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 2016: April
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30th April

  When is a religious profanity no longer profane?...er... when nobody gives a fuck...

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US Christian news organisations asks why the BBFC doesn't take account of religious profanities anymore
Link Here
wnd logo For some reason that is not immediately obvious, a US christian websites has decided to have a rant about the BBFC not taking religious 'profanities, eg 'Jesus!' and 'Goddam' seriously enough. The websites asks:

When is a religious profanity no longer profane ?

Sixty years ago, religious profanities typically were forbidden in Hollywood movies, as the Protestant and Catholic film offices held sway on issues of acceptability in the Golden Age of film.

Today, however, in one Western nation [UK], such profanities fail to register even the slightest concern with the primary movie-rating agency [BBFC], which rarely mentions such expletives in its warning nor takes them into account when determining ratings.

In a recent response to a WND reader, a representative of the BBFC, whose tagline is Age ratings you trust, explained the policy:

While we recognize that such terms [profanities] may be offensive to those who hold religious beliefs, our public consultation has found that most respondents found these terms acceptable at 'U' [the rating described as 'suitable for all'].

The focus of the whinge seems to be the 12A rating for Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice

Concern arose over the BBFC evaluation of Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice. It included this language warning: There is occasional use of mild bad language, including 'son of a bitch,' 'shit' and 'piss.'

There was no mention, however, of religious profanities in the film, like those cited in the MovieGuide review. Based in Hollywood, MovieGuide reviews films from a Christian perspective. Its analysis of Batman v. Superman warned of five strong profanities (using Goddam or Jesus) and two light profanities.

The BBFC rated the Batman film 12A, for moderate violence and threat. In the U.S., it is rated PG-13.

WND end with a delightfully ludicrous sound bite with a few choice words about the BBFC:

MovieGuide founder Ted Baehr has followed the BBFC for decades. He told WND the organization is much more anti-Christian than the nation at large:

Added Baehr: The British Board of Film Classifications has often established itself as a pseudo elitist body that ignores the reality of families and the human condition. At least, the BBFC should consist mainly of mothers with children. Better still, as I argued before the U.K. Parliament years ago, they need to establish standards that prevent the sociological, psychological and religious dangers of movies and entertainment that destroy susceptible youth, as many of the Oxford studies show.

 

30th April

 Update: Dumb and Dumber lawsuit...

Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

MPAA argues against anti-smoking campaigners who want children's movies to be rated R for smoking
Link Here  full story: Smoking in the Moviews...Ludicrous calls fo an adult rating for films with smoking
dumb and dumber to The MPAA representing Hollywood's major studios along with theatre owners are contesting a lawsuit ludicrously calling for an R rating for children's movies that depict smoking.

The MPAA notes that it doesn't want to be held hostage to any misguided morality play that seeks to force them not to have any movies with tobacco imagery rated G, PG or PG-13.

Court papers have been filed asking a judge to reject a putative class action that blames them for children becoming addicted to nicotine.

Anti-smoking campaigners have flagged such films as Dumb and Dumber To , Transformers: Age of Extinction and Iron Man 3 as among those featuring tobacco-related imagery that are being seen by young audiences.

The Hollywood defendants warned the judge that, soon, they might be forced to give R ratings to all films that depict alcohol use, gambling, contact sports, bullying, consumption of soda or fatty foods, or high-speed driving.

 

30th April

  Verified as chilling...

  Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

US Mainstream DVDs

Video Universe
 

Louisiana judge blocks law requiring age verification for online sales that are deemed harmful to chidlren
Link Here
Louisiana State Seal A federal judge has blocked enforcement of a Louisiana criminal law that requires online booksellers, publishers and other website owners to electronically verify customers' ages before providing access to material that could be deemed harmful to children.

U.S. District Judge Brian Jackson granted a preliminary injunction requested by two New Orleans bookstores and other plaintiffs in a lawsuit backed by the American Civil Liberties Union. Jackson said the 2005 law's vagueness would cause a chill on protected speech. He wrote:

A possible consequence of the chill caused by (the law) is to drive protected speech from the marketplace of ideas on the Internet

ACLU attorneys argued that the law imposes unconstitutional, overly broad restrictions on anyone who wants to distribute material over the Internet. And they questioned whether it could have any practical effect on children's access to online pornography, or other potentially harmful material, since the law only applied to material published in Louisiana.

 

30th April

  A virtual necessity...

Australian government endorses VPN use as it notes that Australians are generally overcharged for copyrighted and licensed content enforced by geo-blocking
Link Here
australian government productivity commission logo

 

29th April

 Update: Unfree Speech...

Turkish journalists jailed for republishing Charlie Hebdo cartoons as a mark of solidarity with the cartoonists murdered in Paris
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
cumhuriyet charlie hebdo Turkey has sentenced two columnists to prison for two years for illustrating articles with cartoons from the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo .

A court in Istanbul convicted Hikmet Cetinkaya and Ceyda Karan with fomenting hatred and enmity in the people via means of the press.

Bulent Utku, the journalists' lawyer, said they would be appealing the sentence.

Sections of Turkish society were 'outraged' by the cartoons in Cumhuriyet , an opposition newspaper when they were published in January last year as a gesture of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo.

Turkish police had stopped and searched Cumhuriyet trucks as they left the printing press and protesters in Istanbul later burned copies of the newspaper.

The case was pressed by lawyers linked to Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the Turkish president, and several members of his family.

 

29th April

 Updated: A dangerous place to holiday...

A Dutch Journalist is arrested on holiday in Turkey for supposed insult of the president
Link Here  full story: Erdogan Insulted in Germany...Free speech finds no refuge in Germany

ebru umar A Dutch journalist was blocked from leaving Turkey on Sunday following her arrest on Saturday night for tweets deemed critical of the easily offended Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Ebru Umar, a well-known atheist and feminist journalist of Turkish origin, recently wrote a piece criticising Erdogan for the Dutch daily Metro, extracts of which she then tweeted, leading to her arrest. After her arrest in the resort town of Kusadasi in western Turkey, where she was on holiday, Dutch officials said, she was brought before a judge.

She later said she was free but forbidden to leave the country .

Insulting the president is a crime in Turkey punishable by up to four years in jail, but the law has rarely been invoked. Since Erdogan became president in 2014, prosecutors have opened more than 1,800 cases against people for insulting him, the justice minister said last month.

Update: Government support

29th April 2016. See  article from dutchnews.nl

The Dutch government considers freedom of speech and the freedom of the press to be fundamental values which cannot be used as bargaining chips, foreign minister Bert Koenders said a briefing to parliament on Thursday. He said:

We do not bargain with fundamental values, even if we are making agreements with a country about other issues. These are completely separate.

Koenders was updating MPs on the arrest of Metro columnist Ebru Umar, who was picked up in Turkey last weekend after sending out two tweets considered to be insulting to Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

 

29th April

 Update: Miserable Uganda...

Ugandan government passed new anti-porn laws
Link Here
Uganda flag The Ugandan cabinet has approved new anti-pornography laws that bar supposedly obscene publications and the staging of erotic and nude drama and dances in the country.

The laws also prohibit the broadcast of sexually explicit material in form of still pictures video footage and vulgar utterances by presenters on broadcast media.

Penalties include hefty jail terms.

 

28th April

  Stereotypically loony left wing...

Extremists PC advert censors ask for evidence that they are not extreme enough about 'gender stereotyping'
Link Here

ASA logo Our call for evidence: Gender stereotyping in ads 28 April 2016

In recent years, there has been increasing political and public debate on equality issues. The objectification and sexualisation of women in ads, presenting an idealised or unrealistic body image, the mocking of women and men in non-stereotypical roles, the reinforcement of stereotyped views of gender roles, and gender-specific marketing to children are all issues that have gained considerable public interest.

As a proactive regulator, we want to find out more about these issues. Consequently, we will be doing three things: examining evidence on gender stereotyping in ads, seeking views from a range of stakeholders, and commissioning our own research into public opinion.

At this stage we are being open-minded about what stakeholders and research tell us about gender stereotyping in ads and the impact of such advertising, which will shape the project as we move forward. In particular, we are keen for people and organisations to send us any research they have on this issue. Evidence can be sent to us at gender@asa.org.uk.

The project will report on whether we're getting it right on gender stereotyping in ads. If the evidence suggests a change in regulation is merited we will set out the best way to achieve it.

Chief Executive of the ASA, Guy Parker, said:

We're serious about making sure we're alive to changing attitudes and behaviours. That's why we've already been taking action to ban ads that we believe reinforce gender stereotypes and are likely to cause serious and widespread offence, or harm.

And that's also why we want to engage further with a wide range of stakeholders on the effect of gender stereotyping on society, including through our 'call for evidence'.

I look forward to hearing from stakeholders as this important work progresses.

 

28th April

 Update: Someone pass Shaggy the baggy so he can roll Scooby a doobie...

New Zealand campervan censor bans 3 campervans featuring Snow White and Scooby Doo whilst alluding to drug use
Link Here
wicked campervan snow white Australian film censors are the OFLC have banned 3 campervans decorated with slogans and images alluding to drug use. The 3 banned vans are:
  • The right side of Wicked Camper GCT799 has an image of the head and upper body of a smiling dwarf. He has a hand to his very orange nose. Text in large red letters beneath the windows reads Do What You Feel .

The left side has a large image of the head and shoulders of the fairy-tale character, Snow White, dressed in her traditional blue and red costume. She holds a thin white tube to one nostril and there are two lines of a white substance on a flat surface beneath the end of the tube. Her eyes are shut. Text in large white letters beneath the windows reads Snow White .

Text in white capitals beneath the van's back window reads, There's no way I was just born to pay bills and die.. The description of the image of the character Snow White in the submission from Ford Sumner lawyers is inconsistent with the image itself. Plainly Snow White appears to be about to inhale white powder rather than powder her nose.

  • The right side of Wicked Camper JKC408 has a large image of the head and part of the upper body of a well-known stoner character, Shaggy, from the children's television programme Scooby-Doo. The character holds what appears to be a cannabis cigarette and his facial expression suggests that he is drug-affected. The name Shaggy , in large green lower-case letters, appears under the van's windows.

The left side shows the head of the dog Scooby-Doo, mouth open and eyes gleaming with characteristic doggy excitement. The name Scooby-Doo , in purple capitals outlined in yellow, appears under the van's windows.

Text in white capitals beneath the back window of the van reads, Someone pass Shaggy the baggy so he can roll Scooby a doobie

  • The right side of Wicked Camper JLT886 has a large image of the head, hand and part of the upper body of the Dr Seuss character, the Cat in the Hat. The character holds a bong to its nose, and its face shows pleasure. A speech bubble beneath the van's windows contains four lines of text in black capital letters, reading, I did a bong / I did, I did! / A bong! A bong! / A bong I did!

The image on the left side focuses on the face of the same character, who looks extremely ill. Text in large red capitals, outlined in white, reads, Bad trip.

Beneath the van's back window text in white capitals reads, It's easier to get forgiveness than permission!

The censors explained their ban:

The public availability of Wicked Camper JLT886, Wicked Camper GCT799 and Wicked Camper JKC408 in their current form is likely to be injurious to the public good and they are therefore classified as Objectionable.

In a framework set by the New Zealand Bill of Rights Act 1990, classification decisions must be reasonable and demonstrably justifiable. Freedom of expression entails a certain tolerance for the depiction of drug use in various media. Films or DVDs, for instance, allow a high level of control over the manner and circumstances of viewing, including access. This same agency and control is not available when the medium is a campervan designed specifically for public display as a business promotion.

The imagery and text on the campervans are expressions of a view but not political opinion or particularly meaningful satire: they are not making a greater point about social or cultural matters other than celebrating drug use.

Significant injury to the public good, in particular the promotion of criminal behaviour to children and young teenagers arising from the display of these vans is likely. The nature of the medium in this case means that this injury to the public good is not able to be adequately addressed by a restriction to those over a specified age.

The likelihood of injury to the public good arising from the availability of the campervans, specifically the harm caused to children and young teenagers who view the images and text dealing with criminal drug use, has been identified. The protection of children and young teenagers from harmful material is paramount in this instance. This is not an unusual or excessive limitation of commercial free speech. The promotion of other potentially harmful activities to children, such as the consumption of alcohol or tobacco is also prohibited.

 

28th April

 Update: Wowsers overruled...

Calls for the censorship of Wicked Campervans in New South Wales turned down
Link Here

Australia: New South Wales flag New South Wales Premier Mike Baird has rejected calls to ban humerous slogans on the Wicked Campervans fleet, saying:

  • I don't think it's something that the state government should be getting involved in.

The statement was in response to local councillor Duncan Dey who wanted to wipe the usually sexist slogans off the vans or ban them from council caravan parks.  Dey proposed the erection of signs saying Van drivers, your wicked slogan is not welcome in Byron Shire could be erected at Byron Shire entry points, and the vans could be banned from council caravan parks.

Meanwhile the annual Australian music festival Splendour in the Grass , held near Byron Bay, has also taken a stand against the campervans. The festival website says:

If you're booking a campervan, please steer clear of sexist slogans! You know who you are. It's 2016, get with the program!!,

Liberal Democrats senator David Leyonhjelm said councils and wowsers in northern NSW should leave Wicked alone. He said:

Personally, I find authoritarians disguised as hippies or feminists far more offensive than any slogan on the back of a van, but I don't seek to ban them.

 

28th April

  But who would love someone with the imperfection of being a PC whinger?...

'Body shaming' adverts for dating website Match.com spotted on London Underground
Link Here
matchcom freckles advert advert Dating website Match.com have apologised for saying freckles were imperfections. A few politically correct commuters on London Underground whinged that the adverts were a form of 'body shaming'

One of the adverts showed a freckled face with the by-line:

If you don't like your imperfections, somebody else will.

However the number of official complaints was pretty negligible with the Guardian reporting that 6 complaints were sent to the advert censor, ASA.

A Match.com spokeswoman told The Huffington Post that the Love Your Imperfections campaign was meant to [celebrate] perceived physical and behavioral imperfections and encourage everyone to be proud of their individuality.

 

28th April

  Verbal Violence...

Special Olympics organisers demand that a comedian is censored for using the word 'retard'
Link Here  full story: Sexualisation...Sexualisation as reported by Linda Papadopoulos

Gary Owen I Agree Myself The organisers of the Special Olympics have launched a campaign against comedian Gary Owen for using the word retarded on stage. They are 'demanding' American cable TV station Showtime censor his stand-up special I Agree With Myself from their on-demand service. They have also launched an online petition to back their cause whihc has about 3000 signatures at the moment.

Gary Owen's show includes a routine about the comedian's cousin, Tina. Tina's retarded, he says. She's not slow. It's full-blown. It is what it is. He then goes on to make jokes about her having sex. His routine also mocks the Special Olympics, for children and adults with intellectual disabilities. He said: The 100-metre dash is the funniest shit you'll want to see, because it's literally eight people running with no arm swing.

The petition reads:

We live in an era where bullying has become public sport, where public figures and leaders from dozens of walks of life seem to believe that humiliation and viciousness are acceptable ways of communicating.

[Gary Owens] mocks [people with intellectual disabilities'] speech, mocks their love, mocks their sexuality, mocks them as people and worst of all, does so without any qualms or hesitation. He can pick on his cousin. Why? According to him: because she's "retarded." Apparently, she isn't worthy of even the most basic dignity.

None of this is funny. At all. It is callous and gratuitous verbal violence.

 

28th April

 Offsite Article: Banning unsafe social media during elections...

Link Here  full story: Student Union Censorship...Students Vs Free Speech
safe space National Union of Students debate ever more lunatic ideas about what constitutes a safe space

See article from independent.co.uk

 

27th April

  No balls...

Kevin Smith's Yoga Hosers downrated from MPAA R to PG-13
Link Here
Poster Yoga Hosers 2016 Kevin Smith Yoga Hosers is a 2016 USA comedy horror fantasy by Kevin Smith.
Starring Johnny Depp, Austin Butler and Stan Lee. IMDb

Set in the Great White North of Canada, YOGA HOSERS tells the story of Colleen Collette and Colleen McKenzie - two teenage besties from Winnipeg who spend their lives doing Yoga with their faces in their phones, 'Liking' or 'Not Liking' the real world around them. But when these Sophomore girls are invited to a Senior party by the school hottie, the Colleens accidentally uncover an ancient evil, long buried beneath the Manitoba earth.

The film was originally awarded an MPAA R rating for some sexual content in February 2016. Now the rating has been downgraded to PG-13.

The Director tweeted said that the MPAA had changed the rating from R to PG-13 on the eve of his scheduled appeal screening, which was subsequently cancelled.

Smith announced his intent to appeal last week and claimed the reasoning was for a cartoony drawing of testicles on a book cover. Nothing will have to be removed from the film, according to Smith. He did not quite say that no cuts had been made, so presumably he had somehow obscured the offending book cover.

 

27th April

 Update: Ultimate censorship of gay magazine...

More murderous censorship by religious extremists in Bangladesh
Link Here
roopbaan magazine Xulhaz Mannan, a top gay rights activist and editor of Roopbaan, the country's only LGBT magazine, was hacked to death together with another man associated with the publication, Tanay Mojumdar.

The two men were killed two days after a university teacher was hacked to death by suspected Islamist militants. So-called Islamic State (IS) claimed responsibility -- but the Bangladeshi government claimed there is no IS presence in the country.

BBC Bengali Service editor Sabir Mustafa said staff at Roopbaan , a magazine and activist group for the LGBT community that had not been condemned by the government and received some support from foreign embassies, had been careful to protect their identities but had not believed their lives were at risk.

Suspected extremists in Bangladesh are gaining a sense of security that they can carry out killings with impunity, he says.

Meanwhile Bangladesh's best known blogger said he had received a death threat on Sunday. Imran Sarker, who led major protests by secular activists in 2013 against Islamist leaders, said he had received a phone call warning that he would be killed very soon .

 

27th April

 Update: But most people have 'something' to hide...

Nothing to hide, nothing to fear? The immense powers in the UK's new surveillance bill are questioned in a new documentary film, The Haystack
Link Here  full story: Snooper's Charter...Tories re-start massive programme of communications snooping

the haystack video The Haystack is a new documentary , released today by Scenes of Reason , bringing together leading lights for and against the UK's Investigatory Powers Bill. This unprecedented piece of legislation, which is now under parliamentary scrutiny, seeks to affirm and expand the surveillance remit of UK security services and other departments, including new powers for the police to access internet connection records -- a database of the public's online activity over the previous 12 months.

The film provides an excellent roundup of arguments on both sides of the tortuous surveillance debate, including Conservative MP Johnny Mercer echoing the well-worn refrain, if you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear. Jim Killock of the Open Rights Group , speaking at the film's launch, quipped that Mr Mercer might feel a bit different if it were the left-wing government of Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell wielding these powers. Indeed, as far-right parties attract support around Europe and the world, the likelihood increases of tremendous state surveillance becoming the plaything of ever more abusive regimes.

The immense capabilities contained within the bill are unpalatable in the hands of any authority -- they are all too easily harnessed to undermine perfectly reasonable political opposition and judicial work. By way of example, the film outlines one such case where the current UK government improperly gained access to privileged details of a court case against it. In this light, the bill seems an intolerable threat to democracy and free expression.

Voices of concern from the security community , such as Sir David Omand, ex-GCHQ chief, explain that precautions against terrorism require more spying. Others reject this, noting that security services have failed to act on intelligence when they do have it -- spending enormous sums on digital surveillance only reduces their efficacy in the realm of traditional detective work. Moreover, those costs, to be borne by government and industry, are excessive at a time of cuts to other public services designed to protect us from more conventional enemies, such as disease.

The debate is winding -- this film helps straighten things out.

Watch the whole documentary here .

 

26th April

  Censors throw a hissy fit...

The Angry Birds Movie is cut for a BBFC U rated cinema release
Link Here
Poster Angry Birds Movie 2016 Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly The Angry Birds Movie is a 2016 Finland / USA family action animation by Clay Kaytis and Fergal Reilly.
Starring Kate McKinnon, Jason Sudeikis and Peter Dinklage. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed U for very mild bad language, comic slapstick, innuendo, toilet humour after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:

  • 2016 cinema release titled Angry Birds
The BBFC commented:
  • This film was originally seen for advice in an incomplete form. The company was advised it was likely to be classified PG, but that their preferred U could be achieved by removing a couple of examples of word play on strong language. When the finished version of the film was submitted for formal classification, these instances of word play had been removed and the film was therefore classified U.

Promotional Material

In the 3D animated comedy, The Angry Birds Movie, we'll finally find out why the birds are so angry. The movie takes us to an island populated entirely by happy, flightless birds - or almost entirely. In this paradise, Red (Jason Sudeikis, We're the Millers, Horrible Bosses), a bird with a temper problem, speedy Chuck (Josh Gad in his first animated role since Frozen), and the volatile Bomb (Danny McBride, This is the End, Eastbound and Down) have always been outsiders. But when the island is visited by mysterious green piggies, it's up to these unlikely outcasts to figure out what the pigs are up to.

 

26th April

  The Lord Chamberlain Papers...

Book about stage censorship wins the Theatre Book Prize
Link Here
Censorship British Drama 1900 1968 Performance A book about censorship in British drama has won this year's Theatre Book Prize.

The award, which honours books from the previous year, went to The Censorship of British Drama 1900-1968 by Steve Nicholson. It was based on files from the Lord Chamberlain's office based in the British Library.

Colin Chambers, former literary manager of the Royal Court in London, described the winning book as a detailed account of how theatre and society interact, seen through the prism of censorship .

 

26th April

 Update: Censorship News...

Malaysia set to introduce law requiring the registration and censorship of blogs and news websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet
Malaysia flag Malaysia's Communications and Multimedia Ministry has formally proposed legal amendments to the Attorney General that would require the country's political blogs and online news portals to register with the government. Minister Salleh Said Keruak unconvincingly denies that the legislation amounts to censorship, arguing that the proposal is designed to preserve the Internet as a tool for promoting Malaysia's economic growth, and meant to protect the country against internal divisions brought about by misleading information published online, he says.

Human rights groups and media freedom advocates denounced the proposal as a curtailment of free speech, saying the move reverses the government's earlier stated commitment to promoting Internet freedom.

Critics of Malaysia's ruling political party say the push to force political blogs to register with the state is a desperate tactic meant to silence dissent. Since last year, the government has struggled against a corruption scandal that's sparked mass protests across the country. Internet users, including bloggers, are some of the prime minister's most vocal detractors, accusing him of ill-gotten gains in several dubious transactions. State censors have already blocked a handful of news websites for reporting allegedly unverified information about the corruption issue.

Many bloggers who fear the proposed amendments recall recent comments by the communications minister, who said Internet freedom is a privilege , not a right, and is something the government can curtail.:

 

26th April

  Hitting all the right notes...

Opera adds free unlimited VPN for secure browsing
Link Here
opera developer browser logo Opera has become the first major browser to add a free VPN client to its web browser. The VPN offers AES-256 encryption and allows users to browse the Internet privately. In addition, the free VPN also helps to circumvent website blockades.

The company has added a free and unlimited VPN to the developer version of its browser. This means that users can browse the web securely at the flick of a switch .

The VPN connection is provided by the Canadian VPN service SurfEasy, which like many other VPNs keeps no logs. SurfEasy was acquired by Opera last year and VP of Marketing Steve Kelly tells TorrentFreak that privacy and censorship were the main reasons to add the free VPN to Opera. Kelly said:

Everyone deserves to surf privately online if they want to. Today, it is too difficult to maintain privacy when using the web, and way too many people experience roadblocks online, like blocked content..

By releasing an integrated, free and unlimited VPN in the browser, we make it simple for people to enhance their privacy and access the content they want.

Opera's in-browser VPN uses AES-256 encryption and SurfEasy says that the initial response has been very strong. The network is prepared to handle hundreds of thousands of simultaneous connections without any problems.

 

25th April

  Adult Trade Deficit...

Australian adult trade association explains to the Senate how crap their porn censorship laws are
Link Here  full story: X Rated Ban in Australia...Australians no longer rate hardcore as offensive
X18+ symbol Representatives of the Eros Association, an Australian adult trade group, told a Senate committee looking into the so-called nanny state , its members were suffering because of restrictions on what they could sell.

While they couldn't sell films depicting certain consensual sex acts, people could still stream them online. Eros business manager Joel Murray told a hearing:

They simply download it or order it from overseas. That's money that doesn't enter the Australian economy. So from an economic perspective it doesn't make sense.

He also criticised the limited list of acceptable practices and fetishes, with many of those not included discriminating against the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

The restrictions of businesses selling adult entertainment are so severe that they are proving unviable. There were only two businesses in the ACT (Canberra) that had X18+ licences and they soon would give them up, he warned. The X18+ licence fee in the ACT ranges from $15,000 to $31,000, with having single films classified costing more than $1000.

The association also raised concerns about state laws that ban the sales of porn in all the major states. Adults can buy and possess X18+ films (with the exception of Western Australia), but only adult stores in the ACT and Northern Territories can sell them.

 

25th April

 Update: Turkey Recommends Seyfo 1915: The Assyrian Genocide...

Turkey tries to censor a Swedish TV showing of documentary
Link Here  full story: Erdogan Insulted in Germany...Free speech finds no refuge in Germany
seyfo 1915 The Turkish embassy is attempting to censor a Swedish channel broadcast pf a documentary film about the Armenian genocide.

Ahead of Sunday evening's scheduled broadcast of a documentary titled Seyfo 1915 : The Assyrian Genocide , TV4 said it received an email from Turkish embassy press officer Arif Gulen, in which he opposes the film's use of the term genocide, which is often used to describe the tragic death of thousands of Armenians at the hands of Ottoman Turks during WWI. The letter, which was subsequently published on TV4's official website claims hat only a competent international tribunal can determine whether a particular event is genocide.

The broadcaster denounced Gulen's attempt to pressure the channel to cancel its broadcast, while promising to air the documentary on Sunday despite the warning. TV4's program director, Viveka Hansson said on the website:

We can never accept this. We will protest against any attempt to exert pressure that threatens freedom of expression.

Meanwhile, an orchestra in Germany has accused Turkey of forcing it to change the name of a concert it is scheduled to give on April 30, as well as remove a piece from its program that calls the massacre of Armenians a genocide. The name of the event is Aghet, a term commonly used by Armenians to describe the events of 1915 as genocide, whose literal translation in English is catastrophe.

The Dresden Symphony orchestra said that Turkey's delegation to the EU had reportedly asked the European Commission (EC), which is financially supporting the event, to defund the concert and remove its title from the EC's official website. While the Commission declined to withdraw the financial support, it did remove the announcement of the concert. A spokesperson for the Commission came up with a few weasel words to justify the censorship:

Due to concerns raised regarding the wording used in the project description, the Commission temporarily withdrew it,

The orchestra's director, Markus Rindt, slammed Turkey's bold interference as an an infringement on freedom of expression.

 

25th April

 Update: Turkey Recommends Aghet...

Turkey tries to censor a German Orchestra event referring to the Armenian Genocide
Link Here  full story: Erdogan Insulted in Germany...Free speech finds no refuge in Germany
aghet An orchestra in Germany has accused Turkey of forcing it to change the name of a concert it is scheduled to give on April 30, as well as remove a piece from its program that calls the massacre of Armenians a genocide. The name of the event is Aghet , a term commonly used by Armenians to describe the events of 1915 as genocide, whose literal translation in English is catastrophe.

The Dresden Symphony orchestra said that Turkey's delegation to the EU had reportedly asked the European Commission (EC), which is financially supporting the event, to defund the concert and remove its title from the EC's official website. While the Commission declined to withdraw the financial support, it did remove the announcement of the concert. A spokesperson for the Commission came up with a few weasel words to justify the censorship:

Due to concerns raised regarding the wording used in the project description, the Commission temporarily withdrew it,

The orchestra's director, Markus Rindt, slammed Turkey's bold interference as an an infringement on freedom of expression.

 

25th April

 Updated: Insulting European Values...

Turkey ask for its nationals living in the Netherlands to spy on Dutch people who choose to exercise their human rights to insult Erdogan, including comic Hans Teeuwen
Link Here  full story: Erdogan Insulted in Germany...Free speech finds no refuge in Germany
Netherlands Dutch MPs have called for a parliamentary debate about a letter that was sent out by Turkey's consulate in Rotterdam calling Turkish organizations in the Netherlands to report people who insult the Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

The Dutch Party, SP, demanded a debate on the matter. MP Sade Karabulut described the email as Erdogan's long arm in the Netherlands and accused the Turkish government of trying to intervene at Netherland's domestic affairs. A parliamentary majority supported the MP's call for a debate, though it hasn't been scheduled yet.

The move was not well received by many in Turkey too. The Dutch offices of Turkish opposition party CHP received numerous calls from concerned Dutch citizens with Turkish origins. CHP chairman Axu Ozalp said to the Volkskrant newspaper:

People are afraid because they once responded to something critical on Facebook or Twitter for example. They worry about whether they can still go on holiday to Turkey with peace of mind or will they be stopped at the border. This is very worrying and we therefore also emphatically disapprove of this call.

Update: Turkey demonstrates the need for people to be able to ridicule repressive politicians

24th April 2016. See  article from telegraph.co.uk

ahmet davutoglu Turkey's Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu has claimed that the German comedian who ridiculed Turkey's president is a racist. He added that Europe had no right to bombard his country with lectures on freedom of expression.

The row came as Angela Merkel joined Davutoglu, Donald Tusk, the European Council President, and Frans Timmermans, the European commission vice president, to review the EU's migration deal at a refugee camp in Gaziantep. Davutoglu whinged about Jan Böhmermann's performance and the resultant press criticism of Turkey's attack on free speech:

There was an insult against our president. The freedom of the press should never respect negate for human dignity. I mean, very heavy insults against a president of a country that one should not read or hear about? Is that really part of freedom of the press? If the same words were uttered for the president of another nation, would they be acceptable I wonder?

But Donald Tusk stood up for free speech replying:

As a politician, I have learned and accepted to have a thick skin, and I have no expectation that the Press will treat me with a special care - quite the opposite.

The line between criticism, insult and defamation is very thin and relative, and the moment politicians decide which is which can mean the end between freedom of expression, in Europe, in Turkey, in Africa and Russia, everywhere. I hope that in the future freedom of speech will not be our main topic of dialogue.

Update: Boywhore

25th April 2016. See article from chortle.co.uk , thanks to goatboy
See video from YouTube

hans teeuwen on erdogan video Dutch comedian Hans Teeuwen has weighed in to the free speech battle with the repressive Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Teeuwen has produced a YouTube video having fun with the claim that Erdogan used to be a boywhore in an Istanbul brothel. The video takes the form of Teeuwen being interviewed by a reporter.

The reporter repeatedly says the claims are satire or a sketch, but Teeuwen, who tours the UK this autumn, insists this is a true story. When challenged that he is insulting a befriended head of state, the comic replies: This is a whore customer standing up for his rights.

Both Germany and The Netherlands have laws against insulting foreign heads of state which means Teeuwen could also find himself in legal trouble. Hopefully Erdogan hasn't so much leverage over the Netherlands compared to Germany.

 

25th April

 Updated: Insult Turkey's Erdogan...

The Spectator magazine organises a competition for the best insults about Erdogan
Link Here  full story: Erdogan Insulted in Germany...Free speech finds no refuge in Germany

the spectator logo Nobody should be surprised that Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has instituted effective blasphemy laws to defend himself from criticism in Turkey. But many of us had assumed that these lèse-majesté laws would not yet be put in place inside Europe.

At the end of last month, during a late-night comedy programme, a young German comedian called Jan Böhmermann included a poem that was rude about Erdogan. Incidentally the point of Mr Böhmermann's skit was to highlight the obscenity of Turkey already trying to censor satire in Germany.

What happened next happened in swift order. First of all the Turks complained to their German counterparts. Within a few days the programme had been pulled. A few more days and it was whitewashed out of existence altogether. In the meantime Mr Böhmermann himself was forced to go under police protection. The worst blow then came late last week when Chancellor Merkel allowed the prosecution of Mr Böhmermann to go ahead in Germany. Strangely enough, Chancellor Merkel is currently pretending that the trial of a German comedian in Germany for insulting a foreign despot is a liberal act. .

Well I'm a free-born British man, and we don't live under the blasphemy laws of such despots. So in honour of this fact I have spent the weekend writing rude limericks about Mr Erdogan. And I would hereby like to invite all readers to join me in a grand Erdogan limerick competition. That isn't to say that entries which come in the form of Iambic pentameters, or heroic couplets will be completely discounted. I think a work in the Homeric mode, for example, about the smallness of Erdogan's manhood could (if suitably disgusting) stand some chance of winning. But I recommend limericks because almost everything insulting that is worth saying can usually be included within the five lines of that beautiful and delicate form.

A generous reader, who shares the Spectator's belief in the freedom of speech, is offering a £1000 prize for the best limerick. We've had some great entries so far, please keep them coming.

And the melon farmers get the ball rolling:

There was a little dicked hater from Turkey,
Who got his hooks into a frau somewhat murky,
He bullied and cajoled,
Got free speech overruled,
And celebrated by fucking the donkey.

Update: Thousands of entries

25th April 2016. See  article from blogs.spectator.co.uk  

Well the entries have been flooding in for the Insult Erdogan Poetry Contest . Thousands and thousands of them in fact, with entries from all over the world. The volume is quite extraordinary, particularly the number that are being submitted in Arabic.

Next week there is going to be a major development as I unveil the international prize jury who are going to help judge the event. I am proud to say that we already have an extraordinary array of international literary stars who are going to help adjudicate what is now the world's highest paying poetry prize.

 

24th April

  Mumbai Sikhs recommend...

The Indian movie Santa Banta Pvt Ltd
Link Here
Poster Santa Banta Pvt Ltd 2016 Akashdeep Santa Banta Pvt Ltd is a 2016 India comedy by Akashdeep.
Starring Tinnu Anand, Vir Das and Neha Dhupia. IMDb

Two friends and their sweet and endearing misadventures and one of these misadventures sees them land in the middle of a kidnapping investigation.

The Punjabi Cultural Heritage Board (PCHB) and the Maharshtra Sikh Association have launched protests against the release of the movie Santa Banta Pvt Ltd. , the two organisations successfully disrupted the screening of the movie in various cinema theatres around Mumbai.

Charan Singh Sapra, president, PCHB, claimed:

The movie hurts the religious and cultural sentiments of the Sikh community. The movie has also depicted a negative image of our community, with some dialogues also evoking aggression in people from our community. The chairman of the censor board should not be biased and we have appealed to the people to file a case under section 295(A) (deliberate acts intended to outrage religious feelings by insulting a religion) of the Indian Penal Code.

We have successfully stopped the screening of the movie at Chembur, Pune,Wadala, Sion, Dadar, Kurla, Vashi, Thane, Jabalpur, Nanded, Belapur and many more places across Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai. We have also filed a petition in the Bombay High Court to stop the screening altogether, and the next hearing for the same is on April 27.

 

24th April

 Update: One Million Moms recommend...

ABC's TV series, Once Upon a Time
Link Here  full story: One Million Moms...Moralist whingers against anything sexy
once upon a time The Christian moralist campaign group, One Million Moms whinges:

ABC's Once Upon a Time introduced a lesbian couple during this week's episode which 1MM and parents find completely unnecessary. On the other hand, the producers said the inclusion of homosexuality in a show popular with kids was important. Many families watch the program based on beloved children's fairytales, but unfortunately, ABC has distorted and twisted the storylines in these fables.

In Sunday's (April 17) episode, named Ruby Slippers , classic fairytale characters continue to push the envelope as Ruby from Little Red Riding Hood and Dorothy from The Wizard of Oz lock lips and introduce the show's first LGBTQ couple.

In a series of flashbacks, a romance brews between the two women. A sleeping curse leads Ruby to bestow true love's kiss on Dorothy to wake her. One kiss breaks the spell, but many follow in a brief make out session as the munchkins from Oz watch.

Once Upon a Time is a far from innocent fairytale entangling favorite Disney characters in a new, modern storyline. When it debuted in 2011 it was called the most family-friendly drama on any broadcast network in the past ten years and Common Sense Media rated it for children 12 and up. So naturally, with its family-friendly 8:00 pm ET/7:00 pm CT Sunday night time slot, it attracts younger viewers and parents who still think of Disney as wholesome. Of course, 1MM knows that Disney has not been wholesome for some time and, once again, they are purposefully pushing a gay agenda.

 

24th April

 Offsite Article: Your husband has just purchased a massage at Lisa's Happy Endings Parlour...

Link Here
Facebook logo Facebook is inevitably planning to join the list of companies providing payment services. But do you really want the likes of Facebook to know what you spend your money on?

See article from independent.co.uk

 

23rd April

 Update: Sex, Pork, and Persecution...

Malaysia inevitably bans book about the country's shameful persecution of a blooger who made a bacon joke
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia bans islamic books
sex pork persecution Five publications have been banned by the Malaysian Government as it was claimed that the books contain elements which could confuse easily confused muslims and cause moral harm.

In fact the government was trying silence criticism over the persecution of young bloggers who made a minor joke about bacon.

The government book censors claimed that Alvin Tan's Sex, Pork, And Persecution: How's One Young Man's Fight Against Conformity Led to Imprisonment and Vilification was banned as it was likely to be prejudicial to morality as it contained pornographic elements.

The publication of Grey (Fifty Shades of Grey As Told By Christian) was also banned for being supposedly prejudicial to morality as it contained pornographic elements.

Three other books were also banned but these are not internationally known:

Orang Ngomong Anjing Gong Gong was banned for supposedly being detrimental to public order, security and morality as it contained elements against the Malaysian norms and moral ethics.

Ajaran Makrifat Syekh Siti Jenar and Israk Mikraj: Tinjauan Saintifik Di Sebalik Kontroversi were banned as they were found to be prejudicial to public order and contained elements which could confuse and harm the faith of Muslims.

It is an offence under  the Printing Presses and Publications Act 1984 for anyone to print, import, produce, reproduce, publish, sell, issue, circulate, offer for sale and distribution, as well as to possess such banned publications. Those convicted of the offence can be sentenced to a jail term of up to three years and a fine not exceeding RM20,000 or both.

 

23rd April

  Well It Made Me Laugh...

BBC responds to complaints about jokes about the Queen
Link Here

friday night comedy logo A few Radio 4 listeners have complained about a BBC radio comedy which mocked the Queen's sex life on her 90th birthday.

Comic Russell Kane's gag about Her Majesty's private anatomy on the Radio 4 panel show Don't Make Me Laugh wound up a few listeners. There were also jokes about the monarch using the toilet.

Host David Baddiel later apologised for the jokes and blamed the BBC for rescheduling it to go out on the Queen's birthday. He said the pre-recorded comedy had been lined up for next week, but bungling schedulers moved it forward to the day the Queen celebrated her 90th birthday.

One round of the panel game, broadcast at 6.30pm challenged guest comics to speak on the subject: There's nothing funny about the fact the Queen must have had sex at least four times. Kane said:

For me this is just a quadruple representation of why inherited power is so dangerous.

Four times we have to think of republicanism as we imagine four children emerging from Her Majesty's vulva.

The Queen having had sex at least four times is no laughing matter whatsoever because we're forced to imagine Prince Philip and his work in the creation of those children.

Around 120 people had complained to the BBC who published an official response:

While BBC Radio 4 comedy is a broad church and often pushes boundaries, we would like to apologise for this broadcast of Don't Make Me Laugh. We never intended for the scheduling of the programme to coincide with The Queen's birthday and are sorry for the offence caused by its timing and content.

 

23rd April

 Update: Falling in with the wrong crowd...

Selena Gomez banned from performing in China
Link Here  full story: Performers Banned in China...Quick to ban star performers from the west
Year Without Selena Gomez Scene Pop star Selena Gomez has quietly canceled her August tour dates in Guangzhou and Shanghai, it is reported that she was forced to do so by the Chinese government.

The ban its not related to the content of the music, but is due to pictures posted on the internet showing Gomez with the Dalai Llama.

The picture appears to be from two years, when both Gomez and the Tibetan spiritual leader were in Vancouver to host We Day, a youth empowerment project that takes place in cities around the US and Canada. According to a Daily Mail report , the singer captioned the pic: words of wisdom. #speechless.

 

23rd April

 Offsite Article: PEGIDA on trial...

Link Here  full story: Free Speech in Germany...Criticism of refugees or Turkey now banned
Spiked logo The German free-speech scandal no one's talking about. By Tom Slater

See article from spiked-online.com

 

23rd April

 Offsite Article: Dangerous Profiles...

Link Here
vkontakte logo Russian facial recognition matching to social media profiles provides leads for blackmailers and moralists

See article from advox.globalvoices.org

 

22nd April

  The Force is a bit of a damp squib for DVD viewers...

The latest Star Wars is bare bones release for DVD viewers whilst Blu-ray viewers get a bonus leaden release with several long awaited deleted scenes
Link Here
Star Wars Awakens Limited Artwork Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a 2015 USA action Sci-Fi fantasy by JJ Abrams.
Starring Harrison Ford, Mark Hamill and Carrie Fisher. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 12 uncut for moderate violence, threat for:

  • 2016 Walt Disney RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon released on 18th April 2016
  • 2016 Walt Disney [No Bonus Features] R2 DVD at UK Amazon released on 18th April 2016
Second Class Citizens

UK-based Star Wars fans are furious that the new DVD release of The Force Awakens fails to include much-publicised deleted scenes or a download link to watch the movie online.

Amazon listings for the DVD don't make the shortfall very clear. They jsut don't meantion anything about extras.  Some other retailers, such as Tesco, are less clear as to whether their products feature the additional content.

Disney said iit was commonplace for extras to be included only on Blu-ray and digital-only editions. A Disney spokesprat said a few fancy words about treating DVD viewers as second rate:

As a company we are committed to seeking out the best ways to provide audiences with access to Disney content. Each territory is different, and we evaluate and enact distribution strategies on a market-by-market basis. In the UK this means we do not include extras across our DVD products.

Product Description

Visionary director J.J. Abrams brings to life the motion picture event of a generation. As Kylo Ren and the sinister First Order rise from the ashes of the Empire, Luke Skywalker is missing when the galaxy needs him most. It's up to Rey, a desert scavenger and Finn, a defecting stormtrooper, to join forces with Han Solo and Chewbacca in a desperate search for the one hope of restoring peace to the galaxy.

Bonus Features on DVD

There are no bonus features on the DVD

Bonus Features on Blu-ray only:
  • Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic Journey - for the first time, discover the complete story behind the making of The Force Awakens, revealed through in-depth footage and exclusive interviews with the actors and filmmakers in this feature documentary
  • The Story Awakens: The Table Read - cast members familiar and reflect on the memorable day they all first came together to read the movie's script
  • Building BB-8 - see how the filmmakers brought the droid to the screen, creating an instant fan favourite in the Star Wars universe
  • Crafting Creatures - watch movie magic as the filmmakers bring a cast of creatures to life
  • Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow Fight - go deeper into the epic, climactic lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren
  • John Williams: The Seventh Symphony - the legendary composer shares personal insights of his work on Star Wars and The Force Awakens
  • ILM: The Visual Magic of The Force - an insider's look into the remarkable digital artistry of the movie's visual effects
  • Force For Change - heroes come in all shapes and sizes. See how the Star Wars: Force for change initiative has united Star Wars fans all over the globe to help others

Plus deleted scenes

  • Finn And The Villager
  • Jakku Message
  • X-Wings Prepare For Lightspeed
  • Kylo Searches The Falcon
  • Snow Speeder Chase
  • Finn Will Be Fine

 

22nd April

 Obituary: Guy Hamilton...

Bond director dies aged 93
Link Here
Diamonds are Forever DVD James Bond director Guy Hamilton has died aged 93.

Hamilton directed Bond favourites Goldfinger, Diamonds Are Forever, Live And Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun.

His film talents extended beyond Bond and he worked with a host of other big stars including Michael Caine in 1969's Battle Of Britain, and Harrison Ford in British war film Force 10 From Navarone.

His adaptation of the James Mason comedy A Touch Of Larceny earned him a Bafta nomination for best British screenplay.

 

21st April

  Proud to be a 'coded' sexist...

Ludicrous PC extremists try to stifle criticism of Hilary Clinton by claiming that all critical words are somehow 'coded' sexism
Link Here
hrc super volunteers logo The pro-Hillary Clinton campaign group HRC Super Volunteers have threatened New York Times reporter Amy Chozick that she is on notice for 'coded' sexism for using standard and straightforward critical adjectives.

The group ludicrously claim that the following words and phrases are somehow 'coded' sexism and should not be used to describe Clinton (probably perfectly ok to use against Trump though):

Polarizing, calculating, disingenuous, insincere, ambitious, inevitable, entitled, over confident, secretive, will do anything to win, represents the past, out of touch

The group threatened Miss Chozick saying:

You are on notice that we will be watching, reading, listening and protesting coded sexismâ?¦

Help us find journalists smearing Hillary. We must push back against their sexism.

 

20th April

  Free speech stifles political correctness so must be banned...

Yvette Cooper speaks in favour of the Guardian's internet censorship campaign
Link Here
yvette cooper Online harassment and abuse is stifling debate and ruining lives , according to Yvette Cooper , who is calling on police and prosecutors to follow the Guardian's lead in unmasking the true extent of the problem.

The Labour MP claimed that misogyny, racism and homophobic abuse were all growing online.

The comments come after the Guardian launched a major series called the Web We Want , which revealed the darker side of online comments on its own website, generally disagreeing with the extreme PC nonsense peddled by Guardian writers.

Cooper called for online threats, harassment and stalking to be included in the Crime Survey for England and Wales, and said other media providers should carry out research similar to that done by the Guardian.

Cooper has also launched a campaign called Reclaim the Internet , which will hold a conference in late May. It is an allusion to the feminist campaign, Reclaim the Night. It will focus on how police and prosecutors can tackle hate crimes, threats and intimidation. It will also look at how social media platforms can be persuaded to be more proactive about censorship.

 

20th April

 Offsite Article: What is the Use of Life it is spoilt by the authorities?...

Link Here
the use of life Egypt takes harsh line towards artists and authors

See article from bbc.com

 

19th April

  Chopped Down...

Cambodia bans documentary I am Chut Wutty about the death of an environmental activist
Link Here
Poster I Am Chut Wutty 2015 Fran Lambrick and Vanessa De Sme I am Chut Wutty is a 2015 UK / Cambodia animation biography by Fran Lambrick and Vanessa de Smet.
Starring Helen Mirren, John Lynch and Donal McCann. IMDb

In one of the last remaining wildernesses in South East Asia, Cambodian community activists are struggling to defend their forest home. Their leader, Chut Wutty, defies threats and intimidation to investigate the corrupt logging syndicates. At an illegal, military controlled site in the Cardamom Mountains Wutty is stopped and shot dead. Featuring exclusive footage with Wutty in the months leading up to his death, I am Chut Wutty asks why did he die, and can his network fight for the forest without him?

Cambodia's Ministry of Censorship Culture has banned a screening of a documentary film about murdered environmentalist Chut Wutty and threatened strong action against the venue if films continue to be shown without first being cleared by the government.

Set to be screened on April 20 at Phnom Penh's Meta House Cafe, Fran Lambrick's I Am Chut Wutty chronicles the fight against deforestation in Cambodia through the life of Wutty, who in 2012 was shot and killed while documenting logging activities in Koh Kong province.

A letter sent from the Ministry to Meta House yesterday states:

The film has not been subject to a content check and was made without permission for shooting from the ministry and competent authorities.

By email yesterday, Lambrick confirmed she had not submitted the film to the department but would do so now. However, she disputed the claim that she was legally obliged to.

This is just an excuse from the Department of Cinema and Cultural Diffusion, but it is not constitutional. Cambodia still has freedom of expression and association, at least according to the law.

Meta House founder Nico Mesterharm could not be reached for comment.

Chhay Bora, president of the Motion Picture Association of Cambodia noted that often films have been shot and screened without permission and the blocking of I Am Chut Wutty may be because this is a sensitive topic .

 

19th April

  Leading the way...

Dutch MPs call for the scrapping of laws that prevent criticism and insult of foreign leaders
Link Here
Netherlands MPs from the two Dutch liberal parties VVD and D66 have called on the government to scrap a law making it a criminal offence to insult a friendly head of state.

Similar legislation in Germany is being used by Turkey to prosecute Jan Böhmermann , a comedian who read out an insulting poem about the Turkish president, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on television.

VVD MP Joost Taverne said:

Foreign leaders who are easily offended should not be able to go to court to try to undermine our constitution.

GroenLinks and the anti-Islam PVV also back scrapping the law, meaning there would be majority support if the issue came to a vote.

MPs from the ruling Labour party are not so keen on free speech. Justice spokesman Jeroen Recourt said:

Every foreigner, head of state or not, who feels he has been insulted by someone in the Netherlands can make a complaint here.

It is up to the public prosecution department whether or not to take it further. That is different in Germany, where the chancellor has to give permission for the case to continue. The German situation could never happen here.

Meanwhile Dutch comedian Hans Teeuwen appeared on RTL news defending Jan Böhmermann and issuing his own tirade of sexual insults against Erdogan.

 

19th April

 Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 48...

Link Here
Good Bad Ugly Disc Special An interesting episode about The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

18th April

 Updated: Free speech flees Germany and seeks refuge elsewhere...

Turkey demands that Germany censors satirical videos and poems about Erdogan
Link Here  full story: Erdogan Insulted in Germany...Free speech finds no refuge in Germany
ndr angers erdogan video Ankara reportedly tried to pressurise Berlin into censoring a satirical clip aired by German broadcaster NDR earlier this month.

However, the show's producers decided to amplify the message and released English and Turkish subtitled versions of the video criticizing the Turkish President.

Following the broadcast of the satirical piece titled Erdowie, Erdowo, Erdogan on an NDR show titled Extra 3 on March 17, German Ambassador Martin Erdmann was summoned several days later to officially explain in length the reasons for the broadcaster's behavior. An anonymous Turkish diplomat told AFP:

We demanded that the programme be deleted.

On Tuesday, the Foreign Office in Berlin said that Erdmann has been called in once again. However, during the meeting the German ambassador made it clear to the Turkish side that Germany is home to freedom of speech which it will protect. Erdmann said:

The rule of law, the independence of the judiciary and the protection of fundamental freedoms, including press freedom... need to be protected.

In the meantime, Extra 3 went out on a full-blown offensive against Erdogan's demand. The program's Facebook page shared an image of the request to stop showing the clip under the caption: Erdogan's idea of 'TV on demand' .

The satirical piece about The big boss from Bosporus, who is ripe for his great Ottoman Empire, starts off with criticizing Erdogan crackdown on freedom of speech. Erdogan is also criticized for the alleged shuffling of the electorate votes and cracking down on women.

The controversy inevitably added to the popularity of the video, with the English version of the video on YouTube receiving over 1.7 million views in less than 24 hours after the news first emerged of Ankara summoning the German Ambassador.

Update: Unappreciated censorship

31st March 2016. See  article from rt.com

european commission logo European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker has criticized Ankara's reaction to a satirical clip about President Recep Tayyip Erdogan broadcast on German TV. Commission spokeswoman Mina Andreeva said:

The EU chief does not approve of [Ankara's] decision to summon Germany's envoy just over a satirical song. He believes this moves Turkey away from the EU rather than brings it closer to us.

She quoted the Commission chief as saying that Turkey's reaction:

Doesn't seem to be in line with upholding the freedom of the press and freedom of expression, which are values the EU cherishes a lot .

Update: Germany grovels to Turkish censors

7th April 2016. See  article from rt.com
See also article from thelocal.de
See video from YouTube

erdogan poem video A German prosecutor's office has confirmed that it is investigating if TV comedian Jan Böhmermann violated the law by reciting a "defamatory poem" about Turkish President Erdogan, while Chancellor Angela Merkel called the piece deliberately insulting.

Böhmermann  introduced the piece by speaking directly to the Turkish president: What I'm about to read is not allowed. If it were to be read in public - that would be forbidden in Germany, Böhmermann said, before proceeding to perform his smear poem which, among many insults, called Erdogan a goat fucker who watches child porn while kicking Kurds.

The prosecution is to determine whether Böhmermann, the host of German state broadcaster ZDF's satirical program Neo Magazine Royale, breached section 103 of the German criminal code that forbids insulting official bodies and representatives of foreign states.

Meanwhile, the German Ministry of Justice was reportedly asked by the prosecution to determine, if Turkey had launched a criminal probe in the name of its head of state. Section 104 of the German criminal code allows prosecutors to proceed with such investigations only at a foreign government's request. So far, Turkey has not initiated any public proceedings against the comedian.

In an attempt to remedy the situation, German Chancellor Angela Merkel blasted the poem as deliberately insulting in a phone conversation with Turkish Prime-Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on Sunday, according government spokesman Steffen Seibert.

In the wake of the conversation, a video recording of the poem was removed from ZDF's website. The broadcaster's spokesman, Alexander Stock, said that what was presented in the form of a poem for us have been a step too far.

Update: Bluffs are being called, is Germany now ruled by Turkey?

12th April 2016. See article from dw.com

Germany flag Turkey is now asking for Germany to prosecute a satirist who made fun of its president.

No matter how Merkel decides, experts say she can't win. She'll either offend an important diplomatic partner or alienate German supporters for being seen to be under the influence of a repressive dictator.

On Monday, the German government announced it would look into Turkey's request to prosecute jan Böhmermann for a taunting poem the satirist presented in his weekly TV show, Neo Magazine Royale . In it, Böhmermann  called Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan a zoophile, accusing him of sleeping with goats and beating up girls, Christians and Kurds.

The diplomatic spat between Turkey and Germany comes at an especially inopportune time. For Chancellor Angela Merkel, Turkey is an important partner in the refugee crisis. Merkel has already given Turkey a massively generous (and unsupported by many in Europe) carrot of an opportunity for early entry into the EU.

Critics of the deal had already complained that by entering the agreement, Merkel would make herself too dependent on Erdogan, a man whose regime has recently made news by shutting down newspapers and arresting government-critical journalists.

Even foreign politicians have entered the discussion. Former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis has proclaimed his support for Böhmermann, despite having been the butt of his jokes many times in the past.

Spiked logo Offsite Comment: Germany's unfunny attack on the freedom to mock

15th April 2016. See article from spiked-online.com by Sabine Beppler-Spahl

Don't blame Turkey for Germany's prosecution of a satirist.

Update: Merkel grovels to Erdogan and OKs prosecution of satirist

angela merkel 2016 16th April 2016. See  article from theguardian.com

 Angela Merkel, has been criticised by members of her cabinet after acceding to a request from the Turkish president  to prosecute a comedian who read out a poem insulting Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Merkel was left with the final decision on whether Germany's state prosecutor should start proceedings against Böhmermann after Erdogan requested the comedian be prosecuted.

Under an obscure section of Germany's criminal code, prosecution for insults against organs or representatives of foreign states requires both a notification from the offended party and an authorisation from the government.

Update: German censorship victim has decided to suspend his own TV show

18th April 2016. See  article from france24.com

erdogan poem video A German comedian whose satirical poem about the new leader of Germany, Recep Tayyip Erdogan,  has demonstrated the loss of freedom of speech in the country. Popular comic Jan Boehmermann has now decided to suspend his own TV show.

In light of the controversy Boehmermann said he was taking a televisual pause to allow the public to concentrate again on really important matters such as the refugee crisis, videos of cats or the love life of (German actress and model) Sophia Thomalla .

Merkel's decision to OK the persecution of Boehmermann has appalled rights bodies such as Human Rights Watch which has called on the German authorities to defend freedom of speech even if the contents of the speech are offensive to some .

 

18th April

  Drawing a little prick...

Donald Trump's team bullies artist who imagined him nude with a tiny penis
Link Here
donald trump The artist who painted an unflattering nude of Donald Trump with tiny penis said she has been threatened with legal action if she sells the notable piece.

Illma Gore's Make America Great Again , named after the Republican candidate's campaign slogan is valued at £1 million.

Now the artist says she has received a phone call from an anonymous number threatening legal action if the painting was sold. She told the Independent: They claimed to be from Trump's team.

The painting has now been banned from public display in the US and was pulled from social media following the filing of a Digital Millennium Copyright Act notice, claiming that the content infringed copyright.

 

17th April

 Update: India's senile censors...

CBFC bans the Hollywood comedy, Dirty Grandpa
Link Here  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence
Dirty Grandpa Version Dirtier Blu ray Dirty Grandpa is a 2016 USA comedy by Dan Mazer.
Starring Robert De Niro, Julianne Hough and Zac Efron. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

India: Banned in March 2016

Dirty Grandpa has been rejected by the CBFC and the appeals Tribunal for its bold content. A source from the CBFC added:

We've placed a ban on Dirty Grandpa because this grandpa is dirtier than any 70-year old man has the right to be. In fact de Niro in this film makes Rishi Kapoorin Kapoor & Sons look like a saint. We wonder why an actor of De Niros caliber did such a foul-mouthed cheap film.

For comparison, in the UK,  the Unrated Extended Version was passed 15 uncut for strong sex references, strong nudity, drug use, strong language for:
  • 2016 Lions Gate [Extended + Theatrical Versions] RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon

Summary Notes

Right before his wedding, an uptight guy is tricked into driving his grandfather, a perverted former Army general, to Florida for spring break.

 

16th April

  Jungle drums and Chinese whispers...

Indian film censors get stick for giving a totally rational classification for the 2016 remake of the Jungle Book
Link Here
jungle book 2016 The Jungle Book is a 2016 USA family fantasy adventure by Jon Favreau.
Starring Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba and Bill Murray. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

An orphan boy is raised in the jungle with the help of a pack of wolves, a bear, and a black panther.

Indian film censors seem to be getting a lot of stick for giving 'U/A' classification for the 2016 remake of the Jungle Book. The BBC reported on the news:

India's censor board has given Disney's Jungle Book a U/A certificate, meaning that children will not be able to watch the film without adult supervision.

However this appears to be bollox. According to the website of India's Central Board of Film Classification , the U/A certificate actually means:

Unrestricted Public Exhibition - but with a word of caution that Parental discretion required for children below 12 years

Perhaps such a rating would be called a PG-12 in US terms, but it is not a long way off the PG rating in the UK and US, which is exactly how the film was rated in these two countries

  • US: MPAA Rated PG for some sequences of scary action and peril. (A US PG means some material may not be suitable for children).
     
  • UK: BBFC rated PG for mild threat (A UK PG film is suitable for general viewing, but some scenes may be unsuitable for young children. A PG film should not unsettle a child aged around eight or older).

 

16th April

  The Science of Censorship...

Now showing 17th April. London Independent Film Festival censors documentary not conforming to the 'correct' views on the causes of AIDS
Link Here
positive hell Positive Hell is a 2014 UK / Spain documentary by Andi Reiss.
Starring IMDb

POSITIVE HELL is the story of five individuals who have defied their doctors and lived on for nearly thirty years with a diagnosis of death. The film highlights a network of people diagnosed HIV positive in the province of Galicia, Northern Spain. How can this be? Haven't we been told that everyone who tests positive is sure to die? Do these people have a special magic gene that protects them against HIV? Or could it be that this death sentence has been mistaken all along? The five protagonists describe their struggle to survive when faced with a death sentence, their experiences as social pariahs, their battles with doctors and the medical orthodoxy and their absolute conviction that the science behind AIDS is cruelly wrong.

LIFF, the London Independent Film Festival has axed its screening of the film Positive Hell, scheduled for April 17, in a move described by the film's writer and narrator, Joan Shenton, as blatant censorship and the latest case of 'no platforming' .

Shenton said that she had been contacted by LIFF director, Erich Schultz, to say that he had pulled the film after four HIV/AIDS campaign groups had threatened protests at the screening venue and at festival sponsors' premises if we [LIFF] don't comply . Schultz also said he had received over twenty protest letters .

Positive Hell was successfully screened at the Frontline Club in Paddington, London, last year after similar threats, though no protest actually materialised at that screening.

Joan Shenton said:

Positive Hell, the right to free speech and the HIV-positive people honestly depicted in the film are the victims of barefaced censorship. The film presents a view of HIV and AIDS which is not shared by the giant pharmaceutical companies, their lobby groups and some activists, but it is an evidence-based view nonetheless and has just as much right to be aired and debated as any other.

I am flabbergasted by LIFF's censorship in response to a handful of emails that were clearly designed to shut down this debate by intimidating the festival and its sponsors. It questions just how 'independent' the London Independent Film Festival really is.

Diary: Now showing on Sunday 17th April 2016

14th April 2016. See  press release from pressdispensary.co.uk

Following its controversial no platform banning by the London Independent Film Festival (LIFF), announced on Monday , the HIV & AIDs film Positive Hell is to be screened in London this coming Sunday, the day originally scheduled by LIFF, but independently of the supposedly independent festival. The film's writer, narrator and co-producer, Joan Shenton, announced this afternoon:

We do not accept that London's so-called 'independent' film festival should censor our film in this high-handed way, nor that it has the right to tell London film-goers what they can and cannot watch, just because it was 'got at' by four charities who have a vested interest in not challenging the AIDS status quo.

So the screening of Positive Hell will go ahead, irrespective of LIFF, at noon on Sunday April 17, at the Soho Screening Rooms in D'Arblay Street, W1, followed by a Q&A. And this time tickets are available at no charge. This is Britain, not some totalitarian regime.

Other quite mainstream film festivals are very happy to screen Positive Hell. It was even nominated for best documentary at the Marbella International Film Festival, as well as being selected for LA Cinefest, the Digital Griffix online festival and the Indie Festival 01. And the previous time we screened Positive Hell in London, we received similar threats but nothing ever came of them.

I believe this decision by Mr Shultz and his student selection panel is timid and incredibly short-sighted, as well as being blatant censorship and yet another denial of free speech through the practice of 'no platforming'. But we will not be censored. Sunday's screening will go ahead from noon in its new venue, and will be followed by a Q&A which may well touch on censorship as well as debating, rather than silencing, the issues raised by the film.

The screening of Positive Hell will take place at Soho Screening Rooms, 14 D'Arblay St, London W1F 8DY. Doors will open at noon for a 12.30 showing, followed by a Q&A.

Spiked logo Offsite Comment: Positive Hell: silencing the HIV heretics

15th April 2016. See article from spiked-online.com by Ella Whelan

 

16th April

  Linked Issues...

The European Court of Justice is advised that linking to pirated content is not copyright infringement
Link Here
European Court of Justice Linking to pirated content that is already available to the public can not be seen as copyright infringement under the European Copyright Directive. This is the advice Advocate General Melchior Wathelet has sent to the EU Court of Justice, in what may turn out to be a landmark case.

One of the key roles of the EU's Court of Justice is to interpret European law to ensure that it's applied in the same manner across all member states. The Court is also called upon by national courts to clarify finer points of EU law to progress local cases with Europe-wide implications.

In recent years the Court was called upon to rule on several cases related to hyperlinking, in an effort to established whether links to other websites can be seen as copyright infringement.

Previously, it ruled that links to copyrighted works are not infringing if the copyright holder published them in public, and the same is true for embedding copyrighted videos.

But what if a link points to content that is not authorized by the copyright holder? Would this still be allowed? According to EU Advocate General Melchior Wathelet, it is.

In an advisory opinion to the EU Court of Justice, which will issue a final ruling later, the Advocate General reviewed a dispute between the Dutch weblog GeenStijl.nl and Playboy. In October 2011, GeenStijl.nl published a post linking to leaked Playboy photos, which were hosted on the file-hosting service FileFactory. Playboy publisher Sanoma successfully requested the removal of the photos at the hosting service, but in response GeenStijl continued to link to other public sources where they were still available.

The Dutch Court asked the EU Court of Justice to rule whether these links can be seen as a communication to the public under Article 3(1) of the Copyright Directive of the Copyright Directive, and whether they facilitate copyright infringement.

In his advice today the Advocate General acknowledges that the hyperlinks facilitate the discovery of the copyrighted works, and make them more easily available. However, this isn't copyright infringement.  The EU Court of Justice's writes, commenting on the advice.

hyperlinks which lead, even directly, to protected works are not 'making them available' to the public when they are already freely accessible on another website, and only serve to facilitate their discovery,

The Advocate General argues that linking is not the same as making the content available, which would apply to the original uploader. This means that GeenStijl's actions can not be characterized as copyright infringement:

The actual act of 'making available' is the action of the person who effected the initial communication. Consequently, hyperlinks which are placed on a website and which link to protected works that are freely accessible on another site cannot be classified as an 'act of communication' within the meaning of the Directive.

In fact, the intervention of the owner of the site which places the hyperlink, in this case GS Media, is not indispensable to the photos in question being made available to internet users, including those who visit GeenStijl's website.

The advice is a setup for a landmark ruling. However, the Court stresses that the advice only applies to this particular case.

Technically, most torrent sites including The Pirate Bay, mostly link to material that's already available elsewhere. However, in these cases the general purpose of the site may also be taken into account.

That said, the advice is good news for news sites, bloggers and the general public, as incidentally linking to relevant copyrighted material should be allowed in most cases.

The Advocate General's advice is not binding, but the European Court of Justice often uses such advice as the basis of its rulings. The final verdict is expected to be released later this year.

 

15th April

 Updated: The Guardian wants to engage with its readers...

But only those who support its ridiculous brand of PC extremism
Link Here
The Guardian The Guardian has initiated a series of  articles calling for ideas about silencing comments from those who stridently object to the aggressive agenda of political correctness pushed by the newspaper. The Guardian set's the scene for its call to censorship:

The internet has a problem, and that problem is people. Dramatic incidents of public harassment, abuse and threatening behaviour are never far from the news, and during recent years, public awareness of this unpleasantness has grown dramatically. With it has come an understanding of the harms done, not just by high-level threats and abusive behaviour but by a more insidious culture of dismissal, denigration and disrespect that surrounds them. There is a widespread perception that these are problems that need to be solved, and many digital media sites - including Twitter, Facebook and many others - are actively looking for solutions.

The Guardian is among them. Like the rest of the internet, the Guardian's comments can be a pleasure to read and participate in; they can also be a hard slog full of dismissive discrimination, or a grim argument between camps whose views are immovable and whose main goal is simply to advance an agenda.

Offsite Comment: Why has the Guardian declared war on internet freedom?

Spiked logo 15th April 2016. See  article from spiked-online.com by Brendan O'Neill

The voice of liberal England is seriously illiberal about the web.

 

15th April

 Updated: Junk the injunctions, and free the press...

There are bigger issues than celeb sex lives behind this farcical gag. By Mick Hume
Link Here  full story: Super Injunctions...Granting super powers to rich gaggers

Spiked logo Even those of us who care little or nothing about the sex lives of celebrities should care about the latest farcical attempt by the English courts to use an injunction to gag a tabloid newspaper.

The case sets a potentially dangerous new standard in allowing judges to screw over press freedom and dictate what the public should be allowed to know. The judicial campaign to impose a privacy law by the back door is the big issue we should all be concerned with, behind the squalid details of celebrity scandal.

Update: Google forced to censor links to the not very secret celebrity scandal

Google logo 15th April 2016. See  article from theguardian.com

Google has removed links to articles about the celebrity couple at the centre of a injunction in response to legal demands. Searches for the names of either person return notices at the bottom of the page saying results have been removed. Links are still available when accessing Google from outside the UK (or maybe EU).

Google's removal notices in this case are of the form normally used for taking down links to copyrighted information and are different to the messages Google posts when it censors links under EU right to be forgotten rules.

The Daily Mail reported that an online privacy firm claiming to be acting on behalf of the couple had complained about more than 150 links.

torrentfreak logo Offsite Article: Google not censoring links to the not very secret celebrity scandal

18th April 2016. See  article from torrentfreak.com  

 

15th April

  A dangerous opinion...

Kuwait academic arrested for blasphemy after debating on TV that islam should not be above the law
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Kuwait...Baying for blood
Kuwait flag A prominent female academic and human rights activist in Kuwait has been charged with blasphemy. Sheikha al-Jassem was summoned to the public prosecutor's office after legal complaints were filed against her over a recent interview she gave on TV.

She asserted that the constitution of Kuwait should be above the Quran and Islamic law in governing the country. The interview was broadcast on Kuwaiti Al-Shahed TV on 8 March. Its theme was the rise of Islamic extremism.

During the interview, Jassem was asked about radical Islamists who said that religion was more important than the Kuwaiti constitution. She responded by saying that this was dangerous and that, in her opinion, politics and religion should be kept apart.  Jassem made reference to the violence across the Middle East and divisions between Sunni and Shia Muslims. She said that if you just went back to holy books and relied on them, society could not move forward.

Her remarks provoked a storm of attacks against her, spearheaded by Islamist members of Kuwait's parliament.

The public prosecutor still has the discretion to decide whether or not Ms Jassem will be put on trial.

 

15th April

  Case by case violation of free speech...

Texas Attorney General gets involved in the Dallas ban of Exxxotica's adult expo
Link Here
Texas state seal Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has filed documents in court defending the Dallas City Council's efforts to ban an event billed as the largest event in the USA dedicated to love & sex.

Paxton claimed it is perfectly reasonable for the city to prevent Exxxotica from hosting its pornography expo at the city-owned Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center if it would not sufficiently advance the purposes for which the Convention Center was established.

In February, the Dallas City Council voted to ban Exxxotica's expo from the center. Two weeks after the vote, Exxxotica sued the city, claiming the ban was unconstitutional.

Paxton's brief claims the decision to ban the event does not violate free speech rights because the council has exercised its discretion on a case-by-case basis instead of passing a more restrictive ordinance with broader terms. Paxton said in a statement:

It is vital that governmental entities have the ability to exclude sexually-oriented businesses from property that they own. The City of Dallas, through its democratically-elected officials, has rightfully decided that its convention center should not be home to an event where obscenity and criminal activity occurs. A federal court should not overturn that decision by elected officials.

 

14th April

 Update: Let's jail everybody...

Former minister of censorship and political correctness calls for more prosecutions for internet insults
Link Here  full story: Trivial Insults...Authorities persecuting insulting comments on Facebook and Twitter
maria miller Maria Miller, the Conservative former culture secretary and equalities minister has claimed that Britain needs better internet laws to stop online abuse that may be creating a nightmare for society in future.

Now the chair of the Commons women and equalities committee, she said the government needed to wake up to some of the problems the internet was creating, from vile abuse on social media to easy sharing of violent explicit images among young people.

In 2014, ministers quadrupled the maximum six-month prison term for internet insults to two years. The time limit for prosecutions has also been extended to three years.

Miller now says that the laws around insult and harm on the internet could be updated further and internet companies could do more to act against threatening and abusive material online. She claimed:

We need better laws and we need better enforcement. Government needs to stop allowing internet providers from hiding behind arguments about the protection of free speech.

The problem is rooted in the fact that many internet companies won't acknowledge that they can challenge, and should stop, criminal behaviour, saying they are just like the postal service and can't help that people use their services for criminal activity, that it's not their problem. It is their problem and we need to sit up, take notice and realise that we are creating a nightmare future.

People are unleashing their inner venom in a way I just do not think is healthy for society. We have got to have an honest debate about this. Too many people in government are saying it is all about freedom of speech and it is not.

 

14th April

  Lipsmackin' Censorbaitin' Coke...

An innocent kiss in a TV advert offends Kenyan family values, at least according to the film censors
Link Here
coc cola kissing advert video A kissing scene has been censored from a new Coca-Cola TV advert for audiences in Kenya following complaints it was somehow unsuitable for family viewing.

The advertisement, part of Coca-Cola's ongoing Taste the Feeling campaign, wound up some of the easily offended. Kenya's Film Classification Board (KFCB) explained that the ad caused a public outcry from viewers who took issue with the offensive scenes involving kissing, violating family values.

An edited version that drops the scene will start running on Wednesday evening in Kenya after discussions between the censors and local reps of the Coca Cola company.

Coca-Cola's new campaign is being rolled out worldwide this year, depicting a diverse cross-section of people from around the world enjoying 'their' Coca-Cola in simple, everyday moments. One of the commercials features a montage of good-looking characters engaged in various activities with a frosty Coca-Cola in hand, including the scene in question of a young couple having a steamy everyday moment whilst kissing in a library.

 

14th April

 Offsite Article: How Hollywood got the PG-13 bug...

Link Here  full story: PG13ification...Hollywood cramming R rated movies into PG-13
us pg-13 A good write up of the history of the introduction of the US PG-13 rating (and UK 12/12A ratings)

See article from denofgeek.com

 

13th April

  Recommended Books...

The American Library Association publishes its annual list of the books that attract calls for censorship
Link Here

John Green Looking Alaska The American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) receives reports from libraries, schools, and the media on attempts to ban books in communities across the country. We compile lists of challenged books in order to inform the public about censorship efforts that affect libraries and schools. The top ten most challenged books of 2015 are:

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
    Reasons: Offensive language, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
    Reasons: Sexually explicit, unsuited to age group, and other ("poorly written," "concerns that a group of teenagers will want to try it").

  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
    Reasons: Inaccurate, homosexuality, sex education, religious viewpoint, and unsuited for age group.

  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
    Reasons: Anti-family, offensive language, homosexuality, sex education, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other ("wants to remove from collection to ward off complaints").

  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
    Reasons: Offensive language, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group, and other ("profanity and atheism").

  6. The Holy Bible
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint.

  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
    Reasons: Violence and other ("graphic images").

  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
    Reasons: Nudity, sexually explicit, and unsuited for age group.

  9. Nasreen's Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
    Reasons: Religious viewpoint, unsuited to age group, and violence.

  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan
    Reasons: Homosexuality and other ("condones public displays of affection").

 

13th April

  It all sounds the same to me...

Norwegian band Slutface change their name slightly to avoid censorship by social media.
Link Here
slutface The Norwegian punk band Slutface have revealed they've changed their name to use the Norwegian specific letter 'ø' instead of the 'u'. The original name was causing censorship problems on social media.

If I remember my Norwegian correctly, the replacement letter has exactly the same sound as the original.

Sl ø tface said in an official statement that the change had not changed their "political and feminist message" in the slightest.:

We just hope to reach more people with our lyrics and message by changing one silly letter of our name and thereby avoiding censorship.

Also we like the connection to our Nordic roots and hope we can trick Mark Zuckerberg into promoting SLØTFACE music. Løv Sløts.

 

13th April

 Offsite Article: Why Ireland must get rid of its disgraceful blasphemy law...

Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Ireland...Irish politicians enact blasphemy law
Ireland Ireland is the only country in the developed western world to have introduced a blasphemy law in the 21st century. By Roy Greenslade

See article from theguardian.com

 

12th April

 Update: Of course John Whittingdale should be free to enjoy a relationship with a dominatrix escort...

But surely he shouldn't be denying the freedom of Brits to enjoy their own choice of adult fun
Link Here  full story: UK Governments Consults on Age Checks for Porn...Government proposes censoring porn websites that are not age verified
john whittingdale A little government scandal is breaking about  Culture Secretary John Whittingdale's lengthy relationship with a professional dominatrix and fetish escort .

Of course John Whittingdale should be free to enjoy a relationship with whom he so chooses, but surely he shouldn't be denying freedoms to Brits to enjoy their own choice of adult fun.

Whittingdale's Department of Culture, Media and Sport is currently pushing through legislation to censor internet porn. (of course in the name of 'protecting the children'). Not to mention the fact that Whittingdale is on a personal crusade to bring the BBC under the control of the government propaganda department.

The department's (just closed) consultation document on proposals for internet censorship lists a number of alleged harms that have been linked to over-exposure to pornography. The DCMS states:

Many people worry that young people will come to expect their real life sexual experiences to mirror what they or their peers see in pornography, which often features ambiguous depictions of consent, submissive female stereotypes and unrealistic scenarios.

i wonder if this statement should be updated a little

Many people worry that young people will come to expect their real life sexual experiences to mirror what their MPs or peers get up to, which often features ambiguous depictions of consent, dominating female stereotypes and unrealistic scenarios.

pink news logo Comment: Anal censorship

12th April 2016. see  article from pinknews.co.uk

Pink News has also just published a critique of the Government censorship proposals,

open democracy logo Comment: How free is our press?

12th April 2016. See  article from opendemocracy.net

Britain's feral press has been mysteriously silent on a sex story involving Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, the man who decides what rules govern them and the BBC. I wonder why?

 

12th April

  Paying the price of censorship...

Rammstein sues German censors after they effectively banned a 2009 CD from general sale
Link Here  full story: Rammstein Censored...Rammstein wind up nutters and censors
Liebe Ist Fur Alle Da The heavy metal band Rammstein is well known for challenging magery and lyrics, but now they are challenging German censors who effectively banned general sales of the album L iebe ist für alle da.

Rammstein has filed a lawsuit against Germany for having temporarily indexed the album. The rock band is seeking 66,000 euros in damages.

In November 2009, the album was indexed by the Bundesprüfstelle für jugendgefährdende Medien (Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons) in Germany for the lyrics to the single "Ich tu dir weh," as well as a booklet accompanying the album. The censors claimed that the album was brutalizing and immoral.

Once a work is indexed by the organization, it may not be advertised and can only be sold under strict conditions. Rammstein claims it had to destroy or store nearly 85,000 copies of the album following this classification. Now the band wants to recover the damages.

However the album did not remain on the index: The Administrative Court in Cologne removed the album from the list of morally harmful works after half a year, explaining that the classification was unlawful, as it neglected considerations of artistic freedom in its decision.

The case will be heard in court in the summer.

 

12th April

  Daytime PIN hassle...

Ofcom initiates a short consultation on allowing a wider availability of 15 rated content on daytime TV which can be delivered with a mandatory PIN facility
Link Here

Ofcom logo Ofcom is considering whether to update rules in the Broadcasting Code (“the Code”) relating to the protection of children. Specifically, Ofcom is considering whether broadcasters should be allowed to show a wider variety of content more suitable for adults before the watershed, provided that a mandatory PIN protection system is in place.

Through this Call for Inputs we are seeking the views of industry and consumers on these potential changes to the rules. We will take responses into account before publishing any proposals for changes to the Code later this year.

Ofcom invites written comments on the questions raised in this consultation, to be submitted to Ofcom by 5pm on 21 April 2016 . Ofcom strongly prefers to receive responses in electronic format. This web form will allow you to indicate your data protection preferences and send your views to the team responsible for this consultation.

  • Question 1: To what extent do you think allowing a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown during the daytime behind a mandatory PIN would benefit audiences? :

  • Question 2: Are there likely to be any negative impacts on the user experience for viewers accessing channels or programmes where the content is restricted behind a mandatory PIN? For example, if a viewer had to enter a mandatory PIN every time they change between a restricted channel or programme, or if a viewer is unable to update to a new PIN system?:

  • Question 3: If you are a broadcaster, would you be likely to change your output following any revision to Ofcom's rules to allow post-watershed content to be broadcast pre-watershed behind a mandatory PIN, and what genre of material might you wish to broadcast during the daytime as a result? :

  • Question 4: What, if any, are the technological difficulties associated with showing post-watershed content during the daytime behind a mandatory daytime PIN? What impact would these technological difficulties have on affected broadcasters (please provide evidence or estimates)? How might these technological difficulties be overcome?:

  • Question 5: Are there practical or cost issues with consistent implementation of PIN protection across a variety of set-top-boxes or receivers?:

  • Question 6: How effective is mandatory restricted access in providing protection to children from unsuitable broadcast content? Do you think allowing a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN still offers sufficiently robust protection for children?:

  • Question 7: Do you think allowing a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN could have an adverse impact on the 21:00 watershed or dilute its effectiveness for audiences?:

  • Question 8: If Ofcom were to amend the Code to allow a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN, are there any particular obligations that should be placed on broadcasters providing content behind mandatory PIN during the daytime (e.g. additional information to parents and carers)?:

  • Question 9: What effect might any revision of the Code to allow a wider range of post-watershed content to be shown in the daytime behind a mandatory PIN have on competition between broadcast services, and also between linear broadcast and on-demand services? :

  • Question 10: Are there any other issues, factors or information you think should be considered as part of our review on mandatory restricted PIN access?:

 

12th April

 Update: The legality of mass snooping...

European Court of Justice hears case challenging the legality of the UK Government's mass communications snooping
Link Here
European Court of Justice The legality of Britain's surveillance laws used for the mass snooping of communications  come unders the intense scrutiny of 15 European judges on Tuesday in a politically sensitive test case that could limit powers to gather online data.

The outcome of the hearing at the European court of justice (ECJ) in Luxembourg is likely to influence the final shape of the government's investigatory powers bill and will test judicial relationships within the EU.

Around a dozen EU states including the UK have intervened in the challenge against the government's Data Retention and Investigatory Powers Act 2014 (Dripa) that was originally brought by two MPs , the Conservative David Davis and Labour's deputy leader, Tom Watson.

The British case is being heard in conjunction with a Swedish case based on similar principles.

 

12th April

  Gnawing away at anti-gay legislation...

xHamster refuses to serve free porn to viewers in North Carolina as a protest against new laws
Link Here
xhamster logo XHamster.com, a popular porn website, is refusing to stream to any IP address in North Carolina because of the state's recently passed anti-gay laws.

Users with a North Carolina IP address are just seeing a black screen on their computer. XHamster.com spokesman, Mike Kulich, said the website believes in equality for everyone:

We have spent the last 50 years fighting for equality for everyone and these laws are discriminatory which XHamster.com does not tolerate. Judging by the stats of what you North Carolinians watch, we feel this punishment is a severe one. We will not standby and pump revenue into a system that promotes this type of garbage. We respect all sexualities and embrace them.

North Carolina passed House Bill 2 on March 23 which effectively prevents cities and counties in the state from passing rules that protect LGBT rights.

The new law establishes a statewide nondiscrimination ordinance that explicitly supersedes any local nondiscrimination measures. The statewide protections cover race, religion, color, national origin and biological sex, but explicitly excludes sexual orientation or gender identity from the list.

 

12th April

 Offsite Article: The Futility of Mankind...

Link Here
.naked and afraid US TV producers a show called Naked and Afraid and then has to pay several people to censor all the nudity

See article from nytimes.com

 

11th April

 Update: All that morality campaigning to no real avail...

Parents TV Coincil claims that family TV is all but extinct in the US
Link Here  full story: Parents TV Council...US moralists whinge at TV sex and violence
tv ma logo In a new campaign article analyzing the past 20 years of the TV Content Ratings System, the Parents Television Council has found widespread, systemic problems that render the system inadequate for protecting children from graphic sex, violence, and profanity on television. PTC President Tim Winter spouted:

Parents who rely on the TV Content Ratings System to make informed decisions about what to watch on television have been deceived, as our new research shows that the ratings system has systemically failed to provide accurate and consistent information for its entire 20-year existence.

The campaign group claimed:

  • Regularly-scheduled series rated TV-G (appropriate for all audiences) have been eliminated from prime time. In all practicality, family shows rated for all audiences do not exist;
  • There are fewer programs on prime time broadcast television rated TV-PG;
  • There are fewer differences between the content of programs rated TV-PG and those rated TV-14;
  • Graphic content on television is increasing in both amount and intensity; yet
  • Every hour of content on broadcast television is rated as appropriate for a 14-year-old child, or even younger ages. Despite containing explicit content, no continuing program on broadcast television is rated TV-MA, appropriate for mature audiences only.

Winter said:

The implications in our report are enormous and should give the TV industry significant pause. The industry should have to answer as to why TV-G rated primetime series are extinct; why the lines between TV-PG and TV-14 shows are blurred; why more adult content is being shown on TV-PG shows; why nudity and violence are increasing on broadcast TV overall.

One reason for the problem is that the TV networks rate their own shows, creating an inherent conflict of interest. You don't see any TV-MA rated (the highest adult TV rating) shows on broadcast TV. It's not that some of the shows don't warrant the MA rating, it's that the networks are financially motivated not to rate programs properly because most corporate sponsors won't advertise on MA-rated programs.

Another conflict of interest is that the TV networks run the board that oversees the ratings process. That board, the TV Parental Guidelines Monitoring Board, has enabled and sheltered this flawed ratings system rather than follow its FCC-sanctioned mandate to monitor the system and improve upon it where necessary. For years, we have addressed our concerns to the Board but to no real avail.

 

11th April

 Update: Police threats...

German police raid the homes of individuals who have criticised refugee issues on social media
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering

germany police logo Berlin Police completed a large scale raid on internet users Wednesday. Police ransacked ten separate apartments. Nine people were arrested and are accused of posting messages critical of migrants, migrant helpers and some anti-semitic slogans on social networks like Facebook, WhatsApp, and Twitter.

The men were not connected by membership of far right groups. Police spokesman Stefan Redlich said that while many of the men shared anti-migrant views, the men do not know each other according to previous findings, and there was no evidence of any planned conspiracy to commit crime among them. Redlich justified the raids saying they were maybe, people who just once expressed their hate-opinion.

Police announced that the raids show Germans that they are not as safe online as they might think. They say that anyone who says something xenophobic, spreads hate toward migrants, or shares what they consider to be xenophobic music, may be next on the list of apartments to be raided in the future.

 

11th April

 Update: Fuel that ignites the fire of ideas...

Saudi blogger Raif Badawi honoured by the International Publishers Association for his contribution to freedom of speech
Link Here  full story: Blogging in Saudi...Saudi bloggers arrested and imprisoned
the publishers association logo Saudi blogger Raif Badawi, who fell victim to the country's brutal and repressive legal system, has been awarded the International Publishers Association's Prix Voltaire for his contribution to freedom of speech.

Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for publishing a liberal and atheistic blog. He was arrested in 2012 on a charge of insulting Islam and indicted on several charges including apostasy. He was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison and 600 lashes in 2013, and then re-sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison plus a fine in 2014. The sentence was upheld by the Saudi supreme court in June. In December, it was reported that Badawi had gone on hunger strike.

His wife Ensar Haider Mohammed, who is travelling to London to collect the award on Badawi's behalf, has called on the world's writers to continue applying pressure of regimes that do not tolerate free speech. S he told the Guardian:

Raif has become a symbol for the fight for freedom of expression and the right to publish ideas in writing. My husband once wrote that freedom of expression is the 'air that any thinker breathes and the fuel that ignites the fire of his or her ideas', and he was right.

This is why he is wasting away in jail today, and precisely why the world's free writers should use their freedom of expression as a weapon in the war on oppression.

 

11th April

 Offsite Article: How a Cashless Society Could Embolden Big Brother...

Link Here
the atlantic logo When money becomes information, it can inform on you. By Sarah Jeong

See article from theatlantic.com

 

10th April

 Update: Endangering the people...

The US proposes that people should be denied the security of encryption and be more open to scammers and thieves
Link Here  full story: Internet Encryption...Encryption, essential for security but givernments don't see it that way
US flag A draft copy of a US law to criminalize strong encryption has been leaked online. And the internet is losing its shit.

The proposed legislation hasn't been formally published yet: the document is still being hammered out by the Senate intelligence select committee. The proposal reads:

The underlying goal is simple, when there's a court order to render technical assistance to law enforcement or provide decrypted information, that court order is carried out. No individual or company is above the law. We're still in the process of soliciting input from stakeholders and hope to have final language ready soon.

The draft legislation, first leaked to Washington DC insider blog The Hill, is named the Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016 , and would require anyone who makes or programs a communications product in the US to provide law enforcement with any data they request in an intelligible format, when presented with a court order.

The bill stems from Apple's refusal to help the FBI break into the San Bernardino shooter's iPhone, but goes well beyond that case. The bill would require companies to either build a backdoor into their encryption systems or use an encryption method that can be broken by a third party.

On example of the tech community response was from computer forensics expert Jonathan Dziarski who said:

The absurdity of this bill is beyond words. Due to the technical ineptitude of its authors, combined with a hunger for unconstitutional governmental powers, the end result is a very dangerous document that will weaken the security of America's technology infrastructure.

Update: Pakistan and Turkey too

12th April 2016. See article from vocativ.com

At least two other countries--Pakistan and Turkey--already have versions of such laws on the books. The Pakistan Telecommunications Authority has previously instructed the country's internet service providers to ban encrypted communication, though it's largely VPN use, which can be used to circumvent location-based internet censorship, that has been actively restricted there, and WhatsApp is still popular. Turkey takes the anti-encryption law on its books more seriously, and used it to initially charge Vice journalists arrested in southeastern Turkey in September 2015.

Meanwhile, France's National Assembly passed a bill in May to update its Penal Code to fine companies that don't find a way to undo their own encryption when served with a warrant in a terrorism investigation. The french? Senate version of this bill excludes this provision, and seven members from each house will now begin a compromise.

Update: Bill stalls

13th May 2016. See article from click.actionnetwork.org

Thanks to the attention brought to the importance of encryption via Apple vs FBI from Fight for the Future and other strong voices, Compliance with Court Orders Act of 2016 - one of the worst national security bills ever drafted - is stalled.

 

10th April

 Update: Endangering the people...

Hungary proposes that people should be denied the security of encryption and be more open to scammers and thieves
Link Here  full story: Internet Encryption...Encryption, essential for security but givernments don't see it that way
Hungary flag The Hungarian ruling party wants to ban all working crypto. The parliamentary vice-president from Fidesz has asked parliament to:

Ban communication devices that [law enforcement agencies] are not able to surveil despite having the legal authority to do so.

Since any working cryptographic system is one that has no known vulnerabilities, whose key length is sufficient to make brute force guessing impractical within the lifespan of the universe, this amounts to a ban on all file-level encryption and end-to-end communications encryption, as well as most kinds of transport encryption (for example, if your browser makes a SSL connection to a server that the Hungarian government can't subpoena, it would have no means of surveiling your communication).

 

10th April

 Offsite Article: Scottish cops, stop policing our tweets...

Link Here
police threats Police send menacing threats to 'visit' people sending unkind tweets

See article from spiked-online.com

 

9th April

 Update: Swedish Courts vs The People...

Swedish court claims Wikimedia cannot make a database of photos of public art in Sweden
Link Here
gustav i of sweden statue 2007 stockholm Sweden's supreme court has sided with commercial copyright concerns and ruled that the non-profit internet giant Wikimedia breaches Sweden's copyright laws by publishing photos of public artworks.

Wikimedia is the group behind the free online encyclopaedia Wikipedia. It has created a vast online knowledge repository by allowing members of the public to group-edit entries and upload pictures to its pages for educational purposes.

The disgraceful judgement is a victory for the Visual Copyright Society in Sweden (Bildupphovsrätt  i Sverige - BUS), which sued Wikimedia at Stockholm District Court for publishing photos of Swedish public sculptures and other public artworks without first getting permission from the artists.

In its judgement the supreme court affirmed that Swedish copyright law does permit members of the public to take pictures of public artworks. But, the court said:

It is different when it's a database where artworks are made available to the public to an unlimited extent without copyright-holders receiving any remuneration. A database of this kind can be deemed to have a commercial value that is not inconsiderable.

Wikimedia's Swedish operations manager Anna Troberg told The Local:

We are naturally very disappointed. We view this as an anachronistic and restrictive interpretation of copyright laws. It also runs counter to recommendations from the European Court of Human Rights.

Troberg said the group would now consult its lawyer and its parent foundation in the United States before deciding what action to take.

 

9th April

  Miserable Greens...

Australian political party proposes ban on gambling adverts
Link Here
The Greens The Australian Greens political party has proposed plans to stop the promotion of sports betting.

Greens leader and spokesprat on gambling and sport, Senator Richard Di Natale unveiled the Greens' policy to end the constant barrage of sports betting ads, by treating them in the same way as tobacco advertising.

 

9th April

 Offsite Article: Streams of complaints...

Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook logo Wired considers how Facebook will censor its upcoming live video streaming app

See article from wired.com

 

8th April

 Update: Extreme censorship...

Another secular blogger murdered by muslim extremists in Bangladesh
Link Here
Bangladesh flag Nazimuddin Samad, whose family live in London, was hacked to death by at least four assailants after posting on Facebook. He had been on a hit list of 84 bloggers drawn up by murderous muslim extrmists in Bangladesh. He was hacked to death and then shot.

Hundreds of protesters have taken to the streets of Dhaka to demand the capture and punishment of those responsible for the murder of a law student who criticised Islamism on his Facebook page.

About 350 activists from the secular campaigning network Ganajagaran Mancha took part in the demonstration on Thursday after the killing of Nazimuddin Samad in the Bangladeshi capital on Wednesday night.

Samad, 28, had been on a hit list of 84 atheist bloggers that a group of radical Islamists drew up and sent to the Bangladesh interior ministry. His murder was the latest in a series of killings of secular activists and bloggers in the country.

 

8th April

 Offsite Article: BBFC Podcast Episode 47...

Link Here
Monty Python Grail Steelbook Blu ray BBFC category cuts to Monty Python and the Holy Grail

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

7th April

 Update: More internet censorship in the name of gambling prohibition...

South African government decides to maintain ban of online casino gambling
Link Here
South Africa flag After a long debate, the South African government has decided to maintain its prohibition of online casino gambling. This was revealsed in a  policy document released by the Department of Trade and Industry.

South Africa allows online sports betting though, and this will be allowed to continue. Now National Gambling Act amendments will order ISPs to ban all access to casino websites and forbid financial institutions to process any banking transactions. Enforcement responsibilities will be undertaken by the National Gambling Regulator.

 

7th April

  Tunisian Musicians Syndicate...

Music bullies ban singer for slightly sexy music video
Link Here
najla video The Orwellian sounding Tunisian Musicians Syndicate has banned singer Hana al Zughlami aka Tunisian Naglaa from working in the country under claims that she promoted vice and immorality in her latest video and single La Ykhebbesh Wala Ydebbish , reported news site Al Bawaba.

The syndicate has also stated that legal action would be taken against anyone who collaborates with the artist.

The actions taken by the Tunisian syndicate mirror those of Egypt's controversial Musicians Syndicate which in January 2016 banned six singers from performing due to supposedly  sexually suggestive and racy behaviour on stage.

 

7th April

 Commented: Beyond criticism...

Commentators are 'outraged' by Charlie Hebdo editiorial suggesting that the wider muslim community indirectly support terrorism by shutting down criticism of islam
Link Here  full story: Charlie Hebdo...Censored by terrorists
hebdo editorial Commentators have taken offence at an editorial in the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. The leader suggests that ordinary Muslims contribute to putting islam beyond criticism and hence contributing to a climate in which the Brussels bombings took place.

The magazine published the editorial, How Did We End Up Here? , eight days after bombs at Brussels' airport and metro. It said a fear of being seen as Islamophobic had inhibited the public from questioning or objecting to facets of Islam. The editorial began by listing several mooted explanations for the Brussels attacks , including police incompetence, youth unemployment, immigration and growing Islamism. But, it went on:

In reality, the attacks ... are the last phase of a process of cowing and silencing long in motion and on the widest possible scale.

Charlie Hebdo concluded:

From the bakery that forbids you to eat what you like, to the woman who forbids you to admit that you are troubled by her veil, we are submerged in guilt for permitting ourselves such thoughts. And that is where and when fear has started its sapping, undermining work. And the way is marked for all that will follow.

Several commentators took offence at the article. Shadi Hamid, writer and senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, tweeted:

Never thought I'd see the day when a magazine ppl I know respect would argue that basically all conservative Muslims are complicit in terror

Teju Cole, a Nigerian-American writer and photographer, wrote:

Reading this extraordinary editorial by Charlie, it's hard not to recall the vicious development of 'the Jewish question' in Europe and the horrifying persecution it resulted in. Charlie's logic is frighteningly similar: that there are no innocent Muslims, that 'something must be done' about these people, regardless of their likability, their peacefulness, or their personal repudiation of violence. Such categorisation of an entire community as an insidious poison is a move we have seen before.

But some on Twitter said the editorial was thoughtful and even brilliant. Toby Young, the journalist and writer, described it as powerful .

Julia Ebner responded in the Independent:

Whether one agrees with the latest editorial or not, drawing this historical parallel is far-fetched. The difference is threefold: first, Charlie Hebdo's mockery is targeting abstract concepts, ideologies and powerful elites rather than vulnerable individuals. Second, the goal of the journalists is to incite laughter, not hatred or fear. Third -- and most importantly -- the satirists are not abusing freedom of expression for the sake of politics; they are abusing politics for the sake of free expression.

Spiked logo Offsite Comment: No, Charlie Hebdo' s editorial is not racist

7th April 2016. See  article from spiked-online.com

Turns out the Charlie haters are even dimmer than we thought.

 

7th April

 Offsite Article: Injudicial comments...

Link Here
Old Bailey How a judge tried to censor reporting of child murderers' trial because the social media comments were strident and considered prejudicial

See article from bbc.com

 

6th April

  Thinly disguised censorship...

Advert censor bans advert of perfectly healthy looking model on the basis of a single still
Link Here

gucci advert banned video Still images that appeared at the end of a video for the fashion brand Guccio Gucci SpA, seen on www.thetimes.co.uk on 15 December 2015, featured several models dancing to a soundtrack. The final part of the ad featured several photos of individual models. Image (a) featured a woman leaning with her back to a wall and was wearing a long dress which covered her body from the neck down to her mid-calves including her arms. Image (b) featured another model who was sitting on a sofa. She was wearing a high necked jacket and a skirt which covered her down to her mid-thighs.

A complainant, who believed the featured models appeared unhealthily thin, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible.

Guccio Gucci SpA said that the ads were part of a video that portrayed a dance party and was aimed at an older, sophisticated audience. They noted that the target population of The Times, where the ad appeared, had an adult and mature readership. They said it was, to some extent, a subjective issue as to whether a model looked unhealthily thin. which they considered was not the case for either of the women identified by the complainant. They believed both models had slim builds. but were not depicted in a way that could be interpreted as unhealthily thin. For example, nowhere in the ads were any models' bones visible, their makeup was natural rather than heavy (which might have accentuated the impression of thinness), lighting was uniform and warm to ensure there were no hollows caused by shadows and their clothes were not revealing. The visual parts of their bodies appeared toned and slim.

ASA Assessment; Complaint upheld

The ASA noted that the model seated on the sofa wore a short skirt which showed her legs up to her mid thighs. We noted that her legs, while slim, appeared to be generally in proportion with the rest of her body which was not excessively slender or underweight -- for example, her knee and ankle bones were not overly noticeable. We therefore considered that the model did not appear to be unhealthily thin.

We noted that the model leaning against the wall was wearing a long dress so that only her lower legs, ankles, neck and head were visible. We considered that her torso and arms were quite slender and appeared to be out of proportion with her head and lower body. Further, her pose elongated her torso and accentuated her waist so that it appeared to be very small. We also considered that her sombre facial expression and dark make up, particularly around her eyes, made her face look gaunt. For those reasons, we considered that the model leaning against the wall appeared to be unhealthily thin in the image, and therefore concluded that the ad was irresponsible.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Guccio Gucci SpA to ensure that the images in their ads were prepared responsibly.

 

6th April

  Growing up...

Egypt adds age based film classifications
Link Here
Egypt flag Egypt's Ministry of Culture has approved a new system of film classification, adding two new age categories for the classification of films. From now on, the certificates +12 and +16 will be applied, in addition to the pre-existing +18 certificate.

The new rating criteria take into account factors such as violence and gore, sensitive subject matters and adult content.

 

6th April

  Errant father...

Chinese architect of internet censorship less on gives lesson on how to work around it
Link Here
Great Firewall of China Fang Binxing is known as the 'father' of Chine's repressive censorship infrastructure known as the Great Firewall of China. He has been caught evading his own monstrosity during an institute lecture on South Korean internet censorship.

According to local reports, Binxing attempted to display a South Korea website, which he said showed the views of South Koreans attempting to build similar infrastructure to China's firewall, but was blocked by said censorship system. Fang then had to resort to setting up a virtual private network (VPN) to circumvent the censorship, in full view of the lecture attendees, to display the site.

Ming Pao, a Hong Kong-newspaper, said that the university terminated a planned discussion session after Fang was criticised within the lecture and later resoundingly mocked online for having to circumvent his own creation, labelling it as an embarrassing display of the Chinese mainland's censorship regime

 

6th April

 Update: Desnoopered...

WhatsApp announces the use of encryption for all calls and file transfers
Link Here  full story: Internet Encryption...Encryption, essential for security but givernments don't see it that way
whatsapp 2016 logo Messaging app WhatsApp has announced that it has added encryption for all voice calls and file transfers for all users.

It renders messages generally unreadable if they are intercepted, for example by criminals or law enforcement. No doubt if the security services throw all their computing might at a message then they may be able to decrypt it by brute force.

The Facebook-owned company said protecting private communication of its one billion users worldwide was one of its core beliefs . Whatsapp said:

The idea is simple: when you send a message, the only person who can read it is the person or group chat that you send that message to. No one can see inside that message. Not cybercriminals. Not hackers. Not oppressive regimes. Not even us.

Users with the latest version of the app were notified about the change when sending messages on Tuesday. The setting is enabled by default.

Users should be aware that snoopers can still see a whole host of non-content data about the communication, such as who was using the app, who was being called, and for how long.

Amnesty International called the move a huge victory for free speech:

Whatsapp's roll out of the Signal Protocol, providing end to end encryption for its one billion users worldwide, is a major boost for people's ability to express themselves and communicate without fear.

This is a huge victory for privacy and free speech, especially for activists and journalists who depend on strong and trustworthy communications to carry out their work without putting their lives at greater risk.

 

6th April

  Taking a bite out of song lyrics...

Apple patent a music censorship system
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone
Apple logo Apple has been granted a U.S. patent for a feature that can automatically censor explicit songs and audio books.

The patented idea uses metadata to pinpoint strong language in the audio and will allow the user to switch back and forth between the censored and explicit versions.

The patent also states that users will be able to replace censored lyrics alternately with clean lyrics, a beep, or simply radio silence (meaning, just background music).

The patent goes by the name of Management, Replacement and Removal of Explicit Lyrics during Audio Playback.

It's not yet clear whether Apple will pursue the idea further, but Apple has a history of moralistic censorship, so the idea will fit nicely into the company ethos.

 

5th April

 Update: Abusive lawmaking...

MPAA protests against overbroad revenge porn legislation being considered in Minnesota
Link Here  full story: Revenge Porn in the US...American states go over the top with legislation
Minnesota state seal The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) has opposed draft revenge porn legislation that is being considered in Minnesota. The MPAA said the Minnesota draft law could restrict the publication of items of legitimate news, commentary, and historical interest .

Revenge porn refers to the sharing of intimate images after the end of a relationship, but the definition is being 'stretched' a broader sense to describe any publication of explicit images without consent, for example when private photographs of a celebrity are leaked online.

Opponents of revenge porn legislation have argued that some of the new laws are too broad in scope, and that existing copyright, communication and harassment laws sufficiently cover the subject. 'Intent to harass'

The MPAA, which represents six major Hollywood film studios, said the Minnesota law could limit the distribution of a wide array of mainstream, constitutionally protected material . It cited images of Holocaust victims and prisoners at Abu Ghraib as examples of images depicting nudity which are shared without the subjects' consent.

The MPAA called for the legislation to clarify that images shared without consent only broke the law if they were shared with an intent to harass . In a statement, the organisation said:

The MPAA opposes online harassment in all forms. While we agree with the aims... we are concerned that the current version of the bill is written so broadly that it could have a chilling effect on mainstream and constitutionally-protected speech.

 

5th April

  Newsmaker...

Ofcom appoints Nick Pollard as a new TV censor
Link Here

Ofcom logo Ofcom has appointed Nick Pollard to its Content Board.

Ofcom's Content Board is a committee of the main Ofcom Board, with advisory responsibility for a wide range of content issues, including the regulation of television, radio and video-on-demand quality and standards.

Nick is an experienced journalist and broadcasting executive, who spent ten years working in local newspapers and radio on Merseyside before joining BBC Television News in 1977.

Subsequently, he became Executive Producer of News at Ten during more than a decade at ITN, before joining Sky as Head of News. During his time at Sky News, the channel won numerous awards for its coverage of major news events. In 2009, Nick was appointed Chief Executive of the Services Sound and Vision Corporation (SSVC), an organisation that provides broadcasting and cinema services to British armed forces and their families. He retired from this position last year.

He joins Ofcom's Content Board on a three-year term.

 

4th April

 Update: Canadian Losers...

Quebec seeks to censor the internet in the name of preserving a state monopoly of gambling
Link Here
Canada flag A little-publicized bill that is making its way through Quebec's legislative process will put an end to the concept of a free and open Internet.

Bill 74 includes a provision that seeks to force Internet service providers to block Quebecers' access to online gambling sites that aren't approved by the government.

The province's finance minister claims the bill is necessary to protect the health and safety of Quebecers because illegal sites don't apply the same responsible gaming rules as sites run by the government and pose a risk to the population.

Critics explain that the Internet-censoring legislation is a way for Quebec's state-owned gambling authority to block competition and could lead to governments across the country deciding what citizens can and can't view online. Law experts say the legislation violates freedom of expression, contradicts federal telecommunications law and will likely be challenged in court by Internet companies and civil rights groups.

Quebec's government-run gambling authority, Loto-Quebec, has been losing money to online gaming competitors, according to the 2015-16 budget documents.

 

3rd April

 Offsite Article: Child Safety Online: Age Verification for Pornography...

Link Here  full story: UK Governments Consults on Age Checks for Porn...Government proposes censoring porn websites that are not age verified
sex and censorship 2016 logo Sex and Censorship responds to the government consultation on the censorship of internet porn

See article from sexandcensorship.org

 

2nd April

 Commented: Easter bunnies with fangs...

A few whingers take to twitter to complain about a TV showing of Watership Down brutally destroying their safe space warren
Link Here
Watership Down Deluxe John Hurt Watership Down has a place in censorship history as one of the most complained about classification decision. It is U rated, but only just. The bunny rabbits are distinctly more violent than perhaps you would expect fictional bunny rabbits to be.

Channel 5 decided to air the 1978 animated film on Easter Sunday afternoon, when lots of chocolate-filled kids were watching.

And inevitably a few whingers took to twitter to complain, eg:

Who the hell thought it a good idea to put Watership Down on Easter Sunday? 'Hey kids let's watch dead Easter bunnies!'

Watership Down: traumatising children since 1978 #Channel5 #EasterSundayProblems

Based on Richard Adams' novel, Watership Down follows a group of rabbits as they escape the brutal destruction of their warren and attempt to begin a new life. The story has been described as an allegory of the struggle between the individual and society, tyranny and liberation and reason and emotion.

Not everyone had an angry reaction to its Easter broadcast, with many praising Channel 5 for showing the film and criticising parents for being too protective of their children, eg:

Watership Down is one of the finest of children's books & a good film. Far better for developing kids than chocolate bunnies.

david austin march 2016 Update: Would now be a PG

2nd April 2016. See article from bbc.com

David Austin, the new head of the BBFC commented that Watership Down would be classified PG were it released today. He added the film also contains language that would be unacceptable in a film rated U under 2016 criteria:

Standards were different then. The film has been a U for 38 years, but if it came in tomorrow it would not be.

For it to receive a different rating, however, it would have to be re-submitted to the BBFC - something Austin said would only happen if the title was acquired by a new distributor who wished to re-release it.

Spiked logo Offsite Comment: Of course kids should watch Watership Down

2nd April 2016. See  article from spiked-online.com by Guy Burchall

 

2nd April

 Commented: Met Police: armed wing of the offence-taking industry...

Man ludicrously arrested over non threatening tweet referencing the worldwide debate about support for terrorism
Link Here
doyle tweet Matthew Doyle was arrested for posting a non threatening tweet with a rather blunt criticism of the muslim community. He tweeted:

I confronted a Muslim woman in Croydon yesterday. I asked her to explain Brussels. She said 'nothing to do with me'. A mealy mouthed reply.

His comment went viral, being retweeted hundreds of times before he eventually deleted it. Doyle told the Telegraph he had no idea his tweet would be the hand grenade it has proven to be - and that Twitter's 140 character limit made the encounter sound vastly different to how he thought it went.

Doyle said the tweet was intended as a joke and explained further:

What everyone's got wrong about this is I didn't confront the woman, he said. I just said: 'Excuse me, can I ask what you thought about the incident in Brussels?'

I'm not some far-right merchant, I'm not a mouthpiece for any kind of racism or radicalism, he says. If I was xenophobic I wouldn't live in London.

He added however that he does believe Muslims aren't doing enough to speak out against terrorism.

Doyle was charged and was due to appear at Camberwell Green Magistrates' Court on Saturday. But on Friday night the Met police said the charge had been dropped after it emerged the police officer in question had jumped the gun and charged Mr Doyle when in fact he needed CPS approval to do so. In a statement, the Met said:

Following discussion with the Crown Prosecution Service, Mr Doyle is no longer charged with the offence and will not be appearing at court. Police may not make charging decisions on offences under Section 19 of the Public Order Act. There will be further consultation with CPS.

But of course the police arrest will have already sent the message that islam is beyond even mild criticism, adding to the undercurrent of feeling that people are censored from simply criticising a religion that begets so much violence around the world. No wonder people are looking to the likes of Donald Trump to counter a world where political correctness has gone mad.

Offsite Comment: Met Police: armed wing of the offence-taking industry

2nd April 2016. See  article from spiked-online.com by Henry Williams

Spiked logo Within hours of sending his tweet, Doyle received a knock on the door from the Metropolitan Police, and was remanded in custody on charges of inciting racial hatred. Doyle spoke about the arrest this weekend: I cannot understand why I was detained, my flat trashed, my passports seized, and two PCs, two tablets and my phone taken. Doyle, we should remember, was not arrested for anything he did -- he was arrested for something he said on Twitter.

...Read the full article from spiked-online.com

 

1st April

 Offsite Article: The X-Listed Contest...

Link Here
alt manga Anime and manga contest to push the Japanese censorship limits

See article from channelhopping.onthebox.com

 

1st April

 Offsite Article: Onion raids...

Link Here
tor logo US police harass people running key elements of the Tor network

See article from ibtimes.co.uk