Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2009: May

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31st May   

Does God Hate Women?...

Fears of muslim violence over religious book
Link Here

An academic book about religious attitudes to women is to be published this week despite concerns it could cause a backlash among Muslims because it criticises the prophet Muhammad for taking a nine-year-old girl as his third wife.

The book, entitled Does God Hate Women? , suggests that Muhammad's marriage to a child called Aisha is not entirely compatible with the idea that he had the best interests of women at heart.

This weekend, the publisher, Continuum, said it had received outside opinion on the book's cultural and religious content following suggestions that it might cause offence. We sought some advice and paused for thought before deciding to go ahead with publication, said Oliver Gadsby, the firm's chief executive. The book will be released on Thursday.

Continuum's book may cause a backlash because it sets out to be a factual examination of religious attitudes to women. British writer Jeremy Stangroom and his American co-author Ophelia Benson, whose previous books on philosophy and science have received favourable reviews, cite ancient Islamic scholars to support their case. They roundly attack previous attempts to soft-soap the controversial episode in Muhammad's life. In the aftermath of 9/11, the authors argue, a wave of political correctness aimed at building bridges with the Muslim world has meant accusations of Islamophobia have been used to silence debate about the morality of social conduct, past and present.

Through a gruesome catalogue of abuses carried out against women in the name of Islam as well as other major religions, including Hinduism and Catholicism, Stangroom and Benson conclude that most of the world's great faiths are essentially misogynistic.


31st May

 Offsite: We must speak out for free speech...

Link Here
Full story: Jewel of Medina...Publishers run scared over book
Violent censors are winning the battle to ban The Jewel of the Nile

See article from


31st May   

Pig Business...

Legal threats to documentary criticising Smithfield Foods
Link Here

A documentary about intensive pig farming due to be screened at the Guardian Hay festival is facing a legal threat from one of the companies it investigates.

Pig Business criticises the practices of the world's largest pork processor, Smithfield Foods, claiming it is responsible for environmental pollution and health problems among residents near its factories.

The film was due to be broadcast on Channel 4 in February but was cancelled because of legal fears. A planned screening at the Frontline Club in London earlier this year was also called off.

On Wednesday London's Barbican centre was forced to delay a screening of the film after Smithfield's lawyers wrote a letter saying that the film was defamatory and included untrue claims. The show went ahead when the filmmaker, Tracy Worcester, signed an indemnity taking personal responsibility for its content.

A spokesman for Smithfield said that the company had never threatened to sue the filmmaker or tried to prevent the film being screened, but had requested that inaccuracies or false allegations be removed.

Pig Business shows the cramped conditions in which pigs are reared, similar to those of battery hens, and claims that waste is inadequately disposed off, leaking into the surrounding environment.

Worcester interviewed people who live near Smithfield farms in the US, where the company started out, who complain of health problems including asthma and digestive illnesses, and fishermen who report that stocks have been destroyed. The film documents the company's move to Poland, where locals claim to experience similar health problems.

Worcester, who spent four years making the film, said: It's crucial that consumers are able to watch this so they know what is being done to their food.


31st May   

Premier League Games Console...

Microsoft choose Sky for internet TV on its Xbox console
Link Here

Microsoft and Sky announced that from the autumn, UK owners of the Xbox 360 video game console will be able to watch selected Sky TV programmes, including Premier League football, via their game consoles.

Precise details on pricing and content will be released later, but the package is likely to be offered as an extension to Sky’s existing viewer choices. For non-Sky customers, the service is likely to operate on a pay-per-view basis as part of the Xbox Live download and rental service, in a similar way to Sky’s existing internet viewing service.

The deal is the first of its kind anywhere in the world between a major commercial broadcaster and a games console manufacturer.

For Microsoft, the move plugs a perceived gap in the UK: the Xbox 360 is the only one of the three main games consoles that does not offer access to the BBC’s iPlayer service.


30th May   

More Cocks...

Edinburgh film festival screening to be uncut despite cock fighting scene
Link Here

Edinburgh audiences will see the blood sport of cock-fighting in its full savagery after city councillors ruled there should be no censorship at the Film Festival.

The scene is part of the Mexican film Rudo y Cursi , or Rough and Vulgar , which is to receive a Gala screening at this year's festival with director Carlos Cuaron and stars Diego Luna and Gael Garcia Bernal set to attend.

The film follows its two stars as they aim to become football stars, and features a 20-second long cock-fighting scene, a sport illegal in the UK but popular in Mexico.

While the scene in the film does not include any animals being killed, it was of sufficient concern that EIFF organisers decided to flag it up to the city council, who must approve all festival screenings.

It is understood film promoters will cut the scene when it goes on general release in the UK to get a 15 certificate.

The city's licensing committee decided the scene should be allowed to stay for the festival however, as they felt the film should be shown in its uncut form. But they have ruled it should treated as an 18 certificate film rather than a 15.

Tory city centre councillor Joanna Mowatt, who was on the licensing committee that voted to keep the scene in, said: We decided to keep it in. After all, this is an international film festival and there shouldn't be any censorship. People should be able to enjoy the films in their entirety and if that involves scenes that are culturally challenging, so be it.

This year the council have also asked the festival to put signs outside every screening to inform people the films have not been certified by the BBFC, and giving an indication of the suggested rating agreed by the council.

Diane Henderson, deputy artistic director of the EIFF, said: We are very happy the festival is able to screen the full director's cut.


30th May   

Update: Discriminating Against Reason...

Blasphemy laws to continue in the Netherlands
Link Here

Despite a majority of MPs in the Dutch parliament wanting to repeal the country’s blasphemy law, the cabinet has decided that it must stay.

The decision follows a high court ruling earlier this year, in which a man was found not guilty of insulting an entire group of people on the grounds of their religion by hanging up a poster saying Stop the tumour that is Islam

The Government says that anti-discrimination legislation is inadequate.


30th May   

Updated: RapeLayed to Rest...

Rape games to be banned in Japan from June
Link Here
Full story: Western censorship of Japanese Games...Japanese games winds up the social justice whingers

TBS news reports that all rape games will be banned from sale or production in Japan.

It is estimated that this particular genre takes up about 10% to 20% of the entire industry but the PC software independent review committee has made the decision to ban all these games.

The PC games review committee had originally not seen it as a problem, but now it has come to the point where the entire game software industry has to comply to the new restrictions.

The committee will change their censorship guidelines starting from the 2nd of June, and the approximately 200 member companies will be restricted from the production and sale of rape games.

The news article reports that the reason for doing so started with the campaigning efforts of the International woman’s rights organization Equality Now which had started due to the problems found with the sale of Rapelay in other countries.

Update: Jumping the Gun

30th May 2009. See article from

The embers of the RapeLay controversy were stirred a bit yesterday with a report that the game - and others of its ilk - had been banned in Japan. Not by the government, mind you, but by an industry standards organization.

As it turned out, the report was false: The news source TBS jumped the gun and exaggerated everything. If it is really decided that rape games will be regulated we’ll definitely at least have till past July to comply. The used game market will probably still be OK.


30th May   

Morally Harmful...

Religious morality TV to be restricted to late night slots
Link Here

Christian TV programmes that mention the Bible’s position on homosexual conduct face being banned from daytime viewing by the Brazilian government.

The government has already proposed that a notice should be broadcast before such Christian programmes, warning viewers that the shows are not recommended for people under the age of 18.

Brazil’s Justice Secretary told a newspaper there that while such programmes would be restricted to after 11pm: the ideal is that they not be shown at any time.

Nutter campaigner Julio Severo said: Catholic radio and TV shows now run the risk of being rated as ‘morally harmful,’ ‘homophobic’ and ‘unsuitable for children and teens’.

If the policy is carried out in accordance with Brazilian President Luiz Lula’s definition of homophobia , the new restrictions will effectively ban public statements on television that identify homosexual behaviour as sinful or unhealthy.

President Lula is also seeking to pass an anti-homophobia law that would ban any public criticism of homosexuals or homosexual behaviour. He recently reiterated his commitment to criminalise words or acts that are offensive to homosexuality.


30th May   

A Question of Cash...

BBC coughs up over Question Time comment about the Muslim Council of Britain
Link Here

The BBC has offered to pay £30,000 and apologise to the Muslim Council of Britain after airing claims that it encourages the killing of British troops.

The Corporation caved in after a panellist on the Question Time TV programme accused the country's most influential Muslim organisation of failing to condemn attacks on soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The broadcaster was threatened with legal action over comments by former Daily Telegraph editor Charles Moore during a debate about Islamic protests which marred a soldiers' homecoming parade in Luton.

Moore said: The Muslim Council of Britain, which is the umbrella organisation for all Muslim groups in this country, I've gone to them many times, and I said will you condemn the killing and kidnapping of British soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, and they won't.

But there is a bigger, another step that they take, they say it is actually a good thing, even an Islamic thing, to kill or kidnap British soldiers.

Faced with the threat of a writ, the BBC made an offer of amends and an apology on the Question Time website. But this has been rejected and the MCB is demanding an apology on air.

The Corporation's decision to pay out will raise eyebrows in Whitehall, where ministers have refused to settle a similar defamation claim over a letter written by Communities Secretary Hazel Blears.

Update: Coughing Up

17th July 2009. Fom

The BBC has agreed to pay £45,000 in damages to the head of the Muslim Council of Britain over a libel claim in the Question Time programme.

The BBC is paying £45,000 in damages to Abdul Bari – which he will donate to charity – as well as his legal costs.


30th May   

Rangers Suck...

Baseball fan offends with 'Yankees Sucks' t-shirt
Link Here

A couple attending a Texas Rangers game for their anniversary was shocked when the Rangers nearly ejected the wife for foul language.

It wasn't what she said. It was a word on what she wore, which she argues was not a cuss word.

Walter Webb and Kristen both wore t-shirts to the game. His read, Rangers . Hers read, Yankees suck.

The word suck, I don't think is that offensive, Walter said. But a security guard told her to turn it inside out, buy another shirt or they would eject her.

Going back five or six years when we added this item based on a number of complaint we'd received from fans at games, said John Blake of the Texas Rangers staff.


29th May   

Update: Rated R for Rant...

US Medical Association whinges at smoking in the movies
Link Here
Full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films

The American Medical Association Alliance, pointing to research that big-screen smoking leads teens to pick up the tobacco habit, called for an R rating for any movie with smoking scenes.

The MPAA head, however, said the smoke has been clearing from youth-rated movies, a result of the film industry's sensitivity to the issue.

The alliance, the medical association's advocacy arm, launched a summer campaign this week aimed at publicly shaming studios into making smoke-free films.

Research has shown that one-third to one-half of all young smokers in the United States can be attributed to smoking these youth see in movies, said Dr. Jonathan Fielding, head of the Los Angeles County Public Health Department.

Fielding cited another study that he said found that adolescents whose favorite movie stars smoked on screen are significantly more likely to be smokers themselves and to have a more accepting attitude toward smoking.

In all, 56% of the top box office movies with smoking released between May 2007 and May 2009 were youth-rated films -- G, PG or PG-13, Fielding said.

Joan Graves, who chairs the MPAA movie rating committee, offered her own statistics, based on all of the 900 films rated each year, not just the top movies included in Fielding's numbers. The association has given no G ratings in the past two years to a movie with smoking, Graves said.

Overall, 55% of the movies rated in the past two years showed some smoking, but 75% of those with smoking scenes were given R ratings, Graves said. 21% were rated PG-13 and the remaining 5% were PG, she said.

American Medical Association Alliance President Sandi Frost used as her chief example of a movie with gratuitous smoking this month's blockbuster X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which was rated PG-13: Millions of children have been exposed to the main star of the film, Hugh Jackman, with a cigar in his mouth in various scenes. I'm willing to bet that not one child would have enjoyed that movie or Mr. Jackman's performance any less if he hadn't been smoking.


29th May   

Battle in Heaven...

Real sex art film causing grief at the South Korean censors
Link Here

Mexican director Carlos Reygadas' Battle in Heaven has been given a restricted rating by a local censorship body for the third time, virtually banning the film from release.

Last week, the Korea Media Rating Board categorized the film's obscenity level as very high, explaining in a jury statement that the film's sexual depiction is too extreme and therefore could challenge the general sentiment of an ordinary citizen.

The film, which tells of a working-class couple kidnapping an infant for ransom, had been first submitted to the board in 2005. Citing the film's supposedly overt sexual content, the board gave the film restricted rating, which limits the screening to adult cinemas only. However, no such cinema exists in the country.

World Cinema, the film's local importer, proposed the board for a second review. It received the same rating, and the case eventually went to the Constitutional Court, which in July ruled against the vague standards of the censorship regulations stipulated by the board.

In the ruling for Battle in Heaven , the board pointed to the film's problematic close-up scenes of the male lead's erect genitalia.

Byun Seok-jong, the representative of World Cinema, refuses to blur out scenes for the film's release. He said: What's the point of going to a theater and see the censored version of a film if you can download the film at home and see the director's version? This is already a losing game.


28th May   

Update: Nutters Whinge at Unwanted Conroy...

Whinging about backtracking from a mandatory ban on adult internet porn
Link Here

The Australian Christian Lobby has accused the Federal Government of breaking its election promise to censor the internet after the policy was softened in the face of relentless criticism.

The lobby's managing director, Jim Wallace, wants the Government to introduce legislation forcing internet providers to block hardcore porn (X18+) on a mandatory basis, in addition to illegal content. Australians would then have to opt in to receive legal softcore (R18+) adult material.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy has long said his policy would introduce compulsory ISP-level filters of the Australian Communications and Media Authority's blacklist of prohibited websites.

But he has since backtracked, saying the mandatory filters would only block content that has been refused classification (RC) - a subset of the ACMA blacklist - amid widespread concerns that ACMA's list contains a slew of R18+ and X18+ sites, such as regular gay and straight pornography and other legal content.

"That doesn't meet the election promise as far as we're concerned at all," Wallace said in a phone interview: The promise was clearly about providing a safer internet environment for children and to do that you need to mandatorily block in the first instance pornography and R18+, and then provide an opt-in system for those adults who want to access it.


28th May   

Without Government Interference...

European Charter on Freedom of the Press
Link Here

On May 25th, 2009 46 editors-in-chief and leading journalists from 19 countries adopted and signed the European Charter on Freedom of the Press .

In ten articles, the charter formulates principles for the freedom of the press from government interference.

The goal is to assert the charter's validity across Europe and to make its adoption a condition in EU accession negotiations. Ideally, journalists all over Europe will be able to cite the charter in cases of conflict with the state or with state-controlled institutions, and to call on their international colleagues for help and support.

European Charter on Freedom of the Press

  • Art. 1: Freedom of the press is essential to a democratic society. All governments should uphold, protect and respect the diversity of journalistic media in all its forms and its political, social and cultural missions.
  • Art. 2: Censorship must be absolutely prohibited. There must be a guarantee that independent journalism in all media is free of persecution, repression and of political or regulatory interference by government. Press and online media should not be subject to state licensing.
  • Art. 3: The right of journalists and media to gather and disseminate information and opinions must not be threatened, restricted or be made subject to punishment.
  • Art. 4: The protection of journalistic sources shall be strictly upheld. Searches of newsrooms and other premises of journalists and the surveillance or interception of journalists' communications with the aim of identifying sources of information or infringing on editorial confidentiality are unacceptable.
  • Art. 5: All states must ensure that the media enjoys the full protection of an independent judiciary system and the authorities while carrying out their role. This applies in particular to defending journalists and their staff from physical attack and harassment. Violations of these rights and any threats to violate these rights must be carefully investigated and punished by the judiciary.
  • Art. 6: The economic livelihood and independence of the media must not be endangered by the state, by state-controlled institutions or other organisations. The threat of economic sanctions is unacceptable. Private enterprise has to respect the independence of the media and refrain from exercising pressure and from trying to blur the lines between advertising and editorial content.
  • Art. 7: The state and state-controlled institutions shall not hinder the freedom of access of journalists and the media to information. They are obliged to support them in their mandate to provide information.
  • Art. 8: Media and journalists have a right to unimpeded access to all news and information sources, including those from abroad. For their reporting, foreign journalists must be provided with visas, accreditation and other required documents without delay.
  • Art. 9: The public of any state shall be granted free access to all national and foreign media and sources of information.
  • Art. 10: The state shall not restrict entry into the profession of journalism.


28th May   

Satan's Police...

Iran claims to have arrested satanists who somehow sound more like heavy metal fans to me
Link Here

Iran has arrested more than 100 Satan-worshippers in a raid on a concert in the southern city of Shiraz where people were drinking alcohol and sucking blood, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.

One hundred and four members of a Satan-worshipping group were arrested at a party and immoral concert in Shiraz (on Sunday), local Revolutionary Guards chief Abbas Hamidi was quoted as saying by Jam-e Jam newspaper.

The session was held in a garden outside Shiraz and the Satanist ceremony was broadcast live to the world via the Internet, he said: These people drank alcohol, hurt themselves and sucked blood. They even bow to Satan in some ceremonies.

Jam-e Jam carried pictures of drum sets and amplifiers seized in the raid and a group of young men photographed after the arrest sitting on the floor of an official-looking building with their backs to the camera. It said some of the detainees sported tattoos and body art resembling the wings of birds and car emblems.

Iranian authorities sometimes link hard rock and heavy metal music and their icons with devil worship.


28th May   

Updated: Creating Mischief...

Creationist accuses Turkish author of religious hatred
Link Here
Full story: Blasphemy in Turkey...Blasphemy repressing Turkish people

The trial of a novelist accused of inciting religious hatred in his last novel The daughters of Allah opened and adjourned in Istanbul yesterday. Nedim Grsel, who lives in Paris and is being tried in absentia, faces between one and three years in jail if convicted.

The court heard testimony from the plaintiff Ali Emre Bukagili, a follower of Adnan Oktar who is known for his belief in creationism and rejection of the Darwinian theory of evolution. He said he was offended by the book because it was insulting to the Prophet and the Koran. Freedom of expression has limits.

The public prosecutor has recommended acquitting the author on the grounds that an imminent and clear public order danger as required by the law has not been established. The novel was published in 2008. The case was adjourned to May 26.

Update: Adjourned Again

28th May 2009, See article from

A Turkish author on trial after being charged with inciting religious hatred in a novel based on the birth of Islam said that his book was fiction, but the result of extensive research and consultation with religious leaders, and therefore could not be called blasphemous.

An Istanbul court on Tuesday adjourned the trial of the author, Nedim Gursel, until June 25.


27th May   

Stripped Bare...

Australia's censorship system shamed by ban on innocuous strip poker game
Link Here

Australia's games censors have banned Sexy Poker , an upcoming WiiWare game developed by Gameloft.

Sexy Poker pits a player against six different female opponents who wear stereotypical costumes, such as nurses' outfits, sports uniforms, police clothing, and business wear. According to the Board, the game was refused classification because nudity was used as an incentive--in this case, winning a game of poker.

In the Board’s view Sexy Poker offers depictions of nudity as an incentive or reward to interactive game play. In the Board’s view, the general rule in the Guidelines for the Classification of Films and Computer Games prohibiting depictions of nudity as an incentive or reward, applies to the game play described above, as the player is shown increasingly detailed amounts of nudity following successful game-play, a statement said.

In the view of the Board, the impact of the game exceeds strong as except in material restricted to adults, nudity and sexual activity must not be related to incentives or rewards. As such the game cannot be accommodated in a MA15+ classification. Because there is no R18+ rating for games in Australia it has to be banned from sale.


27th May   

Pissed Off with Petty Whinging...

BBC receive 12 complaints over the used of 'pissed off' on the Archers
Link Here

An episode of Radio 4's flagship soap The Archers has infuriated a few fans by including an outburst of bad language.

Listeners have complained after Matt Crawford told his arch rival Brian Aldridge to 'piss of' during a drunken encounter in a bar.

It is understood to be the first time such language has been broadcast on The Archers and fans have posted messages on its own website saying it does not fit with the context of the show.

Moderators who are responsible for monitoring the content of the official Archers website have removed some postings which repeat the offending phrase.

Jon Beyer, the director of Mediawatch UK said: I think people generally speaking expect better than this from The Archers. The audience for The Archers is what it is and they would not expect to hear language like this in the programme.

The episode was first aired at 7pm on May 15 and then feature in the omnibus edition last Sunday morning.

A BBC spokesman confirmed the corporation had received 13 official complaints. He added: The Archers always gives a lot of consideration before using any potentially offensive language in the programme and it is used very sparingly. However the programme has a reputation for being as realistic as possible, and the use of the phrase was appropriate to Matt's character and the situation he found himself in.


27th May   

Update: Bad Apple Relents...

Apple relent and allow book reading application
Link Here
Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

Apple has reversed its decision to reject the e-book reader app Eucalyptus from the App Store on the basis that it can access an English translation of the Kama Sutra. The change came after a hopefully embarrassed Apple representative contacted the developer directly to discuss the issue.

The Apple representative asked Eucalyptus developer James Montgomerie to submit a build of Eucalyptus without any filtering in place, and, as of late Saturday, that version is now available for purchase from the App Store for $9.99.


27th May   

Update: The Great Unwanted...

Conroy rephrases his mandatory filter as a voluntary filter all ISPs agree to.
Link Here

IThe Rudd Government has indicated that it may back away from its mandatory internet filtering plan.

Communications Minister Stephen Conroy told a Senate estimates committee that the filtering scheme could be implemented by a voluntary industry code.

Senator Conroy’s statement is a departure from the internet filtering policy Labor took into the October 2007 election to make it mandatory for ISPs to block offensive and illegal content.

Responding to questions from shadow communications minister Nick Minchin on how the government may go about imposing the internet filtering scheme, Senator Conroy said that legislation may not be required and ISPs may adopt an industry consensus to block restricted content on a voluntary basis.

Mandatory ISP filtering would conceivably involve legislation … voluntary is available currently to ISPs, Senator Conroy said: One option is potentially legislation. One other option is that it could be (on a) voluntary basis that they (ISPs) could voluntarily agree to introduce it.”

In response Senator Minchin said he had never heard of a voluntary mandatory system.

Senator Conroy responded with: well they could agree to all introduce it.


27th May

 Offsite: Telegraph Torture...

Link Here
Libel threats against Nadine Dorries underline the need for legal reform

See article from


26th May   

Update: Access of Evil...

Microsoft Messenger withdrawn from Cuba, Syria, Iran, Sudan and North Korea
Link Here

Microsoft has stopped offering its Windows Live Messenger service to users in five countries that are subject to US sanctions.

People in Cuba, Syria, Iran, Sudan and North Korea no longer have access to Microsoft's free, web-based instant-messaging service, Microsoft said.

The US considers each of those countries to be hostile or threatening in some way to its national interests.


25th May   

Update: Cuts Uncut?...

UK distributors will submit Antichrist uncut to the BBFC
Link Here

The 'most shocking' film in the history of the Cannes Film Festival is heading for cinema release in Britain, where distributors will attempt to convince the censors that its scenes of torture and pornography should be shown in their entirety.

Lars Von Trier's new film Antichrist has stunned the Cannes Film Festival, eliciting jeers and cries of disbelief from critics who dubbed it art-house torture porn.

The psychological horror film opens with a young child falling to his death through an open window whilst his oblivious parents, played by Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg, have sex nearby in graphically-shot scenes.

The grieving couple retreat to Eden, their cabin in the woods, where the woman becomes increasingly unhinged. In the final quarter of the film, she takes revenge of the most gruesome kind against her husband. The most offensive sequence, which had critics gasping in disbelief, sees Gainsbourg's character performing an act of genital self-multilation with a pair of scissors.

When distributors expressed fears that the film would not be granted a release in their home countries, the producers said offered an alternative cut - which they described as a good Catholic version - with four extreme sequences excised.

However, the UK distributor which snapped up the rights, Artificial Eye, is determined that Von Trier's original cut be shown.

We will be submitting the film for classification in its current form, a spokesman for the company said. We can't comment on how the British Board of Film Classification will respond, but we are keen for Antichrist to be seen as the director intends.

"We absolutely think the film has good commercial prospects here in the UK. It has polarised the opinions of the critics in Cannes and this has ensured a 'must see' buzz that we can capitalise on for our release.

The BBFC has a history of allowing controversial arthouse films to be shown in their entirety. In 2002, the organisation granted an 18 certificate to another Cannes offering, Gaspar Noé's Irreversible . It featured a nine-minute rape scene 'so graphic' that dozens of female critics walked out of its debut screening.


25th May   

Update: Censors are Pissed at Pass-Out...

Pass-Out drinking game sealed and restricted to over 18s
Link Here

Steve Irons is a Not so Liberal MP who lost two sisters through the consequences of excessive alcohol consumption. He mentioned them as reasons why he was seeking a ban on a board game that he says encourages dangerous drinking.

Irons told Parliament he couldn't understand why a board game called Pass-Out is sold here without any classification.

And so he got Pass-Out submitted to the censors.

Category 1 labelThe result is that it was rated as category 1 meaning that it is banned from sale in Queensland and Aboriginal areas of Northern Territories. It can be sold to over 18s in any shops in the rest of the country as long as it is sealed and labelled as category 1.


25th May   

Update: Pacific Island Demons...

Samoa bans Angels and Demons
Link Here

The Pacific island state of Samoa has banned the movie Angels and Demons , Radio New Zealand International reported.

It quoted censor Lei'ataua Olo'apu, who is Roman Catholic, as saying that the film is critical of the Catholic Church and the ban will avoid any religious discrimination by other denominations and faiths against the church.


25th May   

That's 3 Too Many...

Malaysia said to have just 3 members on its National Censorship Board.
Link Here

Just three people decide what Malaysians can or cannot see on our screens.

They are the three panel members of the National Censorship Board.

Is it right to have only three authorised persons, representing the country’s 26 million people, to watch and suppress anything considered unacceptable for public viewing? said Senator and veteran artiste Tan Sri Jins Shamsuddin.

He said the board needed more panel members, adding that many films needed to be screened and that there was a dire need for more people to perform the job: We need more panel members including intellectuals and religious scholars to be part of the team. Credible Media, Ethical Masses.


24th May   

A Possible End to Archaic Censorship...

English PEN note Lord Lester amendment to abolish seditious and criminal libel
Link Here
Full story: Censorship by Libel...British libel law allows the rich to censor the truth

The UK parliament edged a step closer to repealing the archaic crimes of seditious libel and criminal defamation, as the House of Lords debated the government’s Coroners and Justice Bill on its second reading.

Liberal Democrat peer, Lord Anthony Lester QC, indicated his intention to table an amendment to the Bill that would abolish seditious and criminal libel, saying:

It took us 140 years to abolish the crime of blasphemy; I hope that this House will see fit to remove these crimes from our statute book as well. I hope that the government will support the amendments; indeed, there were straws in the wind indicating that they might do so.

Speaking at a meeting in Holborn, Dr Evan Harris said that he has heard supportive noises from the Ministry of Justice on this issue. Index on Censorship and English PEN will be lobbying the government to formalise this support, as soon as possible.

For campaigners, the abolition of seditious libel and criminal defamation in the UK would be an invaluable tool in the fight for free expression worldwide. In recent years, both Article 19 and International PEN have produced research on the widespread use of sedition and criminal defamation laws to silence legitimate political protest.


23rd May   

Update: Less Deathly...

Australia unbans an edited version of NecroVisioN game
Link Here
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board

The Australian 'Classification' Board has passed an edited version of NecroVisioN with an M rating, making it not recommended for gamers under 15 years of age (but no legal restrictions on this), with the consumer advice: Violence and coarse language.

In the Board’s view the original version of Necrovision contained depictions of violence that exceeded a strong playing impact and as such the computer game could not be accommodated at the MA 15+ classification and must be banned.

The Board now finds that the modified version of the game contains violence that is moderate in playing impact and justified by context.


23rd May   

Explicit Hype...

Wal-Mart bans the latest Green Day album
Link Here

Green Day have revealed that 21st Century Breakdown has been banned by US Wal-Mart.

Frontman Billie Joe Armstrong said that their number one album will not be carried by the chain: Wal-Mart's become the biggest retail outlet in the country, but they won't carry our record because they wanted us to censor it .

The singer revealed that he and his fellow bandmates refused to edit language and content on their chart topper so it could be sold in the superstore.

A Wal-Mart representative maintains that it is their policy to not carry any CD with a parental advisory sticker: The label and artist in this case have decided not to do so, so we unfortunately can not offer the CD .


22nd May   

Update: Continued Discrimination...

Discriminatory laws against porn to be reviewed
Link Here
Full story: Discriminatory Porn Ban in Australia...Porn is banned in Aboriginal communities

Australia is reviewing its discriminatory laws targeted against aboriginal communities. Proposals are designed to bring aspects of the intervention in line with racial discrimination laws.

The federal and Northern Territory racial discrimination acts were suspended by the Howard government in 2007 to make way for elements of the intervention, but the Rudd Government has committed to reinstating them this year. Human rights groups, indigenous activists and elements of the Labor Party had agitated for the change.

The Government released a discussion paper yesterday outlining the changes it would consider to controversial measures such as compulsory welfare quarantining, alcohol and pornography bans and compulsory leases over townships.

Pornography bans would be continued where a resident of a community requested them. But they could be relaxed if the minister was satisfied there was no evidence of sexual abuse occurring in the past 12 months, or of children being exposed to pornography.


22nd May   

The Dialect of Censorship...

Singapore reviews its censorship laws
Link Here

An independent Censorship Review Committee will be appointed to conduct a mid-term review of content issues across the spectrum of broadcast, films, videos, publications, audio materials, the arts and new media. Content issues on the Internet and new media are likely to feature prominently.

If filmmaker Tan Pin Pin could have her way, she would like the ban on the use of dialects to be lifted or reviewed.

And the re-classification of film and video content by age, instead of genre like political, nudity, violence and homosexual themes.

Choo Zheng Xi, editor, The Online Citizen, said: Something I hope the review commission keeps in mind is whether censorship and filtration is practical in the age of the Internet. I hope they take into consideration the Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media, or AIMS' request that the symbolic ban on the 100 websites is abolished.

So in my opinion the best way forward is repealing Section 33 of the Films Act on political films and fundamentally reconsidering the Class Licence Scheme which deems all local websites to be automatically licensed and requires content providers of political and religious websites to register with the Media Development Authority of Singapore.

The new Censorship Review Committee will also look at the implication of the convergence of multiple media platforms. The new committee starts work by the third quarter of this year and will complete its work by the middle of 2010.


22nd May   

Update: Dogged by Censorship...

Apple continue their ludicrous iPhone bans
Link Here
Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

The third version of Hot Dog Down A Hallway , Metaversal Studios' only iPhone app, has been rejected by the App Store. Apple ludicrously cites explicit content as the reason for its decision. Metaversal Studios is unconvinced by the label, as the game, despite its suggestive name, has previously been given a low age rating of nine and up by the App Store. The developer's Interactive Director, Dave Laundry, believes the iTunes censorship policy is a mystery.

Hot Dog Down A Hallway v1.1 is still available from the App Store for $1, but will likely be removed.

Reading old stories about Apple inanity

Based on article from

A British-made iPhone program has been banned by Apple - because it 'could' allow people to read the Kama Sutra.

Eucalyptus, a book reading application developed by Edinburgh programmer James Montgomerie, allows users to download and read thousands of classic titles from the library of Project Gutenberg, the respected website that hosts out of copyright books.

But after repeated attempts to get Eucalyptus onto the iPhone's popular App Store, Montgomerie was told that his application was being rejected because one of Gutenberg's books happens to be Sir Richard Burton's 1883 translation of the famous guide to sex.

In a series of emails, Apple told Montgomerie that allowing access to the Kama Sutra meant that the program contains inappropriate sexual content, in violation of the rules for iPhone software.

Of course the same title is already accessible through a number of other popular ebook applications for the iPhone, and even through the handset's web browser.

Montgomerie told the Guardian that although the situation has left him frustrated, it will not put him off developing for the iPhone. As a temporary solution to the problem, he has submitted a new version of Eucalyptus to Apple which specifically blocks the Kama Sutra - and says he hopes that bureaucracy will not get in the way this time: I would like to think that someone, somewhere at Apple would realise just how flawed the whole approval process is, and do something to change it. It does seem like it could be a lot better without having to spend too much extra money on it. They could make the whole thing a lot more pleasant.


21st May   

Concessions to Prudes...

Lars von Trier to produce censored version of his Antichrist movie
Link Here

Danish filmmaker Lars von Trier has agreed to a toned-down cut of his new film Antichrist , which features graphic scenes of sexual mutilation, to satisfy foreign censors, according to his production company.

We reached an agreement with Lars more than a year ago to make a 'Catholic' version of the movie, to cut some scenes and replace them with others, Peter Aalbaek Jensen, the head of the Zentropa production group, told AFP.

Otherwise it would be impossible to sell (it) to prude markets like southern Europe, Asia and the United States, where you can't show a naked man from the front, he said.

The film's close-ups of sex and mutilation were said to have left audiences gasping, squirming and jeering when it was screened on Monday at the Cannes Film Festival.

Jensen said he does not know yet which scenes will be censored and will talk to distributors in these countries to seek out their opinions on the subject.

The uncut version of the film, which opens in Denmark on Wednesday, is one of 20 competing for the Palme d'Or at Cannes. It has been hailed by Danish critics, though viewers in Cannes on Monday gave it both cheers and boos.

It opens with a slow-motion close-up of sexual penetration, veers into a dramatic escalation of violence, and climaxes with an excruciating shot of genital mutilation


21st May   

Update: Another Fatal Blow to Free Expression...

Reporters Without Borders criticises Thai TV political censorship
Link Here

Reporters Without Borders is alarmed by a government announcement on 14 May that it will introduce new regulations for community radio stations and cable and satellite TV stations aimed at controlling programme content. Broadcasters would be required to seek permission for each programme being aired, the government said.

The adoption of these regulations would deal a fatal blow to free expression in Thailand, which is already heavily restricted on the Internet, Reporters Without Borders said. The government will have the power to ban programmes that question their policies and legitimacy. We urge the authorities to scrap this plan.

Sathit Wongnongtoey, the minister in charge of the prime minister’s office, said: Once the regulations take effect, any broadcast station airing content deemed to be politically incendiary will not be allowed to operate.


21st May   

Update: A Passion for Censorship...

Passion of Christ banned in Uzbekistan
Link Here

Nurulla Zhamolov, the senior religious affairs official in Karakalpakstan Region in north-western Uzbekistan has banned the Bible, the Mel Gibson film The Passion of the Christ , and other religious literature, Forum 18 News Service has learnt.

The bans state that the material – which also include a hymn book, a Bible Encyclopaedia, a Bible dictionary, and a children's Bible - is banned for import, distribution or use in teaching.

The material was confiscated during police and NSS secret police raids and it remains unclear what further activity the authorities may undertake following the bans, or how widely they will be used.

No officials in the region or the capital Tashkent were willing to discuss the raids and the country's harsh censorship of religious literature, which applies to religious literature of all faiths.


20th May   

Update: Swearing by Opinion Polls...

Beyer commissions poll that manages to contradict BBC survey
Link Here
Full story: Strong Language on TV...Whinging about strong langauge on TV

A new poll published on 19th May 2009, shows that 73% of people find swearing on TV offensive. The poll, commissioned by mediawatch-uk, was conduced by ComRes who interviewed 1002 GB adults by telephone between 15 and 17 May 2009.

Significantly, the poll also found that 70% believe the regulator, OFCOM, should do more to reduce the amount of swearing on TV. Despite Ofcom's own Communications Market research conducted over recent years, showing that the majority of people believe there is too much swearing on TV, the regulator very rarely upholds public complaints on this issue.

60% of people believe that swearing on TV encourages swearing in daily life and 53% believe that children are not effectively protected from swearing on TV.

Speaking today, John Beyer, director of mediawatch-uk, said: The results of this survey show once again that swearing on TV causes widespread offence and that OFCOM really is not doing enough to allay public concern. We certainly welcome OFCOM's recent criticism of record-breaking programme, Ramsay's Great British Nightmare , but this action is too little too late.

Aware of the latest BBC survey Beyer disputed the finding that people are relaxed about swearing on TV. He said: It may be true that swearing ‘in context' is tolerable but for most people the main concern is with swearing that is entirely gratuitous and has no dramatic or any other context whatsoever.

Moreover, the BBC's findings seem to contradict research carried out by the BBC for Panorama in February which found that 55% of people thought there was now too much swearing, while 68% thought language had worsened in the past five years.

Beyer said: Rather than wasting licence fee payers money on unnecessary surveys, the BBC should be asking itself how swearing in programmes fulfils its Charter obligation to ‘sustain citizenship and civil society'.

Beyer concluded: The time really has come for broadcasters to act decisively on this matter by strengthening the regulations otherwise they know they risk alienating swathes of viewers. In the Digital Age when broadcasting standards matter more and more to viewers and listeners it really is no good ignoring public feeling against swearing on TV.

Comment: Attempt at Discrediting BBC Survey

From Dan

"Rather than wasting licence fee payers money on unnecessary surveys, the BBC should be asking itself how swearing in programmes fulfils its Charter obligation to 'sustain citizenship and civil society'".

The BBC's survey is unnecessary because it doesn't give Beyer what he wants to hear. If the survey had reported the viewers are all up in arms over swearing on TV Beyer would have said that it was very useful and welcomed it.

"We are hopeful that Gordon Brown, who has expressed personal concern about broadcasting standards, will now directly intervene in this situation and call upon broadcasters and film makers to seriously improve standards of literacy in their media productions."

Why should film makers be included in all this? The issue is over swearing on TV and the offence that it may or may not cause to TV viewers. Films have not been talked about and people who do not wish to hear swearing in films can avoid films that contain swearing.

But of course Beyer confuses offence with potential harm and believes swearing should be censored out of everything for the own good of viewers.

What Beyer and Mediawatch UK are worried about is that the results of the BBC's survey which shows viewers are relaxed about swearing (and again we don't know how representative of the entire broad spectrum of tastes and views of the British TV viewing public the survey is) will prevent the regulation to ban swearing on TV completely that he and Mediawatch UK want brought in.

Which is why he is launching into this tirade and why his pressure group have released this press release in order to attempt to discredit the BBC's findings.

At the moment surveys into viewers views on swearing, sex and violence are designed to fit the agendas of those who carry them out and are mainly targetted at certain groups (eg: Mediawatch UK's survey was probably carried out amongst people living in middle England who share their views).

It's time for a survey which will represent the views of all TV viewers and will take into account the broad tastes and views which TV viewers hold.


20th May   

Even a Man Can Do It...

ASA dismisses complaints about Oven Pride advert
Link Here

A TV ad, for an oven cleaner, included a voice-over that stated so easy, even a man can do it . A man was shown raising his eyebrows and making childlike facial expressions whilst a pregnant woman, who appeared cross, stood beside him holding the product. The voice-over described how easy the product was to use and the man was then shown to use it with exaggerated delight whilst being watched by the disapproving woman. The ad ended with the voice-over stating ... let Oven Pride do its thing so he can do more. The man looked aghast at this thought while the woman smiled. The voice-over repeated so easy, even a man can do it. Text on screen at the end of the ad stated Note: no men were harmed during the making of this commercial.

  1. Most of the 673 complainants considered that the ad suggested that men were stupid and lazy. They therefore complained that the ad was sexist and offensive.
  2. Other complainants considered that the ad suggested that cleaning was generally a woman's job. They therefore complained that the ad was offensive and demeaning to women.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

The ASA considered that the scenario of a man who did not enjoy cleaning the oven being "forced" to do so by his disapproving wife was portrayed in a manner that was likely to be seen by the majority of viewers as light hearted and comical. The mans behaviour in particular and the "disclaimer" at the end of the ad were clearly intended to be over the top and humorous and both characters childlike behaviour appeared incredulous.

We noted that the ad used mild humour to refer to traditional gender stereotypes but considered that the overall impression was such that it did not portray either gender in a way that stigmatised, humiliated or undermined them by using harmful stereotypes. We noted some might consider the humour in the ad in poor taste but concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

We investigated the ad under CAP (Broadcast) TV Advertising Standards Code rules 6.1 (Offence) and 6.6 (Harmful or negative stereotypes) but did not find it in breach.


20th May   

Update: A Bemused Ahern...

Irish blasphemy law under fire from the OSCE
Link Here

Irish Minister for Injustice Dermot Ahern has said he is bemused by recent criticism of his ludicrous proposal to include an offence of blasphemy in new defamation legislation due to be debated before an Oireachtas committee.

Ahern was responding after the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) said the Government’s plan to introduce the blasphemy law would be in violation of international agreements on media freedom. OSCE representative on freedom of the media, Miklos Haraszti, said new court cases that might emerge as a result of criminalising blasphemy would have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

Ahern insists he is obliged to take account of the offence of blasphemy, which is provided for in the 1937 Constitution. A spokesman for Ahern said he had two options, either to amend the Constitution, or amend the law.

The Minister will propose an amendment to the 2006 Defamation Bill at the Committee stage in the Oireachtas tomorrow.

Under the Minister’s amendment, the offence of blasphemy can only be prosecuted following a decision by the Director of Public Prosecutions. The offence will also no longer be punishable by a jail term.

That amendment will state that it shall be a defence where a prosecution is taken under the section on blasphemy for the defendant to prove that a reasonable person would find general literary, artistic, political, scientific or academic value in the material to which the alleged offence relates.

Haraszti welcomed the Government’s plan to decriminalise defamation, but said the proposal to create the offence of ‘blasphemous libel’ risked jeopardising OSCE media freedom commitments. It would therefore be unfortunate to introduce at the same time a new crime of 'blasphemous libel'.

Haraszti has written to Ahern and to the Oireachtas committee debating the Bill, urging that it be passed without the blasphemy provision.


19th May   

Update: Police Music Censors...

Concerts cancelled after discussions with police alerted by Form 696
Link Here
Full story: Licensed Music Censors...Licensing sets up authorities as music censors

Police have defended their use of a controversial form that requires live music venues to hand over details of performers, promoters and fans.

The Met introduced the risk assessment form 696  identify gigs where they claim trouble might flare up, partly in response to black-on-black violence.

But it has been criticised for being heavy-handed and racially motivated.

The Met claimed the form had played its part in an 11% drop in serious violence in licensed premises in 2008.

Thomas Bowen, head of the Met team that deals with Form 696, said: A co-ordinated effort, and 696 assisting the process of identifying potential gang conflict, is undoubtedly contributing towards that reduction of shooting incidents in licensed premises.

Around 70 London pubs and clubs are currently required to complete the form. It asks for the names, dates of birth, addresses and phone numbers of promoters and artists, for details of the target audience and for the style of music, eg bashment, R'n'B, garage.

It recently came in for criticism from the House of Commons Culture select committee, which recommended that the form be scrapped, saying it imposed unreasonable conditions on events and goes beyond the Licensing Act.

It has also come under fire from Feargal Sharkey, former Undertones singer and now head of UK Music, an umbrella body that represents the British music industry: It needs to be abolished. It is now quite clearly beginning to have an impact in certain musical types and genres within the London area.

Last autumn, a concert to raise money for a teenage cancer charity was cancelled on police advice because the performers refused to give their personal details on the form, Sharkey said.

Earlier this month, a gig called Project Urban at the O2's Indigo venue was to have hosted some of the biggest names in UK hip-hop, including Tinchy Stryder, Wiley and DJ Ironik, but was called off.

There is no suggestion that those acts had been associated with any trouble. The promoters said police deemed it higher risk because they had not included the dates of birth of a couple of artists.

Jon McClure, singer with indie group Reverend and the Makers, has claimed the form is racist because it targets black audiences, and has started a petition against its use.


19th May   

Comment: BBC Won't be Bullied...

BBC survey finds that the public is relaxed about strong language on TV
Link Here
Full story: Strong Language on TV...Whinging about strong langauge on TV

One of the most exhaustive pieces of research conducted by the BBC into viewers' attitudes to taste and decency is said to show that most are relaxed about the use of bad language on air.

The corporation will submit the results of the survey, which involved around 7,000 members of the public, to the BBC Trust this week. The trust had asked the management to review its editorial guidelines on taste and standards in the wake of the resignation of Russell Brand and the suspension of Jonathan Ross.

The review is also likely to show that a substantial minority of viewers and listeners are in favour of less censorship. Viewers apparently objected to the behaviour of Ross and Brand because of the bullying tone of the broadcast rather than the fact that swearing was used.

Mark Thompson, the BBC's director general, told the Observer: If we set up a programme strategy based on never offending anyone - which is sometimes a world that some of our critics would like - you wouldn't broadcast any news programmes, for example.

Update: Business as Usual

19th May 2009. Based on an article from the Express. Thanks to Dan

A BBC report will show that the public is more relaxed than ever about swearing on TV ­ sparking nutter fears that it will give the corporation a licence to air even more bad language.

The survey of 7000 viewers' attitudes on taste and decency was ordered by the BBC Trust after the furore over Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand leaving lewd messages on veteran actor Andrew Sachs's answer phone.

The report is said to show that viewers are relaxed about the use of bad language, especially after the 9pm watershed.

Nutters fear the latest report will stop the BBC cleaning up its act.

John Beyer, of Mediawatch, said:

There is already far too much swearing on TV that is entirely unnecessary. My fear is that Mark Thompson, the BBC's director general, will tell everybody that it is business as usual.

But swearing alienates television viewers. If they are going to carry on broadcasting swearing, the BBC will alienate swathes more viewers.

Comment: Allowing viewers to make up their own minds

19th May 2009. From Dan

"My fear is that Mark Thompson, the BBC's director general, will tell everybody that it is business as usual."

Business as usual? What, allowing viewers to make up their own minds what they want and do not want to watch and not having the viewing tastes of John Beyer and the rest of Daily Mail Tory voting middle England forced upon them? Sounds good to us Johnny Boy!

"But swearing alienates television viewers. If they are going to carry on broadcasting swearing, the BBC will alienate swathes more viewers."

And those viewers will pick up their remote controls and switch over and watch something else. The kind of action you don't seem to be able to grasp Johnny Boy!

The truth is the BBC have never said they are going to be broadcasting more swearing because of this survey. This is just the fear held by their critics. Heck their critics probably hope they will broadcast more swearing just so they can have another go at them.


17th May   

Collateral Damage...

Ministry of Defence block troops from accessing
Link Here

Page 3 girls have launched a full frontal attack on Ministry of Defence killjoys — after they banned troops from looking at the beauties online.

The girls staged a protest at the MoD’s HQ in Whitehall after bureaucrats ruled that admiring their bazookas on was inappropriate for military personnel

The bombshell means 10,000 soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan, plus 25,000 sailors and airmen, are barred from seeing the site even on their own private laptops.

The Sun is urging Defence Secretary John Hutton to intervene.

We have been bombarded with complaints from soldiers and sailors since MoD internet servers began blocking A Royal Navy chief petty officer said: The fun police have struck again — it’s maddening.


16th May   

Update: Diversity and Ethics...

Rapelay game approved by Japanese (self) censors
Link Here
Full story: Western censorship of Japanese Games...Japanese games winds up the social justice whingers

The controversial Japanese game RapeLay was cleared by a software industry screening board, reports The Yomiuri Shimbun.

According to the newspaper, the Tokyo-based Ethics Organization of Computer Software screened RapeLay without advising its publisher, Illusion, to make any edits. 235 computer game firms belong to the supposedly self-regulating organization.

While an unnamed official of the group would not reveal its screening standards, he told the newspaper:

[The organization] follows the Penal Code and the law, which bans child prostitution and child pornography. Also, we ask for self-regulation of games, to ensure stories depicted stay at a permissible level from a social perspective...

[Given the RapeLay controversy the organization] should discuss what kind of self-imposed regulations are required to ensure [games] are acceptable to society.


16th May   

Update: Censorship by Firebomb...

Arsonists found guilty of attacking home of The Jewel of Medina publisher
Link Here
Full story: Jewel of Medina...Publishers run scared over book

A presumably muslim minicab driver has been found guilty of helping try to firebomb the home of a publisher days before the release of a novel about the marital life of the Prophet Mohamed.

Abbas Taj was waiting in his car as two accomplices poured diesel through the letter box of the four-storey home of Martin Rynja, who had vowed to publish The Jewel of Medina after the American-based giant Random House postponed publication due to concerns that the book would lead to acts of violence by Muslim extremists.

Taj arrived outside the home of the publisher in Islington, at 2am on 27 September last year and watched Abrar Mirza and Ali Beheshti try to set light to the house, which is also the publisher's office.

The three men are to be sentenced in July.


16th May   

Blocked View...

Australia's advert censors whinges at ad for Classic Double Breast Burger
Link Here

A Nando’s ad has fallen foul of the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau - this time featuring a dim woman whose breasts are so large that she can’t see her chips.

A complaint that the ad encouraged discrimination against women was upheld, meaning that the ad - for the Classic Double Breast Burger has been pulled.

ASB CEO Fiona Jolly said: While the Board recognised the intended humour, it also considered a significant proportion of the community would be offended and find there was an element of sexuality and objectification of women that was concerning.


15th May   

Saville Row...

Manic Street Preachers album to be sold under wraps
Link Here

The new Manic Street Preachers album is being shipped to supermarkets in a plain slipcase because its artwork has been deemed inappropriate.

Concerns have been raised that the cover for Journal For Plague Lovers , a portrait by artist Jenny Saville, looks like it is splattered with blood.

Singer James Dean Bradfield called the situation utterly bizarre. We just thought it was a beautiful painting. We were all in total agreement.

The frontman disagreed that Saatchi favourite Saville had intended to depict a bloody face: If you're familiar with her work, there's a lot of ochres and browns and reds and browns and perhaps people are looking for us to be more provocative than we are being. We just saw a much more modern version of Lucian Freud-esque brushstrokes. That's all we saw.

Four of the main supermarket chains - Sainsburys, Tesco, Asda and Morrisons - are among the shops using the slip cover.

Asda told 6 Music they wanted to be extra cautious in case the artwork upset some of its customers.

Meanwhile Nicola Williamson, Sainsbury's music buyer, said: We felt that some customers might consider this particular album cover to be inappropriate if it were prominently displayed on the shelf. As such, the album will be sold in a sleeve provided by the publisher.


15th May   

Update: Paintball Reprieve...

Germany drops idea to ban paintball and laser shooting games
Link Here
Full story: Games Censorship in Germany...German politicians target video games

Germany’s government wants to rush a new gun control law through parliament, but has apparently ditched unpopular plans to ban paintball.

Deputy head of the Christian Democrats’ parliamentary group Wolfgang Bosbach told daily Bild that the rushed law would be made possible by tying it to legislation on explosives already under deliberation.

The law has been motivated by a school shooting in March that left 16 people dead when a 17-year-old Tim Kretschmer attacked his former school with his father's gun in the southwestern German town of Winnenden. The gun was not secured and the massacre has stirred up debate about whether the country needs stronger gun laws or a ban on violent video games.

Criticism from relatives of Winnenden victims has intensified. Head of the action group Amoklouf Winnenden, Hardy Schober, told daily Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger that the new law would be simply cosmetic . His group wants a general ban on high-calibre weapons and handguns in private households. Gun owners would also have to store their weapons in gun clubs.

Initial reports on the new gun law said that the ruling coalition had agreed to ban simulated killing games such as paintball, where players use air rifles to shoot ammunition filled with paint at opponents, and laser tag, a game where players attempt to score points by shooting each other with an infrared-emitting gun.

But Dieter Wiefelsptz, an expert on domestic affairs for the Social Democrats, on Wednesday said lawmakers had abandoned the idea of making paintball illegal.

The government, however, plans to conduct an enquiry to assess whether paintball regulations should be tightened by increasing age limits and other measures, Wiefelsptz said. The sport is banned for those younger than 18, and is generally not played in military fatigues like in other countries. A report commissioned by the government in 2000 concluded it did not make people more likely to engage in violence.


15th May   

Diary: A Nose for the Naughty Bits...

Jonathan Yeo creates collage of Mary Whitehouse from porn
Link Here

The Rathbone, Rathbone Place, Soho London
15 May – 25 June 2009

An artist has produced a portrait of Cliff Richard with morality campaigner Mary Whitehouse out of pornographic cuttings from top-shelf magazines. From a distance, the collage looks harmless. But on closer examination, intimate body parts and various sexual poses become clear.

The portrait goes on display with a price tag of £25,000 at a new West End gallery which opens tonight.

The artist, Jonathan Yeo, told the Standard today he had chosen Mrs Whitehouse, who died in 2001 because he always had a problem with her . Sir Cliff is targeted because anybody who has lived in apparent abstinence deserves a bit of ribbing.

Yeo said: If Mary Whitehouse was still around I hope she would treat this picture as an insult. She equated nudity, bad language and violence as if they were all equally dangerous. I presume Cliff will have a sense of humour about it.

John Beyer, who took over Mrs Whitehouse's campaign, said: To have her memory besmirched is contemptible and passé. He needs to grow up.

But Mrs Whitehouse's son Richard said: It is quite witty really.


15th May   

Uncultured Book Censors...

Turkey gets its knickers in a twist over erotic literature
Link Here
Full story: Book Censorship in Turkey...Freedom of speech under duress

A Turkish publisher said that he and a translator had been indicted after a prosecutor judged three erotic books, including one by renowned French poet Guillaume Apollinaire, to be obscene.

The books in question were Apollinaire's The Exploits of a Young Don Juan, Turkish writer Ben Mila's The Fairy's Pendulum and a collection of writings by various authors published in Turkish as Letters from an Informed and Experienced Bourgeoise Woman , Irfan Sanci, owner of Sel Publishing, said.

The courtcase was launched under a penal code article that criminalises the dissemination of obscene material deemed of no literary value but which excludes scientific and literary works from its scope, Sanci said.

The courtcase came after so-called experts contacted by the prosecutor said these three books were not literary works, Sanci told AFP.

A fourth book by Spanish writer Juan Manuel de Prada escaped prosecution as the same experts decided it was a literary work, he added.

The publisher condemned the case as a violation of freedom of expression and said it cast a shadow on the Muslim majority but secular country that is seeking European Union membership.


15th May   

Boo Hiss...

Spain censors jeers from national anthem
Link Here

Spain's national TV broadcaster sacked its sports director yesterday after the station censored jeering and whistling during the national anthem at the Copa del Rey football final between Athletic Bilbao and Barcelona a day earlier.

Many spectators at Valencia's Mestalla stadium drowned the anthem with jeers and whistles, and the state channel cut to live reporters in Bilbao and Barcelona. It replayed the anthem at half time, with the jeering edited out.

The clubs are in two of Spain's more autonomous provinces. King Juan Carlos' arrival at the Mestalla was also greeted with jeers.

In a statement, TVE said sports director Julien Reyes had been dismissed and an investigation has been opened to determine if others are responsible for the decision, which it blamed on human error. I consider it an extremely serious mistake to not let citizens follow events live, TVE director Javier Pons told a news conference.


15th May   

Credibility Terminated...

Director talks bollox over cutting Terminator Salvation for a lower rating
Link Here

Director McG has said that he cut a topless scene of Moon Bloodgood from Terminator Salvation because it felt gratuitous when he looked at it during the edit.

McG said: It just felt like: 'Oh, there's the genre stunt of the good looking girl taking her top off.' It felt counterproductive in the spirit of what we were looking to achieve on a storytelling level.

He said: I suspect it will be on the DVD. I don't know, ask Moon. She was very passionate in sort of a third-wave feminist take on the whole thing. It was a fun conversation to have.

The director had previously said that he would not remove the half-naked scene in order to receive a lower age classification for the movie from the MPAA.


15th May   

Music Police and Form 696...

Commons committee criticises the licensing requirement to to identify performers and music genre to the police
Link Here
Full story: Licensed Music Censors...Licensing sets up authorities as music censors

The House of Commons’ Culture, Media and Sport Committee has criticised that the Licensing Act 2003 for hampering live music performances, and is calling on the government to relax laws by reintroducing the two in a bar rule for unamplified gigs and implementing an exemption for venues with a capacity of up to 200 people.

The document criticised the legislation and its accompanying guidance for linking music with public order issues, and emphasised that music should not be treated as a disruptive activity which will inevitably lead to nuisance and disorder.

According to committee chair John Whittingdale, the government’s decision to scrap the two in a bar rule - which prior to the introduction of the licensing act had allowed venues to host performances by one or two musicians without the need for a permit – has had a damaging effect on live performances.

Launching the report, Whittingdale explained: An awful lot of pubs had live performances by one or two individuals on a Friday night, because of the two in a bar rule. When the licensing act came in [to force] and it required them to go through the cost and bureaucracy of obtaining a premises license, they just thought we are not going to bother. So the number of venues available for live performances reduced.

The committee hopes that the reintroduction of the rule will boost the number of venues offering live music, and will give young musicians more opportunities to perform. It has also recommended that venues with a capacity of 200 people or fewer be made exempt from licensing laws.

Meanwhile, Whittingdale also called for the Metropolitan Police’s controversial Form 696 - which requires venues to give details of performers and genre of music - to be scrapped.

He said: This [form] goes way beyond the provisions of the act, we can see no reason for it, and therefore we recommend that it should be scrapped. There was a feeling that it was being used to discriminate against particular forms of music, like hip hop, and it is a cause of resentment.


15th May   

Update: Press Blockade...

Yemen sends security forces to ban newspapers supporting protestors
Link Here
Full story: News Censorship in Yemen...Yemen news media and southern unrest

A blockade by security forces of the offices of a Yemeni newspaper, aiming to prevent distribution of copies of the paper, has entered its second week.

The action follows the confiscation by the authorities of thousands of copies of Aden-based Arabic daily al-Ayyam.

In a another development on Monday, security forces surrounded the house of Hisham Basharhail, al-Ayyam’s editor–in-chief, and notified him that he had 48 hours to hand himself over to the authorities in Sana'a.

Six other newspapers - al-Masdar, al-Watani, ad-Diyar, al-Nedaa, al-Sharea and al-Mostakela –had copies of their newspapers seized on 4 May, following a widely publicized decision by Yemen’s Director of the Press.

The government has accused all seven newspapers of expressing views favourable to the secession of the south in their coverage of protests in the southern part of the country in April.

Human rights activists in Yemen have said they are outraged by the decision to confiscate newspapers. They have said that they consider the government's action not only a serious violation of international standards but also of Yemen's own laws.

Yemeni laws allow confiscation of newspapers only through a judicial order. The Yemeni authorities carried out the confiscation without resorting to the judiciary.

Death in the name of censorship

Based on article from

The Committee to Protect Journalists strongly condemns a raid by Yemeni security forces on the Aden compound of the country's most popular independent newspaper. One passerby was killed.

Just before noon, a group of security forces clashed with guards at the offices of Al-Ayyam, firing tear gas and bullets and wounding at least two guards and killing the passerby, according to local and international news reports. The raid is the latest development in a series of attacks against Al-Ayyam and other independent publications and journalists in Yemen in recent weeks.

Blogged Off

See article from

The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns an ongoing campaign to suppress independent journalism in Yemen and urges President Ali Abdullah Saleh to immediately bring it to a halt and order the release of two detained bloggers. Also, authorities have announced a special court to try media and publishing offenses.

One of the latest victims of the media crackdown launched nearly two weeks ago is Yahya Bamahfud, a blogger and former editor of the Hadhramaut news Web site. Security forces arrested Bamahfud on Sunday night in the city of Mukalla in the southern governorate of Hadhramaut. They stormed his home without warrant and confiscated his computer and documents before taking him to an unknown location, local journalists told CPJ.

This is the second arrest of a blogger in Mukalla since last week. Security forces arrested Fuad Rashid, editor-in-chief of Mukalla Press Web site. He had covered recent clashes, which began on April 27 between security forces and disaffected residents of the southern region of Yemen. The eruption of violence occurred on the eve of the 15th anniversary of a short-lived civil war that ended with the victory of northern troops.


15th May   

Redemption TV...

Redemption Films available for VOD
Link Here

Redemption Films are very pleased be able to announce that our internet based TV 'theatre' is now live and ready for viewing. Basically you can now view our films online as well as on DVD so should you fancy a bit of Brigitte Lahaie in the afternoon and there isn't a DVD player around all you have to do is log on to: select your film and you're immediately watching Brigitte or whoever has taken your fancy in action!

Available to view right now are titles like Jean Rollin's and Lips of Blood, The Nude Vampire, Satanic Sluts and Saint Francis starring the amazing Dita Von Teese.


14th May   

Its a Funny World...

Anti discrimination ad features discriminatory jokes
Link Here

An anti-discrimination advert has caused a bit of discussion in Australia.

The powerful ad was part of a segment of The Gruen Transfer TV show in which two ad agencies tried to sell fat pride.

The ad wasn't shown on TV but the segment was made available on the internet.

Shot in black and white, the ad - produced by Sydney agency The Foundry - features people each telling extremely offensive jokes:

  • How do black women fight crime? They have abortions.
  • How do you stop a poofter from drowning? You take your foot off his head.
  • What's the difference between Santa Claus and a Jew? Santa Claus goes down the chimney.
  • Why did God create alcohol? So fat chicks could get a root.

The ad concludes: Discrimination comes in all shapes and sizes.

While ABC canned the segment, it permitted The Gruen Transfer's producers to show the video online - - with appropriate disclaimers.

We are grateful for the ABC's consent for us to put the material on this website, as it facilitates further debate and discussion, the show said.


14th May   

Nutter Taming...

PETA whinge at Nintendo's circus game
Link Here

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) have launched a campaign to try and put a stop to Take-Two's Wii game featuring Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, saying that the famed circus is looking to take its cruelty to animals virtual.

The organization says that they've already told publisher Take-Two about Ringling Bros. real life, lengthy history of animal abuse and neglect and even shown them undercover video footage, but to no avail.

So now PETA is asking people to send a message to Take-Two CEO Ben Feder asking him to sever ties with Ringling Bros. and telling them they would rather play a game featuring a circus that does not beat animals for entertainment.


14th May   

Update: What's Red and Yellow and All Blacked Out?...

Thai political groups on satellite TV
Link Here
Full story: Red Shirt Censorship in Thailand...Overt censorship of Thaksin supporting politicians

Political content on community radio and satellite TV stations will be banned under proposed regulations issued by Thailand's National Telecommunications Commission.

The government said it would enforce the changes evenly against any broadcaster which offends, including the red shirt-run DStation and yellow shirt-owned ASTV satellite TV stations.

Prime Minister's Office Minister Sathit Wongnongtoey said the regulations would allow the NTC to take action against community radio and satellite TV stations which air content deemed to undermine democracy.

The regulations require cable TV and satellite TV channels to seek permission for each programme being aired, Sathit said: Once the regulations take effect, any broadcast station airing content deemed to be politically incendiary won't be allowed to operate.'


14th May   

Update: Toben Denied His Liberty...

Holocaust denier sentence to jail in Australia
Link Here

An Australian who has denied the Holocaust occurred was sentenced to three months in prison today for defying an order to stop publishing anti-Semitic material on his website.

Fredrick Toben remained free after the sentencing, however, because the judge gave him two weeks to lodge an appeal.

Justice Bruce Lander of the Federal Court found Toben guilty of 24 counts of contempt of a 2002 court ruling that barred him from publishing anti-Semitic material on the website of his organisation, the Adelaide Institute.

The material found to be in breach of the order included suggestions the Holocaust did not happen, that questioned whether there were gas chambers at the Auschwitz death camp, and that challenged the intelligence of Jews who questioned Holocaust deniers' beliefs.

Toben said the ruling was a defeat for free speech: I am quite prepared to sacrifice my physical comforts for the sake of free expression.


14th May   

Update: Digging up the Trivia...

Daily Mail have still got their beady eye on Jonathan Ross
Link Here
Full story: Russell Brand and Jonathan Ross...Winding up Andrew Sachs and Voluptua

A number of listeners complained to Ofcom about the Jonathan Ross show on Radio 2, claiming the comments on his programme on Saturday were homophobic.

Ross was involved in a light-hearted discussion about prizes in a competition themed around the fictional teen pop star when he joked: If your son asks for a Hannah Montana MP3 player, you might want to already think about putting him down for adoption before he brings his...erm...partner home.

A spokeswoman for Ofcom was unable to say how many people had complained but said: We have had complaints. We are assessing those complaints against the broadcasting code.

A BBC spokeswoman said: The BBC has received four complaints about Jonathan’s comments on Saturday’s show. However, these off-the-cuff remarks were made purely in jest and were not intended to be offensive. Jonathan is not homophobic in any sense and never meant for his comments to be taken seriously.’


14th May   

Update: Fucking Censors...

UK TV censor whinges at Gordon Ramsay's strong language
Link Here

Ramsays Great British Nightmare
Channel 4, 30 January 2009, 21:00 - 23:00

Ramsay’s Great British Nightmare follows the chef, Gordon Ramsay, as he takes on failing restaurants and attempts to turn them around. He tackles amongst other things, poor management, inferior cooking and unacceptable levels of hygiene.

Ofcom received 51 complaints from viewers about the programme broadcast on 30 January 2009 from 21:00. They objected to the frequency and sustained nature of the use of the most offensive language (i.e . “fuck”, “fucking” and “fucked”).

Ofcom noted that the first two parts of the programme, broadcast between 21:00 and 21:40, contained 115 instances of the most offensive language.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.3 of the Code (offensive content must be justified by context).

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rule 2.3

In assessing the wider context of this programme, Ofcom noted that:

  • the channel provided pre-transmission information about the level of language in the programme: “strong language from the start and throughout”
  • this was a two hour programme compared to the usual one hour
  • the contributors as well as Gordon Ramsay used the most offensive language;
  • offensive language was often used at times of emotion and stress which typifies the series as a whole.
  • The likely audience expectation for this programme

Ofcom recognised that Ramsay’s Great British Nightmare differed slightly from the usual Kitchen Nightmares strand in as much as it was a two hour special featuring not one but two failing restaurants. The result was that parts one and two of the programme where Gordon Ramsay traditionally gives his unvarnished opinion - and which often results in confrontation - was twice as long. As a consequence this amplified significantly the effect of the language on the viewer.

Given the programme’s well-established reputation for using the most offensive language, Ofcom accepts that the vast majority of the audience comes to the programme with certain expectations. However, on this occasion there were 115 examples of the most offensive language i.e. “fuck” and its derivatives, in the first 40 minutes of the programme. In the first 15 minutes there were a total of 37 examples. The second part of the programme, between 21:20 and 21:40, contained a further 78 examples. Ofcom also noted that much of the offensive language was delivered in an extremely intense and at times aggressive manner. The most aggressive scene, which Channel 4 admits contributed to the overall tally of strong language in the programme, occurred in part two of the programme where, at approximately 21:30, a restaurant chef angrily berated his boss shouting the word “fucking” at him 30 times in less than two minutes.

The broadcaster and the audience has a right to freedom of expression. Importantly, the programme purports to show real life situations and record them as they unfold. (However, we note that in the acquired American version of this programme Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares USA, the level of strong language is considerably less, but in very similar intense circumstances). As Channel 4 points out the audience expects to see the drama and conflict played out before some form of resolution is reached. Therefore, to limit completely the transmission of a programme such as this would be a disproportionate restriction and could result in a chilling effect on broadcasters’ output. Nevertheless, freedom of expression may be limited and should at all times be balanced by the requirement on the part of the broadcaster to apply generally accepted standards to ensure adequate protection for members of the public from offensive material. In Ofcom’s view, by broadcasting this particular programme at this time after the watershed, Channel 4 did not apply generally accepted standards. This is due to the unexpected and sheer intensity and level of swearing in the first two parts of the programme. The strong language had not been used as a comedic device or as part of a characterisation but was at times extremely aggressive and, as described by complainants, “gratuitous” and “unreal”. Ofcom therefore concluded that it was not warranted since there was not sufficient editorial justification or context in this programme for the level and intensity of swearing in the first two parts of the programme, transmitted between 21:00 and 21:40.

The audience has a good understanding that as the evening progresses the context changes and material is likely to become more challenging and may contain frequent and strong language. However, where viewers have established expectations for a particular programme, at a particular time, broadcasters should carefully consider the impact of any significant editorial changes which may subsequently challenge those expectations. It was clear to Ofcom that the frequency and nature of the most offensive language in the earlier parts of this programme and at the time it was broadcast deviated seriously and significantly from previous editions, because this was the first time Channel 4 had broadcast a two hour edition of Ramsay’s Great British Nightmare , starting at 21:00. As a direct consequence the scale, frequency and way in which the most offensive language was delivered in the first two parts of this programme, went significantly beyond what could be reasonably anticipated by regular viewers - at this time of the evening – and resulted in a breach of the Code.


14th May   

Update: Searching for Legal Liabilities...

US case sees web hosts yahoo more liable for user posted content
Link Here

When Oregon resident Cecilia Barnes broke up with her boyfriend, he responded by posting a fake profile of her on Yahoo -- and a particularly nasty one at that. He included nude photos of Barnes as well as her name, address and phone number.

Barnes complained to Yahoo and a company executive promised to take down the profile. Yahoo allegedly reneged on that promise, spurring Barnes to file suit against the company.

Now, in a ruling that could have significant ramifications for Web publishers, a federal appellate court has held that Yahoo could face liability for breach of contract for failing to delete the post.

Yahoo will still have the opportunity to contest Barnes' claims in court, and it's not yet clear that she will be able to prove her case.

Still, the decision potentially leaves Web publishers more vulnerable to new lawsuits stemming from the posts of users. That's because the ruling appears to carve out a new exception to the federal Communications Decency Act -- a law that many attorneys had long thought immunized Web sites from liability for libelous or offensive user comments. In fact, U.S. District Court, Judge Ann Aiken in Oregon originally dismissed Barnes' lawsuit for that reason.

But Barnes appealed to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, which ruled last week that the Communications Decency Act created only a "baseline" rule that Web companies need not censor posts. Once a Yahoo employee promised Barnes that the post would be deleted, Yahoo was obligated to do so, according to the court. The decision surprised some observers because it diverges from similar past decisions taken in other courts.


14th May   

Update: Spring Fever...

Lou Ye defies Chinese 5 year ban on film making
Link Here

Chinese director Lou Ye has defied a five-year state ban on making films by premiering a new movie at the Cannes Film Festival.

Ye was banned in 2006 for screening epic love story Summer Palace at that year's Cannes festival without Chinese government permission.

Now Spring Fever , a story about love and homosexuality, is among 20 films competing for this year's Palme d'Or. It was shot secretly with a handheld camera in China using five actors.

It could be his most controversial film yet because it deals with homosexuality in China - still a taboo subject in the country.

Producer Nai An, who is also subject to the five-year ban, told the AFP news agency she feared the new film would provoke more trouble.

Actor Chen Sicheng, who appears in Spring Fever, also said he feared he would be in trouble in China over his involvement. He told AFP that Ye was a pioneer who had the courage not to give way to society.


13th May   

Extreme Responses...

Scottish parliament publishes responses to its proposes extreme porn ban
Link Here

The Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill was introduced in the Parliament on 5 March 2009.

The Bill contains more than 80 different policy proposals. In particular it introduces a new offence which will criminalise the possession of extreme pornographic images.

The Justice Committee then issued a call for written evidence inviting individuals and interested parties to submit views on the Bill in writing.

The responses received by the committee have now been posted.


13th May   

Nightmare Survey...

Survey of parents claims Dr Who and Primeval cause kids to have nightmares
Link Here

  Haven't the kids of today
got a sofa to hide behind?

Youngsters are suffering nightmares because children's television is too scary, according to a survey of parents.

More than 70% of parents with children under the age of seven said their children had regular nightmares because of programmes such as Primeval and Ben 10 .

The programme that attracted greatest criticism in the new poll was Primeval – about a breakdown in the time-space continuum that allows dinosaurs to travel to the present day, wreaking havoc on the world. Parents said this was too frightening for young children.

They also complained that Ben 10 , featuring a boy who finds a device called an Omnitrix which transforms him into alien lifeforms, was too aggressive.

Other programmes cited as inappropriate included Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids , which parents said gave children ideas for bad behaviour, and Power Rangers , which was seen as being too fast and violent.

Parents claimed that so-called family entertainment such as Doctor Who , Primeval and Robin Hood should be shown after the watershed.

More than half of those polled also said much of children's television encouraged bad behaviour. Three-quarters of parents would welcome more guidance from broadcasters, and age certificates being shown before a programme was aired.

Kathryn Crawford, spokeswoman for, which conducted the poll of 3,000 parents, said: All children suffer from nightmares at some point during childhood. But there is no doubt that viewing unnecessary violence and hostility on television contributes to this.

There is a great uncertainty about what to allow children to watch – on the one hand, you want them to be accepted by their peers and be able to join in conversations, but on the other, you want to protect them from growing up too fast and suffering with nightmares.


13th May   

Update: TalkNazi...

Ofcom censure TalkSport over Jon Gaunt's Nazi jibes
Link Here

Jon Gaunt
Talksport, 7 November 2008, 11:25

Jon Gaunt was a presenter on this speech-based station. In his programme, the presenter was well known for his combative and hard-hitting style with participants.

Ofcom received 53 complaints about an interview by Jon Gaunt conducted with a local councillor, Michael Stark. The interview concerned the policy of the London Borough of Redbridge that from 2010 any foster carers in the borough would be required to be non-smokers.

Complainants said they were offended by the interview and said it was unacceptable . They objected to the way in which Jon Gaunt interviewed the councillor as they believed Stark had been treated in an offensive and insulting manner culminating in him being called a Nazi by Jon Gaunt and an ignorant pig . Complainants stated that this was an unprovoked personal attack on the councillor and the interview was variously described as oppressive, intimidating and that the interviewer was shouting like a playground bully.

Talksport told Ofcom that it regretted what had happened, stating: The interview fell way below the acceptable broadcasting standards that Talksport expects and demands as a radio station. The station also said that it: totally accepts and regrets that the language [used by Jon Gaunt] was offensive and that the manner in which the interview was conducted was indefensible.

Talksport said that following discussions within senior management at Talksport, and UTV, who owns the station, it was decided that Jon Gaunt would be suspended and an internal investigation launched.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.1 which states that generally accepted standards must be applied to television and radio services and Rule 2.3 which says that material that may cause offence must be justified by the context.

Ofcom Decision; Breach of Rules 2.1 and 2.3

Ofcom recognises that the subject matter in this case may have been a particularly sensitive one for the presenter, given his own experience of being in care as a child. Further, Ofcom noted that Jon Gaunt later qualified his use of the word Nazi to some extent by subsequently referring to Michael Stark as a health Nazi . However, following that qualification, he reverted back to the original term Nazi . The presenter also referred to the interviewee as “ an ignorant pig ” and told him to shut up.

Ofcom noted the steps taken by Talksport before the programme to warn the presenter to exercise care during the interview, and the attempts by programming staff to control the situation during the interview. Further, Ofcom recognises the seriousness which the broadcaster attached to the incident, as shown by its prompt investigation into it and the two on-air apologies:

Rule 2.3 of the Code states that offensive material: may include…offensive language…humiliation, distress [and] violation of human dignity . Ofcom considered the language used by Jon Gaunt, and the manner in which he treated Michael Stark, had the potential to cause offence to many listeners by virtue of the language used and the manner in which Jon Gaunt treated his interviewee.

In this case, the offensive language used to describe Mr Stark, and what would be considered to be a persistently bullying and hectoring approach taken by Jon Gaunt towards his guest, exceeded the expectations of the audience of this programme, despite listeners being accustomed to a robust level of debate from this particular presenter. Even taking into account the context of this programme such as the nature of the service, the audience expectations and the editorial content, Ofcom did not consider that this was sufficient justification for the offensive material. The broadcaster therefore failed to comply with generally accepted standards in breach of Rules 2.1 and 2.3 of the Code.


13th May   

Luxembourg Needs More Laws...

Internet legislation for games and communications
Link Here

New legislation was introduced through the Luxembourg's parliament meant to protect minors by punishing online sexual predators and violent video game makers.

Luxembourg's Minister for Justice, Luc Frieden, said too many people abuse the Internet, and the online community cannot be one without laws.

The legislation will make it illegal for an adult to make proposals of a sexual nature to minors younger than 16 via new technology. This includes inappropriate texts written while chatting online. Perpetrators can face the same consequences as those who visit child pornography sites –imprisonment and heavy fines. Minors will also be protected against violence online, according to the legislation.

It's very bad that people make money by selling games where you can decapitate people to minors, Frieden said. Those who provide games and movies that are too violent to young people will be condemned. Judges will determine the degree of violence.


13th May   

Whiter than White...

ASA dismisses complaints about angry bull being purified to white
Link Here

A UK TV ad, for Cravendale milk, showed an animated bull visiting a milk bar. The bull appeared to be angry and demanded milk. After it had drunk every bottle, the bartender sent the bull down a chute to the Cravendale purity room , where its black patches were gradually removed and it passed signs that stated "PURE" and "PURER".

A related magazine ad showed a diagram of a black and white cow next to text that stated "FRESH MILK"; below was a sieve and, below that, a white cow. Text alongside the white cow stated "ONLY PURER". Further text below stated Cravendale is purified to remove the bacteria that turns milk sour. So you get a clean, fresh tasting milk ...

1. Ten viewers, who believed the TV ad could be interpreted as racist, objected that ad was offensive.

2. One of those viewers, and another complainant, who believed the magazine ad could be interpreted as racist, complained that ad was offensive.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA noted the ads were part of a series where a cartoon style was used; the cows were intended as a visual metaphor for milk which underwent extra filtration processes. We considered viewers were likely to understand that the black and white bulls in the ads were intended as a metaphor for milk and were unlikely to interpret the visual representations of the purification process as being racist. We concluded that the ads were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.


12th May   

Ofcom Lay the Boot into Emmerdale...

Emmerdale censured for fight scene
Link Here

ITV1, 16 December 2008, 19:00

Emmerdale is a weekly soap. The King family, including brothers Jimmy, Mathew and Carl, have been portrayed as ruthless and successful businessmen involved in numerous scandals in the village. In this one-hour special Mathew King was to marry local business woman, Anna. However his brother Carl had other ideas, informing the bride that Mathew had been responsible for her father’s recent death (which was partly true). Anna cancelled the wedding and a fist fight developed between Mathew and Carl as a number of wedding guests and their brother Jimmy tried to intervene.

17 viewers complained to Ofcom that the fight that developed between the King brothers was too graphic and violent for the time of transmission in the early evening at 19:00.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.11 which states that Violence, its after effects and descriptions of violence…must be appropriately limited in programmes broadcast before the watershed…

Ofcom Decision: In Breach

Ofcom noted that the fight between Carl and Mathew King was sustained and at times vicious. The programme featured blows and kicks (delivered and sustained by both men to the body and head) and the use of a large metal lamp-stand as a weapon (which was pushed into Mathew’s face with corresponding sound effect). The level of violence was further heightened by blood flowing from wounds, the smashing of household objects and a number of people shouting and screaming. This tense and violent scene lasted for 2 minutes. The next and final part of the programme featured a sequence showing a bloodied Mathew King behind the wheel of a van, crashing into a wall at speed. He flew through the windscreen landing with a loud thud on the floor. He died in close-up with his face covered in blood.

In Ofcom’s view this programme contained an unacceptable level of violence for broadcast in a programme which began at 19:00 when children were likely to be watching, and indeed were viewing, in considerable numbers. Ofcom therefore judged that the fight scene between Mathew and Karl King was in breach of Rule 1.11 of the Code.


12th May   

Not Fair...

BBC censor Lily Allen for the Radio 1 Big Weekend Bash.
Link Here

Lily Allen was told to censor one of her songs by the BBC, when she performed at the Radio 1 Big Weekend Bash.

The singer was told to alter lyrics in Not Fair , but Allen found the whole issue hilarious - causing her to burst out into laughter as she sang the single.

Lily told listeners: I'm so sorry. They told me I'm not allowed to say rude bits and I can't stop laughing because I think I'm going to slip up.


12th May   

Sri Lanka's Tarnished Image...

Channel 4 news team deported from Sri Lanka
Link Here

A Channel 4 News team has been deported from Sri Lanka.  Asia correspondent, Nick Paton Walsh, tells what happened:

When Sri Lanka's defence secretary, Gotabaya Rajapaksa, rang he got quickly to the point: Is this Channel 4? You have been accusing my soldiers of raping civilians? Your visa is cancelled, you will be deported. You can report what you like about this country, but from your own country, not from here.

Our 'crime' had been to broadcast a report from internment camps at the northern town of Vavuniya, which can only be reached with the permission of the Sri Lankan army. The army orchestrates the visits and escorts you wherever you go. But someone working for us had managed independently to get a camera into the camps and record a series of interviews. The allegations were startling: bodies left for days, children crushed in the rush for food, the sexual abuse of women, disappearances.

The day after the broadcast I went to the media centre for national security. There [military censor] Lakshman Hulugalle explained that I had damaged the country's image and would later hear of their 'measures' against me. Three days later came the call from the defence secretary.


12th May   

New UK Advert Censor...

New ASA chief executive
Link Here

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) Council has appointed Guy Parker as the new Chief Executive of the ASA.

Guy is presently the ASA’s Deputy Director General and Director of Complaints and Investigations. He is also an Executive Committee Member of the European Advertising Standards Alliance (EASA).

He will take up the position of ASA Chief Executive on 29 June 2009.

Guy Parker succeeds Christopher Graham, whose appointment as the next Information Commissioner was confirmed by Downing Street last week.

Guy Parker said, During my career at the ASA, I’ve seen it grow into the strong and well-respected organisation it is today. I am honoured to have been appointed Chief Executive and hugely excited about the challenges ahead. I’m particularly aware that in difficult economic times and with rapid technological advances, consumers and advertisers more than ever need the ASA to be firm, fair and on the ball. My focus will be on meeting those expectations and building on the ASA’s reputation as a modern and effective regulator.


12th May   

Update: Objectionable Apple...

Apple so holier than thou that they censor Jesus image fun
Link Here
Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

Apple has banned an iPhone app, Me So Holy, which allows users to replace Jesus’s face with their own.

Me So Holy is the latest in a line of apps that Apple has rejected, causing industry pundits to accuse Apple of becoming both a nanny and tastemaker for the app store.

The application has been branded by Apple as objectionable and has been rejected from its app store.


11th May   

PC Online Gaming...

Council of Europe considers online gaming
Link Here

The Council of Europe has issued a position paper, Human Rights Guidelines for Online Game Providers . The CE's recommendations include taking into account the potential impact of gratuitous violence and sexual content in games targeting minors.

In addition the CoE warns against content which advocates criminal behavior and urges providers away from conveying themes like aggressive nationalism, ethnocentrism, xenophobia, racism and intolerance.

The CoE documents alludes to the risk of online game addiction as well as the potential for children to encounter negative types such as bullies and stalkers. Threats to privacy are addressed as well. The CE also encourages online game companies to follow rating guidelines and to develop parental control tools for their products.

The CoE's has a surprisingly forward-thinking position on user-created content. The organization encourages providers to be thoughtful in deciding whether or not to delete such content: Before removing gamer-generated content from a game, you should take care to verify the illegality or harmfulness of the content... Acting without first checking and verifying may be considered as an interference with legal content and with the rights and freedoms of those gamers creating and communicating such content, in particular the right to freedom of expression and information.

The CoE also frets that content created by immature users today might come back to bite them in the future, and urges that providers create a system to prevent this: Consider developing mechanisms for the automatic removal of gamer-generated content after a certain time of inactivity, in particular for games targeting children and young people. Creating a lasting or permanently accessible online record of the content created by gamers could challenge their dignity, security and privacy or otherwise render them vulnerable now or at a later stage in their lives.


11th May   

Nonsense Prevails...

US Pupil wins lawsuit against teacher who described creationism as superstitious nonsense.
Link Here

A US teenager has successfully won a lawsuit against a teacher who described creationism as superstitious nonsense.

Chad Farnan, a devout Christian studying at California's Capistrano Valley high school, persuaded a judge that his European history teacher, James Corbett, violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment, which courts interpret as banning government employees from promoting, or displaying hostility towards, religion.

Farnan claimed Corbett made comments that were derogatory, disparaging and belittling regarding religion and Christianity in particular .
Farnan spent almost 18 months gathering material against Corbett, compiling a dossier that featured secret recordings of the teacher's remarks.

However, Judge James Selna found that almost all the statements cited by the plaintiff did not violate the establishment cause.  Only one of Corbett's opinions fell foul of the First Amendment – his unequivocal belief that creationism is superstitious nonsense. Judge Selna concluded that there was no legitimate secular purpose to the statement and it constituted improper disapproval of religion in violation of the establishment clause.

In his ruling, the judge said he tried to balance the rights of both parties. He said the case reflected the tension between the constitutional rights of a student and the demands of higher education, as well as the tension between Farnan's religious beliefs and the need for government, especially schools, to carry out their duties free of the strictures of any particular religious or philosophical belief system.


11th May   

Update: Journalists Jailed...

Journalists reported that murderous soldiers had been released early from jail
Link Here

Two journalists have been released after spending two nights in police cells when they reported how the Fiji military dictatorship had freed soldiers jailed for killing civilians.

Dionisia Turagabeci and Shelvin Chand, of the website Fijilive, were released on Monday, Radio New Zealand has reported. It is likely the two journalists will be taken before the Magistrates Court and charged with breaking the emergency regulations.

Earlier this year a soldier was convicted of murdering a civilian. In a separate case nine soldiers and three policemen were convicted of the manslaughter of a civilian. They were sent to jail for terms ranging from eight years to life, but last week all were released on parole. They had been convicted of manslaughter after graphic evidence of how they tortured 19-year-old Sakiusa Rabaka to death a month after the 2006 coup.

Fijilive reported this on Friday and on Saturday Turagabeci and Chand were picked up and taken to Suva Central Police Station.

Last week military spokesman Neumi Leweni hailed the effect of martial law censorship: The people of Fiji are now experiencing a remarkable change from what used to be highly negative and sensationalised news to a more positive, balanced and responsible reporting by the media.

Dictator Voreqe Bainimarama imposed martial law on Fiji last month and has extended it another month, imposing censorship on all media.


11th May   

Diary: The Index Lecture...

Geoffrey Robertson QC on free speech
Link Here

The Index Lecture
Sunday 24 May, 8.30 pm
Oxfam tent
Guardian Hay Festival

Index on Censorship is hosting The Index Lecture at this years Guardian Hay Festival.

Index on Censorship editor Jo Glanville will chair the event and human rights lawyer Geoffrey Robertson QC is set to discuss and explore the issue of free speech.

The event will be held in the Oxfam tent at 8.30 pm. To book tickets and find out more about the festival please click here


10th May   

Cold Cuts...

BBFC cut Transsiberian for a 15 rating
Link Here

Transsiberian is a 2008 UK/Germany/Spain/ Lithuania crime film by Brad Anderson (Icon Home Entertainment)

The BBFC cut 9s from the Icon DVD in 2009: Company have chosen to remove shots of strong bloody violence within a torture scene, in order to achieve a 15 classification. An uncut 18 was available.

Review from US Amazon : Glued

This movie had me glued to my seat until the credits rolled. Anderson clearly has created a mystery masterpiece telling the story of a clueless couple, Woody Harrelson and Emily Mortimer, stuck on a cross country train ride through the grim backdrop of a post-soviet Russia. The two are caught in a whirlwind of drug-smuggling, torture and crooked cops.

I haven't been this impressed with a movie for a long time and can't wait to buy this sucker on DVD disc!


10th May   

Plastinated Minds...

German politicians rant at sex and death art
Link Here

A controversial German anatomy artist is facing protests over his latest plastination exhibition after unveiling a work showing two corpses having sexual intercourse.

Gunther von Hagens, whose latest exhibition, Cycle of Life , has just opened in Berlin, has defended the exhibit saying that it combines the two greatest taboos of sex and death and is a lesson in biology, but is not meant to be sexually stimulating.

The exhibition has drawn angry protests from German MPs as well as church representatives. They have called for the work to be withdrawn, saying it is pornographic and an insult to the dead.

Alice Ströver, an MP for the Green party, said: This couple is simply over the top, and it shouldn't be shown.

Love and death are obvious topics for art, but I find it quite disgusting to use them in this way, said Fritz Felgentreu an MP for the Social Democrats.

Update: London Dead for Sex

20th June 2009

The Sex Couple was unveiled in Berlin in May, and will now transfer to his Body Worlds & The Mirror Of Time show at London's O2.


10th May   

Wearing Black...

80 political activists arrested in Perak, Malaysia
Link Here

Malaysian authorities have arrested 80 writers, activists, members of opposition during protests.

The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) is deeply worried that the new administration under Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak has begun a swoop of those publicly opposed to the takeover of the northern state of Perak by the ruling Federal government Barisan Nasional.

According to report, the government has so far arrested close to 80 people involved in organising and participating in a protest campaign, which includes writers, opposition members of Parliament and activists. Among the 80, 60 were arrested on 6 May in Ipoh, capital of the Perak state where a protest gathering was held. The sequence of actions betrays premeditation on the side of the powers-that-be and this raises worry that the clampdown will be the first of more to come.

The slew of arrests started on 5 May when police first targeted Wong Chin Huat, an academic and writer. Wong is the spokesperson for the Coalition for Free and Fair Elections (BERSIH), which initiated a campaign dubbed '1BlackMalaysia' calling Malaysians to wear black on the day the Perak State Legislative Assembly was to reconvene on 7 May.


9th May   

Update: 50,000 Against...

Petitioning against internet blocking in Germany
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Germany...Germany considers state internet filtering

A petition against legislation designed to block harmful websites, such as those dedicated to child pornography, has collected more than 50,000 signatures after being posted online four days ago.

That number is the minimum required by German law for parliament to open hearings on the issue.

The petition started by Berlin resident Franziska Heine, is in response to a telemedia bill which was approved by the German cabinet last month, but still requires parliamentary approval.

The proposed legislation would require the vast majority of the country's internet service providers to block child pornography sites, as identified by the German Federal Criminal Office (BKA).

Heine claims the bill threatens the fundamental right to freedom of the internet. They see the BKA list as a tool for censorship.

The petition was placed on the German parliament's website and organisers are hoping to reach 100,000 signatures by June 16.


9th May   

Update: Painted into a Corner...

Germany set to ban paintball and laser shooting games
Link Here
Full story: Games Censorship in Germany...German politicians target video games

The German government is planning to ban paintball and laser shooting games in a knee jerk reaction to the recent school massacre in which 15 people died.

Under legislation agreed by the ruling coalition of the chancellor, Angela ­Merkel, using air rifles to shoot paint-filled pellets at opponents is likely to be made illegal, and would be punishable with fines of up to €5,000 (£4,480).

The decision, which is expected to be fast-tracked through the Bundestag before the summer recess, comes two months after 17-year-old Tim Kretschmar shot dead 15 people at his former school in Winnenden. Kretschmar's love of paintball as well as violent video and computer games was widely publicised.

This so-called game plays down violence, leading to the danger that people have fewer inhibitions about shooting each other, claimed Dieter Wiefelsputz, of the Social Democrats.

Owners of paintball arenas, which are already out of bounds for under-18s, said they felt they were easy targets in what opposition politicians have referred to as populistic placebo politics.

The new law is also expected to forbid under-18s access to high-calibre guns and to make it easier for police to carry out random controls at the homes of registered gun owners.


9th May   

Update: Apple Nailed...

Apple's haphazard censorship of Nine Inch Nails
Link Here
Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

Apple keeps a censorial grip over its iPhone which one of America's top-selling smart phones. It has proven itself more than willing to censor a broad range of content it finds morally questionable from violence to sexual themes. The latest example of Apple seeking to help guide its customers' moral decisions came when the company rejected an application update from Trent Reznor, for an app for his band Nine Inch Nails.

Apple said the app was unacceptable because it came with profane music clips from NIN's groundbreaking album The Downward Spiral . Some note the curiousness of Apple's ruling, given that it happily sold the album on iTunes.

Now, at last, Apple has let its objections go away in the end. It has reversed its stance and said that Reznor can have it all, when it comes to his app update. Reznor happily Twittered the news to his fans.

While, it’s good to see Apple looking to re-evaluate its rules surrounding how it polices its app store empire, it’s also somewhat troubling, according to some, that Apple is developing a habit of rejecting applications on questionable grounds and then approving them after criticism. Many say that Apple's selective and haphazard censorship demonstrates an inability to logically regulate its content, something which threatens the viability of the iPhone's app platform.


9th May   

Update: Indian Censorship Anthem...

Censors tamper with song because song can't be tampered with
Link Here
Full story: Boy Warriors Censorship...Indian computer game under fire from Hindus

Ram Gopal Varma's upcoming movie Rann has run into trouble with India's Censor Board of Film Certification (CBFC) refusing permission to air the movie's title track. The song in question is an altered version of the National Anthem which is not permissible.

Varma has changed the lyrics of the Indian national anthem Jana Gana Mana to Jana Gana Mana Rann hai in the movie. According to law, the national anthem cannot be tampered with.


8th May   

Update: Censorial Subterfuge...

Vatican opt out of Angels and Demons hype
Link Here

There has also been high-level discussion within the Vatican about whether to urge a boycott of the film, according to Italian media reports. It took that step with The Da Vinci Code , but the film enjoyed staggering box office takings of $758 million and some Vatican insiders fear their high-profile opposition backfired.

Let's be careful not to play their game... by giving them free publicity, said Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, the Vatican economics minister, who still made clear his derision for the book as a manipulation in anti-Christian key of people, events and history.

So in its first pronouncement on the film, Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano described Angels and Demons as harmless entertainment which hardly affects the genius and mystery of Christianity.

While the gigantic and smart commercial operation is filled with inaccuracies and stereotyped characters, the camera work is splendid , Howard's direction dynamic and alluring and the reconstruction of St Peter's Basilica and the Sistine Chapel is magnificent.

An editorial in the paper added: It would probably be an exaggeration to consider the books of Dan Brown an alarm bell but maybe they should be a stimulus to rethink and refresh the way the Church uses the media to explain its positions on today's burning issues.


8th May   

Strong Language Blues...

Tempers run high as Chelsea exit the Champions League
Link Here

Ofcom are looking into complaints into the screening by Sky of Didier Drogba's rant at its cameras after Chelsea's emotional exit from the Champions League.

Sky's touchline cameraman stepped on to the pitch at the final whistle and captured on film the striker's animated protests to the referee, Tom Henning Ovrebo, after Andrés Iniesta's injury-time goal had ended Chelsea's hopes of reaching the European Cup final. After excoriating the official for a performance even Ovrebo admitted had been error-strewn, a wild-eyed Drogba approached the camera to shout it's a fucking disgrace . He was then pushed away from the scene by his manager, Guus Hiddink.

Sky's lead pundit, Andy Gray, was quick to apologise for Drogba's language and the broadcaster cut soon afterwards to a commercial break. On the return to the studio the clip was shown again and, once more, Drogba's swearing was audible, prompting the studio anchor, Richard Keys, to apologise again for the error in failing to check the tape.

Sky's defence will be the post-watershed time of the broadcast – it occurred at around 9.50pm last night – and its swift apologies.


8th May   

Reading Too Much into the Leaves...

Reading Chronicle censured for excessive suicide details
Link Here

Mr and Mrs Marsh of Caversham complained to the Press Complaints Commission that an article published in the Reading Chronicle on 15th January 2009, headlined Lucy was a ‘soul in torment’ , contained excessive detail about a method of suicide in breach of Clause 5 (Intrusion into grief or shock) of the editors’ Code of Practice.

The article reported the suicide of the complainants’ daughter, who had taken her own life by consuming poisonous leaves. It set out the following details: the precise type of leaf that had been used; the fact that the leaves had been ingested; the specific type of toxin found in the leaves; and the fact that death would have been quick as there was no antidote.

The newspaper said it had taken care to remove a reference to how the leaves were prepared which, in its view, was the sole detail that could have led to copy-cat suicides. It considered that it was important to report the fundamental cause of death and said this particular method of suicide was not that rare. The complainants disputed both these points.

PCC Adjudication: Upheld

The purpose of Clause 5 (ii) is to minimise the risk of copycat suicides by requiring that care is taken not to publish excessive detail of the method used in suicide cases. This requirement extends to the reporting of inquests.

On this occasion, the Commission considered that the level of detail was excessive. The information in the piece included the type of leaf used; how the deceased found out about it; the fact there was no antidote; and a reference to the speed of the process. Taken together, the Commission was concerned that this information may have been sufficient to spell out to others how to carry out such a suicide. There was therefore a breach of the Code and the complaint was upheld.


8th May   

Free Speakers Bullied...

US bloggers worried about law that could make internet insult a crime
Link Here

American bloggers have reacted angrily to proposals for a new law that could potentially make it illegal to criticise or make fun of somebody online.

Linda Sanchez, a Democratic congresswoman for California, is leading a bill intended to combat cyberbullying – but opponents say the law's limits are vague and threaten freedom of speech.

The bill, which is being submitted to Congress for the second time, proposes that any electronic communication intended to coerce, intimidate, harass or cause substantial emotional distress could be punished with a fine or a prison sentence of up to two years.

According the proposals, the new rules would cover email, blogs, instant messaging and texts.

Opponents are concerned that it could violate the US constitution's first amendment – which guarantees freedom of expression – and threatens valid online criticism.

Eugene Volokh, a professor at the UCLA school of law and one of the most high-profile political bloggers in the US, has attacked the proposals as overbroad and constitutionally vague. Although serious cyberbullying is clearly an unwanted problem, Volokh says the definition of severe could easily lead to the censorship of campaigning blogs, political arguments or even consumer boycotts. This cannot possibly be constitutionally permissible, it cannot possibly be a good idea, it cannot possibly be what the drafters intended, and yet that is what they wrote. If it is passed through Congress, I see it being struck down in courts.


8th May   

Taking the Biscuit...

Whinges about Mikado biscuit snack TV advert
Link Here

A TV advert was whinged about as sexist for showing a man watching a young woman accidentally photocopying — up her skirt.

The 30-second ad — for chocolate biscuit snack Mikado — has been running on UK TV since the beginning of April.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has received 141 complaints from 'disgusted' viewers.

The Ad starts with a Japanese businessman munching on the tasty treat before putting the box on a shelf when a young secretary enters the room.

After he leaves, the women straddles the photocopier in order to reach the goodies but her boss walks back in as she accidentally knocks the copy button with her knee.

The ad ends with the boss watching the woman from behind as the copier flashes several times up her mini-skirt.

A voiceover then says: Mikado - more than a little bit tempting.

The ASA say they are powerless to take the ad off the air because it is shown at night.

A spokeswoman said: The advert is for chocolate and therefore must adhere by the High Fat, Salt and Sugar (HFSS) rules which means it must not go out during shows which could appeal to children. So far the advert is only shown during adult content programmes. We are therefore not investigating the advert.


8th May   

Update: Censorship Boy Warriors...

Sony reject hindu call to ban Indian video game
Link Here
Full story: Boy Warriors Censorship...Indian computer game under fire from Hindus

Hindu groups protesting the recent release of Hanuman: Boy Warrior for the PlayStation 2 have apparently run out of patience with Sony.

A press release issued by head whinger Rajan Zed seems to indicate that Sony will not intervene in Hanuman 's distribution. Bhavna Shinde of Forum for Hindu Awakening is quoted in the release:

So now we are left with no other alternative except to intensify our protests. Lord Hanuman is a highly revered Deity for us Hindus and we cannot accept any more denigration of Him...

We are shocked at the stubbornness of Sony Corporation not to withdraw the PlayStation2 game Hanuman: Boy Warrior despite our repeated requests. Sony Corporation is held in high esteem the world over with high ethical principles. We were expecting that Sony would not hurt the feelings of the one billion strong Hindu population for a minor product like this game.


8th May   

Update: Age Old Verification Issues...

Online Purchasing of Goods and Services (Age Verification) Bill 2nd Reading in the Lords
Link Here
Full story: Elspeth Howe and Age Verification...Early UK bills to mandate internet age verification

A Bill which aims to control the online sale of age-restricted goods will be presented to the House of Lords on 8th May 2009 for its second reading by Baroness Doreen Massey, Chair of the All-Party Children's group.

Baroness Massey's Online Purchasing of Goods and Services (Age Verification) Bill is calling for all online retailers who sell age-restricted goods to establish a system to allow them to determine whether or not a person purchasing the products meet the legal minimum age.

The main products which would be affected by the Bill are: knives; alcohol; tobacco; some video games and DVDs; solvents and spray paints.

The provisions of Baroness Massey's Bill are in line with the Gambling Act 2005 which has resulted in remote gambling operators now using specialist companies to carry out verification or online databases to verify the age of the buyer, rather than users merely ticking a box to confirm that they are over 18, as had previously been common practice.


7th May   

Shifty Advert...

'Stitch Up a Mate' email a little too realistic
Link Here

An e-mail promoting the film Shifty .

On visiting the website for the film, consumers were presented with the option to Stitch up a mate by entering a friend's e-mail address. The website stated that the recipient would not see their e-mail address.

An e-mail was subsequently sent to that friend from the address The subject headline of the e-mail stated CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION and was followed by a reference number that included the recipient's name. The e-mail was in the form of a letter personally addressed to the recipient, and text at the top of the letter stated N.B. A copy of this notice has been sent to the postal address at which you are currently registered under the electoral roll.

Further text in the body of the e-mail stated In a recent operation a subject was arrested with a quantity of class A drugs in their possession. During the post arrest interview the suspect supplied your name to us as a habitual narcotics user. As such you are now at risk of a criminal prosecution based on the information supplied.

However, as part of the Community Drugs Team initiative we are attempting to work with and help people who may have issues with drug use. Under this new initiative it may be possible to prevent further investigation if you are willing to participate in the newly launched ACT AGAINST DRUGS campaign, and submit to counselling and weekly drug testing. If you wish to participate please click on the link below to arrange a date, time and location for your initial interview and first weekly test [the website was given].

If you feel information has been wrongly supplied or wish to appeal against this notice click on the link below [the same website address was given]. If you fail to respond to this e-mail within 7 days of receipt please be aware that this will then become an official matter and there will be a strong likelihood of criminal investigation. It is our aim to help you in the most discreet way possible, however we will require your full co-operation.

The letter was signed on behalf of the London Community Drugs Team.

When the recipient clicked on either of the links in the email they were directed to the website for the film, which stated You have just been stitched up by your friend. If you can't spot a shifty email when you see one ... To stitch up your own friend click here.

The complainant, who received the e-mail at their work address and was concerned that the e-mail could be threat to their employment, challenged whether:

  1. the ad was distressing and irresponsible, because it implied that the recipient had been involved in the use of illegal drugs
  2. the ad was misleading, because it appeared to be an official communication and did not make clear that it was marketing material.
  3. The ASA challenged whether the approach used by the advertisers breached the database rules because recipients had not given explicit consent to receive marketing by email.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

1. The ASA considered that the ad's claims that the recipient was involved in illegal drugs, had been named in a police interview and was at risk of criminal prosecution, as well as the implication that the e-mail had been sent by an official body, could cause alarm and undue distress to some recipients. We also considered that further distress could be caused to recipients were the e-mail to be seen by their employer or friends and family.

We noted that Metrodome had amended the ad to include text at the end of the email that stated If you are still reading this e-mail please be aware this is a hoax sent to you by one of your friends. However, we considered that that sentence was not sufficient to mitigate the possible distress caused by the overall impression of the ad. We acknowledged that Metrodome had withdrawn the e-mail function from their website. However, because we considered that the ad was irresponsible and could cause serious distress, we concluded that that approach should not be used again.

2. We noted that the email appeared to have been sent from the address, and that references to the Community Drugs Team were repeated throughout the email. We also noted that the e-mail contained a reference number that included the recipient's name and stated that a copy of the e-mail had been sent to the address at which the recipient was registered on the electoral role. We considered that that approach could mislead recipients into believing that the email was a communication from a government body or other official organisation. We noted that there was nothing in the body copy of the e-mail, or its subject line and sent address, that identified the email as marketing material, and whilst we acknowledged that recipients who clicked on the community-drugs-team link provided in the e-mail were taken to the film's website where the hoax was revealed, we considered that the ad should have been clearly identified as marketing material without the need to open the email or click on the link. Because it was not we concluded that the ad was misleading.

3. We noted that the film's website did not seek to obtain the explicit consent of the recipient to receive e-mail marketing, or ask the friend who initiated the hoax e-mail to confirm that they had the consent of the recipient. We also noted that the website stated that the sender's e-mail address would be withheld, and we were concerned that it would not be made clear to recipients how and when their e-mail address had been obtained. We considered that Metrodome should have taken steps to satisfy themselves that the recipient was happy to receive e-mail marketing from them, and because they had not we concluded that the ad was in breach.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Metrodome to make clear that future ads were marketing material and to ensure that they had the explicit consent of the recipient to receive marketing by e-mail in future.


7th May

 Offsite: Religion is Often Worthy of Insult...

Link Here
Sinister blasphemy law would play into the hands of religious nut cases

See article from


7th May   

Conflict in Yemen...

Yemen sends security forces to ban Al-Ayyam newspaper
Link Here
Full story: News Censorship in Yemen...Yemen news media and southern unrest

After confiscating thousands of copies of a critical independent newspaper, authorities laid siege today to the paper's offices in Aden, Yemen. The daily, Al-Ayyam, has been covering the ongoing conflict in the country's southern region.

Bashraheel Bashraheel, general manager of Al-Ayyam, told CPJ that after three consecutive days of authorities confiscating thousands of copies of the newspaper, security forces today surrounded Al-Ayyam and prevented the distribution of all 70,000 copies of the paper. Staff members are allowed to leave the building but are being searched as they exit, Bashraheel said.

We call on the authorities to end the siege of Al-Ayyam and to withdraw all its forces immediately, said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ's Middle East and North Africa program coordinator: Al-Ayyam and its staff are exercising their journalistic duty to cover an ongoing conflict. The government must not target them because of their coverage.

Dozens of protesters gathered today in front of the besieged paper's offices to protest the government's action, with the police eventually dispersing the demonstrators, Al-Ayyam reported on its Web site.

Bashraheel told CPJ that in light of the government's actions and to curb financial losses he has been forced to suspend printing of Al-Ayyam indefinitely.


6th May   

Update: Rotten Apple Spoils a Lovely Bunch...

Apple censors The Sun for its page 3 fun
Link Here
Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

Apple may put News International's nose out of joint with its definition of 'obscene', after rejecting a newspaper-reading iPhone app for reasons of rudeness.

Newspaper(s), an application that renders content from the world's newspapers, was rejected by iTunes because it included the UK's Sun newspaper - complete with topless Page Three girl - on the grounds that it violates the iTunes policy on obscene content.

But the Sun reckons it's a family paper, and takes accusations of pornography-pushing very seriously indeed.

According to a report on iLounge the publisher of Newspaper(s) was recommended to resubmit the application once OS 3.0 is released, after which a suitable category will be available, but instead decided to remove the offending newspaper from the app.


6th May   

Update: Creeping Censorship...

Australia's internet censor blocks links to abortion politics page
Link Here

Australia's internet censor, ACMA, has issued Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA)’s webhost a Link Deletion Notice because of an article EFA published on their own website containing a link to an anti-abortion webpage declared prohibited content by the media regulator in January this year.

EFA writes:

To be clear, EFA published only a link to a page that is hosted overseas and is on ACMA’s prohibited list. Viewing the potentially R-rated page itself is not in any way illegal, and no system is yet in place to enforce the blocking of such web pages. One may well wonder why a link to a legally viewable page should draw the threat of legal sanction while the content itself remains visible. Because the link was on a web page hosted in Australia, the hosting provider - not EFA ourselves, who have more control over the content - falls under Australian legal jurisdiction and could be so served. What this accomplishes is uncertain.

EFA has complied with the notice and have removed the link to AbortionTV in this post. They add:

This is a textbook case that demonstrates that there is no sharp dividing line between “political” speech and other content. At the edges of public policy are issues which will inflame passions and lead to images, video and words that are offensive to many people. Trying to stamp these out, especially on the Internet, not only diminishes our democracy but is pointless and paternalistic to boot.

Update: Appeal Turned Down

21st May 2010. See  article from

EFA helped its ISP, Sublime, challenge the deletion notice on two counts: (1) that it was a violation of the supposed freedom of political communication, especially since it was a discussion about the political effects of censorship policy, and (2) that officials should have sent the notice to EFA directly, rather than its ISP (in fact, EFA had asked for a notice to be sent directly to it, rather than Sublime, so that it could take on the case directly... and officials refused).

Unfortunately, the Australian Administrative Appeals Tribunal (AAT) rejected both challenges, twisting itself into a bit of pretzel logic to explain why this wasn't a violation of freedom for political communication. Basically, the tribunal claimed that EFA could have hidden the link behind a special restricted access system that would block that content for those under 18 (in theory, of course, but not in practice). And, since you have to be 18 to vote, the tribunal reasoned, if such a age verification wall had been in place, the content would not have been blocked from those of voting age... and thus there was no violation of political communication. Yes, that's quite twisted logic, but if you're defending internet censorship, sooner or later your logic is going to get twisted into knots...


6th May   

UK's Hate List...

UK Secretary names those excluded from the UK
Link Here

Individuals banned from the UK have been named for for the first time, the Home Secretary announced. The list covers people excluded from the United Kingdom for fostering extremism or hatred between October 2008 and March 2009.

It follows the Home Secretary’s introduction of new measures against such individuals last year, including creating a presumption in favour of exclusion in respect of all those who have engaged in spreading hate.

The Home Secretary Jacqui Smith also announced today that the government is now able to ban European nationals and their family members if they constitute a threat to public policy or public security.

In the period from 28 October 2008 to 31 March 2009 the Home Secretary excluded a total of 22 individuals from coming to the United Kingdom. It is not considered to be in the public interest to disclose the names of six of these individuals. The remaining 16 individuals are:

Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence:

  • Abdullah Qadri Al Ahdal. Preacher
  • Yunis Al Astal. Preacher
  • Wadgy Abd El Hamied Mohamed Ghoneim. A prolific speaker and writer.
  • Safwat Hijazi. Television preacher.
  • Nasr Javed
  • Abdul Ali Musa
  • Samir Al Quntar
  • Amir Siddique. Preacher.


  • Stephen Donald Black Set up Stormfront, a racist website. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by promoting serious criminal activity and fostering hatred, which might lead to inter-community violence in the United Kingdom.
  • Eric Gliebe. Has made web-radio broadcasts in which he vilifies certain ethnic groups and encourages the download and distribution of provocative racist leaflets and posters. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by justifying terrorist violence, provoking others to commit serious crime and fostering racial hatred.
  • Mike Guzovsky. Leader of a violent group and actively involved with military training camps. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs and to provoke others to terrorist acts.
  • Fred Waldron Phelps Snr and Shirley Phelps-Roper. Pastor and leading spokesperson of Westboro Baptist Church. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the United Kingdom.
  • Artur Ryno and Pavel Skachevsky. Leaders of a violent gang that beat migrants and posted films of their attacks on the internet. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by fomenting serious criminal activity and seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts.
  • Michael Alan Weiner (also known as Michael Savage). Controversial daily radio host. Considered to be engaging in unacceptable behaviour by seeking to provoke others to serious criminal acts and fostering hatred which might lead to inter-community violence.

Under the unacceptable behaviour policy, the Home Secretary may exclude from the UK any non-British citizen, whether in the UK or abroad, who uses any means or medium including:

  • writing, producing, publishing or distributing material
  • public speaking including preaching
  • running a website
  • using a position of responsibility such as teacher, community or youth leader

To express views which:

  • foment, justify or glorify terrorist violence in furtherance of particular beliefs
  • seek to provoke others to terrorist acts
  • foment other serious criminal activity or seek to provoke others to serious criminal acts or
  • foster hatred which might lead to inter-community violence in the UK.

Update: Savage Defamation

7th May 2009, thanks to Alan

A US radio talk show host say he will sue the British government for defamation after being placed on a list of people banned from entering the UK. Conservative political commentator Michael Savage, real name Michael Alan Weiner, is one of 22 people barred for fostering extremism or hate.


6th May   

Religiously Correct Elections...

France looking to ban election candidates over anti-semitic views
Link Here

French authorities are trying to ban a comedian from fielding candidates in European polls because they believe he holds anti-Semitic opinions.

Dieudonné M'Bala M'Bala is going on trial later on Tuesday on charges of inciting hatred against Jews. The 42-year-old stand-up comic plans to present candidates in at least five of France's regions in June's polls.

Already fined two years ago for accusing Jewish people of what he called memorial pornography , the half-Cameroonian comedian is now facing trial on charges of inciting hatred against Jews.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy's chief-of-staff said on a Jewish radio station that it was odious that someone with such openly anti-Semitic views should be allowed to present himself for elections.

Dieudonne reacted to the criticism by calling the president's aide a good little soldier of the Zionist lobby.

Most of France's main political parties oppose Dieudonne's electoral initiative but some politicians have warned against public debate in case it generates publicity for his views.


6th May   

Update: Crude Cuts...

BBFC cuts to 15 rated versions of My Best Friend's Girl
Link Here

My Best Friend's Gir l is a 2008 US comedy by Howard Deutch (Lions Gate)

An Extended Version (Lewder, Cruder and even Ruder Edition) was passed uncut for DVD in 2009. This is the US unrated version.

The BBFC explained their 18 rating:

MY BEST FRIEND’S GIRL is a romantic comedy with gross-out humour. The story is about a man who is a specialist at giving women such a bad date that they rebound back to the last person they dated. He is hired by his best friend to date the woman who has just dumped him but in performing his job the specialist finds himself both falling in love and questioning the way he treats women. This work, which is the DVD release of an extended version of the film, was passed ‘18’ for very strong language, strong sex references and nudity. It includes material that was cut (for category) from the ‘15’ rated UK theatrical version.

The BBFC Guidelines at ‘15’ state that ‘there may be frequent use of strong language (e.g. 'fuck') but the strongest terms (e.g. ‘the c-word’) will be acceptable only where justified by the context. Continued aggressive use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable’. There are three uses of very strong language in this film, two of which are very clear and one that is much less discernible. However, although none of the uses are aggressively delivered or directed, the first occurs very early in the work, before the viewer can get to grips with the plot and before the characters have become established. As such it is best placed at ‘18’ and indeed the distributor chose to remove that particular use of the term in order to secure a ‘15’ classification category for the UK theatrical release of the film. There are over forty uses of strong language in the film.

The Guidelines at ‘15’ go on to state that ‘Sexual activity may be portrayed but without strong detail. There may be strong verbal references to sexual behaviour’. Although much of the material can be contained at ‘15’, some of the verbal sex references in this work, which were cut from the ‘15’ rated theatrical UK release, are very strong. They reflect sexual activity more commonly associated with hard core sex works that are inappropriate for 15 year olds and are best placed at the adult classification category.

MY BEST FRIEND’S GIRL also includes scenes of soft drug use, mild violence and breast nudity.

Previously the 2008 cinema release and 2009 15 rated DVD is the US R Rated version with 1:07s of additional cuts from the BBFC: Distributor chose to remove strong visual sex references (sight of a man's head between a lapdancer's buttocks), strong verbal sex references (a man telling an adult joke to a group of children and a crude and explicit monologue about a sexual experience) and one aggressive use of very strong language in order to achieve a '15' classification.


6th May   

Entitled to Censor...

Indian film censor objects to the title 'Hit Him!'
Link Here

An Indian Regional Board of Censor Certification has directed the makers of Hodi Maga (Can be vaguely translated as 'Hit Him!'), to change the title. The board has found the title very provocative.

This is the first time in the history of Kannada cinema that the Censor Board has asked to change the title.

Producer Rajkumar says that it is not the Censor Board's business to decide on the title of a film. 'The choice of title rests with the Karnataka Film Chamber of Commerce. It's been nearly seven months since we started the film and the Chamber has not opposed this title. How can we change the title so suddenly when the film is on the verge of release, asks Rajkumar.

Our guidelines say that if the title of a film is provocative, vulgar or offensive, the Censor Board can recommend to change it. We are just following the guidelines. We found Hodi Maga to be too provocative. Apart from that there are a few changes after which are ready to give an 'A' Certificate for the film, says Censor Chief Chandrashekhar.


5th May   

Update: Angels and Demons and Whingers...

UK catholics line up to support the hype for Angels and Demons
Link Here

UK catholic leaders have attacked Angels and Demons , the film adaptation of Dan Brown's book.

The Rt Rev Malcolm McMahon, the Bishop of Nottingham, warned that the film could stir up anti-Catholic sentiment.

This is so outlandish, it's total rubbish, said Bishop McMahon, who is one of the Church's most senior bishops: It's mischievous to stir up this kind of anti-Catholic sentiment. It's a gratuitous knocking of the Church and I can't see any reason for it.

Bishop McMahon said that Catholics were getting tired of the sensational stories and plot lines contained in Brown's novels and subsequent film adaptations: I don't think that Catholics will be interested in seeing this as it's so far removed from the truth.

Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights in the US, accused Howard and Brown of smearing the Catholic church with fabulously bogus tales. Donahue is exasperated by the way that he says Brown and Howard blend fact, fiction and conspiracy theory. I have never dealt with two more disingenuous people, he told The Daily Telegraph: They wouldn't dare treat any other religion like this.

Howard responded in forthright fashion: Let me be clear: neither I nor Angels & Demons are anti-Catholic. And let me be a little controversial: I believe Catholics, including most in the hierarchy of the Church, will enjoy the movie for what it is – an exciting mystery, set in the awe-inspiring beauty of Rome.

There has also been high-level discussion within the Vatican about whether to urge a boycott of the film, according to Italian media reports. It took that step with The Da Vinci Code , but the film enjoyed staggering box office takings of $758 million and some Vatican insiders fear their high-profile opposition backfired.

Let's be careful not to play their game... by giving them free publicity, said Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, the Vatican economics minister, who still made clear his derision for the book as a manipulation in anti-Christian key of people, events and history.


5th May   

Update: A Long Exposure...

Court bid to re-impose fine for Janet Jackson's boob
Link Here
Full story: FCC TV Censors...FCC wound up by nudity and fleeting expletives

The US Supreme Court has ordered a re-examination of a ruling that threw out a fine over Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction during 2004's Super Bowl.

FCC censors had initially fined CBS TV $550,000 (£368,000) in September 2004 for airing the glimpse of Jackson's breast during the broadcast.

But an appeals court quashed it in July last year saying the watchdog acted arbitrarily in issuing the fine.

Now the high court has directed the 3rd US Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia to consider reinstating the fine imposed by the FCC.

The order follows a high court ruling last week that upheld the FCC's policy that subjects broadcasters to fines against even single uses of swear words on live television.  Last year, the appeals court threw out the fine against CBS, saying that as the incident lasted nine-sixteenths of one second, it should have been regarded as "fleeting".

Lawyers for CBS had urged the Supreme Court to reject the FCC's appeal.


5th May   

Update: Cranks...

Thailand's film censors cut Crank: High Voltage
Link Here

The frenetically paced, ultra-violent Hollywood action comedy Crank: High Voltage has been snipped by Thai censors, who objected to a sex scene that takes place in view of a crowded grandstand at a horse-racing track.

In this sequel, hitman Chev Chelios' (Jason Statham) heart has been stolen and replaced with a battery-powered ticker, so he needs to generate electricity from friction to keep pumping.

In the censored version, the sex scene at the race track simply cuts to the crowd's excited reaction of seeing the couple copulate in the dirt. And then Chev and the dishevelled Eve are on the run from the police.

Earlier in the film, Chev meets his girlfriend at a go-go bar, where other dancers are topless, and naked breasts are clearly seen. But Smart's character, who has become a go-go dancer since the first film, has black electrical-tape X's over her nipples.

In the US, Crank: High Voltage is rated R (admission to viewers under 17 only with a parent or guardian) for frenetic strong bloody violence throughout, crude and graphic sexual content, nudity and pervasive language.

The UK's film censor, the BBFC, explains its 18 uncut rating more fully

CRANK 2 is the sequel to an American action film about a man involved with a crime syndicate who has an artificial heart that requires regular doses of electricity to keep working. It was passed '18' for strong and brutal violence, gory moments, sex and very strong language.

Violent scenes include a man having the barrel of a rifle pushed into his anus as a means of interrogation; and frequent shoot-outs with generous spurts of blood. Violent and gory scenes include partially graphic sight of a man slicing off his own nipples and a man having the skin on his elbow sliced off. Such scenes go comfortably beyond what can be accepted at '15' under BBFC Guidelines which state, 'Violence may be strong but may not dwell on the infliction off pain or injury'. However, the exaggerated and rather unrealistic treatment of the violence, coupled with the intended black humour, mean this does not raise harm concerns which might have prevented it being passed for an adult audience.

Very strong language is used clearly at least four times and this also requires restriction to an adult audience.

There are also scenes showing sexual activity, the strongest of which is a sex scene at a race-track which features full body shots of various sexual positions with naked buttocks. Pixelation masks the strongest detail.


5th May   

Update: Don't Wanna Putin...

Georgia organises its own song contest to sing against Putin
Link Here

Banned from the Eurovision Song Contest for an anthem that mocked Russia’s Prime Minister, the Georgians have hit back by organising a song festival of their own.

The organisers of Alter/Vision have invited pop groups from all over Europe to participate in their rival event, which will take place at the same time as the Eurovision final in Moscow on May 16. It is an impertinent response to the ruling that the original Eurovision entry, a disco song performed by Stephane and 3G entitled We Don’t Wanna Put In — a play on the name of Vladimir Putin — was too political.

Georgian Public Television, which held the national contest, was asked to revise the lyrics or submit an alternative. Instead, it withdrew from Eurovision, complaining that organisers had bowed to unacceptable pressure from Russia.

The Georgian Ministry of Culture is backing the alternative festival, to be held in the capital, Tbilisi, from May 15-17. Organisers said that it would feature 20 acts from nine countries, including Britain, France, Germany and Russia, but that there would be no voting to choose a winner.

It’s our moral support to the people who were supposed to sing at Eurovision but won’t be there, a spokesman, Irakli Matkava, said: We want to express true European values of freedom and fun. Eurovision is about bureaucratic control and censorship. It’s more about a country’s prestige than music.


5th May   

Update: Aurora of Censorship...

Philippines censor whinges at university showing of banned film
Link Here
Full story: Movie censorship in Philippines...Philippines censor bans and cuts

Philippine's Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) has asked the director of the film, Aurora , to explain why the uncut version of the movie was shown at the University of the Philippines without the permission from the board.

The independent movie was banned as unfit for public viewing by the MTRCB but it was shown just the same at the UP Film Institute (UPFI) Cine Adarna in January.

The MTRCB said the film was screened for commercial gain and without the corresponding permit to exhibit from the body. The MTRCB has already instructed director Adolf Alix Jr. to submit his counter-affidavit to explain his side.

Filmmaker Sean Lim, the representative of Oxin Entertainment, had already submitted his counter-affidavit to the MTRCB. Oxin Entertainment is the company that released Aurora. Lim, in his written testimony, said the film was part of an educational screening at the UPFI and the scheduled showing was under the pretext of the state university’s aim in promoting academic freedom.


4th May   

Pizza plus Free Thai Massage...

New Zealand advert censor reports on ads of 2008
Link Here

A religion-related Tui beer billboard was the most complained about ad in New Zealand in 2008, the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) annual report said.

Let's take a moment this Christmas to think about Christ...Yeah Right - Tui, went to No 1 on the ASA 2008 hate list, with 86 complaints, saying it was offensive to Christians, as was the alcohol-religion link.

Dominion Breweries withdrew the Christmas ad, after howls of 'outrage'.

Tui bumped Hell Pizza from No 1, after the fast food company cooked up the most complained-about ads in 2006 and 2007. Hell Pizza only managed No 10 in 2008, with its $25 Hot as Hell direct mail ad. That ad promised a Thai massage with one of its pizzas, if the offer was redeemed in Thailand on the day of purchase. The ad showed a photo of a young Thai woman in high heels and a bikini, which 16 complainants said invoked prostitution and was a racial slur to Thais.

In 2008, there were 1246 complaints about 703 different advertisements, up on 1160 and 668 in 2007.

Selection from the 10 most complained about ads of 2008:

  • 1. Tui Beer, billboard. Let's take a moment this Christmas to think about Christ...Yeah Right - Tui. (86 complaints). Settled, when withdrawn by advertiser.
  • 2. Brandex Adventure Sports Ltd, television. Skins sportswear, touting the physicality of African-American athletes, saying they have a warrior mentality and killer instinct . (73). Upheld, racial stereotyping.
  • 5. Advanced Medical Institute, billboard. Want long-lasting Sex?, ad for nasal medication to battle premature ejaculation. (38). Upheld, did not meet due sense of social responsibility.
  • 6. Sky Television, billboard. An ad for a Sky television programme stated, all business considered, even from Jews. (27). Settled, advertisement removed and an apology published.
  • 7. Beds R Us, television. A couple searching for the perfect bed are shown kissing passionately, then the female, clad in underwear, straddles the male. (23). Settled, ad replaced after complaints that sex was being used to sell.
  • 10. Hell Pizza, direct mail. $25 Hot as Hell ad showed a photo of a Thai woman in high heels and a bikini, promising a Thai massage, if the offer was redeemed in Thailand on the day of purchase. (15). No grounds to proceed, as it did not meet the threshold to breach the Advertising Codes.


4th May

 Offsite: Authoritarian Government and Legal Actions...

Link Here
The many-headed serpent that threatens freedom of the press

See article from


4th May   

Pressing for Change...

Brazil repeals press law from its dictatorship era
Link Here

Brazil's Supreme Court has struck down a press censorship law enacted during an era of military dictatorship.

In a 7-4 vote, the court ruled the law unconstitutionally violated freedom of expression.

The law was enacted in 1967 by the military regime that ruled between 1961 and 1985. In the name of 'national security', the law censored news media, composers, playwrights and writers and allowed for the seizure of publications.

Although on the books for more than 40 years, the law's provisions have not been a serious matter since the return of democratic rule.


4th May   

Censor Wins...

Philippines gets decision to ban TV programme for 3 months confirmed by Supreme Court
Link Here

Philipppine's Supreme Court affirmed the decision of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) to suspend TV program Ang Dating Daan for three months.

The MTRCB imposed a three-month suspension of the religious show on UNTV 37 after its host, petitioner Eliseo S. Soriano, was found to have uttered supposedly offensive and obscene remarks during its August 10, 2004 broadcast.

In an 11-4 vote, the High court, through Associate Justice Presbitero Velasco, said the suspension is not a prior restraint but rather a form of permissible administrative sanction or subsequent punishment.

In affirming the power of the MTRCB to issue an order of suspension, the High court said that it is a sanction that the MTRCB may validly impose under its charter without running afoul of the free speech clause.

A dissenting view from Justice Carpio called the suspension an unconstitutional prior restraint on freedom of expression which should not have been allowed. According to Justice Carpio, prior restraints may only be justified if they are either pornography, false or misleading advertisement, advocacy of imminent lawless action, and [or] danger to national security, and obviously, what petitioner uttered does not fall under any of the four.

Update: Upheld in the Supreme Court

18th March 2010. See article from

The Supreme Court en banc has upheld with finality its decision which declared legal the three-month suspension imposed by the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) on the television program Ang Dating Daan owing to the use of supposedly offensive and obscene language by its host, Eliseo Brother Eli Soriano, during its August 10, 2004, broadcast.

In a vote of 11-4, the Court denied the motion for reconsideration filed by Soriano seeking the reversal of its April 29, 2009, decision which upheld MTRCB's three-month suspension of Ang Dating Daan , a televised Bible exposition program.


4th May

 Offsite: Why Jane Fonda Is Banned in Beirut...

Link Here
Banned books in Lebanon

See article from


3rd May   

Updated: Censorship Demons...

Indian bishops offered the chance to ban Angels and Demons
Link Here

India's Censor Board Screening Committee has now seen the film Angels and Demons and have not issued sertificate.

They have referred the film to a Revising Committee with the censor Sharmila Tagore and a panel of 4 catholic bishops.

Here is a press statement from Christian Secular Forum:

We have represented to the Censor Board, that in matter pertaining to Catholicism, the opinion of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) should be binding. The Censor Board has therefore asked for 4 representatives of the Catholic Bishops to see the film. The CBCI has also already written to the Censor Board calling for a ban on Angels & Demons . The ball is now in the Catholic Bishops' court. If after seeing the film, it recommends a ban - Banned it will it be.

We are also given to understand that the Censor Board wants the Church to settle for a Disclaimer.

Update: Angels & the CSF

3rd May 2009. Based on article from

In a statement on Saturday, Joseph Dias, general secretary of the Christian Secular Forum (CSF) urged Catholic bishops to call for a boycott of the film.

It also filed a complaint with the Commissioner of Police, Mumbai, urging him to take action against officials of Sony Pictures on various counts.

The CSF submitted a memorandum to Central Board for Film Certification chairperson Sharmila Tagore, calling for wider consultations to further scan the film and ensure that it did not hurt the sentiments of Christians. Scenes depicting violence in churches should be removed and care should be taken while dubbing the film in other languages.

The earlier revision committee, which recommended a disclaimer and an A certificate, was based in the capital and not comprehensive enough, said Dias. If the film was not cut adequately to remove the objectionable scenes, the CSF would consider legal options, he warned.


3rd May   

Diverting Voter's Attention...

New Irish libel law is a threat to free speech
Link Here

Suspicion that move to up-date Ireland's Defamation Act is an attempt by a desperate government to divert voters’ attention

The government’s plan to create a crime of blasphemous libel, punishable by a fine of up to €100,000, should be of concern to anyone who values freedom of expression. The stealthy manner in which Dermot Ahern, the minister for justice, inserted the blasphemy clause into the Defamation Bill was itself a cause of concern, with his justification unconvincing.

The new offence of publishing or uttering blasphemous matter is defined as anything grossly abusive or insulting in relation to matters held sacred by any religion, thereby causing outrage among a substantial number of the adherents of that religion . The offender must intend to cause such outrage.

Ahern’s justification is that the Irish constitution states that the publication or utterance of blasphemous, seditious or indecent material is an offence which shall be punishable in accordance with law. The Defamation Act of 1961 is outdated, Ahern argues, and he needs to modernise it.

He does not. The justice minister’s protestations that the mention of blasphemy in the constitution “cannot be ignored” ring hollow.

...Read full article

Atheists fight to keep God out of Irish law

See article from
See also Atheist Ireland

Atheist Ireland says the proposed legislation combines the oppressive religious thinking of 1950s Catholic Ireland and Islamic fundamentalism.

Co-founder Michael Nugent said they intended to launch a roadshow in the republic to kick-start their campaign.

This new law will treat religious beliefs as more valuable than secular beliefs and scientific thinking, Nugent said: The bill's first test of blasphemy is that religious adherents express outrage. Instead of encouraging outrage, we should be educating people to respond in a more healthy manner when somebody expresses a belief that they find insulting. More worryingly, this law would encourage the type of orchestrated outrage that Islamic fundamentalists directed against Danish cartoonists.

Under the proposed law, Ding Dong Denny O'Reilly, a spoof Irish republican extremist who sings in a Celtic shirt, could be prosecuted for his song The Ballad of Jaysus Christ, Nugent said.

...Read full article


3rd May

 Offsite: World Press Freedom Day...

Link Here
A report from Index on Censorship

See article from


3rd May   

Misleading, Offensive and Harmful...

ASA publishes Annual Report covering censored ads of 2008
Link Here

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) revealed that it had its busiest year ever in 2008, with a record number of ads (2,475) changed or withdrawn as a result of ASA action.

The ASA received the highest number of complaints (26,433) about a record number (15,556) of ads with a 27% increase in the number of formal upheld rulings.

Misleading claims in ads accounted for over 45% (12,942) of the complaints total followed by issues relating to offensiveness (8,831) and then harm (2,926). For the first time, none of the top ten most complained about ads of the year was found in breach of the Advertising Codes.

Encouragingly, of the thousands of ads that were spot checked, the overall compliance rate was a high 97%.

Introducing the Annual Report, Chairman of the ASA Lord (Chris) Smith says British advertising is known for its creativity and the overwhelming majority of ads we see deliver effective messages in a responsible way. It is the ASA’s role to respond to public concerns proportionately and with common-sense whilst robustly applying the Codes in areas where people need protecting. In 2008, we delivered on this central duty and made it a priority to keep an active check on sensitive sectors such as financial advertising and price comparisons.


3rd May   

10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger...

A CPJ report
Link Here

With a military government that severely restricts Internet access and imprisons people for years for posting critical material, Burma is the worst place in the world to be a blogger, the Committee to Protect Journalists says in a new report. CPJ’s 10 Worst Countries to be a Blogger also identifies a number of countries in the Middle East and Asia where Internet penetration has blossomed and government repression has grown in response.

Bloggers are at the vanguard of the information revolution and their numbers are expanding rapidly, said CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon: But governments are quickly learning how to turn technology against bloggers by censoring and filtering the Internet, restricting online access and mining personal data. When all else fails, the authorities simply jail a few bloggers to intimidate the rest of the online community into silence or self-censorship.

Worst Countries to blog:

  1. Burma , which heavily censors print and broadcast media, has also applied extensive restrictions on blogging and other Internet activity. Private Internet penetration is very small—only about 1%, according to the Internet research group OpenNet Initiative—so most citizens access the Internet in cybercafés. Authorities heavily regulate those cafés, requiring them, for example, to enforce censorship rules. The government, which shut down the Internet altogether during a popular uprising in 2007, has the capability to monitor e-mail and other communication methods and to block users from viewing Web sites of political opposition groups, according to OpenNet Initiative.
  2. Iran . Authorities regularly detain or harass bloggers who write critically about religious or political figures, the Islamic revolution, and its symbols. The government requires all bloggers to register their Web sites with the Ministry of Art and Culture. Government officials claim to have blocked millions of Web sites, according to news reports. A newly created special prosecutor’s office specializes in Internet issues and works directly with intelligence services. Pending legislation would make the creation of blogs promoting corruption, prostitution, and apostasy punishable by death.
  3. Syria . The government uses filtering methods to block politically sensitive sites. Authorities detain bloggers for posting content, even third-party material, deemed to be false or detrimental to national unity . Self-censorship is pervasive. In 2008, the Ministry of Communications ordered Internet café owners to get identification from all patrons, to record customer names and times of use, and to submit the documentation regularly to authorities. Human rights groups noted that authorities harass and detain bloggers perceived as antigovernment.
  4. Cuba . Only government officials and people with links to the Communist Party have Web access. The general population goes online at hotels or government-controlled Internet cafés by means of expensive voucher cards. A small number of independent bloggers such as Yoani Sánchez detail everyday life and offer criticism of the regime. Their blogs are hosted outside the country and are largely blocked on the island. Two independent bloggers tell CPJ that they are harassed by authorities. Only pro-government bloggers can post their material on domestic sites that can be easily accessed.
  5. Saudi Arabia . An estimated 400,000 sites are blocked inside the kingdom, including those that tackle political, social, or religious issues. Self-censorship is widespread. Aside from indecent material, Saudi Arabia blocks anything contrary to the state or its system, a standard that has been interpreted liberally. In 2008, influential clerics called for harsh punishment, including flogging and death, for online writers guilty of posting material deemed heretical.
  6. Vietnam . Bloggers have daringly tried to fill the gap in independent news that is left by the traditional state-controlled media. The government has responded with more regulation. Authorities have called on international technology companies such as Yahoo, Google, and Microsoft to provide information about bloggers who use their platforms. Last September, prominent blogger Nguyen Van Hai, also known as Dieu Cay, was sentenced to 30 months in prison on tax evasion charges. CPJ research shows the charges were in reprisal for his blogging.
  7. Tunisia . Internet service providers are required to submit IP addresses and other identifying information to the government on a regular basis. All Internet traffic flows through a central network, allowing the government to filter content and monitor e-mails. The government employs an array of techniques to harass bloggers: conducting surveillance, restricting bloggers’ movements, and undertaking electronic sabotage.
  8. China . With nearly 300 million people online—more than any other country in the world—China has a vibrant digital culture. But Chinese authorities also maintain the world’s most comprehensive online censorship program, one emulated by many other countries. The government relies on service providers to filter searches, block critical Web sites, delete objectionable content, and monitor e-mail traffic. Because China’s traditional press is tightly controlled, bloggers often break news and provide provocative commentary. Blogs, for example, played prominent roles in spreading news and information about the 2008 Sichuan earthquake. But bloggers who go too far in promoting unpopular views or reporting sensitive information can find themselves in jail. At least 24 online writers are now in prison, CPJ research shows.
  9. Turkmenistan . President Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov promised to open his isolated country to the world by providing public Internet access. But when the country’s first Internet café opened in 2007, it was guarded by soldiers, connections were uneven, the hourly fee was prohibitively high, and authorities monitored or blocked access to certain sites. The Russian telecommunications company MTS, which entered the Turkmen market in 2005, started offering Web access from mobile phones in June 2008, but service agreements require customers to avoid Web sites critical of the Turkmen government.
  10. Egypt . Authorities block only a small number of Web sites, but they monitor Internet activity on a regular basis. Traffic from all Internet service providers passes through the state-run Egypt Telecom. Authorities regularly detain critical bloggers for open-ended periods. Local press freedom groups documented the detention of more than 100 bloggers in 2008 alone. Although most bloggers were released after short periods, some were held for months and many were kept without judicial order. Most detained bloggers report mistreatment, and a number have been tortured.


3rd May   

Update: Blocking Dissent...

Kazakhstan's proposed internet censorship law progresses
Link Here

Kazakhstan’s lower house of parliament, the Mazhilis, passed April 29 a controversial law changing the way Internet regulation is governed in the Kazakhstan domain.

With the expansion of the reach of Internet pages, the number of crimes committed using Internet sources is growing, Zhanna Kurmangaliyeva, executive secretary at the Culture and Information Ministry, told EurasiaNet, citing the dissemination of pornography and libelous material as examples.

Critics say the law will unduly restrict freedom of expression, equating blogs, forums and chatrooms to media outlets, making site owners responsible for content, and allowing websites to be closed without a court ruling.

The For a Free Internet! campaign expressed disappointment at the vote. We’re asking all Kazakh Internet users not use the sources that the Information Technology and Communications Agency [which drafted the law] has been recently promoting, and delete all their personal pages in social networks and blogs, Yevgeniya Plakhina, a campaign organizer, told EurasiaNet.

The bill has still to complete its passage through both houses of parliament and must be signed by President Nursultan Nazarbayev before it becomes law.


2nd May   

Kiss Temptation...

Advertising censor to investigate sexy ice cream habit
Link Here
Full story: Antonio Federici Ice Cream...Ice cream adverts wind up the nutters

An ice cream advert which shows a glamorous nun about to kiss a priest is being investigated by the advertising watchdog.

The picture promoting a new brand called Antonio Federici Gelato Italiano is accompanied by the tag-line Kiss Temptation.

It is believed to have appeared in a number of publications - including Delicious and Sainsbury's magazines - before bringing a complaint.

Now the Advertising Standards Authority, which confirmed it is looking into whether the commercial has broken regulations, could ban the advert.

The Committee of Advertising Practice rules on religious offence states that portraying nuns in a sexual manner is inappropriate.

Matt O'Connor, Antonio Federici's creative director, said: We thought it was light-hearted and it was not designed to give any offence.


2nd May

 Offsite: Dangerous and Silly Minister for Injustice...

Link Here
Crime of blasphemy dangerous and silly

See article from


2nd May   

US Blu-rays Zapped...

Indian court rules that it is illegal to distribute US DVDs without Indian film certificates
Link Here

India's Delhi High Court has ruled that renting of imported American DVDs is against the law, the local Hindi daily Navbharat Times reported.

The court has ruled that if a movie rental shop bought CDs, DVDs or blue ray discs in bulk from American markets and put them in circulation in India, for renting, it would be violating a law.

The court said imported DVDs without license from the Indian Censor Board and copyrights documents could not be circulated in public.

It said that people could buy the CDs or DVDs from other countries for personal viewing at home.

The US firm Warner Bros. Entertainment has earlier filed a petition at the court requesting the ban of circulation of U.S. DVDs in India, saying it violated the copyrights of American movie producers.


1st May   

Update: Fitzpatrick on Speed...

Media and Jeremy Clarkson blamed for speeding
Link Here
Full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers

Computer games, television programmes and Hollywood films are encouraging a dangerous culture of speeding among UK drivers, according to a report.

High-speed chases in movies and programmes such as Top Gear have built up a cachet of excitement and glamour around speeding, the report from Co-operative Insurance found.

Launched at a parliamentary reception attended by Road Safety Minister Jim Fitzpatrick, the report showed that more than a third of drivers aged 17-18 and a quarter of those aged 19-21 broke the speed limit at least once a day.

Just 17% of teenage drivers said they never exceeded the limit, compared with more than half of older drivers. Based on responses from 3,000 people, the report found almost twice as many men as women break the speed limit at least once a day. The report found that speeding was endemic across both sexes and all age groups with three in four drivers admitting to speeding regularly.

David Neave, director of general insurance at Co-operative Insurance, said: It is undoubtedly the case that games, TV and films have fuelled the increase in speeding. The Fast & The Furious (computer game) and Top Gear are devoted to speeding and are targeted at a younger audience who are more likely to be encouraged to speed. We need to create the same stigma for speeding that currently exists now against drink-driving.

Fitzpatrick said: Many of the most serious collisions are caused, or their consequences exacerbated, because of someone driving well in excess of the speed limit. Research shows that one in seven people are extreme speeders. These people are playing Russian roulette with their lives and those of others and they must be hit by the full force of the law.


1st May   

Playing God...

Whinging about iphone game featuring Pacific Islanders
Link Here

An iPhone game in which users act as an all-powerful god that rules over the primitive islanders has caused a stir.

Members of the Pacific Island community are protesting the game, Pocket God , and urging people to complain to the iPhone's manufacturer Apple.

The game shows grass-skirted people next to an Easter Island statue. At the player's whim they can be tossed through the air, fed to sharks or set on fire.

Canterbury University Lecturer Malakai Koloamatangi took issue with the game: You can't say this is anywhere but a Pacific island.


1st May   

Five Soldiers Singing...

Israel 61 Family Show cancelled by Bloomsbury Theatre
Link Here

A group of singers from the Israeli army have become embroiled in a censorship row after their performance in London was cancelled over fears the content was political.

The five soldiers from the Israeli Defence Force, had been due to perform a medley of national songs at the Bloomsbury Theatre as part of a celebration for their country's 61st anniversary.

But the venue, owned by University College London, claimed the content was against the spirit of the agreement.

The Zionist Federation, the organisers of the event, claim the songs do not have any military content and have accused UCL of censorship. A spokesman said: The Bloomsbury Theatre has decided they should impose censorship on what people should be allowed to see. We agreed to remove the soldiers' act from the bill but even then the theatre was against the whole thing.

The event, the Israel 61 Family Show was rescheduled at another venue,

Peter Cadley, director of the Bloomsbury Theatre, said: We took the booking on the understanding it was going to be an entertainment event. We received assurances to that effect and then we spotted on the website about the IDF. This was against the spirit of the agreement so we decided to cancel.


1st May   

Vulgar Judgement...

High Court bans songs from popular Pakistani singers
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The Lahore High Court has imposed a ban on songs of two local female singers and sought a reply from Central Board of Films Censors and other respondents. Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry also issued notices to the singers to appear in court on May 25. The judge issued this order on a petition filed by Asif Mehmood Khan.

The petitioner had submitted that departments concerned and criminal elements were violating the law and the constitution and spoiling the morality of people by not checking the display of immoral songs. He said respondent female singers namely Naseebo Lal and Nooro Lal with the help of other respondents were making and singing indecent and immoral songs.

He said the protection given by the government to these singers under the Motion Picture Ordinance 1979 was illegal and against the values of Muslim society.

The petitioner pleaded that the impugned certification passed by the chairman and the secretary of the Central Board of Film Censors was illegal.

The petitioner handed over to the court video CDs and audio cassettes of supposedly indecent songs sung by the singers. He pleaded that the certification and exhibition of these songs was against the law and moral values of society.

The petitioner said that the Holy Quran prohibited vulgarity in songs and poems. He said vulgar songs created enmity in the hearts of religious scholars and ulema against the government as they thought that the government was patronising vulgarity.

He said the respondents had launched, cinematographed, advertised, published and exhibited these songs without any lawful jurisdiction and these songs were a threat to society’s values and morality.

The petitioner prayed the court to impose a complete ban on all audio/video songs of the two respondent female singers.

Update: Seeing Entertainment as Vulgarity

23rd July 2009. Based on article from

Justice Ijaz Ahmed Chaudhry of the Lahore High Court has sought reports from the Punjab government and the Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (Pemra) on measures to prevent ‘vulgarity’ in the name of culture as CDs of ‘obscene’ dances and dramas were being played unabatedly on cable TV networks.

The judge sought the reports after a law officer said during the hearing of a case against singers Naseebo Lal and Nooran Lal for singing ‘vulgar’ songs that cable TV channels were also spreading ‘obscenity’ in society by playing ‘immoral’ videos of dramas and dances but Pemra had not taken any action against them.

The court also directed the police to launch a crackdown on the elements involved in the business of spreading ‘vulgarity’ observing that as per constitution of Pakistan Islam and Sunnah was the supreme law of the land and no immoral activity could be allowed under it.


1st May

 Offsite: Censors Offline...

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Full story: Online Games Censorship in Australia...Online games producers try to evade censorship
Selling online games without classification: Will enforcement agencies continue to turn a blind eye?

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