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Censor Watch

2013: June

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Update: Every Little Ban Helps...

Tesco chairman says he is willing to take a look at changes to policy on selling lads' mags

Link Here30th June 2013
Full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills

The chairman of Tesco said Britain's biggest supermarket chain will consider taking lads' mags off its shelves, after revealing that reading one had left him startled . Richard Broadbent said:

I bought one of these lads mags recently. I was startled at what I saw. But I think we should be thoughtful in our response. I don't immediately know what the answer should be. But I am willing to look at changes.

The chairman of the country's largest retailer was responding to a female shareholder at its annual meeting. She asked for the titles to be removed from stores because they were offensive to women.

The annual general meeting saw a small demonstration from organisations wanting to ban lads' mags. UK Feminsta and Object are coordinating the miserable campaign under the banner: Lose the Lad's Mags.



Offsite Article: Don't let the fuckers get you down!...

Link Here30th June 2013
The Savages have a choice words to say about the BBC Glastonbury coverage pandering to the easily offended

See article from



So Now Everyone Will Want an Offensive Post or Two...

Facebook announce that they will not display their adverts on pages with 'offensive' posts

Link Here29th June 2013

Facebook has announced a change in its policy whereby advertisements will no longer run on sections of the site with controversial content.

Starting on Monday, Facebook pledged to implement a new reviews process that will strip ads from Pages and Groups with certain types of content.

Some businesses have recently protested about Facebook advertising. They claim they pay good money to advertise on Facebook, and don't like having their brands displayed next to questionable, user-created pages, even if they don't run afoul of Facebook's policies.

Specifically, the ad ban will apply to any violent, graphic or sexual content. Now, instead of a row of ads on the right-hand side of these pages, no ads will appear.

As Facebook doesn't pay out anything to the people who make pages, then one can't help but think that there will be an international chorus of: GOOD! Lets all share a few offensive jokes.



Update: Play Rights...

Maltese theatre company goes to European Court to content ban on the play, Stitching

Link Here29th June 2013
Full story: Stage Censorship in Malta...Maltese censors ban stage play Stitching, then get disbanded

A Maltese theatre company had planned to stage the play Stitching by Anthony Neilson. However the play was banned by the theatre censors. The controversy has resulted in the theatre censors being disbanded, but the play is still banned in the country. The legal dispute is continuing, now heading towards the highest court in Europe.

Unifaun Theatre Productions have now taken the case of the banned play Stitching to the European Court of Human Rights. This is in response to the Constitutional Court of Appeal upheld a ban on performing the production last November.

Unifaun had planned to stage the play at St James Cavalier in Valletta in 2009 but it was banned by the now defunct Film and Stage Classification Board. The board banned the play because of what it perceived as blasphemy, contempt for Auschwitz victims, dangerous sexual perversions, a eulogy to child murderers and references to the abduction, sexual assault and murder of children contained in the script.

The company said it was turning to the ECHR having exhausted all domestic judicial remedies.



Update: War on Sexy...

Miserable Ed Miliband whinges about sexy images in the media

Link Here28th June 2013
Full story: Reg Bailey Report...Mothers Union boss pens governement report

Labour leader Ed Miliband, addressing a meeting of the Women in Advertising and Communications group in London, called on advertisers to do more to break down stereotypes:

Far too many of the images of women that we see in our society still don't reflect the realities of the lives we live together, don't reflect the contributions that women have made.

And we need to do something about that. I applaud the creativity, the freshness, the innovation that your industry displays often on this issue. But it is not always the case. We all know there are still too many images of women in our advertising that reflect outdated ideas about the role of men and women, boys and girls.

There is a culture of increasingly sexualised images among young people: a culture that says that girls will only get on in life if they live up to the crudest of stereotypes; a culture where pornographic images, some violent, are available at a click on a smartphone or a laptop.

He urged the Government to do more to ensure there were safer default settings on computers blocking access to pornographic content online and said schools should offer proper relationship education and encourage the aspirations of both girls and boys.

Senior Labour sources expressed concern over recent advertisements including one promoting Weetabix which showed young girls playing with dolls while boys wanted to be superheroes. Commercials from Pot Noodles, the slag of all snacks , and a Pamela Anderson advertisement for have also been highlighted.



Update: Canada Unchills...

Hate speech section removed from human rights law as it was mostly misused to censor mere criticism of religion

Link Here28th June 2013
Full story: Human Rights in Canada...Canada's Human Rights works against free speech

A contentious section of Canadian human rights law, long criticized by free-speech advocates as overly restrictive and tantamount to censorship, is gone for good.

A private member's bill repealing Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the so-called hate speech provision, passed in the Senate this week. Its passage means the part of Canadian human rights law that permitted rights complaints to the federal Human Rights Commission for the communication of hate messages by telephone or on the Internet will soon be history. The bill has received royal assent and will take effect after a one-year phase-in period.

An ecstatic Brian Storseth said his bill, which he says had wide support across ideological lines and diverse religious groups, repeals a flawed piece of legislation and he called Canada's human rights tribunal a quasi-judicial, secretive body that takes away your natural rights as a Canadian.

Producing and disseminating hate speech remains a crime in Canada, but regulating it will fall to the courts, not to human rights tribunals. Under the Criminal Code, spreading hate against identifiable groups can carry up to a two-year prison sentence.



Update: Twitter is a Scourge to Turkey...

Turkey asks Twitter to open an office in the country

Link Here28th June 2013

The Turkish government has asked Twitter to set up an office inside the country so that it can be better pressurised into identifying users that the government doesn't like.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has previously described Twitter as a scourge . Now, Transport and Communications Minister Binali Yildrim said:

When information is requested, we want to see someone in Turkey who can provide this. There needs to be an interlocutor we can put our grievance to and who can correct an error if there is one.

Twitter declined to respond to the government request on Wednesday, but a person familiar with the company said it had no current plans to open an office in that country.



Not Playing the Moralist's Game...

Research finds that genetics and social issues predict adult criminality, not games playing

Link Here28th June 2013

A recent study by Texas A&M International University chair and associate professor, psychology Dr. Christopher J. Ferguson shows that childhood media consumption is not a predictor for future adult criminal behavior.

The long-held (and as of yet unproven) argument has been that violent video games or other violent media have a direct causation to violent crimes like school shootings. But according to a new study from TAMIU, genetics, environment, the lack of maternal nurturing, and a number of other factors combined are better predictors of adult criminality. The TAMIU study used data from a National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health, which included a representative sample of U.S. adolescents.

Dr. Ferguson said:

We basically find that genetics and some social issues combine to predict later adult arrests. Despite ongoing concerns about media influences, media exposure does not seem to function as a risk factor for adult criminality.

Genetics alone don't seem to trigger criminal behavior, but in combination with harsh upbringing, you can see negative outcomes. In our sample, experiencing maternal warmth seemed to reduce the impact of genetics on adult criminality.

Researchers also noted that other factors such as family environment, peers and socioeconomic status can also be predictors of adult criminality. The research also found that being exposed to maternal affection may have the potential to decrease criminal behavior in individuals who might otherwise be at risk.

Ferguson concluded:

People may object morally to some of the content that exists in the media, but the question is whether the media can predict criminal behavior. The answer seems to be no.



Extract: Why Saints Row IV won't be banned in Britain...

Saints Row IV has just been denied an age rating in Australia, effectively banning the game in that country. Could that happen in the UK? The Guardian visits the Video Standards Council to find out

Link Here27th June 2013

...So, back to Saint's Row IV. Could the game be banned in Europe under the Pegi system? The answer, for Britain at least, is effectively no. Pegi is a ratings system not a censorship board and has no remit to ban retail releases. However, in situations where a European member country has legislation that may be contravened in the product, Pegi will advise publishers that they may well be breaking laws.

In the UK, video game content is governed by the 1984 Video Recordings Act and its subsequent updates, which Pegi has to take into account when rating games. We'd be talking about paedophilia, or any form of discrimination likely to incite hatred, says operations director, Peter Darby. We've got a chair and vice-chair who are designated by the secretary of state to make a decision on whether a game should be given a certificate for release in the UK or not. Obviously that doesn't effect the rest of Europe, that's just for the UK. But that's the process we would use to effectively ban a game in the UK. There's quite a long process leading up to that, though. We have an expert panel that will look at it and advise on whether it breaches the law or could be deemed harmful. We have Tanya Byron and Geoffrey Robertson QC and the psychologist Dr Guy Cumberbatch -- they wouldn't make a decision, but they'd look at the game and advise us on the sorts of things we need to take into account. Pegi is not a system that in itself bans games. But we will warn publishers to be careful where they release a title, because it could contravene laws.

So what happens in the event of a controversy? Does the government start trying to question the process? The DCMS will never get involved in us coming to a rating decision, says director general Laurie Hall, a veteran of the home video business in the early 80s, when the video nasty controversy erupted. If Keith Vaz raises a question in parliament or whatever, they may ring us to ask what we have to say about it; we'll say our piece and that may be their reply to Vaz in parliament. But they're at arm's length.

...Read the full article

Tomb Raider

The article also comments on the 18 rating for the recent Tomb Raider release:

So why was Tomb Raider an 18? Before the game's release last year, there was controversy over a single sequence, referred to in an interview with the game's executive producer, where Lara is tied up and sexually threatened by a male captor. It turns out, however, that by Pegi rating standards, the moment was so fleeting it didn't register. I don't even think I marked it 16 for sexual violence, says Davies. It just didn't go far enough . No, Tomb Raider received an 18 certificate thanks to a mere handful of gory death animations. Most of the violence is 16-rated, continues Davies. But there's a particular part where Lara goes down a zip wire and, if you fail to jump off in time, she is impaled through the abdomen and jaw by spikes. That counts as gross violence. It's basically anything that makes you go, 'eugh' .



Updated: Censorship Row...

Australian censors ban 2 video games, Saints Row IV and State of Decay

Link Here27th June 2013
Full story: Banned Games in Australia...Games and the Australian Censorship Board

The Acting Director of the Censor, Board Donald McDonald, has announced that Saints Row IV was the first computer game in Australia to be banned under the Guidelines for the Classification of Computer Games that commenced on 1 January 2013.

The Classification Board classified the game RC (Refused Classification). In the Board's opinion, Saints Row IV, includes interactive, visual depictions of implied sexual violence which are not justified by context. In addition, the game includes elements of illicit or proscribed drug use related to incentives or rewards. Such depictions are banned by the computer games guidelines.

Meanwhile Jeff Strain, the Executive Producer for the Microsoft game, State of Decay , has said that this has also been banned by the Australian Censor Board. Strain explained on a games forum:

State of Decay has been refused classification by the Australian Classification Board. We've run afoul of certain prohibitions regarding the depiction of drug use. We're working with Microsoft to come up with options, including changing names of certain medications in the game to comply with ratings requirements. Whatever our path forward, it's going to take a bit.

Update: Anal Censorship

27th June 2013. See article from

The Australian Classification Board has issued a report detailing why Saints Row IV was banned in Australia. According to a statement sent to GameSpot, the game was banned on the grounds of implied sexual violence , pertaining specifically to the Alien Anal Probe weapon and the use of illicit drugs referred to as alien narcotics . The report outlines the reasons in detail, stating:

The game includes a weapon referred to by the applicant as an 'Alien Anal Probe'. The applicant states that this weapon can be 'shoved into enemy's backsides'. When using this weapon, the player approaches a (clothed) victim from behind and thrusts the weapon between the victim's legs and then lifts them off the ground before pulling a trigger which launches the victim into the air.

A weapon designed to penetrate the anus of enemy characters and civilians constitutes a visual depiction of implied sexual violence that is interactive and not justified by context.

Smoking the 'alien narcotics' equips the player with 'superpowers', which increase their in-game abilities, allowing them to progress through the mission more easily. During the mission, onscreen prompts guide the player to 'Go to deal location' and 'Get drugs'. In the board's opinion, there is insufficient delineation between the 'alien narcotic' available in the game and real-world proscribed drugs.

Publisher Deep Silver has issued a statement announcing the developer's intention to create an edited version of the game.

Update: High on Censorship

27th June 2013. See article from

The Censor Board has supplied IGN with a report that outlines the reason State of Decay was banned:

The game contains the option of self-administering a variety of medications throughout gameplay which act to restore a player's health or boost their stamina. These medications include both legal and illicit substances such as methadone, morphine, amphetamines, stimulants, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, codeine, aspirin, trucker pills , painkillers and tussin. Of these, methadone, morphine, and amphetamines are proscribed drugs and the term stimulant is commonly used to refer to a class of drugs of which several are proscribed.

Players obtain drugs by scavenging for them in the environment or by manufacturing them in a Medical Lab . When players find drugs in the environment the name of the drug appears onscreen and the drug is also represented by a visual icon such as a pill bottle or syringe. Within the Medical Lab players are prompted to make substances such as Potent Stims , Mild Stims and Painkillers . The laboratory includes a research library and chemical dictionary .

When administering drugs, the player is briefly depicted moving a pill bottle toward their mouth. The sound of pills rattling in the bottle accompanies the depiction. The name of the drug appears onscreen along with its representative icon. Consumption of the drug instantly increases a player's in-game abilities allowing them to progress through gameplay more easily. The Applicant has stated that a player can choose not to make any drugs or scavenge for them, but it would be very difficult to complete the game without some form of medication .

In the Board's opinion, the game enables the player's character to self-administer proscribed drugs which aid in gameplay progression. This game therefore contains drug use related to incentives or rewards and should be Refused Classification.



Do You Remember When We Had Free Speech?...

You know... before we had political correctness, and before police started arresting people for jokes and insults...Well the EU are consulting the public about it

Link Here27th June 2013

The EU is committed to promote human rights in all areas of its external action without exception, in particular, using the link between new technologies and human rights as important avenues for promoting democracy.

In this context the EU strategic framework on Human rights and Democracy adopted in 25 June 2012, foresees that the EU will develop CFSP Guidelines on Freedom of Expression online and offline, including the protection of bloggers and journalists. The Human right guidelines are an integral part of our Human rights policy. The guidelines are practical tools to help EU representations in the field to better advance our policy.

The EU guidelines on Freedom of expression, which should be adopted in the coming months, will ensure a maximum of coherence and consistency in EU and EUMS actions, as well as a reinforced visibility of the EU commitment on freedom of expression.

The EEAS would like to consult civil society while drafting these guidelines, opening up public consultations through the EEAS internet page. Please give us your input until 15 July 2013.

Index on Censorship have already published their contribution. See  How the European Union can protect freedom of expression from



Updated: 139 Weirdos...

BBC responds to a few whinges about Holly Willoughby's sexy dress

Link Here27th June 2013

It is reported that the BBC received 139 complaints out of 7.5 million viewers about Holly Willoughby's sexy dress as she presented the finals of the talent show, The Voice. The BBC responded:

The Voice UK,
BBC One, 22 June 2013 The Voice UK logo


We've received complaints from some viewers who felt that Holly's dress for the final of The Voice UK was unsuitable for a family audience.

BBC's response

We're sorry if some viewers found Holly's dress to be unsuitable. Holly enjoys fashion and we felt the dress she wore for the live final of The Voice UK was glamorous and wholly appropriate for the occasion. We don't believe it would have gone against audience expectations for a TV spectacle such as this.

Offsite Humour: BBC urged to stop apologising to every single weirdo

27th June 2013. Thanks to Therumbler. See  article from .

Many a true word was said in jest.

Update: Complaints dismissed out of hand

16th July 2013. See  article from

Ofcom's investigations team have assessed the 30 complaints it received and decided that Willoughby's neckline did not warrant a formal investigation.



Update: Misunderstanding Buddhism...

Burma bans Time Magazine for the juxtaposition of the words Buddhist and terror

Link Here27th June 2013

Reporters Without Borders condemns the decision by Burmese magazine distributor Inwa Publications not to sell Time Magazine ' s July issue , which has cover story about the Burmese Buddhist monk Ashin Wirathu headlined The Face of Buddhist Terror.

The media freedom organization is also appalled by the government's endorsement of this censorship and calls for the ban to be lifted at once:

By taking this decision, Inwa Publications went far beyond its role as a distributor and abusively assumed politically-motivated censorship powers, going so far as to argue that this was justified by the recent closure of the government office for prior censorship, the PSRD.

As Time Magazine 's sole distributor in Burma, this privately-owned company is violating media freedom and the Burmese public's right to information. We are also extremely disturbed by the government's subsequent decision to ban Time Magazine 's sale in any form. At a time when Burma's media law is still being drafted, it reflects an attitude that is completely contrary to the fundamental principles that should govern media law reform.

Deputy information minister Ye Htut, who is also spokesperson for the president's office, announced that Time Magazine was banned from social networks. The president's office objected to the juxtaposition of the words Buddhist and terror, saying it creates a misunderstanding of Buddhism and undermined efforts to defuse tension after violence in which many civilians have died or have been driven from their homes.



Update: Grinning and Baring It...

Sun's Page 3 set to continue under the new editor

Link Here27th June 2013
Full story: Page 3 Girls...Miserable campaigners whinge about page 3 fun

  David Dinsmore , the new Sun editor, has vowed to continue printing pictures of topless women on Page 3 as it is a good way of selling newspapers .

Speaking on the radio station LBC 97.3 on Wednesday morning, Dinsmore said that Page 3 would remain in the paper despite growing criticism from campaigners. He was speaking of a new exhibition of erotic Japanese paintings at the British Museum in London and said:

This is Japanese art -- Spring Pictures as it's euphemistically called. It's given the editor of the Times the opportunity to put a naked Japanese lady on page 3, which as we know is a good way of selling newspapers.

Asked whether Page 3 was safe under the Sun s new editorship, Dinsmore said:

It is, it is, yes I can tell you that.

He later told BBC Radio 5 Live:

Page 3 stays. We did a survey last year and found that two thirds of our readers wanted to keep Page 3. What you find is people who are against Page 3 have never read the Sun and would never read the Sun.

As far as the exposure goes, it's on Page 3, it's not on the cover. I was flicking through a copy of this month's Vogue and there's Kate Moss topless. I suspect the editor of Vogue won't be questioned on whether topless pictures are on its pages. I think we've got to keep a sense of proportionality about this.



Update: Online Safety Bill...

Elspeth Howe tries again with her House of Lords Bill to mandate ISP blocking with the censorship criteria set by Ofcom

Link Here27th June 2013
Full story: Elspeth Howe and Age Verification...Early UK bills to mandate internet age verification

The Bill passed it's first reading in the House of Lords on 14th May 2013.

The core or the bill is:

Online Safety Bill

Make provision about the promotion of online safety; to require internet service providers and mobile phone operators to provide a service that excludes adult content; to require electronic device manufacturers to provide a means of filtering content; and for parents to be educated about online safety.

1 Duty to provide a service that excludes adult content

(1) Internet service providers must provide to subscribers an internet access service which excludes adult content unless all the conditions of subsection (3) have been fulfilled.

(2) Where mobile telephone network operators provide a telephone service to subscribers, which includes an internet access service, they must ensure this service excludes adult content unless all the conditions of subsection (3) have been fulfilled.

(3) The conditions are:

(a) the subscriber opts-in to subscribe to a service that includes adult content;
(b) the subscriber is aged 18 or over; and
(c) the provider of the service has an age verification policy which meets the standards set out by OFCOM and which has been used to confirm that the subscriber is aged 18 or over.

(4) In this section, internet service providers and mobile telephone network operators shall at all times be held harmless of any claims or proceedings, whether civil or criminal, providing that at the relevant time, the internet access provider or the mobile telephone operator was:

(a) following the standards and code set out by OFCOM in section 2; and
(b) acting in good faith.

2 Role of OFCOM

(1) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to set, and from time to time to review and revise, standards for the:

(a) filtering of adult content in line with the standards set out in section 319 of the Communications Act 2003; and
(b) age verification policies to be used under section 1 of this Act.

(2) The standards set out by OFCOM under this section must be contained in one or more codes.

(3) Before setting standards under subsection (1), OFCOM must publish, in such a manner as they think fit, a draft of the proposed code containing those standards.

(4) After publishing the draft code and before setting the standards, OFCOM must consult relevant persons and organisations.

(5) It shall be the duty of OFCOM to establish procedures for the handling and resolution of complaints in a timely manner about the observance of standards set under this section.

(6) OFCOM must prepare a report for the Secretary of State about the operation of this Act:

(a) every three years from the date of this Act coming into force; and
(b) at the direction of the Secretary of State



Update: Searching for Free Speech...

The supposed 'right to be forgotten' doesn't look like it will trump the right to factual legitimate information

Link Here26th June 2013
Full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU

Google should not have to delete information from its search results when old information is pulled up that is damaging to individuals who claim to be harmed by the content.

That's the early opinion of a special advisor to the European Union's highest court, who has apparently sided with Google in a case involving a man in Spain who argued that Google searches about him provide information about an arrest years before that should be cleaned up to protect him.

An expert opinion requested by the European Court of Justice, which is based in Luxembourg, recommended that Google not be forced to expunge all links to a 15-year-old legal notice published in a Spanish newspaper documenting a failure to pay back taxes.

Instead, the European Union's highest court was advised to strike down a Spanish regulator's demand that the search engine grant citizens a broad digital 'right to be forgotten,' including the ability to delete previous arrests and other negative publicity from Google's online search results.

A final decision in the case is expected before the end of this year.



Grasping at Politically Correct Straws...

Advert censor whinges as William Hill advert featuring demurely sexy croupiers

Link Here26th June 2013

A TV ad for William Hill Live Casino opened with a close-up of a woman who opened her eyes and looked at the camera. The camera panned out then down, past the model's chest to a roulette wheel. She was wearing a basque-style top. The ad then showed a ball spinning around the roulette wheel and cut to a scene showing a large pile of gambling chips being pushed towards the viewer. The ad then showed playing cards and gambling chips flying through the air. The voice-over said, Experience a live casino like no other and the ad then showed several female croupiers in gold basque-type tops and male croupiers wearing suits. Issue

The Gambling Reform and Society Perception Group (GRASP) and one other complainant challenged whether the ad linked gambling to seduction.

ASA Assessment: Complaint Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that William Hill Online did not think the ad linked gambling with seduction. However, we noted the ad began with a close-up of a woman's eyes looking up from a gambling table and directly into the camera lens, which panned out from the woman's face while maintaining focus on her eyes. We considered the focus on her eyes was used to engage the viewer which could be interpreted as a signal of attraction. We also considered that as the camera panned down over the female croupier's decolletage, this enhanced the sense of seduction, which was further reinforced by the uniforms worn by all of the female croupiers. We understood that the basque-style tops were identical to those worn by the actual croupiers. However, we did not consider this to be a suitable justification for using them in the ad or showing sensual areas of the women's body.

We noted Clearcast's assertion that the ad did not show anyone gambling and so there was no link with seduction. However, we considered that it was clearly a gambling ad because of the roulette and black jack tables, playing cards and gambling chip visuals and the references to casino in the voice-over and on-screen text.

Because the ad opened with an engaging shot of the croupier's eyes, showed sensual areas of the women's body and because of the style of outfit worn, we concluded the ad linked gambling to seduction, which was a breach of the Code.

The ad breached BCAP Code rules 17.3 and 17.3.7 (Gambling).



Branded as Inappropriate...

A few viewers whinge about Russell Brand being invited to review the newspapers

Link Here26th June 2013

The Andrew Marr Show,
BBC One, 23 June, 2013 Andrew Marr logo


We received complaints from viewers who felt Russell Brand was an inappropriate choice of guest during the newspaper review section of the programme.

Response from The Andrew Marr Show

The newspaper review is a forum for a range of different people to give their take on the stories in the newspapers that weekend. The programme uses a mix of journalists, commentators, politicians and other public figures and sometimes features entertainers. Russell Brand, although known to many as a comedian, has been vocal on a number of social and political issues. With that in mind the programme's producers felt that Russell Brand might contribute positively to the discussion, bringing a fresh eye to the stories in the news. Several viewers have commented that they appreciated someone outside the usual mould of those chosen to review the papers: others have urged us to stick to the more traditional format. We appreciate that he's proved a divisive figure, but feel it was worthwhile hearing from him on this occasion.



Update: Free TV...

US TV Networks ask that state censorship via the FCC's indecency standards, should be dropped

Link Here26th June 2013

Last week, ABC, CBS, FOX, and NBC each filed individual requests to the US TV censors of the FCC asking for the removal of government-regulated indecency standards.

According to

It is a violation of federal law to air indecent programming or profane language during certain hours. Congress has given the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) the responsibility for administratively enforcing these laws, the FCC's website continues. The FCC may revoke a station license, impose a monetary forfeiture or issue a warning if a station airs obscene, indecent or profane material.

In response to the current laws, the major TV networks expressed their desires to overturn the restrictions of the FCC's indecency standards.

FOX said:

The FCC should affirm that it has no right to deny broadcasters the same First Amendment protections enjoyed by every other medium of communication,

NBC added:

Broadcast TV is not a uniquely pervasive presence in the lives of 21st century Americans.



Update: Kick-Ass PR Stunt...

Jim Carey hypes Kick-Ass 2 by refusing to hype Kick-Ass 2

Link Here25th June 2013
Full story: Kick-Ass...Movie hype featuring cussing teen assassin

Jim Carrey plays Colonel Stars and Stripes in his new movie Kick-Ass 2.

He has generated loads of international press coverage by bashing the film's extreme violence in the wake of last year's massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School. Carey tweeted:

I did Kickass a month b4 Sandy Hook and now in all good conscience I cannot support that level of violence.

My apologies to others involved with the film. I am not ashamed of it but recent events have caused a change in my heart.



For Reporting the News Rather than Penguins...

Turkish authorities launch intimidating Twitter campaign against BBC reporter

Link Here25th June 2013

The BBC says it is very concerned by a campaign by the Turkish authorities to intimidate its journalists . Mayor Ibrahim Melih Gokcek described BBC Turkish reporter Selin Girit as an English agent , launching a campaign against her on Twitter.

The mayor, a member of the ruling AK party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, began the Twitter campaign against Ms Girit accusing her of trying to undermine the Turkish economy in her reporting. He urged his followers to denounce the BBC journalist by sending tweets to the newly-created hashtag, which could be roughly translated as Don't be an agent on behalf of England Selin Girit .

But it also angered many people across the country. They countered by using the hashtag Melih Gokcek is a provocateur , which quickly rose to become the country's number one trending theme. The mayor is now threatening to sue every user tweeting with the hashtag.

In the statement, BBC Global News Director Peter Horrocks said that:

A large number of threatening messages have been sent to one of our reporters. There are established procedures for making comments and complaints about BBC output and we call on the Turkish authorities to use these proper channels.

In a separate statement, Britain's National Union of Journalists (NUJ) said:

We want to send a strong message to Turkish authorities - it is simply not acceptable to target journalists in your turbulent times. We condemn the attempts to intimidate journalists and the threats must stop immediately.

Update: Treason

28th June 2013. See  article from

Until last week Selin Girit was little known in her home country. That all changed when the prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdoggan, accused her of treason after her coverage of the recent anti-government protests. The attack struck fear into other journalists, who believe Erdoggan -- having consistently blamed the media for fanning the protests -- is intent on stifling all dissent.

The campaign against Girit was launched last weekend when the mayor of Ankara, Melih Gokcek, started tweeting aggressively against her. The BBC protested strongly against what it called government intimidation. Erdogan was clearly unimpressed. Speaking in parliament a day later, he said Girit was part of a conspiracy against her own country.

Turkish journalists see the focus on Girit as a warning to them all -- an example to cow the rest of them into submission. Serdar Korucu, editor of a major Turkish news outlet, said: The prime minister is telling us, 'Be careful what you say and do, or you can easily be next.



Sacrificial Lamb...

Tunisian rapper jailed for 2 years for anti-police song

Link Here25th June 2013

Tunisian rapper Alaa Yacoub has been sent two prison for two years for an anti-police song.

The rapper, who performs under the name Weld 15, has been accused of threatening police officers with a song he posted online called Boulicia Kleb (the police are dogs).

In the video, Yacoub sings that he would like to slaughter a police officer instead of sheep at Eid al-Adha .

Update: Suspended

3rd July 2013. See  article from

Tunisian rapper Weld El 15 (real name Alaa Yaacoubi) walked free from Tunis's Court of Appeal today after his jail sentence for insulting police was reduced from two years to a six month suspended sentence, Padraig Reidy writes

According to AFP, the rapper's lawyer Ghazi Mrabet hailed the court decision as a victory for liberty, for democracy, and for Weld el 15, who did nothing but create a work of art.

Update: Sentenced to jail again

5th September 2013. See  article from

Two Tunisian rappers Aladine Yacoubi (aka Weld EL 15) and Ahmed Ben Ahmed (aka Klay BBJ) have been sentenced in absentia to 21 months in jail. A court in Hammamet issued the verdict on 29 August without summoning the two rappers to appear for trial, their lawyer Ghazi Mrabet said yesterday.

We are surprised by this verdict...Our clients have not been summoned for trial as it is stipulated by law, Mrabet told the privately-owned radio station Mosaique FM. They were found guilty of insulting civil servants , undermining public decency and defamation.

On 22 August, police arrested the two rappers as they were on stage performing a rap concert at a music festival in Hammamet and physically assaulted them. They were detained, for targeting police' in their songs, the local chief police officer told the collective blog Nawaat.

Update: Reduced to 6 months

27th September 2013. See  article from

A Tunisian court has sentenced a rapper to six months in prison for singing excerpts of an anti-police song at a concert, his lawyer said on Thursday.

Ahmed and fellow rapper Alaa Yacoub were convicted in absentia last month and sentenced to 21 months in prison. Ahmed sought a retrial resulting in the 6 month sentence, whilst Yacoub remains in hiding.



Updated: Hardly Earth Shattering...

Conflict of interest moves Irish book censorship to another ministry

Link Here25th June 2013
Full story: Book Censorship in Ireland...Minister for censorship investigated by how own censor board

A sexy novel written by the Irish Minister for Justice Alan Shatter 24 years ago has prompted him to transfer responsibility for censorship out of his department.

A ludicrous complaint to the Censorship of Publications Board alleging that his novel, Laura: A Story You Will Never Forget , is somehow obscene posed a dilemma for the Minister whose department has ultimate responsibility for the board.

In response he has decided to shift responsibility for censorship out of Justice to the Department of Arts and Heritage. A Government spokesman said the Minister had made the decision in case there was any suggestion of a conflict of interest on the part of Shatter.

A complaint about the book's sex scenes was lodged with the censorship board over a month ago. The complaint also claims that the novel advocates the procurement of an abortion or miscarriage, contrary to Irish censorship laws.

Update: Cashing In

25th June 2013. See  article from

Justice Minister Alan Shatter's raunchy first novel Laura has been reprinted and hits the bookshelves today.

A spokeswoman for Poolbeg Press said:

We have had very good support for the reprint of the book from stores like Easons, Tesco, Dunnes Stores, with a good response also from Dubray and other independent book stores.

Women will enjoy the book. It's written in 1989 but the issues it raises are still very relevant and it has tough questions to ask.

We've decided to keep the original cover. It has become quite iconic.

Shatter is expected to do one or two high-profile interviews to promote the book. When Poolbeg approached him about reprinting the book, he said he was very happy with it .



Keeping Blasphemy Law Out of Europe...

European Parliament passed 2 resolutions opposing any attempts to establish blasphemy laws

Link Here24th June 2013

On 13 June, MEPs voted in favour of 2 resolutions to set the EU Guidelines on the Promotion and Protection of Freedom of Religion or Belief, which explicitly mention the need to protect the rights of both believers and non-believers and oppose any attempt to criminalise freedom of expression on religious grounds.

The first resolution ( 2011/2081(INI) ), focusing on press freedom: Recognizes that governments have the primary responsibility for guaranteeing and protecting freedom of the press and media. The resolution also points out that governments also have the primary responsibility for hampering freedom of the press and media and, in the worst cases, are increasingly resorting to legal pressures in order to restrict that freedom, e.g. through the abuse of anti-terrorism or anti-extremism legislation and laws on national security, treason or subversion. The EP endorses a balance between the concerns of national security and press freedom. The resolution goes further to deplore the fact that  journalists are frequently wounded or murdered or are being subjected to serious abuses throughout the world, often with impunity, and stresses the importance of combating impunity.

The second resolution ( 2013/2082(INI) ), centering on religious freedom, endorses the firm opposition of any attempt to criminalise freedom of speech in relation to religious issues, such as blasphemy laws. The EP predictably condemns all forms of violence and discrimination, but goes further to emphasize that particular attention should be paid to the situation of those who change their religion or belief, as in practice they are subject in a number of countries to social pressure, intimidation or outright violence.



Corrected: Restricted Appeal...

Australian film rating for Behind the Candelabra reduced from MA15+ to M on appeal

Link Here23rd June 2013

Behind the Candelabra is a 2013 USA biography drama by Steven Soderbergh.
With Matt Damon, Michael Douglas, Rob Lowe. YouTube iconBBFC link IMDb

The Australian film censorship board has announced that the rating for Behind the Candelabra has been reduced from MA15+ to M on appeal. MA15+ is an age restricted rating as per the UK 15 rating. M is an advisory 15 rating which would be a PG-15 in US terminology.

A three-member panel of the Australian Classification Review Board has determined that the film Behind the Candelabra is classified M (Mature) with the consumer advice Drug use, coarse language and sex scenes .

In the Classification Review Board's opinion Behind the Candelabra warrants an M classification because the themes in the film are moderate in impact and justified by context.

The lack of explicit visual detail contributed to the Review Board's decision that the themes could be accommodated at the M level.

The overall impact of the classifiable elements in the film was no higher than moderate.

For comparison the UK BBFC rated the film  was passed 15 uncut for strong language, sex, sex references and drug use.

As it is a TV movie the US note the rating at TV-MA which means: specifically designed to be viewed by adults and therefore may be unsuitable for children under 17 [corrected].



Updated: Rubbish Politics...

Pro-censorship Green MP, Caroline Lucas, calls for the Sun to be banned from parliament

Link Here23rd June 2013
Full story: Page 3 Girls...Miserable campaigners whinge about page 3 fun

Green MP Caroline Lucas has written to the House of Commons authorities asking for The Sun newspaper to be banned from the palace of Westminster. Lucas demanded that it be removed from shops in parliament until it bins its Page Three section which features half naked women:

I do not think that a newspaper that persists in carrying images which are degrading to women should be widely available across the parliamentary estate

I am sure you will be aware that there is a strong link between the portrayal of women as sexual objects with attitudes that underpin violence and discrimination against women and girls.

Page Three should be consigned to the rubbish bin where it belongs.

Update: Early Day Motion

23rd June 2013. See  EDM from

In fact Caroline Lucas went on to table an Early Day Motion:

EDM 253: No More Page 3 Campaign

That this House is concerned about the strong link between the portrayal of women as sexual objects and attitudes that underpin violence and discrimination against women and girls;

  • notes that this has been demonstrated by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women and in a Government-commissioned Sexualisation of Young People Review;
  • applauds the work of the No More Page 3 campaign;observes that The Sun newspaper is available across the parliamentary estate in at least eight locations;
  • further notes that if someone is looking at page 3 of The Sun others can be subjected to it whether they like it or not; and
  • calls on the House of Commons Administration Committee to take the necessary steps to prevent the House stocking The Sun newspaper until it removes the Page 3 feature.

The motion has received 13 signatures so far

Name Party Constituency
Campbell, Ronnie Labour Party Blyth Valley
Caton, Martin Labour Party Gower
Champion, Sarah Labour Party Rotherham
Clark, Katy Labour Party North Ayrshire and Arran
Corbyn, Jeremy Labour Party Islington North
Dobbin, Jim Labour Party Heywood and Middleton
Flynn, Paul Labour Party Newport West
Lucas, Caroline Green Party Brighton Pavilion
McDonnell, John Labour Party Hayes and Harlington
Meale, Alan Labour Party Mansfield
Riordan, Linda Labour Party Halifax
Sanders, Adrian Liberal Democrats Torbay
Vaz, Valerie Labour Party Walsall South



Surely they knew they'd be fined...

Ofcom fines Psychic TV channels for bollox accuracy claims

Link Here22nd June 2013

Two channels have been fined £12,500 and £10,000 for making bollox claims about the accuracy of their psychic predictions. The same material was aired on Psychic Today and the Big Deal.

TV censor Ofcom cited 2 rules governing psychic TV:

Rule 15.5.2:

Advertisements for personalised and live services that rely on belief in astrology, horoscopes, tarot and derivative practices are acceptable only on channels that are licensed for the purpose of the promotion of such services and are appropriately labelled: both the advertisement and the product or service itself must state the product or service is for entertainment purposes only.

Rule 15.5.3: Advertising permitted under Rule 15.5 may not:

  • Make claims for efficacy or accuracy;
  • Predict negative experiences or specific events;
  • Offer life-changing advice directed at individuals, including advice related to health (including pregnancy) or financial situation;
  • Appeal particularly to children;
  • Encourage excessive use.

Ofcom found that three broadcast pieces contained explicit and/or implicit claims of efficacy and accuracy and were therefore in breach of BCAP Rule 15.5.3. In particular:

  • A broadcast on 6 May 2012 on Psychic Today included an onscreen graphic which stated that a particular psychic ( Mollie ) could give accurate and precise readings.

  • A broadcast on 2 June 2012 on Psychic Today included a psychic who referred to a previous reading given many years earlier. By referring to that reading she purported to have correctly predicted a number of events that had since occurred. The psychic also referred to evidence to confirm that her predictions had come true. This was a prediction about someone becoming friends with singer Michael Jackson.

  • During a broadcast on 20 June 2012 on Psychic Today, the host and psychic referred to the psychic's direct involvement with various police investigations, including the investigation into the abduction and murder of Milly Dowler. To suggest on air through various remarks that UK police forces had employed the psychic in this way was meant to show that the psychic could provide reliable and substantiated readings as demonstrated by her experience of working closely with various UK police forces to help them solve cold cases'



Not Offensive in Any Way, Shape or Form...

ASA dismisses whinges about a Spearmint Rhino poster

Link Here22nd June 2013

A poster for Spearmint Rhino gentleman's club displayed images of two women visible from the waist up. One woman wore a small bikini top. The second image showed a woman wearing long gold gloves and a low cut top with most of her chest covered by her hair. Issue

A complainant challenged whether:

  1. the ad was offensive and unsuitable for public display because of the sexual imagery and the nature of the advertised product; and

  2. the ad was irresponsible, because it appeared where it could be seen by children.

Spearmint Rhino said they had no issue with the ad because it was not offensive in any way, shape or form.

The publisher, Outdoor Plus said no placement restrictions were applied to the ad. They said the placement of the ad was suitable because it was not considered inappropriate.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted one model's pose was sultry but not excessively sexual and her hair covered most of her chest area. We noted the other model wore a small bikini, her pose revealed one side of her breast and her posture drew attention to her breasts. However, we considered the pose was unlikely to be regarded by most members of the public as anything more than mildly sexual in nature. Although we considered that some members of the public would find the image, and indeed the product it advertised, distasteful, we did not consider that the ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence) but did not find it in breach.

2. Not upheld

We noted the ad was not given a placement restriction and considered because the ad was sexually suggestive, rather than overtly sexual it was inappropriate for children to see and therefore it warranted a placement restriction to prevent it from being displayed within 100 m of schools. Because the ad was placed away from schools or business that provided children-based services, albeit unintentionally, we concluded the ad was not irresponsible.

We investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Responsible advertising) but did not find it in breach.



Sky claims its customers are easily offended...

Boycotting Facebook advertising in support of genderist campaigns

Link Here22nd June 2013

Sky has suspended its marketing campaigns on Facebook after one of its advertisements appeared alongside what it found to be offensive content earlier this week. In a statement, BSkyB said:

We have suspended our advertising on Facebook after one of our adverts was found adjacent to offensive material. Such content is clearly unacceptable to Sky and our customers.

We have asked Facebook to devise safeguards to ensure our content does not appear alongside inappropriate material in the future. We will review the situation in due course.

BSkyB declined to say what offensive content had prompted it to suspend advertising on the site, but it follows pressure on Facebook from women's organisations about supposedly sexist and degrading material.



Update: ...And the Prosecutions Continue On...

The CPS has finalised its guidelines intending to reduce the amount of people persecuted for internet insults and jokes

Link Here21st June 2013
Full story: Insulting UK Law...UK proesecutions of jokes and insults on social media

The new guidelines for prosecuting social media postings were offered in draft form some months ago, but now they have been finalised.

The CPS explain the general principles:

  1. Prosecutors may only start a prosecution if a case satisfies the test set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. This test has two stages: the first is the requirement of evidential sufficiency and the second involves consideration of the public interest.

  2. As far as the evidential stage is concerned, a prosecutor must be satisfied that there is sufficient evidence to provide a realistic prospect of conviction. This means that an objective, impartial and reasonable jury (or bench of magistrates or judge sitting alone), properly directed and acting in accordance with the law, is more likely than not to convict. It is an objective test based upon the prosecutor's assessment of the evidence (including any information that he or she has about the defence).

  3. A case which does not pass the evidential stage must not proceed, no matter how serious or sensitive it may be.

  4. It has never been the rule that a prosecution will automatically take place once the evidential stage is satisfied. In every case where there is sufficient evidence to justify a prosecution, prosecutors must go on to consider whether a prosecution is required in the public interest.

  5. Every case must be considered on its own individual facts and merits. No prospective immunity from criminal prosecution can ever be given and nothing in these guidelines should be read as suggesting otherwise.

  6. In the majority of cases, prosecutors should only decide whether to prosecute after the investigation has been completed. However, there will be cases occasionally where it is clear, prior to the collection and consideration of all the likely evidence, that the public interest does not require a prosecution. In these cases, prosecutors may decide that the case should not proceed further.

  7. Cases involving the sending of communications via social media are likely to benefit from early consultation between police and prosecutors, and the police are encouraged to contact the CPS at an early stage of the investigation.

Comment: The end of Britain's social media prosecutions?

See  article from by Padraig Reidy

Keir Starmer's new guidelines aim to minimise controversial criminal cases against Twitter and Facebook users. But will they work, asks Padraig Reidy


Will these guidelines result in fewer prosecutions? It's impossible to say. There are still issues; the test of whether something constitutes a grossly offensive communication is still discretionary, with the CPS quoting Lord Bingham:

There can be no yardstick of gross offensiveness otherwise than by the application of reasonably enlightened, but not perfectionist, contemporary standards to the particular message sent in its particular context. The test is whether a message is couched in terms liable to cause gross offence to those to whom it relates.

...Read the full article

Comment: The proof is in the beheading

See article from by Patrick Hayes

Post on Facebook and be damned

The police are banging up people for drunkenly posting comments on Facebook. Could you be next?

...Read the full article



Extract: Claire Perry's Total Nonsense...

The problem with the 'debate' over online porn is the two sides aren't even speaking the same language

Link Here21st June 2013
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

Claire Perry, the Prime Minister's special adviser on preventing the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood , has three demands which she claims will save the world from the horrors of porn. First, that internet service providers and other internet companies block child pornography at its source; second, that any sort of simulated rape pornography is banned; and third, that pornography is banned from public WiFi.


Claire Perry isn't web-savvy enough to realise her own proposals are total nonsense. Her objections are based on beliefs, not on evidence or fact. It's shabby and embarrassing that we are blundering into making policy based on what Ms Perry feels might work, rather than the truth.

...Read the full article



Messiah Complex...

Russell Brand cancels shows in Abu Dhabi and Lebanon

Link Here21st June 2013

Russell Brand has cancelled several gigs in the Middle East on safety grounds. Russell told Radio 5 Live's Richard Bacon show: The venues contacted us to say we can no longer guarantee your safety.

The comic's Messiah Complex world tour includes routines inspired by historical figures including Malcolm X and Gandhi and originally included dates in Abu Dhabi and Lebanon, but they have now been cancelled.




Hype for Kanye West's new CD

Link Here20th June 2013

Rapper Kanye West may have the US number one album next week, but may have lost a few customers after offending the American Parkinson Disease Association.

The album Yeezus contains the track On Sight with the lyric:

A monster about to come alive again.
Soon as I pull up and park the Benz,
We get this bitch shaking like Parkinson's.

Gossip site TMZ reports that the American Parkinson Disease Association VP, Kathryn Whitford, said:  We find these lyrics distasteful and the product of obvious ignorance.



Updated: Bellyaching...

Christians complain about an Indian song and dance number where actress wears a rosary necklace

Link Here20th June 2013

Mumbai christians have whinged at what it termed a blasphemous song and dance number featuring starlet Kavitta Verma, likely to be shown in the forthcoming Bollywood movie Policegiri .

The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), has written to the movie producers and the Censor Board protesting the scantily-clad Kavitta allegedly performing the item number wearing a rosary with its cross positioned on her belly. The perennial whinger, CSF general secretary Joseph Dias, told IANS:

The community is concerned. The rosary which she is shown wearing around her neck has its cross positioned on her belly,

Terming this as totally unacceptable, Dias explained that Christians respect the rosary which they use to intercede with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and reflect in prayer. He said that the producer of the movie, TP Aggarwal, had assured them that the objectionable scenes would not be shown in the movie, due for release July 5.

However, Dias said that in case the producer still goes ahead and depicts the scene, the CSF would initiate criminal proceedings against the makers of the movie.

Update: How christians square away forgiveness with blasphemy

20th June 2013. See  article from

The producers invited CSF general secretary Joseph Dias and others for a meeting with Kavitta Verma, who apologised suitably profusely:

I tender an unconditional apology, as I am aware that the said picture has hurt your religious sentiments and that of the community and hereby withdraw the same.

Dias was suitably appeased and responded:

Both Verma and the Aggarwals tendered separate written apology to the Catholic community said that they hold the highest regard for all religions and would not include the offensive scenes in the movie. We are satisfied with it. We shall now write to the Censor Board to ensure that such scenes are deleted before the movie is released.

Dias explained that Christians are commanded by their faith to forgive ...BUT... that does not mean blasphemy of any kind will be tolerated.



Not Quite Dancing to the Daily Mail Tune...

Government and Internet industry focuses on removing child abuse material

Link Here19th June 2013

Culture Secretary Maria Miller announced that the Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) will be asked for the first time to actively seek out illegal images of child abuse on the internet, working closely with the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre. At a summit of major internet service providers (ISPs), search engines, mobile operators and social media companies, an agreement was reached that the IWF should, for the first time, work with CEOP to search for and block child sexual abuse images.

The UK's leading ISPs -- Virgin Media, BSkyB, BT and TalkTalk -- committed to provide a further £1 million to help fund this new proactive approach and to help tackle the creation and distribution of child sexual abuse material online. Additionally, all the companies present signed up to a zero tolerance pledge on child sexual abuse imagery.

This will be the first time the IWF has been asked to take on a proactive approach to detect and act against criminal material. The IWF, working alongside CEOP, and the wider internet industry, will ensure the UK leads the way in the global battle against child sexual abuse. New funding will allow more to be done to actively search, block and remove more child sexual abuse images.

This is a fundamental change in the way that child sexual abuse content will be tackled. It is estimated that there are one million unique images of child abuse online yet only 40,000 reports are made to the IWF each year. The IWF will no longer have to wait for illegal material to be reported before they can take action, but will work with CEOP to take the fight to those behind child sexual abuse images.

It was agreed at the summit that:

  • A new proactive role would be taken on by the IWF, working with CEOP -- industry funding will increase to reflect this new role with £1 million more provided by the four major ISPs over the next four years to tackle child sexual abuse material online;

  • Any relevant organisation which does not yet operate splash pages will introduce them by the end of the month so that when someone tries to access a page blocked by the IWF, they will see a warning message (a splash page') stating that the page may contain indecent or illegal content;

  • All present would sign up to a 'zero tolerance pledge towards child sexual abuse content on the internet;

  • The industry will report to the Culture Secretary within a month on how they can work to support the new proactive approach being taken on this issue through the use of their technology and expertise.

The summit also reviewed the considerable progress that has been made to protect children from harmful or inappropriate content online, including:

  • The four main ISPs are now offering an active choice on parental controls to all new customers;

  • The main public Wi-Fi providers have pledged to offer family friendly Wi-Fi in public places where children are likely to be;

  • The main ISPs have committed to delivering home network parental controls by the end of the year allowing restrictions to be set - simply and quickly - on all devices in the home;

  • Internet providers are now regularly telling customers about parental controls through emails and their bills;

  • ISPs will email account holders when any filter settings are changed to ensure the change is approved by an adult.

The Culture Secretary will convene a further meeting, once the industry has reported on what more it can do to support this proactive approach, to ensure that real action is taking place. Notes to Editors

The companies attending the summit were Yahoo, Google, Microsoft, Twitter, Facebook, BT, BSkyB, Virgin Media, TalkTalk, Vodafone, O2, EE and Three. They were joined by CEOP and the IWF.

But the Daily Mail wasn't impressed

See  article from

Child porn summit that ended up a damp squib: Internet giants still refuse to install automatic filters to force users to opt in'



Why can't such inane complaints be dismissed out of hand?...

ASA dismisses whinge about dating advert featuring cartoon characters in uniforms

Link Here 19th June 2013

A TV ad for a dating website,, featured various animated characters including a fireman, policeman and a nurse. The voice-over stated, Things are hotting up at Do you work in uniform or just fancy those who do? Join free now ... On-screen text stated 18+ only .

A complainant challenged whether the ad was scheduled appropriately, because it was seen on Film 4 during an afternoon broadcast of the film Honey, I Blew Up the Kids , when it could be seen by children.

Clearcast cleared the ad in 2010 with a restriction such that it was not transmitted in or adjacent to children's programmes or programmes directed at or likely to be of particular appeal to audiences below the age of 18 years. In 2012, that restriction was removed as they considered the content was unlikely to have particular appeal to under-18s.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

The ASA noted there were currently no scheduling restrictions applied to the ad. Although the ad featured animated characters in uniforms who were behaving flirtatiously, it did not include any explicit sexual references. We appreciated that some viewers might find the ad distasteful, but considered it was unlikely to be seen as unsuitable for them. We checked the audience index figures for the ad break and noted it did not attract a significant proportion of children. We therefore concluded that the ad was scheduled appropriately and did not breach the Code.

We investigated the ad under BCAP rule 32.3 (Scheduling) but did not find it in breach.



Let's Get Zesty...

One Million Christian Moms get easily offended by sexy Kraft advert

Link Here19th June 2013

One Million Moms is currently whingeing about  Kraft Foods for its new Let's Get Zesty salad dressing advertising campaign. The campaigners argue that the advert uses sex to sell by promoting a nearly-naked Zesty Guy as the official spokesperson for the product.

The group One Million Moms was founded by the nutters of the American Family Association. The groups spouts on its website in a post entitled Shame on Kraft:

Kraft has gone too far and will push away loyal, conservative customers with this new ad campaign. Christians will not be able to buy Kraft dressings or any of their products until they clean up their advertising. The consumers they are attempting to attract -- women and mothers -- are the very ones they are driving away.

The nutter group amusingly adds that it has to use asterisked words to get round email filters set up especially to please nutter groups just like them:

Who will want Kraft products in their fridge or pantry if this vulgarity is what they represent? One Million Moms cannot get over the gall of this company. It is unnecessary for Kraft to use s*x to sell salad dressing!

Kraft has explained its advertising campaign, describing it in a recent statement as a playful way to promote salad dressing.

Our Kraft dressing's 'Let's Get Zesty' campaign is a playful and flirtatious way to reach our consumers. People have overwhelmingly said they're enjoying the campaign and having fun with it.



The Last Laugh...

Vice magazine takes down website fashion pictorial referencing suicides of authors

Link Here19th June 2013

Vice magazine recreated the means of suicide of seven female literary icons in a fashion spread called Last Words. But this morning, Vice, which normally prides itself on refusing to bow to the gods of political correctness, has removed the post from its website following general 'outrage' after the spread was published online. The images are still available in the print edition.

Vice said in a statement to the NY Observer:

Last Words is a fashion spread featuring models re-enacting the suicides of female authors who tragically ended their own lives. It is part of our 2013 Fiction Issue, one that is entirely dedicated to female writers, photographers, illustrators, painters, and other contributors.

The fashion spreads in VICE magazine are always unconventional and approached with an art editorial point-of-view rather than a typical fashion photo-editorial one. Our main goal is to create artful images, with the fashion message following, rather than leading.

Last Words was created in this tradition and focused on the demise of a set of writers whose lives we very much wish weren't cut tragically short, especially at their own hands. We will no longer display Last Words on our website and apologize to anyone who was hurt or offended.



Alcohol: It's cheaper than therapy...

Amusing poster taken down as it offends the politically correct

Link Here19th June 2013

Lee's Discount Liquor of Las Vegas is in the process of taking down an amusing billboard.

The billboard read, Alcohol: It's cheaper than therapy. It rubbed some people the wrong way and sparked a whinging petition.

The petition claimed that the owners of the local liquor store chain were being somehow insensitive to victims of alcohol misuse.

With all the alcohol problems Las Vegas residents and others have, the billboard encouraging alcohol consumption versus seeking therapy is a socially irresponsible message to model to everyone:.

In an email, owner Kenny Lee said that he was aware of the complaints and that the advertisement and two other billboards were in the process of being replaced:

I thought they were funny and goes well with our television commercials, but didn't realize the people it would affect.



Update: Ignorance of PC Law is No Excuse...

Ofcom police charge Lynda La Plante with that most heinous of PC crimes, using the word 'retard'

Link Here18th June 2013

BBC Radio 4, 22 March 2013, 08:30

Today is BBC Radio 4's flagship morning national news and current affairs programme, and it includes various guest interviews.

The edition on 22 March featured a live interview with crime author Lynda La Plante to discuss her induction into the Forensic Science Society.

Four listeners alerted Ofcom to the use of the word retard during the interview. Lynda La Plante said:

Not questioning, I get a tremendous amount of fans. I mean, I have a lot of questions that I'd like to ask myself, but the misquoting of me is a consistent and really irritating fact. Today there's a headline that apparently I call people at the BBC 'retards', and it's absolutely...


Gasps? They were roaring with laughter, because I said, somebody in the front, it was a Q&A, somebody said, 'How do and where do I send a script to?', and I said 'You do not send a script, full script, anywhere, you learn how to do a treatment, because you don't know if there's a retard at the end of that envelope reading it'. Suddenly I've called everybody at the BBC a 'retard'...

Ofcom considered this material raised issues warranting investigation under Rule 2.3:

In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.

Ofcom decision: Breach of Rule 2.3

The use of discriminatory language can be profoundly offensive to some viewers. Ofcom's own 2010 research1 into offensive language has identified the word retard as polarising. The words retard and retarded provoked mixed responses but many people were offended by these words as they singled out people in society and are extremely harmful and upsetting . Those people who consider it offensive do so because it is a derogatory term that refers to disability.

We noted that it was Ms La Plante who first used the word in the programme in the context of complaining about how she was misquoted. We also took into account the BBC's comment that the presenter had assumed Ms La Plante brought up the subject to refute reports of her having used this offensive term, and thought it was a legitimate journalistic exercise to question Ms La Plante about it.

When Ms La Plante used the word a second time however it was to confirm she had in fact used it to make a derogatory remark about some script editors and their approach to reading a full script. Ms La Plante did not appear to recognise the potential for offence caused by this use of language, and did not apologise. Nor did the presenter explicitly challenge the guest's second use of retard , choosing instead immediately to change the subject moving on from that use of language, do you feel that the BBC is not listening to you and not wanting to use your work... ).

Ofcom considered the broadcast of the word on the second and third occasions had the potential to cause considerable and gratuitous offence, and was not justified by the context. While there was an implicit criticism of these uses of the word by the guest through the presenter abruptly changing the subject as she did, in Ofcom's view it would have been preferable if the presenter had addressed the issue with a more explicit statement, to clarify the potential for this use of language to offend, and apologise for any offence caused to listeners.

This material therefore breached Rule 2.3. 



Update: Deblogged...

MOD issued D notice to press about coverage of Prism snooping revelations

Link Here18th June 2013
Full story: D-Notices...UK press censorship of defence issues

UK Ministry of Defence officials issued a confidential D notice to the BBC and other media groups in an attempt to censor coverage of surveillance tactics employed by intelligence agencies in the UK and US.

Editors were asked not to publish information that may jeopardise both national security and possibly UK personnel in the warning issued on 7 June, a day after the Guardian first revealed details of the National Security Agency's (NSA) secret Prism programme .

The D notice was made public on the Westminster gossip blog, Guido Fawkes . Although only advisory for editors, the censorship system is intended to prevent the media from making inadvertent public disclosure of information that would compromise UK military and intelligence operations and methods.



Millions Didn't Complain about Important Breaking News...

Final tally shows 700 complaints about the TV coverage of the murder of Lee Rigby

Link Here 18th June 2013

The BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Sky News and other broadcasters are being investigated by the TV censor Ofcom after almost 1,000 complaints about the airing of graphic footage of the Woolwich killing.

Ofcom received a total of 700 complaints about TV news coverage of the Woolwich murder of soldier Lee Rigby died on 22 May, which included graphic scenes filmed by a member of the public on a mobile phone of one of the alleged assailants with blood on their hands.

About half of the complaints are understood to have been about ITV News, which was the first to broadcast the footage on its 6.30pm bulletin on the day of the murder.

Ofcom has received complaints about the coverage by ITV News, BBC News, Channel 4 News, 5 News, Sky News and al-Jazeera.



They Should be Sued...

So what are the negligent mobile phone companies currently blocking in the name of child protection

Link Here18th June 2013

The Open Rights Group have come up with some good examples including:

Campaign against political correctness:

Not really clear how the CAPC is harmful to children, but it is blocked by O2 as hate speech . The campaign is backed by Philip Davies MP and Andrew Percy MP. Blocked by Orange and O2.

Update: Transhumanity blocked

18th June 2013. See  article from

Index on Censorship have also located an example of negligent blocking.

A reader has contacted Index on Censorship to point out that the website has been blocked on his 02 phone.

We've checked, and he's right --- the site is blocked as pornography .

It's a little difficult to see why: there's certainly nothing I'd consider pornographic on the site.

Transhumanism is an essentially utopian concept, which believes in harnessing technology and theory to create better lives for humans, free from hunger and disease and the general biological decay to which, in the end, we all succumb.



Offsite Article: Let MPs tell us what they really want ISPs to block...

Link Here18th June 2013
Clair Perry screeches for blocking but does not have any idea what should be blocked and who should decide

See article from



Offsite Article: Sharing Ideas from US SOPA...

Link Here18th June 2013
Russian lower house passes far-reaching legislation against internet file sharing

See article from



A Watershed for iPlayer...

Minister for Censorship Culture calls on BBC to review iPlayer parental controls. Meanwhile Vivienne Pattison admits to an alarming mental condition where she sees violence to women in every TV programme

Link Here17th June 2013

Amid a moral panic about internet censorship, Culture Secretary Maria Miller will ask BBC Trust chairman Lord Patten to review safeguards on iPlayer programmes.

Senior sources say the Culture Secretary is concerned about British shows aping a trend in US drama for extreme on-screen violence, as in Sky shows such as The Following and Hannibal. Apparently some campaigners want the dramas to be edited to be suitable for children for iPlayer versions.

A BBC Trust spokeswoman said no changes were planned for controls on the iPlayer as the Trust felt current safeguards were adequate. Asked about the current iPlayer protections for children, Lord Patten said: It's quite difficult to do it any other way.

An IT consultant suggested: The BBC could simply mimic the system on Apple devices called iCloud which would allow parents to see what is being seen by their children, in real time.

Vivienne Pattison, director of pressure group MediaWatch-UK, admitted to alarming mental problems, seeing things in programmes that nobody else does:

It seems like there is violence against women in every programme now, with lingering shots of someone having something done to her.

I don't think any of us can dispute the quality of the filming, writing and acting in both Ripper Street and The Fall but it does seem gratuitous and gruesome violence has become mainstream.

I have been talking about the BBC having tougher safeguards for its iPlayer programmes for years but always get the same response: that it has to be something that seriously harms the mental or physical health of a child and nothing on the iPlayer will do this. Actually with some of those dramas we are getting to the stage where if a young child watches it, yes it could do.



Kids or Adult: No Middle Ground...

Film censors from UK, Netherlands and Italy come up with a very inflexible self censorship scheme for internet video sharers

Link Here16th June 2013
Full story: Internet crowd sourced classification...BBFC propose a traffic lights scheme

Film censors in three countries including UK are to pilot a program in which amateur video-makers can self-classify their postings.

Under the traffic light system, green footage would be suitable for all, amber for 12 year-olds and up, and red for adults only.

The project, developed by the British Board of Film Classification in collaboration with partners in Italy and the Netherlands, could also allow powerful internet service providers and search engines a new path through the current controversy about their uncensored content.

Amateur film-makers will be able to rate the films they put online according to national ratings categories, and the whole process could then be further policed by users of the site. Participating websites would have the option of letting viewers comment on the way that each film has been rated, alerting both users and the relevant national authorities to any serious transgressions.

The idea of offering a do-it-yourself rating service for user-generated content came out of international discussions with the parallel bodies in charge of film censorship and classification.

David Austin, assistant director of policy and public affairs at the BBFC said:

We already classify some 10,000 videos and films that are submitted to us for release every year and we will be using much the same classification model in the pilot for user-generated content.

The sheer amount of private video footage uploaded on popular sites such as YouTube means there is no way any board could tackle it. The volume is so great that it became clear the answer was to get those who are making and posting the films to rate them for users

Consultation with the Dutch film regulator led to the idea that an online questionnaire comprising simple questions about the nature of the content could be made to apply across international boundaries. Austin explained the procedure:

We will not be asking people to make value judgments about their films. They just have to answer simple questions about the content, such as 'Does this video contain X, Y or Z, and if so, how long is the scene?'

In Britain the usual six ratings categories for films will be reduced to three:

We felt that six would be too complicated, said Austin, so we have conflated U, which means suitable for all, with PG, parental guidance, and then the age category 12 with 15, and finally 18, suitable only for adults, with R18, which covers those adult works intended for licensed premises only.

We will represent these three categories with the traffic light symbols green, amber and red.

The scheme will be voluntary and service providers and search engines will be able to decide how their users want to see the ratings displayed.

At this stage a lot of it depends on how much the search engines buy into the scheme. We want to help them look after their sites, and if some of the big ones get involved, then they can make the age-rating option available for everything.

The crowdsource monitoring option would then allow users to judge the chosen rating and to spot abuses of the system. If there is a serious problem, such as an example of hate speech or of child abuse, it can be reported.

The 'conflation' of 12 and 15 seems to be devil in the detail. 12 is very much the new PG and the current guidelines define it as more or less suitable for kids over 8, albeit with parental discretion. All modern family blockbusters fit into this category.

Surely you cannot have currently 15 rated strong language, horror films, and sex scenes noted as suitable for 12 year olds. So the lack of separate 15 rating means that anything with more than couple of swearwords, or bit violent, or even a bit sexy, has got nowhere to go, except an 18 rating.

So it appears that the ratings scheme only offers 3 choices, suitable for kids under 8, suitable for kids over 8, and adults only. Sounds like the powers that be are working towards a cheap and easy to implement, kids or adults internet censorship scheme.



Bad about Breaking Bad...

So why is Season 3 cut for UK DVD release?

Link Here16th June 2013

A few months ago I read on your website about how TV shows like The Walking Dead and The Shield were edited for broadcast in the UK and how the same versions were subsequently issued on DVD despite being available uncut in the US.

Well you can add Breaking Bad to that list. The season 3 episode I.F.T. - which stands for I fucked Ted - was edited for broadcast in the US on AMC to omit the expletive from an important dialogue exchange at the end of the episode.

The region 1 release lists that fact that it contains 3 uncensored episodes , but the UK version features the same censored version that AMC broadcast despite the fact that the language would not have caused a problem in the UK at all, even on television. What makes this more annoying is that the expletive is included in the English subtitle track and the French dub track is also intact.

Season 3 has subsequently been issued on Blu-ray, but there doesn't seem to be any indication that the edits have been restored.

Seasons 4 and 5 (part 1) seem to be okay, but I still don't see why UK viewers should have to put up with US TV censorship at all on a format that does not require it.

As AMC is also home to Mad Men , so I'm starting to wonder if the DVD releases of those series are similarly edited.



Update: A Watershed for the Internet...

Claire Perry and co are holding a series of one sided internet censorship brainstorm sessions

Link Here15th June 2013
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

This week has seen a series of meetings seeking ideas and support for internet censorship in the name of child protection. There was a Sunday Times sponsored session, followed by Westminster Media Forum discussion, and the culmination will be a government led meeting with ISPs and major internet companies on 17th June.

Here are a few of the ideas being discussed.

Scary messages on attempted access to banned websites

BT has announced that any of its customers attempting to access web pages on the Internet Watch Foundation's list of identified images of child sexual abuse will now see a message telling them the site is blocked and the reason why.

Under the current system, the site is blocked but internet users only see an Error 404 message. The move comes amid growing concern that internet companies need to do more to tackle online child abuse. BT's new message is believed to be the first of its kind in the UK.

The message will read:

Access has been denied by your internet service provider because this page may contain indecent images of children as identified by the Internet Watch Foundation. If you think this page has been blocked in error please contact

Presumably the scare value is tied in with the government snooping and keeping records or websites visited.

Network censorship on by default

Parental filters for pornographic content will come as a default setting for all homes in the UK by the end of 2013, says Claire Perry, David Cameron's personal Mary Whitehouse. Speaking at a Westminster eForum on 14 June she explained:

Internet service providers (ISP) will be expected to provide filtering technology to new and existing customers, with an emphasis on opting out, rather than opting in: [In the UK] we will have filters where if you do nothing, the parental filters will come pre-ticked .

Internet watershed

Perry explained:

Features such as time-limited deactivation of filtering and email updates when filter settings are changed are expected to become widespread. We will have automatic put on, so if you turn the filter off at 9pm, it turns on again at 7am

Public WiFi only suitable for kids

 Perry confirmed that as expected, the government is pushing ahead with restricting all public Wi-Fi spots so that they are free from all adult content.



Council Censors Pickled...

Local Government Secretary orders councils to allow the public to film their meetings

Link Here15th June 2013

In positive step towards transparency Eric Pickles MP, the Communities and Local Government Secretary, has published new guidance which explicitly states that Councils should allow the public to openly film council meetings.

DCLG was forced to publish the guidance after a string of councils had prevented individuals from recording council meetings on supposed health and safety and legal grounds. The guidance will only apply to English councils, but it certainly creates a serious precedent for councils in Wales.

Eric Pickles said:

I want to stand up for the rights of journalists and taxpayers to scrutinise and challenge decisions of the state. Data protection rules or health and safety should not be used to suppress reporting or a healthy dose of criticism.

Modern technology has created a new cadre of bloggers and hyper-local journalists, and councils should open their digital doors and not cling to analogue interpretations of council rules.

Councillors shouldn't be shy about the public seeing the good work they do in championing local communities and local interests.



Fighting Against Freedom...

Morality in Media hails a US Navy order for an annual workplace inspection for porn

Link Here15th June 2013

Anti-porn miserablists of Morality in Media (MiM) hailed the US Navy after it ordered a fleet-wide inspection to eliminate porn and patently lewd, lascivious or obscene images on display in public workplaces.

Navy Secretary Ray Mabus ordered the annual inspection but probably disappointed  MiM when a Navy spokeswoman confirmed that Mabus's order does not ban the sale of adult material in Navy and Marine Corps exchanges or forbid sailors and Marines from viewing it privately. The MiM issued a press release claiming that porn would be banned from Navy bases entirely

Under his instruction, officers and senior enlisted leaders cannot search government laptop or desktop computers (with the exception of visible screensavers), assigned individual barracks rooms/living quarters, assigned desk drawers, assigned cabinet drawers, clothing (e.g., coats), assigned lockers, purses, briefcases, backpacks, private automobiles and personal electronic devices (e.g., iPads, iPhones, etc.).

But Mabus did order that ships, hangars, training centers and all other department workplaces be free from materials that create a degrading, hostile or offensive work environment. Essentially, the Navy does not want a female pilot to have to work in a squadron ready room adorned with, say, a bikini pinup calendar.

The anti-porn group Morality in Media said Friday that it applauds Mabus for his order and challenged Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to take it to the next level: Will Secretary Hagel follow suit and make this order military-wide? it asked.



Updated: Closed down because it broadcast the Taksim protest...

An open letter from the Turkish Hayat TV

Link Here15th June 2013

Hayat TV, a progressive Turkish TV channel of the working people, the youth, women and the intellectuals is facing closure.

We believe this is a blow to people's freedom of information.

The decision for the closure is made by the broadcasting regulator RTÜK, Radio & Television High Commission with the pretext that Hayat TV has no licence.

This is not true.

Hayat TV has been broadcasting since 21 March 2007 by ofcom license via TURKSAT satellite. But a recent change in broadcasting rules via TURKSAT requires broadcasters to obtain a RTÜK license to be able to broadcast via satellite.

Our application for a RTÜK license has been submitted and pending for a decision. We have taken all the necessary steps and RTÜK agreed that we could carry on broadcasting as it is until a RTÜK license is granted.

However, RTÜK is now making an arbitrary decision to close down our channel because of, we believe, our broadcast of recent protests in Istanbul and across Turkey.

RTÜK says they investigated "the complaints received for our coverage of the Gezi Park protests" and made a decision for the closure.

We believe this closure is part of the overall repression on the media in Turkey during the more than two-week-long Gezi Park protests. Four other TV channels have been given a fine by RTUK because of their coverage of the recent events.

RTUK sent a letter to TURKSAT to put an end to Hayat TV broadcast at 12:00 p.m. on Friday, 14 th June 2013.

We believe this arbitrary and unlawful decision should be reversed.

We call on all democratically minded people to show solidarity with Hayat TV .

Mustafa Kara

Hayat TV Broadcast Coordinator

Update: 4 TV stations fined for reporting on the Taksim park protests

15th June 2013.  See  article from

The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on the Turkish state media regulator to reverse its decision to penalize four TV stations in connection with their coverage of the demonstrations that have occurred nationwide over the past two weeks.

The state broadcast regulator, the High Council of Radio and Television (RTÜK), levied fines against the pro-opposition TV stations Ulusal Kanal, Halk TV, Cem TV, and EM TV, in the amount of 12,000 Turkish lira (US$6,460) each, for allegedly "inciting violence" and "violating broadcasting principles,". RTÜK claimed that the stations' live coverage of clashes between riot police and protesters in Taksim Square could harm the physical, moral, and mental development of children and young people.

While mainstream television channels such as Habertürk, CNN Türk, and NTV were airing unrelated programming despite the dramatic events unfolding in Istanbul's streets--incurring the frustration of protesters--Ulusal Kanal, Halk TV, Cem TV, and EM TV were streaming live coverage.



Update: British Democracy in Action Over Internet Porn...

Start with moral panic; dismiss evidence; legislate; and finally, watch the policy unravel, either delivering unintended harms, even to children in this case, or simply failing altogether

Link Here14th June 2013
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

On Tuesday, Jim Killock of Open Rights Group spoke at an event organised by the Sunday Times and Policy Exchange about online pornography and child protection. This was in the run-up to the opposition debate that took place in Parliament on Wednesday on these topics. He reports:

The motion laid down by Labour says:

That this House deplores the growth in child abuse images online; deeply regrets that up to one and a half million people have seen such images; notes with alarm the lack of resources available to the police to tackle this problem; further notes the correlation between viewing such images and further child abuse; notes with concern the Government's failure to implement the recommendations of the Bailey Review and the Independent Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection on ensuring children's safe access to the internet; and calls on the Government to set a timetable for the introduction of safe search as a default, effective age verification and splash page warnings and to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure these changes are speedily implemented.

The "1.5m" statistic has been debunked elsewhere, but the alarming point here is the deliberate conflation of child abuse images and legal material, potentially accessed by children. The motion slips from talking about child abuse images, to 'safe searches' to protect children from seeing adult material. Just as worrying is the adoption of a position in favour of default blocking by Labour. You can read a transcript of the debate on Hansard .

This is a symptom of a wider problem with this debate - a failure to properly distinguish between different categories of content, and the different methods of dealing with them.  That requires at least some understanding of the technology - the details matter.

A further problem is an unwillingness from some MPs to appreciate or even acknowledge the problems with technical solutions. In the debate on Tuesday, I tried to outline the problems with filtering, including the over and under-blocking of content.

Claire Perry helpfully described such problems as a   load of cock . Helpfully, because such a comment would be very likely to be caught by a filter and cause it to be blocked, while not, of course being pornographic. 

Claire also got applause for suggesting that blocked websites were simply collateral damage necessary to protect children. This is the kind of woolly thinking that thankfully got rejected by her government, which recognised that economic harm stems from blocking legitimate websites, for instance. After all, if you can protect children, and avoid blocking for adults, why not? Can some balance not be struck?

Unfortunately, in the eyes of many MPs, arguing for balance is betraying children. If any children can access more porn than we can technically prevent, then we have failed. Of course, filters don't always work and can be easily got round, but if our solution helps a bit, surely that is better than nothing?

These kinds of position, once you examine them, are pretty incoherent. Filters that don't work well will probably get switched off. Defaults that block too much may encourage people to remove the filters. Parents may assume their children are safe when filters are switched on. Software design is iterative not legislative; yet legislation is often favoured over industry engagement.

The child protection debate over the last two years has won Claire Perry many friends, who believe she has raised the profile of an issue and got results. Certainly, the fact that ISPs are building network level filters points to this, but I was intrigued by a question at the debate on Tuesday. Apparently children are installing Chrome, because it was suggested that helps them access porn sites and gets round filters.

We did try to tell Claire this kind of thing would happen, before she persuaded ISPs to spend millions of pounds on network filters. Even with filters, if parents leave children with admin privileges, they will be able to use their computers to trivially defeat any blocks. Some MPs in the debate in Parliament suggested only 'very clever' folk will be able to get round filtering. This isn't true -- most children will find this easy.

Which leaves us with the harms on all sides, to websites, adults and children, without the supposed benefits.

Labour have essentially made the same mistake as Culture Secretary Maria Miller's letter to online companies, in which she invited Internet companies to a proposed 'summit':

Recent horrific events have again highlighted the widespread public concern over the proliferation of, and easy access to, harmful content on the internet. Whether these concerns focus on access to illegal pornographic content, the proliferation of extremist material which might incite racial or religious hatred, or the ongoing battle against online copyright theft, a common question emerges: what more can be done to prevent offensive online content potentially causing harm?

It is clear that dangerous, highly offensive, unlawful and illegal material is available through basic search functions and I believe that many popular search engines, websites and ISPs could do more to prevent the dissemination of such material.

The debate and letter confuse legal, illegal and potentially harmful content, all of which require very different tactics to deal with. Without a greater commitment to evidence and rational debate, poor policy outcomes will be the likely result. There's a pattern, much the same as the Digital Economy Act, or the Snooper's Charter.

Start with moral panic; dismiss evidence; legislate; and finally, watch the policy unravel, either delivering unintended harms, even to children in this case, or simply failing altogether.

ORG, Index on Censorship, English PEN and Big Brother Watch have written to the Culture Secretary Maria Miller demanding that civil society be present at her 'summit', to make sure these issues are addressed. We have yet to receive a reply.



Sandwich Violence...

Canadian advert censors demand cuts from CougarLife TV advert

Link Here14th June 2013

Dating website has had a TV advert banned in which a sexy older woman runs roughshod over younger women in a bar while explaining why cougars are better dates.

It was banned by the Television Bureau of Canada, unless the sandwich-shoving and the chair-pushing shots are cut.

Cougar Life is owned by Toronto-based Avid Life Media who issued a press release with the ad's actress, porn star Julia Ann---claiming that the commercial, which has run in the U.S., U.K. and Australia, has been banned from Canadian airwaves by Television Bureau of Canada. Ann said:

I'm kinda stunned by the whole thing. I find it interesting that in a country where a sport like, say, hockey is so prevalent, admired, supported, and played everywhere---they're heroes and all I have to do is put a sandwich in a girl's face and it's banned for violence.

Theresa Treutler, president of the Television Bureau of Canada responded:

This CougarLife commercial is not rejected. This commercial is in a pending file---what that means is we have replied to (Avid) and in our reply we offered several potential solutions.



There's No Glamour In Censorship...

ATVOD locates a few more British websites to suffocate

Link Here14th June 2013

MNS Media provided softcore website services for British glamour models:







We wrote to the Service Provider on 26 March 2013 to inform the Service Provider that we had come to a preliminary view that the Service was an ODPS in respect of which a notification had not been given and in respect of which a fee had not been paid, and that our preliminary view was that the Service Provider was in contravention of sections: requirement to notify an ODPS; and requirement to pay a fee.

Prior to the issue of the Preliminary View ATVOD had engaged with MNS Media as part of the investigation process. During those exchanges MNS Media made two statements :

  • MNS Media stated in an email that ...we are not a Video on Demand site - we have video content as part of a site subscription that includes video, pictures, interactive members forum and Blogs.

  • MNS Media stated in an email that the address for MNS Media was in Mallorca.

The ATVOD executive found on 12 March 2013 that entering each address above into a web browser took a consumer to a webpage which featured a sample video and text outlining the content of the site. The lay out for all 6 websites was similar, with a still image of the model and a sample video, along with more still images from photo shoots. The sites all had a banner which stated it's a massive 2013 promo offer, get 6 sites for $34.99 . A user has the option to purchase the promotional offer which would allow them access to all the above 6 websites under one paid subscription. All 6 sites offered a similar nature of videos, containing soft core adult material. A link take my free tour could be seen on all the 6 websites, upon clicking on this link, users were taken to a page which featured still images which appeared to be stills taken from the videos available on the websites.

Once a user had logged into each site the user was taken to a member's area, where the user could choose from a selection of videos. The videos were separated into two categories: behind the scenes videos and sexy videos . The sites contained videos which portrayed sexualised nudity without explicit detail, the majority of which contained female models removing their clothing in various outdoor and indoor settings.

MNS Media Ltd is a registered company and has a registered office in the UK. This address is also found on some of the individual websites that comprise the Service. ATVOD has also received email communication from MNS Media regarding the Service from its Social Media & Marketing Director who has a UK mobile number. Taken together, this evidence suggests to ATVOD that a significant part of the workforce involved in the Service operates in the UK. As the head office of MNS Media is in the UK, ATVOD considers that the provider falls within UK jurisdiction.

These breaches constitute an infringement of the statutory requirements: Requirement to notify an ODPS and Requirement to pay a fee.



Minister of Silly Walks...

China censors Winnie the Pooh picture over resemblance to premier

Link Here14th June 2013
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

China has censored an image of Winnie the Pooh strolling with Tigger, after it went viral on popular Chinese microblogging site, Sina Weibo.

The image was circulated after bloggers noticed the similarities between a photo snapped this week of President Barack Obama and Chinese premier Xi Jinping and an illustration of the cartoon characters.



Offsite Article: The genie of unlimited filth is out of the bottle and no law can stop us polishing our lamps...

Link Here14th June 2013
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn
The worst thing about this debate is that it turns a real-world, complex problem into a simple moral choice. By Laurie Penny

See article from



Offsite Article: Get real, banning lads' mags would patronise women...

Link Here14th June 2013
Full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
A new campaign, Lose the Lads' Mags, which has gained a lot of traction among certain women, is completely off the mark. Censorship is not the way the forward, argues Catherine Scott.

See article from



Offsite Article: Is My Little Pony getting a little too frisky for kids?...

Link Here 14th June 2013
Sexualisationists whinge at miniskirts in My Little Pony children's movie

See article from



Offsite Article: A Great Week for Nutters...

Link Here14th June 2013
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn
Mediawatch-UK gloats about the almost daily meetings to discuss internet censorship. But how come the nutters are getting away with bollox about child porn being readily available via a trivial google search?

See article from



Addicted to a Miserable Life...

Alcohol Concern whinges that alcohol adverts should banned at sport and music events

Link Here13th June 2013

Miserablist campaigners from Alcohol Concern claim that alcohol advertising should be banned at music and sports events.

Alcohol Concern said that many young people recognised more alcohol brands than those of ice cream or cake products. It is calling for new rules on what alcohol adverts can mention and it also wants them banned in film trailers rated 15 or lower.

Alcohol Concern's report was based on research by its Youth Alcohol Advertising Council (YAAC) - a group of young people in England and Wales who review alcohol advertising and who whinge to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) when they discover content they deem to be irresponsible.

The report urged the ASA to operate in a more proactive way , instead of depending on complaints from the public before looking into advertising code breaches. The ASA should be able to levy meaningful sanctions including fines for serious non-compliance, it added.

In a statement, the ASA said:

It was not unheard of for an anti-alcohol lobby group to call for further restrictions on advertising. The ASA will continue to take a proportionate approach, regulating effectively alcohol ads across media, including online, against strict rules that are designed to protect young people.

The Department of Health's own figures show, encouragingly, that fewer young people are drinking.



Unapologetic Censorship...

Modesty vigilantes staple clothes to Rihanna poster to cover her up

Link Here13th June 2013

Rihanna's topless but unrevealing posters for her Diamonds world tour have offended the insensibilities of some Dublin residents, who took it upon themselves to cover her up by stapling clothes to the images.

The posters feature the image from her Unapologetic album and depict the singer apparently naked from the waist up but covered by her elbow and the album title.

She will be performing at the Aviva Stadium on June 21, and hopefully the modesty vigilantes will not be present at her show.



The Sin of Vandalism...

Saudi horse sculptures smashed after claims that they are sinful

Link Here13th June 2013

Extremist muslims in Saudi Arabia has smashed sculptures of horses erected on a roundabout in the town of Abu Arish after the kingdom's top cleric denounced them as supposedly sinful.

The decision came after Grand Mufti Abdulaziz al-Shaikh sent a letter to the governor of Jazan demanding that the sculptures be removed because they are a great sin and are prohibited under sharia .

Statues of people and animals are prohibited under Islam as they are said to represent a form of idolatry.



A Not So Short Hobbit...

MPAA rate an extended version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

Link Here12th June 2013

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is a 2012 USA/New Zealand fantasy adventure by Peter Jackson.
With Ian McKellen, Martin Freeman, Richard Armitage. IMDb

The Extended Version was rated PG-13 For extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence, frightening images and fleeting nudity.

Note that the 'fleeting nudity' is new for the extended version. The Theatrical Version was rated PG-13 For extended sequences of intense fantasy action violence and frightening images.

Director Peter Jackson previously confirmed that the extended edition will be released and will feature 20 to 25 additional minutes. This leads up to a final running time of roughly 189 or 194 minutes for the first film.



Grasping for Attention...

ASA dismisses whinges about online bingo advert with topless men

Link Here12th June 2013

A poster ad for Wink Bingo, which appeared on the side of a bus, featured topless men smiling and pointing towards text stating £ 35 FREE* Go on ... you know you want to .

The Gambling Reform & Society Perception Group (GRASP) challenged whether the use of semi-naked athletic men, in conjunction with the claim Go on ... you know you want to , linked gambling to seduction and enhanced attractiveness.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

Whilst the ad featured an image of a group of topless men with athletic torsos, the ASA noted they were not positioned in a sexually suggestive or sexually provocative way but were shown smiling happily whilst pointing towards the text on the ad. Whilst we understood GRASP considered that, alongside the image, the call to action Go on ... you know you want to further implied a link between gambling and sexual success, we considered that within the context of the ad it would be understood by consumers merely as an encouragement by the ad and by the featured Dream Idols to take advantage of the ?35 free offer. We considered that the ad did not directly or by implication create a link between gambling and seduction, sexual success or enhanced attractiveness and therefore concluded that the ad did not breach the Code on those grounds.

We considered the ad under CAP Code rule 16.3.8 but did not find it in breach.



Update: Innocence Re-shared...

Bangladesh lifts ban on YouTube

Link Here12th June 2013

Bangladesh's telecommunication authorities have unblocked YouTube in Bangladesh after 260 days of restricting access within the country to the video sharing website.

The Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission (BTRC) blocked YouTube on September 17, 2012 to ban people from watching a trailer of a US film titled Innocence of Muslims , which mocks Islam and the religious character Muhammad. The telecoms censor claimed that it contacted Google prior to the ban asking them to remove the video, but Google reportedly refused to oblige.

The ban was lifted on June 5, 2013, making the site accessible to Bangladeshi netizens once again.

The block actually incurred a loss for the Bangladeshi economy, according to Fahim Mashroor, the ex-Secretary of the Bangladesh Association of Software and Information Services. He said in an interview with German radio Deutsche Welle that the outsourcing industry suffered due to the ban. Last year, Bangladeshis earned 57 million US dollars working for the online outsourcing industry.



Update: Promoting Intolerance...

Russian parliament bans information about homosexuality from the public sphere

Link Here12th June 2013
Full story: Gay in Russia...Russia bans gay parades and legislates against gay rights

Russia's lower house of parliament, the Duma, has passed a law imposing heavy fines for providing information about homosexuality to people under 18.

The measure was passed unanimously and will become law when approved by the upper house and President Vladimir Putin, a virtual formality.

Under the new law, private individuals promoting homosexual behaviour among minors face fines of up to 5,000 roubles (£100; $155) while officials risk paying 10 times that amount. Businesses and schools could be fined up to 500,000 roubles.

A recent poll found that nearly half of Russians believe that the gay and lesbian community should not enjoy the same rights as other citizens.

Update: Signed into law

1st July 2013. See  article from

Russia s president, Vladimir Putin , has signed into law a measure that stigmatises gay people and bans giving children any information about homosexuality.



Incoherent Cuts...

UAE films censors leave viewers confused after cutting key scenes from I Give It a Year

Link Here11th June 2013

Going to the cinema in the UAE can sometimes be a confusing experience.

Audiences for the British romcom I Give It a Year emerged from screenings somewhat earlier than they might have expected, and with unanswered questions about what they had just seen.

About 12 minutes had been removed from the film to ensure that it conformed to the UAE's repressive 'cultural values'. As a result, several scenes had clearly been abruptly terminated and a major plot development excised completely.

But when such cuts are necessary, would it be better not to screen such films in the first place and save audiences the Dh35 price of a ticket?

Simon El Khoury, of Gulf Film distributors explained:

When we receive the movie from the studio, we receive the original film. We show it to the National Media Council and they decide whether the movie needs cutting and [what] scenes should be cut from the film.

We have to cut them, we don't have any other choice. Of course we have to send [the list of cuts] to the studio to show them that these are the scenes that should be cut.

So would a distributor ever decide to voluntarily pull a film from the market rather than make the cuts and risk compromising the integrity of the film? We have never had this situation, El Khoury claims:

This never happens. It's usually a maximum of five minutes that we cut, it depends on the movie itself.

Usually when we cut something from a movie we don't cut conversations, we just cut a scene; for example when there is nudity. That's the only thing when some people notice there has been a cut.

UAE law  requires the removal of any scenes involving moral turpitude, or violating religious morals or values on which state and society are based .

Another film to be shown despite lengthy cuts was the 2009 Watchmen , based on the graphic novel of the same name. The heavy editing became a talking point among fans on the internet, when several scenes involving the main character - a blue-skinned physicist with super powers - were cut because he appeared nude.

Other films that reportedly received heavy editing, compromising the film's integrity, include Angelina Jolie's In the Land of Blood and Honey , Love in the Time of Cholera , Killer Joe , The Reader and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantamo Bay .



Update: The Most Dangerous Tweets...

Kuwaiti woman sentenced to 11 years for tweets calling for an end to the unjust regime

Link Here11th June 2013

A teacher in Kuwait has been sentenced to 11 years in prison for tweets that insulted the country's ruler and encouraged his overthrow.

Huda al-Ajmi received the longest known sentence for online dissent in the Gulf state, according to Kuwaiti opposition groups.

She reportedly faced three separate charges that included insulting the Emir, Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah, which carries a one-year sentence in itself. The other two five-year prison terms were given for inciting rebellion against the regime and violating laws on public discussions.

Kuwait has not seen the same scale of pro-democracy uprisings as other Arab states but dozens of people across the Gulf region have been sentenced to jail for Twitter and blog posts in the past year.

Ms al-Ajmi will be able to appeal her three sentences.



Update: A Date with the Censor...

Russian state TV pulls show daring to joke about Putin's divorce

Link Here10th June 2013
Full story: TV Censorship in Russia...Russian TV censors easily wound up

Russian state television has pulled a show over a joke about President Vladimir Putin's surprise divorce announcement..

The youth-oriented television show called The Social Network recorded a satirical item about Putin putting up a profile on an online dating site. The programme's co-host Vladislav Sorokin wrote on Facebook:

We made a video item about photos of Putin for (dating site). They took the whole programme, all of it, off air entirely.

We'll work till our contract ends on June 30 and then so long.



Not Enough Police Censorship...

Vietnam bans the local movie, Life on Chinatown Streets

Link Here10th June 2013

Vietnam's latest action movie about gang fights in Ho Chi Minh City's Chinatown has been officially banned after the censors disapproved, even after cuts.

Charlie Nguyen, director of Bui doi Cho Lon ( Life on Chinatown Streets ) confirmed that the film has been banned.

The movie was supposed to premier on April 19, but a censorship committee with the National Cinema Department objected that it was too violent, so the movie was resubmitted without 15 minutes of major fight scenes.

But a source from the censorship committee said the film was not changed as comprehensively as requested.

Four of the eight film censors had said that the film should be banned, while others felt it should be cut to better suit Eastern values and be more realistic. They criticized it for promoting violence and depicting a bad image of the society, with no police intervening in the knife and machete fights between gangs.

Nguyen said the request is impossible to follow, as they would have to film many more scenes and it would cost a lot more money:

We've cut almost all violent and action scenes, and we've added several scenes with police officers, enough to make sure the storyline is not changed.



Offending Religious Insensibilities...

Indian censors ban the film Pithavinum Puthranum, supposedly derogatory to christians

Link Here10th June 2013

Religious insensibilities are again trumping artistic expression in India, as the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has banned new film that supposedly offends Christianity.

The film, Pithavinum Puthranum (In the name of The Father and The Son), is directed by T Deepesh.

According to the filmmakers, it is set in a Christian convent and discusses a human story without getting judgmental on faith,. They maintain that the ban is an assault on creative liberties and the board has succumbed to pressure from groups that don't want the film released.

Film censor, T Madhukumar, a CBFC additional regional censor in Thiruvananthapuram, claimed to the Deccan Herald that the question was not on content policing or giving in to pressure:

The board is an independent body that works under statutory stipulations. The film violates some of the guidelines that we follow during certification. We felt that people from a particular religion would find the film's theme and certain visuals derogatory.

The official, along with four other members, watched the film last week. The board, instead of suggesting cuts, straightaway banned the film saying mere cuts couldn't have diluted the guideline violations.

Madhukumar said the board had been receiving complaints from Christian groups and individuals even when the film was being shot. He called the protests natural considering that the title referred to the Holy Trinity.

Madhukumar said the filmmakers now have the option of sending the film to a 10-member revising or appeal committee.



Update: Searching for New Threats...

Pakistan's new internet censorship minister threatens to block Google search unless supposedly blasphemous YouTube videos are blocked

Link Here10th June 2013
Full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking

Pakistan's new Information and Technology minister has warned that Google could be blocked in the country if the company fails to remove supposedly blasphemous and objectionable material from its video-sharing website YouTube.

Minister of State for IT and Telecommunication Anusha Rahman Khan made the remarks on her first day in office while talking about Pakistan's efforts to end a nine-month ban on YouTube for hosting clips from the film Innocence of Muslims . Khan was quoted as saying by The News daily:

It all depends on our negotiation clout. If they persist with their stance, we can block Google in Pakistan as a last resort as there are many alternative search engines available on the Web.

We will pump in extra money if needed and do whatever is in our capacity to bring YouTube back to Pakistan without compromising our ethical values.

She said she will request Google to remove objectionable material from YouTube or at least ensure that access to it is blocked in Pakistan.

Pakistani religious groups responded violently to the film Innocence of Muslims, leading to YouTube being blocked from September 17 last year. The ban was lifted for a few hours in December before being reinstated following protests from religious groups.



Offsite Article: Wrestling with BBFC Exemption...

Link Here10th June 2013
Looking back over the last few years of wrestling videos

See article from



Update: Banging On...

Daily Mail claims that Cameron will demand that Google proactively seeks out child porn

Link Here9th June 2013
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

The Daily Mail is claiming that it has spoken with David Cameron and is speaking of measures to force Google to pro-actively seek out child porn (which pretty much has already been driven off public facing sections of the net). However as usual, the piece does continually confuses by conflating child porn with 'other illegal porn'.

The Daily Mail writes:

David Cameron is to order Google to ban child pornography from the internet in a bid to prevent further murders like those of Tia Sharp and April Jones.

The Prime Minister last night said it was time for internet firms to stop making excuses for failing to crackdown on disgusting pornography. Google was urged to use the same effort it put into filming virtually every house and street for Google Earth to help rid the internet of violent and obscene sexual images.

The Prime Minister told The Mail on Sunday last night:

I am sickened by the proliferation of child pornography. It pollutes the internet, twists minds and is quite simply a danger to children. No more excuses: Internet firms will be told to crackdown on vile porn

No more excuses: Internet firms will be told to crackdown on vile porn

Internet companies and search engines make their living by trawling and categorising the web. So I call on them to use their extraordinary technical abilities to do more to root out these disgusting images.

That is why the Government I lead is convening a round-table meeting of the major internet companies, and demanding that more is done.

There are encouraging signs that the industry is willing to step up -- increasing funding and technical support for organisations combating child sexual abuse imagery online. But I want more action.

The time for excuses and blame is over -- we must all work together. The safety of our children is at stake -- and nothing matters more than that.

Google and other internet companies will be told to set up teams of investigators whose sole job will be to trawl the internet 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in search of child pornography and other illegal obscene images -- and remove it.



Extract: The west is moving towards China in its quest for mass surveillance...

The future of our free society demands that we seek the truth from the government about internet snooping

Link Here 9th June 2013
Full story: The Edward Snowden Revelations...Internet Snooping in the US revealed

Anglo-American intelligence scandals, such as the one that preceded the Iraq war, are usually smothered or buried in an endless, unpublished inquiry. Normal service soon resumes and everyone gets to keep his job. But the issues thrown up by the Guardian's Prism revelations couldn't be more clear-cut. Did GCHQ make use of NSA 's Prism system to bypass British laws and spy on the public through covert access to internet giants such as Google and Facebook?

All that is needed from William Hague and Theresa May, the ministers who oversee the intelligence agencies, and the head of GCHQ , Sir Iain Lobban, is straight answers about what they knew and who authorised an operation that generated 197 intelligence reports last year. No obfuscation.

No cover-up. No inquiry yet.

That way, we will know that the proper checks and balances on Britain's intelligence agencies are finally being activated.

Nothing less will do. Assurances from Sir Malcolm Rifkind, the head of the compliant Commons intelligence and security committee, will not be enough, particularly as he has hinted at his support for the mass surveillance proposed in the communications data bill.

...Read the full article



Update: Free My Internet...

Singaporeans protest against government censorship of news websites

Link Here9th June 2013
Full story: Internet Censorship in Singapore...Heavy handed censorship control of news websites

The Singapore government's plan to register online news sites for state censorship has drawn opposition from online users.

A group called Free My Internet has organised an online blackout to protest against the Media Development Authority (MDA) requirement for news sites reporting on Singapore at least once a week and with an audience of 50,000, to be licensed .

More than 130 sites consisting of blogs and alternative news outlets are participating in the blackout. Users who access the sites will see nothing but a link to the Free My Internet site and also a message for an actual protest that's set to happen on June 8 at Singapore's Speakers' Corner .

The Free My Internet group wants the Singapore government to withdraw the Licensing Regime and for the Ministry of Communication and Information (MICA) to undertake a complete review of all media regulation in Singapore, with the aim of ensuring that the constitutional rights of Singaporeans are not violated .

Update: Protest rally

9th June 2013. See  article from

About 1000 Singaporeans rallied Saturday to protest a new government censorship policy that requires some news websites to obtain licenses. A crowd that gathered at the Speakers' Corner free speech area of a Singapore park listened to bloggers and other speakers denounce the censorship. One man held a poster that read, Internet censorship: Worst idea ever, while many booed when the names of government officials were spoken.

The rally's chief organizer, Howard Lee, said the demonstrators hope to draw attention to a petition that has more than 4000 signatures demanding the withdrawal of the policy.

Human Rights Watch said in a statement that the new requirement:

casts a chill over the city-state's robust and free-wheeling online communities, and will clearly limit Singaporeans' access to independent media. Singapore is placing its status as a world-class financial center at clear risk by extending its record of draconian media censorship to the digital world.



Monster Sized Hype...

As long as its a demon you can have an erection in the R rated film, This Is The End

Link Here8th June 2013

Apparently when Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg submitted This Is the End to the ratings board of the Motion Picture Association of America, the co-directors expected to get an adults only NC-17 rating.

In addition to scores of profanities and liberal drug use, This Is the End includes several sex scenes, including one between a demonic beast and a human, and a well endowed satanic creature.

Rogen and Goldberg seemingly loaded the film with a few sexually explicit frames that they felt certain would shock the movie ratings panel and result in an NC-17 mark. The plan was to then trim a little from the superfluously graphic shots, resubmit a slightly cleaner version to the MPAA and then get the R rating they always wanted.

But even with the additional material, This Is the End got an R rating for crude and sexual content throughout, brief graphic nudity, pervasive language, drug use and some violence.

Goldberg noted:

They let us get away with a bunch of erections. As long as it's a demon, you can have an erection.



Offsite Article: Empire is on the hunt for porn...

Link Here8th June 2013
A day with the BBFC

See article from



Update: Fashion Police Trumped by Joke Police...

Woman convicted for tweet related to the Lee Rigby murder

Link Here8th June 2013
Full story: Insulting UK Law...UK proesecutions of jokes and insults on social media

A student who tweeted that people wearing Help for Heroes t-shirts deserved to be beheaded after soldier Lee Rigby was killed was arrested after complaining to police about getting threatening replies, a court heard.

Deyka Ayan Hassan contacted officers after receiving hundreds of vitriolic responses to the message on May 22, including threats to rape her and kill her by burning down her home, Hendon Magistrates' Court heard.

But she was herself later arrested at home after admitting to police she had tweeted as a joke about the design of the item of clothing:

To be honest, if you wear a Help for Heroes t-shirt you deserve to be beheaded

Hassan was ordered to do 250 hours of unpaid work by magistrates, having admitted a charge of sending a malicious electronic message at an earlier hearing.

Chairman of the bench Nigel Orton told her she could have been jailed for what she did but that magistrates accepted she hadn't known it was a soldier who had been killed when she posted it.



Extract: Maniac Slashed...

Japanese cinema release of Maniac is cut, darkened and blurred for a 15 rating

Link Here7th June 2013

Franck Khalfoun's Maniac (2013) was released in Japan on June 1st. I went to the theater on opening day with much expectation. Yeah, the film was awesome but this is not what I want to talk about.

In the opening scene, a girl is chased by the killer (Elijah Wood) and killed by him at her apartment. What I saw on screen was... all of a sudden, the girl's head was blurred. I couldn't see what was happening. She must have been scalped brutally. That's what I imagined. Yes, I imagined - I had to imagine it. There was no other way of seeing what actually happened.

I thought, OMG! Blurred!? Is this really what Franck Khalfoun and Alexandre Aja originally created/intended? No way!

...Read the full article



Update: Civil society groups express concern to Culture Secretary about online content restrictions...

And ask why the government is only considering one side of the debate

Link Here7th June 2013
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

Dear Secretary of State,

We are writing to you regarding news that you have summoned internet companies to a meeting about how they deal with illegal or extreme content online.

As representatives of civil society groups focused on freedoms in the digital age, we are very concerned about changes to the law or industry practices that involve restrictions on access to information online. The powers to make decisions about what people are allowed to see and do on the Internet are significant and must be treated with extreme care. There are particular problems when governments expect or require companies to police online content.

An understandable desire to ensure a safer environment online can easily lead to overreaching or unaccountable powers or practices. Through mistakes or abuse these can quickly lead to restrictions on far too much content and undue infringements of people's privacy. For example, mobile networks' Internet filtering in the UK routinely over blocks the websites of shops, political blogs or community sites. In Australia, it has emerged that 250,000 websites were accidentally blocked when a government agency tried to take down sites allegedly involved with fraud. The UN Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression Frank La Rue highlighted his grave concerns about these problems in his 2011 report.

Poorly implemented fixes will not only inhibit freedoms in the UK. They will also set a very damaging precedent internationally, providing more cover for States whose interests in restricting access to information online or the surveillance of citizens is more sinister. This was emphasised by the Foreign Secretary William Hague at the London Cyberspace Conference in 2011.

As representatives of leading UK civil society groups, we would therefore request that we are present at the forthcoming summit to ensure these concerns are addressed.

Yours sincerely,

Jo Glanville, Director, English PEN
Kirsty Hughes, Chief Executive, Index on Censorship
Jim Killock, Executive Director, Open Rights Group
Nick Pickles, Executive Director, Big Brother Watch



Update: Governed by the Politics of Blame, Victimhood, Moralism and Kneejerks...

Industry asks if the culture ministry is fit for purpose and whether it understands the economic importance of the media and internet

Link Here 7th June 2013
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

The Telegraph has disclosed that several leading media firms, including telecom companies, have privately requested that responsibility for policy in their area be returned to the Business Department.

Culture Secretary Maria Miller is apparently regarded as one of the Cabinet's weakest performers and is under investigation for abusing her expenses.

The Daily Mail also recently published a lengthy article questioning Miller's worth in the wake of the Government's botched handling of media regulation.

One Whitehall source said:

There is a growing feeling that the culture department is not looking fit for purpose. The creative industries are absolutely vital to the economy yet they are basically being let down. This is something which has been brought up by the Chancellor several times in Cabinet.

The Telegraph has learnt that under plans being discussed in Whitehall, responsibility for media policy may be returned to the Business Department. The move would prove controversial as it would leave the Culture department so small that there would be little point in it remaining -- and the Cabinet would lose one of its few female ministers. Some senior Conservatives are privately arguing that her entire department should be disbanded and its duties handed to other, better-rated ministers.



Extract: How Many Livelihoods Will be Wrecked?...

More cheap and shoddy over blocking on the way as more major ISPs are set to introduce network level website blocking

Link Here7th June 2013
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

TalkTalk - it would seem - has blazed an unlikely trail for Britain's big name ISPs by being the first telco to switch on network level filtering of web content. Now, after many months resisting the urge to apply such controls to their services, the other major providers - BSkyB, Virgin Media and BT - have all decided to follow suit.

Your correspondent recently chaired an Internet Service Providers' Association event at which the panel and audience discussed how effective current measures were in protecting children online. The confab proved revealing - with BT and Virgin Media publicly stating for the first time that they too would be introducing network-level filters on their services later this year.

...Read the full article



Update: Culture of Blame...

Maria Miller calls major internet companies to a meeting to discuss censorship

Link Here6th June 2013
Full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

The culture secretary, Maria Miller, has summoned the big internet companies to discuss the proliferation of, and easy access to, pornographic and politically extremist content on the web.

Miller has invited companies, including Google and Facebook, to a meeting on 17 June to hear what they are doing to police content and to push for a co-ordinated approach.

The culture secretary's aides said she was acting in response to concern over the Woolwich killing and the discovery of child abuse images on the computer of Mark Bridge.

In a letter to the internet companies, Miller cites concerns, seemingly based on the bollox claims by Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail:

Access to illegal pornographic content, the proliferation of extremist material which might incite racial or religious hatred, or the ongoing battle against online copyright theft.

It is clear that dangerous, highly offensive, unlawful and illegal material is available through basic search functions and I believe that many popular search engines, websites and ISPs could do more to prevent the dissemination of such material. Greater efforts need to be made to prevent the uploading, downloading and sharing of harmful material. Effective technological solutions have to be developed -- and deployed -- to minimise the harm done to businesses and consumers.

Your organisation plays a key role in terms of how individuals access online content -- and has serious public responsibilities as a result of this position. A relatively small number of organisations wield a great deal of online power -- and I believe that with that power comes a great responsibility.

A communications white paper is due to be published shortly and it is clear that Miller is willing to use legal backstops to force the internet companies to do more.



Taking Issue with Laissez-Faire Culture...

French politicians debate the age rating for the crime thriller Only God Forgives

Link Here5th June 2013

Only God Forgives is a 2013 France/Thailand/USA/Sweden crime drama thriller by Nicolas Winding Refn.
With Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Yayaying Rhatha Phongam. YouTube icon IMDb

Julian, a drug-smuggler thriving in Bangkok's criminal underworld, sees his life get even more complicated when his mother compels him to find and kill whoever is responsible for his brother's recent death.

International ratings so far from IMDb (not sure these are confirmed though):

  • USA: R (17A)
  • Switzerland: 16
  • Norway: 15
  • Germany: 18
  • UK: 18 for strong bloody violence

Re-classification of Nicolas Winding Refn's Only God Forgives from 16 to 12 has prompted controversy in France.

The decision has sparked a public spat between former presidential candidate Ségolene Royal and Culture Minister Aurélie Filippetti.

Originally rated a certificate 16, the film's classification was softened to a certificate 12 ahead of its May 22 release, following an appeal by co-distributors Wild Side Films and Le Pacte. Under the French film classification system, the Minister of Culture grants certificates on the advice of a 28-person commission.

The distributors spoke of their saying:

In our appeal letter we pointed out to the minister that Only God Forgives was no more violent than Django Unchained or Rambo 4 which were both given certificate 12s.

If the film had been forbidden to under-16s, a number of theatres would have refused to show the film, especially within the mainstream circuits. It's our job to make the film available to as big an audience as possible.

Royal said in an interview with current affairs TV show over the weekend that she believed Filippetti had bowed to pressure from the producers when she signed off on the modification:

I regret that Aurélie Filippetti de-classified an ultra-violent film which was originally forbidden for under 16-year-olds. We can't contaminate youngsters with scenes of extreme violence.

France reserves its 18 rating for hardcore porn. The 16 rating is usually used for the most violent mainstream films, (and for softcore porn). Most less extreme films, rated 18 in the UK, will qualify for a 12 rating in France. And the French censors certainly don't waste everybody's time worrying about strong language.



The Cream of Political Correctness...

Advert censor bans sexy TV advert for CrazyDomains

Link Here5th June 2013

A TV ad, for the domain and web hosting company CrazyDomains, opened in an office boardroom full of men, with the actress Pamela Anderson, who was wearing a buttoned suit jacket over an unbuttoned white shirt, chairing the meeting. She said, To the next item on the agenda. Gentlemen, if we want this business to stay on top, we need to be at the forefront of the Internet. One of the men (Adam) was shown nodding his head.

Anderson's assistant (Vanessa, who was dressed similarly to Anderson) poured her a cup of coffee and asked if she wanted cream. When pouring the cream, Vanessa's cleavage became visible to Adam, who began to fantasise about Anderson and Vanessa dancing in bikinis while covered in cream. A close-up shot of Anderson was then shown, calling out for Adam in a suggestive manner. Adam snapped out of his fantasy when Anderson called his name in a stern tone. She asked him, What are we going to do about our web address? to which he responded hesitantly, Crazy... Anderson said. Very good, Adam before the final scene showed Vanessa leaning beside Adam pouring a cup of coffee, revealing her cleavage again.

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with a timing restriction such that it should not be broadcast before 9pm. Issue

Four viewers challenged whether the ad was offensive, because they considered it sexist and degrading to women.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

The ASA understood that the ad was intended as a parody of a mundane business meeting and was intended to be humorous and light-hearted. Whilst we noted Dreamscape Networks' and Clearcast's comments about the female characters being portrayed as strong, confident business women, we considered that they were also portrayed sexually throughout the ad, not just during the fantasy sequence. We noted that even though they were wearing business attire, their shirts were buttoned down so that they were exposing their bras and cleavages. Furthermore, during the fantasy sequence, they were seen dancing and writhing around in cream whilst wearing bikinis. Although the fantasy scene, which we considered was sexually suggestive, was limited to Adam's imagination, we considered it gave the impression that he viewed his female colleagues as sexual objects to be lusted after. Because of that, we considered the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some viewers on the basis that it was sexist and degrading to women.

The ad breached BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence).

The ad must not be broadcast again in its current form.



Offsite Article: China Celebrates Tiananmen Square Day...

Link Here5th June 2013
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Or Internet Maintenance Day as cover for the inevitable website blocking

See article from



Offsite Article: Twitter and Facebook Blocked in Turkey...

Link Here5th June 2013
So internet users take to VPNs in response to the government censorship

See article from



Offsite Article: Fifth of Britons want to ban Google Glass...

Link Here5th June 2013
A new study has revealed that one in five people want to ban Google Glass from sale in the UK, highlighting the British public's concern over the privacy implications of the device.

See article from



Update: Effing Easily Offended by X Factor Judge...

Ofcom debates where the term 'effing' lies on the scale of 'damn' to 'fuck'

Link Here4th June 2013
Full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

The X Factor Results Show
ITV1, 18 November 2012, 20:00

The X Factor is a popular musical talent show broadcast weekly. A combination of a panel of four judges and viewers' votes decide which act wins the prize of a recording contract. This one hour live episode of The X Factor revealed which two acts would perform again in the elimination round having received the fewest votes from viewers.

During the programme, it was announced that the two contestants facing elimination were Ella Henderson and James Arthur. One of the judges on the programme, Nicole Scherzinger, introduced her act (James Arthur) as follows:

I am so proud, this is James 'effing' Arthur .

Ofcom received 52 complaints from viewers who considered that Nicole Scherzinger's language was inappropriate given the show's pre-watershed scheduling

Ofcom considered the material raised issues warranting investigation under the following rule of the Code.

Rule 1.16: Offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed unless it is justified by the context.

ASA Decision: Resolved

Ofcom noted that this was a live broadcast and that recognising the compliance challenges that this presented, the Producer, having previously asked Nicole Sherzinger not to use the word frickin' , reminded her not to swear when introducing her act.

While we recognised that Nicole Scherzinger may have intended to avoid offending viewers by using the term effing , a number of viewers clearly interpreted this word as a substitute for the word fucking . This word in turn, Ofcom's research notes, is considered by audiences to be amongst the most offensive language. Ofcom therefore considered that in the context and bearing in mind the emphatic manner in which Nicole Scherzinger used it, this language had the potential to offend.

By way of clarification, Ofcom emphasises that it does not consider the word effing to be the equivalent of the word fucking , nor does it believe its use is capable of causing the same level of offence as that example of the most offensive language. However, Ofcom rejected ITV's argument that the use of effing in this particular case was not an example of offensive language. By ITV's own acknowledgement, this use of effing might have some potential to offend a small minority of viewers . Ofcom considered effing as used in this particular context was an example of offensive language, and its emphatic use here differed considerably from that in for example the phrase effing and blinding .

Although Nicole Scherzinger may have used the word with the intention of not swearing on air, it was clear that a number of viewers considered the use of the term effing in this context simply as a substitute for fucking , and as a result it was capable of causing a certain amount of offence. In Ofcom's view on balance the use of effing in this specific context exceeded audience expectations for this programme, which is aimed at a family audience, and was not appropriate for a pre-watershed programme with a significant appeal to children. Ofcom did not therefore consider that this use of offensive language was justified by the context.

However, we noted the measures ITV undertook to remind judges to avoid using offensive language before the broadcast, including specifically asking Nicole Scherzinger to avoid using words that may be interpreted differently by a UK audience, the consideration given during the broadcast to the most appropriate response to Nicole Scherzinger's use of effing , and its submissions on the differing levels of offence that a US and UK audience may attach to this particular term. We

also took into account that The X Factor Results Show is broadcast live and that the elimination round can often be tense and emotionally charged.

Taking these factors into account, Ofcom considered the matter resolved.




Ofcom will never be skint. They make up vague rules about the TV watershed and then spend a fortune of public money interpreting them

Link Here4th June 2013

Britain's TV censor Ofcom has launched an investigation into Channel 4' s documentary series Skint , which charts the lives of the long-term unemployed, after a few viewers whinged about the use of the word "fuck" 16 times in the first 15 minutes of the opening programme.

The show aired at 9pm. According to Ofcom's rules, shows that air from the 9pm watershed are allowed to carry strong language and explicit scenes that may not be suitable for children. However broadcasters are confusingly cautioned about making sure there is not an "unduly abrupt" transition from pre-9pm content designed to be suitable for kids and post-watershed material that is too obviously explicit.



Fighting Talk...

BBC apologises for jokes about curing Clare Balding's lesbiansim

Link Here4th June 2013

The BBC has apologised for broadcasting a Radio 5 Live satirical panel debate about curing Clare Balding of being a lesbian.

19 listeners whinged to the broadcaster over the live edition of the show, Fighting Talk , which also asked contestants to discuss whether Balding should present racing shows topless.

In a round where guests are invited to Defend the Indefensible , comedian Bob Mills debated the proposition that: Give me 20 minutes with her and I'm pretty sure I could turn around Clare Balding. Mills responded to the challenge by describing Balding as a horse woman who appreciates power between her thighs , before adding: And we all know, there is no woman that can't be cured.

His remarks were greeted with jeers from the live audience. The programme was aired at 7.30pm. A later version of the programme, broadcast at 11pm, asked guests to discuss whether Balding should present the Derby topless .

Colin Murray, a regular Radio 5 Live presenter attempted to defuse the row on Twitter by saying the Defend the Indefensible item was intended to make a mockery of idiot views, as that certainly is . Murray tweeted:

We try 2 b closer to the line than most shows and there is always a risk with that. We are 100% live so balancing act. But playing everything safe is also death of show.

Later the BBC said in statement:

Fighting Talk is a live programme and on this occasion we got it wrong. The 'Defend the Indefensible' item was inappropriate and as such we have removed this short section of the programme from iPlayer. We would again like to apologise to anyone who was offended by the programme.



Update: Taking Singapore's Lead...

Malaysia is studying the idea the news websites should be registered for state censorship

Link Here4th June 2013

Malaysia's government is now studying the possibility of censoring online news portals following Singapore's decision to require online news websites to register for state censorship.

The Singaporean government had made it necessary for news site to obtain a licence from the Media Development Authority (MDA) if their readership reaches 50,000 a month or more.

Communications and Multimedia Minister Ahmad Shabery Cheek said:

We are studying into this possibility, but we must see how it doesn't go against our principles. Now social media has become the mainstream media.

Now that a country that people see as more sophisticated, has come up with the regulation, so we will look into its feasibility.



Offsite Article: News Censorship in Turkey...

Link Here4th June 2013
How and why Turkish media has censored news of the park protests

See article from



Rated R for 'Researchers' Pet Prohibition...

Health researchers call for movies featuring alcohol to be R rated

Link Here3rd June 2013

Researchers at Dartmouth-Hitchcock's Norris Cotton Cancer Center say MPAA film ratings should take depictions of alcohol use into consideration.

In fact, their newly published study suggests that movies showing alcohol use in contexts that could increase curiosity or acceptability of unsafe drinking should be rated R.

Elaina Bergamini is the lead author of the study, Trends in Tobacco and Alcohol Brand Placements in Popular U.S. Movies, 1996 through 2009, published last week in the journal JAMA Pediatrics.

The study looked at the top 100 movies in each of those 14 years, counting how many times alcohol and tobacco brands were depicted in all 1,400 movies. Bergamini and her fellow researchers found that while depictions of tobacco brands dropped during that period, depictions of alcohol brands in movies rated G, PG, or PG-13 went up markedly. In 1998, she explained, tobacco companies signed the so-called Master Settlement Agreement. As part of that agreement, the companies agreed to end product placements of their brands in film and TV.

However brand placement for alcohol is still self-regulated. And the study found that alcohol brand placement has increased significantly in movies rated acceptable for youth audiences, a trend that could have implications for teen drinking. The number of alcohol brand appearances in youth-rated movies increased from about 80 per year at the beginning of the study period to 145 per year at the end. About two-thirds of those top-100 movies in the study were rated G, PG or PG-13. And it turned out that 63% of all alcohol brand appearances were in youth-rated films.

She contends alcohol companies are intentionally inserting their brands into movies that youngsters will see. She claims:

They're trying to generate brand loyalty in a subset of the population that can't drink yet. So when they go to drink that first time, they know what to ask for.



Where Jordan Leads, Britain Seems Set to Follow...

Jordan blocks news websites refusing to register for state censorship

Link Here3rd June 2013

The Jordanian government has blocked dozens of local news websites that have not yet registered or refused to register for censorship by the state-run Press and Publications Department.

The move to block the sites came after a six-month ultimatum given to news websites to register with the department in accordance with the repressive 2012 amended Press and Publications Law.

The head of the Press and Publications Department Fayez al Shawabkeh sent a memo to Jordan's Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) requesting a block on over 200 unregistered news websites by the kingdom's various ISPs.

The Coordination Committee of Electronic News Websites denounced the government's move to ban their sites.:

In this measure, The government and official agencies have violated all the commitments and promises it made to the journalism community of not resorting to blocking the sites, and their promises to make essential amendments to the Press and Publications Law.

The internet censorship law targets news websites with four main amendments, forcing news websites to register and get licensed, granting authorities executive powers to block and censor websites and close their local offices, and holds publishers, editors-in-chief, editors and managers liable for comments posted on their respective websites. The editor-in-chief is required to have been a member of the Jordan Press Association for at least four years, before a licence will be granted.



Taking the Offensive...

Index on Censorship find widespread self-censorship and fear of causing offence which is suppressing creativity and ideas in the UK

Link Here2nd June 2013

Widespread self-censorship and fear of causing offence is suppressing creativity and ideas in the United Kingdom, according to a report published by Index on Censorship.

The findings are based on the January 2013 conference Taking the Offensive -- defending artistic freedom of expression in the UK , the first national debate about the social, political and legal challenges to artistic freedom of expression. It brought together arts leaders with senior police, lawyers, media and internet executives, religious commentators and arts funders to explore challenges to artists and the growth of self-censorship in contemporary culture.

There are multiple pressures on artistic freedom of expression and censorship has become a major issue for the arts sector in this country, the report reveals . Among the key findings:

  • Widespread self-censorship at an institutional level is suppressing creativity and ideas, with some artists from black and ethnic communities experiencing additional obstacles

  • Worries about public and media outrage or the loss of funding if they cause offence are causing many cultural institutions to be overly cautious in their choice of work at commission and production stages

  • The fear of police intervention or legal action is fuelled by a lack of information about the legal framework around freedom of expression

Some of the pressures on artistic free expression in the UK can be explained by a climate of caution and security consciousness. A preoccupation with risk assessment in arts organisations and public institutions, including the police, can lead to a prevalence of uncontentious, safe programming that limits both the range of voices and the space for artistic expression.



Oh That Tiananmen Square Incident!...

China tries and new more subtle approach to hide its internet censorship

Link Here2nd June 2013
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

China is reported to be trying to be more subtle in its internet censorship and is trying to hide it a bit.

In the past, a search for keywords in China related to the events of June 4, 1989 at Tiananmen Square, came up with a message saying:

According to relevant laws, regulations and policies, search results for Tiananmen Square can not be displayed. said in the lead up to the anniversary of the massacre certain searches, such as June 4 incident , had been intermittently returning a series of carefully selected results , though it was impossible to click through to the actual webpages. said searches for Tiananmen incident returned links to an unrelated happening in the square from 1976.

The organisation said this was an example of censorship at its worst , with users duped into believing the keyword they were searching for was not a sensitive topic. It said the changes were not applied consistently, concluding that the authorities were conducting tests on the new approach.



Offsite Article: Cheap and Shoddy, Uncaring of both Free Speech and Ruined Business...

Link Here 2nd June 2013
Mobile networks filter their Internet service by default, in the name of child protection. We've looked at what lessons this can teach those calling for more Internet blocking.

See article from



Update: Hands Off Our Job!...

Pakistan appoints a new central censor board and discusses how this fits in with newly devolved provincial film censorship

Link Here1st June 2013

After staving Pakistan's cinemas of films for a while, The central Censor Board has now been reconstituted. The Chairman is Syed Arshad Ali and Saraj Ahmed is the vice chair.

Ali explained that powers had been devolved to the provinces after 18th Amendment, and now the provinces could constitute their own film censor boards, but the provinces would not be able to censor the films for the entire country.

He told The News that after the devolution of power, provinces get the powers to constitute their own Film Censor Boards:

Except Sindh, no other province yet constituted their censor boards. The Sindh Assembly on February 14 approved Sindh Motion Pictures Act

He re-iterated that :

Provincial assemblies could legislate their laws for their province but cannot implement their laws in the entire Pakistan.

Only Central Film Censor Board had a power to issue certificate for showing a film through Pakistan as the provincial board could only issue the censor certificates for films to be shown in the province concerned.

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