Censor Watch

 2016: May



 Offsite Article: Think TTIP is a threat to democracy?...


Link Here 31st May 2016
stop ceta logo There's another nasty trade deal, CETA, that's already signed. By Nick Dearden

See article from theguardian.com

 

  Apocalyptic changes...

Australian film censors reduce the rating for X-Men: Apocalypse from MA 15+ to M


Link Here 30th May 2016

x-men apocalypseThe Australian Classification Review Board has unanimously determined that the film X-Men: Apocalypse is classified M (Mature) with the consumer advice Frequent action violence and infrequent coarse language . The film was previously rated MA 15+.

MA 15+ would be something like a 15A in UK terms, whilst M iis an advisory rating that would be called PG-15 in the US.

For comparison, in the US the film was rated PG-13 for sequences of violence, action and destruction, brief strong language and some suggestive images

 

  Lucky Lady...

Belated casualty of BBFC animal cruelty cuts


Link Here 29th May 2016
Lucky Lady Gene Hackman Lucky Lady is a 1975 USA comedy drama by Stanley Donen.
Starring Gene Hackman, Liza Minnelli and Burt Reynolds. BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 12 for moderate violence, sex references after 11s of BBFC compulsory cuts for:

  • 2016 Bright Spark video
The BBFC commented:

Cut required to remove a scene of animal cruelty (cockfighting).

UK Censorship History

Passed 'AA' uncut for 1975 cinema release but later cut for animal cruelty for a 12 rated 2016 DVD.

Uncut and MPAA PG rated in the US for:
Summary Notes

A trio of rum-runners during prohibition in the 1930s engage in a menage-a-trios after business hours.

 

  Betting on a state monopoly...

Quebec starts censoring online gambling sites to protect its monopoly on betting


Link Here 29th May 2016
loto quebec logoQuébec's government-run lottery agency, Loto-Québec, is forging ahead with a plan to block roughly 2,200 online-gambling sites following last week's passage of the controversial Bill 74, which authorizes the state-run lottery to compile such a blacklist and to assess heavy fines against the province's ISPs in case of noncompliance.

The province's censorship plan, which has been heavily assailed as being unconstitutional and in direct violation of Canada's federal communications laws, is likely to face stiff legal challenges in the coming weeks and months. Bill 74, which is actually Québec's omnibus budget legislation, proved to be the vehicle through which Québec's lottery forced through the changes it desired -- a way to eradicate competition. 

Whether a blacklist will be delivered by Loto-Québec to the province's ISPs in June, with an accompanying order to enforce the new law, remains uncertain. Loto-Québec is early in a 30-day period in which it is mandated to draw up the blacklist's targets, meaning that attempted domain blocking won't begin, at the earliest, until the latter half of June.

Loto-Quebec weakly claim that blacklisting needs to be done as a "public health" service for Québec' citizens. Of course, Loto-Québec hopes to get healthier as well... financially, that is. Loto-Québec openly admits that this is all about the dollars; as of now, the official Québec lottery is estimated to have only 10% of the province's "real" online-gambling market, and the lottery is willing to go the "Great Firewall of China" route to get the remaining 90% and thus the online monopoly it craves.

 

  Advert Censorship in 2015...

ASA and CAP publish their Annual Report


Link Here 27th May 2016
asa annual report 2015

Advert Censor ASA and CAP (who write the rules) have published their Annual Report covering 2015. They issued the following press release:

ASA and CAP Annual Report 2015: The balance is shifting 26 May 2016

Figures published today [Thursday 26 May] show the changing landscape of advertising regulation continues to be dominated by online ads, with the number of internet cases standing at over double those of the second most prolific medium, TV (8,633 compared to 3,920). Meanwhile, the mass-viewing nature of TV ensured that ads on the box generated the greatest number of individual complaints from consumers (11,611), taking back the top spot from the Internet.

The league table was released today as part of our and the Committee of Advertising Practice's (CAP's) annual report. The report also shows how advertising regulation itself is changing, owing to a rebalancing from complaints-led work towards more proactive interventions in markets where consumers are facing harm. Examples include a new approach to broadband pricing, sector-wide advice for osteopaths on how to advertise responsibly, and new guidance for vloggers on the disclosure of paid-for endorsements.

Consequently, while the number of consumer complaints about ads declined by 7.9% to 29,554, 2015 was a record year in terms of the number of ads that were changed or withdrawn as a result of our regulation (4,584). While this figure has risen 32% since 2014, it still represents only a small proportion of the overall advertising landscape -- data also published today suggests fewer members of the public saw problem ads in 2015 - 17%, down from 22% in 2013.

The report also shows which sectors and media received the most complaints during 2015. Notably, complaints about ads on public transport increased 153% - primarily owing to the high-profile and controversial Are you beach body ready? ad.

The most complained about sector was Leisure (films, DVDs, computer games, gambling), with 3,932 complaints about 2,530 cases. Meanwhile, the financial sector saw a 78% rise in complaints, driven primarily by the Moneysupermarket.com ad featuring Dancing Dave , which was the most complained about ad of 2015.

Conversely, the alcohol sector saw complaints decline by 37% to just 118 about 90 ads.

Guy Parker, Chief Executive of the ASA said:

The ASA's ambition is to make every UK ad a responsible ad and recent changes show how our regulation is becoming more proactive and having more impact. Alongside our important work resolving consumer complaints, we've taken proactive action in areas that make the biggest difference for the public. As well as the record number of ads changed or withdrawn, the volume of our compliance work has trebled to almost 5,500 cases.

The figures we've published today also show how protecting consumers, particularly children, online continues to be an urgent priority.

In 2016, we'll be implementing changes to broadband pricing, as well as examining gender discrimination in ads, and exploring ways to reduce children's exposure to ads for age-restricted products in social media.

 

  #Censors...

Instagram censors content tagged with lesbian and gay terms


Link Here 27th May 2016
instagram logoInstagram is blocking lesbian, gay and bisexual content, by censoring images collated under a range of gay hashtags.

The blocked tags include #lesbian, #gays, #lesbians, #bi. Some other hashtags such as #gay, are not.

When attempting to browse certain hashtags, users are shown a select few images, along with the following message:

Recent posts from #lesbian are currently hidden because the community has reported some content that may not meet Instagram's community guidelines.

A spokescensor for Instagram told HuffPost UK that these hashtags have been restricted to a top posts setting, which is reserved for hashtags that contain a large amount of violating content .

When a hashtag is censored in this way, Instagram removes the most recent section and only display 33 top posts , which have been approved by moderators. This will remain the case until the hashtags are no longer used to post violating content .

Users can still post images using the hashtag, but the images just won't collate on the page.

 

 Commented: More suffocating EU legislation...

Revision of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD)


Link Here 27th May 2016  full story: AVMS...EU law on internet video censorship

european commission logoA new legislative proposal amending the AVMSD has been adopted by the European Commission on 25 May 2016. The reform brings the Directive in line with the new realities. Share A media framework for the 21st century

Viewers, and particularly minors, are moving from traditional TV to the online world, while the regulatory burden is much higher on TV. The Directive therefore introduces flexibility when restrictions only applicable to TV are no longer justified. At the same time, it ensures that consumers will be sufficiently protected in the on-demand and Internet world. This is done while making sure that innovation will not be stifled.

The idea is to achieve a balance between competitiveness and consumer protection.

What's new?

The main new elements of the proposal are summarised below:

  1. The Country of origin principle (COO)

    COO is a cornerstone of the Directive . It will be maintained and facilitated by:

    • simplifying the rules which determine the country having jurisdiction over a provider,

    • establishing an obligation on Member States to inform about what providers are under their jurisdiction and maintaining an up-to-date database to ensure transparency,

    • clarifying cooperation procedures between Member States regarding permissible limitations to COO.
       

  2. Commercial Communications

    The proposed modifications aim at reducing the burden of TV broadcasters while maintaining, and even reinforcing those rules seeking to protect the most vulnerable. For example, the revised AVMSD:

    • maintains the strict 20% limit on advertising time, but gives broadcasters more flexibility as to when ads can be shown,

    • it allows more flexibility in putting product placement and sponsorship,

    • it encourages the adoption of self- and co-regulation for the existing rules seeking to protect the most vulnerable (alcohol advertising, fatty food, minors, etc.).
       

  3. Promotion of European works

    The proposed modifications aim at enhancing the promotion of European works by:

    • allowing MS to impose financial contributions to providers of on-demand services established in other MS (but only on the turnover generated in the imposing country),

    • putting on-demand players under the obligation to promote European content to a limited level by imposing a minimum quota obligations (20% share of the audiovisual offer of their catalogues) and an obligation to give prominence to European works in their catalogues,

    • low turnover companies, thematic services and small and micro enterprises are exempted from these requirements.
       

  4. Prohibition of hate speech

    The grounds for prohibiting hate speech will be aligned to those of the Framework Decision on combating certain forms and expressions of racism and xenophobia ( Decision 2008/913/JHA ). This prohibits incitement to violence and hatred directed against a group of persons or a member of such a group defined by reference to sex, race, colour, religion, descent or national or ethnic origin.
     

  5. Protection of Minors

    The proposed modifications aim at simplifying the obligation to protect minors against harmful content. It now says that everything that 'may be harmful' should be restricted on all services. The most harmful content shall be subject to the strictest measures, such as PIN codes and encryption. This will apply also to on-demand services.

    Member States shall ensure that audiovisual media service providers provide sufficient information to viewers about harmful content to minors. For this purpose, Member States may use a system of descriptors indicating the nature of the content of an audiovisual media service.
     

  6. Platforms

    Video-sharing platforms will be included in the scope of the AVMSD only when it comes to combat hate speech and dissemination of harmful content to minors.

    Platforms which organise and tag a large quantity of videos will have to protect minors from harmful content and to protect all citizens from incitement to hatred, based on new EU-specific terms in the revised AVMSD. Fully in line with the ecommerce Directive , this builds on existing efforts by the industry and will be implemented by co-regulation.
     

  7. The Audiovisual Regulators

    The independence of audiovisual regulators will be enshrined into EU law by ensuring that they are legally distinct and functionally independent from the industry and government (eg they do not seek nor take instructions), operate in a transparent and accountable manner which is set out in a law and have sufficient powers.
     

  8. ERGA (The European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services)

    ERGA will have a bigger role in shaping and preserving the internal market, for example in assessing EU co-regulatory codes and will take part in the procedures derogating from the country of origin.

    The role of the European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) will be set out in EU legislation.

What's next?

Once adopted by the European Commission, the legislative proposal is sent to the European Parliament and to the Council.

Offsite Comment: Onus on Companies

cdt logo 27th May 2016. See  article from cdt.org

There are positive messages in the document, but also some problematic ones. CDT has consistently pushed back on proposals that would endanger the internet as an enabler of free expression, public debate, and access to information.

...See full article from cdt.org

The Centre for Democracy and Technology describes itself as:

CDT is a champion of global online civil liberties and human rights, driving policy outcomes that keep the Internet open, innovative, and free.

 

  Nothing to Hide...

The case against the UK ban on extreme pornography. By Nick Cowen


Link Here 25th May 2016
nothing to hide The Adam Smith Institute has just released a new paper by Nicholas Cowen of Kings College London: Nothing to Hide: The case against the ban on extreme pornography.

In it, Cowen makes a robust case against the current prohibition on acts that are legal to perform--and yet not to record--show it to be expensive, dangerous, and illiberal.

The executive summary of the paper reads:

  • The ban on possession of extreme pornography was introduced in 2009 and extended in 2015. The law, as drafted, bans depictions of some sex acts that can be conducted safely and consensually between adults, with a specific risk of prosecution posed to LGBT minorities.
     
  • The Crown Prosecution Service reports more than a thousand offences prosecuted each year, implying significant enforcement costs that could be deployed effectively elsewhere.
     
  • A significant minority of the British population enjoy sexually aggressive fantasy scenarios but do not pose a specific risk of committing violent or sexual offences.
     
  • Access to pornography has increased dramatically in recent years, yet social harms imputed to pornography (especially violence against women) have reduced moderately but significantly.
     
  • While some survey evidence claims a correlation between individual use of pornography and sexual aggression, econometric evidence suggests this is not a causal relationship and that, if anything, increased access to pornography can reduce measurable social harms.
     
  • The ban itself represents a potential risk to political integrity. Like the ban on homosexuality in much of the 20th century, prohibitions on private sexual conduct can be used to silence, blackmail and corrupt individuals in positions of authority and responsibility.
     
  • There are better policies for reducing violence against women in the dimensions of criminal justice, education and economic reform.
     
  • The prevailing free speech doctrine in the United States shows that it is realistically possible to simultaneously tackle damaging forms of expression and maintain strong protections for innocuous forms.

Sam Bowman, Executive Director of the Adam Smith Institute said,

Most people don't want the government in their bedrooms, but that's what extreme porn laws do. This report highlights just how bad these laws really are -- they turn millions of law-abiding adults into potential criminals simply for enjoying consensual spanking or dressing up in the bedroom. The evidence is very clear that pornography does not drive violence, and indeed it may reduce it. These are badly drafted laws that should never have made it to the statute books, and this report confirms the urgent need for the government to scrap them."

Nick Cowen, author of the paper said,

The extreme porn ban criminalises depictions of sex acts even if they are safely performed by consenting adults. We have seen the law used, in particular, to target and expose gay men. Each such case represents a personal tragedy and a disgraceful use of our criminal justice system's scarce resources. The costs of the law are disproportionate to any public benefit, and as implemented cannot plausibly protect women's interests for which the ban was supposedly introduced.

...Read the full paper Nothing to Hide briefing paper [pdf] from adamsmith-private.squarespace.com

 

 Offsite Article: Age verification: Credit cards, classism and social exclusion...


Link Here 25th May 2016  full story: UK Governments Consults on Age Checks for Porn...Government proposes censoring porn websites that are not age verified
why would A response to government plans to try and ban internet porn. By Pandora Blake

See article from pandorablake.com

 

 Offsite Article: Fear and censorship in Germany...


Link Here 24th May 2016  full story: Free Speech in Germany...Criticism of refugees or Turkey now banned
Spiked logo The prosecution of the Pegida leader reflects the elite's contempt for the people. By Sabine Beppler-Spahl

See article from spiked-online.com

 

 Offsite Article: Censorship by Copyright...


Link Here 24th May 2016
mumsnet The Guardian follows a case where a building company gets nasty over a bad review on Mumsnet

See article from theguardian.com

 

 Update: Raging Bitch...

Brewery launches free speech group with damages won from Michigan's drinks censors


Link Here 23rd May 2016  full story: Drink Censors in the US...Objecting to beer labels
raging bitch beerThis month Flying Dog Brewery is launching a 1st Amendment Society, funded by the damages the Maryland company won from Michigan officials who tried to ban its Raging Bitch Belgian-Style IPA.

The new organization, which will sponsor a journalism scholarship and talks on freedom of speech, is the product of a six-year legal battle that began in 2009, when members of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission took offense at the Raging Bitch label, which the agency had to approve before the beer could legally be sold in that state.

The Raging Bitch label features an illustration by Ralph Steadman shows a wild dog presenting human female genitalia as well as possessing semblances of human female breasts.

Michigan's alcohol regulators did not like the label. Initially, in November 2009, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission said the name of the beer and Steadman's message ran afoul of a rule prohibiting labels deemed to promote violence, racism, sexism, intemperance or intoxication or to be detrimental to the health, safety or welfare of the general public.

See  article from reason.com for a full description of the subsequent court battles.

 

  Fat Bottomed Girls Twerking...

Tanzanian music censors are 'shocked'


Link Here 23rd May 2016
chura dance video Snura Mushi's latest popular hit Chura has not only led Tanzanian authorities to ban the video and its distribution, but they have also banned the artist from performing until the video is edited,.

The information, culture, arts and sports ministry's head of information and censorship Zawadi Msalla said the government was shocked at the video , and that the ban was enacted due to the immoral acts featured in the video.

Msalla said that Mushi has been instructed not to distribute or release her controversial and immoral video in other social media, such as Whatsapp, Instagram, Facebook and several others , adding that people who distribute the video will be charged according to the 2014 Cyber Crime Act.

Further, the artist has also been banned from performing publicly until, Msalla notes, the video is changed and then registered at the National Arts Council.

Mushi's Chura video consists solely of scenes of several women in dresses twerking on a beach and has 640,000 views on YouTube since its release on 25 April 2016.

 

 Offsite Article: Obscenely out of date definitions...


Link Here 23rd May 2016  full story: UK Governments Consults on Age Checks for Porn...Government proposes censoring porn websites that are not age verified
bbfc 100 years of censorship Response to the Government consultation on Child Safety Online: Problems with the existing classification system. By Pandora Blake

See article from pandorablake.com

 

 Offsite Article: Censors from a bygone era...


Link Here 23rd May 2016
Spit Your Grave Region NTSC A rare press foray into the era of the video nasties with the authorities revealing that they are still miserable gits

See article from kentnews.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Bad News...


Link Here 23rd May 2016
ghostery know about website trackers Research shows that news websites are more aggressive trackers than porn sites

See article from motherboard.vice.com

 

  On a repressive note...

Religious censors in Turkey issue a fatwa banning sexual music


Link Here 22nd May 2016

Istanbul Sokaklari Kramp Artists are facing severe difficulties under Erdogan's rule in Turkey. On 15 February 2016, The Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs, issued a fatwa -- a religious ban -- on sexual music.

The Turkish Directorate of Religious Affairs is a governmental institution responsible for managing the religious affairs in Turkey. It is infamous for its scandalous fatwas.

On 15 February 2016, a new fatwa hit the news. The Directorate distributed a 2016 calendar, in which they included a Q&A for each day. On the page for the day 24 August, the question was What is the place of music in religion? Which types of music are halal (acceptable for Islam)? The answer started with some general information:

According to Quran, there is no proof which shows that making or listening to music is a sin. In this sense, the types of music which do not contradict with the fundamental beliefs of our religion and with the general moral values are unobjectionable.

Then came the but :

BUT... making or listening to music which includes expressions or depictions that arouse sexual desires or which show haram things as beautiful is a sin.

The fatwas by the Directorate, whose members are all appointed by the government, are not legally binding or cannot be used as legal opinions or precedents, but they have practical effect. They form public opinion. They direct the central and local governments about what type of art and which artists to support. They encourage public prosecutors to start cases against Islamically unacceptable art works and artists. They present legitimacy for the government's change of legislature. They are influential.

An imam, previously with the rockband Kramp , who now runs the band Firock , is opposing the Directorate's fatwa from a religious perspective.

 

  'Have mercy on us and leave us alone'...

Lebanon's government censor bans song for asking god to leave us alone


Link Here 22nd May 2016
Ya Balad Bachar Mar Khalife   The censorship bureau of Lebanon's General Security Directorate has banned Bachar Mar-Khalife's song Kyrie Eleison because it supposedly contains offenses to God as the singer talked to God in the song saying, 'have mercy on us and leave us alone' .

The authorities further stated that if Bashar Mar-Khalife wants to promote his album in the country then he must delete the song from the album. Authorities also cllaimed in their statement that the song included words that could be interpreted as sexual innuendo.

 

 Offsite Article: The Daily Mail recommends...


Link Here 22nd May 2016
neon demon spanish The Neon Demon, a 'grim film featuring murder, cannibalism and lesbian NECROPHILIA that even shocked Cannes'

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 Update: Government must ensure it protects free speech...

UK free speech campaigners join to voice their concerns about the government's new counter-extremism plans...


Link Here 21st May 2016  full story: Extremism in the UK...UK government introduces wide ranging ban on extremism

groups against extremism law logoA broad coalition of campaign groups including the National Secular Society has warned that proposals contained in the Queen's Speech could criminalise a wide swathe of speech.

Campaigners say the government's planned Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill must be carefully crafted to avoid damaging freedom of expression.

 Jodie Ginsberg, chief executive of Index on Censorship said:

The government's move to counter extremism must not end up silencing us all," "We should resist any attempts to make it a crime for people of faith to talk publicly about their beliefs, for political parties to voice unpopular views, and for venues from universities to village halls to host anyone whose opinions challenge the status quo. We urge the government to use its consultation to ensure this does not happen.

The government's plans to tackle extremism through a new civil order regime and other measures must not undermine the very values it aims to defend, free expression organisations said on Wednesday.

Index on Censorship, English PEN, the National Secular Society, the Christian Institute, ARTICLE 19, Big Brother Watch, Manifesto Club and the Peter Tatchell Foundation welcomed plans to consult on the matter, following their demands earlier this year.

The proposals for a new law, outlined in the Queen's Speech, are more ambiguous than earlier proposals made by this government, but nevertheless leave open broad measures to police a wide swathe of speech and should be resisted, the groups said.

The new legislation will include giving law enforcement agencies new powers to protect vulnerable people -- including children -- from those who seek to brainwash them with extremism propaganda so we build a stronger society around our shared liberal values of tolerance and respect , according to the background notes accompanying the Queen's Speech.

More specifically, the government proposals are to legislate:

  • Stronger powers to disrupt extremists and protect the public.

  • Powers to intervene in intensive unregulated education settings which teach hate and drive communities apart.

  • A new civil order regime to restrict extremist activity, following consultation.

  • Closing loopholes so that Ofcom can continue to protect consumers who watch internet-streamed television content from outside the EU on Freeview.

The new proposals should avoid creating an environment that could make it even harder for people of all faiths and ideologies to express their beliefs and opinions, the groups said. Current legislation already prohibits incitement to violence and terrorism, and a compelling case for broadening them further through civil measures has not been made.

Jodie Ginsberg, Chief Executive of Index on Censorship said:

The government's move to counter extremism must not end up silencing us all. We should resist any attempts to make it a crime for people of faith to talk publicly about their beliefs, for political parties to voice unpopular views, and for venues from universities to village halls to host anyone whose opinions challenge the status quo. We urge the government to use its consultation to ensure this does not happen.

The groups said plans to introduce new laws in this area presented three main risks:

1. Definitions

It is still not clear how new legislation would deal with the problem of defining "extremism" in a way that would not threaten free speech.

The government has previously defined extremism broadly as "the vocal or active opposition to fundamental British values, including democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and the mutual respect and tolerance of different faiths and beliefs". The continued lack of a clear definition risks outlawing any political expression that does not reflect mainstream or popular views.

Britain already has a host of laws to tackle the incitement of terrorist acts, as well as racial and religious hatred. The government has previously been criticised for the broad definitions of "terrorism" in existing legislation, and the definition of "extremism" in the Prevent Strategy. The proposed bill must not introduce new vague terminology and widen the net even further.

"The government's approach to extremism is unfocused. Unless we can make them see sense, the range of people who could find themselves labelled 'extremist' by their own government is about to get a whole lot wider," said Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute.

2. Nature of new civil orders

The government is ambiguous on whether they are still considering "extremism disruption orders" or "banning orders" within the package of civil measures. Though the promised consultation is welcome, these draconian measures are clearly not off the table.

Baroness Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5, has said previously that extremists need to be exposed, challenged and countered. The proposed measures would have the opposite effect and should not find their way into the new civil order regime.

"Extremism banning orders could mean political activists -- or any other activists deemed to be 'anti-democratic' -- such as environmental activists -- could be outlawed in future, thereby undermining democracy itself," said Jo Glanville, Director of English PEN.

Extremist disruption orders (EDO), suggested under earlier plans for the bill, could have a similar chilling effect on free expression and democracy. Under original plans for EDOs, the police would be able to apply to the high court for an order to restrict the "harmful activities" of an "extremist" individual. The definition of "harmful" could include a risk of public disorder, a risk of harassment, alarm or distress, or the ill-defined "threat to the functioning of democracy".

Keith Porteous Wood, Executive Director of the National Secular Society, said: "The prosecution thresholds for EDOs -- as originally envisaged -- are worryingly low -- civil, not criminal -- yet the consequences of granting of such an order, even if not broken, are likely to be very serious, e.g. rendering the recipient unemployable. Few faced with such a threat are likely to have the resources to mount any defence as proceedings will be at the High Court."

"No convincing case has been made for the necessity of new measures to restrict free speech. Existing measures are already deterring individuals and groups from engaging in open debate on important issues. The plans re-announced today, though watered down, do not sufficiently address criticism the government has received; they not only threaten to further chill legitimate speech, but may also fuel divisive ideologies and make us less safe," said Thomas Hughes, Executive Director of ARTICLE 19.

3. International implications

Governments across the world -- such as Russia, Turkey and Egypt -- are increasingly using national security laws to censor free expression, including in the media. The government's moves are likely to legitimise and embolden these efforts, setting a counter-productive example.

UN and regional human rights experts have jointly raised concerns regarding the potential impact of broadly defined initiatives to counter violent extremism on the free expression of minority and dissenting views. They have called for responses to violent extremism to be evidence based, and to respect international human rights law on freedom of expression and non-discrimination.

Conclusion

We call on the government to consult widely with all stakeholders, including civil society and minority groups, to ensure that a bill intended to tackle extremism does not undermine one of the values at the heart of democracy: that of free speech for all.

 

 Offsite Article: Saving New Zealand from harm...


Link Here 21st May 2016
andrew jack National Portrait: Dr Andrew Jack, Chief Censor

See article from stuff.co.nz

 

 Update: Heroic Google vs Villainous France...

Google fights France's demand that 'right to be forgotten' censorship orders should apply worldwide


Link Here 20th May 2016
Google logoGoogle has appealed to France's highest court after the country's internet censor ordered it to delete some of its search results globally.

In 2015, the Commission on Informatics and Liberty (CNIL) said Google should respect French right to be forgotten rulings worldwide. Companies offering services to European citizens must comply with the ruling, even if their websites are not hosted in Europe.

But Google said the ruling could lead to abuse by less open and democratic countries. The company is now appealing against a 100,000-euro (£76,000) CNIL fine. Google says results can end up removed even when those links point to truthful and lawfully published information like newspaper articles or official government websites .

Google currently blocks all right to be forgotten content from all searches for users with a European IP address. Viewers from outside the EU and Europeans using non European proxies or VPNs can still access that links censored in Europe.

Google argues that a French authority such as the CNIL should not impose measures outside of the nation's borders . Kent Walker, the company's general counsel said:

For hundreds of years, it has been an accepted rule of law that one country should not have the right to impose its rules on the citizens of other countries,

In an open letter published in French newspaper Le Monde, Google said it had already received requests from countries to block content worldwide that was illegal locally. The letter said:

If French law applies globally, how long will it be until other countries - perhaps less open and democratic - start demanding that their laws regulating information likewise have global reach?

This order could lead to a global race to the bottom, harming access to information that is perfectly lawful to view in one's own country.

This is not just a hypothetical concern. We have received demands from governments to remove content globally on various grounds.

We have resisted, even if that has sometimes led to the blocking of our services.

According to AFP, Google expects the Council of State, France's highest court, will take at least a year to review its appeal.

 

  Not Nice Guys at the CBFC...

Indian film censors ban Shane Black's The Nice Guys


Link Here 20th May 2016
nice guys The Nice Guys is a 2016 UK / USA action crime comedy by Shane Black.
Starring Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling and Angourie Rice. IMDb

A mismatched pair of private eyes investigate the apparent suicide of a fading porn star in 1970s Los Angeles.

The film was rejected by the CBFC's Examining Committee for containing too much nudity, profanity, and bloody violence.

The committee was particularly miffed with the film's opening sequence, which depicts nudity in the aftermath of a car-crash.

The film distributors will appeal the ban.

For comparison:
  • UK: Passed 15 uncut for strong violence, sex references, strong language.
  • US: Uncut and MPAA R rated for Rated R for violence, sexuality, nudity, language and brief drug use.

 

 Update: Mad Hatter...

Bill Donahue of the Catholic League whinges about artwork at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art


Link Here 20th May 2016  full story: Catholic League...Always ready for a good whinge
mark ryden rosies tea parttyA painting set to be unveiled at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art in Virginia Beach is upsetting the Catholic church. Bill Donohue from the Catholic League sent the following letter to the museum's executive director:

Opening next week at the Virginia Museum of Contemporary Art is an exhibition that features a painting by Mark Ryden, Rosie's Tea Party . It depicts a young girl in her First Communion dress, wearing a crucifix around her neck, cutting a piece of ham with the words Corpus Christi (Body of Christ) inscribed on it. There is a bottle of wine on the table with a picture of Jesus in it; nearby, there is a rabbit pouring a teapot with blood coming out of it. When one of the commissioners on the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission objected to this work, you defended it, saying, Art is intended to be controversial. Ryden defended his painting by saying, I am really not poking fun at religion, adding that Someone ought to poke fun at those Christians, though.

I have a suggestion. Why not substitute a young Muslim girl in a hijab, wearing a machete around her neck, cutting a piece of ham with the words, Allahu Akbar inscribed on it. In place of Jesus in the wine bottle, display a picture of Muhammad. And yes, please keep the blood. When Muslims complain, tell them that Art is intended to be controversial, and Someone ought to poke fun at those Muslims anyway. Please be sure to let me know the outcome.

The artworks were embroiled in a censorship attempt on another front. in response to teh catholic 'outrage', Brian Kirwin, a member of the Virginia Beach Arts and Humanities Commission said to a local journalist that  he would consider cutting the funding for the museum.

Svetlana Mintcheva, director of programs with National Coalition Against Censorship in New York, responded to the censorship attempt in a letter:

The government cannot suppress real or imagined attacks upon a particular religious doctrine, nor can it suppress works of art said to be offensive, sacrilegious, morally improper or dangerous. Contrary to what you appear to believe, government officials are also barred from using the power of the purse to discriminate against art based on the viewpoint expressed in it.

?Anybody is entitled to criticize art in an exhibition, but First Amendment principles bar government officials from discriminating against controversial viewpoints. MOCA cannot and should not tailor its programming to promote the views of certain interest groups while suppressing those of others. Taxpayer funds go to maintain a vibrant and diverse cultural sphere that serves all Americans not just Republicans or Democrats, conservatives or liberals. We may differ on cultural or social issues and argue about these issues in the press, in public spaces, in galleries and performance spaces, but government officials cannot use financial leverage as a threat to silence those with whom they disagree,

 

 Commented: The Queen's Censorship Speech...

Government puts British people on notice that they should download as much free porn as possible before it is banned


Link Here 20th May 2016  full story: UK Governments Consults on Age Checks for Porn...Government proposes censoring porn websites that are not age verified

arms of the british governmentjpg logoThe Queen's Speech contained the following reference to the Digital Economy Bill:

Digital Economy Bill

Measures will be brought forward to create the right for every household to access high speed broadband. Legislation will be introduced to make the United Kingdom a world leader in the digital economy.

It seems a bit of a contraction that one of the main elements of the bill is designed to make the UK a world straggler in the digital economy when it comes to adult contents,

The notes reveal a little more about the internet censorship section of the bill which reads:

Protecting citizens in the digital economy

  • Protection for consumers from spam email and nuisance calls by ensuring consent is obtained for direct marketing, and that the Information Commissioner is empowered to impose fines on those who break the rules.
  • Protection of children from online pornography by requiring age verification for access to all sites containing pornographic material.

The government notes that the bill will apply to the entire UK.

For further details about government porn censorship proposals see Consultation document [pdf] from gov.uk and the introductory page from gov.uk

Internet censorship also rears its head in:

Counter-Extremism and Safeguarding Bill

Legislation will be introduced to prevent radicalisation, tackle extremism in all its forms, and promote community integration.

In one of the clauses of the bill the government mentionsas:

We will also close loopholes so that Ofcom can continue to protect consumers who watch internet-streamed television content from outside the EU on Freeview.

The government seems to have scaled back on its widely circulated idea of allowing of Ofcom to pre-censor TV broadcasts of 'extremist' content.

Comment: Worthy...BUT...

20th May  016. See  article from openrightsgroup.org

Open Rights Group logo While preventing children from seeing pornography is a worthy aim, age verification is fraught with difficulties, if infringements of privacy and free expression are to be avoided. We will urge caution and advocate avoiding blunt instruments such as website blocking.

We are also expecting the government to introduce a law that will allow the filtering of websites without prior consent by the end of this year and will be asking whether this is going to be part of the proposed bill.

Offsite Comment: No one can stop teenagers from watching porn -- not even David Cameron

The Independent20th May   2016. See  article from  strangethingsarehappening.com

The Government will require viewers to verify their age, but for teenagers where there is a will, there is a way

 

 Update: The Sarawak corruption report...

Malaysian government pushes a new internet censorship law


Link Here 20th May 2016
meidum com logoEarlier in the year the Medium.com website was blocked in Malaysia , after a publication it hosted, called the Sarawak Report, had detailed corruption in the Malaysian government,

the government first blocked access to the Sarawak Report's own website, and then to all of Medium after Sarawak started reposting all of its articles there.

Now the internet censorship is snowballing as the government is pushing a new law that gives the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC), much more power to silence criticism online . And a big part of this is removing the intermediary liability protections that service providers have.

Without strong intermediary liability protections, websites will now have very strong incentive to immediately block or take down any content that might displease the government, for fear that leaving it up will lead to legal consequences.

In Malaysia, a coalition of civil society/public interest groups are fighting back against this new law, and trying to spread the word about its possible impact.

 

  A passion for censorship...

Advert censor bans Boylesports advert on grounds of blasphemy


Link Here 19th May 2016

boylesports nalied on bonus advertAn email for Boylesports Gaming, dated 25 March 2016, showed a hand nailed to a length of wood. Blood dripped from where the nail entered the hand and a desert scene was shown in the background. Large text stated BOYLESPORTS GAMING - NAILED ON BONUS . Text on a sign hanging from the nail stated BETWEEN 5 - 25 QUID . Text below the image stated Hi [recipient's name] - In memory of the dearly departed JC, we are offering you a sacrilecious [sic] Bonus this Easter weekend ... So don't just sit there gorging your own body weight in chocolate, that's disrespectful. Get on Boylesports Gaming and get your nailed on bonus .

A recipient of the email, who considered that the ad depicted a crucifixion and that it mocked the Christian religion at an important time in the Christian year, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

 ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ad showed a partial image of a crucifixion with a desert scene in the background and was sent to recipients over the Easter weekend -- the complainant received it on Good Friday. The ASA considered those elements and that timing, together with the references in the text to the dearly departed JC , a sacrilecious [sic] bonus and that's disrespectful , all contributed to the impression that the image was a reference not simply to a generic, historic crucifixion but to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Given that context, we considered that the way in which the ad made light of the subject matter, with the play on words NAILED ON BONUS ; the jokey language of BETWEEN 5-25 QUID , dearly departed JC and sacrilecious Bonus , and the cartoon-style image of blood dripping from the hand pierced by the nail, a particularly sacred image for Christians, were likely to cause serious offence to some recipients. We considered the offence was likely to be particularly strongly felt by those of the Christian faith at Easter, when the imagery would have a particularly strong resonance. We considered that the ad was likely to cause serious offence and concluded that it was therefore in breach of the Code.

We welcomed Boylesports Enterprise's assurance that the ad had finished its run. The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Boylesports Enterprise to ensure future ads did not cause serious or widespread offence.

 

 Offsite Article: ID Card Lite...


Link Here 19th May 2016
UK ID Card 2009 Open Rights group points out the Queen's Speech bill to extend government database sharing will necessarily be based on an ID number for every resident

See article from openrightsgroup.org

 

 Offsite Article: Abusive takedowns...


Link Here 19th May 2016
bbc iplayer logo Shoddy copyright group tries to remove BBC iPlayer from Google

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

  Censor Bait...

Advert censor bans sexy advert for Baitcraft fishing bait


Link Here 18th May 2016

baitcraft advert A magazine ad for Baitcraft fish bait seen in Carp World magazine on 4 March 2016. The ad featured the body of a woman lying on her side wearing a bra and stockings, with her thigh and torso exposed. The woman appeared to be removing her underwear, with her right hand placed on her thigh, and her thumb between her underwear and skin.

A complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because the image was demeaning to women, and bore no relationship to the product advertised.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA noted that the ad focused on the physical features of a woman who was wearing lingerie and whose head was not visible. The image bore no relevance to the advertised product and was accompanied by text that stated it's never looked so good . We considered readers would understand that the woman was being referred to as the it in that sentence and that they would consider the text, in conjunction with the image, presented an objectified view of, and was therefore demeaning to, women. Although we acknowledged that similar ads had previously appeared in Carp World, we considered readers of a fishing magazine would generally not expect to see ads that objectified or were otherwise demeaning to women. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some readers.

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Signature Creative Solutions Ltd to ensure that future ads did not portray women in a manner that objectified them and which was likely to cause serious offence.

 

 Update: German lese majeste censorship...

German court bans Jan Boehmermann's poetic insult of King Erdogan


Link Here 18th May 2016  full story: Erdogan Insulted in Germany...Free speech finds no refuge in Germany
Germany flagA court in Hamburg has issued a preliminary injunction banning 18 of the 24 verses in a German comedian's satirical poem lampooning Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for being supposedly abusive and defaming.

The court order issued on Tuesday applies to the whole of Germany, Reuters reported. The court explianed its censorship:

Through the poem's reference to racist prejudice and religious slander as well as sexual habits, the verses in question go beyond what the petitioner [Erdogan] can be expected to tolerate,

Whenever the authorities use the word 'balance' it invariably means that rights are being taken away. The German court is no exception. It said the decision was necessary to balance the right to artistic freedom and the personal rights of Turkey's leader, but added that its ruling could be appealed.

 

 Update: Lawmakers are a public health hazard...

Utah lawmaker proposes website blocking systems for mobile phones and libraries


Link Here 18th May 2016
Utah state sealFollowing Utah's resolution claiming pornography to be a public health crisis, a lawmaker is drafting bills to mandate anti-porn filters on cellphones and computers at public libraries.

Senator Todd Weiler, a Republican, said he is drafting legislation that would require cellphone makers to install porn-blocking filters on their devices, which would be removed if it's verified the owner is over 18.

Senator Weiler author of Utah's anti-porn resolution called it backwards that parents have to purchase and install filtering software on a child's phone, when manufacturers could make it a feature of the device.

The senator is also drafting legislation that would require public libraries to install porn-blocking filters on computers to prevent minors from accessing adult-oriented sites on the internet.

The Utah Library Association expressed concerns about the proposed legislation. Dustin Fife, the president of the ULA, said most libraries have some form of filtering in place to qualify for state and federal funding and said Sen. Weiler's bill would be redundant. Fife said the ULA had concerns that filtering would block legal and useful materials protected by the First Amendment that some consider objectionable. He said libraries are places of inclusion, rather than exclusion. Fife added:

Libraries have a great duty to support their communities and to promote a diversity of thought, information, and dialogue. Be wary of any law that limits that traditional role. When it comes to the rights of parents and the First Amendment, only incredibly finite and thoughtful laws should be passed in order to avoid chilling intellectual freedom and promoting censorship.

 

  Dear Sony Music: It's Not 'Fee Use', But 'Fair Use'...

Sony reprehensibly charge for fair use of their content


Link Here 18th May 2016
sony logoThe EFF writes:

We're pleased to report that Sony Music backtracked on its accusation of copyright infringement against the Hudson Valley Bluegrass Association, and HVBA ' s educational video remains freely available to the public. But the music label's response leads us to think that Sony ' s misuse of copyright and of YouTube's automated enforcement system will continue.

We wrote last week about how YouTube's system, Content ID, incorrectly flagged HVBA's own video as infringing. The video, an hour-long lecture on the history of bluegrass music, triggered the Content ID filters because it contained three clips of bluegrass recordings copyrighted by Sony, each around 30 seconds and surrounded by a discussion of the music and its historical relevance . That's an obvious fair use under copyright law, one that any human reviewer with minimal training would recognize.

A fair use doesn't require permission from the copyright holder, or a fee. It's the sort of use that's free to all. But when HVBA's webmaster wrote to Sony Music and asked them to withdraw the Content ID match, the company responded by asking for a $500 "administrative fee" and detailed information about HVBA's use of the song clips. Fortunately, HVBA's webmaster knew her rights, and after some prodding--and a post by EFF--Sony Music agreed to withdraw its claim.

We're glad Sony stopped trying to block or monetize HVBA's video. But the company's response is troubling all the same. A Sony executive emailed HVBA to say that the company "has decided to withdraw its objection to the use of its two sound recordings" and "will waive Sony Music's administrat[ive] fee." That sounds like Sony was simply acting out of courtesy, when in fact the company had no right to demand a fee, by any name, for an obvious fair use. Other YouTube users with less knowledge of the law may have been convinced to pay Sony $500 or more, and provide detailed information, for uses of the music that the law makes free to all.

As Congress and the Copyright Office review the law and examine the effectiveness of automated systems like Content ID, they should keep in mind that automated flagging or filtering combined with misleading statements about a company's legal rights can lead to abuse. That's another reason why YouTube-style automatic filtering should never be mandated by law, and why we need real penalties for false takedowns.

 

 Offsite Article: Political correctness out of control in Quebec...


Link Here 18th May 2016  full story: Human Rights in Canada...Canada's Human Rights works against free speech
quebec logo Lawyers ban TV sketch out of fear offending the easily offended and there is an even more repressive censorship law on the way

See article from montrealgazette.com

 

  Dicks at the MPAA...

Slightly underwhelming observations about the censorship of dicks at the MPAA


Link Here 17th May 2016
Poster Bad Neighbours 2 2016 Nicholas Stoller Cinema Blend interviewed Nicholas Stoller, director of the upcoming Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising and observed a couple of comments about the attitude of the MPAA towards dicks in R rated movies.

Stoller shared some knowledge that he picked up during the making of his directorial debut, Forgetting Sarah Marshall:

I never had any issues with MPAA. If it's R rated [targeted], you can basically do anything. You just can't show erect penis. This is the thing with a penis (holds out hand with fingers curled, and slowly flattens his palm), it's like R, R, R, R, NC-17. Including flopping. If you want to flop, you flop left to right, not up and down. That's an actual thing.

Stoller also observed:

The two movies I noticed that have erect penises that are R are the South Park movie and Scary Movie , but the penises are detached. You don't see them attached to a body.

 

  Munich: A Palestinian Story...

Jewish group protests about the Cannes showing of an excerpt from a Palestinian documentary


Link Here 17th May 2016
munich a palestinian storyMunich: A Palestinian Story is a 2016 Palestine documentary by Nasri Hajjaj

A French Jewish group is protesting against the planned screening of the documentary Munich: A Palestinian Story at Cannes, claiming the film blames German security forces for the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes at the 1972 Munich Olympics rather than the terrorist attackers of the Black September group.

An excerpt from the documentary is due to be screened as part of a partnership between the Cannes Film Festival and the Dubai International Film Festival. The film, directed by journalist-turned-director Nasri Hajjaj, is still reportedly in production.

Roger Cukierman, president of the Council of Jewish Organisations in France (CRIF), expressed anxiety and deep concern over the planned viewing in a letter to Cannes Film Festival President Pierre Lescure and French Culture Minister Audrey Azoulay. He said:

The film depicts the terrorists as 'freedom fighters' and says that 'everything came to an end when German security forces intervened, killing 5 Palestinians and 11 Israeli athletes.' It's a scandalous misinterpretation of historic facts.

 

 Update: Offensive against Facebook...

French jewish groups set to launch legal action against Facebook for not censoring enough posts


Link Here 17th May 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in France...Web blocking in the name of child protection
Facebook logoThree jewsih organisations in France say they are planning legal action against Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for failing to remove posts that the gorups consider to be hate speech

The French Jewish Students Union (UEJF), SOS Racisme and SOS Homophobie say they found 586 posts between 31 March and 10 May that they claim to be offensive. But they claim only a small percentage was taken down.

French law states that racist, homophobic and anti-Semitic content must be removed from websites.

YouTube's side of the argument can be inferred from deciding that the posts did not break their rule:

But from YouTube's side of the argument, they decided not to remove the content when tested against their rules that YouTube does not support content which:

Promotes or condones violence against individuals or groups based on race or ethnic origin, religion, disability, gender, age, nationality, veteran status or sexual orientation/gender identity, or whose primary purpose is inciting hatred on the basis of these core characteristics.

Facebook also decided that the posts did not break their rules and added also that it does allow:

Clear attempts at humour or satire that might otherwise be considered a possible threat or attack.

Twitter' also decided that complained about posts did not transgress their rules.

 

  Chilly LA...

Weather girl made to cover her shoulders with a cardigan live on air


Link Here 17th May 2016
weather girl cover up video Los Angeles TV station KLTV, have embarrassed themselves by pandering to easily offended viewers who complained about a weather girls shoulder revealing dress.

Liberte Chan's was so 'revealing' it needed covering up, in the middle of a report, with a demure grey cardigan.

The cardigan was proffered supposedly in response to emails from 'outraged' and presumably easily offended viewers.

The behaviour of the station itself did not go down well with many online, who made perfectly reasonable comments such as Is this a joke? , Grow up and stop acting like Isis ..

News anchor Chris Burrous later tried to pass it off as a joke, but wasn't very convincing.

 

 Offsite Article: Domain of Control...


Link Here 17th May 2016
cn domain China's new rules may break the internet warns US government

See article from theregister.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Searching for blocked searches...


Link Here 17th May 2016
arms of the british governmentjpg logo UK Government threatens Google and Facebook over prated content being readily located using internet search facilities

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

 Update: Carpet Sniffers...

New Zealand censors 'outraged' by a humerous reference to bukkake on a Wicked Campervan


Link Here 16th May 2016  full story: Wicked Campervans...Un polictically correct adverts wind up Australian and New Zealand authorities
bukkake ruined my carpetThe New Zealand Censor writes:

After examining the campervan and applying the legal classification criteria, the Classification Office classified this campervan as Objectionable (banned).

Imagery on the campervan includes a peace symbol; the face of American beat poet, Allen Ginsberg and the text, Don't hide the madness ; the word Howl , the title of a famous Ginsberg poem; and a representation of Charles Manson and the text, Make new friends. Join a cult .

First impressions of the campervan are likely to be of bright colours and large, eye-catching text and images.

However, large text on the back of the campervan reads Bukkake ruined my carpet! which inescapably confronts following vehicles.

The text on the back of the campervan is an expression of misogyny that degrades and dehumanises women. It is unlikely that many viewers will immediately recognise the term. However, satisfying curiosity as to its meaning requires no more than a quick internet search. Bukkake is an established term describing a highly degrading, dehumanising and demeaning sexual practice that is depicted in pornography.

A classification of R18, which is consistent with other publications and would prevent access by children and young people, has been considered. However, the medium makes it impossible to protect children and young people without preventing the campervan from being publicly available to anyone. The application of any of the available conditions in respect of public display is manifestly impracticable.

In classifying the campervan as objectionable, the Classification Office has also taken into account that those who rent the vans may be unwittingly criminalised if the owner considered that restricting their rental to persons 18 years and over meets the conditions of an R18 classification. While the Office does not necessarily agree that the owner could contract out of their liability in this way, the classification of the campervan as objectionable removes all doubt as to its unsuitability for its intended purpose.

 

 Updated: Taking Fright...

Ofcom announces investigations of two horror films


Link Here 16th May 2016
stage fright 2014The TV censor Ofcom has announced the 'investigation' of two horror films for supposedly breaching TV censorship rules for recent broadcasts.

Ofcom lists the titles without further information for investigations into:

  • I Spit on Your Grave on the Horror Channel in March (not sure whether it was the original of the remake, but both have been censored by films censors in the past).
  • Stage Fright on Sky Premiere in March, presumably the 2014 Canadian musical adaptation by Lucky McKee and Chris Siv

Update: Remake

12th May 2016. Thanks to Jon

The film that is being complained about is the cut UK/ R rated version of the Remake of I Spit on Your Grave . The follow up sequel is also being shown at the same time so could be involved.

Jon also notes that Human Centipede 2 is also being shown, presumably in its cut censor approved form, nevertheless enough to give Ofcom kittens.

Update: Not quite BBFC approved

16th May 2016. See article from translate.google.com

I Spit Your Grave Unrated schnittberichte.com is pointing out that a January showing of I Spit on Your Grave wasn't actually a BBFC approved version. The website concludes that the Horror Channel did its own edit which although cut, was stronger than the BBFC version.
 

 

 Update: Russian repression is a sure bet...

Russian region of Tartarstan proposes fines for users of gambling websites


Link Here 16th May 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia Tartastan flagTatarstan, a region in the Russian Federation, has proposed a bill that would bring significant fines for users of online gambling websites. The fines would be extended to parents or guardians that allowed their children to use gambling websites as well.

Proposed fines range between 10,000 and 20,000 roubles ($150 - $300) for users of online casinos. The bill also proposes a heftier fine in the sum of 150,000 roubles (approximately $2,300) for landlords that allow gambling on their properties.

Opponents of the bill however note that it is redundant as the current legislation in Russia completely forbids gambling even via the internet with very few exceptions.

 

 Offsite Article: Iran? Well I've never heard of it, it doesn't exist...


Link Here 16th May 2016
holocaust cartoon A group in Iran has organized a Holocaust-themed cartoon? competition. The Daily Mail claims 'fury' from the international community, but I can't say I have noticed any

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Monopolists vs the Treaty of Rome...


Link Here 16th May 2016
single market) Hollywood argues against a borderless digital market in the UK claiming that local monopolies would let Hollywood makes lots of money and hence make more films, and so be good for EU consumers

See article from variety.com

 

  Absurdly nasty restoration...

88 Films launches fund raiser for a 2k restoration of Joe D'Amato's Absurd


Link Here 14th May 2016
absurd fund raising 88 Films writes:

Following on from the success of 2014's remaster Z ombie Holocaust and Burial Ground fan-funding project we're back with a much more ambitious project...

This time the ultimate goal is to remaster 4 classic Italian exploitation films in 2K resolution!

  1. Absurd (1981), Dir Joe D'Amato
  2. Massacre in Dinosaur Valley (aka C annibal Ferox 2 ) (1985), Dir Michele Massimo Tarantini
  3. Aenigma (1987). Dir Lucio Fulci
  4. Beyond the Darkness (1979), Dir Joe D'Amato

HOWEVER this will be a very expensive project so we need YOUR help.

Organising a project like this is always a big gamble and this time we want you to join in the gamble.....

So here's the plan.

... see the full article from indiegogo.com

 

  Lyra...

New women's magazine features UK censorship in its first issue


Link Here 14th May 2016
lyra magazineLyra is a new quarerly women's magazine that touches on the subjects of  erotica and censorship. The magazine introduces itself:

We are a quarterly woman's magazine that focuses on critical discussions of society, politics and the arts. We publish a wide variety of content, including journalistic investigations, philosophical essays, erotic stories, poetry, photography and fiction, alongside many reflective pieces. Through this, we encourage thoughtful dialogues and critical perspectives while showcasing the voices of young artists and writers. We think that media should be cross-generational and appeal to people of different gender identities, a belief reflected in the magazine's editorial staff.

We call ourselves a woman's magazine, not because we want to appeal exclusively to women, but because we aim for a feminine voice. Alongside our magazine, we want to create various spaces in which people can discuss important issues, promote important campaigns and express themselves. To do this we will host events (including talks, exhibitions and panel discussions) and run a website, which publishes short form content and responds to time sensitive issues.

See extract from the first issue: Jerry Barnett On Censorship from lyramagazine.co.uk

 

  Loss of Trust...

TV censor Ofcom set extend its remit to the BBC according to new government white paper


Link Here 13th May 2016

bbc white paper 2016 T he government agrees with the conclusion that Ofcom is the best body to take on full regulation of the BBC. As the regulator for the broadcast and communications sector it looks across the whole of an increasingly interconnected technological and commercial landscape. It already regulates the rest of the broadcasting sector in respect of content regulation, issuing licences, looking at media plurality and competition issues. And under section 198 of the Communications Act 2003, Ofcom already has significant powers to regulate the BBC, insofar as the Charter permits. Ofcom will need to change to take on these responsibilities and there are some important issues for the Ofcom board to consider about how as an organisation it will approach this. The government will make sure Ofcom has the powers it needs to do this. As the Clementi Review summarises, Ofcom would be a strong regulator to match a strong BBC .

Ofcom will be responsible for assessing the performance of the BBC board in meeting its Charter obligations. It will therefore have overall responsibility for regulating the BBC. This will involve:

  • monitoring and reviewing performance including by assessing on a periodic basis the extent to which the BBC is meeting its overall mission and its accompanying public purposes, with powers to remedy any identified failings;
  • establishing a licensing regime setting out regulatory requirements and expectations;
  • regulating editorial standards to ensure the BBC meets requirements in areas such as accuracy, impartiality, harm and offence
  • holding the BBC to account for its assessment of both market impact and public value, alongside regulation of commercial activity; and
  • acting as the appeal body in terms of complaints.

Under the new Charter therefore the BBC will, for the first time, be wholly regulated by an external regulatory body. This will introduce wholly independent scrutiny of what the BBC does, ensuring that it is held to account in delivering its obligations under the Charter and acting in the public interest.

 

 Update: Disgusted...

German MPs 'shocked' as controversial poem about Erdogan was readout in the Bundestag


Link Here 13th May 2016  full story: Erdogan Insulted in Germany...Free speech finds no refuge in Germany
deutscher bundestag logoGermany's parliament was 'shocked' when one MP read aloud Jan Bohmermann's poem about Turkey's president which sparked an international free speech row last month. His performance was aired on national TV. He said the aim had been to show how awful it was.

The poem about Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan gained an audience in the Bundestag when Detlef Seif, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel's CDU party recited the entire text standing at the pulpit.

Unbelievable, the audience gasped in awe when Seit began to recite the text.

Seit said he wanted to illustrate how awful the text was, claiming that he had been absolutely disgusted by it:

I didn't want to do this, but I read this to you so that one knows what was actually said here. A person's honor is clearly infringed upon here.

 

  Beware of friend requests...

It could be a creepy council employee wanting to snoop on you


Link Here 13th May 2016
east lothian council logoEast Lothian Council has adopted the policy of using fake Facebook profiles enabling council employees to spy on law-abiding resident.

A new policy has enabled investigating officers at East Lothian Council to use false Facebook identities to befriend targets and? scour social media pages not protected by privacy settings.

The nine-page surveillance through social media policy agreed by officials has been branded beyond creepy by critics who have questioned whether it infringes privacy rights.

Human rights lawyers and civil liberties groups have blasted the move, describing it as a sign that powers normally only used by police were spreading into other areas.

Daniel Nesbitt, research director of Big Brother Watch, said the council needs to say why these tactics are necessary, why they think they are proportionate and what safeguards will be in place.  He added:

For years now councils have been criticised for using heavy-handed snooping tactics, and a nine-page document simply isn't good enough.

Jason Rose, who stood for the Greens in the East Lothian constituency in last year's Westminster elections said the? policy was beyond creepy :

I cannot believe our councillors have agreed this policy. It speaks volumes that a council which is so poor at communicating with the public and does not make its meetings available to view online agrees a covert surveillance policy in such a secretive way.

 

 Updated: Trending Censorship...

US Senate to investigate Facebook over claims from former Facebook workers who said they routinely suppressed right wing news sources from the 'trending news' list


Link Here 13th May 2016  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Facebook logoThe US Senate Commerce Committee has sent Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg a letter requesting that he answer questions about the recent allegations regarding the social media site's Trending Topics feature.

Gizmodo published a report May 3 alleging that Facebook's news curation team intentionally avoids selecting stories to promote from certain news outlets, including World Star Hip Hop, Breitbart and TheBlaze.

The committee request comes the same day comedian and conservative pundit Steven Crowder announced that he has filed a legal motion seeking answers from the social media giant. The motion, posted on the Louder with Crowder talkshow host's website Tuesday, alleges that Crowder's blog was among Facebook's blacklisted sites and that his accounts were unfairly targeted.

In the letter, Senate Commerce Chairman John Thune asks Zuckerberg to make Trending Topics curators available to answer questions about how the feature works. Questions include:

What steps is Facebook taking to investigate claims of politically motivated manipulation of news stories in the Trending Topics section? and If such claims are substantiated, what steps will Facebook take to hold the responsible individuals accountable?

Thune also asks that the Trending Topics team provide a list of all news stories removed from or injected into the Trending Topics section since January 2014.

Update: Trending bollox, it's just news selected by Facebook

13th May 2016. See  article from theguardian.com

Leaked documents show how Facebook , now the biggest news distributor on the planet, relies on old-fashioned news values on top of its algorithms to determine what the hottest stories will be for the 1 billion people who visit the social network every day.

The documents show that the company relies heavily on the intervention of a small editorial team to determine what makes its trending module headlines -- the list of news topics that shows up on the side of the browser window on Facebook's desktop version. The company backed away from a pure-algorithm approach in 2014 after criticism that it had not included enough coverage of unrest in Ferguson , Missouri, in users' feeds.

The guidelines show human intervention -- and therefore editorial decisions -- at almost every stage of Facebook's trending news operation, a team that at one time was as few as 12 people:

 

 Offsite Article: Map censor...


Link Here 13th May 2016
india India goes power crazy over online maps

See article from bbc.com

 

  Send more censors...

Indonesian films censors pontificate about censoring movies on Netflix


Link Here 12th May 2016  full story: Film Censorship in Indonesia...Rreforms to film censorship law
lembaga sensor film logoIndonesia's film censors (Lembaga Sensor Film LSF) have been pontificating about censoring movies via Netflix.

There is currently no legal framework that covers the censorship of Video on Demand in the country. However the Communications and Information Ministry and the Culture and Education Ministry will soon issue new laws on internet-based movie providers.

LSF chairman Ahmad Yani Basuki said that adding streaming-movies to the LSF's duties would create a new problem for the agency, as it lacked human resources.

The LSF consists of 17 commissioners and 45 censors. It takes a day for the agency to censor one movie and another one or two days for the administration process.

If we are assigned to censor Netflix' contents, we probably will have to add more resources, Yani said.

 

  A negative body...

Norwegian council bans all adverts in Trondheim that could contribute to negative body image issues


Link Here 12th May 2016
trondheim logoPC extremists in Norway's 3rd city, Trondheim, have introduced a ban on ads featuring models in various states of undress.

The city council has approved a ban on all advertising that could contribute to negative body image issues. The ban will apply to all municipal-owned advertising space throughout the city. The new policy reads:

Advertising that is offensive or discriminatory against groups or individuals will not be allowed, nor will advertising that conveys a false image of the model/models' appearance and contributes to a negative body image.

At a minimum, advertisements in which body shapes have been retouched should be marked as such.

City councillor Ottar Michelsen of the Socialist Left Party said the city bears a responsibility to spare residents from a sense that they need to to achieve the perfect body .

While city councillor Yngve Brox of the Conservatives agreed warned that the task of banning ads would be hopeless :

We can't ban and regulate our way to the society we want to have in all areas. Then we'll have to regulate in fine details what kind of images are okay and that is hopeless.

Perhaps someone should point out to the council that ii they could somehow change the criterion for success, then half the people would still be below average, and presumably be worrying about it

 

 Update: A load off their backs...

Sex workers successfully challenge suffocating local morality licence fees


Link Here 12th May 2016
state council belgium logoThe State council in the district of Saint-Josse, Brussels, ordered the suspension of the police regulation of window sex work introduced on the 30th of November, 2015.

The regulation prohibited sex work activities from 23h to 7h and stated sex workers could not work on Sundays. Sex work was allowed only in four streets of the town. The regulation also required sex workers to obtain a certificate of conformity, which costs 2500 EUROS.

The spokesperson of the Belgian sex workers union UTSOPI Maxime Maes, stated:

In order to work in a window in Brussels, sex workers needed to buy the licence, it cost 2500 euros and it is valid for 5 years. Then the sex worker needed to pay 3000 euros every year to the municipality of Saint-Josse. Totally it makes 5500 euros. To pay this money an average sex worker needs 220 clients. It is a lot of money.

Five sex workers from the area filed a lawsuit for the suspension of the regulation before the Council of State.

The court found the certificates of conformity, the municipal administrative sanctions, and the enforced closing hours to be illegal. The town of Saint-Josse clearly committed an abuse of power by setting strict timetables during which sex work could take place. Vincent Letellier, the lawyer of the sex workers who lodged an action with the Council explained:

Individual districts are not competent enough to operate a licence system - for which you have to be a licence holder to be able to be a prostitute - or to issue regulation within the field of prostitution, accompanied by administrative penalties and closing hours, That is within the jurisdiction of the federal government to decide.

 

  Wrongs righted...

German government set to remove the unjust law that WiFi network operators are liable for the crimes of their users


Link Here 12th May 2016
Germany flagPeople operating open WiFi networks in Germany have long risked being held liable for the actions of those using them. However, to the relief of thousands of citizens that position will change later this year after the country's coalition government decided to abolish the legislation which holds operators responsible for the file-sharing activities of others.

In many countries it's accepted that whoever commits a crime or a civil tort in the file-sharing space is the person that should be held directly responsible for it.

In Germany, however, the position is more complex. Due to a concept known as störerhaftung, a third party who played no intentional part in someone else's infringements can be held liable for them. This type of liability has raised its head in many file-sharing cases where open WiFi owners have been considered liable for other people's infringements.

Now, however, this stifling situation is probably in its dying days. According to a Spiegel report, Germany's ruling coalition have agreed to abolish the so-called interferer liability .

This means that both private and small scale WiFi operators (such as cafe owners) will soon enjoy the same freedom from liability enjoyed by commercial operators. No splash-pages or password locks will be required meaning that open WiFi hotspots will at last become as freely available in Germany as they are already in countries such as France and the UK.

Pressure had been mounting on the German government following a European Court of Justice opinion published in March which held that entities operating unsecured wireless networks should not be held liable for the copyright infringements of third parties.

The case involves Pirate Party member Tobias McFadden who received a claim from music company Sony who alleged that his open WiFi was used to offer an album without permission. Sony demanded that McFadden prevent future infringement by password protecting his network, blocking file-sharing ports, and logging/blocking users sharing copyrighted content. The Pirate objected to Sony's claims of liability and the case went to the European Court of Justice.

The final judgment from the ECJ is not expected for a few months but in most cases early recommendations from experts are upheld by the ruling judge.

According to reports the legislative amendments are set to be passed by Parliament next week and could be in place as early as this fall.

 

 Update: Warrantless Hacking...

Privacy International continues its challenge to the governments capability to hack and snoop effectively without needing judicial approval


Link Here 11th May 2016  full story: Communications Snooping...Big Brother Extremism
privacy international logo Privacy International is reviving its challenge against the UK government's right to issue general hacking warrants.

The group has filed for the High Court to review the Investigatory Powers Tribunal (IPT) decision that ruled the general warrants are legal.

At the moment the government issues general warrants to organisations such as GCHQ, allowing them to hack computers and phones of both UK and non-UK residents without the need for judges to sign-off the warrant first.

Privacy International is worried about the scope of general warrants, saying that it could mean an entire class of unidentified persons or property, such as all mobile phones in Nottingham could be hacked. It said that:

The common law is clear that a warrant must target an identified individual or group of identified individuals.

The Snoopers' Charter, currently under consideration in parliament, is set to write this general government hacking capability into law.

 

  Germany has become more sensitive about gay issues...

German railways bans poster for gay exhibition in Berlin


Link Here 11th May 2016
gay exhibition advertPosters for a gay history museum in Germany have been banned at railway stations due to supposed sexism.

Berlin's Schwules Museum, which is dedicated to LGBT history in the city, had launched a poster campaign for its Homosexualit_ies exhibit.. The ad features an androgynous model, shown bare-chested with a body builder's physique but wearing lipstick.

Deutsche Bahn AG has now banned the poster from being shown in railway stations, although it was previously happy with the poster hen first used in 2015.

According to the Museum, the Deutsche Bahn's ad unit Media & Buch decreed that that the poster fails to meet the guidelines of the German Council of Advertisement (Deutscher Werberat) because it is sexualized and sexist . A statement from the Museum added:

Confronted with this somewhat contradictory behavior, the Deutsche Bahn replied that the poster must have accidently 'slipped through' in 2015, and that the German public has meanwhile become more sensitive about 'sexism'.

 

  Lauri Love and the potential civil law backdoor for obtaining encryption keys...

The authorities find a wheeze to avoid giving defendants the rights and defences provided by the law intended to deal with getting people's encryption keys


Link Here 11th May 2016
jack of kent logoA unjust bid by the National Crime Agency to use civil law to force an alleged cyber hacker to hand over encrypted computer passwords has been thrown out by a judge.

The agency (NCA) seized the computers during a raid at Love's home in October 2013. the authorities tried to shortcut lega safeguards in such cases by using an obscure civil law to extract the keys.

But this legal shortcut has now beem rejected by a district judge. Delivering her judgment at London's Westminster Magistrates' Court, District Judge Nina Tempia said the NCA should have used the normal police powers rather than a civil action to obtain the information:

I'm not granting the application because, to obtain the information sought, the correct procedure to use - as the NCA did two-and-a-half years ago - is RIPA (Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act) and the inherent safeguards incorporated thereafter, she said.

She added the powers of the court should not be used to circumnavigate existing laws and the safeguards.

The US is attempting to extradite Lauri Love on charges of hacking into the US Army, Nasa and US Federal Reserve networks.

 

 Offsite Article: Pulp Fiction...


Link Here 11th May 2016
Pulp Fiction DVD The BBFC publishes its latest case study about cuts for home video releases

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Facebook Moments facial-recognition app launches in Europe...


Link Here 11th May 2016  full story: Facebook Privacy...Facebook criticised for discouraging privacy
facebook moments And rather sidesteps privacy concerns

See article from bbc.com

 

 Campaign: Save iTunes...

Internet authorities who govern the html language used to write websites are adding controls that will enable large media companies to snuff out new ideas such as those that went on to become iTunes and NetFlix


Link Here 10th May 2016

save itunes logo I remember the launch of iTunes in 2001. Hurrying home from the MacWorld conference in San Francisco, downloading the app, making a stack of CDs next to my Powerbook, ripping them as fast as my machine would go. Rip, Mix, Burn, baby!

The other thing I remember is how the media industry viewed iTunes: they hated it. They hated people using iTunes to rip CDs , they hated mixing and burning. The only reason they let the iPod/iTunes ecosystem live was because when they sued the company that made the first MP3 players, they lost .

The record companies thought that anything that let listeners do more with their music had to be illegal. After all, they had big plans for the future of music and those plans hinged on being able to control how you and I used our music. They'd made big money selling cassettes to LP owners, and CDs to cassette owners, and they viewed selling digital versions of those same songs to us as their inalienable right. If we could rip our own CDs, how would they sell us that music again?

Luckily for us and for Apple, a company's preferences don't have the force of law. The record companies could gripe, but they couldn't stop iTunes.

Not until now, anyway.

Apple is a member of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a body currently working to make a standard for restricting Web users' options while they view copyrighted works. This standard, Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), allows media companies to restrict the use of copyrighted works without regard to the limits of copyright law. Copyright lets you do all kinds of things with the works you lawfully access: record them to experience later, move them to a different device, pause them so you can get a snack or change a diaper.

EME would give giant media companies a veto over your use of your media--a veto that would have killed iTunes before it ever got started.

Worse: EME could let its creators invoke section 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), which prohibits you from getting around EME-style restrictions on copyrighted works. According to some U.S. courts, the law applies even if you're circumventing for a purpose allowed under copyright law. Even if you're making iTunes.

DMCA 1201 is so sloppily drafted and far-reaching that it even lets companies legally threaten security researchers who discover serious, dangerous bugs in products if they come forward with embarrassing news.

(And if you're not an American: the US trade representative is working hard to make DMCA-style laws a condition of trading with the USA, spreading them to every corner of the Earth.)

The Electronic Frontier Foundation asked the W3C not to do this . When they went ahead anyway, we asked them to compromise : at least ask your members to promise not to use the DMCA to attack new companies and researchers doing lawful things. Make them promise to let the next iTunes get a chance. After all, this is what the W3C did when it came to patents: to participate in the W3C's process, you must agree that people are allowed to implement its standards without worrying about undisclosed patents you may own. This safeguard has helped enable an enormous turnover in popular browsers over the past decade.

Despite hearing from a diverse coalition of its members who approved of the EFF compromise, the W3C overruled them , and is letting EME continue without a legal safeguard for the products that don't exist yet, for the companies that haven't had their iTunes moment yet.

It's heartbreaking.

Share this message, pass the word.

The W3C has a long, proud history of standing up for the open Web, the Web anyone can make. It should honor its history and continue to protect the open Web and the innovators and researchers who make it great.

 

 Offsite Article: Secrets from the BBFC examiners' archives...


Link Here 10th May 2016
Braindead DVD Timothy Balme Den Of Geek joins the trend for articles about the BBFC

See article from denofgeek.com

 

  Rule 3.3 No blaspheming...

Ofcom extends TV censorship rules to ban insults of religion


Link Here 9th May 2016
Ofcom logoOfcom have issued the following announcement in the latest complaints bulletin

On 4 May 2016 Ofcom published changes to the rules in Section Three of the Broadcasting Code, and accompanying guidance, to ensure they are as clear as possible for broadcasters.

We publicly consulted on our proposals to revise Section Three of the Code in January 2016.

Section Three relates to crime. It prohibits the broadcast of material likely to encourage or to incite the commission of crime, or to lead to disorder. It also helps to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in services of harmful and/or offensive material. Ofcom has updated the title of the Section from Crime to Crime, Disorder, Hatred and Abuse and introduced two additional rules which apply to content containing hate speech and abusive or derogatory treatment.

Presumably the new rules are:

Section Three: Crime, Disorder, Hatred and Abuse

Hatred and Abuse

3.2 Material which contains hate speech must not be included in television and radio programmes except where it is justified by the context.

3.3 Material which contains abusive or derogatory treatment of individuals, groups, religions or communities, must not be included in television and radio services except where it is justified by the context. (See also Rule 4.2).

I bet some religious people will be celebrating, not quite realising that it will be themselves who will get caught out by the new rules when they inevitably insult other religions.

Any by way of examples, the latest Complaints Bulletin chastises:

  • the islamic channel Noor TV for spreading hatred of jews.
  • the christian channel SonLife Broadcasting Network for insulting muslims

 

  Police above the law...

Manchester chief inspector makes up the law claiming that freedom of speech does not extend to offending religion


Link Here 9th May 2016
police manchester logoChief Inspector Umer Khan of Manchester Police posted on his official Twitter account:

#SundayReflection: Freedom of speech does not mean freedom of offending culture, religion or traditions

It would seem a grim day when we are not allowed to criticise the concepts underpinning much of the violence, injustice and nastiness in the world today.

Stephen Knight of gspellchecker.com notes the contradictions with the laws of the land:

It's worth reminding Chief Inspector Khan that section 5 of the public order offence was reformed in 2013 to remove the criminalisation of Insulting words or behaviour . It is also worth reminding the Chief Inspector that the EU Guidelines clearly state that religious freedom does not include the right to have a religion or a belief that is free from criticism or ridicule .

With this in mind, perhaps Chief Inspector Khan could explain to the public and to his superiors why he is promoting sentiment that directly contradicts the law? I would submit that upholding the letter of the law is the bare minimum that should be expected from him.

Khan later deleted the tweet with the note:

1/2 All I posted a tweet this morning re freedom of speech not offending others etc it was a thought after a moving visit to Auschwitz .. 3 retweets 15 likes

But it is still worrying that such a senior policeman, who holds so much power over people's lives, does not believe in the law of the land, nor in the rights and freedoms of British people.

 

 Update: Up shit creek without a 3D printed paddle...

Megumi Igarashi falls victim to Japanese censorship law and is fined for posting 3D printing data of her vagina


Link Here 9th May 2016  full story: Censorship in Japan...Japan's ban on the display of genitals in art and films
rokude nashiko vagina kayakA Japanese artist who made a kayak modelled on her vagina has been found guilty of breaking repressive obscenity laws.

Megumi Igarashi was arrested in July 2014 after she distributed data that enabled recipients to make 3D prints of her vagina. She was fined 400,000 yen (£2,575) for distributing supposedly obscene images.

Igarashi distributed the data to help raise funds to create a kayak inspired by her genitalia she called pussy boat .

The judge claimed that the data, though flat and inorganic , realistically portrayed the shape of a vagina and could sexually arouse viewers .

Igarashi was cleared of a second charge relating to the display of plaster versions of the kayak at a shop selling adult goods in Tokyo. Tanabe said the kayak did not obviously resemble female genitalia and could not be considered obscene.

 

 Update: Parents TV Council recommends...

The Real O'Neals, and reports the programme to the US TV censor for including jokes with adult references in a PG rated broadcast


Link Here 9th May 2016  full story: Parents TV Council...US moralists whinge at TV sex and violence

real onealsThe Parents Television Council urged the FCC and Congress to reform the TV Content Ratings System, in light of Disney-owned ABC giving a PG rating to content on The Real O'Neals which has included explicit language, jokes about child molestation, and discussions of pornography. The Real O'Neals airs as early as 7:30 pm in half the country. By comparison, Disney films Cinderella and The Good Dinosaur were rated PG. PTC President Tim Winter said:.

ABC's PG rating of the adult content on 'The Real O'Neals' is a prime example why we have been urging reform of the TV Content Ratings System. This kind of adult content should not be given such a low rating, especially when you compare this content to PG-rated Disney films Cinderella and The Good Dinosaur. It's a slap in the face to all parents that TV discussions about pedophilia, genitalia, and explicit language merit the same rating as child-friendly films.

Dialogue on the Tuesday, May 3rd Real O'Neals episode included lead character and minor Kenny saying, They're gonna saran-wrap your balls to your face, and his brother Jimmy urging him to steal people's phones and take pictures of our junk. Also included was dialogue by a Catholic school vice-principal about molesting his male students. Addressing Kenny, Vice-Principal Murray says, If you're not comfortable sleeping with all those boys because of your â?¦ blossoming sexuality, you can sleep in here. Not with me, of course. I will be sleeping with all the other boys, in a manner that makes light of child molestation.

On the April 26th episode (also rated PG), the family's father, Pat, remarked, I was married for 18 years. You know, there's so many new things out now. It'sâ?¦ I guess the sexting and the snapchat. I mean, I've never taken a picture of my junk, while Kenny realized, Oh my God, I've been making Mom porn.

In a March study , the PTC found that The Real O'Neals contained an instance of adult content every 43 seconds. Eighty-three percent of all the adult-themed content was sexual (83.3%), and most of it involved the 16-year-old Kenny, a minor. In light of this new evidence, we urge the FCC and Congress to overhaul the TV Content Ratings System. It clearly needs to change to better serve parents and families, and not the self-serving entertainment industry.

 

  Watching Paint Dry...

A day in the life of a BBFC examiner and an interview with David Austin


Link Here 9th May 2016
This England DVD Thomas Turgoose x

 

 Update: Baddies defeated...

Alcohol Concern's whinge about James Bond on a Heineken beer label dismissed


Link Here 8th May 2016  full story: UK Drinks Censor...Portman Group play PC censor for drinks
heineken spectreAnti-alcohol campaigners, Alcohol Concern, complained to the drinks industry trade group in its self regulating role as drinks censor:

We would like to ask the Panel to consider whether the Heineken UK beer packaging and marketing using an image of the armed character of James Bond is in breach of Section 3.2(b) of the Code, which states that a drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way... suggest any association with bravado, or with violent, aggressive, dangerous or anti-social behaviour .

We note that in May 2012, the Panel ruled against a pump clip produced by the Ramsgate Brewery since it felt that the Kray Twins [shown on the clip] were intrinsically linked with violence and aggression and were also relevant and contemporary . We would maintain that this is equally true of James Bond, particularly given the high degree of violence in recent Bond films.

Given that James Bond is a character who is also well known for his sexual success and unusually heavy drinking, we suggest that this marketing campaign is also in breach of Sections 3.2(d) and 3.2(f) of the Code, which prohibit any association direct or indirect with sexual activity or sexual success or with irresponsible or immoderate consumption .

Portman Group Decision:

Under Code paragraph 3.2(b): NOT UPHELD

A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way suggest any association with bravado, or with violent, aggressive, dangerous or anti-social behaviour.

Under Code paragraph 3.2(d): NOT UPHELD

A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way suggest any association with sexual activity or sexual success.

Under Code paragraph 3.2(f): NOT UPHELD

A drink, its packaging and any promotional material or activity should not in any direct or indirect way encourage illegal, irresponsible or immoderate consumption, such as drink-driving, binge-drinking or drunkenness.

The Panel recognised that James Bond is a brave, daring and sometimes violent fictional character. However, the Panel did not believe that the use of a stylised image of a known fictional character would lead the average consumer to draw similarities between themselves and the character depicted.

The Panel discussed the use of an image of a pistol, which they considered for some time. The Panel noted that despite the pistol, the image itself is not of a violent nature and does not allude to or focus on violent or aggressive behaviour. In this case the Panel considered that the pistol is displayed in a stylised pose and is not depicted as being used to shoot or to cause harm, nor is the pistol a prominent feature on the packaging. The Panel agreed that including an image of a gun on packaging carries a high risk of creating an association with violent behaviour; however, on balance, the Panel were satisfied that the stylised motif of James Bond in his trademark silhouette stance serves mainly to draw attention to the wider James Bond brand rather than violent behaviour. Accordingly, the Panel did not uphold the product under Code rule 3.2(b).

The Panel considered whether imagery used on the product suggested any association with sexual activity/success or with immoderate/ irresponsible consumption. The Panel could not find any reason why the use of the stylised image of James Bond or reference to the wider James Bond brand would lead consumers to believe that the product may suggest an association with sexual success/activity or would encourage consumers to consume the product immoderately or irresponsibly. For instance, there were no other images on the packaging (such as a woman) which could give rise to this association. Accordingly, the Panel did not uphold the product under Code rules 3.2(d) or (f).

 

  Boob armour...

Feminists dig in their heels about sexy costumes for upcoming Power Rangers movie


Link Here 7th May 2016
power ranger boob armourThe new costumes for the upcoming Power Rangers Movie have finally been revealed but a few feminists are less than impressed.

While the male red, blue and black Power Rangers are kitted out with trainer-like footwear, the female yellow and pink characters have to fight crime while wearing high heels. What's more, feminists have questioned why the female characters are equipped with such prominent boob armour .

Hannah Shaw-Williams tweeted

OK, we're rebooting the Power Rangers! What fresh new ideas can we bring to this franchise?

...Boob armor?

[It's a bit much to expect 'fresh ideas' from Power Rangers].

Feminist blogger Louise Pennington claims the new costumes are:

Not only sexist but utterly irresponsible.

The women who play the pink and yellow Power Rangers are skilled athletes. Sexualising their outfits for a program aimed at children teaches young girls that their only value is in their appearance - regardless of their skill set and training.

 

 Update: Social morality ruined by bananas...

China bans erotic banana eating on streamed web cams


Link Here 7th May 2016  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
trump erotic bananaEating a banana in an erotic manner while being broadcast on live-streams has been banned in China. Wearing stockings and suspenders during a live-stream is also now prohibited.

Hosts of the live-streaming sites are now required to monitor all their output every minute of the day, but it is not clear how they will be able to enforce the ban.

The move comes a month after the Ministry of Culture announced it was investigating several live-streaming sites, including Douyu, Panda.tv, YY, Zhanqi TV, and Huya, for allegedly hosting pornographic or violent content that harms social morality .

The move has bemused many social media users, with some wondering how authorities decide what is seductive . How do they decide what's provocative when eating a banana? one person asked, according to the BBC . Another wondered: Can male live-streamers still eat them?

 

  Whipped into Shape...

Long standing cuts to Michael Winner's The Wicked Lady waived by the BBFC


Link Here 6th May 2016
Wicked Lady Faye Dunaway The Wicked Lady is a 1983 UK adventure drama by Michael Winner.
Starring Faye Dunaway, Alan Bates and John Gielgud. Youtube link BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed 18 uncut for strong sex, violence, sexual violence for:

  • 2016 Second Sight Films [Previous video cuts waived] video

UK Censorship History

Uncut for 18 rated 1983 cinema release but later cut by the BBFC for 1987 VHS. Cuts were waived for 18 rated 2016 home video.

The BBFC cuts for 1987 VHS were:

  • To a scene showing a horse-whip fight between Faye Dunaway and Marina Sirtis

See further details at Melon Farmers Film Cuts: Wicked Lady

Summary Notes

Caroline is to be wed to Sir Ralph and invites her sister Barbara to be her bridesmaid. Barbara seduces Ralph, however, and she becomes the new Lady, but despite her new wealthy situation, she gets bored and turns to highway robbery for thrills. While on the road she meets a famous highwayman, and they continue as a team, but some people begin suspecting her identity, and she risks death if she continues her nefarious activities.

 

  Extremism, propaganda and censorship...

David Cameron set to introduce a bill that will include giving Ofcom the powers to censor TV prior to broadcast


Link Here 6th May 2016
counter extremism org logoThe Daily Mail reports that the government is set to introduce a new bill with a raft of measures to counter muslim extremism.

Among those measures is the enabling of TV pre broadcast censorship. Ofcom is to be given given extended powers to suspend broadcasts deemed to include unacceptable extremist material .

The Daily Mail article also reveals that a covert Home Office unit has been established to influence the views of young British Muslims using online propaganda tools. The secret campaign aims to bring about attitudinal and behavioural change and a different voice from Islamic State's persuasive online propaganda.

The Research, Information and Communications Unit (Ricu) had one initiative in which it advertised itself as a campaign providing advice on how to raise funds for Syrian refugees. Employees had face-to-face conversations with students without them knowing it was a government programme. The official description  of the group is:

Established in 2007, the Research Information and Communications Unit (RICU) is a cross-departmental strategic communications body based at the Office for Security and Counter-terrorism (OSCT) at the Home Office. RICU aims to coordinate government-wide communication activities to counter the appeal of violent extremism while promoting stronger grass-roots inter-community relations.

Offsite Comment: Government floundering with a legal definition of 'extremism'

5 National Secular Society logo th May 2016. See  article from freethinker.co.uk

It's now reported by the Guardian that the counter-extremism bill, cast as the centrepiece of Cameron's legacy programme of legislation, is floundering because the government can't seem to find a legally robust definition of extremism.

It is understood that the bill, to be announced in the Queen's speech on 18 May, has been through dozens of drafts and Whitehall officials are still struggling to find a definition of extremist that will not be immediately challenged in the courts.

See the full  article from freethinker.co.uk

 

 Update: Indefensible insults...

A German court fines Pegida leader for insulting immigrants


Link Here 6th May 2016  full story: Free Speech in Germany...Criticism of refugees or Turkey now banned

Germany flagA court in Dresden has found the head of the German anti-Islam Pegida movement guilty of inciting hatred. Lutz Bachmann was fined 9,600 euro by the court on 3 May after describing immigrants as scum and cattle in Facebook posts.

The prosecution, which had demanded a jail sentence for Bachmann, and the defence both said they will appeal the decision.

Bachmann's laywer, Katja Reichel, argued that his Facebook account could have been hacked. But in video footage shown at the trial Bachmann defended the Facebook comments to Pegida supporters, remarking the post used a few words that any of us would use .

Trial judge Hans Hlavka told the court that it was clear that Bachmann was responsible for the comments, which could not be defended under freedom of speech laws.

 

  Yesterday's Zaman...

Turkey permanently censors newspaper that it does not like


Link Here 6th May 2016  full story: Press Freedom in Turkey...Not so free press
todays-zamanThe Turkish government is shutting down Zaman newspaper, one of the last surviving newspapers that is critical of Turkey's repressive government.

Police raided the offices of the newspaper in March and the government has now decided that it should be permanently shut down.  The government had been running the newspaper as a propaganda organ since the police raid.

Along with Zaman, a number of other Feza Media Group outlets will be shut down, including Cihan News Agency. Küre tv will also be closed.

 

 Offsite Article: We would have to be pretty sure of our spectator-film relationship to cut this film...


Link Here 6th May 2016
Pulp Fiction DVD Mashable finds an entertaining examiners report about the BBFC views on the uncut cinema release of Pulp Fiction. (Note that the BBFC cut the film on VHS though)

See article from mashable.com

 

 Offsite Article: Alfie...


Link Here 6th May 2016
Alfie DVD Michael Caine BBFC reveals from its archive how the rating dropped from X to 12

See article from bbfc.co.uk

 

 Update: Link Tax...

More Brexit inducing crap law from the EU to give big media companies copyright control over links to their content


Link Here 5th May 2016  full story: Copyrighting hyperlinks...EU propose copyright extension to hyperlinks
EU flagThe OpenMedia campaign group writes:

For over 8 months we've been following the EU Commission's dangerous attempts to impose a new link tax on news content. But today we're writing about a stunning new development we wanted to make sure you heard:

The European Commission have launched a special process to push forward a new, bigger, broader, version of the hyperlinking fee.

EU decision-makers and lobbyists are calling it a neighbouring right, a snippet tax, or ancillary copyright. But we know what it is: a tax on linking.

If they succeed the link tax could make some of your favourite content virtually disappear from search engines.

We've seen this bad idea before, but as MEP Julia Reda put it, this is a "broader and badder version" of the previous push for a Link Tax. 1

Anti-innovation politicians are also talking about a special YouTube tax 2 and still others are pushing the idea of a user fee or a search fee! 3

These terrible ideas will restrict freedom of expression and access to information, but they still want to push ahead.

European decision-makers are in the process of writing a new copyright law and lobbyists are pushing for something called "ancillary copyright".  If the lobbyists succeed, copyright rules will be extended to links and the text that accompanies them -- giving legacy publishers the right to charge fees for linking to content.

If this sounds familiar it's because late last year people like you in the OpenMedia community overwhelmed EU decision-makers 4 by flooding their public consultation on the Link Tax proposal.

The Internet community has said no, 5 European Parliamentarians have said no, 6 many publishers themselves have said no. 7 Enough is enough already!

If we act now we have a chance to put a stop to this idea before it gets out of control.

Sign our statement to say NO to the link tax.

 

  Not yet time to sing a new song...

Turkish art about women's voices in the public space censored by police for insulting religious views


Link Here 5th May 2016
time to sing a new songThe artist Isil Egrikavuk, who was commissioned to create a new work for YAMA, a public art installation series screened on top of the Marmara Pera hotel in Istanbul, says in a statement on Facebook that her animation about women's voices in public spaces was first removed for "insulting religious views," and later that the work was a source of "visual pollution".

Egrikavuk's work is titled Time to Sing a New Song and consists of a short animation of a woman's emoji face slowly turning into an apple.

It was supposed to be on display from sunset to sunrise everyday between April 23 to June 30 of this year, however three days after the opening on April 26 officers from Beyoglu Municipality apparently came to the hotel and put a stop to the exhibition.

The artist learned that there had been a complaint about the video, for insulting religious views, and subsequently also was told that the video was causing visual pollution and had to be shut off.

 

 Updated: Superhero vs evil censors...

Ryan Reynolds supports campaign against Salt Lake City censorship of a cinema pub showing Deadpool


Link Here 4th May 2016  full story: Deadpool...Superhero film with a little bit more adult appeal
Deadpool Blu ray Ryan Reynolds Deadpool actor Ryan Reynolds is supporting a Salt Lake City cinema pub being censored by Utah authorities.

Brewvies Cinema Pub is a 21 year old movie threaten that serves alcohol. Salt Lake City is persecuting the cinema, threatening a fine and a 10 day closure order just for showing the highly popular film Deadpool.

According to Utah censorship rules, an establishment that serves alcohol is forbidden to show a film that depicts a simulated sexual act, or shows a person being touched on their privates, or displaying genitals. There are numerous simulated sex acts in the film, which were noted by a state investigator.

Brewvies and their civil rights attorney, former Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, have filed a federal lawsuit against the state pointing out that the theater's First Amendment right to free speech has been violated.

The theater has started a crowd-finding campaign at GoFundMe.com to fight against the censorship.

Ryan Reynolds, the actor who plays Deadpool,  has donated to the campaign and joked on Twitter, Thank god, they've found a way to legislate fun.

Update: Good triumphs over evil (at least temporarily)

4th May 2016. See  article from salon.com

A Utah cinema in trouble with state censors for serving alcohol during a showing of superhero film Deadpool will not get slapped with future citations under an obscenity law mostly regulating strip clubs, at least until the theater's lawsuit is heard in court.

The state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control agreed that officials would not cite Brewvies for any screenings with alcohol as long as the films are rated R or less, state lawyers said during a federal court hearing in Salt Lake City.

Utah filed a complaint against the theater under a state law generally used to require strip clubs that serve liquor to keep their dancers wearing G-strings and pasties. But the law also bans serving booze during films with simulated sex or full-frontal nudity.

Playing Deadpool while serving alcohol violated the law because the movie includes nudity and simulated sex, including a suggestive scene in the film's credits involving a cartoon unicorn, the state said.

Brewvies argues that the law is so broad it would apply to an exhibit of Michelangelo's statue David. Brewvies attorney Rocky Anderson said the state has used the law to intimidate the theater and violate its free speech rights.

The theater will take advantage of its temporary grace period under the law this week by holding a midnight screening of Deadpool on Friday to raise money for its court battle.

 

  You’ve got to laugh?...

Berlin newspaper publishes 16 special criticising Turkish press censorship


Link Here 4th May 2016  full story: Erdogan Insulted in Germany...Free speech finds no refuge in Germany
ndr angers erdogan video Berlin-based newspaper die tageszeitung published a German-Turkish edition that denounced media censorship under President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and European silence about it.

The 16-page special edition entitled Uncensored / Sansursuz was produced jointly with Turkish weekly Agos and BirGun daily and featured stories with headlines including What is the [Turkish] government hiding?

An editorial accused Berlin and Brussels of staying largely silent on Ankara's alleged rights abuses at a time when the European Union needs Turkey to limit the influx of migrants and refugees from Syria, Iraq and elsewhere.

Jan Böhmermann, the German satirist facing possible charges for insulting Erdogan, meanwhile broke his silence in an interview with Die Zeit weekly. He said in a pre-released excerpt:

The chancellor must not wobble when it comes to freedom of expression. Instead she filleted me, served me up to a neurotic despot for tea and turned me into a German Ai Weiwei.

Offsite Article: You’ve got to laugh? Erdogan has failed to export his sense-of-humour failure.

4th May 2016. See  article from theguardian.com   by Liz Cookman

 

  Counterstrike...

Indonesian authorities back off from video games ban


Link Here 4th May 2016
hacked indonesian websiteLast week's news that the Indonesian Ministry of Communications and Information Technology was ready to ban 15 games deemed too dangerous for children by the Ministry of Education and Culture upset plenty of people, especially Indonesian gamers.

At least one hacker was apparently so pissed off by the news that he defaced the website of the Child Protection Commission (KPAI) for supporting the video game ban plan.

The list of 15 games targeted by the proposed ban rather suggested that the government wasn't really up to speed about the games they were planning to ban:

1.World of Warcraft
2. Call of Duty
3.Point Blank
4.Cross Fire
5.War Rock
6.Counter Strike
7.Mortal Kombat
8.Future Cop
9.Carmageddon
10.Shelshock
11.Raising Force
12.Atlantica
13.Conflict Vietnam
14.Bully
15.Grand Theft Auto.

However it looks like those gamers can heave a sigh of relief as it appears that the protests did the trick. Education Minister Anies Baswedan now says that he does not think a ban is necessary. He said:

No, no, no (to the ban). We want [parents to use] the ratings.

Fortunately Minister Anies has common sense and pulled the plug on this controversy before it leveled up into something much more embarrassing for his ministry.

 

 Update: Political condoms...

Californian Republicans join the Democrats in a opposing another measure up for ballot which mandates condoms in porn


Link Here 4th May 2016  full story: Health and Safety in Porn...AIDS and condoms in the US porn industry

California state sealThe California Republican Party voted overwhelmingly on Saturday to oppose a state ballot initiative that would allow private citizens to sue adult performers if a condom is not visible in an adult film. The controversial California Condoms in Pornographic Films Act has been widely opposed by performers, producers, and public health advocates.

Eric Paul Leue, Executive Director of the Free Speech Coalition, says Republicans were disturbed about the bill's fiscal impact, as well as its enforcement mechanism: any Californian who views an adult film without a visible condom could file a lawsuit against performers and others involved in the production and distribution of the film. Leue said:

No worker in any other industry faces this type of harassment from the public. The initiative empowers stalkers, harassers, anti-porn activists, profiteers and crusaders, while leaving actual performers more vulnerable. This initiative could open the door to similar measures for other industries.

The Legislative Analyst's Office, which evaluates ballot initiatives for fiscal impact, predicts the bill will cost California taxpayers tens of millions of dollars each year in lost revenue, as performers and production companies move outside the state.

Leue says the ballot measure is so bad it has been opposed on both sides of the political spectrum. San Francisco Democrats voted to oppose the measure last month:

It's one of the rare political issues where Democrats and Republicans agree. The bill is misguided, dangerous, costly, and terrible for California.

 

 Offsite Article: Self promotion...


Link Here 4th May 2016
ASA logo The UK advert censor notes the 5th anniversary of its extended remit to police political correctness on the internet

See article from asa.org.uk

 

 Offsite Article: Yes, All DRM...


Link Here 4th May 2016
internationa daya against drm We intuitively recognize that digital media should be more flexible than its analog forebears, not less, and that DRM shouldn't take away rights that copyright was never intended to restrict

See article from eff.org

 

 Update: First strike...

French parliament surprisingly votes against Hadopi law enabling 3 strikes copyright enforcement


Link Here 3rd May 2016  full story: File Sharing in france...Early action against internet file sharing not entirely successful

assemblee nationaleThe French three-strikes anti-piracy law Hadopi is heralded by copyright holders as an effective way to curb piracy. However, in France the legislation has often been criticized and in a surprise move against the will of the Government, the National Assembly has now voted to dismantle it in a few years.

France is seen as the pioneer of so-called three strikes anti-piracy legislation, in which repeated file-sharing offenders face fines of up to 1,500 euros. Since 2010 the French Hadopi agency has handed out millions of warning notices . A few thousand account holders received more than three notices, of which a few hundred of the worst cases were referred for prosecution.

Copyright holders around the world have cited Hadopi as one of the success stories, hoping to establish similar legislation elsewhere. However, in France the law hasn't been without controversy and in a total surprise the lower house of the French Parliament has now voted in favor of killing it.

Interestingly, the vote late last week went down under quite unusual circumstances. In a nearly empty chamber, the French National Assembly voted to end the Hadopi institution and law in 2022, Next Inpact reports . What's noteworthy is that only 7 of the 577 Members of Parliament were present at the vote, and the amendment passed with four in favor and three against.

The decision goes against the will of the sitting Government, which failed to have enough members present at the vote. While it's being seen as quite an embarrassment, the amendment still has to pass the senate, which seems unlikely without Government support.

The coup, orchestrated by the Green party has caused quite a media stir, not least because French President Francois Hollande called for the end of Hadopi before his election, a position he later retracted.

Maybe another theory as to why the French government may be keen to accidently drop the law. With a new emphasis on terrorism prevention and snooping, it can't really be helpful that large numbers of people adopt encrypted proxies and VPNs primarily to evade Hadopi   copyright enforcement.

 

  DVD submissions on the up in Ireland...

Irish film censor publishes Annual Report covering 2015


Link Here 2nd May 2016
ifcon annual report 2015

Ger Connolly Acting Director of Film Classification introduces IFCO's Annual Report for 2015:

The year under review showed an unexpected, but welcome, increase in the number of DVD submissions. This 7% increase is very satisfying as it reinforces yet again the desire of our business partners to have their product classified by IFCO for distribution in Ireland. Consequently it affords the consumer the opportunity to make informed choices based on a consistent level of classification.

Cinema films classified dropped very slightly to 371, while DVDs increased to 4065.

The second part of our in-house research project, undertaken during 2014, was published early in the year. With the focus on post primary students' parents, it should come as no surprise that the greatest level of concern is towards the depiction of violence in all its forms. As a result of these consultations it is my intention to review our published guidelines during 2016 with a view to updating and expanding on the various classification issues.

 

 Updated: Contradicting religious beliefs...

Jordan bans for Lebanese rock band for its gay associations


Link Here 2nd May 2016
mashrou leila A Lebanese rock band, Mashrou' Leila, says it has been banned in Jordan because its music supports religious and sexual freedom.  Mashrou' Leila was to play in the Roman amphitheatre in Amman on Friday, but the concert was cancelled on Tuesday.

Mashrou' Leila's lead singer is openly gay and the band tackles taboos that few other Arab musicians have explored.

In a post on its Facebook page, Mashrou' Leila announced that it would not be able to play at Amman's amphitheatre this week as scheduled, citing the organisers as saying:

the performance would have been at odds with what the ministry of tourism viewed as the 'authenticity' of the site.

Informally, the story is much more problematic. We have been unofficially informed that the reason behind this sudden change of heart, few days before the concert day, is the intervention of some authorities.

Our understanding is that said authorities have pressured certain political figures and triggered a chain of events that ultimately ended with our authorisation being withdrawn.

We also have been unofficially informed that we will never be allowed to play again anywhere in Jordan due to our political and religious beliefs and endorsement of gender equality and sexual freedom.

Amman governor Khalid Abu Zeid told the Associated Press that the group had been banned because its songs contradicted religious beliefs, and not because its music went against the amphitheatre's historic ambience.

Update: Unbanned but too late in the day to organise the show

2nd May 2016. See  article from christiandaily.com  

The Lebanese band Mashrou' Leila (Leila's Project) was reportedly banned last week, April 26, from performing at the Roman Theater in the Jordan's capital, Amman. However, after a massive online backlash from fans of the band in Jordan and in the Middle East, Jordan authorities decided to reverse the order and permit the band to perform two days later.

Unfortunately, the band was still unable to perform for their fans in Jordan as it is difficult to bring the concert with such a huge production back to Jordan, as indicated in an official statement in the band's Facebook page.

We believe this wouldn't have been possible without the strong reactions from people who believe in freedom of expression and artistic and cultural freedoms, and who stepped up to defend the pluralism and diversity of Jordanian society. This gives us hope and confidence for Jordan to host diverse cultural and artistic events in the future.

 

 Update: Morality in Media recommends...

The Game of Thrones


Link Here 2nd May 2016  full story: Morality in Media...Misreable campaigners for censorship
Game Thrones Season 5 DVD Game The campaign group Morality in Media now calls itself The National Center on Sexual Exploitation.  For some reason the group feels compelled to whinge about the incredibly popular TV sensation, Game of Thrones :

The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) held a press conference calling on HBO executives to stop promoting pornified entertainment in the TV series Game of Thrones.  Dawn Hawkins, Executive Director of the National Center on Sexual Exploitation said:

Game of Thrones has excelled in turning brutal sexual violence into mainstream entertainment,. Since 2011, HBO has relentlessly brought the ambiance of torture pornography into American living rooms through Game of Thrones' explicit depictions of rape, incest, prostitution, and sexual violence. This cocktail of pornography and twisted plot lines must be denounced as socially irresponsible, especially in an age when American society is struggling to combat the crises of sexual assault and rape culture.

While the 6th season premiere refrained from explicit sexually violent content due to backlash from the last season's gratuitous rape scenes, one episode does not constitute a trend -- the show runners must consistently work to prove that Game of Thrones is no longer dedicated to normalizing sexual violence, Hawkins continued. Some associated with the Game of Thrones franchise have claimed that scenes depicting sexual violence merely represent real-to-life, historic scenarios, but it is clear that the show's creators are fixated on producing unjustifiably sexually graphic scenes, Hawkins continued. In stark contrast, films like The Shawshank Redemption and The Color Purple manage to convey the gravity of rape in a plotline without exploiting it in a way that is salacious or dehumanizing. Game of Thrones, however, has consistently crossed the line of decency by grotesquely depicting rape, incest, prostitution, and sexual violence in a manner that turns viewers into vicarious participants. For its incessant themes of sexual violence, Game of Thrones would be more aptly named Shame of Thrones.

 

  Losing Face...

Pakistan film censors on a banning roll


Link Here 1st May 2016
Poster Among the Believers 2015 Mohammed Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi Among the Believers is a 2015 Pakistan / USA war biography by Mohammed Naqvi and Hemal Trivedi.
Starring Fedor Alexandrovich. IMDb

Pakistan's film censors at the CBFC have banned the Foundation for Arts, Culture and Education (Face) Film Festival from screening Among the Believers.

In a letter, the vice chairman of the censor board, Adnan Akram Bajwa, described the award winning documentary Among the Believers as unsuitable for public exhibition. The letter reads:

It also contains dialogues, which project a negative image of Pakistan in the context of fighting the ongoing war against extremism and terrorism.

Promotional material

Controversial Pakistani cleric Maulana Aziz, linked to the Taliban, declares jihad against the government to impose sharia law. The government retaliates by destroying his seminary, killing his mother, brother, his only son and 150 students. The film follows charming yet menacing Maulana Aziz on his personal quest to create an Islamic utopia, which causes the country to implode. The Red Mosque has students allied with ISIL, and strong ties to the Taliban. We meet two Red Mosque students whose paths diverge: Talha, 12, leaves his moderate Muslim family to study to be a jihadi preacher. Zarina, also 12, escapes her madrassa and joins a normal school. Her education is threatened by frequent Taliban attacks on schools like her own. In December, 2014, the Taliban massacred 132 schoolchildren in Peshawar, outraging Pakistan's moderate majority. Aziz's longtime opponent, education reformer Pervez Hoodbhoy joins the re-energized anti-extremist movement. Throughout the film, he passionately ...

Besieged in Quetta

The festival was also not allowed to screen Besieged in Quetta , a film by independent filmmaker Asef Ali Mohammad which shed light on the plight of the city's Hazara population. The censor board claims the film promoted ethnicity and sectarianism (sic!) .

Produced by Hemal Trivedi and directed by Mohammad Ali Naqvi, the documentary follows the Lal Masjid and its network of seminaries, as well as two students, and contains comments from the controversial Lal Masjid cleric Maulana Abdul Aziz.

Anam Abbas, the director of the film festival, said the documentary has already been screened in over a dozen countries, and has won multiple awards.

Poster Maalik 2016 Ashir Azeem Maalik is a 2016 Pakistan action thriller by Ashir Azeem.
Starring Ashir Azeem, Farhan Ally Agha and Sajid Hassan. IMDb

Three weeks after the Ashir Azeem directorial Maalik premiered at theatres across Pakistan, the federal information ministry has slapped a ban on the film.

According to a notification, the Ministry of Information, Broadcasting, and National Heritage declared the film uncertified according to Section 9 of the Motion Pictures Ordinance, 1979. A ministry official said:

The information ministry reserves the right to ban any film at any time. Maalik has been banned because it shows a former chief minister as a man of corruption and opulence.

Promotional material

An Afghan family that escapes from the ravages of the Soviet war in Afghanistan and settles in Karachi. A SSG officer who undergoes a personal tragedy and starts a private security company (Black Ops Pvt. Ltd) in Karachi. His SSG colleagues keep joining the company on their retirements. An idealist school master who suffers greatly under a cruel Feudal lord and settles in Karachi and finally the Feudal Lord who becomes the Chief Minister of Sindh and unleashes a reign of terror on all that cross his path. Maalik is a story of love, loyalty, honor, family value, idealism, courage and dignity against all odds, and across all sections of society from the poor and the struggling to the highest levels of wealth and power.

 

  Identified as repressive...

EU commissioner proposes that Europeans should use an Identity Card to logon in for internet services


Link Here 1st May 2016
EU flag

Estonian commissioner Andrus Ansip has re-introduced one of his favourite suggestions: using national ID cards to log in to online services: Online platforms need to accept credentials issued or recognised by national public authorities, such as electronic ID cards, citizen cards, bank cards or mobile IDs .

He claims that this is nothing to do with making mass surveillance easier, its apparently just to help users with their password management.

Estonia introduced online ID in 2012 and it is claimed that subjects are happy with it too.

 

 Update: Worldwide powers enabling US authorities to hack into your computer or phone...

A little known US Congress committee has proposed new hacking powers for government snoopers


Link Here 1st May 2016  full story: Internet Snooping in the US...Snooping continues after Snowden revelations
US SenateThe EEF is a campaign group supporting people's rights in the digital world. The group writes:

The US government hacking into phones and seizing computers remotely? It's not the plot of a dystopian blockbuster summer movie. It's a proposal from an obscure committee that proposes changes to court procedures--and if we do nothing, it will go into effect in December.

The proposal comes from the advisory committee on criminal rules for the Judicial Conference of the United States. The amendment would update Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, creating a sweeping expansion of law enforcement's ability to engage in hacking and surveillance. The Supreme Court just passed the proposal to Congress, which has until December 1 to disavow the change or it becomes the rule governing every federal court across the country. This is part of a statutory process through which federal courts may create new procedural rules, after giving public notice and allowing time for comment, under a "rules enabling act." 1

The Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure set the ground rules for federal criminal prosecutions. The rules cover everything from correcting clerical errors in a judgment to which holidays a court will be closed on --all the day-to-day procedural details that come with running a judicial system.

The key word here is "procedural." By law, the rules and proposals are supposed to be procedural and must not change substantive rights. But the amendment to Rule 41 isn't procedural at all. It creates new avenues for government hacking that were never approved by Congress.

The proposal would grant a judge the ability to issue a warrant to remotely access, search, seize, or copy data when the district where the media or information is located has been concealed through technological means or when the media are on protected computers that have been damaged without authorization and are located in five or more districts. It would grant this authority to any judge in any district where activities related to the crime may have occurred.

To understand all the implications of this rule change, let's break this into two segments.

The first part of this change would grant authority to practically any judge to issue a search warrant to remotely access, seize, or copy data relevant to a crime when a computer was using privacy-protective tools to safeguard one's location. Many different commonly used tools might fall into this category. For example, people who use Tor, folks running a Tor node, or people using a VPN would certainly be implicated. It might also extend to people who deny access to location data for smartphone apps because they don't feel like sharing their location with ad networks. It could even include individuals who change the country setting in an online service, like folks who change the country settings of their Twitter profile in order to read uncensored Tweets.

There are countless reasons people may want to use technology to shield their privacy. From journalists communicating with sources to victims of domestic violence seeking information on legal services, people worldwide depend on privacy tools for both safety and security. Millions of people who have nothing in particular to hide may also choose to use privacy tools just because they're concerned about government surveillance of the Internet, or because they don't like leaving a data trail around haphazardly.

If this rule change is not stopped, anyone who is using any technological means to safeguard their location privacy could find themselves suddenly in the jurisdiction of a prosecutor-friendly or technically-naïve judge, anywhere in the country.

The second part of the proposal is just as concerning. It would grant authorization to a judge to issue a search warrant for hacking, seizing, or otherwise infiltrating computers that may be part of a botnet . This means victims of malware could find themselves doubly infiltrated: their computers infected with malware and used to contribute to a botnet, and then government agents given free rein to remotely access their computers as part of the investigation. Even with the best of intentions, a government agent could well cause as much or even more harm to a computer through remote access than the malware that originally infected the computer. Malicious actors may even be able to hijack the malware the government uses to infiltrate botnets, because the government often doesn't design its malware securely . Government access to the computers of botnet victims also raises serious privacy concerns, as a wide range of sensitive, unrelated personal data could well be accessed during the investigation. This is a dangerous expansion of powers, and not something to be granted without any public debate on the topic.

Make no mistake: the Rule 41 proposal implicates people well beyond U.S. borders. This update expands the jurisdiction of judges to cover any computer user in the world who is using technology to protect their location privacy or is unwittingly part of a botnet. People both inside and outside of the United States should be equally concerned about this proposal.

The change to Rule 41 isn't merely a procedural update. It significantly expands the hacking capabilities of the United States government without any discussion or public debate by elected officials. If members of the intelligence community believe these tools are necessary to advancing their investigations, then this is not the path forward. Only elected members of Congress should be writing laws, and they should be doing so in a matter that considers the privacy, security, and civil liberties of people impacted.

Rule 41 seeks to sidestep the legislative process while making sweeping sacrifices in our security. Congress should reject the proposal completely.

 

  Celebrity nudes...

Vietnam decrees new law banning artistes and models from appearing in nude photos


Link Here 1st May 2016
Vietnam flagSeveral photographers have voiced their opposition to a new Ministry of Censorship Culture, Sports and Tourism circular that bans artists and well known models from nude photography.

The circular was supposed to deal with issues in the entertainment business, but it has raised much debate. It stated that artists, models and beauty pageant entrants were banned from being photographed or recorded nude or in inappropriate clothes or even makeup. The decrees also bans deliberate or accidental distribution of such images.

Photographer Dung Art said:

I think this circular violates personal rights of the models and the photographers and even viewers.

When being asked what would happen when the circular took effect on May 15, Dung said the photographers probably would have to check whether the models were popular or not. He added:

Artwork is kept locked up. The space for artistic expression through nude photographer is already very limited so what's this circular aimed at? They previously said artistic nude photos could be given permits for exhibition but I know the reality is different, so this circular is meaningless.

Photographer Thai Phien said:

The authorities are still unable to distinguish artistic nude photos and pornography. Will it be okay if a photographer only takes a picture of a beauty queen's back and not her face? The rules must be clearer than this.

Until the authorities are able to differentiate pornographic and artistic photos, people will just continue with their nude photography albeit silently and hidden away, like it always has done. Nude photos have existed since cameras first appeared.