Melon Farmers Original Version

Censor Watch

2008: August

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17th September   

Top Yourself Tourism...

PCC censures Daily Star for glamourising suicide
Link Here

The Press Complaints Commission has censured the Daily Sport for a gratuitous article that glamourised suicide after the tabloid published a Top yourself tourism list.

The Daily Sport published a list of the UK's top 10 suicide hotspots using information released by the British transport police that showed 25 people had died on one stretch of railway line over three years.

Choose Life, a government-backed education project working to reduce the numbers of suicides in Scotland, complained to the PCC that the piece had provided unnecessary detail which might encourage vulnerable people to visit the places shown and take their own lives and said the piece was highly irresponsible.

The PCC upheld the complaint and said it breached clause 5 its code of practice, introduced in 2006 following discussions with the Samaritans to try and reduce the risk of imitative suicide. It was the watchdog's second censure of a complaint under the new rules.

Clause 5 states that care should be taken to avoid excessive details about the method used when reporting suicides.

The PCC ruled that the article was simply a gratuitous guide to how and where individuals have killed themselves. It treated a serious subject in a light-hearted manner and may have glamorised suicide in the eyes of some readers.


17th September   

Playing Civics...

US games survey finds a broadly neutral effect on civic life
Link Here

The Pew Internet & American Life Project has just released the results of the first-ever US, publicly available look at youth and video games.

Teens, Video Games & Civics examines how and why games are played and details the relationship that gaming has to social and civic engagement among teens in the United States.

In gathering their data, Pew conducted phone interviews with 12-17-year olds along with a parent. The results of the 75-page report are a fascinating glimpse into how video games fit into the lives of teens. Major conclusions include:

  • Almost all teens play games
  • 90% of parents say they always or sometimes know what games their children play.
  • 72% say they always or sometimes check the ratings before their children are allowed to play a game.
  • Parents of teens who play games are generally neutral on the effect of games on their children, with nearly two-thirds believing that games have no impact one way or the other on their offspring.
  • 62% of parents of gamers say video games have no effect on their child one way or the other.
  • 19% of parents of gamers say video games have a positive influence on their child
  • 13% of parents of gamers say video games have a negative influence on their child.
  • 5% of parents of gamers say gaming has some negative influence/some positive influence, but it depends on the game.

Civic engagement was one of the main focal points of the study. Games, however, seemed to have a mostly neutral effect in this area, with much depending on the civic-mindedness of individual gamers:


30th August   

Update: Violent Kneejerk...

South Africa's Family Policy Institute petition for ban on all violent games
Link Here

South Africa's Independent Online reports on yet another attempt to link media violence to the real deal. It reports that Cape Town-based watchdog group the Family Policy Institute has petitioned South Africa's government to recall all music containing violent lyrics and all video games with violent content.

FPI spokesman Errol Naidoo made the request, expressing the group's concerns over potential negative influences on young people. The move comes in the wake of the samurai sword killing of a 16-year-old by a schoolmate who allegedly dressed himself like Slipknot drummer Joey Jordison.

Prefering not to wait for any type of inquiry, Naidoo requested the recall of the games and CDs pending the outcome of the investigation . From the Independent Online:

He said there was no guarantee that removing violent music and games would prevent violent behaviour, but that it would provide added peace of mind for families.


29th August   

Juicy Moosey...

Orangina's lap dancing animals wind up the nutters
Link Here

Not since Joe Camel have animated characters so inflamed advocacy groups. A French television commercial (leave it to the French) touting Orangina leaves little to the imagination as anthropomorphized animals dance suggestively to the strains of a Latin beat.

Bikini-clad deer with heaving breasts, pole-dancing flamingos, lap-dancing octopi and a macho-looking bear in a golden thong are just some of the fanciful imagery used to promote the popular drink.

Orangina is a drink which is mainly aimed at children and young people, the director of children's charity Kidscape, Claude Knights, told the Independent. The almost sinister portrayal of animals in an animation style filled with sexual innuendo leads to very mixed and confused messages.

And it's not just children's groups that are outraged.
Equal-rights groups are also unhappy with misogynistic aspects of the ad where visually female critters are seen pandering to the carnal desires of their male counterparts.

The U.K.'s Advertising Standards Authority received 147 complaints concerning the commercial. Orangina aired on British television during an episode of How to Look Good Naked.


29th August   

This Horrid Censorship Practice...

Subtle harassment of New Zealand book about Maori cannibalism
Link Here

The physical burning of books now seems to belong to another, much less enlightened age, but not so the censorial urges that led to the practice. I have experienced this first-hand in the past few weeks since the release of my book This Horrid Practice, which explores traditional Maori cannibalism.

I recall a fellow academic approaching me when I started writing the book and warning me that I was putting my career in jeopardy by tackling this subject. At first, I dismissed the caution, but when others began making similar comments, I came around to the view that I would be risking my integrity as a historian by being bullied into silence.

Then the attacks came. First, there were the emails and often anonymous phone messages, accusing me of all sorts of sins for having researched and written about Maori cannibalism. This was followed by Rawiri Taonui, the lecturer from Canterbury University, suggesting I was demonising Maori and that my book was a return to Victorian values.

Margaret Mutu similarly condemned me and announced to the media that I did not understand the history of cannibalism, although she admitted to not having read even a single sentence of the book.

Then the Human Rights Commission dipped its toe into this acrid pool and considered the merits of a letter of complaint made about the book. The commission's response was to suggest I enter into mediation. Like Kafka's Josef K, I found myself being considered increasingly guilty, even though I do not know what I am meant to be guilty of. I politely refused the offer.

And here is where the book-burners come in. While the methods are far more subtle, their aim in this case to bar the sale and distribution of my book amounts to exactly the same thing: censorship based on ideology.


28th August   

Straw and Smith Should be Bound and Gagged...

Ben Westwood book expected to be banned as extreme pornography
Link Here

Ben Westwood, the photographer son of fashion designer Vivienne Westwood, is not happy with Jacqui Smith. Why?

He believes that a book he has compiled, provocatively titled Fuck Fashion , is going to fall foul of the Home Secretary's impending Criminal Justice and Immigration Act which outlaws anything which might be considered as "extreme pornography", of which there is plenty in young Ben's book.

The law comes into force in the New Year effectively making illegal any image that portrays a man or woman's life as being in danger in a sexual sense. According to the Independent, Westwood has been informed that, as a result of the ruling, his book, which deals with 'porno-chic' and bondage, will be banned from sale from January. Furthermore, anyone owning a copy of the tome could theoretically receive a three-year jail sentence.

Says Westwood: Jack Straw and the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith need to be bound up together and gagged. They are trying to dismantle our basic human rights. We cannot just sit here and take this. We cannot just lie back and watch this ludicrous Act slip in the back door.

Westwood is not going down without a fight. According to his agent, Lois Hillgrove, he has enlisted a number of the new great and the good, including the singer Gwen Stefani and the burlesque dancer Dita Von Teese, to help him do battle with the Home Office.


28th August   

Complicated Rules...

The German games censorship game
Link Here

Counter Strike gameGermany's efforts to regulate the classification and sale of violent video games has brought a number of the country's authorities together to work on a set of legislation.

Legislation recently passed in Germany in July, for example, makes it easier to put such games on the banned list following the introduction of a rating index.

Games on Germany's banned list cannot be sold publicly. That includes any advertising and sales through mail order.

The decision to flag a game is made by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM). Since the July 1 revision of the Protection of Minors Act, the agency has been granted even more authority. That includes the authorization to list games that propagate vigilante justice as the only solution to a problem. The criteria have also been expanded for the automatic inclusion of specific games in the list.

A network of organizations decide on age classifications. Tthe age labeling system will be significantly broader in future. Some games are currently open to a general audience. The next levels are "6," "12," and "16." Any game assigned an "18" is banned for youths. There are also games that cannot be rated at all. Such titles require action by the BPjM frequently land on the index.

The labeling system is organized by the so-called Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle (USK) in Berlin, with support until now from the Association for the Promotion of Youths and Social Work. Two industrial associations assumed sponsorship from June 1: the German Association of Computer Game Developers (G.A.M.E.) and the German Association of Interactive Entertainment Software (BIU).

The USK functions as a service provider, commissioning a circle of independent experts. These observers first play the game, present their results to a five-person committee consisting of at least four of roughly 60 expert appraisers from the USK, including teachers and employees of the youth agencies. The committee is then completed by a permanent representative of the Supreme Youth Agencies of the states. The majority decides, but the permanent representative always has a veto right.


28th August

 Offsite: Objectional Censorship Laws...

Link Here
Australian censors explain their role



27th August   

Rotten Apple...

Apple accused of arbitrary censorship as they ban comic from iTunes Store
Link Here
Full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

Apple has banned a digital comic called Murderdrome, from Infurious Comics, from its iTunes Store, to the consternation of the comic's creator and fans.

Comic creator Paul Jason Holden, in a blog post, explains that Apple's SDK for the iPhone and iPod Touch requires that content must not be offensive in Apple's reasonable opinion.

But as numerous comments on the Infurious Comics blog point out, there's no yardstick by which content creators can assess the offensiveness or acceptability of their work. Apple appears working with a definition of offensive that borrows from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart's working definition of obscenity: I know it when I see it.

Compounding the issue is the apparent inconsistency of Apple's censorship. Many comments cite music and videos available through iTunes that are more offensive than Murderdrome.

The material - as pointed out by others - is clearly less contentious than television, movie and music content offered by I can only assume the best-case scenario is a prejudice against the form itself, a post attributed to John Westgarth says.

Apple shouldn't turn its devices into gated Disney theme parks, where certain types just aren't welcome. Apple should stick to selling content creation and communication devices. Content creators don't need Apple to be the authoritative arbiter of artistic merit. Leave that job to the market.


27th August   

Tea Tree Gully Prudery...

Australians get all coy about nudes in art
Link Here

An Adelaide council has banned nude works from its annual art competition adding fuel to the recent national controversy about art and censorship.

Adelaide's Tea Tree Gully Council said the works - a painting featuring a seated nude by Margaret Tuckey, and a sculpture of a female torso by Scot Eames - were too graphic.

The two artists said they were stunned by the council’s decision.

I unwrapped my work and they looked at it and told me it was inappropriate and they would not hang it in the exhibition, Ms Tuckeytold the community Messenger newspaper. They said that school children would be seeing the exhibition.

Eames said he was dumbfounded to be excluded and pointed out that school children could see nudes at the Art Gallery of South Australia. I said `you’ve got to be joking and the organiser said `if you’re both going to continue to protest, I’ll have to ask you to leave the premises,’ Eames told The Messenger.

Tea Tree Gully Mayor Miriam Smith said she supported the decision: Staff, rightly so, rejected the pieces based on their graphic nudity

She said she was not personally opposed to nude art ... when people go (to the exhibition) ...[BUT]... they don’t expect to be confronted with extremely graphic nude pieces of art work’.


26th August   

Update: Closed-Minded Malaysians Relent...

Malaysia unbans Avril Lavigne concert
Link Here
Full story: Pop Stars in Malaysia...Malaysia not much into the world of pop stars

Malaysian authorities have reversed their decision to cancel a concert by Canadian pop-rock star Avril Lavigne, days after they ruled that her show was unsuitable for local youths.

After discussions with organizers, we have agreed to allow the show to go on, a spokesman for the Arts, Culture and Heritage Ministry said.

Its minister Shafie Apdal had sparked criticisms of being "closed-minded" on Wednesday when he said Lavigne's show would be cancelled because it was unsuitable for Malaysian culture and could not be held on August 29, two days ahead of independence day and nearing the holy Muslim month of Ramadan.

However, the ministry official said the decision has seen been reversed, but declined to give a specific reason.

The minister is showing our country to be a closed-minded, childish country that objects to anything different from our own culture, said Leow, a Lavigne fan who had purchased tickets for her concert weeks earlier: It's a relief that they've come to their senses now .

The youth wing of a hardline opposition Islamic group had earlier called for the show to be canceled, saying Lavigne's performances were too raunchy for youths. Malaysia requires all performers to wear clothes without obscene or drug-related images and to be covered from the chest to the knees. They must also refrain from jumping, shouting, hugging and kissing on stage.


26th August

 Offsite: Moor Censorship...

Link Here
Censoring provocative art is the worst advert for 2012 Olympics

See article from


24th August   

Nazi Censors...

Swedish Olympic TV joke attracts complaints
Link Here

A television show focusing on the Olympic Games has been reported to the Swedish Broadcasting Commission for allegedly making offensive comments regarding Germany's Nazi history on live television.

Presenter Rickard Olsson made a joke on live TV about Germans and Nazis when referring to the German women's football team's loss against the Brazilians in the Olympic semi-final. There is something about Hitler and Germany that somehow makes it difficult to feel sorry for them when they get slaughtered at football. You just think, Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Hitler, Hitler", said Olsson on his live chat show Olssons studio .

The Swedish Broadcasting Commission (SBC) has received eight official complaints about the presenter's outburst.

The SBC is a national authority that oversees radio and television broadcasts and determines whether a broadcast complies with the provisions of the Radio and Television Act and the licenses granted by the government.


23rd August   

Listings Ban...

T-shirt seller can continue to list US war casualties
Link Here

A federal judge has permanently barred Arizona from using a state law to prosecute an online merchant who sells shirts that list names of thousands of troops killed in Iraq.

U.S. District Judge Neil Wake did not strike down the 2007 law against selling products that use of military casualties’ names without families’ permission. But he ruled that using the law to prosecute Dan Frazier would violate the man’s First Amendment rights because his Bush Lied - They Died shirts are core political speech.

It is impossible to separate the political from the commercial aspects of that display, Wake wrote: For example, the state argues that Frazier can sell his shirts without displaying the soldiers’ names. But Frazier’s product is his message, and his customers’ message.

A spokeswoman for Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard said Goddard’s office was reviewing the ruling and did not immediately know whether it would appeal.

Arizona’s law was enacted with little debate by the Legislature, and Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas have enacted similar laws.

The ACLU is also defending Frazier in a pending lawsuit filed against him in federal court in Tennessee by a couple whose soldier son was killed in Iraq. Robin and Michael Read of Greeneville, Tennessee, have asked that their case be expanded to cover more than 4,000 casualties and seek more than $40 billion in damages.


22nd August   

Censorial Twats...

Prude objects to the word 'twat' in a children's book
Link Here

A housewife has taken on one of Britain's best-selling children's authors and a leading publishing house to censor the word 'twat'.

Random House Children's Books has agreed to remove 'twat' from a popular book by Dame Jacqueline Wilson, after complaints from Anne Dixon, who insists she is standing up for values of common decency.

She claimed she was 'horrified' when she came across the expletive in the best-selling book My Sister Jodie - a gift for her nine-year-old great-niece.

She complained to Asda, in Stanley, County Durham, where she bought the book, and the store initially removed it from sale.

Now the publishers said they will – by altering one letter – substitute the word with “twit” when the book is reprinted.

On the publisher's website, My Sister Jodie is recommended for children aged from nine to 11.

Mrs Dixon said: I am not a prude. In fact, I am quite broad-minded, ...BUT... this is completely inappropriate for children. 

The book has an attractive cover and is clearly for children. They should not have to be subjected to trash and vulgarity. I did not expect this from a well-respected author and do not want my young niece to have to see this obscene slang.

I got to the page where reference was made to a 'toffeenosed twit'. On the next page the word changed. I thought I was mistaken, but then I saw to my shock it had been repeated twice again.

A spokesman for Random House Children's Books said: In the context of the character, we felt it was used in a way that accurately portrayed how children like Jodie would speak to each other. The term had been included "on purpose" because it was uttered by "a nasty character".

The book is aimed at children aged ten and over, and we felt it was acceptable for that age range. However, in light of this response we have decided to amend the word when we reprint the book.

A spokesman for Asda said: "Since the book was launched in March this year, we have sold over 28,000 copies and this is the first complaint we have had. The spokesman said that Asda had reviewed the matter and would continue stocking My Sister Jodie in all its UK outlets.

Comment: (Hate) Mail

From David

Driven, as usual, by one person's determination to dictate to everyone else for the sake of the children and supported, as usual, by the (Hate) Mail

Random House: The book is aimed at children aged ten and over, and we felt it was acceptable for that age range. However, in light of this response we have decided to amend the word when we reprint the book.

Asda: Since the book was launched in March this year, we have sold over 28,000 copies and this is the first complaint we have had.

So the publishers thought it was appropriate, Asda alone have sold over 23,000 copies since March so I would guess the total sales must be at least near the half-million mark, there has only been one complaint and so they're going to the expense of changing the book?

I'd have told the twat to fuck off and get a life if this had been about one of my books....


22nd August   

Lawyers More Easily Offended than the Easily Offended...

Censored: Imam of Dibley is banned from ITV
Link Here

Have you heard the one about the Islamic comedy sketch that ITV ordered its latest star to remove? Katy Brand was the victim of humourless lawyers who instructed her to delete a harmless-sounding spoof called The Iman of Dibley.

It was not intended to be offensive, says the comedian, whose Katy Brand’s Big Ass Show returns on ITV2. A new iman arrives in a sleepy parish and the comedy arrives from the misunderstandings that causes. But the lawyers said it might be culturally insensitive.

It’s no laughing matter, argues Brand: The vast majority of Muslims are able to have a laugh at themselves just like everyone else. Why should they be excluded from comedy? It’s funny that ITV had no problem with a new sketch about a pregnant Jesus’s girlfriend who has to deal with dating the Son of God.

Rowan Atkinson has expressed similar concerns about comedy censorship. But Brand is particularly peeved to lose her Iman of Dibley : I really liked the outfit.


22nd August   

Update: Harry Potter and the Disputed Age Ratings...

Children's books to be age rated from the autumn
Link Here

From this autumn, a number of publishing houses will "age band" their children's books.

Each book will carry a specific marking indicating they are suitable for readers aged 5+, 7+, 9+, 11+ and 13+/teen.

Books will also carry a recommendation for where they should be placed in book shops or libraries.

Research within the book industry suggests people buying books for children would welcome the guidance.

But it is a scheme which has already enraged a number of writers, among them former children's laureate Michael Morpurgo: There's no such thing as an average seven-year-old. They could be four or 10, or like me, 65 - it's just nonsense. If you say a book is for a seven-year-old, the nine-year-old is going to be trying to cover it up at the back of the class.

The scheme followed research by the Publishers' Association, which suggested standardising age recommendations might help boost reading.

The interesting thing about children's books is that it's not the readers who are buying them - it is parents and grandparents and libraries and schools, said Sarah Grady, the children and education programme director for the Edinburgh International Book Festival: I think that's what the publishers were trying to address. As a reader, you drop a book if you don't like it so children will self censor, but it's knowing what to buy them in the first place.

JK Rowling's publisher Bloomsbury and about eight other major publishers have said they would not take part in the scheme. The rest of the industry - including Puffin, Orion and MacMillan - are in favour of age banding unless individual authors object.

And writers have been vocal in their criticism - more than 750 authors have already signed an online petition set up by Philip Pullman, best selling author of the His Dark Materials trilogy. They include JK Rowling, Anthony Horowitz, Terry Pratchett, Alan Garner and the four writers who have held the Children's Laureate title - Quentin Blake, Anne Fine, Jacqueline Wilson and Michael Rosen.


21st August   

The Stalker...

Australian Jim Beam advert jokes about stalking
Link Here

An Australian TV commercial which makes a joke of stalking could be pulled off our screens after complaints it would cause anguish for real victims of the crime.

In the Jim Beam ad The Stalker , which is shown on Fox Sports and free-to-air TV, an attractive woman talks about stalking a man she broke up with two years earlier.

A restraining order is just a piece of paper, she says before revealing she wears a disguise when she follows him.

Another Jim Beam commercial The Neighbours - in which two naked Swedish girls encourage people to undress as they are spied on by a neighbour - and its associated website have also been removed.

Victims of Crime Assistance League executive director Robyn Cotterell-Jones said the ad trivialised a form of violence: Stalking is a frightening tactic and has ended in murder. There is nothing amusing or enticing to those who are its victims, who suffer its tragic consequences for the rest of their lives.

Jim Beam Global Spirits and Wine marketing director James Sykes said the tongue-in-cheek ads were designed to appeal to the Aussie sense of humour.

The Alcohol Beverages Advertising Code states that advertisements must be mature, responsible and not promote offensive behaviour. The Advertising Standards Bureau confirmed it had received complaints about both ads and its board would decide when it met next month whether they should be taken off air.


21st August

 Offsite: Advertising Nutter Sensitivity...

Link Here
Provocative Commercials Get Pulled...Unless They're About Catholics

See article from


20th August   

Slipshod Blame...

South African murdered blamed on mask wearing heavy metal band
Link Here

A heavy metal band due to perform in Britain has been blamed for an horrific school killing.

Slipknot, who play the Reading and Leeds festivals this weekend and are expected to announce a UK tour, are said to have inspired a teenager to stab a fellow pupil to death with a samurai sword.

The unnamed boy walked into his school in Krugersdorp, west of Johannesburg, South Africa, yesterday morning and fatally knifed the 16-year-old in the neck.

The boy wore a mask similar to that sported by Slipknot’s drummer Joey Jordison while carrying out the attack He then stabbed another boy and two gardeners.

Pierre Eksteen, who is in charge of the school’s support network, said: We know the wrong kind of music and drugs have bad effects. Young people need to be informed of the effects of bad satanic music.


20th August   

The Best Goddamn Tour...

Malaysia bans Avril Lavigne concert
Link Here
Full story: Pop Stars in Malaysia...Malaysia not much into the world of pop stars

Malaysia has cancelled a Kuala Lumpur concert by Canadian pop star Avril Lavigne with just one week's notice, saying her act would not instill good culture in the youth, a minister said.

The timing of the concert, two days before the country's independence day and just ahead of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, was claimed to be a chief reason for the cancellation by Shafie Apdal, minister of unity, culture, arts and heritage.

Shafie said Lavigne's act would be unsuitable alongside local cultural performances during the National Day celebrations.

Concert organizers insisted over the weekend that the show would go on, in spite of calls by certain groups to cancel the performance.

Earlier this month, the youth wing of Malaysia's hardline opposition Islamic party demanded Lavigne's concert be banned.


20th August   

The Advent of New Media...

Singapore to lighten up on censorship...maybe
Link Here

Singaporeans are abuzz yet cautious about government pledges to ease restrictions on free speech and public assembly in the city state.

Writers, filmmakers, activists, and politicians are either expressing optimism or warning against too much of it, after the country's prime minister promised to allow more issues to be ventilated in the notoriously restrictive political environment of Singapore -- subject to certain "ideals" of factuality and nonpartisanship.

Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, acknowledging the advent of new media, announced during the National Day Rally on August 17 that the government will ease the ban on political videos and outdoor public demonstrations, media reports said.

An outright ban is no longer sensible, he said. At the same time, he noted that such relaxation of restrictions will still be guided by what he called safeguards. I think some things should still be off limits... (for instance) if you made a political commercial so that it's purely made-up material, partisan stuff, footage distorted to create a slanted impression .

The Advisory Council on the Impact of New Media on Society, led by former "Singapore Press Holdings" editor-in-chief Cheong Yip Seng, will present its recommendations on these issues later this month.

The Straits Times reported the prime minister as saying that political films will be dealt with in ways similar to non-political films, with censorship and film classification standards, with a panel to decide whether or not a political film would pass.

Singaporean film makers expressed mixed feelings with this development. This is by far the most obvious relaxation of political space in Singapore in the past 20 years. It will lessen the climate of fear, according to film maker Martyn See who had two of his films banned in recent years.


20th August   

Don't Mess with Arab Censors...

Adam Sandler comedy banned in the Middle East
Link Here

Arab audiences won't be seeing Adam Sandler's comedy about the Palestinian-Israeli conflict as You Don't Mess With The Zohan is being blocked by regional film censors. The film has been banned in Egypt, Lebanon and the UAE.

Sandler plays a former Mossad agent who escapes to New York and ends up working in a Palestinian-American woman's hair salon,

It is 99% likely that the film will be banned in all Arab countries, says Bassam Eid of the film's distributor.

Zohan has already been released in Israel where it has been one of the year's biggest hits bringing in over 200,000 admissions. There wasn't any controversy over the subject matter, says distributor Amnon Matalon: Israelis like to laugh at themselves.

Morgan Spurlock's documentary Where in the World is Osama Bin Laden? has also been banned in the UAE. It will surely have a very hard time in the rest of the Middle East too.


20th August   

Update: Kuwait Values Repression...

Kuwait set to finalise bill to censor the internet
Link Here

After months of planning, Kuwait's Public Prosecutors Office (PPO) is set to finalize a bill that will punish "Internet offenders" in the country.

It seems that constitutional freedoms no longer extend to Kuwait's large (and still growing) population of bloggers. Prosecutor General Hamed Al-Othman said that the bill will criminalize the promotion of immoral conduct, encouraging anti-government sentiments, divulging state secrets, or insulting Islam online. Penalties for breaking the law could involve a 1-year prison sentence (7-years if the insulted party is a minor) and monetary fines.

Speaking of what this new law means for the future of free expression in Kuwait, one blogger told APN this law means two words: shut up. The blogger also noted that most of the Kuwait blogging community is opposing the looming law. This law is a way to control what bloggers publish online; the government wants to know 'who is this blogger?' They want us to shut up so they are free to do anything they want. They can't handle the truth.

The blogger provided a list of tips on their website to help other bloggers stay out of trouble when the new Internet law takes effect. Among the tips is remove the times from comments and leave only dates. As the blogger explains to APN: if I put a comment at 2:03:09 a.m., the government can call all ISP's here in Kuwait and ask for all IP's running at that time. This is more of a safety tip for the commenter than for the blogger. A scheduled publishing system is a way to protect the blogger. For example, if at 8:00 p.m. I am at the cinema and I have a ticket and at 8:10 p.m. publishes my post, nobody can prove that I published the post.

Other tips for bloggers include using symbols or codes to refer to taboo public figures rather than their real names.


19th August   

Beyer Addicted to Bollox...

Noel Gallagher, a lively oasis in the land of nutter inspired sterility
Link Here

At 9am during the school holidays, Noel Gallagher had a guaranteed audience of youngsters.

They heard the Oasis star boast about his drug-taking habits, and add that he was still drunk from the night before.

Gallagher slurred his way through a 15-minute interview on Chris Moyles's Radio 1 breakfast show, confessing that he had managed only two hours' sleep. He went on to claim that he had taken drugs for more than 18 years.

The BBC was criticised by the usual nutters for failing to take Gallagher off the show.

MediaWatch's John Beyer said: It's not appropriate for that time in the morning for a man to be in that state of mind or behaviour. The BBC should have been aware of his state and asked him to come back when he was sober.

He is a role model that has a responsibility to youngsters and it doesn't set a good example - but I think the real fault lies with the BBC and the DJ who should have made the decision that he was not capable of being on air. He is belittling the effects of drugs and that is irresponsible.

A BBC spokesman said: Noel Gallagher was very clearly briefed in advance and monitored during the live interview this morning. We have not received any complaints. As ever Noel was a lively and opinionated guest. Of course Radio One does not condone drug abuse and if we felt our guest was drunk we would not put him on air.


19th August   

Comment: A Dangerous Game to Play...

Thai response to taxi driver murder rated K for knee jerk
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

Polwat Chinno killed taxi driver Kuan Pohkang with his bare fists and knives in a grisly 2am plan to steal the hard-earned money of his victim. The media descended on this story of bloody murder when the killer confessed, but pleaded that a video game made him do it. Authorities took him at his word, issued a hasty ban on exactly 10 games and vaguely promised new restrictions further down the line. Far from showing concern, this reaction emphasised the huge gap between the real technology revolution and what the country's leaders appear to know about it.

First of all, it is most troubling that authorities and the media latched on so quickly and conveniently to the alibi of a confessed, vicious killer.

They were far too quick to accept the word of Mr Polwat. He is an adult who told police he planned and carried out a reprehensible killing for a small amount of money. His claim that the video game Grand Theft Auto made him commit the crime sounds more like a novel legal defence than a credible motive. Tens of millions of people around the world play that game - tens of thousands in Bangkok.

Early evening on any given day, the top floors of the city's many shopping malls are filled with youths playing a myriad of computer games - many of them violent.

An earlier ban on this particular violent game would not have saved the murdered driver. More to the point, there is no evidence or reason to believe the ban will save any lives in the future.

The Public Health Ministry quickly assembled a list of Top 10 Violent Games - not by research or reason, but by a quick Googling in which bureaucrats accepted the first hit, an obscure list from a local US politician trying successfully to get his name in the newspapers and his face on the TV news in an election cycle.

Such a ban is also self-defeating, since new games come on the market regularly. In any case, a police ban is only another business hitch to the video pirates and shop owners involved in underground distribution.


19th August   

Update: China win Gold in the Propaganda Event...

Government edict to ensure positive Olympic coverage for the Chinese
Link Here

Beijing's propaganda mandarins have issued a 21-point edict on Olympic coverage for Chinese media that goes some way to explaining the different perception of the games within and without China.

The directive includes a detailed list of dos and don'ts for journalists. According to a translation of the document in the Sydney Morning Herald, journalists are instructed to follow the official line on all matters relating to international affairs. They are warned not to conduct interviews about the US election, the Doha world trade negotiations or China's relations with Sudan, Iran and Zimbabwe.

Follow the official propaganda line on the North Korean nuclear issue; be objective when it comes to the Middle East issue and play it down as much as possible; no fuss about the Darfur question; no fuss about UN reform; be careful with Cuba. If any emergency occurs, please report to the foreign ministry, it says.

Several issues prominently covered in the overseas media during the past two weeks are ruled out of bounds. The day after the opening ceremony, the big news in Beijing was the murder of an American tourist related to a US volleyball coach. But domestic journalists were hamstrung by article 17, which states, In case of an emergency involving foreign tourists, please follow the official line. If there's no official line, stay away from it. Also taboo are protests by Free Tibet, mention of East Turkestan separatist groups and, alarmingly, all food safety issues, such as cancer-causing mineral water. The edict also says there must be no negative comments about the opening ceremony

Chinese officials have denied issuing the edict, but local journalists have confirmed its existence. Some say it was distributed by email, others by word of mouth.


18th August   

Shameful ad Disgusting...

Katy Perry kissed a girl and wound up nutter parents
Link Here

With its irresistibly catchy, upbeat tune, Katy Perry’s I Kissed A Girl has become the undisputed song of the summer, rocketing to No1 last week.

The singer’s parents have launched a ferocious attack on their daughter, and branded the controversial lyric of her song – about two girls kissing – shameful and disgusting.

Katy’s parents, both evangelical Christian preachers, say they are deeply ashamed of the star for promoting a sin.

And her mother, Mary Hudson, declared: I hate the song. It clearly promotes homosexuality and its message is shameful and disgusting.

Katy knows how I feel. We are a very outspoken family and she knows how disappointed her father and I are. I can’t even listen to that song. The first time I heard it I was in total shock. When it comes on the radio I bow my head and pray.

Her father Keith Hudson calls himself a ‘prophet/evangelist’ and claims to be used by the Holy Spirit to heal people. He travels America and Europe trying to ‘save people’.


18th August   

Update: Klipped...

More websites blocked in Turkey
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

After the internet sites and dailymotion, the access to the site of is denied to the internet users in Turkey.

The latest victim is another video sharing site, However, it is not possible to find out how, when and why the access to this site is banned by going to the site itself.

Those who visit the site are greeted by the sentence that The access to this site is barred by a court decision.

The internet site of is also banned without any justification. Ankara’s 11th High Criminal Court banned, a site about the Kurdish problem, on August 7 without any justification.

According to one of the site authorities, Ramazan Pekg๖z, their site has been closed by court orders four times so far. He says that nobody gives them any explanation about the situation. Since it is a very long process to remove this court order, they simply continue their existence by changing names.


18th August   

Update: Book Banners...

Malaysian book censors ban 2 more books about islam
Link Here

Malaysia's state censors have banned two books on Islam saying they gave a misleading view of the religion.

The Home Ministry banned the English-language Muslim Women and the Challenge of Islamic Extremism and the Malay-language Strange but True in Prayers.

An official with the ministry's publishing unit confirmed that the books had been banned but did not elaborate.

The activist group Sisters in Islam, which published the book on Muslim women, criticized the ban. Norhayati Kaprawi, an official with the group, said the book was an academic work in which female activists and scholars studied the impact of extremism on Muslim women's lives: For me, it's very ironic that the book itself is a victim of extremism. Does that mean women cannot even discuss extremism? What do they want us to do? Lie down and shut up?


17th August   

Contains Moderate Menace...

A few film posters omit BBFC advice giving Beyer something to whinge about
Link Here

Beyer calls for
state censorship

Some distributors including Universal, 20th Century Fox and Path้ are failing to include BBFC consumer advice for films or their age classification on posters and publicity material.

The BBFC has sent a warning to the studios reminding them of their agreements. Its guidelines require that all films which carry the U, PG, 12A, 15 and 18 certificates must display their classification and warnings about sexual or violent content on all promotional material, including trailers.

But inquiries by the BBFC and The Sunday Telegraph have found a few new releases being advertised on billboards and in magazines either without their certificate or the warnings, or both.

Posters promoting The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor do not carry the film’s 12A certificate or the BBFC’s warning that it contains moderate violence and horror.

John Beyer, the director of Mediawatch UK, said that the BBFC should do more to ensure film companies include the certificates and guidance on material: It is the board’s responsibility placed on it by the Government to provide information for people, mainly parents with young children. I think part of the problem is that the BBFC is an industry body rather than a public body.

Although the studios are not legally obliged to abide by the guidelines, the board “expects” them to do so. The BBFC, which is funded by the film industry, agreed to introduce the certificate in 2002 on condition that movies carried highly visible warnings about content.

Other examples that have not carried the guidelines are Shine a Light , Martin Scorcese’s documentary about the Rolling Stones, and Lars and the Real Girl .

A spokesman for the BBFC said: Often one of the reasons why the certificate doesn’t appear is that the art departments working on the publicity haven’t featured it into their designs. On other occasions the publicity material for films is released so far in advance that the movies haven’t even got a certification.


17th August   

Update: Animated to unban...

Australia unbans Bondage Mansion
Link Here
Full story: Anime Censorship in Australia...Hentai films wind up the Australian censors

There has been a rapid rethink by the Review Board and Bondage Mansion is no longer banned

Classification Review Board Convenor, Maureen Shelley said the anime genre and that the characters appear 18 or older means the film can be accommodated in this legally restricted category. However, the connection between sexual activity and the themes remains a concern.


17th August

 Offsite: Random Censorship...

Link Here
Full story: Jewel of Medina...Publishers run scared over book
There really are no excuses for Random House’s withdrawal of The Jewel of Medina

See article from


17th August

 Offsite: Turkish Delight in Blocking Websites...

Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people
Ongoing blocking of YouTube in Turkey

See article from


16th August   

Update: Rushdie Locked in a Cupboard...

Defending censorship of one book whilst taking legal action against another
Link Here
Full story: Jewel of Medina...Publishers run scared over book

Sir Salman Rushdie has accused his publisher of censorship at the same time as trying to prevent the release of a book that criticises him.

The novelist, who spent nearly a decade under a fatwa from the Iranian government after the publication of The Satanic Verses in 1988, attacked Random House for pulping a historical novel about the Prophet Mohamed for fear of offending Muslims.

Sherry Jones's debut novel, The Jewel Of Medina , about the Prophet Mohamed and his child bride, was due for release this month. But Random House said credible and unrelated sources had warned that the book could incite acts of violence by a small, radical segment.

Rushdie's very public intervention comes at a time when he is engaged in a legal battle to amend the content of a book that criticised him.

On Her Majesty's Service by Ron Evans, who was part of Rushdie's police protection team, makes claims – all of which are denied by the author – that he was imprisoned by guards who got so fed up with his attitude that they locked him in a cupboard under the stairs and all went to the local pub for a pint or two. When they were suitably refreshed, they came back and let him out. Evans, who contends that police nicknamed Sir Salman "Scruffy" because of his unkempt appearance, also makes several other allegations.

Rushdie denied there was any contradiction in his actions, saying: [Sherry Jones's book] is a work of fiction. Ron Evans's book is not, and it contains a very large number of provable lies and complete absurdities which were defamatory not just about me but my son's mother, Elizabeth West, the Metropolitan Police and people including John Major and Norman Tebbit.

Under pressure from Sir Salman's lawyer, Evans is believed to have amended his most contentious chapters.


16th August   

Dive In!...

Knickers promoting High School Musical 2 withdrawn
Link Here

Knickers for young girls made to promote the film High School Musical 2 are being withdrawn after a complaint that they were sexually suggestive.

Sue Relf bought the underwear for her seven-year-old granddaughter at Asda in Broadstairs, Kent, and took them home to find the words Dive in! on them.

Disney issued a statement which said: We are very sorry to hear that a customer is unhappy with one of our High School Musical products and apologise for any offence caused.

The knickers in question were designed using our High School Musical 2 artwork, which uses the creative theme of a swimming pool, as this is a key part of the film's storyline. Unfortunately a genuine oversight was made and the text on this product was used outside the context of the swimming pool.

This product will not be part of any forthcoming collections.

An Asda spokesperson said: There is very limited stock available of this particular line still remaining in Asda stores. It was completely innocent and certainly not meant to cause any offence to customers. However, we will now withdraw the product from all stores.


16th August   

Update: The Rating Game...

Thailand to implement age ratings for video games
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) will ask the Culture Ministry to form a panel to rate computer games, following the Aug 8 murder of a taxi driver by a teenage schoolboy.

Yannapol Youngyuen, head of the DSI's bureau of technology and cyber crime, suggested distributors of computer games be asked to help screen game content, saying the planned rating panel would find it very hard to keep pace with new computer games.

'Rating by the ministry has proceeded at a very slow pace. The ministry should study overseas ratings as a guideline and adjust them to suit Thai culture and values,' he said.

Police Colonel Yannapol also said there are many computer games which are more violent than GTA, such as those which focus on cop killing or rape. He maintained, however, that on-line games are not the major cause of teen problems.

Yannapol also  pledged to make a serious effort to suppress illegal on-line games.

Lertchai Kanpai, managing director of Asiasoft, said currently there are 57 games active in the Thai cyberspace. Though all of them passed Microsoft's screening, some are quite violent: A bigger threat, however, is illegal game software which bypasses the violence rating.


16th August   

Update: Persecutors Win...

Staunton video store fined after being persecuted by anti-porn nutter
Link Here

Jurors in the case of After Hours Video convicted store owner Rick Krial and the After Hours Video store on misdemeanor charges of selling an obscene item. Krial was fined $1,000 and the store was fined $1,500.

In response to a defense motion the judge agreed that the guilty verdicts will not be entered for 60 days while post-trial motions are filed. An appeal is expected.

Krial and the store were found not guilty on a second charge of obscenity, and store employee Tinsley Embrey was found not guilty on two misdemeanor charges of obscenity.

The misdemeanor convictions may lead to prosecutions on felony obscenity charges that were handed down along with the misdemeanor counts.

Update: Bad Evidence

18th October 2008. Based on article from

Basing their argument on bad evidence and bad statements introduced during the trial of After Hours Video storeowner Rick Krial, defense attorneys have filed motions asking to have the two guilty verdicts set aside.


16th August   

Freedom of Speech Chilled in Britain...

UN criticises UK over glorification of terror, official secrets and libel tourism
Link Here

British libel laws are stifling free speech around the world as wealthy businessmen and celebrities increasingly turn to UK courts to silence their critics abroad, the United Nations has warned.

In a report published yesterday, the UN's Committee on Human Rights criticises the phenomenon of "libel tourism", where foreign businessmen and millionaires use the High Court in London to sue foreign publishers under claimant-friendly defamation laws.

It said that UK defamation law had discouraged critical media reporting on serious public interest matters, affecting the ability of scholars and journalists to publish their work.

The report cites the case of Dr Rachel Ehrenfeld, an American researcher who was sued in London by a Saudi businessman and his two sons over a book which was not published in the UK, although 23 copies were sold into the jurisdiction via the internet and one chapter was available online.

The committee also criticised the way the British Official Secrets Act 1989 had been used to stop former Crown employees from bringing issues of public interest into the public domain and said that provisions in the Terrorism Act 2006 regarding encouragement of terrorism were vague and could have a chilling effect on freedom of expression.

The committee said it was concerned that the Official Secrets Act had been used to frustrate former employees of the Crown from bringing into the public domain issues of genuine public interest, and can be exercised to prevent the media from publishing such matters . It noted that disclosures of information were penalised even when they did not harm national security.

The State party should ensure that its powers to protect information genuinely related to matters of national security are narrowly utilised and limited to instances where the release of such information would be harmful to national security, the report says.

The committee was concerned about the "broad and vague" definition of the offence of "encouragement of terrorism" in section 1 of the Terrorism Act.

In particular, a person can commit the offence even when he or she did not intend members of the public to be directly or indirectly encouraged by his or her statement to commit acts of terrorism, but where his or her statement was understood by some members of the public as encouragement to commit such acts, the report says.

The committee called on the Government to consider amending the part of section 1 which deals with encouragement of terrorism so that its application does not lead to a disproportionate interference with freedom of expression.


16th August   

Fringe Censorship...

Edinburgh festival stewards acting as press censors
Link Here

Edinburgh Fringe organisers were accused of censorship last night after it emerged that non-accredited journalists have been prevented from doing interviews on the Royal Mile, one of Edinburgh's main thoroughfares.

Colin Macnab, a freelance sound recordist, said he had been stopped from doing his job on several occasions by members of the Fringe Office staff who believed they could control any media activity on the Royal Mile.

He said he had been stopped from working, told to move and warned that only accredited journalists could work on the street. Macnab said he had been stopped from working with a German producer last week by one official who told him he was not on the High Street but on a Fringe venue.

He said he was appalled that he was being treated that way on a public street. He added: This is hindering my work. My concern at the end of the day is that this is censorship. It's not on for someone other than an editor to decide what goes on TV.

Duncan Fraser, a spokesman for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, admitted that stewards did patrol the area and members of the media were asked to make sure they were accredited. He justified this with some worthless bollox about it being only done to make sure that events ran smoothly.


16th August   

Resigned to Dissent...

Burmese press censor resigns as journals refuse to follow his censorship dictates
Link Here
Full story: Press Censorship in Burma...World leaders in oppressive censorship

The Burmese Information Minister has refused to accept the resignation letter of the head of the junta's press scrutiny office.

Major Tint Swe, the Director with the Government's Office of Press Scrutiny, which censors the contents of all print publications in Burma, submitted his resignation to the ministry on July 31, 2008.

Brigadier General Kyaw Hsan, the Minister for of Information, refused to accept his resignation letter.

One of the major reasons why the director has done so is, that most leading weeklies have been found, since the devastation following last May's Nargis Cyclone failing intentionally to observe the instructions of the censor board.

The official said more than half a dozen journals, including the prominent weeklies 7 Day News, News Watch, the First Music and among others, were recently ordered to sign assertion letters that they would comply with the instructions.

Maj Tint Swe said: When you write about government departments, it needs to be correct. If you exaggerate or have misconceptions while writing, there will be a problem. We only allow news that will not have a negative effect on the state or national welfare.


13th August   


John Beyer rants about up 'n' coming MadWorld game
Link Here
Full story: MadWorld...Nutters rant against MadWorld video game

Nintendo will dramatically transform Wii's image with the release of ultra violent video game MadWorld which, revolves around the themes of brutality and exhilaration, according to its creators.

Players in the hack and slash game, which is due for a UK release in early 2009, can impale enemies on road signs, rip out hearts and execute them with weapons including chainsaws and daggers.

The decision to release a violent game on a console which has supposedly based its reputation on family fun has shocked anti-violence pressure groups.

The game has not yet been given an age rating.

Mediawatch-UK said MadWorld will 'spoil' the Wii. John Beyer: This game sounds very unsavoury. I hope the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) will view this with concern and decide it should not be granted a classification. Without that it cannot be marketed in Britain. What the rest of world does is up to them. We need to ensure that modern and civilized values take priority rather than killing and maiming people.

It seems a shame that the game's manufacturer have decided to exclusively release this game on the Wii. I believe it will spoil the family fun image of the Wii.


13th August   

Update: Empowering the Vulnerable...

Thailand rants about copycat game violence
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

Creators of violent video games should be prosecuted if copycats take their content into real life.

It's high time game makers face the legal consequences of their creations, a top Thai government official says.

This reaction comes in the wake of a brutal slaying of a city taxi driver by a teenager obsessed with blood-and-guts shoot-'em-up game Grand Theft Auto .

When a player copycats a crime he or she sees in the game, the game maker should be prosecuted, says Somchai Jaroen-amnuaysuk, the deputy director of the Welfare Promotion, Protection and Empowerment of Vulnerable Groups Office.

Prosecutions will automatically force game makers to act more responsibly, Somchai says.

Dr Somprot Sarakosas, a former spokesman of the Human Security and Social Development Ministry, agrees the government should explore legal avenues against all parties responsible for such violence: At the same time, everyone, especially the Education Ministry, should make children aware that games and real life are two different things.

National Culture Commission chief Preecha Gunteeya says the government has to do something to control violence-packed games, including imposing a rating system. We must regulate gaming cafes, too he says.


13th August   

Mobile Kids...

Ofcom review regulation of mobile phone content
Link Here

Ofcom have published a report: UK code of practice for the self-regulation of new forms of content on mobiles:

Mobile phone use is widespread among children and 7% of 8-17 year olds access the internet via a mobile.

The UK code of practice for the self-regulation of new forms of content on mobiles provides a series of undertakings regarding young people’s access to, and the classification of, mobile commercial content. The Code was formally published in January 2004 and the resulting Classification Framework (“the Framework”) was published in February 2005. All major UK mobile phone operators subscribe to and support the Code and the Framework which act as self-regulatory instruments.

Audio-visual content available on mobiles arises from two sources. Some content is provided directly by the operator or a contracted third party (and referred to in the Code as ‘commercial content’). This content is under the mobile operator’s control, enforced by contractual arrangements with the content creator/supplier. The other source of content available on mobile phones is from the internet. Internet-based content is outside the control of the mobile operator.

This Review of the Code was achieved with the support of the Home Office and the Children's Charities' Coalition for Internet Safety (CHIS).

Overall, we find the Code to be effective in restricting young people’s access to inappropriate content and a good example of industry self-regulation. Based on interviews with operators and stakeholders, we believe that the Code and Framework are understood and readily adopted by all concerned.

We also note that the mobile industry has made significant investment in the development and implementation of content controls and has taken significant steps to enforce compliance, over and above the requirements set out in the Code. The mobile operators have established a process whereby an initial breach of the Code by a commercial content provider results in a warning (yellow card), and any subsequent breach of the Code can result in a sanction (red card). Repeated failure to comply with the Code may lead to termination of future business. The yellow/red card scheme is viewed both by the mobile operators and the content suppliers as a highly effective compliance mechanism.

We find that the availability of consumer information about how to restrict access to 18-rated material is generally poor – only 15% of adults who use a mobile and who have a child in their household are aware of age verification systems. We therefore recommend that mobile operators redouble their efforts to ensure that the information supplied by retailers, customer services and websites is easy to understand and accessible.

The Content Classification Framework is provided on behalf of the mobile phone industry by the Independent Mobile Classification Body (IMCB), a subsidiary limited company of the premium rate phone regulator PhonepayPlus. The IMCB has to date received no in-remit complaints from members of the public about any content of a nature encompassed by the Code, which has been accessed via a mobile phone. However, the basis for complaining is that consumers, in the first instance, must report their concern to their contracted mobile operator. Only where there is no satisfactory resolution to the complaint is the customer then referred to the IMCB by the mobile operator’s customer services. The IMCB sees itself as primarily an industry-facing body and does not promote awareness of its existence or its functions to the public (other than through its website), nor does it advertise its complaints function to members of the public.

The current arrangements block access to 18-rated material to non-age-verified customers. With increasing numbers of younger children having access to mobiles capable of accessing AV content, mobile operators may need to consider if a binary system at 18 provides sufficient protection from inappropriate content for younger users, or whether a more granular system should be considered.


13th August   

Googling for Over Reaction...

Knee jerk blog host blocks blog over tasteless quip
Link Here

Google has unblocked Scamp, the UK's most popular advertising industry blog, following the removal of comments containing "hate speech".

Scamp, which is run by advertising executive Simon Veksner, had been blocked since Friday by Google-owned blogging platform Blogger. Visitors to Scamp had been blocked, until today, from accessing posts and were instead shown the message that it was in violation of Blogger's terms of service.

It has emerged that Google moved to cut access after the blog was flagged for use of hate speech" , according to an official message posted by administrators of the blogging platform.

Veksner speculated that the post that triggered the complaints was called Sauce Poll on the subject of who in an ad agency you would prefer to date?. He said he assumed that it was an offensive comment, which has now been deleted, along the lines of how they would rather have sex with someone with Down's syndrome than an advertising professional.

Veksner said that while the post, made on Friday, did draw a backlash from the online community he at first left it on the blog. A lot of people were offended, but I decided not to delete the comment, he told My policy is I do delete comments where the commenter is intending to be offensive, but I don't delete comments where the commenter's primary intention is to be witty, even if what they say ends up offending people.


12th August   

Update: Crikey Pikey...

Ofcom go easy on ITV's Formula 1 commentator over pikey quip
Link Here

ITV has escaped punishment after the word "pikey" - a slang term for gypsy - was used in a sports broadcast in June.

Host Martin Brundle was interviewing Formula One chief Bernie Ecclestone before the Canadian Grand Prix, where part of the track had crumbled.

There are some pikeys there at turn 10 putting tarmac down - what do you think of that, he asked.

Media regulator Ofcom said it would take no action after ITV apologised and addressed the issue with its presenter.

The broadcaster argued that "pikey" was now used more widely but conceded that it still remains a derogatory term. It added that Brundle was unaware of the potential racial or ethnic connotations and so had not meant to cause any offence towards the travelling communities.

After the show ITV received 22 complaints from viewers over the remark while Ofcom received 14.


12th August   

Update: A Talent for Censorship...

Ofcom have a rant about extreme stunts
Link Here

Ofcom has rapped ITV for showing dangerous stunts at a time when children would be watching.

The World's Got Talent , screened at 7pm, saw contestants enter spinning washing machines, eat glass and become a dartboard.

There were warnings on screen not to try the stunts at home but Ofcom decided these were not enough to deter kids from trying out the routines.

It said the extreme stunts would more typically be expected to feature in shows after the watershed.


12th August   

Update: Children's Version of Fallout 3...

Australian censors passes cut version of Fallout 3
Link Here

The Australia Censorship Board has pass and edited version of Fallout 3 with an MA 15+ title.

The reward and incentive for in-game drug abuse had been toned down, according to GameSpot.

However, there is no confirmation of exactly what changes were made.

Using naughty substances plays a large part in Fallout 3 , which proved a major sticking point in the original ruling.

Update: Passed in the UK

8th September 2008

Passed 18 uncut by the BBFC


12th August   

Intellectually Challenged...

Disability groups rail against Simple Jack character in the movie Tropic Thunder
Link Here

Starting this week, dozens of disabilities groups led by Timothy P. Shriver, chairman of the Special Olympics, are expected to boycott Tropic Thunder at its world premiere as well as its nationwide release.

There was buzz about this last week when the groups complained about the online marketing campaign for the film, which resulted in Paramount pulling a few of the websites. However, their demands, which include pulling all scenes and clips that include Ben Stiller's portrayal of Simple Jack from the movie, DVD, trailers, promotional material and merchandising have not been met.

This is ridiculous! This coalition of a dozen or so disabilities groups have only recently begun to be offended by some of the material in the film. A particular sore point has been the film's repeated use of the term 'retard' in referring to a character, Simple Jack, who is played by Mr. Stiller in a subplot about an actor who chases an Oscar by portraying a mindless dolt.

As Paramount describes it: the movie's humor was aimed not at the disabled but at the foolishness of actors who will go to any length in advancing their careers.

Thankfully, Paramount is not changing the film at all and I commend them for standing up to this. They did change some of their advertising already, but it's an R rated film and none of it needs to be altered.

David C. Tolleson, executive director of the National Down Syndrome Congress, saw the film at a screening and responded openly: I came out feeling like I had been assaulted.

Other groups, including the American Association of People With Disabilities, are planning to meet in Los Angeles to picket the premiere, but that's not all.

Shriver said that he had also begun to ask members of Congress for a resolution condemning what he called the movie's 'hate speech' and calling for stronger federal support of the intellectually disabled.


12th August   

Update: Staunton Persecution...

Anti porn attorney gets his day in court to harrangue local video store owner
Link Here

The much ballyhooed trial of Rick Krial, owner of After Hours Video on Springhill Road, begins this morning in Staunton Circuit Court, almost a year to the day Staunton Prosecutor Raymond C. Robertson vowed at a press conference to keep pornography out of Staunton's stores.

In October, the same month After Hours Video opened for business, undercover agents from the Staunton and Waynesboro police departments, along with plainclothes officers from the Virginia State Police, acted as customers and purchased a dozen DVDs from the Springhill Road store. Weeks later, a special Staunton grand jury convened and charged Krial and his company, LSP of Virginia, with 16 felonies and eight misdemeanor charges of obscenity.

In January, an employee at After Hours Video, Tinsley W. Embrey, also was charged with 10 counts of obscenity, four of them misdemeanor charges.

This week's scheduled four-day trial concerns only the misdemeanor charges against Krial, his company and Embrey. The Commonwealth can proceed with the felony charges only if it garners convictions on the misdemeanors.

The landmark United States Supreme Court case of Miller v. California in 1973 established a standard three-part legal definition of obscenity that must be met: Do applied community standards find that the material appeals to the prurient interest; is it patently offensive, sexual conduct defined by state law; and does the work, taken as a whole, lack serious literal, artistic, political or scientific value? Those are questions that must be answered by the jury.

The court case will feature a number of legal heavy hitters, Paul Cambria Jr and Louis Sirkin.

Robertson will be assisted by Matthew Buzzelli, an obscenity attorney with the United States Department of Justice.

Jury selection for the case could take up to two days. A misdemeanor trial only requires seven jurors.


12th August   

Police Playing Games...

Police seize War On Terror boardgame
Link Here

It is rare for a board game to be seized by the police. This week that distinction befell War on Terror: The Boardgame ; a set was confiscated from climate protesters in Kent.

Following a series of raids on the climate change camp near Kingsnorth power station, officers displayed an array of supposed weapons snatched from demonstrators: knives, chisels, bolt cutters, a throwing star – and a copy of the satirical game, which lampoons Washington's "war on terror".

For the game's creators, Andrew Sheerin and Andy Tompkins, web designers from Cambridge, the inclusion of their toy was a shock: When I saw the pictures in the papers I was absolutely baffled. I thought: surely no member of the public is going to believe that a board game could be used as a weapon?

You won't find the game in high street stores; retailers have all declined to stock it. The high street chain Zavvi bought 5,000 sets but strangely withdrew them for sale after one day, citing "poor sales". But since its low-key launch two years ago, War on Terror: The Boardgame has sold 12,000 copies online and through independent stockists, prominently featuring in student bedsits.

Much like games such as Risk or Diplomacy, War on Terror revolves around players creating empires that compete and wage war against each other for resources and land. The controversial twist allows them to "train" terrorist cells that either attack your enemies or, if you're unlucky, turn against you – like some anti-Western terror groups have done.

There is an Axis of Evil spinner intended to parody international diplomacy by randomly deciding which player is designated a terrorist state. That person then has to wear a balaclava (included in the box set) with the word "Evil" stitched on to it.

Kent police said they had confiscated the game because the balaclava could be used to conceal someone's identity or could be used in the course of a criminal act.


11th August   

iPhone Applications Slashed...

Apple withdraws application featuring a knife
Link Here

Apple has come under fire for allowing the sale of a supposedly tasteless knife game for its iPhone.

The Slasher application brought up the picture of a deadly looking blade on the user's handset and played the music from cult thriller Psycho when the owner mimicked a stabbing motion.

It was selling for 59p in the entertainment section of Apple's iPhone application store.

The programme, which was made by an outside firm, has now been withdrawn, but Apple has not explained how it came to be there in the first place.

Slasher was launched at a time when concern about knife-crime has hit an all time high following dozens of high-profile deaths on the streets of the UK.


11th August   

Nutter Gossip...

Parents Television Council whinges at Gossip Girl
Link Here

Four new promo ads for the second season of Gossip Girl have caused quite stir.

Nuters of the Parents Television Council has slammed the shots, which show a topless Leighton Meester making out and Chace Crawford in bed with an older woman.

I think it reeks of desperation, if they have to position themselves as so edgy and so controversial that they've been called out by us, Melissa Henson, PTC director of communications, told the Associated Press.

CW marketing boss Rick Haskins defends the campaign, saying it caters to their 18-34 female demographic: What we're trying to do is communicate with the audience in a way that they like and can appreciate. This sort of campaign resonates with someone who likes Gossip Girl .

The second season of Gossip Girl starts in the US on September 1.


11th August   

Salter Gets On Our Wik...

And so does the Martin Salter Wikipedia entry
Link Here

I’ve just come across this nonsense on Martin Salter’s entry in Wikipedia:

Salter has promoted legislation proposing to criminalise possession of so-called "extreme pornography" [2]. His campaign came about after the conviction at Lewes Crown Court of Graham Coutts, a self confessed addict of violent internet pornography, for the murder of Brighton schoolteacher Jane Longhurst. A petition, objecting to "the presence of extreme internet sites promoting violence against women in the name of sexual gratification", gained 50,000 signatures. This prohibition was incorporated into the Immigration and Criminal Justice Act 2008.

The last sentence is manifestly untrue. How it should read is: thanks to a remorseless campaign against internet pornography in general, fuelled by a great deal of disinformation and greatly facilitated by a government terrified of being painted as ‘soft’ on porn by the Tories and the press, Salter managed to bounce onto the statute book a thoroughly ill-conceived and draconian measure which will criminalise the possession of a wide range of material, and not simply that cited in the original petition.


10th August   

Update: Registered as Nutters...

Turkish draft law to register porn buyers withdrawn
Link Here

A deputy chairman from Turkey's ruling AKP withdrew a draft law that she prepared after her work drew fierce criticism from the opposition in the country.

According to the draft law, prepared by AKP Deputy Chairman Edibe Sozen, those purchasing pornographic publications were obliged to provide the retailer with their citizenship number and signature, in order to be later handed to the Youth and Sport General Administration.

The draft law also foresaw the construction of places of worships for students from all religions at schools.

I decided not to bring the draft law to the agenda of parliament, in order to put an end to the misunderstandings regarding my proposal, Sozen said.

Sozen's work drew fierce criticism from the opposition in Turkey, as AKP's attempts were claimed to aim to divide young people and prepare the bases of a theocratic state.

Update: Distanced

18th August 2008

Turkey's prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has proffered an olive branch to secular critics by publicly disowning his party's proposals to curb pornography and encourage school prayer.

In an unusually harsh rebuke in which he described Sozen's proposals as ill- timed and fatal. He urged party discipline at a time when the AKP is under fierce scrutiny for perceived anti-secular tendencies: It [the bill] is not the party's work, but it was perceived as if it belonged to the party. Such works should be discussed within the party first. It is an ill-timed and fatal statement. The content is bad. She [Sozen] put the party in a difficult situation. We are going through sensitive times that need caution and ultimate care. This is valid for each one of us. We all need to refrain from any actions or statements that could create new tensions.


10th August   

Update: GTA Brainstorm...

Thailand to investigate violent video games
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

The Thailand Department of Special Investigation will host a conference on violent computer games and youths on Thursday, in a bid to find measures to address the issue.

The move follows a brutal murder of a city cabbie by a schoolboy copying Grand Theft Auto. Experts will brainstorm ways to end this kind of behaviour.

No doubt some kneejerk policies will result


9th August   

Update: Sack the FCC...

Former FFC chairmen suggest that it should be stripped of its misused censorship powers
Link Here
Full story: FCC TV Censors...FCC wound up by nudity and fleeting expletives

A trio of former Federal Communications Commission chairmen, including the most iconic critic of TV content and a symbol of deregulation, joined to ask the Supreme Court to strip the FCC of its power to regulate indecency entirely, saying that it is on a "Victorian crusade" that hurts broadcasters, viewers and the Constitution.

Former Democratic chairman Newton Minow may have famously dubbed TV a "vast wasteland" back in the 1960s, but he is ready to let TV programmers in this century have more say over content if the alternative is the current FCC.

Seconding that opinion was former Republican chairman Mark Fowler, who once likened TV to a toaster with pictures and became a symbol of the deregulatory 1980s.

Also weighing in on a brief to the court Friday was James Quello, former acting chairman and longest-serving Democratic commissioner.

They argued that the commission has radically expanded the definition of indecency beyond its original conception; magnified the penalties for even minor, ephemeral images or objectionable language; and targeted respected television programs, movies and even noncommercial documentaries.

I thnk it is an incredible statement from FCC chairmen who have been some of the architects of the indecency policy and who are now saying that this is out of control," said First Amendment attorney John Crigler: The enhanced indecency standard was created under Mark Fowler, and here he is saying 'boy, this train is way off the tracks.'

The trio were joined by other former FCC commissioners and staffers to file an amicus brief Friday in the FCC's challenge to a lower-court ruling that the commission's indecency finding against swearing on Fox awards shows was arbitrary and capricious and a violation of the Administrative Procedures Act. That act requires regulators to sufficiently justify their decisions and forewarn regulated industries.

It is time for the Court to bring its views of the electronic media into alignment with contemporary technological and social reality, they said. And that means getting the FCC entirely out of the business of regulating indecent content, they added.


9th August   

Update: Follow That Cabbie...

Spain cabbies call for games ban based on Thai killing
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

Spanish newspaper La Vanguardia reports that an association of Spanish taxi drivers has called for a ban on Grand Theft Auto .

Josep Maria Go๑i, secretary general of the Catalan Taxi Federation, has requested that the Spanish government pull GTA titles off the market.

Go๑i makes it clear that the Taxi Federation's request is based on the Thailand murder case.

The cabbie spokesman didn't stop at GTA , however, calling for a ban on all games with a high level of violence or which "celebrate" drug trafficking or prostitution.

GameSpot points out: There are no actual missions in GTA IV which require players to rob, stab, or kill a taxi driver...

Malaysian Ban It

Based on article from

The head of a Malaysian consumer rights organization has called for a ban on Grand Theft Auto and similarly violent video games.

The move comes following the murder of a Bangkok cabbie last Saturday. Thai government officials were quick to link that killing to what they said was the 19-year-old suspect's Grand Theft Auto play.

In an op-ed for the Star Online, Mohamed Idris, president of the Consumers Association of Penang, writes: It was recently reported that the Thai authorities have banned a computer video game known as Grand Theft Auto... Violent video games and television programmes have previously been linked to expressions of violence and aggression in young viewers. It is time for the authorities to act.

If this particular video game is available in Malaysia, CAP calls on the Ministry of Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs to immediately halt its sales and ban this game. The Ministry should also warn the public and any stocks that have already been sold should be recalled.


9th August

 Offsite: The BBFC is scarier than The Dark Knight...

Link Here
Killjoy politicians call on the BBFC to give Batman film a 15 certificate

See article from


8th August   

Update: The World of Batman Certificates...

Are the BBFC out of step with the rest of the world?
Link Here

The Daily Mail have continued their campaign against the 12A cinema certificate for The Dark Knight.

A recent article claimed that the BBFC was out of step with the rest of the world who restricted the Batman film to 15+ year olds.

Predictably they published examples that supported their case.

Just to even it up a bit, here are the world ratings as listed by IMDb :

Ireland:15A, USA:PG-13, Denmark:15, Canada:13+ (Quebec), Norway:15, Philippines:PG-13, South Korea:15, Malaysia:U, Portugal:M/12, Mexico:B, Sweden:15, Canada:14A (British Columbia/Ontario), Hong Kong:IIB, Argentina:13, Finland:K-13, UK:12A, Brazil:12, Canada:PG (Alberta/Manitoba), Netherlands:16, Iceland:12, India:UA, France:U, Singapore:PG, New Zealand:M, South Africa:13V, Peru:14, Australia:M

Peterborough Spoilsport

Based on article from

Peterborough's MP has called on the city council to reclassify the rating given to the most sensational movie to hit cinema screens this year, Batman, The Dark Knight .

Stewart Jackson has written to the council's chief executive Gillian Beasley, expressing concerns over the 12A rating given to the film, which has attracted nutter controversy because of its violent content and dark themes.

In his letter, Jackson reminded her that the council can use its discretion under current legislation to reclassify the rating given by the BBFC. He said: I am not a spoilsport and I have seen this film ...BUT... I sincerely believe that it is not suitable for children. The violence is gratuitous and the dark themes inappropriate for children's viewing.

I believe that the BBFC have made an error of judgement and I have written to the city council to amend the recommended classification.

A spokesman for the city council said that while the council is responsible for licensing cinemas, ensuring that the films being shown there have been certified and they are adhering to age restrictions, they would not attempt to reclassify a film, which had been classified by the BBFC, the experts in this field.


8th August   

A Textbook Case of Repression...

US woman found guilty of obscenity in textual stories
Link Here

Red Rose website owner Karen Fletcher was sentenced today after pleading guilty to six counts of distributing textual obscenity online.

Fletcher's plea concludes her three year fight against federal charges stemming from fictional stories which appeared on her website, and was entered before U.S. District Judge Joy Flowers Conti, who sentenced Fletcher to six months of house arrest; 5 years of probation; and a $1,000 fine.

XBIZ has reported on the Red Rose case since the the closure of Fletcher's website in October of 2005. It shuttered over stories that, among other topics, allegedly depicted the rape and torture of children and infants.

I never thought I'd be in trouble for the written word, Fletcher told XBIZ at the time of her site's closure. I had no pictures of a sexual nature on my site, adult or otherwise. [It seems] the only legal sex stories are those that involve a man and a woman consenting to missionary position sex in a dark room.

Although many observers doubted that an obscenity conviction based solely on text-only content could be made in today's society, Fletcher's emotional state, including suffering from agoraphobia — a fear of public places — reportedly prevented her from carrying on the fight for her free speech rights.

Fletcher helped prevent minors from accessing the Red Rose site by charging a $10 monthly membership fee, and while allowing the posting of stories by members, prevented any images from being posted.


8th August   

Comment: A Tale of Two Moralities...

The Daily Mail and morality
Link Here

If any Melon Farmer thinks it worthwhile to respond to this rag's potherings about "morality", perhaps by responding to items on its website, could I suggest that the message includes a reference to a rather gross piece of sexual infidelity to which Dacre's minions have never referred - the example set by their late proprietor, the previous Lord Rothermere, who for many years maintained a wife in London and a mistress in Paris.


8th August   

Update: No Regrets...

BBC pursue Stephen Green for full legal fees owing
Link Here

Stephen Green, the founder of the fundamentalist Christian Voice group, has offered the BBC about a third of its costs after he failed in an attempt to prosecute the Director-General Mark Thompson for blasphemy after he broadcast Jerry Springer – the Opera on BBC2. The BBC wants the full costs of ฃ55,000.

Green says that Thompson and Mark Thoday, the producer of Jerry Springer – the Opera who was also named in the attempted prosecution, should be “magnanimous” and waive the fees. Green did not make clear how magnanimous he would have been had Messrs Thompson and Thoday been sent to jail, as he wanted them to be.

Now the BBC says that unless it gets the full costs from Green, the licence-payer will end up footing the bill. In a statement, the BBC said: Mr Green tried to launch a criminal prosecution… he knew when he embarked on the litigation that he would be required to pay the costs if he were to be unsuccessful. The BBC believes it has a duty to recover legal costs from Mr Green. If it does not do so, the licence-fee payer will effectively be funding Mr Green’s activities.

Green said that he has been served with a statutory demand that was the first step in bankruptcy, with a charge on his house. He said that he did not have the full amount that was being demanded and that if his house in Carmarthen were to be sold then he would be homeless.

Green said that he did not regret his action, even though the blasphemy law has now been abolished, and that maybe his action helped speed that process. He says that he will now concentrate on “street-witness” (i.e. bellowing through a megaphone at hapless shoppers).


8th August   

More Blue...

Previously cut violence restored to Soldier Blue
Link Here

S oldier Blue is a 1970 US film by Ralph Nelson (Optimum Releasing)

The 2008 Optimum DVD was cut with the following BBFC statement: Four cuts were required to remove the presence of cruel, dangerous and illegal horse falls

Previous cuts to the violence have been restored:

  • Cuts are to a scene showing the rape of an Indian woman, during the massacre of the village
  • Cuts to a shot of a naked Indian woman strung up by her wrists with blood on her breasts


8th August   

Googling for Code of Conduct...

Internet companies agree on code of conduct for censored countries
Link Here
Full story: Supporting Internet Censorship...US multi-nationals support repressive censorship

Google, Yahoo, and Microsoft say they are close to an agreement on a code of conduct for doing business in China and other countries that censor the Internet.

Senator Dick Durbin on released separate letters from the companies, stating they have reached agreement on the core components of the principles of the code, as Google put it.

Those components, the letters say, include principles for promoting freedom of expression and privacy, implementation guidelines, and an accountability framework. The specifics of the code are now being reviewed by the individual organizations involved. Google said the companies are working toward a set of clear and rigorous principles, such that restrictive governments would be unable to ignore or reject these best practices on freedom of expression and the protection of individual privacy.

This code of conduct would be one important step toward our shared goals of promoting freedom of expression and protecting the privacy of Internet users around the world, Durbin said in a press release.


8th August   

Update: In a Rush to Repress...

Belarus president signs repressive media restrictions law
Link Here

The Committee to Protect Journalists is troubled to learn that President Alexander Lukashenko has signed a restrictive new media law, which will allow authorities to further restrict press freedom in Belarus.

The Belarusian parliament rushed the bill through in three consecutive readings and passed it to the Constitutional Court for review. According to the local press, the court rubberstamped the bill in July and Lukashenko signed it into law on Monday.

Among other provisions, the law equates the Internet with regular media, making sites subject to the same restrictions; bans local media from accepting foreign donations; allows local and state authorities to shutter independent publications for minor violations; and requires accreditation for all foreign journalists working in the country.

Not content with controlling traditional media, with this legislation, Belarus is now seeking to restrict online publications, said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney: We urge President Lukashenko to reconsider this repressive new law and, in the meantime, use his influence to ensure that its most restrictive provisions not be used to stifle critical journalists.

Aside from Internet control, the new media law also requires Belarusian and international journalists to seek individual accreditation from multiple state agencies, creating further hurdles. It also obliges Belarusian media to seek re-registration from state authorities—a process that could be fatal for outlets critical of state officials.

Additionally, under the new law, the Ministry of Information receives broad authority to suspend media outlets; the ministry and state prosecutors are given the authority to shut down outlets permanently. These state agencies can suspend or close the outlets if they find their content to be inaccurate, defamatory, not corresponding to reality, or threatening the interests of the state or the public. The bill leaves the interpretation of these terms in the hands of state authorities.


8th August   

Update: Shared Censorship...

Sudan blocks YouTube, Turkey blocks Dailymotion
Link Here
Full story: YouTube Blocking...International sport of YouTube blocking

YouTube has been blocked for most internet users in Sudan for reasons that are still unknown. It seems that ths ite is blocked on all ISPs except Canar

In line with what’s looking increasingly like a trend, Sudanese flocked to Facebook to voice their concerns in a group dedicated to the matter. The group is called Unblock Youtube In Sudan Now and at the time of writing it has 476 members.

The reasons behind this block are still vague but the best guess may be blogger ZoulcolmX who shares his opinion :

They don’t want someone with the opposition to [interfere with] the official story about how every Sudanese citizen supports Omar.

They don’t want us to see the documentaries that have been posted lately about the “ghost houses” created to torture individuals who didn’t support the “salvation revolution”, and with the elections coming, they don’t want any anti-kizan* campaign, which is something not allowed on local newspapers, and the national TV is on their side 24/7, but YouTube, Facebook, and blogs give a free space for the truth, and this is what THEY fear the most.

… * Kizan is a nickname for the National Islamic Front and the ruling party the National Congress members.

See full article from Reporters without Borders

Reporters Without Borders condemns the stubborn insistence of the Turkish authorities in censoring video-sharing websites. After blocking access to YouTube for the past three months, the authorities began blocking the Paris-based Dailymotion two days ago as well.

The two most popular video-sharing sites in Turkey are now inaccessible, the press freedom organisation said: This is a serious violation of free speech and freedom of information. We call on the authorities to restore access to these websites and remove only the videos that are the subject of judicial orders.

Transport minister Binali Yildirim said YouTube was still blocked because those responsible for the site refused to cooperate with the Internet regulatory authority, Internet Iletisim Baskanligi, an offshoot of the Telecommunications Council that was founded in November 2007.


7th August   

Burdensome Marital Sex...

US nutters whinge about lack of marital sex references
Link Here

The US nutters of the Parents Television Council have published a report titled Happily Never After .

Sex in the context of marriage is either nonexistent on prime-time broadcast television, or is depicted as a burdensome rather than as an expression of love and commitment, the report concludes. By contrast, extramarital or adulterous sexual relationships are depicted with greater frequency and overwhelmingly, as a positive experience.

Today more than ever teens are exposed to a host of once-taboo sexual behaviors including threesomes, partner swapping, pedophilia, necrophilia, bestiality, and sex with prostitutes, to say nothing of the now-common depictions of strippers, references to masturbation, pornography, sex toys, and kinky or fetishistic behaviors.

Here's some more socially destabilizing stuff that the PTC found:

  • References to cheating on a spouse outnumbered references to married sex by 2:1 across all the broadcast networks
  • It's really bad during The Family Hour. The study doesn't say when exactly that hour is time-wise, but it's the sixty minutes when kids watch the most. During that time slot, nonmarried nookie apparently stomps the married kind by 3.9:1
  • Visual depictions of some third-party taping or watching while sex happens outnumbered visual references to married sex by 2.7:1


7th August   

Registered as Oppressive...

Turkey draft law to register porn buyers
Link Here

Turkey's ruling AKP plans to register all purchases of pornographic material with a new draft law.

According to the draft law, those purchasing pornographic publications would be obliged to provide the retailer with their citizenship number and signature, the report added.

Those names would be later handed to the Youth Sports General Management, according to the regulation, Milliyet said.

AKP Deputy Edibe Sozen, who prepared the draft law in one year based on laws in Germany, has sent her work to State Minister Murat Basesgioglu, it added.

The draft law also foresees the construction of places of worships for students from all religions at schools,

The new draft law is expected to raise eyebrows in Turkey as the country awaits the ruling party to take steps to soothe concerns over secularism after the court ruled that it undertakes activities that harm secularism but stayed short of closing the party.


7th August   

The Sweet Smell of Hype...

Calvin Klein perfume advert banned from US TV
Link Here

A Calvin Klein perfume ad featuring actress Eva Mendes has been banned by US networks for its racy content.

The star caresses herself, rolls around in a rumpled bed and - oops! - flashes a nipple in the 30-second TV spot for Secret Obsession.

The ban is not entirely a surprise for the U.S. market, Tom Murry, president and chief operating officer of Calvin Klein, Inc., said in a statement to the Daily News.

The attention surrounding the ad just reinforces our belief in the campaign, which has really struck a chord with consumers and in true Calvin Klein fashion, sparks controversy, said Catherine Walsh, vice president of American Fragrances, Coty Prestige, which produces the perfume.

An edited version of the ad will run stateside on cable TV. The original will run abroad.


7th August   

Update: Stereotypically Easily Offended...

Ezra Levant cleared over publication of Mohammed cartoons
Link Here
Full story: Human Rights in Canada...Canada's Human Rights works against free speech

After a yearlong investigation, the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission has rejected a complaint by the Edmonton Council of Muslim Canadians against former Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant over his re-publication of the Danish Muhammad cartoons.

The allegation the Feb. 14, 2006, issue of the now-defunct magazine was likely to expose Muslims to hatred helped to spark a national debate about human-rights law and free speech, and its rejection comes after similar complaints of Islamophobia against Maclean's magazine also failed.

In a report on his investigation, which recommended the complaint not be referred to a panel hearing, the human rights and citizenship commission's Pardeep S. Gundara wrote the cartoons are stereotypical, negative and offensive, and they do reinforce stereotypes, but they were related to relevant and timely news and were not simply gratuitously included.

Yasmeen Nizam, a civil litigation lawyer in Edmonton and a director of the council of Muslim Canadians, said the Council is certainly disappointed with the decision. We thought the cartoons did (expose Muslims to hatred), regardless of the context, because if you look at the broader context in a post-9-11 world, Muslims are at a higher risk of being discriminated against.

I basically told them to f-off without using the swear word, Levant said of his response to the complaint, given during an interview with a human-rights commission officer that he taped and broadcast on YouTube.

He does not consider this a victory, though.

This censor approved what I wrote. His decision is not that I have freedom of speech. His decision is that I have his approval. I'm not interested in his approval. The only test of free speech is if I can write what he disapproves of with impunity.

That's what freedom of speech is, to piss off some second-rate bureaucrat like Pardeep Gundara and know that you have the right to do so, because you're in Canada, not Saudi Arabia.


7th August   

Update: High Scoring Video Games...

Thailand recommends a list of violent games
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

As if pulling Grand Theft Auto IV from Thai shelves wasn’t overreacting, the Thai Ministry of Health has drawn up a shortlist of the ten most dangerous games.

1. GTA
2. Man Hunt
3. Scarface
4. 50 Cent - Bullet Proof
5. 300
6. The Godfather
7. Killer 7
8. Resident Evil 4
9. God of War
10. Hitman

Game Politics has cheekily pointed out that this is is exactly the same as that produced by Detroit Prosecutor Kym Worthy also used to blame all the world's ills on video games.


7th August   

Comment: Nipple Obsessed Berlusconi...

Italian prime minister censors classical art backdrop
Link Here

Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi has had an Italian masterpiece altered - because of an exposed breast.

The 71-year-old worried that cameras would focus on the naked woman's chest in the painting hanging behind him during his press briefings.

The copy of Time Unveiling Truth by Giambattisto Tiepolo now has a white veil painted over the offending bosom.

Insiders also said that the feelings of female members of his cabinet - including equal opportunities minister Mara Carfagna, a former topless model - had been considered.

An artistic Berlusconi aide painted a veil over the naked woman's breast on a copy of Time Unveiling Truth which forms a backdrop to his press conferences in the Italian capital

A copy of the 254-year-old masterpiece Tiepolo was chosen as the backdrop of the PM's media briefing room in Rome shortly after Berlusconi swept back to power in April.

Yesterday leading Italian art critic Vittorio Sgarbi told Corriere Della Sera: What have they done? This is madness, absolute madness.

I hope that whoever came up with this absurd, mad, pathetic, comic and futile idea did so without the knowledge of the Prime Minister.

Yesterday a spokesman for the Prime Minister said: The decision was taken to cover up the exposed breast for fear of offending the sensibilities of people watching press conferences.

Comment: Italian Beauties

From Alan, 7th August 2008

Strange that Berlusconi should suddenly lose enthusiasm for tits, considering at least one of his ministerial appointments.

Signora Carfagna follows in an interesting Italian political tradition, with Michela Vittoria Brambilla always willing to flash a bit of thigh, Alessandra Mussolini gettin 'em out in Playboy (fortunately resembles her auntie Sophia Loren more than her grandad!), and Ilona "La Cicciolina" Staller combining the jobs of politician and porn star.

I find that the amazing Sabina Guzzanti has given some real stick to his appointment of Mara Carfagna as minister for equal opps. She's reported (accurately - I've watched the video!) as having said this:

A me non me ne frega niente della vita sessuale di Berlusconi. Ma tu non puoi mettere alle Pari opportunitเ una che sta l์ perch้ t'ha succhiato l'uccello, non la puoi mettere da nessuna parte ma in particolare non la puoi mettere alle Pari opportunitเ perch้ ่ uno sfregio.

Source - La Repubblca

A libel writ is likely to follow, since the quote means, As for me, I don't give a toss about Berlusconi's sex life. But you can't send someone to the (ministry of) equal opportunities because she's sucked your dick. You can't give her any job, but particularly not equal opportunities because it's an insult.

She always has a few sharp words to say about the Pope, among others, charitably hoping that when he gets to hell he'll be buggered by gay devils.


7th August   

Counter Strike Against Video Games...

Video game censorship in Germany
Link Here
Full story: Games Censorship in Germany...German politicians target video games

Counter Strike gameDespite their popularity, violent video games are widely criticized in Germany and the country has some of the strictest video-game censorship laws in the Western world. For example, German laws prohibit the sale of Counter-Strike and titles with bloody graphics.

The Protection of Young Persons Act (PYPA)

The Act was enacted in 2002 and was Amended in 2003, 2004, and 2008.

The Act defines children as individuals under 14 years old and adolescents as those between 14 and 18 years old.

The Act requires business operations to publish legal notices with movie codes and ratings; they are also required to request identification from those with parental power accompanying minors. Children and adolescents are not permitted in public movie performances unless those performances are cleared for them by the Supreme state authority.

PYPA, section 12 establishes that video games or any other games cannot be publicly accessible to children or adolescents unless they are cleared and labeled for their appropriate age group by the supreme state authority.

PYPA 2008- Amendments Relevant to the Video Game Industry?

In 2008, an amendment to PYPA entered into force. Under the amended Section 15 of the Protection of Young Persons Act, a video game that contains exceptionally realistic, cruel, and lurid images of violence as an end in itself is automatically indexed and subject to severe restrictions on distribution and advertising. Further, these games may not be sold to underage persons. This kind of violent media is automatically indexed -- that is, it does not have to be assessed and rated by the supreme state authority that is generally responsible for indexing, known in German as the Bundesprfstelle.

PYPA Section 18 –List of Media Harmful to Young People- states: Data media and telemedia which might have a severely damaging impact on the development and education of Children and Adolescents to responsible personalities in society shall be registered by the Review Board and included in a List of Publications Harmful to Young Persons. Included are media and other publications with immoral and brutalizing content or those instigating violence, crime and racism. The 2008 Amendment added some requirements to this section regarding violent video games. German authorities are to index media that contain acts of violence like murder and mass killings as ends in themselves as well as media in which self-administered justice is presented as a successful and proven means for serving justice. This kind of media, according to the amendments, has to be assessed, rated, and placed on a list of media that is generally considered to be dangerous for young people.

Other Measures

The County Court in Munich decided to confiscate all versions of Manhunt in July 2004 because it violated a penal provision prohibiting the depiction and glorification of violence. Other games, including the violent video game Dead Rising , were placed in the Index and confiscated by a Hamburg County Court decision of June 2007.


6th August   

Update: Grand Theft Auto Ban...

Thai government react to blame game
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

I have been seeing a lot of coverage on the killing of a taxi driver by a Thai teen who says he was inspired by the new release of the violent video game called Grand Theft Auto . The English language news stories left out much of the detail about the victim and the accused murderer. The Thai news had interviews of the families and other people involved.

The story is very sad for many reasons. On the victim's side, they are a poor family and the man was the only person making any income, and not much because driving a taxi does not pay very well. He became the chosen victim because he was older and smaller than the first taxi driver the killer approached.

The killer's family is also poor but the teen had always been known as polite and very nice, even getting the dek dee (good child) award at school. The mother was a house maid and the father a security guard. The kid was alone a lot and the parents never really knew what he was doing all that time he was playing violent video games.

The 18 year old confessed to the killing, which means he won't face the death penalty as some western media incorrectly reported. He gave a detailed account of how he planned for the robbery and chose the victim, although he said the killing was not originally part of the plan but he did it when the victim fought back.

The distributor of the game in Thailand has stopped all sales and is requesting that internet shops return the game for replacement with a different game.

I saw on TV this morning that GTA has been declared illegal. Police will search internet cafes and if any are found to be making the game available they will be fined 20,000 to 100,000 Baht.


6th August   

Update: Hard X Droops to Limp R...

Supporting the R Rated hype for Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Link Here

Filmmaker Kevin Smith has won an appeal to gain an R rating for his comedy Zack and Miri Make a Porno , which previously had received an NC-17 adults-only designation.

Elizabeth Kaltman, spokeswoman for the MPAA, said the rating was revised after the group's appeals board viewed the movie.

The NC-17 rating would have prohibited anyone younger than 17 from seeing the movie. With an R rating, those under 17 can see it in the company of an adult.

Zack and Miri , due out Oct. 31 stars Seth Rogen and Elizabeth Banks as best friends and roommates who try to make a homemade porn flick to dig themselves out of debt.


6th August   

Must See Reviews...

Chris Tookey reviews for the Daily Mail
Link Here

Plans We’ve just stumbled upon this but it appears the Daily Mail’s permanently morally outraged film critic Christopher it’s disgusting that the BBFC could allow such society destroying filth Tookey has his own website.

It’s called Tookey’s Film Guide . There you can search through his film reviews. But best of all you can find his gems of moral indignation at films which he reckons will corrupt as all and which the wet Guardian reading librels of the BBFC should be put up against a wall and shot for allowing us to see.

Some priceless gems on morally corrupting society destroying filth from Tookey include…

On David Cronenberg’s Crash :

Though I am not normally in favour of banning movies, I couldn’t see how the British Board of Film Classification could - with even an appearance of consistency - award Crash an 18 certificate.

On Irreversible :

In more civilized times, this kind of sad, sickening exhibitionism would never have been granted a certificate.

On Baise-Moi :

The BBFC interprets the absence of a public outcry against their previous decisions to open the pornographic floodgates, as evidence that the public goes along with its views. Really, it reflects the fact that most people wisely chose to stay away from films like Intimacy, Romance and The Idiots, and the few that suffered through them had better things to do with their time than try to lodge futile complaints.

Even the majority of critics who hated these movies kept quiet, either preferring to starve them of the oxygen of publicity, or unwilling to risk incurring the wrath of the liberal establishment.

Misreading this lack of reaction, the BBFC has taken it into its collective head that the British public wants the guidelines governing 18 certificate movies to be relaxed still further. Yet even the Board’s own literature reveals that a majority of the British population (54%) disagrees with the statement that “people over 18 have a right to see graphic portrayals of real sex in films and video”.

The BBFC gets away with its policy of permissiveness by stealth only because most of us don’t kick up a fuss. Too many of us associate film classification with authoritarianism, philistinism and repression, rather than with the preservation of a few minimum standards of moral and social responsibility. And the government, of course, couldn’t care less.

On Quentin Tarintino’s Hostel :

Many people seem baffled as to why we are raising a generation of desensitized yobs, who see nothing wrong with torture and mutilation, and indeed use these things to foster a bizarre, and evil, sense of community. Barely a week goes by without some new, real-life horror – most recently, the revolting, mindless attack by six youths who abducted, raped and stabbed to death Maryann Leneghan.

Allison Pearson posed one question in the Mail on Wednesday Who are these people? But it seems to me that an even more important question is Why do these people think they can act this way?”

This film is not worthy of an 18 certificate, for it is not suitable for audiences of 48 and over, let alone those aged 18, but it will be seen by millions of people – including children on whom it will make an indelible impression.

I asked at the start why violent yobs think they can act this way. It is also relevant to inquire who is encouraging their culture of sadism.

Well, let me name names. One is this film’s writer-director, Eli Roth. Another is Takeshi Miike, who contributes a cameo performance to Hostel. A third is Roth’s mentor, Quentin Tarantino, who also appears briefly in the film, and enabled it to be made and released by being its Executive Producer.

Serious questions should be asked of Mr Roth, but I would like to know what Sony Pictures are doing releasing such a picture. Is making money their only motivation? Have they no shame? No sense of social responsibility? No values?

I would also like to know who, apart from our pusillanimous and negligent censors, thinks this kind of evil, pernicious trash truly warrants an 18 certificate.

All a good laugh!


6th August

 Offsite: Hate Mail...

Link Here
The Daily Mail has a rant at the BBFC

See article from


6th August

 Offsite: Soggy-Biscuit-Eating Tories...

Link Here
Full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
Lad mags irresponsible? Come off it

See article from


6th August

 Offsite: The Music the BBC Banned...

Link Here
Radio DJ Spencer Leigh has made a CD of banned tracks

See article from


5th August   

Update: Deflecting Blame...

Thai distributor pulls Grand Theft Auto game
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

Distributors of Grand Theft Auto yesterday suspended sales in Thailand after a teenager allegedly killed a taxi driver in a bloody frenzy, re-enacting scenes from the blockbuster video game.

Police who caught the 18-year-old at the scene said he confessed to having planned the attack to find out if robbery was as easy as depicted in the violent game.

Phalawat Chinno, who played the game obsessively for hours every day, bought two knives and chose his 54-year-old victim carefully as he believed he would be too old to fight back, police said.

The secondary school student said the killing was a robbery that went wrong. New Era Interactive Media, the Thai distributors of Grand Theft Auto, which recently launched its fourth edition, has asked shops to withdraw copies from sale and video arcades to suspend the game.

We are sending out requests ... to outlets and shops to pull the games off their shelves and we will replace them with other games,
said Sakchai Chotikachinda, the marketing director of New Era.


5th August   

Gagging for Repression...

Parliamentary committee finds diplomatic gags to be wrong and unworkable
Link Here

A Government-imposed gag on retired diplomats giving media interviews without prior approval is "oppressive" and must be scrapped, a Commons committee says today.

Tougher restrictions were written into diplomatic service contracts in 2006, sparking complaints from former mandarins that their free speech was being eroded.

The Public Administration Select Committee said rules were excessively wide-ranging and oppressive and would substantially diminish informed discussion of major world events.

Their only saving grace is that they seem to be unworkable, they concluded, accusing ministers of failing to act on promises to revise them.

Were the rules to be applied literally, they would prevent live TV or radio commentary from former diplomats for the rest of their lives.

In practice, the Foreign Office continues to rely on the good sense of its former staff. It should say so. There is no sense in maintaining a rule that is both wrong in principle and manifestly unworkable in practice.

The government was also accused of restricting free speech by refusing to allow former civil servants to appeal against any decision to block publication of their memoirs.

The committee said that welcome moves to toughen the vetting process, in the wake of several highly- controversial books, had been undermined by the lack of an independent arbiter.


5th August   

Obscenity in the USA...

XBIZ videos of its Legal Obscenities seminar
Link Here

The Legal Obscenities seminar that took place at XBIZ Summer Forum ’08 is now available for viewing on the event website.

The hour and a half seminar features an outstanding lineup of industry attorneys and Evil Angel’s John Stagliano, who was recently charged in federal court with obscenity.

The video of the seminar will provide the opportunity to stay educated on a subject of huge importance not only for those charged with obscenity crimes but also for the industry as a whole. The attorneys who participated represent a peerless brain trust of legal experience and insight into the specifics of obscenity law and legal strategy, and remarks by John Stagliano of Evil Angel provided a poignant human dimension to the occasion.


5th August

 Offsite: In Contempt of Religious Defamation Law...

Link Here
Full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN
Islamic states are using the UN to enact international 'anti-defamation' rules

See article from


4th August   

A Shallow Approach...

Tory plonker rants about lad's mags
Link Here
Full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills

In a keynote speech Michael Gove, the shadow schools secretary, condemns the so-called "lads magazines" for encouraging men to view women as mere sex objects.

Our strategies for dealing with teenage pregnancy need to be focused more on young men and their responsibilities, he will say.

That's why I believe we need to ask tough questions about the instant-hit hedonism celebrated by the modern men's magazines targeted at younger males.

Titles such as Nuts and Zoo paint a picture of women as permanently, lasciviously, uncomplicatedly available.

We should ask those who make profits out of revelling in, or encouraging, selfish irresponsibility among young men what they think they're doing.

The relationship between these titles and their readers is a relationship in which the rest of us have an interest.

The images they use and project reinforce a very narrow conception of beauty and a shallow approach towards women. They celebrate thrill-seeking and instant gratification without ever allowing any thought of responsibility towards others, or commitment, to intrude.

The contrast with the work done by women's magazines, and their publishers, to address their readers in a mature and responsible fashion, is striking.

Comment from Dan

Yeah fatherlessness and relationship breakdown is caused by young men reading lads mags. What a brainwave!


4th August   

Update: Robbery and Blame...

Thai student kills cabbie in robbery and blames Grand Theft Auto
Link Here
Full story: Grand Theft Auto...Grand Theft Auto brings out the nutters

A Thai student has stabbed a taxi driver to death supposedly acting out a robbery he copied from the online game Grand Theft Auto .

Neighbours called police in Bankok about 2.30am after being woken by a constantly blowing car horn and saw people struggling inside a pink taxi.

Police arrived and saw Polwat Chinno, 19, trying to steer the taxi backwards, but the street was a dead end. The teen locked himself in the car but they finally persuaded him to get out.

There was blood all over the vehicle. The body of the taxi driver, Kuan Pohkang was on the back seat. He had been stabbed about 10 times. Two sharp knives were found nearby.

Police said Polwat confessed to being addicted to the online game GTA and said killing seemed easy in the game. He imitated a scene where a criminal kills a driver for his car to escape police.

I needed money to play the game every day. My parents give me only 100 baht a day, which is not enough. I am also fed up with them fighting. They are civil servants and do not make good money, he said.

Today [Saturday] my mother gave me 500 baht, so in the evening I went to the Lotus superstore and bought knives. He flagged down a taxi and when it arrived at the destination, he pulled out a knife and held it against the driver's neck. He said he did not mean to kill him but the driver reached for a metal bar under a console and tried to hit him. He stabbed the driver several times, killing him, then dragged the body onto the back seat and sat behind the wheel.

He could not drive, but thought it would not be hard. He was still struggling with the car when police arrived.


4th August   

Fallout from a Lack of R18+...

Rumours of another Australian games ban
Link Here

The Australian Censorship Board has acknowledged that it is has a new edited version of Fallout 3 from Bethesda, and is in the process of judging its appropriateness for Australian children.

Last month, Fallout 3 was refused classification by the OFLC for its depiction of real-world drugs.

An edited version will assure the game gets into the hands of the average consumer, however, those seeking sane pricing and a "pure" experience will still look to the miracles of importing.

Meanwhile it looks like the uncut version of Fallout 3 will be submitted to the New Zealand censor


4th August   

Mad Hatter's Tea Party...

Sri Lanka bans adult internet content
Link Here
Full story: Internet Censorship in Sri Lanka...Installing ISP website blocking

Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajakapse has ordered an immediate ban on pornographic websites, to stop children being exposed to adult content.

Service providers have been told to filter sites showing pornographic material.

The head of the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission says anyone who wants unrestricted internet access will have to pay extra and get a special password.


4th August

 Offsite: Celebrating 50 Years of TV Censorship...

Link Here
CCTV's gatekeepers discuss Chinese TV drama censorship

See article from


3rd August   

Update: Batman vs Nutter Vaz...

Keith Vaz wades in to harangue the BBFC
Link Here

Cartoon violent scenes in the latest Batman film, The Dark Knight , have prompted objections about its classification with a 12A certificate.

The BBFC has received 70 complaints about the certification.

Parents have complained of having to shield their children’s eyes from scenes such as a man’s eye being jabbed with a pencil and the Joker describing how he enjoys killing people with a knife because they take longer to die.

Nutter Labour MP Keith Vaz, who is chairman of the Commons home affairs committee, said he would be summoning the BBFC to its hearings on knife crime in October: The BBFC should realise there are scenes of gratuitous violence in The Dark Knight to which I would certainly not take my 11-year-old daughter. It should be a 15 classification.

Nutters have warned that the BBFC is becoming both too liberal and too willing to cave in to commercial pressure from Hollywood studios to maximise audience numbers. The board has admitted that its decision on The Dark Knight was “borderline 15” – meaning that its examiners nearly gave it a 15. The 12A means children of 12 can go unaccompanied.

Parents are allowed to take children younger than 12 with them to the Batman film, although they are advised not to.

The BBFC has confirmed that Warner Bros asked for The Dark Knight to be classified as 12A and admitted that the board comes under pressure to keep classifications low so that as many people as possible can see films.

The real problem is that in previous Batman films, Jack Nicholson’s Joker was jokier, said John Whittingdale, Tory chairman of the Commons culture, media and sport committee: This ‘Joker’ is truly evil. Yet most parents and children would not know this beforehand. Also, nobody goes to the BBFC’s website for parental advice.”

The board says its director, David Cooke, did not see the film before it was classified, although he has watched it recently. It is understood he supported the 12A classification.

In Scandinavia & Ireland the film is a 15 and in America it is PG-13.

Update: Nutter MPs

5th August 2008

Iain Duncan Smith, the former leader of the Conservative party, has joined the nutter onslaught after seeing it with his 15-year-old daughter.

Describing it as "relentlessly violent" in a letter to a newspaper, he wrote: I was astonished that the board could have seen fit to allow anyone under the age of 15 to watch the film.

Unlike past Batman films, where the villains were somewhat surreal and comical figures, Heath Ledger's Joker is a brilliantly acted but very credible psychopathic killer, who extols the use of knives to kill and disfigure his victims during a reign of urban terrorism laced with torture.


3rd August   

Government Propaganda...

Yet another step towards Orwellian Britain
Link Here

Beat: Life on the Street is a documentary funded by the Government following the lives of PCSO's. The Government-funded propaganda portrayed PCSOs as dedicated, helpful and an effective adjunct to the police

The Government has spent almost ฃ2 million to fund programmes that are all but indistinguishable from regular shows, The Sunday Telegraph has established.

But unlike normal documentaries, the programmes are commissioned by ministers with the purpose of showing their policies or activities in a sympathetic light.

The media watchdog Ofcom has disclosed that it had opened an investigation into one of the programmes, Beat: Life on the Street to see whether it breached its broadcasting code.

Media freedom campaigners, broadcasters and opposition politicians expressed alarm over the Government-funded documentaries.

The Channel 4 newsreader Jon Snow said: I find it extraordinary. So the Government is funding commercial television productions highlighting government policy? Presumably they don’t criticise government policy.

The Government has funded at least eight television series or individual programmes in the past five years. Subjects range from an Army expedition to climb Everest to advice for small businessmen on how to improve their company’s fortunes.

However, the show about PCSOs and a newly commissioned programme about Customs and Immigration officers are particularly controversial because they deal with sensitive political issues and policies.

Beat: Life on the Street , which was supported with ฃ800,000 of funding from the Ministry of Propaganda. One Whitehall source admitted of the documentary: It allows the Government to have more air time and get its message across to people. Ministers are so pleased with the way the series, which drew in audiences of three million people on ITV and changed the public’s perception of the officers, that they commissioned a third series, to be broadcast next year.

But The Sunday Telegraph established that the programmes appeared to break Ofcom’s broadcasting code by not making it clear that they were funded by the Ministry of Propaganda.

In a further apparent breach of Ofcom rules, this time on independence, Ministry of Propaganda officials were directly involved in the making of the series. They were allowed to view a second edit of individual programmes and were able to suggest changes to some of the “terminology” and “language” used in the narration.

David Ruffley, the shadow police minister, said: People want the Government to put police on our streets, not propaganda on our television sets.


3rd August   

Update: Huffin' and Puffin...

Gordon Ramsay goes puffin hunting to wind up the nutters
Link Here

Gordon Ramsay has wound up the nutters with his puffin-hunting scene in a recent  F-Word TV programme.

He travelled to Iceland to engage in some 'sky fishing', involving catching the cute little birds with an oversized butterfly net.

When Ramsay eventually managed to catch a puffin, after three hours, a hunter snapped the bird's neck.

Other scenes included the Michelin chef eating the dead bird's heart -- raw. He also rustled up a barbecued puffin with cucumber salad, describing the taste as a bit like liver.

The UK media watchdog Ofcom is investigating the episode, after several complaints from viewers.

Puffins are protected in the UK and Ireland but in Iceland licences are granted to cull them. Ramsay claimed he had a licence to kill up to 1,000 puffins.


3rd August   

Update: Animated to Ban...

Australia bans Hentai videos Bondage Mansion and Holy Virgins
Link Here
Full story: Anime Censorship in Australia...Hentai films wind up the Australian censors

The Australian censorship Review Board met to consider the ratings of four DVD's from Siren's Hentai collection. The result is two titles are banned, and two retained their R18+ ratings

What the Review Board decisions confirm is that as long as none of the characters are portrayed as being below eighteen then it is okay to show hardcore sex in these animated features.

The two banned titles are Bondage Mansion and Holy Virgins . Both were rated R18+ earlier in the year, and were released on June 19th.

T&A Teacher retained its R18+ along with Classes in Seduction .

So what happens to all the copies of Bondage Mansion and Holy Virgins that are already out there? Technically they should be pulled from stores, though in practice this is often not the case. In this case we suspect collectors will quickly snap up any stray copies of these two DVD nasties.

Update: Hentai Removed on the back of the 2008 Papal visit to Sydney

10th May 2009. See article from

The Pope flies to Sydney, and a million pilgrims duly follow. Killing time between wholesome Catholic activities, said pilgrims stop off in a VERY popular music/DVD shop to peruse the latest in family entertainment.

While shopping, they find copies of HOLY VIRGINS on the shelf in the Anime section. Complaints (x100) to the store manager - and eventually the Government - ensue. The result? Surprise, surprise - the Pope and the pilgrims may be long gone, but you can't find the Hentai Collection in most stores anymore, even though these titles have been given an R rating by the Government-run Classification Board.


2nd August   

Update: Naked Chill...

Australian book publisher feels somewhat chilled over Henson affair
Link Here

Fallout from the Bill Henson controversy has prompted book publisher Thames & Hudson to seek a classification from the federal Government for a proposed monograph on the artist.

It is understood that on July 23 the Classification Board received a submission from the publisher in relation to a reprint of the 2003 book Lux et Nox , produced by Swiss publisher Scala.

The 5000 copies of the original 192-page edition sold within 12 months. For the past 18 months, Thames & Hudson has been planning a reprint.

It is believed the publisher and the artist were close to finalising the project when police raided a Sydney gallery in May and confiscated several Henson works.

Two weeks ago, the board ruled the July issue of Art Monthly Australia warranted unrestricted classification, but advised that readers would need a mature perspective.

Despite that outcome, Thames & Hudson remained uneasy about its forthcoming publication. A spokesman for the publisher declined to comment yesterday. Industry sources say the intense debate prompted the publisher to tread carefully.

Henson's spokesman declined to comment, but it is understood that the artist and publisher agreed to submit the book to the Classification Board.

The submission of a book that has already been published has prompted concern in some quarters of a new era of censorship.


1st August   

Update: Promoting Censorship...

Even more censorship from a government committing electoral censorship
Link Here
Full story: Suicide Censorship...UK government proposes to ban suicide information

Websites which encourage teenagers to commit suicide will be blocked under Government plans.

The measures are supposedly aimed at preventing a repeat of the dozens of copycat suicides linked to internet usage and social networking sites.

Internet service providers (ISP) are being urged to veto websites which promote suicide among young people, some of which even give advice on suicide methods.

The ISPs are being told to provide automatic links to support organisations like ChildLine and The Samaritans, which would be triggered by users searching for information on suicide.

The Ministry of Justice is examining whether more legislation is needed to control assisted suicide websites.

Under laws introduced in 1961 aiding or encouraging suicide is illegal - but only if the offender meets the victim face to face.


1st August   

Update: Olympic Gamesmanship...

Some websites restored in China
Link Here

Olympic organizers unblocked some Internet sites at the main press center and media venues Friday while others remained off limits for journalists covering the Beijing games.

The move falls short of the free and unfettered access the organizers and Chinese officials had promised for months. However, it was an improvement from earlier in the week when sites for the likes of Amnesty International or Tiananmen Square could not be opened.

Senior International Olympic Committee officials met late into the night Thursday with their Chinese counterparts and said they reached an agreement to unblock sites, although the IOC statement said the details were still being formulated.

We trust them to keep their promise, the International Olympic Committee said.

Kevan Gosper, the press commission head of the IOC, said the IOC and Chinese officials were working toward unblocking sites that we believe were unreasonably blocked. Gosper acknowledged full Web access was not possible due to China's authoritarian government and the tight social controls exerted by the Communist Party.

Amnesty International's site was open on Friday, but links to the banned spiritual movement Falun Gong remained closed. Some Web sites dealing with Tibet were open, but others tied to the restive region in the west of China were blocked. The BBC's Chinese-language site was open at times, but frequently unavailable.

The censored Internet is among the issues tarnishing China's attempt to us the Olympics to promote an image of a modern, open state. The run-up to the games, which begin in a week, had also been dominated by concerns about Beijing's choking air pollution, attempts to censor foreign TV broadcasters, and a security crackdown that had discouraged foreign tourists.

Update: CPJ blocked

17th August, based on article from

The Committee to Protect Journalists' Web site,, is blocked in the Main Press Center and at least one other Olympic press venue, according to a number of foreign journalists there. CPJ calls on the Chinese authorities to provide the free Internet access they promised foreign reporters when they were awarded the Games.

We call on China and the International Olympic Committee to immediately remedy this situation and ensure unfettered access to the Internet, including CPJ’s Web site, said Joel Simon, CPJ’s executive director: China’s press freedom record is an integral part of the Olympic story, and yet journalists working in the official press centers are being denied information essential to their reporting.

At least four journalists told CPJ this week that its site was blocked within the Main Press Center, using direct, official connections; one source was able to access it. My colleague inside the Main Press Center says the only [Web site] they can get is Amnesty. Can’t get, one journalist told CPJ.

Update: Songs for Tibet

25th August, based on article from

The Sydney Morning Herald is reporting that Chinese officials have closed access to Apple's iTunes Store after getting wind of Olympic athletes downloading Songs For Tibet , which features songs by the likes of Rush, Underworld, and Moby.

The ban came shortly after the Art Of Peace Foundation, which backed the project, sent out a press release saying that "over 40" athletes participating in the 2008 Olympic Games had used download cards they were given to download the album, thus "speaking" their mind about the geopolitical situation when the Games' rules forced them to remain silent on the issue.

Update: No Songs for Tibet

26th August, based on article from

Apple's iTunes online music store is back up and running again in China after it was apparently blocked last week by local authorities.

However, the Web page for downloading a pro-Tibet album, which is suspected of prompting the crackdown, remains unavailable on the service.


1st August   

Update: The Never Ending Consultation Game...

Margaret Hodge announces another consultation on BBFC vs PEGI
Link Here
Full story: The Byron Report...Tanya Byron reports on media child protection

Culture Minister Margaret Hodge has announced a consultation on whether the ratings for games should replicate the system for movies.

Dr Tanya Byron recommended that the rating system for games be reformed to make it easier for parents to work out if a video game was appropriate for their children. Dr Byron suggested a hybrid scheme putting BBFC ratings on the front of boxes and PEGI ratings on the rear.

Announcing its response to the Byron Review recommendations, culture minister Margaret Hodge, said: The current system of classification comes from a time when video games were in their infancy.

She added: The games market has simply outgrown the classification system, so today we are consulting on options that will make games classification useful and relevant again.

Over the next few months the government is seeking responses to find out the favoured method of changing ratings and giving them legal backing.

The four options are:

  • A hybrid BBFC/Pegi system
  • Pegi ratings only
  • BBFC ratings only
  • No change except for the introduction of a scheme to ensure shops and suppliers comply.

But a report published by MPs on the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee has backed the BBFC to be the body to oversee games ratings.

For its part the Entertainment & Leisure Software Publishers Association (Elspa) said it would prefer that the industry-backed Pegi scheme became the only rating system.

What we are asking for is the government to empower Pegi with legal backing, said Michael Rawlinson, managing director of Elspa.

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