Censor Watch

 2010: June



30th June   

Extreme Injustice...

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Extreme porn ban set to become law in Scotland
Link Here

The Scottish ParliamentMSPs are poised to pass nasty law reforms defined by the Criminal Justice and Licensing Bill.

The legislation brings in a number of new criminal offences, including specific action to tackle stalking, people forced into slavery or servitude and possession of extreme pornography .

The bill also aims to  widen the powers of licensing boards and standards officers.

MSPs will also vote on an amendment brought forward by SNP backbencher Sandra White MSP on greater restrictions for lap dancing clubs.

 

30th June   

Update: Ban Aborted...

Melon farming Fresh
A website
update service

See further details
Melon Farming Fresh

 

US banned Family Guy episode airs on BBC 3
Link Here  full story: Family Guy...TV programme found not so family friendly

family guy abortionThe BBC did a good thing last week, which was to broadcast an episode of Family Guy, Partial Terms of Endearment , on BBC3. This episode wasn't screened at all in the US, because it is about Lois having an abortion. She becomes a surrogate mother for a friend, but the friend then dies in a car crash. So Lois heads to the Family Planning Centre with her husband, Peter, where she makes a reasoned and thoughtful decision to have an abortion. Peter's all in favour of an abortion, too, until he is shown a pro-life video by protestors outside the centre.

This is all incredibly funny. The video that Peter watches is a heroic pastiche: Science, proclaims the spokesman, has proven that within hours of conception, a human foetus has started a college fund and has already made your first mother's day card out of macaroni and glitter . At this point, it cuts to a picture of a foetus holding a handmade card which reads, Mom, don't kill me! I wuv you.

It's no surprise this episode hasn't aired in the States, although it is expected to be included in the DVD release of the series.

So three cheers to Family Guy , for having the courage of many of our convictions. And an extra cheer for the BBC, for letting us watch it.

...Read the full article

 

30th June   

Update: Unreal...

All Australian adverts set to carry a 'photoshopped' warning
Link Here  full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts
kate ellis

  Kate Ellis
kindly photoshopped
by Melon Faermers

Australian magazines could be forced to carry disclaimers on any images that have been airbrushed after the government unveiled a new strategy to tackle body image and eating disorders.

Under a new code of conduct for the fashion industry, magazines must agree to refrain from heavy retouching of body parts, including the common practices of lengthening legs, removing freckles and trimming waistlines. Where photographs have been altered, the images must carry a disclaimer.

In return for agreeing to the guidelines, publications will be awarded with a body image tick , similar to the Heart Foundation's healthy food symbol.

Under the same plan, the government wants designers, advertising companies and magazines to refrain from using size-zero female models and excessively muscular male models in photoshoots or fashion shows.

While the code is voluntary, it is one of most strident moves by any country to tackle the problem of eating disorders, which 'experts' claim are triggered by unrealistic images of beauty found in film, fashion and advertising.

Kate Ellis, the Australian youth minister, admitted that the principles were small steps but said that she hoped they would help to stop the glamorisation of unhealthily thin women: Body image is an issue that we must take seriously because it is affecting the health and happiness of substantial sections of our community, she spouted.

 

30th June   

Butt Sensitive...

Bikini bus adverts banned in Manhattan's jewish districts
Link Here

georgi advertThe makers of Georgi Vodka have staged a demonstration complete with bikinis, booze, and a lawyer crying constitutional foul. They paid a handful of scantily clad babes to rally outside a bus depot on Manhattan's West Side.

The purpose of the protest, says the vodka company, was to shame the Manhattan Transport Authority (MTA) into reversing it's policy of accommodation when religious groups request racy ads be removed from buses in Hasidic Jewish neighborhoods.

At issue in this case are 2 ads featuring vodka bottles nestled next to buxom butts covered by white bikini bottoms. Georgi Vodka distillers say the ad is tasteful and the MTA ban is censorship and an infringement their First Amendment rights.

The bikini ad ban applies to buses at three depots in Brooklyn which have been accommodating the borough's Hasidic leaders for a decade now.

 

30th June   

Update: Hotbird Jammed Shut...

Eutelsat asked why they gave in to Iranian jamming and censored the BBC and Voice of America
Link Here  full story: Iran Jams Western Media...BBC, Voice of America and Deutsche Welle

Eutelsat logoThe French satellite operator, Eutelsat, should share any policies and procedures it has in place explicitly to safeguard freedom of expression when dealing with governments that systematically engage in censorship, Human Rights Watch said. It should also explain its decision to suspend certain Persian-language programming from its most popular satellite after Iranian authorities began jamming its signals earlier this year.

In a letter sent to Eutelsat on June 25, 2010, Human Rights Watch repeated its requests for more information regarding the company's efforts to counter Iran's jamming of satellite signals carrying Persian-language broadcasts from BBC Persian TV and Voice of America. Human Rights Watch sent an initial letter to Eutelsat on February 8 asking the company to explain its decision to suspend the programs from its popular Hotbird 6 satellite.

A follow-up letter with additional questions, including a request for information regarding Eutelsat policies and procedures in place to protect freedom of information, was sent to Eutelsat on March 17.

 

30th June   

Silent Hoards...

Chinese soldiers banned from blogging
Link Here

China flagChina has issued regulations banning its 2.3 million soldiers from creating web sites or writing web blogs, adding to the nation's existing Internet curbs, state press said.

Soldiers cannot open blogs on the Internet no matter (whether) he or she does it in the capacity of a soldier or not, Xinhua news agency quoted Wan Long, a political commissar of the Chinese Army, as saying.

The Internet is complicated and we should guard against online traps, it said, citing concerns about military confidentiality .

 

30th June   

Updated: A Trinity of Nutters...

Three ladies statue taken down in Indonesia after accusations that 3 symbolises the christian trinity
Link Here

tiga mojangFollowing the recent dismantling of his Tiga Mojang (Three Ladies) statue in Bekasi, Nyoman Nuarta has called on members of the public to explain claims that the statue is obscene and blasphemous.

 Nyoman said the groups' interpretation of the statue was silly and utterly misleading . I made the statue by considering aspects of local [West Javanese] culture and never thought about attaching any religious symbol to it.

Why did I make it three [ladies]? It was simply because the statue would be put in the center of a boulevard circle so it could 'welcome' motorists from all surrounding three streets.

He also denied that the statue had shown obscenity: I am a master of beautiful statues. If someone feels offended by such works of art, please ask them which part of the statue makes them feel sexually aroused? he said.

On Saturday, the Bekasi municipal administration decided to take down the statue, which resembles three ladies standing in traditional West Javanese attire, after a series of protests from local hard-line Islamic groups which have considered the statue obscene and symbolizing the Christian Trinity concept.

Update: Religious Tit for Tat

23rd June 2010. Based on article from thejakartaglobe.com

The ludicrous removal of the Three Ladies statute has revealed on ongoing religious tussle in Bekasi, a city neighbouring Jakarta.

The congregation of the HKBP Filadelfia Protestant church in Bekasi, has been holding services on the roadside after the city prohibited the church from holding religious activities. Needless to say that this has resulted in angry muslim demonstrators demanding they pray elsewhere.

Rev. Palti Panjaitan, leader of HKBP Filadelfia spoke of one such incident: Around 6:30 a.m., there was an announcement at the mosque next to our church calling people to demonstrate. Half an hour later around 200 people crowded in front of our church with drums, shouting statements about jihad . He called the police, who drove the protestors away at around 8:30 a.m. When the protesters saw some members of the congregation they hurled terrorizing statements. A lot of my members cried and immediately went home, refusing to come back to church. The protesters called us names, calling us haram [forbidden by Islam], and threatened to kill us, he said.

In view of the increasing religious tension in Bekasi, members of hard-line muslim groups gathered to discuss a coordinated response to bring the city more in line with Islamic principles. Habib Rizieq Shihab leader of the Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), gave a speech claiming that : the phenomenon of 'Christianization' is happening not just in Bekasi but all over Indonesia.

Abdul Qodir Aka, a local official with the FPI, told the Jakarta Globe that the congress's objective was to create recommendations for the Bekasi administration on what steps it should take in the wake of recent incidents of defamation of Islam.

Abdul Qodir was referring to Abraham Felix, a 16-year-old student of SMA 5 high school in Bekasi. Pictures of Abraham stomping on a Koran, the Islamic holy book, and one of him allegedly putting it in a toilet were posted on a blog, enraging the local Islamic community. Police arrested Abraham in May on suspicion of creating the blog. He was charged with Article 156 of the Criminal Code for religious blasphemy.

Abdul Qodir said that the Islamic Congress was supported by the Bekasi administration, and was the culmination of talks between members of the local FPI chapter and Mayor Mochtar Mohamad.  Abdul Qodir said: We also demanded the removal of the Tiga Mojang [Three Girls] statue. The statue in the Harapan Indah residential complex was taken down on at 12 a.m. on Saturday by the Bekasi administration, following pressure from the FPI, which deemed the statue at odds with conservative Muslims' views.

Update: War against Christianization

30th June 2010. Based on article from thejakartaglobe.com

In a move that could add to already simmering religious tensions in Bekasi, a new group calling itself the Bekasi Islamic Presidium is planning a roadshow aimed at persuading every mosque in the city to prepare for the possibility of war against Christianization.

The group, consisting of nine members representing different Islamic organizations in the city, was formed on the last day of the Bekasi Islamic Congress at Al Azhar Mosque that was convened to address the so-called Christianization problem.

Among its recommendations is the formation of Islamic militant groups, or laskar, within each mosque and the drafting of Shariah-based policies by the Bekasi administration.

All Muslims should unite and be on guard because … the Christians are up to something, Murhali Barda, head of the Bekasi chapter of the hard-line Islamic Defenders Front (FPI), told the Jakarta Globe: Apparently they want to test our patience. We are planning to invite them for a dialogue to determine what they really want. If talks fail, this might mean war .

Abdul Qadir Aka, secretary general of the proselytization board at FPI Bekasi, said the militant groups were important: When the need arrives we will have units that can be mobilized . We cannot just depend on the FPI. We have hundreds and even thousands of mosques in Bekasi. Imagine what we can do together.

The units, he said, would also serve as morality police targeting activities such as drinking alcohol, prostitution, casual sex and gambling, all forbidden in Islam.

 

29th June   

Ms Potato Heads...

Nutters whinge at 'sexist' Toy Story 3
Link Here

Toy Story 3 DVD Feminists at US publication Ms   have accused Toy Story 3 of being carelessly sexist and argue it may damage children.

The magazine claims that the seven-to-one male-to-female character ratio is unfair and that women are depicted negatively in the movie, from toy owner Andy's nagging mother to the overly emotional Barbie.

The plastic doll is also called a traitor in the film for leaving the gang to live with Ken in his dream house.

What's more, writer Natalie Wilson  points out that Ken is depicted as a closeted gay fashionista with a fondness for writing in sparkly purple ink...(making) this yet another family movie that perpetuates damaging gender and sexuality norms.

Pairing homophobia with misogyny, the jokes about Ken suggest that the worst things a boy can be are either a girl or a homosexual.

According to writer Natalie Wilson: Kids who grow up watching sexist shows are more likely to grow up internalising stereotypical ideas of what men and women are supposed to be like.

Mrs Potato Head does nunchakus

And thanks also to goatboy who adds:

Good job James Ferman isn't head of the bbfc these days, the pre credits sequence of Toy Story 3 would have had to go due to nunchakus use- By Mrs Potato Head no less. Ferman would have had a fuckin' aneurysm if he had seen it!

Comment: Perpective

30th June 2010 from IanG

"According to writer Natalie Wilson: Kids who grow up watching sexist shows are more likely to grow up internalising stereotypical ideas of what men and women are supposed to be like."

Oh yes, 1.5hrs a day watching a movie will completely override the other 22.5hrs the child spends watching how mom and dad and all their friends and siblings function in society.

 

29th June   

Update: Unfiltered...

New Australian PM retains minister of internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

Stephen ConroyNew Prime Minister Julia Gillard has confirmed that only minimal changes will be made to her cabinet team, with Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to retain his position.

Gillard this afternoon held a press conference in Canberra to detail the new cabinet. However, she did not make any new significant appointments to its ranks.

Gillard's minor cabinet reshuffle will put paid to the speculation in Australia's technology sector over the past few days that Gillard may replace Conroy with fellow Labor Senator Kate Lundy due to her long-standing commitment to the portfolio — or hand off some of his responsibilities.

 

29th June   

Ads Given a Break...

R18s can be advertised on encrypted adult TV channels from 1st September
Link Here

CAP logoCurrently adverts for porn products are banned from TV, including cable and satellite.

From 1st September 2010, the rules will loosen up a bit.

On radio, softcore products may be advertised between 10pm and 5:30am but the adverts have to be centrally cleared

On TV, adverts for softcore/hardcore products are allowed only on encrypted adult channels. The adverts themselves must never feature hardcore but may be softcore between 10pm and 5:30am.

The published CAP rules seem to be a bit mis-numbered and mangled though:

Rules

30.1 Radio Central Copy Clearance – Advertisements for products coming within the recognised character of pornography may be broadcast only if they are centrally cleared.

30.2 Radio advertisements for R18-rated material are not permitted.

30.3 Television only – Advertisements for products coming within the recognised character of pornography are permitted behind mandatory restricted access on adult entertainment channels only.

30.3.1 Television only – Advertisements must not feature R18-rated material or its equivalent. That does not preclude advertisements for R18-rated material or its equivalent behind mandatory restricted access on adult entertainment channels.

30.3.2 Television only – Advertisements permitted under rules 30.2 and 30.2.1 must not feature material that comes within the recognised character of pornography before 10.00pm or after 5.30am.

30.3.3 Radio advertisements for R18-rated material are not permitted.

 

29th June   

Heads Rolling...

Pressure on Rolling Stone Magazine about The Runaway General story
Link Here

rolling stone The author of the Rolling Stone magazine profile that led to the resignation of Gen. Stanley McChrystal said he was pressured not to print some of the damning statements made by the U.S. commander in Afghanistan and his top aides about the Obama administration.

Now embedded with U.S. troops in Afghanistan, Kabul-based freelance writer Michael Hastings told the Today show that he had a number of discussions with members of McChrystal's team about the contents of his now famous story, The Runaway General.

They tried to pressure me not to write about some things that were on the record, and I told them I can't really play that game, Hastings said. One of the things that happens in journalism is that -- especially with powerful figures -- they give journalists access in exchange for favorable coverage and future access. That dynamic didn't apply to me and the story I was writing, or just my general style of journalism.

Hastings said he did not expect his story -- in which McChrystal mocks Vice President Joe Biden and his aides slam President Barack Obama -- would cause the stir it has, leading the general to be relieved of his command by the president.

 

28th June   

Updated: Kicked in the Box Office...

The Karate Kid remake gets a high age rating in Australia
Link Here

karate kid 2010The hopes for The Karate Kid 's hopes of being one of the big hits of the July school holidays have been given the chop by the Australian Classification Board.

The Board has rated the 2010 remake ,T he Karate Kid, M, for its martial arts violence.

Distributor Sony is appealing against the decision. It believes the movie is a family film.

An M rating means a film is recommended for mature audiences, but does not exclude any age group from attending. The M is seen as a strong deterrent to parents deciding what their children should see.

The new version stars the Smiths' son, Jaden, 11, as the kid , who is bullied in his new school, and learns self-discipline and respect with the help of a martial arts master played by Jackie Chan.

In the US, it has been rated PG for bullying, martial arts violence and some mild language. Britain's BBFC also gave it a PG, noting it contains moderate violence .

Sony's appeal is expected to be heard on June 18. The Karate Kid opens on July 8 in South Australia.

Update: 'Outraged'

27th June 2010. Based on article from smh.com.au

accm logoNutters are 'outraged' by the Classification Review Board's decision to give the remake of the 1984 film The Karate Kid a PG rating.

The remake stars Jackie Chan as an updated version of the original's Mr Miyagi character, but opponents said the movie should not be seen by youngsters because it featured an adult instructor urging children to be violent to other children.

The Australian Council on Children and the Media is now advising parents against taking children under 12 to see it. The council's vice president, Elizabeth Handsley, warned parents their children would not be seeing an update of the original: This film is much stronger than the original version that parents might remember seeing 25 years ago, Professor Handsley said: It should have been classified M - not recommended for those under 15 years.

A child psychologist, Glenn Cupit, said that while the hero of the new film was very young looking the violence in the film was quite brutal and adult in type. He said there was also the possibly that young viewers could be inspired to copy such violence because it did not show the consequences of such behaviour: The violence inflicted does not show real-life outcomes of serious kicking and punching. A young audience may not appreciate what will surely be the result if they copy that violence.

 

28th June   

Dancing with Spirits...

'Outrage' at striptease on Ayers Rock
Link Here

alizee sery on ayers rock video A French dancer has caused 'outrage' among Australia's Aboriginal people for performing a strip show on the top of Ayers Rock, which they regard as sacred territory .

Alizee Sery stripped down and put on an exotic show for a friend with a video camera on the top of the rock - which the Aborigines call Uluru - and posted it on YouTube.

Aborigine John Scrutton, who lives in the Northern Territory city of Darwin, described people who show no respect to the rock as evil . Aboriginal lore and law should be brought into effect - not all of us blackfellas are living in the dirt in humpys (a crude traditional dwelling).

What Miss Sery had done, he said, was the equivalent of someone defecating on the steps of the Vatican.

 

28th June   

Anti-Censorship Shelter...

New Reporters Without Borders facility in Paris
Link Here

Reporters without Borders logo Reporters Without Borders have launched the world's first Anti-Censorship Shelter in Paris for use by foreign journalists, bloggers and dissidents who are refugees or just passing through as a place where they can learn how to circumvent Internet censorship, protect their electronic communications and maintain their anonymity online.

At a time when online filtering and surveillance is becoming more and more widespread, we are making an active commitment to an Internet that is unrestricted and accessible to all by providing the victims of censorship with the means of protecting their online information, Reporters Without Borders said.

Never before have there been so many netizens in prison in countries such as China, Vietnam and Iran for expressing their views freely online, the press freedom organisation added. Anonymity is becoming more and more important for those who handle sensitive data.

Reporters Without Borders and the communications security firm XeroBank have formed a partnership in order to make high-speed anonymity services, including encrypted email and web access, available free of charge to those who user the Shelter.

By connecting to XeroBank through a Virtual Private Network (VPN), their traffic is routed across its gigabit backbone network and passes from country to country mixed with tens of thousands of other users, creating a virtually untraceable high-speed anonymity network.

This network will be available not only to users of the Shelter in Paris but also to their contacts anywhere in the world and to all those – above all journalists, bloggers and human rights activists – who have been identified by Reporters Without Borders. They will be able to connect with the XeroBank service by means of access codes and secured, ready-to-use USB flash drives that can be provided on request.

XeroBank is a communications security firm that has cornered the market on one of the rarest commodities in the world: online privacy. It specializes in communication solutions that protect its clients from all eavesdroppers.

The best-known free encryption and censorship circumvention software is also available to users of the Shelter, along with manuals and Wiki entries on these issues. A multimedia space is planned for journalists and Internet users who want to film and send videos.

The Shelter will eventually also have a dedicated website for hosting banned content. Egyptian blogger Tamer Mabrouk's reports on the pollution of Egypt's lakes, which are banned in his country, and articles that are banned in Italy by its new phone-tap law will all have a place in what is intended to be a refuge for those who still being censored.

The Shelter is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Friday. Anyone wanting to use it should make a reservation by sending an email to shelter@rsf.org.

 

28th June   

Unthreatening Insult...

Protests against a press insult of the muslim community dismissed
Link Here

the press logoA local Dewsbury columnist who wrote that had the Cumbria mass-murderer been carrying the Qur'an he would have been celebrated by so-called British Muslims will not face prosecution, Dewsbury police announced.

Writing three days after Derrick Bird murdered 12 people in Cumbria, the local paper's columnist, Danny Lockwood, wrote that had Bird been carrying a copy of the Qur'an, he would have been celebrated as a hero by tens of thousands, possibly more, of so-called 'British' Muslims.

Lockwood made the analogy in his weekly column Ed Lines hitting out at the Home Office's decision to allow Muslim scholar Zakir Naik into the county.

A spokesman for Dewsbury Police confirmed to The Muslim News that 70 people had lodged a formal complaint: We received a number of complaints about the content of the article which appeared in The Press. We then had to liaise with the Crown Prosecution Service for advice on the matter and enquiries were ongoing at that stage. Following that week we received notice from the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that the matter would not be perused any further.

A CPS spokesman told The Muslim News: It should be noted that the Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 contains wide exemptions for freedom of speech, specifically saying that nothing in the Act shall prohibit or restrict 'discussion, criticism or expressions of antipathy, dislike, ridicule, insult or abuse of particular religions'. According the legal guidance evidence would have had to be obtained revealing that Lockwood used threatening language to stir up religious hatred. Threatening is the operative word, not abusive or insulting. So using abusive or insulting behaviour intended to stir up religious hatred does not constitute an offence, nor does using threatening words likely to stir up religious hatred.

Of course if Lockwood had made his comments in public, then all there fine words about freedom of speech would have been forgotten about. The CPS could have then done him under catch all public order offences where mere insult is enough to get a conviction.

A petition was circulated which asks for a retraction and full public apology. It also calls for local people, businesses and politicians of all persuasions to boycott the paper. A protest was also organised with 300 demonstrators gathering outside Dewsbury Police Station on June 6.

Local campaigner, Abdul Hai, told The Muslim News he and many of Dewsbury's Muslims were appalled by the CPS's decision not to bring charges; this newspaper, and particularly this columnist, has been writing things like this for ten years or more. Sadly we've become used to it but this is the straw that broke the camel's back. People are upset and people are angry.

Lockwood has since apologised, writing a week after making the controversial comparison.

 

28th June   

Dangerous Reporting...

Banned newspaper editor murdered in Rwanda
Link Here

Rwanda flagA top editor of an independent Rwandan newspaper that was recently banned by the government was assassinated in front of his home, according to local news reports.

An assailant shot Jean-Léonard Rugambage, acting editor of Umuvugizi as he drove through the gate of his home in the capital, Kigali, around 10 p.m., Rwanda National police spokesperson Eric Kayiranga told CPJ. At the moment, we are yet to establish who is involved in the killing and police are currently conducting investigations and we will provide information as it comes, he said.

Rwanda's Media High Council suspended Umuvugizi's right to publish in April. Soon after Umuvugizi moved online, its Web site became inaccessible to domestic visitors. Censorship of the publication, one of the few critical voices in the country, has come in the run-up to the August presidential election.

Rugambage had reported to friends and colleagues that he was being followed and had received phone threats, local journalists told CPJ. Jean-Bosco Gasasira, the exiled editor of Umuvugizi, told the U.S. government-funded Voice of America that he believed the killing was reprisal for a recent story alleging government involvement in the shooting of a former Rwandan army commander in South Africa.

The brutal murder of Jean-Léonard Rugambage deals a savage blow to Rwanda's already beleaguered independent media, said Africa Advocacy Coordinator Mohamed Keita. It comes amid a government crackdown on critical reporting ahead of the August presidential election, and raises serious questions about the safety of independent journalists in the country. The authorities must ensure that all those behind this murder, including the masterminds, are brought to justice swiftly.

 

27th June   

Updated: The Cove...

Anti-dolphin hunting film causes controversy in Japan
Link Here

Cove DVD Louie Psihoyos Tokyo screenings of The Cove , an Oscar-winning documentary about a grisly annual dolphin hunt have been canceled over planned protests by conservatives who say the film is anti-Japanese, the distributor said.

The film, which picked up an Oscar for best documentary feature this year, follows a group of activists who struggle with Japanese police and fishermen to gain access to a secluded cove in Taiji, southern Japan, where dolphins are hunted.

Directed by former National Geographic photographer Louie Psihoyos and featuring Ric O'Barry, a former dolphin trainer from the Flipper television series, The Cove has prompted activists to threaten street demonstrations.

Planned showings of the film at two cinemas in Tokyo this month have been canceled because of fears the protests might inconvenience movie-goers and others, according to Unplugged, the Japan distributor.

Screenings at one Osaka theater have also been called off, but Unplugged is still in negotiations to show the movie at 23 venues around the country this summer, said a spokeswoman for the company.

Update: A Screening for The Cove

11th June 2010. Based on article from google.com

Flipper Original Series 1 DVD Controversy over The Cove , an Oscar-winning documentary about the annual dolphin hunt in a Japanese village, has widened into a debate over free speech in the country.

On Wednesday, over 600 people crammed into a civic hall in Tokyo for a rare chance to see The Cove , with lines forming hours before the doors opened and viewers spilling out into the lobby to watch via a video feed. Outside of small private showings, it was the first time the movie has been screened in Japan since October, when it was shown at the Tokyo International Film Festival.

The event had originally been planned to discuss the movie, which shows bloody scenes of a dolphin slaughter filmed by hidden cameras and portrays local fishermen as rough goons. But instead the event focused on the theater cancellations, reflecting the changing debate around the film.

Ric O'Barry, a former trainer for the Flipper TV show who is the central character of The Cove , made a surprise appearance at the screening. He is now a dolphin activist, but talked instead about freedom of speech and the large number of awards the movie has won: Those awards are given for entertainment value, and for that reason alone the Japanese people should be able to see it and make up their own mind.

Various right-wing groups consider the movie to be anti-Japanese, saying that dolphin hunts occur in other parts of the world and that any portrayal of animals being slaughtered for food would be bloody and unpleasant to watch.

In the version of The Cove shown and intended for release in Japan, disclaimers have been added saying those interviewed in the movie are not protesting or supporting dolphin issues. Unlike the U.S. version, the faces of most Japanese are blurred out.

Update: Protestors Banned

27th June 2010. Based on article from independent.co.uk

japan courtA Japanese court has issued a rare ban against demonstrators who have hounded screenings of an Oscar-winning documentary exposing the country's infamous annual dolphin cull.

Yokohama regional court ordered members of a right-wing protest group to stay away from a theatre showing The Cove , which depicts the slaughter of 23,000 dolphins every year.

Bullhorn-wielding ultra-nationalists have repeatedly descended on theatres that plan to screen movie, denouncing it as anti-Japanese. They say the documentary is a front for the direct-action conservationists, Sea Shepherd, which they denounce as a terrorist group.

A general Japanese release of The Cove has been stalled for over a year amid fears of protests and even violent retribution against cinemas.

But film distributor Unplugged decided to take on the protesters on condition that the movie's makers block the faces of the local people it depicts. Over 20 theatres have agreed to screen it after a group of directors and publishers stood up to defend it, turning the controversy into a free-speech debate.

Last night an ultra-nationalist, Makoto Sakurai, promised no let up in his group's campaign. It's full of lies and distortion of our culture by Westerners who hate Japan, he said. We are right and we will continue.

 

27th June   

Update: Peephole into Repression...

Museum curators on trial for Forbidden Art exhibition
Link Here  full story: Art Censorship in Russia...Art exhibitions winds up the nutters

Sakharov MuseumIt was bad enough that an art exhibition attracted the attention of Russia's authorities. It was worse that the exhibition was in Moscow's Sakharov centre and museum, one of the few institutions in Russia that stands squarely behind the tradition of human rights, exemplified by the saintly physicist and dissident for whom it is named.

Now prosecutors have said that they want the organisers of the 2007 Forbidden Art exhibition, the director of the centre, Yuri Samodurov, and Andrei Yerofeev, an art historian, to be sentenced to a three-year jail term for debasing the religious beliefs of citizens and inciting religious hatred .

The prosecutors' move has aroused a furious reaction from the dwindling ranks of Russia's intelligentsia, and in the non-Kremlin media. In an open letter to the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church, Yerofeev apologises for unintentionally hurting believers' feelings, but also blasts the church for teaming up with hardline officials and rightwing extremists. Which, of course, was one of the messages of the exhibition.

Three years ago one of the leading Russian contemporary art curators, Andrei Yerofeev, organised an exhibition called Forbidden Art , in the Andrei Sakharov centre in Moscow, where he presented a collection of art works banned from previous exhibitions. To draw attention to political censorship Yerofeev put all the works behind a curtain with one hole in it, above human height, so that in order to see the works one had to climb a stool and peep through the hole. Only people who really wanted to see the art works of art were able to. However, Yerofeev, as well as Yury Samodurov, the director of the Sakharov centre at the time, were accused of inciting hatred and insulting religious feelings, and prosecuted.

The exhibit featured several paintings with images of Jesus Christ. In one, Christ appeared to his disciples as Mickey Mouse. In another, of the crucifixion, the head of Christ was replaced by the Order of Lenin medal, the highest award of the Soviet Union.

This week the prosecutors demanded a jail sentence of three years for each of them. The verdict will be announced on July 12th. The trial was instigated by the so called People's council , a movement of militant religious radicals with strong anti-Semitic views which claims to have the official backing of the Orthodox church.

 

27th June   

Update: Orange Fades to Red...

The US gives Ukraine a ticking off over press freedom
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Ukraine...Journalists protest censorship

Ukraine flagUS ambassador to Ukraine John Tefft has warned Ukraine's authorities against a return to media censorship amid growing concerns over press freedoms.

There should be no going back to the old system of government pressure of journalists and media companies, Tefft said during a speech to a Kiev-based think tank.

He noted troubling reports of pressure on journalists and an attack on a regional newspaper editor as recent worrying signs: We must also recognise that some media companies practise self-censorship, which is equally destructive to the principle of press freedom .

Press freedom in Ukraine is seen as one of the few lasting gains of the country's 2004 Orange Revolution that brought pro-Western leaders to power, who were in turn ousted by President Viktor Yanukovych in this year's elections.

 

26th June   

Updated: Wound...

Nutter hype for New Zealand horror film
Link Here  full story: Wound...New Zealand nutters wound up by Wound

wound A Kiwi horror film that shows an unconscious girl being raped by a man wearing a pig's head should be banned, say nutter campaigners.

Wound is described by its creators as a shocking supernatural tale of mental illness, bondage, incest, revenge and explicit graphic violence .

It features disturbing scenes including a pregnant woman being hit on the stomach with a bat to induce a miscarriage.

Wound is due to premiere at the New Zealand Film Festival in July if approved for release by the chief censor Bill Hastings.

But it has 'enraged' the nutters of Family First. National director Bob McCoskrie said: Research clearly shows that explicit sexual content of this nature contributes to an increase in sexual violence. I can't see how incest and graphic violence can be presented in an entertaining way.

Director David Blyth defended the use of graphic violence, saying it was a social commentary on New Zealand: It's about sexual abuse in this country, no one else is talking about this. All my films have had a female theme and they all deal with the disenfranchised. I think it's important to find a place for movies of all kinds, and not just what the Film Commission approves.

Update: Nutters Wounded

26th June 2010. Based on article from 3news.co.nz

OFLC New Zealand logoCalls for a ban on cult Kiwi filmmaker David Blyth's new movie have fallen on deaf ears. Lobby group Family First wanted the release of Wound stopped.

It is set to debut at the Incredibly Strange Film Festival next month, and is billed as a supernatural tale of incest, bondage, mental illness and graphic violence.

But the film censor's office says the impact of some of the more shocking content of the movie is limited by it's low budget and unrealistic special effects. The censor's office has rated it R18: contains graphic violence and sexual violence.

 

26th June   

Updated: Emergency Legislation...

US bill provides president with internet off switch
Link Here
emergency stop

  To be used only in the case of a
presidential blow job

A new US bill (Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, or PCNAA) sponsored by Connecticut senator Joe Lieberman would give the president a kill switch and force broadband providers, search engines and other web-based companies to comply with orders to shut down services. Those that do not comply under this new bill would be fined.

Under PCNAA, the Federal Government would have the power to force private companies to comply with emergency decrees. These companies would be on a list that is to be compiled by Homeland Security based on their reliance on the internet, the telephone system or any other component of the US information infrastructure. These companies would be under the command by a new National Center for Cybersecurity and Communications (NCCC) that would be created inside Homeland Security.

Senators Jay Rockefeller and Olympia Snowe think Lieberman's new bill is the bees' knees - both senators have pushed for similar far-reaching bills related to the internet in the past that failed to garner any support. The feeling among those that follow cyber security is that Lieberman's bill will suffer a similar fate.

Update: Off Switch Switched On in Committee

26th June 2010. Based on article from prisonplanet.com
See also article from fortliberty.org

US SenatePresident Obama will be handed the power to shut down the Internet for at least four months without Congressional oversight if the Senate votes for the infamous Internet kill switch bill, which was approved by a key Senate committee and now moves to the floor.

The Protecting Cyberspace as a National Asset Act, which is being pushed hard by Senator Joe Lieberman, would hand absolute power to the federal government to close down networks, and block incoming Internet traffic from certain countries under a declared national emergency.

Despite the Center for Democracy and Technology and 23 other privacy and technology organizations sending letters to Lieberman and other backers of the bill expressing concerns that the legislation could be used to stifle free speech, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee passed in the bill in advance of a vote on the Senate floor.

In response to widespread criticism of the bill, language was added that would force the government to seek congressional approval to extend emergency measures beyond 120 days. Still, this would hand Obama the authority to shut down the Internet on a whim without Congressional oversight or approval for a period of no less than four months.

 

26th June   

Updated: Filter Friendly...

XXX internet domain gets closer
Link Here

ICANN logoICANN'S top legal official told its board of directors that the panel will likely approve the sponsored top-level domain when it is put up for vote.

ICANN general counsel John Jeffrey told the board it will likely vote to approve .XXX subject to due diligence on ICM Registry's financial and technical capabilities.

The .XXX proposal has many in the online adult industry worried that it would amount to the creation of a red light district on the Internet.

Diane Duke, the Free Speech Coalition's executive director, said ICM's initiative could end up setting policies that harm its businesses. Duke is in Brussels to lobby against .XXX.

But ICM Registry CEO Stuart Lawley, in a letter on his company's website, has remained optimistic over the possibility of .XXX coming into fruition.

While most Internet extensions are used for just about everything you can imagine, .XXX will be focused on providing an online home for those members of the adult industry who wish to self-identify and responsibly self-regulate, he said in the letter. We are excited about the idea — and we know you will be too.

In March, ICANN delayed a vote on ICM's proposal to sell .XXX domain names and directed its general counsel and chief executive to seek public comment. ICANN received thousands of entries from adult companies and other stakeholders, as well as the general public. Most posted items against the implementation of .XXX.

Update: .XXX approved

26th June 2010. Based on article from guardian.co.uk

icm registry logoThe internet could soon have its own red light district after the .xxx suffix was approved – though pornography companies are not keen to use it.

Icann, the organisation which determines what top-level domains (TLDs) such as .com or .uk can be added to the internet announced today that it will begin the process of registering .xxx by making checks on ICM Registry, the company that wants to run the domain and sell registrations.

It marks the closing stages of a 10-year battle by ICM Registry, now run by the British internet entrepreneur Stuart Lawley, to get the .xxx domain set up so that legal pornography sites can be found in a single grouping.

But many pornography companies are unhappy with the idea of a dedicated space online because they expect that as soon as .xxx is implemented, conservative members of the US Congress will lobby to make any sex-related website re-register there and remove itself from other domains such as .com or .org.

That would mean that sex sites could be more easily filtered out from web searches, and lower their revenues. Free speech advocates also worry that sites about topics seen by US conservatives as controversial, such as homosexuality, might also be forced to use the .xxx suffix.

 

26th June   

Updated: Most of the Internet is Considered Sacrilegious...

Pakistan High Court bans 9 major internet websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking

Google logoPakistan's High Court has banned nine leading websites in response to allegations that the websites were posting blasphemous material.

It also directed the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) to make sure that the websites are immediately blocked.

The nine websites targeted in the court order include Google, Yahoo, MSN, Hotmail, YouTube, Bing, In the Name of Allah and Amazon.

A petition filed by a citizen, Muhammad Sidiq, claimed that the websites were publishing and promoting sacrilegious material while twisting facts about the Quran.

Justice Mazher Iqbal Sidhu, of the Bahawalpur bench of the high court, also ordered the PTA chairman to appear in court on Monday with all relevant documents in this case

The Bahawalpur legal fraternity has decided to observe a day's strike in support of the historic court decision as well as to protest against the websites.

PTA officials maintain that they have received no instructions to block the websites. They had heard of the court decision only through media reports.

Update: Major websites restored but will be checked for blasphemy

26th June 2010. Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

Blasphemy Douglas Preston

  Blasphemy on Amazon!

Pakistan will start monitoring seven major websites, including Google and Yahoo, for content it deems offensive to Muslims. YouTube, Amazon, MSN, Hotmail and Bing will also come under scrutiny, while 17 less well-known sites will be blocked.

Officials will monitor the sites and block links deemed inappropriate. The new action will see Pakistani authorities monitor content published on the seven sites, blocking individual pages if content is judged to be offensive.

Telecoms official Khurram Mehran said links would be blocked without disturbing the main website.

 

26th June   

Updated: Feverish with Censorship Lust...

Indonesian minister speaks about celebrity sex video
Link Here  full story: Ariel Celebrity Porn Video...Indonesian celebrity home videos online

luna mayaIndonesia's communications and information technology minister said sex videos allegedly featuring celebrities made him feverish , adding that the country needed a rule to ban negative content on the web.

In the absence of such a ban, Mi-nister Tifatul Sembiring said he would summon ISPs to help stop the spread of the clips, Antara news agency reported.

He said he hadn't seen the video but a report on them from his subordinates made him feverish . Why would anyone tape such a private thing?

Following the passage of the controversial 2008 Information and Electronic Transaction Law, the ministry had proposed a regulation that would justify government control of multimedia content. The plan was dropped following uproar and a rebuke from President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Police have summoned the celebrities suspected of being featured in the videos — vocalist Nazril Ariel Ilham, Luna Maya and Cut Tari — for questioning next week. All three have denied appearing in the videos, while police have said it was possible that the suspect would be one of the people featured in the clips.

The police added that they were hunting those suspected of producing and distributing the videos. Tifatul said under the pornography law, anyone making sex tapes — even for private purposes — could be guilty of violating the law.

Maya is a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations World Food Programme and has appeared in advertisements with Ariel for a soap made by Anglo-Dutch food and cosmetics giant Unilever. A spokesman for Unilever said the soap ads had been cancelled this week.

Update: Calls for the celebrities to be stoned to death

24th June 2010. Based on article from news.smh.com.au

Stoning scene from movieSinger Nazril Ariel has been at the centre of the Peterporn controversy, named after his band Peterpan, since the two grainy but explicit videos went viral on Indonesian websites earlier this month.

Ariel surrendered today after police named him a suspect for breaching the anti-pornography law. If he hadn't surrendered we would have arrested him, police deputy spokesman Zainuri Lubis said.

As the videos continued to circulate online, hundreds of radical Islamists rallied in Jakarta to demand adulterers be put to death by stoning.

As a divorcee, Ariel should be stoned along with married television celebrity, Cut Tari, who allegedly appears with him in one of the X-rated videos, a muslim spokesman said.

Those people who have sex before marriage should be caned with a stick 100 times in public. Adulterers should be half-buried and stoned to death, said protest coordinator Fadilah Karimah" The more people who see it the better.

The celebrities deny uploading the clips but could still face up to 12 years in jail for breaches of the country's 2008 anti-pornography law. Tari and Ariel could also face up to nine months in prison for adultery.

Update: Charged

26th June 2010. Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

One of Indonesia's top celebrities has been charged under an anti-pornography law for his alleged role in sex videos which have appeared on the internet.

Pop star Nazril Ariel Irham and two other celebrities, TV presenter Luna Maya and soapstar Cut Tari, have denied involvement in the sex tapes.

Zainuri Lubis, deputy spokesman of the National Police, told the BBC that Ariel had been charged with the making and distribution of the sex tapes under the controversial anti-pornography law.

He is the first high-profile person to be charged under the law, which came into effect in 2008 despite strong opposition from the public and members of government.

Local reports have quoted Indonesian police saying they have plans to detain the two female celebrities who are also allegedly featured in the sex tapes for their own protection.

Update: Luna Maya Arrested

18th July 2010. Based on article from mcot.net

Actress Luna Maya was arrested in the National Police Headquarters here Wednesday evening for being considered not cooperative in the porn video case.

Luna is arrested because she is strongly suspected being involved in the making of porn video recordings with Ariel, Senior Police Commissioner Marwoto Seoto said.

The police earlier named actresses Luna Maya and Cut Tari suspects in the sensational porn video case.

The police had also carried out a scientific crime investigation on the three celebrities in which their physical characteristics were compared with those of the actors in the porn video scenes.

Update: Still in Custody

23rd October 2010. See article from google.com

An Indonesian rock star held for more than four months over a homemade sex video that found its way online has finally been charged and could face up to 16 years in jail, reports said.

Nazril Ariel has been charged with distributing pornography under several articles of the criminal code including the 2008 anti-pornography law, The Jakarta Globe reported.

A lawyer for the singer said no charges had been laid but that their client would be held in custody beyond, when many had expected him to be released due to a lack of evidence to warrant a trial.

Update: On Trial

24th November 2010. See article from bbc.co.uk

One of Indonesia's top celebrities has gone on trial for his alleged role in sex videos which appeared on the internet.

Pop star Nazril Ariel Irham has been charged under Indonesia's controversial anti-pornography law. He could face 12 years in jail for the two home-made films, which are said to feature him and two female companions.

The scandal has attracted huge attention in Indonesia. About 500 people nonetheless gathered outside the court as proceedings were held behind closed doors, AFP news agency reported.

The singer was accompanied by his girlfriend, TV presenter Luna Maya, who is said to be the woman in one of the two videos. The woman alleged to appear in the other, Cut Tari, is a soap opera star previously linked to the singer. The two women are not facing charges. All three deny involvement in the sex tapes.

 

26th June   

Offsite: Dr Terror...

Quaint horror films invoke life long fear
Link Here

Psycho Anniversary Special Steelbook Blu ray Terrifying films can leave viewers with life-long fears, says an academic.

Professor Joanne Cantor questioned hundreds of adults and found that women who have seen Psycho are often frightened to go into the shower, while the threat-laden soundtrack of Jaws can make men tremble.

It , the 1986 film based on a Stephen King novel, shows a clown attacking children in the bathroom, after coming in through the toilet or shower drain.

Professor Cantor, of Wisconsin University in the U.S., told BBC Focus magazine: It produced extended nightmares, and many children avoided the bathroom after that. For many of these children, fear of clowns extended into adulthood.

The professor found the five most frightening films, not ranked in order, were:

  • Jaws
  • Psycho
  • It
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street
  • Poltergeist.

In Psycho , Alfred Hitchcock injected terror into the most benign of places - the shower. The professor, a world expert on the psychology of films, said: Hitchcock took a normal activity that most people do daily and infused it with terror, by showing a totally unanticipated attack in blood horror accompanied by intense music. Many women in my studies who saw that movie are uncomfortable in the shower to this day.

The 1984 slasher movie , A Nightmare on Elm Street , resulted in many sleepless nights, said professor Cantor. This film provided the quintessential recipe for insomnia because the bloodthirsty villain, Freddy Krueger, could only attack you in your dreams, she said. So your only defence against him was to stay awake - and that's what many reported doing.

...Read the full article

 

26th June   

Pouring Cold Water on a Nepalese Struggle...

Indian film censors ban Flames of the Snow
Link Here  full story: Flames of the Snow...India bans political film about struggles in Nepal

fles of the snowThe Indian Censor Board has refused public screening of Flames of the Snow , a documentary on Nepal stating the film elucidates about Maoist movement in Nepal and their ideology.

The censors cited the recent Maoist violence in some parts of India, said the producer of the film, Anand Swaroop Verma.

The refusal for screening was a matter of surprise as the film does not have any reference at all to the current Maoist movement in India, said Verma, who is regarded an expert on Nepalese affairs.

The film highlights struggle of Nepalese against the monarchy, anarchic reign of Ranas and burial of kingship in the year 2008 when Nepal was declared a republic.

I am submitting the film to revising committee of the Board, said producer Verma.

 

25th June   

Marked by Cuts...

New uncut US Blu-ray of Marked For Death
Link Here

Marked for Death DVD Marked for Death is a 1990 US action film by Dwight Little. See IMDb

The uncut US R Rated Version has just been released by 20th Century Fox on Region A Blu-ray

The UK Version is still suffering 18s of cuts:

  1. The night-time raid on Screwface's house in Jamaica, has lost another arm-break (6 secs)- this occurs just before Seagal faces Screwface's twin brother.
  2. The end battle between Seagal and Screwface has been cut in two places - firstly a close-up of Seagal gouging out Screwface's eyes is missing (3 secs) and then a few seconds later a vicious back-break (9 secs) after the two have crashed through the stone wall.

See review from IMDb : Favourite

I cannot believe this film got such bad ratings as it is one of my favourite action flicks of all time.

Marked for Death has Steven Seagal playing John Hatcher a cop whose out for revenge against a gang of Jamaican drug dealers. The film has some terrific action sequences and set pieces, example being the shopping centre fight which really showcases Seagal's talents. This has excellent pacing as well as good location shoots. The score for Marked for Death is amazing, suiting the film so well, giving it the right sinister kind of atmosphere. The voodoo elements were cool, Screwface has to be one of the best villains and the twist at the end is unexpected.

The only minor flaw with this film is that the beginning in Mexico is a little ropey.

 

25th June   

Just Fucking Around...

Sports Illustrated cleared of blasphemy in South Africa
Link Here

Sports Illustrated South African Edition Sports Illustrated magazine has been cleared of blasphemy in South Africa.

The ruling followed a complaint by a member of the public against an article in the March edition about the pursuit of sporting perfection.

Deputy press ombudsman Johan Retief said the article included a joke about St Peter and Jesus playing golf in heaven.

He said the joke went that when Jesus hooked his first tee-shot, an angel guided the ball back into play, the dove of peace caught the ball in its beak and dropped it on the green, from where the holy spirit blew the ball into the hole.

So St Peter said to Jesus: 'Do you wanna play golf or do you wanna fuck around?'

Retief said the complainant, André Williams, maintained the article went too far by telling a joke about Jesus, and that the word fuck was a swearword that amounted to blasphemy.

However Retief said that in the joke, St Peter felt done in, and that Jesus was not playing fair: The phrase 'fuck around' is used to express this feeling, and does not as such amount to swearing. 'Fuck you' would have been swearing. Although it can be said that the use of the phrase 'fuck around' constitutes bad taste, it does not, by definition, amount to a breach of the Press Code.

Retief dismissed the complaint.

 

25th June   

Update: Money Virtually Banned...

For children playing online games in China
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

virtual moyBeginning August 1, online game operators in China will be forced to take a series of steps to protect online gamers under the age of 18 from 'inappropriate' content and selling or buying items using virtual currency.

According to the Xinhua News Agency, online games created for minors will have to lose any content that would lead to imitation of behavior that violates social morals and the law. The regulations deal with content that is horrifying, cruel or otherwise unwholesome, specifically any portrayals of pornography, cults, superstitions, gambling and violence.

The virtual currency ban was said to be made possible by a new rule that online game players must register game accounts using their real name.

Gaming operators were also told to develop techniques that would limit the gaming time of minors in order to prevent addiction, though without specifying what kinds of techniques and a permissible gaming time.

 

25th June   

Update: Uneuropean...

OSCE asks Turkey to change internet law in line with international standards on free expression.
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

osce  logoDunja Mijatovic, the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Representative on Freedom of the Media, has urged the Turkish authorities to restore access to YouTube and other services offered by Google, and bring the much-criticized Law No. 5651 - known as the Internet Law - in line with international standards on free expression.

I ask the Turkish authorities to revoke the blocking provisions that prevent citizens from being part of today's global information society. I also ask them to carry out a very much needed reform of Law No. 5651, said Mijatovic.

In a letter sent to Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu, Mijatovic expressed concern about new blocking provisions imposed earlier this month.

I am alarmed by the decision of the Turkish Telecommunications Communication Presidency to block access to dozens of Internet Protocol addresses related to YouTube and Google services. As a result, since early June several services related to Google - including popular services like Analytics or Translate - have been either unattainable, or access to them has become very slow, she wrote.

My Office has been promoting the urgent reform of Law No. 5651, because it considerably limits freedom of expression and severely restricts citizens' right to access information, she added.

More than 5,000 websites have been blocked in Turkey during the last two years. The recent blocking is a worrisome indicator that instead of allowing free access to the Internet, new ways have emerged that can further restrict the free flow of information in the country.

 

24th June   

Filtered Out...

Australian PM dumped, hopefully, along with his state internet censorship policy
Link Here  full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship
Kevin Rudd

 Fun while it lasted

At the start of this year, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, whose Labor Party won a landslide election in 2007, was still regarded as the poster child for a new Australia. Like a superman, he flew around his nation — and the world — tirelessly working to help Australia avert the global financial crisis that had tainted other major economies. He wooed foreign investment in his homeland's natural resources and he bonded on the world stage with his political soulmate, Barack Obama, in an effort to combat climate change. In due course, the center-left leader was rewarded with the highest popularity figures in Australian history, scoring an approval rating of 74% in a March 2009 poll. Was there anything K-Rudd couldn't do? Yes, it turns out — keeping his own party loyal when the tide turned.

On June 24, Rudd's own party unceremoniously dumped him for his deputy Julia Gillard, turning the former political wunderkind into Australia's shortest-serving Prime Minister in almost four decades. Labor's change of heart, though, had less to do with Australia's shifting priorities than a feeling that Rudd had neglected to safeguard the ideals he so strongly advocated during his campaign and at the start of his term. He came to be seen a flip-flopper on key issues like the environment. In other areas, his steadfastness was increasingly perceived as mule-headedness. Loyalty to his inner circle, meanwhile, began to look disturbingly like a failure to consult with other party elders.

Offsite: Impact on Internet Censorship

Based on article from itwire.com

The generational change that saw Kevin Rudd swept to power in 2007 brought with it great expectations from a local technology sector which had struggled for a decade to convince John Howard that the industry deserved a bigger priority profile in national affairs.

So what happens now?

Broadly, 2007 was genuine generational change, and so the direction and substance of Labor ICT's engagement will be fairly constant regardless of the Caucus outcome. (It is actually hard to see a return the Luddite-as-PM model, although Tony Abbott wants to make a fist of it)

I would argue that the local tech sector will fair better under Julia Gillard, if only because she has deeper roots and greater personal interest in issues of industry development.

While there would likely be a modest shake-up of frontbench (modest, it being an election year and all), Stephen Conroy will remain in his current position up to and well beyond the election. The portfolio is too complex and at a particularly critical stage of development to risk a change.

Finally, the internet filtering plan in its current form will be history. That alone should put a smile of the face of many tens of thousands of cranky and disaffected IT workers across Australia.

...Read the full article

...And Speaking of Tony Abbott

Based on article from abc.net.au

The opposition leader, Tony Abbott, appeared in a broadcast to church members recently being quizzed by church leaders.

Abbott said:

I wanna stress that I am a Christian in politics, not a Christian politician and I am not asking Christians to vote for me because I am of like mind. Faith has influenced my life but it does not and I believe, should not, shape my politics.

...[BUT]...

He addressed the 'concern' of the audience about the sexualisation of children. 

Our current classification system is broken. It doesn't apply to much that it probably ought to apply to and it doesn't seem to apply community standards even where it does apply.

 

24th June   

Update: Don't Mention 'Aboriginal People'...

They're to be called 'people in need of a special pornography ban'
Link Here  full story: Discriminatory Porn Ban in Australia...Porn is banned in Aboriginal communities

Australia: Northen Territories flagAmnesty International has criticised new laws aimed at reinstating the Racial Discrimination Act (RDA) in the Northern Territory, claiming they fail to end discrimination introduced by the intervention.

Federal parliament has recently passed laws that will reinstate the RDA next year while maintaining many of the intervention's controversial measures.

The legislation does this in two ways.

First, it quarantines the welfare payments of all vulnerable people in the territory, regardless of race.

Second, it makes alcohol and pornography bans, as well as compulsory leases, more flexible and labels them special measures for the benefit of indigenous people.

Amnesty says Labor's changes don't fully re-instate the RDA and do not reverse racially discriminatory actions already initiated under the intervention .

Despite advice from many organisations and individuals, the government has ignored the human rights violations sanctioned by these laws and left racial discrimination legal in Australia, Amnesty's indigenous rights campaigner, Rodney Dillon, said in a statement.

 

23rd June   

Part of Life...

BBC survey finds acceptance of TV violence in The Bill and Casualty
Link Here

BBC logoThe BBC reports that viewers find violence on TV acceptable after polling 300 people.

Sexual violence on screen is seen as part of life as long as it is not gratuitous , according to the study. The BBC survey found people are tolerant of violence in programmes such as The Bill and Casualty .

The findings, which will feed into programme makers' guidelines.

Nutters predictably fear the findings could be a green light to lower standards on taste and decency.

Vivienne Pattison, head of Mediawatch UK, said: No one has ever complained to me there is not enough violence on the telly. But I hear a lot from people who think there is too much. Our concern is that if violence is shown as normal on TV it is normalised and it helps create a violent society.

She also condemned the decision to consult children as young as 11, saying big themes should be decided by people who are at least old enough to vote.

The study saw 13 fictional and factual sequences, including rape and murder, shown to a cross section of UK audiences .

The total number of people who took part in the screenings and in-depth discussions numbered 300 and ranged from aged 11 to 75. A BBC spokesman said anyone under 18 was not shown clips but instead took part in moderated focus groups. The sample of 300 was completely robust and nationally representative in terms of demographics, he added.

Guidance for BBC programme makers on violence in drama and news is to be released this autumn.

 

23rd June   

A Cache of Dangerous Pictures...

Dangerous porn victim cleared over pictures found in browser cache
Link Here
clint eastwood

  A man's got to know his technical limitations

Former stand-up comic Michael Silk was charged with six offences of possessing extreme porn featuring dodgy goings-on between humans and animals. Silk denied the charges which, it was alleged, had been committed in May 2009.

For the prosecution, Kent Online reports, Alex Wilson told the judge at Maidstone Crown Court last Tuesday that, following discussions with an expert, he would offer no further evidence as he believed there was no realistic prospect of conviction.

The judge entered formal not guilty verdicts.

A CPS spokesperson told us: It was also apparent from the evidence that the defendant was not computer literate. At the time the defendant's computer was seized the material was held in the computer's internet cache. There was no evidence that the defendant had saved the images or sought to keep them. In order to 'possess' the images in that state the law requires knowledge that the images exist and the means or know-how to retrieve them.

The defendant was in possession of the images at the point in time that he accessed them and viewed them. On the evidence available in this case it was not possible to prove that he did so at some time after the Act came into force. We could not therefore proceed with the prosecution and we accordingly offered no evidence.

Simply deleting an image will not save you if you are computer literate enough to retrieve it. Contrariwise, it appears that if you are a total computer illiterate, that might be enough to get you out of a fix.

...Read the full article

Comment: Punishing the Not Guilty

From Harvey

Yet again we find a person charged and hauled into court only to find the prosecution offer no evidence. NO EVIDENCE.

I wish judges would be more condemning of prosecutors for bringing charges before looking to check that the evidence stacks up as it seems to be happening more frequently. And the CPS fuckwits who do decide to prosecute should be named so we can see who they are and whether they are just dumb or are serial offenders. No surprise that this was, yet again, Kent police and prosecutors, who have form when it comes to "enhancing" the evidence, prosecuting first and asking questions later.

 

23rd June   

Update: Creepy...

The Human Centipede at the BBFC
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

Human Centipede DVD Dieter Laser The BBFC have just passed much hyped The Human Centipede, 18 uncut. The certificate is for DVD rather than a cinema release though.

By all accounts, the concept is nastier than the actual film but maybe it would be more fun to believe the Sun's rantings:  

The Human Centipede features a depraved storyline about a psychopathic German surgeon who drugs his victims before surgically joining them together, mouth to backside, in order to create a human centipede.

The horror is said to be so gross that cinemagoers have been racing out of US screenings to be sick - and reviewers are warning audiences not to eat before seeing the film.

Update: Cinema Release Uncut

3rd July 2010. Based on article from bbfc.co.uk

The BBFC have passed the cinema release 18 uncut

Update: Taking legal advice over scat

25th September 2010. See article from bbfc.co.uk

The BBFC have added their Extended Classification Information:

BBFC logo THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE (FIRST SEQUENCE) is a horror film about an insane German surgeon who kidnaps three tourists and surgically attaches them to each other to form a human centipede . The film was classified 18 for strong bloody violence, threat and horror.

The central conceit, in which three people are surgically attached anus to mouth to share a single gastrointestinal tract, provides the film's elements of horror and threat as the victims are chained up, drugged and left terrified by the surgeon's explanations of what he plans to do to them. The actual surgical process is not shown in any significant detail. Instead, the nature of the procedure is hinted at by two short scenes. In one, the surgeon removes one of the women's teeth with pliers, resulting in a lot of blood but with the actual process of removal hidden by the positioning of the characters' bodies. In the other, a scalpel is seen cutting into the flesh of a woman's buttocks before a bloody flap of skin is lifted. These bloody scenes, plus the later shooting of several characters with blood sprays from wounds and the stabbing of a scalpel into a man's legs, breach the BBFC's Guidelines at 15 which state that violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury . Once the surgery is completed, no detail is shown of the contact between the faces and anuses of the victims, because the attachments between them are covered in bandages. Although the central idea of the film is undoubtedly grotesque and revolting, the Guidelines state that works should be allowed to reach the widest audience that is appropriate for their theme and treatment and that adults should, as far as possible, be free to choose what they see, provided that it remains within the law and is not potentially harmful . The Board has taken legal advice which indicates that THE HUMAN CENTIPEDE is not in breach of the Obscene Publications Act 1959 or any other relevant legislation. In terms of harm, the scenario is so far fetched and bizarre that there is no plausible risk of emulation.

The film also contains multiple uses of strong language, some strong verbal sex references as a man talks about women being wet between the legs , and infrequent non-sexualised nudity as the female victims crawl around with their breasts partially exposed.

 

23rd June   

Update: Up Front Proposals...

Front Against Censorship proposes to repeal censorial Maltese law
Link Here

FRont against censorship posterThe Front Against Censorship has handed MPs a document proposing the abolition of censorship in Malta.

The group said that explicit and mandatory censorship of the arts and entertainment was being imposed mainly through the courts as a result of outdated laws; the Malta Broadcasting Authority, the Board of Film and Stage Classification and also the University of Malta which is supposed to nurture artistic freedom and not suppress it.

It is highly unacceptable and even offensive by EU standards, let alone by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, that censorship is prevailing in Malta of the 21st century.

The group said it was not referring to the censorship of hate-speech which maliciously belittled specific groups in society, but about censorship which only seemed to defend and uphold the morality of the predominant religion, or any other religion for that matter.

We believe that the Catholic Church has a right to preach its values to society openly and freely. We will defend that right should it be denied in some form or other, directly or indirectly. We will never agree, however, that the values of the Church are the values of Maltese society in its entirety, despite the fact that the Roman Catholic faith is predominant. Individuals should have the right to express themselves in a free and unfettered manner in the same way that the Chursh is free to preach its values openly and freely.

The Front proposed the repeal of Article 163 of the Criminal Code, which states that:

Whosoever by words, gestures, written matter, whether printed or not, or pictures or by some other visible means, vilifies the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion which is the religion of Malta, or gives offence to the Roman Catholic Apostolic Religion by vilifying those who profess such religion or its ministers, or anything which forms the object of, or is consecrated to, or is necessarily destined for Roman Catholic worship, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term from one to six months.

Similarly, it proposed the removal of article 164 of the Criminal Code, which imposes similar constraints on criticising other religions recognised by the State. This article states that:

Whosoever commits any of the acts referred to in the last preceding article against any cult tolerated by law, shall, on conviction, be liable to imprisonment for a term from one to three months.

The group said it was calling for a change in the definition of pornography in article 208 of the Criminal Code. Under the current law, that which is considered obscene and pornographic is decided by a particular parliamentary committee. The only time this committee met was in 1975.

The definition given was Work is obscene or pornographic when its dominant feature is the exploitation of, or unnecessary emphasis on, sex, criminality, fear, cruelty and violence. We propose that this definition should be changed to any product which graphically depicts sexual acts with the intent of causing sexual arousal. The distribution and production of pornography should not be illegal as long as it does not involve human trafficking, the abuse of minors, the exploitation of the human person or any other criminal acts defined by law.

The group called for the repeal of article 7 of the Press Act which states that:

Whosoever, by any means mentioned in article 3, directly or indirectly, or by the use of equivocal expressions, shall injure public morals or decency shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term not exceeding three months or to a fine or to both such imprisonment and fine.

It also called for the abolition of the role of a centrally-appointed Classification Board for theatre performances and film, which has the authority to block and censor and to establish a set of criteria for self-classification in the performing arts based on a consultation exercise among the performing arts community. All classification systems (including self-classification for performances and classification for cinema) should be based on a list of established and transparent criteria, which should be made publicly available, and which should be re-evaluated from time to time in the light of international developments in these art forms.

Lastly, it called for the removal of article 13 of the Broadcasting Act which states that :

nothing is included in the programmes which offends against religious sentiment, good taste or decency or is likely to encourage or incite to crime or to lead to disorder or to be offensive to public feeling.

The Front said this should be replaced with a paragraph which allows such mentioned content from 10pm onwards.

 

22nd June   

A Significant Contribution to Censorship...

New Zealand's chief censor resigns
Link Here

Bill HastingsNew Zealand's chief censor, Bill Hastings, has resigned to take a new job as a District Court Judge and Chair of the Immigration and Protection Tribunal.

Labour's Internal Affairs spokesperson Chris Hipkins said: Bill Hastings' 12 years of service have made a significant contribution to censorship in New Zealand. This is a controversial area and often presents significant challenges. Bill has handled these complex situations with intellect, judgment and decorum.

Leading the Office of Film and Literature Classification can be demanding and controversial. Bill has encouraged debate and always been willing to front on the tricky issues. He has generally been able to guide decisions that have been reflective of general public opinion.

 

22nd June   

Update: National Policy...

Australian political party comes out against state internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

national party australia logoThe National Party of Australia has come out swinging against the Federal Government's mandatory internet filter policy, with a motion passed at the party's Federal conference on the weekend against the idea.

The motion stated that The Federal Conference of the Nationals opposes any mandatory ISP-level internet censorship, and was passed after a deal of spirited debate.

The motion does not bind the Nationals' parliamentarians to vote against the ISP filtering policy when its supporting legislation is introduced into parliament. However, conference motions do give members of parliament a strong indication as to what their party's grassroots membership would prefer in matters of policy.

This has been an issue of major concern to a very large number of people who have contacted the Nationals in recent times, said a spokesperson for Nationals leader and Minister for Trade Warren Truss.

 

22nd June   

Loose Tackle...

New Zealand nutters wound up by a bit of naked rugby fun
Link Here
 
 

nude rugbyNew Zealand's TV3 is being accused of striking a new all-time low in broadcasting standards.

Nutters of Family First are lodging a formal complaint over an item featured on the late night news show Nightline . It featured naked men in training for the annual nude rugby game in Dunedin.

Family First's National Director Bob McCoskrie says the images were full-frontal, and there was no attempt to pixellate them. He says it is meant to be a news bulletin and not an R16 movie, and the network has crossed a dangerous line.

 

21st June   

Update: Price on Demand...

Internet TV censor sets fixed fee for all participating websites
Link Here

ATVOD logo The Association for Television on Demand (ATVOD) has imposed an annual fee on all video on-demand providers, but critics remain concerned that small-scale operators could be unfairly penalised under the scheme.

ATVOD, which took over VOD regulation duties from Ofcom in March, yesterday announced that a flat-rate fee of £2,900 will be imposed on the services of all notified VOD providers in the UK.

The fee is being introduced so that ATVOD can be adequately funded to carry out its regulatory activities .

Last month, the United For Local Television (ULTV) group expressed concern that the approach could penalise small-scale VOD players unable to afford an annual fee.

Taking into account the concerns, ATVOD acknowledged that there could be some (as yet unidentified) small-scale providers of actual or prospective ODPS [on-demand programme services] services who might find a fee of £2,900 prohibitive, and that such a fee would therefore not be justifiable or proportionate in relation to them . ATVOD has therefore invited small-scale VOD providers, most likely local and community groups, to contact the regulator if they will have genuine difficulties in being able to pay the fee. All such providers must write directly to Ofcom before July 15.

 

21st June   

Updated: Crime Prevention and Eradication...

Thailand approves creation of a new body of internet censors
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Thailand flagThe Thai cabinet has approved the creation of a new cyber crime agency to stamp out online criticism of the revered monarchy.

The government, which has blocked tens of thousands of web pages in recent years for insulting the royal family, said the main task of the Bureau of Prevention and Eradication of Computer Crime would be to prevent criticism of the monarchy.

Under the kingdom's strict lese majeste rules, insulting the monarchy or a member of the royal family can result in jail terms of up to 15 years. Anyone can file a lese majeste complaint, and police are duty-bound to investigate it.

And under Thailand's computer crime law, introduced in 2007, acts of defamation and posting false rumours online are punishable by five years in jail and a fine of 100,000 baht.

Thai authorities had already been closely scrutinising online comments about the monarchy since the Red Shirt campaign. Campaigning for changes in Thai democracy is seen by the Thai authorities as very close to criticism of the monarchy.

Update: Blocking list now 113,000 websites!

21st June 2010. Based on article from advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

On May 9, Thai Information Ministry MICT and the Thai emergency law enforcers CRES admitted to blocking at least 50,000 websites and adding 500 more per day. Thai anti-censorship campaigners, FACT's, extensive testing across Thai ISPs has revealed that ISPs are blocking at least a further 15,000 bringing the total to more than 65,000. In the second week of May, CRES announced blocking of 770 new websites; on May 26, CRES announced blocking of 1,150 more. If we add these new figures to 46,000 websites, Thailand is blocking at least 113,000 websites!

On June 17, Thailand's new ICT minister announced a blacklist of 200 persons banned from posting to the Internet. This restriction was undefined but presumably all sites bearing these names will be blocked. Although the names of former PM office minister Jakrapob Penkair and Chulalongkorn University professor Giles Ji Ungpakorn, both in exile over lèse majesté charges, are known to be on the blacklist, the rest of the list is secret.

Included in the announcement of the blacklist on June 17, government is threatening to take charge of websites it doesn't like!

 

21st June   

Vodaphobes...

Vodafone block all internet audio/video streaming
Link Here

Vodaphone logoVodafone is still blocking video and audio internet streaming, for the sake of the children , eight months after claiming the block was a temporary measure.  Apple iPhone users are not affected though. due to the use of a different technology.

The block was instituted last October, and at that time Vodafone claimed it was a temporary measure while servers were being upgraded. That temporary measure turned into a long-term problem as fixes didn't materialise, and it became obvious that Vodafone's overprotective nature was restricting what users could stream.

The problem is born of a combination of things: Ofcom's regulations that require mobile ISPs to take responsibility for the protection of children (unlike fixed ISPs); Vodafone's over-enthusiastic implementation of that responsibility.

Vodafone, in common with all the UK mobile operators, has a responsibility to ensure adult content is only available to adults. This is normally done by blocking all dodgy content by default, and then unblocking users once they've presented a credit card as proof of age.

Vodafone's problem is that their filtering software doesn't extend to RTSP (audio/video) streams, unlike some of the other operators. Rather than just allow everyone to stream anything, Vodafone blocks all RTSP streams then opens them to everyone on a URL-by-URL basis. The company is not able to open streams to specific people which means anything remotely dodgy (including BBC and Channel 4) remains blocked to all.

 

21st June   

Updated: Unacceptable Behaviour...

Home Secretary bans Zakir Naik from preaching in Britain
Link Here

zakir naikAn Indian Muslim preacher has been banned from entering the UK for his unacceptable behaviour , the home secretary says.

Zakir Naik, a 44-year-old television preacher, had been due to give a series of lectures in London and Sheffield.

The home secretary can stop people entering the UK if she believes there is a threat to national security, public order or the safety of citizens. That includes banning people if she believes their views glorify terrorism, promote violence or encourage other serious crime.

May said: Numerous comments made by Dr Naik are evidence to me of his unacceptable behaviour. Coming to the UK is a privilege, not a right and I am not willing to allow those who might not be conducive to the public good to enter the UK. Exclusion powers are very serious and no decision is taken lightly or as a method of stopping open debate on issues.

This is the first person who has been excluded from the UK since Ms May became home secretary last month.

Naik is based in Mumbai (Bombay) where he works for the Peace TV channel. The BBC's Sanjiv Buttoo says that he is recognised as an authority on Islam but also has a reputation for making disparaging remarks about other religions.

Update: Appeal

21st June 2010. Based on article from islamophobia-watch.com

The Indian Muslim preacher banned by the home secretary from entering the UK for his unacceptable behaviour is to challenge the ruling in the courts.

The Islamic Research Foundation said in a statement: In the wake of the exclusion order and based on legal advice, Dr Zakir Naik intends to bring the matter before the High Court ... and request a judicial review to have the exclusion order overturned.

 

21st June   

Out of Control...

Ghana assembles a new film censorship board
Link Here

Ghana flagJohn Tia Akologu, Ghana's Minister of Information has inaugurated a 25-member Cinematograph Exhibition Board of Control and charged it to look out particularly for and deal with pornographic, violent and culturally unacceptable films in the country.

The old Board was dissolved owing to the public outcry about its inability to avert objectionable material being shown on the television, public cinema and video theatres even though Act 76 of the Cinematograph Act of 1961 authorised it to censor films.

Akologu said the new Board will constitute a preview and classification committee. Until the passage into law, the development and classification of a Film Bill to provide the machinery to deal with the production, previewing, distribution and marketing of films.

He called on producers of audio-visual materials and television companies to produce films that were sensitive to the concerns of the Ghanaian public: I wish to urge the industry practitioners to produce educative and positive films instead of films full of violence, pornography and other offensive sounds and images that are harmful to our minds especially the fragile minds of our children .

 

20th June   

Wound...

Nutter hype for New Zealand horror film
Link Here

wound A Kiwi horror film that shows an unconscious girl being raped by a man wearing a pig's head should be banned, say nutter campaigners.

Wound is described by its creators as a shocking supernatural tale of mental illness, bondage, incest, revenge and explicit graphic violence .

It features disturbing scenes including a pregnant woman being hit on the stomach with a bat to induce a miscarriage.

Wound is due to premiere at the New Zealand Film Festival in July if approved for release by the chief censor Bill Hastings.

But it has 'enraged' the nutters of Family First. National director Bob McCoskrie said: Research clearly shows that explicit sexual content of this nature contributes to an increase in sexual violence. I can't see how incest and graphic violence can be presented in an entertaining way.

Director David Blyth defended the use of graphic violence, saying it was a social commentary on New Zealand: It's about sexual abuse in this country, no one else is talking about this. All my films have had a female theme and they all deal with the disenfranchised. I think it's important to find a place for movies of all kinds, and not just what the Film Commission approves.

 

20th June   

Morality Cleansing...

Sri Lanka embarks on campaign to rid the streets of images of scantily clad women
Link Here

Sri LankaRecently, an initiative was announced to remove indecent advertising, film posters and billboards from Colombo in Sri Lanka.

The Bureau for the Prevention of Abuse for Children and Women, a police department, is behind the move. A director at the Bureau revealed that the department was already filing legal action against some of the offenders. What's more, he claimed that removal of the offending material had already begun.

Although the director at the Bureau dodged questions as to who would be the judge as to what would be considered indecent/offensive and what wasn't, it is said the decision would come from the Bureau itself. The Bureau objected to images of scantily clad women, saying they promoted female objectification.

However, prominent feminist and human rights activist Sunila Abeysekara was unhappy with the decision. Subjective and ad-hoc decisions are being taken. This isn't conducive to democracy, Abeysekara said. She also noted that there had been no explanation as to what, exactly, would be defined and constituted indecent.

The salacious adult film posters plastered inside cinema halls like the Olympia, for instance, would almost certainly qualify. What about billboards? At what point does an innocuous billboard segue into indecency? How is it decided whether or not a woman is scantily clad? Does it depend on the length of a skirt, or the neckline of a dress? There are no guidelines and no answers- yet.

The Bureau reportedly plans to extend their focus to include newspaper and magazine advertisements as well, and offenders could end up imprisoned for 6 months. Quite a hefty punishment, considering no one seems to be able or willing to define what could and would be considered offensive.

 

20th June   

Symbolic Compensation...

Mufti easily offended by a Serbian newspaper to the tune of 100 million Euros
Link Here

blic logoSerbia's Islamic Community have protested against a photomontage published in the daily Blic and demanded a symbolic compensation of 100 million euros (124 million dollars).

Daily Blic ran a photomontage of the leader of the Islamic community Muamer Zukorlic dressed in an Orthodox Christian bishop robe.

We are demanding an apology from the editors and owner of Blic daily and a symbolic compensation of 100 million euros, the community said in a statement.

If Blic refuses, it will face charges and the Islamic Community will call all citizens to boycott the daily, the statement added. The Islamic Community said Muslims in Serbia were offended by the photomontage as it insults the deepest religious feelings of Muslims.

 

20th June   

For Better Correction...

Iran discovers pixelisation to censor foreign films for TV
Link Here

irib logoAn official of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) has said that new software has increased the capability of the IRIB for censoring of foreign films.

Ali Ramezani, who is charge of providing foreign films and programs for Iranian TV, told the Mehr News Agency that new precision software has been acquired since 2008, enabling them to better correct foreign films: Afterwards, the films face fewer cuts .

Those scenes depicting that which is forbidden in Iran such as alcoholic drinks, or film characters in skimpy dress were previously cut by the IRIB prior to broadcast. Nowadays, they use the new software to erase the forbidden items or to cover the bodies of female characters in foreign films purchased for broadcast on Iranian TV.

In addition, love scenes are entirely cut from foreign films and TV series. Sometimes, the plots of films are deeply damaged by the changes made in adapting the productions for viewing in Iran.

Ramezani said that at least 75 minutes out of a 90-minute purchased film must meet Iranian TV's moral and religious standards for broadcast. Otherwise, it will not be aired on Iranian TV.

Iranians prefer to watch the unedited bootleg versions of foreign movies and TV series on their home TV sets and the Iranian black market does a good job of satisfying the demand for these.

 

20th June   

Neither Open Nor Friendly...

US rapper banned form Dutch festival
Link Here

R G Rhythm Gangster Masterpiece Snoop Dogg has been banned from a free festival in the Netherlands after police said they wanted to guarantee its open and friendly character .

Authorities asked organisers to find a replacement act for Parkpop in The Hague because they thought the US rapper was inappropriate.

Organisers say they have been left with little time ahead of the 27 June gig.

 

20th June   

Naked Hype...

Indian censors either cut or blur even naked backs but still the publicists talk about nudity
Link Here

mr singh and mrs mehta logoPravesh Bhardawaj hypes his new movie, Mr Singh & Mrs Mehta, by revealing that his wife objected the amount of sex.

The director also revealed that British Asian actress Aruna Shields gets naked in the film, but doesn't mention that the films viewers won't see this.

The film has been awarded an Adult certificate by the Indian censor board.

There is one particular love-making sequence to which my wife Shruti [Nagar, who works with Rajshri Productions] reacted very strongly. She was very upset about the subject matter itself. There is a sequence in the film where Neera (Shields) undresses and her clothes come off one by one.

[Shields] is naked but had to blur it out wherever her derriere got exposed. A couple of censor members who were divided in their opinion wanted to go back on their decision and cut it out. But I think they realised that the psychological impact was not diluted. We agreed on blurring the butt.

He added: Neera is naked in the entire painting sequence. Certain shots where her back is visible have been blurred but nothing had to be deleted from the film. The idea is not to provoke but to make it acceptable in our minds without making her a slut in the film.

 

19th June   

Update: Discriminatory Scottish Police...

Stereotyping the English as easily offended by lighthearted football banter
Link Here  full story: Anyone but England...Police investigate football shirt banter

Anyone But England T-Shirt Retailer HMV has withdrawn anti-English World Cup banners, following complaints to police that they could incite racial hatred.

Record chain HMV has removed items with the letters ABE – which stands for Anyone But England – from window displays in its Scottish stores.

It follows a number of objections from the public to the company, as well as a complaint to the police from the Campaign for an English Parliament (CEP).

A police officer visited an HMV store in Kirkcaldy constituency earlier this week and company bosses quickly agreed to remove the banners from all their stores north of the Border.

Now HMV said it was no longer actively promoting the ABE goods, including T-shirts, through banners and displays, and that it would stop selling them once stocks had been sold. [they will hardly have chance to restock, England don't look like lasting long]

Stuart Parr, a member of the CEP's national council whinged: The Campaign for an English Parliament will challenge any company that incites racial hatred towards the English, he said. Racism is unacceptable no matter who it is directed against, including English people.

But Tam Ferry, from the Association of Tartan Army Clubs, said: This is just political correctness gone mad again: I have got one of the T-shirts, and I think it's great that HMV were putting up banners.

Football is all about rivalry and having a bit of banter. Have the police got nothing better to do than take away a bit of fun from people? There's bigger problems in this country that they should be dealing with rather than this.

Trevor Phillips, head of the Equality and Human Rights Commission, has described the ABE slogan as good-natured banter that was unlikely to cause offence .

Aberdeen North SNP MSP Brian Adam said: I would have thought that it's all light-hearted and not in any way serious. If people take offence, they should remember that we have to put up with a lot of images about Scotland, such as the ones about mean and miserable Scots. Also, people in Scotland might take exception to having goods promoted with images of the English team on and the English flag. The whole thing will be over soon and people should just get a sense of humour.

A spokeswoman for Fife Constabulary said: We received a complaint on Monday 14 June, regarding the Anyone But England banners. An officer attended the HMV store in Kirkcaldy and spoke to the manager there to make him aware of the complaint and to give advice. Ultimately, it was HMV's decision to remove the banners.

 

19th June   

Update: Immaculately Conceived...

Pregnant nun ice cream advert has the desired effect
Link Here  full story: Antonio Federici Ice Cream...Ice cream adverts wind up the nutters

antonio federici advertA controversy-courting Italian ice-cream maker has run an advert featuring a heavily pregnant nun with the strapline immaculately conceived .

40 people have complained to the advertising censors of the ASA saying that it is offensive to Christians because it mocks the birth of Jesus.

The ad, which is featured in magazines The Lady and Grazia, features a pregnant nun enjoying a pot of Antonio Federici ice-cream.

The Advertising Standards Authority has launched an investigation to see if the campaign breaks the advertising code on the grounds of taste and decency.

Matt O'Connor, creative director at the ice-cream company, argued that it is an intelligent, challenging and iconoclastic piece of advertising . O'Connor, who points out that he is an Irish Catholic himself.

 

19th June   

Update: Safe Haven...

Protection of anonymous sources and investigative journalism
Link Here  full story: Reporting Safe Haven in Iceland...Haven from libel tourism with protection for sources

IcelandIceland has passed a reform of its media laws that supporters say will make the country an international haven for investigative journalism.

The new package of legislation was passed unanimously in one of the final sessions of the Icelandic parliament, the Althingi, before its summer break.

Created with the involvement of the whistleblowing website Wikileaks, it increases protection for anonymous sources, creates new protections from so-called libel tourism and makes it much harder to censor stories before they are published.

It will be the strongest law of its kind anywhere, said Birgitta Jonsdottir, MP for The Movement party and member of the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, which first made the proposals. We're taking the best laws from around the world and putting them into one comprehensive package that will deal with the fact that information doesn't have borders any more.

Because the package includes provisions that will stop the enforcement of overseas judgements that violate Icelandic laws, foreign news organisations are said to have expressed an interest in moving the publication of their investigative journalism to Iceland. According to Ms Jonsdottir, Germany's Der Spiegel and America's ABC News have discussed the possibility.

More immediately, it is hoped that the changes will rebuild the Icelandic public's belief in the press. Trust in the media was very high before the crash, but then it sank, said Hoskuldur Kari Schram, a reporter with Stod 2 television in Reykjavik: Maybe this will be a step in the right direction.

 

19th June   

Updated: UNdiscriminatory...

World's leading intolerants make UN call for an end to islamophobia in the west
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

UN logoMuslim states have said that what they call islamophobia is sweeping the West and its media and demanded that the United Nations take tougher action against it.

Delegates from Islamic countries, including Pakistan and Egypt, told the United Nations Human Rights Council that treatment of Muslims in Western countries amounted to racism and discrimination and must be fought.

People of Arab origin face new forms of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related forms of intolerance and experience discrimination and marginalization, an Egyptian delegate said, according to a U.N. summary.

And Pakistan, speaking for the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), said the council's special investigator into religious freedom should look into such racism especially in Western societies.

Acting for the OIC, Pakistan has tabled a resolution at the council instructing its special investigator on religious freedom to work closely with mass media organizations to ensure that they create and promote an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for religious and cultural diversity.

Diplomats say the resolution, which also tells the investigator to make recommendations to the Human Rights Council on how its strictures might be implemented, is bound to pass given the majority the OIC and its allies have in the body.

Update: UN Religious Censor

19th June 2010. Based on article from foxnews.com

The United States and its allies suffered a series of setbacks at the United Nations as the misnamed Human Rights Council flirted with media censorship.

Concerns about censorship were raised after the 56-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), which has tremendous sway in the United Nations, successfully pushed through a resolution that creates a watchdog to monitor how religion is portrayed in the media.

The OIC claims it will promote religious tolerance by ensuring that religion is not defamed. But the United States and the European Union members on the council opposed the resolution, fearing that it will censor the press and muzzle freedom of expression.

The resolution now opens the way for the Human Rights Council to select a special investigator on religious freedom to work closely with mass media organizations to ensure that they create and promote an atmosphere of respect and tolerance for religious and cultural diversity.

 

19th June   

Update: Pakistan Starts a Hate Facebook Group...

Seeking the prosecution of Facebook founder over supposedly blasphemous Mohammed cartoons
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

Facebook logoFollowing publication of what Pakistan's government and religious leaders regard as blasphemous images on the Internet, the authorities successfully shut down Facebook access throughout the country. They are now moving to do the same with such sites as YouTube and Google. Last month more than 10,000 sites were banned on pretext of blasphemy.

On May 31st a High Court judge, Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry, ordered the government to take action in respect to alleged blasphemy on Facebook. On June 11th in consequence of this order, the Deputy Attorney General authorised and initiated the first stage of investigation and prosecution of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook.

The Deputy Attorney General on June 11th lodged with police a First Information Report (FIR) against the owner of Facebook .

A FIR is the document that Police register when a case is lodged against anyone. This document then becomes the prime source of evidence and on the basis the legal case will move.

The FIR refers to section 295-C of the Pakistan Penal Code, which reads Use of derogatory remarks, etc., in respect of the Holy Prophet. Whoever by words, either spoken or written, or by visible representation, or by any imputation, innuendo, or insinuation, directly or indirectly, defiles the sacred name of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) shall be punished with death, or imprisonment for life, and shall also be liable to fine.

The actual FIR details the charge in respect of an offense under Section 295-C Pakistan Penal Code and punishment under this offense is death penalty or rigorous life imprisonment

The next hearing is scheduled for 12th July 2010. It is highly likely that this prosecution will be initiated in time for the 12th July hearing. At that point arrest papers may be issued and Zuckerberg will become a wanted felon.

 

19th June   

Building Blocks of Censorship...

Statue winds up the nutters in Michigan
Link Here

sculpture by mark chatterlyKrasl Art Center officials have agreed to move indoors a 7-foot-tall clay statue that supposedly depicts a sex act after several people complained about its placement in front of the art center in St Joseph City, Michigan.

The clay sculpture, Building Blocks , by Mark Chatterley depicts two indistinct figures lifting a third upward. The face of the second figure is in the crotch of the uppermost figure, sparking the controversy. None of the figures has genitalia.

Deb Ward, a lifelong St. Joseph resident, said she saw the statue in front of the Krasl on Sunday when she was taking a drive with her husband, Keith. She said the sculpture is obscene and complained to city officials. Her mother complained to Krasl officials: I object to the public display of nudity, Ward said Monday. I just don't think (the figures) are formless. I think they're very formed, and that's the problem. If (Krasl officials) choose to do whatever they want inside their building, that's fine, but once they put it on public display I feel the city should have some type of guidelines as to what is allowed.

Krasl Executive Director Donna Metz said the statue was placed June 8 as part of the art center's eighth Biennial Sculpture Invitational, which formally starts Friday. She said the art center has received a handful of complaints about the sculpture, but more comments from people simply curious about it.

Metz said the statue isn't intended to titillate, but Krasl officials decided to move the piece inside the art center nonetheless: It's meant to symbolize ... people supporting one another, holding each other up, she said. People are seeing that (sexual) connotation to the piece, and we're sensitive to that. We empathize with their read on it, although we don't agreed with that read.

City Manager Frank Walsh said he's received 10-15 complaints about the sculpture: We don't need any images of what many would say is a sexual act on Lake Boulevard . It clearly is inappropriate. They can talk artistic merit, but it's clear the residents – the majority – would appreciate a little more common sense and decency. The view of the city is that it can't come down fast enough.

 

19th June   

Review: Putin' the Boot In...

Russian police seize 100,000 copies of book critical of Putin
Link Here

The Putin System DVD Russian police seized 100,000 copies of a book critical of Prime Minister Vladimir Putin that activists planned to hand out at the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum.

Copies of Putin. The Results. 10 Years on , written by opposition politicians Boris Nemtsov and Vladimir Milov were intended for participants of the forum.

The book, which has a total print-run of one million copies, aims to tell the truth about the real results of the leadership of Putin and the tandem , Nemtsov, a former deputy prime minister, wrote in his blog.

Nemtsov presented the book about Putin in Moscow on Monday. Last year he published a similar book about Moscow Mayor Yury Luzhkov, who won a libel case and forced him to retract a statement about corruption in the city hall.

 

18th June   

New Orleans Survives the Daily Mail...

Tourism organisation takes note of the whingeing Daily Mail
Link Here

new orleans survives advertNew Orleans is worried that BP oil spill may be putting off tourists to the city and so initiated an advertising campaign to assure visitors that New Orleans parties on.

Referring to historical battles with Britain, their print ad featured a picture of Jackson Square and read, This isn't the 1st time New Orleans has survived the British.

They ran briefly but in very limited distribution, said Steve Perry, president and CEO of the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau. Frankly, we've gotten notes that people loved it.

But the UK's Daily Mail newspaper was not impressed and called it an anti-British campaign .

New Orleans is now choosing to pull the print advertisement that was slated to run in major newspapers and magazines across the country. A television ad baring the same phrase has also been nixed.

You don't want to do something that's making some folks uncomfortable, said Perry: So we decided we had so many other good ones, we'll just go with those.

 

18th June   

Update: Norml Police Censorship...

New Zealand police attempt ban on pro-cannabis magazine
Link Here  full story: Norml News...New Zealand police try to ban pro-cannabis mag

norml news A cannabis law reform magazine has been told it could be restricted to adults only unless it changes its content.

Three past issues of the pro-cannabis magazine Norml News were referred to the Censor by police and the Department of Internal Affairs after they were seized in a national operation against gardening stores in April.

Chief Censor Bill Hastings has ruled that those three issues should be given R18 status so they're not sold to children.

Hastings says that the chief aim of the magazine is to advocate law reform in regard to a currently illegal drug, but that people under 18 years are not mature enough to make the distinction. He says the whole magazine could be made R18 in future if it continues the way it has been.

Norml News editor Chris Fowlie says the Censor's decision is wrong and patronising to young people. It shows, he says, that the authorities are trying to shut down free speech.

Police try to ban the magazine entirely

Based on article from voxy.co.nz

new zealand police logoA request by NORML under the Official Information Act has revealed police had a secret meeting with Internal Affairs departmental heads, and asked them to try to get marijuana law reform magazine Norml News completely banned.

The documents reveal Police hope to have Norml News completely banned, as well as High Times and Cannabis Culture magazines.

Police had previously denied being involved with sending the publication to the censors, and a spokesperson for the Censorship unit told media at the time that there was nothing to suggest the request for a ban had come from the police. The Secretary of Internal Affairs said he was just seeking guidance .

Suspecting there was more to it, NORML News editor Chris Fowlie wrote to the Secretary of Internal Affairs under the Official Information Act, requesting any documents he held on the magazine.

The documents reveal two police officers arranged a meeting with Internal Affairs department heads on 31 May 2010 during which the existence of several publications dealing with the cultivation of cannabis and other illegal activity was discussed.

Police also asked the Secretary of Internal Affairs to pursue a Serial Publication Order - which would mean all existing and future copies of the magazine would be prohibited - for Norml News, High Times and Cannabis Culture magazines.

A serial publication order would mean all existing issues would be banned and the magazine would be prohibited from publishing any more issues.

We are outraged at this blatant political interference in our campaign for sensible drug laws, said editor Chris Fowlie. Police are lying to the media and misleading the public. They should admit they are behind this censorship, rather than hiding behind the faceless grey suits of Wellington.

If the police succeed in banning Norml News, this could criminalise thousands of people who have an old copy somewhere, said Fowlie. We have printed more than one million copies which all found happy homes and a recall would be impossible.

 

18th June   

Update: Box Office Takes a Snip...

I Spit on Your Grave set for an MPAA unrated theatrical release
Link Here  full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity

i spit on your grave remakeThe 2010 remake of the infamous 1978 exploitation classic I Spit On Your Grave is currently slated for an MPAA unrated theatrical release.

We're done with the MPAA, says director Steven R Monroe, which stars actress Sarah Butler as a woman who seeks revenge on a quartet of men following their sexual brutalization of her.

Monroe said: After seven rounds with the MPAA, the last two rounds were just to get an actual 'R' rating so that when the DVD comes out and some chain says, 'We're not stocking your movie,' there will be a 'R' rated version so that the distributors and producers can make their money back.

Monroe continued of his dialogue with the distributor, Why not try for once, and use it as your marketing, to give the fans what they want and not piss them off on opening weekend by showing a chopped-down version?' Because you'll get a bunch of butts in the seats the first weekend, and the third and fourth weekends they won't be there. But if you give them what they want, you are going to have longevity, and God bless Anchor Bay, that is there mind-set right now.

 

18th June   

Update: Ofcom Nazis...

Jon Gaunt argues that 'nazi' is slang term for those imposing their views on others
Link Here  full story: Jon Gaunt and Talksport Nazis...Talksport sack radio presenter over Nazi jibe

greenaziNazi is now a recognised slang word rather than an historical insult, Jon Gaunt's lawyers told the high court today in the former TalkSport presenter's legal battle with media regulator Ofcom.

Gaunt is challenging, on freedom of speech grounds, Ofcom's decision to censure the station after he labelled a councillor a Nazi on air, an exchange which resulted in his sacking.

His lawyer, Gavin Millar QC, told the court that Ofcom had acted disproportionately by censuring TalkSport and impugning his client's professional reputation, in contravention of article 10 of the European convention on human rights.

He said that Gaunt had not used the word Nazi in an historical or ideological sense. There is now a recognised slang of the word Nazi [as] one who imposes their views on others.

Gaunt's legal team say that Ofcom's responsibility to enforce the broadcasting code, which commits it to upholding generally acceptable standards of behaviour, must be balanced against the right to free speech as enshrined in the convention.

Millar told the court that fundamental right could only be infringed when there is a pressing social need to do so.

He said that European law recognised that different standards apply to journalists carrying out their professional duties and to politicians who are being quizzed about policies they support or uphold. Journalists have a duty to disseminate information to the public and the public have a right to hear it, he added.

Based on article from guardian.co.uk

Jon Gaunt labelled a guest on his TalkSport show a Nazi because it was his intention to offend , the high court was told today. David Anderson QC, who is acting for Ofcom, said Gaunt wanted the right to bully and insult a guest on a radio. That is what he is saying he had a right to do .

Anderson said Gaunt's use of offensive language , including Nazi , health Nazi and ignorant pig was part of a bullying and hectoring approach which exceeded the expectations of the audience for his programme .

Anderson said: To call someone a Nazi is... slightly different to calling someone a health Nazi but in either case the intention was to offend .

The hearing has now ended and a ruling is expected by the end of next week.

 

18th June   

Update: Bubble Prick...

Chatroulette to be censored?
Link Here  full story: Chatroulette...Website providing random webcam link ups

ChatRouletteChatroulette has been on the rise since earlier this year, when it suddenly became an international phenomenon. It has been the source of numerous viral videos, but it's also been the source of voyeuristic male masturbators. Currently the company is looking for investors in Russia and the U.S.

However, it looks like the service lost some of its steam in the month of May. According to web analytics firm comScore, U.S. traffic dropped nearly 7% from 1.564 million visitors in April to 1.327 million in May.

While Chatroulette's decline doesn't surprise us, it has to be troubling to Andrey Ternovskiy, Charoulette's 17-year-old founder. He seems to be taking action though, reportedly working on software to weed out the penises that have plagued Chatroulette's reputation.

What is Chatroulette really about, though? Is Chatroulette a social utility for people to meet each other through video? Is it an entertainment tool for groups of friends? Or is it just an anonymous network where anything goes?

These are important questions for Ternovskiy to answer before a turnaround becomes possible. Legitimizing the service by weeding out the genitalia may make it more viable to investors, but it could potentially accelerate its decline, not reverse it. It all depends on how people want to use the service.

 

18th June   

Update: Improper Propaganda Ban...

Turkish newspaper ban criticised by European Court
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Turkey...Not so free press

European court buildingsTurkey was criticised for media censorship by the European Court of Human Rights, in a case concerning the suspension of weekly newspapers for spreading terrorist propaganda .

In January 2008, Turkish authorities suspended two newspapers, Yedinci Gun and Toplumsal Demokrasi , for a month for violating anti-terrorism laws.

They were accused of spreading extremist propaganda promoting the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), a separatist group seeking Kurdish independence.

Twelve people -- including owners, executive directors, editors-in-chief, news directors and journalists -- were criminally prosecuted and the proceedings in their cases are still pending.

The court concluded that the aim was to prevent the publication of similar articles in the future, thus hindering the professional activities of the 12 applicants.

Less draconian measures could have been envisaged, such as the confiscation of particular issues of the newspapers or the restriction on the publication of specific articles, the ruling said: The domestic courts had unjustifiably restricted the essential role of the press as a public watchdog in a democratic society, it added.

The 12 applicants were awarded 1,800 euros (2,200 dollars) in damages.

 

17th June   

From ASA With Love...

ASA dismisses whinges about poster for From Paris With Love
Link Here

Paris Love DVD John Travolta A poster, for the film From Paris With Love, showed the actors John Travolta, holding a rocket launcher, and Jonathan Rhys Meyers, holding a hand gun. Text stated TWO AGENTS. ONE CITY. NO MERCI . The quote TRAVOLTA KICKS ASS , attributed to Nuts , appeared at the top of the ad. Issue

One complainant, who thought the ad had been designed to make the firearms look prominent and the actors holding them look sexy or glamorous, objected that the ad irresponsibly glamorised and condoned the use of violence and guns.

Warner Bros. Entertainment UK (Warner Bros.) said the UK poster campaign for the cinema release of From Paris With Love was prepared with a sense of responsibility to consumers, because they amended the global artwork for the advertising of the film by reducing the prominence of the weapons and ensuring they were not pointed at the viewer. They argued that the weapons were not held in a threatening or aggressive manner, and the actors were not in an action pose.

ASA Decision: Not upheld

The ASA considered that, although the rocket launcher was prominent in the ad, it was not representative of realistic street violence or gun crime, whereas the gun was less prominent and was held by a character whose face was turned to the side. Neither weapon was pointing at the viewer. We considered the weapons were not presented in a sexy or aspirational way and the manner in which they were held, by characters with relatively neutral or contemplative expressions who were not looking directly at the viewer, was unlikely to be seen either as glamorous or as displaying aggression. We noted TRAVOLTA KICKS ASS was a quote from a magazine review and could be interpreted as a film reviewer's opinion about John Travolta's performance as an actor, not a reference to his character's use of weapons.

We considered that the ad would not be seen as suggesting that the use of violence and weapons in real life was desirable or acceptable. We concluded that the ad did not go too far in its depiction of the film's content and was unlikely to be seen as irresponsible or as glamorising and condoning the use of violence and guns.

 

17th June   

Football Worship...

Church of Football advert taken down after catholics complain
Link Here

church of maradonaIn its recent attempt to capture that ever-important viral video demographic, Hyundai created a World Cup commercial which it first released on YouTube, in which, among other things, worshippers take Eucharist on their knees receiving slices of pizza rather than communion.

It's now been pulled by Hyundai after certain Catholic groups complained.

The ad begins with Latin singing in an Argentine church complete with a stained-glass window of a soccer ball. Worshippers (mocking the religious devotion some in Argentina have for the game) are taking Eucharist on their knees receiving slices of pizza rather that communion. The commercial also shows a soccer ball covered with a crown of thorns. It's all based, says Hyundai, on the Iglesia Maradoniana - the Maradona Church - in which followers worship Argentine soccer legend Diego Maradona.

The commercial aired on TV during the US-England game, provoking the largest uproar. This ad is an outrageous affront to Catholics and a mockery of our most sacred beliefs and practices, said Fr. Marcel Taillon, a parish priest in Rhode Island.

It's one thing to gently poke fun at extreme devotion to sports, Deacon Greg Kandra wrote on Beliefnet.com: It's another to satirize Holy Mass by ridiculing its symbols, sacramentals and gestures.

It didn't take Hyundai long to apologise:

We take comments of this nature very seriously. Because of feedback like yours, we have removed the ad from all Hyundai communications and stopped airing it.

We credit the passionate World Cup viewers and Hyundai owners for raising this issue to us. The unexpected response created by the ad, which combined both soccer and religious motifs to speak to the passion of international soccer fans, prompted us to take a more critical and informed look at the spot. Though unintentional, we now see it was insensitive. We appreciate your feedback and hope you will accept our sincere apologies.

The ad is gone. But the awesome idea of serving pizza during communion lives on.

 

17th June   

Update: Fag End Idea...

Plymouth plan to impose 18 rating on film with smoking
Link Here  full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films

plymouth council logoChildren in Plymouth could be banned from watching films in which characters are seen smoking, it has emerged.

An 18 certificate would be attached to any film release which features the unhealthy habit, in attempt to prevent it from appearing glamorous.

If the plan goes ahead, it would mean many children's classics showing to only adult audiences in the event of a one-off showing or re-release.

The plans to give an 18 certificate to films that depict smoking have been laid out in the city's Tobacco Control Strategy 2010 to 2020 - a joint scheme between the NHS and the council.

A similar proposal was made last year to Liverpool City Council, but it was thrown out for reasons of practicality shortly afterwards.

Russ Moody, manager of Plymouth NHS Stop Smoking Service, said: This is about shaping the culture that surrounds the use of tobacco. Once people understand why we are doing it, to protect young people and highlight the dangers associated with smoking, on the whole, most people are compliant.

A spokesman for Plymouth City Council said the idea to enforce 18 certificates came from a forum called Smokefree Plymouth Alliance: More adults smoke in Plymouth than elsewhere in the country and the alliance is keen to look at any ideas that will give people a longer and healthier life.

Update: Stubbed Out

13th December 2010. Based on article from bigbrotherwatch.org.uk

In a strange development, those responsible for decision-making in this area displayed some common sense. Hurrah for the council, who said the issue should be left to national classification systems and guideline.

 

17th June   

Update: 100% Puerile...

Apple rescinds ban Oscar Wilde illustrated story after the usual press ridicule
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

. apple censoredThe latest bad apple story was the blocking of an iPad graphic novel adaptation of Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest . According to a report in The Big Money, the application was barred from the App Store until its author added ugly black blocks to censor the illustrations of men kissing (which included depictions of mens' buttocks, but no frontal nudity). We've just gotten word from Apple that they've reversed the decision (they claim it was a mistake) and that the application's developers can resubmit the graphic novel in its original form.

The news comes on the heels of a very similar situation involving a comic adaptation of the classic epic Ulysses called Ulysses Seen , which was blocked from the App Store until its authors removed some illustrated nudity featured in the comic. Apple also reversed that block.

Apple spokesprat Trudy Muller explained: We made a mistake. When the art panel edits of the Ulysses Seen app and the graphic novel adaptation of Oscar Wilde's Importance of Being Earnest app were brought to our attention, we offered the developers the opportunity to resubmit their original drawings and update their apps.

Apple boobs and lets Page 3 app through

Based on article from guardian.co.uk

sun logoThe Sun finally launched its iPhone app after an embarrassing wait of more than a month following Apple's initial refusal to accept it.

It fell foul of the company's ludicrous anti-obscenity rules because its Page 3 girls were regarded as too rude. But the paper was granted an exemption because downloading requires customers to confirm that they are 17 or over since the app 'contains age-restricted material' .

 

16th June   

Update: Nutters in Torment...

Australian nutters go to court seeking a ban on Salo
Link Here  full story: Salo in Australia...End of long time ban on Pasolini's film

Australian Christian LobbyNutter groups and Australian senators are launching a legal bid to reinstate the ban on the Italian film Salo .

Last month the Classification Board approved a DVD of the film, with explanations of its context. The move overturned a refusal of classification in 1998. Salo has also been cleared by the Review Board after the Home Affairs Minister, Brendan O'Connor, asked for a rethink.

Now FamilyVoice Australia, the Australian Christian Lobby and the Not So Liberal senators Julian McGauran and Guy Barnett have started a Federal Court appeal against the film's release. They will argue that approving the film's R18+ rating defied proper process and the law.

Our chief censors, by releasing this movie, have redefined paedophilia and its acceptance, Senator McGauran claimed: The movie shows disturbingly strong depictions of torture, degradation, sexual violence, mutilation.

The Pier Paolo Pasolini film, made in 1975, tells of four Fascists in Mussolini's Italy who kidnap teenagers and subject them to sexual and mental torture.

 

16th June   

Covered in Blood...

US Blu-ray cuts to the 2004 remake of Dawn of the Dead
Link Here

Dawn Dead Blu ray Sarah Polley Dawn of the Dead is a 2004 USA/Canada/Japan/France zombie remake by Zack Snyder

I watched the Blu-Ray R1 source 109 mins 13 seconds and unfortunately it still retains the silly cut to the naked woman who walks past the ambulance in front of Anna's jeep/car. Her naked breasts are obscured by noticeably fake looking digital blood spattered across the car screen as in previous R1 DVD version. Breasts are offensive, give me a break, the woman in question is so skinny even the zombies refused to eat her!

Whether this HD source is the master for all regions we will have to see, but I watched the Blu-ray Middle Eastern/Dubai origin and same cut is evident. My sources tell me of a high probability in all world regions as the UK usually follows suit, but not in the older DVD's case. The quality however of this HD is quite superb, pity it is stupidly cut. Bloody MPAA guidelines or prudish distributor is to blame here!

 

16th June   

Censorship by Greed...

Millions of Thai viewers lose their TV after action by World Cup rights holders
Link Here

world cup 2010 logoSome 5 million Thais have lost their standard TV channels.

Thai viewers with C-band satellite dishes installed in their homes were left angry and confused yesterday after the screens of free television channels airing live World Cup matches went black without prior notice.

This is the Thai equivalent to UK's FreeSat and is particularly popular in areas of the country where broadcast reception is weak or non-existent.  The outage is to all programmes, not just the football.

World Cup Copyright-owner RS Promotion later explained the blackout was mandated by Fifa for non-encrypted broadcast in Thailand.

In its statement, RS explained that the free to air C band satellite broadcasts are receivable in other countries in the region. A complaint was lodged with Fifa from the copyright-owner in India, which said local viewers were able watch live matches free of charge by receiving signals from Thaicom 5.

 

16th June   

Offsite: The Deification of Mary Whitehouse...

Why I will always stand up for permissiveness
Link Here  full story: Mary Whitehouse...Deification and ridicule

mary whitehouseIt is difficult to uphold genuinely liberal values these days. So when the British broadcaster Joan Bakewell, a former symbol of the open-minded 1960s, hinted recently that the illiberal moral entrepreneur Mary Whitehouse had been right all along to criticise sexual permissiveness, before you knew it there was a veritable mea culpa across the media.

There has been a retrospective deification of Mary Whitehouse, the late Christian campaigner for the censorship of sex, swear words and vulgarity on British TV, by numerous media commentators who now argue that, yes, we did push permissiveness too far. This deification reflects the moral disorientation of our times. At a time when society finds it hard to engage with complex existential issues, it becomes increasingly difficult to be truly liberal, open-minded and tolerant.

...Read full article

And by way of an example of the elevation of Mary Whitehouse:

Offsite: Mary Whitehouse: Small-Minded, Yes But She Was Oh So Right

Based on article from express.co.uk

Vivienne PattisonIn 2001, the year of Mary Whitehouse's death, NVALA evolved into Mediawatch UK. Its current director, Vivienne Pattison, says: Something's changed because not everything is worse. I for one am glad that I can't watch Love Thy Neighbour any more and there's a lot less sexism, which is also good but there's been a gradual erosion ofother things. For example Miranda [Miranda Hart's BBC2 sitcom] was soft and gentle and funny and went out at 8.30. It looked like family viewing and mostly was but contained the line 'I'm going to **** on your towels.' Even 10 years ago that would have been post-watershed.

Pattison points out that despite her reputation as a prude, Whitehouse was far more concerned with violence on television than she was with sex. Many of her letters to politicians urged tighter strictures on what was broadcast followed incidences of violence in the news, for example the 1987 shootings in Hungerford. Where do they get their ideas? she asked rhetorically in a letter to Margaret Thatcher. Whitehouse had corresponded with Thatcher when she was Secretary of State for Education and continued to have her ear once she became Prime Minister.

...Read the full article

 

16th June   

Bells and Flashing Lights...

Film Censorship in Kuwait
Link Here

wait ministry of informationDeep within the Kuwait Ministry of Information's sprawling, high-security complex, seven government films censors gather for a screening of The Last Song , a drama starring Miley Cyrus. Seated in plush velvet seats in front of a large, cinema-style screen, the censors graze on soft drinks and snacks.

It feels like a typical, lazy, weekday matinee — until Cyrus leaps into the arms of her co-star and leans in for a long and passionate kiss. Watching the screen, the censors drop their sandwiches and reach for the white buttons attached to their armrest, activating a bell and flashing light. The bell alerts John Prasard, working upstairs in the cinema's projection room, to cut the scene.

Kuwait enforces some of the most stringent film censorship regulations in the world. No strong violence, sex, kissing, drugs, black magic, explained Qannas al Adwani, a government film censor. If there are a lot of bikinis, we will not allow it.

Every film that is going to be screened publicly in Kuwait must first be cycled through the Ministry of Information's cinema, and government censors watch hundreds of films a year. The list of offensive material is long and ambiguous, and standards are often unevenly applied.

Even American films portraying the United States in a negative light can be grounds for prohibition. Don't forget one fact: that the Kuwait people are very thankful to the Americans for the U.S. support for liberating Kuwait, said Kuwaiti censor Ahmed bin Yacoub. They still have it inside of them, and they don't want to show anything that really hurts the American people.

Crucial plot-twists remain hidden away in the censors' cabinet, disrupting the film's narrative and confounding the audience. Yet with a prohibition on bars and alcohol, as well as a societal taboo against male-female interaction outside of the family, options for weekend-night entertainment are limited. As a result, many Kuwaitis continue to patronize, however grudgingly, the cinema.

Mousaed Khaled, a Kuwaiti screenwriter and director, no longer bothers to submit his films to the Kuwait Ministry of Information for review, preferring to screen his films in festivals abroad. They don't want people to think, or have a hint to think differently, he said of the government's censors. I would rather live in a place where my children can express themselves freely.

Others, however, argue that censorship protects the nation's religious values. Khaaledah Burhmah, an English literature student at the American University of Kuwait, believes that it is appropriate to censor religious content and sexual material. It is not necessary to see these scenes, she argued. We must respect Islam.

As for the censors, they contend that their work protects Kuwait's children. There is no film rating system in Kuwait, and the censors must ensure that each film released to the public is suitable for all ages.

 

15th June   

Update: Ofcom Nazis...

Jon Gaunt challenges Ofcom's censure over calling a council official a 'Nazi'
Link Here  full story: Jon Gaunt and Talksport Nazis...Talksport sack radio presenter over Nazi jibe

Old BaileyThe judicial review hearing of Ofcom's decision to uphold complaints against the radio talk show host Jon Gaunt has begun in the High Court. Liberty, the human rights group, has intervened in the case because of its wider importance to free speech.

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty, said: Too many people say – my speech is free but yours is more expensive. Love him or hate him, Jon Gaunt's case is a vital defence of everyone's political speech under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act. None of us should take this freedom for granted.

Jon Gaunt said: British people have fought tooth and nail over the centuries since Magna Carta to defend and protect the right to free speech. Our forefathers fought the Nazis in the 20th century to protect such rights. It would be painfully ironic if use of the word 'Nazi' were to defeat us when the real Nazis couldn't.

Martin Howe, Jon Gaunt's solicitor, said: A free press and media is an essential and fundamental ingredient of meaningful democracy. Broadcasters should be free to test our elected politicians on matters such as expenses, front-line cuts, terror policies, the prosecution of wars etc. In Jon Gaunt's case he should be free to challenge a controversial childcare policy. Presenters in political debate should not be looking over their shoulder waiting for the Ofcom gag to be slapped on. Tyranny triumphs when good men are silenced. Our democracy has more to fear from faceless bureaucrats thumbing their thesaurus than from the plain speaking polemic of Jon Gaunt.

Jon Gaunt was sacked from TALKsport on 19 November 2008, two weeks after he called a Redbridge Council representative a Nazi , a Health Nazi and an ignorant pig during an on-air discussion about the Council's ban on placing vulnerable children with foster parents who smoke.

 

15th June   

Bremner Chilled...

Rory Bremner speaks of fears when joking about islam
Link Here

Rory Bremner Creased Up DVD The political satirist Rory Bremner has claimed that the chilling effect of fundamentalism means that every time he writes a sketch about Islam he fears that he is signing his own death warrant.

Speaking to Sir David Frost in a BBC documentary about the future of satire, Bremner argued that self-censorship was the biggest problem for practitioners of topical comedy today.

Bremner spoke of fears for his own personal safety: The greatest danger now is that one of the toughest issues of our time is religion.  When [I'm] writing a sketch about Islam, I'm writing a line and I think, 'If this goes down badly, I'm writing my own death warrant there.' Because there are people who will say, 'Not only do I not think that's funny but I'm going to kill you' – and that's chilling.

If you're a Danish cartoonist and you work in a Western tradition, people don't take that too seriously. Suddenly you're confronted by a group of people who are fundamentalist and extreme and they say, 'We're going to kill you because of what you said or have drawn.' Where does satire go from there, because we like to be brave but not foolish.

Frost ludicrously said he was surprised that Bremner felt that his life could be placed in danger by telling a joke.

 Frost on Satire will be broadcast on BBC 4 on Thursday.

 

15th June   

Review: Access Controlled...

Russia develops subtle 2nd generation model of internet censorship
Link Here

Access Controlled Cyberspace Information Revolution China may be one of the world's most Internet-repressive regimes. But its Great Firewall is a clumsy and ineffective tool compared with the subtle information control techniques developed over the last few years by Russia and many of the former Soviet states.

That's one of the conclusions of Access Controlled, a new book out from the Open Net Initiative, a consortium of academics focused on free speech and government interactions with the Internet. A sequel to Access Denied, the Open Net Initiative's 2008 report on the state of global Internet censorship, one of the book's theses is that government control of the Internet has shifted from directly blocking sites to slicker ways of repressing dissidents online.

China and Iran still filter the most content online, according to the ONI. In its country-by-country survey of Internet filtering. But while states like Russia and Belarus perform much less of what the ONI calls first generation or Chinese-style filtering, they're increasingly adept at second and third generation control of the Web.

Second generation censorship, as ONI authors Ronald Deibert and Rafal Rohozinski define it in an early chapter, includes tricks like requiring Web site owners to register with the government and using the process to weed out dissident sites with red tape, a tactic often used in Kazakhstan and Belarus. In Belarus and Uzbekistan, veracity and slander laws are used as a pretense for shutting down dissident sites.

 

15th June   

House Censors...

India seeks censor approval for private showings of documentaries
Link Here

India flagFive decades after the Cinematograph Act (1952) was passed, the government has plans to amend it. But filmmakers expecting a wave of liberalism that will free cinema from the shackles of mindless censorship are in for a rude shock.

The Draft Cinematograph Bill, which has been circulated to elicit public opinion, seeks to put in more checks and elaborate penalties for transgressions than the filmmakers ever imagined.

Besides theatre releases, documentaries which had earlier enjoyed the benefit of private screenings will now be required to get a certification before they are exhibited anywhere. In a sweeping definition, the draft of the act defines place as a house, building or a tent, in short wherever the film is being exhibited. So, if a person makes a film about one's neighbourhood and wishes to screen it for his neighbours in his house or in a neighbourhood auditorium, such a film would come under the purview of the Cinematograph Act.

No wonder then that the CBFC, the body set up by the government to certify films, is called the Censor Board.

Under Clause 18 of the proposed amended act, if a film is exhibited in contravention of the act, any police officer may enter any place where he has reason to believe that such a film has been or is being or is likely to be exhibited, search it and seize the film. You can be arrested if you document local tribal songs or make a short film about what to do if a company (read state-backed corporates) encroaches your ancestral land—there may be that added bonus of being termed a Maoist, if the local cops and vigilantes want to fix you, says filmmaker Rakesh Sharma.

 

15th June   

Games are Like Peanut Butter...

Vulnerability to Violent Video Games
Link Here

peanut butterIn a special issue of the journal Review of General Psychology, published in June by the American Psychological Association, researchers looked at several studies that examined the potential uses of video games as a way to improve visual/spatial skills, as a health aid to help manage diabetes or pain and as a tool to complement psychotherapy. One study examined the negative effects of violent video games on some people.

Much of the attention to video game research has been negative, focusing on potential harm related to addiction, aggression and lowered school performance, said Christopher J. Ferguson, PhD, of Texas A&M International University and guest editor of the issue. Recent research has shown that as video games have become more popular, children in the United States and Europe are having fewer behavior problems, are less violent and score better on standardized tests. Violent video games have not created the generation of problem youth so often feared.

In contrast, one study in the special issue shows that video game violence can increase aggression in some individuals, depending on their personalities.

In his research, Patrick Markey, PhD, determined that a certain combination of personality traits can help predict which young people will be more adversely affected by violent video games. Previous research has shown us that personality traits like psychoticism and aggressiveness intensify the negative effects of violent video games and we wanted to find out why, said Markey.

Markey used the most popular psychological model of personality traits, called the Five-Factor Model, to examine these effects. The model scientifically classifies five personality traits: neuroticism, extraversion, openness to experience, agreeableness and conscientiousness.

Analysis of the model showed a perfect storm of traits for children who are most likely to become hostile after playing violent video games, according to Markey. Those traits are: high neuroticism (e.g., easily upset, angry, depressed, emotional, etc.), low agreeableness (e.g., little concern for others, indifferent to others feelings, cold, etc.) and low conscientiousness (e.g., break rules, don't keep promises, act without thinking, etc.).

Markey then created his own model, focusing on these three traits, and used it to help predict the effects of violent video games in a sample of 118 teenagers. Each participant played a violent or a non-violent video game and had his or her hostility levels assessed. The teenagers who were highly neurotic, less agreeable and less conscientious tended to be most adversely affected by violent video games, whereas participants who did not possess these personality characteristics were either unaffected or only slightly negatively affected by violent video games.

These results suggest that it is the simultaneous combination of these personality traits which yield a more powerful predictor of violent video games, said Markey. Those who are negatively affected have pre-existing dispositions, which make them susceptible to such violent media.

Violent video games are like peanut butter, said Ferguson. They are harmless for the vast majority of kids but are harmful to a small minority with pre-existing personality or mental health problems.

 

14th June   

Sky High Complaints...

Ofcom's hit parade of the most complained about TV
Link Here

Ofcom logoOfcom have produced a league table of the most complained about TV.

Vivienne Pattison, director of mediawatch-uk said she was disappointed that Ofcom had not upheld more of the complaints and claimed it seemed to be on the side of the broadcasters .

Television's most complained about incidents:

  1. Sky News: 2,093 complaints

    Exchange between Adam Boulton and Alistair Campbell where Boulton lost his cool and seemed on the point of fisticuffs. Also an interview conducted by an an unprepared Kay Burley who covered with an aggressive attack on democracy campaigner David Babbs.
     
  2. Afternoon Live (Sky News): 891

    Interview in which she presenter Kay Burley left reality TV star Peter Andre visibly upset. Since cleared by Ofcom.
     
  3. The Sky News Leaders' Debate: 674 complaints

    probed over fairness
     
  4. Dancing on Ice: 484 complaints

    Celebrity ice-skating competition Dancing on Ice harrangued for comments made by one of its judges, who told Sharron Davies, the Olympic swimmer, that she looked like faecal matter . Commenting after she had performed a routine wearing a brown costume, he said: It was like watching faecal matter that won't flush – it goes around and around and around and in the end it doesn't go anywhere.

    Ofcom rejected the complaints noting that the judge Jason Gardiner is the acerbic 'nasty' judge on Dancing on Ice, and seems quite content to play up to his 'pantomime villain' image .
     

  5. The Alan Titchmarsh Show: 301 complaints

    Complaints for a blatantly biased discussion on violence in video games.

    Also complaints for an item on sex toys as part of a pre-Valentine's day special. Sex toys being considered in appropriate for pre-watershed discussion.
     

  6. Marie Stopes International advert: 236 complaints

    Innocuous advert harangued more for the subject matter than anything in the advert
     
  7. Dispatches Britain's Islamic Republic: 208 complaints

    Complaints that the programme was biased
     
  8. The Door: 203 complaints

    Viewers concerned about the portrayal/references of big aggressive German shepherd dogs as being dangerous.
     
  9. Coronation Street: 200 complaints

    Various issues
     
  10. Celebrity Big Brother: 190 complaints

    Various issues

 

14th June   

In League with the Devil...

Catholic League whinges at Lady GaGa video
Link Here

gp Religious imagery in Lady Gaga's new Alejandro video has infuriated Bill Donohue, of the Catholic League in the US, who bashed out a press release slamming the promo.

Lady Gaga is playing Madonna copy cat, squirming around half-naked with half-naked guys, abusing Catholic symbols – they're always Catholic symbols – while bleating out Alejandro enough times to induce vomit… She has now become the new poster girl for American decadence and Catholic bashing, sans the looks and talent of her role model.

The promo, which Gaga has called a celebration and an admiration of gay love , sees the saucy singer in her underwear writhing on a bed with semi-naked male dancers in a bondage-style scene. The video also shows Gaga dressed in a latex nuns' outfit, suggestively swallowing a set of rosary beads, and appears to include references to Madonna's famous videos for Like A Prayer and Vogue.

P Z Myers, over at Pharyngula, commented:

Donohue does have a point, I hate to say. I watched the whole thing, with its muscular young men gyrating in jackboots and tight shorts and nothing else, the weird headgear, the sadomasochistic imagery, the black leather uniforms, the flaming homoeroticism, and I was thinking, yeah, all that does remind me of Catholicism.

 

14th June   

World Control...

Sarkozy intervenes in sale of Le Monde
Link Here

le mondeNicolas Sarkozy has been accused of trying to Berlusconise French media after he personally intervened to stop the sale of Le Monde - France's most influential newspaper - to Left-wing businessmen for fear it would oppose his re-election.

Sarkozy does not want the hugely influential daily falling into the hands of a team led by Matthieu Pigasse, a banker who heads Lazard France, and Pierre Bergé, Yves Saint Laurent's long-time partner - both seen as close to the opposition Socialist Party.

A third signatory, Xavier Neil, is a maverick telecommunications tycoon with a personal fortune of two billion euros. The trio have indicated they are ready to invest up to 100 million euros in the paper, which will be unable to pay staff wages in July if it fails to find a buyer.

The Right-wing President has threatened to withdraw around 45 million euros in state funds earmarked to help restructure the cash-strapped paper's printworks if it is taken over by the front-running trio, as he fears they will campaign against his re-election in 2012.

Le Monde is due to pick a new owner Monday but the decision has been delayed a week, the source said.

Le Figaro, Les Echos, and Le Journal du Dimanche newspapers are owned by close friends of the president, as is TF1, France's most-watched TV channel. Sarkozy also recently changed the law to allow him to name the head of public television and is due to nominate his own man next week.

Update: Sarkozy interference comes to nothing

1st July 2010. Based on article from independent.co.uk

This week Xavier Niel bought the world . He was one of three disparate French business figures who made a successful joint bid to take over Le Monde, the most prestigious newspaper in the French language.

Outside France, much has been made of the fact that Niel founded his fortune, while still a teenager, on pre-internet sex lines and peep-shows. Niel is no longer a porn baron. In any case, he made his real fortune by spotting the importance of the internet before anyone else in France.

President Nicolas Sarkozy, who has brushed with Niel in the past, attempted to block the take-over. When he summoned Le Monde's editor in chief, Eric Fottorino, to the Elysée Palace last month, the president referred to Niel as the peep show man .

At the age of 19, Niel entered the world of the Minitel Rose , which brought sex chatter, or contacts, onto the dial-up screens attached to the telephone in almost every French home. The young Niel's service was called 3615 DUCUL (literally 3615 arse ).

He rapidly branched out into other, more sobre Minitel services (while also investing in peep shows and sex shops). Crucially, unlike many French businessmen, Niel was not blinded by the success of Minitel to the importance of its infinitely more advanced, global rival, the internet. In 1993, his company, Iliad, started the first French internet access service, WorldNet, which he sold seven years later for €40m.

 

14th June   

Update: Retailers Called to Heel...

High heels for children comes under the 'sexualisation' spotlight
Link Here  full story: Sexualisation...Sexualisation as reported by Linda Papadopoulos

Flamingo Wedding Shoes Ivory Size Retailers are selling high-heeled shoes to young girls according to parenting groups who fear the new fashion trend is prematurely sexualising children.

The trend was sparked by pictures of Suri Cruise, the three-year-old daughter of actors Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes, who is regularly photographed in sparkly heels.

Justine Roberts of Mumsnet, the parenting forum, said: Some of the shoes I have seen on sale look more suited to a lap-dancing club than the feet of a young girl. The items in question are prematurely sexualising young children. We are saying to retailers, 'Have a look at your range and ask yourselves if these items are appropriate. Some of the school shoes Tesco sells have got a two-inch heel. You shouldn't have a high heel if your feet are developing.

It's not about being Mary Whitehouse ...[BUT].. It's about not sleepwalking into a world where this is normal. Young girls always want to dress up and emulate adults, and that's fine. But when the bulk of the range on offer is like this, then it is making our children grow up too fast.

Nicola Lamond of Netmums, another parenting group, said: I went shopping with my daughter and was horrified by how many shoes came with a high heel in sizes to fit girls as young as three. These shoes will be harder to walk in than flat shoes so I'd be worried my child would injure themselves.

A spokesman for Asda, which is currently selling a pair of Disney Princess children's sandals with a 3cm heel, said the retailer had received no customer complaints. A Next spokesman said: Their popularity suggests many parents agree we've come up with a look that's special without seeming inappropriately grown up. GapKids said their child heels had been tested to ensure safety.

 

14th June   

Guilt by Censorship...

Cambodia bans film investigating assassination of union leader
Link Here

who killed chea vicheaSix years after an outspoken trade union leader was assassinated in daylight on the streets of Phnom Penh, the Cambodian authorities have banned a new documentary that asks probing questions about his murder and the role played by the highest levels of the country's political establishment.

The charismatic Chea Vichea, who campaigned for better wages and conditions for Cambodia's 300,000 garment workers, was shot in the head and chest at a newspaper kiosk that he visited every day in the country's capital. Amid an international outcry, two men, widely believed to have played no role in his death, were charged with his killing. They have since been freed on bail.

American journalist and activist Bradley Cox, who was living in Phnom Penh and who had previously met the union leader, rushed to the scene of the murder. In the subsequent years he carried out his own investigation into the assassination and concluded the two men charged were innocent. He also decided that Vichea's killing could not have been carried out without the knowledge of the highest levels of the political establishment.

Unsurprisingly, the Cambodian authorities have not welcomed Cox's film, Who Killed Chea Vichea? which was premiered last month at the Cannes Film Festival. When trade union members last month tried to show the film in Phnom Penh, riot police arrived and tore down the screen. The government has since cited a series of bollox reasons why the film has been banned.

 

14th June   

Update: 5 Critics Silenced...

Ukrainian government bans critical TV stations
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Ukraine...Journalists protest censorship

kanal5 ukraine logoReporters Without Borders condemns a Kiev court's decision on 8 June to cancel the licences of TV5 Kanal and TVi, two stations that are regarded as critical of President Viktor Yanukovych's administration, especial TVi, which regularly interviews independent experts or opposition figures who openly criticise the government.

On 7 June, the eve of the court's decision, the journalists at TV 5 Kanal released the text of an open letter to the president claiming they were being harassed by the SBU, Ukraine's main security agency. Calling for the protection of their rights under the constitution, they said they wanted to meet with Yanukovych to explain their fear that their station was about to be broken up.

Their fears were confirmed by the 8 June decision cancelling the allocation of TV broadcast frequencies announced on 27 January, several weeks before the current administration took office. The court, which issued its ruling in response to a legal appeal by the Inter group, withdrew the licences of TV5 Kanal and TVi.

Reporters Without Borders voices its support for the two TV stations, their condemnation of an unprecedented and unacceptable conflict of interests and their call for Khoroshkovky to resign from some of his positions.

The multiple posts held by Khoroshkovky are incompatible in a democracy with the principles of freedom of expression and impartial regulation of the media. Reporters Without Borders also believes that is vital that the National Council of Television and Radio Broadcasting should be impartial and free of external pressure.

Mykola Knyazhytsky, the head of TVi, and Ivan Adamchuk, the head of TV5 Kanal, said they would appeal against the court's decision.

Update: A special commission

20th June 2010.  Based on article from kyivpost.com

The parliamentary committee for freedom of speech and information has called on the Verkhovna Rada to form a special commission to investigate cases of censorship and pressure on the freedom of speech, as well as cases of the blocking of the professional activity of journalists.

The committee also proposed that the parliament hear reports by the heads of the TVi Channel and the Fifth TV Channel, representatives of the Inter group, Security Service Chief Valeriy Khoroshkovsky, and representatives of the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting regarding the issues of the withdrawal of television frequencies allocated to the Fifth TV Channel and the TVi Channel.

This could take place even [on June 16]. If not, we will insist on hearing [these reports] by the end of the week, said the first deputy head of the committee, Andriy Shevchenko.

 

13th June   

Cavalier Censorship...

Berlusconi gets a law to ban an exposé about his life of fun
Link Here

de e il cavaliereA film about Silvio Berlusconi's love life is set to become the first victim of a crackdown by the Italian prime minister on the publication of phone taps and bugged conversations.

The documentary, Le dame e il cavaliere (The Ladies and the Cavalier) — a reference to the Knight as Berlusconi is known in Italy — is the first film to use a series of embarrassing taped conversations at the heart of a sex scandal that engulfed him.

They include a clandestine recording that the former prostitute Patrizia D'Addario said she made when she spent a night with Berlusconi at his Rome residence in November 2008. Berlusconi has denied her allegations and said he never paid for sex.

The centre-right government last week used a confidence vote to force a bill through the Senate in the face of fierce opposition protests at what it said was yet another law tailor-made to suit Berlusconi, following measures to make him immune from prosecution while in office.

The new bill restricts police use of phone taps and punishes media that publish them. Critics say the gagging law will favour criminals and muzzle the press. D'Addario herself would face a sentence of up to four years in prison, as only journalists would be allowed to record conversations.

Franco Fracassi, the film's director, said he had rushed to finish it before the new law comes into force in July, when it is due to be approved by parliament's lower house: It was a race against time. When the law is passed the film becomes illegal and I could be arrested, he said. If found guilty, he faces a month in prison and a fine of up to £8,200.

The makers of the documentary, launched as a DVD on the eve of the Senate vote, are organising private screenings after distributors refused to touch it.

 

13th June   

Lancing Frankie Boyle...

Nutters of the Daily Mail appoint themselves as the Joke Police
Link Here

Frankie Boyle Live Through Strangle The Daily Mail have been having fun generating a bollox 'outrage' item over the Derrick Bird killings:

Comic Frankie Boyle shocked an audience by joking about the Cumbria massacre during a stand-up show just one day after the tragedy.

Boyle told his audience that after many conversations with taxi drivers, he could understand why someone would want to shoot them in the head.

The previous day 12 people were shot dead by gunman Derrick Bird in Cumbria, including taxi driver Darren Rewcastle who was gunned down at the taxi rank in Whitehaven.

There was stunned silence as the audience at the Hammersmith Apollo in London realised Boyle was referring to the Cumbria tragedy.

I was shocked, said audience member Tim Weaver, 49. I think most people were taken aback. It wasn't at all funny.

The joke was something along the lines of, "I've had so many conversations with taxi drivers that I knew what it feels like to want to shoot them in the head",

There wasn't much laughter – I think it took a few seconds for people to realise what he was talking about and most couldn't quite believe it.

Boyle claimed he had been misquoted.

It's a routine that starts with a true story about a remark someone gave me about the shootings, the thrust of which the guy making the joke was a complete insensitive idiot, he said.

Everyone laughed.'

 

13th June   

Update: Stereotypical Russian Censorship...

News media to banned from tagging criminals with nationality, race or religion
Link Here

bolsheviksMoscow's lawmakers have set their minds to fight xenophobia by banning the media from mentioning the nationality, race and religion of criminals.

The measure, supposedly to tackle the level of hate-crime in the city, is designed to prevent generalizations about certain groups in society. For example, talking about a crime committed by a person from Dagestan, Russian journalists will not be allowed to say Dagestani or coming from North Caucasus, but they would rather refer to a person born in Dagestan.

One of the bill's sponsors, Moscow City Duma Deputy Aleksandr Semennikov, said that generalizations spark extremism in society.

This kind of information often causes a stir in public opinion, especially among people that aren't very tolerant or aware of the consequences of their actions. There are groups that will call for revenge, Semennikov told RT.

Initiated by Moscow's Duma, the bill will now be passed on to federal authorities.

 

13th June   

Playing Guess the Nutter...

London bikini advertising posters defaced
Link Here

hm bikini advertStreet adverts featuring women in bikinis have been defaced in apparently targeted attacks.

Most show women in swimwear by chain store H&M but another features a couple kissing to promote the Bollywood film Kites .

London residents suggested the images, which were daubed with black paint, could have been targeted by either religious or feminist nutters.

Women's rights and anti-censorship activists joined Muslims and Christians to condemn the vandals.

Police said 14 bus shelters around Tower Hamlets, including many in Limehouse, were hit last month. Residents told of similar damage in Waltham Forest. One said: It seems to be a dedicated group who obviously have some serious issues with these adverts.

After finding the black paint could be easily removed, the vandals switched to a sticky, tar-like substance which is harder to scrub off.

Agnes Callamard, of Article 19, a London-based organisation combating censorship, said: While one may dislike some ads and find them offensive, this cannot be a basis for blacking out' the picture.

Avedon Carol, of Feminists Against Censorship, said: The idea that somehow the image of women being sexy spreads all sorts of horribleness is reactionary and anti-women.

 

13th June   

Update: Don't Shoot Me...

Public Council for Morality wary of Elton John concert
Link Here  full story: Elton John...International tours censored

Dont Shoot Only Piano Player Officials in Belarus have asked the organizers of an upcoming Elton John concert in Minsk to prevent the promotion of homosexuality.

The Public Council for Morality is to study recordings of earlier performances by the British singer to make sure they have no elements inconsistent with the law and morality, the head of the organization said.

We have requested the organizers of the concert to give us records of Elton John's earlier performances, he said.

Nikolai Cherginets said the Council is particularly concerned over the openly gay singer's statement in an interview with a U.S. magazine that Jesus was a super-intelligent gay man.

Elton John will play at the Minsk Arena on June 26 as part of his European summer tour.

The Public Council for Morality was established in 2009 by the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Writers Union of Belarus, with the support of President Alexander Lukashenko.

 

12th June   

Update: Participation TV...

Ofcom statement on new censorship rules for babe channels
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Ofcom logoA few months ago Ofcom initiated a consultation about the censorship of what it calls Participation TV, This refers to channels that are continuous advertising for premium rate telephone services such as babe channels.

The basic change is that in the past these have been regulated as TV programmes by Ofcom. However they will now be considered and regulated as advertising traditionally with stricter censorship rules. However babe channels simply can't exist within such constraints but Ofcom will relax the advertising rules to allow the channels to continue.

However the censorship task will not be picked up by the current advert censors of the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) but will continue to be imposed by Ofcom, at least for the time being.

Perhaps the most immediate consequence of the changes coming into force on 1st September 2010 is that viewers of babe channels on digital terrestrial TV will be restricted to the late night slot starting from midnight.

Ofcom explain further in their Participation TV: Regulatory Statement :

Ofcom published a third consultation on Participation TV: rules on the promotion of premium rate services. The consultation confirmed Ofcom's decision to amend the Broadcasting Code to clarify that services designed primarily to promote Premium Rate Service (PRS) lines would not be considered as editorial in nature but would be treated as advertising. Advertising is regulated under the BCAP Broadcast Advertising Standards Code.

The consultation set out the new rules and associated guidance under the Broadcasting Code. on 3 November 2009. This document is Ofcom's regulatory statement on this consultation.

Our impact assessment suggested that relatively few services will be significantly affected by this change and need to modify their services. However, two categories of service – Adult Chat

However, research commissioned by Ofcom on audience views of Participation TV services showed that viewers are generally tolerant of such services continuing to be broadcast, subject to certain safeguards to ensure that services are appropriately labelled and positioned so that viewers do not chance upon them unintentionally.

1.7 The consultation set out four options for the future regulation of Adult Chat PTV services. These options were:

  1. Retain the current rules, allowing promotion of PRS of a sexual nature on encrypted channels only
  2. Allow promotion of PRS of a sexual nature on open access channels in spot advertising and teleshopping, subject to scheduling restrictions
  3. Allow promotion of PRS of a sexual nature in spot adverts subject to scheduling restrictions, but with teleshopping promotion only allowed on encrypted channels
  4. Allow promotion of PRS of a sexual nature on dedicated teleshopping channels subject to scheduling restrictions and labelling rules, but spot advertising remains only on encrypted channels.

We stated that Option 4 was Ofcom's preferred option for regulation of promotion of these services. We proposed amendments to the relevant rules in the Advertising Code, to be introduced when the changes to the Broadcasting Code come into effect.

The proposed Advertising Code rules for promotion of telecommunications based sexual entertainment services required channels to be appropriately positioned and labelled within an Adult or similar section of an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG) on any platform. Digital Satellite (Sky, Freesat) and Digital Cable (Virgin Media) platforms operate segregated genre-based EPGs including an Adult section: channels on these platforms would be able to meet the conditions the proposed rule.

However, due to the lack of a segregated EPG on most set-top boxes, channels would currently be unable to meet the conditions for promotion (unless in encrypted form) on the Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) platform. The most commonly used operator on the DTT platform is Freeview.

Ofcom notes that, compared to other TV platforms, DTT provides a smaller number of channels to access; also, not all receivers offer parental controls, to block either individual channels or groups of channels on the platform. The risk of unintentional viewing is therefore higher than with other platforms, and we consider that a stricter timing restriction should be introduced for DTT: that adult sex chat services should be allowed only between midnight and 0530 hours, rather than 2100-0530 on other platforms.

The revised Advertising Code is due to come into effect on 1 September 2010. The amended rules will be effective from this date.

The revised Advertising Code rules will require TV channels wishing to promote telecommunications based services sexual entertainment services or live psychic PRS to ensure that they are licensed for the purpose of the promotion of such services. These licences are currently categorised as editorial in the annex to the licence, and will need to be amended to be teleshopping licences. Broadcasters would therefore need to request an amendment to the annex to their licence to reflect these requirements should they wish to broadcast such content.

Ofcom, BCAP and the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) have agreed that, for the time being, Ofcom will be the regulatory body for Participation TV (defined as all types of long-form advertising that are primarily dependent on promotion of Premium Rate Service phone lines, and other paid interaction with content). This includes services currently regulated by Ofcom (adult chat, psychic, quiz) and others currently regulated by the ASA (gambling, message boards, dating).

Later on Ofcom respond to pints made in the consultation:

BCAP express concern that some adult sex chat services may currently breach the requirements of the Broadcasting Code in relation to avoidance of offence from sexual material. Where breaches of the Ofcom Broadcasting Code occur, Ofcom has taken firm regulatory action in relation to these particular broadcasters. It would not, in our view, be proper in effect to enforce closure of all operators in a particular field, as a response to the transgressions of some. Moreover, programming on Adult Chat PTV will continue to be subject to the requirement not to “cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards, or offend against public feeling” in accordance with Rule 6.1 of the Advertising Code. This provision is comparable with Rule 2.1 of the Broadcasting Code which requires broadcasters to apply generally accepted standards so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material. As a result, Adult Chat PTV will continue to be required to comply with rules relating to offence under the Advertising Code.

Ofcom does not consider that, to date, the primary purpose of adult sex chat services has normally been sexual arousal. In our judgement, the primary purpose is the generation of calls to the PRS lines. The content must be less sexually explicit than what is permitted on encrypted services with mandatory access restrictions. Where the content goes beyond the rules of the Codes in relation to offence, and its primary purpose appears to be sexual arousal, Ofcom has taken and will continue to take very robust regulatory action.

 

12th June   

Updated: Googling for Slow...

Turkey puts all Google sites on a slow access proxy implementing selective blocking
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

Google logoTurkey has put all Google services on a bad boys internet list leading to partial, blocking, slow access and timeouts.

The latest access restrictions seem related to the government's ongoing attempts to block YouTube. Access to Google's video service was cut off in 2008 after complaints that videos critical of Mustafa Kamal Ataturk — the founder of modern Turkey — were available on the YouTube site. Criticism of Turkey, or any insult to Turkishness, is a criminal offence in that country.

A Google spokesman said in an emailed statement:

We have received reports that some Google applications are unable to be accessed in Turkey. The difficulty in accessing some Google services in Turkey appears to be linked to the ongoing ban on YouTube. We are working to get our services back up as soon as possible.

Meanwhile, a report at a website called The National Turk, which appears to be based at least in part on news stories from the Turkish newspaper Hurriyet, says that:

The Telecommunication and communication Ministry (TIB), a government body that can control Internet accessibility in Turkey is attempting to block certain IP's (Internet Protocol Addresses) belonging to Google due to legal reason . Some ADSL company's and Internet services providers have sent their customers E-mail's and letters informing them of inaccessibility or the slow use of certain Google services [sic throughout].

ISPs in the country have reportedly told users that they would suffer accessibility problems to Google's home page in Turkey, websites that use Google Analytics, and use of the Google Toolbar. Another Turkish news site, Hurriyet Daily News, says that the access restrictions could be a result of the government trying to block specific DNS addresses that relate to Google, as part of its ongoing attempts to block YouTube.

According to reports from Turkish news sources, the government is saying that Google is responsible for the range of IP addresses that are being blocked due to the court order regarding YouTube, and therefore it is up to the company to correct the problem.

Update: Academics to Appeal Against Turkish Google Ban

11th June 2010. Based on article from bianet.org

google analytics logoMedia Freedom Activists Bring Lawsuit against Google Ban

Yaman Akdeniz from Bilgi University and Kerem Altiparmak from Ankara University will appeal to tban on certain Google services imposed by the Telecommunication Communication Presidency.

The Ankara 1st Magistrate Criminal Court had banned access to the global social networking site YouTube.com, the video service owned by Google, with a decision from 4 May 2008. In order to increase the effect of this decision, certain services of Google which are activated under the same IP numbers are blocked now as well.

Yaman Akdeniz told bianet that he was not sure whether this problem could be overcome. The access to Google Analytics has become very troublesome, Akdeniz said to name just one example. Google Analytics offers web analytics for enterprises to gain insights into website traffic and marketing effectiveness.

Akdeniz emphasized that the actual problem is based on the latest implementations of TI.B to make access to Google services more difficult and even fully block access in certain situations: This application is exaggerated. YouTube has been blocked anyways. New measures to make access even more difficult are harming the other Google services. This is nothing else but censorship. This is an extreme and contradictory application which is unacceptable in a democratic society.

Reporters without Borders (RSF) also condemned the increasing censorship on Google in Turkey: It is time the Turkish authorities demonstrated their commitment to free expression by putting an end to the censorship that affects thousands of websites in Turkey and by overhauling Law 5651 on the Internet, which allows this sort of mass blocking of sites .

Update: Turkish president tweets against Google ban

12th June 2010. Based on article from techdirt.com

abdullah gulVarious news publications are reporting that Turkish President Abdullah Gul used Twitter to say that he doesn't agree with the bans and has asked officials to look for ways to get rid of them.

According to Reuters, in a series of Tweets, Gul said:

I know there are lots of complaints about bans on YouTube and Google.

I am definitely against them being closed down. I have ordered responsible institutions for a solution. I asked for a change in regulations on merit.

What's next? Whoever blocked Google will now block Twitter as well?

Update: Appeal Denied

8th July 2010. Based on article from bianet.org

The Ankara 1st Criminal Court of Peace has not accepted an appeal of the Internet Technology Association (I.NETD) against the ban of the video sharing website YouTube in Turkey.

Evaluating the appeal by the Internet Technology Association, the judge Hayri Keskin insisted on rejecting it as long as objectionable violations of the law continue on the site.

 

12th June   

On the Road to Ruin...

Cuts to Sam Peckinpah's Convoy
Link Here

convoy Convoy is a 1978 US/UK action film by Sam Peckinpah

To film fans around the world, Convoy is the turd in Peckinpahs career toilet. To truck fans and lovers of Americana, it's a sub shaking guilty pleasure. I'm the latter.

Notoriously co-directed by James Coburn (Peckinpah was famously off his face the whole shoot), it's a film we've all seen, just enough vulgarity to push the rating up (one whispered F bomb, and SOME brief nudity), but also subtle enough to be shown to families on a wet Sunday afternoons.

Which is where my point lies. Over the years Convoy has been on TV a million times around the world and the only (brief) cuts have been an audio dip for one whispered profanity, and some re-framing to hide some boobs.

It has always however, shown the TV crew interview. A TV crew is filming the convoy, and makes several passes at drivers, who react accordingly (swerving into the camera car / pick up, mooning, and a very subtle gay invitation to the interviewer).

However this scene seems somewhat edited on the DVD. The VHS had the full scene, the TV cut has the full scene, yet the Region 1, 2, and 4 are left with an edited version, all missing the retaliation of the truckers. Well, actually, it's not fair to say the Region 2 is missing it, because the German release (through Kinowelt), seems to be the full version. However the UK and Scandanavian releases (also Region 2) are missing around the 3 minute mark.

Normally I wouldn't mind, but the editing is done in such a way, the pacing is out, and suddenly the camera crew jumps from talking to Kris Krisstoferson to talking to the hippy / born again bus, then straight back. It's not so much a censorship issue, as it is a stupidity issue.

One interesting point, is that it's made for the French market (in the UK it's released by Studio Canal, a French company), and this transfer was edited (for whatever reason), and ultimately used for the UK, and US releases. It's probably petty to spend money importing the German version (although I am), but it does have its advantages. The German transfer is (obviously) uncut, has an Anamorphic format, a rare 1978 trailer and is in stereo (however that may be just the German soundtrack). If you live in the UK and you find it cheap on Ebay.de, iId recommend it. If only for the completionists amongst us.

 

12th June   

Offsite: Classic Censorship...

Apple censors Joyce's Ulysses, a century after the US did the same
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

Ulysses Classics Wordsworth James Joyce Apple unveiled the slick iPhone 4, impressive iBookstore stats, and other gems on Monday, but the company is still up its censorship antics under the guise of protecting its users .

In the ultimate irony, it threatened to ban and is now censoring a graphic novella of Ulysses – the same classic James Joyce book banned in America nearly a century ago.

Apple's latest censorship gaffe could actually do some good, as it reaffirms the problems of the current iBookstore and Amazon Kindle e-publishing system with its lack of checks and balances:

  • One entity serving as agent, publisher and distributor
  • Censorship without public opinion or input
  • Ultimate control over reader data

...Read the full article

 

12th June   

Old Fogies Conservation Area...

Whinges about Ramsgate hairdressing poster
Link Here

marcello advertA hairdresser from Kent has been ordered to take down a billboard poster of his wife after a resident complained about it showing so much cleavage .

Marcello Marino put up the poster of his wife Yaice on the side of his salon because it was lively and modern . It's my wife, she's beautiful, and why not? With the recession, everybody's struggling and it's just nice having something more lively and modern.

Before I put it up I did a survey with my customers and a few of the older ones said it was a little bit too much, but the majority said it was really nice.

Jocelyn McCarthy, of the Ramsgate Society, said it was distasteful to show so much cleavage on a public building .

Thanet District Council confirmed it had received a complaint and told Marino to take it down because he did not have planning permission.

A council spokeswoman said: For a banner of this size and location, planning permission to display an advert is required. We have written to the owner explaining this, and also that planning permission for this advert would be unlikely as the property is in a conservation area.

 

12th June   

Updated: A Bitter Pill...

Newspaper goes on strike over censorship of doctor's strike coverage
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

Ajras Al-HuriyaA Sudanese newspaper said it would suspend publication for one week in protest at stringent censorship by authorities, as five other papers were censored in Africa's largest country, journalists said.

Direct pre-publication censorship was reintroduced for two daily papers last month and four others also complained they were visited by Sudanese security forces who removed many pages of content.

We will suspend our newspaper for a week in protest at the pre-(publication) censorship, said Faiz Al-Silaik, acting editor in chief of the Ajras Al-Huriya paper, aligned to the former southern rebel Sudan People's Liberation Movement.

Ajras Al-Huriya was unable to go to press on Sunday for the third day in a row and the opposition Al-Meydan, aligned to the Communist Party, was not allowed to print.

They went to the printing press...and they told the press not to print the paper, said managing editor Mohamed el-Fatih from Al-Meydan. The main news they were unhappy about seemed to be the doctors' strike.

Journalists from six independent or opposition papers told Reuters they were visited and directly censored by the security forces late on Saturday night.

Other papers said they were called and told not to write about specific news including the strike by doctors over pay and working conditions and the International Criminal Court, unless it was from a government source.

Update: Police newspaper censorship relaxed

12th June 2010. Based on article from sudantribune.com

The Sudanese General Union of Sudanese Journalists moderated a dialogue between the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) and two independent newspapers subject to pre-publication censorship and managed to lift it as a result, state media reported today.

The Secretary general of the pro-government union Mohyideen Tetawi said that they will defend press freedom by all means but at the same time stressed that the country's sovereignty and dignity is a red line cannot be overstepped .

Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir last year lifted press censorship after petitions from the journalists' union but warned editor in chiefs that they should avoid what leads to exceeding the red lines and avoid mixing what is patriotic and what is destructive to the nation, sovereignty, security, values and its morality .

 

11th June   

Update: Lowest Common Denominator Nutters...

Daily Mail rounds up a few sound byte 'fears' of more strong language on TV
Link Here  full story: Strong Language on TV...Whinging about strong langauge on TV

Daily Mail logoMinor league nutters have accused Ofcom of giving broadcasters a green-light to swear after consulting almost 130 people who largely thought offensive language was acceptable.

A study by the watchdog, which included special input for minority groups like those who are transgender or travellers, suggested people were willing to tolerate various swear words on TV throughout the day.

While Ofcom insists there have been no rule changes about swearing as a result of the research, the likes of Mediawatch-Uk fear the report will pave the way for a more permissive attitude to the problem.

Vivienne Pattison of Mediawatch UK said last night the findings did not reflect what her organisation was hearing. She said: It just doesn't ring true. I find it really surprising because in all the conversations I have the general view is that swearing is not acceptable pre-watershed at all.

Also it is not acceptable in society per se, one can't go into a shop and say things like that. That's why it is does seem bizarre that people would think it would be okay on television. I have been totally bamboozled by the science behind the survey.

Don Foster, the Not So Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, who before the election was the party's culture spokesman said the report was bizarre . He said: Some of the things they are saying are acceptable is frankly amazing. I hope it won't be used to give licence to the broadcasters to totally ignore what I think are real concerns about good taste. We have a responsibility to set standards and I think it is important that broadcasters don't just operate at the lowest common denominator. Nobody but nobody has come to me saying we want to see more swearing, it is the reverse, they want to see less of it.

An Ofcom spokesman said: The research was conducted to ensure that Ofcom continues to remain in tune with public expectations of what they hear on TV and radio. Our research shows that audiences remain concerned about a range of language that they find offensive. For this reason we are not considering any changes to our robust rules which protect the public, and in particular children, from offensive material.'

 

11th June   

A-Team Censors...

The A-Team cut for a 12A
Link Here

Team Bradley Cooper The A-Team is a 2010 US action film by Joe Carnahan

The BBFC suggested the cuts for the 2010 cinema release.

Two reels from this film were originally shown to the BBFC in unfinished form to consider language issues. The company were advised that two inadequately obscured uses of motherfucker would result in a 15 classification rather than the requested 12A . When the finished version of the film was submitted for formal classification, the two uses of the term had been further obscured and the film was classified 12A .

 

11th June   

Parliament Playing a Nutter Game...

Keth Vaz retains the chair of Parliament Home Affairs Committee
Link Here

Keith VazKeith Vaz who so notably blames all the worlds ills on computer games has retained his chairmanship of the Parliament Home Affairs Committee.

A fascinating achievement for an opposition MP who often gets linked with sleaze.

The Times has a knock with:

Keith Vaz, the MP for Leicester who was suspended from the Commons in 2002 after the Standards and Privileges Committee found that he had given them misleading information - has been made chairman of the Home Affairs committee.

The Daily Mail put together quite a piece on Vaz:

Truth about Keith Vaz and crooked lawyer: Sleaze scandal as Labour MP tries to take charge of crucial committee

Controversial Labour MP Keith Vaz was at the centre of a sleaze scandal last night after bombshell evidence emerged of his favour-for-a-favour relationship with a corrupt lawyer.

A Daily Mail investigation has found that Shahrokh Mireskandari treated the MP's wife Maria Fernandes and their young daughter to a weekend jolly in Rome - just weeks before Mr Vaz intervened in a potentially ruinous court case on behalf of the solicitor.

...See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

10th June   

Update: How Offensive is That?...

Ofcom publish research grading strong language
Link Here  full story: Strong Language on TV...Whinging about strong langauge on TV

Ofcom logoOfcom have produced a report titles: Audience attitudes towards offensive language on television and radio. In it they write:

Ofcom recognises that the use of language changes over time. Likewise the impact of the offence it may cause also changes over time.

In the five years since Ofcom last published research on attitudes to offensive language, we have received complaints about the use of terms which may not have previously been considered potentially offensive. In addition some words are now considered of heightened sensitivity and are seldom broadcast, while other terms are considered less offensive than in previous years.

Therefore the purpose of Ofcom commissioning independent research by Synovate, was to provide an up to date understanding of public attitudes to offensive language in order to inform Ofcom, viewers, listeners and broadcasters.

The research was qualitative in nature. This means it explored the views of a range of participants across the UK, and provided insights into their opinions based on a variety of examples of broadcast material. It was not a quantitative study, so the results do not seek to provide a definitive measure of the proportion of the UK population who hold specific opinions.

They found:

Amongst the words explored in this research, participants thought that some words were considerably stronger than others.

The mildest words were considered acceptable in most situations (e.g. arse , damn , tits'), whereas considerable care was seen to be necessary over the use of stronger words. In terms of strong language, most participants found the words 'cunt , fuck , 'motherfucker', pussy , cock and twat unacceptable pre-watershed and also wanted care to be taken over the use of the words bitch , bastard , bugger , dick , wanker , 'shag', slag and shit .

Post-watershed, cunt and motherfucker were considered the least acceptable words discussed in the research.

There were mixed views on the use of the word fuck which was considered more acceptable by some participants (e.g. younger people and male participants) but less acceptable by others (e.g. participants aged 55-75).

Most participants also wanted some care to be taken over the use of the word pussy post-watershed. The other words listed were seen to be acceptable postwatershed by most participants.

In terms of discriminatory language, nigger and Paki were seen as the most offensive words. Some participants thought it was acceptable to use them in some specific contexts (e.g. for educational use), whereas some thought they should not be used on television or radio in any context. The word spastic was also generally considered unacceptable.

Some discriminatory language polarised responses, particularly 'retarded', gyppo , pikey , gay and cripple as participants' familiarity with and interpretation of, these words varied greatly, both within the general UK sample, and between the general UK sample and the minority groups.

Overall, most potentially offensive words were not seen to be unacceptable in principle, as context was a key factor in determining whether language was seen as generally acceptable or unacceptable. The exception to this was some potentially discriminatory language (particularly Paki , nigger and spastic') which some participants considered unacceptable in any context. Some participants considered offensive language to be unacceptable when used too frequently, even if its use was thought to be broadly acceptable in relation to all of the other principles outlined in this report.

 

10th June   

Treading on Eggshells...

A Danish pop star named Medina offends the easily offended
Link Here

You I Medina Denmark's answer to Lady Gaga, decided to put on a free concert in the southern Copenhagen suburb of Ishøj, home to one of Denmark's largest muslim communities.

But Medina, whose real name is Andrea Fuentealba Valbak, didn't get to sing more than a few notes before a hail of eggs began to rain down upon the stage. The perpetrators, reports tabloid B.T., were a gang of between 10 and 20 youngsters between the ages of 14 and 17 all with an immigrant background .

Their reason for attacking the songstress? Apart from taking exception to Medina's hot pants and sexually suggestive song lyrics, it appears that the gang were provoked by the singer's stage name which is also coincidentally the name of the second holiest city in Islam and the burial place of Mohammed.

With the backing of most of the 3,000 strong audience, Medina ripped into the trouble-makers and told them that their behaviour was disrupting the concert for everyone else. But the strain took its toll, and the pop star ended up leaving the stage in tears.

Her official Facebook page received hundreds of messages of support in the wake of the egg attack, and Medina was also defended by the muslim Conservative MP Naser Khader. In his blog he wrote that he gets just as angry as the singer when a tiny minority of troublemakers with misogynist beliefs use infantile or violent means to highlight their point of view and ruin things for everyone else .

 

10th June   

High School Punks...

Old cuts to Rock 'n' Roll High School
Link Here

Rock Roll High School DVD Rock 'n' Roll High School is a 1975 US comedy musical by Allan Arkush

The BBFC waived their cuts for the 2002 Prism DVD and 2008 ILC DVD

Previously the BBFC cut 1:39s from the 1986 Warner video. The 1979 cinema release was similarly cut.

From cuts details on IMDb

  • Cut to remove all sight of cocaine and reefers

Review from US Amazon : The Enduring Ramones

Forget about Britney Spears and Mandy Moore's brand of bubblegum pop music and their equally bland movies - they don't hold a candle to the unbridled power of those punk rockers from New York City, the Ramones!

From B-movie veterans like Paul (Eating Raoul) Bartel and Mary (Death Race 2000) Woronov to newcomers (at the time), P.J. (Halloween) Soles and Dey (Strange Invaders) Young, the entire cast has a lot of fun spouting the film's wonderfully inspired cornball dialogue ( If you don't like it, you can put it where the monkey puts the nuts. ). The Ramones are good sports and mumble their way through the film and truly coming alive during the music sequences. The movie rightfully cements their reputation as legends.

Rock n Roll High School embodies the essence of the punk rock music that made the Ramones famous. The film is bursting with youthful energy, a dose of good ol' fashion anarchy and is loads of fun to watch. These are also the ingredients that made Rock n Roll High School a cult film. It was a commercial and critical failure upon its initial release but repeated midnight screenings, coupled with steady appearances on TV, have helped the film endure over the years.

 

10th June   

Law Commission Offending Public Decency...

Recommending the continued use of a catch-all law so open to abuse
Link Here

Law Commission logo Simplification of Criminal Law: Public Nuisance and Outraging Public Decency

Public consultation open until 30 June 2010

The Law Commission are consulting on the catch-all laws that allow police and the authorities to make it up as they go along. They have dismissed more fundamental limitations on the law claiming that case law has tightened up its application. Try arguing case law with a policeman bullying you over a minorly insulting t-shirt.

Obviously catch-all laws are useful to the authorities, and are unlikely to be removed from their armory (as they put it), but at least they could offer some sort of statutory compensation when police and the authorities are found to be misusing the laws for their own convenience or even maliciousness.

Anyway the Law Commission have at least suggested improvements to some of the more grand scale injustices incorporated into the current common law mess.

The Law Commission write:

Is it fair for a person to be liable for an offence that can carry a life sentence, if they didn’t intend to cause harm and weren’t reckless?

In a consultation, the Law Commission is asking whether the common law offences of public nuisance and outraging public decency are in need of reform.

Recent case law has tightened up the application of these historically broad and unclear areas. But the Law Commission is suggesting that clarity is still required around individuals’ intention to cause harm.

It is currently possible for someone to be guilty of causing public nuisance or outraging public decency without intending, or even being reckless as to, the effect of their actions on others. And the maximum penalty is life imprisonment.

In line with its aim to ensure that the law is fair, modern and accessible, the Law Commission is seeking feedback on the suggestions that:

  • clearly defined fault elements should be introduced to the offences of public nuisance and outraging public decency,
     
  • the prosecution must prove that the accused intended that their actions would cause damage or outrage, or were aware of the possibility and recklessly went ahead, and
  • the offences should be given proper statutory definitions.

Professor Jeremy Horder, the Law Commissioner leading the project, said: For the law to be fair, it must be readily understood by ordinary people. We believe that the reforms we are suggesting would bring these offences into line with other crimes of similar gravity, make the law fairer and help people understand when they may be at risk of breaking the law.

 

10th June   

Bad Apple is Spoiling the Bunch...

Microsoft ban porn from Windows Phone 7
Link Here

Pro Windows Phone 7 Development Microsoft has announced a new set of policies that will be used for the Windows Phone 7 Marketplace.

Just as with the Windows Mobile Marketplace, no porn or sexually suggestive content is allowed.

Microsoft still hasn't committed to offering any alternative way of loading applications. Businesses wanting their own privately developed, privately deployed software will still have to go via Marketplace. Their programs will still be private, but as things stand, there won't be any mechanism for cutting out the middleman.

 

10th June   

Offsite: Jonathan Dimbleby...

BBC's culture of compliance is extremely damaging
Link Here

jonathan dimblebyThe presenter who divided industry over his Prince of Wales Camilla interview criticises UK libel laws and the role of the BBC Trust.

The Any Questions host identifies a greater culture of compliance in direct response to the Ross/Brand saga – which in itself was extremely damaging for the BBC. And he is worried.

Everyone is in the same boat. To me it is peculiar that I do a live radio programme every week but six months ago the BBC decided I have to have the live trail on Friday's Today programme cleared because it is prepared in advance. But I can give this interview and say what I like. It seems a consequence of the Brand/Ross scandal but one wonders whether it was intentional or a result of drift. It risks creating a climate of caution. People are in danger of not thinking for themselves.

The safety-first culture inhibits personal response or judgment. People think something will be referred and they wonder how it will be interpreted if it goes to the very top, to the trust. The risk of that is an infantilisation of very serious, very talented people. I wonder whether such a detailed process of compliance is a useful way of spending time.

...Read full article

 

10th June   

Updated: Going Nutter...

I hate to say it, but Mary Whitehouse was probably right
Link Here  full story: Mary Whitehouse...Deification and ridicule

View Here Life Seventy For decades the late Mrs Whitehouse was the self-appointed moral watchdog of Britain. She saw television as the vanguard of the so-called permissive society of the Sixties, bringing violence, sex and bad language into the living rooms of the nation.

The puritanical campaigner warned of the de-sensitising effect of showing violence and gratuitous sex, saying it would create a more violent and sexualised society.

But Dame Joan was part of the 1960s generation who thought the old guard were foolish prudes.

Now, however, writing in Radio Times, the presenter said: The liberal mood back in the 60s was that sex was pleasurable and wholesome and shouldn't be seen as dirty and wicked. The Pill allowed women to make choices for themselves. Of course, that meant the risk of making the wrong choice. But we all hoped girls would grow to handle the new freedoms wisely.

Then everything came to be about money: so now sex is about money, too. Why else sexualise the clothes of little girls, run TV channels of naked wives, have sex magazines edging out the serious stuff on newsagents shelves? It's money that's corrupted us and women are being used and are even collaborating. Liberal: Joan Bakewell pictured in the Sixties

I never thought I would hear myself say as much, but I'm with Mrs Whitehouse on this one.

...Read the full article

Comment: Was Mary Whitehouse right all along?

7th June 2010. See article from timesonline.co.uk by William Rees-Mogg

William Rees-MoggOne belief that I would share, both with Whitehouse and with Ms Bakewell, is that the media have a unique role in shaping the culture of society. Many fear that our culture is falling apart. They look at our society and see a series of social epidemics. Some of these, such as 24-hour drinking, have been the result of legislation, but many seem to have been self-generating, under the influence of media that do not recognise the social responsibilities of power.

These epidemics of violence, drugs, divorce, abortion, porn and debt have made Britain a less secure and less stable society, harder to live in, less attractive and much harder for the lives of children.

...Read the full article

Comment: Epidemics of Bollox

8th June 2010 from David

So rees-Mogg blames our troubles on epidemics of violence, drugs, divorce, abortion, porn and debt

Hm.

One of these things is not like the others. Porn, that is, which is obviously fictional - you tend not to bump into threesomes on the average high street.

Abortion's not like the rest either, and certainly isn't a factor on society.

Violence, drugs, divorce and debt. Ah. There we go. You'll probably find that two of those tend to follow on from the other two, neither of which are caused by porn, action movies, or swearing on TV...

Comment: In Defence of Mary Whitehouse

10th June 2010. See article from spectator.co.uk by Mary Kenny

mary whitehouse with 5 breastsMary Whitehouse has often been represented as prejudiced, intolerant and homophobic. Yet her attitudes were rather archaic than malicious. She believed, like Sir John Reith in the 1920s and 1930s, that it was the duty of the BBC to edify the nation, rather than to roll back the boundaries of decency. Similarly, she attacked the Royal National Theatre for producing a play like The Romans in Britain , which included a scene of anal rape, which Sir Peter Hall rather pompously said was necessary to symbolise the penetration of Britain by Imperial Rome.

She claimed repeatedly that she was not hostile to homosexuals; she was unable, however, to accept that they were morally equivalent to heterosexuals. Equally, she protested against premarital intercourse and the sexual exploitation of children. In public entertainment she crusaded against violence, rape, full-frontal nudity, coarse language, and smoking and drinking.

Mrs Whitehouse did indeed protest too much; she saw slights against decency in everything, and especially took personally insults against Jesus Christ. Some of her complaints were just silly: she criticised a Beatles song in the Magical Mystery Tour because it contained the line You've been a naughty girl, you let your knickers down . She deprecated the innuendo in the sitcom It Ain't Half Hot Mum : and thought Top of the Pops anti-authority . She disliked Cathy Come Home because she thought it Left-wing propaganda, which she thought all part of the BBC's agenda.

Yet despite her over-statement and misjudged targets Mary Whitehouse was a significant figure. Some of her battles were justified, even prophetic.

...Read full article

 

9th June   

See What You've Been Missing...

Fox News get wound up by glossy magazine advert with penis shadow
Link Here

miami living advert Miami Living magazine has published an ad featuring the shadow of a penis.

The ad, for dating service EstablishedMen.com, appears in the magazine's Spring/Summer issue, which features Courteney Cox on its cover. It features two lingerie-clad women; a penis-shaped shadow appears over the chest of one of the women. The circle and arrow were added by FoxNews.com are not in the original advert.

Did they not see this, or have magazines become so desperate for ad space that they'll 'overlook' something like this? media and publishing 'expert' Penny C. Sansevieri asked FoxNews.com: But I find that every time something like this happens it elevates the exposure, good or bad - and issues will get snapped up very quickly.

A rep for the dating site told FoxNews.com that they never expected the ad to be approved:

When we created the ad, we never imagined a magazine like Miami Living would approve it, but judging by the amount of sign-ups we received since the magazine has come out, this 'shadow penis' ad seems to work and might become a staple of our campaign, the rep said.

The magazine has apologized for running the penis shadow ad. In a statement to Fox News, editor-in-chief Vanessa Pascale said:

This was just now brought to our attention. Miami Living magazine would like to apologise for not noticing the image. We hope that our audience recognises that we were just as surprised as they were to find this out. I myself have looked over the magazine dozens of times [prior to this being brought to my attention] and did not detect anything hidden in the ad, which leads me to believe that establishedmen.com must have tipped someone off as a publicity stunt. We trusted them as an advertiser. Miami Living magazine intends to review future ads more carefully so that something like this does not happen again.

 

9th June   

Update: Hardcore Pedantry...

URL on bland terms and conditions page found to be offensive to Ofcom
Link Here

Televison X logoReference to website address Television X (Freeview channel 93),
between 10 and 15 March 2010, 03:00 to 23:00

Television X is an adult channel located on the Freeview platform (channel 93). It is operated by Portland Enterprises.

Between 03:00 and 23:00 the channel broadcasts, without mandatory restricted access, a static interactive information page which provides viewers with details of how they can register for subscription or pay-per night adult services that have mandatory restricted access. By clicking on the yellow button on the remote control viewers can access another information page, also broadcast without mandatory restricted access, that includes some of the terms and conditions of these services (the terms and conditions page). When on this page viewers are directed to go to a particular website for the full terms. Between 23:00 and 03:00 the channel transmits both free-to-air (i.e. without mandatory restricted access) promotional trailers to encourage viewers to register for subscription or pay-per night services, and also [softcore] adult sex material that can only be broadcast under mandatory restricted access.

Ofcom received two complaints from viewers who said that the terms and conditions page, accessed by using the yellow button, directed viewers to a website address that contained sexually explicit content equivalent to the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) of R18 (i.e. hard core pornographic) material. On viewing the terms and conditions page complained of, Ofcom noted that it displayed the website URL www.televisionx.com. Ofcom visited this website address and found that it contained images of a strong sexual nature equivalent to BBFC R18-rated material ( R18-rated equivalent material ) which could be readily viewed without appropriate protections.

Although this R18-rated equivalent material was not broadcast on-air, Ofcom was concerned that it appeared on a website that was referred to on screen by an Ofcom licensed service freely available without mandatory restricted access between 03:00 and 23:00.

Ofcom considered Rule 2.1 (generally accepted standards) and 2.3 (offensive material must be justified by context) of the Code.

Ofcom Decision: In breach of the rules

The content of websites is not broadcast material, and therefore not subject to the requirements of the Code. However, any references to websites or URLs made on air, which can be through an interactive element of a service (i.e. the yellow button), are broadcast content. Ofcom therefore has the duty and the power to regulate such references under the Communications Act 2003. Ofcom licensed services should in no circumstances promote or direct viewers to adult websites which contain R18-rated equivalent material if such content can be accessed without appropriate restrictions in place. Therefore such references must not be broadcast on a service without mandatory restricted access.

The issue in this case was whether the website address was suitable to be referred to on a licensed television service that was broadcast without mandatory restricted access, and so complied with these rules. When accessed merely by clicking a button on a warning page to confirm that the user was over 18 the www.televisionx.com website contained images of R18-rated equivalent material. This included explicit images of a woman inserting a dildo. This website did not require prior registration to view and therefore the reference to its URL on the terms and conditions page, which clearly directed viewers to the website, was of serious concern to Ofcom. Ofcom considered that the broadcast of this website address was a breach of generally accepted standards because of the unprotected and explicit sexual material it led to.

Ofcom therefore concluded that the reference to www.televisionx.com, as broadcast on the terms and conditions page of the service Television X, via the yellow button, was in breach of Rules 2.1 and 2.3 of the Code.

 

8th June   

Recessionary Cinema and Inflationary Popcorn...

BBFC publish their Annual Report for 2009
Link Here

bbfc annual report 2010 A year of declining submissions for cinema and DVD but increased online certification via the BBFC.online scheme is marked in the BBFC Annual Report for 2009.

While the Board saw traditional media submissions fall for the third year running, the voluntary classification scheme for video content being supplied by downloading and streaming continues to draw new content providers and suppliers*. 2009 was the first full calendar year of operation and saw online certificates reach over 8,000, covering film and television content. The BBFC.online scheme was developed in the knowledge that the EU Audiovisual Services Directive would require the UK to introduce, by the end of 2009, a form of statutory regulation for certain video-on- demand services operating from within the UK. This EU Directive requires all member states to introduce certain basic rules for video-on-demand services which offer TV-like content to the public.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said:

While we continue to see a decline in traditional submissions we are looking to an online future. Considering that BBFC.online is a voluntary scheme, we have chalked up an impressive membership list, reflecting the importance the digital industry places on effective content labelling. The industry recognises the trust which the public places in BBFC classifications and the well recognised and understood category symbols and black card. We see widespread use of BBFC classifications through this scheme as the best way of signalling to consumers, and in particular parents, the nature of the video-on-demand content being offered and its suitability for different age groups.

That a BBFC classification offers something of value to the industry, beyond a legal obligation, was also clear from the fact that the vast majority of distributors continued to submit their works for classification during the hiatus in the enforcement of the Video Recordings Act between August 2009 and January this year. Entertainment retailers also continued to restrict sales according to BBFC classifications.

As far as the public is concerned, 2009 saw the roll out of the latest set of classification Guidelines, based on the extensive consultation exercise carried out in 2008/9, which ensures that we are in touch with current public attitudes. The provision of Consumer Advice and Extended Classification Information on both our main website and our website for Parents – pbbfc.co.uk – means that anyone trying to decide which film they, or their family, should see has access to as much information as possible to enable them to make informed decisions.

In 2009 the BBFC rejected three works because they were considered to be potentially harmful; eleven cinema films were cut, but these were cuts made by distributors to obtain a lower category; and 341 DVD submissions were cut, the vast majority of which (208) were in the R18 category and were to remove illegal or potentially harmful material.

A number of older films were resubmitted with a view to having previous cut material reinstated or changes overturned for a modern classification. When the video version of Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction came in for classification in 1994 a heroine injection scene was reframed to remove what was considered at the time to be instructional detail. In 2009 it came in again and the scene was passed uncut, based on up to date advice. The House by the Cemetery , a video nasty made in 1981, was passed uncut for the first time last year. The producer's cut of L'Empire des Sens – In the Realm of the Senses , the Nagisa Oshima classic 1976 study of sexual obsession, sadomasochism, madness and murder was submitted for a modern classification and passed 18 uncut.

2009 saw a reduction in the number of complaints to the BBFC and no one classification decision dominated the feedback from the public. Not everyone who complained to the Board had actually seen the film. The Board regularly receives complaints if a film is the subject of critical press coverage. Top end classification decisions regularly bring complaints from under age viewers who resent having their viewing or game playing restricted by our decisions. And some correspondents think the BBFC is responsible for everything from the historical accuracy of a film to the cost of the popcorn at the cinema.

 

8th June   

Update: Elite Whinges...

Ofcom continue their babe channel tirade
Link Here  full story: Babe Channels...Ofcom have it in for free to air babe channels

Elite TV advertElite Days
Elite, 31 March 2010, 15:00 to 16:00

Elite is owned and operated by Prime Time TV Ltd. The channel broadcasts interactive daytime and adult-sex chat programmes that are freely available and without mandatory restricted access. It is located in the adult section of the Sky Electronic Programme Guide ( EPG ) on Channel 911. Viewers can contact the onscreen female presenters via a premium rate telephone or text number ( PRS ). Generally the female presenters dress and behave in a provocative and/or flirtatious manner.

'A' viewer was concerned that during this daytime output the presenter was shown continually thrusting her body and mimicking sexual intercourse and this was inappropriate for the time of transmission.

Ofcom viewed the material broadcast between 15:00 and 16:00 and noted that the presenter was wearing a skimpy gold lam thong swim suit. During the broadcast she was shown sitting on a sofa facing the camera and lying on her side. While in these positions the presenter spread her legs wide apart for prolonged periods of time and she repeatedly gyrated her pelvis. The presenter also repeatedly stroked and caressed the top of her thighs and breasts, and pinched her nipples.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of the Code (children must be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them).

Ofcom Decision: In Breach

Ofcom has made clear in previous published findings what sort of material is unsuitable to be included in daytime interactive chat programmes. Some of these findings involved channels licensed to Prime Time TV. Presenters of daytime chat services should not at any time appear to mimic or simulate sexual acts before the watershed or behave in a sexual manner, by for instance adopting sexual positions. These decisions were also summarised in a guidance letter sent by Ofcom to daytime and adult sex chat broadcasters, including the Licensee, in August 2009.

In Ofcoms view the material shown in this broadcast was clearly unsuitable for children. We do not agree with the broadcasters view that this was equivalent to looking at any woman in a bikini, lingerie or fully clothed. During this broadcast the female presenter, who was wearing very skimpy clothing, was shown on a sofa in sexually suggestive poses for prolonged periods of time. In particular, she was shown sitting down facing the camera and lying on her side, and in both positions she had her legs wide apart. While in these positions the presenter behaved in a sexual manner by repeatedly gyrating her pelvis as though, in Ofcoms opinion, miming sexual intercourse. During this time she also repeatedly touched and stroked her body, including her breasts and the top of her thighs in a sexually provocative manner. We concluded that this content had no editorial justification for broadcast at this time. Its purpose was clearly sexual stimulation with the aim of attracting PRS income and was not suitable to promote daytime chat. Further, contrary to the broadcasters assertion, the material in this instance was stronger than content broadcast in daytime soaps and videos shown on pre-watershed music channels (because, for example, the shots of the presenter here were more prolonged and sexually provocative, and were not part of an editorial narrative).

This unsuitable content was not appropriately scheduled and was therefore in breach of Rule 1.3.

 

8th June   

Comment: On Deadly Ground...

Daily Mail play 'Blame Bingo' with the Cumbrian killings
Link Here

Deadly Ground DVD Region NTSC The Daily Mail seem to have picked up a violent video angle for the Derrick Bird killings:

...

Further insights into Bird's mental state were revealed today, as one of the last people to see him alive told how he watched a violent film the night before he went on a shooting rampage.

Best friend Neil Jacques said Bird spent hours pouring out his anger towards his twin brother, David, and solicitor Kevin Commons - who were to become his first victims.

Mr Jacques and Bird then watched violent action film On Deadly Ground , starring Steven Seagal, which features multiple killings.

Coincidently On Deadly Ground was due for a showing on ITV on Monday night.

Comment: Blame Game Changes Rules

8th June 2010. Based on article from dailymail.co.uk , thanks to MichaelG

Posted this to the Daily Mail comments, it's got less hope that a one-legged cat trying to bury a turd on a frozen lake of ever getting published, so in the name of posterity, here it is:

Make your minds up!

Exit Wounds DVD Steven Seagal Yesterday it was On Deadly Ground that Derrick Bird watched with his friend the night before his shooting spree. Today, it's Exit Wounds , an entirely different Seagal movie.

What gives? Just realised the eco-friendly plot, moral messages and relatively mild violence in On Deadly Ground meant the movie wasn't brutal or morally reprehensible enough to provide a remotely plausible media scapegoat or the requisite sensationalism for this type of violent crime story?

So you've modified the story, doubtless hoping no-one would notice, weaving in the way more violent Exit Wounds instead. The plot of Exit Wounds contains far more gunfights and shotgun-related mayhem than On Deadly Ground , so it's bound to make a more convincing source of inspiration for Bird's killing spree - isn't it?

What exactly have you got against the movie industry that dictates that you have to attempt to link every violent crime in Britain with a piece of cinema?'

 

8th June   

Confusing the Faithful...

Priest rants about religious art being a bit gay
Link Here

virgin carmen A Catholic priest at a Dominican Republic resort town wants to destroy artwork in his parish because the painting shows angels with a homosexual expression .

This confuses the faithful, he argues. The painting named Allegory of the Virgin of Carmen , was concluded 12 years ago by Dominican artist Roberto Flores.

The artwork adorns the interior of the church of Our Lady of Carmen . The priest argues that the church congregation feels uncomfortable by the painting and that the mural does not inspire religious sentiments because the angels there depicted have a diabolical, homosexual look in their faces. Further, he contends that it is not clear whether the angels are male or female.

 

7th June   

Censorship Tanks On...

Tank Man cartoon gets taken down from Chinese newspaper website
Link Here

tiananmen square cartoon21 years after the Tiananmen Square crackdown, China's censors are still working to purge public discourse about the tragic events of June 4, 1989.

A cartoon that alludes to the anniversary of the crackdown on student-led protests around Beijing's Tiananmen Square has been circulating on overseas Web sites after it was deleted from the Chinese Internet, according to international news reports.

The Guangzhou-based Nanfang Dushi Bao (Southern Metropolis Daily published the image of a boy drawing a soldier and a row of tanks on a blackboard as one of a series of cartoons marking International Children's Day on June 1. It appeared in print as well as online, according to the BBC, but was later removed.

The blackboard has the headline, School Newspaper. The cartoon is credited to Xiang Ma and alludes to the iconic Tank Man photograph showing a protestor holding up a line of tanks.

 

7th June   

Update: Giant Wreath for Press Freedom...

Ukrainian TV news journalists protest against censorship
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Ukraine...Journalists protest censorship

1 plus 1 logoDozens of Ukrainian journalists were wearing T-shirts reading stop censorship at a news conference by President Viktor Yanukovynch in Kiev.

Media concerns regarding freedom of speech are growing in Ukraine since President Yanukovynch's election.

The president assured the media that he shared their concerns. No-one is putting pressure on you or will put pressure on you, he claimed at the press conference.

He read a letter signed by several journalists and asked the security services and interior ministry to investigate the complaints. He even accepted one of the T-shirts via a bodyguard.

Ukrainian television journalists from the private 1+1 and STB channels issued a petition last month, complaining of an increase in censorship on certain subjects.

When Yanukovych was hit on the head last month by a gigantic wreath at a memorial ceremony, officials ordered journalists not to broadcast the footage. But the presidency later admitted they had overstepped the mark.

 

6th June   

A Monopoly on Gambling...

Netherlands wins online foreign gaming ban so as to preserve advantage for local lottery
Link Here

European Court of JusticeEurope's highest court has handed down a setback to online betting sites, ruling that member states are allowed to ban them from operating.

A member state can prohibit the operation of games of chance on the Internet, the European Court of Justice said in its judgement on a challenge by British online bookmakers against Dutch law: Prohibition may, on account of the specific features associated with the provision of games of chance on the Internet, be regarded as justified by the objective of combating fraud and crim e.

The Netherlands has a licensing system that allows it to restrict access to the gambling market. Two British firms, Ladbrokes and Betfair, challenged the Dutch ban arguing, in separate cases, that they were properly licensed in a fellow EU nation and that European law upholds the right of companies to cross borders and carry out business in other European Union countries.

While the case concerned the Netherlands, the ruling covers the whole of Europe.

In a statement, De Lotto director Tjeerd Veenstra welcomed the ruling: Ongoing attempts by the commercial gambling lobby to undermine the restrictive Dutch policy have at last been called to a halt by the European Court. The principles of the free market are subordinate to overriding principles of public policy aimed at preventing addiction and fraud.

 

6th June   

Update: Dangerous Content...

Russia proposes a 10pm TV watershed
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in Russia...Russian TV censors easily wound up

united russia party logoRussia's ruling party has proposed legislation to increase censorship for children, the BBC Russian service has reported.

TV and radio news programs featuring episodes of violence, destruction, disasters, death and the like should be put off-air during daytime because they are harmful for children's psychology, said the draft legislation proposed by the United Russia party.

The proposed legislation submitted defines daytime as a period from 6am to 10pm.

After 10pm, TV programs should be accompanied with a warning about the dangerous content of the upcoming program.

Dangerous content is defined as those promoting drugs, smoking, alcohol, gambling, prostitution, begging and vagrancy as well as materials that deny family values or provoke people into committing crimes.

The bill proposed that the first and the last pages of printed media should not bear any information that might be harmful for children's health. Otherwise, these editions must be sold in non-transparent covers, as must be adult magazines.

Experts said some definitions in the proposal are too vogue, and if the bill becomes law, it will result in banning nearly all the news programs.

 

6th June   

For Neda...

Iran attempts to censor documentary about protestor that was shot
Link Here

neda agha soltan video Iran is jamming satellite broadcasts in attempts to stop people seeing a new film telling the story of Neda Agha-Soltan, the young woman who was shot dead during the mass protests that followed last summer's disputed presidential election.

Viewers in Tehran complained of jamming and power cuts when the Voice of America Persian TV network broadcast the documentary For Neda , featuring the first film interviews with the family of the 27-year-old.

The 70-minute film, made by Mentorn Media for HBO and being screened in the US this month, has rapidly gone viral in Iran in the run-up to the anniversary of the disputed elections that triggered the protests.

Neda became an instant symbol of Iran's struggle for democracy. On 20 June, within hours of her killing – described as probably the most widely witnessed death in human history – mobile phone images of her bloodstained face were being held up by demonstrators in Tehran and all over the world.

The film was directed by Antony Thomas and co-produced by Saeed Kamali Dehghan, a former Guardian correspondent in Iran. Kamali Dehghan risked arrest to interview Neda's parents and siblings and obtain unseen footage of her life.

Witnesses have said that she was shot in the heart by a sniper with the Basij militia force.

 

5th June   

Update: Blowing the Case Sky High...

Twitter joker to launch an appeal against his conviction
Link Here  full story: Police Twitter Twits...Man charged over terrorism quip on twitter

jack of kent logoJack of Kent writes about an appeal of the man prosecuted for sending a jokey twitter message about bombing Robin Hood Airport.

Paul Chambers has now lodged an appeal at Doncaster Crown Court. He will be appealing his (in my view) wrongful conviction under section 127 of the Communications Act 2003 for sending an ill-conceived joke on Twitter.

The appeal will probably be heard in July or August.

If the Crown Court appeal is unsuccessful, then there can then be an appeal to the High Court, and so on until he is finally acquitted, or until he exhausts the entire appeal process.

The appeal will now be primarily undertaken by the awesomely formidable Stephen Ferguson, one of the United Kingdom's best and most sought-after defence and appellate barristers. Paul and his legal team will also have support pro bono from myself and Andrew Sharpe in respect of the Communications Act 2003.

I think we can be optimistic for Paul's chances on appeal, but that sadly is not a certainty. There is still a lot of work to be done so that this injustice can be remedied.

 

5th June   

Moral Censors...

Italian state TV to be monitored to ensure 'the correct representation of people's dignity'
Link Here

sexy italian tvItalian taste and decency nutters have found a new optimism.  A new anti-sexism censor is set to target any sexiness found on state-funded Rai TV.

The independent observation panel will have responsibility, in the words of one of its parliamentary backers, for ensuring the correct representation of people's dignity, with particular emphasis on the distorted representation of women .

The panel has been written into Rai's new contract and approved by ministers. If it spots too much flesh or female stereotyping it will report back to the Rai commission in parliament, which has the power to censure programme-makers.

Giovanna Melandri, the Democratic Party MP and a member of the Rai commission in parliament, said there was a long way to go in reforming Italian TV but she said the tide was finally turning. Is this the beginning of a revolution? We hope so. With the creation of the panel to monitor the way women are portrayed on state TV we hope to curb the use of women as mere decorative images, she said.

But one Mediaset comedy writer, who declined to be named, told The Independent that people hoping for a radical change on Italian television shouldn't hold their breath. Every five years some politician realises that Italian TV is too sexist, and tries to change that. It never worked and I'm not sure it will work this time. It would be like trying to stop us eating pizza: showing sexy girls on TV is so ingrained in our daily life that it can't be stopped anymore. I really believe that.

 

5th June   

Villains of the Piece...

Russia don't like being game villains so they will impose more censorial state control nastiness
Link Here

Call Duty Game Year DVD Dismayed by the negative way it is portrayed in computer games, Russia is planning to promote itself with a series of patriotic titles based on the heroic deeds of its soldiers in the Second World War.

The country's parliament is also discussing plans to ban anti-Russian computer games after MPs complained that games, mostly American, portrayed Russians as Cold War stereotypes, villains and alcoholics.

The Russian version of the best-selling Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 game already has a scene cut where gamers shoot innocent passengers at Moscow's Sheremetyevo Airport, but if the parliamentarians get their way it could be banned altogether.

While the MPs cannot stop offending games being made, some want to ban their import. The Duma is considering setting up a commission to decide which games should be illegal to import.

Games that might fall foul of the commission include the German Ulitsa Dimitrova, where gamers play a seven-year-old child in St Petersburg who has to steal, kill and lie in order to buy cigarettes.

 

5th June   

Too Much Egalité and Not Enough Liberté...

French politician fined for minor racial quip
Link Here

France flagFrance's interior minister was found guilty of making incontestably offensive racist remarks to a man of North African origin and faced opposition calls to resign.

Brice Hortefeux, the former immigration minister and a close friend of the president, Nicolas Sarkozy, was fined €750 (£621) and ordered to pay €2,000 in damages for making private insults of a racial nature at a political gathering in September. His lawyers said he would appeal.

The case stems back to an event in the south-western town of Seignosse, at which a video appeared to show him making jokes about Amin, a young member of the ruling rightwing UMP party. The footage, which first shows a member of the crowd saying of Amin, He eats pork, he drinks beer, then shows Hortefeux joking: So he doesn't correspond at all to the prototype.

A woman in the crowd then shouts: He's our little Arab, after which Hortefeux says: There's always one. When there's one, that's OK. It's when there are a lot of them that there are problems.

Although ruling that the mention of a prototype was not racial in nature, the Paris court said the second part of the comments were offensive, if not contemptuous , and that they stigmatised French people of North African origin.

 

5th June   

Silencing the Opposition...

Bangladesh government closes popular and critical newspaper
Link Here

amar desh logoThe Bangladeshi government ordered the closure of the country's third largest national daily newspaper Amar Desh.

In an interview conducted with the acting editor, Mahmudur Rahman, he told Index on Censorship that police officers under government orders had stormed the newspaper's headquarters in Kawaran Bazar, Dhaka.

Many in the opposition Bangladeshi National Party (BNP) — which Amar Desh supports — believe the closure is part of a move by the Awami League government to crack down on press freedom to minimise opposition to government policy.

In recent months, Mahmudur Rahman has written editorials and articles criticising the government, he has documented human rights abuses, extra-judicial killings and maladministration by officials linked to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

Rahman told Index: The government has made a fascist stance against freedom of expression. He stressed, We are the third largest national daily and have the second largest internet readership…I have in my journalism exposed the government's record on corruption and human rights abuses extensively, in recent days we have seen a high number of custodial deaths…in other words I have challenged Sheikh Hasina, the current prime minister, on her integrity and challenged the establishment.

Rahman has asked those who work for freedom of expression around the world to publicise the situation in Bangladesh. He said: Support us in the fight to freedom of speech, people should be free to struggle and show their dissent against oppressive measures, that is part of any civil plural democracy .

The Bangladesh Federal Union of Journalists and Dhaka Union of Journalists called a protest rally at the National Press Club in protest against the government's action

 

4th June   

Comedy of Nutters...

US campaigners unite against Comedy Central's planned JC programme
Link Here

Comedy Central logoA few weeks ago, Comedy Central announced that it had a new program in development called JC that is about Jesus Christ who moves to New York to escape his father's enormous shadow.

In response, a collection of Religious Right leaders have banded together to form Citizens Against Religious Bigotry.

The coalition of Jewish and Christian leaders are urging advertisers to boycott the show, based on Comedy Central programs, such as South Park , which have mocked or disparaged Christ and other religious leaders.

After we reveal the vile and offensive nature of Comedy Central's previous characterizations of Jesus Christ and God the Father, we expect these advertisers to agree wholeheartedly to end their advertising on Comedy Central and discontinue their support for unabashed, anti-Christian discrimination, said Brent Bozell, president of Media Research Center and founding member of Citizens Against Religious Bigotry.

Bowell said his group will publicize advertisers who agree to boycott the Comedy Central show and those who refuse.

Others joining the group protest are Family Research Council president; Michael Medved, syndicated talk radio host; Bill Donohue, Catholic League president; Tim Winter, Parents Television Council president; and Rabbi Daniel Lapin, The American Alliance of Jews and Christians president.

The group is sending a letter to potential advertisers, giving them two weeks to report on whether they will agree to boycott the program, warning that failure to respond will mean they support religious bigotry:

 

4th June   

Daily Mail Go GaGa...

Exploiting the Cumbrian killings for more tabloid 'outrage'
Link Here

Oh here we go! Straight after a major violent tragedy the right-wing tabloid press go looking for something slightly controversial and try to link it with said major violent tragedy in order to milk the said major violent tragedy further.

When there is nothing more to say about the major violent tragedy let's go try to link the major violent tragedy with something else so we can say more about it and keep selling our newspapers and bleed as much out of the slaughter of innocent members of the public as possible!

Sickening anyone?

Shocked parents brand Lady Gaga's bloody stage show as sickening in wake of Cumbria slaughter

See article from dailymail.co.uk

Daily Mail logoShe's not exactly known for her squeaky-clean image and has been no stranger to controversy during her rise to fame. But has Lady Gaga possibly taken things too far this time?

The singer was slammed by horrified fans after she she pretended to be murdered and eaten on stage by a crazed psycho killer, just hours after the horrific shooting spree across Cumbria.

Blood-splattered: Lady Gaga on stage in Manchester last night after acting out a scene in which she was attacked by a psycho killer which left thousands of fans horrified

Thousands of fans and parents who had taken their children to the concert at the MEN Arena in Manchester looked on in horror as the 24-year old singer, who was dressed in a skimpy leather basque, was ambushed from behind by a gothic man dressed in black, who then appeared to bite into her neck before fake blood spurted down the front of chest.

The scene on stage came just hours after cab driver Derrick Bird killed 12 in a gun rampage in Cumbria and just days after Crossbow Cannibal suspect Stephen Griffiths was charged with murdering three prostitutes in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

...

 

4th June   

Update: A Cure for Bullshit...

ASA censures religious centre for nonsense claims of miraculous healing
Link Here  full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

manchester miracle centreA circular for Mount Zion Restoration Ministries was headlined Come and See and had the strapline Real life testimonies from London Miracle Centre . The front cover featured pictures of three individuals, whose testimonies of miraculous and prayer-assisted healing were printed inside the circular, under the headings Miraculously Healed after Near Fatal Car Accident , Cancerous Cells Disappear After Prophetic Healing Service and Miraculously Healed of Cancer . The front cover also featured a picture of a man in a tuxedo with the caption 'Jesus Wants the Best for You in Life' Senior Pastor, Dr Abraham . The same picture appeared again inside the circular with the caption Senior Pastor: Dr Abraham Daniel-Joel . Issue

One reader challenged whether the:

  1. advertiser could substantiate the claims that they had cured cancer and the serious complications suffered by the car accident victim;
  2. ad was irresponsible and could discourage people from seeking essential medical treatment for serious medical conditions; and,
  3. use of the term Dr misleadingly implied that Dr Abraham Daniel-Joel held a general medical qualification.
  4. The ASA challenged whether the testimonials featured in the ad were genuine and could be independently verified.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

1. Upheld

We noted that the ad featured three testimonials that claimed Dr Abraham had cured cancer and serious head injuries sustained in a road accident. However, we also noted that we had not seen robust, independent evidence that demonstrated that Dr Abraham had successfully treated these conditions. We therefore concluded that on this point the ad was misleading.

2. Upheld

We noted that the ad stated ... I have seen the dead raised and I have witnessed nearly all types of healing miracles. Church ministries are like restaurants. Here ... we serve miracles. We also noted that the testimonials referred to series medical conditions, and suggested that Dr Abraham's healing abilities were responsible for curing them. Two of those testimonials also described explicit refusals to visit a GP, go to hospital or undergo emergency surgery. We therefore considered that the ad implied that Dr Abraham was able to treat serious medical conditions by healing alone, and we concluded that the ad could therefore discourage some people from seeking essential medical treatment for serious medical conditions.

3. Upheld

The ASA noted Mount Zions explanation that Abraham Daniel Joel had a PhD in Computational Fluid Dynamics. However, we considered that consumers were likely to understand the term Dr to mean that Abraham Daniel-Joel held a general medical qualification. Because we understood that was not the case we concluded that the use of the term Dr was misleading.

4. Upheld

We noted that the CAP Code required advertisers to hold signed and dated proof for any testimonial that they used, and stated that claims made in testimonials must be supported by independent evidence of their accuracy. Because we had not seen signed and dated copies of the testimonials used in the ad, or independent evidence that verified the claims made in them, we concluded that the testimonials were misleading.

 

3rd June   

Takeover Games...

VSC expect to take over as games censors in early autumn
Link Here

VSC logoThe Video Standards Council, the new games censors in waiting, are expecting to take over the job from the BBFC around September this year.

Speaking to Eurogamer TV,  Laurie Hall, VSC director general said: The Secretary of State has to be satisfied that everything has been put in place before he presses the green button. There are various arrangements that have to be put in place: a statutory instrument for dealing with packaging regulations; the Secretary of State has to be happy that the arrangements that the VSC itself has put in place to carry out its statutory duties are in order before he designates us. When exactly will all this happen? We don't know. Our best guess is the early autumn, possibly September.

Speaking to Eurogamer TV earlier in the year, the BBFC's senior policy advisor, David Austin, said: We've been talking to them pretty much constantly since the decision as to how it's all going to happen. We'll be working in parallel forever, as long as there's a VSC and PEGI, because we will still retain responsibility for certain types of game and because game and film content are moving closer.

While the details are still being thrashed out, it is understood the BBFC will retain responsibility for rating the small number of pornographic games requiring an R18 rating.

Update: Elspa Expect

11th June 2010. See article from mcvuk.com

Trade body ELSPA expects long journey to conclude before busy Q4 season

ELSPAELSPA is hopeful that the PEGI system of age ratings for video games will be ratified in law this October – just in time for complete clarity through the busiest selling season.

 

3rd June   

Update: TinTin in the Belgian Courts...

An attempt at book burning
Link Here  full story: TinTin Book Censorship...TinTin au Congo and the overly sensitive

Aventures Tintin Tintin Congo Legal attempts to ban Tintin in the Congo for racism are a form of book burning , according to lawyers acting for the estate of Hergé, the Belgian cartoon hero's creator.

Belgium's courts are investigating whether Tintin's 1931 Congolese adventures, when the country was a Belgian colony, portrays black Africans in a racist way.

Alain Berenboom, a lawyer for the estate of Georges Remi, the Tintin cartoonist who worked under the Hergé pen-name, attacked the calls to censor the book which was published for over 70 years before being accused of racism.

He Said: I cannot accept racism but I consider it equally lamentable that we burn books. To ban books is to burn them . It has never caused public order problems, including in Africa.

Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo, a Brussels-based Congolese man, has spent the last three years pursuing Tintin's copyright holders and publisher in the civil and criminals courts.

This book contains images and dialogue of a manifestly racist and offensive nature not only to blacks but to the whole of humanity, said Ahmed L'Hedim, Mondondo's lawyer: It is simply unbearable to my client that his children could come across this book and feel insulted.

 

3rd June   

Update: Game Over for Chicago Buses...

Chicago Transit Authority ban on mature games adverts found to be unconstitutional
Link Here  full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

Chicago bus with GTA advertThe Entertainment Software Association (ESA) won a partial victory earlier this year by obtaining a temporary injunction against the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) over an ordinance that attempted to prohibit Mature (M)-rated game advertisements

A Judge has now permanently banned the CTA from enforcing or directing enforcement of the ordinance. In a ruling handed down on May 17 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Judge Rebecca Pallmeyer ordered judgment against the CTA.  It was also ruled that the ESA was entitled to recoup reasonable attorneys' fees and costs related to the lawsuit.

Ordinance 008-147 took effect in January of 2009 and prohibited any advertisement that markets or identifies a video or computer game rated 'Mature 17+' (M) or 'Adults Only 18+' (AO). The ESA had argued that such a ban was unconstitutional.

 

3rd June   

Update: A Breach in the Wall...

Unfiltered porn sites reported in China
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

great firewall breachUntil now, all pornographic content has been blocked by the censors inside of China.

But it turns out that you can now search on Google any sexual activity you like inside China and access it without censorship. Some, but not all, Chinese pornographic websites are also available.

No one knows why there has been a sudden change of heart. The friends who first told me the news speculated that with the recent spate of extreme violence carried out by middle-aged men (the kindergarten stabbings, today's shoot-out in a court in Hunan), the government might be allowing pornography in order to vent some pent-up testosterone.

Perhaps also, with the closure of hundreds of brothels and saunas, the authorities have deemed the pornography a consolation.

Or perhaps there is a more pragmatic explanation. It would not be a wild assumption to guess that this is a technical issue with the capacity of the Great Firewall [China's censorship system], said Wen Yunchao, an activist in Guangdong: The unblocking has been going on for weeks, so we can conclude that either the system has a limited capacity and wants to focus on other things, or this could be a long-lasting change .

 

3rd June   

Update: Arms Length Regulator...

EU telecoms regulator shipped out to Latvia
Link Here  full story: BEREC...European wide telecoms regulator

berec logoThe Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications was going to be a superpower: able to dictate policy across the EU and ride roughshod over national regulators. Since then its power has been steadily eroded to the point where it's a talking shop with a staff of ten, who now find themselves based in the capital of Latvia.

The purpose of BEREC is now to advise the EU Commission as well as national regulators on just about everything relating to telecommunications, when asked. It's hard to imagine the fiercely independent national regulators rushing to Riga for advice, but it will provide a place for the regulators to meet up.

 

2nd June   

'King Whingers...

ASA reject complaints about Burger King adverts
Link Here

king whingers Three posters and an internet ad promoted a burger chain.

a. One poster showed an image of a burger next to text that stated KING TASTY . Smaller text stated BK ANGUS. TASTE IS KING next to the Burger King logo.

b. Another poster was the same, but stated KING DELICIOUS .

c. A third poster was the same, but stated KING GREAT .

d. An internet audio ad, played on the music streaming site Spotify featured a conversation between a traffic warden and a motorist. The motorist said Oh officer don't give us a ticket, I was just getting some king lunch. The traffic warden said I can see that and it looks king good. The motorist said Yeah it's the new three cheese Angus from Burger King. King delicious. The traffic warden said That's a lot of king beef and cheese for sure, but I'm sorry there's no king parking here. The motorist said But I was only gone for a king minute. The traffic warden said Tell you what, give me that king burger and we'll forget about it. You can park on King Street and go back to the king restaurant. The motorist said Huh, what a king pain. and drove off. The traffic warden called out Don't forget your king seatbelt, sir! A voice-over then described the burger being advertised and stated King tasty.

52 complainants objected to the ads because they felt that the use of king in the ads was a reference to a swear word.

  1. 48 complainants challenged whether ads (a), (b) and (c) were offensive
  2. 13 complainants challenged whether ads (a), (b) and (c) were unsuitable for children to see
  3. Nine complainants challenged whether ad (d) was offensive
  4. Six complainants challenged whether ad (d) was unsuitable for children

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that the image of the burger and the word KING could be understood to represent the advertisers name, but acknowledged that some readers might infer that the burger also represented a swear word and considered that that association might be distasteful to some readers. We noted, however, that the posters did not feature any explicit bad language.

Although we considered that the ads were likely to be seen as distasteful to some, because they did not include any explicit bad language, we concluded that they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. Not upheld

We noted that the ads did not include any explicit bad language and considered that it was unlikely that younger children would interpret the image of the burger to represent a swear word, or that they would understand that interpretation of the ads. Although we acknowledged that some older children might infer that the burger represented a swear word, rather than the advertisers name, we considered that most children were unlikely to associate the burger image with bad language. Because the ad did not feature an explicit swear word, but an image of a burger, we concluded that the ads were unlikely to cause harm to children.

3. Not upheld

We understood that the ad was delivered to adults aged 18 and over on Spotify and noted it contained a familiar yet comic situation, in which a traffic warden was prepared to ignore a parking offence in exchange for a motorists Burger King burger. We noted that the ad contained a number of references to king and considered that those could be interpreted to represent a swear word, but that, in most instances, that reference also related to the advertisers name. Although we acknowledged that some listeners might find the ad to be in poor taste, because it was a comic scenario directed to an adult listenership and because it did not include any explicit swearing, we concluded the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

4. Not upheld

We understood that Spotify was a subscription service and that users had to provide a date of birth when registering and confirm that they were 18 years of age or older, or 12 years of age or older and had received their parents or guardians consent to subscribe. We understood that Spotify targeted ads according to the age of its users and that the Burger King ad was only delivered to users who were registered as being 18 or over. We therefore considered that the advertiser had ensured there were adequate restrictions in place to avoid the ad being delivered to under 18-year-olds.

Because we considered the ad was unlikely to be heard by children, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence or harm to children.

 

2nd June   

Update: For a Better Environment...

Australian Greens campaign to end the waste of energy and resources raiding sex shops
Link Here  full story: Sex Shop Raids in Australia...Police raid sex shops looking for porn

The GreensThe New South Wales Greens are calling on the State Government to legalise the sale of X-rated material after police raids on two Sydney adult stores.

Greens MP Lee Rhiannon will move a motion in the upper house tomorrow aimed at clearing up the legal contradiction that condones the use of X-rated material, but not its sale. She said:

It's completely illogical for something to be legal to own, but illegal to sell. Until recently, the ban on selling X-rated non-violent erotica was not enforced. This led to it being made freely available in outlets such as newsagents and video stores. The outlets now being raided have a right to shake their heads in wonder.

The Government and Opposition should respect public opinion, get behind the motion and properly regulate the industry. I struggle to think of a less productive use of NSW Police's valuable time than having 15 officers spend an entire day confiscating material that is legal for the public to own.

I will be bringing on a motion for debate in NSW parliament tomorrow, calling on the government to clear up the legal uncertainties around X-rated non-violent erotica.

Moral Crusade

Based on article from sexparty.org.au

Australian Sex PartySydney Police have become fixated on closing down Sydney's adult shops with increasingly intensive raids. Last week, two Kings Cross adult shops were raided and 90% of stock was seized. The shops have been closed by police and taped with crime scene tape. All tills and safes were broken open and computers and shop records were all seized. Only lingerie was left. The raids took 15 police officers an entire day to carry out.

Australian Sex Party President, Fiona Patten, said that a Sydney adult shop owner had been sentenced to jail last month for selling federally classified X rated films that had been judged by Commonwealth censors to be suitable for all Australians. The NSW police have spent millions of dollars this year pursuing adult retailers where this money should have been spent on solving murders and dealing with assault and property crimes , she said: I challenge the Premier, the Police Commissioner and Independents in the parliament to deny that their religious beliefs are contributing to this moral crusade . She estimated that the NSW Police had spent $2 million on raiding a dozen adult shops in the last 12 months.

She said last week's raids would have cost the taxpayer at least $100,000 and that the police would now have to spend at least another $20,000 getting the films classified. Most of these films will probably end up being classified as X rated which means they are legal to bring into the country, legal to purchase, legal to possess and legal to sell in the ACT and NT. Just not legal to sell in NSW.

 

2nd June   

Update: Hype Inside...

Michael Winterbottom grabs the press spotlight
Link Here

killer inside me posterJessica Alba gets violently beaten in her new film The Killer Inside Me - but does that really make it one of the most controversial films ever made?

The film has seemingly split the critics between those who think it's a bold and dark piece of adult film making, and those who think it's a gruesome portrayal of misogyny.

British director Michael Winterbottom has defended his work to Sky News, insisting if he was going to adapt one of the most famous graphic pulp novels of the fifties, he would have to stay true to the original vision: Obviously this is a story that involves some violence towards women and I can understand that is shocking. It should be shocking. If you made a film where there's a guy beating up a woman and it was enjoyable that would be wrong. The original novel was written by Jim Thompson.

Most critics have picked up on two particular scenes in this remake, one of which features Jessica Alba's character getting battered by the murderous Lou Ford, played to chilling effect by Casey Affleck.

The BBFC passed it uncut as an 18 Certificate, saying the scenes in question do not eroticise or endorse sexual assault or pose a credible harm risk to viewers of 18 and over .

The director, though, hopes open-minded cinema fans will at least give it a chance. Every interview has been about the violence of the film which I understand because violence is shocking, he sighs: But at the same time it's a shame we don't get to talk about the actors and the dialogue and the story. There are two violent scenes in the whole film and the rest of it is a portrayal of Lou Ford as a sort of interesting, complex and violent character. Unfortunately we never get onto that part as we end up talking about the violence.

 

2nd June   

Nightmare on MPAA Street...

Old MPAA cuts to Nightmare on Elm Street 3
Link Here

Nightmare Elm Street Dream Warriors Nightmare on Elm Street 3: Dream Warriors is a 1987 US horror film by Chuck Russell

The US R Rated Version was passed 18 without BBFC cuts for the 1987 cinema release, 1998 Warner video, 1998 EIV video and 2000 EIV DVD.

  • The MPAA required some toning down of the gorier scenes. Most famously, the death of Taryn (switchblade toting punk girl). Originally Freddy injected her with heroin to the degree the top of her head blew out. The subtle tone down is kind of obvious when watching the film, as it fades to white before we're shown the results of Freddy's actions.

 

2nd June   

Nazi Jobsworth...

German magazine publishers ask Steve Jobs to lay off the censorship
Link Here

vdz logoGerman publishers have told Apple's Steve Jobs to stop behaving like a Nazi censor.

A group of German magazine publishers have been trying to get Jobs to negotiate on the handling of applications for iPad and iPhone.

The Association of German Magazine Publishers (VDZ) and the international umbrella organization FIPP have written to Jobs to discuss the regulation of the content in the AppStore.

The letter said that the world is multicultural and content that is in a country totally acceptable in another seem to be inappropriate.

Publishers have always criticized Apple's rigid rules for the acceptance of applications and talking about censorship. It also is miffed about how much of a slice that Apple takes from advertising.

 

2nd June   

Update: Dodgy Film Censors...

Indian politicians make for very easily offended film censors
Link Here  full story: Rajneeti...Indian film censors and oliticians

raajneetiWhile the Prakash Jha film Rajneeti has generated a lot of political heat for its alleged depiction of Congress President Sonia Gandhi's life, Congress leaders, in their capacity as members of the Censor Board, said they found nothing objectionable about the Nehru-Gandhi family in the film. Thy were objecting to the denigration of the political class across the board.

Congress leaders Tom Vadakkan and Pankaj Sharma were part of the six-member Revising Committee of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) for which the film had been screened at Liberty in Mumbai last week. The committee raised many objections and wanted to give an adults only A cerifictate.

Prakash Jha appealed to the Film Certificate Appellate Tribunal. In its order dated May 25, the Tribunal overruled the Revising Committee's decision and granted UA certificate to the film, which is scheduled to be released on June 4.

The fcensors of the Revising Committee had the following objections:

  • They wanted to reduce love-making scenes. Prakash Jha told The Sunday Express that he had voluntarily agreed to cut the length of such scenes from 37 seconds to 18 seconds. Later he said that he wood restore the footage for the DVD release.
  • The committee wanted to delete various dialogue used to reference the to represent Muslim/ Hindu communities; the Tribunal did not find these in violation of the guidelines.
  • The Congress members also objected to a scene where an expert is shown speaking on a news channel on how electronic voting machines (EVMs) could be tampered with.
  • Sources said that Congress members had also objected to the suggestive manners of a woman ticket-seeker who comes to meet a politician. Besides, there is another scene involving two men, which, Congress leaders felt, suggested homosexuality.

 

2nd June   

Update: The Voice Silenced...

Burma bans journals for reporting actress tiff and the Thai unrest
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in Burma...World leaders in oppressive censorship

Burma flagBurma's press censor, the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division (PSRD) has suspended two local journals, The Voice and First Music .

Before printing, they have to send the draft articles and photos to the division and only the permitted articles can be printed. But [in this case] they published articles that we didn't give them permission to publish, said PSRD director U Tint Swe, adding that the suspension would not last more than two weeks.

Both journals published articles about a recent incident involving actress Htet Htet Moe Oo without permission.

U Kyaw Min Swe, chief editor of The Voice , said he accepted the suspension but believed the journal did the right thing publishing three articles without permission in its May 24 edition.

U Kyaw Min Swe said the articles published without permission concerned local alarm about storms and cyclones, the Thai riots and a clash between Htet Htet Moe Oo and a journalist from 7-Day News.

 

1st June   

Gambling on Censorship...

Internet blocking of gambling and file sharing websites in Denmark
Link Here

Denmark flagThe Danish Supreme Court has upheld a decision made in a lower court which insures that internet service providers will continue to block access to websites that may contain or link to other sites which contain content which infringes on copyrights.

The decision has been criticized by internet freedom advocates as a step backward for web freedom in Denmark. The argument contends that forcing ISP's to police the Internet without due process the decision marks a dangerous precedent that is likely to include other illegal or offensive material in the future like online gambling.

Recently the Danish parliament passed a law, allowing the taxation department to notify ISPs of web sites operated by unauthorized providers of online-gambling. ISPs will then be required to censor these sites. If the relevant ISPs refuse or fail to do so they will be subject to criminal liability and prosecution. There is no room left for discussion on the decision of the tax authorities and no recourse is offered to websites or ISP's.

Further debate is expected from those opposing this kind of censorship, claiming the new law is in contravention of the Danish constitution's prohibition against censorship and or the European Convention on Human Rights' protection of freedom of expression and access to information. Several Danish lawmakers such as the Socialist Peoples' Party and the Danish Peoples' Party have suggested far reaching internet censorship without too much success.

 

1st June   

Nutter Networking...

Euro MP whinges at supposed addiction to social networking websites
Link Here

Facebook logoAn Irish Labour MEP has called for intervention and regulation by the EU for websites like Facebook, which she believes are addictive and hazardous to mental health.

The minister, Nessa Childers, who is also a psychotherapist, said that since the Lisbon Treaty has been ratified, the EU now has increased powers to legislate when there is a threat to public health in Europe .

She claimed that millions of Europeans are at risk of becoming addicted to these kinds of websites, particularly Facebook, which has over 400,000 Irish users alone.

Childers said that visiting Facebook causes intermittent reinforcement , which means that connecting with virtual friends, receiving notices and messages, etc. gives users an unpredictable high, similar to gambling and makes them feel the need to expand to fill an increasingly empty internal world creating a vicious circle. In other words, people are living virtual lives instead of real ones, using social networking to escape the pains and struggles of everyday existence.

Childers said that as a psychotherapist she has seen an increase in addiction to internet pornography, which has ruined lives, and that action is needed at international level from the EU to properly take on the disturbing trend of addiction to sites such as Facebook which are responsible for all sorts of problematic behaviour .

Childers failed to mention exactly what kind of regulations are needed though.

 

1st June   

Update: Stereotypical Nutters...

'It's Time to Tell Mum' campaign supposedly offends the politically correct
Link Here  full story: Website Blocking in Australia...Stephen Conroy's attempt at internet censorship

its time to tell mum logo Electronic Frontiers Australia (EFA) has apologised for any offence caused by its latest campaign asking people to "tell mum" about the Federal Government's proposed mandatory internet filter.

The It's Time to Tell Mum campaign launched by EFA last week encouraged people to talk to their mothers about the proposed filter and what the implications of it might be.

According to the website, over 40,000 people have told mum through the website's various Facebook, Skype, SMS and email sharing methods.

Over the weekend, a number of nutters raised concerns that the website and its Twitter counterpart were promoting sexist stereotypes of mothers. Feminist blogger and mother Mary Gardiner told ZDNet Australia that she essentially agreed with the EFA's reasons for opposing the internet filter, but said that the message was lost by the Mum campaign promoting stereotypes that mothers are only interested in technology for the sake of their children and parenting is and should always be women's business . She said the social media portion of the campaign also resorted to stereotyping.