Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2014: June

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Offsite Article: Censorship is being outsourced to the mob...

Link Here30th June 2014
Two recent cases Down Under show how dangerous Twittermobs can be. By Brendan O'Neill

See article from



A Nightcap...

ASA find that alcohol restrictions on music channels have to be set at 10pm or 11pm because the kids don't go to bed until then

Link Here29th June 2014
No doubt moralist campaigners will now be calling for an 11pm watershed for all TV deemed to be made for an adult audience.

Perhaps something missing from the ASA analysis is that considering a range of ages from 10 must surely distort the analysis. Surely 10 year olds go to bed an awful lot earlier than 15 year olds so considering the average is likely underestimate the amount of kids staying up at the higher end of the range. I would suspect that it may be 11pm to 12pm before the teenagers turn off.

The ASA challenged the scheduling of 576 alcohol ads that were broadcast after 9 pm on the seven Box TV music channels in the period February, March, April 2013. In total, the ASA found that the scheduling of 268 ads breached the BCAP Code and the scheduling of 308 ads did not.

Rule 32.2.1 of The UK Code of Broadcast Advertising (the BCAP Code) states that alcohol ads should not be shown in or around programmes commissioned for, principally targeted at or likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 18.

Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) guidance recommends the use of audience indexing, a statistical tool, to determine the representation of children in relation to the audience as a whole. BCAP guidance states that an alcohol restriction should be applied in programmes where the 10- to 15-year-old audience, indexed against the total audience of all individuals over four years old, produces an index of 120 or more. An index of 120 would mean that 10- to 15-year-olds are 20% over-represented in the programme audience compared to the audience as a whole. Presumably an index of 100 would mean that the program is viewed by an average cross section of all ages.

There were 576 alcohol ads broadcast in programmes on the following channels licensed to Box Television Ltd in the period February, March and April 2013:

  1. 4Music (126 ads); described on the 4Music website as a channel that brings you closer to the hottest artists right now .
  2. Heat (22 ads); described on the Heat website as a channel that brings you the best in entertainment and celebrity news .
  3. Kerrang (138 ads); described on the Kerrang website as the music channel for the world's biggest selling rock magazine .
  4. Kiss TV (93 ads); described on the Kiss TV website as the beat of the UK on TV .
  5. Magic TV (43 ads); described on the Magic TV website as offering feel good favourites twenty four hours a day .
  6. Smash Hits (69 ads); described on the Smash Hits website as hits now and always .
  7. The Box (85 ads); described on The Box website as providing fresh music first .

There were 219 ads broadcast between 9 pm and 9.59 pm; 143 ads between 10 pm and 10.59 pm; 102 between 11 pm and 11.59 pm and 102 ads broadcast after 12 am.

The ASA Compliance team challenged whether it was appropriate to schedule alcohol ads in the programmes on these channels because the data indicated that many were likely to appeal particularly to audiences below the age of 18.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld in parts

1. 4Music

The ASA acknowledged that the audience figures for 4Music were low and agreed that a time slot based restriction was a reasonable scheduling approach when attempting to comply with the spirit and intention of the Code.

In accordance with the advice of the statistical expert as to the potential for the audience indexing score to be useful to some degree, we noted that the average index score in the 9 pm to 9.59 pm time slot on 4Music varied from 134 to 136. After 10 pm the average index dropped to 95 to 97 and remained below the 120 cut-off point for the rest of the night in every weekly period.

We considered that a 10 pm restriction would have been more appropriate based on the spirit and intention of the rule, based in turn on the hard audience information available and knowledge of the audience profiles.

2. The Box, Smash Hits and Heat

  • The Box: average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 121 to 141
  • The Heat:  average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 140 to 158
  • Smash Hits average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 143 to 154
  • All fell to under 120 after 10pm (but this still means a lot of kids are watching)

We considered that a 10 pm restriction for alcohol ads on The Box, Smash Hits and Heat would have been more appropriate.

3. Kerrang

  • Average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 219 to 241
  • Average index score 10 pm to 10.59 pm: 172 to 196
  • The average index score continued to exceed 120 until 00.59 am

We therefore considered that an 11 pm restriction would have been more appropriate.

4. Kiss

  • Average index score 9 pm to 9.59 pm: 132 to 169
  • Average index score 10 pm to 10.59 pm: 133 to 148 some week, under 120 others
  • Fell to under 120 after 11pm

We therefore considered that an 11 pm restriction would have been more appropriate.

5. Magic TV Complaints not upheld

  • The average index score for the preceding 52 weeks did not exceed 120 in any time slot.

We therefore concluded that the third party had demonstrated that the decision to allow alcohol ads from 9 pm on Magic TV was a reasonable scheduling decision.



Black and White Decision...

Kevin Costner movie reduced from R to PG-13 on appeal

Link Here28th June 2014
Kevin Costner has persuaded the CARA appeals board to down rate his upcoming drama Black and White f rom R to PG-13.

The film is now rated PG-13 for brief strong language, thematic material involving drug use and drinking, and for a fight, the MPAA's Classification and Rating Administration announced.

Written and directed by Mike Binder, the independent film stars Costner as a widowed grandfather who becomes embroiled in a custody battle over his biracial granddaughter, whom he has raised since birth, when the girl's paternal grandmother (Octavia Spencer) surfaces. Costner is also producing the film.



Trivialised Whingeing...

ASA dismisses complaints about TV advert for computer game, Call of Duty: Ghosts

Link Here28th June 2014

A TV ad, for computer game Call of Duty: Ghosts , to the background soundtrack of Frank Sinatra singing I'm Gonna Live until I Die , featured four men engaged in a series of gunfights and explosions with an anonymous enemy, vehicles and aircraft in an abandoned and derelict Las Vegas, outer space and a snowy tundra. At the end of the ad, on-screen text stated There's a soldier in all of us .

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction, which meant it should not be shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children.

  1. Thirteen viewers challenged whether the ad was offensive and irresponsible, because it trivialised warfare and condoned and encouraged violence and gun use.

  2. Six viewers challenged whether the ad was inappropriately scheduled on, or around Remembrance Day.

  3. Seven viewers challenged whether the ad was inappropriately scheduled at times when children might have been watching.

Clearcast explained that the game had a 16 age certificate, which automatically required the ad to be given an ex-kids restriction. Regardless of the age rating for the game, they believed an ex-kids restriction was also appropriate, because of the fantastical violence and gunfight, but they did not believe that it required a more stringent rating.

ASA Assessment Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA considered that it was clear that the main characters were participants in the game rather than actual soldiers in a battle scenario. The setting was fantastical and highly exaggerated, which combined with the light hearted visual asides, such as admiring the scenery, and the lack of urgency or fear, had lessened the overall impact of the gunfight, which did not include any scenes of killing. We considered that, because the scenes were clearly part of a computer game and far-fetched, they were unlikely to encourage or condone violence or gun use.

We also considered that the scenes of the men smiling and enjoying the action, together with the soundtrack of I'm Gonna Live until I Die' and the on-screen text There's a soldier in all of us would be understood by viewers in the context of the ad to refer to involvement and interaction with the computer game rather than trivialising the seriousness of warfare. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. Not upheld

Channel 4 scheduled the ad away from programmes that were specifically dedicated to war and warfare and we received no specific complaints that the ad was broadcast around coverage of the Cenotaph ceremony or the following day's three minutes silence. Although we understood that some viewers found the timing over the Remembrance Day weekend to be distasteful, we considered that the ad would be understood to be about game-play and not war itself and the broadcast of the ad over that weekend was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to viewers.

3. Not upheld

We understood that, because the game had a 16 age certificate, Clearcast applied a restriction to prevent it from being broadcast in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children. We considered the restriction was appropriate in keeping the ad away from young children, but there was nothing within the ad that made it unsuitable for broadcast at other times of the day. We acknowledged that some viewers found the ad unsuitable for broadcast when older children might be watching at other times of the day, but concluded that the ex-kids restriction was nonetheless sufficient for the ad.



Extreme Over Reaction...

Pensioner with no criminal record falls victim to the Dangerous Pictures Act

Link Here28th June 2014
A 71-year-old man who admitted possessing almost 1,500 extreme pornographic images of bestiality has been given a three year community order that will include attendance at a community sex offender programme and only allow him to live at an address approved by his supervising officer.

Police found the images on the computer of Alfred Edge when they visited his home, Wolverhampton Crown Court was told yesterday.

Edge, who had no previous convictions, pleaded guilty to possessing 1,460 extreme pornographic images of people involved in sexual acts with animals, and also to possessing a further 27 moving images of the same nature.

Jasvir Mann, defending, told the court: He feels absolute disgrace over these proceedings. He is thoroughly ashamed. He made a serious mistake but even at his age he has the wish and the ability to change. He does not have a computer any more and has no intention of ever having one again.

Judge John Wait told him during his sentencing: I do not regard it as being in the public interest to send you to prison at the public expense. It will be far better for you to be required to go on a programme that will address this kind of offending. This is a vile crime.

Comment: sanctimony

From Alan

I suppose sanctimony goes with appointment to the judiciary, but the learned judge's comment that this is a vile crime takes the biscuit. This is a crime magicked up out of nowhere by the Blair/Brown regime in its dying days.



Update: Calling for a Re-ban...

Western Australian parliamentary sexualisation report recommends the re-banning of 18 rated computer games

Link Here28th June 2014
Full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games
The Western Australian Joint Standing Committee on the Commissioner for Children and Young People recommends in its Sexualisation of Children report that the Classification Enforcement Act should prohibit the sale, supply, demonstration, possession or advertisement of R18+ video games in the state.

Under Australia's current classification system, games sold at retail need to be classified by the Australian Classification Board. The country's Federal Parliament passed legislation to create an R18+ category for video game classification last February. The new classification system, which included the new R18+ rating, came into effect across on Jan 1, 2013.

The Sexualisation of Children report, which was presented to the Legislative Assembly and the Legislative Council on June 26, also suggests that using minors in sexually provocative advertising in the state to be made an offence, regulating child beauty pageants and that the state monitor the recommendations of a Victorian parliamentary inquiry into sexting. Additionally, the report recommends that Western Australia should create a code of conduct to address concerns about the impact of sexually explicit music videos on minors. The committee said:

While the impact of sexualisation on children is difficult to quantitatively measure, and to distinguish from other influences in their lives, this does not mean that the issue should not be addressed. The Committee is equally aware that what is seen as a priority issue that needs substantive action by some members of society may be seen by others as normal experimentation or fun.



Update: Thailand Emulating Burma?...

Reporters Without Borders comments on the setting up of 5 media censorship panels

Link Here28th June 2014
Thailand's military junta, the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), announced on 25 June that it is creating panels to control media content and to prevent the media from being use to spread false information that could incite hatred and violence against the monarchy.

The junta said each media sector: radio, TV, print media, online media, social networks and foreign media, will be monitored by a different panel and each panel will have representatives from the police, army, navy, air force, foreign ministry, prime minister's office, public relations department and other state bodies.

Criminal proceedings may be brought against media that broadcast content that the junta does not like. The panels will prepare regular reports for Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha, the head of the junta, while reporting cases of false information to him immediately.

Benjamin Ismael, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Asia-Pacific desk said:

The creation of these panels constitutes a new stage in the gagging of news and information by the Thai military junta. Is the junta in the process of creating a system of censorship based on the former Burmese model?

The composition of the panels and complete absence of media representatives suggest a level of freedom approaching zero. No details have been given on how the panels will operate. Reporters Without Borders urges the NCPO to abandon this plan altogether as it could introduce an unprecedented degree of censorship in Thailand.



Exploiting Trafficking...

US Bill introduced to conflate sex work with trafficking when considering foreign aid

Link Here28th June 2014
Full story: Trafficking Hype...Trafficking figures hopelessly over exaggerated

Dangerous new legislation that conflates trafficking with sex work , and has the potential to impact diplomatic relations, has been introduced in the United States Congress.

Representative Randy Hultgren, an Illinois Republican in his first term, has introduced legislation that would amend the Trafficking in Victims Protection Act of 2000 to restrict foreign aid going to countries where prostitution is legal. Hultgren claims that legal prostitution leads to human trafficking.

Hultgren's bill would force the State Department to take a country's prostitution laws into consideration when determining which tier it belongs to in the annual Trafficking in Persons report. The TIP report assigns countries a tier according to how well the United States believes they are complying with the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking in persons (a low tier can result in sanctions). Hultgren told the Washington Examiner that he is meeting with the State Department in the next few weeks to discuss the bill, and his comments reveal that he is a little unclear on the bill's impact, and vague on its objective. He said:

I haven't felt a lot of pushback. but just some questioning of how will this impact the rankings and things. I'm not sure. But I know what we've got to do is do everything we can to protect children who are getting pulled into this, women who are getting pulled into this.

On May 21st, the bill was introduced to the House Committee on Foreign Affairs as H.R.4703. The bill's full title -- To amend the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 relating to determinations with respect to efforts of foreign countries to reduce demand for commercial sex acts under the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking -- aligns it to the currently fashionable end demand approach taken by many abolitionist organisations. Working to end trafficking, according to the sponsors of this bill, is not enough; the demand for commercial sex must, too, be abolished.

The congressman is associated with Exodus Cry , a faith-based anti-sex trafficking organization, which is publicising his bill at their website and encouraging supporters to back it -- members of Exodus Cry are currently at the World Cup in Brazil, leading prayers and outreach actions based on the debunked notion that large sporting events lead to an increase in trafficking.



Offsite Article: Will YouTube really censor indie labels if they snub its new music service?...

Link Here 28th June 2014
An internet monopoly and a streaming music service

See article from



Offsite Article: #FreeTheNipple...

Link Here28th June 2014
This Bikini Top Sticks Two Fingers Up To Censorship

See article from



Updated: Public Enemy No 1...

ATVOD attacks internet news website with bollox claims of being TV like but The UKColumn fights back with a hard hitting unTV-like video

Link Here27th June 2014
An internet news website the UKColumn have pulled all their news videos rather than submit to censorship and fee extortion from ATVOD.

Brian Gerrish and Mike Robinson discuss the attempted ATVOD regulation/censorship of the UK Column in a non-television-like way.

The video is available for download here . Please feel free to distribute as far and wide as you can, including your own Youtube channels.

See video from YouTube

See ATVOD determination [pdf] from

Update: ATVOD: A Major Risk To Freedom of Speech on the Internet

27th June. See  pree release [pdf] from

The UK Column have issued a press release outlining their case against ATVOD:

The UK government has finally moved to directly regulate Youtube content and internet freedom of speech.

On the 2nd February 2014, the UK Column received a letter from ATVOD, the Authority for Television On Demand. ATVOD is a subsidiary of Ofcom, the UK government's communications regulator. The ATVOD letter gave notice to the UK Column that as the result of a Statutory Instrument amendment to the 2003 Communications Act, the UK Column was required to notify ATVOD that it was running an on demand programme service , to pay a fee, and to submit to regulation.

ATVOD mainly chooses organisations to regulate based upon whether or not they are perceived to produce television-like programmes . In several television conversations between the UK Column and ATVOD, an ATVOD representative admitted that there is no fixed standard for what constitutes television-like video content, and that their determinations are made on purely arbitrary opinion.

When asked by the House of Lords Select Committee on Communications Inquiry on Media Convergence and Its Public Policy Impact on the 5th February 2013 if [ATVOD] had trouble defining [television-like services], Ruth Evans Chairman of ATVOD replied, yes. It is an evolving art.

It is on the basis of the evolving art statement that ATVOD's claims of a light regulatory burden should be seen. At present ATVOD claims to exist in order to prevent harmful material becoming available to children and to prevent hate speech. It is clear, though, that anyone submitting to the current light regulatory framework joins a fluid and evolving regulatory framework with potentially draconian financial penalties. The penalties allowed for through the Communications Act 2003 amount to 5% of the regulated organisation's turnover or £250,000, whichever is the greater amount.

Following discussion with ATVOD, the UK Column made the decision that ATVOD's requirements would be detrimental to our freedom of speech and expression on the internet, and we would not submit to regulation by ATVOD.

ATVOD subsequently issued an enforcement notice giving the UK Column ten working days to comply with their demands. Having carefully considered our options, we decided to cease the activity which ATVOD describes as an on demand television service, and removed all UK Column video on demand content from the internet.

UK Column co-editor Brian Gerrish says:

This represents an immediate and dangerous attack on free speech on the internet and should be of massive concern to all Youtube users, as the government seems to be moving to censor individuals directly, putting them on the same regulatory footing as global corporations like the BBC and CNN. As a government agency, ATVOD's clearly flawed working practices and their alignment to the corporate media pose a direct threat to our personal liberty and freedoms.

UK Column co-editor Mike Robinson says:

It used to be that to produce high quality studio based video content, the financial barrier to entry was very high. Today, with television studios in a box costing as little as a few hundred pounds, ATVOD seems to be attempting to extend its remit to even the one man band producer operating out of his bedroom. This is a dangerous road to tread.



Update: Social media and the law on insults, trolling and harassment...

Lords committee to inquire as to whether vague internet insult laws are clear enough

Link Here 27th June 2014
Full story: Insulting UK Law...UK proesecutions of jokes and insults on social media
A House of Lords Communications Committee, chaired by Lord Best, will conduct a short inquiry into the legal and regulatory framework around social media and communications offences, such as one-to-one targeted harassment and trolling .

It is a problem that is in the news on a regular basis, and yet many people do not seem to realise that communications sent via social media are capable of amounting to criminal offences under a range of statutes. These include the Offences Against the Person Act 1861, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Malicious Communications Act 1988, and the Communications Act 2003.

The Committee will be holding two evidence sessions, which will look at whether the legislation on the issue of social media and communications offences is appropriate and fit for purpose or would benefit from clarification; whether the line between free speech and protection of victims is clear; and more generally, whether the steps which have already been taken to deal with these problems are sufficient, or whether further action is necessary.

On a wider note, the Committee sees this piece of work as an integral part of pursuing its interest in the way changes in media and technology are likely to affect consumers' and citizens' behaviour and the way in which the legal and policy debate needs to respond. Questions

Questions likely to be raised in this inquiry include:

  • Whether the law currently covering offences related to social media and communications offences is capable of adapting to the way in which people behave, given the speed of changes in technology.
  • If there are areas of overlap or gaps in the range of legislation covering social media and communications offences, which means that categorising the offence is not always clear.
  • Whether the sentences handed out for social media and communications offences are known, consistent and appropriate and, more generally, whether other approaches, such as restorative justice and education, might be more effective.
  • How, in responding to these issues, reform to the current package of legislation can strike an effective balance between victim protection and freedom of expression.



Advert for the press censors censored by the advert censors...

ASA uphold complaint against advert for IPSO

Link Here 27th June 2014

A press ad for the Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO), published 25 October in The Times, was headlined READY TO GO: A TOUGH NEW REGULATOR FOR THE PRESS . Text stated Today sees the launch of a tough new regulator for the press - the toughest in the Western world. The new Independent Press Standards Organisation (IPSO) will be up and running early next year, and will deliver all the key elements Lord Justice Leveson called for in his report. It will guarantee the British public enjoy the standard of journalism they deserve. And it will ensure Britain remains not just the birthplace, but the home of free speech. This is how it works: @ . The ad listed seven subheadings: TOUGH SANCTIONS ... UPFRONT CORRECTIONS ... INVESTIGATIVE POWERS ... GENUINE INDEPENDENCE ... NO COST TO THE PUBLIC ... THE SUPPORT OF THE NEWSPAPER AND MAGAZINE INDUSTRY ... FREE SPEECH GUARANTEED , with additional information provided under each one.

Text under the subheading GENUINE INDEPENDENCE stated The Board of IPSO will have a majority of independent members and an independent chair, chosen in a transparent and open process .

Text under the subheading FREE SPEECH GUARANTEED stated Politicians are trying to force the press to sign up to a royal charter written by politicians, imposed by politicians and controlled by politicians. IPSO is entirely independent of all political parties . Issue

The Media Standards Trust (MST) and two members of the public objected to the ad. They challenged whether:

  1. the claim The new Independent Press Standards organisation ... will deliver all the key elements Lord Justice Leveson called for in his report was misleading and could be substantiated, because they maintained there are a number of elements in the report which IPSO would not deliver;
  2. the claim GENUINE INDEPENDENCE was misleading and could be substantiated, because MST maintained IPSO was not entirely independent of all political parties, and MST and the two members of the public maintained it was not independent of the newspaper industry;
  3. the claim Politicians are trying to force the press to sign up to a royal charter was misleading, because the Royal Charter system was voluntary; and
  4. the claim Politicians are trying to force the press to sign up to a royal charter ... controlled by politicians was misleading, because politicians were explicitly excluded from the recognition body that was set up by the Royal Charter.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the complainants believed there were elements in the Leveson report which IPSO would not deliver, and that the advertisers believed that those specific elements were met.

We considered the claim in the ad, which stated that IPSO would deliver all the key elements Lord Justice Leveson called for in his report . The ad set out seven sub-headings which provided further information about the proposed IPSO model for regulating the press. However, Lord Justice Leveson had not determined specific key elements in his report.

We considered that the ad's readers, whilst familiar with the general issues relating to press regulation, would be unlikely to have detailed knowledge of the content of the Leveson report. We thought it likely they would assume from the ad, wrongly, that the sub-headings formally set out those issues which had been expressly defined as key elements in the Leveson report, and which should be implemented by a proposed press regulator. We did not consider whether the specific elements raised by the complainants were or were not met, but considered that the ad implied more certainty around which might be the key elements than was the case and therefore concluded that it was misleading on that basis.

2-4 Not upheld



Update: Searching for Censorship...

Google begins removing search links under the EU's right to be forgotten

Link Here27th June 2014
Full story: The Right to be Forgotten...Bureaucratic censorship in the EU
Google has begun removing search links to content in Europe under the right to be forgotten ruling, which obliges it exclude web pages with supposedly outdated or irrelevant information about individuals from web searches.

Searches made on Google's services in Europe using peoples' names includes a section at the bottom with the phrase Some results may have been removed under data protection law in Europe , and a link to a page explaining the ruling by the European court of justice (ECJ) in May 2014.

However searches made on, the US-based service, do not include the same warning, because the ECJ ruling only applies within Europe.

Google would not say how many peoples' search histories have been censored, nor how many web pages have been affected.


28th June 2014. From Alan

Not mentioned in the Guardian report is the difficulty for UK surfers of finding uncensored searches on the American site. If I'm in Italy, I can either search in Italian at or, if I want to search in English and enter, I get the American site. But in this country, typing the URL for redirects to Looks like we Brits are particular disadvantaged by the absurd decision of twattish Euro-judges.



Update: Morality In Media Recommends...

American Apparel

Link Here27th June 2014
Full story: American Apparel...Sexy clothing adverts wind up the advert censors
US Morality campaigners write:

In light of the recent removal of American Apparel CEO Dov Charney for sexual harassment and other misconduct, we urge the company to re-examine its advertising techniques and brand identity.

American Apparel's use of pornographic images of young girls in ads has done more to promote a culture of sexual exploitation than sell products, said Morality in Media's Executive Director Dawn Hawkins, noting that the company is losing millions of dollars annually.

Some of the company's ads depict young girls topless, with pubic hair showing, or with legs spread. Clearly, the company has operated with a 'girls are sex objects' attitude not only in their brand identity, but also in the office where, according to news reports, the CEO is alleged to have sexually harassed female employees, Hawkins said.

The Washington Post wondered if this event signals, The fashion industry has finally hit porn chic fatigue. We hope this is the case, as these sleazy advertising campaigns profoundly affect the way society views and treats females in our society, Hawkins noted.

Morality in Media asks the public to contact American Apparel to urge that the company turn away from sexual exploitation. A special web page has been set up for the campaign here .

Hawkins said a letter requesting a meeting with American Apparel was sent today by MIM on behalf of the Coalition to End Sexual Exploitation to discuss constructive ways the company can avoid sexually exploitive advertisements. The Coalition is a broad based group of concerned leaders and more than 140 organizations active in national, state, and local efforts to stop the same sexual exploitation in which American Apparel currently engages.



Update: UN raises the plight of a jailed Saudi blogger...

But Saudi attempts to block the criticism by a UN human rights group

Link Here27th June 2014
Full story: Blogging in Saudi...Saudi bloggers arrested and imprisoned
Saudi Arabia repeatedly interrupted an American NGO at an extraordinary meeting of the UN Human Rights Council, as the organisation read out a statement criticising their imprisoning of a man on charges of atheism and running a liberal online forum.

The Center for Inquiry, a US non-profit advocating secular and humanist values, was stopped from speaking on three occasions by the delegation from Saudi Arabia who protested against their raising of specific incidents of human rights abuse.

The case raised was that of Raif Badawi, co-founder of the Saudi Arabian Free Liberals website, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison, 1,000 lashes and a $266,000 fine in May. He was convicted of violating Islamic values and slurring Saudi Arabia's religious symbols, which drew the ire of Amnesty International who described the ruling as outrageous .

The Center criticised Badawi's conviction at the Council, saying Mr Badawi is a prisoner of conscience who is guilty of nothing more than daring to create a public forum for discussion and peacefully exercising the right to freedom of expression, which prompted the Saudi delegation to interrupt the statement.

We believe that what is being said by this organisation is completely outside of the mandate of this report, said a Saudi delegate, adding we request that they stop their intervention.

Four member states, including the United States, then responded to the intervention, supporting the right of NGOs to raise specific human rights cases during Council sessions. This allowed the Center for Inquiry's spokesperson to continue speaking and call for Badawi's conviction to be quashed.

We call on Saudi Arabia, as a newly elected member of this council, to release Raif Badawi immediately and unconditionally, and drop any pending charges against him and others for 'blasphemy', 'insulting Islam', or 'apostasy', the spokesperson said. As an elected member of this Council, Saudi Arabia is obliged to 'uphold the highest standards in the promotion and protection of human rights' and 'fully cooperate with the Council', they added.



Offsite Article: The Intelligence Services Commissioner's Oversight Is Weak and Unaccountable...

Link Here 27th June 2014
Big Brother Watch examine the annual report monitoring mass snooping of the UK internet

See article from



A Hard Day's Night...

And the BBFC had been working like a dog

Link Here26th June 2014
A Hard Day's Night is a 1964 UK musical comedy by Richard Lester.
Starring John Lennon, Paul McCartney and George Harrison. YouTube iconBBFC link IMDb

Cut by the BBFC for a U rated cinema release. The same version has been released ever since albeit sometimes with the addition of a prologue.

The BBFC Case study notes:

When the film was submitted to the BBFC for classification it was recognised as a perfect vehicle for promoting the Beatles' many hits, but it couldn't quite be contained at the desired U category. Examiners noted that, in Reel 7, the dialogue Get knotted , should be cut before passing the film at U.

...Read the full Case studies: A Hard Day's Night



Obituary: Eli Walach...

Loses final shootout aged 98

Link Here26th June 2014
Eli Wallach (December 7, 1915 to June 24, 2014) was an American film, television and stage actor whose career spanned more than six decades, beginning in the late 1940s.

For his performance as Silva Vacarro in Baby Doll, he won a BAFTA Award for Best Newcomer and a Golden Globe nomination.

Among his most famous roles are Calvera in The Magnificent Seven (1960), Guido in The Misfits (1961), and Tuco in The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (1966).

Other notable portrayals include Don Altobello in The Godfather Part III, Cotton Weinberger in The Two Jakes (both 1990), and Arthur Abbott in The Holiday (2006).

One of America's most prolific screen actors, Wallach remained active well into his nineties, with roles as recently as 2010 in Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps and The Ghost Writer.

Wallach received BAFTA Awards, Tony Awards and Emmy Awards for his work, and received an Honorary Academy Award at the 2nd Annual Governors Awards, presented on November 13, 2010.



Updated: The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet...

BBFC advised category cut replaces 'motherfucker' with 'melon farmer'

Link Here26th June 2014
The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet is a 2013 France / Canada family adventure TV movie by Jean-Pierre Jeunet.
Starring Helena Bonham Carter, Robert Maillet and Judy Davis. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

A 10-year-old cartographer secretly leaves his family's ranch in Montana where he lives with his cowboy father and scientist mother and travels across the country on board a freight train to receive an award at the Smithsonian Institute.

UK: Passed 12A for infrequent strong language after pre-cut for:

  • 2014 [2D + 3D] cinema release
The BBFC commented:
  • This film was seen for advice, prior to formal submission. The company was informed that the likely classification was 15, but that their preferred 12A could be achieved by removing a single use of the word 'motherfucker'. When the film was submitted for formal classification, this word had been replaced and the film was classified 12A.

Thanks to Pooch: You Melon Farmer!

Towards the end of the film, the titular character does a TV interview, whilst being manipulated by the lady who runs the Smithsonian Institute. In the original film, after the interview spectacularly fails, she calls Spivet You motherfucker , albeit at a distance, and from behind her, so you can't see her face/mouth!

In the UK version, motherfucker has been dubbed quite well by the same actress, or at least someone who sounds very similar, with the immortal You melon-farmer!

If it weren't for this, and two uses of the word fuck , which were all completely unnecessary and totally jarring, this would have been a PG-rated film, ideal for youngsters and families.



Rated NC: Not for Conservatives...

Burmese police file obscenity charges against a sexually explicit novel

Link Here26th June 2014
Police have filed an obscenity charge against the author of a new novel.

Author Aung Yin Nyein has sparked a storm of controversy with his sexually explicit novel, Romanbot , which has since been withdrawn from the market.

Police in Thingangyun township said they had filed a charge against the author under section 292 of the Penal Code, which relates to the sale, hire or distribution of an obscene book.

While hard copies of the book are no longer available, PDF versions were quickly made available online for curious readers.



Like it or lump it...

Egyptian christian jailed for 6 years for a Facebook like

Link Here26th June 2014
A Christian in southern Egypt has been sentenced to six years in prison and fined the equivalent of $840 on charges of blasphemy and contempt of Islam for simply liking a Facebook page, according to International Christian Concern.

Kerolos Shawky didn't intend to insult the Islamic religion, Rafla Zekry Rafla, a lawyer representing Kerolos, told ICC. He only clicked like on the Facebook page of Knights of the Cross .

Kerolos was accused of violating Article 98(f) of the Egyptian Penal Code, which prohibits ridiculing, or insulting heavenly religions or inciting sectarian strife .

The initial accusations against Kerolos are that he had somehow incited a muslim mob who vanadalised and set alight Christian shops and homese.



Offsite Article: The Prevention of Terrorism...

Link Here26th June 2014
Police terrorise pensioner protestors and the reporter that tried to film the incident

See article from



Galloping Nannyism...

ASA overturns its advert ban requiring cyclists to adhere to its own made up health and safety pedantry

Link Here25th June 2014
A ban on a safe cycling television advert which showed a rider without a helmet has been overturned.

The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) upheld five complaints in January that the ad, part of a campaign by Cycling Scotland, was irresponsible and harmful because it showed a cyclist without a helmet or any other safety attire riding down the middle of the road.

The advert censor said the cyclist in the final scene was not wearing a helmet or any other safety attire and appeared to be more than half a metre from the parking lane, ruling that the ad undermined the recommendations set out in the Highway Code and concluding that it was socially irresponsible and likely to condone or encourage behaviour prejudicial to health and safety .

Cycling Scotland told the ASA that wearing a cycling helmet was not a legal requirement in Scotland but a personal choice for the individual - a fact it considered was reflected in the ad with footage of various cyclists with and without helmets.

But the ASA has now said there was a potential flaw in its ruling, and it lifted the ban while an independent review was carried out. ASA has unbanned the advert in its latest adjudications. ASA wrote:

A TV ad for a campaign promoting safer cycling on the road, stated in the voice-over Not a lot of people know this but you should treat a cyclist the way you treat a horse ... slow down, treat them with care and give them their space on the road. The final shot showed a young woman cycling down the road whilst the on-screen text stated SEE CYCLIST THINK HORSE .

Five complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and harmful, because it showed a cyclist without a helmet or any other safety attire, who was cycling down the middle of the road rather than one metre from the curb.

Cycling Scotland pointed out that wearing a cycling helmet was not a legal requirement in Scotland, but a personal choice for the individual. This they considered was illustrated in the ad, by showing various cyclists with and without helmets.

Cycling Scotland further commented that cycling had a high benefit:disbenefit ratio, even when factoring in injuries and referred to the national cycling charity (CTC) report. Cycling Scotland also referred to their helmet policy, which discussed the possible undesired outcomes of wearing helmets, including limiting uptake of cycling (leading to less physical activity) and influencing a driver's behaviour to be less careful when interacting on the road.

Regarding the cyclist's clothing, Cycling Scotland commented that this was to reflect the accessibility of cycling and to help promote it as a viable way to make everyday journeys.

With regards to the cyclist's positioning, Cycling Scotland stated that given the width of the road featured in the advert, the cyclist was safer riding out past the parking area where they could be clearly visible to other road users. Furthermore, they informed the ASA that the shoot for the advert was supervised by one of their most experienced cycling instructors.

Cycling Scotland referred the ASA to the National Standard for cycling training's recognised reference source, Cyclecraft , which identified two clear positions: the first being the primary position, which is the default position for urban roads, placing the cyclist in the centre of the active traffic lane; and the secondary position, placing the cyclist on the left of the primary position, but not less than half a metre from the kerb. In this case, the advertiser commented that the cyclist was not less than half a metre from the parking lane.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld


We noted that the final shot of the ad showed a young woman cycling down the road without wearing a helmet, and appeared to be located in the centre of the lane.

We acknowledged Cycling Scotland's explanation regarding why the cyclist featured in the final scene of the ad was placed in the primary position and that this was an appropriate position to depict the cyclist in given the specific road conditions. We identified that the cyclist was shown in broad daylight and positioned on the centre of a fairly large lane, without any traffic and was clearly visible. Furthermore, we noted that there was a large gap between her and the car which overtook her. For those reasons, we considered that the cyclist had been placed in a suitable cycling position.

We understood that the Highway Code recommends that helmets should be worn which conform to current regulations, fit correctly and are securely fastened. However, we acknowledged that it was not a UK legal requirement for cyclists to wear helmets, but instead was a decision they could make at their own discretion. We noted Cycling Scotland's and Clearcast's point that this was reflected in the ad by showing various cyclists with and without helmets.

We acknowledged Cycling Scotland's reference to the National Cycling Charity (CTC) report, which discussed the possible harmful outcomes of wearing cycling helmets, including evidence that some drivers perceive cyclists wearing helmets to be less vulnerable road users and that this can influence driver behaviours to be less cautious around cyclists. We agreed that the ad was primarily targeted at motorists with the aim of raising awareness of the different kinds of real life scenarios in which they may encounter cyclists on the road. Following this, we noted Clearcast had stated that the ad featured a realistic situation, in that not all cyclists wore helmets and that the ad illustrated that the same care should be given to all cyclists, whether or not they wore a helmet.

Therefore, we concluded that because it was not a UK legal requirement for cyclists to wear helmets and because the ad depicted a range of real life situations in which motorists may encounter cyclists on the road for the purposes of educating them about the risks to cyclists posed by poor driving behaviours we concluded that the ad was not socially irresponsible and likely to condone or encourage behaviour prejudicial to health and safety.



Update: Confusing Ruling...

Malaysia's highest court upholds the ban on christians using the name Allah for their god

Link Here25th June 2014
Malaysia's highest court has rejected a challenge to the ban on Christians using the word Allah to refer to their god, in a highly divisive legal case.

The case was brought by the Catholic Church, which sought to overturn a ban first put in place in 2007. But the Federal Court said an earlier ruling backing the ban was correct.

The case began over the use of Allah to refer to the Christian god in the Catholic Church's Malay-language paper. Christians argue they have used the word, which entered Malay from Arabic, to refer to their god for centuries and that the ruling violates their rights.

Malaysian authorities claim its use by Christians could confuse easily confused Muslims and lead some to convert to Christianity.

This ruling was handed down by a seven-member panel, which voted by 4-3 to dismiss the challenge.

Herald editor Father Lawrence Andrew said he was greatly disappointed by the judgement which didn't touch on the fundamental rights of minorities .

Reports in Malaysian newspapers suggested the Church could call for a review of the decision.



The Sky Closes In...

A film of a buddhist/mulsim friendship is withdrawn from a Burmese film festival due to violent threats

Link Here25th June 2014
Religious extremists have succeeded in forcing the organizers of Myanmar's Human Rights Film Festival to withdraw the screening of a documentary about a friendship between a Buddhist and a Muslim.

The second Human Rights, Human Dignity film festival was to have featured the 20-minute documentary The Open Sky , which was singled out by extremists as part of a Muslim conspiracy to dominate Buddhist-majority Myanmar. The film made by young film students depicted the unlikely friendship of a Buddhist woman and a Muslim woman amid the communal violence which gripped the town of Meikhtila last year.

Min Htin Ko Ko Kyi, one of the organizers of the film festival, explained that The Open Sky was withdrawn from the event to avoid further conflict and hatred among the Burmese.

An article criticizing the film went viral on the Internet when the film festival opened on June 15. It accused global Muslim groups of funding the film to promote Islam. It also accused human rights groups of being biased against Buddhists.

The organizers then received threats via social media, warning that angry Burmese would destroy the movie theater and kill the director if the documentary was shown to the public. The commenters also warned that they would start another riot in protest to the event.

United States Ambassador Derek J. Mitchell, one of the sponsors of the event, condemned the online threats made against the festival organizers. This narrow, fearful mindset runs contrary to everything this festival is about. Everyone who values the meaning of this event must oppose the use of threat and intimidation to suppress speech and censor artists.



Swindon Feminist Network Recommends...

The McCoy's Guide to Adult Services

Link Here25th June 2014

The founder of the Swindon Feminist Network has whinged at a new directory of the town's sex workers.

The McCoy's Guide to Adult Services in South West England plus South Wales is the latest title from George McCoy, who has written at least 11 similar books and gives a rating out of five for each service, including costs and the occasional photograph.

The book includes listings for 21 working girls, three dominatrixes and a massage parlour in the town.

Albertine Davies, founder of the Swindon Feminist Network blasted McCoy for effectively marketing the work of the town's sex workers.

Whatever anyone says, no one chooses to go into sex work, she said. People sometimes say that it is the woman's choice and that should be respected and everything is ok, but it's not. Many people are driven to it out of desperation in the circumstances they are in. So called 'high-class' escorts who earn a lot of money are exceptionally rare.

I've read that many people who end up in that line of work are also victims of childhood abuse. It's also a tragic result of our benefits system that people are driven to sell themselves in order to earn some money.

It also has great ramifications for the rest of society, since people who are willing to buy sex are de-valuing people to the value of consumable goods.

Anybody who makes money out of something like this is no better than a pimp.

George McCoy said:

Most of the people who are opposed to the sex industry and sex work are feminist lesbians with a holier-than-thou prudish attitude towards the industry. I don't deal with street prostitutes. The ladies I include are well-respected for their unique services and private venues and they all are in a job they want to be in and enjoy.

For many it's far more preferable to working at a check-out in a supermarket, for example. They can earn more, they can choose their own hours which also means that it's easier to arrange childcare. It's much easier to work evenings and arrange for a friend to look after the children than it is doing a day job.



Update: Cheapo Censors at Instagram...

Another example of incompetent social media censorship

Link Here25th June 2014
In a picture, a little girl is seen lifting her dress to admire her new underpants, evidence to her of her first steps in toilet training. But the tummy and underpants are considered by Instagram to be nudity. Adamo was warned by the site about posting inappropriate content, but not being able to recognise sexual tones in her children's photos fast enough she had her account deleted before she could resolve it.

Adamo's account has since been reactivated after mounting furore. But an incident like this still begs the questioin: are photography sharing sites being unnecessarily rigid about content and prudish about flesh? Facebook, for instance, has only just lifted its long held ban on the appearance of female nipple in breastfeeding photos. Advertisement

Indeed, there's a deliberate reluctance to involve themselves in the debate required for interpreting content. Blanket policies alleviate social media sites from needing to pay people, rather than inexpensive filter programs, to do specialised decision making. Adamo, cofounder of a fashionable online baby boutique had over 36,000 followers of her family photo album on Instagram before her account was removed.



Offsite Article: Adult entertainment is coming of age...

Link Here25th June 2014
An interesting promotional feature about the various forms of ID systems being considered for internet age verification

See article from



Most Grievous Distress...

Belfast church 'outraged' by DJ Wilkinson music video

Link Here23rd June 2014
A scene showing a partially-clothed couple kissing on the altar of a Catholic church has been removed from a music video after priests complained.

DJ Wilkinson's video Half Light directed by Aoife McArdle was shot at various locations in Belfast.

A scene filmed in the Good Shepherd Church on the Ormeau Road was edited out of the video. The church authorities said:

The behaviour in the video was a desecration of the church and caused most grievous distress to the parish priest.

If viewed by the parishioners it would cause severe hurt and distress to the wider parish community.

For these reasons, to protect the church and its parishioners, the Diocese of Down and Connor immediately brought these concerns to the attention of the distributors and creators of the material.



Update: Slugging Match...

1500 complaints about Big Brother 2014

Link Here23rd June 2014
Full story: Big Brother...Whinging about Channel 4's Big Brother

The latest series of Big Brother has received over 1,500 complaints over bullying.

Complainants say they were concerned for Jale Karaturp's wellbeing after seeing former escort Helen Wood and Pauline Bennett gang up on her. Helen branded Jale a slug and also previously called her a massive ferret face .

Recently over 100 complaints were made in response to Helen telling strict Catholic glamour model Danielle McMahon to stop shagging Jesus .



Update: Unapproved Criticism...

China announces new laws to restrict journalism

Link Here23rd June 2014
China has introduced new rules to restrict journalism. The rules say that journalists and their news organizations are forbidden from initiating critical reporting that has not been approved.

The new rules also prohibit a host of other journalistic activities. Reporters may not do reporting across industries or focus areas . News outlets are forbidden from establishing businesses in advertising, publishing or public relations. And they can't even circulate critical documents internally or on private websites. +

The government rules seem related to recent announcement that over 14,000 press cards had been revoked for supposedly bogus journalists. The measures also appear designed to address corruption scandals involving news outlets found to be practicing black PR, obtaining profits through paid-for content.

Update: More restrictions

17th July 2014. See  article from

The government had just announced that month that reporters were not allowed to report anything, even on their own blogs and social media sites , that had not been approved by an editor at their news organization. The announcement was aimed at heading off enterprising--and increasingly frustrated--reporters who would often release directly to their own readers information that had not survived their publications' editing and censorship processes.



Offsite Article: Crash and a History of Violence...

Link Here23rd June 2014
David Cronenberg Talks Hollywood and Being the King of Venereal Horror

See article from




BBC dismisses whinge about Have I Got News For You joke about Price Harry snorting cocaine

Link Here22nd June 2014

Have I Got News For You, BBC One
25 October 2013

The complainant contacted the BBC about Have I Got News For You , broadcast on 25 October 2013. His complaint concerned a reference made to Prince Harry by the host, Jo Brand, when she was talking about the royal christening of Prince George. She said:

George's godparents include [x] Van Cutsem. I presume that's a nickname, in that [x] Van Cutsem and Harry then snorts 'em.

The complainant considered this an outrageous unfounded allegation . The complaint was dismissed at lower levels of BBC complaint handling but was escalated to an appeal to the BBFC Trust

The appeal was considered by the Editorial Standards Committee. The Committee noted the complainant's concern that Have I Got News For You alleged

Without any evidence being provided, that a serving soldier who is also fourth in line to the throne has committed a serious criminal offence and breached the Army's discipline code.

The Committee noted the response of the Complaints Director at Stage 2:

The nub of this, it seems to me, is whether a viewer might reasonably take from this that it was actually being alleged that Prince Harry was a cocaine user and I have to say that I think, on balance, that this is very unlikely. Have I Got News For You has a well established reputation for humour that is robust, often uncomfortably personal and sometimes simply grotesque. That alone, it seems to me, helps to guard against anything said on the programme being taken as necessarily true.

The Committee agreed with this view and also noted that it was in the tradition of British comedy to extract broad humour from the Royal Family.

The Committee did not believe that there would be a reasonable prospect of success for an appeal on the grounds that the programme had breached the BBC's Editorial Guidelines on Accuracy. The Committee therefore decided that this appeal did not qualify to proceed for consideration.



Censors with Blurred Vision...

Indian film censors say that scenes must be cut entirely where previously it was possible to blur just part of the visual

Link Here22nd June 2014
India's Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has decided to delete partially objectionable scenes rather than blur them, as they claim many filmmakers are not implementing their censorship directives.

CBFC has also stated in its communication addressed to film bodies that it will now mute objectionable dialogues as opposed to beeping them out.

CBFC had asked the makers of Dedh Ishqiya to blur out a scene involging Arshad Warsi in a brothel but it was later found by the Board that the directive was not implemented.



God's Swill...

Religious group calls for the cancellation of a Moscow Marilyn Manson gig on grounds of blasphemy

Link Here22nd June 2014
Russian Orthodox Christians have called on Moscow authorities to ban a performance by the rock singer Marilyn Manson.

The religious group, God's Will, claims that Manson's performances contravene Russian anti-blasphemy laws. Group spokesman Dmitry Tsorionov told RIA Novosti that believers condemned the

Blasphemy and profanity of his [Manson's] song lyrics but mostly his behaviour during performances. The burning and destruction of the Bible is an integral part of his show. For example, the culmination of his concert in St Petersburg was the destruction of a Bible in front of an enthusiastic crowd that he had brought to an absolutely inadequate state.

The organisation also said Manson's performances were full of elements insulting to the feelings of believers and promoted religious hatred, cruelty, murder, suicide, sexual perversion and Satanism among young people, including minors .

A gig in Novosibirsk scheduled for 29 June has been cancelled by city authorities after about 400 people took part in a demonstration against the proposed performance.



Carry on Abroad...

Cuts revealed to a nightmare package holiday in Elsbels

Link Here21st June 2014
Carry on Abroad is a 1972 UK comedy by Gerald Thomas.
Starring Kenneth Williams, Sidney James and Charles Hawtrey. YouTube iconBBFC link IMDb

BBFC category cuts for 1972 cinema release. The cuts persisted onto all home video releases.

Summary Notes

A group of holidaymakers head for the Spanish resort of Elsbels for a 4-day visit. When they get there, they find the Hotel still hasn't been finished being built, and the weather is awful. And there is something strange about the staff. They all look very similar. To top it all off, the weather seems to be having an adverse affect on the Hotel's foundations...

Thanks to Vincenzo. The BBFC cuts were:

  • Reel 5 - Remove "Have you been with a girl?..." and subsequent dialogue.
  • Reel 8 - Remove "I'm going to tear off all your clothes, throw you on the bed..."
  • Reel 10 - Remove "He's pissed again" and "he can't be, he's just had a leak."



Stalinism is alive and well and running local councils...

Parish councillors banned from speaking to the press

Link Here 21st June 2014

Can someone please let me know if we are still living in Britain, where freedom of speech and democracy are supposed to be held dear.

I ask because of the latest advice issued by the National Association of Local Councils to all parish councils.

It advises all member councils to adopt a new media policy barring councillors from speaking to journalists without the written consent of the whole authority.

The policy would also ban journalists from contacting councillors directly - all contact would have to be made through the council clerk.

It is completely outrageous to suggested that people who are elected to represent local communities cannot speak to a journalist - not even their local paper - without being stifled by red tape.

Imagine trying to get a comment on a local issue and having to wait for a council meeting to approve permission for the relevant people to say something on behalf of those who elected them.

I don't always agree with Eric Pickles but I'm pleased to say he's jumped on the daft suggestion from a great height, describing it as Stalinist .



Extract Blackmail Potential?...

Would you allow a verification service to access to all your social network links to check you out for porn access?

Link Here21st June 2014

An identity authentication company is suggesting the UK online pornography industry adopt its technology when regulation is inevitably brought in.

Peer-to-peer sites already use Veridu's technology to rate people as trustworthy or not. It works by asking an individual to setup a profile using social media logins, in much the same way an app would ask you to sign up with your Twitter or Facebook details. The more logins the individual provides to Veridu, the richer and more reliable its verification will be. The system will then ask if you recognise friends in your social network, look for friendship links mirrored across multiple social networks including LinkedIn, and compare age groups in your network. For the new age verification model, it could also include Paypal details (more helpful if the user has signed up with a credit card) and other details from telecommunications providers.

Veridu promises it is not storing the data it analyses, nor using it for any purpose other than to deliver a token at the end of the process that the user can then take away and show to adult content sites -- all it will say is whether that person has been verified as over 18, and how robust that conclusion is on a specific scale.

...Read the fascinating article

Update: Audit of accuracy

26th June. From Twitter

TVXboss:  ATVOD have asked for an independent audit of the accuracy of social vs traditional AV methods



Regulator Regulate Yourself...

Some Common Sense notes that ATVOD were late in registering with the Information Commissioner's Office

Link Here21st June 2014
Some Common Sense is a group dedicated to the campaign against ATVOD and the attack on British adult websites. The group posted a fascinating entry on its blog:

Guess who did not notify or pay the fee? An anonymous comment, left on one of our posts below, caught our eye and needs more prominence.

Anonymous 1/6/14 14:18

Perhaps it may aid your case if ATVOD were questioned on why the did not register with the Information Commisioners Office until 28th September 2013.

It would appear that they held data illegally for almost 3 1/2 years.

If so, then passing on information they held to OFCOM may too have been against the law?

It seems that ATVOD, who go about collecting personal data on individuals and publishing it along with their determinations that someone has failed to notify them or paid them a fee, had themselves failed to notify the Information Commissioner of its personal data processing. Neither had it paid the fee to be registered. What's more, when ATVOD belatedly registered in September last year, following complaints, they completely failed to provide the information they are obliged to. ATVOD's listing states that the purpose of their collecting private data about you is, to enable us to promote our goods and services . They must mean their exciting new range of ATVOD blindfolds and earplugs, specially crafted to protect teenagers from discovering that they weren't found in the gooseberry patch or brought by the stork.

We look forward to the Information Commissioner's Office taking decisive action. But don't hold your breath. When we asked for confirmation that last September was the date of ATVOD's first registration, we were told that the ICO cannot comment because that would break the Data Protection Act.



Offsite Article: Rated R for Rubbishy...

Link Here21st June 2014
9 Violent and Sexy Movies Which Got Away With a PG-13

See article from



You may also like these adverts...

ASA rules that website links to promotional or advertising content must be identified as advertising

Link Here20th June 2014

An ad appeared at the bottom of an article on The Independendent newspaper's website alongside other ads, each of which contained an image and text, under the heading You may also like these . A link below the ad was labelled (Keep Your Email Private!) . The ad linked to a web page run by a third-party advertiser.

The complainant challenged whether the ad was identifiable as such.

Outbrain said they provided content recommendations, most often found at the bottom of an article on a publisher's page. Their technology meant they were able to understand how and when people consumed all forms of content and could therefore recommend relevant material based on interests, which could be via paid-for links to third-party sites or links to other content on a publisher's own site. They did not own the websites on which the content they recommended appeared and each publisher could dictate the layout and look and feel of content such as that placed by Outbrain. They said although the content complained about had been paid for by a third party, it was not advertising in the traditional sense and their recommendations were better described as promoted content or promoted stories .

They said their approach was in line with industry standard practices and they used the text You may also like these and Recommended by , which appeared next to their logo, to identify that the paid-for ads linked to third-party sites. When that logo was clicked on, users were taken to a pop up headed What are these links? , which gave information about Outbrain's service and also included the text Links to 3rd party content were paid for by an Outbrain customer . The logo also changed colour when hovered over, to make clear that it was an interactive link. They believed the average internet user would be aware that links similar to the one they provided were clickable and that they were often used to provide additional information. However, they said they were willing to cooperate in making changes.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA understood Outbrain were responsible for the overall presentation of the contextually targeted branded content and its labelling, and acknowledged they were willing to make changes. We also acknowledged the ad appeared under the text You may also like these and that, when viewed in its entirety, the panel of content featured the text Recommended by , which appeared next to a logo. However, we considered consumers would not necessarily realise that the various different recommendations included formed part of the same panel and that they might not notice the Recommended by text, which appeared in the bottom corner. We also considered consumers might not realise that the logo included a link to additional information.

Nevertheless, we noted that marketing communications must be obviously identifiable as such and considered the text You may also like these and Recommended by , as well as the information provided in the pop up and in the link below the ad, was not sufficient to ensure it was obvious to consumers that the ad was a marketing communication. Because the ad was not obviously identifiable as marketing communication, we concluded that it was misleading.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 2.1 and 2.3 (Recognition of marketing communications) and 3.1 and 3.3 (Misleading advertising).

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Outbrain to ensure future advertising placed by them was obviously identifiable as such.



Ofcom vs Sky...

Ofcom find that violent scuffles, commonplace in the Jerry Springer show, are not suitable for daytime TV

Link Here20th June 2014

Jerry Springer
Pick TV, 27 January 2014, 13:00

Jerry Springer is a long running talk show shown on a number of Ofcom licensed channels including Pick TV. The licence for Pick TV is held by Sky.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to the unacceptable level of violence shown in this programme.

Ofcom noted that the broadcast was preceded by the following on-screen message: The Jerry Springer Show may contain adult themes or strong language. Parents are cautioned this program may not be suitable for children .

We noted that over the course of its 55 minute duration violent altercations broke out on 12 separate occasions during the programme.

Ofcom noted in particular:

  • hApproximately six minutes into the programme two women, Chameer and her friend, TJ, began to fight. TJ struck Chameer around the side of the head and the two women continued to try to hit one another as security staff attempted to keep them apart. After around 10 seconds, the two women were separated. At this point, TJ removed her shoes, ran at Chameer, and tackled her to the ground.

  • Around 32 minutes into the programme, Monique walked out onto the stage and passionately kissed another guest on the programme, Lauren. She then briefly flashed her bare breasts at the studio audience (although her breasts were pixelated in the broadcast). A fight then broke out between Lauren and Monique, and a third woman, Jessica. Jessica tried to land blows on Lauren and Monique but security staff intervened. The three women then grappled with each other, predominantly by pulling at one another's hair. Jessica then pulled Monique onto the ground and dragged her along by her hair. After the women were finally separated by security staff, Jessica was shown to drop a clump of Monique's hair onto the studio floor.

  • Later, Jessica grabbed Monique by her hair once more. Security staff intervened as another fight broke out between the three women. A member of security picked up Lauren in an attempt to pull her away and Lauren appeared to try and kick out at Jessica. All three women also pulled at one another's hair both before and after they fell to the floor. Jessica was again seen dropping a clump of Monique's hair on to the studio floor.

There were a further five incidents where participants in the programme landed single punches or slaps on others before security had the opportunity to intervene. Many of these violent acts were also repeated in recaps and teasers at the beginning and end of each part.

Ofcom considered:

Rule 1.11: Violence, its after-effects and descriptions of violence, whether verbal or physical, must be appropriately limited in programmes broadcast the watershed (in the case of television)â?¦and must also be justified by the context.

Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context (see meaning of context below). Such material may include, but is not limited to, offensive language, violence, sex, sexual violence, humiliation, distress, violation of human dignity, discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of age, disability, gender, race, religion, beliefs and sexual orientation). Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Sky denied there was any breach of the Code as it believed that given likely audience expectations the level of violence in the programme was within the bounds of acceptability . Sky said that Jerry Springer is a very well established programme and has been broadcast to UK viewers for a considerable number of years. In addition, the Licensee said that the programme format has remained consistent over this time with each episode featuring feuding families, partners or friends airing their grievances. Sky also highlighted that this episode of Jerry Springer had been broadcast on other channels without being the subject of an adverse finding by Ofcom .

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 1.11 and 2.3

In Ofcom's view, the cumulative effect of these very frequent violent altercations (including, on two occasions, particularly vicious fighting that resulted in clumps of a guest's hair being pulled out) resulted in a programme that contained a significant level of violence.

In this case, although the broadcast was during the day while children were at school, there was clearly the potential for some children to be available to view this programme which contained a large number of violent, and in some cases very violent, altercations. Taking all the factors into consideration, Ofcom concluded that the cumulative level of real violence featured within the programme was not justified by the context. The programme was therefore in breach of Rule 1.11

We concluded that in the particular circumstances of this programme the violent content was not justified by the context. Therefore generally accepted standards were not applied and this programme was in breach of Rule 2.3.

This Decision relates to the content of this particular episode and not the programme Jerry Springer in general. Having viewed other episodes, Ofcom is aware that while the nature of the material is broadly similar, the strength of the content, and particularly violent content, can differ between episodes. Ofcom reminds broadcasters of the potential for individual episodes of well-established series to raise potential issues under the Code and the need to comply episodes on a case by case basis.

Breaches of Rules 1.11 and 2.3



The BBC Hasn't a Clue...

Jack Dee threatens to quit BBC's I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue after being told to cut out the smutty jokes

Link Here20th June 2014
Comedian Jack Dee has allegedly threatened to quit the long-running comedy panel show, which regularly attracts 2.5million listeners, after BBC bosses ordered him to tone down his smutty jokes.

And regular panellist Tim Brooke- Taylor, who appears alongside Graeme Garden and Barry Cryer, has called BBC executives 'pathetic for taking offence at the show's innuendos.

The PC row began after a listener whinged about one of the show's best-known gags about the fictional score-keeper known as the lovely Samantha. The miserable complainant claimed that this was demeaning to women.

Brooke-Taylor told Cotswold Life magazine:

We've had terrible trouble with the BBC about the show. Someone complained about Samantha -- that it was being rude to women -- and told us we had to be careful about this and to not do that.

The writer who does Jack Dee's links said, "Well, in that case I'm leaving" , and Jack said, Well, I'm leaving, too. It's just so pathetic .

The character of Samantha was introduced in 1985 by original chairman Humphrey Lyttelton. She became the butt of double entendres and innuendos joking about her sexual exploits.

The BBC said it had received four complaints about Samantha since the start of 2013. A spokesman evaded the censorship issue:

We have regular discussions with production teams and contributors of all long-running Radio 4 programmes on how we can best keep the much-loved shows clever, relevant and fresh to listeners.

And of course under the requirements of political correctness 4 whiney whingers have to be put ahead of the listening pleasures of 2.5 million people.



Updated: 'I've had it with these monkey-fighting snakes on this Monday to Friday plane'...

Link Here 20th June 2014
On the edition of The Graham Norton Show that aired last Friday, Samuel L. Jackson was a guest and he was asked specifically about when his films are re-dubbed for TV. He explained that as he almost always did the re-dubbing himself he would come up with the most ridiculous phrases possible to replace that specific expletive, including Maryland Farmer (I think the Americans pronounce it Marylyn), Money Feelers and Monkey Fighting . They showed the re-dubbed version of the famous clip from Snakes On A Plane, using the phrases Monkey Fighting and Monday To Friday in place of the two expletives.

Monkey Fighting Censors

19th June See  article from

The same interview seems to have inspired a further look at ridiculous overdubs on US TV.

I can understand bleeping offensive words but changing entire iconic lines from movies like The Departed, Scarface, The Usual Suspects, or Pulp Fiction into absolutely ridiculous stuff is offensively stupid.

...Read the full article



The Original Melonfarmer...

Researching the origins of the famous Repo Man overdub

Link Here19th June 2014
If you're reading this, you are almost certainly familiar with the term melonfarmer and its significance. For those of you who aren't, it was used by director Alex Cox to re-dub the expletive motherfucker in the version of Repo Man he prepared specially for television.

According to Alex Cox himself, this version came about after being called in to fix a very bizarre re-edit that the studio had put together itself. Cox said:

In an effort to explain the film, someone had gone and shot an insert of the license plate of the Chevy Malibu, and made the Hopi symbol dissolve into the HEAD OF THE DEVIL!. He continued, They'd intercut static shots of this license plate with shots of the car moving, and it looked completely cheesy, worse than an Ed Wood film.

The much loved variant Cox put together - actually seven minutes longer than the theatrical version - was finally made available for the first time since its original broadcast on BBC2 as part of Masters Of Cinema's excellent Blu-ray release in February 2012, but did you ever wonder how the term came about? How do you get from motherfucker to the euphemistic substitution melonfarmer ? Was the term ever used before the TV version of Repo Man?

After the TV version was first broadcast and the phrase came into the popular consciousness, the first thought of some film enthusiasts was that it was taken from or somehow inspired by the 1974 Charles Bronson film Mr. Majestyk . In that movie, Bronson plays a water melon farmer who is threatened by labour racketeers and gangsters who want to either drive him out of business or kill him. They scare off his labourers and machine gun his melons until stoic diplomacy just won't cut it any more and he falls back on the plan B Bronson usually employed throughout the seventies...kill everybody. There are lots of melons on show, but at no time in Elmore Leonard's screenplay is the term used as a substitute for the expletive. All melonfarmers in the picture actually farm melons.

It wasn't until many years later, listening to the soundtrack for the film Performance that I noticed something that may finally explain the origin of the phrase. Donald Cammell and Nicolas Roeg's film was extremely controversial on its release in 1970 for its sex, nudity, sadomasochistic violence and drug use, but what is not often noted is that the controversy also extended to one of the selections on the soundtrack. The song in question was the spoken word piece Wake Up, Niggers! by The Last Poets . In the film the track cut short, but if you listen to the full version featured on the soundtrack record - and also on The Last Poets eponymous debut album - the song includes the line, ...up against the wall black melonfarmer... .

The film and the album date to 1970 making this the earliest use of the phrase suggesting that the term was invented by The Last Poets as a way to allude to the expletive without actually using it. This would make sense because around the same time, the proto-punk band MC5 ran into trouble when their debut album Kick Out The Jams opened with the shout of Kick Out The Jams, Motherfucker! leading to some controversy and later copies of the record being censored.

Thinking that I'd made a connection no one else had noticed, I searched around online for a summary of the lyrics for Wake Up, Niggers! to confirm it. All sources claim that the words for that line are not as I initially thought ...up against the wall black melonfarmer... , but are actually ...up against the wall black male and farmer... .

So could that be it? Did the famous term actually come into being after Alex Cox misheard a line from The Last Poets' song, and in doing so accidentally coined a phrase that has persisted to this day as an amusing euphemism...and the inspiration for this very website?

When Alex Cox was asked about the films copious bad language and how he felt about having to remove it all for the TV version, he said:

By then I'd made Sid & Nancy and I was sick of swearing. It was fun coming up with synonyms for the swear words - 'Melon Farmers' was a particular favourite.

I don't think there is any doubt that Alex Cox invented the phrase - since used by Samuel L. Jackson in the TV version of Die Hard With A Vengeance - but has its ubiquitousness with movie re-dubbing in the years since the TV version of Repo Man led to a bit of self mythologising on Cox's part? To be honest melonfarmer is the only really inventive substitution in the TV version, far more so than the flip you and variations on that that make up the majority of the other substitutions. Was The Last Poets' track subconsciously at work and pointing him in the right direction. I guess you'll have to decide for yourself about that.



Censorship Charge...

ATVOD freezes the fees it charges mainstream VoD companies to fund its campaign against British adult websites

Link Here19th June 2014

The television on demand censor ATVOD has frozen its censorship fees for the period 2014- 2015. The decision to freeze fees follows three consecutive years in which average fees have fallen.

The fees paid by a the wide range of video websites goes towards the censors' salaries and their campaign against UK adult businesses. The censor receives very few complaints that are relevant to mainstream video on demand, so the mainstream industry has to pay dear to enable ATVOD to campaign against British porn websites.

The fees are currently paid by 116 UK operators of on-demand TV. ATVOD has promised to devote more resources to investigating potential breaches of statutory rules.

ATVOD fees will remain at:

  • Concessionary rates of £91 - £96 for non-commercial service providers
  • Concessionary rates of £137- £145 and £183 - £193 for commercial service providers with turnover below £50,000 and £100,000 respectively
  • A three band standard tariff based on the turnover of the service provider, with rates set at £732 - £771, £4,740 - £6,151, and £9,480 - £12,302
  • A cap of £25,000 on the total fees paid by any single provider



Update: Arrest first, review the allegations and evidence months later...

British police harm free speech by siding with complainants, in this case, against street preachers

Link Here 19th June 2014
Full story: Preachers in the UK...Preachers come under censorship duress
Police in Scotland have dropped all charges against two Christian evangelists who were arrested for supposedly using offensive language whilst preaching in Dundee and Perth.

Tony Miano was arrested under hate-crime legislation during a one-week street-preaching mission in January after a member of the public made al complaint.

Miano protested his innocence and said they could see his preaching on video to prove he had done nothing wrong and that his message was one of hope to be found in Jesus Christ. The officers refused to look at the footage and took the evangelist to the police station where he was detained for 24 hours.

Josh Williamson, an Australian who is a pastor at the Craigie Reformed Baptist Church in Perth was arrested twice in three days in the city last September for an alleged breach of the peace .

All charges have now been dropped against both evangelists after months of representation by the Christian Legal Centre.

Responding to the charges being dropped, Miano said:

It took months for the prosecutors to view the footage despite our best endeavours from the very beginning to get them to do so. When the P rosecutors finally managed to get the video footage off my camera they could plainly see that the accuser had made allegations about my speech that were simply untrue. The Prosecutors found nothing in my preaching that constituted 'hate speech' and came to the conclusion that they had no case against me. Had the officers who arrested me taken a few minutes to review the video footage, they would have seen what I have maintained all along. This has been a stressful time for my family.

Josh Williamson explains that while he no longer faces trial, the matter is not yet over. He said:

There is still the issue of getting back my equipment, including the footage it contains. I am also seeking legal advice as to redress in Scotland's civil courts against the Scottish Police .

Andrea Williams of the Christian Legal Centre who assisted the preachers said:

This case shows yet again how confused the situation has become. A single passer-by can allege 'hurt' 'offence' and an innocent preacher gets arrested, taken to a cell and held for many hours. This has a deeply chilling impact on all of us; on our fundamental freedom to speak out about what we believe in for fear of 'causing offence' and being punished by the state for doing so.'



Ordered to Forget...

Russian bans film depicting the mass burning alive of Chechens under the rule of Stalin

Link Here19th June 2014
Seventy years after Chechens were deported en masse to Central Asia on the orders of Soviet dictator Josef Stalin, a film about the brutalities of the operation has been banned, with officials citing the threat of provoking ethnic enmity.

Russia's Culture Ministry has also claimed insufficient evidence to prove that the dramatic enactment is historically accurate, the film's producer and director Ruslan Kokanayev said on his Facebook page.

At the center of the dispute is a scene, featured in a movie trailer that the filmmaker has posted online, that shows Chechen prisoners in the mountainous village of Khaibakh being locked up in a barn by Stalin's secret police and burned alive.

Though the film titled Ordered to Forget makes no claims to being a historical documentary, Kokanayev has insisted that its plot, including the barn scene, is based on detailed testimony by multiple witnesses and on historical evidence.



Abstract: Bleeding Obvious...

Researchers find that the more gory films are, the more they attract the attention

Link Here19th June 2014
Captivated and Grossed Out: An Examination of Processing Core and Sociomoral Disgusts in Entertainment Media

By Bridget Rubenking ( University of Central Florida) and Annie Lang (Indiana University)


While disgust repels and offends us, it has functionally evolved over time to compel our attention---both to core disgusts (i.e., blood, guts, body products) and sociomoral violations (i.e., injustices, brutality, racism)---making it a quality of many entertainment messages that may keep audiences engrossed and engaged. An experiment exposed participants to two types of core disgusts and sociomoral disgusts in TV/film messages and collected self-report emotional responses, psychophysiological indicators of dynamic emotional and cognitive processing, and recognition memory for content. Results demonstrate that no two disgusts are alike: Sociomoral disgusts captivate our attention and elicit a slower, more thoughtful response pattern than core disgusts, and the nature of the core disgust elicits different responses as well.



PC Damage...

Irish radio and TV censors 'offended' by throw away remark about damaging English virgins

Link Here19th June 2014
Irish state broadcaster RTE has censure for politically incorrect remarks by fashion designer Paul Costelloe. The radio and TV censors of the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland (BAI) claimed that the comments were offensive to women.

Costelloe caused 'outrage' during an interview on RTE Radio One's The Business show in February when he spoke of young Irishmen in London damaging English virgins. The designer, who lives in London, was speaking about the Irish in Britain. He said:

Certainly the Irish are never short of chatting up and, you know, we have that skill and I'm sure these young guys are doing great and damaging a lot of young English virgins, so there you are, and good luck to them.

The BAI upheld a single complaint, saying:

The manner in which sexual relationships were described by the guest would cause undue offence.



Offsite Article: Life after a military coup...

Link Here19th June 2014
Interview: Thailand's Coup Brings Self-Censorship, Curtailment of Free Speech

See article from



Update: Retweeted...

Twitter ends censorship of content in Pakistan after the authorities fail to provide justification for its censorship requests

Link Here18th June 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
Twitter has restored access inside Pakistan to dozens of tweets and accounts, after blocking them last month following official complaints about suuposed blasphemous content.

Twitter said it had changed its May 18 decision after the government failed to provide sufficient clarification. The company said in a statement:

On May 18, 2014, we made an initial decision to withhold content in Pakistan based on information provided to us by the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority.

We have re-examined the requests and, in the absence of additional clarifying information from Pakistani authorities, have determined that restoration of the previously withheld content is warranted. The content is now available again in Pakistan.

Most of the offending material concerned anti-Islam accounts, but the accounts of three US porn stars were also listed.



Oh My God!...

Religious TV presenter wants the phrase 'oh my god' to be banned from daytime TV

Link Here17th June 2014

The phrase Oh, my God should not be said before the watershed because viewers may find it offensive, a BBC presenter has spewed.

Sian Williams, who hosts the BBC One discussion programme Sunday Morning Live , said she found such language inappropriate .

Asked by Radio Times what compelled her to switch off a television or radio programme, Williams replied:

Swearing. I'm quite old-fashioned in that respect. I don't like people to use inappropriate language before the watershed -- particularly the phrase 'oh, my God' because it can offend.



Update: Communications via US websites are fair game for mass snooping...

UK intelligence forced to reveal secret policy for mass surveillance of residents' Facebook and Google use

Link Here 17th June 2014
Britain's top counter-terrorism official has been forced to reveal a secret Government policy justifying the mass surveillance of every Facebook, Twitter, Youtube and Google user in the UK.

This disturbing policy was made public due to a legal challenge brought by Privacy International, Liberty, Amnesty International, the American Civil Liberties Union, Pakistani organisation Bytes for All, and five other national civil liberties organisations1

The statement, from Charles Farr, the Director General of the Office for Security and Counter Terrorism, claims that the indiscriminate interception of UK residents' Facebook and Google communications would be permitted under law because they are defined as external communications .

Farr's statement, published today by the rights organisations, is the first time the Government has openly commented on how it thinks it can use the UK's vague surveillance legal framework to indiscriminately intercept communications through its mass interception programme, TEMPORA.

The secret policy outlined by Farr defines almost all communications via Facebook and other social networking sites, as well as webmail services Hotmail and Yahoo and web searches via Google, to be external communications because they use web-based platforms based in the US.

The distinction between internal and external communications is crucial. Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act ('RIPA'), which regulates the surveillance powers of public bodies, internal communications may only be intercepted under a warrant which relates to a specific individual or address. These warrants should only be granted where there is some suspicion of unlawful activity. However, an individual's external communications may be intercepted indiscriminately, even where there are no grounds to suspect any wrongdoing.

By defining the use of platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Google as external communications , British residents are being deprived of the essential safeguards that would otherwise be applied to their communications - simply because they are using services that are based outside the UK.

Such an approach suggests that GCHQ believes it is entitled to indiscriminately intercept all communications in and out of the UK. The explanations given by Mr Farr suggest that:

GCHQ is intercepting all communications - emails, text messages, and communications sent via platforms such as Facebook and Google -- before determining whether they fall into the internal or external categories The Government considers almost all Facebook and other social media communications, and Google searches will always fall within the external category, even when such communications are between two people in the UK Classifying communications as external allows the Government to search through, read, listen to and look at each of them. The only restriction on what they do with communications that they classify as external is that they cannot search through such communications using keywords or terms that mention a specific British person or residence. Even though the Government is conducting mass surveillance - intercepting and scanning through all communications in order to work out whether they are internal or external - they consider that such interception has less importance than whether a person actually reads the communication, which is where the Government believes the substantive interference with privacy arises . The Government believes that, even when privacy violations happen, it is not an active intrusion because the analyst reading or listening to an individual's communication will inevitably forget about it anyway.

The legal challenge is brought following revelations made by Edward Snowden about the UK's global digital surveillance activities. Farr is the government's star witness in the case, which will be heard by the Investigatory Powers Tribunal between 14 and 18 July 2014. Read our arguments here.

In addition to Farr's statement, we are publishing the witness statements from Dr Gus Hosein, Executive Director of Privacy International, and Eric King, Deputy Director of Privacy International. Additional evidence submitted by Privacy International, from Dr Ian Brown, Oxford Internet Institute, and Cindy Cohn, Legal Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, can be found here and here.

Eric King, Deputy Director of Privacy International said:

Intelligence agencies cannot be considered accountable to Parliament and to the public they serve when their actions are obfuscated through secret interpretations of byzantine laws. Moreover, the suggestion that violations of the right to privacy are meaningless if the violator subsequently forgets about it not only offends the fundamental, inalienable nature of human rights, but patronises the British people, who will not accept such a meagre excuse for the loss of their civil liberties.

James Welch, Legal Director of Liberty said:

The security services consider that they're entitled to read, listen and analyse all our communications on Facebook, Google and other US-based platforms. If there was any remaining doubt that our snooping laws need a radical overhaul there can be no longer. The Agencies now operate in a legal and ethical vacuum; why the deafening silence from our elected representatives?

Michael Bochenek, Senior Director of International Law and Policy at Amnesty International said:

British citizens will be alarmed to see their government justifying industrial-scale intrusion into their communications. The public should demand an end to this wholesale violation of their right to privacy.

Shahzad Ahmad, Country Director, Bytes for All

We've always believed that Tempora enables unlawful profiling of people living outside UK. Now we've come to learn that GCHQ are also subjecting UK residents to this intrusive spying. Such an action by UK intelligence agencies is sheer violation of people's privacy, security, freedom of expression, and assembly. Such attempts by established democracies are setting extremely worrisome precedents for repressive regimes all over the world.



Advertising Repression...

Istanbul bans women's bare legs from advertising posters

Link Here16th June 2014
The sight of women's bar legs has been banned from outdoor advertising by the Istanbul council.

The daily Hurriyet reported that comparing posters with the originals reveals that they have been cropped to remove the sight of women's bare legs.

An advertising company representative, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said they had cut women's legs from the photos to receive approval from the Urban Design Directorate of the Istanbul Municipality:

Urban Design didn't approve our ads and after going there and coming back several times, ads with numerous cuts left the women legless.



Offsite Article: Egypt: Authorities reveal plans for mass surveillance of social media...

Link Here 16th June 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Egypt...Egypt blocks political and porn websites
The proposed new mass monitoring system has sparked fears that internet activists may be the next targets of the military-backed government's widening crackdown on dissent

See article from



Extract: Is it right to jail someone for being offensive on Facebook or Twitter?...

Jake Newsome was jailed last week for posting insulting comments online. His is the latest in a string of cases that have led to prison terms, raising concern that free speech is under threat from over-zealous prosecutors

Link Here 15th June 2014
Full story: Insulting UK Law...UK proesecutions of jokes and insults on social media

On 30 April, two days after teacher Ann Maguire was stabbed to death by a pupil in Leeds , Jake Newsome, a 21-year-old man who had himself attended a secondary school on the other side of the city, posted on his Facebook page: Personally im glad that teacher got stabbed up, feel sorry for the kid@ he shoulda pissed on her too .

Thats not very nice reads the first of 37 comments on his post. Others soon chipped in, addressing him by his nickname: Greeny come on! You're better than that wrote one. Greeny seriously that's harsh wrote another. Greeny, not sure you should be saying this stuff on facebook man -- people get in trouble for this kind of stuff .

A few days later, after his post had been shared more than 2,000 times, West Yorkshire police arrested and charged Newsome under the 2003 Communications Act with having sent by means of a public electronic communications network a message or other matter that is grossly offensive or of an indecent, obscene or menacing nature . Last week Newsome was jailed for six weeks, after pleading guilty, with the judge quoting his post back to him and saying: I can think of little that could be more upsetting or offensive.

...Read the full article



Old cranks in need of replacement...

ASA Pedants whinge at advert for motor parts supplier

Link Here15th June 2014

The home page of, a motor vehicle parts supplier, featured a close-up picture of a woman's bottom clothed in fishnet tights and underwear shorts with the company's logo printed on them. Text stated Small enough to offer the personal touch. SHORT & ROUND .

An internet user challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it objectified women.

Spartan Motor Factors believed their advertising was no different from that of other car part suppliers in Wales. They said the ad had been removed from their website.

ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld

The ASA considered that, although the close up image of a scantily clad woman's bottom was not sexually explicit it nonetheless had sexual connotations, which was heightened by the text that stated Small enough to offer the personal touch and SHORT & ROUND . The image bore no relevance to the advertised service and we considered it was therefore likely to be seen as sexist and to demean and objectify women by using their physical features for no other reason than to draw attention to the ad. We therefore concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some consumers.



Wild Nuns...

Irish state broadcaster RTE bans sketch about nuns lusting over Jesus the hunky gardener

Link Here15th June 2014
When Irish comic David McSavage made a sketch depicting nuns lusting over the muscular body of Jesus dragging a cross, he might have expected some controversy.

And true enough, state broadcaster RTE declined to air the scene, ruling that it could cause undue offence .

However McSavage has now branded the decision dictatorial and said the censorship was typical of an attitude that led to the best and the brightest leaving the country in their droves .

The Wild Nuns sketch is a parody of the Diet Coke advert, which first aired 20 years ago, when female office workers eyed up a half-naked window cleaner. In McSavage's version, made for the Savage Eye series, it is nuns in an orchard swooning over Jesus:

Since the ban, McSavage released the sketch online himself to show what we're up against. He told the Irish Times: These things are important. Ultimately you are talking about freedom of speech and who says where the line is.



Updated: Seeing Red...

Facebook censors popular Pakistani rock bands page at the request of the country's government

Link Here15th June 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
Facebook has censored the popular page of a liberal Pakistani rock band and others that criticise the Taliban at the request of the government, angering activists campaigning against censorship in the Islamic country.

Rock band Laal (Red) formed in 2007 and are known for their progressive politics. Their Facebook page has more than 400,000 likes, with users frequently joining debates on issues ranging from feminism to the role of the country's army in politics. But it is now censored to users from inside Pakistan.

Other pages like Taalibansarezalimans (The Taliban are oppressors) and Pakistani.meem which describes itself as pro-democracy and secularism, have similarly been blocked in recent days.

A Facebook spokeswoman said: While we never remove this type of content from the site entirely, like most Internet services, we may restrict people from accessing it in the countries where it is determined to be illegal. Facebook have unhelpfully initiated the block in such a way that users are not made aware of the censorship, requests for the banned page are simply redirected to the requestor's own profile page.

Update: Unbanned

15th June 2014.  See  article from

Laal's Facebook page was made accessible in the country after just two days. Good news? Yes, but not as much as you think. Remember that Laal has a pretty strong fan base and an equally strong support system with reach extending to lawyers, advocacy groups, local and international media.

Other banned page owners who have been blocked cannot fight back in a similar way. Are these people left with any options after they're blocked? and Talibaans Are Zaalimaans are only two of the many other pages that remained blocked.

The unblocking of Laal may look like a win, but if you step back and assess the bigger picture, it only reveals the extent to which the government can censor with impunity.

The spontaneous unblocking was clearly a ploy to stop us from creating more outrage -- the unblocking of Laal was a minor battle won in a war we are losing.



Update: Umbrella Park...

Canadian sex workers rally against repressive new laws

Link Here15th June 2014
Sex workers are staging rallies across Canada against the Harper government's prostitution bill, saying its crackdown on customers and pimps would put lives at risk.

In Montreal, a group gathered for a dancing protest at Peace Park.

Dozens of demonstrators also gathered around red umbrellas - the sex trade's symbol of independence - in a downtown Toronto park. They called for the bill introduced in Parliament this month to be dumped and prostitution decriminalized.

The legislation would criminalize the purchase of sexual services, take aim at those who benefit from prostitution and outlaw the sale of sex near places where children gather.

Jean MacDonald of advocacy group Maggie's says the proposed law would threaten prostitutes' safety. She says the bill is a gift to sexual predators that would as under the old system push sex workers to ply their trade in out-of-the-way areas where they could be attacked.

Dozens turned out at a rally in Montreal, and events are planned for Vancouver and several other cities.



For a Few Dollars More...

BBFC cuts list revealed for the 1967 cinema release

Link Here14th June 2014
For a Few Dollars More is a 1965 Italy/Spain/West Germany western by Sergio Leone.
With Clint Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, Gian Maria Volonté. YouTube iconBBFC link IMDb

Cut by the BBFC for an X (16) rated cinema release. Multiple variations and no single release that is declared to be uncut on home video

UK: Passed X (16) after BBFC cuts for:

  • 1967 cinema release

Thanks to Vincenzo. The BBFC cuts were:

  • Reel 2 - Remove as far as possible the blows on the helpless man at the hands of Indio's gang.
  • Reel 6 - Reduce to a minimum the beat-up of the two bounty hunters, and remove as far as possible the laughter of their assailants.
  • Reel 7 - Remove the whole flashback to the rape and death of Mortimer's sister.



Update: Cyber Bully...

Indonesian censorship minister declares a jihad against porn

Link Here14th June 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Indonesia...Indonesia passes internet porn bill
Indonesian communication and informatics minister Tifatul Sembiring declared its anti-porn mission a jihad, that he says will continue to the end of time. He  told the religious griup Indonesian Council of Ulema (MUI):

I have often told young, religious teachers to never stop once they start jihad. A jihad may also be in the field of information.

Sembiring said that Indonesian officials have been able to block about a billion sites for carrying pornographic content, surmising that there are a minimum of three billion such sites in existence.

Antara News reported that Sembiring has come under heavy criticism after banning Vimeo wholesale.



Update: The Turkish right for the religious to spout bollox without criticism...

Cartoonist jailed for blasphemy

Link Here 14th June 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
The Turkish cartoonist Mehmet Duzenli began serving a three-month prison sentence on a charge of insulting Adnan Oktar, an extremist Muslim preacher who is well known for his creationist, anti-Zionist and holocaust-denial views.

Duzenli refused to appeal on the grounds that a decision to suspend the sentence would still prevent him from expressing himself freely in his cartoons. He Explained:

If Mr. Oktar has the right to claim that he is the Mahdi [the redeemer who is supposed to appear at the 'end times'], I have the right to say that he is lying.

Johann Bihr, the head of the Reporters Without Borders Eastern Europe and Central Asia desk said:

Jailing D?zenli over a cartoon is totally unacceptable. Such a disproportionate sentence is a reminder that Turkey's penal code often violates the country's own constitution as well as international conventions on freedom of information. The Turkish authorities must urgently carry out the necessary reforms , including decriminalizing defamation and insult.



Update: Web of Deceit...

The Bilderberg Group and Elite Powerbrokers Linked to the UK's Stealth Internet Censorship Coup

Link Here14th June 2014



A Fistful of Dollars...

BBFC cuts list revealed for the 1967 cinema release

Link Here13th June 2014
For a Fistful of Dollars is a 1964 Italy / Spain / West Germany western by Sergio Leone.
Starring Clint Eastwood, Gian Maria Volonté and Marianne Koch. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Cut by the BBFC for an X (16) rated 1967 cinema release and it seems the same version was released again in 1981. Uncut on home video since 1999.

UK: Passed X (16) after BBFC cuts for:

  • 1967 cinema release

The BBFC cuts were:

  • Reel 4 - Reduce to a bare minimum the beating up of Joe [Clint Eastwood]. Also remove the kicks and stamping on his hand. Reduce the number of shots of his disfigured face, especially in close up.
  • Reel 4 - Reduce to a minimum the shots and sounds of the beating up of the cantina's owner.
  • Reel 5 - Remove as far as possible all close shots of the massacre of the Baxters and shorten the rest, including the murder of Mrs Baxter. [All shots of men on fire were removed along with the shot of Mrs Baxter falling backwards after being hit with a bullet].
  • Reel 5 - Shorten the episode in which the cantina's owner is strung up and tortured.
  • Reel 5 - Remove shots of Ramon dripping blood from his mouth.



It's a miracle: turning cheap outrage into 4 million quid...

The catholic church in Brazil threatens to sue Italian state broadcaster over advert promoting World Cup coverage

Link Here 13th June 2014

The Catholic Church in Brazil has threatened to sue the Italian state broadcaster after it ran an advert featuring the landmark statue known as Christ the Redeemer wearing an Italian Football shirt. Rio de Janeiro Archdiocese claims that the depiction is somehow blasphemous and may seek damages in excess of £4m, according to the Local.

The advert ran on Rai to promote its World Cup coverage but the Church was unimpressed, claiming it was exploiting the image of Christ the Redeemer , which it claims is a crime. The advert features children playing football in the streets, then cuts to the statue with the Italy shirt digitally added. The slogan at the end reads Brazil awaits us .

Alessandro Maria Tirelli the lawyer who notified the broadcaster of the potential for a lawsuit said: The archdiocese feels outraged.

Rai have now withdrawn the advert amidst complains in both Brazil and Italy.



The Soul of a Pillow...

Russian government bans plays for going against traditional gay hating moral values

Link Here13th June 2014
Full story: Gay in Russia...Russia bans gay parades and legislates against gay rights
A children's puppet show has been banned from Russia's prime book festival over claims it promotes homosexuality, a news report said. culture news website published an open letter from the Culture Ministry, demanding the organizers of the festival to pull The Soul of a Pillow by Olzhas Zhanaidarov from their program.

The play tells the story of a friendship between a pillow, and a boy in a kindergarten.

The ministry also condemned the adult play Herbivores by Maxim Kurochkin, citing its use of expletives. First Deputy Minister Vladimir Aristarkhov spouted: The content of both plays goes against the traditional moral values of Russian culture.

The ministry has no formal authority to ban the works, but said it would pull its name from the festival if the plays remain listed.

Both plays will be rebooked to run at an independent venue, said, organizer of the showings.



Crock of Shit...

Magazine publisher self censors cover cartoon showing the Spanish crown filled with steaming excrement

Link Here13th June 2014
Up to 14 cartoonists, a third of the total, resigned from Spanish satirical magazine El Jueves after publisher RBA pulled 60,000 copies of a front page design showing King Juan Carlos crowning Prince Felipe king of Spain with a crown filled with steaming excrement.

Albert Monteys, the former editor of the magazine and one of the senior cartoonists who has resigned, confirmed to The Spain Report that the Crown of Steaming Shit front page had been agreed upon by all at an urgent editorial meeting on Monday morning, following the king's abdication, and was in fact printed:

I had a copy of it in my hands. This is censorship by RBA. We don't know exactly who pressured them.

When the king announced his abdication on Monday morning, an urgent editorial meeting was called in which the new cover was agreed upon by all present. The cover was drawn by Manel Fontdevilla and sent to the press, along with four additional inside pages on the abdication, by the 6 p.m. deadline.

The print run was stopped at some point on Tuesday on the orders of publisher RBA, and on Wednesday the cartoonists were told in a meeting by the head of publishing that any satirical cartoons of the royal family were not going to be published on the front page of the magazine.

The cartoonists who have resigned were set to meet later to discuss options for a new magazine.

Update: Abdication

27th June. See  article from

Atxe (@AtxeSinH), one of the cartoonists of the Spanish edition of the Huffington Post, has announced that she will leave the newspaper because it has decided not to publish some cartoons criticizing the monarchy. For this reason I abdicate , said the artist.



Update: Thailand 1984...

Screening of a film version of 1984 cancelled after police warning

Link Here12th June 2014
Full story: Censored Films in Thailand...Thai censors hack away
Nineteen Eighty-Four is a 1984 UK Sci-Fi romance by Michael Radford.
Starring John Hurt, Richard Burton and Suzanna Hamilton. YouTube icon IMDb

Summary Notes

After The Atomic War the world is divided into three states. London is a city in Oceania, ruled by a party who has total control over all its citizens. Winston Smith is one of the bureaucrats, rewriting history in one of the departments. One day he commits the crime of falling in love with Julia. They try to escape Big Brother's listening and viewing devices, but, of course, nobody can really escape...

A screening of 1984 , the film version of George Orwell's anti-authoritarian novel, has been cancelled in Thailand after police claimed it breached a ban on political gatherings, an organiser said.

The novel by George Orwell has become one of the unofficial symbols of resistance against military rule.

The Punya Movieclub in Chiang Mai said it was scheduled to screen the film but decided to cancel the showing after police said it would be illegal, according to one of the organisers who said:

We just wanted to show the content of the film because many people are talking about it right now... We show all types of movies. We didn't want to start a political movement.

When we found out the police had a problem with our event we decided to cancel, because we are afraid the people who come to watch will face problems.

Political assemblies of more than five people were banned under martial law and continued after the coup by army chief Prayuth Chan-Ocha. The ban is enforced very selectively, and has never been invoked at a cinema.

One form of resistance to the coup has been reader - individuals or small groups sitting on public walkways reading Orwell's novel. Last week, protesters unfurled a giant poster of Gen Prayuth's face with the words Thailand 1984 written below.

The three-finger salute from The Hunger Games films has become another symbol of resistance against the junta, which has curtailed some freedom of speech and the press.



Update: Lords of Chaos...

Elspeth Howe re-introduces her bill to seize up the internet by requiring onerous age verification to access sites with 18 rated content

Link Here12th June 2014
Full story: Online Safety Bill...Elspeth Howe proposes onerous website age verification
Online Safety Bill [HL]

As introduced in the House of Lords on 10th June 2014 [HL Bill 16]


1. The objective of this Bill is to reduce the ability for children and young people to access inappropriate material online and through video on-demand.

2. Part 1 of the Bill takes a three pronged approach to extending online safety measures:

  • Internet Service Providers (ISPs) and mobile phone operators (MPOs) would by default provide an Internet service without access to adult content, with adult subscribers able to opt-in to receive such material;
  • Electronic device manufacturers would provide a means of filtering Internet content at the time of purchase; and
  • ISPs/MPOs would make available information about online safety and schools would educate parents about online safety.

3. Part 2 of the Bill addresses the protections for on-demand programme services:

  • Within the UK, requiring access controls for programmes that are equivalent to an "18" rating or greater; and
  • In relation to soft and hard-core pornography provided from websites based overseas, providing the Authority for Television on Demand ATVOD the power to direct credit card companies to cease transactions if the services are not provided with suitable age verification.

Clause 1: Duty to provide a service that excludes adult content

4. Subsection (1) requires all ISPs to provide an Internet service that excludes adult content, unless a subscriber opts-in and meets the criteria set out in subsection (3). The Bill aims to block "adult content" at the network level -- that is the material coming into a home or to a phone unless a subscriber specifically unblocks that content.

5 . Subsection (2) requires all MPOs who provide an Internet service as part of their telephone service to exclude adult content from that service, unless a subscriber opts in and meets the criteria set out in subsection (3). It would standardise the way MPOs deal with customers accessing adult content.

6.Adult content is defined in clause 6 as containing "harmful and offensive material from which persons under the age of eighteen are protected" where:

  • "harmful and offensive materials" has the same meaning as in section 3 of the Communications Act 2003;
  • "material from which persons under the age of eighteen are protected" means material specified in the Ofcom standards under section 319(2)(a) of the Communications Act 2003.

7. Subsection (3) sets out the three conditions whereby a subscriber may receive adult content as part of their Internet service. They must "opt-in" to receive adult content, be 18 or over; and have their age verified by the service provider's age verification scheme, which meets the standards set in section 2 on age verification schemes before a subscriber can access adult content. "Opts-in" is defined in subsection (5) .

8. Subsection (4) prevents ISPs and MPOs from being sued should material be accessible or not accessible on the basis of actions taken to comply with section 1, as long as they were following the standards and code set out in clause 2 and acting in good faith.

9. Subsection (6) makes clear that the ISPs can implement additional filtering levels on top of the requirement to offer an internet service without adult content.

Clause 2: Role of Ofcom

10. Clause 2 gives Ofcom a new responsibility to set standards in this area of media consumption. Subsection (1) requires Ofcom to set standards on filtering of adult content and age verification schemes and any other filtering schemes that are operated by ISPs or MPOs. The standards should be reviewed and revised from time to time.

11. Subsection (2) requires the standards set under subsection (1) to be set out in one or more codes of practice.

12. Subsection (3) requires a draft code of standards to be published.

13. Subsection (4) requires there to be a consultation on the draft code with relevant people/organisations.

14. Subsection (5) requires Ofcom to establish a process for handling and resolution of complaints regarding the standards in this section.

15. Subsection (6) requires Ofcom to prepare a report to the Secretary of State about the operation of this Act every three years and at the direction of the Secretary of State.

16. Subsection (7) allows Ofcom to delegate the functions in this section to another corporate body either in whole or in part.

17. Subsection (8) sets out brief criteria for who can be a designated body.

Clause 3 : Duty to provide a means of filtering content

18. Clause 3 requires manufacturers of electronic devices that are capable of internet access to provide a means of filtering content at the time of purchase at an age appropriate level, so that parents are able to choose which material they wish to exclude.

19. The requirement does not anticipate on-going support from the manufacturer after purchase, nor does it set out how the filtering must take place: each type of device can be different.

Clause 4 : Duty to provide information about online safety

20. Clause 4 requires ISPs and MPOs to provide prominent, easily accessible and clear information about online safety to customers at the time of the purchase of a service and to make such information available for the duration of the service, e.g. it could contain information for parents about safe use of social networking sites.

Clause 5: Duty to educate parents about online safety

21. Clause 5 sets out a duty of the Secretary of State for Education to provide means of educating parents of children under the age of 18 about three areas:

a. the opt-in arrangements under section 1 to ensure that children do not access adult content ( paragraph a );

b. other options for online safety for electronic devices, such as filters ( paragraph b ) ;

c. protecting child from other online behaviours that could be a safety risk, such as bullying and sexual grooming (paragraph c).

Clause 6: Interpretation of Part 1

22. Clause 6 sets out the interpretation of phrases in Part 1 the Bill.

Clause 7 : Age verification scheme

23. Clause 7 amends section 368E(2) of the Communications Act 2003, as introduced by the Audiovisual Media Services Regulations 2009 , implementing the Audiovisual Media Services Directive 2009. Section 368E(2) currently says that an on-demand programme service that contains any material which might "seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of a child" must be made available so that a child will not see or hear it.

24. This clause extends this provision in two ways:

a. stating that the system of access controls must include an age verification scheme; and

b. requiring the access controls to apply to an on-demand programme service which contains harmful and offensive material from which persons under the age of eighteen are to be protected, i.e. to material equivalent to "18" category material.

Clause 8 : Prevention of payments

25. Clause 8 introduces a new power into the Communication Act 2003 to allow the appropriate regulatory authority (in this case ATVOD, The Authority for Television on Demand) to direct a financial institution to prevent payments to a body which does not prevent access to material that comes under section 368(2) of the Communications Act 2003. The model is based on how the law deals with terrorist financing and money laundering in Schedule 7 of the Counter-Terrorism Act 2008. It allows ATVOD to give a direction regardless of where the company is operating.

Clause 9 : Extent , commencement and short title

26. Clause 9 sets out that the Act will come into force six months after Royal Assent and apply across the UK, in the same way as the Communications Act 2003 and the Digital Economy Act 2010. The Act would extend to England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.



Offsite Article: 11 countries where you should think twice about insulting someone...

Link Here 12th June 2014
Insult laws can be very easily manipulated by those in positions of power to shut down and punish criticism

See article from



Updated: The MPAA Recommends...

Movie posters for Frank Miller's upcoming Sin City: A Dame to Kill For

Link Here11th June 2014
Eva Green is just too sexy for the poster of her upcoming sequel to Sin City , or so the MPAA believes.

The actress is seen in a sheer robe in the poster for Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.

The poster was disapproved by the MPAA for nudity, curve of under breast and dark nipple/areola circle visible through sheer gown.

The distributors are now working on a censored version.

Update: Censored version

11th June 2014. See  article from




Update: WeChatted...

China closes 20 million accounts using the messaging app, WeChat

Link Here11th June 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Chinese internet giant Tencent has closed 20 million accounts on its messaging app WeChat, 5% of the total, because they supposedly offered prostitution services, according to Chinese state media, who dubbed the campaign operation Thunder Strike. +

Last month, when announcing that messaging app platforms like WeChat and others would be cooperating, Chinese authorities threatened that police would hold service providers responsible if they do not fulfill their duty. + speculates that the action may be more to do with reminding the country's growing privately owned internet companies to toe the government line. Pursuing prostitution may simply be the best way to rein in the most successful social media giants. The fact that millions of Chinese internet users are turning to WeChat to post their thoughts, chat, and keep up with the news may be one reason for more scrutiny. China's censorship regime is still figuring out how to keep tabs on the increasingly popular chat app, which is taking internet users away from the microblog Weibo, a platform authorities have spent years monitoring and censoring relatively successfully.



Extract: Dribbling with Rage...

World cup adverts rile the politically correct

Link Here11th June 2014

It is the safest sign that a major football tournament is imminent: an influx of adverts portraying women as sport-loathing killjoys and men as oafs interested only in goals and boobs. According to campaigners, this year's World Cup is proving a vintage year.

A rash of regressive marketing campaigns, apparently from the imagination of 1950s ad men, have been provoking complaints. Pot Noodle's take on the World Cup's Brazilian location is a talking beach towel that leers at women in skimpy bikinis, which has prompted 94 complaints to the Advertising Standards Authority and a deluge of objections on social media.

A Unilever spokeswoman said the advert was intended to be tongue-in-cheek but that since a number of viewers did not appreciate it , it will no longer be broadcast in its current form.


Meanwhile, the Odeon One cinema in Liverpool has cancelled World Cup Widow screenings of female-friendly films during the tournament after complaints from feminist groups.

...Read the full article



Update: The Forces of Might Prevail...

Pakistan censors Geo News over reports that the country's spy agency did not like

Link Here11th June 2014
Full story: TV Censorship in Pakistan...TV under threat from morally minded courts
Geo TV, Pakistan's leading TV news station which dared to criticise the country's feared spy agency has been ordered off air.

Pakistan's TV censor suspended Geo News's operating licence for 15 days and fined it £60,000 for news reports that did not please the head of the military's Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI), General Zaheer-ul-Islam.

The channel's president, Imran Aslam, condemned the decision, saying the forces of might have prevailed . It seems that justice has bowed down to forces that are above the law, Aslam said.

Amnesty International said it was a serious attack on vestiges of press freedom in the country:

It is the latest act in an organised campaign of harassment and intimidation targeting the network on account of its perceived bias against the military.

The row began on 19 April when Geo's coverage of an attempt to kill Hamid Mir, the channel's best-known journalist, enraged the military. Geo gave prominence to claims by Mir's brother that the ISI was behind the gun attack, which left the journalist seriously wounded. He claimed the hit had been ordered by Zaheer-ul-Islam, and the channel aired photographs and video of the otherwise little-seen spy chief.



Offsite Article: Thailand's toil and trouble over divisive Shakespeare film...

Link Here 11th June 2014
Full story: Censored Films in Thailand...Thai censors hack away
A court case attempting to revoke Thailand's ban of Shakespeare Must Die rumbles on through the current period of military dictatorship

See article from



Offsite Article: Ars tests Internet surveillance...

Link Here11th June 2014
A week spent playing NSA reveals just how much data we leak online.

See article from



Unbiblical and Unhealthy Morals...

Venezuela's Supreme Court orders the censorship of sexy content in the media

Link Here11th June 2014
The Supreme Court of Venezuala has instituted a ban on pornographic and other sexual content in the nation's media. The court's constitutional branch ordered the elimination of all images of explicit or implicit sexual content in advertisements in print media of open access to girls, boys and teens.

The ruling applies to ads that promote services linked to the exploitation of sex, such as phone sex lines placed in general access media, newspapers, and billboards.

The ruling comes as the result of a case brought by Venezuelan citizen Gilberto Rua in 2009. Rua petitioned the court to order a daily newspaper, Diario Meridiano CA, to cease the publishing of pornographic classified ads in newspapers and magazines for the general public.

Rua claimed that when soft porn is offered in the general access media regularly, children are likely to be exposed to it, encouraging the sexualization of children and teens and leading to promiscuity, acceptance of unbiblical and unhealthy morals, and early pregnancy.

The ruling also encourages the nation's Telecommunications Commission to monitor song lyrics and ensure that songs with questionable lyrics are reserved for hours when children will not be likely to be exposed to them.



BBFC Podcast 21...

John Trevelyan

Link Here10th June 2014
The BBFC latest podcast is well worth a listen with a brief but interesting programme about the impact of John Trevelyan. He was the chief censor during the massive society upheavals of the 1960s.



Update: One Million Moms Recommend...

Mistresses. A new US TV drama on ABC

Link Here10th June 2014
Full story: One Million Moms...Moralist whingers against anything sexy
Moralists from the religious campaign group call for followers to write to advertisers of the TV drama, Mistresses:

Mistresses season premiere aired on ABC this week and the name says it all. I suppose the name Living in Sin didn't sound as appealing. This unoriginal show is strikingly similar to Desperate Housewives, with four friends who get themselves tangled in a web of lies and hurt the ones they love. Mistresses airs on Monday evenings at 10:00 p.m. ET/9:00 CT.

The program Mistresses includes inappropriate content such as adultery, cheating, lies and deceit in explicit and sensually graphic scenes. Our society doesn't need more negative influences than it already has on broadcast airwaves. Even though the program airs a little later in the evening, it is not late enough since the bedroom scenes are soft p*rn and are included in some previews which air earlier in the evening when children are likely watching. (An asterisk is used to ensure our emails get through to those who have signed up to receive our alerts. Otherwise referencing specific words would cause our emails to be blocked by some Internet filters.)

Mistresses centers around a group of four women who have no regrets and feel little or no remorse about committing adultery with someone else's husband - or cheating on their own.

Hollywood is continuing to push casual s*x between unmarried couples, some with multiple partners, as acceptable when clearly it is morally wrong.



Updated: The Government's Listening...

To anybody's and everybody's mobile phone conversations

Link Here10th June 2014
Vodafone , one of the world's largest mobile phone groups, has revealed the existence of secret facilities that allow government agencies to listen to all conversations on its networks, saying they are widely used in 29 countries in which it operates in Europe and beyond.

The company has broken its silence on government surveillance in order to push back against the increasingly widespread use of phone and broadband networks to spy on citizens.

The company said lines had been connected directly to its network and those of other telecoms groups, allowing agencies to listen to or record live conversations and, in certain cases, track the whereabouts of a customer.

Privacy campaigners said the revelations were a nightmare scenario that confirmed their worst fears on the extent of snooping. Liberty director, Shami Chakrabarti said:

For governments to access phone calls at the flick of a switch is unprecedented and terrifying. [Edward] Snowden revealed the internet was already treated as fair game. Bluster that all is well is wearing pretty thin -- our analogue laws need a digital overhaul.

Offsite Article: No transparency for the UK in Vodafone's transparency report

7th June 2014. See  article from

Yesterday's transparency report from Vodafone raised a very intriguing question: why did Vodafone feel obliged to redact aggregate surveillance statistics from their UK report?

...Read the full article



Temporary Relief...

European Court of Justice finds that websites cannot claim copyright over temporary caches that enable browsers to read the website

Link Here10th June 2014
After a five-year case, the European court of justice has ruled that cached copies of web pages made in the course of browsing the internet do not infringe copyright law.

Internet users who visit a website are safe from the threat of a copyright lawsuit, thanks to a landmark case which concluded in the European court of justice on Thursday.

The court ruled that browsing and viewing articles online doesn't require authorisation from the copyright holder, settling a row between the PRCA, the industry body for Britain's PR industry, and the Newspaper Licensing Authority (NLA), which had raged for five years.

The ECJ ruled that European law:

Must be interpreted as meaning that the on-screen copies and the cached copies made by an end-user in the course of viewing a website satisfy the conditions, and that they may therefore be made without the authorisation of the copyright holders.

When internet users browse the web, their computer makes a copy of the webpage they are visiting in order to display it on the screen. Francis Davey, an independent barrister who specialises in copyright law, argues that a part of EU law known as the temporary copying exception was:

Intended to avoid anyone having to worry about all that from a copyright perspective. The way copyright law is constructed might make it awkward if, in principle, you always needed permission from a copyright owner to browse material made available on the web (lawfully, by that copyright owner).

I think this decision is a good thing, because it makes it clear that browsing lawful material on the web is not a potential infringement, but I don't think we have reached the end of the story.

The case arose as the newspapers wanted to be able to charge companies who specialise in the commercial collation of press cuttings. The newspaper group felt that selectively enforcing copyright controls on website access would facilitate these charges.



Despicable Placement...

ASA whinges at YouTube advert for Dom Hemingway plying before Despicable Me

Link Here9th June 2014

A pre-roll ad on YouTube for the film Dom Hemingway , seen before a video connected with the film Despicable Me and a video entitled Ghetto Kids Dancing Sitya Loss New Ugandan music 2014 DjDinTV, which featured children dancing. The ad opened with the lead character smashing a wall with a sledgehammer and shouting Fuck you and fuck your cat. Further scenes contained a voice-over of the lead character stating, I'm a legend, I'm a crazy man, I'm a fucking nutter ; a woman saying, You've got to be fucking kidding me ; and two characters saying, Fuck you at each other repeatedly. Other scenes in the trailer showed the lead character with white powder on his nose, the lead character punching a man in the face, a topless woman jumping into a swimming pool and the lead character swigging from a whiskey bottle.

Two complainants challenged whether the ad had been responsibly targeted because it appeared before videos which they believed would appeal to children.

Lions Gate UK Ltd stated that the ad had been restricted to those signed in as 18 or over. They also said that the ad was targeted at those who had watched the theatrical trailer, and that therefore those who had watched the trailer and were signed in as over 18 were eligible to be served the ad.

YouTube stated that, following an internal investigation, they considered the ad was in violation of their own advertising policy. They said that users are responsible for their video ads and are required to comply with YouTube's advertising policies. They stated that the ad campaign had now ended, but that it had been disapproved for future use.

ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld

We noted that the ad contained several instances of very strong language, including in the few seconds before the ad could be skipped, and brief scenes of violence, nudity and implied drug use. We considered that this content would not be suitable for display before content that children were likely to be watching. We also noted that the ad had been age-restricted by being served only to those members signed in as 18 or over, and that it was targeted toward users who had already watched a trailer for the film, and considered that in this regard the advertisers had acted in good faith in terms of targeting the ad away from content which would appeal to children. However, we noted that one complainant had seen the ad before a video incorporating characters from Despicable Me , and that the other had seen it before a video featuring children dancing, and considered that the content of both would be likely to appeal to children. While we acknowledged that the videos may also be of some interest to adults, we considered that there was a strong likelihood that adults watching the videos would be doing so with children because the videos were related to a children's film or featured children acting in a way that other children may be interested in. Furthermore, we noted that one of the complainants had the site safety mode activated, and could therefore have reasonably expected not to be served ads featuring strong language or nudity. We concluded that, although Lions Gate had taken steps to ensure that the ad was targeted responsibly, it had ultimately not been targeted responsibly and the ad therefore breached the Code.

We told Lion's Gate UK Ltd to ensure that future ads were appropriately targeted.



Update: 3 Ways the Russian Government Plans to Police the Web...

Russia wants to be able to snoop on internet users like what the the west does

Link Here 9th June 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia and its repressive state control of media

A new Russian law will go into effect on August 1, 2014, that requires a wide array of websites and online services to register formally with the government. Sites and applications that allow Internet users to communicate will be obligated to store the past six months of user-data on servers located inside Russia, making the information available to Russian law enforcement. Several state agencies are now involved in drafting bylaws that will determine how officials actually enforce the new Internet laws.

Four draft bylaws are making headlines in Russian newspapers. The proposed bylaws contain three main points:

  1. Websites and applications will be required to archive virtually every kind of information about their users (logins, email addresses, contacts lists, all changes to a user's account, a list of all accessed DNS servers, and so on). The actual content of the messages exchanged online, however, does not need to be archived.

  2. Sites and services that exist for personal, family, or household needs are exempt from the law, though this exception does not apply to the exchange of information of a public-political nature or to conversations where the number of participants is indefinite . Online commerce, scientific and educational activity, and things like job searches are also exempt.

  3. Finally, the Russian Federal Security Service (the equivalent of the American FBI) will offer websites and applications the opportunity to opt out of the data-archiving requirement, if they grant the government full, real-time access to their data. In this case, Russian police would obtain unrestricted access to Internet users' data, which officials would themselves archive.

It is this third point that could prove the most curious in the enforcement of Russia's new Internet regulations. How many websites and applications will decide to open entirely to the government, to spare themselves the trouble and expense of selecting and storing user-data according to the new laws? Is the Kremlin betting that it can gain full access to the RuNet by offering this loophole? Or is this a ploy by federal police to bleed the state budget of more funding, creating the need for subsidies to be plundered?



Taxing News...

Hungarian tax on advertising revenue is seen as a method of media censorship by suffocation

Link Here9th June 2014
Media companies in Hungary are alarmed by a proposal to impose a tax on advertising revenues, arguing that it threatens press freedom. It would tax annual ad revenues in several bands, rising to a maximum rate of 40% on revenues.

Two of the country's largest TV channels, RTL and TV2, were set to go off air in protest at the draft bill drawn up by a member of the governing Fidesz party.

Media analyst Agnes Urban said the tax could increase government influence on Hungary's commercial TV market. She believes the government's aim is to improve TV2's position and weaken that of its successful competitor, RTL.

If the proposal becomes law, it is estimated that RTL's tax bill would reach reach nine times its 2013 profits.



Offsite Article: Letter from Serbia...

Link Here9th June 2014
We are drowning in a flood of censorship

See article from



Offsite Article: Tiananmen Square Anniversary...

Link Here9th June 2014
Full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
The Chinese Government Got Wise To The Social Media Memes

See article from



A Legislative Dog's Dinner...

Graham Bright, now a police commissioner, spouts about his fear of video nasties being damaging for dogs

Link Here8th June 2014
Graham Bright was the Tory MP who put together the 1984 Video Recordings Act in response to the video nasties panic in the early 80s. He is now the Cambridgeshire Police and Crime Commissioner.

The makers of the much anticipated documentary, Video Nasties: Draconian Days , have scored a a bit of a scoop. In a videoed interview which took place in the 1980s Bright spoke of his fears for youngsters and dogs. He said:

If anyone can stand up and defend the sort of horrific scenes that I have had to see and other members of parliament have had to see, I believe there are living in a different world to that world that I live in.

I believe that research is taking place and it will show that these films not only affect young people but I believe they affect dogs as well. It goes far too far.

Speaking about the interview this week, Bright told of his pride at introducing the act and desperately tried to gloss over his dog shite comment. He claimed to the Cambridge News:

That was a load of rubbish. I didn't say they had an affect on dogs. I was saying they were researching it. I didn't bother about that. I was trying to protect children.

Video Nasties: The Definitive Guide Part 2 , is being released on DVD by Nucleus on July 14 ( See Amazon) . It is released to tie in with the 30th Anniversary of the Video Recordings Act.



Too Much Propaganda Rots the Brain...

Thailand tries to convince the gullible that too much news causes mental stress

Link Here8th June 2014
The propaganda department of Thailand's military junta has been working on overdrive. According to the latest missive, it seems that one can get overwhelmed by the sustained flood of information and the supposed mental burden of differentiating fact from fiction.

That's at least what the Ministry of Public Health (MOPH) thinks and has warned of over-consumption of news, which may lead to mental stress. The government press release reads:

Wachira Phengchan, deputy permanent secretary of the Ministry of Public Health, on Friday cautioned those who constantly follow up on political developments against stress. According to him, the continuous exposure to such news could cause mental stress, and people at risk of such stress are advised to follow only the news from state-run news outlets in the morning and evening.

MOPH warns against mental stress resulting from over-consumption of news .

National News Bureau of Thailand, May 24, 2014

But this is not the first time that Thai health officials are warning against the too-much-information syndrome. Back in the summer of 2012 reported that a spokesman of the Mental Health Department of the public health ministry specifically warned people not to follow political news for more than two hours in a sitting , since that could result in what they coined as Political Stress Syndrome (PSS). The government kindly provides a self diagnosis quiz for PSS:

1) Do you feel anxiety when expressing political opinions? ,
2) Do you feel hopelessness regarding the current political situation? ,
3) Do political news make you feel easily upset or angry? ,
4) The political situation keeps you awake at night? ,
5) Are you unfocused at your job or daily activities when thinking about politics?
6) Politics causes fights and arguments with others?
7) Are you feeling afraid when following political news?
8) Are you repeatedly thinking about the political situation?

Ministry of Public Health Press Release, July 13, 2012

The same department warned politically curious Thais for the first time way back in March 2006 of said syndrome. Psychiatrists are afraid that people with accumulated PSS symptoms will resort to violent means to break the political dead end because they feel that a peaceful movement is not a solution to the impasse, a Thai mental health official claimed at the time.



Denying adults their human right of access to lawful content...

Questions to ATVOD about internet censorship

Link Here 8th June 2014
Craig wrote to ATVOD with 3 questions:

As someone who believes that censorship causes more harm than good. I get very concerned at some of your decisions and wonder if it's to the benefit of the British public if the decisions you make are justified.

  1. Are the aims and objectives of the ATVOD to destroy the UK Adult Industry online by means of draconian measures to ensure that those who have a credit card can access pornography and no-one else. I understand it's for Age Verification but a lot of adults cannot get access to one for reasons such as a Low Credit rating. Are you proposing an alternative method?

  2. Shouldn't the parents and not state-run organisations such as yourselves and Ofcom not interfere with what legal adults choose to view in the home. I need to ask this as this may conflict with the EU Human Rights act and need to know if that's not the case.

  3. Who are your sponsors/funders. I read a recent article that as ATVOD is not answerable to the Freedom of Information act. It concerns many of us that lobbying by far-right and extremist religious organizations may engineer many of the decisions you make. Do you have those who are Left Wing or Liberal to assist with the process?

ATVOD replied:

  1. ATVOD's action in relation to adult websites is based on its responsibilities relating to the Communications Act 2003 (as amended by the AVMS Regulations of 2009 and 2010). The Act places an obligation on on-demand service providers to ensure that material which might seriously impair the development of children is presented in a manner such that they won't normally see or hear it. Access via credit card is not the only way to ensure this -- ATVOD's Rules and Guidance make clear that providers can use a reputable personal digital identity management service, using checks against an independent database such as the electoral roll, or any other comparable proof of account ownership. See ATVOD Rule and Guidance [pdf]

  2. As above, ATVOD has certain designated duties in relation to the Communications Act and its enforcement.  ATVOD's regulatory powers in relation to adult sites concern access by children, not prohibition of adults from viewing lawful content.
  3. ATVOD is funded by the regulatory fees it charges to Service Providers . See Regulatory Fees [pdf]

Melon Farmers comment:

  1. Of course ATVOD's imposition of censorship only applies if hardcore seriously impairs children. Given that millions of kids seem to be watching porn anyway, one has to wonder if this contention is sustainable. I wonder if the parents of kids who see porn agree with the fact that their kids are seriously impaired? It would seem likely that the legal underpinning of ATVOD rules is a gigantic bluff.

    With respect to checking identity via official record checks, surely the kids know the basic details about their parents, and so can sail through such checks.
  2. There must be large numbers of people without credit cards that are in fact adults who ARE prohibited from accessing lawful content



Rihanna Provokes Easily Offended Censors...

ASA bans Rihanna's perfume advert from public spaces

Link Here8th June 2014

A poster for the perfume ROGUE by Rihanna, which was displayed on the doors of a lift in a shopping centre, featured an image of the pop star Rihanna sitting on the floor with her head and shoulders leaning against a wall and her legs raised against a large bottle of perfume. Text at the top of the ad stated ROGUE by Rihanna .

One complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because:

  1. it was overly sexual and demeaning to women; and

  2. it featured a sexualised and provocative image, which was inappropriate for children to see.

ASA Assessment

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that Rihanna appeared to be naked in the image and one of her buttocks was visible, with her legs raised. However, we also noted that she was presented in such a way that she was mainly covered, and the image was not overtly sexual. We noted that Rihanna was depicted looking directly at the viewer and considered that her facial expression was one of defiance rather than vulnerability. We considered that the overall impression of Rihanna created by the ad was one of confidence. We concluded that the ad was unlikely to be demeaning to women or to cause serious or widespread offence.

2. Upheld

We noted the ad was not given a placement restriction and had appeared in a number of places where it was likely to be seen by children. While we did not consider the image to be overtly sexual, we considered that Rihanna's pose, with her legs raised in the air, was provocative. Because of this, and the fact that Rihanna appeared to be naked except for high heels, we concluded that the ad was sexually suggestive and should have been given a placement restriction to reduce the possibility of it being seen by children.

The ad must not appear again without a placement restriction to reduce the possibility of it being seen by children.



Les Prudes...

Paris council censors bus stop advert featuring the build up to a lesbian kiss

Link Here8th June 2014
Councillors from the town of Pecq, in the suburbs of Paris, have censored a bus stop advert featuring 2 female models building up to a kiss.

The advert, which is for the high-end French jeweler Chaumet, is based on the famous Greek myth of Narcissus and features actress Marine Vacth who is depicted on the verge of a kiss with...herself.

The council claims that it was responding to pressure from locals, the town council then ordered the posters to be taken down from local bus stops. Quoted by French daily Le Parisien, Mayor Laurence Bernard claimed she had received many calls from parents about the advertising campaign:

They told us that it bothered them that their children were subjected to this image, that it shocked and annoyed them to respond to their children's comments on the subject.

Local gay activists are not impressed by the prudery. The co-president of the LGBT centre in Ile-de-France was quoted by TF1 television as saying:

Taking down these posters is a serious offence against homosexual people,  We are not going to eradicate our existence, our daily lives, under the pretext that it would frighten some parents.

Gay rights group SOS Homophobia described the council's actions as:

An unacceptable practice of censorship which shows and reinforces the organization into hierarchy of couples based on their sexual orientation. The concealment of the posters highlights a homophobia that dares not speak its name.

Mayor Bernard backpedalled in response to the criticism, and pinned the censorship on an attempt to patronise local prudes:

I am appalled and sorry for the controversy that this raises. I wanted to make things more calm. I thought that by removing them, I made a step towards these residents and that I could get them to accept the evolution of society without rushing them.

I think that those who asked for it to be taken down didn't even realize that it was an interpretation of the myth of Narcissus, Bernard said.



Don't Spy On Us: Day of Action...

7th June 2014. Event report re campaign against internet surveillance at Shoreditch, London

Link Here8th June 2014

Don't Spy On Us: Day of Action
7th June 2014. From 13:15.
Shoreditch Town Hall, London

The performer Stephen Fry condemned the government's failure to act over the Snowden revelations at the start of the Don't Spy on Us Day of Action in London today. In a pre-reco rded video, Fry said that using the fear of terrorism, is a duplicitous and deeply wrong means of excusing something as base as spying on the citizens of your own country.

Marking the anniversary of the start of the Snowden revelations, the Day of Action is the biggest privacy event of 2014, with over 500 people attending the conference at Shoreditch Town Hall.  Speaking at the event are high profile experts in technology, security and human rights, from all over the world. They include Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales who said: The tide is beginning to turn as the public comes to understand just how broken the surveillance state is.

Author and co-founder of the Open Rights Group, Cory Doctorow said:

Freedom from surveillance is essential to freedom itself. The freedom to think, to speak and to have discourse without fear of reprisal or judgement is at the core of democracy itself.

Security technologist and author, Bruce Schneier said:

We have to choose between surveillance or security: an internet that is vulnerable to all attackers or an internet that is secure for all users. In our interconnected world, security is more important.

The day of action was organised by the Don't Spy on Us Campaign, a coalition of privacy, free expression and digital rights organisations, that is calling for the government to put an end to mass surveillance by GCHQ.

Don't Spy on Us is calling for:

  • an inquiry to report before the next general election to investigate the extent to which the law has failed

  • new legislation that will make the security agencies accountable to our elected representatives.

  • judges not the Home Secretary to decide when spying is justified

  • an end to mass surveillance in line with our 6 principles (No surveillance without suspicion, Transparent laws not secret laws, Judicial not political authorisation, Effective democratic oversight, The right to redress, A secure web for all).

Thomas Hughes, Executive Director, ARTICLE 19:

"All of us have a right to free expression and a right to privacy, but these are violated by arbitrary mass surveillance programmes that assume guilt over innocence. If the UK, which prides itself on being an open and democratic nation, continues to carry out mass surveillance on this scale, it gives carte blanche to oppressive regimes to keep spying on their citizens, restricting the space for free expression."

Emma Carr, acting director of Big Brother Watch:

"On the first anniversary of the spying revelations, we call on the Government to publicly recognise that the UK's surveillance law urgently needs reviewing and that the oversight mechanisms need strengthening. Without affirmative action the Government will certainly find that the general public's faith in politicians to properly monitor how the security agencies are using surveillance powers will diminish. The law is out of date, the oversight is weak and the reporting of what happens is patchy at best. The public is right to expect better and it is high time that the Government stops burying its head in the sand and accept that the current status quo must change."

Jo Glanville, Director, English PEN:

"The protection of the right to a private life is crucial for freedom of expression.  None of us can freely exchange or record information and ideas without the expectation of privacy.  Its been a year since we found out that GCHQ has been engaging in blanket, unwarranted surveillance and our politicians have conspicuously failed to address our concerns or to protect our rights.  They need to act now."

Shami Chakrabarti, Director of Liberty:

"The game is up and the authorities busted on blanket surveillance pursued without democratic debate let alone legal authority. Now those in power need to know that we care. Events like 'Don't Spy On Us' are an important part of demonstrating that fundamental breaches of trust have consequences."

Jim Killock, Open Rights Group:

"We've had a year of inaction, delay and obfuscation from the  government. They can't avoid answering these questions forever. They're undermining everyone's confidence in the security services, parliament and the technologies we use everyday."

Gus Hosein, Executive Director of Privacy International:

Secret surveillance is an anathema to a democratic society, as no real debate can take place without an informed public. The Snowden documents have been critical in sparking this debate, and we must now advocate for laws that make the State's actions transparent, subject to independent authorisation and effective oversight, and outline clear legal frameworks in accordance with democratic principles.



Norman Tebbit Recommends...

BBC Radio 4's Blocked by Frankie Boyle which joked about Lord Mintbutton

Link Here7th June 2014
The BBC has come in for some trivial criticism after broadcasting a supposedly obscene comedy which appears to make fun of the murder of Lord Mountbatten, the Queen's cousin killed by the IRA in 1979.

Norman Tebbit, the former Conservative Party chairman, claimed Radio 4's sitcom Blocked , which was aired on the eve of the 70th anniversary of D-Day, were typical of the profanity, obscenity and sheer bad taste of the corporation.

A tiny number of listeners have also complained about the show, co-written by the comedian Frankie Boyle and starring David Mitchell.

The play, broadcast at 11pm featured David Mitchell as a frustrated playwright turned theatre owner, accused of carrying out the IRA's murder of Lord Mountbatten, off the coast of Ireland. Mitchell's character Felix claims that in fact the naval officer drowned after losing his legs in terrorist attack carried out by British special forces. Asked if he murdered the royal, his character replies:

No, they tried to pin it on me but technically speaking he drowned; very difficult to tread water with no legs.

The show also included thinly-veiled jokes about delivering a suitcase filled with metronomes onto Lord Mountbatten's boat and later mounting his leg bones above their fireplace.

Tebbit whinged:

It's par for the course from the BBC and they just simply don't discipline their people against profanity, against obscenity or sheer bad taste. The BBC is essentially left-wing and this shows they are particularly unpleasant in many ways, in their arrogance and detestation of anyone who disagrees with them.

The BBC has since confirmed five complaints about the show have been made. A Radio 4 spokesperson said:

We schedule our wide ranging comedy programmes with audience expectations in mind, and this one-off comedy pilot about a family who runs a small theatre was broadcast in a late night slot at 11pm. The comedy had no content related to D-Day and the references to Lord Mountbatten and the fictional 'Lord Mintbutton' were made by the incompetent theatre manager who lacks self-awareness and good taste.



Update: Censors Win...

Bassem Youssef decides that it is now too dangerous to lampoon Egyptian leaders

Link Here7th June 2014
The brave comedian Bassem Youssef has decided to call it quits on his TV show, claiming it is no longer safe to satirise Egyptian politics.

The television satirist seen as the barometer for free speech in post-revolutionary Egypt , Bassem Youssef , has ended his show because he feels it is no longer safe to satirise Egyptian politics. He told repoerters:

The present climate in Egypt is not suitable for a political satire program. I'm tired of struggling and worrying about my safety and that of my family.

Youssef's announcement followed a decision by his host channel, MBC-Misr, to suspend his show during Egypt's recent presidential election campaign, in what was perceived as an attempt to stop him mocking Egypt's incoming head of state, field marshal Abdel Fatah al-Sisi .



Offsite Article: BBC follows the Daily Mail's lead too much...

Link Here7th June 2014
Corporation's editors have a safety-first attitude and are obsessed with newspapers' agendas, says economics editor. By Robert Peston

See article from



Offsite Article: The Sex Trade...

Link Here7th June 2014
Lies, the 'Voice of the Voiceless' and Other Silencing Tactics

See article from



Extract: Economic Censorship...

Turkey suffocates films that it does like by awarding them an 18 rating

Link Here6th June 2014
Arbitrary censorship rulings have many in the filmmaking community wondering how they'll balance artistic integrity with funding and distribution.

New laws decree that films given a +18 rating not only have to return money received from the Ministry of Culture, often a vital contributor to a film's financing, but with added interest. Since distribution deals and TV chances are sunk by such ratings, the effect is clear.

Let's Sin , winner of several awards at the Istanbul festival, including director for Onur Unlu, was slapped with a +18 despite an absence of sexual content. While it's not clear what prompted this rating, the film's protagonist is a pugilistic imam who isn't exactly a model religious leader, and scattered references to last year's social unrest undoubtedly caused discontent.

Fortunately, helmer Unlu didn't receive ministry money, but the film's distribution chances could be completely shot. F ilm festival director Azize Tan explained:

There are several ways of censoring. A +18 kills your film, and then it becomes very difficult for you to make the next one. They have to explain why this film was +18, but there is no explanation.

...Read the full article .



ASA's Top Ten Adverts...

Advert censor publishes Annual Report covering 2013

Link Here6th June 2014
ASA has announced a new catchphrase to make every UK ad a responsible ad. The press release explains:

Our work resulted in 4,161 ads being changed or withdrawn, a record high. We received 31,136 complaints about 18,580 ads with, significantly, 31% of our caseload represented by online ads; perhaps reflecting the fact that advertisers continue to find new and innovative ways to advertise and engage with consumers through new channels. On top of that, our focus on providing advertisers with the help to get their ads right saw CAP delivering training and advice on over 160,000 occasions, including recording 98,825 visits to its online advice resources.

As part of our ambition to make every UK ad a responsible ad our Report also highlights our new five-year strategy and how we'll be placing even more emphasis on proactive work.

ASA has also also published its traditional list of top ten adverts for 2013. These are judged according to the amount of complaints received by ASA.

  1. VIP Electronic Cigarettes . 937 complaints upheld in part

    Two TV ads and YouTube videos for e-cigarettes, one featuring a man and the other a woman talking directly to camera, prompted complaints that the use of sexual innuendo was offensive because it was inappropriate for children, glamorised smoking and was sexist and degrading. Although it appeared post-9 pm we thought a post-11 pm restriction was more appropriate.
  2. Marmite . 738 complaints not upheld

    A TV and online ad campaign set in the style of a fly-on-the-wall documentary, followed rescue officers visiting people's houses looking for neglected jars of Marmite. Viewers objected that the ads trivialised the work of child and animal abuse services and were irresponsible. We thought that it was light-hearted in tone and people were likely to understand that the ads were a spoof.
  3. Flora Buttery Margarine . 513 complaints not upheld

    An animated TV and online ad for Flora Buttery margarine featured two young siblings who, having prepared breakfast-in-bed for their parents, entered into their bedroom to find them wrestling . We did not agree that the mild sexual references were irresponsible, offensive or inappropriate for children.
  4. Home Office . 251 complaints Upheld in part

    An ad that appeared on the side of vans driven through six London boroughs featured the text: In the UK illegally ? GO HOME OR FACE ARREST and quoted arrest statistics. After careful consideration, while the ad may have been distasteful to many, we didn't think it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. However, we did consider the ad was misleading because the arrest figures were not properly qualified or presented clearly.
  5. Irn Bru . 223 complaints not upheld

    A mother embarrassing her son by wearing a push-up bra and pressing his head against her bosom in front of his friends generated complaints that it was offensive, inappropriate, sexist, demeaning to women and unsuitable for children to see. We thought the humour in the TV, YouTube, video-on-demand and online ad would not be to everyone's taste but was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
  6. Bertolli Spread . 201 complaints not upheld

    A TV and YouTube ad for Bertolli spread depicted a young man being left naked and covering his modesty after a group of older women, who were watching him change on the beach, got their dog to steal his towel. Complainants thought the ad condoned sexual harassment and bullying, objectified the man, was inappropriate for children and portrayed the women negatively. Overall, we thought the ad was light-hearted and mischievous, rather than sinister or predatory.
  7. Red Bull . 179 complaints not upheld

    The central concept of this TV ad was that the captain of the Titanic should have allowed crates of the energy drink, Red Bull, on board as it gives you wings . We received objections that it was offensive and inappropriate in light of the lives lost. In our view the ad referenced the well-known story that the Titanic was unsinkable rather than making light of the tragedy.
  8. E45 Moisturiser . 167 complaints not upheld

    When a young woman, sat in a darkened room, began talking about being hooked on a moisturising product this TV ad provoked an angry response that it made light of, normalised and glamorised drug use. On the back of feedback it received from its customers the advertiser took the decision to withdraw the ad. On that basis we didn't take any further action.
  9. Pussy Drink . 159 complaints upheld in part

    Posters and the website for the energy drink generated complaints that the use of the word Pussy was a sexually explicit reference and was therefore offensive, degrading to women and unsuitable for children. We agreed that one of the posters, which featured the word in large bold text, was likely to cause serious offence and was inappropriate in an untargeted medium.
  10. Cancer Research UK . 154 complaints not upheld

    This TV ad featured cancer sufferers and survivors addressing the camera and saying Cancer, you prat and Up yours, Cancer as well as an X-ray of hand making a v sign. Some viewers thought it was offensive as well as being unsuitable for children. As the ad had a scheduling restriction that kept it way from children's programmes and because viewers were likely to interpret the phrases as a positive sign of defiance or courage when faced with the disease we found it did not break the rules.



New Fat Cats...

New TV censors join Ofcom's Board

Link Here6th June 2014

Ofcom has announced the appointment of three new non-executive members to its Board.

Sheila Noakes will join as Ofcom's Deputy Chairman, together with Stephen Hill and Graham Mather, who will each join as non-executive directors. Sheila Noakes and Graham Mather will take up their positions from 1 June and Stephen Hill from 1 October each for a period of four years.

Baroness Sheila Noakes is a qualified chartered accountant and previously headed KPMG's European and International Government practices. She has also been President of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales. Baroness Noakes was appointed to the House of Lords in 2000. She is an experienced non-executive director and her current directorships include the Royal Bank of Scotland Group Plc, where she chairs its Risk Committee.

Stephen Hill has held various senior board positions including Chief Executive of the Financial Times, Chief Executive of Betfair, and a non-executive director of Channel 4. He is currently Chairman of the UK charity Action on Hearing Loss and Chairman and Chief Executive of D'Aval Limited, a private investment company.

Graham Mather was a member of Ofcom's Consumer Panel from 2004 to 2008. He served as a member of the Monopolies and Mergers Commission and, between 2000 and 2012, was also member of the Competition Appeal Tribunal, the body that deals with appeals from the UK regulators. Graham is currently the President of the European Policy Forum and Chairman of its Regulatory Best Practice Group.



Offsite Article: Smile...

Link Here6th June 2014
Your Selfie Is A Mugshot For The NSA

See article from



Update: Reset the Net...

Introducing technology to shut off mass surveillance

Link Here5th June 2014
Edward Snowden started this, now it's our turn to be heroes. Proudly display these badges on your sites or social media. You'll be helping protect everyone who sees your part of the web.

Edward Snowden explains

One year ago, we learned that the internet is under surveillance, and our activities are being monitored to create permanent records of our private lives -- no matter how innocent or ordinary those lives might be.

Today, we can begin the work of effectively shutting down the collection of our online communications, even if the US Congress fails to do the same. That's why I'm asking you to join me on June 5th for Reset the Net, when people and companies all over the world will come together to implement the technological solutions that can put an end to the mass surveillance programs of any government. This is the beginning of a moment where we the people begin to protect our universal human rights with the laws of nature rather than the laws of nations.

We have the technology, and adopting encryption is the first effective step that everyone can take to end mass surveillance. That's why I am excited for Reset the Net -- it will mark the moment when we turn political expression into practical action, and protect ourselves on a large scale.

Join us on June 5th, and don't ask for your privacy. Take it back.



Updated: Passed 18 for bloody violence and strong whiffy sex...

Long unreleased NEKromantik is passed 18 uncut by the BBFC

Link Here4th June 2014
Nekromantik is a 1987 West Germany horror by Jörg Buttgereit.
With Bernd Daktari Lorenz, Beatrice Manowski and Harald Lundt. YouTube icon IMDb

The film has not been released in the UK for fear of censorship from 1987-2014. A few clues as to why are provided by the promotional blurb:

A German motorway cleaner takes rotting bodies home to a lover who has a necrophilia fetish. This involves the skinning of a rabbit, use of a metal pipe in conjunction with a condom, nudity, and graphic sexual scenes with dead bodies.

Now film distributors Arrow are well chuffed as they write:

Arrow Video is extremely proud to unveil not one but TWO as yet-unannounced forthcoming titles! SUBMITTED FOR YOUR APPROVAL: from the master Italian schlock, Ovidio G. Assonitis, the barmy 1979 sci-fi horror mash-up THE VISITOR and -- for the hardened cult movie freaks amongst you -- the infamous 1987 underground German shocker NEKROMANTIK!!!

Indeed it has already been passed FULLY UNCUT by the BBFC. Pigs are flying as we speak!

Update: Uncut BBFC rating confirmed

4th June 2014. See article from

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

  • 2014 Arrow Film video



Offsite Article: 6 Bizarre Realities of How Movies Get Their Ratings...

Link Here 3rd June 2014
Kirby Dick explains about the US film censors of the MPAA

See article from



Rating Re-traced...

Tracers down rated from R to PG-13 on appeal

Link Here2nd June 2014
Tracers is a 2014 USA action film by Daniel Benmayor.
Starring Taylor Lautner, Marie Avgeropoulos and Rafi Gavron. YouTube icon IMDb

Summary Notes

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

The film was originally rated R for some violence by the MPAA in May 2014.

The producers wanted a PG-13 and appealed the MPAA decision.  The appeal was successful and the CARA appeals board re-rated the film PG-13 for some intense violence, perilous action, sexual content and language.

CARA chairman Joan Graves represented the ratings board while Tracers' post production producer Nancy Kirhoffer and stunt coordinator/second unit director Gary Powell represented the appellant.



No Joke...

The Sun persecutes 15 year old kid over bad taste joke

Link Here2nd June 2014
Justin Bieber has apologised after a five-year-old video surfaced showing him telling a bad taste joke.

In a statement to Associated Press, Bieber said when he was younger he didn't realise how certain words could hurt. He said he learned from his mistakes and apologised for them, and now is apologising again because they have become public.

The Sun first published the video on Sunday. In it, a then 15-year-old Bieber tells a joke to his friends:  Why are black people afraid of chainsaws? He then mimics the noise of a chainsaw whilst saying 'Run nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger, nigger' ,

Bieber's team have known about the video for some time and had tried to prevent its release..



Operation Choke Point...

US government uses denial of banking services to censor what it does not like

Link Here1st June 2014

The Justice Department's Operation Choke Point initiative has been shrouded in secrecy, but now it is starting to come to light. It is so named because through strangling the providers of financial services to the targeted industries, the government can choke off the oxygen (money) needed for these industries to survive. Without an ability to process payments, the businesses, especially online vendors, cannot survive.

The general outline is the DOJ and bank regulators are putting the screws to banks and other third-party payment processors to refuse banking services to companies and industries that are deemed to pose a reputation risk to the bank. Tom Blumer's extremely informative post summarizing what is known to date about Operation Choke Point reproduces the list of businesses affected, which includes things such as ammunition sales, escort services, get-quick-rich schemes, on-line gambling, racist materials and payday loans. Quite obviously, some of these things are not like the other; moreover, just because there are some bad apples within a legal industry doesn't justify effectively destroying a legal industry through secret executive fiat.

There are also reports that porn stars (and here) have had their bank accounts terminated for moral reasons related to the reputation risk of banking individuals in the porn industry. So far, one of the porn stars has sued to try to determine why his loan application was denied.

The larger legal and regulatory issue here is the expansive use of the vague and subjective standard of reputation risk to target these industries. In a letter to Janet Yellen, the chair of the Federal Reserve, last week, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling expressed concern over the growing use of reputation risk as a vehicle for attacking legal businesses.



Offsite Article: A Duty to Blame Games...

Link Here1st June 2014
Violent video game is now linked to 4 teenage deaths. Coroner investigates Call of Duty after suicide of boy who played it in bedroom

See article from



Update: Facing Extreme Injustice...

Eight people jailed in Iran for 7 to 20 years for insults posted on Facebook

Link Here1st June 2014
Full story: Blasphemy in Iran...Repression of free speech
Eight people, including an Iranian-born British woman, have been jailed in Iran on charges including blasphemy and insulting the country's supreme leader on Facebook.

The opposition website Kaleme reported that two of the eight, identified as Roya Saberinejad Nobakht from Stockport, and Amir Golestani, each received 20 years in prison and the remaining six between 7 and 19 years.

They were variously found guilty of blasphemy, propaganda against the ruling system, spreading lies and insulting Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Nobakht's husband, Daryoush Taghipoor, told the Manchester Evening News in April that his wife had been detained at the airport in Shiraz last October in connection with comments she had made on Facebook.

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