Censor Watch

 2014: May



  PC Extremism...

Belgium's all encompassing Anti-Sexism Act


Link Here 31st May 2014
Belgium flag In March this year, the Belgian parliament passed the Anti-Sexism Act ( Antiseksismewet ), which bans sexist speech from public life, be it in books, magazines or on the internet.

The new law is bound to raise countless problems, and not just in Belgium. For as long as there is someone in Belgium who is exposed to speech they deem sexist , under the terms of the new law it will be possible for that individual to instigate criminal proceedings. This means that any speech or form of expression that merely reaches Belgium could be subject to prosecution.

Inevitably the text is drafted so vaguely and broadly as to render its application limitless. Sexism is defined as any gesture or action intended to express contempt towards someone because of their sex, or to regard a person as inferior , or to reduce someone to his or her sexual dimension . Additionally, a violation of someone's dignity is required.

...Read the full article

 

  Morality Charge...

Malaysia's film censors to increase their fees


Link Here 31st May 2014
malaysia film censorship board logo Filmmakers and importers will soon have to dip deeper into their pockets to have their film certified by the Malaysian Film Censorship Board.

Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the censorship fee would be reviewed after 30 years. He said the current rate was based on the Film Censorship Regulations 1984 that had not been amended since it came into force. He said:

The number of local and imported films have been on the rise, thus increasing the burden on the board. Industry players must accept the reality that changes require a high cost and the costs borne by the Government is no longer fair. We have to charge a reasonable fee to those who produce and import films,

He also urged industry players to understand the board's responsibility in ensuring that creative works by filmmakers were censored to the satisfaction of the Board moralists:

Don't just look to making a profit by producing films based on superstitions, toyol and ghost stories as we must balance art with social responsibility.

 

  Pre-Censors...

US group of former film censors offer their expertise to advise companies of likely MPAA ratings and cuts


Link Here 31st May 2014
fra logo Film Rating Advisors Inc (FRA) is a consulting company backed by former MPAA raters, that has just launched this month to work with filmmakers to get the MPAA ratings they desire.

FRA co-founders Howard Fridkin and Barry Freeman offer their combined 23 years of MPAA experience, which includes the rating of more than 15,000 films. By viewing a film prior to its MPAA screening, FRA is able to assess any potential ratings issues in detail, then work closely with the filmmaker to trim the scenes to prevent more substantial edits that might occur from an unexpected rating. Fridkin said:

Often, filmmakers are completely surprised by the MPAA and their opinion on what constitutes suitable material for a particular age group. The need to reshoot can be cost prohibitive, while these suggested edits can detract from the director's vision. However, Barry and I, having been longtime raters, are able to catch these 'issues' early on. We can prevent the need for heavy-handed editing as a result of what the filmmaker perceives as a mis-rated film.

 

 Update: Censorship Coup...

Thailand looks to up the ante for internet censorship


Link Here 31st May 2014  full story: Thai Coup 2014...Media censorship prominent in Thai Coup
MICT logo Thailand's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) officials called for greater support in their efforts to censor supposedly inappropriate online content.

Piyakhun Nopphakhun, of the Crime Suppression Division of MICT claimed that:

Even though the military has taken over, they have not commanded us about what to do.

This rather begs the question as to why then is the group looking to ratchet up internet censorship.

Since the coup began, the Royal Thai Army has ordered ISPs to monitor online content that might lead to unrest, asked social media companies to prevent the spread of provocative messages and barred media from presenting news critical of the junta.

Piyakhun then ludicrously claimed that he believed that recent efforts by the Ministry to curb online content were not political in nature. But then he acknowledged that efforts to curb online content could be seen to violate rights.

This is not because of the coup, it is very normal practice. But I agree that the coup will have some effect. They (the Royal Thai Army) will put more people into helping fight the websites. Some people may ask about freedom of expression. I have to say that it will actually affect (this).

Piyakhun is keen to speed up the censorship process. He explained:

It takes about a week to block a website. One or two days to gather evidence. One or two days to get permission from MICT. One or two days to go to court. One or two days to distribute court orders to ISPs. One week is too slow.

At the moment everything is on paper. You have to print it out, present the evidence to the Ministers and the courts, and you have to present papers to the ISPs. If documents are not signed, we have to wait even longer. Computer officials have to physically travel to the courts to receive court orders.

At the moment we are in the process of getting approval to distribute court orders to the ISPs electronically. We are going to appoint one representative ISP to distribute these court orders to the other ISPs, because that representative would know which ISPs are active.

Technically, it is going to be very easy. But legally, is the only question. Are there any laws, regulations that allow us to do this legally? Do we really need to be present in court to present evidence?

Update: Attempted block of Facebook

16th June 2014. See  article from  bangkokpost.com

The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) has condemned the Norway-based mobile operator Total Access Communication (DTAC) and asked it to clarify a company statement regarding an order by the internet censor to block Facebook.

Telenor of Norway, which owns DTAC, this week claimed online that Telenor Group confirmed that on May 28, DTAC received notification from the NBTC at 3pm that it must temporarily restrict access to Facebook. The restriction, which was implemented at 3.35pm, affected DTAC's 10 million Facebook-using customers. Telenor said it believed in open communication and regretted any consequences this might have had for the people of Thailand. Access to Facebook was restored at about 4.30pm, according to Telenor's statement.

But the Thai authorities weakly claimed the Facebook blackout was due to technical glitches and not purposely blocked. Colonel Settapong Malisuwan, chairman of the NBTC's telecom committee flannelled:

DTAC's statement has caused extensive damage to the regulator's image. We want the company to take responsibility by clarifying exactly who ordered Facebook to be blocked.

 

 Offsite Article: Anti-booze and pro-censorship... the NUS is a disgrace...


Link Here 31st May 2014
nus national union of students logo The National Union of Students is teaming up with that popular fun-loving body, the Home Office, to launch something called the Alcohol Impact scheme, that aims to curb binge drinking and pub crawls

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Update: A pity God was not a bit more liberal when handing out a sense of humour...

Man jailed in Turkey over jokey tweets about religion


Link Here 30th May 2014  full story: Blasphemy in Turkey...Blasphemy repressing Turkish people
Twitter logo A Turkish court handed a 15-month jail term to a teacher over Twitter posts deemed religiously offensive, local media reported.

The court in the city of Mus ruled that the man, identified as Ertan P., supposedly insulted Islamic values with his Twitter handle @allah, and a series of tweets he posted. Pretending to tweet as God, he wrote:

In my present state of mind, I would not have created the little finger of human beings.

Here (heaven) is very safe because there is no police.

 

  Media Freedom...

Index on Censorship create a crowd sourced map of censorship in Europe


Link Here 30th May 2014

mapping media freedom in europe logo Index on Censorship and Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso are joining forces to map the state of media freedom in Europe. With your participation, we are mapping the violations, threats and limitations that European media professionals, bloggers and citizen journalists face everyday. We are also collecting feedback on what would support journalists in such situations.

Help protect media freedom and democracy by contributing to this crowd-sourcing effort!

 

 Offsite Article: India's Supreme Court breaks police stranglehold on theatre...


Link Here 30th May 2014
India flag Dramatic performances cannot be policed and subjected to pre-censorship

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Offsite Article: Internet enables censors to pull the plug on banned material...


Link Here 29th May 2014  full story: Book Censorship in China...Offical book censors and self censorship
Wild Swans Three Daughters China Wild Swans author, Jung Chang, says there is a vast army of censors diligently deleting her banned works in China

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: BBC producers were nervous about cartoon character doing a forward roll...


Link Here 29th May 2014
Charlie Lola Hiccupping Other Stories Kids TV show creator Lauren Child, the author behind hit children's TV show Charlie And Lola, said her character caused anxiety at the BBC with a forward roll

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

  Internet censors look forward to more jobs...

ATVOD board meeting minutes reveals a little of plans for more internet censorship


Link Here 28th May 2014
ATVOD with award for service to foreign industry ATVOD have published minutes from a board meeting on 25th March 2015. This includes a few snippets about various strands of internet censorship.

The censorship of hardcore porn on the internet has previously been included under the following heading. New rules include mandatory age verification and the banning of porn beyond R18, eg fisting and golden showers.

DCMS Strategy Paper

The Board NOTED that DCMS had confirmed the intention to legislate in relation to UK services through secondary legislation. The details will be discussed with ATVOD on 3 April 2014.

The Board NOTED the action taken by DCMS and Ofcom with media regulators to create a common framework for media standards.

Restricting payments to non-UK websites

The Board NOTED the report of the third summit meeting on 6 February with representatives of the payments industry. The decisions reached at a further meeting on 25 March were reported; the preferred mechanism for the payments industry would be a licensing regime for providers of websites, similar to that to be used for the gambling industry.

Presumably the IWF don't want to jeopardise their 100% support for action against child porn by taking on the unpopular job of being a good for nothing internet censor. It seems that ATVOD are greedily looking forward to taking on the dirty work.

Obscene Material

It was noted that the IWF had published a report recommending that it give up its work in relation to adult obscene content. It was possible that ATVOD might be approached in relation any such move. It was AGREED that ATVOD would take no action until and unless an approach was made.

And it appears that the authorities are working out how to spin a report that presumably does not quite support ATVOD's case.

Research on underage access to adult websites

The Board considered the confidential report, together with a recent letter to DCMS, and welcomed the considerable preparatory work undertaken by Ian McBride, Ruth Evans and Nigel Walmsley. The process for publication and anticipated coverage post-publication were discussed.

 

 Extract: Monster Cuts...

The BBFC open the archives to reveal cuts to Godzilla 1985


Link Here 27th May 2014
Return Godzilla DVD Region English Godzilla 1985 is a 1984 Japan action Sci-Fi horror by Koji Hashimoto and RJ Kizer.
Starring Raymond Burr, Ken Tanaka and Yasuko Sawaguchi. YouTube icon   BBFC link IMDb

The BBFC have opened their archive to reveal how an earlier Godzilla film, ie Godzilla 1985, fared at the Board:

The Examiner report here describes how Big G will be real fun for the kids once the distributor makes the vital cut to a scene at the beginning of the film involving an attack on a man by a giant seahorse , that would simply frighten kids under the seats, never to re-emerge . The distributor made the cut (of 17 seconds) and the film was passed PG.

...Read the full article

 

 Update: The Coup and the Information War in Thailand...

An interesting write up from GlobalVoices about life under the censorship of Thailand's military rulers


Link Here 27th May 2014  full story: Thai Coup 2014...Media censorship prominent in Thai Coup

thai coup 2014 There is an information war on in Thailand. Beyond the martial law and the coup d'etat that the military had declared, there is censorship. The military shut down cable, radio stations, and some TV stations and instructed those on social media to be very careful -- all before declaring a coup.

So little is being reported in Thailand these days when it comes to political news. Army Chief Prayuth Chan-Ocha demanded public TV channels only show news from military-approved sources. Re-runs of military announcements are what many Thais are seeing on their TVs, day after day. The lack of news is frightening at a time when people are hungry for news. While most Thais are used to curfew -- there have been so many in this past decade alone -- having some sense of what is happening in their country could help ease the minds of Thais who have been ordered to stay at home. And they have a right to know what is happening in their country.

Although martial law is normally accompanied by restrictions on speech and media freedom, the military was very cautious this time around. Unlike the last coup in 2006, the men in uniform made strong and explicit statements to both the traditional and new media producers and consumers to be careful how they behave. Media and ISP executives were summoned to meetings and warned repeatedly over social media to avoid improper conduct.

Of the 19 official statements made by the newly-formed National Peace and Order Maintaining Council, six specifically target the flow of information and news. The military says that it must control TV, radio stations and the Internet as a way to ensure that truthful and correct information is disseminated to the population. The Council is reportedly most worried about social media communication, where they have the least direct control and they have openly expressed concern that non-censored information flows could pose further challenges to the military rule and the state on the whole.

One statement from the Council demands that Internet service providers monitor online networks and rub out information that could breed disorder in the country. The statement reads:

In order to disseminate proper Internet news to the population -- void of manipulation that could create misunderstanding or conflict@Internet providers must:

  • monitor and stop any information dissemination that could breed disorder within the Kingdom or would negatively impact the stability of the state and the morale of the people

  • be summoned for a meeting at the Office of the National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission.

What is the military afraid of? Much anxiety is being driven by the threat of propaganda to elicit violence by ill-intent individuals. The military believes there are underground groups in Thailand determined to wreak havoc on the country. They worry that unless they control and centralize the dissemination of information, they will not win this battle. It's not just the battle between the Shinawatra and the Rest, but rather between the state and its subversives.

Since martial law was imposed, security forces have begun arresting individuals suspected of subversive behavior and turned up reportedly military-grade weapons. Some of these were believed to have belonged to individuals with ties to the warring protest movements.

Is the military takeover of the media warranted? The coup in 2006, while the military imposed certain restrictions on media freedom, it did not result in this level of information lockdown. Many of the commercial TV channels in Thailand were hardly political: they mostly showed soap operas, game shows and music videos. Perhaps the near ban on media is meant to function as a sweeping act of fear-mongering. Or perhaps the military believes it will help suppress the voices of its opposition.

 

 Offsite Article: What it takes to get EE to enable the Porn on my Wireless Broadband...


Link Here 27th May 2014  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
ee logo Because not everyone is going to have the nerve to walk into an EE shop and ask to have Porn enabled on their Wireless Broadband. After all, there might be children present.

See article from storify.com

 

  I'm not sure the BBC can live this down...

Puerile BBC censorship of the word 'girl' in case it offends


Link Here 26th May 2014
queens baton releay The BBC has been caught up in another ludicrous censorship row after the broadcaster cut the word girl from a programme about the Commonwealth Games over fears it could cause offence.

Mark Beaumont, the presenter, was being filmed grappling with a judo champion, and after he was sent crashing to the floor he said:

I am not sure I can live that down - being beaten by a 19-year-old girl.

When the half-hour episode of The Queen's Baton Relay was originally aired in April on the BBC News channel, the remark was broadcast in full. However, the word girl was edited out of a repeat of the programme, leading the Corporation facing claims it had been overly politically correct and sanctimonious.

A BBC spokeswoman said the unedited version of the documentary was broadcast soon after being filmed because the baton's tour was treated as a news event. She added:

They had more time to edit it the second time. Mark didn't mean to cause offence. But the word 'girl' was taken out just in case it did.

Update:  Nobody is going to dare say anything

27th May 2014. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Tory MP Philip Davies, who sits on the Commons culture, media and sport committee, and is always quick to provide the tabloids with a sound byte, said:

They are finding offence where none is taken or intended.

We are going to end up in a situation where nobody is going to dare say anything lest some politically correct zealot deems it offensive.

 

 Update: Facebook celebrates International Homophobia Day...

Another example of cheapo Facebook censorship being reversed when faced with bad publicity


Link Here 26th May 2014  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
facebook kiss Facebook's censorship policies have been thrust into the spotlight after a seemingly innocuous photo of two women kissing was removed on the grounds that it violated the community's standards on nudity and pornography .

To add insult to injury the pic had been uploaded to mark International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia by an Italian woman, Carlotta Trevisan.

It was reported to Facebook, presumably by homophobes. Facebook's cheapo first line censorship crew jumped in to demand that Trevisan remove the image, suspending her account for three days when she failed to comply.

Commenting on the incident Trevisan, a gay rights activist, said:

How can they say a kiss, which is something so loving, is nudity or porn?'

When the ludicrous censorship was escalated to more competent censorship staff, the decision was inevitably reversed. In a statement Facebook said their action had been a 'mistake' and Trevisan's account was now back up and running. A spokesperson said:

In an effort to quickly and efficiently process reports we receive, our community operations team reviews many reports every week, and as you might expect, occasionally, we make a mistake and block a piece of content we shouldn't have. We can understand how people can be frustrated with this when, as in this case, a mistake happens.

 

 Update: Apple's Miserable Touch...

Apple bans educational app about female masturbation


Link Here 26th May 2014  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone
happyplaytime app A friendly cartoon vulva called Happy has the dubious honour of being the latest app Apple has rejected from its App Store. As the star of HappyPlayTime, gamers touch her as instructed to make her happy, learning about how to please their own bodies in the process. Think educational and empowering, rather than Redtube.

Creator Tina Gong said:

I admit, it's pretty far out there. You're using your touch screen to play with a vulva character to make her orgasm.

It's something that has a huge potential of making certain groups angry. As a large company, I'm sure that they're trying to stay away from controversy. I get it, but it still makes me sad.

HappyPlayTime lists its objectives as eliminate stigma, encourage exploration and make you giggle .

The app was twice rejected on two violations of its rules, namely apps that present excessively objectionable content and apps containing pornographic material.

 

 Update: Complex Social Phenomena...

Amnesty International speaks against Northern Ireland proposals to criminalise buyers of sex


Link Here 26th May 2014

amnesty international logo Amnesty International has urged Northern Ireland's politicians to ditch plans to criminalise the purchasing of sex. The human rights organisation wants a clause contained in a bill against human trafficking to be excised because it argues it would create a hierarchy of criminal liability among sex workers.

Clause six of the bill would make it a criminal offence to buy, but not sell, sex and is based on Sweden's repressive model. Lord Morrow, a Democratic Unionist member of the Stormont assembly who also sits in the House of Lords, has been trying to force the bill through the devolved parliament.

Amnesty stressed it was not taking sides on the debate over sex work and prostitution, but said sex work and human trafficking were two very complex social phenomena that required different laws. Grainne Teggart, Amnesty's Northern Ireland campaigner, said:

We recommend that our political parties remove clause six from the bill and that planned research into sex work by the Department of Justice is used to inform future policy, which should establish the degree to which legislation -- together with educational, social, cultural and other measures -- could serve to reduce the demand that fuels trafficking, including for the purpose of sexual exploitation.

It is claimed this clause will help protect sex workers by shifting the criminal liability away from them as the seller of sexual services, to the purchaser. In reality, it fails to do this and provides no exploration of, or guarantees against, the potential unintended consequences of such a move. It is clear that many others, including the police, share our concerns on the risk of potential negative effects.

In effect, clause six would introduce a hierarchy of criminal liability amongst those engaged in the selling of sexual services, many of whom may be vulnerable, with some remaining at risk of prosecution and others not.

 

  Butting Out...

Indian film censors cut X-Men: Days Of The Future Past


Link Here 25th May 2014
X Men Days Future Past DVD Hugh Jackman's bare butt in X-Men: Days Of The Future Past has been removed from the Indian theatrical release of the movie.

Rakesh Kumar, CEO of the Censor Board Of Film Certification (CBFC), confirms that the shot has been removed.

Reacting to the censorial intervention, critic Raja Sen said:

This childish censor board has become a sadistic body that enjoys playing spoilsport. This might not be a major cut. But it is the principle of the thing.

 

 Comment: Stunted emotional growth...

Mediawatch-UK Recommends BBC's Happy Valley


Link Here 25th May 2014
bbc happy valley A handful of viewers have rapped some sequences in the post-watershed BBC programme Happy Valley .

In particular a brutal beating of a police sergeant played by Sarah Lancashire. As Episode Four ended, she collapsed covered in blood.

Vivienne Pattison, of Mediawatch-UK whinged:

This kind of graphic violence dehumanises us. Studies have shown watching it can stunt your emotional growth.

The BBC has received at least 15 complaints about the episode, shown between 9 and 10pm. A BBC spokesman said:

It was broadcast in a post-watershed slot and was clearly signposted with an on-air announcement before the episode started.

Offsite Comment: The Childish Daily Mail

25th May 2014. See  Happy Valley writer: I don't have to apologise for show's violence from  theguardian.com

Sally Wainwright, creator of the hit BBC1 drama, defends the depiction of brutality and says storylines were carefully considered

In a robust response, Wainwright told the Observer she was saddened that the Mail had picked up on the attack on Cawood -- played by Bafta-winner Sarah Lancashire -- and a previous incident when a young woman police officer was crushed to death and had tried to make a thing of it, when shows like Game of Thrones have so much gratuitous violence against lots of people . Wainwright said:

This is a quality, well-written drama. I think it is childish [of the Daily Mail]. I think it has backfired on them. Judging by the amount of email, texts, tweets I've had, I don't think anyone is asking me to apologise. I'm sorry if some people found it too much. You can always turn the telly off.

...Read the full article .

 

 Updated: Recommended by Australia's Film Censor...

Scott Schirmer's Found is banned


Link Here 24th May 2014
Found DVD Gavin Brown Found is a 2012 USA horror by Scott Schirmer.
Starring Gavin Brown, Ethan Philbeck and Phyllis Munro. YouTube icon IMDb

Found has been banned in Australia for reasons that will be published later.

The film has not yet been rated by the BBFC but is slated for a UK release on 29th September.

UK: BBFC details not yet available for:

  • 2014 Monster Pictures R2 DVD at UK Amazon released on 29th September 2014

Promotional Material

FOUND is a unique and supremely disturbing coming-of-age story of a boy whose big brother is a serial-killer.

Growing up is tough for Marty. His parents don't understand him and he is bullied at school. He has only his big brother to look up to...that is until he discovers his brother's chilling secret and a severed head in a sports bag at home.

FOUND unravels a gripping and gruesome story that captures what it's like to grow up in the time of VHS tapes and video nasties, as the American dream and everyday suburbia descends into a home-grown hell that will leave even the most hardened horror fan shocked by its disturbing finale.

"One of the most gut-wrenching experiences I've had in a long time" (Dark Media)
"A compelling, unique and, yes, totally sick portrait of a serial killer" (Twitch Film)
"The horror film that true genre fans have been waiting for" (HorrorNews)

Update: Reasons for ban

23rd May 2014. See  article from  refused-classification.com , thanks to MoonMetropolis

Refused-Classification has published an excellent detailed pictorial of the film censor's reason for the ban, with the summary paragraphs reading:

The film contains prolonged and detailed depictions of sexualised violence, including sexualised torture, mutilation, sexual activity with body parts and cannibalism, which result in a very high degree of impact. As such, this film exceeds what can be accommodated within the R18+ classification.

The Board notes that the film also contains depictions of nonsexual violence. These depictions of violence, which also include viscera, generous blood detail and gore, are mitigated by context and relatively unsophisticated production values to a level which can be accommodated at an R18+ classification. The scenes of sexualised violence, noted below, are more realistic and impactful, and result in a very high impact.

...Read the full article

MoonMetropolis tweets:

I'm watching it right now. There's no way it will get past UK or NZ censors either. The sexualized violence is very graphic.

It should be noted that the banned scene in question takes place in the context of a fictional film-within-a-film.

That's the only scene that the BBFC will demand cuts to. Everything else should be able to pass.

Update: A statement from the distributor

23rd May 2014. See  article from  monsterpictures.com.au

monster pictures logo It with sadness in our hearts that we must announce that Scott Schirmer's coming-of-age gore fest Found , was refused classification by Australia's Classification Board yesterday, on the 21st of May. This is the 4th feature, after Hanger , The Human Centipede II and Father's Day , to be scheduled for release in Australia by Monster Pictures that has surpassed (and brilliantly surpassed, at that) what is acceptable within Australia's existing R18+ classification.

Found has played in over 40 film festivals world-wide (including Australia's very own A Night of Horror Film Festival last year), winning 15 Best Feature and 8 Best Actor awards and has been championed by the First Lady of Horror, Elvira, Mistress of the Dark, herself.

Monster Pictures will resubmit the film, with cuts, to the Classification Board next month, for a September 17th release.

For more information, you can check out our page here on monsterpictures.com.au , or you can head over to the film's official page here .

For more on the history of films refused classification in Australia, check out the excellent www.refused-classification.com

 

  Compliant Usage of Non Threatening Speech...

Australian laws against strong language in public


Link Here 24th May 2014

Australia flag Last week, Australians were asking whether education minister, Christopher Pyne, called opposition leader Bill Shorten a 'cunt' in parliament. Pyne insisted he said grub . Pyne will not be prosecuted for the alleged use of the word. But each year, thousands of Australians are charged every year so face hefty fines, and even imprisonment, for swearing.

Laws across Australia criminalise the use of supposedly offensive, obscene, indecent or abusive language in, or within hearing distance of, a public place. In Pyne's home state of South Australia, the use of abusive or insulting language in public can warrant a fine of up to $1,250 or three months' imprisonment.

From 31 March this year, New South Wales police have been able to issue $500 on the spot fines for offensive language in public. On the spot fines can also be issued in Victoria and Queensland, and in those states, people caught using obscene or abusive words can receive a sentence of up to six months' imprisonment.

Offensive language charges are much more common than you'd think. Last year, NSW police recorded more than 4,000 'offensive' language incidents. The law gives police tremendous discretion, with the leading 1959 case Worcester v Smith defining offensive as:

Such as is calculated to wound the feelings, arouse anger or resentment or disgust or outrage in the mind of a reasonable person.

So how does a judge determine whether certain words, in certain spaces are offensive?  In offensive language cases, judges tend to rehash archaic stereotypes about language and place. An example of this is the NSW supreme court case of McCormack v Langham, where the court stated that:

What might pass as inoffensive language if exchanged between footballers in an all male environment in a dressing room after a match might well offend if repeated in mixed company in a church fete .

In another case from the same year, we are informed that:

Conduct and language engaged in at a football match or on a tennis or squash court may be acceptable, or, at least, unremarkable, but offensive if engaged in during a church service or a formal social event.

 

  Miserable Iran...

Young people arrested for being happy in a YouTube Video


Link Here 24th May 2014

happy in iran video Six Iranians paid a high price for joining a global trend when they made a dance video from Tehran inspired by the music video for the song Happy by Pharrell Williams.

Today, all but one of these young people were released from jail after Iranian authorities announced that they had been arrested on May 20.

In a Twitter campaign, #FreeHappyIranians, Iranian netizens flooded the internet with tweets expressing their anger and disappointment.

The group were forced to appear on Iranian state television's evening news broadcast, side by side, facing Tehran's Chief of Police Hossein Sajedinia.

Even more miserable Iran

See  article from  nytimes.com

The judicial authorities in Iran appeared to harden their clampdown on expression, moving to block Instagram, imprisoning the director who made the now-famous Iranian version of the Pharrell Williams Happy video and warning women to comply with a police campaign on the proper wearing of mandatory headscarves.

Taken together, the developments suggested that the country's Islamic bureaucracy was alarmed over any perception of permissiveness that may have been partly inspired by the YouTube video.

One of the women, Reihane Taravati, used her Instagram account to publicize their entanglement and release, which may have been seen by the judiciary and police as another impudent act. Hi I'm back, Ms. Taravati wrote, thanking Pharrell Williams and everyone who cared about us.

The semiofficial Mehr News Agency reported that an Iranian court had ordered Instagram blocked over privacy issues, and that Iran's Ministry of Telecommunications was taking steps to ban the site.

In another sign of harsher censorship, the Mehr News Agency quoted the deputy commander of the Iranian National Police, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Radan, as saying there would be no suspension of an enforcement policy aimed at ensuring women correctly follow the Islamic dress code, with their hair covered by a hijab, or headscarf.

Update: Punished for being happy in Iran

23rd September 2014. See  article from  news.nationalpost.com

A group of young Iranian men and women known as the Happy in Tehran dancers, arrested in May for videotaping themselves cavorting to Pharrell Williams' popular dance hit, were informed on Thursday of their punishments: 91 lashes and six months of imprisonment for each.

One of the female dancers was given a punishment of 91 lashes and 12 months for uploading the video to the Internet, where it caused an international sensation.

All of the punishments were suspended, one of the dancers said. But they could be carried out if the six defendants committed further wrongdoing over the next three years, a common form of deterrence in Iran's judicial system.

 

 Update: World Cup Hype...

Nuns set to combat human trafficking at the World Cup


Link Here 23rd May 2014
world cup-2014 logo An international association of Catholic nuns has launched a public awareness campaign to combat the mythical human trafficking associated with world sports events, this time the World Cup in Brazil.

The nuns will use social media, billboards and rallies in host cities to draw attention to the heightened risk of exploitation of sex workers and job-seekers in general. Sister Gabriella Bottani said at a press conference in the Vatican:

The World Cup is a unique occasion to invite everyone to reflect on the value of life.

Bottani said her association, Talitha Kum, a Biblical phrase meaning Little girl, get up! was also conducting training courses to spot signs of supposed trafficking.

The clergywoman claimed that for previous World Cups in Germany and South Africa, the level of exploitation had gone up by 30 percent and 40% respectively. But at least she didn't repeat the usual claims that there would be a 40,000 band itinerant band of trafficked sex workers turn up for the event.

 

  So many censors and so little to censor (except British porn)...

ATVOD appoint Robin Foster seemingly as director of economic censorship


Link Here 22nd May 2014
ATVOD logo 2011 The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) has announced the appointment of Robin Foster as Independent Board Member and Director.

An economist specialising in policy, strategy and regulation in the media and telecommunications sectors, Robin Foster is a founder member of consultants Communications Chambers.

Robin has previous experience as a strategy partner at Ofcom,  Prior to this, at the Independent Television Commission, he led the strategy and economics team. As strategy director at the BBC, he led the development of strategy for digital TV and the internet.

He has been an adviser to the UK House of Lords Communications Committee, was a member of the UK Government's Digital Britain steering board and led the Global Communications Consortium research programme on broadcast and telecommunications regulation at London Business School. He is also a member of the Ofcom Spectrum Advisory Board and the ComReg Expert Advisory Panel.

Robin replaces Julia Hornle who left the Board in March.

 

 Offsite Article: HARDtalk about Belarus on BBC...


Link Here 22nd May 2014
hardtalk koliada

See article from charter97.org

 

  Tracers...

Producers are appealing against the recently awarded MPAA R rating


Link Here 21st May 2014
tracers video Tracers is a 2014 USA action film by Daniel Benmayor.
Starring Taylor Lautner, Marie Avgeropoulos and Rafi Gavron. YouTube icon IMDb

Rated R for some violence by the MPAA in May 2014. The producers wanted a PG-13 and have announced that they will appeal the MPAA decision.

Summary Notes

Wanted by the mafia, a new York City bike messenger escapes into the world of parkour after meeting a beautiful stranger.

 

  Unworthy Heartless Comments...

Bad taste comments on Twitter bring social media under scrutiny in Spain


Link Here 21st May 2014
Spanish flag Isabel Carrasco, a prominent politician in Spain's ruling party, was shot dead in broad daylight last week by a woman who reportedly said she held a grudge over her daughter's firing.

Shortly after Carrasco's death, Twitter erupted with insults and derogatory comments against the dead politician. Some of the messages stated that Carrasco should rot in hell. Others referenced party planning in celebration of her death.

These have caused a stir in Spain, and the outpouring of vitriol on Twitter has reignited a debate over free speech on social media, and the limits of the Spanish government's censorship on the web.

The latest outbreak of bad taste tweets follows an earlier example when 21 people were arrested over tweets mocking victims of Basque terrorist group ETA.

The Spanish Minister of the Interior, Jorge Fernandez Diaz, is one of Spain's most outspoken advocates for increased regulation and prosecution of people who say offensive things online. In response to the outpouring of hate on Twitter after Carrasco's death, Diaz called on May 13 for an investigation into whether spreading offensive or derogatory messages on social media could be grounds for criminal prosecution.

Jose Martinez Olmos, who leads Spain's ruling party, agreed that there should be greater government regulation on social media. On his personal blog Olmos said, my outrage at this murder has increased without limit at the waterfall of unworthy heartless comments, and that such messages should not go unpunished.

 

 Extract: Warning: This Headline Contains Irony...

Trigger warnings on classic literature are one small step from book banning


Link Here 21st May 2014

Great Gatsby Wordsworth Classics There's a discussion that's been heating up for a while in various corners of the internet, and now at a number of US colleges , about how we take in information, and whether that information should be treated with what essentially constitutes a warning label -- so long as it's likely to impact anyone in an unfavorable way due to their personal background, emotional state and/or life experiences. We call these emotional disclaimers trigger warnings , alerting a consumer that the content within might offend or cause distress.

This is triggering (and therefore requires a trigger warning) is a phrase you might see in the comments section of an online article that addresses racism, rape, war, anorexia or any number of subjects about which a discussion may not leave the reader with a care-free, fuzzy sort of feeling.

It's a phrase that's been requested this semester by a number of college students to be applied to classic books -- The Great Gatsby (for misogyny and violence), Huck Finn (for racism), Things Fall Apart (for colonialism and religious persecution), Mrs. Dalloway (for suicide), Shakespeare (for ... you name it).

...Read the full article

 

  Confused Society...

Thai news censorship following the coup


Link Here 21st May 2014
Thailand flag Martial law chief Prayuth Chan-ocha ordered print media and TV operators from carrying interviews with anyone who might confuse society or provoke violence .

He targeted interviews with former government officials, and warned anyone violating the martial law order would be prosecuted and shut down. The constitution and the press law forbid shutting down media, but Gen Prayuth did not explain how he would justify doing that.

Gen Prayuth, who now doubles as army commander and director of the 'Peace and Order' Maintaining Command (POMC), issued the order. It targets owners of print media and television programmes, programme hosts and journalists , and says they must not let academics, former government officials, former judiciary officials or independent organisations to express opinions that could worsen conflict, distort information, confuse society [or] lead to violence .

In the same censorship order, Gen Prayuth also instructed officials of the Interior Ministry and the police to take action to end any demonstration criticising the martial law regime and the POMC

In other orders, Gen Prayuth indefinitely suspended the broadcasting of 14 satellite TV stations known to support political factions such as the red shirts, yellow shirts and People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), including the highly interactive Voice TV station. The networks that have been shut down are ASTV, MV5, DNN, Asia Update, Bluesky, UDD, P&P, FourChannel, MFTV and Tnews.

 

  Telematics...

Automatic speeding and parking fine devices set to be mandated for all cars


Link Here 21st May 2014

telematics Drivers will within 10 years face inflated insurance premiums  or be forced off the road unless they allow their driving to be monitored at all times by spying technology.

A number of major insurers are launching hi-tech products this year that will monitor driving data such as the number of journeys, time of day the car is used and behaviour such as speed and braking.

Despite concerns about privacy and data protection, speakers at an insurance industry conference last week said such technology, known as telematics , would become opt-out, rather than opt-in for motorists.

Tom Ellis of Gocompare, the insurance comparison website, told The Telegraph:

In 10 years' time there will still be customers who prefer not to have a telematics device installed, [but] it will be an opt-out situation, rather than an opt-in.

There will be reasons for people opting out -- perhaps because they are bad drivers, or unhappy with the privacy element, or have an old car. But they will have to accept a higher premium to insure their car.

The technology will soon be fitted in new cars as standard. Under EU regulations, all new cars will need black box-style technology, known as eCall, from October 2015, supposedly to help emergency services find crashed vehicles.

The prospect has prompted serious concerns about drivers' rights to privacy. Emma Carr of Big Brother Watch said:

Forcing drivers to have a telematics device installed in their car, which is capable of recording and transmitting exactly where and when they are driving, is totally unacceptable.

There is a clear risk that once the telematics device is installed drivers will lose total control over who has access to their data and how they will use it.

 

 Offsite Article: Only the powerful will benefit from the right to be forgotten...


Link Here 21st May 2014  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
comment is free logo The European search engine ruling weakens our democratic foundations and could lead to our history being rewritten. By Mark Stephens

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Update: People should not be allowed to erase their [factual] history from internet...

David Cameron distinguishes between truth and factually inaccurate information on the internet. But of course this lets rich people decide what is true as backed up by expensive lawyers


Link Here 20th May 2014
David Cameron People should not be allowed to erase information about them on the internet if it is true, David Cameron has said.

The Prime Minister was reacting to a European court ruling last week that said people had a right to be forgotten on the internet.

The ruling only compels Google and other search engines to remove the links to information, rather than the information itself. This means users of Facebook, Twitter and other social media can still share personal information about others so long as it remains online.

Since the ruling was published, more than 1,000 people have asked Google to remove links to unfavourable stories. They include a former MP seeking re-election, a man convicted of possessing child abuse images and 20 convicted criminals.

Pressed about the ruling, the Prime Minister's official spokesman said on Monday that Cameron felt that potentially a distinction had to be drawn between truth and factually inaccurate information on the internet. He said that Cameron felt it was acceptable to require that wrong information should be taken down from the internet -- but facts should remain published. The spokesman said:

Whilst taking time to consider a look at the judgment and possible implications his view is that there is potentially a distinction to be drawn between dealing with the issue of inaccurate and information that is wrong, and the collection of factually inaccurate information as distinct from what some have characterized as seeking to hide factually correct information.

 

  Turmoil In Thailand...

Coverage of Thai political protests (before the latest coup) found to be too violent for the BBC News at One


Link Here 20th May 2014

bbc news logo BBC News at One
BBC 1, 18 February 2014, 13:00

On 18 February 2014, the BBC News at One reported on the clashes between police and anti-government protesters in Bangkok, Thailand, as police tried to re-take government ministries that had been occupied by anti-government protesters.

Ofcom received 15 complaints about this news report broadcast. The complainants alerted Ofcom to the inclusion in the report of scenes showing graphic and disturbing images, which the complainants did not consider to be appropriate for the time of transmission.  We noted that it was the school half-term holidays.

The item was introduced by BBC News at One presenter Sophie Raworth who presented a pre-recorded news report on this story by BBC's South East Asia correspondent, Jonathan Head. The presenter introduced the report by saying:

At least three people have been killed and dozens of others wounded in clashes between police and anti-government protesters in Thailand's capital, Bangkok. Violence erupted when riot police.. This was accompanied by a studio background of a screen showing the text Thailand in Turmoil , set against an image of Thailand's flag.

The item included clips showing how the confrontation escalated from peaceful protests to violence between the two opposing sides and included an image of an injured policeman, with blood on his face, being carried into an ambulance on a stretcher. The footage was accompanied by the reporter explaining the growing tensions between the riot police and protesters, and giving details of the injuries sustained by both groups. Our concern focused on a particular sequence of footage broadcast at about 13:22. The first shot featured a group of riot police officers, formed in a line, crouched down behind their protective shields, in the middle of the street. An additional police officer was shown running to join the front of the group. This was accompanied by the reporter stating: Then this. A grenade arched into the police line, landing at their feet . As the police officer crouched down beside his fellow officers, behind his protective shield, a grenade could be seen landing immediately in front of the policemen's shields.

The reporter said: One officer realised the danger . The next shot showed one police officer stand up, break away from the line of shields and aim a kick at the grenade. At the point the police officer's boot was about to make contact with the grenade, it exploded. The footage then showed what appeared to be a boot, falling from a cloud of smoke caused by the explosion. A very brief shot of the boot hitting the ground followed, accompanied by the reporter's voiceover stating: but too late . The reporter stated: Four were injured. One lost his leg . He said these words as the cloud of smoke, caused by the explosion, dispersed to reveal a police officer lying on the ground and rolling over and a shot of another police officer lying still on the ground. Although the shots of the police officers were brief and rather unclear it was evident that the police officer had injured his leg.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 which states:

Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them .

Ofcom Decision

Ofcom noted that the news report included footage of a police officer's attempt to kick a grenade away from a group of fellow police officers. Although the shot was brief the impact of the explosion could be seen and heard at the point the police officer was about to make contact with the grenade. The footage showed a boot falling from a cloud of smoke caused by the explosion and a police officer lying on the ground after the explosion. We noted that the reporter provided details of the results of the violence, for example: One [policeman] lost his leg . The commentary of the reporter compounded the already distressing image of the explosion, by reinforcing the dangerous and violent nature of the protests.

We therefore considered that the news report contained distressing material unsuitable for children.

We noted that the BBC said in its representations that the manner in which the report was introduced provided information to viewers to expect sequences showing violence and the effects of violence . In Ofcom's view the information provided was too general and indirect, and did not provide a clear warning in advance about the distressing nature of the violent images relating to the grenade incident included in the report. Also the news report was broadcast on a Tuesday at 13:20 during the school half-term holidays, when it was more likely that children were available to view.

For these reasons this content exceeded audience expectations, and therefore on balance was not appropriately scheduled and Rule 1.3 was breached.

However, we noted that the BBC acknowledged that this report contained unsuitable material which should have been (but which was not) recognised before transmission. Further, the BBC took immediate steps to alert teams preparing news programmes across the BBC's channels to the content so it would not be used again without appropriate context.

In these circumstances, we considered this matter resolved.

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship In The UK: The Internet, Media Myths And The Porn Panic...


Link Here 20th May 2014  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
cliterati logo No censorship plan could be complete without fearmongering. And as is often the case, the enemy these days is dirty, filthy, child-corrupting, woman-defiling, enemy-of-the-family, soul destroying sex. Well, porn, to be precise.

See article from cliterati.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Do we need so much shock and gore on TV?...


Link Here 20th May 2014
Hannibal Season DVD Mads Mikkelsen The Independent recommends Hannibal, The Game of Thrones and Penny Dreadful

See article from independent.co.uk

 

  Frankenstein and the Monster From Hell...

Movie-Censorship.com reveals the US and UK censor cuts now restored


Link Here 19th May 2014
Frankenstein Monster Hell Peter Cushing Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell is a 1974 UK horror film by Terence Fisher
With Peter Cushing, Shane Briant and Madeline Smith.
YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Cut by the BBFC for cinema release. Then further cut for a US R rating. All home video version were cut to some extent until 2014 when an uncut restored version was released

UK: The restored uncut version was passed 15 uncut for strong gore, horror for:

  • 2014 ICON Entertainment [Restored + R rated Versions] RB Blu-ray/R2 DVD Combo at UK Amazon

See the pictorial cuts for the US version used for all UK and US DVD releases prior to the restored version

 

 Update: Who'd Be a Juror...

New UK law to censor internet news archives that may be relevant to a trial


Link Here 19th May 2014  full story: Googling for Sub-Judicy...Sub-Judicy and associated censorship
laptop user by ocal clker

There's nothing in Google.  
He must be guilty as sin!

Ministers are seeking powers to make newspapers remove from their online archives stories about the criminal past of people facing trial.

Editors fear the move could create a black hole in the historical record by striking out previous convictions.

The planned new law is part of the Criminal Justice and Courts Bill now before parliament. It has been designed to restrict jurors using the internet to research a case, mid-trial.

The jurors will in future face a possible prison sentence if they are caught trying to delve into the defendant's past. But, to make it harder for them to do so, Attorney General Dominic Grieve wants the power to issue a so-called take-down order to UK newspapers.

Editors who ignored a request would face imprisonment or an unlimited fine.

Bob Satchwell, executive director of the Society of Editors, said it meant defence lawyers could push for a complete ban on every article previously published about a defendant. He said:

The new provisions could have a highly restrictive effect upon the freedom to publish far beyond that intended and ultimately be capable of creating black holes in the historic record.

In theory, the information could be returned to the archive once the trial is complete, but it is feared some papers would not have the resources.

The laws would apply to UK newspapers, but not the likes of the Huffington Post, which receives millions of hits in Britain. Twitter would not be covered, either.

 

 Update: The Expendable Expendables 3...

Stallone says that the latest in the series will be PG-13 rated


Link Here 19th May 2014  full story: Expendables...Tough guys and whimpy censorship

expendables 3 Sylvester Stallone has stated that his forthcoming Expendables 3 will be PG-13 rated.

The series so far has prided itself in bringing back the bloody, R-rated violence of the films of the 80s, but Expendables 2 was also hyped up by Chuck Norris who falsely claimed that the film was targeting a PG-13 rating.

Despite the latest PG-13 rating, Stallone did note that: it's very close to an R, believe me, it's right there .

Stallone also commented on his approach towards this sequel and how it differs from the first two. He stated:

With the first one, I didn't know which direction to go. It was experimental, more dramatic and heavier. In the second one, I think we went too far in the comedy and one liners. I realized we should get back to being more dramatic. When the action starts I don't like to do jokes. So, I believe we finally got it right on the third one. It's kind of like marriage.

Response to the film's new rating has not been very kind by the fans thus far, as there is already a Facebook group boycotting the movie if it does not have an R-rating attached to it.

The film is set for release on 14th August 2014 and there is as yet no official MPAA rating.

 

 Update: Propaganda Coup...

Moscow predictably bans March of the Bearded Women and Men


Link Here 19th May 2014  full story: Gay in Russia...Russia bans gay parades and legislates against gay rights
conchita wurst Moscow's security department denied an application for the Conchita Wurst March of Bearded Women and Men, which was due to have taken place to mark the 21st anniversary of homosexuality's legalisation in Russia.

Wurst, the drag queen persona of Austria's Thomas Neuwirth, has become an icon for Europe's lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and a flashpoint for Russia's debate over gay rights.

Nikolay Alexeyev, founder of Moscow Pride told Pravda that they plan to urgently appeal the mayor's decision; even if unsuccessful, they will try to merge the event with a proposed gay pride parade on May 31. They face an uphill battle: in 2012, Moscow city government enacted a 100-year ban on pride marches.

Russia's anti-gay protesters have been campaigning against Eurovision for weeks, calling it a Europe-wide gay parade . The participation of the obvious transvestite and hermaphrodite Conchita Wurst on the same stage as Russian singers on live television is blatant propaganda of homosexuality and spiritual decay, said St Petersburg's notorious legislator Vitaly Milonov, who led the drive for Russia's anti-gay laws banning gay information from public speheres.

 

 Update: Heads will roll...

Pakistan TV show gets in big trouble after 5000 complaints of blasphemy


Link Here 18th May 2014
utho jago geo tv A Pakistani court has ordered police to register a case against Geo TV, actress Veena Malik, her husband Asad Khatak over a programme that supposedly contained blasphemous content. The court ordered that a case also be registered against Geo media group owner Mir Shakilur Rehman, anchor Shaistan Lodhi. Malik and her husband were guests on the programme.

The court issued the order on a complaint that Lodhi, in her programme Utho Jago Pakistan on Geo entertainment, had allegedly insulted the family members of the religious character Muhammad.

The Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority (PEMRA) said it had received over 5,000 complaints against the programme. It has already served a show-cause notice on Geo Entertainment network for airing supposedly objectionable content and sought immediate explanation from the channel.

Religious parties, including Jammat-ud-Dawah, held demonstrations in various parts of the country on Friday and Saturday and demanded that the accused be tried under the blasphemy laws.

Meanwhile, both Ms. Lodhi and Ms. Malik have gone underground fearing violence from extremists.

Update: Reasons

24th May 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

Clerics across Pakistan condemned GEO for broadcasting a staged wedding of two celebrities on its morning show.

The problem was not the involvement of Veena Malik -- an actor who once scandalised the country by appearing nude on the cover Indian FHM magazine with ISI written on her arm. Instead offence was taken at the performance of a Sufi song about the marriage of Muhammad's daughter -- a popular element to many ordinary weddings in Pakistan -- and that a comparison was being drawn with Malik.

Many fundamentalist Islamic sects take a dim view of Sufi culture, which often revolves around singing, poetry and visiting the shrines of holy men.

 

 Offsite Article: Pulp Fiction: 20 years on...


Link Here 18th May 2014
Pulp Fiction DVD Quentin Tarantino Two decades ago, Quentin Tarantino's ultra-violent comedy-thriller changed cinema. But was that for good or ill?

See article from independent.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: 'As long as a person is doing it for themselves, then it's empowering'...


Link Here 18th May 2014
complete music update logo Pop misogyny debate turns to music videos, empowerment and porn at The Great Escape

See article from completemusicupdate.com

 

 Offsite Article: This Is How The UK Piracy Warnings Will Work...


Link Here 18th May 2014  full story: Digital Economy Act...Clause 11 grants government control of the internet
torrentfreak logo Torrent Freak details the warning letter scheme worked out by the ISPs and media industries

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

  Big Girls' Blouses at the CBFC...

Reports of Indian film censors blurring cleavage in adults only rated films


Link Here 17th May 2014
koyelaanchal India's Central Board Of Film Certification (CBFC) is reported to have suddenly gone on a crusade against displays of cleavage.

The first casualty of the censor board's new-found regard for a woman's modesty is new actress Rupali Krishnarao, who plays a prostitute in Asshu Trikha's Koyelaanchal . Her cleavage has been blurred by the censors at several places in the film.

Trikha commented about the censorship of his adults only rated film:

The cleavage was blurred as per the censor board's instruction. I argued with them saying cleavage is an integral part of Bollywood culture.

My film is for adults only. And adult audiences are mature enough to handle some cleavage. But I saw no point in arguing beyond a point. I just blurred the blouse.

Meanwhile, a sequence in Ananth Mahadevan's The Xpose showing a starlet in a transparent white sari has also been trimmed by the censor board.

 

 Update: Religious Censorship...

Turkish court hands down suspended jail sentence for supposed blasphemy on an internet forum


Link Here 17th May 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
eksi sozluk logo A Turkish court has given Sedat Kapanoglu, the founder of one of Turkey's most popular online forums, Eksi Sözlük (Sour Dictionary), a 10 month suspended sentence for blasphemy.

A police complaint was filed regarding writers of a discussion thread opened on the website in 2011, alleging insults to the religious character Muhammad. Some 40 of the website's members were detained by the police and charged with insulting religion on the thread.

The court ruled that Kapanoglu had committed the crime of "insulting the religious values shared by a group of society" and sentenced him to the 10 months in jail. The court suspended the sentence based on the time passed since the crime was committed.

The court also sentenced suspect Özgür Kuru to seven months and 15 days in jail on the same charges, while also suspending the execution of this sentence. The court acquitted a third suspect and also decided to suspend the cases against other 37 suspects. However, suspects would be retried if they commit the same crime within three years.

 

  Bounce back falls flat...

Advertising agency apologises for advert featuring schoolgirl shot in the face by the Taliban


Link Here 17th May 2014
matress malala bounce advert An advertising agency has apologised to Malala Yousafzai for using her image for a mattress advert.

Ogilvy's advert featured the Pakistani schoolgirl who was famously shot in the face by the Taliban but who so heroically fought back in the battle against muslim extremism.

The poster ad features a series of images of Malala being shot, falling backwards covered in blood, being put on a drip and then bouncing off a mattress and recovering to receive an award. The poster was made by Ogilvy & Mather for bed firm Kurl-On, runs with the strapline Bounce Back .

Greg Carton, Ogilvy's press spokesman for Asia Pacific, apologised to Yousafzai and her family:

The recent Kurl-On ads from our India office are contrary to the beliefs and professional standards of Ogilvy & Mather and our clients. We deeply regret this incident and want to personally apologise to Malala Yousafzai and her family.

 

 Offsite Article: Vladimir Putin and the rise of swearbots...


Link Here 17th May 2014  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
swear box Russia generating automatic software to seek out strong language on websites resulting in large fines

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Offsite Article: America suffers an epidemic of miserable moralists...


Link Here 17th May 2014
coalition to end sexual exploitation logo US anti-porn conference claims that the popularity of porn somehow constitutes a public health crisis

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

 Updated: A Court Decision Best Forgotten...

The European Court of Justice allows anyone to censor personal data that do not like even if it is accurate and truthful


Link Here 16th May 2014  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
European Court of Justice Search engines are data controllers within the meaning of the Data Protection Directive, and responsible for complying with the data protection principles in respect of the processing they do of personal data, says Europe's highest court, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).

The CJEU upheld the right of a user to suppress search results on his name that pointed to newspaper articles about him. CJEU found that Google, as a search engine, processed personal data, by determining which links would appear in response to a search on an individual's name, and is the data controller for that processing. This applies even when the data attached to the individual's name exclusively concerns data that has already been published, and regardless of the fact that the processing was performed without distinction to the data, other than the personal data.

By finding Google to be a data controller in its own right, the CJEU was able to apply the full scope of the Data Protection Directive to Google, and arrive at a decision that users can, in some circumstances, have a right to be forgotten , even in respect of data that was originally published lawfully.

Finally, in response to the question whether the directive enables the data subject to request that links to web pages be removed from such a list of results on the grounds that he wishes the information appearing on those pages relating to him personally to be forgotten after a certain time, the Court holds that, if it is found, following a request by the data subject, that the inclusion of those links in the list is, at this point in time, incompatible with the directive, the links and information in the list of results must be erased.

Index on Censorship writes:

The Court's decision is a retrograde move that misunderstands the role and responsibility of search engines and the wider internet. It should send chills down the spine of everyone in the European Union who believes in the crucial importance of free expression and freedom of information.

Update: Censorship requests roll into Google

16th May 2014. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Google logo Google has received fresh takedown requests after a European court ruled that an individual could force it to remove irrelevant and outdated search results, the BBC has learned.

An ex-politician seeking re-election has asked to have links to an article about his behaviour in office removed.

A man convicted of possessing child abuse images has requested links to pages about his conviction to be wiped.

And a doctor wants negative reviews from patients removed from the results.

 

 Extract: The State Journalism is in...

Edward Snowden and the British Press. By Julian Petley


Link Here 16th May 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping

edward snowden Media professor Julian Petley has written a lengthy assessment of the way in which The Guardian's revelations NSA and GCHQ surveillance were negatively covered by the rest of the press. For example he notes about the Daily mail coverage:

The third, and overarching theme in the press campaign against the Guardian and on behalf of the government is national security.

Take, for example, an article in the Mail , 8 October, headed ' The Guardian Has Produced a "Handbook" that Will Help Fanatics Strike at Will' , followed by the straps ' Security officials say there was no public interest in Guardian's expose ', and ' They also claim terrorists now know where and where not to communicate '.

The slant of the article is thus clearly apparent before one even reads it, and the piece itself is dependent entirely upon anonymous 'security officials' and 'Whitehall insiders' who claim variously that 'the publication of the documents stolen by Edward Snowden is considered to have done more damage to the security services than any other event in history ', that

'there was no public interest in publishing top-secret information which details the precise methods used by agents to track terrorist plots', that 'fanatics were signposted to the places they should avoid when communicating', and that 'the Guardian had helped to produce a "handbook" for terrorists' .

Every one of these anonymous quotes is highly contentious, yet there is not the slightest attempt to quote opposing or even merely sceptical viewpoints.

...Read the full article: Part 1 , Part 2 , Part 3

 

  The Daily Mail Recommends...

Harry and Paul: The Story Of The Twos


Link Here 16th May 2014
story of the twos The Daily Mail is kindly hyping a new comedy show:

The BBC waded into yet another race row yesterday after Harry Enfield blacked-up for his latest comedy sketch show and poked fun at a Muslim girl in a burka. Their new show, Harry & Paul: The Story Of The Twos , will be shown later this month as part of BBC2's celebration of its 50th birthday.

In one risque sketch, Enfield makes fun of black American singer Harry Belafonte by covering his face in dark make-up. In another bizarre scene likely to outrage some viewers, the comedians turn a young Muslim girl covered in a burqa into the butt of their humour.

Religious morality campaigner Pippa Smith, of the group Safermedia, said Enfield risked stoking ethnic tensions with his comedy. She spouted:

Is Harry Enfield just going out of his way to be controversial by using a young girl dressed in a burqa meeting a young boy dressed in a Pingu penguin costume for his sketch?  Poking fun at young Muslims, who look no more than children, is in very poor taste, especially when some young Muslim women are complaining of being harassed and even attacked for wearing the burqa. To then shoot a woman in the head is completely inappropriate. Harry Enfield is no longer funny and the BBC has lost the plot.

The Story Of The Twos, which will be shown at 9pm on Sunday May 25.

 

 Offsite Article: EU Human Rights Guidelines on Freedom of Expression Online and Offline...


Link Here 16th May 2014
EU flag The Council of the European Union publishes new guidelines

See article [pdf] from consilium.europa.eu

 

 Update: Unnoticed Internet Matters...

ISPs launch another website outlining parental control options for the internet


Link Here 15th May 2014  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
internetmatters org logo BT, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Sky have launched InternetMatters.org. Another website which provides tips and resources on internet child safety. The sponsors hope that it will become a household name and encourage parents to talk to their children about keeping safe online.

The companies involved have also committed to the ongoing marketing of Internet Matters in communications with existing customers using emails, displaying the logo on bills and having information about the initiative on their websites.

Internet Matters is not the first cross-industry initiative developed to promote children's safety online. But such sites seemed doomed to obscurity as, by design, they are targetting people who haven't taken much interest so far. And the information provided is old hat and basic to those that have already taken an interest in these things.

 

  Wrong Type of Nonsense...

Complaints about a TV advert for scientology


Link Here 15th May 2014
scientology tv advert video ITV has sparked a little 'outrage' of a few viewers for airing an advert for the Church of Scientology in a prime-time slot.

The broadcaster was accused of allowing the controversial religious cult to target vulnerable people after it showed its advert following Coronation Street .

It sparked 24 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which responded that the advert does not breach any of its regulations.

Depicting a montage of smiling people and imposing buildings with a voiceover, thet advert encourages viewers to Imagine science and religion connecting . It ends with the statement: Imagine everything you have ever imagined is possible as the Scientology website is displayed on the screen.

The director of Mediawatch-UK Vivienne Pattison said that although she understands the concerns people have about the Scientology advert, there is little that can be done to stop it. She said:

There aren't actually any rules saying you can or can't advertise religion, which is how they have managed to get away with it.

 

  Can This Web Be Saved? Mozilla Accepts DRM, and We All Lose...

EFF comments on decision by Mozilla to introduce DRM into Firefox


Link Here 15th May 2014

mozilla firefox logo It's official: the last holdout for the open web has fallen. Flanked on all sides by Google, Microsoft, Opera, and (it appears) Safari's support and promotion of the EME DRM-in-HTML standard, Mozilla is giving in to pressure from Hollywood, Netflix, et al, and will be implementing its own third-party version of DRM. It will be rolled out in Desktop Firefox later this year. Mozilla's CTO, Andreas Gal, says that Mozilla has little choice. Mozilla's Chair, Mitchell Baker adds, Mozilla cannot change the industry on DRM at this point.

At EFF, we disagree. We've had over a decade of watching this ratchet at work, and we know where it can lead. Technologists implement DRM with great reticence, because they can see it's not a meaningful solution to anything but rather a font of endless problems. It doesn't prevent infringement, which continues regardless. Instead, it reduces the security of our devices, reduces user trust, makes finding and reporting of bugs legally risky, eliminates fair use rights, undermines competition, promotes secrecy, and circumvents open standards.

It's clear from the tone of Gal and Baker's comments, and our own discussions with Mozilla, that you'll find no technologist there who is happy with this step. The fact that Mozilla, in opposition to its mission, had to prepare and design this feature in secret without being able to consult the developers and users who make up its community is an indication of how much of a contradiction DRM is in a pro-user open-source browser.

Unchecked, that contradiction is only going to grow. Mozilla's DRM code, imported from Adobe as a closed-source binary, will sit in a cordoned sandbox, simultaneously Mozilla's responsibility but beyond its control. Mozilla will be responsible for updates to the DRM blackbox, which means users will have to navigate browser updates that will either fix security bugs or strip features from their video watching. Mozillians have already been warned of the danger of talking too much about how DRM works (and doesn't work), lest they trigger the provisions in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) that forbid trafficking in circumvention knowledge.

Baker may think that Mozilla cannot change the industry on its own (despite it having done so many years ago). Sadly, it changes the industry by accepting DRM. It is these repeated compromises to the needs of DRM advocates by tech company after tech company that are changing the nature of personal computing, transforming it into a sector that is dominated by established interests and produces locked-down devices, monitored and managed by everyone but their users.

Past experience has shown that standing up to DRM and calling it out does have an effect . As we have said to the W3C , and Cory Doctorow spells out to Mozilla in this Guardian article , we can do much more to fight the negative consequences of DRM than simply attempt to mitigate the damage of its adoption.

We need to work to end the reinforcement of DRM and criminalization of fair use in the DMCA and similar legislation being spread throughout the world. We need to speak out about the failings of DRM, even if we fear that DRM proponents will just make it worse (in the name of improvement ) or take civil or criminal actions under the DMCA. We need to challenge the baseless assertion that users don't mind DRM as long as they can watch House of Cards and demand actual evidence to justify the damage it causes. And, given the amount of compromise we have already suffered, we need to spell out the principles that we won't compromise on.

Mozilla and the W3C are both organizations with missions intended to defend and promote the open web. Both have now committed to a system of content control that is seen as a violation of those principles by many Internet users. We, and they, can change that story. We need to redirect the ingenuity being wasted on attempts to limit the damage of introducing DRM into the heart of the Web toward a positive campaign against further incursions.

 

 Offsite Article: Are search engines the ultimate arbiters of information?...


Link Here 15th May 2014  full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
index logo Tuesday's ruling from the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) said that internet search engine operators must remove links to articles found to be outdated or 'irrelevant' at the request of individuals.

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

 Offsite Article: Glenn Greenwald: How the NSA tampers with US-made internet routers...


Link Here 15th May 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
No Place Hide Snowden Surveillance The NSA has been covertly implanting interception tools in US servers heading overseas, even though the US government has warned against using Chinese technology for the same reasons

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Updated: As always police side with complainant even when the complaint is baseless...

Police menace political tweeter


Link Here 14th May 2014
cambridgeshire police logo Index on Censorship have asked the right questions about reprehensible police political censorship in Cambridge:

Dear Home Secretary,

We are writing to ask that you launch an urgent investigation into why Cambridgeshire Police called on a Twitter user at home and demanded he remove a tweet about a political party-- even though he had committed no crime.

We understand from Michael Abberton that police visited him without warning at home following a complaint from a UKIP councillor over a tweet in which Mr Abberton mocked the party. We believe that the actions of the police are a direct affront to freedom of speech, and represent a worrying trend in the UK towards freedom of speech on social media in particular.

The case of Mr Abberton is particularly disturbing because of the political involvement in the complaint. Free speech is vital in a functioning democracy and must be protected at all times, but its importance is often felt most keenly at election time. We believe that the actions of the Cambridgeshire Police set a troubling precedent.

We ask that you investigate this matter immediately and further call on you clarify to police all laws relating to free speech and to elections. That the police saw fit to take this complaint any further than the police station is troubling enough but two further aspects of this case also require address. The first is that the police visited Mr Abberton -- who it was clear had committed no crime -- at his home, without warning. No one should have to fear a knock on their door by police for simply exercising their legitimate right to speak freely.

Secondly, we understand that the police who visited Mr Abberton asked him not to tweet about their visit. Such behaviour would not look out of place in a totalitarian regime and is a further affront to free speech and expression in a country that has often led the way in condemning such behaviour elsewhere.

These questions need answers swiftly. We call for any investigation to include clear recommendations on how such incidents will be prevented in future and look forward to hearing from you on how you plan to deal with this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Jodie Ginsberg, Chief Executive Index on Censorship

Update: Apologies

14th May 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

On Tuesday there was contrition from Simon Parr, chief constable of Cambridgeshire, who conceded that his force should not have become involved when a Ukip councillor complained about a blogger who had tweeted a fact check of Ukip policies. Officers turned up on the doorstep of Green party activist Michael Abberton, who says he was told to delete a series of critical tweets. The force denies that, but accepts that the intervention was unwise, particularly as officers were not able to make a case that any law had been broken.

Police attendance was not required and should not recur unless there is clear evidence that an offence may have been committed , said an apologetic chief constable .

 

  Sims 4 Sins...

Russian games censors award an 18 rating to Sims 4 over its inclusion of gay relationships


Link Here 14th May 2014
Sims Limited PC DVD Sims 4 is the latest in a long running series of computer games. It has been given a PEGI 12 rating in Europe.

But Russian censorship authorities have given the game an 18+ age rating because its portrayal of same-sex relationships contravenes a law protecting children from information harmful to their health and development.

A tweet clarified (via Google Translate) that the restrictive age rating was assigned in according with the law number 436-FZ, 'On the protection of children from information harmful to their health and development.' This law was originally passed in 2010 to prohibit the distribution to children of material that may elicit fear, horror or panic, or that depicts violence, unlawful activities, substance abuse or self-harm, but was updated in 2013 to include propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships.

 

  Jumping Ship...

Australia's film censorship appeals board to be bizarrely merged with immigration appeals boards


Link Here 14th May 2014
australia classification review board logo As part of the 2014 Federal budget, Australia's Classification Review Board will be merged with three other review tribunals.

As part of sweeping changes slated to add up to $500 million in savings, the body responsible for reviewing the ratings of games and films in Australia will be folded into a single body made up of the The Administrative Appeals Tribunal, the Migration Review Tribunal and Refugee Review Tribunal.

 

  Voteman...

Denmark has fun with a cartoon calling for young Danes to vote in the Euro-elections


Link Here 14th May 2014
voteman video The Danish parliament have had fun with a cartoon intended to appeal to young Danes and get them out to vote.

Featuring a bare-chested hero called Voteman , the advert starts as he is in bed with five women, and follows him as he punches non-voters in the face and interrupts another couple having sex in order to get them to a voting station.

The video was posted on YouTube and the Danish parliament website, but was removed presumably from the parliament site after inevitable 'outrage' over its supposedly lewd content. Parliament chairman Mogens Lykketoft told news site DR Nyheder:

We are trying to inspire the very young. A high turnout is important, so you use every method you can. There was a bit of discussion in parliament, but I do think it is quite innocent. You can find much worse.

However after the 'outrage' he wrote:

Many people whose opinions I deeply respect have perceived the cartoon from the EU information centre as far more serious and offensive than it was intended -- and believe it talks down to young people. I acknowledge that the parliament as an institution, should be more careful in the future about what we put our name on.

 

 Updated: Oversight of Orwellian Mass Surveillance...

Parliamentary home affairs committee criticises ineffective oversight of the UK's security services


Link Here 14th May 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
home affairs committee A highly critical report by the Commons home affairs select committee published on Friday calls for a radical reform of the current system of oversight of MI5 , MI6 and GCHQ , arguing that the current system is so ineffective it is undermining the credibility of the intelligence agencies and parliament itself.

The MPs say the current system was designed in a pre-internet age when a person's word was accepted without question. Committee chairman, Keith Vaz said:

It is designed to scrutinise the work of George Smiley, not the 21st-century reality of the security and intelligence services. The agencies are at the cutting edge of sophistication and are owed an equally refined system of democratic scrutiny. It is an embarrassing indictment of our system that some in the media felt compelled to publish leaked information to ensure that matters were heard in parliament.

The cross-party report is the first British parliamentary acknowledgement that Snowden's disclosures of the mass harvesting of personal phone and internet data need to lead to serious improvements in the oversight and accountability of the security services.

Malcolm Rifkind the Tory chairman of parliament's intelligence and security committee that is supposed to be monitoring the security services attacked Snowden and his supporters for their insidious use of language such as mass surveillance and Orwellian.

Update: Privacy International file complaint against GCHQ

14th May 2014. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

privacy international logo Privacy campaigners are seeking to stop GCHQ using unlawful hacking to help its surveillance efforts. Privacy International said the UK intelligence service has infected millions of devices to spy on citizens and scoop up personal data.

A 30-page legal complaint has been filed with the Investigatory Powers Tribunal which monitors whether the UK's spying laws are being observed.

In a statement , the Privacy International pressure group said the documents released by Edward Snowden had detailed the many ways that GCHQ was spying on people, many of which violated the European Convention on Human Rights which guarantees a right to privacy and to freedom of expression.

 

  A New Leaf...

Petition leads government to rethink ban of, or council fee for leafletting


Link Here 13th May 2014
defra logo Josie Middleton has been leading a campaign against council restrictions and fees for leafletting. She Writes:

Defra has responded to this campaign to change the restrictions on leafleting for small groups; it has launched a consultation, and will produce new guidance for local authorities. Defra says: We value the contribution made to communities by small scale live entertainment and events, and do not want people to be put off organising them because of unnecessary bureaucracy . Please do respond to the consultation!

Defra writes:

Defra is currently undertaking a review of its guidance for local authorities in England on Part 4 of the Environmental Protection Act 1990 as amended by the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005.

We are beginning our review with chapter 8 of the guidance Controlling the distribution of free literature .

We are seeking evidence on how councils in England currently control the distribution of free literature (e.g. leaflets and flyers), and what effect this is having on the promotion of small scale cultural and community events.

The consultation runs from 1 May 2014 to 26 Jun 2014

 

  Wake Up Call...

Top programmes on Channel 4 in 2013 were 4Ramadan Call to Prayer and Crazy about One Direction


Link Here 13th May 2014
channel 4 logo The Channel 4 Annual Report briefly speaks of viewer complaints in 2013:

During 2013 our Viewer Enquiries Department was contacted 154,703 times, the majority of these being requests for information. Of the rest, we received 16,835 complaints and 5,174 appreciative comments.

Our Ramadan season as a whole received both the largest number of positive and negative comments, with 2,011 complaints and 321 appreciative comments. For single programmes, the 4Ramadan Call to Prayer received the most number of complaints with 1,658, followed by Crazy about One Direction , which received 1,056 complaints.

Gogglebox was the single series that received the most number of positive comments from viewers, with 257 appreciative contacts.

 

  What's the fair price for a back-up copy?...

Copyright lobby tries to kill parliamentary law changes to allow private copying


Link Here 13th May 2014

House of Commons logo For well over ten years the Open Rights Group has been arguing about a private copying exception, to legalise everyday consumer behaviour of copying music to computer disks. Despite the fact that copyright industry groups have always said they'd never sue anyone, they claim that an exception would cause substantial damage that requires compensation.

Right now, both the private copying exception and parody appear to be delayed. The draft Statutory Instruments are now being discussed by a joint committee and the government in a rather opaque process.

The argument from publisher lobby groups is that European law requires compensation for economic harm arising from copyright exceptions. The UK government has so far, reasonably, argued that any harm would be minimal. Negligible might be more accurate. The change to the law would have little impact on people's behaviour. It would merely legalise what many people already do, copy the music they have legally bought from one device to another.

So what would the damage be? How many people will stop buying second copies of music if an exception is introduced? Probably nearly nobody, we imagine.

To put it another way, how much should you have to pay for a private copy of your own music and films? The BPI says that a private copying exception fair compensation must be granted to rights holders . UK Music says that the exception cannot lawfully be made without fair compensation .

 

 Update: In Apple's Bad Books...

Apple bans book for a supposedly 'inappropriate' cover


Link Here 13th May 2014  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone
Tijuana Baby Robert Haukoos Tijuana Baby , a novel by Robert Haukoos has been banned from the Apple iBooks store for supposedly 'inappropriate' cover art.

Tijuana Baby is a debut novel from Robert Haukoos and tells the story of two L.A. filmmakers who get trapped in Tijuana trying to save a 14-year-old girl from being forced into prostitution by a wicked drug smuggler.  Author Robert Haukoos said:

It's disappointing that Apple iBooks has chosen to ban this book. It's a mystery why they declined to accept a serious novel with tasteful artwork that reflects the actual subject matter of the book, when their catalogue includes a broad selection of explicit and violent songs, movies and video games.

Publisher Oliver Fribourg of Les Editions des Equateurs told online news site The Local that It's extraordinary in the year 2014 that this kind of censorship can happen. The company is so infuriated by what it sees as an act of censorship which acts against the liberty of creation, that it has called on France's Minister of Culture to intervene.

 

 Update: Open to Repression...

Iran bans the sale and use of VPNs


Link Here 13th May 2014  full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking
Iran flag Iran is to make the sale, purchase and use of VPN software illegal throughout Iran.

Virtual Private Networks hides the real internet address of users from internet snoopers and from websites being visited.

The draconian clampdown of free use of the Internet was announced by Iran's cyber police chief Brigadier General Kamal Hadianfar on Monday. He warned Internet users that use of a VPN makes all their information available to the companies that own the VPN servers, and claimed: Criminals' use of VPN has made the cost of finding the criminals higher and has increased the risk for those using it.

A 2013 study found that almost half of the world's top 500 most-visited websites - including those related to health, science, sports, news, and even shopping - are blocked in Iran. The regime is also one of three countries in the world to block Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. So it is hardly surprising that many Iranians use VPN software to bypass the regime's censorship of millions of websites and internet services.

 

 Offsite Article: Deal to combat piracy in UK with alerts is imminent...


Link Here 13th May 2014  full story: Digital Economy Act...Clause 11 grants government control of the internet
Pirate Bay logo ISPs and media industries set to agree a process of letters sent to file sharers

See article from bbc.co.uk

 

 Commented: What's the betting that the next world war will be started over a trivial joke?...

Complaints about Jeremy Clarkson and Top Gear reach new heights of absurdity


Link Here 12th May 2014  full story: Top Gear and the Grand Tour...Top Gear and Jeremy Clarkson wind up whingers
Top Gear Great African Adventure Lawyers are to write to Barack Obama and the ambassadors of every country in which Top Gear airs asking them if the BBC motoring series should continue to be broadcast, following Jeremy Clarkson's mumbled use of the N-word .

Lawrence Davies, director of law firm Equal Justice, claimed Top Gear was racist and told MediaGuardian his firm did not accept the apology Clarkson has made. He also asked who had approved the scene when Clarkson is shown choosing between two cars by reciting the words to the nursery rhyme eeny, meeny, miny, moe and then apparently mumbling the word 'nigger'. Davies said:

We are to write to every ambassador and the US president next week asking them to consider the evidence and then to decide if this racist show should be broadcast in their country in future.

Davies also attacked education secretary Michael Gove for defending Clarkson on ITV's Good Morning Britain:

Michael Gove, a close ally of Clarkson's friend, the PM, rallied to Clarkson's defence today. We worked with him on the Baby P whistleblower case so we know him well. That the person responsible for our children's education should condone an apologetic racist before the actual investigation has begun (let alone concluded) is an absolute disgrace.

Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman also chipped into the outrage and called for the BBC to sack Jeremy Clarkson. She screeched that anybody who used the word in whatever context should have no place at the BBC.

The BBC is still deciding what action to take and has yet to confirm if Clarkson will take part in the next series of Top Gear, which is due to begin filming soon. The BBC published the following response to complaints recieved:

Complaint

We've received complaints regarding Jeremy Clarkson allegedly using a racist term during the filming of an episode of Top Gear .

BBC's response

Jeremy Clarkson has set out the background to this regrettable episode. We have made it absolutely clear to him, the standards the BBC expects on air and off. We have left him in no doubt about how seriously we view this.

Update: Farange takes a stand against PC extremism

4th May 2014. See  article from  heraldscotland.com

jeremy clarkson Jeremy Clarkson has admitted that he will be sacked by the BBC if he makes another supposedly offensive remark. Writing in his weekly Sun column the presenter also attacked the BBC for urging him to apologise over the footage, complaining he could not say sorry for something he had not done. He said:

I've been told by the BBC that if I make one more offensive remark, anywhere, at any time, I will be sacked.

And even the angel Gabriel would struggle to survive with that hanging over his head.

It's inevitable that one day, someone, somewhere will say that I've offended them, and that will be that.

Speaking on a campaign visit to Dover, Nigel Farage said:

The more controversial Jeremy Clarkson is, the more people watch his programme, and the more money the BBC makes out of marketing a show that sells globally and makes them a fortune.

I would think it's just typical Clarkson, getting very, very close to the line of being offensive but perhaps not quite going over it.

Offsite Comment: The N-word: do we have to spell it out?

8th May 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

The Guardian One word is so uniquely offensive that it should never appear in print, some argue.

Update: TV censor gets involved

9th May 2014. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

Top Gear is to be investigated by Ofcom following complaints presenter Jeremy Clarkson used a derogatory term. An episode of Top Gear, broadcast on BBC Two on March 16, showed Clarkson using the word slope , as an Asian man walked over a bridge in Burma.

The scene led to a complaint of casual racism , with Clarkson accused of referring to people of different races in pejorative terms .

The complaint will now be investigated in full by TV censor Ofcom, which will consider whether the broadcaster breached its codes.

Offsite Comment: Clarkson: the c-word that counts is context

Spiked logo 10th May 2014. See  article from  spiked-online.com

 The hysteria over his n-word mumble marks a new stage in the war on words.

Comment: Living PC Language

10th May 2014. From Alan

letter writing A living language changes, as does acceptability of vocabulary in various contexts.

Go back to the middle ages, and Wyclif translates the Old Testament text on the ritual impurity of eunuchs by referring to the ballogys brused or kut off and he manages to employ a euphemism using twice as many naughty words as he avoids when he writes of the part of the bodye from which turdes are shatten out . Can't imagine a modern translation of the Bible referring to bollocks being bruised or cut off, or to the part of the body from which turds are shit out!

The other evening, I was looking at the photos in the bar at Birmingham Town Hall, showing the history of the building, illustrating -- appropriately left to right -- meetings addressed by Paul Robeson, Harold Wilson and Oswald Mosley. The poster put up by a Communist body for Robeson's speech happily used the not-quite-so-bad N-word, referring to Robeson's fight for American negros . (That's how they spelled it, with no E in the plural.) The National Association of Colored People in the USA still retains the use of coloured , now regarded as offensive on both sides of the pond.

I remember about twenty years ago reading a news report of a fight between a black man and a white man who had called him a fucking nigger . The paper had asterisked the F-word while printing the N-word in full. It struck me as a bit odd, since I don't think fucking was the word that made the black guy punch his lights out!

Going back 30 years or so, I remember a vicar's wife bemoaning the fact that you could no longer refer to a lovely clothing colour as nigger brown . A couple of minutes later, she reduced her husband, her son, and her son's mate (me) to horrified and uncontrollable mirth as she added, I believe in calling a spade a spade.

Update: Censored whilst claiming to be uncensored

3rd December 2014. See  article from  theguardian.com

BBC Trust The BBC Trust has said it will not consider an appeal calling for further action to be taken over Jeremy Clarkson's apparent use of the N-word in filming for Top Gear , because the clip was never actually broadcast on the BBC2 motoring show.

Complainants whinged that BBC management did not seem to take Clarkson's offences seriously, was inconsistent in sanctions applied to protect him for commercial reasons, and that there had not been meaningful apologies .

 

 Commented: We need a derogatory term for PC bullies and extremists...

The BBC sacks DJ for unknowingly playing record containing the most banned word on the planet


Link Here 12th May 2014
Sun Has Got His Hat  A veteran BBC broadcaster's career has come to an end after he unwittingly played an old record containing the word 'nigger'

However the BBC came in for justifiable criticism for its ludicrously over the top response to a mistake.

During his nostalgic Sunday evening music show, Swingers and Stingers, which is broadcast across south west England, David Lowe last month played a recording from 82 years ago of The Sun Has Got His Hat On, by Ambrose & His Orchestra. The song unbeknown to him, contained the lyric:

He's been tanning niggers out in Timbuktu
Now he's coming back to do the same to you

When a listener complained Lowe offered either to apologise on air or resign. His BBC managers initially said he would have to resign, but after the affair threatened to become public the corporation underwent a sudden about turn and has now stated he can have his job back.

Lowe said the BBC sent him an email in which it was stated we would prefer that you don't mention anything about last week's broadcast . A further and final email informed him: Regrettably ... we will have to accept your offer to fall on your sword.

But spurred by bad publicity, the BBC suddenly change its position. In a statement it admitted it had handled the matter badly and said:

We have offered David Lowe the opportunity to continue presenting his 'Singers and Swingers' show, and we would be happy to have him back on air. We accept that the conversation with David about the mistake could have been handled better, but if he chooses not to continue then we would like to thank him for his time presenting on the station and wish him well for the future.

Offsite Comment: In our own modest way, we're living in a Boko Haram world

boris johnson 12th May 2014. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk by Boris Johnson

There is no consistency or fairness in the BBC's disgraceful treatment of its Radio Devon DJ

...Read the full article

 

 Update: One Million Moms Recommend...

Bad Teacher


Link Here 12th May 2014  full story: One Million Moms...Moralist whingers against anything sexy

bad teacher One Million Moms have another whinge about US TV. The religious campaigners write:

CBS's newest program, Bad Teacher, is exactly what the title suggests; a show about a bad teacher, in more than one sense. What could be misleading is the main character not only lacks teaching skills, experience and education, but also is lying about who she is just to try to snag a rich, divorced father. Of course, with a TV-14 DL rating you can be assured this will not be for family viewing. However, the name of the show and the school ground setting along with elementary age cast members will attract young viewers. The content in this program (and even in its commercials) is inappropriate for children and teens and will send the wrong message to America's youth. New episodes air on Thursday evenings at 9:30 p.m. ET/8:30 CT.

Unacceptable content in the program includes: sexual innuendos, one night stands, sleeping around, smoking weed, alcohol at school, greed, lying, deception and plans to go away for romantic weekends with different divorced, rich dads whom the teacher just met.

CBS's newest show is irresponsible and an insult to all good teachers. It is appalling that CBS is airing a show that features immoral behaviour in a positive light while attempting to draw in young viewers with the title and adolescent setting of the program.

 

  Who Took That Photo?...

Researchers detect signature in photos that tie them back to the camera that took them


Link Here 12th May 2014

Kodak EasyShare C195 Digital Camera New technology is now allowing law enforcement agencies to search through collections of images to help track down the identity of photo-taking criminals.

Investigations in the past have shown that a digital photo can be paired with the exact same camera that took it, due to the patterns of Sensor Pattern Noise (SPN) imprinted on the photos by the camera's sensor. Since each pattern is idiosyncratic, this allows law enforcement to fingerprint any photos taken. And once the signature has been identified, the police can track the criminal across the Internet, through social media and anywhere else they've kept photos.

In a research paper entitled On the usage of Sensor Pattern Noise for Picture-to-Identity linking through social network accounts , the team argues that:

Digital imaging devices have gained an important role in everyone's life, due to a continuously decreasing price, and of the growing interest on photo sharing through social networks. Today, everyone continuously leaves visual 'traces' of his/her presence and life on the Internet, that can constitute precious data for forensic investigators.

While the certainty of the technique is currently only just better than chance, but surely this will improve.

 

 Extract: Shock Corridor...

BBFC publish case study detailing cinema bans in 1963 and 1966


Link Here 11th May 2014
Shock Corridor DVD Peter Breck Shock Corridor is a 1963 USA mystery drama by Samuel Fuller.
Starring Peter Breck, Constance Towers and Gene Evans. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Banned by the BBFC for 1963 and 1966 cinema release. Passed X by the GLC for London screenings in 1969. Passed 15 uncut for VHS and DVD.

From BBFC Case Study :

In his autobiography What the Censor Saw , former BBFC Secretary John Trevelyan stated that If mental illness is treated seriously, it can be entirely acceptable as material for a film, but if treated sensationally I would find it totally unacceptable.

On 2 October 1963, writer-director-producer Samuel Fuller's black and white crime thriller Shock Corridor was submitted to the BBFC for classification.

The BBFC Examiners notes described the film as a sensationalised picture of life in an American asylum , and one examiner noted that Shock Corridor shocked us . Their concerns included Cathy's profession and appearance as a stripper (although the latter aspect is described as being rather tame'); the incest references; the murder motive; a scene where Barrett encounters a ward full of 'nymphomaniacs ; a scene of electro-shock treatment; a nightmare sequence and a fight scene. Their report concluded We are satisfied that cutting would be impracticable and that a certificate should be refused.

The film was then referred to the BBFC's Secretary, John Trevelyan. He viewed the film with two Examiners and the BBFC's President, and they agreed that this film should not be passed . As well as the issues previously noted, they believed that the film presents a mental hospital in a light that would be considered objectionable in this country and that the film could not be cut to make it acceptable.

Trevelyan also had concerns about Cathy's strip-tease, the suggestion that a sane person could fake insanity to get committed to a mental hospital, the suggestion that committal to a mental hospital could turn a sane person insane and its potentially harmful effect on mentally disturbed viewers .

Trevelyan sent a rejection letter to the film's UK distributor, stating that The film portrays a picture of mental hospital life which is far removed from that in mental hospitals in this country, and which could well cause grave concern to people who have friends and relatives with mental illness.

...Read the full BBFC Case Study

 

  Supremely Miserable...

Venezuelan Supreme Court calls for censorship of sexy content on TV, Billboards and in music


Link Here 11th May 2014
Venezuela flag Venezuela's Supreme Court has order the country's media to censor supposedly sexually suggestive content on TV, billboards, and in music.

The ruling by Venezuela's top court came in a case filed by a citizen representing his underage children who wanted to end pornographic ads in newspapers and magazines for the general public. The court ordered:

The elimination of all images of explicit or implicit sexual content in advertisements in print media of open access to girls, boys and teens, relating to ... activity that promotes services linked to the exploitation of sex.

As an example, the Tribunal mentions a Venezuelan sports daily that runs ads of models who are nude, semi-nude or in underwear in suggestive poses advertising sex phone chat lines.

The court also calls on the Venezuela's Telecommunications Commission to monitor the content of songs of all music genres to make sure they are acceptable for all users, and that if necessary songs with racy lyrics be played on air only during determined hours. And it orders groups that defend the rights of children and teens to control what minors can see and play in video game arcade halls and on the Internet.

 

 Offsite Article: 'Objectification': a feeble excuse for campus censorship...


Link Here 11th May 2014  full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report
Spiked logo Banning unsuitable images or music is far worse than seeing the odd photo of a topless model. By Joanna Williams

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Offsite Article: The media's failure to neutralise Ukip can only be good for democracy...


Link Here 11th May 2014
nigel farage The ineffectual attempts to destroy Nigel Farage's party show the growing fragility of censorship by media

See article from theguardian.com

 

  Taking Offence, Nothing Else Matters...

ASA dismisses whinges about post watershed Durex advert


Link Here 10th May 2014

durex great sex advert A TV ad for Durex condoms, broadcast during the film The Goonies at around 9.05 pm on Saturday 24 August, opened with a scene of a woman lying in a half-sunken boat which panned out to show her being caressed by a man. Both actors were clothed. The ad cut to show another woman holding a condom packet in her hand. A voice-over said, Great sex is ... when it's so powerful you can't stop feeling the intensity all over. The woman in the boat then pushed the man partially underwater and a bottle of sexual lubricant was seen falling through the water. Various scenes then showed couples in sensual embraces in locations including the half-sunken boat, a corral and a crowded bar. A dog was shown picking up and running off with some underwear. The voice-over then said, When great sex moves you, nothing else matters. Love sex. The same text appeared on-screen, along with pack shots of a selection of sexual health products.

The ad had been cleared by Clearcast with a post-9 pm scheduling restriction.

Three complainants challenged whether the ad was inappropriately scheduled, because it was shown during a film directed at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 16.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA considered the content and nature of the product meant that it was not suitable for young children. We therefore considered the post-9 pm scheduling restriction imposed by Clearcast was appropriate.

We acknowledged Watch's assertion that the ad was not overtly sexual. However, we noted that whilst the ad did not show nudity or sexual activity, it did contain scenes that showed couples in sensual embraces and had included one scene that showed a woman who sat on top of a man, which could be interpreted as alluding to sexual activity. We also considered that the tone of the voice-over heightened the sensual nature of the ad. We noted one scene featured a condom packet in an actor's hand which, in the overall context of the ad, we considered to be a clear reference to anticipated sexual activity.

We accepted that Watch had used the consolidated data and we considered that could be a reasonable practice when formulating data for forecasting purposes, particularly when audiences could be low. The consolidated data supplied included previous films broadcast at a similar time as The Goonies and covered several months and days of the week, and we noted that that data showed that children in both the under and over ten age groups were not over-represented. We therefore considered that the broadcaster had taken diligent steps to predict the likely index scores. We also acknowledged that the broadcaster had taken into consideration the BBFC rating of the film as a likely indication of the age range of the audience.

Because the broadcaster had taken reasonable steps to ensure the ad was not broadcast in or adjacent to programmes commissioned for, principally directed at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 10, we therefore concluded it was suitably scheduled.

 

  The New Order...

The latest Wolfenstein game geo-locked to prevent activation in Germany


Link Here 10th May 2014
Wolfenstein The New Order PS4 International versions of Wolfenstein: The New Order are banned within Germany due to the use of Nazi imagery in the game, and as a result developer Bethesda is geo-locking versions on Windows PC so they cannot be activated in the country.

Bethesda details this decision to geo-lock the game on its official blog. Geo-locking, which is a method of selecting what countries can access content, was implemented on the basis of legal advice and industry standard practice, writes a Bethesda representative, adding that the international version also won't be available for sale in Austria.

While Germany offers cultural exemptions on the use of Nazi content in films, current legislation in the country does not extend to video games. Bethesda writes:

A violation may result in confiscation of the Game, a high financial penalty or up to three years in prison. Any person involved and/or responsible for such violation may be prosecuted and sentenced, including officers and employees of companies involved.

The German release of the game censors Nazi symbology but otherwise leaves the gameplay unchanged.

 

 Updated: Blu Blood...

Severin announces 2 Blu-ray video nasty releases


Link Here 10th May 2014
Bloody Moon DVD Bloody Moon is a 1981 Spanish/German slasher by Jess Franco.
With Olivia Pascal, Christoph Moosbrugger and Nadja Gerganoff. YouTube icon IMDb

Jess Frano's video nasty, Bloody Moon, is getting a Blu-ray release from Severin Films in the US. Hopefully they will also release it in the UK later.

Axe is a 1977 US horror by Frederick R Friedel.
With Leslie Lee, Jack Canon and Ray Green. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Another Vvdeo nasty, Axe, is also getting a Blu-ray release from Severin Films. This will be released in both the US & UK.

Update:

Cannibal Holocaust is a 1979 Italian adventure by Ruggero Deodato.
With Robert Kerman, Francesca Ciardi and Perry Pirkanen. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

The Grindhouse Releasing Cannibal Holocaust Blu-ray release will have same CUT (10 secs missing) version as the DVD had.

 

 Offsite Article: Children Only...


Link Here 10th May 2014
us pg MPAA G and PG rated films for older audiences have all but vanished

See article from newsok.com

 

 Update: Floods of Religious Sensitivities...

China bans the release of the Hollywood take on Noah


Link Here 9th May 2014  full story: Noah...Banned across the muslim world
Poster Noah 2014 Darren Aronofsky China has banned the release of biblical epic Noah starring Russell Crowe.

Paramount Pictures tried to secure a release slot but getting the Bible-based story past China's cinematic censors was stymied due to Beijing's sensitivities on religious issues. A source told the Hollywood Reporter:

This was for religious reasons, though it seems the whole issue was quite complicated.

The LA Times cited a source who suggested Noah may also have been refused a Chinese release for commercial reasons due to proximity with several other Hollywood releases.

 

 Update: Omnipresent Ofcom...

TV censor warns religious broadcasters that it is watching over them


Link Here 9th May 2014  full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
Ofcom logo Ofcom announced in its latest complaints bulletin that it would be keeping a beady eye on religious broadcasters:

Targeted monitoring exercise: religious programming

Recent sanctions and investigations by Ofcom into religious programming have highlighted concerns around the compliance of religious content with the Broadcasting Code.

Ofcom therefore formally notifies broadcasters that we are conducting a targeted monitoring exercise of television services which broadcast religious programmes.

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

 

  Complainants Shattered...

Irish book censors inevitable clear racy novel written by politician


Link Here 9th May 2014  full story: Book Censorship in Ireland...Minister for censorship investigated by how own censor board
Laura Alan Shatter Irish book censors have cleared an ex-minister's novel that was ludicrously accused accused of Obscenity and the encouragement of abortion.

Alan Shatter's novel Laura was written 25 years ago and was a bestseller at the time, but has languished in obscurity until someone kindly complained to the then non-existent book censors. The complaint hit the headlines and it inspired a re-print of the book.

The Irish Independent has learned that the board, chaired by Cork solicitor Shane McCarthy, met in late April and decided that no action would be taken against the book's publishers, Poolbeg Press.

The censorship board returned a copy of Shatter's book to the complainant, with a letter advising that it did not see any problem with its content and that (the board) decided that no action would be taken against the publisher .

 

  Mediawatch-UK Recommends...

Marriage at First Sight on Channel 4


Link Here 9th May 2014
married at first sight australia Channel 4 describes its new programme as follows:

The vast majority of us are brought up to assume that love is something that just happens, but there are now 15.7 million single adults in the UK and marriage is at an all-time low (2011 census, office of national stats). Have marriage and monogamy had their day. Have we forgotten how to fall in love?

Channel 4 have acquired the rights to develop Danish format Married at First Sight for a UK audience; this ground-breaking social experiment will see three couples matched by man and machine according to scientific and sociological criteria and will be produced by CPL.

Chosen from an initial pool of over 200 applicants, six single people, each seeking long-term love, will enter into a legally-binding marriage with a complete stranger - meeting for the very first time at their own wedding where they'll declare I do in front of family and friends.

Each of the single participants will be carefully matched by a panel of experts in the fields of psychology, psychotherapy, social & evolutionary anthropology and theology in the hope that their combined professional experience can create a perfect match.

Cameras will follow the couples for the first six weeks of their relationship as they share their daily lives with a stranger who could potentially become their soul mate, but practicalities aside, Married at First Sight ultimately seeks to answer two questions. Can science produce a successful relationship and can the act of marriage itself help create a psychological bond that leads to true and enduring love?

And of course Vivienne Pattison, the Director of Mediawatch-UK was keen to support the hype. She said of the show:

It makes marriage look stupid. Channel 4 is trumpeting this as a social experiment but it isn't. It's just after ratings.

Family breakdown costs the UK billions each year. This is irresponsible

 

 Offsite Article: A Passion for Censorship...


Link Here 9th May 2014
Exorcist DVD Ellen Burstyn The Exorcist, Monty Python and Crash - just some of the 8 films banned or nearly banned in Bournemouth

See article from bournemouthecho.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: A Jess Franco State of Mind...


Link Here 9th May 2014
Bloody Moon DVD Olivia Pascal How Jess Franco fared at the hands of Australia's film censor

See article from robertmonell.blogspot.com.au

 

 Offsite Article: More Daily Mail than Newsnight...


Link Here 9th May 2014
kirsty wark Kirsty Wark claims that the internet is fuelling a rise in sexism and warns that the web is teaching boys to think sex should be graphic and violent

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

  The Dirty Jobs at the BBFC...

BBFC publish case study about Quadrophenia


Link Here 8th May 2014
Quadrophenia DVD Phil Daniels Quadrophenia is a 1979 UK crime music drama by Franc Roddam.
Starring Phil Daniels, Leslie Ash and Philip Davis. IMDb

Quadrophenia was submitted to the BBFC for classification in March 1979. The BBFC classified the film X (suitable for over 18s) for strong language, sex and violence.

The BBFC explained that the bad language is excessive even for an X category film, the mob violence tends to stimulate even an adult audience, and the sex scene in which a young couple are roused by the violence taking place in the adjacent street is not an idea that we wish to 'sell to younger audiences.'

...Read the full article

 

  A Gloomy Gaggle of Killjoy Jobsworths...

BrewDog responds in fine style to its Dead Pony Club beer being banned by the drinks censors of the Portman Group


Link Here 7th May 2014
dead pony club Self appointed alcoholic drinks censors at the Portman Group have banned BrewDog's Dead Pony Club 3.8% ale. The censor writes:

The packaging of Dead Pony Club, a pale ale produced by BrewDog, has broken alcohol marketing rules for encouraging both anti-social behaviour and rapid drinking.

The Independent Complaints Panel (ICP) considered the product after Dead Pony Club's packaging was identified as being in potential breach of the Code for its association with bravado and immoderate consumption, and for placing undue emphasis on the strength and intoxicating effect of the alcohol in the product. The producer did not make representations to the Panel.

The Panel considered the overall impression conveyed by the product, the strength of the beer (Alc 3.8% Vol), as well as the text on the back label.

Whilst acknowledging that the beer was of a lower-than-average strength and that one bottle was well within the recommended daily unit guidelines, the ICP concluded the line on the label, rip it up down empty streets , associated the product with anti-social behaviour.

The ICP also concluded that the product did not promote immoderate consumption. However, it did rule that the phrases drink fast, live fast and we believe faster is better could encourage the consumer to drink the product rapidly. Consequently, the product was found by the Panel to be in breach of Code paragraphs 3.2 (b) and (g).

A Retailer Alert Bulletin has been issued instructing licensees and retailers not to place orders for stocks of Dead Pony Club in its current packaging after 8 July 2014.

BrewDog responded to the 'gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths' of the Portman Group in fine style:

On behalf of BrewDog PLC and its 14,691 individual shareholders, I would like to issue a formal apology to the Portman Group for not giving a shit about today's ruling. Indeed, we are sorry for never giving a shit about anything the Portman Group has to say, and treating all of its statements with callous indifference and nonchalance.

Unfortunately, the Portman Group is a gloomy gaggle of killjoy jobsworths, funded by navel-gazing international drinks giants. Their raison d'etre is to provide a diversion for the true evils of this industry, perpetrated by the gigantic faceless brands that pay their wages. Blinkered by this soulless mission, they treat beer drinkers like brain dead zombies and vilify creativity and competition. Therefore, we have never given a second thought to any of the grubby newspeak they disseminate periodically.

While the Portman Group lives out its days deliberating whether a joke on a bottle of beer is responsible or irresponsible use of humour, at BrewDog we will just get on with brewing awesome beer and treating our customers like adults. I'm sure that makes Henry Ashworth cry a salty tear into his shatterproof tankard of Directors as he tries to enforce his futile and toothless little marketing code, but we couldn't give a shit about that, either.

The Portman Group took objection to the phrase rip it up down empty streets ? Mr Portman, you seem to like taking things literally. Can you please explain how something can be anti-social if the streets are empty? Anti-social is defined as contrary to the laws and customs of society, in a way that causes annoyance and disapproval in others. If the streets are empty, there are no others to annoy.

As for not agreeing with we believe faster is better , well I think the archaic existence of the Portman Group proves just how bad slow can really be. Maybe they should try and catch up with the rest of the world instead of insulting the intelligence of consumers with such a thin veneer of impartiality. It is an embarrassing condemnation of the mega brewers who provide their funding, the same mega brewers whose pricing wreaks havoc on society.

Mr Portman, we'd be appreciative if you could now kindly save some trees and stop sending us meaningless letters.

We sincerely hope that the sarcasm of this message fits the Portman Group criteria of responsible use of humour.

 

  Proposal to renew censorship arrangements for broadcast advertising...

TV censor Ofcom lays out the rules for continuing to work the advert censor, ASA


Link Here 7th May 2014
Ofcom logo Under the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom has a duty to set broadcast standards in advertising and to prevent the inclusion of advertising in licensed services that may be misleading, harmful or offensive.

In 2004, Ofcom contracted out certain functions relating to the regulation of broadcast advertising content under co-regulatory arrangements with the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). Those arrangements expire later this year.

Ofcom now proposes to renew the existing arrangements with minor changes for a further ten year period. The basis for possible renewal is set out in a  letter [pdf] and Memorandum of Understanding [pdf] to Lord Smith, Chairman of the ASA.

Ofcom invites comments on our proposal to renew the existing co-regulatory arrangements and is keen to hear from all interested parties. Comments should be submitted by 17:00 on Friday 30 May 2014, addressed to:

Daniel Maher Content Standards, Licensing & Enforcement Operations Manager Riverside House 2a Southwark Bridge Road London SE1 9HA or submitted by email: daniel.maher@ofcom.org.uk.

 

  BBC Chief Censor Resigns...

Chris Patten stands down as chairman of the BBC Trust


Link Here 7th May 2014
chris patten Chris Patten has stepoed down as chairman of the BBC Trust.

Patten's controversial tenure as chairman of the BBC 's governing body has come to an unexpected halt after he announced that he would stand down immediately following major heart surgery.

He leaves the  job after three turbulent years in which the BBC was hit by the fallout from the Jimmy Savile sexual abuse allegations, and with ministers having to appoint a successor before the general election.

The Conservative peer will be replaced temporarily by the vice-chairwoman, Diane Coyle, with former Sony boss Sir Howard Stringer amongst those tipped to succeed him permanently.

 

 Update: Computer Generated Film Censors...

Australian Government consider software tools to classify games and movies


Link Here 6th May 2014

australian government logo A proposal for computer software to be used to classify material, such as movies and video games, has hit the news in Australia. The Federal Government has proposed the development of digital tools to speed up the work of the Classification Board.

Responses to survey questions by producers or developers about the content of movies or games could be used by a computer program to recommend a classification. Members of the Classification Board would be able to change the final result if they did not agree with the software's decision.

Legal academic Lyria Bennett Moses and her colleagues at the University of NSW's Cyberspace Law and Policy Community commented that draft changes to classification law did not place enough restrictions on the use of classification tools:

At worst, there would be no human judgment applied to the necessary human judgment matters central to the classification process. A Google bot might do it.

Morality campaigners of Family Voice Australia did not believe the Government intended to use computer programs to make a classification decision. But they feared this could happen in the future, enabling pornographers to exploit the classification system by supplying incorrect information about the content of their films to censorship programs.

Justice Minister Michael Keenan told Parliament recently that a draft Bill would require any classification tools to be approved by the relevant government minister.

The Bill also provides the Classification Board with the opportunity to classify material even after it has been considered by an approved tool, if it considers that the decision is problematic. As a final protection, if there are concerns about the effectiveness of a classification tool, its approval may be suspended or revoked at any time.

The computer game industry supports the use of automated tools to help speed up long delays waiting for material to be classified. Since 1996, the Classification Board has classified an average of 745 computer games a year. But more than 57,000 games were released by Apple's App Store in 2013. It also very expensive, costing upto $2460 to have a computer game classified.

The Government  is also considering scrapping proposals for 2-D and 3-D versions of the same movie to be classified separately.

 

  Censors Run Riot...

Russia bans 32nd May Film Festival featuring documentaries highlighting human rights issues


Link Here 6th May 2014
Pussy Riot Punk Prayer DVD The May 32nd Film Festival had to cancel its opening event after Saint Petersburg officials claimed unlikely sounding local code violations.

This is the fourth year of the documentary film fest, but the first time it has been disrupted. Organizers say it always attracted a degree of attention from authorities over its human rights theme, but not anything like the scrutiny they've experienced this year.

Festival organizer Ksenia Vakhrusheva said police old her:

You all have such controversial topics raised in those films, and it is on the eve of the May 9th celebration, and we have such difficult circumstances in Ukraine.

She added that authorities, let us know that our event is completely unwanted.

Two films in the lineup this year were particularly controversial. The first one, called Putin's Games , is about corruption and ecological damage during preparations for the Winter Olympics in Sochi. The second film is Pussy riot: A Punk Prayer , which won a special jury prize at last year's Sundance film festival.

Boris Vishnevsky, a representative in the Saint Petersburg legislature from the Yabloko opposition party said:

God forbid people would see some opposition on the screen and discover some truth. We are not allowed to find out the truth. We are only allowed to see what is shown on the government channels and state media like Russia Today.

The films will be shown at the Yabloko party office starting tomorrow. The organizers say they expect a lower turnout and don't rule out the possibility of more difficulties from authorities.

 

 Update: Talking Censorship...

Iranian internet censor bans WhatsApp on grounds of jewish ownership connections


Link Here 6th May 2014  full story: Iranian Internet Censorship...Extensive internet blocking
whatsapp logo Iranian censors have reportedly banned the use of messaging service WhatsApp, citing the Jewish heritage of Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, which now owns WhatsApp.

According to initial accounts from Fox News, Abdolsamad Khorramabadi, secretary of the Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content, said the reason for the change is the adoption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist.

The Twitter account of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani retweeted a message from @MeetIran, which said it opposed the WhatsApp blockade.

Despite its massive popularity around the world, WhatsApp has become something of a black sheep in the Middle East. In February, the app was named the No. 1 cause of destruction in Jewish homes and businesses, according to Israeli rabbis, who discouraged its use among the ultra-Orthodox.

 

  So what will they do when the soaps are rated 12?...

Reg Bailey calls for UK TV programmes to be rated as per film classifications


Link Here 5th May 2014
Coronation Street Best 2000 2009 DVD Reg Bailey, censorship campaigner and chief executive of the Mothers' Union, who 'advises' Downing Street on the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood, has called for the introduction of a cinema-style ratings system for all broadcast content.

He insisted the rise in time-shifted viewing of TV -- on the internet or other catch-up services -- meant the old 9pm watershed could not survive in its current form:

If you go to the age-rated system -- 12, 12A, PG -- it is simpler and has a high trust level.

Figures show ten% of all television viewing is now time-shifted rather than live.

Vivienne Pattison, director of campaign group Mediawatch-UK, said:

I am the parent of a seven-year-old who has no concept of linear television. He has no idea of not watching when he wants to watch. If you have a young teenage audience at 6.30pm and then you put out a version with extra spicy bits later at night -- well, who do you think that is aimed at?

She suggested curious youngsters were using catch-up services to watch shows as Channel 4's The Joy of Teen Sex and My Daughter the Teenage Nudist, as well as the post-watershed spin-off of the soap opera Hollyoaks.

Tony Close, director of content standards at Ofcom, said:

The TV watershed is an important way to protect children. We recognise the growth of on-demand TV viewing poses new challenges. We are working with government to ensure that children remain protected.

A spokesman for the Culture, Media and Sport department said:

More needs to be done to ensure safety measures and tools that prevent children watching post-watershed programmes, such as [parental] locks and Pin protection, are more widely used. We will keep progress under close review and if necessary consider the case for legislation to ensure that audiences are protected to the level they choose.

 

  A Novel Change of Heart...

Malaysia bans novel seemingly over religious issues


Link Here 5th May 2014
perempuan nan bercinta The novel Perempuan Nan Bercinta by renowned local author Faisal Tehrani was launched with much fanfare in 2012 by Malaysia's Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak. At the book launch the PM made a point of saying that novelists have the freedom to write in the country.

But it has now been banned by the Home Ministry last week, for purportedly promoting Shia teachings. Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi claimed the book was likely to be prejudicial to public order .

The book was published by Institut Terjemahan dan Buku Malaysia (ITBM), and printed by Percetakan Nasional Malaysia Berhad, both government-linked companies.

Faisal told The Malaysian Insider that he was not sure why the ministry had decided to ban his novel now, but noted:

I did hear then that Jakim (Islamic Development Department of Malaysia) was investigating complaints that it has Shia-related content.

The novel, like most of Faisal's writing, champions the rights of the oppressed. The story is about a professor who becomes friends with a human rights activist and they both debate and have discussions on various issues. And the professor's views are non-mainstream Islamic views, which could have sparked the investigation by Jakim.

 

  Playing Monopoly...

PEGI ratings come at an expensive price that is suffocating smaller games producers


Link Here 4th May 2014
tiga logo TIGA, the network for game developers and digital publishers, has written an open letter to PEGI, the European game content rating system, calling for urgent reform of its pricing policy, which charges small games businesses unreasonably high and repetitious fees. TIGA has acted in response to complaints from its members about PEGI's pricing policy.

At present, PEGI's policy is to charge a developer a fee for content rating every time it launches a game on a different console platform (e.g. Play Station 4, Play Station Vita, Xbox One, the Wii U, etc), even if the content is exactly the same. This is excessive and unreasonable.TIGA recommends that the fee for age rating the same game content for different platforms should be waived entirely.

TIGA has warned the Netherlands based organisation that its approach risks hurting start-ups and small independent developers. While PEGI's pricing policy can impose costs potentially running into thousands of euros on UK and European developers, American game developers do not have to pay their equivalent ratings body, the ESRB, anything at all for rating identical content on additional platforms.

As of 1st of July 2014, PEGI will effectively have three pricing tiers:

  • The lowest, for online or downloadable games only which must be under 250mb, charges EUR260 for certification, and the same again for each additional platform even if the content is the same.
  • The middle tier is for games larger than 250mb, with a production budget of less than EUR200,000 and charges EUR1,155 for certification and EUR1,050 for each additional platform, again even if the content is unchanged.
  • The highest tier is for games with a budget larger than EUR200,000 and charges EUR2,100 for certification and EUR1,050 for each additional platform, even if the content is exactly the same.

To give one example, from the beginning of July 2014, the ratings fee for a Lower Development Cost Product (where the game's budget is less that EUR200,000) is EUR1,155 in the first instance and EUR1,050 for each additional platform thereafter. So if an indie developer was to launch the same game with exactly the same content on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PS Vita, they would be looking at a ratings bill of EUR3,255. PEGI's pricing policy imposes disproportionate costs on indie developers pursuing a multi-platform strategy.

The PEGI content ratings system should be focused on providing information to consumers and protecting vulnerable consumers from accessing inappropriate content. It should not be burdening small games businesses with excessive costs. Many small development businesses operate on a knife-edge and struggle to conserve every pound or euro they can in order to stay in business.

TIGA further suggests that PEGI examines the potential for delivering its rating system more efficiently. At present, PEGI carries out the rating process repeatedly for games on multiple platforms. TIGA suggests that instead developers could be offered the opportunity to sign a legally binding document stating the game content is identical. This would allow PEGI to provide a single multi-platform age rating, which in turn would save PEGI's time and indie developers' money. TIGA would be happy to work with one of its members, Stevens & Bolton LLP to draft this legally binding agreement and make it available for free to indie developers.

Dr. Richard Wilson, CEO, TIGA, comments:

The majority of UK and European games developers operate small studios where financial resources are limited and costs need to be kept to a minimum.

TIGA's policy is to strengthen the game development and digital publishing sector, in particular by saving games businesses money and improving their access to finance. PEGI's pricing policy imposes potentially damaging and unreasonably high fees, which have a disproportionate impact on small games businesses. It cannot be right to charge a developer a fee for content rating every time it launches a game on a different console platform even if the content is exactly the same.

Significantly, US developers do not have to pay their equivalent ratings body, the ESRB, anything at all for rating identical content on additional platforms. Once again, UK and European developers are being put at a disadvantage. If the UK and European development sector is to thrive then we need a pricing policy from PEGI which is helpful, not a hindrance; is proportionate, not punitive; and is equitable, not exorbitant.

TIGA is approaching PEGI to find a solution that fairly represents the interests of developers, digital publishers and consumers across Europe.

 

  Twerking Twerps...

ASA dismisses whinges about TV advert for Ministry of Sounds compilation CD


Link Here 4th May 2014

ministry of cound trap video A TV ad for a music compilation CD titled Trap , featured a young woman in leggings and a crop top dancing around a council estate.

Four complainants challenged whether the choreography was overtly sexual and demeaning to women.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the ad contained scenes of dancing known as twerking . We noted that some scenes were filmed in slow motion, showing the girl thrusting her pelvis in and out; particularly focusing on her crotch area and bottom, which we considered could be interpreted as being suggestive. However, we noted that in the context of an ad advertising a dance CD, the dancing would be regarded as reflecting the genre of music that was being promoted. Furthermore, we noted that the girl was dancing alone and that there were no explicit sexual references in the ad. Therefore, while we considered that the choreography could be seen as suggestive, we concluded that it was not overtly sexual or demeaning to women, likely to cause serious or widespread offence or likely to cause harm to children.

 

 Offsite Article: Snooper's Delight...


Link Here 4th May 2014
NSA logo The US government moves forward with plans for an online ID for internet users

See article from motherboard.vice.com

 

  Whinges Duly Dismissed...

ASA considers radio advert for the film, The Devil's Due


Link Here 3rd May 2014

Devils Due DVD Zach Gilford A radio ad for the film Devil's Due broadcast at 12.30 pm on Capital Radio London featured a female voice stating, We're having a baby , followed by the sound of cheering. Another female voice continued, Your body is going through a beautiful transformation , followed by a male voice stating, I found these weird symbols and the sound of a record scratching. The voice-over stated, Nothing can prepare you and a separate male voice then stated, In early Christianity they could use these symbols for summoning an Anti Christ , followed by the sound of whispers in an unknown language. A female voice stated, They are waiting , and the voice-over continued, For a new arrival . A male voice then stated, This is the last hour @ The Anti Christ is coming and a male voice was heard shouting, Leave us alone , followed by a female voice screaming, Don't touch us . There was a high-pitched sound slowly increasing in volume and the voice-over continued, Devil's Due, in cinemas now, rated 15 .

A listener challenged whether:

  1. the ad, especially the vocal clips, were likely to cause distress; and

  2. the ad had been scheduled inappropriately because it had been broadcast during the day and had been heard by their children.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the general tone of the ad was of fear and menace, created by both the sound effects and the dialogue, but that the content of the ad did not include any explicit violence or specific threat. Although we acknowledged that some adult viewers would be unsettled or disturbed by the ads, we did not consider that the ads went beyond what viewers would normally expect from ads promoting a 15-certificate horror film and we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause distress to adult viewers.

2. Not upheld

We agreed with the RACC that the ominous nature of the ad meant that it should have been scheduled away from times when under 16-year-olds were likely to be listening in order to minimise the possibility of children hearing the ad. We understood that there was only limited RAJAR information available for the numbers of children listening to the radio, but noted that This is Global had consulted RAJAR figures for the time that the ad was aired prior to scheduling the ad and those figures had shown that the under-16 segment that could be identified (children aged 10 to 15 years) comprised typically 7% of the audience. Further, we noted that RAJAR figures for the specific day and time that the ad was broadcast showed that only 3% of the listening audience were 10 to 15 years old, which we considered minimal. We concluded that the scheduling advice given by the RACC was appropriate and that it had been applied responsibly by the broadcasters, and that the ad therefore did not breach the Code.

 

  Someone's been watching too much TV!...

National Association of Head Teachers claims that pre-watershed TV is often obscene and mentally damaging


Link Here 3rd May 2014
naht  logo The National Association of Head Teachers - which has drawn up a charter to protect children's innocence - says the media must ensure pre-watershed content is free from sex and violence.

Speaking at the NAHT's conference in Birmingham, its president Gail Larkin said:

We know that most parents are trying their best to protect their children from certain dangers in the outside world.

I know, as a grandparent, how much more difficult it is with such advanced technology to prevent children from accessing, often unwittingly, materials and media that are not just inappropriate but often obscene and mentally damaging.

Lancashire head teacher, Amanda Hulme, who will propose a motion that the union adopt a new charter on the issue, said schools and parents shared concerns about the problem. She cited instances of popular television soaps using adult storylines and examples of swearwords being used on television shows before the 9pm cut-off point. She also raised concerns about the content of some music videos, which children may see on digital devices, and the impact of violent games.

 

 Update: Nuts Butts Out...

Lucy Pinder sheds a tear over the final issues of the lads' mag Nuts


Link Here 3rd May 2014  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
nuts final issue Lucy Pinder, a favourite of Nuts magazine, has helped bring the publication to a close by crying on the cover of its final issue.

Nuts launched in January 2004, with Nell McAndrew as its illustrious cover star. The final issue -- its 526th edition - went on sale yesterday.

The final editorial of Nuts suggested that readers should now support rival magazine, Zoo :

Our esteemed rival Zoo launched a week after us. It has been an interesting sparring partner over the last ten years, and we were actually quite fond of coming up against the old bastard. Dear reader, much as it pains us to say, may we suggest go and see what they're up to, because they could use the sales!

Feminist comments on the final issue seem somewhat contradictory. Kate Maltby in the Telegraph celebrates that Nuts has withdrawn its rather public depiction of male lust and that the inevitable recourse to more private and more porny internet delights is a good thing:

Feminists should celebrate: Nuts was never pornographic enough

Meanwhile April Peake of Cherwell argues that the very softcore and very controlled nature of lads' mags is probably preferable to the more porny delights of the interent:

Lads magazines have not disappeared, they've just moved

 

  Re-enacting the Third Reich...

Barnsley Council censors ban World War II battle re-enactment


Link Here 3rd May 2014
barnsley council logo A Second World War re-enactment has been ludicrously banned by Barnsley Council because some participants would have been wearing Nazi uniforms.

The 1940s Goodnight Sweetheart charity weekend at Elescar Heritage Centre in South Yorkshire would have seen the Northern World War II Association recreate a battle between Allied and Axis troops.

But Barnsley Council dictators banned the event because of supposed complaints over soldier's attires.

Elsecar Heritage Railway chairman Del Tilling said:

I'm absolutely baffled as to how the council can think this is offensive when the people involved are a responsible group of military re-enactors.

They refused permission for our World War II weekend because there are "Germans" in military uniform taking part.

The Northern World War II Association website says the event has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances beyond our control:

It is disappointing and only seems to hit out at local charities and local people who are being deprived of the opportunity to visit an enjoyable educational event about the Second World War. Cause:

The event would have raised money for Help for Heroes and the centre's steam railway restoration programme

A council spokesprat spewed:

This decision has been for several reasons relating to duty of care and the safety of businesses and visitors.

 

 Update: War Cry...

Salvation Army goes to war against table dancing in Cheltenham


Link Here 3rd May 2014
war cry The Salvation Army has collected 665 names on a petition which calls on Cheltenham Borough Council to ban sexual entertainment venue licences in the borough. There is also an online version of the petition with 373 signatures currently.

A 12-week consultation exercise was launched by the council on April 14 to gauge public opinion on whether there should be a limit to the number of venues, such as lapdancing clubs and adult cinemas, in Cheltenham.

This follows in the wake of a licence being granted to Bath Road Property Limited, to turn Voodoo club in Bath Road into Diamond Gentlemen's Club.

In a letter of objection to the council, The Salvation Army's commanding officer for Cheltenham, 'Captain' Steve Smith said he was 'concerned' about Cheltenham becoming known as complicit in the selling of the services of vulnerable females as mere sexual commodities .

 

 Offsite Article: Gagged by the secret courts...


Link Here 3rd May 2014
Old Bailey Spinster, 94, banned from speaking publicly about her legal battle with social workers after judge rules she's not mentally well enough

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent...


Link Here 3rd May 2014  full story: TTP Trade Restrictions...Trans Pacific Partnership
tpp eff logo The TPP has you in its crosshairs. By Alastair Sloan

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

  Britain's Press is Less Free...

Freedom House reports on a worldwide decline in press freedom


Link Here 2nd May 2014
freedom of-the press 2014 Global press freedom has fallen to its lowest level in over a decade, according to a Freedom House report released today. The decline was driven in part by major regression in several Middle Eastern states, including Egypt, Libya, and Jordan; marked setbacks in Turkey, Ukraine, and a number of countries in East Africa; and deterioration in the relatively open media environment of the United States. Freedom of the Press 2014 found that despite positive developments in a number of countries, most notably in sub-Saharan Africa, setbacks were the dominant trend in every other region. The share of the world's population with media rated "Free" remains at just 14%, or only one in seven people. Far larger shares live in Not Free (44%) or Partly Free (42%) media environments.

Karin Karlekar, project director of the report, said:

We see declines in media freedom on a global level, driven by governments' efforts to control the message and punish the messenger. In every region of the world last year, we found both governments and private actors attacking reporters, blocking their physical access to newsworthy events, censoring content, and ordering politically motivated firings of journalists.

In 2013 we saw more cases of states targeting foreign reporters and media outlets. Russian and Chinese authorities declined to renew or threatened to withhold visas for prominent foreign correspondents, but the new Egyptian government went a step further by detaining a number of Al-Jazeera staff on charges of supporting terrorism.

Key Global Findings:

  • Of the 197 countries and territories assessed during 2013, a total of 63 (32%) were rated Free, 68 (35%) were rated Partly Free, and 66 (33%) were rated Not Free.
  • All regions except sub-Saharan Africa, whose average score leveled off, showed declines, with the Middle East and North Africa suffering the worst deterioration.
  • Triggers for country declines included governments' overt attempts to control the news--whether through the physical harassment of journalists covering protest movements or other sensitive stories, restrictions on foreign reporters, or tightened constraints on online news outlets and social media--as well as the role of owners in shaping media content through directives on coverage or dismissals of outspoken journalists .
  • Country improvements were largely driven by three factors: a growing ability of private firms to operate television and radio outlets; greater access to a variety of views via online media, social media, and international outlets; and improved respect for legal protections for the press.
  • China and Russia maintained a tight grip on local media while also attempting to control the more independent views provided either in the blogosphere or by foreign news sources.
  • The world's eight worst-rated countries remain Belarus, Cuba, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Iran, North Korea, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
Americas:
  • The regional average score worsened to its lowest level in five years, and just 2% of the population in Latin America lived in Free media environments.
  • Scores dropped in Honduras, Panama, Suriname, and Venezuela.
  • Paraguay's rating improved to Partly Free.
  • Conditions in the United States deteriorated due primarily to attempts by the government to inhibit reporting on national security issues.
Asia-Pacific:
  • Only 5% of the region's population had access to Free media in 2013.
  • China, rated Not Free, continued to crack down on online speech, particularly on microblogs, and also ramped up pressure on foreign journalists.
  • Press freedom deteriorated in Hong Kong, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and several Pacific Island states, including Nauru, which was downgraded to Partly Free.
  • Burma and Nepal registered score improvements.
Eurasia:
  • The overwhelming majority of people in the region (97%) lived in Not Free media environments.
  • Conditions in Russia remained grim, as the RIA Novosti news agency was closed and the government enacted additional legal restrictions on online speech.
  • Ukraine was downgraded to Not Free for 2013 due primarily to attacks on journalists covering the Euromaidan protests, and further erosion took place in Azerbaijan.
  • Positive developments occurred in Kyrgyzstan and Georgia.
Europe:
  • This region enjoys the highest level of press freedom, but the regional average score registered the second-largest drop worldwide in 2013.
  • The Netherlands, Norway, and Sweden were rated the world's top-performing countries.
  • Significant decline took place in Turkey, which fell into the Not Free category, as well as in Greece, Montenegro, and the United Kingdom.
  • A modest numerical improvement was noted in Italy, which remains Partly Free.
Middle East and North Africa:
  • Only 2% of the region's people lived in Free media environments, while the vast majority, 84%, lived in Not Free countries or territories.
  • Backsliding occurred in Libya, which fell back into the Not Free category, and Egypt, where the military-led government limited press freedom.
  • Significant deterioration took place in Jordan and to a lesser extent in Iraq and the United Arab Emirates. Press freedom declined further in Syria, in the midst of an especially brutal civil war that posed enormous dangers to journalists.
  • Improvements took place in Algeria (upgraded to Partly Free), Yemen, the West Bank and Gaza Strip, and Israel (upgraded back to Free).
Sub-Saharan Africa:
  • The majority of people (56%) lived in countries with Partly Free media. Improvements in the legal and economic spheres in 2013 were balanced by declines in the political category.
  • Declines occurred in South Sudan and Zambia (both downgraded to Not Free), the Central African Republic, and several countries in East Africa, including Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Uganda.
  • West Africa saw a number of improvements, including the upgrade of Côte d'Ivoire to Partly Free and numerical gains in Mali, Senegal, and Togo.
  • Other gains were recorded in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, the Seychelles, and Zimbabwe.

United Kingdom:

The United Kingdom registered both positive and negative trends in 2013, leading to a net decline from 21 to 23 points. A long-awaited reform of the libel laws raised the threshold for initiating cases and has the potential to curb libel tourism. However, a number of negative developments stemmed from the government's response to the revelations of surveillance by the NSA and its British counterpart, Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ). Authorities used the Terrorism Act to detain the partner of investigative journalist Glenn Greenwald, who broke the story; raided the offices of the Guardian newspaper and destroyed hard drives containing potentially sensitive source materials; and subsequently threatened the Guardian with further action. In the wake of the 2011 News of the World phone-hacking scandal and the Leveson inquiry that followed, the establishment of a new regulatory body to oversee print media also raised concerns among some observers.

 

 Offsite Article: If they can be believed...


Link Here 2nd May 2014  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Prism and secret internet snooping
white house White House says that America will extend data privacy protections to non-US citizens

See article from theguardian.com

 

  Brutality of the Highest Order...

Having fun with Shakespeare as audiences faint during performances of the 'grotesquely violent' Titus Andronicus


Link Here 1st May 2014
globe titus andronicus With 14 deaths, brutal rape scenes, mutilation and cannibalism, Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus has never been one for the fainthearted. But the gruesome scenes at the Globe Theatre's latest revival have proved too much for some. Members of the audience have been fainting during the play's most violent scenes, with others reporting feeling sick and warning of sleepless nights.

The play, a revival of Lucy Bailey's 2006 production, is publicised with a warning that it is grotesquely violent and daringly experimental , with a terrible cycle of mutilation, rape and murder .

A spokesman for the Globe confirmed five members of the audience fainted in a particularly gory five-minute scene, adding front of house staff are very well trained to look after people . It is understood all five fell while watching Lavinia emerge from being brutally rape, with her tongue cut out and holding bloodied stumps for arms.

 

 Offsite Article: Call Yourself A Fan? Lousy Sales And Internet Piracy!...


Link Here 1st May 2014  full story: VRA Exempt...Video Recordings (Exemption from Classification) Bill
Exempt symbols Pooch considers the market economics of charging BBFC fees for DVD extras and of internet piracy

See article from cinema-extreme.blogspot.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: The Complete Word of God (Abridged and Censored)...


Link Here 1st May 2014
The Complete Word God Abridged Reflecting on Northern Ireland's self-appointed theatre censors

See article from indexoncensorship.org