India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has rbanned Porkalathil Oru Poo , a film based on
real life story of television journalist, Isaipriya, who was allegedly killed in captivity by the Sri Lankan armed forces in the final stages of the civil war in 2009, on the grounds that the film could strain friendly relations with foreign States.
The film director, K. Ganeshan, who is yet to get a formal letter of rejection from the CBFC, protested the decision. He said:
What if Sri Lanka is a friendly State? Are we not allowed to criticise even when its armed forces have committed blatant human rights abuses? Even the Tamil Nadu government has passed a unanimous resolution in the Assembly not to consider Sri Lanka as a
Actor S. Ve. Shekar, the Regional Chairman of CBFC, defended the censorship saying:
Certification of a movie cannot be given if it could strain friendly relations with a neighbouring country. We have only followed the rule book. We cannot give a certification based on our whims and fancies.
We can argue about what happened during the civil war, but that doesn't mean that we have to allow a film to be screened. Brutal murders happen in society, but does that mean we can make a film out of it? The director is free to screen the movie outside
the country without any cuts.
But hopefully The Equalizer is uncut on UK cable and satellite TV
30th May 2015
Thanks to Paul
The Equalizer is a 2014 USA action crime thriller by Antoine Fuqua.
Starring Denzel Washington, Marton Csokas and Chloë Grace Moretz.
A former black ops commando who faked his death for a quiet life in Boston comes out of his retirement to rescue a young girl and finds himself face to face with Russian gangsters.
The film was passed 15 for strong bloody violence, sex references, strong language after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:
2014 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
This work was originally seen for advice. The company was advised that the film was likely to receive an 18 certificate but that their preferred 15 classification could be achieved by making cuts to reduce the violence in two scenes. When the finished
version of the film as submitted for formal classification, edits had been made to reduce sequences of violence, including detail of a stabbing with a corkscrew and a garroting. The formal submission was consequently rated 15.
Unfortunately the same cut version was submitted for UK DVD and Blu-ray and so is still cut and 15 rated.
However Paul now comments that UK TV is hopefully showing the uncut version:
The version of The Equalizer I've just watched on Now TV, and I would assume the same as the one on sky, is uncut. I've scrutinized over it with the moviecensorship comparison and it's well worth a look to confirm.
Animal rights group Peta has demanded that Britain's oldest pub changes its name to show compassion for
animals. People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals says that Ye Olde Fighting Cocks in St Albans should update its name to Ye Olde Clever Cocks to reflect a change in society's attitudes.
Since it was founded in the eighth century, the pub in Abbey Mill Lane has had many names, but since 1872 it has been called Ye Olde Fighting Cocks because of its history of cockfighting - a sport banned in the UK in the 1800s.
Peta director Mimi Bekhechi said:
Changing the name would reflect today's rejection of needless violence and help celebrate chickens as the intelligent, sensitive and social animals they are.
Today, kind people are appalled by the thought of forcing birds to fight to the death and more people than ever are making the compassionate choice not to eat chickens, either.
Hundreds have taken to social media to express their outrage at the idea. Alasdair Melville who used to work at the pub said:
Rather than worrying about the name of a pub, I think Peta should worry about looking after chickens at chicken farms for example.
Another local added:
I do not associate the name with cock fighting, I associate with the history.
The United Nations Human Rights Council has published an advance version of a report entitled, Report of the Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection
of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye
The report underlines the importance of encryption and anonymity in the digital age and calls on member states to protect their use under law.
David Kaye, a UN special rapporteur on freedom of expression, seeks to shine light on complex issues by asking two questions:
Do the rights to privacy and freedom of opinion and expression protect secure online communication, specifically by encryption or anonymity?
Assuming an affirmative answer, to what extent may Governments, in accordance with human rights law, impose restrictions on encryption and anonymity?
Acknowledging that some states impose draconian measures to restrict citizens' abilities to send and impart knowledge without fear, Kaye says that journalists and activists often need specialist tools to make their voices heard.
A VPN connection, or use of Tor or a proxy server, combined with encryption, may be the only way in which an individual is able to access or share information in such environments.
Noting that individuals should be able to send and receive information beyond their borders, the rapporteur states that some member states act to deny those freedoms by restricting communications using aggressive filtering:
Encryption enables an individual to avoid such filtering, allowing information to flow across borders. Moreover, individuals do not control -- and are usually unaware of -- how or if their communications cross borders. Encryption and anonymity may
protect information of all individuals as it transits through servers located in third countries that filter content.
Anonymity has been recognized for the important role it plays in safeguarding and advancing privacy, free expression, political accountability, public participation and debate.
Some States exert significant pressure against anonymity, offline and online. Yet because anonymity facilitates opinion and expression in significant ways online, States should protect it and generally not restrict the technologies that provide it.
Kaye notes that several states have attempted to combat anonymity tools such as TOR, VPNs and proxies, with Russia even offering significant cash bounties for techniques which would enable it to unmask TOR users. However, due to their human rights value,
use of such tools should actually be encouraged.
Because such tools may be the only mechanisms for individuals to exercise freedom of opinion and expression securely, access to them should be protected and promoted.
States should revise or establish, as appropriate, national laws and regulations to promote and protect the rights to privacy and freedom of opinion and expression.
In respect of encryption and anonymity, Kaye says that member states should adopt policies of non-restriction or comprehensive protection , and only introduce restrictions on a proportional, court-order supported, case-by-case basis.
Adding that states and companies alike should actively promote strong encryption and anonymity, Kaye says that measures that weaken individual's online security, such as backdoors, weak encryption standards and key escrows, should be avoided.
Finally, Kaye advises member states to not only encourage the use of encryption, but also make it the norm.
West Midlands transport executive, Centro has taken down posters from Birmingham bus stops after the feminist Object campaign group
claimed that they were sex adverts.
The posters for small ads website Vivastreet.co.uk show three young women with the slogan: A little bit of Bella...A little bit of Layla...A little bit of Nicola ... The wording is an apparent reference to the 1999 chart hit Mambo Number 5 and the adverts ends:
Get your own little bit .
For some reason, the local newspaper, the Birmingham Mail, felt it necessary to pixellate the girls faces when reporting the story.
The Object group has reported Vivastreet, which offers personal ads and an adult section on its site, to the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA).
Centro has now removed the adverts from all its sites and spokesman Mark Langford said:
Advertising on Centro bus shelters is contracted to a third party company who manage it on our behalf. As a condition of this, Centro stipulates material should meet national standards of taste and decency.
As soon as concerns about the nature of the website being promoted was brought to our attention we investigated and ordered the posters to be removed immediately from all Centro-owned sites.
We are meeting with the company to discuss the arrangements in place to manage future advertising material so that it meets the required standards.
A spokeswoman for the ASA said they had received more than 20 complaints about the adverts and said they would all be carefully assessed .
The advert censor of ASA and CAP have published their annual report covering 2014. They introduce the report in a media release:
ASA and CAP Annual Report 2014: Having more impact, being more proactive 27 May 2015
Our Annual Report published today reveals the steps we're taking to have more impact and be more proactive as part of our ambition to make every UK ad a responsible ad.
At a time when the responsibility agenda is a live issue amongst the ad industry, our Report highlights the proactive steps we're undertaking to provide a responsible framework for advertisers to engage creatively with their customers.
In summary these steps include:
Supporting advertisers. CAP published new guidance for advertisers and vloggers to help them make it clear to consumers when they are advertising. We also broadened our advice and training resources by creating a new eLearning module for alcohol
Tackling problem ads. Our work resulted in 3,384 ads being changed or withdrawn and a record 1,599 compliances cases resolved. The ASA received 37,073 complaints about 17,002 ads with a 35% increase in complaints about online ads (for the first time
overtaking TV to make it the most complained about medium) reflecting the importance of keeping pace with a rapidly evolving media landscape
Understanding society's concerns about ads. We conducted research into the public's experience of copycat websites and gambling advertising. CAP also commissioned an independent food literature review on online food and drink marketing to children
to ensure the rules are in the right place
Having more impact. The ASA devised new Prioritisation Principles to help it decide what regulatory resource it uses when responding to complaints and what resource will be proportionate to the problem to be tackled
Raising awareness. With the creative talent and expertise of AMV BBDO the ASA created a national advertising campaign. The campaign will feature across media in 2015 thanks to ad space generously donated by the media industry
In our Report we also outline our commitment to increasing, improving and better targeting our support for industry. Last year, we delivered training and advice on a record 194,200 occasions including 7,168 Copy Advice enquires. Our focus now is on
carrying on that momentum so every business has access to the information and support it needs.
Chairman of CAP and BCAP, James Best said:
If we're to meet the challenges that the ad industry faces - declining public trust, rapid changes to the media landscape and calls for tighter regulation on several fronts - key to that is helping advertisers make responsible ads. Through delivering
more proactive and impactful regulation and with industry support and buy-in we will promote consumer confidence which is in turn good for business.
Adult entertainment industry representatives met at a roundtable meeting with the UK VoD censors of
ATVOD for a discussion over age-verification compliance.
The discussion, instigated by ATVOD, IFFOR, ICM Registry and the Adult Provider Network, also took an inward look at how the adult entertainment industry, domestically in the U.K. and worldwide, could evolve and adapt with onerous new rules put in place
and ones that could be on the way.
A central question was, Can the adult industry coalesce and work with the authorities over existing and proposed new rules?
Steve Winyard of ICM Registry, which operates the registry for .xxx, .porn, .adult and the upcoming .sex top-level domain sites, said that the real question is:
How far are people willing to be compliant when the hammer comes down?
Most of the big companies [in the online adult entertainment industry] control 80-90% of adult content across the world,. If they come to the table, the rest of the operators would have to follow.
The thinking is that in a world of ID theft, few customers will be willing to trust small websites with extensive personal details or else their credit card details. And even if they trust them, even fewer will want to make the effort of typing in such
details just to browse a website to see what is on offer.
The natural final solution is that customers will only use, big, well known companies that can be trusted with personal details, and that can offer a massive enough choice of porn such that customers don't have to keep entering ID details for
And of course the end game will then be a US mega mall monopoly for porn along the lines of Amazon, eBay, iTunes and Play. And no doubt it will charge adult content providers the going rate of about 30%.
At the meeting, ATVOD's Cathy Taylor fielded queries for 20 minutes on the new AVMS rules and the government statement over site blocking domestic and foreign adult websites. Taylor was joined by ATVOD chief censors, Ruth Evans and Pete Johnson, at the
Winyard of ICM Registry spent another 20 minutes on how the adult business worldwide is reacting to the AVMS directive and whether the industry can work with the British government on proposed new regs.
Chris Ratcliff of Portland TV (Television X) and the Adult Provider Network spent 10 minutes on what role should the adult trade play in the debate and whether age-verification is in the future for all adult sites.
The meeting was also attended by Sex & Censorship's Jerry Barnett, obscenity lawyer Myles Jackman, Vince Charlton from the US trade group ASACP and IFFOR's Sharon Girling.
Update: Details of ATVOD censorship censored
21st May 2015. Thanks to Sergio
One Eyed Jack originally posted a podcast of the meeting but it seems that this has had to be taken down on 'legal advice'.
So the meeting that was called to explain the status quo in the censorship of adult videos on websites is reprehensibly censored.The segment of the UK adult industry who could not attend are not to be informed about practical details of the current
interpretation of ATVOD's onerous and suffocating age verification requirements.
Update: View from America: Britain is to become a world leader in internet censorship
Britain is to become a world leader in internet censorship, instituting Chinese-style internet filters to block pornography,
unless websites agree to check the identities of all visitors -- risking creating a database of British porn viewers.
Sold to the public on the pretence of protecting children from being able, either intentionally or accidentally, to view pornography on-line, sexual websites will soon be required to know exactly who is viewing them. By checking identities through
government databases such as local government or the Royal Mail, or though third parties such as banks or mobile phone operators, the government hopes to force companies to assume a child protection role.
Although the system being administered by the Digital Policy group is designed to keep the identities of those accessing adult material secret, privacy campaigners have said the databases will inevitably be fallible, and could allow the details of
individuals, and what they view, to fall into the hands of third parties.
The Guardian reports the comments of free speech campaigner Jerry Barnett, who said:
We know that privacy in such cases is often breached by accident, by hackers, or secretly by the police and intelligence services.
This is the state, yet again, intervening in people's private lives for no reason other than good old British prurience and control-freakery... I don't believe [The Government's] plans can be achieved without drastically changing the face of the
A senior policeman is preparing the way for state snooping to be ratcheted up into 'private space'.
Scotland Yard commander Mak Chishty starts with the bizarre assertion that Islamist propaganda on the internet and social media is influencing children as young as five. Surely if children so young are showing signs of extremism, then one has to suggest
that family background and culture is the more likely basis. But it's probably not politically correct to suggest this. It's a long standing general tenet of propaganda that 'outside sources' should be blamed, not the people involved, a theme that is
carried throughout Chishty's piece.
Chishty said children aged five had voiced opposition to marking Christmas, branding it as haram . He also warned that there was no end in sight to the parade of British Muslims, some 700 so far, being lured from their bedrooms to Syria by Islamic
State (Isis) propaganda.
In an interview with the Guardian, Chishty said there was now a need for a move into the private space of Muslims to spot views that could show the beginning of radicalisation far earlier. He said this could be shown by subtle changes in
behaviour, such as shunning certain shops, citing the example of Marks & Spencer, which could be because the store is sometimes mistakenly perceived to be Jewish-owned.
Chishty said friends and family of youngsters should be intervening much earlier, watching out for subtle, unexplained changes, which could also include sudden negative attitudes towards alcohol, social occasions and western clothing. They should
challenge and understand what caused such changes in behaviour, the police commander said, and seek help, if needs be from the police, if they are worried. Chishty said:
We need to now be less precious about the private space. This is not about us invading private thoughts, but acknowledging that it is in these private spaces where this [extremism] first germinates. The purpose of private-space intervention is to engage,
explore, explain, educate or eradicate. Hate and extremism is not acceptable in our society, and if people cannot be educated, then hate and harmful extremism must be eradicated through all lawful means.
Asked to define private space , Chishty said:
It's anything from walking down the road, looking at a mobile, to someone in a bedroom surfing the net, to someone in a shisha cafe talking about things.
Update: Google and Whatsapp will be forced to hand messages to MI5
Google, Facebook and other internet giants will be forced to give British spies access
to encrypted conversations of people of interest under plans expand snooping powers.
New laws will require Whatsapp, which is owned by Facebook, Snapchat and other popular apps to hand messages sent by their users to MI5, MI6 and GCHQ.
The new power is to be included in a new Investigatory Powers Bill which will overhaul the ability of the spy agencies to intercept communications.
The bill, announced in the Queen's Speech, will revive the so-called snoopers charter but is much wider than previous planned.
The security and intelligence agencies are complaining that encryption facilities around many online conversations are now so sophisticated to crack.
Under the proposed new powers, the spy agencies will be able to obtain a warrant from the Home Secretary that will oblige an internet companies to break down its encryption protection and allow access to communications.
To help consumers make informed choices on Google Play, we're introducing a new rating system for apps and games. These
ratings provide an easy way to communicate familiar and locally relevant content ratings to your users and help improve app engagement by targeting the right audience for your content.
Starting in May, consumers worldwide will see the current Google Play rating scale replaced with their local rating on the Play Store. Territories that are not covered by a specific International Age Rating Coalition (IARC) rating authority will be
assigned an age-based, generic rating.
To prevent your apps' from being listed as Unrated, sign in to your Google Play Developer Console and fill out the questionnaire for each of your apps as soon as possible. Unrated apps may be blocked in certain territories or for specific
Beginning May 5, 2015, all new apps and updates to existing apps will need to have a completed content rating questionnaire before they can be published. As a Google Play Developer, your compliance and participation with the new app ratings system is
required under the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement. Apps that aren't rated using the new rating system may be removed from the Play Store.
Note: All apps and games on Google Play are required to follow the Google Play Developer Content Policy.
To receive a rating for each of your apps and games, you fill out a rating questionnaire on the Google Play Developer Console about the nature of your apps' content and receive a content rating from multiple rating authorities. The ratings assigned to
your app displayed on Google Play are determined by your questionnaire responses.
You're responsible for completing the content rating questionnaire for:
New apps submitted on the Developer Console Existing apps that are active on Google Play All app updates where there has been a change to app content or features that would affect the responses to the questionnaire
To benefit users, developers should use the assigned rating when advertising their app in each respective region, subject to display guidelines.
App ratings are not meant to reflect the intended audience. The ratings are intended to help consumers, especially parents, identify potentially objectionable content that exists within an app.
All rating icons are protected trademarks of the respective rating authority and their misuse may result in legal action.
Important: Make sure to provide accurate responses to the content rating questionnaire. Misrepresentation of your app's content may result in removal or suspension.
Rating authorities & descriptions
The bodies involved are:
The Australian Classification Board
Classifcacao Indicativa, which covers Brazil
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), which looks after North America
Pan European Game Information (Pegi), which is used by the UK and 29 other European countries
Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, which is specific to Germany
Australian Classification Board
Generic ratings are assigned to territories without a participating authority. There is also a variant set of ages used for App ratings in South Korea.
Much Loved is a 2015 Morocco drama by Nabil Ayouch.
Starring Loubna Abidar, Danny Boushebel and Abdellah Didane.
A group of women in Morocco make a living as prostitutes in a culture that is very unforgiving toward women in that profession.
Franco-Moroccan director Nabil Ayouch said he was shocked after Morocco banned his movie Much Loved about prostitution, following its screening at Cannes. Ayouch said:
I'm shocked and surprised by this ban. I don't understand that my film can be banned when we haven't yet applied for a permit for it to be shown.
Prostitution is all around us, and instead of refusing to see it we should try to understand how women who have had difficult lives end up this way.
Much Loved focuses on the problem of prostitution in Morocco through the eyes of four women.
Clips released over the past few days have caused 'outrage' in Morocco against the director and his principal actress, Loubna Abidar.
The government announced that it would not be screened, claiming it to be a grave outrage against moral values and Moroccan womanhood , and a flagrant attack on the kingdom's image .
In a statement, the ministry of communications said the decision to ban the film had been taken after a team from the state-run Moroccan Cinema Centre saw it at an international festival , a clear reference to Cannes.
Opponents of sprawling and secretive international agreements won a significant victory today when U.S. Senators voted to block the advancement of its Fast Track trade bill . The legislation would have allowed massive undemocratic trade deals like the
Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Trans-atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) to be rushed through to ratification, and legitimized the nontransparent and corporate-dominated negotiations proposing restrictive digital regulations that
threaten the Internet and users' rights.
EFF is just one of several hundred organizations organizing to stop Fast Track for TPP and TTIP, and our members alone sent tens of thousands of emails, phone calls, and tweets to lawmakers to come out against this legislation. TPP proponents needed 60
votes to proceed with a debate on Fast Track and came up short by only eight. That single-digit shortfall shows why it was so crucial that we all flooded our representatives with messages that Internet regulations do not belong in these backroom deals.
Today is not the end of the Fast Track fight. Despite the huge blow to their efforts, TPP and TTIP proponents will not back down easily. President Obama has already blasted his mailing lists to try and win more support for the next big push to pass the
bill. It's likely a new version would still fall far short of addressing the secrecy of negotiations. But we can come away from this news empowered and energized because it's a clear sign that we're succeeding at convincing Congress to come out against
these international corporate deals.
The U.S. Senate advanced the Fast Track bill today in a rushed vote following a slew of concessions made to swing Democrats who had voted to block it earlier
this week . The setback on Tuesday could have forced proponents of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), and other secretive, anti-user trade agreements to go back to the drawing board to come up
with a new bill. Unfortunately, Senate leaders were able to get around this impasse within 48 hours by agreeing to let Democrats vote on some other trade-enforcement measures first before holding the vote on Fast Track.
Now the Senate will go on to debate and vote on the bill, likely within the coming week--essentially putting this legislation on its own fast track to congressional approval. We have little confidence that the Senate would improve the bill enough to ever
remedy the nontransparent, corporate-dominated process of trade negotiations. This is why we need to turn our attention to representatives.
There is a better chance that Fast Track can be stopped in the House , where proportionally more lawmakers have expressed their opposition to the bill than in the Senate. But much of the representatives' resistance is based on labor, environment, and
currency manipulation concerns, and not on the provisions that would impact users' rights. The White House and other proponents of TPP may be willing to make some weak compromises on those non-tech issues, but they will likely do nothing to address the
restrictive digital regulations that will come with these trade deals, nor even fix the secrecy that have led to these bad terms.
The Senate passed a bill Friday night to put the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) on the Fast Track to approval . Its passage followed a series of stops and starts --an indication that this legislation was nearly too rife with controversy to pass. But
after a series of deals and calls from corporate executives , senators ultimately swallowed their criticism and accepted the measure. If this bill ends up passing both chambers of Congress, that means the White House can rush the TPP through to
congressional ratification, with lawmakers unable to fully debate or even amend agreements that have been negotiated entirely in secret. On the plus side, all of these delays in the Senate has led other TPP partners to delay any further negotiations on
the trade agreement until Fast Track is approved by Congress.
So the fight now starts in the House, where proponents of secret trade deals still lack the votes to pass the bill. But the White House and other TPP proponents are fiercely determined to garner enough support among representatives to pass the bill, in
order to give themselves almost unilateral power to enact extreme digital regulations in secret. We cannot let that happen.
In the House, we still have a chance to block the passage of Fast Track. That's why we are asking people in the U.S. to meet with their representatives and staff to nudge them to make the right decision.
An Egyptian belly dancer has been arrested after taking part in a sexy music video that has been viewed more than one million times on YouTube.
Egypt's prosecution has charged Salma El-Fouly with inciting debauchery and immorality after she appeared in the three-minute video alongside director Wael Elsedeki.The video is titled Sib Eddi, which means Let go of my hand . As 26 May, the video
had been viewed over 1.1 million times.
The Al-Ahram newspaper reported that El-Fouly would be detained for four days pending investigations as the first court session is scheduled to take place on 28th May.
A warrant is out for director Elsedeki, who is believed to have fled the country, and a third person who appears in the video.
As well as the low cut dress that El-Fouly wears in the video, there has also been criticism of the lyrics, reported Egyptian Streets. They tell the story of a woman, played by El-Fouly, being sexually harassed while riding on the Cairo metro but
enjoying the abuse.
Britons may soon face ID checks to access adult material on the internet, according to discussions between the government and groups from the beleaguered
UK adult trade.
A scheme proposed by the industry group, The Digital Policy Alliance, would see adult sites verifying visitors' identity with organisations such as banks, credit reference agencies or even the NHS. Adult websites would offer visitors a choice
of identity providers -- from Vodafone to the Department for Work and Pensions -- to vouch for their age, O'Connell said. The user would sign in to the provider with a username and password, and a check would be run against the data it holds. To boost
privacy, checks would pass through an anonymising hub . This strips identifying information in both directions of the request. In theory, the provider never knows the reasons for the checks, and the site never knows users' true identities, just
that they are over 18.
It comes ahead of an expected new law demanding age checks for online pornography and threatening a block on any sites which don't comply. It is a key Conservative pledge. But critics say the plans are a privacy nightmare. Some warn they are a step
towards Chinese-style internet restrictions. Myles Jackman, a lawyer specialising in obscenity law said:
This is cutting-edge censorship. We are now becoming the world leaders in censorship. And we are being watched very closely from abroad.
British-based sites have had to make stringent age checks since 2010, using credit cards, the electoral roll and credit reference agencies. It's a quite intrusive means of identifying age, said Chris Ratcliff, chief executive of Portland TV, which
runs Television X. Many customers simply go elsewhere, he said. Ratcliff, a key member of the DPA's age verification working group, expects government action by the end of the year.
According to Tory proposals, a regulator would have the power to block sites that don't use stringent enough checks. Observers believe this will be the Authority for Television on Demand (Atvod), which currently enforces age-check and obscenity rules on
UK streaming video sites. The result of ATVOD's 'enforcement' is that it is near impossible to run a UK site within the current rules and has led to the UK industry losing out to foreign operations.
The legal situation is also confused. Ratcliff said it was unclear whether new rules would make content not behind age filters illegal. Jackman added:
As a matter of international law, I don't understand how it can possibly work. And I don't understand how it can work under the Obscene Publications Act. It's just being made up as they go along.
The stub of the UK adult trade that has been persevering with ludicrous British censorship required, eg Ofcom rules only allowing softcore TV, believe that acceptable age verification may be a benefit, but this seems unlikely. As with eBay, Amazon,
Apple, and Google, once governments start making life tough with onerous rules and red tape, only the largest operation have large enough economies of scale to handle the burdensome expenses, so creating a natural monopoly. and as the US has the largest
markets, so they can grab the lion's share of the market.
And as for the kids, there's already enough porn knocking around on hard drives to keep them happy for decades. Perhaps they will just go back to swapping porn mags, or the modern day equivalent, 64GByte memory sticks with enough porn to last a year.
And as a final thought, It is not clear that the security services would be very impressed if half the population of Britain were forced into using VPNs and the like. It would make life an awful lot tougher to keep track of the bad guys.
Dissident censor board members plan to review all the cuts made to the 30-odd Bollywood films certified since January,
alleging inconsistencies on the part of the loony new chairperson Pahlaj Nihalani whom they accuse of being a dictator.
About half the 21 members of the Central Board of Film Certification support the move and are preparing for a stormy board meeting on June 9, where they will demand the review. Senior board member Ashoke Pandit explained to The Telegraph:
We want to compare which scenes and words were cut from which film and who headed the committees (that forced the deletions). Nihalani is running a one-man show, certifying films directly or through his chosen people. We too should know what is
Another member, Nandini Sardesai, said Anurag Kashyap's Bombay Velvet was cleared with various cuss words the likes of which were removed from other films. She said:
Bombay Velvet came to a revising committee after the producers challenged the 'A' certificate recommended by the examining committee. The chairman himself headed the (revising) panel and awarded a 'U/A'. I'm surprised how he allowed so many abuses in the
film while regularly beeping out cuss words from other films, including NH 10 .
Meanwhile Delhi's High Court has directed the censor board to allow a documentary on Kashmir's violence-affected people to be screened without cuts. The censors had suggested cuts to Textures of Loss and ordered the insertion of a disclaimer, a
decision upheld by the Film Certification Appellate Tribunal. Both described certain scenes in the film as powder kegs that could lead to violence.
The high court said the threat of violence cannot overrule constitutional rights, and only gross violation of the Cinematograph Act could ground a film.
A Ugandan pop singer Jemimah Kansiime, 21, is being persecuted under Uganda's Anti-Pornography Law for a sexy music video
She has already spent five weeks in jail on charges of producing and promoting pornography. In Nkulinze (I am waiting for you) , the song for which she was arrested, she repeatedly adjusts her blue pushup bra - a clip the vindictive 'Ethics'
Minister and former Catholic priest Simon Lokodo considers vulgar and obscene . Lokodo is a nasty piece of work who also advocates killing people for being gay.
Kansiime who performs as Panadol Wa'basajja, told AFP:
I was aware that there are some sections of society that are conservative I was just experimenting to see if I put on a short dress, will the audience like it?
Kansiime soaped her thong-clad behind, and attracted more than 400,000 viewers on YouTube.
Her attorneys have asked a magistrate's court in Kampala to suspend criminal proceedings until a legal challenge to the Anti-Pornography Act is ruled on by the country's constitutional court. The lower court is set to decide on the stay of proceedings on
Activists are challenging the constitutionality of the anti-porn bill on the grounds that it is too broad and too vague. The law defines porn as:
Any representation, through publication, exhibition, cinematography, indecent show, information technology or by whatever means, of a person engaged in real or stimulated explicit sexual activities or any representation of the sexual parts of a person
for primarily sexual excitement.
Critics of the anti-porn bill say it is evidence that Uganda, the only predominantly Roman Catholic country in Africa, is under growing conservative influence driven by Christian churches, including hundreds of evangelical churches that have sprung up in
The British Government is concerned that EU measures to ensure net neutrality could impact ISPs website blocking systems that are turned on by default.
Net neutrality is the concept of not allowing states or commercial entities from hijacking the internet for their own purposes. A particular example is for large VoD companies convincing the ISPs that for a suitable fee, their video services could be
given priority over other people's internet communications.
A leaked document from Brussels dated May 17 proposes to make it illegal to try to manage web traffic, including by automatically applying parental controls. Instead, EU officials want ISPs to have to ask parents or account holders to opt-in to
Campaigners for internet blocking by default claim that the move would endanger children by putting another barrier in the way of parents wanting to keep internet usage at home free from adult material.
The rule change is included in a document banning mobile phone companies or ISPs from restricting or managing any legal content on the internet.
John Carr, a pro-censorship campaigner said that the risk is that a major plank of the UK's approach to online child protection will be destroyed at a stroke.
A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport said: The UK government will not support any proposals that do not allow us to maintain our child protection policies or bring forward new policies.
So in a week where the police ARE threatening to jail innocent kids for sexting, they are asking parents not to teach their kids that
the police will take them away if they are naughty.
Many an exasperated parent has told their misbehaving child to be good or the police will put them in prison. But now one police force has issued a poster urging adults not to use this common threat. The poster from Durham Constabulary reads:
Parents. Please don't tell your children that we will take them off to jail if they are bad. We want them to run to us if they are scared, not be scared of us. Thank You.
However the kids would be better advised to keep clear of the police lest they get locked up for sexting, bad taste jokes, or even just insulting posts on Twitter or Facebook.
The number of prosecutions of internet trolls has soared eightfold in the last 10 years, according to new figures. More than 1,200 people were found guilty of offences under Section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 last year compared with 143 in
The law states it is illegal to send by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other material that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing character .
Statistics released by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) show that 1,501 defendants were prosecuted under the law last year - including 70 juveniles - while another 685 were cautioned.
Of those convicted, 155 were jailed - compared with just seven a decade before- and the average custodial sentence was 2.2 months.
In 2013, Newport City Council, faced with the problem of an indoor market which has been central to Newport life for nearly 150 years, with traders leaving due to lack of trade, decided to allow artists free use of the upstairs space for studio, gallery
and workshop space on the proviso that they do not sell from there. Now known as the UpMarket Galleries , it has been popular and successful, increasing footfall in Newport City Indoor Market and helping traders downstairs, as well as providing
valuable studio space to those who cannot afford to rent spaces elsewhere.
Local artist Jonathan Sherwood (better known as Jonny), chair of Artopsy (a not-for-profit organisation aiming to provide artists with free/affordable spaces in which to produce and display their work, to engage with the community as a whole and to
encourage upcycling/environmental issues) has been working there since the onset of the project. He has rarely taken a day off apart from when he has been ill. He is friendly and out-going and has many visitors regularly dropping by to see what he is
working on. Jonny is one of Newport's most well-known artists locally and a documentary film entitled Jonny: Shaman of Rust has been made about him by Italian film-maker and director Massimo Salvato.
Jonny was invited by the committee running the UpMarket Galleries to exhibit a series of paintings in the central space. They are life-sized paintings on large sheets of paper depicting mainly nude people. The artist used nude images to show
vulnerability. Indeed, one of the paintings depicts a man cleaning his disabled wife because she can't do it herself. The paintings deal with sensitive subjects and are not in any way sexual.
Jonathan's work was judged by the Market Manager to be obscene , which it certainly is not. It was forcibly removed and suffered damage and he has subsequently received a letter telling him that he has to vacate his space by 30th May. What
qualifies the Market Manager to censor art? Simple signs at the bottom of the stairs and in the lift saying that if images of nudity offend you, then don't come up while this exhibition is on would have sufficed and there would not have been a problem.
We cannot allow unqualified people to censor our art.
Please sign the petition
and share with your friends!
Taiwanese singer Jolin Tsai's runaway hit We're All Different, Yet the Same has been banned from the airwaves and television screens in Singapore, according to Hongkong's Mingpao News.
The ban was ordered by the music censors of the Media Development Authority. It means that television and radio stations will be fined if they air the song or the music video.
Under Singapore's censorship rules, broadcast content must not:
In any way promote, justify or glamorise... lifestyles such as homosexuality, lesbianism, bisexualism, transsexualism, transvestism, paedophilia and incest.
Jolin Tsai said in a statement that she was disappointed with Singapore's decision as the song was her way of expressing her support of marriage equality through music. She would, however, respect differences in opinion.
The music video for We're All Different, Yet The Same features a wedding scene -- and a kiss -- between Jolin and Taiwanese actress Ruby Lin. It was inspired by the true story of a lesbian couple who has been together for 30 years. When one half of the
couple was hospitalised and required surgery, her partner was unable to give consent because she was not legally recognised as a family member.
Kanye West closed out the 2015 Billboard Music Awards with All Day and Black Skinhead
. But TV viewers weren't able to fully enjoy Yeezy's performance, as the broadcast heavily muted parts of the show, including words that don't even anger the FCC or violate its censorship rules.
His agents released a statement criticizing the handling of televised event, and described the censorship ridiculous. The statement read:
Kanye West was grossly over-censored at the Billboard Music Awards. Non-profane lyrics such as 'with my leather black jeans on' were muted for over 30 second intervals As a result, his voice and performance were seriously misrepresented. It is ridiculous
that in 2015, unwarranted censorship is something that artists still have to fight against. Although West was clearly set up to face elements beyond his control during the live broadcast, he would like to apologize to the television audience who were
unable to enjoy the performance the way he envisioned.
Theresa May's plan to introduce counter-extremism powers to vet British broadcasters' programmes before transmission was attacked by a Conservative
cabinet colleague, a leaked letter has revealed. Presumably May's censorship proposal is targeted at muslim TV channels broadcast in the UK or perhaps wider religion based channels but it is too politically incorrect to mention the target of these
Sajid Javid described the Home Secretary's proposal to give Ofcom extra powers to censor extremist content as a threat to freedom of speech and reducing Ofcom to the role of a censor.
Javid pointed out that other countries which have imposed similar powers are not known for their compliance with rights related to freedom of expression and the Government may not wish to be associated with such regimes .
He sent the letter on March 12 when he was Culture, Media and Sport Secretary to inform the Prime Minister that he could not support May's counter extremism strategy and sent a copy to the Home Secretary. In the letter published by the Guardian, Javid
Extending Ofcom's powers to enable it to take pre-emptive action would move it from its current position as a post-transmission regulator into the role of a censor.
This would involve a fundamental shift in the way UK broadcasting is regulated, away from the current framework which is designed to take appropriate account of the right to freedom of expression.
Whilst it is absolutely vital that Government works in partnership with individuals and organisations to do all it can to ensure that society is protected from extremism, it must also continue to protect the right to freedom of expression and ensure that
these proposals do not restrict or prevent legitimate and lawful comment or debate.
Cameron last week outlined plans to fast-track powers to tackle radicalisation, including a commitment to give Ofcom a strengthened role in taking action against channels which broadcast extremist content, alongside banning and disruption orders for
people who seek to radicalise others or use hate speech in public. It is not clear whether the Government has revisited May's plans since taking office, or whether they could be included in next week's Queen's Speech.
Update: Cameron confirms plans for TV pre-censorship
David Cameron seems to have confirmed plans to allow Ofcom to censor television programmes. The measure is presumably targeted at religious/muslim
channels showing interviews with extremists. Ofcom will be given powers to pre-censor such content before it airs.
Cameron has now said that the Home Secretary's counter-extremism proposals, which are expected to be a centrepiece of next week's Queen's Speech, were sensible . Hhe said:
Our proposals on extremism are extremely sensible and I think need to be put into place. Ofcom has got a role to make sure we don't broadcast extremist messages through our media as well.
Cameron last week outlined plans to fast-track powers to tackle radicalisation, including a commitment to give Ofcom a strengthened role in taking action against channels which broadcast extremist content, alongside banning and disruption orders for
people who seek to radicalise others or use hate speech in public.
A Downing Street spokesman said the proposals would be part of next week's Queen's Speech.
The US Senate has unsurprisingly blocked a bill that would have ended the bulk collection of Americans' phone records by the National Security Agency (NSA).
The White House has pressed the Senate to back the a bill passed by the House of Representatives - the Freedom Act - which would end bulk collection of domestic phone records. These records would remain with telephone companies subject to a case-by-case
review. The 57-42 Senate vote fell short of the 60-vote threshold.
Another vote held over a two-month extension to the existing programmes - Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act - also failed to reach the threshold. Senators are to meet again on 31 May - a day before the bill is due to expire.
Only once in a while does an Internet censorship law or regulation come along that is so audacious in its
scope, so misguided in its premises, and so poorly thought out in its execution, that you have to check your calendar to make sure April 1 hasn't come around again. The
Draft Online Regulation Policy
recently issued by the Film and Publication Board (FPB) of South Africa is such a regulation. It's as if the fabled prude Mrs. Grundy had been brought forward from the 18 th century, stumbled across hustler.com on her first excursion online, and promptly
cobbled together a law to shut the Internet down. Yes, it's that bad.
First, the regulation applies, in the first instance, to films and games (regardless of subject matter), as well as to publications containing certain loosely-described forms of sex, violence and hate speech. As to these types of content:
5.1.1 Any person who intends to distribute any film, game, or certain publication in the Republic of South Africa shall first comply with section 18(1) of the Act by applying, in the prescribed manner, for registration as film or game and publications
5.1.2 In the event that such film, game or publication is in a digital form or format intended for distribution online using the internet or other mobile platforms, the distributor may bring an application to the Board for the conclusion of an online
distribution agreement, in terms of which the distributor, upon payment of the fee prescribed from time to time by the Minister of DOC as the Executive Authority, may classify its online content on behalf of the Board, using the Board's classification
Guidelines and the Act ...
If you are a video blogger creating films from your basement, the prospect of FPB officers knocking on your door to classify your videos probably isn't that appealing. So, being the forward-thinkers that they are, without actually providing an exception
for user-generated content (or a sensible definition of it), the FPB provides an alternative system which places the burden of classifying such content onto Internet intermediaries:
7.5 In the event that such content is a video clip on YouTube or any other global digital media platform, the Board may of its own accord refer such video clip to the Classification Committee of the Board for classification.
7.7 Upon classification, the Board shall dispatch a copy of the classification decision and an invoice payable by the online distributor within 30 days, in respect of the classification of the content in question.
A few definitions are in order here: an "online distributor" could be a South African ISP, which might have no connection with the "global digital media platform" that actually hosts the content. Nonetheless, the ISP is assumed to
have the capacity to take down the original video, and to upload a new, classified, version containing the FPB's logo:
7.10 The online distributor shall, from the date of being notified by the Board in writing of the classification decision, take down the unclassified video clip, substitute the same with the one that has been classified by the Board, and display the Film
and Publication Board Logo and classification decision as illustrated in clause 5.1.6.
Oh, but it gets worse. Since classification rules already apply to offline films, games and proscribed publications, the regulation purports to be doing nothing more than to be extending the classification scheme to online versions of those materials, so
that anyone distributing them over the Internet also has to obtain a license to do so. But then there's this:
7.4 With regard to any other content distributed online, the Board shall have the power to order an administrator of any online platform to take down any content that the Board may deem to be potentially harmful and disturbing to children of certain
That's right, any online platform can be ordered to take down any content distributed online that the Board may deem to be potentially harmful and disturbing . Traditional publishers are subject to no such sweeping, extrajudicial censorship power.
South Africa is one of Africa's largest and fastest growing economies, and for it to adopt such an extreme preemptive Internet censorship regulation would be a serious setback for South Africa's burgeoning online industry, as well as, needless to say, a
serious blow to human rights. If you are South African, or have any friends or colleagues who are, please take action
by signing the Right to Know petition, and spreading the word about this looming threat.
Russia's internet censor has written to Google, Twitter and Facebook warning them against violating Russian repressive internet laws and a spokesman said
they risked being blocked if they did not comply.
Roskomnadzor said it had sent letters this week to the three US-based internet companies asking them to comply with its censorship laws. A spokesman said:
In our letters we regularly remind [companies] of the consequences of violating the legislation.
He added that because of the encryption technology used by the three firms, Russia had no way of blocking specific websites and so could only bring down particular content it deemed in violation of law by blocking access to their whole services.
To comply with the law the three firms must hand over data on Russian bloggers with more than 3,000 readers per day and take down websites that Roskomnadzor wishes to ban.
A law passed in 2014 gives Russian prosecutors the right to block, without a court decision, websites with information about protests that have not been sanctioned by authorities. Under other legislation bloggers with large followings must go through an
official registration procedure and have their identities confirmed by a government agency.
A US appeals court has overturned a controversial ruling that required YouTube to take down a video that disparaged Muslims.
One of the actresses in the film sued to take it down and won, but an appeals court has now ruled she didn't have the right to control the film's distribution.
A segment of the film titled Innocence of Muslims was released in 2012. Muslims in the Middle East responded with violent protests and death threats were made to the actors.
The latest court ruling said the order to take the movie down was unwarranted and incorrect and continued:
The appeal teaches a simple lesson -- a weak copyright claim cannot justify censorship in the guise of authorship.
Google, which owns YouTube, argued that allowing someone with a bit part in a movie to suppress the final product could set a dangerous precedent that could give anyone involved in a production the right to stop its release.
A concert pianist has won a legal battle to publish an autobiographical book giving details of sexual abuse he experienced as a child.
James Rhodes, persuaded Supreme Court justices to lift an injunction that had barred its publication.
The Court of Appeal granted a temporary injunction in October, blocking parts of the memoir, entitled Instrumental. This was after Mr Rhodes's ex-wife raised fears it would cause their 12-year-old son serious harm .
The judgement was given jointly by Lady Hale and Lord Toulson, in which they said:
The only proper conclusion is that there is every justification for the publication.
A person who has suffered in the way that the appellant has suffered, and has struggled to cope with the consequences of his suffering in the way that he has struggled, has the right to tell the world about it.
And there is a corresponding public interest in others being able to listen to his life story in all its searing detail.
Rhodes' book, titled Instrumental, is now due to be released next week. It includes accounts of physical and sexual abuse and rape inflicted on him from the age of six by the boxing coach at his school. The alleged abuser was prosecuted but died before
he could face trial.
Speaking outside the court, Rhodes said the ruling was a victory for freedom of speech :
If this had been allowed to continue anyone could have used this to ban any book. We do not ban books in this country.
A senior UKIP member in Bristol who has a sideline as a porn movie producer has been suspended from his post in the party amid a row over the morality of one
of his adult films.
John Langley, stage name Johnny Rockard, was asked to resign as vice chairman of the Bristol party after committee members were told of a video posted on the internet in which he is involved in a porn scene filmed in Castle Park.
Langley, who stood as a UKIP candidate for Stockwood in the local elections, refused to resign which has led to him being suspended. A report is now being sent to the UKIP's head office which will decide whether to expel Langley from the party. Langley
said in a blog post:
Such is the fast pace and reality of politics that the excrement has yet again hit the fan in Bristol UKIP because I refuse point blank to resign from my post of branch VC, and as a result of my refusal I have now been suspended.
Let's be very clear on where the law stands in this instance. No criminal act was committed because no criminal act was reported, and furthermore I have neither been arrested or charged with a criminal act. So therefore no criminal act has taken place.
It was accepted both locally and nationally by UKIP that I make adult movies when I joined the party and therefore taken as read that I would continue to do so. Which I have, and totally within the framework of the law.
Steve Wood, chairman of Bristol UKIP told the Post:
You have to bear in mind that we always knew what John was doing and he was completely upfront about it and we stood by him ...BUT... there is a big difference between what somebody does in the privacy of their own home or even a studio and what
they do in public.
Mr Wood said he believed that what Mr Langley did was an indecent act and therefore liable to criminal proceedings: We cannot have that kind of thing in the party and therefore we asked him to resign.
An Egyptian court has ordered Prime Minister Ibrahim Mehleb to impose a ban on pornographic websites. A similar decision taken two years ago described
pornographic content as somehow venomous and vile, but failed to come into force.
The latest ruling is to be immediately enforced, but it can be appealed at the Supreme Administrative Court, Ahram Online reported.
During the hearing, lawyer Nezar Gharab said that pornographic websites lead to a spread in immorality, affecting young people:
Islamic Sharia law and all heavenly religions came to elevate human beings to a desired level of dignity.
Ofcom has published a
survey on audience attitudes to TV and radio.
This covers what people find 'offensive' on TV and radio, their awareness of and attitudes towards censorship, and their understanding of advertising and product placement. Unsurprisingly the survey supports Ofcom in its role in 'protecting' viewers,
The survey reported that most people (79%) had not been offended by anything on TV in the past year. However, one in five had found something offensive, rising to a third (33%) for people aged 65 and over. Those aged between 16 and 24 were least likely
to be offended (9% compared with 33% of over 65s). Of course these figures exaggerate the 'offensiveness' of TV as they include people who have reported, minimal offensive programming ,or even just one incident in a year.
Of those who had been offended, bad language (44%), violence (41%) and sexual content (41%) were the top issues. Adults below 45 years old were more likely to say they had been offended by some type of discrimination (29% compared with 19% of over-45s).
On average, about half of all people thought current levels of sex (57%), violence (47%) and swearing (52%) on TV were acceptable. 43% felt there was too much violence, 40% too much swearing, while 28% said there was too much sex.
The vast majority of adult TV viewers (90%) knew about the 9pm watershed, with 57% saying about 9pm was the right time while 27% said the watershed should be later.
The report found a clear understanding about broadcast content is controlled via censorship rules, with 82% of adults aware that TV is censored. Most adults felt the current levels of TV and radio censorship were about right (61%), or did not have an
opinion (18% for TV and 33% for radio).
Ofcom noted that it has a duty to 'protect' viewers from supposedly harmful and offensive material on TV and radio, as well as TV like content on internet connected devices.
Ofcom also notes that it is working with government, other censors, and industry bodies to bring about a common framework for media standards applying to TV, on-demand and radio. This will help ensure people are 'protected' and understand what is
censored, and the protections in place.
Mad Max is a 1979 Australian Action film by George Miller.
With Mel Gibson, Joanne Samuel and Hugh Keays-Byrne.
Mad Max was cut and 18 rated by the BBFC for 1979 cinema release and early VHS. Later releases are uncut. The film was downrated to 15 for 2015 cinema release. There are alternative soundtracks, the original Australian, and a dubbed American version.
The official BBFC cuts list for 48s of cuts to the 1979 cinema release read:
Reel 2. Reduce to absolute minimum smashing up of car and terrorising of young couple who are trapped in it. (Delete all violence which occurs after the gang break window, resuming on the bird hovering overhead).
The backlash against Facebook's free mobile data Internet.org scheme has spread across the globe.
A total of 67 digital rights groups - including i Freedom Uganda, Ecuador's Usuarios Digitales and Indonesia's ICT Watch - have signed a letter to Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, stating concerns about the initiative. They say the project threatens
freedom of expression, privacy and the principle of net neutrality.
Internet.org allows subscribers of partner mobile networks to use a limited number of online services without having to pay to make use of the data involved. They include Wikipedia, the Facts for Life health site run by the United Nations Children's
Fund, BBC News, Facebook, Accuweather and a selection of local news and sports results providers. To access the facility, people must use special Android apps, Internet.org's website, Facebook's own Android app or the Opera Mini browser.
Network operators participate because they believe users will pay for wider internet access once they have had a chance to try out the free content on offer.
Since 2014, the project has launched in Zambia, India, Colombia, Guatemala, Tanzania, Kenya, Ghana, the Philippines, Indonesia and Malawi.
Facebook says more than nine million people have used the scheme to date. A spokesman told the BBC:
We are convinced that as more and more people gain access to the internet, they will see the benefits and want to use even more services. We believe this so strongly that we have worked with operators to offer basic services to people at no charge,
convinced that new users will quickly want to move beyond basic services and pay for more diverse, valuable services.
The open letter from the 67 digital rights groups - which has been published on Facebook - makes clear that activists across the globe intend to challenge its expansion.
It is our belief that Facebook is improperly defining net neutrality in public statements and building a walled garden in which the world's poorest people will only be able to access a limited set of insecure websites and services.
Further, we are deeply concerned that Internet.org has been misleadingly marketed as providing access to the full internet, when in fact it only provides access to a limited number of Internet-connected services that are approved by Facebook and local
In its present conception, Internet.org thereby violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy and innovation.
One of the worries of the system is also that all privacy technologies are currently disallowed and Facebook is able to monitor all internet.org usage (in the name of billing of course).
Tory MP John Whittingdale, the chair of the Culture, Media and Sport select committee over the last decade, is the new Culture
Secretary, taking over from Sajid Javid.
Whittingdale has a lamentable record of being one of the Daily Mails favourite 'go to' sources for a censorial or moralistic sound bite.
The BBC is non too impressed by the appointment, as the broadcaster is often the target of Whittingdale's critical comments and sound bites. And of course it is one of the Culture Secretary's jobs to steer through the upcoming BBC charter that will apply
for the next decade.
In fact, the BBC apparently responded to the appointment by tweeting Whittingdale's anti-gay voting record, but soon thought it better of it, and deleted the tweets.
John Whittingdale's eclectic tastes mark him out as an unlikely-sounding cabinet minister. The newly appointed secretary of state for culture, media and sport is a devotee of Star Trek and Thunderbirds and a heavy metal fan known to sing karaoke versions
of Smoke on the Water and Bat out of Hell.
The Conservative MP is also a horror fan including the so-called torture porn of Hostel director Eli Roth. I quite like really nasty films, Whittingdale once told journalists. Hostel is undoubtedly the most unpleasant film I have
ever seen, he said, while Roth's Netflix series Hemlock Grove made An American Werewolf in London look like Mary Poppins .
The footage of Islamic State vehicles rolling through cities in broad daylight is old, say senior Obama administration officials from the State Department
and the Pentagon, and networks should stop playing it.
Emily Horne, spokeswoman for the State Department said:
We are urging broadcasters to avoid using the familiar B-roll that we've all seen before, file footage of [Islamic State] convoys operating in broad daylight, moving in large formations with guns out, looking to wreak havoc.
it's inaccurate -- that's no longer how [the Islamic State] moves. A lot of that footage is from last summer before we began tactical strikes.
Google has struck a private settlement deal with Max Mosley over images that show the ex-Formula One chief having private fun with
The Wall Street Journal reported that Mosley and Google had agreed to end the lengthy legal row in Germany, France and the UK.
But terms of the deal between the two parties were kept secret. It's also unclear whether Google agreed to censor access to the material.
In 2013, Google was ordered by a French court to remove links to nine images of Mosley cavorting with prostitutes, none of which were pornographic. At the time, Google claimed the ruling was troubling and argued that it had serious consequences
for free expression .
And indeed the right to free speech has now given way to the right to not be offended, especially when the demand is backed up by violence. So now Google may as well give in to the demands for censorship as everyone else has anyway.
A June anti-censorship event featuring four short plays addressing the critical and growing incursion of
censorship into arts and culture has been cancelled by the venue, the Sheen Center for Thought and Culture in Greewich Village, New York
The event was a benefit for the National Coalition Against Censorship and the controversy was ignited by the segment, Mohammed Gets A Boner, a monologue that Neil LaBute contributed to the quartet of plays, called Playwrights For A Cause
William Spencer Reilly, executive director of the Sheen Center, told the New York Times that when the the contract for the event was signed in February, he wasn't aware of the title of the play, which the Times deemed unfit to print. After reading the
script, Reilly said, he cancelled the show because of the play's clear offense to Muslims. He said:
When an artistic project maligns any faith group, that project clearly falls outside of our mission to highlight the good, the true, and the beautiful as they have been expressed throughout the ages. The center will not be a forum that mocks or satirizes
another faith group.
LaBute said the Sheen Center was was absolutely within their right to cancel the contract but added that he's saddened by the decision:
This event was meant to shine another light on censorship and it was unexpected to have the plug pulled, quite literally, by an organization that touts the phrase 'for thought and culture' on their very Web site. Both in life and in the arts, this is not
a time to hide or be afraid; recent events have begged for artists and citizens to stand and be counted.
LaBute earlier praised the Coalition Against Censorship for:
Doing really important work at a time when people are actively striving to take away some of our most basic freedoms. I, for one, feel that these are the front lines for an artist--when you are asked to write/fight for what you've said you believe in. It
is no longer enough to pay lip service to these ideas--it's time to stand up and be counted.
It has been announced that the Queen's Speech will contain plans for banning orders intended to limit the harmful activities of extremists. The detail of the plans are chilling.
They are part of a strategy to promote British values including freedom of speech and democracy, yet they'll actually prevent people from exercising those very values. According to the proposals, anyone who undertakes activities that cause
harassment, alarm or distress, could be faced with a high court order requiring them to submit anything they plan to publish online, in print, or even on social media, to the police.
A former councillor from Slough has effectively resigned from the Labour Party after failing to persuade his MP, (now a candidate seeking re-election), to
support the introduction of a new UK blasphemy law.
Mohammed Arif, who was a councillor in the 1990s, was unhappy with Fiona Mactaggart's refusal to publicly back the Blasphemy Law which limits the freedom of expression relating to blasphemy. He said:
I am not happy about resigning but I had no choice, I am not being listened to. She is not listening to us. This has really hurt me.
Arif is the president of the Pakistan Welfare Association (PWA). He wrote to Ms Mactaggart in February, on behalf of the PWA, and asked her to back a Parliamentary bill which would support such a law. He received a response from Mactaggart in April in
which she said she would pass a petition on to the correct government minister if the feelings were widespread across Slough. He complained:
I have no difficulty with the Labour Party itself. It is the people who run the local party, they do not bother to listen.
I am not against freedom of expression, everybody has the right to their own views... HOWEVER ...respect is more important.
Arif has now pledged support to the Conservative parliamentary candidate, Gurcharan Singh and says he is in favour of David Cameron's commitment to tackling Islamophobia .
The Labour MP for Slough has hit out against voter intimidation, after some Muslim voters were told that they were not true
Muslims unless they voted against her.
The row centres over a local campaign for a blasphemy law. During the General Election campaign newly re-elected MP Fiona Mactaggart apparently resisted calls for the draconian measure, and when the result was announced she issued a stark warning about
spiritual coercion in one community - in an apparent reference to Muslims in Slough.
Mactaggart said voters had been intimidated and that she wouldn't build bridges with those behind the smears:
I don't see how you can build a bridge with someone who says 'you aren't a proper Muslim if you vote for Fiona.
There has been an element of spiritual coercion in one community which I profoundly regret. I think it was an attempt to divide Slough and its community which is dangerous. It is religious intimidation.
Her defeated Conservative Party rival, Gurcharan Singh, said :
The truth is that Fiona refused to listen to the concerns of Slough's Muslim community and the Pakistan Welfare Association about the need for action to provide a legal channel to respond to those blaspheming against their religion.
Worryingly, Singh said the local campaign for a blasphemy law resonated with Sikhs and Hindus too.
Stephen Evans of the National Secular Society said:
The recent election campaign saw numerous attempts to exert religious or spiritual influence over voters. There may well be problems with how the law deals with this kind of action by religious groups and leaders, as some argue. Either way, it is an
extremely troubling development. We do not want to see sectarian politics emerging in this country.
As for Mr Singh- it is deeply concerning to hear a parliamentary candidate supporting a campaign for a blasphemy law. Inter-faith support for such a regressive measure is nothing to be proud of.
A play by the French writer Michel Houellebecq has been yanked from a prominent summer festival in Croatia, with officials alluding to fear of violence arising from Houellebecq's writings about Islam.
The Elementary Particles , a new stage work adapted from Houellebecq's own 1998 novel, was set to play at the Dubrovnik Summer Festival in July. But now a spokeswoman for the festival has confirmed that the play was cancelled following a
risk analysis carried out by the Croatian Security and Intelligence Agency. She said that, based on that analysis, the Croatian Ministry of Interior determined that the play would represent a security risk.
But saying that, this particular piece, The Elementary Particles, doesn't contain the author's incendiary views on Islam. The novel's plot follows the sexual lives of two half-brothers, Michel and Bruno, the former of whom is a biologist who
is researching a potentially new race of human beings.
The British government sneakily changed anti-hacking laws to exempt GCHQ and other law
enforcement agencies from criminal prosecution, it has been revealed.
Details of the change became apparent at the Investigatory Powers Tribunal which is hearing a challenge to the legality of computer hacking by UK law enforcement and intelligence agencies.
The Government amended the Computer Misuse Act (CMA) two months ago. It used a little-noticed addition to the Serious Crime Bill going through parliament to provide protection for the intelligence services. The change was introduced just weeks after the
Government faced a legal challenge that GCHQ's computer hacking to gather intelligence was unlawful under the CMA.
Eric King, the deputy director of Privacy International, said:
The underhand and undemocratic manner in which the Government is seeking to make lawful GCHQ's hacking operations is disgraceful.
Hacking is one of the most intrusive surveillance capabilities available to any intelligence agency, and its use and safeguards surrounding it should be the subject of proper debate. Instead, the Government is continuing to neither confirm nor deny the
existence of a capability it is clear they have, while changing the law under the radar.
A leading US art critic has blasted Fox News for being sexually sick after the network blurred out
the breasts on Pablo Picasso's The Women of Algiers in a report about the masterpiece being sold for a record amount.
The New York magazine senior art critic Jerry Saltz took to Twitter to voice his disapproval, tweeting:
How sexually sick are conservatives & Fox News? They blurred parts of the Picasso painting #SickMinds.
Other Twitter users also labelled the move as bizarre and pathetic .
In the screen grab of the report on Fox News, the nipples of three female figures are blurred out, despite its significance as a major artwork.
An atheist blogger has been hacked to death in north-eastern Bangladesh by religious intolerants, the third such deadly murderous this year. Police
Attackers wearing masks hacked Ananta Bijoy Das with machetes in Sylhet city at around 8.30 this morning. We have learned that he was a writer
Imran Sarker, head of a Bangladeshi bloggers' association, told AFP Das was an atheist who wrote blogs for Mukto-Mona, a website formerly moderated by Avijit Roy, a Bangladeshi-born US citizen who was stabbed to death in the capital, Dhaka, in February.
Das's friend, Debasish Debu, said, referring to an alleged hitlist of atheist bloggers prepared by muslim intolerants:
In recent months he received threats from extremists for his writings. He was on their hitlist,
Hollywood is encouraging whinges about internet porn. Not because of porn concerns per se, but because it is useful to normalise the concept of website blocking, which they want to employ as an anti-piracy measure
Scottish National Party MPs are commendably planning to oppose flagship Conservative legislation by courting Tory backbenchers, The Telegraph
Nicola Sturgeon's Westminster MPs want to block the so-called Snoopers' Charter by courting libertarian Tories who have previously opposed Theresa May's plans for internet mass snooping. The conservatives want to implement a searchable database so
that the authorities will be able to more fully analyse people's internet usage and communications.
The SNP MPs also believe they can gather enough cross-party support to kill off reprehensible Tory plans to repeal the Human Rights Act and replace it with a lesser British Bill of Rights.
One senior SNP MP told the Telegraph:
Both those issues fall in that tricky civil liberties space for the Conservatives where there are fault lines,
We think the mass collection of data is wrong. There is a line beyond which it is unacceptable for civil liberties can be impinged.
SNP opposition would likely be matched by Labour and the Lib Dems, meaning only a few dozen Tory rebels would be enough to block the flagship manifesto pledges.
Cardiff bus company, New Adventure Travel Limited (NAT Group), got a little more publicity than expected for a series of adverts on the
back of their buses.
The adverts featured men and woman, implicitly shirtless behind signs reading: Ride me all day for £3
Charlotte Church, the singer, is among those who lambasted the company for the supposedly: abhorrent and hugely offensive advert. Church was among those who whinged on Twitter after the company posted pictures of the adverts on the social
A few did see the funny side and even congratulated the company on drawing attention to themselves.
The company issued a statement:
In view of the reaction to our bus advertising today we wish to set out our position:
Firstly we have stated that our objectives have been to make catching the bus attractive to the younger generation. We therefore developed an internal advertising campaign featuring males and females to hold boards to promote the cost of our daily
The slogan of 'ride me all day for £3' whilst being a little tongue in cheek was in no way intended to cause offence to either men or women and, if the advert has done so then we apologise unreservedly. There has certainly been no intention to objectify
either men or women.
Given the volume of negativity received we have decided to remove the pictures from the back of the buses within the next 24 hours.
ATVOD has announced actions against two adult services breached new Tory censorship laws
banning material on UK video on demand services which would be banned on DVD under the police censorship rules implemented by the BBFC.
Two providers of on-line porn have fallen vicyim of new regulations banning on a UK video on demand ( VOD ) service material which would be banned on DVD. The service providers also failed to keep strong fetish videos and hardcore porn images
behind unviable and onerous age verification requirements.
Banned pornographic material made available on the UK based services included videos of whipping likely to cause more than trifling harm, and the infliction of pain on a person who 'appears' unable to withdraw consent, even if filmed under totally
consensual and safe conditions. Also repeated strong kicks to the genitals which appear to draw blood. Such material has been prohibited on UK based VOD services since 1 December 2014 under new censorship rules introduced by the Tory government.
The findings by the Authority for Television On Demand ( ATVOD ) are the first it has made under the new prohibited material rule introduced by Government in December and comes as ATVOD issues new guidance on the statutory rules it enforces
following a three month consultation.
The two online video on demand victims are Glasgow Mistress Megara Furie and Mistress R'eal were held to be in breach of statutory requirements incorporated into ATVOD's censorship rulebook as Rule 11 (age verification) and the new Rule 14
(following BBFC R18 rules for VoD).
The UK based services allowed under 18s access to explicit hardcore and strong fetish porn videos which could be viewed on-demand. Yet the content of the videos was equivalent to, and in some cases went beyond, that which could be sold only to adults in
licensed sex shops if supplied on DVD.
Both services allowed any visitor free, unrestricted access to hardcore pornographic video promos or still images featuring strong fetish material and real sex in explicit detail. Access to the full videos was open to any visitor who paid a fee. As the
services accepted the most common payment methods, such as debit cards, which can be theoretically used by under 18's. However nobody seems to have actually documented any cases of any under 18s actually paying for porn with a debit card.
The operator of Glasgow Mistress Megara Furie closed the service within three days of the breaches being brought to their attention.
Enforcement action regarding the Mistress R'eal service is ongoing. If it fails to become fully compliant in accordance with a timetable set by ATVOD, the service provider will be referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction, a procedure which can
lead to operators being fined or having their right to provide a service suspended, as happened in relation to the service Jessica Pressley.
ATVOD has also published determinations that three further UK based adult websites - Lads Next Door, Panties Pulled Down and Montys POV , failed to keep hardcore porn videos and images beyond the reach of children.
Following enforcement action by ATVOD, the operator of the Lads Next Door service acted to bring the website into compliance with the relevant Rule. The operators of Panties Pulled Down and Montys POV failed to become fully compliant in accordance with a
timetable set by ATVOD. The service providers have therefore been referred to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction.
The latest rulings come as ATVOD publishes new guidance on the rules it enforces. Publication of the new guidance follows a three month consultation which began when the new censorship rules came into force.
Comment: ATVOD, the self appointed Pornfinder General
Critics of the new rules have long argued online viewers of niche pornography are still able to access content banned in the UK by watching videos filmed abroad, and new rules amounts to arbitrary censorship , while Myles Jackman, a British
obscenity lawyer said that the case showed regulators were making up their interpretation of obscenity laws as they go along .
A spokesperson for Backlash UK, which is campaigning to defend freedom of sexual expression, added:
Atvod have erected themselves - pun intended - as the UK's Pornfinder General.... The sole purpose of this new puritanism is mass control and surveillance, under the pretence of protection.
Megara Furie, who describes herself as a professional dominatrix, said that she had taken her site down immediately after she was informed by the censor. She now uses a more robust third-party operator to host her videos. She said:
The banned material, as far as I am aware was one ball kick, which resulted in the equivalent of a shaving cut and lots of blood because it was a testicle. I was happy to take that down. It was an eye-opener and I'll now be more selective about my
content. I wasn't aware I was breaching the rules.
Comment: Mistress R'eal appeals against ATVOD censorship
Mistress R'eal, the dominatrix whose scenes on Clips4Sale.com were the subject of a recent ATVOD probe and determination, has appealed the U.K. video-on-demand regulator's decision that she breached Rule 14.
With her appeal, Mistress R'eal also is challenging the legitimacy of the AVMS 2014 law. Currently, she faces a £10,000 fine and a ban on streaming online.
The videos that breached Rule 14 are:
A Bullwhipping in the Woods, parts 1 and 2,
Double Domme CBT and Pegs.
The scenes are explicit in the films, but they are like most BDSM content shown on a countless number of websites. For example, in Double Domme CBT and Pegs, a man is retrained against a cross and has weights attached to his bound scrotum, several pegs
attached to his body, and a violet wand played over his genitals,. While his arms appear to be free initially, it's implied (and seems to be the case) that his wrists are restrained quite early in the clip. He is also gagged (and appears to be unable to
speak with any real clarity) and has his legs bound. Hence his means of clearly indicating a withdrawal of consent is not apparent.
Mistress R'eal yesterday appealed against ATVOD's ruling that her site is in breach of regulations on the basis that the AVMS 2014 is not valid. Her appeal, according to SexAndCensorship.org , says the following:
I submit that the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2014, which introduced sections 368E(2) and (3) into the Communications Act 2003, were made ultra vires the Secretary of State's power to pass secondary legislation under section 2(2) of the
European Communities Act 1972. Section 2(2) gives the Secretary of State the power to pass secondary legislation for the purpose of implementing any EU obligation or for the purpose of dealing with matters arising out of or related to EU obligations. I
note that the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (2010/13/EU) imposes an obligation on Member States to prohibit hate speech on ODPS (Art. 6); by contrast, it does not contain any obligation to ban content that may be harmful to minors from ODPS, only
an obligation to ensure that access to such content is appropriately restricted (Article 12). In the premises, I fail to see how the 2014 Regulations (and, by extension, section 368E(2) & (3) of the 2003 Act), could be said to implement an obligation
in the AVMS Directive or to deal with matters arising out of related to that Directive. The 2014 Regulations plainly go well beyond the scope of the directive -- and, in doing so, subvert the appropriate democratic process for dealing with an important
human rights (free speech) issue. In light of the foregoing, I submit that the 2014 Regulations and sections 368E(2)-(3), CA2003 are void -- as so, by extension, is ATVOD's Rule 14, which is based solely on the aforementioned sections of the
Communications Act 2003.
For those seeking to censor information online, the weakest link is often precisely that--the humble hyperlink. Censoring or imposing costs or conditions on linking to information can be just as effective, and often easier, than controlling the
information at its source. But without the freedom to link, the World Wide Web falls apart into a mass of disconnected threads.
That's why EFF is joining the Save the Link
network, a new, broad, cross-sector coalition of groups, convened by Canada's OpenMedia.ca ( press release here
). Together we are concerned about mounting threats, from various sources, to our freedom to build the strong, interlinked Web that has become the greatest knowledge repository in history.
One of the most pressing threats, and the reason for the launch of the network now, are proposals for limitations on freedom to link in Europe, in the context of debate over Member of the European Parliament (MEP) Julia Reda's report on the revision of
the European copyright directive. Julia's original report contained this strong affirmation of freedom to link:
Stresses that the ability to freely link from one resource to another is one of the fundamental building blocks of the internet; calls on the EU legislator to make it clear that reference to works by means of a hyperlink is not subject to exclusive
rights, as it does not consist in a communication to a new public.
But amongst more than 500 proposed amendments to the report that other MEPs have put forward and which are currently under debate, are some
to limit this freedom. One example is an amendment proposed by French MEP Virginie Rozière and Luxembourgish Mady Delvaux, which would add a proviso that:
this option must be strictly limited to links which lead to freely available content; [and] observes that the online intermediaries liability regime applicable to links to illicit content should be tightened up, particularly by revising the e-commerce
Another proposal by British MEP Mary Honeyball would curtail the right as follows:
but stresses that under certain circumstances, embedding and linking may be prejudicial to the rights of the creator;
And a third by Bulgarian and UK MEPs Angel Dzhambazki and Sajjad Karim:
highlights the importance of enhanced user information regarding obligations for anyone who knowingly provides hyperlinks to unauthorised content or links that circumvent paywalls ...
Such proposals, even if they make it into the European Parliament's final report, will not in themselves make any change to European law. But nevertheless, they send the wrong message to the European Commission which will be preparing the next revision
of the EU Copyright Directive. That false message is that Internet intermediaries such as search engines and Web hosts are enemies, rather than partners of content creators.
Although these European developments provided the stimulus for the launch of the Save the Link network this week, the site also highlights threats to our freedom to link from three other continents, and will enable participants to publicize and mobilize
against new censorship threats as they arise. Social media outreach resources like the one shown above are available on the Save the Link website
for you to spread the word and tell policymakers that you stand in solidarity with other users in upholding our freedom to link.
The Conservatives are already planning to introduce the huge surveillance powers known as the Snoopers' Charter, hoping that the removal from
government of the Liberal Democrats that previously blocked the controversial law will allow it to go through.
The law, officially known as the Draft Communications Data Bill, is already back on the agenda according to Theresa May. It is expected to force British internet service providers to keep huge amounts of data on their customers, and to make that
information available to the government and security services in a searchable format.
The snoopers' charter received huge criticism from computing experts and civil liberties campaigners in the wake of introduction. It was set to come into law in 2014, but Nick Clegg withdrew his support for the bill and it was blocked by the Liberal
Democrats. Theresa May, who led the legislation as home secretary, said shortly after the Conservatives' election victory became clear that she will seek to re-introduce it to government. With the re-election of May and the likely majority of her party,
the bill is likely to find success if the new government tries again.
David Cameron has suggested that his party could introduce even more wide-ranging powers if he was re-elected to government. Speaking in January, he said that there should be no form of communication that the government was unable to read -- likely
causing chaos among the many internet services that rely on encryption to keep users' data safe .
Abulkasim al-Jaberi was arrested in November when television cameras showed him spouting a stream of profanity aimed at the king, Queen
Maxima and the royal house. Bizarrely he had been protesting about what he perceived was an insult. In particularly he felt that the Dutch Black Pete historical children's figure, was a racist insult.
Al-Jaberi, a long time critic of the black-faced sidekick that appears at the traditional gift-giving festival of Saint Nicholas, was handed a 500-euro fine which he refused to pay.
Prosecutors then said that he would face trial based on a lese-majeste or injured monarch law harking back to 1881, which makes deliberately insulting the king or royal house punishable with a prison sentence of up to five years or a
This decision to prosecute him for insulting King Willem-Alexander has sparked 'outrage' in liberal-minded Netherlands and prompted prosecutors to re-evaluate the case based on a century-old law.
An unknown person spray-painted Al-Jaberi's words on the Royal Palace in Amsterdam, while Twitter saw a stream of similar expletives being tweeted. Online, in newspapers and even in parliament many denounced the lese-majeste law as archaic and hardly in
tune with modern-day rights.
Prosecutors announced this week that they were withdrawing the summons for Al-Jaberi's appearance in an Amsterdam court on May 27 for further investigation , but the charge itself has not been dropped. Prosecutors pulled the summons after
Al-Jaberi's lawyer filed an objection amid an public avalanche of outrage.
Amsterdam Prosecutor's Office representative Willem Nijkerk explained: I was surprised by the emotional reaction. We didn't see this coming.
A comic character based on Dorset's Cerne Abbas Giant has had to be censored because it showed his genitalia.
Eco Comics said it had been forced to alter the ancient naked chalk hill figure in its online comic because some outlets had refused to release it. The comic said the Cerne Giant's rather renowned region would be fully concealed in an alternative
The giant features in the comic's Englishman series. A spokesperson for the comic said:
It seems a sad indictment of the times when a legendary landmark like the Cerne Giant - which any man, woman or child can visit any day of the week - must be covered up in a comic book.
Through pressure, our hand has been forced. Outlets, particularly in the US, refuse any form of nudity in comic books.
Last year Emmy Award winner Dan O'Shannon published a satirical cartoon book, The Adventures of Mrs. Jesus, but not everyone's amused by it. A Catholic group called America Needs Fatima (ANF) has launched a petition to have the book banned .
Addressed to Michael Morrison, President and Publisher of US General Books and Canada HarperCollins Publishers, the ANF petition says this blasphemous book:
Insults Our Lord Jesus Christ and is historically false. It also mocks His Redemptive Sacrifice on the Cross at Calvary. Both deserve better than the blasphemous, offensive treatment you have published in Mr O'Shannon's book. I urge you to recall this
book from distribution now and to apologize to Catholics and all people of good will.
O'Shannon, who has written for and produced such well-known TV series as Cheers , Frasier and Modern Family , uses the book to suggest that Jesus had a ball and chain ,l and she's tired of living in the shadow her messiah hubbie.
Due to complicated licensing agreements Netflix is only available in a few dozen countries, all of which have a different content library. The same is true for
many other media services such as BBC iPlayer, Amazon Instant Video, and even YouTube.
These geo-blocking practices have been a thorn in the side of the European Commission, who now plan to abolish these restrictions altogether.
The EU's governing body has just adopted the new Digital Single Market Strategy. One of the main pillars of the new strategy is to provide consumers and businesses with better access to digital goods and services.
Among other things the Commission plans to end unjustified geo-blocking, which it describes as a discriminatory practice used for commercial reasons. Europe, Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said:
I want to see every consumer getting the best deals and every business accessing the widest market -- wherever they are in.
Of course that's not to say that the EU won't dream up their own red tape nightmares instead. It has a pitiful track record with its VAT Mess rules killing off small traders on the internet, and so driving even more sales to massive companies who can
cope with the administrative burdens, such as the US companies, Amazon and eBay.
Big Game is in Irish cinemas this week and will be the cut version adopted by the UK to obtain a BBFC 12A rating.
The film was censored to remove a use of the word 'motherfucker' so as to avoid a 15 rating. The version which went before the Irish film censor, IFCO ,was the previously trimmed UK cut, which was passed with an Irish 12A.
The result is a film with one use of implied strong language.
The Irish Examiner newspaper report hints that the uncut version may be released on DVD.
Norway has scrapped its blasphemy law. It has been reported that Norway scrapped the law in a direct response to January's brutal attack on the French
satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo .
The proposal to rush through the change was made by Conservative MP Anders B Werp and Progress Party MP Jan Arild Ellingsen, who argued that the law:
Underpins a perception that religious expressions and symbols are entitled to a special protection. This is very unfortunate signal to send, and it is time that society clearly stands up for freedom of speech.
The Free Thinker points out a telling comment from a 2012 report which found Norway to be one of the eight best nations in which to be an atheist:
There's a strong correlation between the happiest countries in the world and the least religious countries in the world, and along with Sweden and Denmark, Norway rates at the top of both list ...
People likely look to religion less when they want for less, for one thing, but it also may be that atheism flourishes in nations where people demonstrate high levels of commitment towards a socially just government and shared economic benefits..
A double-page magazine ad, seen in Vogue, promoted the designer brand Miu Miu. It featured a photograph which appeared to have been
shot through a slightly open doorway to reveal a young woman, wearing Miu Miu products, reclining on a bed while looking straight at the camera, in an otherwise sparse room.
The complainant, who felt that the image appeared to show a child dressed as an adult in a sexually suggestive pose, challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and offensive.
Prada SpA said the ad was part of a campaign featuring three different models in a series of cinematic tableaux. They said the images showed glimpses of the models through doorways and placed the viewer at the heart of a multidimensional, multi-room
story. The ad featured Mia Goth, a 22-year-old actress and model. She was shown on crisp white bed sheets, wearing a sophisticated outfit, without a low neck-line, and nude make up. They did not believe she was shown in a sexually suggestive pose or that
there was a sexual tone to the ad or her expression.
ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld
The ASA noted that the model had a youthful appearance, was wearing very minimal make up and clothes that appeared to be slightly too large. We considered those elements contributed to the impression that she was younger than 16 years of age. She was
posed reclining on a bed, looking up directly to the camera through a partially opened door, which gave her an air of vulnerability and the image a voyeuristic feel. We considered that the crumpled sheets and her partially opened mouth also enhanced the
impression that her pose was sexually suggestive. We considered that her youthful appearance, in conjunction with the setting and pose, could give the impression that the ad presented a child in a sexualised way. Therefore, we concluded that the ad was
irresponsible and was likely to cause serious offence.
The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Prada SpA to ensure future ads did not include images that inappropriately sexualised young women or were likely to cause serious offence.
Manglehorn is a 2014 USA drama by David Gordon Green.
Starring Al Pacino, Holly Hunter and Chris Messina.
A strange and lonely man tries to come to terms with a past crime that cost him the love of his life.
Originally rated R for some sexual material. The studio appealed to the CARA appeals board, and without cuts being required, the rating was reduced to PG-13 for some sexual content and language, and for accident and surgery images.
The French parliament has approved a controversial law extending mass snooping capabilities of the intelligence services, with the aim of preventing
The law on intelligence-gathering, adopted by 438 votes to 86, was drafted after muslim terrorists attacked the Charlie Hebdo office and a Jewish supermarket.
The Socialist government says the law is needed to take account of changes in communications technology. But critics say it is a dangerous extension of mass surveillance.
The new law define new purposes for which secret intelligence-gathering may be used. It sets up a supervisory body, the National Commission for Control of Intelligence Techniques (CNCTR), with wider rules of operation. And inevitably it authorises new
methods, such as the bulk collection of metadata via internet providers
One online advocacy group, La Quadrature du Net, wrote after the vote:
Representatives of the French people have given the Prime Minister the power to undertake massive and limitless surveillance of the population.
A politically charged moral panic over young people's attitudes to sexuality is leading to Internet censorship and the labelling of ordinary young people as sex offenders, civil liberties campaign Backlash warns today.
Backlash will campaign for a change in the law so that prosecutions intended to halt child abuse are not used to instigate the abuse of children through the criminal justice system.
Backlash is extending its remit to provide legal advice for young people who are threatened with criminal prosecution for possessing sexually explicit images of themselves and shared consensually on digital media.
The campaign will help fund effective defences when support available under legal aid is inadequate, and develop arguments for a judicial review of existing legislation.
Backlash will also disseminate a growing body of robust academic research evidence to policymakers, challenging the current legislative process, which is dominated by a climate of ignorance and hysteria regarding young people's attitudes to sexual
This campaign is spearheaded by obscenity law expert and Backlash's legal adviser, Myles Jackman.
Sexting -- criminalising ordinary young people
Millions of young people exchange explicit texts and images with each other over the Internet. For the most part this is equivalent to the flirting and sexual exploration typical of adolescence in the pre-digital age. There is no evidence that these
activities are intrinsically harmful. However, a flaw in existing legislation means that possession of all sexually explicit images of people under 18 is classified as indecent . This means that people from the age of 16 to 18 are able to consent
to sex, but are unable to possess images of their own lawful sexual activities.
A 16 to 18 year old that creates a nude picture of themselves using a camera-phone is, under current law, guilty of the serious offence of creating child pornography , even though their actions do not plausibly justify such a label.
When the authorities detect these images, teenagers themselves become subject to laws originally aimed at stopping child abuse, even though no abuse has taken place. These prosecutions cause immense mental distress and disruption to education. A
prosecution, regardless of the sentencing outcome, severely harms the future life prospects of young people. For example, ordinary teenagers, who pose no harm to those around them, can still be forced to sign the sex offenders' register and prevented
from participating in a broad range of employment, civic and personal activities years after the offence has been recorded.
Inappropriate criminalisation is a significant danger for ordinary young people growing up in the digital age, made worse by the fact that the source of the danger is the criminal justice system.
Porn panic -- a cross-party delusion
Instead of tackling this flawed legislation to focus on acts of abuse, major political parties have been caught in an arms race towards more criminalisation and censorship of people's sexuality. This process has been fostered by knee-jerk responses to
pressure groups that ignore academic research evidence into young people's sexuality and use of sexually explicit media.
An NSPCC survey claimed, earlier this month, that a tenth of twelve to thirteen year olds had reported the fear that they were addicted to pornography. The survey has since been exposed as unreliable, as it was a developed by a marketing
company that offers to produce survey outcomes based on pre-defined conclusions.
Nevertheless, the Culture Secretary, Sajid Javid, pronounced that the Conservatives would impose age-restrictions to protect our children from harmful material . This pledge was almost immediately matched by the Labour Party. Such an approach
ignores alternative approaches, including providing effective sex education to young people.
Myles Jackman commented:
By criminalising young people between the ages of sixteen and eighteen, our political and justice systems show how disconnected they are from technological change and social values, which is especially worrying so close to an election where politicians
have been exploiting selfie culture.
Two muslim terrorists were shot dead after they opened fire with assault rifles at a heavily guarded Texas free speech event featuring
caricatures of the religious character Mohammad.
One terrorist was identified as Elton Simpson, under surveillance since 2006 and convicted in 2010 of lying to FBI agents over his desire to join violent jihad in Somalia. The second shooter was identified as Nadir Soofi, a roommate of Simpson.
Police and federal agents had planned security for months ahead of the event organized by American Freedom Defense Initiative (AFDI), a free-speech organization that is also described as a hate group, and that paid $10,000 for extra protection.
The AFDI event in Garland was called Muhammad Art Exhibit and Contest and offered a $10,000 prize for the best artwork or cartoon depicting the Prophet. The event featured speakers including Geert Wilders, a polarizing Dutch politician and
Offsite Comment: A robust leader from the Guardian about a violent threat to free speech
Rights-holders to Saturday's Mayweather v Pacquiao boxing match have been manoeuvering to oppose low quality recordings of the bout
shared via the new video streaming app, Periscope. Streamed footage is often poor quality, but sufficient to follow what is going on.
But for the moment, TV networks HBO and Showtime were unable to prevent the action being streamed live. The firms had charged the public a record $89.95 to watch the fight in standard definition and an additional $10 in high definition. The fight was
screened by Sky Box Office for the cheaper price of £19.95 in the UK.
Unlike other live streaming services, such as YouTube and UStream, Periscope does not provide tools to let content owners force the removal of copyright-infringing content in near-real time. Instead, it requires that they file individual takedown
requests, which take longer to process.
HBO has previously expressed its displeasure following reports of Periscope being used to rebroadcast the opening episode of the latest series of Game of Thrones:
In general, we feel developers should have tools which proactively prevent mass copyright infringement from occurring on their apps and not be solely reliant upon notifications.
Periscope is owned by Twitter, from whom a spokesman commented:
Broadcasting content that is protected by copyright is a clear violation of our content policy. We received 66 reports from rights-holders and took action against 30 broadcasts in response to the reports. The remaining broadcasts had already ended and
were no longer available. We were able to respond within minutes.
Seven parents have claimed 'outrage' after a Disney-esque Frozen spoof aired during children's television and featured a woman wearing a bra.
The ad by Triumph shows an animated version of 23-year-old model Hannah Ferguson trying to find the ideal bra over a catchy musical number. When the advert aired on Cartoon Network channel before the 9pm watershed, Advert censors of ASA received
The advert finishes off with a scene of the real Hannah checking out how she looks in her new bra in a mirror. You can even, shock horror, see the outline of her breasts.
One upset parent branded the advert obviously inappropriate according to The Mirror whilst another went further and claimed it to be offensive .
Posters asking commuters if they are beach body ready are under investigation after a few people whinged to
the advert censors ASA after seeing the posters on London's Tube network.
Alongside a picture of a woman in a bikini, the adverts for dietary company Protein World ask: Are you beach body ready? in capital letters.
A few hundred people signed an online petition calling for the posters to be banned. The petition whinged:
Protein World is directly targeting individuals, aiming to make them feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model, in order to sell their product.
A spokeswoman for the Advertising Standards Authority confirmed on Monday that it had received 33 complaints about the campaign. The spokeswoman said typical complaints have included claims the advert is offensive , harmful and that the
posters promote the idea that only one type of body is fit for the beach .
Protein World said in a statement that it would not remove the adverts from the Underground network, adding:
It is a shame that in 2015 there are still a minority who aren't focusing on celebrating those who aspire to be healthier, fitter and stronger.
Update: The beach body unready are massing in Hyde Park
Thousands of beach body unready people have signed an online petition for the posters, for Protein World weight-loss products, to be banned from London Underground stations. Others have organised a taking back the beach protest, set for London's
Hyde Park on Saturday .
The Advertising Standards Authority said it had received 216 complaints with the general nature being that the ad is offensive, irresponsible and harmful because it promotes an unhealthy body image .
The Facebook page for Saturday's demonstration at 3pm reads: Are you a size 24? Come on down, beautiful!!
The online petition reads:
Protein World is directly targeting individuals, aiming to make them feel physically inferior to the unrealistic body image of the bronzed model, in order to sell their product. Perhaps not everyone's priority is having a 'beach body'.
Update: Transport for London takes down Protein World posters
A controversial ad campaign featuring a bikini-wearing model that asks Are you beach body ready? is to be
removed from London Underground ahead of a planned mass protest this weekend.
Transport for London said the ads promoting Protein World weight-loss product will be replaced from Wednesday because they have come to the end of their three-week contract period. It is coming to a natural end, a spokesman said, adding that the
campaign did not contravene TFL's advertising standards.
More than 200 people have complained about the ads to the ASA. The advert censor is meeting Protein World on Wednesday to discuss its advertising policy.
A taking back the beach protest has been organised to take place in London's Hyde Park on Saturday. More than 400 people are expected to attend. By midday on Tuesday more than 50,000 people had signed an online petition calling on Protein World to
take down the ads.
Britain's PC censors of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have weighed in and banned the Protein World's Beach Body Ready adverts.
The advert censors announced that the posters are immediately banned on grounds of 'concerns' about weight loss claims, and that the ASA has launched a follow up investigation to consider the political correctness issues. The ASA said:
We've met with Protein World to discuss its Are you beach body ready? ad campaign.
It's coming down in the next three days and, due to our concerns about a range of health and weight loss claims made in the ad, it can't appear again in its current form.
Although the ad won't appear in the meantime, we've launched an investigation to establish if it breaks harm and offence rules or is socially irresponsible.
We will now carefully and objectively explore the complaints that have prompted concerns around body confidence and promptly publish our findings.
Meanwhile the Change.org petition calling for the ads to be removed has now reached about 60,000 signatures.
Offsite Report: The Beach Body Unready in Hyde Park
Conservative Party promises to ban all international internet adult porn, on the grounds that it can't and wont sign up to overly restrictive and unviable age verification requirements. And inevitably the Labour Party agrees.
The BBFC are ludicrously still counting swear words to 'protect' 15, 16 and 17 year olds from the strong language in We Are Monster
2nd May 2015
We Are Monster is a 2014 UK drama by Antony Petrou.
Starring Leeshon Alexander, Aymen Hamdouchi and Gethin Anthony.
On 8th February 2000 at Feltham Young Offenders Institute, Robert Stewart, a known violent racist was placed in a cell with Zahid Mubarek, eventually leading to Mubarek's murder 6 weeks later.
UK: Passed 15 for very strong and racist language, strong violence after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:
2015 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
This film was originally seen for advice. The company was advised the film was likely to be classified 18 but that their preferred 15 could be achieved by reducing the number of uses of very strong language. When the film was submitted for formal
classification, the number of uses of very strong language had been reduced and it was classified 15.
A new Cayman Islands film censorship board, with responsibility for rating movies to be shown in the territory, is being set up.
The board will principally be responsible for censoring independent unrated movies, but also has the power to ban films and to reclassify mainstream movies already rated by international censors.
Proposed new legislation gives the board the remit to consider numerous factors, including whether the movie meets the standards of morality, decency and propriety of the community, when issuing rating certificates.
The Film Exhibition Control Bill aims to replace the old Cinematograph Law, which will be repealed if the new legislation is passed.
Anyone who wants to show a movie in the Cayman Islands will have to notify the new Film Control Board in advance. If the movie does not already carry a rating from internationally recognized film censors, the board will be tasked with considering its
content and deciding what age group it is suitable for. The board also has the option of banning a movie from being screened if it considers it unsuitable for viewership in the islands.
Movies that do carry international ratings, would not be required to apply for a rating. But the board retains the option of reclassifying such films if it chooses.
Indian community radio stations (CRS) are up in arms against a government order mandating daily submission of programmes that they broadcast. The move, they
say, smacks of censorship and will prove to be a logistical nightmare.
The Community Radio Forum and several CR stations plan to protest against the decision and hope to meet information and broadcasting (I&B) ministry representatives next week.
In an order dated April 30 the I&B ministry directed radio stations:
To provide recordings of all programs broadcast by CRS on a daily basis from the date of receipt of this letter along with log books/Q sheet...
Unesco chair on community media Prof Vinod Pavarala said:
This is a ridiculous order which will amount to a logistical nightmare. It evokes fears of censorship and worse.
The concern was echoed by Gurgaon Ki Awaaz station director Arti Jaiman who expressed concern over the huge financial burden complying with the order would bring. I have no problem being accountable but this is a bureaucratic response to some pressure
they are feeling.
The christian morality campaign group, One Million Moms, gushes over a new TV sitcom:
It is almost impossible to describe the depth of depravity found in the new TV Land sitcom, Younger . It airs on Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. ET/9:00 CT.
This new program is horrendous. Younger is the new version of Desperate Housewives or Sex in the City , which doesn't come as a surprise since it is written, produced, and directed by Darren Star (Sex and the City).
TV Land network describes the show in these words:
Younger follows 40-year-old Liza, a suddenly single mother who tries to get back into the working world, only to find out it's nearly impossible to start at the bottom at her age. When a chance encounter with a 20-something guy at a
bar convinces her she looks younger than she is, Liza tries to pass herself off as 26 not only to land her dream job but also to date a much younger guy.
Every scene is filled with sexual innuendos, implications, or encounters. It is impossible to list them all, so here are a few scenes from this TV-14 rated show:
Woman is completely topless during lunch at outdoor café
"Topless Tuesday" = a slogan for women's empowerment
Gives vagina pep talks
Graphic bedroom scenes
Excessive alcohol consumption
Main character helps friend remove feminine product stuck inside her
All new cars will within three years contain tracking devices. Under EU laws the technology will be compulsory from 2018 and fitted as standard in every model of
car and small van.
The authorities unconvincingly claim that the device will somehow only be activated in the event of a crash when it will be used to provide an accurate location for police and ambulance services. As well as location the device will track speed and
direction of travel and other events such as the airbags being deployed. Again this may be useful in the event of a crash but will be even more useful to the police for law enforcement and surveillance.
Privacy campaigners expressed concern over the protection of people's personal driving information, habits and locations from commercial companies such as insurers, as well as hackers with ulterior motives. Emma Carr, director of Big Brother Watch, said:
There is a clear risk that once this device is installed, drivers will lose total control over who has access to their data and how they will use it.
Forcing drivers to have a device installed in their car, which is capable of recording and transmitting exactly where and when they are driving, is totally unacceptable.
The European Parliament itself admitted that it expects a whole host of commercial companies to have access to this data.