wound up the nutters
Link Here
Full story: Art Censorship in Russia...Art exhibitions winds up the nutters

Two Russian men could face up to five years’ imprisonment for inciting hatred or enmity and denigration of human dignity after they organized a contemporary art exhibition in Moscow.

Yurii Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeev staged the Forbidden Art 2006 exhibition at the Sakharov Museum in March 2007.

A Moscow City court will consider both men's appeals against the charges. The defendants will be told whether the hearing into their case will go ahead or whether it will be sent back to the prosecutor's office for further investigation.

When the charges were brought in May 2008, Yuri Samodurov was director of the Sakharov Centre and Andrei Yerofeev was head of the Department for Contemporary Art at the State Tretiakov Gallery in Moscow and curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition gathered together a number of works of art that had been refused inclusion at various exhibitions in 2006. Several of the pieces had already been shown at other exhibitions of contemporary art in Russia and across the world. The exhibition included Mickey Mouse, Lenin, pornography pictures, and obscene sexual slang painted on crucifix and other Christian symbols, which are to be observed through holes in a sheet.

When the Taganskii District Prosecutor brought charges against both men, he said that the exhibition was clearly directed towards expressing in a demonstrative and visible way a degrading and insulting attitude towards the Christian religion in general and especially towards the Orthodox faith.

Amnesty International has called on the Russian authorities to respect the right to freedom of expression and to stop the criminal prosecution of Yurii Samodurov and Andrei Yerofeev.


27th April   


Nutters whinge about morning after pill TV adverts
Link Here

Christian Concern For Our Nation has spoken out against the UK’s first TV advert for the morning after pill.

The advert for Levonelle One Step was aired for the first time last Thursday night after the 9pm watershed on ITV, Channel 4 and Sky. The advert shows a woman waking up next to her partner and going to buy the contraception, which can terminate pregnancy in the first 72 hours after intercourse.

Manufacturers Bayer Schering Pharma were allowed to run the advert after the recent lifting of bans on TV and radio advertising for pregnancy advisory services and condoms pre-watershed.

CCFON said it was concerned the advert signalled: the further liberation towards abortificients.

It is clear that increased availability of the morning-after pill is a move towards abortion on demand, said a spokesperson for the organisation: It has also clear that such attitudes will not increase responsibility but rather will encourage promiscuity and irresponsible sexual behaviour, with a consequent risk of spreading sexually transmitted diseases.”

The adverts have also been criticised by the ProLife Alliance. The group’s leader, Dominica Roberts, said the advert would have little impact on the numbers of unplanned pregnancies and abortions: It is advertised inaccurately as emergency contraception, when in fact its major function is to cause the abortion of an embryo that has already been conceived, not as suggested by the name to prevent conception.


27th April   

Update: Daggered by Grenada...

Grenada bans Jamaican Dancehall artist Vybz Kartel
Link Here

The Government of Grenada has banned the popular Jamaican Dancehall Artist Adija Palmer aka Vybz Kartel, and his band.

The red-hot entertainer, whose controversial lyrics have brought him lots of media attention both in and out of Jamaica, was scheduled to perform a rap-it-up concert in Grenville St. Andrews on Sat. May 2nd 2009, where his popular Daggering condom was to be officially launched.

Vybz Kartel, who is well known for his hard hitting ghetto lyrics and rival showdowns with popular Artist Marvado, has been leaning towards more positive messages in his songs, with emphasis on respecting Women and Mothers and hints of Rasta-fari teachings. His recent condom campaigns for saving lives have also been well received. Vybz Kartel’s recent release Mama has taken the charts by storm, and the Artist will be doing several performances in the Caribbean, to include neighboring Trinidad and Tobago on May 8th 2009.

No reason was given by the Ministry of Labour in Grenada for the ban, but the sensitive issue of censorship or freedom of expression may have been at the forefront.


26th April   

Clear Conscience?...

Clearcast consider domestic violence awareness advert too violent for TV
Link Here

TV advertising censors have branded an anti-domestic violence advert starring Keira Knightley 'too shocking' for TV, and are refusing to allow it to be broadcast unless key scenes are cut.

The ad shows the actress returning home from a film set, where she is confronted by a violent boyfriend who accuses her of having an affair with a co-star, before launching into a vicious attack. The disturbing footage ends with Knightley left sprawled on the floor, being repeatedly kicked.

The Cut was made for the charity Women's Aid, and launched in cinemas at the beginning of this month.

It seems pathetic. It is really important to raise awareness about domestic violence, and TV gets into people's homes said Sandra Horely, chief executive of Refuge, a charity that provides accommodation for women and children escaping from domestic violence.

It was hoped that the ad would air on TV this month, but it will now only be seen on British television if scenes showing Knightley being thrown to the floor and kicked are axed.

The reason we are still in conversation with Clearcast about it is because they believe it is too violent, said Chris Hirst, managing director of Grey London Advertising Agency, which created The Cut .

Some believe that Clearcast is being overly cautious in failing to approve the full advert, and that advertisers are reluctant to even try to address the issue for fear of being censored. You can't tread softly-softly on these issues. It is important that we have these public awareness campaigns, and that the message gets to the people affected by it, said the Labour MP Kerry McCarthy.

The Advertising Standards Authority has received just two complaints from the public about the new campaign, both of which were from viewers who saw the unedited version on the Women's Aid website.


26th April   

For a Freer World...

The 2009 Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Award winners
Link Here

The ceremony, hosted by Index on Censorship Chair Jonathan Dimbleby, with a keynote speech by Sir David Hare, honoured those who had made a contribution to free expression in five categories: books, films, journalism, new media and law and campaigning.

Speaking at the event, Jonathan Dimbleby said: Freedom of expression helps to define our essence as human beings and citizens. Everywhere this right is under growing threat. The Index on Censorship Freedom of Expression Awards are a chance to celebrate those who against all odds have made distinguished contributions to this vital cause - to protect and enhance liberty in Britain and around the world.

The recipients of the awards for 2009 are:

The Guardian Journalism Award: The Sunday Leader – Sri Lanka

The Sunday Leader and its journalists have been subject to continual threats and brutal harassment since it was launched 15 years ago. The assassination of the Sunday Leader’s editor and co-founder Lasantha Wickrematunge in January provoked protests and vigils around the world. His brother Lal has since bravely taken on the position of editor, continuing the important work of the newspaper.

The Economist New Media Award: Psiphon

Psiphon is a revolutionary software programme that allows Internet access in countries where censorship is imposed. The programme turns a regular home computer into a personal, encrypted server, capable of retrieving and displaying web pages anywhere. Psiphon was developed as a human rights software project by the Citizen Lab at the University of Toronto. One of its aims is to design software that is easy to use, so that those with limited technical abilities can take advantage of the technology.

The TR Fyvel Book Award: Beijing Coma – Ma Jian

Spiked with dark wit, poetic beauty and deep rage, Beijing Coma takes the life (and near death) of one young student to create a dazzling novel about contemporary China. In May 1989, tens of thousands of students are camped out in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square. But what started as a united protest at the slow pace of their government’s political reform has begun to lose direction. People from all over China are coming to join the demonstration, but the students at its heart are confused by the influence they suddenly wield, and riven by petty in-fighting. One of them, Dai Wei, argues about everything from democracy to the distribution of food to protesters, little knowing that, on 4 June, a soldier will shoot a bullet into his head, sending him into a deep coma.

The Bindmans Law and Campaigning Award: Malik Imtiaz Sarwar – Malaysia

Malik Imtiaz Sarwar is a leading human rights lawyer and activist and the current president of the National Human Rights Society (HAKAM). Imtiaz has been a central figure in fighting lawsuits brought against journalists and bloggers, and was the lead counsel for Raja Petra Kamaruddin, popular blogger and editor of Malaysia Today, whose release he secured last year. In August 2006, a poster declaring him to be a traitor to Islam and calling for his death was circulated in Malaysia. He has proposed setting up an inter-faith council, and spoken in a series of public forums on the need for religious freedom.

The Index on Censorship Film Award: The Devil Came on Horseback

Using the exclusive photographs and first-hand testimony of former US Marine Captain Brian Steidle, Directed by Annie Sundberg and Ricki Stern The Devil Came on Horseback takes the viewer on an emotionally-charged journey into the heart of Darfur. Steidle had access to parts of the country that no journalist could penetrate; he was unprepared for what he would witness and experience, including being fired at, taken hostage, and being unable to intervene to save the lives of young children. Ultimately frustrated by the inaction of the international community, Steidle resigned and returned to the US to expose the images and stories of lives he believed were being systematically destroyed.


26th April   


An interview with a Singaporean film censor
Link Here

Singapore's reviled censors call themselves the Board of Film Censors (BFC). At the Media Development Authority I spoke with film classifier Dinesh Pasrasurum.

Movie ratings — which range from G (for general entertainment) to R21 (restricted to those 21 years and above) — that has put the censors in the line of fire of everyone from irate cineastes who discover they’re literally not getting the complete picture to conservative moralists who kick up a fuss about movies with questionable themes.

While you don’t really need the entire group to give a stamp of approval for Finding Nemo, in cases dealing with touchy subjects such as race, religion, sex, homosexuality and vicious violence, it seems like there’s an awful lot of bureaucratic consultation going on.

For potentially tricky flicks, the BFC asks the opinions of the Films Consultative Panel, a 60-member group of folks ranging from housewives to lawyers and doctors. They may also decide to consult certain focus groups or ethnic groups. There’s also a Films Appeal Committee, should a distributor feel unhappy about the rating they end up with.

But there’s a difference between commercial films and ones slated for festivals. Take the case of the on-going Singapore International Film Festival (SIFF). Its history is chockfull of some of the region’s best directors is also dotted with clashes with censors. This year is no exception. The BFC has banned two films: The Berlin Festival-awarded Shahida , a documentary about female suicide bombers by Natalie Asouline, and the gay coming-of-age story Boy by Filipino Aureaus Solito, whose film The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros was released commercially here. Four other films garnered an R21 rating with proposed cuts, but because the festival has a (justified) policy of showing only uncut films, organisers have also pulled them.

According to the BFC, only four films (or 0.5 per cent) were banned in Singapore last year. Compared to the United Kingdom rating of 18, the SIFF film Klass was given an NC16.

The Passion of the Christ got an 18 rating both here and in the UK. Milk , however, was rated R21 in Singapore, R (those under 17 require an accompanying parent or adult guardian) in the United States, and only 15 in the UK.

When asked why violence seems to be more acceptable than sexual issues (both hetero and homosexual ones) in movies, Dinesh said: The cue we’re getting from the community is that in terms of sexuality — or homosexuality, for that matter — the community is very conservative at the moment. You could say society’s tolerance for violence and coarse language (is higher). But as society progresses and becomes more relaxed with regards to (the former), so will we.


26th April   

Update: Incestuous Book Banners...

Australia's book censors ban library incest books
Link Here
Full story: Book Censorship in Australia...Australian books banned by censors

The Film Classification Board has banned the two books that caught press attention for their incest storylines and availability in public libraries:

  • Bet and Zak by Charles Kevin (2006 Anthos Publishing)
  • Sibling Love by Charles Kevin (2007 Anthos Publishing)

Sibling Love is a series of vignettes concerning sex between brother-sister. Whilst Bet and Zak describes sex between mother and son.

Charles Kevin, an 82 year old author had sent 530 copies of the books to libraries around Australia.


25th April   

Squeezing Credibility...

Supporting the breast squeezing hype for the Indian film Hostel
Link Here

Imagine a scene in which the film’s hero is told to squeeze the heroine’s breasts! No wonder the Indian Censor Board is in shock.

Filmmaker Manish Gupta, known for his hard-hitting films Matrabhoomi and The Stoneman Murders , has gone a bit too far in depicting realism in his next film Hostel . As the title suggests, the film revolves around a bunch of students living in a hostel.

There is a scene in the film where the characters played by Vatsal Seth and Tulip Joshi are ragged by their seniors. In this scene, one senior tells Vatsal to squeeze Tulip’s breasts.

The Censor Board was so shocked by the dialogue that they refused to give even an ‘A’ (Adults Only) certificate to the film. The director was straightaway told that such kind of dialogue would not be allowed in films.

Gauzing the gravity of the board’s reaction, Manish Gupta has now decided to change the scene. Now, the seniors will force Vatsal to kiss Tulip.


24th April   

Rock a Bye Baby...

Apple ban Baby Shaker iPhone game
Link Here

Apple has apologised for a deeply offensive iPhone application called Baby Shaker , which made a game of quieting crying babies by shaking them.

It removed the $0.99 game from its iTunes Store two days after it went on sale.

It sparked 'outrage' from children's groups and brain injury foundations.

The aim of the game was to quiet babies by shaking the iPhone until a pair of thick red Xs appeared over each eye of a baby drawn in black-and-white.

This application was deeply offensive and should not have been approved for distribution on the App Store, Apple said in a statement We sincerely apologise for this mistake and thank our customers for bringing this to our attention.

The iTunes description included the line: See how long you can endure his or her adorable cries before you just have to find a way to quiet the baby down! It also included a disclaimer: Never shake a baby.

Jetta Bernier, executive director of Massachusetts Citizens for Children, said: I am disheartened that with this new application Apple is encouraging frustrated adults to shake infants, not only to end their crying, but to end their lives.


23rd April   

Bitching at Ali G...

Ali G wins the right to speak absurd gibberish
Link Here

Channel Four claimed a landmark victory yesterday when a US judge ruled that Ali G, the character created by Sacha Baron Cohen, is so absurd that no reasonable person would take him literally.

Heddi Cundle, a British-born woman who now lives in the US, was seeking damages for what she claimed were defamatory comments made on HBO television in 2004.

Interviewing the American writer Gore Vidal, Ali G was talking abut the US being constitution constantly amended.

He explained: Me used to go out with this bitch called Heddi Cundle and she used to always be trying to amend herself. Y'know, get her hair done in highlights, get like tattoo done on her batty crease, y'know gave the whole thing shaved very nice but it didn't make any more difference. She was still a minger.

Ms Cundle, who met Cohen 20 years ago in Israel, claimed that these comments were untrue and damaging. HBO twice settled out of court, but Channel Four, which holds the worldwide rights, fought the action.

Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Friedman said: The Ali G character is absurd, and all his statements are gibberish and intended as comedy. No reasonable person could think otherwise.

C4 controller Prash Naik said: This is an important ruling for Channel 4 and sends out a clear signal that we will not hesitate to fight unmeritorious claims of this nature.


23rd April

 Offsite: American Compromise...

Link Here
What does 'Rated R' really mean?

See article from


22nd April   

Update: Easily Led Astray...

Zack and Miri can't make a porno in Thailand
Link Here
Full story: Zack and Miri Make a Porno...Supporting hype for Zack and Miri Make a Porno

The Thai film censors have banned the US comedy: Zack and Miri Make a Porno

The screening of this film may encourage copycats here, Thai Culture Ministry permanent secretary Vira Rojpojchanarat claimed.

The film's distributor, M Pictures, argued that Zack and Miri Make a Porno was a satirical take on contemporary US society and was suitable for viewers aged over 18.

When the National Film Board decided to ban the film during its meeting on Monday, M Pictures appealed and a panel was set up to review the board's ruling.

After viewing the film, the panel upheld the decision to ban Zack and Miri Make a Porno from Thai screens.

The film is rated as 18 for adults only in the UK and R in the US meaning that children can view at cinema only if accompanied by responsible adults.


22nd April   

Update: Easily Hurt Religious Sentiments...

Indian bishops whinge about Angels and Demons
Link Here
Full story: Angels and Demons...Another Dan Brown film/book winds up the nutters

The Catholic Bishops Conference of India, the country's top Catholic body, is calling for a ban of the Tom Hanks-starring Angels & Demons set for worldwide release on May 15.

This film could seriously hurt religious sentiments, CBCI spokesperson Father Babu Joseph was quoted as saying in media reports over the weekend: Christianity is not understood by the majority of people in India yet, and many non-Christians may mistake the content as the truth.

CBCI secretary general Stanislaus Fernandes reportedly has written to the chair of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) asking to stop the film's release.

We are still waiting for a print to arrive from our head offices, after which we will submit the film to the CBFC, Sony Pictures Releasing India managing director Kersy Daruwala said.

Father Anthony Charanghat, a spokesman for the Catholic archdiocese in Mumbai also called for a boycott: We are calling on Christians to adhere to the principle of not supporting anything that goes against our faith. We are asking people not to watch it.


21st April   

Updated: Z Rated Whinging...

Indian video game with religious setting winds up the easily offended
Link Here
Full story: Boy Warriors Censorship...Indian computer game under fire from Hindus

Hindus have urged Sony Corporation to withdraw the new Indian release Hanuman: Boy Warrior video game for PlayStation2, saying it trivializes the highly revered deity of Hinduism.

Perennial whinger Rajan Zed, in a statement from the US, said that in a video game set-up, the player would control the destiny of Lord Hanuman while in reality the believers put the destinies of themselves in the hands of their deities.

Zed, who is president of Universal Society of Hinduism, argued that reimagining Hindu scriptures and deities for commercial or other agenda was not okay as it hurt the devotees. Controlling and manipulating Lord Hanuman with a joystick/ button/keyboard/mouse was denigration. Lord Hanuman was not meant to be reduced to just a character in a video game to solidify company/products base in the growing economy of India.

Zed explained that Lord Hanuman was greatly revered and his worship was very popular among Hindus and there were numerous temples dedicated to him. Son of wind-god, besides incredible strength and changing shape at will and flying, he was believed to be a perfect grammarian, great scholar and excelled in all the sciences.

Rajan Zed pointed out that as Sony was said to be a socially responsible and ethical corporation, it would effectively understand the feelings of Hindu community on this issue.

Zed suggested that until India came up with such organization, Central Board of Film Certification should be given the authority of rating and deciding whether the particular video game was suitable for public distribution in India.

Rajan Zed stressed that Hindus were for free speech as much as anybody else if not more. Hindu tradition encouraged peaceful debates, won on their intellectual merit ...BUT... faith was something sacred and attempts at belittling it hurt the devotees. Video game makers should be more sensitive while handling faith related subjects, as these games left lasting impact on the minds of highly impressionable children, teens and other young people.

Update: Disrespectful & Disgraceful

21st April 2009. From

More Hindus have joined the protest movement against Sony Corporation’s newly released Hanuman: Boy Warrior video game for PlayStation2.

The protest has now even extended to Australia, where Vamsi Krishna of Sanatan Sanstha found it very disrespectful, disgraceful and an insult to all those devotees of Lord Hanuman and followers of Hindu dharma.

Vamsi Krishna requested Sony to remove this video game with immediate effect from the market before this causes further unrest in the Hindu community worldwide and issue an apology to all those who have been hurt by this insensitiveness.

Meanwhile, Bhavna Shinde of Forum for Hindu Awakening argued that using a sacred figure from Hinduism, namely, the Hindus' revered Deity, Sree Hanuman, as a character in a video game is highly objectionable to us Hindus worldwide.

Shinde urged Sony to withdraw this video game, Hanuman: Boy Warrior at the earliest, and publish an apology to the Hindu community and Hanuman devotees worldwide. She requested all distributors and sellers of video games to exclude Hanuman: Boy Warrior.


21st April   

Lost Voice...

Freethinker notes near silence from Christian Voice
Link Here

Something's been bothering us over the last few months: A deafening silence from Stephen “Birdshit” Green.

Goodness knows there’s been enough in the media to prompt another piece of nutty prose from the head of Christian Voice, but his website has been utterly devoid of any statements since February 11, when Green posted a piece headed “Kent Police undermining families in gay essay stunt.”

Is there any truth in an anonymous note we received suggesting that Christian Voice was no more; that it had been absorbed into an outfit called the National Council for Christian Standards in Society.


20th April   

Update: Subdued Voice...

One man Christian Voice protest at latest production of Jerry Springer: The Opera
Link Here
Full story: Jerry Springer Blasphemy...Christian Voice attempt private prosecution

Around 20 supporters of a nutter Christian group last night held a peaceful protest against the staging of the musical, Jerry Springer The Opera , in St Andrews.

It was in stark contrast to Saturday’s opening night of the production, a centrepiece of a new arts festival organised by students at St Andrews University.

Only one member of the national Christian Voice group, which had branded the institution a cesspit , turned up to demonstrate on the first night of the production.

Lecturer Dr Charles Ferguson mounted his one-man protest outside the students’ union where the show was staged. The doctor of theology handed out leaflets condemning the production to members of the audience entering the Union building and to passers-by, said: This show degrades Jesus and it is offensive and blasphemous. The Lord’s name is taken in vain and it degrades his person.

However, last night he was joined by a party of supporters of the Christian Voice organisation from the East Kilbride area, many carrying placards and banners, who travelled to St Andrews to participate in the peaceful demonstration.

Also taking part was the national director of Christian Voice, Stephen Green, who said, This production is just filth. It is a great shame that the St Andrews students have put this on and I hope and pray it will be the last time.


20th April   

Comment: A Talent for Whinging...

Whinging at burlesque act on Britain's Got Talent
Link Here

Dozens of people have complained to the TV censor after a burlesque dancer stripped down to nipple tassels and a basque on Britain's Got Talent .

Ofcom said it had received 39 complaints about ITV1's show - aired at 19.45 on Saturday - in which Fabia Cerra removed some of her clothes.

Ofcom is examining the show to see if a full investigation is needed.

A spokesman for ITV said: Fabia's performance was given careful consideration by ITV, the producers Talkback Thames and the licensee Channel Television. As a result, the segment was edited in order to obscure any inappropriate detail, and it was felt that the overall effect was comedic rather than titillating.

It is understood ITV received about 40 complaints about the housewife's performance. The show's peak audience was 11.8 million.

Comment: Boring Old Farts

20th April 2009. From by Ken Oxley

What a bunch of boring old farts we’ve become. Not all of us, obviously, but some of us clearly need to get a life.

I’m thinking here specifically of those who complained about the episode of Britain’s Got Talent , with burlesque dancer Fabia Cerra.

Scores of viewers called broadcasting watchdog Ofcom or ITV itself after the 20-stone dancer lost a nipple tassel, moaning that the raunchy routine was unsuitable for family viewing.

First of all, it wasn’t raunchy. The woman is named after a car and is the size of one . . . it was pure comedy. Secondly, the tassel incident appeared to be a genuine accident and – even if it wasn’t – ITV saw fit to digitally cover her modesty with Union flags.

Thirdly, the “offending” routine was broadcast after the 9pm watershed, so what’s the problem?

That Ofcom has chosen to launch a probe into the incident is even more laughable than the footage itself.


20th April   

Update: The Lunatics Have Taken over the Asylum...

Jonathan Ross has a dig at Ofcom, John Beyer and the Daily Mail
Link Here
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

 What’s the point of
having a media watchdog,
if the people who fall foul of it
just make fun of it?

The Daily Mail have had a bit of fun in a rant about Jonathan Ross being a little flippant over a statement about the Ofcom fine:

Jonathan Ross remained unrepentant over the Andrew Sachs scandal and made a string of sarcastic remarks and jokes on his Radio 2 show after a damning watchdog ruling into his conduct was read out.

Instead of taking the opportunity to apologise after the Ofcom ruling was detailed before his Saturday morning slot, he made a series of gags and the played Fun Boy Three’s The Lunatics Have Taken over the Asylum.

The ruling was over obscene messages that Ross and Russell Brand left on the 78 year-old actor’s answermachine about his granddaughter Georgina Baillie.

It described the messages as offensive, humiliating and demeaning. The statement continued: The material that was broadcast was exceptionally offensive, humiliating and demeaning.

After the announcement had finished, Ross said: You can never find a pen when you need one, can you? You didn’t get that email address down, did you? I want to get the full thing sent over because I can’t read enough about it.

He then played The Lunatics Have Taken Over The Asylum and made loaded comments with sidekick Andy Davies that suggested the lyrics were a fitting response.

After the song ended, Ross commented: You know, I’ve never really listened to the lyrics of that before. Davies laughed in the background and added: That was a lucky accident.

Conservative MP, Philip Davies, who sits on the media select committee, said: These comments show Jonathan Ross still does not think he has done anything wrong. He just didn’t seem to understand how angry the general public are about what he did.

A senior BBC insider told the Daily Mail: There are plenty of people at the BBC that would just like to see him go when his contract runs out. Ross just behaves like he has no respect for the people that have put their neck on the line, or lost their jobs, so he can keep his.

Mediawatch director John Beyer said: The BBC should be reviewing his contract. What’s the point of having an official regulator, if the people who fall foul of it just make fun of it?

Once again the corporation opted to defend his behaviour.

A BBC spokeswoman said: We are satisfied Jonathan’s light-hearted comments did not detract from the seriousness of the statement.


19th April

 Offsite: Take Courage...

Link Here
Courage Beer poster banned by the advert censor



18th April   

No Bottle...

Samoa censor bans the award winning film Milk
Link Here

The Samoa Censor Board has banned the movie Milk from playing in Samoa

The movie is based on the life of gay activist Harvey Milk, and was rejected by the Censor Board after it was presented by one of the local movie stores for approval.

Principal Censor Leiataua Niuapu Faaui confirmed the board had rejected the application, and the movie would not be distributed in movie stores in Samoa. He declined to give a reason.

Eteuati Junior Esau, General Manager of Movies4U, the largest chain of movie stores in the country said: I really just want a reason why, because my customers are demanding this movie.

Esau says he does not understand why the movie has been banned, since it had great reviews, won numerous awards and is based on a true story.

Ken Moala, a well known Human Rights Activist in Samoa, says banning the movie is uncalled for: I do not think it should be banned. It is basically a documentary about the human endeavour to conquer something that people tend to discriminate against.


17th April   

Update: Bruno Censored...

Supporting the hype for Bruno
Link Here
Full story: Sacha Baron Cohen Movies...Supporting the hype for Bruno

Universal Studios have announced that Bruno is officially an R-rated movie. The MPAA's rating board toned down the NC-17 rating to R rating reportedly after viewing a new edit of the film.

Of the new rating, the board explained that the movie contains pervasive strong and crude sexual content, graphic nudity and language.


17th April   

Another Economist Goes Missing...

More self censorship of The Economist magazine in Thailand
Link Here
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

The Economist has again decided not to distribute its magazine in Thailand this week because of coverage of the Thai monarchy.

In an email to subscribers the magazine confirmed: Due to the sensitive nature of our coverage on the Thai monarchy, we decided not to distribute the April 18th 2009 issue of The Economist in Thailand.

This week's magazine appears to have two Thailand related articles although the sensitive article is entitled The trouble with Thailand's King . It is sure to thrust Thailand's lese majeste laws into the global spotlight once again.

This is the third edition of the magazine this year to suffer distribution problems this year.


17th April   

Fret Saw...

Save me from torture porn: the theme-park rollercoaster
Link Here

The place my 17-year-old brother and his friends really wanted to go this Easter was Thorpe Park, for it was there, in the bucolic Surrey countryside, that they could be dropped from 100 feet into what the amusement park calls the head chopper . The head chopper is a series of rotating blades that you may well have seen on television, in adverts for Saw: The Ride, the world's first horror-movie-themed rollercoaster.

The term "horror" doesn't quite cover it though: really, it is torture porn, a phrase that first entered our vernacular a couple of years ago, only to become almost as successful a genre as the romantic comedy. In Hostel, a group of tourists are sold to wealthy businessmen who get off on tormenting them. In Captivity, a model is made to drink liquified body parts. Wolf Creek, Vacancy, Turistas, Wrong Turn, Saws I through V… all feature gratuitous, prolonged violence that invites the audience to glory in the demise of the victim, who is usually female and semi-naked. Thirty years ago they would have been banned along with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; today they are freely available to watch at cinemas or to rent from your friendly DVD store. And now we have torture porn: the theme-park ride.

Comment: Total utter bollox!

From Dan

"Thirty years ago they would have been banned along with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre; today they are freely available to watch at cinemas or to rent from your friendly DVD store. And now we have torture porn: the theme-park ride."

Obviously the writer wants to go back to the days when such evil corrupting violent filth was banned and nobody was allowed to see it for "their own good".

"A few weeks ago, a Telegraph reader, Andrew Schofield, wrote in to criticise the British Board of Film Classification for allowing films such as Saw into the mainstream ( I do not comprehend the mentality of otherwise intelligent and responsible adults who cannot see the effect of screen sadism on young, developing minds, he said). A few days later, some young boys were found in Doncaster beaten to within an inch of their lives by their peers."

And what evidence do you have to show that such a violent attack was caused by violent torture porn movies?

None eh? Just your own personal opinions and prejudices based not on fact but hysterical scaremongering eh?

Thought so!

It just I think violent films turn youngsters into violent brutal monsters so I just know every incident where youngsters behave like violent brutal monsters is caused by violent films, total utter bollox!


17th April   

Artless Vietnam...

Vietnam bans nude art exhibition
Link Here

Authorities in Vietnam have refused to allow an exhibition of nude paintings because they are inappropriate for the society.

The Department of Culture, Sports and Tourism in the central city of Hue refused a licence for painter Nguyen Kim Dinh to exhibit 12 nude paintings, the VietNamNet news website said.

His exhibit was approved by the Thua Thien-Hue provincial art association but Hue's culture department then ruled that some of the paintings don't meet artistic standards and are inappropriate to Vietnamese habits and custom.


16th April   

Demon Infested Censors...

Australian bans NecroVisioN, the first games ban of 2009
Link Here
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board

The computer game NecroVisioN is making headlines for all the wrong reasons. The title, which takes gamers all the way from World War I battlefields into a demon-infested underworld, is officially the first game to be banned in Australia in 2009 due to in-game depictions of violence that exceed a strong playing impact.

When the player shoots an enemy combatant, a large volume of blood spray results and the enemy may be dismembered or decapitated. Injury detail is high with pieces of flesh seen flying from bodies when shot or a high level of wound detail visible on bodies. Post mortem damage occurs when bodies are shot resulting in blood spray, dismemberment and decapitation.

This level of blood and injury detail occurs frequently and throughout the game and in the Board’s view, exceeds a strong playing impact and therefore cannot be accommodated within the MA 15+ classification and so must be banned in the absence of an R18+ certificate.

NecroVisioN is rated as 18+ by PEGI for European distribution.


16th April   

Updated: Sci-Fi Cooking...

Under Siege 2 shown uncut on Sci-Fi Channel
Link Here

I was channel hopping on Saturday (11th April 2009), and noticed that the Sci-Fi Channel were showing the Uncut USA version of the Steven Seagal classic: Under Siege 2: Dark Territory.

This film suffered around 2 minutes of James Ferman directed cuts on video/DVD.

All the knife action/arm breaks/man on fire sequences etc were present .

There is another showing this Wednesday evening 9:45pm (15th April 2009), on Sci-Fi & Sci-Fi +1 and SC-FI HD.

Update: Shoddy DVD

16th April 2009. Thanks to Andrew

Well once again Under siege 2 was shown uncut. This time on Sci - fi. This is the umpteenth time its been shown (in its official cut, not the preferable Canadian cut) here in the UK.

Yet the DVD still remains in a shoddy form. Although that being said. There is now an official region B Blu-ray release of this film. So we might have an uncut version and just not know (Blu-rays are mostly the uncut original master prints). Either way the standard def DVD is still languishing in the bowels of Ferman's action fearing BBFC.


16th April   

Poor Show...

Italian broadcaster sacks cartoonist over reference to earthquake coffins
Link Here

One of Italy's most popular cartoonists has been fired by state television company RAI for an anti-government drawing deemed offensive to victims of last week's earthquake.

Vauro Senese's dismissal sparked an angry reaction from the center-left opposition which branded it censorship.

The cartoon appeared on current affairs program Annozero. As well as firing Senese, RAI Director General Mauro Masi ordered the program's anchorman Michele Santoro to re-balance his coverage in this Thursday's program.

The cartoon, aimed at government plans to ease restrictions on home extensions to boost the economy, featured an exhausted grave digger standing over a line of coffins under the caption Increasing the cubic meters ...of the cemeteries.

Masi said it was gravely damaging to feelings of pity for the dead.


16th April   

Update: Freedom Leaks Away...

Germany censors
Link Here
Full story: Wikileaks...Wikileaks whistle blowing and state secrets

On April 9th 2009, the internet domain registration for the investigative journalism site was suspended without notice by Germany's registration authority DENIC.

The action comes two weeks after the house of the German WikiLeaks domain sponsor, Theodor Reppe, was searched by German authorities. Police documentation shows that the March 24, 2009 raid was triggered by WikiLeaks' publication of Australia's proposed secret internet censorship list. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) told Australian journalists that they did not request the intervention of the German government.

On March 25 the German cabinet finalized its own proposal to introduce a nation-wide internet censorship system. Australia and Germany are the only Western democracies publicly considering such a mandatory censorship scheme.

While last week German police claimed to the news magazine Der Spiegel that they had been ignorant about WikiLeaks' role as an international press organization, this "excuse" is surely no longer valid. Despite being questioned by the press, German authorities have still not contacted WikiLeaks or its publishers to resolve the issue, or indeed, at all. The lack of contact is inexcusable. German authorities have attempted to silence an entire press outlet over their objection to a handful of documents or articles.

WikiLeaks continues publishing on its other (non-German) domains. If the German cabinet's censorship proposal passes the Bundestag, presumably those WikiLeaks domains would be added to Germany's secret blacklist.

Germany and China are now the only two countries currently censoring a WikiLeaks domain.

Update: Leaked details of hosting dispute

16th April 2009. See article from by John Ozimek

Rumours of state censorship in Germany may turn out to have been just a little exaggerated. The take down of may have a more mundane explanation than state censorship.

...Read the full article

Update: Wikileaks Back

26th April 2009. See article from

On 17th of April, was returned into an operational status and the project is available again via its German domain.


15th April   

Vulnerable People...

Whinging at Coronation Street for mention of christian indoctrination
Link Here

Coronation Street producers have defended the TV soap against claims that it was anti-Christian after a character’s attack on the faith during an Easter Sunday episode.

Viewers complained after Street veteran Ken Barlow, played by Bill Roach, said Christians forced their views on vulnerable people.

At one point Ken accused his grandson Simon’s school of indoctrinating him, before vowing to tell the youngster the truth about religion.

Ofcom confirmed it had received dozens of complaints and fans of the show posted comments on ITV1 message boards labelling Ken’s rant completely unacceptable.

Stephen Green, of campaign group Christian Voice, said: What is it about Christianity that is so scary for these people. I don’t know if they do it out of ignorance or antipathy but it is not the kind of example television should be setting.


15th April   

Open Secrets...

UK intelligence services fail to get book banned
Link Here

MI5 and MI6 have conceded they cannot stop the publication of a book on Britain's security and intelligence agencies even though it is said to contain the names of officers who have not previously been identified.

The courts would not grant an injunction, officials said, because the book, Secret Wars - One Hundred Years of British Intelligence Inside MI5 and MI6 , by Gordon Thomas, has already been published, and is widely available, in the US.

Journalists and editors were asked yesterday to consult Andrew Vallance, a retired air vice-marshal, secretary of the D notice advisory committee, before publishing the names of what he referred to as alleged MI5 or MI6 officers. The committee runs a system of voluntary self-censorship on defence, security and intelligence matters, in co-operation with the media.

Thomas's book was published in the US two months ago and is due to be published in the UK on 4 May.

Whitehall officials made clear yesterday that while they could do little about the book, its publication was unwelcome. They have little control now over what can be published about the activities of Britain's security and intelligence agencies and would like the public to rely on officially approved accounts of their work.


15th April   

Investing in Repression...

Goldman Sachs bully critical blogger
Link Here

Goldman Sachs is attempting to shut down a dissident blogger who is extremely critical of the investment bank, its board members and its practices.

The bank has instructed Wall Street law firm Chadbourne & Parke to pursue blogger Mike Morgan, warning him in a recent cease-and-desist letter that he may face legal action if he does not close down his website.

Florida-based Morgan began a blog entitled Facts about Goldman Sachs just a few weeks ago.

Goldman Sachs Information, Comments, Opinions and Facts

This website has NOT been approved by Goldman Sachs, nor does this website have any affiliation with Goldman Sachs. This website was designed to provide information about Goldman Sachs direct from the public, and NOT from Goldman Sachs's marketing and public relations departments.

According to Chadbourne & Parke's letter, dated April 8, the bank is rattled because the site violates several of Goldman Sachs' intellectual property rights and also implies a relationship with the bank itself.

Morgan claims he has followed all legal requirements to own and operate the website – and that the header of the site clearly states that the content has not been approved by the bank. On a special section of his blog entitled Goldman Sachs vs Mike Morgan he predicts that the fight will probably end up in court.

It's just another example of how a bully like Goldman Sachs tries to throw their weight around, he writes.


14th April   

Wishing for an 18 Certificate...

Supporting the hype for Wishbaby
Link Here

The BBFC initially gave a 15 rating to Wishbaby, which is billed as a savage fairytale.

But director Stephen Parsons demanded an increase in the rating to 18, insisting the film was meant for adults only.

In one sequence a teenager is shown having his eyeball gouged out with a hat pin while other teens record his misery on mobile phones. Another shows a mother being suffocated and beaten to death with a hammer. [Beware of Daily Mail exaggeration]

Parsons said he was concerned that children as young as 12 and 13 would be able to see the film if they looked old for their age or had slightly older friends. He said: I deliberately set out to make a horror film for an adult audience. If my daughter had been allowed to see a movie like this when she was 15 I would have been extremely concerned.

I assumed my film would have an automatic 18 rating. It includes scenes of kids doing horrific things to each other. When I was told it had been given a 15 certificate I was disturbed, not least because one of the scenes, which involved a character being filmed as he was tortured and the footage being sent around via mobile phones, could have incited copycats.

Parsons made a formal complaint to the BBFC, which reviewed the film and agreed it needed an 18 certificate. In a letter to Parsons the BBFC said: We ultimately agreed that the cumulative effect of the sex, violence and drug use just tips the film into the lower end of 18.

A spokesman for the classification body said: On some occasions, particularly in the horror genre, film companies and producers prefer a higher rating because it makes the film appear to be more graphic or frightening than it is. They feel that a 12A or 15 rating makes the film less appealing to those who enjoy horror films.

This was the case with the recent Nicholas Cage film The Wicker Man when we gave it a 12A rating, but producers wanted a 15 rating. We assessed the film under our guidelines and stuck with the original decision.

Parsons is now calling for the BBFC to review the standards it uses to classify films. He said: It is widely accepted in the film business that the standards used by the BBFC are all over the place. In fact there are no standards any more.


14th April   

Updated: No Comment...

Google bans South Korean YouTube contributions
Link Here

Google has disabled user uploads and comments on the Korean version of its YouTube video portal in reaction to a new law that requires the real name of a contributor be listed along each contribution they make.

The rules, part of a Cyber Defamation Law, came into effect on April 1 for all sites with over 100,000 unique visitors per day. It requires that users provide their real name and national ID card number.

In response to the requirements Google has stopped users from uploading via its Korean portal rather than start a new registration system.

We have a bias in favor of freedom of expression and are committed to openness, said Lucinda Barlow, a spokeswoman for YouTube in Asia: It's very important that if users want to be anonymous that they have that chance.

But while the move obeys the letter of the law it skirts around the spirit of it by allowing users based in South Korea to continue uploading and commenting on YouTube by switching their preference setting to a country other than Korea.

YouTube noted this work-around on its Korean Web site and any videos and comments contributed this way will still be seen by Internet users in the country.

The new law was rushed into force after the suicide of a popular actress in October focused attention on the problem of online bullying in the highly-connected country.

Already many major Korean portals and Web sites require users to provide their national ID card number when registering accounts.


14th April   

Pause for Thought...

Researchers claim that fast paced media affects morals
Link Here

Today's fast-paced media could be making us indifferent to human suffering and should allow time for us to reflect, according to researchers.

They found that emotions linked to moral sense are slow to respond to news and events and have failed to keep up with the modern world. In the time it takes to fully reflect on a story of anguish and suffering, the news bulletin has already moved on or the next Twitter update is already being read.

As activities such as reading books and meeting friends, where people can define their morals, are taken over by news snippets and fast-moving social networking, the problem could become widespread, researchers warn. Children are said to be particularly vulnerable because their brains are still developing.

If things are happening too fast, you may not ever fully experience emotions about other people's psychological states and that would have implications for your morality, said Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, from the University of Southern California, and one of the researchers.

Their work, published next week in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Online Early Edition, involved studying the response of volunteers to real-life stories to induce admiration for virtue or skill, or compassion for physical or social pain.

Using brain imaging, they found that humans can sort information very quickly and respond in fractions of a second to signs of physical pain in others, but admiration and compassion - two of the social emotions that define humanity - take much longer.

The volunteers needed six to eight seconds to fully respond to stories of virtue or social pain, but once awakened, the responses lasted far longer than the volunteers' reactions to stories focused on physical pain.


13th April   

Gay and De-listed... hides away gay books that it deems adult
Link Here recently de-listed gay and lesbian titles from its sales ranking system it deemed adult , raising the ire of some who characterize the move as online censorship.

Author Mark R. Probst wrote on his blog Sunday that he noticed the change a few days ago:

On two days ago, mysteriously, the sales rankings disappeared from two newly-released high profile gay romance books: Transgressions by Erastes and False Colors by Alex Beecroft. Everybody was perplexed. Was it a glitch of some sort? The very next day HUNDREDS of gay and lesbian books simultaneously lost their sales rankings, including my book The Filly . There was buzz, What's going on? Does Amazon have some sort of campaign to suppress the visibility of gay books?

Probst, the author of a novel with gay characters in the Old West, said he was perplexed by the move and used his status as a publisher to contact Amazon for an explanation. He said he received the following response from an Amazon Advantage service representative:

In consideration of our entire customer base, we exclude "adult" material from appearing in some searches and best seller lists. Since these lists are generated using sales ranks, adult materials must also be excluded from that feature.

Of course, being delisted from the rankings doesn't mean that the book giant has stopped selling the title; it just means that the title won't show up with a public sales ranking or in the best-seller lists--often a factor in how shoppers make their purchases.


13th April   

Diary: The Heresy Project: Kill Your God...

Censored in Leicester, Banned in Swansea, Atheist Comedy Comes to Brighton
Link Here

The Heresy Project: Kill Your God
Brighton Festival Fringe 2009
The Quadrant, 12 North St Quadrant, Brighton
18:30 May 8 9 10
Tickets in advance or on the door

After already being forced to change their show title and promotion for their 2009 Leicester Comedy Festival show, Atheist comedy duo ‘The Heresy Project’ have now had their July date at The Dylan Thomas Centre cancelled by Swansea City Council.

The council run Dylan Thomas Centre, a venue named after the son of a devout atheist, claimed that the show The Heresy Project: Kill Your God , booked to perform as part of the venue’s Beyond The Fringes series, has been vetoed by line management and are seeking a replacement.

The Heresy Project are in the process of choosing an alternative venue for their Welsh debut, but this time will avoid any city that didn’t lift its ban on Monty Python’s The Life of Brian until 1997.

Despite selling out at the Glasgow and Leicester Comedy Festivals, this show can’t be seen in Swansea, it can however still be seen at the Brighton and Edinburgh Fringe.

no-holds-barred comedy…satirising both religion and militant atheism
Edinburgh Evening News

reminiscent of early 90s, late night Channel 4…...if you don't manage to catch them now, you'll probably see them in hell
The Skinny


13th April   

Nutters Photoshopped...

Israel newspaper airbrushes out picture of female cabinet ministers
Link Here

Limor Livnat and Sofa Landver, two apparently inappropriate ministers, simply "disappeared" from a photograph of the new cabinet in the weekly newspaper Shaa Tova, with black holes visible in the spaces where they had been standing. Meanwhile, in the newspaper Yated Neeman, male cabinet members were blown up and superimposed on to the images of the two female ministers in the frame.

Shaa Tova told the Israeli daily newspaper Maariv: Anyone who is acquainted with the ultra-orthodox press knows that from time immemorial, ultra-orthodox newspapers avoid publishing pictures of women.


12th April   

Update: Freedom Leaks Away...

Germany censors
Link Here

On April 9th 2009, the internet domain registration for the investigative journalism site was suspended without notice by Germany's registration authority DENIC.

The action comes two weeks after the house of the German WikiLeaks domain sponsor, Theodor Reppe, was searched by German authorities. Police documentation shows that the March 24, 2009 raid was triggered by WikiLeaks' publication of Australia's proposed secret internet censorship list. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) told Australian journalists that they did not request the intervention of the German government.

On March 25 the German cabinet finalized its own proposal to introduce a nation-wide internet censorship system. Australia and Germany are the only Western democracies publicly considering such a mandatory censorship scheme.

While last week German police claimed to the news magazine Der Spiegel that they had been ignorant about WikiLeaks' role as an international press organization, this "excuse" is surely no longer valid. Despite being questioned by the press, German authorities have still not contacted WikiLeaks or its publishers to resolve the issue, or indeed, at all. The lack of contact is inexcusable. German authorities have attempted to silence an entire press outlet over their objection to a handful of documents or articles.

WikiLeaks continues publishing on its other (non-German) domains. If the German cabinet's censorship proposal passes the Bundestag, presumably those WikiLeaks domains would be added to Germany's secret blacklist.

Germany and China are now the only two countries currently censoring a WikiLeaks domain.


12th April   

Disney Unsuitable for Children...

Researchers find Disney films with inappropriate personal contact of children by adults
Link Here

   Carleton University researcher

Classic Disney cartoon films are giving children the wrong message about how to deal with stranger danger , psychologists have warned.

They claim films like Sleeping Beauty , Snow White and Robin Hood contain scenes in which children receive unwanted personal contact or threatening approaches from adults, and that the victims fail to set a good example in the way they respond.

The study warns that the films also undermine efforts to teach children about personal safety and how to minimise the risk of sexual abuse, by treating the victims' discomfort with humour.

In one example, the researchers found that the Pinocchio had been groomed by the adult characters Honest John and Gideon but that his response to the abuse resembled victim blaming.

The report says: It is possible that viewing these scenes could influence children to believe that telling a trusted adult about a stranger's advances is unnecessary because the film characters model successful independence. The academics wrote that they were surprised to find depictions of children being touched, usually by adults, contrary to the expressed desires of the child.

The research, published in the journal Child Abuse, was conducted by a team of psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists at Carleton University, in Canada.

They studied 47 animated feature length Disney films, released between 1937 and 2006. In ten of them, they found examples of unwanted personal contact or scenes which show child characters in risky situations.

The report concludes: The findings raise questions about potential impacts on child audiences. Is the unwanted contact and risky situation content appropriate viewing for children, given efforts to teach children sexual safety?


12th April   

Cybersecurity Act of 2009...

US Government to grab control of the internet in the name of security
Link Here

There's a new bill working its way through Congress that is cause for some alarm: the Cybersecurity Act of 2009, introduced by Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe. The bill as it exists now risks giving the federal government unprecedented power over the Internet without necessarily improving security in the ways that matter most. It should be opposed or radically amended.

Essentially, the Act would federalize critical infrastructure security. Since many of our critical infrastructure systems (banks, telecommunications, energy) are in the hands of the private sector, the bill would create a major shift of power away from users and companies to the federal government.

One proposed provision gives the President unfettered authority to shut down Internet traffic in an emergency and disconnect critical infrastructure systems on national security grounds goes too far. Certainly there are times when a network owner must block harmful traffic, but the bill gives no guidance on when or how the President could responsibly pull the kill switch on privately-owned and operated networks.

Furthermore, the bill contains a particularly dangerous provision that could cripple privacy and security in one fell swoop: The Secretary of Commerce— shall have access to all relevant data concerning (critical infrastructure) networks without regard to any provision of law, regulation, rule, or policy restricting such access…

In other words, the bill would give the Commerce Department absolute, non-emergency access to all relevant data without any privacy safeguards like standards or judicial review. The broad scope of this provision could eviscerate statutory protections for private information. Even worse, it isn’t clear whether this provision would require systems to be designed to enable access, essentially a back door for the Secretary of Commerce that would also establish a primrose path for any bad guy to merrily skip down as well.

A privacy threat still in the cocoon is the provision mandating a study of the feasibility of an identity management and authentication program with just a nod to appropriate civil liberties and privacy protections. There’s reason to fear that this type of study is just a precursor to proposals to limit online anonymity. But anonymity isn’t inherently a security problem. What’s “secure” depends on the goals of the system. Do you need authentication, accountability, confidentiality, data integrity? Each goal suggests a different security architecture, some totally compatible with anonymity, privacy and civil liberties. In other words, no one identity management and authentication program is appropriate for all internet uses.

The Cybersecurity Act is an example of the kind of dramatic proposal that doesn't address the real problems of security, and can actually make matters worse by weakening existing privacy safeguards – as opposed to simpler, practical measures that create real security by encouraging better computer hygiene. We’ll be watching this bill carefully to ensure that it doesn’t pass in its present form.


12th April   

New Internet Censor...

Eve Salomon appointed as Chair of the Board at the IWF
Link Here

The Internet Watch Foundation has announced the appointment of a new independent Chair of its Board. Eve Salomon brings vast experience to the role including national and European level expertise in regulatory structures, law, media, and communications and is a committed and eminent advocate of the UK’s 'better regulation' agenda. Eve takes up her role on 1st April 2009.

Eve is an independent international consultant in media regulation and law. She is a legal expert for the Human Rights Division of the Council of Europe and the author of the UNESCO/Commonwealth Broadcasting Association Guidelines for Broadcasting Regulation. Her previous jobs include Deputy Secretary of the Independent Television Commission, Director of Legal Services at the Radio Authority and Interim Secretary of Ofcom. She is a Commissioner of the Press Complaints Commission and also a Gambling Commissioner. Eve was also a member of the independent Better Regulation Commission, advising government on how to improve the quality of regulation and reduce regulatory burdens.

Eve Salomon, Chair of IWF Board said: This is an exciting and challenging time to be joining the IWF as concern about criminal use of the internet is high on the public agenda. The UK internet industry, through the IWF, has an excellent track record in standing up to the challenges and working in the public interest. I look forward to drawing on our considerable expertise to ensure the right balances are drawn between freedom of expression and protection from illegal content.

IWF is managed by a single Board of 10 members, comprising six independent members, three industry members, and an independent Chair. The role of the Board is to monitor and review IWF’s remit, strategy, policy and budget in order to enable the IWF to achieve its objectives.


12th April   

Radio Heads...

Antigua looking to introduce a broadcasting censor
Link Here

The censorship of Antiguan and Barbudan airwaves may be just around the corner, as Government recently announced that it is pursuing research on the implementation of a Broadcasting Commission.

According to the Antigua Sun, the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Telecommunications is conducting in-depth research into regional Broadcasting Commissions with the view to preparing a white paper in the near future.

An official speaking to the Sun under condition of anonymity said that all media in the country would have to be brought under standards and sanctions to ensure that questionable material was removed from the airwaves.

If the Broadcasting Commission were to be implemented, it would likely be self-regulated by members, rather than have the Government decided on what is suitable and what is not the official added.


12th April   

Update: My Tongue is My Pen...

Egyptian blogger missing after arrest for supporting strike
Link Here

Although he was released by the Public Prosecutor, Egyptian blogger Abdel Rahman Fares is still missing. Fares who blogs at Lesani Howa Qalami (My Tongue is My Pen) was arrested on April 5, while handing out flyers in his city of Fayoum, calling people to take to the streets and protest against the government, as a part of the 6th April strike.

The young blogger was charged with handing out literature promoting the ideology of the Muslim Brotherhood and for calling for strikes. Besides, he is recognised as a Muslim brotherhood blogger, which means he is member of an outlawed group.

A friend of Fares wrote in his blog that he was released last night, but nobody knows his whereabouts. Recently, Fares told the readers of his blog, that he was summoned to the State Security headquarters:

I don’t know whether the both incident are related! I was summoned to State Security office and ordered to be their on 1st April. Right after that, I had a chat with someone I don’t know on Facebook, he commented on my status, then chatted with me, describing me and the supporters of 6th April strike as rioters. And he told me ‘don’t regret when you are punished!

Update: No Release

14th April 2009. See article from

Next Tuesday will mark one week since the eighth release order has been made for Egyptian blogger Mos'ad Suleiman Hassan (a.k.a. Mos'ad Abu Fagr); Despite that fact, Fagr remains locked at a police station in El Arish (North Sinai).

Fagr, a Sinai activist and novelist has a blog called Wedna Ne3eesh (We Want to Live), where he writes about the demands and life of the Bedouins of Sinai, as well as the citizenship rights they seek.

Update: Re-Detained

26th April 2009. See article from

In an unexplained action, Egyptian Ministry of Interior issued a new detention order for blogger and activist, Mos'ad Abu Fagr. The detained blogger was transferred again to Borg El Arab prison in Alexandria instead of north Sinai prison. This transfer imposes hardship on Abu Fagr's family to visit him, as they are based is the Sinai.

Abu Fagr was arrested on 26 December 2007, but the court and D.A issued eight order of release to him, even though he was kept behind bars.

Update: Comic Accusation

19th May 2009.  See article from

After being detained for 15 days under investigation, the Egyptian blogger Ahmed Mohsen is to still imprisoned, as he is accused of Exploiting the democratic climate to overthrow the government

Mohsen was arrested on April 29th, 2009, after a State Security force broke into his house and searched it. As Mohsen was already moved to Upper Egypt, a police officer summoned him to the prosecution office in Fayoum.

The Arabic Network for Human Rights (ANHRI), described the accusation as a ‘comic' one, stating: It is normal for a State Security officer to tell lies, but when the Public Prosecution believes this lie and approves to imprison a young blogger for exploitation of the democratic climate, this is black comedy, what democracy did this young man exploit

Update: Warned Off

29th September 2009.  Based on article from

The Egyptian blogger Abdel Rahman Fares was summoned to State Security headquarters, where he was blamed for his online writings. Fares was warned that he would be arrested if he goes on blogging, and asked to give up both his online and offline activities.

Fares is blogging at Lesani Howa Qalami (My Tongue is My Pen). On Friday, 25 September, 2009, he received a phone call from States Security, and was asked several questions related to his blogging, then summoned to State Security office in Fayoum (North of Cairo) where Fares is living.

Update: Warned Off

28th October 2009.  Based on article from

Two separate orders were issued last week to prolong the detention of two Egyptian bloggers. The first is yet another arrest order for Mus'ad Abu Fagr, who has been arrested since December 2008. Abu Fagr had a number of court decisions allowing his release, but unfortunately each one of them was followed by a new arrest order! The blogger is also transferred from Al- Arish police station, in his neighborhood, to Borg El-Arab prison in Alexandria, which make it difficult for his family to visit him.


11th April   

Meet Your Ancestral Censors...

Harold Ramis cuts Year One for a PG-13
Link Here

Despite a personal appeal from director Harold Ramis and producer Judd Apatow, the MPAA refused to lift the R-rating on Year One .

Since Ramis, Apatow and Sony lost their one and only appeal, that meant one of two things could happen: they could release the film with an R-rating or they could cut it down to a PG-13. They chose the latter.

The MPAA revisited the film and has now given the film a PG-13 for crude and sexual content throughout, brief strong language and comic violence.

The PG-13 rating was sought on the grounds that it would help bring in some of Michael Cera's teen fans and hopefully give the film a better chance to break even.


11th April   

Challenging the System...

Activists secure the right to challenge broadcasters who refuse their adverts
Link Here

Adbusters are a group challenging some aspects of the media and capitalist system whilst pursuing their ecological objectives. They have issued the following press release:

Adbusters Media Foundation, the publisher of Adbusters magazine, has won an important appeal in its case against Canadian broadcasters of CBC and Global Television Network. Adbusters initiated a landmark legal action against the media companies for refusing to sell airtime to Adbusters for its social marketing television campaigns.

In a unanimous decision released on April 3, the BC Court of Appeal overturned a previous BC Supreme Court ruling. Adbusters can now take its case against the media conglomerates to the BC Supreme Court.

Since 1989 Adbusters has attempted to purchase airtime from major commercial broadcasters in order to air its socially-minded public service spots. Routinely denied by network executives in Canada and the US, Adbusters is often left with little to no explanation as to why these citizen-produced messages are being censored. The case against the CBC and Global Television Network Inc. was brought about because Adbusters believes that the Canadian Charter grants every Canadian the right to access the public airwaves; to walk into their local TV stations and purchase 30-seconds of airtime under the same rules and conditions as advertising agencies do.

This is a great day for Adbusters, says Kalle Lasn, editor and co-founder of the magazine. After 20 years of legal struggle, the courts have finally given us permission to take on the media corporations and hold them up to public scrutiny.


11th April   

Adverse Verse...

Magazine banned for supposedly blasphemous poem
Link Here

An Egyptian court has withdrawn the publishing licence of a monthly magazine, Ibdaa (Creativity), because it carried a supposedly blasphemous poem.

In its ruling the court said the poem, printed two years ago, had included expressions that insulted God.

Egyptian courts have in the past convicted individuals or groups of people in blasphemy cases. But correspondents say that it is unusual for a magazine to have its licence withdrawn.

The offending poem, On the balcony of Leila Murad , by Egyptian poet Hilmi Salem, was published in the small circulation magazine in 2007.

The court's ruling said: Freedom of press... should be used responsibly and not touch on the basic foundations of Egyptian society, and family, religion and morals.


11th April   

No Internet Rights in Bahrain...

CPJ protest internet censorship in Bahrain
Link Here

The Committee to Protect Journalists is writing to protest the recent deterioration of press freedom in Bahrain and the government's ongoing campaign against critical or opposition Web sites and blogs. The crackdown against those sites has resulted in dozens of them being blocked inside the kingdom.

CPJ is concerned about a campaign targeting independent or critical Web sites that discuss social, political, and human rights issues, especially with the backdrop of an escalating crackdown on Shi'a activists, opposition figures, and human rights defenders. In January, local media outlets published ministerial order 1/2009, issued by Culture and Information Minister Sheikha Mai bint Muhammad Al Khalifa, ordering telecommunications companies to block specific Web sites without warning or providing specific reasons when ordered to by the ministry. Dozens of blogs, discussion forums, and sites of local and regional human rights groups have been blocked since.

The Ministry of Culture and Information is using advanced technology that can filter keywords and block sites, multiple sources inside Bahrain told CPJ.

For example, the Google Translation service has been blocked for the last three months, sources told CPJ. Abduljalil Alsingace, who blogs at, told CPJ that his blog was blocked on February 10, after he posted a petition by an international group of intellectuals. The political forum Multaqa al-Bahrain, the cultural forum Muntadayat al-Bahrain, and the cultural and political forum al-Sarh al-Watani have all been blocked. In addition, the Web sites of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights and the Arab Network for Human Rights Information have also been blocked for long periods of time and remain inaccessible inside the kingdom. Dozens of sites that provide proxy services are also inaccessible.


10th April   

Nagging the BBC...

Complaints about the TV documentary slaughter of a horse in Siberia
Link Here

More than 100 viewers have complained about a graphic scene showing the killing of a horse in the BBC Two documentary Horse People.

The programme on Tuesday at 2100, which was filmed in Siberia, showed a horse being choked to death before being stabbed through the heart.

A BBC spokeswoman said viewers were warned in advance that: Tonight's programme features a community who cares deeply for their animals, but ultimately, in scenes which some may find upsetting, kill them for food. She said the death was included to show the life the horse herders lead.


10th April   

BBC Set for a Kick in the Teeth...

Ofcom consider insensitive remarks in Grand National interview
Link Here

The BBC may face an Ofcom investigation after Clare Balding's jibe about the teeth of Grand National-winning jockey Liam Treadwell provoked more than 2,000 viewer complaints.

The TV censor is considering whether to launch a formal inquiry into the remarks broadcast during a post-race interview.

After congratulating Treadwell on his 100-1 win in Saturday's race, Balding urged the young jockey to give us a big grin to the camera.

When he smiled shyly but kept his mouth closed, she demanded: No, no, let's see your teeth. He hasn't got the best teeth in the world, but you can afford to go and get them done now if you like. An embarrassed Treadwell mumbled: Well, I could do, but I ain't complaining.

The BBC received 1,962 complaints and Ofcom received 39. Ofcom will decide next week whether Balding's comments merit investigation under section two of the broadcasting code, which states that broadcasters must avoid material which may cause humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity .

The BBC said in a statement: Clare Balding had no intention whatsoever of upsetting or embarrassing Liam Treadwell, but she fully accepts that she shouldn't have raised the subject with him. The presenter apologised personally to Treadwell via text message.


10th April   


Gay interpretation of Dvorak opera winds up a few Greeks
Link Here

Dvorák’s opera Mermaid was played in Athens in the beginning of March. It stirred up people’s feelings and provoked an unexpected scandal. It happened over a kiss between two men and because of the half naked mermaids at the end of the show, which the director, Marion Wasserman added for the good development of the act.

Mostly it was the kiss, which made the orchestra musicians in the National Opera House to make a list against Wasserman, because she not only changed the libretto but she gave the main character a homosexual orientation, because of which we have officially filed a complaint to the police.

The young French woman Marion Wasserman found herself in the eye of the storm and had to defend her decision for the brave creative decision.

Meanwhile, the Greek gay association found a convenient occasion to storm out in the opera hall, where Mermaid was played. Its members entertained one part of the audience but irritated the rest, who jumped from their seats, in order to try and defend their right to see the performance without being disturbed by calls for sexual tolerance.

Marion Wasserman left the country bewildered. Her version of Mermaid will be played in France this upcoming season, where she hopes her interpretation will be understood and will not provoke similar reactions as the ones in Greece.


10th April   

Diary: Deep Red International Festival of Fantastic Film...

Film festival in Portland, Oregon and Seattle
Link Here

Deep Red International Festival of Fantastic Film
Clinton Street Theater, Portland, Oregon, April 24-25
Grand Illusion Cinema, Seattle, May 8-9

Intent on rescuing genre films from premiering on video store shelves, Shade Rupe and Chris Bavota set out to unearth classic and contemporary 'cult movies' that deserved to be showcased on the big screen, and thus, DRIFFF was born.

We are proud to present the northwest premieres of several feature films including David Gregory’s nightmarish PLAGUE TOWN (USA), Martin Weisz's GRIMM LOVE (Germany) based on the homosexual cannibal killer Armin Miewes, Jonathan Lewis’ BLACK DEVIL DOLL (USA), a microbudget film with a big kick, Gadi Harel and Marcel Sarmiento's DEADGIRL, Justin Johnson and Aaron Marshall's ZOMBIE GIRL: THE MOVIE, the Bryan "RE-ANIMATOR" Yuzna--produced anthology film, TAKUT: FACES OF FEAR (Indonesia) and Frank “BASKET CASE” Henenlotter’s late-night 'comely' shocker, BAD BIOLOGY (USA). We will also be serving up the 1970s grindhouse classic INGLORIOUS BASTARDS (Italy), the inspiration for Quentin Tarantino’s latest epic.

Be sure to drop by to meet directors Jonathan Lewis and David Gregory in Portland, and GRIMM LOVE screenwriter T.S. Faull in Seattle.


9th April   

Putting a Smile on your Face...

ASA deflects whinge about orgasmic Durex TV ad
Link Here

A TV ad for durex featured a montage of clips of women who appeared to express sexual ecstasy set to an excerpt from Mozart's Magic Flute . A female voice-over stated Feel like never before. New durex play O. Pleasure enhancing gel for women. durex play, all you need .

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with a post 11 pm timing restriction.

A viewer, who saw the ad at 10.05 pm on Channel 4, challenged whether it was offensive and overly graphic to be broadcast.

ASA Assessment Not upheld

The ASA understood that the viewer noticed the ad shortly after 10 pm but was of the opinion that it was unsuitable for broadcast at any time. We recognised the viewer's concern, and appreciated that advertisers and broadcasters needed to be aware of the sensitive nature of ads for this type of product. We noted ME had explained that they felt the ad was unlikely to offend or be inappropriate for those aged over 12 years and we agreed. We considered that this ad was not overly graphic, contained no explicit material and was unlikely to cause offence, provided it was scheduled appropriately.

We understood that the post 11 pm scheduling restriction applied by Clearcast would have helped to avoid exposure to viewers under the age of 12 years. We noted, however, that Channel 4 had broadcast the ad shortly after 10 pm. We checked the audience index figures for the films broadcast before and after the break in which the ad featured and for the break itself, noted that they did not attract a significant proportion of younger viewers, and concluded that neither film had demonstrated particular appeal to younger children.

Although the ad was broadcast by Channel 4 earlier than Clearcast's scheduling advice, in consideration of the child audience index figures for the break and surrounding programming, we considered that it had been scheduled appropriately and was unlikely to cause offence to viewers.


9th April   

Ultra Nationalistic...

China has a downer on Ultraman
Link Here

According to's webmaster report, one of the most famous animation website had recently been shut down. had been well known for its rich Japanese animation contents.

Coincidentally, a few days later (early April), Premier Wen Jiaobo visited an animation production lab in Wubei province and made a comment that my grandson loves animation, but his selection is usually Ultraman (Japanese animation), he should watch more of Chinese animation production.

According to Chinese news agency report, Wen's comment quickly echoed by netizens over the country, many supported banning and boycotting of Japanese animation Ultraman.


9th April   

Update: A Sheltered Childhood...

Child internet restrictions introduced in Japan
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Japan...Japan considers internet censorship

The Japanese Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has made public a program to promote a safe Internet environment. It lists measures the central and local governments and enterprises must carry out by the end of fiscal 2011.

Among other things, they must effectively cope with information on the Internet that is harmful to children and intrudes on individual privacy.

On April 1, the law to restrict the Internet environment for users under the age of 18 went into effect. In principle, Web sites deemed harmful or inappropriate to children will be filtered. But parents can use their judgment to remove the filters.

In preparation for the law's enforcement, the government program called for promotion of the use of filters to block children's access via mobile phones and personal computers to Web sites that are deemed harmful or inappropriate. It also called for development of filtering services aimed at different age groups and development of functions parents can use to decide which Web sites or categories of Web sites should be filtered. It also called for examining the effectiveness of Internet service providers' blocking access to Web sites featuring child pornography.

Third-party organizations will certify Web sites as harmless or "R18" indicating the Web site is harmful to children under 18.


9th April   

Diary: GoreZone Weekend of Horror...

Horror film festival in London's West End
Link Here

GoreZone Weekend of Horror
Prince Charles Theatre, Leicester Square, London
31st October & 1st November 2009

Now in its second year, this October hundreds of horror fans will gather together in the heart of London's West End at the prestigious Prince Charles Theatre for two packed days of premiers, previews, personal appearances, signings and surprises all hosted by Emily Booth.

Tickets now on sale at £20 for each day


8th April   

That's Blog's Truth...

US advert censors look to include bloggers in their remit
Link Here

The US advertising censor, The Federal Trade Commission recently released proposed changes to their Consumer Product Testimonial and Endorsement Rules.

All the usual ideals about fairness and evidence of claims etc but one new direction is that they are looking to include bloggers in their remit.

The FTC addressed advertising in new media (Web 2.0). Essentially, if an advertiser pays a blogger to write a review endorsing a product or service, the advertiser and the blogger must disclose the financial relationship. In addition, both blogger and advertiser both will be liable for any false or unsubstantiated claims regarding results of products or services.

  1. When using bloggers to endorse product or services, advertisers should make certain that their products do what they claim to do. Advertisers should extensively test products, run trials, and document evidence that substantiate results for most individuals.
  2. Advertisers should provide data to bloggers that evidence typical results for most individuals. Advertisers should stress to bloggers that if the product does not produce the desired results as documented, do not write a favorable review.
  3. Advertiser should include disclaimers on consumer endorsements that state that results are typical of most individuals using the products. However, if a consumer achieves an unfavorable result, it is atypical and may be based on a variety of personal factors unknown to the advertisers.
  4. When writing a favorable review or endorsement of a product, bloggers should always disclose they received the product for free or was paid to write the review.
  5. Bloggers should always give their true opinion of the product whether paid or not.
  6. Bloggers should post any product disclaimers and company trials or evidence substantiating your review of the product.


8th April   

Disco Stick Sends TV Censors GaGa...

Australian TV censors have fun with Lady Gaga pop video
Link Here

Australian TV censors have banned Lady Gaga's video for Love Game for frequent verbal and visual sexual references.

The song, at No.18 in Australia this week, repeats the sexual euphemism: I wanna take a ride on your disco stick multiple times.

Channel 10's in-house censors have given Love Game an M rating; clips must be rated either G or PG to appear on Video Hits.

Ten's censors objected to the lyrics heavy touching' , I'm educated in sex ' and I want it bad' as well as Gaga's sexual postures in her dance moves, a near-naked outfit and her male dancer's fetish-like costumes'.

It's not just the lyrics and the visuals, if you were to judge it just upon either of those it might not be so bad,' Fletcher said: It's the cumulative impact of all those things together. We have been advised it would be very difficult to edit it down to PG, so we have made the call not to play it.


8th April   

Update: Censorship Syllabus...

Teachers concerned government influence over syllabus
Link Here

Teachers have attacked politicians' meddling in the national curriculum and the censorship of English literature, warning against the schools secretary, Ed Balls, winning the power to dictate what pupils read and learn.

Delegates at the annual conference of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) voted to raise the issue of censorship with Balls following the banning of Carol Ann Duffy's poem Education for Leisure , which refers to knife crime, from an AQA exam board anthology last year after extreme pressure from a group of MPs.

Teresa Dawes, an ATL member from Park House school in Berkshire, said: It rather makes one think of historical book burnings and all that implies. If young people don't get the opportunity to think critically about difficult but important topics in school, topics that often trouble them, where do they discuss them? The idea of any politician determining which parts of history or science children are taught or which books they study is indeed a chilling and frightening one


8th April   

Mail Censors...

Supporting the Hype for Anchor Bay's Look
Link Here

T he United States Postal Service (USPS) has refused to mail 800 postcards promoting the May 5 DVD release of Anchor Bay's Look . The postcards feature a man in his boxers with his pants around his legs, a woman’s legs wrapped around him, as they fool around in a retail warehouse. There is no nudity in the scene, which has It is LEGAL for your company to get permission to install HIDDEN CAMERAS IN THE WORKPLACE! written above it.

Look advertThe mailing house that was sending the cards received a letter from the USPS, telling them the postcards could only be mailed in envelopes, citing United Stated Code 3010, Paragraph D, which prohibits the mailing of any sexually oriented advertisement, meaning any advertisement that depicts, in actual or simulated form, or explicitly describes, in a predominantly sexual context, human genitalia, any act of natural or unnatural sexual intercourse, any act of sadism or masochism, or any other erotic subject directly related to the foregoing.

Look takes on the lack of privacy for Americans today, with more than 30 million surveillance cameras, reality TV, Webcams and more constantly monitoring our daily moves.


7th April   

Return of Media Coverage...

Obama overturns ban on media coverage of the homecoming of fallen soldiers
Link Here

For the first time since the Obama administration reversed an 18-year-old ban on news coverage of returning fallen soldiers, the military allowed media to cover the arrival tonight of an airman killed in Afghanistan.

The arrival of remains of Staff Sgt. Phillip A. Myers, a 30-year-old supporting Operation Enduring Freedom, at Dover Air Force Base at 11 p.m. today marked the first time that the transfer of any of the nearly 5,000 U.S. troops who have died in Iraq and Afghanistan was open to the media. The transfer of the flag-draped casket was carried out with great dignity, for the seven family members present.

In February, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates lifted the ban on media coverage of returning war dead, ending what some have called an era of censorship enforced by President George W. Bush.

Under the new policy, Myers' family was given the option of whether to admit the media and they chose to let news media cover the dignified transfer.


7th April   

Update: Soiled Souls...

Petition opposing the first steps to the return of cinemas to Saudi Arabia
Link Here
Full story: Cinema in Saudi...First steps to re-opening cinemas in Saudi

Hundreds of muslims in Saudi Arabia have signed a petition demanding a stop to what they say is a trend of films being shown in public.

There have been no cinemas in Saudi Arabia since the 1970s. And there are unlikely to be any soon.

The petition has been motivated in particular by the showing of a home-grown Saudi film in Jeddah last year. It was financed by the Rotana network, which dominates Arab entertainment and is owned by the billionaire Saudi Prince Waleed bin Talal.

But even a one off event as the showing of the first Saudi feature film at two venues has aroused the suspicions of Islamic conservatives. They claim cinemas fill people's minds with evil and pollute the purity of their souls.


7th April   

Unhealthy Government...

Malaysian government whinge at porn access at cyber cafes
Link Here

Access to pornographic and other unhealthy websites at public places such as cyber cafes and premises with WiFi should be banned, said MCA treasurer-general Senator Tan Sri Tee Hock Seng.

The Federal Territory MCA chairman suggested that enforcement authorities be empowered to impose punitive measures on operators of these places: For instance, fine them if their customers are found surfing banned sites.

Tee also urged parents to monitor their children’s use of computers: Many children have computers in their room. Parents should check what sites their children are surfing.


6th April

 Offsite: Brand Premium...

Link Here
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua
Call for Ross and Brand to top up expense account funds rather than TV license payers

See article from


6th April   

Would you Adam 'n' Eve It...

German toy company gets wound up by biblical adaptation of its toys
Link Here

A German pastor has incurred the wrath of a German toy company, Playmobil, by using one of its Klicky figurines to create an Eve with boobs, and by nailing another to a miniature cross.

Playmobil has ordered Rev Markus Bomhard an evangelical preacher from Eschborn, Hesse, to remove pictures of the figurines, created for children, from his website , as they are said to be in breach of copyright.

According to this report, company spokesperson Gisela Kupiak said the pastor was violating the company’s commercial rights for his own benefit: We are quite tolerant if this is done in the privacy of the home but if someone crucifies a Playmobil figure, or, as in the case of Eve, glues on breasts, then this is a completely different dimension.

Bomhard said that the figurines are not Playmobil originals. Not all in the Bible Klicky figures and scenes are available to purchase. It is a deliberate and creative adaptation.


6th April   

Freedom on the Net...

An international report
Link Here

Freedom on the Net: A Global Assessment of Internet and Digital Media

As internet and mobile phone use explodes worldwide, governments are adopting new and multiple means for controlling these technologies that go far beyond technical filtering. Freedom on the Net provides a comprehensive look at these emerging tactics, raising concern over trends such as the "outsourcing of censorship" to private companies, the use of surveillance and the manipulation of online conversations by undercover agents. The study covers both repressive countries such as China and Iran and democratic ones such as India and the United Kingdom, finding some degree of internet censorship and control in all 15 nations studied.


6th April   

Discipline Police...

Egyptian graphic novelist charged with morality offence
Link Here

Egypt's first graphic novelist Magdi al-Shafei is set to face charges of publication and distribution of publications contrary to public morals over his Metro book.

If convicted, Shafei and his Malamah publisher could face up to two years in prison for violating articles 178 and 198 of the Egyptian Penal Code, which punish publications contrary to public decency. These are the same laws that are used to prosecute pornography.

The controversy started last April, when police broke into the publishing house and confiscated all copies of the book. They then went to all bookstores and took the novel from the shelves.

The raiders were from the Vice Squad, or discipline police, who have been more active recently in their attempts to rid society of unnecessary material.

Their interest in Shafei has surprised many observers. The discipline police do not usually deal in such affairs as censorship. The discipline police are a sector of the ministry of interior who deal with prostitution mainly and a few other things.

The novel deals with politically sensitive issues, but what may have sparked government interest is the limited sexual content of the book. Many surmise that the government may be using the sex as a scapegoat to keep the politics from reaching a wider audience.

Leading the legal attack against Shafei and Malamah is a ruling National Democratic Party lawyer who last year also filed a number of lawsuits against journalists, including against outspoken Al-Dustour editor Ibrahim Eissa.

Rawda Ahmed, the lawyer in the legal counsel unit for the freedom of expression at the human rights organisation, ANHRI, said: if we allowed police officers or clergy to prosecute literary works, that would completely kill creativity and freedom of expression. The violation by police of freedom of expression in Egypt is not unusual, but the acceptance of the Public Prosecutor to initiate this lawsuit is completely absurd.


5th April   

Updated: Putting a Smile on your Face...

Sex shop advert winds up Wellington's Archbishop
Link Here

A Wellington sex shop has upset the Catholic Church with a billboard advertisement showing a praying woman with a smile on her face. The D.Vice store's ad shows four parishioners in a church and three of them have their eyes closed and hands clasped. But the fourth, a woman, is smiling and below her is a tagline: Anal beads from $55.99.

Wellington's Catholic Archbishop John Dew told the paper it was unnecessary and distasteful to associate a church with a sex shop device, adding: It is an insult to anyone who recognises a church as a sacred gathering place for believers in God and a place of prayer.

Wendy Lee, a director of D.Vice, said the billboard was meant to make people laugh and not intended to offend.

Update: Family First haven't a prayer of a chance with their whinge

5th April 2009. Based on article from

Nutters of Family First NZ are slamming a Wellington sex shop advertisement as highly offensive and tacky and is perfect evidence of the need to have a pre-vetting procedure on public billboards.

Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ said:

It is completely inappropriate for public billboards to have sex toy advertisements which are both offensive and inappropriate, especially for children to be confronted with, and the church setting simply adds to the offensive nature by offending a sector of our community who would find the ad in particularly bad taste.

A company that associates people praying in church and sex toys is quite simply out to offend.

The only redeeming factor of the Prostitution Reform law was that it dictated the level of advertising that brothels could do, in order to protect children and families from unwanted exposure.

It is time that we applied this principle to all billboards.

Family First NZ will be laying a complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority – for what it’s worth.


5th April   

Update: EastEnders Rundown...

Whinges about a car accident in EastEnders
Link Here
Full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

'Shocked' viewers have complained to the TV censor after a 'violent' EastEnders special.

Now Ofcom have launched a probe into Thursday's hour-long episode. The latest instalment ended in the shock death of Archie's estranged grand-daughter Danielle Jones, played by Lauren Crace, when she was run over by Albert Square bad girl Janine Butcher.

Danielle was then seen dying in the arms of her mother Ronnie Mitchell, played by Samantha Janus, just minutes after telling her she was her daughter.

Ofcom confirmed they had received complaints about the violent content and the fact the show was aired before the 9pm watershed. A spokesman said: The complaints were mostly about the violent nature of the show and the horrific death at the end. It was broadcast before the 9pm watershed cut-off, so we're looking into complaints about that too.


4th April   

Update: Ofcom Fucks Sachs' Auntie...

Ofcom fines BBC £150,000 over Russell Brand Show
Link Here

Ofcom have fined the BBC £150,000 over the Sachsgate row, describing the Radio 2 broadcast of messages left by Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand on actor Andrew Sachs's voicemail as gratuitously offensive, humiliating and demeaning.

The TV censor said the scale of the fine reflected the extraordinary nature and seriousness of the BBC's failures and the resulting breaches of the broadcasting code.

Ofcom said the corporation had broadcast explicit, intimate and confidential information about Sachs's granddaughter, Georgina Baillie, without her consent in Brand's Radio 2 programmes that aired on 18 October and 25 October last year.

This not only unwarrantably and seriously infringed their privacy but was also gratuitously offensive, humiliating and demeaning, Ofcom said.

The media regulator said it had imposed a fine of £70,000 for breaches of the broadcasting code on standards and over the Radio 2 broadcast of offensive material, and a further £80,000 for the unwarranted infringement of Sachs's and Baillie's privacy.

Ofcom said that despite the BBC considering Brand's show to be high risk , it had ceded responsibility for some of management of the programme to people working for the comedian. The presenter's interests had been given greater priority than the BBC's responsibility to avoid unwarranted infringements of privacy and minimise the risk of harm and offence and to maintain generally accepted standards, the Ofcom report said.


4th April   

Updated: Minister Hallucinates...

Bavarian minister likens violent video games to illegal drugs
Link Here
Full story: Games Censorship in Germany...German politicians target video games

In the latest political attack on computer games, Bavarian Minister of the Interior Joachim Herrmann, a frequent critic of violent games, upped the ante by likening such games to illegal drugs and child pornography.

Herrmann made the charge in a [translated] press release:

...such games are one of the causes for youth violence and also for school shootings, where images from killer games become reality.

...more and more children are getting mired in this virtual world of violence. They have no time left for school or job training, and are lost to our society.

...In regards to their harmful effects, [violent video games] are on the same level as child pornography and illegal drugs, the ban on which rightly is unquestioned

However, a second German official, Commissioner for the New Media Thomas Jarzombek, criticized Herrmann's remarks: The comparison is completely inappropriate... anyone making such statements is unqualified to participate in any further debate [regarding the] protection of minors from harmful media.


4th April   

Update: A Bad Image...

Than internet user jailed for 10 years for posting insulting pictures of king
Link Here
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

A Thai internet user has been sentenced to 10 years in jail for violating strict laws against insulting the monarchy.

A court in Bangkok said Suwicha Thakho digitally altered images of King Bhumibol Adulyadej and his family and posted them on the internet.

The court did not say how the pictures were changed or where they appeared, but local media cited YouTube.

Thailand's royal family is sheltered from public debate by some of the world's most stringent lese-majeste laws, as the police and army try to suppress what they fear is a rising tide of anti-monarchy sentiment.

Now up to 7000 blocked pages or websites

Based on article from

On April 1st, Aree Jiworarak, of the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, said the Ministry's recently established Internet Security Operations Centre (ISOC) had blocked over 7,000 improper URLs or web pages, which included 1,403 culturally and morally offensive pornographic pages.

Now the Ministry is investigating the case of the pornographic animation clip Ninja Love which was posted at mthai website, and is trying to find the poster for prosecution.


4th April   

Update: Prejudicial Comments...

Conroy described as the worst Communications Minister ever
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship


Stephen Conroy's watch as Communications Minister seems to be going from bad to worse after publicly making comments that could land him legal hot water. The comments at a public telecoms conference about a high profile court case involving ISP iiNet have been deemed by a number of sources as inappropriate, defamatory and potentially prejudicial to the case.

iiNet, Australia's third largest ISP, is doing battle in the Federal Court of NSW with a consortium of movie studios and a TV network that have accused it of allowing its network to be used to illegally download copyright entertainment.

The public slanging between the Communications Minister and iiNet is hard to find a precedent for in the ICT industry. The CEO of iiNet, Michael Malone, has told iTWire and a number of other media sources quite openly that he believes Senator Conroy is the worst Communications Minister ever and described him as incompetent.

Senator Conroy stunned the bemused audience at a telecoms conference this week by making sarcastic and denigrating remarks about the iiNet defence strategy for its court case.

He described iiNet's claim that it didn't know what material its customers were downloading as stunning and he likened iiNet's defence strategy to a Yes Minister episode.

Both remarks made by a Federal Government Minister about an ongoing court case have raised the ire of not only iiNet but members of the legal community as well as the opposition. It has been suggested that iiNet could have a case for pursuing Senator Conroy for defamation but even worse for the Minister there is a possibility his remarks could be deemed as contempt of court.


4th April   

Update: Shared Repression...

China issues detailed rules for video sharing sites
Link Here
Full story: Video Sharing in China...China bans most video sharing websites

Although Youtube has been unblocked, the China administration is determined to control audio and video content circulated in the Internet.

On March 30, the State Administration of Radio Film and Television (SARFT) issued an administrative notice, Concerning the tightening of management on Internet audio-visual content, In the notice that the following content should be banned from the Internet:

  1. against constitutional principle
  2. damaging to national unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity
  3. disclosure of state secret, harmful to state security, national honor and interest
  4. inciting ethic hatred, ethic discrimination, undermining ethic unity, culture and custom
  5. promoting cults and superstition
  6. disrupting social order and social stability
  7. inducing underage youth to commit crime; rendering violence, pornography, gambling and terrorist activities
  8. humiliating and slandering contents that violate citizen's privacy and rights
  9. harmful to social morale and national culture and tradition
  10. other contents that prohibited by other laws and regulations.

Internet audio-visual content providers have to edit and delete the following content:

  1. maliciously distorting Chinese culture, history and historical fact; maliciously distorting other countries' history and disrespectful to human civilization and other countries' civilization and customs
  2. deliberately ridiculing revolution leaders, heroic figures, significant historical figures, prominent figures inside and outside China
  3. maliciously ridiculing people's army, armed police, police, and judicial bodies; contents that show physical abuse and torturing of prisoners and criminals
  4. showing the arrogant and heroic side of criminal acts, details of crimes and investigation, image and voice of witnesses and whistle blowers
  5. advocating religious extremism, creating conflicts among different religions, sects, believers and non-believers that hurt people's feeling
  6. promoting fortune telling, fung-shui, exorcism treatment and other superstitious acts
  7. depicting nature disasters, accidents, terrorist acts, wars and disasters in a spoofing manner
  8. explicitly presenting promiscuity, rape, incest, necrophilia, prostitution, sexual perversion, masturbation and other similar acts
  9. showing or implicitly presenting sexual behavior and bodily intimacy
  10. deliberately exhibiting private parts of human bodies that covered up by body parts or small objects
  11. inducing sexual fantasy
  12. advocating unhealthy acts of extra marital sex, polygamy, one night stand, SM, exchanging partners, and etc
  13. titled and tagged with seductive words or pictures that associated with adult films, pornographic movies, AV, hidden video, nipple slip, and etc
  14. agitating content related with homicide, extreme violence, abduction, drug, gambling, and supernatural phenomena
  15. excessive horrible image, subtitle, background music and sound effects
  16. demonstrating slaughtering of animals, and human consumption (eating) of protected animal species
  17. violating individual privacy
  18. positive presentation or presentation that encourage fight, humiliation and vulgar languages
  19. advocating negative and decadent life style, world view and value; exaggerating national backwardness and dark side of the society
  20. video clips that have been banned by SARFT
  21. violating the principle of relevant laws and regulations.


4th April   

What's Your Birth Date Dad?...

Approved age verification scheme for BBFC Online
Link Here

The BBFC has formally accepted Aristotle International as a provider of approved age verification for digitally-delivered home entertainment.

The decision means that movie studios, online distributors, and eventually producers of all forms of digital content will comply with BBFC regulations when using Aristotle's age verification service, Integrity.

We are pleased to certify Aristotle as an appropriate age verification and gate-keeping mechanism for our Aggregator Members for those digital home entertainment works classified '12', '15', '18', or 'R18' for digital delivery by the British Board of Film Classification, said Andy Cooke, Business Manager of

Aristotle's Integrity solution provides identification and verification of digital access to content in over 130 countries. More than 50 million consumers have been age verified by Integrity to date. Motion picture properties recently in theatres or about to be released that utilize Aristotle's Integrity age verification service include,, and

Aristotle is also approved for use by leading global Fortune 1000 companies in financial services, tobacco, and alcohol advertising and distribution, social networks, online gaming and video gaming where financial, regulatory, or social responsibility guidelines must be met.

Aristotle's Integrity is a suite of widely accepted identity and age verification solutions based on government issued ID.


3rd April   

Playing the Protection Game...

Quebec to ban English language only games when French version is available
Link Here

In Lara Croft's latest action adventure, part of the popular Tomb Raider video game series, the lithe heroine can demand of her evil doppelganger either, What the hell are you? or, Qu'est-ce que tu es, exactement?

And that's exactly the way Quebec wants it, from now on. French language rules on video games come into force today prohibiting the sale of new English-only video games in Quebec if a French version is available.

It's causing a lot of consternation among retailers and gamers alike, who fear the rules will lead to delays in video games arriving in the province.

Ronnie Rondeau, co-owner of the eight Game Buzz stores around Montreal, said he even fears bankruptcy. He said gamers are notorious for wanting new games the minute they come out. It's why he has had numerous midnight sales with lines stretching around the block. If there's a delay of even a few days, they'll find other options, such as buying online or across the border.


3rd April   

Updated: Berserk Censors...

ASA declare advert to be offensive for depicting Pope Paul at nightclub
Link Here

A flyer for a nightclub featured an image of the late Pope John Paul II holding a bottle of beer and dancing with a blonde woman in a short dress. Headline text stated BESERK. Smaller text stated AT THE NEW CLUB FIRE MONDAYS.

The Ipswich and Suffolk Council for Racial Equality challenged whether:

1. the depiction of the deceased Pope John Paul II was offensive;

2. the ad was particularly offensive to Polish people, because Pope John Paul II was a well-respected Polish figure;

3. the ad was irresponsible, because it linked alcohol to sexual success and could encourage immoderate drinking.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted Warped's intention not to repeat the flyer. Despite their assertion that the ad had been distributed only to those people who were the club's target audience, we nonetheless considered that the depiction of the deceased Pope caused serious offence. Because it had caused serious offence, we concluded the ad was irresponsible.

2. Not upheld

Although we noted the deceased Pope John Paul II was a well-respected Polish figure, we did not consider his nationality was the primary factor associated with his papacy, or that the ad had set out to denigrate Polish people. Whilst we accepted that some members of the Polish community in Ipswich may find the image distasteful, we concluded the ad was unlikely to cause widespread offence on the grounds that the Pope was Polish.

3. Not upheld

We noted the deceased Pope was depicted holding a bottle of beer and dancing with a young woman. However, we also noted that the bottle of beer was not given particular prominence in the scene. We therefore considered its role in the relationship between the dancing figures was incidental, and it was unlikely to be seen as a contributory factor in any perceived sexual success. We concluded the ad was unlikely to encourage immoderate drinking and did not link alcohol with sexual success.

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

Comment: Flyers

3rd April 2009. Thanks to Alan

The ASA really makes me wonder. The utter triviality of some of its rulings, like this about the late Pope, is truly astonishing.

They hand down some "ruling" (unenforceable so far as I am aware) after the ad has run its course. It was a bloody FLYER, for freak's sake - a totally ephemeral one off.

Why don't they bother with some of the really iniquitous adverts, like the "Fly FREE!!!!" offers, where the small print reveals the £10 to check in, the £20 to take a suitcase, the £5 for the privilege of paying them your money by credit/debit card, the £20 to sit inside instead of standing on the wing....?


3rd April   

Updated: Law for Bloggers...

Court reporting restrictions only apply to those that know about them
Link Here

Bloggers might be able to escape court reporting restrictions because they have not been informed of the restrictions. An ongoing case about a boy said to have fathered a child at 12 years of age has highlighted the issue.

Reporting on that case has been restricted but foreign news outlets have carried stories about it, with versions of those stories appearing on websites accessible from the UK.

Some bloggers have picked up the stories and may be within their rights to publish while national newspapers cannot. The court order imposing the reporting restrictions says that it only applies to people who know about the restriction.

There is no central database of reporting restrictions, so while newspapers are informed of restrictions, bloggers generally are not, opening a legal loophole for their possible publishing of restricted information.

The order does, in principle, apply to 'bloggers' because it applies to all persons who know that the order has been made, said James McBurney of Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind OUT-LAW.COM. Bloggers, along with any other person or corporation are therefore prohibited from publishing any of the restricted material, but only if they know that it is in place to start with, which is where the difficulty arises: how are they supposed to know about it?

McBurney said that publishers and bloggers should take down material from a case once they find out that it is the subject of a reporting restriction.


3rd April   

Update: Macho Censors...

Singapore censors ban macho dancer film
Link Here

Boy , the new film of Aureaus Solito, the famed director of the critically-acclaimed indie films Ang Pagdadalaga ni Maximo Oliveros and Pisay , was banned by the censors of Singapore.

In his Facebook notes, Solito said the Singapore censors would not allow his new film to be screened.

Solito said Boy is his ode to a phenomenon in Filipino movies, the macho dancer genre. In the film, an unnamed boy is smitten by a macho dancer—or male stripper—and decides to bring him home for the New Year.

It's like a cross between a coming-of-age film and an erotic one and it was supposed to have its premiere in competition at the Singapore International film Festival, which opens on April 14. A week ago, I was so happy to see the Festival had put the film on their website. And now suddenly it has been banned, said the filmmaker.

He continued: I am still waiting for the censor's statement on my film, but I predict it will have something to do with its gay erotic nature. Zhang Wenjie proposed that it remain in competition, just the jury to watch it. I replied that I make my films for my audience, not for a jury, and withdrew it from the Festival.

After his film Boy was banned by the censors in Singapore, Solito decided not to go through the MTRCB here at home. Boy will be screened for a public audience in the censorship-free UP Film Institute and the Cultural Center of the Philippines.

I have had enough of being censored, ended Solito.


2nd April   


Complaints about jokes targeting Moving Wallpaper lady boy
Link Here

Ofcom has received more than 50 complaints about an episode of ITV comedy Moving Wallpaper over alleged transphobia.

The complaints focus on an episode aired on 20th March, in which trans character Georgina was mocked by other characters.

Viewers complained that she was the subject of a barrage of taunts such as She’s a walking GM crop, it’s not natural and her identity was derided by the other characters, who referred to her as it and 'joking' about her hairy hands, stubbly face and Adam's apple.

A Facebook group of 424 members is encouraging viewers to complain to Ofcom, arguing that production company Kudos blatantly flouted official guidelines in order to use a transsexual character as the butt of cruelty.

The show's broadcast has inspired Ryan Combs to create a group called Trans Media Watch , which serves to acknowledge transphobic rhetoric where it exists and call people to action to fight against harmful representations of trans people and trans lives.

In response to a letter of complaint, an ITV spokesperson apologised, saying: It is never our intention to upset or to offend our viewers but obviously for you on this occasion we got it completely wrong. The episode did highlight, in a comedic way, the prejudice suffered by many, and I should like to mention that positive comments were made by the characters of Gillian and Kelly in defence of Georgina to counter those made by Jonathan Pope.


2nd April   

Update: Army of Whinging Clones Denied...

Matrix style fighting in Volkswagen adverts restricted to after the TV watershed
Link Here

A Volkswagen advert with fight scenes inspired by the Bourne and Matrix movies has received a pre-9pm TV ban after more than 1,000 complaints to the advertising watchdog made it the fifth most complained-about UK commercial ever.

The Advertising Standards Authority received a total of 1,066 complaints about the VW campaign, consisting of four TV ads and a cinema ad, featuring a Volkswagen designer fighting a series of running battles against sinister clones of himself.

Complaints to the ASA ranged from the violence in the series of ads, which were all versions of an original, single 100-second commercial, to whether they were unsuitable to be seen when children might be watching and could lead to copycat behaviour.

VW said the struggle in the ads was metaphorical rather than real and that the exaggerated, cartoon-like sound effects and actions were designed to dispel the gravity of the fighting.

However, the ASA ruled against two versions of the TV ad that showed particularly graphic images, including fight scenes using car parts.

The regulator said that the 100-second cut included an opening punch [that was] shocking and set up a series of violent set pieces that included the use of weapons.

In its ruling, published today, the advertising watchdog concluded that the VW commercial needed a further restriction to not be shown before the 9pm watershed.

The ASA cleared all the VW ads of complaints that they specifically targeted children and could lead to copycat behaviour. The cinema ad was also cleared.


2nd April   

Update: Expressing an Opinion...

The latest amongst a dozen cases of lese majeste
Link Here
Full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Suwicha Thakhor has spent two months in a Thai prison, accused by police of insulting the royal family. He says he should be allowed to express an opinion.

Arrested Jan. 14 and charged in connection with material posted on the Internet, the 34-year-old oil engineer said: We have to be able to think freely. They cannot stop ideas by sending people to jail.

More than a dozen similar cases are pending under Thai law as a widening political divide prompts discussion on the future role of the monarchy.

The lese-majeste law is no different from contempt-of- court laws where you protect institutions that are neutral, that have no self-defense mechanism, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva claimed, he told reporters the law would be reviewed to make it clearer.

Suwicha, wearing a prison-issued yellow shirt emblazoned with a royal insignia, said his views on the monarchy changed after the coup that deposed Thaksin. Police tracked his Web postings, which he wouldn’t discuss, and read his e-mails, he said. He was arrested after dropping his kids off at school.

In the past, people fled to the jungle to share their political beliefs, Suwicha said, referring to a Communist insurgency in the 1970s that was suppressed by the government: Now we have Web sites. If they want to stop it, they must stop the technology itself.

Suwicha, who has twice been denied bail, said he’s hoping for a miracle. If freed, he plans to work on a farm and live a private life. Still, he makes no apologies for his beliefs.


2nd April   

Malaysia Muzzled...

Police seize political DVDs on grounds of a lack of film censor certificate
Link Here

Malaysian police have seized DVDs used by the opposition to campaign for upcoming special elections, heightening fears of a crackdown on political dissent.

The April 7 balloting to fill three legislative seats is being fiercely contested because the results will be considered a barometer of public support for the incoming prime minister and other newly elected ruling party leaders.

Police seized 30 DVDs at an opposition campaign rally and briefly detained an opposition official late Sunday in northern Perak state, said Ngeh Koo Ham, a Perak opposition lawmaker.

Opposition leader Lim Kit Siang said the action was the latest example of the increasing intolerance toward fundamental liberties like freedom of speech, thought and expression in Najib's Malaysia.

The DVD showed clips of opposition lawmakers being barred from holding a meeting at the Perak state legislature after the National Front wrested control of the state administration from the People's Alliance.

District police chief Azisman Alias denied any political motivation, saying the government's film censorship board has not approved the DVDs for public distribution.


1st April   

Update: Owning up to Crap Censorship...

Conroy seems to back off from banning adult consensual hardcore
Link Here
Full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

  Sorry for the crap
censorship so far!

Australia's internet censorship Minister, Stephen Conroy, has begun distancing himself from his controversial internet censorship policy in what one internet industry engineer has dubbed the great walkback of 2009.

Last night he said the mandatory filters would be restricted to content that has been "refused classification" (RC).

When the ACMA blacklist was leaked last month, it caused great controversy, partly because it included a slew of R18+ and X18+ sites, including regular gay and straight pornography and other legal content.

But on SBS' Insight program last night, Conroy said it's mandatory refused classification, and then parents - if the trial says that it is possible to go down this path ... have the option to block other material.

This about-turn has done little to assuage the concerns of online rights groups, the Federal Opposition and the internet industry, as the RC category includes not just child pornography but anti-abortion sites, fetish sites and sites containing pro-euthanasia material such as The Peaceful Pill Handbook by Dr Philip Nitschke.

Sites added to the blacklist in error were also classified as RC, such as one containing PG-rated photographs by Bill Henson. And the websites of several Australian businesses - such as those of a Queensland dentist - were classified RC and blacklisted after they were hacked by, as Senator Conroy described, the Russian mob. They were on the blacklist even though they changed hosting providers and cleaned up their sites several years ago.

Senator Conroy conceded many of the decisions regarding what sites appeared on the blacklist were made by faceless bureaucrats . He said he was working to build in further safeguards , but would not abolish the policy because some sites were found to be put on the blacklist in error.

Others sites confirmed by ACMA as being included on the blacklist include a YouTube clip showing an excerpt from a horror movie and an astrology website.

ACMA said the horror movie clip was added because it is classified as R18+ but not subject to a restricted access system that prevents access by children.

At the time of investigation, access to the YouTube content required only a declaration of an age of 18 years or older which was not verified by evidence of proof of age, ACMA spokesman Donald Robertson said.

On the astrology website, ACMA said it was blacklisted because, at the time it was being investigated, it had been defaced with an image which depicted an adult female posed naked and implicitly defecating on herself. This image has since been removed and ACMA said it was in the process of removing the astrology site from the blacklist.

ACMA conceded innocent sites could be blacklisted if they are defaced with content not usually associated with the site. Robertson acknowledged this material was often only visible for a short period before being removed by the site owner.


1st April   

Update: Cut and Spin...

6 second lesbian kiss cut from Home and Away
Link Here

Channel Seven has claimed that a lesbian kiss on the soap Home & Away has not been censored, despite reports to the contrary.

The drama had received complaints from Christian groups and seen Australian ratings drop as a result of its lesbian storyline.

Policewoman Charlie Buckton, played by actress Esther Anderson is depicted falling in love with Joey Collins, played by Kate Bell.

Speaking to Australian news provider Same Same, Bevan Lee, head of creative drama and development at Channel Seven, said an artistic decision had been made to show the kiss as warm and intimate, rather than "lusty" as this was felt to be more natural to the story line.

He explained: The kiss, as played, was two part. A very gentle, loving, sensual, tender kiss from which the two women pull back and then there’s another, more lusty follow up.

There was a lot of discussion, artistic and not censorish, about where to finish the scene. We finally settled on the conclusion of the warmer, intimate kiss and not the more lusty follow through because we felt it was more in keeping with Charlie getting there by degrees rather than one kiss making her comfortable straight away with the full on pash.

I think the version that airs is much truer to the tone of the build up to the moment over the last few weeks. The decision taken was artistic and had nothing to do with running from the conservative right. This work was done before the article about the lesbian story and conservative reaction to it even broke.

He added that he was saddened as a gay writer that the storyline had been reduced to a facile argument about six seconds of missing screen time.

Update: Kiss Off

2nd April 2009. See article from

Just before Home and Away aired on Tuesday, about 20 people gathered in Melbourne for a mass "kiss-off" to protest the prospect of censorship.


1st April   

Rapt Attention...

French rapper comes to the attention of politicians
Link Here

A French rapper who threatens to break his adulterous girlfriend's limbs in one of his recordings has apologised following an outcry from politicians and rights groups.

Orelsan often hailed as France's answer to Eminem, said he was sorry that the lyrics of the track, Sale Pute (Slut), may have offended some people but that he never considered himself an aggressor of women.

Christine Albanel, the culture minister, last week described the lyrics as a sordid apology for brutality against women. She said: Liberty of expression stops where inciting violence starts.

The Socialist opposition and Communists also condemned the song.

The online music video shows Orelsan holding an empty bottle of whisky as he raps: You're just a slut, slut, slut ... If I break you're arm, consider that we parted on good terms.   I hate you, I want you to die a slow death. I want you to become pregnant and lose the baby. We'll see how you manage when your legs are broken, sweetie. I want to see you go back burning in flames.

The record label said Orelsan had dropped the song from his repertoire several months ago, that it appeared on none of his albums, and was never meant to incite violence against women.

Ni Putes Ni Soumises (Neither Whores nor Submissive), a group which defends women's rights particularly in the suburbs with a high concentration of immigrant communities, has called on Le Printemps de Bourges, one of France's biggest music festivals, to take Orelsan off the perfomer's list next month.


1st April   

Strike Struck Off...

Tunisian hunger strikers page blocked
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Tunisia...Blogs and websites banned in Tunisia

Tunisian authorities have blocked access to the Matroudine website dedicated to provide information and support for the five students and activists from the Tunisian General Student Union (UGET) who went on hunger strike to protest their arbitrary exclusion from Tunisian universities and deprivation of their right to education because of their activism within the UGET.

The five young UGET unionists, namely Ali bouzouzeya, Taoufik Louati, Aymen Jaabiri, Mohamed Boualleg, and Mohamed Soudani, have been on hunger strike since February 11th, 2009. After more than 48 days of hunger strike their health condition has greatly worsened. However, Tunisian authorities continue not to react.

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