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31st August   

Update: Fast Times on the Moral High Ground...

Film censor flees police after being caught with under aged girl and is then nearly lynched by bikers
Link Here  full story: Censorship in Kano...Everything is banned in Negeria's Kano state

kano state censors logoThe director general of the Kano State Film and Censorship Board, Abubakar Rabo Abdulkarim, was nearly lynched over the weekend.

Abdulkarim was rather ironically also noted as a former shariah law enforcer,

The censorship board has been waging a scorched earth campaign against actors, musicians and producers in the state for allegedly promoting immorality. As a result, many artistes fled the state and now ply their trade elsewhere.

The trouble started when a police patrol team accosted Abdulkarim after they saw his car parked in a secluded environment behind a mall with a young girl inside.

Abdulkarim, who insisted that the girl he was found with was his niece, said he was not having an affair with her. But when he discovered he could not convince the contingent of policemen on night patrol on the propriety of having an under-aged girl in his car at such a late hour, he panicked.

A police source said when the patrol team attempted to arrest Abdulkarim he took flight in his car.

While trying to escape however, he knocked down an official of the Kano History and Culture Bureau who was riding on a motorcycle.

This incurred the wrath of Okada riders, who thought that he had knocked down a member of their union and promptly moved to give him a thorough beating.

He was only saved from a lynching by the police who had been in pursuit of his car.

 

31st August   

Update: Defying the Zombie Censors...

Melbourne Film Festival shows banned film
Link Here

la zombieThe illegal screening of a banned zombie porn film went ahead last night after police failed to arrive at the viewing.

LA Zombie played to a crowd of about 200 people at 1000 £ Bend - a cafe-bar in the city - as part of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival.

The audience cheered as some of the more shocking scenes, including a zombie sexually penetrating a dying man's open chest wound, played out on the big screen.

The ban made screening the movie illegal but festival director Richard Wolstencroft said he was defying the ban to support freedom of speech: When MIFF dropped the ball [by not showing it] we felt we had to do something . This is about freedom of speech … I believe in it. You can't just protect speech you agree with.

 

31st August   

Firing Back...

Distributor of A Serbian Film makes statement over BBFC cuts
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

a serbian film posterA Serbian Film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. The BBFC made 49 cuts totalling 3:48s for the 2010 DVD/Blu-ray release.

In light of A Serbian Film being pulled from the Film4 FrightFest lineup at the last minute after the BBFC demanded nearly four minutes of cuts, UK distributor Revolver has released a brief statement:

A spokesperson for Revolver, the UK distributor of the film said: In light of the BBFC's recent requested 49 cuts totalling approximately 3 mins 48 secs for the DVD / Blu-ray release of A Serbian Film , we remain committed to releasing the closest possible version of the film to the director's original cut.

The company recognises that the film is an uncompromising, artistic and political statement from a unique filmmaking vision and remains fully supportive to the director. Revolver believes this is a film that deserves to be seen by both a theatrical and home entertainment UK audience.

 

31st August   

America Gets Sexualised...

American Academy of Pediatrics have a whinge at TV
Link Here

aap logoAn American Academy of Pediatrics' policy statement has claimed that kids are 'bombarded' with 'inappropriate' sexual messages and images. The AAP committee said: everything from graphic sexual lyrics in songs to ubiquitous erectile dysfunction drug advertisements air all hours of the day and night.

Television, film, music, and the Internet are all becoming increasingly sexually explicit, yet information on abstinence, sexual responsibility, and birth control remains rare, they write.

Among the points the panel makes:

  • Only three reality dating shows were on the air in 1997 compared with more than 30 today, including Temptation Island, which bring participants together for the sole purpose of seeing who 'hooks up,' the authors said.
  • In a national survey of 1,500 10- to 17-year-olds, nearly half of the Internet users had been exposed to online pornography in the previous year.
  • A national survey of 1,300 teenagers and young adults found nearly 20% had sent or posted nude pictures of videos of themselves.
  • Advertisements featuring women are as likely to show them in suggestive or revealing clothing or nude as fully clothed.

Kids get a lot of their knowledge about sex through the media, the authors write. Perhaps we should take a good look at what we're telling them.

 

31st August   

Update: We Believe in Salivation...

Nutters salivating over easy offence at ice cream advert
Link Here  full story: Antonio Federici Ice Cream...Ice cream adverts wind up the nutters

federico salivation advertTwo ice cream adverts, one showing a pregnant nun and the other two male priests about to kiss, are facing a ban by the advertising watchdog after offending Roman Catholics.

Complaints have previously been reported about the slogan immaculately conceived appearing on the image of the nun eating from a pot of Antonio Federici Gelato Italiano.

But now the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) has indicated the image of the nun is likely to be banned.

Meanwhile, the picture of two men in cassocks and clerical collars, embracing with their lips inches apart, bears the words we believe in salivation . The ASA is now investigating this advert too.

British firm Antonio Federici said the adverts celebrated the implied forbidden Italian temptations of the ice cream. Creative director Matt O'Connor said: Only a tiny proportion of those who have seen the ads have made complaints. They seem to be upholding the views of a bigoted minority over the majority.

But retired Catholic bishop John Jukes decried such adverts, saying: They tend to add to the general downgrading and attack on religious opinions and religiously committed people, which is a danger to the welfare of our culture.'

 

31st August   

Virtually Oppressive...

Oman is set to ban VPNs used to avoid state internet censorship
Link Here

Oman flagOman's Telecom Regulation Authority (TRA) has made a call for Public Consultation/Opinion on a regulation to be made a law that will prohibit the use of Virtual Private Networks for individuals in Oman.

The proposed law imposes a fine of 500 Omani Rial (almost 1,300 USD) on individuals and 1,000 Omani Rial on companies without the proper permit.

This new regulation (Arabic) makes it clearly an offense to use VPN at home, and allows it only to private and public institution who have to apply for TRA's approval before using VPN, the TRA also retains to right to object to any grant this approval without provide reasons for this objection.

VPNs are primarily used in Oman to bypass ISP censorship and the prohibition of the use of VOIP. A few also use VPN service to fake their IP location in order to use services offered in a region only (e.g. Hulu).

The regulation defines a VPN as : a private information network for private use made through the use of connections with a public communications network. stated MIL.

Which is a very broad and vague definition encompassing any kind of connection established using even mobile and smart devices with a VPN as a requirement for functionality, which presents the question as of how TRA plans on monitoring whether or not users are transferring data over a VPN.

Additionally that will mean any application that establishes a connection using a VPN will be breaking the law, amongst which is BlackBerry's famous Messenger service.

 

31st August   

Naked Commercialism...

Bare arms and legs inappropriate for Venice square
Link Here

julianne-moore advertA giant billboard showing Julianne Moore, the American actress, unclothed but with her modesty maintained by a Bulgari handbag and a pair of lion cubs has been ruled inappropriate by the guardians of decorum in Venice.

The Bulgari advertisement, which would have been erected in St Mark's Square, had been expected to adorn the magnificent Doge's Palace, which overlooks St Mark's Square and Venice's lagoon.

But it was deemed too risqué by the city's recently elected mayor, Giorgio Orsoni, and will be replaced instead by other images of Miss Moore fully dressed and modelling Bulgari jewellery.

An advertisement showing a nude woman on a divan is not appropriate for St Mark's Square, Orsoni told Italian newspapers.

The city council of Venice has been fiercely criticised for allowing advertisers to put up hoardings over the façade of centuries-old palazzi, but has justified such commercial deals by saying that they bring in desperately needed revenue for restoration and conservation at a time when funds from the Italian government have been cut to the bone.

 

30th August   

Update: Censorship Lottery...

ISP's oppose Lithuanian internet censorship of gambling sites
Link Here

LithuaniaA recent decision made by the Vilnius regional court sees Lithuania being added to the growing list of EU countries that are ordering local internet service providers (ISPs) to censor the internet.

A local agency known as the ISA has issued orders to Lithuanian ISPs demanding that they implement blocks to prevent users from gambling at unlicensed online gambling sites in Lithuania.

Lithuanian ISPs Teo and Bite are calling the filtration methods they are being required to use inefficient , arguing that the only way to truly prevent players from accessing internet gambling sites is to disconnect their internet connections completely.

Similar demands are being made of internet service providers in other European countries, including France, Bulgaria, Sweden, Holland, and Israel. The same technical arguments are being made by ISPs in all countries. They insist that filtering the internet in this way is a technological nightmare, and that there is simply no way to do it properly.

The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has been upholding government gambling monopolies in some EU countries on the grounds that they can help promote responsible gambling, but the court has yet to rule on the practice of censoring the internet.

 

29th August   

Updated: Injunctivitis...

Footballer obtains super injunction preventing publication of private life expose
Link Here  full story: Privacy Injunctions...Celebrity privacy court injuctions increase

Old BaileyAn England footballer has obtained a super-injunction to prevent the media revealing details of his private life.

He obtained the legal order on Friday night after discovering that a Sunday newspaper was planning to publish an expose.

The star is the latest in a string of high-profile figures using Draconian privacy laws to block the media from reporting on matters they would rather keep secret.

The injunction has reignited the row over judges allowing celebrities to restrict the public's right to know the truth.

MPs and civil liberties campaigners have expressed alarm at the ease with which celebrities can obtain orders to gag the press.

Celebrities are increasingly relying on the injunctions to quash negative stories, rather than using the libel courts to challenge them.

The existence of the latest super-injunction - so called because the media are not even allowed to report details of their existence - is in the public domain now only because a newspaper on which it was not served published a report about it.

Update: Playing Around at No 2 for England

20th August 2010. Based on article from dailymail.co.uk

Another England footballer has won a draconian injunction to gag the media from reporting revelations about his private life - the second in a week.

The player, who cannot be named, is a father in a long-term relationship. He won the restrictive order last night banning a woman from publicising personal details about him.

Last night critics said he is part of an increasing trend which allows highly paid sports stars with access to expensive lawyers to exercise legal rights denied to ordinary members of the public.

In addition, the latest example of media censorship will reignite the row over judge-made privacy laws which have never been approved by Parliament. Instead, the orders are based on judges' personal interpretation of human rights laws.

Both orders were granted at the High Court in London by Mr Justice Nicol, on the grounds that the revelations would breach the footballers' right to a private and family life .

Update: Playing Around at No 3 for England

29th August 2010. Based on article from dailymail.co.uk

Another England footballer has won a draconian injunction to gag the media from reporting revelations about his private life - the second in a week.

The gagging order was granted by High Court judge Mr Justice Kenneth Parker to prevent stories of a sexual liaison, encounter or relationship appearing in the media.

The order banned publication of private or personal photographs stored on a mobile telephone. The telephone was later stolen and then offered to national newspapers.

Update: Another

6th February 2011. See article from telegraph.co.uk

Do you know who JIH is? Well, you shouldn't. He is a well-known sportsman who has won an injunction restricting the publication of allegations about his sex life. You cannot be told his name because the Appeal Court has ruled that he should remain anonymous.

The judges decided that, since JIH had previously been the subject of salacious stories about his sex life, were his name known it would be easy to deduce that the new allegations must also be about a sexual relationship, as indeed they are. This appears to suggest that the worse an individual behaves, the greater his chance of securing anonymity.

 

29th August   

Offsite: New Lines to be Drawn...

The BBFC vs A Serbian Film
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

a serbian film posterA Serbian Film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. The BBFC made 49 cuts totalling 3:48s for the 2010 DVD/Blu-ray release. The film was cancelled from a showing at Frightfest

In the past decade, pretty much anything goes down at the BBFC, aka the censors' office. Hostel. Saw. Irreversible. Antichrist. All released, as far as I can tell, uncut.

A refreshing change, finally, for audiences to be treated as adults. Time was, back in the days when professional killjoy James Ferman was in charge, that any remotely interesting movie was cut, banned or otherwise pilloried. Amazingly, as recently as 1996 David Cronenberg's Crash caused such a furore that made the front page of the Daily Mail, while The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (amongst many others) was still persona non grata in British cinemas.

Ancient times. Nowadays, Channel 4 and its spin-offs seems to be showing the early Saw films on constant rotation, and you can go and buy Martyrs in HMV. That's the result, largely, of a more relaxed and circumspect leadership at the BBFC. The vast majority of films are uncut, the current board rightly taking a hands-off view towards anything that doesn't contravene obscenity laws.

Trouble is, taking the stigma out of hardcore horror does tend to leave the genre's extreme wing looking rather toothless. Way back when, getting banned was something of a badge of honour for some directors, proving that their taboo-busting shock tactics worked. These days, Saw is a theme park ride. When the bar has been raised (or, depending on your point of view, lowered), what does it take to get the kind of reaction that once had the tabloids and politicians in apoplexy?

Looks like we've just found out. Srdjan Spasojevic's A Serbian Film has caused outrage and revulsion even amongst hardcore horror fans.

...Read the full article

 

29th August   

Update: Freedom Deteriorating in Thailand...

Media and internet under duress
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

SEAPA logoPress freedom in Thailand, especially for broadcast media such as community radio stations and Web boards, has palpably deteriorated over the past six years, lamented Roby Alampay, outgoing executive director of the Southeast Asean Press Alliance (Seapa).

The Internet over the past six years has played a crucial role in allowing people to debate and air their views, Alampay said, adding that things had become more personal when users began facing censorship, state monitoring and the threat of prosecution over content in their e-mails or social networking sites. Print media fortunately remain very vibrant and free, he added.

Alampay told The Nation that Thais have to be mindful about the growing legal constraints that curb freedom of press and expression.

Six years ago, Thaksin Shinawatra was no friend of the media , but was put in check by the courts, Alampay said. Now, after political and military upheaval, there is Abhisit Vejjajiva.

You have a prime minister who benefited from political and military upheavals, and he says all the right things about press freedom, but in the background, there's a lot of trouble, he said.

For example, he said, the current Computer Crime Act was dangerous because the authorities were exploiting its harsh penalties and weaknesses. Then there's the spate of arrests under the lese majeste law.

When Abhisit first came to power, he told society not to worry about the law , but Alampay said things have turned out to be quite disappointing and unfortunately got worse under the current administration.

 

28th August   

Update: A Dangerous Book...

Flemming Rose to reprint Mohammed cartoons in his book
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

Burning the Danish flagA leading U.S. terrorism expert has warned of renewed tensions between the Muslim world and Denmark in connection with plans by Jyllands-Postens Culture Editor Flemming Rose to release a book in which caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed are reprinted.

In his The tyranny of silence Rose studies the 12 controversial caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, which were first published in Jyllands-Posten in 2005.

If I were him, I would seriously consider the consequences of reprinting the drawings, says U.S. terrorism expert Evan Kohlman, who has worked for the FBI and the U.S. administration on terrorism issues. Kohlman says that while he understands the issue of freedom of speech, every time the drawings are reprinted, there are riots and demonstrations and there will be bloodshed .

The author insisted in an interview with Jylland-Posten competitor Politiken that he was not trying to be provocative, stressing that he simply wanted to tell the story of the 12 drawings and put them into a context of (other) pictures considered offensive.

I am sure that a lot of people don't know what I think of these drawings. My concerted wish is to explain myself. I have nothing but words to do so, but once people have read the book ... maybe they will be able to see the broader context, he said.

The spokesman for the Islamic Society in Denmark Imran Shah says that Flemming Rose is beyond reach and says that Danish Muslims will probably react by shrugging their shoulders.

 

28th August   

Back of Beyond...

A boy's bare back offends Canadian ferry company
Link Here

The Golden Mean ebook A book banned for sale aboard western Canadian ferries because a modestly naked boy adorns the cover has drawn worldwide attention.

Alexander the Great novel gets bum rap in Canada, chortled a headline in a report in the British Guardian about a ban by British Columbia Ferries of The Golden Mean by Canadian author Annabel Lyon.

The ferry service, owned by the government of Canada's westernmost province and connecting Canada's Pacific islands to the mainland, banned the book because the service is a family show and we've got children in our gift shops, spokeswoman Deborah Marshall told the Vancouver Province newspaper. The cover features the nude back of a boy astride a white horse.

Craig Spence, president of the Federation of British Columbia Writers, called the ban an overreaction to a photo that's artistic ... are you going to stop kids from seeing Michelangelo's David?

The kinds of graphic material that kids are exposed to, through advertising and other media all the time, go much farther than that, and they're not in a context that would give it the justification.

 

28th August   

Offsite: A Serbian Film...

Will this new movie kill off torture porn for good?
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

a serbian film posterA Serbian Film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. The BBFC made 49 cuts totalling 3:48s for the 2010 DVD/Blu-ray release. The film was cancelled from a showing at Frightfest

Given the sheer, ruptured-sewage-pipe deluge of gore, mutilation and general unpleasantness that has come to comprise the peculiar sub-genre of horror known as torture porn , it seems hard to believe that it is barely half a decade old. But if we take its birthdate as the US cinematic release of Saw (and not, if we were being pedantic, the 1997 release date of the vastly-superior-in-every-way Canadian mathematical gore-thriller Cube, way too good a film to be credited with any kind of indirect responsibility for the existence of cretinous bilge like Hostel 2), then torture porn will turn six in October. God only knows what might be baked into that birthday cake.

But TP might not even make it that far, as we may be hearing its death knell very soon. Torture porn, at least in the UK, effectively dies at this weekend's Frightfest, or at least reaches a point when it can no longer out-disgust any of its antecedents. And when your sole raison-d'etre is to come up with new and inventive ways to permit living things to die horribly ( Let's drown a man in liquidised pigs! Let's make a man's head explode in a specially rigged microwave oven! Let's throw a cat on to a hard floor covered entirely in acid! Yeah! Let's! ), then you effectively buy the farm; your ability to inspire revulsion has been comprehensively overwhelmed.

...Read the full article

 

28th August   

Updated: Revived Mean Mindedness...

Indonesian Playboy editor still under duress
Link Here  full story: Playboy in Indonesia...Non-nudity playboy offends the extremists

playboy indonesiaThe former editor of Indonesian Playboy could face two years in jail after Indonesian prosecutors said they would enforce a 2009 Supreme Court ruling.

Erwin Arnada was first tried for public indecency in 2007 but was cleared of all charges.

The acquittal was seen as a victory for freedom of the press in Indonesia.

But conservative Islamic groups lodged an appeal with the Supreme Court, which found him guilty of public indecency.

This week, leaders of the Islamic Defenders Front, a hardline Muslim group in Indonesia, announced they had obtained a copy of the Supreme Court's ruling and urged the district attorney's office to enforce it.

A lawyer with the group, told the BBC it was outrageous it had taken Indonesian prosecutors this long to act on a Supreme Court order. He added that members of the Islamic Defenders Front would visit the district attorney general's office on Friday to find out why there had been such a prolonged delay in putting Arnada behind bars.

Meanwhile, Indonesian prosecutors told the BBC they only received the Supreme Court ruling earlier this week. The prosecutor's office issued a summons for Arnada on Wednesday. If he does not appear then two more summons will be issued for him. If he fails to comply with those summons, prosecutors say he will be arrested by force.

Update: Case Review

9th September 2010. Based on article from minivannews.com

The former chief editor of Playboy Indonesia magazine, Erwin Arnada, has asked prosecutors to suspend his prison term in a last ditch effort to annul a court ruling sentencing him to two years in prison for indecency.

Erwin's lawyer, Todung Mulya Lubis, said his client would file a case review against the Supreme Court ruling.

We are going to file our request as soon as possible, probably after the Idul Fitri holidays, he told journalists at the Press Council's office in Jakarta on Monday.

Todung said the Supreme Court justices made a mistake when examining his client's case. The panel of justices should have used the Press Law when examining cases related to the press, not the Criminal Code. This is an egregious mistake, he said.

A case review may take years and does not necessarily suspend the conviction of Erwin, who refuses to come out of hiding.

 

28th August   

Update: Softly Softly...

The impact of Thai film classification after the first year
Link Here

Thai film certificatesThe Thai film classification system has now been running for one year.

Thai movie Namtal Daeng , or Brown Sugar , promises that the story will be about sex, and perhaps love.

Brown Sugar , an ensemble of three erotic tales by twenty-something directors, has passed the rating committee with an 18-plus classification _ and without a cut. In the actual film, yes, you'll see women's nipples, the whenever-wherever seduction, and the simulated love-making.

Two months ago, Sukit Narin released his racy, cleavage-obsessed Pu Ying Ha Babb 2 (Sin Sisters 2). Five women recount their sexual experiences and reveal the upper part of their bodies (some using stand-ins). The film was also passed without a cut, but with a 20-plus classification, which stipulates ID check at the entrance. Sin Sisters 2 was later re-edited to make it milder and was released on VCD and DVD, with an 18-plus rating.

The issue at hand is apparent: Are Thai films ready for sex and explicit titillation? Has the much-derided rating system opened up new possibilities for filmmakers to show things _ and organs _ that couldn't be shown on the big multiplex screen under the old censorship law? Breasts, sure. Penises, yes. Masturbation, why not? People bobbing and moaning, quite okay, too.

Beyond flesh, what about sensitive politics, crooked politicians, bad cops, charlatan monks, southern unrest, Islamic issues, or a cinematic prime minister announcing a State of Emergency _ will those be allowed to show on the big screen as well?

By law, breasts go under the 18-plus category and no ID check is required. Penises, 20-plus. Simulated sex is either 18 or 20, depending on the intensity. But when it comes to violence or disturbing visuals, the rule isn't so clear.

Last year, a Thai independent movie showing clips of the Tak Bai incident was banned from showing at a local film festival. Earlier in 2010, action film Suay Samurai was ordered to cut a scene showing gunmen opening fire into a mosque, or facing a ban. A horror, Haunted Universities , was also instructed to delete a shot alluding to soldiers shooting at students during the Oct 14, 1973 demonstration.

For now, it seems that flesh and passion have found a leeway to the big screen. It's possible now to see local breasts in the multiplex _ it's well known that the censorship has been more lenient with non-Thai nipples.

Without the new rating system, I don't think it would have been possible to make a film like Brown Sugar , said Prachya Pinkaew, advisor of the project: With the old censorship system, the investors didn't dare put the money in a film like this since it could face a ban, and directors didn't want to risk doing a movie that would be cut.

The first Thai film to be slapped with a 20-plus grade was an arthouse drama, Jao Nokkrajok , or Mundane History , earned for a scene showing a naked man trying to arouse his own penis in a bathtub.

If sex has received a green light, the next boundary to push is politics. No matter how conservative Thai authority can seem when it comes to flesh-flashing movies, they can be even more reactionary and paranoid when politics is served up in films. Hardly a Thai picture has touched on the hot waters of politics, despite the fact that this is the period in history where politics is most inseparable from Thai life.

 

28th August   

Searching for Gossip...

Yahoo and Google found not responsible for linked content annoying to celebrities
Link Here

Argentina flagAn appeals court in Argentina has ruled that search engines are not responsible for the content of sites that they index. The court overturned a lower court's ruling against Google and Yahoo! Argentina.

Argentine lawyer Martin Leguizamón Peña was behind 108 court applications that resulted in temporary orders being issued against the search companies in 2008. He told Argentina's News Magazine at the time that he was acting to protect his clients' image rights, privacy and honour.

When the 2008 ruling was issued, Yahoo! blocked all search results for the individuals, replacing them with a notice. An automatic translation of that notice says: Because of a court order sought by private parties, we have been forced to temporarily remove some or all of the search results .

The National Chamber of Civil Appeals has now ruled that search engines become liable for the content of third parties only if they negligently fail to remove content upon being made aware of its illegality.

 

27th August   

A Serbian Film Cleansed...

BBFC make 49 cuts to A Serbian Film
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

a serbian film posterA Serbian Film is a 2010 Serbia adult horror by Srdjan Spasojevic. See IMDb

The BBFC made 49 cuts totalling 3:48s for the 2010 DVD/Blu-ray release.

The BBFC commented:

The BBFC has also required cuts to the DVD submission of A Serbian Film for an ‘18’ rating.  This Serbian language film with subtitles is about a former Serbian porn star, who is lured out of early retirement by an offer of money to participate in an ‘artistic’ porn film for the ‘foreign market’.  When he is forced to participate in abusive activities he tries to pull out but is drugged and is forced to continue with the filming.

The filmmakers have stated that A Serbian Film is intended as an allegory about Serbia itself.  The Board recognises that the images are intended to shock, but the sexual and sexualised violence goes beyond what is acceptable under current BBFC Guidelines at ‘18’.  The Board has therefore required 49 individual cuts to the work amounting to approximately three minutes 48 seconds. These include cuts to the juxtaposition of images of children with sexual and sexually violent material.  Although the Board does not regard these images as likely to contravene the Protection of Children Act 1978, the Guidelines state that intervention is most likely with, amongst other things, ‘ portrayals of children in a sexualised or abusive context’.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC said:

It is the Board’s policy that at the adult category the Guideline concerns will not normally override the principle that adults should be free to choose their own entertainment... However ..there are cases where the Board will intervene, even at ‘18’, where material or treatment appears to the BBFC to pose a credible potential harm risk to individuals or, through their behaviour, to society, and in particular where portrayals of sexual or sexualised violence might eroticise or endorse sexual assault or where children are portrayed in a sexualised context.

The cuts to A Serbian Film do not detract from the message of the film but remove the most problematic images of sexual and sexualised violence.  The section in the Board’s Guidelines which lists the possible grounds for compulsory cuts also includes material which portrays children in a sexualised or abusive context.  Whilst the Board understands that these images are intended to make a political point, that does not remove the genuine harm risks to which they give rise.

Frightfest

Based on article from digitalspy.co.uk

Controversial horror movie A Serbian Film will not be screened at this year's Film4 FrightFest event.

FrightFest co-director Alan Jones said in a statement that the horror event organisers pulled the movie because they did not wish to show a version that had been heavily censored by 49 individual cuts.

Film4 FrightFest has decided not to show A Serbian Film in a heavily cut version because, as a festival with a global integrity, we think a film of this nature should be shown in its entirety as per the director's intention, Jones explained.

Several film festivals across the world have already done so. Unlike the I Spit on Your Grave remake, where we are showing the BBFC certified print, as requested by Westminster Council, the issues and time-line complexities surrounding A Serbian Film make it impossible for us to screen it

A Serbian Film is the second withdrawal from FrightFest following Gregg Araki's decision not to screen his apocalyptic teen horror Kaboom .

 

27th August   

Update: God Damn Censors...

FCC appeals court decision to prevent them censoring fleeting expletives
Link Here  full story: FCC TV Censors...FCC wound up by nudity and fleeting expletives

FCC logoThe Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is appealing a federal court ruling that its indecency policy is unconstitutional, arguing the decision makes it all but impossible for the agency to enforce restrictions on broadcasting nudity or profanity.

The Second Circuit Court of Appeals in New York struck down the FCC's indecency policy last month, calling it a violation of the First Amendment. The court said the rule forces broadcasters to self-censor in order to avoid fines for accidentally broadcasting nudity or profanity.

The FCC filed a petition asking the court to reconsider the decision. The three-judge panel's decision in July raised serious concerns about the Commission's ability to protect children and families from indecent broadcast programming, FCC general counsel Austin Schlick said. The Commission remains committed to empowering parents and protecting children, and looks forward to the court of appeals' further consideration of our arguments.

The matter is expected to eventually reach the Supreme Court, which upheld the FCC's policy last year on procedural grounds but did not address the constitutional arguments.

The case stems from live broadcasts of the Billboard Music Awards in 2002 and 2003, during which musician Cher and reality television performer Nicole Ritchie used unscripted expletives.

The FCC changed its indecency policy in 2004 following a similar incident at the Golden Globes involving U2 lead singer Bono. The agency began to levy record fines against broadcasters for fleeting expletives uttered on live television.

The Commission ruled in 2006 that, under its new policy, both Billboard broadcasts were indecent. Fox, which broadcast the awards shows, responded by appealing that decision. In its appeal Fox was joined by other broadcasters who opposed the FCC's stricter enforcement policies.

The court of appeals initially ruled in favor of the broadcasters, claiming the FCC had failed to properly articulate a reason for the rule changes, but their decision was reversed by the Supreme Court. The court of appeals then ruled in favor of Fox on constitutional grounds, setting the stage for the FCC's latest appeal.

 

27th August   

Update: Constitutional Challenge...

Wikileaks may cause US to reassess balance between free speech and security
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

supreme court logoUS supreme court justice Sonia Sotomayor has said the court is likely to have to rule on the issue of balancing national security and freedom of speech due to WikiLeaks posting a cache of US military records about the Afghan war.

Sotomayor said the incident, which has been condemned by the Pentagon, was likely to provoke legislation in Congress that would require judicial scrutiny.

Her comments came in response to a question about security and free speech by a student at Denver university. The judge said she could not answer because that question is very likely to come before me . She said the incident, and others, are going to provoke legislation that's already being discussed in Congress, and so some of it is going to come up before [the supreme court] .

Sotomayor said the balance between national security and free speech is a constant struggle in this society, between our security needs and our first amendment rights, and one that has existed throughout our history.

 

27th August   

Just Say Now...

Face book bans marijuana leaf from political campaign advert
Link Here

facebook banned advert An ad, which depicted a marijuana leaf, began running on Aug. 7. Just over a week later, Facebook pulled it, saying the image violated its policy against promoting smoking.

Organizers at Just Say Now, a bipartisan coalition fighting to legalize and regulate marijuana just like alcohol, said they spent roughly $5,000 on the ads, which received about 38 million views in the week they ran.

Michael Whitney, the group's online campaign director, said Facebook's move is akin to striking a candidate's face from his posters while he's running for office. Marijuana legalization is on the ballot this November in Arizona, California, Colorado, Oregon and South Dakota.

We are talking about free political speech, Whitney said. We aren't encouraging people to do anything illegal.

Facebook said they have no problem with Just Say Now advertising on its pages as long as it uses a different image, Andrew Noyes, the manager of Facebook's public policy communications, said in an e-mail to The New York Times.

The image of a marijuana leaf is classified with all smoking products and therefore is not acceptable under our policies, he said, adding that Facebook does not permit images of drugs, drug paraphernalia or tobacco in any advertisements.

Just Say Now began its campaign earlier this month, arguing that legalizing marijuana would reduce crime at the border and could yield an additional $40 billion in revenue annually.

Update: Leaf claim just a fig leaf

26th September 2010. See article from fdlaction.firedoglake.com

After the social network banned our ads last month for showing a marijuana leaf, we decided to play by their rules and not show leafs in our ads. So we submitted ads to Facebook for our Just Say now store, but blurred out the pot leafs so you couldn't see the obviously offensive plant leaf.

Not good enough, said Facebook. Even though we complied with Facebook's censorship of pot leafs, all of our ads were rejected. And the rejection came with some blatantly false statements, and a harsh warning.

The content advertised by this ad is restricted per section 5 of Facebook's Advertising Guidelines. We reserve the right to determine what advertising we accept, and will not allow the creation of any further Facebook Ads of this type. Ads for this product, service or site should not be resubmitted.

Facebook is making yet another political decision to ban Just Say Now from advertising our campaign for marijuana legalization on the social networking site.

 

27th August   

Jerk Choices...

Google suddenly restrict Sex Party campaign advert to adults only
Link Here

jerk choices video The Australian Sex Party is up in arms over what it claims as censorship from Google. The company reclassified the party's lampoon advertisement Jerk Choices as Adult Only content in spite the fact that it has already aired on primetime on free to air television.

The campaign, which is meant to highlight wowsers in Australian society, had already appeared on shows such as The 7pm Project and Gruen Nation .

Fiona Patten, the Sex Party's president, says that the advertisement, which had been considered suitable for general release, was suddenly reclassified as Adults Only two days before the election. Patten says that the change hurt the campaign's viewing numbers.

The reclassification was said to have taken the ad out of circulation when advertising for the elections was at its heaviest. Google did not give the party any warning about the reclassification. It also did not tell the political party what measures it can take to have the original rating reinstated.

 

26th August   

Update: BBFC Shears...

BBFC cut make 17 cuts to remake of I Spit on Your Grave
Link Here  full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity

i spit on your grave remakeI Spit on Your Grave is a 2010 US revenge film by Steven R Monroe. See IMDb

The BBFC made 17 cuts totalling 43s for:

  • UK 2010 cinema release.

The BBFC explained their cuts:

  • Company was required to make a total of seventeen cuts during three separate scenes of sexual violence in order to remove potentially harmful material (in this case, shots of nudity that tend to eroticise sexual violence and shots of humiliation that tend to endorse sexual violence by encouraging viewer complicity in sexual humiliation and rape).

The BBFC added:

I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE is a US remake of the 1978 film of the same name. It tells the story of a young woman, Jennifer Hills, who rents a secluded cabin in order to work on her novel. She is terrorised, assaulted and brutally gang raped by a group of five men, including the local Sheriff. She then takes revenge on each of her attackers. The film was classified 18 for very strong terrorisation, sexual violence and bloody violence.

Before awarding an 18 classification to I SPIT ON YOUR GRAVE, the BBFC required seventeen individual cuts to its scenes of sexual violence in order to remove elements that tend to eroticise sexual assault (for example, through the use of nudity), as well as other elements that tend to endorse sexual assault (for example, by encouraging viewer complicity by the use of camcorder footage, filmed by the rapists, during the various scenes of sexual assault). With these cuts made, the film's scenes of very strong terrorisation and sexual violence remain potentially shocking, distressing or offensive to some adult viewers, but are also likely to be found repugnant and to be aversive. They are not credibly likely to encourage imitation. There are three scenes in which Jennifer is terrorised, humiliated and sexually assaulted by the men. She is verbally and physically abused, being forced to drink alcohol, dance in her underwear and behave like an animal. She is also beaten and pushed around by the men. Jennifer is then raped by each of the men in turn, although only two rapes are shown onscreen. In the cut version, the rape scenes feature only incidental nudity and are played largely off facial reactions. Although the scenes of assault are protracted, the most likely response to the cut version of the scenes is revulsion and disgust rather than excitement or arousal.

Frightfest

The cut version of I Spit on your Grave will now be shown at Frightfest in central London as required by the local authority.

 

26th August   

Update: Unchristian Vindictiveness...

Polish nutters push blasphemy prosecution of pop star for minor quip
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Poland...Under duress for minor comments about religion

Diamond Bitch One of Poland's leading pop stars faces trial for suggesting that the Bible was written by people who liked herbal cigarettes and were drunks . Dorota Rabczewska, aka Doda, could face two years in jail over her youthful remarks.

A Warsaw court has cleared the way for criminal proceedings after it rejected an appeal by Doda against attempts to prosecute her for insulting religious feeling.

Doda's troubles relates to comments she made during a television interview in 2009 when she said that she had little faith in the Bible because it is hard to believe in something written by people who liked herbal cigarettes and were drunks .

Rabczewska has argued that her remarks were youthful and off-the-cuff, and that she had never intended to insult religious feelings. She also attempted to argue that she meant medicinal cigarettes.

But the comments riled conservative Catholics in Poland already angered by the singer's willingness to bare all in Playboy, and her raunchy videos.

One of her critics, Stanislaw Kogut, a senator in the Poland's upper house of parliament, called Doda's comments an insult to Christians and Jews , while Ryszard Nowak, the chairman of the Committee for the Defence Against Sects, an ultra-conservative organisation dedicated to upholding Catholic values, appealed against an initial decision by prosecutors to drop the case. His argument that Doda had broken Polish law protecting religious sensibilities and, therefore, her actions merited official investigation triggered legal proceedings against her.

 

26th August   

Updated: PC Extremists...

Whingeing at Afghanistan war game where players can opt to side with the Taliban
Link Here  full story: Medal of Honor...Video game that lets players play the baddies

Medal of Honor PC DVD A new video game that lets players opt to fight alongside Taliban soldiers against the US in Afghanistan has provoked outrage in Australia and abroad.

Medal of Honor , which is due to launch in October, is a multiplayer game based on an elite group of US soldiers sent to apply their unique skill sets to a new enemy in the most unforgiving and hostile battlefield conditions of present day Afghanistan .

But the new title from Electronic Arts has incensed the military community for using an ongoing conflict as a source of entertainment, and allowing gamers to pick which side they want to fight with.

Neil James, executive director of the Australian Defence Association, said: We think it's in very bad taste . . . Australia is at war - not just the defence force - and every citizen has an obligation to not only support the Defence Force but to be sensitive particularly to bereaved families. It's unfortunate that people think they can make money by belittling the sacrifice of others. It's also morally dangerous because it is desensitising people to the moral and strategic issues underlying the war.

Families of US Troops serving overseas have also condemned the new game. Karen Meredith, the mother of a US soldier who died in Iraq, told Fox News: Right now we are going into a really, really bad time in Afghanistan ... this game is going to be released in October so families who are burying their children are going to be seeing this.

Update: Fox chooses to play the bad guys

23rd August 2010. Based on article from guardian.co.uk
See also Liam Fox needs to play more video games from politics.co.uk

liam foxThe UK defence secretary, Liam Fox, has urged shops to ban a computer game where players can act as the Taliban and kill British troops.

Fox said he was disgusted that Medal of Honour allowed people to recreate attacks on Nato forces.

An updated version of the popular game, due to be released in October, is based on the struggle between allied special forces and the Taliban – with players able to choose which side they represent.

A clip on YouTube shows a Taliban soldier fighting in southern Helmand province, where UK forces are based.

Gamers are apparently instructed to stop the coalition at all costs , and receive points for every allied soldier they kill.

It's shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban, said Fox: At the hands of the Taliban, children have lost fathers and wives have lost husbands. I am disgusted and angry. It's hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game. I would urge retailers to show their support for our armed forces and ban this tasteless product.

A spokeswoman for the game's developer, Electronic Arts, told the Sunday Times: The format of the new Medal of Honour game merely reflects the fact that every conflict has two sides.

We give gamers the opportunity to play both sides. Most of us have been doing this since we were seven: someone plays the cop, someone must be robber.

In Medal of Honour multiplayer, someone's got to be the Taliban.

Update: BBFC refutes the need for a ban

24th August 2010. Based on article from gamespot.com

BBFC logo The BBFC has said it is satisfied with Medal of Honor 's 18 rating, ruling out a ban as called for by UK defence secretary Liam Fox.

Sue Clark, head of communications for the BBFC said Medal of Honor is at the lower end of the 18-and-over classification, implying the adult content in the game is not extreme, with the PEGI online classification system covering the multiplayer activity. She added that if Medal of Honor had included British soldiers, it would not have been exceptional. The game does not involve British troops, Clark said, but there are games both in modern and historical settings which do involve British troops.

In a statement responding to Fox's criticism, EA pointed out that the original Sunday Times story in which the comments originated contained significant inaccuracies, including the involvement of British forces. Medal of Honor does not allow players to kill British soldiers. British troops do not feature in the game, EA said. The EA spokesperson said that although Medal of Honor will let players take on the roles of both US forces and the Taliban in multiplayer mode, multiplayer combat often involves players fighting on either side of a conflict. Many popular video games allow players to assume the identity of enemies including Nazis and terrorists.

Offsite: Liam Fox's call for ban on Medal Of Honor is both ill-judged and un-British

26th August 2010. See article from telegraph.co.uk by Nick Cowen

Telegraph logoThe Telegraph hasn't yet received a preview copy of Medal of Honor and as far as I am aware Fox hasn't seen the game either. In a statement released in the wake of Fox's comments, EA pointed to factual inaccuracies in the Sunday Times article over the involvement of British troops. Medal of Honor does not allow players to kill British soldiers, said an EA spokesman. British troops do not feature in the game.

Fox has since defended his position; according to the BBC, he said the fact that players can assume the role of Taliban soldiers in the multiplayer mode is the main issue. But this sort of thing isn't unheard of in FPS multiplayers. If Medal Of Honor is unfit for public consumption on these grounds, then what are we to make of last year's Modern Warfare 2 where the multiplayer mode cast players as South American terrorists and militia members from the army of Ira… sorry, from an un-named Middle Eastern nation. Why has nearly every WWII game with a multiplayer, in which one side of players are Nazi soldiers, been allowed to pass classification from the BBFC without comment? In light of some of these past examples, Fox's call for a ban looks more than a little extreme.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Gamers' Voice writes to Liam Fox MP about Medal of Honor comments

27th August 2010. See article from gamersvoice.org.uk , thanks to mediasnoops.wordpress.com

gamers voice logoWe at Gamers' Voice, the consumer group representing the players of video games in the UK, feel you should reconsider your statement calling for the banning of the upcoming Medal of Honor title, or at the very least properly research the issue before passing judgement on it.

Firstly, Medal of Honor is only a game. The people who play it – who if retailers adhere to proper regulations and BBFC rating will only be adults – aren't going to be playing as the Taliban for any ideological reason.

The fact is in the multiplayer mode of the game, someone is going to have to play the bad guy. Children have been doing it for years with games like Cops & Robbers, and Cowboys and Indians, should these be branded disgusting too?

...Read the full article

Offsite: If Liam Fox can rant over a videogame it's no wonder we're losing the war

31st August 2010. See article from guardian.co.uk by Marina Hyde

The GuardianThey said it couldn't be done. But in Liam Fox have we finally found the defence secretary to make Geoff Hoon resemble Churchill? A walking Daily Express leader column, Dr Fox appears to have surpassed even his own exacting standards of idiocy this week, by calling for a forthcoming video game set in Afghanistan to be banned.

Though the latest Medal of Honor is essentially a first-person shooter following US troops as they seek to crush the Taliban, players can take the role of the enemy in its multiplayer mode. It's shocking that someone would think it acceptable to recreate the acts of the Taliban, Fox fumed showily. I am disgusted and angry. It's hard to believe any citizen of our country would wish to buy such a thoroughly un-British game.

The response from the game's manufacturer is pityingly understated. Most of us have been doing this since we were seven, it runs. Someone plays the cop, someone must be the robber. In Medal of Honor multiplayer, someone must be the Taliban.

It's vaguely troubling, isn't it, that the press officer for a games company has an infinitely more rational take on the Afghan war than the secretary of state for defence.

...Read the full article

 

26th August   

Update: Man Overboard!...

Pirate Party UK leader jumps ship
Link Here  full story: Pirate Party...The Pirate Party starts up arund the world

Pirate Party UK Andrew Robinson has resigned from his position as the leader of the UK's Pirate Party, slightly over a year since the party was founded and in the wake of relatively weak results in 2010's general election.

He made the announcement in a blog post listing the achievements of the party over the last year, including an invitation from OfCom to work with them on the implementation of the Digital Economy Act, and formation of a political party from what began as a subforum of Pirate Party International's messageboards.

The party stands for three main issues: significant reform of copyright and patent law including the legalisation of non-commercial filesharing, increased privacy and reduced surveillance from both the government and businesses, and a guarantee of free speech for everyone.

In a blog post, Robinson said: When the party started out we needed someone who was prepared to do everything that wasn't being done by someone else, and to be a peacemaker between different internal factions. Now we need a leader who can consolidate on the work we've done so far, and do a job that involves a lot more dealing with the media and talking to the membership on the forums, and a lot less time smoothing out internal management issues, designing adverts, sourcing suppliers and so on.

The party has now opened up nominations for the position on its messageboard.

 

25th August   

Update: Opposite to Freedom...

Iran bans mention of opposition leaders in the press
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Iran...As if there were any

Iran flagIranian newspapers have been banned from publishing the names or photos of the leaders of Iran's green movement, according to a confidential governmental ruling revealed by an opposition website.

The ruling, issued by Iran's ministry of culture and Islamic guidance on 18 August, was stamped top secret and urgent . It was addressed to the editors of newspapers and news agencies in Iran, and bans them from publishing any news about the defeated presidential candidates in last summer's disputed election and current opposition leaders, Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, and the former reformist president, Mohammad Khatami.

The opposition website irangreenvoice.com has published a copy of the letter, which reads: Keeping the society and the public opinion calm is the main responsibility of the media. Security officials have considerations about publishing news, photos and speeches of Mr Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Mohammad Khatami, therefore according to the clause 2 of the article 5 of the press code publishing news, photos and reports about the these people are prohibited.

An Iranian journalist who works for a government paper, and asked not to be identified, told the Guardian: Soon after the election last year, those papers which insisted on publishing news or reports about the opposition leaders were all closed down , so after a while an unwritten ruling overshadowed the media in Iran. Self-censorship meant no journalist even dared to utter the names of the opposition leaders to their editors, let alone publishing any news about them.

Last week, Iran also closed down Asia, a financial newspaper and suspended the permission for publication of two magazines, Sepidar and Parastoo. Since the disputed election in June, Iran has shut eight newspapers, including Etemaad, Iran's most prominent reformist paper, and has imprisoned more than 100 journalists and bloggers. Almost all opposition newspapers are closed down and access to their websites is blocked.

 

25th August   

Claiming Victim Rights over TV Crime Show...

Law and Order features crime with echoes of Bulger murder
Link Here

Law Order UK 2 DVD A TV show featuring CCTV footage showing two teenage killers leading a little boy to his death has upset the family of James Bulger.

The fictional footage appears in an upcoming episode of Law and Order: UK and bears a similarity to the horrific killing of James at the hands of ten-year-old boys Jon Venables and Robert Thompson.

The programme features CCTV footage of two girls aged 13 and ten leading a boy by the hand, before strangling him to death and leaving their initials on his chest.

James' mother Denise Fergus demanded the programme be taken off air and said it was too similar to the 1993 murder of her son: It's virtually a direct copy-cat of what happened to James, she told The Sun: I'm certain they knew it would rub salt in the wounds for me and my family. They seem to think they can treat James as public property.

ITV denied the drama was in any way linked to the Bulger case, and a spokesman said it was in fact 'loosely based on the sory of Mary Bell, who killed two boys in 1968.

 

25th August   

Update: Smoked Out...

Campaigners herald smoking contribution to MPAA ratings for drop in movie smoking
Link Here  full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films

cdc logoThe US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDCP) has announced that scenes of smoking in high-grossing films fell to 1,935 incidents last year, down 49% from the recent peak of 3,967 in 2005.

This may in part be the result of a change in 2007 that includes smoking incidence in MPAA ratings, following four years of requests from state attorneys general and other groups. The MPAA has refused, however, to make smoking an automatic R-rating, even with an exclusion for historical accuracy in films like Good Night and Good Luck .

A significant factor in reduced smoking onscreen may also be pressure from websites that specifically review smoking in movies. Smoke Free Movies, a project of Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, has a directory of actors with more than three smoking roles. Scene Smoking from Breathe California of Sacramento-Emigrant Trails, shows how smoking is shown in films, classifying it by whether it is the lead actor, a credited non-star, or an extra, whether the brand is shown, and whether the smoker is a good guy or a bad guy.

 

24th August   

Update: Cinema only Fit for Kids...

China ends debate about introducing age classification for movies
Link Here  full story: Film Censorship in China...All Chinese films censored to be suitable for kids

SARFT logo

China's film censor, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, said that an ongoing debate about a film classification system must end now and that China had no plans to introduce such a system as it was inappropriate.

We did a lot of investigation and research in both the overseas and domestic market, but decided that the movie classification system is not appropriate for the Chinese movie market currently, said Zhao Shi, vice minister of SARFT.

China is developing its own way to maintain the management of the movie market in a legal, scientific and effective way, and this 'own way' would be more suitable for China's domestic conditions and the reform of China's movie business, she said.

Many in the film business had hoped that a film classification system would be introduced as it would diminish  the need for censorship.

As it stands in China, all films have to be cut so as to be suitable for all ages.

The censorship process also takes a long time giving pirates ample time to flood the market with good DVD copies of the movie for impatient filmgoers.

 

24th August   

Update: R Words...

Jennifer Anniston movie bombs over R word gaff or was it the Rubbish Reviews?
Link Here  full story: The R Word...Campaign against the word 'retard'

Switch DVD Jennifer Aniston Earlier this week Jennifer Aniston came under fire for comments during an appearance on Regis and Kelly. While a guest on the morning show, Aniston made the comment comparing herself to a retard, saying, Yeah, I got to play dress up . I do it for a living, like a retard.

The fallout from the incident was immediate with disability groups calling her choice of words inappropriate and offensive.

In a statement released to TV Guide, a representative for the Special Olympics commented, The Special Olympics is always disappointed when the R-word is used, especially by someone who is influential to society. The pervasive use of the R-word, even in an off the cuff self-deprecating manner, dehumanizes people with intellectual disabilities and perpetuates painful stereotypes that are a great source of suffering and negative stigma.

The bad press did nothing to help Aniston's new film, The Switch which she was on the show to promote in the first place.

The Switch a romantic comedy starting Aniston and Jason Bateman bombed at the box office this weekend, grossing just $8.1 million. So did Aniston's talk show gaffe tank the film? The low box office is definitely due in part to some tepid reviews and stiff weekend competition. However, one can't help but question whether her comment had an effect as well.

 

24th August   

Piddling Minor Obscenities...

Kiss on the shoulder is considered obscene in India
Link Here

badmarshTwo Telugu movies in Andhra Pradesh are facing the wrath of police in the Vijayanagaram district. The police in that region have filed cases against the exhibitors of Jhummandhi Nadham and Badmash for displaying obscenities in the posters of these movies.

The images in question are those of a kissing scene in Jhummandhi Nadham poster and a young boy urinating in the poster of Badmash .

The producers of the movie have supposedly designed and printed the posters of the movie. The posters were required to get certification from the censor authorities before getting displayed.

If the censor authorities have passed the posters then how come the police is targeting only the exhibitors, keeping the producers and censor board safe from the charges of disseminating obscenity?

 

23rd August   

Competition: The Last Seven...

3 copies to be given away to readers of Melon Farmers
Link Here

The Last Seven The Last Seven

Seven Survivors. One Killer. The hunt is on

The Give Away:

Just email Dave at webmaster@melonfarmers.com by midday on 30th August 2010.

Mention The Last Seven and I will enter you in a draw for the three region 2 DVDs available to Melon Farmers readers.

Only one entry per reader and you must be at least 18 years old to enter. 

The Movie:

The Last Seven

DVD Release date: 30th August 2010 Running time: 84 minutes
DVD RRP: £15.99
Cert: 18

Dead Man Running 's Tamer Hassan and Danny Dyer explosively reunite for this taut action-thriller in which a cataclysmic event has left London deserted and under the thrall of a sinister presence.

When William (Simon Phillips) regains consciousness he finds himself confused and alone in an empty London street. As he explores the area, he discovers that not only are all the people missing but so are his memories.

A chance encounter teams him up with six other lost souls, led by soldier Jack (Hassan), who are all haunted by fractured memories of a devastating event. After a terrifying attack on one of them, Jack realises they are not the only survivors and the race is on to escape the capital and the darkness that stalks its desolate streets.

DVD Extras:

  • The Making of THE LAST SEVEN
  • Trailer

The Winners :

Chris, David & Richard

 

23rd August   

Major Minor Sex Party...

Sex Party make a decent show in Australian elections
Link Here

Australian Sex PartyIn its first federal election, the Australian Sex Party has laid claim to the major minor party status in Australian politics.

Outside of Coalition, Labor and Greens parties, the Sex Party is fighting neck and neck with Family First for fourth place in the national Senate vote, without even standing candidates in either the ACT or Tasmania.

In Victoria, the party is level pegging and vying with the DLP for the last Senate seat, in the NT it has received more than 4% of the vote and nationally, Sex Party preferences have significantly boosted the Greens vote.

In the six House of Representatives seats that the Sex Party contested, it came fourth in all but one, beating Family First in all.

Party President, Fiona Patten, said the Sex Party welcomed a hung parliament: Suddenly the smaller members of the parliament have become the big boys and are worthy of courting.

Ms Patten said that the major minor party status had been achieved on the smell of an oily rag. We had our name, our policies and a handful of hardworking volunteers , she said. We had no momentum from previous elections, virtually no funds for advertising, virgin candidates and the ability to hand out how to vote cards at only two per cent of polling booths around the country. Its been a remarkable effort really .

She said that from today, she would start looking for candidates to contest every House of Reps seat and the Senate in all states for the next federal election. We're off and running from a standing start and we'll shake things up a bit before the next federal election comes around , she said.

 

23rd August   

Nutters Freaked Out...

Mediawatch-UK have a whinge at Beauty and the Beast
Link Here

channel 4 logoChannel 4 is creating a reality show that will see two people, one attractive and the other physically disfigured, share a house.

Beauty and the Beast intends to expose the different ways in which they are treated because of their appearance. In each episode a different pair will be followed by the cameras. The show will follow them at home and when they are out and about.

Vivienne Pattison, the director of the nutter group MediaWatch, said: It sounds like an extraordinary freak show and Channel 4 pledged an end to this kind of voyeuristic programming when they announced the end of Big Brother. She said putting a disfigured person in a mirrored house in the name of entertainment was not healthy .

But the six-part series is being made with the co-operation of disfigurement charity Changing Faces. The programme makers are understood to be in talks with a number of high-profile people who have suffered some form of disfigurement to take part and discuss the issues faced.

 

23rd August   

Blaming the Lads...

Columbian senator proposes a ban on mildly pornographic magazine covers
Link Here

Columbia flagA proposal to restrict the publication of sexually provocative images in the Colombian media is drawing criticism, with opponents labeling the initiative a threat to freedom of the press.

Partido de la U Senator Claudia Wilches, who presented the bill to Congress, argued for controls on the publication of mildly pornographic images.

Wilches defended her initiative from the avalanche of criticism, saying the project seeks to protect minors from the images on the covers [of magazines]. In no way do we want to interfere with the content inside. We are talking about the placement of magazines that have content that may be harmful to children, so that they are protected.

 

23rd August   

Sensitive Economics...

The Economist held by Sri Lanka customs
Link Here  full story: The Economist...Magazine reports wind up sensitive countries

economist aug 2010 The latest edition of the London-based The Economist magazine which contained an article on Sri Lanka post-war recovery titled Rebuilding, but at a cost. was detained by the Sri Lanka Customs, according to its local distributor Vijitha Yapa.

He told the Sunday Times the copies of the latest issue arrived on Friday from Singapore but Customs officers detained them saying it would be released only after clearance from authorities was obtained.

Lakshman Hulugalle, Director General of the Media Centre for National Security (MCNS) said last night that he knew about the detention but no copy had been sent to him for scrutiny.

The article in The Economist refers to the manner in which land has been distributed in the east for tourism development and to build plush hotels. It also quotes a soldier who complains that he is forced to salute the likes of Vinyagamoorthy Muralithran, a former LTTE leader who is now the deputy minister of resettlement, whereas war heroes like the former army commander Sarath Fonseka, languish in jail.

 

22nd August   

Update: Cartoon Freedom...

Easy offence trumps freedom of speech in the Netherlands
Link Here

NetherlandsA Dutch appeals court has fined an Arab organisation in the Netherlands 2,500 euros for causing unnecessary offence in publishing a Holocaust-denying cartoon.

The Holocaust is a black page in the history of humanity, the appeals court in Arnhem in the eastern Netherlands said in a statement: The suggestion that it may have been contrived or exaggerated by victims is extraordinarily offensive for the victims and their surviving relatives, in this case the Jews.

The Dutch leg of the Arab European League (AEL) re-published the cartoon on its website last year, saying it wanted to point out double standards in society.

In April, a court acquitted the AEL of insulting Jews by publishing the cartoon, which depicts the Nazi Holocaust as a figment of Jewish imagination.

But appeals judges agreed with prosecutors that the cartoon was more offensive than could be justified by the debate.

 

22nd August   

Caste Out...

Indian film banned for depicting historical struggle
Link Here

nelluThe Regional office of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) has refused to certify a Tamil Film Nellu to screen in public, alleging it was loosely based on the Kizhvenmani Masscare.

Nellu , the film on the struggle of farmers, was not given censor certification saying that it explicitly dealt with caste conflicts. Also, the climax portions were said to be portraying lower castes as humiliated and tortured people.

The film will now have to be certified after a review by a Revising Committee in Mumbai with more members, not exceeding 10.

Nellu , directed by M Sivashankar deals with a sensitive theme connected to the Kizhvenmani Massacre in which 44 agricultural laborers were burnt to death by local landlords for seeking higher wages in Tamil Nadu. The massacre took place on December 25, 1968, and shook the country.

The CBFC in 2009 permitted the release of Thambivudayaan, a film based on Cauvery water dispute, only after all mentions about the river were removed.

The director of the film Nellu, M. Sivashankar, and producer AM. Karthikeyan are perturbed because the Censor Board wanted them to chop off a scene that is based on a real-life incident that took place decades ago. The film has a scene in which scores of agricultural laborers, including women and children, are burnt alive for demanding a wage hike. This is based on the incident that happened in Kizhvenmani village in Thanjavur.

Update: Peepli Live

23rd August 2010. See article from entertainment.oneindia.in

Aamir Kahn's latest home production Peepli Live is in the storm of a few controversies.

A few farmers' families in Vidarbha have been demanding a ban on the film for not depicting the farmers' plight in a 'correct' way. Besides this, a hand pump being referred to as Lal Bahadur (an obvious reference to our late Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri) has also not gone down well with two advisory panel members of the CBFC taking objection. In addition to these, some members of the media have not liked the way their fraternity has been portrayed in the film.

But the film continues its dream run at the Box Office despite these controversies.

 

22nd August   

Media Wars...

Argentina closes ISP wing of embattled media company
Link Here

Argentina flagArgentina's government has ordered the country's largest media organisation and a leading critic of its policies to shut down its internet service provider on Thursday. The move is the latest confrontation in a long-running battle between the two sides and one of a series of moves by populist governments against media organisation in the region.

The government in Buenos Aires claimed that the Clarín media group's announcement of a merger between its internet service provider Fibertel and cable television arm Cablevisión usurped the terms of its contract and that it was operating illegally.

In a statement published in several newspapers yesterday, Clarín denounced the move as illegal and arbitrary and part of an ever more totalitarian escalation of actions by the government.

The Clarín group's confrontation with the government of President Cristina Kirchner dates back to 2008 when it supported protests by farmers against a government plan to raise tariffs on grain exports, which was eventually defeated in the senate.

Since then, Mrs Kirchner and her husband, former president Nestor Kirchner, have fought a relentless campaign against Clarín, which the group says amounts to an attack on freedom of expression.

 

21st August   

More Lethal...

BBFC cuts waived for an up coming Blu-ray release of Lethal Weapon 2
Link Here

Lethal Weapon 2 DVD cover L ethal Weapon 2 is a 1989 US police film by Richard Donner. See IMDb

The Theatrical Version has now been passed 15 with cuts waived for:

  • UK 2010 Warner Online
  • UK 2010 Warner video

All previous DVD/VHS releases have been 18 rated and cut as follows:

  • A scene has been removed soon after Mel Gibson sees the body of Patsy Kensit in which he kills two guards. The first one is beaten with a chain and the second has his head rammed in a car door (a definite BBFC no-no).
  • There is also a cut close-up of a bad guy being shot during a shortened climatic scene. Multiple shots were reduced to just one.

 

21st August   

Tony Blair's Memoirs...

Freedom of speech even for a nutter warmonger
Link Here

Journey Tony Blair Calls for Waterstone's to cancel a book signing by Tony Blair have been met with a Voltaire response counter-call.

Iain Banks, AL Kennedy, Moazzem Begg, Andrew Burgin, Ben Griffin, Lindsey German, Dr Felicity Arbuthnot, Tanya Tier, John Pilger, Michael Nyman, Andrew Murray wrote to the Guardian

We urge Waterstone's to reconsider its decision to host a book-signing on 8 September for Tony Blair to launch the publication of his memoirs. We believe this event will be deeply offensive to most people in Britain. A large majority of the British public say Mr Blair told lies and fabricated evidence to take Britain into a war with Iraq that he knew to be illegal under international law. According to a recent poll, 25% believe Mr Blair should be indicted for war crimes.

In April 2002, Mr Blair gave a secret commitment to George Bush that Britain would join the US in an attack on Iraq, as has been revealed by leaked documents and witness statements to the Iraq inquiry. He then deceived parliament and the country to achieve this. The consequences for the Iraqi people has been hundreds of thousands of killed, 4 million more driven from their homes and the destruction of their country. In Britain, this illegal war was a prime motivation for the perpetrators of the London bombing atrocities on 7 July 2005, as confirmed by Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of the British secret service, in her evidence to the Chilcot committee. We believe Waterstone's will seriously harm its own reputation as a respectable bookseller by helping him promote his book.

In today's Guardian, Index editor Jo Glanville, Article 19 trustee Dr Evan Harris and Jonathan Heawood, director, English PEN responded.

We respect the writers of yesterday's letter (18 August) and share their view on the illegality of the Iraq war and Tony Blair's nefarious role in engineering this country's participation in it. But we can not share their call for Waterstone's to desist from promoting it on the grounds that the event will be deeply offensive to most people in Britain , even if that were the case.

When it comes to literature, drama, journalism, artistic expression and scientific publication we must be consistent in our support for free speech. How can we defend the right of the Birmingham Repertory to put on and advertise a play like Behzti, despite it being deemed offensive to some Sikhs, and then call on a bookseller not to promote one of its books – or a library not to stock it — on the grounds of offence? The answer, in a liberal society, is to not read the book if it offends you, and to not buy a copy if you don't wish royalties to go to the author.

While Iain Banks and colleagues say Waterstone's will seriously harm its own reputation as a respectable bookseller by helping him [Blair] promote his book , we think its reputation would now be harmed by caving in to this sort of pressure.

 

21st August   

Updated: Crime Solved...

Venezuela bans newspaper images of violent crime in run up to election
Link Here

Venezuela flagVenezuela has banned its press from publishing graphic images of crime and violence for one month, fuelling a row over censorship in the runup to elections.

A court has imposed the temporary order on print media, citing a supposed need to protect the psychic and moral integrity of children and adolescents . The ruling said: For the next four weeks, no newspaper, magazine or weekly of the country can publish images that are violent, bloody, grotesque, whether about crime or not.

El Nacional, the paper newspaper which triggered the row last week by publishing an image of a Caracas morgue stacked with bodies, today ran blank spaces with the word censored in place of photos, a protest tactic used during the 1950s dictatorship. Its editor, Miguel Henrique Otero, accused President Hugo Chávez's government of trying to cover up a violent crime epidemic to avert a voter backlash in next month's legislative election, saying: This doesn't have anything to do with … protecting children and juveniles. It's political.

Government officials said media opponents were using gutter press tactics to sensationalise crime, sell newspapers and damage the country's socialist revolution. El Nacional, one of Venezuela's oldest papers, had degenerated , said Gabriela Ramírez, the media ombudsman. It may be fined the equivalent of 2% of it annual revenue. Other newspapers which republished the photo – a macabre tableau of about a dozen corpses slumped on trollies – may also be fined.

Update: Quashed

21st August 2010. Based on article from google.com

Venezuelan authorities hastily quashed a ban on newspapers printing violent images after a firestorm of criticism from media outlets, rights groups and UN officials who branded it censorship.

The announcement by the legal director of the public defender's office, Larry Davoe, reversed a court order this week imposing a month-long prohibition on violent, bloody or grotesque images in all of Venezuela's press.

Newspapers had reacted to the ban by printing blank spaces in place of photos with the word censorship in them, a term also used by the French-based media rights group Reporters Without Borders and a UN rapporteur tasked with press freedom issues.

The public defender's office said that, while the general ban had been lifted, temporary photo prohibitions remained in place against El Nacional and Tal Cual.

It also cautioned all publications against printing images unsuitable for children and adolescents.

 

21st August   

Update: Cod Psychology...

Pornography and sexualisation cause aggression in some women
Link Here  full story: Sexualisation...Sexualisation as reported by Linda Papadopoulos

Living Dolls Return Natasha Walter Two authors are campaigning for a change in the law to stop the pornification of society which they claim promotes violence against women.

Kat Banyard, who wrote The Equality Illusion , told the Edinburgh International Book Festival mass pornography will have a corrosive impact for years to come.

She said: All the research shows that watching pornography leads to - as you would expect - an increase of attitudes which support violence against women and aggressive behaviour.

Huge numbers of young boys and men are sitting watching, and getting positive powerful experiences of watching women being physically abused.

There is a massive problem - we are nowhere near tackling it.

She said an internet search using the term porn brings up 193 million results, most of which link to sites with aggressive and violent images: We have never had pornography or sexual exploitation on this scale. The effects are untold but we are likely to see them played out over the next few decades, she said.

Natasha Walter, whose most recent book is Living Dolls: The Return of Sexism , told the festival even primary school children are being damaged by our hypersexual society. Up to 90% of teenage boys admit to watching hardcore porn, according to surveys. Walter said, if boys did not, they were regarded as odd.

Women and girls are also psychologically harmed by these degrading images, she continued: Women believe that to be successful they have to fit into a very narrow view of what female sexuality should look like.

 

21st August   

First to Fail...

Australian nutter party on the brink of collapse
Link Here

steve fieldingFamily First which made a splash in Australian politics six years ago, grabbing a key Senate seat and direct access to the Prime Minister's office, appears to be on the brink of political collapse.

Its federal campaign is in chaos with a dumped candidate who supports gay marriage, a Twitter scandal and an alleged flirtation with the Australian Sex Party threatening the standing of the standard bearer of the religious right and its backing by well-financed evangelical churches.

Family First is struggling to repeat its success of 2004. That year, the party's federal branch raked in more than $1.6 million in donations and loans, but by June last year it was mired in more than $200,000 of debt, according to its financial statements.

South Australian church figure Peter Harris, Family First's one-time figurehead and financial backer, is facing financial woes after the collapse of his private company  last year.

The deep pockets and political ambition of chairman and South Australian Senate candidate Bob Day, a residential property tycoon, may yet save Family First from financial collapse though.

But Family First is set to lose its one Victorian Senate seat , with Labor declining to repeat its 2004 tactic of preferencing Family First ahead of the Greens, a move which gifted Steve Fielding the state's final Senate spot.

Day is rated only a slim chance to win a seat in South Australia. In other seats, Family First candidates have reportedly refused to campaign at all, but will turn out on election day to man the booths.

 

21st August   

Radioactive Censorship...

Russia censors information about forest fires around Chernobyl
Link Here

Russia flagThe website of the Russian Centre for the Protection of Forestry (Roslesozashchita) has been blocked since 13 August after it contradicted the official government line that brush fires had not reached areas contaminated by the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

The agency said fires were reported in the Bryansk region bordering Belarus and Ukraine, where radioactive residue covers large areas.

Officials seem reluctant to comment on the radioactive threat, despite warnings from Greenpeace Russia. Reporters Without Borders (RSF) suggest the website may have been blocked because the information posted was embarrassing for the government rather than incorrect.

 

21st August   

Leaf Censorship...

Canadian theme park objected to Bob Marley t-shirt
Link Here

bob marley leavesA man plans to file a human-rights complaint against an amusement park after security guards told him to cover up his Bob Marley T-shirt or leave the premises.

Montreal's La Ronde has a problem with the shirt's cluster of green, marijuana-shaped leaves surrounding Bob Marley's portrait.

La Ronde security guards approached Brunaud Moise earlier this month and ordered him to turn the white T-shirt inside out.

Moise is seeking moral and punitive damages from the Six Flags-owned park, as well as reimbursement for two entry tickets and a public apology for himself, his brother and Marley's family.

The onus is on Six Flags to explain to me, the Marley family, fans of Bob Marley around the world, how this T-shirt is deemed 'inappropriate' to ordinary families, Moise said in a statement.

La Ronde says on its website it strictly enforces a dress code that states clothing with rude, vulgar or offensive language and graphics are not permitted at any time.

 

20th August   

Blockheads...

Whinges at Danish art using Duplo to depict gay sex
Link Here

hitler by svend ahnstrom Employees at Roskilde Town Hall are in uproar over a picture showing two Duplo figures having gay sex and want the work removed from the building.

Administrators at the town hall have received at least three internal complaints over the piece by artist Svend Ahnstrøm, which depicts the characters Kurt and Anders smiling as they enjoy themselves in a public park.

Ahnstrøm's exhibition is being displayed in the building by the local art association, and in addition to the gay sex piece, features Duplo depictions of Hitler, Saddam Hussein and Osama Bin Laden.

But Henrik Kolind, spokeman for Roskilde Council, said the administration would not take the picture down because it is the art association that determines which works are displayed: We have freedom of expression in Denmark, and the association asked for my approval of the exhibition and got i t.

As for Ahnstrøm himself, he said he did not expect the works to cause such controversy. He added that he did not think the same objections would be voiced if the piece featured a man and a woman having sex: It's hard to believe that something like this can offend people in today's Denmark .

 

20th August   

Update: Realistic Compromise...

Major ISPs will implement minimal website filter hopefully reducing the need for wider government censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship

Telstra logoAustralian ISPs Telstra and Optus will impose a filter on child abuse websites for all internet subscribers from halfway through 2011.

The filter will apply to the 450 child abuse websites identified by the Classification Board in a list maintained by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). The filter will not apply to all refused classification (RC) material, as originally intended under the Labor party's filter proposal.

Under the plans users won't get a say as to whether the filter will be applied to them, nor will there be an opt-in or opt-out exclusion to it.

Like Labor's proposal, however, the filter will only block offending material travelling over standard web protocols such as HTTP. Other traffic from FTP sites, email as well as peer-to-peer networks such as BitTorrent will not be stopped.

 

20th August   

Update: Intrigue...

Wikileaks publishes encrypted file for insurance against prosecution
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Wikileaks A novel use of encryption by whistle-blowing website Wikileaks could challenge the legal system for years to come, according to an influential observer of the hacking community.

Emmanuel Goldstein, editor of 2600 The Hacker Quarterly magazine, made his comments in reference to an encrypted file recently posted on the Wikileaks site.

Some suspect the file - as yet unopened - contains further sensitive material. It has been reposted around the web and is available for anyone to download.

Wikileaks recently published 76,000 secret US military logs detailing military actions in Afghanistan; an act the US authorities described as highly irresponsible. The website now says it will release 15,000 further sensitive documents, once it has completed a review aimed at minimising the risk that the release could put people's lives in danger.

The release of the logs has led many to wonder what action the US might take against Wikileaks. Now it seems the site may be using encryption as insurance against legal and other threats to the information it holds.

The insurance.aes256 file has been posted alongside the already published leaked war logs and can be downloaded by anyone. Leaked video of July 2007 helicopter attack in Baghdad Some have speculated that the insurance file is another video

From the file name, it is believed that it has been encrypted using the AES256 algorithm - described as extremely strong by Professor Whitfield Diffie, of the Information Security Group at Royal Holloway University, London. Prof Diffie believes that AES256, which he says has been extensively studied could prove too tough even for US intelligence agencies to break.

While no-one knows what the insurance file contains, this has not prevented the contents becoming a matter of considerable speculation. Some suspect that the file contains a further leaked US military video, others that it is another tranche of US military logs - perhaps this time from Iraq. Or it could just be an imaginative bluff.

 

20th August   

The Talisman of the Seven Suckers...

ASA rebukes nonsensical claims about a magic talisman
Link Here

talisman of the 7 angels advertA magazine ad, for The Circle of Raphael (COR), was headed THE TALISMAN OF THE SEVEN ANGELS CREATED TO BRING IT'S OWNER ANGELIC BLESSINGS, GUIDANCE & PEACE . Text stated ... [The Angels] promised they would view its wearing as an invitation to befriend its owner and bless them with the gift of Angelic good fortune, friendship, guidance and divine protection from all real danger, both physical and spiritual ... This incredible Angelic item has proved it can create fantastic results for its owners instantly ... From the moment you receive it, you will have seven Angelic friends watching over and protecting your life. Numerous doors to opportunities and good fortune that you may have once thought were out of your reach will be flung open - like magic ... Each angel will bless its owner with the following ... The gift of inner peace and happiness ... Divine protection and safety in all travel ... Luck in love and relationships ... Financial security and good health ... Protection from all acts of violence ... Good fortune in games of chance ... Angelic help in career and work matters ... [wearers] will also see their whole life significantly changed for the better in the flash of an eye ....

A reader challenged whether the claims that the talisman would protect the wearer from physical danger, bring luck in love and relationships, financial security, good health and happiness, good fortune in games of chance and help in career and work matters were misleading and could be substantiated.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted CoR did not send evidence that showed the efficacy of the talisman. We reminded them that the CAP Code required them to hold documentary evidence to support the claims made in their advertising. Because we had not seen evidence that demonstrated that the talisman would protect wearers from physical danger, bring luck in love and relationships, financial security, good health and happiness, good fortune in games of chance and help in career and work, we concluded that the claims had not been substantiated and the ad was therefore misleading.

 

20th August   

Update: 110,000 Websites Blocked...

Thailand becoming one of the least free states in the region
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

wsj logoCriticism over Thailand's efforts to curb political debate online is mounting as the government restricts thousands of websites following deadly protest clashes earlier this year.

Thai authorities say they have blocked at least 40,000 Web pages this year, according to the government's Ministry of Information and Communication Technology, which monitors the Internet. Free-speech activists say authorities are blocking at least 110,000 sites, based on government disclosures and spot checks online.

Many of the sites feature criticism of the government or debates about Thailand's revered monarchy, a taboo subject here. As a result, some advocates say Thailand—long seen as a relative haven of free speech in Asia—is becoming one of the least-free states in a region that includes China and Myanmar, when it comes to discourse online

...Read the full article

Update: Wikileaks Blocked

20th August 2010. Based on article from google.com

Thai authorities have used their emergency powers to block domestic access to the WikiLeaks whistleblower website on security grounds, a government official said Wednesday.

The order came from the government unit set up to oversee the response to political unrest that rocked the nation's capital earlier this year, a spokeswoman for the Information and Communication Technology Ministry said.

Access to this website has been temporarily suspended under the 2005 emergency decree, she said.

Notes

The Wikileaks block has yet to filter through, and for the moment, Wikileaks continues to be available to some in Thailand.

There is speculation that this action is more about toadying to the US who are pissed off about the Afghan War leaks.

WikiLeaks has launched ThaiLeaks, a web page of downloadable ‘magnet links’ to Thailand news items. The whistleblower announced the launch of the new page today on Twitter. It said even if the new page is blocked citizens will still be able to access information through the links which can be sent in e-mails, instant messages, even printed on paper, in order to keep information flowing.

 

19th August   

Repeat Whinges...

TV standards have been falling every year since broadcasting began
Link Here

Ofcom logoMore than half of older viewers believe television has deteriorated in the past year because of the soaring number of repeats, bad language and violence.

TV censor Ofcom found that 53% of over-65s believe standards have fallen and the quality and range of programmes have worsened.

Almost two thirds of those surveyed said part of their dissatisfaction was down to the increased number of repeats on screens, while a quarter were unhappy with the level of bad language and the variety of shows available.

Violence was another reported problem, with 15% saying programmes were using endless fight scenes in a gratuitous manner.

Last year, the five main channels broadcast 30,485 hours of original programming - down almost 8 per cent on 2008, and the lowest level for more than seven years.

For the BBC, EastEnders was one of the most complained about programmes in 2009. Hundreds whinged about its violence.

ITV has repeatedly come under fire for its reliance on big talent search reality shows such as Britain's Got Talent , The X Factor and Dancing on Ice at the expense of original drama and comedy.

Vivienne Pattison, director of nutter group MediaWatch-UK, said: There has been an erosion of the watershed in recent years, with people seeing more and more inappropriate scenes before 9pm.

 

19th August   

Censorship Fears...

Home security company rebuked for scary picture
Link Here

one solution logoA leaflet, for a security company, showed a photo of a woman with a man's leather-gloved hand covering her mouth and a frightened expression on her face. Text stated MANY PEOPLE DON'T CONSIDER THE FULL IMPLICATIONS OF A BREAK IN UNTIL IT'S TOO LATE! and One Solution FIRE & SECURITY and promoted the installation or upgrade of a CCTV, alarm, fire or access system.

One complainant, who had picked the leaflet up in a local cafe, objected that the image was offensive and distressing, and that the ad made an undue appeal to peoples fears about home security.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted that the CAP Code allowed marketers to use an appeal to fear to encourage prudent behaviour but that the fear aroused should not be disproportionate to the risk. Although we acknowledged that the ad was for a security system and it was not inappropriate for the advertisers to make reference to the issue of home security, we noted that the ad featured a woman in distress, who appeared to be being threatened with violence in her own home and considered that that image, in conjunction with the text PEOPLE DONT CONSIDER THE FULL IMPLICATIONS OF A BREAK IN UNTIL ITS TOO LATE was likely to cause undue fear or distress, especially to the elderly or those living alone.

Because we considered that the ad relied on a shocking and distressing image and text to attract attention, we concluded that it made an undue appeal to peoples fears about home security and was likely to cause fear and distress.

 

19th August   

Book of the Dead: A New Leaf...

A US Blu-ray release for the video nasty, The Evil Dead
Link Here

Evil Dead Limited Blu ray The Evil Dead is a 1982 US horror by Sam Raimi. See IMDb

US Anchor Bay has revealed a Blu-ray release of Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead , which released on August 31. The disk will include two new HD transfers (one in 1.85:1 and the other in the original 1.33:1).

Theres also a new audio commentary by Sam Raimi, producer Robert Tapert and Bruce Campbell. Other extras are as per US DVD releases.

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

In the UK, all BBFC cuts were waived for:

  • UK 2006 Anchor Bay R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2002 Anchor Bay R2 DVD
  • UK 2001 Anchor Bay R2 DVD
  • UK 2001 Anchor Bay VHS

Previously the BBFC demanded 41 cuts adding up to 2:05s

Review from imdb : Raimi is already a legend

Raimi is already a legend, because he created 'The Evil Dead', without a doubt one of the greatest horror movies of all time. Made on a shoe string budget as a labour of love, it still remains Raimi's best movie. He has subsequently worked on bigger projects with bigger names but it is arguable whether he has ever surpassed the invention, thrills, energy and sheer fun of this. And why Bruce Campbell never became a genuine movie star after his debut here, and not just a much loved cult figure, is a complete mystery to me.

'The Evil Dead' is a modern horror classic and absolutely ESSENTIAL viewing for any self-respecting movie buff! It doesn't get much better than this!

 

19th August   

Nutter or Holy Man?...

Court of Appeal to hear case about conflicting claims about holiness of holy man
Link Here

Old BaileyA self proclaimed holy man who tried to sue The Sikh Times and its journalist which said he was an impostor is to renew his appeal application after a decision to strike out his claim.

Justice Eady struck out his Holiness Sant Baba Jeet Singh Ji Maharaj's libel claim in May and refused permission to appeal the decision.

However, an application to renew the appeal before the Court of Appeal remained open.

He had attempted to sue journalist Hardeep Singh and Eastern Media Group over an article which appeared in The Sikh Times in August 2007.

The libel claim suggested that the article alleged he was the leader of a cult and an impostor who had disturbed the peace in the Sikh community of High Wycombe and promoted blasphemy and the sexual exploitation and abuse of women.

Justice Eady struck the case out on 17th May 2010 accepting submissions on behalf of Singh that the courts could not deal with the case because of the well established principle of English law that the court will not attempt to rule on doctrinal issues or intervene in the regulation of governance of religious groups.

The judge said it would appear that issues of a religious or doctrinal nature permeated the pleadings in the case.

Nick Collins, head of litigation at Leeds-based law firm Ford and Warren, which is representing the claimant, said the application was being renewed, and would be dealt with at an oral hearing at the Court of Appeal in October.

 

18th August   

Cromer Prudes...

Nudes taken down as a 'balanced reaction' to nutter offence
Link Here

woman with a red backdrop An exhibition of nude paintings in an art gallery at a council office was taken down after just one hour - because prudish staff were offended by the pictures.

Artist John Vesty spent three months painting his 22 paintings and had arranged to display them for four weeks at the North Norfolk District Council offices in Cromer.

He was left baffled, irritated and disappointed when his conventional life studies were immediately taken down by council officials after complaints that they were offensive and obscene . Complaints from staff at the council office in Cromer led to John Vesty's work being put in a cupboard.

All but one of his oil paintings in the exhibition called Figures in Light were of naked or semi-nude women.

Vesty and his supporters insisted that none of his paintings were erotic or pornographic. He said: All of them are standard life poses - the sort of work that artists have done for hundreds of years. There are no explicit full frontal poses or anything like that.

I felt disbelief that someone could object to paintings like this in this day and age and that the council should respond in such a politically correct way by removing them.

You think that this sort of thing only happens in the Middle East in places like Iran or Iraq rather than in a Norfolk seaside town. Gallery owner Nick Reynolds, seen above holding one of Vesty's pictures, agreed to display eight of the paintings at his gallery around half a mile from the council offices

Karl Read, the council's leisure and cultural 'services' manager, said the artwork had been displayed in an area used by many members of staff and the public. He said: In this case we received a number of complaints from members of staff and union representatives who found the paintings offensive. Whilst respecting the fact that art, by its very nature, is open to subjective interpretation, on this occasion the council made the decision to remove the paintings from display. This is not a case of political correctness... RATHER ...it is a balanced reaction to some members of staff finding the artwork offensive.

 

18th August   

Finger Trouble...

Weatherman gives the finger in banter with news anchor
Link Here

tomasz schafemakerSince joining the BBC a decade ago, the Polish-born meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker has outraged the Scots by describing the Outer Hebrides as nowheresville and collapsed into fits of giggles after predicting muddy shite for a rain-lashed Glastonbury.

Schafernaker's latest exploit on the rolling News Channel was yesterday earning him thousands of hits on the internet after he was caught delivering a one-fingered salute to the BBC news anchor Simon McCoy after McCoy's bantering ironic suggestion that his forecast would be 100 per cent accurate and provide you with all the details you could possibly want .

Schafernaker is seen flipping the presenter the bird and then appears to hide his hand in his mouth, as if trying to destroy the evidence, as McCoy's co-presenter Fiona Armstrong squeals in dismay. McCoy tries to gloss over the incident remarking: Every now and again there's always a mistake and that was it.

A BBC spokesman said the Corporation was sorry if anyone had been upset by the brief incident: Tomasz was not aware that he was on air, and whilst the gesture was only shown for a second, it was not acceptable. The News Channel presenter live in the studio acknowledged a mistake had been made, and we apologise for any offence caused.

 

18th August   

Gags Gagged...

Brazil bans political satire in the 3 months before the presidential election
Link Here

BrazilMake no joke about it, Brazil's presidential election is a serious affair. Brazilian TV and radio broadcasters are legally forbidden from making fun of candidates in the 3 months ahead of October's vote.

With the first wave of on-air political ads starting now, Brazil's comedians and satirists are planning to fight for their right to ridicule, with protests planned in Rio de Janeiro and other cities on Sunday.

They say the anti-joking law – which prohibits ridiculing candidates in the three months before elections – is a draconian relic of Brazil's dictatorship that threatens free speech.

Proponents say the restrictions keep candidates from being portrayed unfairly and encourage candour.

Breaching the law is punishable by fines up to £72,000 and a suspension of a broadcaster's licence. Only a few fines have been handed out, but Tas and others say that has been sufficient to cause TV and radio stations to self-censor their material during elections.

Under the law, TV and radio programmes cannot use trickery, montages or other features of audio or video in any way to degrade or ridicule a candidate, party or coalition .

The internet is not licensed by the government and so is not covered, but if a TV or radio programme were to ridicule a candidate online, a complaint could be judged by the supreme electoral court.

 

18th August   

Legislative Arsenal...

Repressive new internet crimes law in Jordan
Link Here

Jordan flagReporters Without Borders is worried by a provisional cyber crimes law that Jordan's government decreed on 3 August and calls for its repeal. By establishing a legal framework for news and information websites and specifying sanctions for violators, it has created a legislative arsenal that can be used to regulate the Internet and punish those whose posts upset the authorities.

The penalties, which range from fines to forced labor, depend on the content posted. The authorities have invoked the need to defend the public interest and regulate the online chaos but website owners and online journalists regard the law as a threat to the freedom of the media and communications.

The lack of detail in certain of the new law's provisions, the vague concepts used to define offenses and the disproportionate penalties open the door to restrictive and arbitrary interpretation that will restrict freedom of expression and information, Reporters Without Borders said.

Article 3 of the law stipulates that the authorities must be notified of what is posted online line but it does not say how or where they should be notified. Failure to comply with this article is punishable by a fine.

The law also establishes a range of sanctions for online content that is deemed to defame or to violate public decency or national security. The penalties for violating public decency are likely to restrict freedom of information by being applied to innocuous content. Articles 9, 10 and 11 are supposed to target content that is immoral or pornographic or content that promotes prostitution or terrorism. The sanctions range from fines of 300 to 5,000 dinars (316 to 5,265 euros) to jail sentences of 3 months to 1 year, with the possibility of forced labor.

Other articles are just as disturbing. Article 8 stipulates that the posting of any defamatory or insulting comment is publishable by fines ranging from 100 to 2,000 dinars (105 to 2,100 euros). Journalists fear that this will result in more defamation prosecutions and will complicate the work of reporting.

Article 12 says that the posting of hitherto unpublished information affecting Jordan's national security, foreign relations, public order or economy is punishable by a fine of 500 to 5,000 dinars (527 to 5,265 euros) and a minimum of four months in prison. This ban on posting confidential information will necessarily limit freedom of information. This government attempt to limit coverage of sensitive issues poses a major threat to investigative journalism.

Article 13 gives the attorney-general unlimited power to issue the police with a warrant to search the home of anyone suspected of violating this law. It also authorizes police officers to carry out a search on their own initiative by referring to the attorney-general.

 

17th August   

Censorship to Protect Tax...

France orders ISPs to block bookies that undercut ludicrously high gambling tax
Link Here

pmu logoFrance continues to take online censorship to the next level with news that the country's gambling regulator, Arjel, has persuaded a French court, the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris, to order the country's ISPs to block unlicensed online gambling websites or face a daily fine of €10,000 ($12,820 USD).

The problem is that many online gambling sites, although licensed to operate elsewhere in the European Union, have refused to adhere to the additional requirements necessary to obtain a license to operate in France.

Why? One of the reasons is the heavy taxation rates: 8.5% for sports betting, 15.5% for horse racing betting, and 2% for online poker.

Another is the strict transparency requirements that require sites to retain all data related to gambling activities. All data exchanged between players and operators and data linked to the identification of gaming or betting events has to be available on a mirror server based in France.

A number of ISPs refused to adhere to all the additional requirements and opted not to serve French customers instead. The ruling now forces them to block French customers with threat of heavy fines.

The ruling is in important one because it shows an escalation in online censorship in a country that otherwise prides itself on being a bastion of freedom of speech. It could inevitably mean that a whole range of sites that don't comply with French law could also find themselves blocked by the country's ISPs.

 

17th August   

10 Days in Jail...

Russian rapper takes back his apology to the police
Link Here

noize mc Rapper Noize MC, who was jailed for 10 days in Volgograd after mocking local police in a song and an improvised rap at a festival, has released a new song criticising the police.

Launched soon after the artist left jail last week, and entitled 10 Days in Paradise or 10 Days (Stalingrad), the song sarcastically thanks police for the inspiration provided by his time in prison.

The accompanying video shows footage of Russian police brutality, including violence at a demonstration in St. Petersburg on 31 July.

Noize MC, whose real name is Ivan Alexeyev, has included in the song an apology he read out while in prison, which was distributed by the Volgograd police's press service. Alexeyev told Gazeta.ru that the apology was only written and performed because he was threatened with having his charges changed from disorderly conduct to insulting a police officer — an offence punishable by up to one year of correctional labour .

 

17th August   

JailbreakMe.com...

3 blocks website freeing up iPhones to use unofficial apps
Link Here

3 logoApple has already gone ahead and blocked any and all access to the jailbreak website Jailbreakme.com from wifi routers at its retail stores, as has BestBuy. The iPhone maker has also provided a fix for the PDF exploit that made jailbreaking iOS devices such an easy task. But now it seems that an even bigger step has been taken to prevent any jailbreaking for devices still on 4.0.1. UK carrier 3 has put an IP block on the website Jailbreakme.com, making it impossible to do a simple jailbreak using your wireless data connection.

The website was made with only good intentions in mind and does not do anything other than add the Cydia app store to your home screen.

 

17th August   

Rated R for Repressed...

Australian Labor Party proposes state censorship of smart phone apps and games
Link Here

Apple iphone 3G Black 8GB The Australian Labor Party has flagged it will extend state censorship to smart phone games and applications

It has emerged that thousands of smartphone games and applications are being sold or distributed without going through a classification check, supposedly in contravention of the National Classification Scheme.

The largest distributor of smartphone applications, Apple, is accused of bypassing millions of dollars in fees, as classification fees range from $470 to $2040 for computer games, costing the government revenue.

More than 220,000 applications, most of them trivial, are available in Australia for download.

At a conservative estimate, one-third of them are games, suggesting compliance costs would be in the millions. Of course in reality any attempt to impose such censorship fees would keep the vast majority off the market.

A spokeswoman for Minister of Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor said he was concerned about the classification of games playable on mobile telephones and had put the wheels in motion to address this with his state and territory counterparts .

Definitions of computer games under the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) Act 1995 do not exclude games distributable or playable on mobile phones. At the May meeting of the Standing Committee of Attorneys-General, it was requested that the classification of mobile phone games be considered out of session.

 

16th August   

Update: TV Strike...

Ukraine TV stations strike over deteriorating press freedom
Link Here

Kanal 5 UkraineThree Ukrainian television stations stopped broadcasting for an hour late Saturday, in what a protest against what they said was increasing political pressure on journalists.

5 Kanal, TVi and one regional television station are threatened with having their licences taken away, Kiev media reported.

The stations have accused the authorities of reintroducing press censorship. The strike comes amid widespread concerns that press freedom has deteriorated since pro-Russian President Viktor Yanukovych came to power in February.

On Tuesday the Vienna-based International Press Institute (IPI), a media freedom watchdog, wrote an open letter to Yanukovych, saying it was alarmed at reports of an increase in the number of assaults against journalists and a failure to bring the perpetrators of the attacks to justice.

It also noted an apparent blurring of the lines between government office and private media ownership and said it was particularly concerned about a Kiev court's decision to annul the allocation of broadcasting frequencies to two privately-run TV channels: TVi and 5 Kanal.

Update: Appeal Lost

5th September 2010. Based on article from kyivpost.com

Ukraine's media landscape could be reshaped after Channel 5 and TVi, two small stations providing the last vestiges of independent television journalism, lost a dispute over their frequencies.

A Kyiv appeals court ruled in favor of the U.A. Inter Media Group (Inter), the nation's largest television holding, upholding a lower court decision that analogue frequencies awarded to the station in January were obtained illegally.

At the time, the National Council for Television and Radio awarded Channel 5 with 26 and TVi with 33 analogue frequencies.

The Inter group, owned partly by State Security Service of Ukraine chief Valeriy Khoroshkovksy.

Both TVi and Channel 5 claim the court decision was unfair and marked a return to the era of censorship and political pressure on media, two hallmarks of ex-President Leonid Kuchma's authoritarian tenure from 1994-2005.

That's just what's happened. Two independent channels who managed to withstand political pressure were deprived of the licenses they were awarded within a totally legitimate competition, Mykola Kniazhytsky, TVi executive director said.

Both channels are preparing to contest the appeals court ruling in the High Administrative Court and in the European Court of Human Rights.

Update: At Supreme Court

25th December 2010. See article from freemedia.at

Ukraine's administrative supreme court met Tuesday in Kiev to examine the appeals of two independent television stations, TVi and 5 Kanal, against the removal of broadcast frequencies.

Pressure has been applied on the two privately owned stations since President Yunukovych took office in February. Since his election, the government has been accused of attempting to restrict freedom of the press by inducing pro-government censorship. Some journalists have claimed that top government intelligence agents have been monitoring them.

TVi and 5 Kanal are currently appealing against Judge Nataliya Blazhivska's ruling on June 8 to invalidate the National Council for Television and Radio Broadcasting's January 27 grant of additional frequencies to both stations. These frequencies would ensure development and greater audience for both channels.

The decision was made in response to legal protests filed by Inter Media Group (IMG), the nation's largest broadcasting group, when the Broadcasting Council allocated 33 frequencies to TVi, 26 to 5 Kanal and only 20 to IMG's stations.

Update: Court follows government line

1st February 2011. See article from en.rsf.org

Reporters Without Borders condemns a ruling by the Kiev administrative supreme court on 26 January upholding a lower court's decision to withdraw the over-the-air broadcast frequencies that were assigned to two privately-owned TV stations, TVi and 5 Kanal, in January 2010.

The lower court's decision was issued on 8 June 2010 in response to a complaint by Inter Media Group. Ukraine's biggest broadcasting group, IMG is owned by Valeriy Khoroshkovsky, who also heads Ukraine's main domestic intelligence agency, the SBU, and is a member of the Judiciary Supreme Council, which appoints and dismisses judges.

The appeal to the Kiev administrative supreme court was the last chance that TVi and 5 Kanal had to recover their frequencies by going to the Ukrainian courts. Ukraine's supreme court could in theory overturn the decision but the case would have to be referred by the administrative supreme court (usually regarded as highest court in such matters) and that is highly unlikely.

TVi director-general Mykola Knyazhytsky and 5 Kanal's representative, Tetyana Malashenkova, say they now want to appeal to the European Court of Human Rights.

The 26 January ruling seems to confirm that the judicial authorities take their orders from the government, and that the government wants to reduce freedom of expression and the public’s access to information.

 

16th August   

Update: BurkhaMate of the Month...

Playboy forced to cover up on iPhone
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

Playboy Cover Poster Marilyn Monroe Playboy boss Hugh Hefner has agreed that iPad issues of the magazine will be nudity free, in order to keep its place on the App Store.

The legendary art pamphlet currently costs £3.20 per issue on the App Store, but in order to adhere to Apple's nutter stance, centrefolds with girls wearing nothing more than a staple, will be replaced with headshots.

 

15th August   

Updated: Nutters This Way...

Whinges about New Zealand Erotica billboard upheld
Link Here

erotica billboard advertA billboard image of a naked woman on all fours with a large arrow provocatively placed below her and preceded by the words entrance this way was an unacceptable way to advertise the Erotica Lifestyles Expo, the Advertising Standards Authority decided.

The Erotica Expo, promoted by porn tycoon Steve Crow, is an adult entertainment convention held annually.

There were two complainants about this image, both with similar arguments.

The image was offensive and inappropriate for public display, according to one whinger from Palmerston North. The complainant took particular objection to the arrow and statement entrance this way as it represented the direction for sexual intercourse and made the billboard even more offensive.

In response, promoter Eden Digital said that the use of the arrow alluded to sexual intercourse was unintended.

The ASA upheld the complaints. While the advertiser was entitled to promote the expo, the image of the naked woman on all fours was unacceptable, the ASA said in its deliberation. The image had been before the board previously and in keeping with its previous determination of a similar advertisement, it found that basic principles and code of ethics were breached

Update: A Nice Juicy Whinge

27th August 2010. Based on article from nzherald.co.nz

erotica melon advertMore than 50 complaints have been made over porn king Steve Crow's mobile billboard promoting this weekend's Erotica Expo in Auckland.

But it didn't stop about 10,000 people going to the event at the ASB Showgrounds.

The mobile billboard shows a woman holding half a melon with her finger in it.

Complaints have been made to the Advertising Standards Authority.

Crow said the billboard had worked: At the end of the day the billboard shows the girl holding a melon. How people interpret that is up to them. I'm not responsible for how people think.

The billboard has been slammed by lobby group Family First. It's absolutely disgusting, said national director Bob McCoskrie: It's suggestive, it's offensive and quite clear what it's getting at. It exposes children to inappropriate material. We need to protect the moral innocence of children.

 

15th August   

Naked Prudery...

American Family Association whinge at nude art works sold at Sears
Link Here  full story: Naked Art at Sears...Nutters whinge at erotica sold by Sears

reclining nude at sears The American Family Association (AFA), a far-right-wing Christian association that promulgates an intolerant attitude to adult sexual freedom, is accusing venerable retailer Sears of using pornography to market items on its website. The offending content in this instance can be found in the In the Home section of the website, in the Wall décor/Art category.There are, in fact, nude art posters for sale in that section.

A blog post by AFA president Tim Wildmon titled You Won't Believe What Sears is Selling, AFA tried more than a half-dozen times to reach out to Sears quietly and professionally, to no avail. Sears' public relations department has refused to return our calls and emails

The blog post continues with a tone of incredulity. Sears is currently offering giant posters of total nud**y on its website, writes Wildmon. Sears knows they are selling smut. Technology allows Sears to remove and stop selling these posters within minutes, so why won't they?

These aren't just posters of scantily-clad women, adds Wildmon. Some of them depict groups of people, lesbians and others engaged in ***ual activities. Very little is left to the imagination. Except the actual ***, that is.

Needless to say, AFA wants its readers to complain to Sears, and they provided a link to its publicity department for that purpose. Unless Sears hears from you, they will continue to sell offensive posters, Wildmon says.

According to The Consumerist, A Sears employee has responded to the group's concerns by saying that they 'have reviewed the products in question and found that they do not fall outside our marketplace guidelines.'

 

14th August   

Deadly Premonition...

Another game suffers from Australian censorship
Link Here

Rising Star Games Deadly Premonition Rising Star Games has told Kotaku that due to classification concerns they have no plans to release Deadly Premonition in Australia.

We'd heard from Rising Star's Aussie distributor All Interactive Entertainment that Deadly Premonition had been refused classification in Australia, effectively banning it from sale. However, upon contacting the Classification Board, we were told that the game had never been submitted for classification.

Rising Star said in a statement: As part of our normal procedures in submitting any game for classification, it was determined internally at Rising Star Games that the game would not satisfy the criteria for an MA15+ rating in Australia and further that any changes to the game would not be possible. It was therefore decided, with regret, the game will not be released in Australia.

 

14th August   

Update: A Crack at EastEnders...

350 complaints about a drug related story line
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

Eastenders Mitchells Naked Truths VHS Hundreds of viewers have complained to the BBC about scenes featuring EastEnder Phil Mitchell using crack cocaine which were shown before the watershed.

The plotline has the character, depressed after his family broke up, bingeing on the class-A drug.

Viewers saw Mitchell surrounded by litter in a smoky room, clutching a whisky bottle. Obviously high and drunk, he asked a friend for another pipe , while in a later scene he was accused of being off his head on crack .

The troubled character, played by actor Steve McFadden, goes wild on a crack binge with fellow drug addict Rainie Cross (Tanya Franks) after losing custody of his daughter Louise.

More than 350 people made formal complaints about the half-hour episode which went out at 8pm, while scores more inundated online message boards to voice their 'disgust.' Critics said scenes showing drugs and drug paraphernalia were not appropriate before the watershed, when there could be children watching.

A spokesman for the show said: EastEnders has a history of tackling social issues. 'We are working closely with drug and alcohol charities, including Addaction and DrugScope, to make sure that we sensitively reflect this difficult issue.

The episodes do not in any way glamorise or encourage the use of drugs and details of a BBC helpline were provided at the end of the episode for any viewers affected by the issue.

Such storylines can really help in promoting an understanding about drugs and the problems they cause. In no way is it a glamorous portrayal. Instead, it shows the damage drug use can have on a person, their family and their friends.'

 

14th August   

Shorter Void...

Gasper Noe's Enter the Void shortened for cinema release
Link Here

Enter Void Poster Movie French Enter the Void is a 2009 France/Germany/Italy drama by Gaspar Noé. See IMDb

The BBFC passed the full version 18 uncut for a cinema release but this version was then cancelled.

Rather bizarrely the distributors resubmitted the film with reel 7 left out and also said that the film would be projected at 25 frames per second, shortening the running time by a further 5:43s.

This shorter version was passed 18 without cuts for the 2010 cinema release. The BBFC noted: Contains hard drug use and strong real sex.

The BBFC explained their 18 rating:

Enter the Void is a drama following the lives of a brother and sister living in contemporary Tokyo. The brother, Oscar, is a small-time drug dealer and his sister, Linda, works as an erotic dancer in a strip club. The film was classified 18 for frequent hard drug use and strong real sex.

The film contains frequent sight of hard drug use, including the use of cocaine, LSD, GHB and DMT. At 18 , the BBFC's Guidelines state that cuts may be required to any detailed portrayal of [...] illegal drug use, which may cause harm to public health . More generally, the Guidelines state that No work taken as a whole may promote the misuse of drugs and any detailed portrayal of drug misuse likely to promote or glamorise the activity may be cut . Although Enter the Void places some emphasis on the pleasures of recreational drug use, most notably through extended sequences filmed from the point of view of the hallucinating drug user, the dangers of drug misuse are made clear throughout the film, both in the dialogue and in the narrative itself. For example, one of the central characters is shot by police during a drugs raid and finds himself lying on the floor of a toilet cubicle, covered in his own blood. Such scenes serve to reduce any glamorisation of the lifestyle depicted. Additionally, although various methods of drug use are shown, such as taking pills, smoking drugs and snorting lines, none of the material shown presents information that is likely to be novel or instructional to an adult audience.

The film also contains several scenes of strong sexual activity and nudity, including sight of naked couples thrusting during sex, sight of implied fellatio and sight of erect penises. These scenes exceed the terms of the 15 Guidelines where Sexual activity may be portrayed without strong detail and are therefore more appropriately placed at 18 . In addition there are infrequent scenes of strong real sex, including sight of vaginal penetration by dildo and by penis and sight of ejaculation. At 18 , the Guidelines state that cuts are likely where there are more explicit images of sexual activity which cannot be justified by context . The images in question are relatively brief and are not dwelt upon. Their purpose is not to arouse or titillate the audience; rather, their purpose is to illustrate the hedonistic and often seedy world inhabited by many of the film's characters.

In addition, Enter the Void contains frequent strong language and two uses of very strong language. It also contains scenes of strong violence, some strong gory images (including sight of head wounds in the aftermath of a car accident), strong verbal sex references and a scene depicting a pregnant woman undergoing an abortion procedure in a hospital or clinic. The latter scene in particular includes sight of surgical instruments being used on the woman and close sight of the dead foetus lying in a metal dish, which some viewers may find disturbing. The film also includes occasional suggestions of an incestuous relationship, including inappropriate kissing between siblings and sight of a brother sniffing his sister's discarded underwear. However, no incestuous sex is actually shown.

Enter the Void also includes a number of sequences of flashing and flickering lights that are likely to trigger a physical reaction in vulnerable viewers. It also contains extended sequences featuring rotating and handheld camerawork that may induce motion sickness in some viewers.

 

14th August   

Isle of Sleight...

Emma Thompson winds up Isle of Wight politicians with TV jokes
Link Here

Sense Sensibility Diaries Emma Thompson Emma Thompson has upset residents of the Isle of Wight by joking that they stone and flog homosexuals.

The actress also told US television viewers that Irish and Scottish visitors to the island are tortured and shot.

Appearing on The Late Late Show, Thompson engaged in a conversation about holiday destinations. Craig Ferguson, the presenter, said he was visiting Catalina, an island off the California coast.

It's kind of like the Isle of Wight, Ferguson explained, to which Thompson replied: Oh, so they stone homosexuals there? Nice.

To roars of laughter from the audience, she went on: I think they are still allowed to flog them, which of course some of them enjoy. I think they are allowed to shoot Irish or Scottish people if they arrive on the island - it is still in the rules. They are allowed to torture people. It's lovely, you should go.

David Pugh, council leader on the island, said: It's a great shame that someone with her profile should make such ridiculous claims. Presumably Emma Thompson made these comments to get some laughs on the chat show. Her claims are much ado about nothing and as outlandlish as some of the fiction in the Harry Potter films she has been working on. If there was a Golden Globe award for Best Fictional Claims on a Chat Show, Emma Thompson would win it hands down.

Isle of Wight Tory MP Andrew Turner also weighed in to the debate. The Isle of Wight is known as a friendly and welcoming tourist destination and if Emma Thompson had ever been here she would know that. I hope she said this in a light-hearted way and it will be taken that way because it's clearly rubbish.

 

14th August   

Updated: Old Fashioned or What?...

Mike Stock whinges about Britney Spears and Lady Gaga
Link Here

Hit Factory Stock Aitken Waterman Songwriter Mike Stock has condemned Britney Spears and Lady GaGa for their raunchy music videos, insisting modern pop stars are bad role models for young children.

The British producer, who helped launch the career of Aussie singer Kylie Minogue in the 1980s, believes acts such as Spears need to tone down their overtly sexual performances - because so many kids look up to them.

He says: The music industry has gone too far. It's not about me being old fashioned. It's about keeping values that are important in the modern world. These days you can't watch modern stars like Britney Spears or Lady Gaga with a two-year-old. 99 per cent of the charts is R&B and 99 per cent of that is soft pornography.

Kids are being forced to grow up too young. Look at the videos. I wouldn't necessarily want my young kids to watch them. I would certainly be embarrassed to sit there with my mum.

And Stock has also singled out pop superstar Madonna, admitting he's concerned about the teen fashion line she has recently launched with her daughter, Lourdes which features short skirts and slashed tops: I'm being told by mothers of young kids they're worried by the pressure on them for their children to wear clothes and make-up at a young age. Lourdes is a 13-year-old girl. Madonna may have been happy but I bet about 90 per cent of parents wouldn't be happy with that.

Offsite Comment: Lady Gaga IS poisoning children's minds

Thanks to Dan
14th August 2010. See article from dailymail.co.uk by Bel Mooney

Daily Mail logoThe fact that my father detested Cliff Richard for his ‘jungle music’ made it all the more thrilling for me.

Why then do I sympathise with music mogul Mike Stock’s condemnation of the pornification of pop?

Because what was once rebellious is now mainstream and inescapable; what was once suggestive is now graphically explicit — and, most worryingly of all, it’s being aimed at a fan base that is getting younger and younger.

...Read the full nonsense article

 

14th August   

Newport State of Mind...

Popular spoof Jay-Z video taken down by EMI
Link Here

ymerodraeth state of mind video The hit internet spoof video Newport State Of Mind which parodies Jay-Z has been removed from YouTube due to a copyright claim by killjoys at EMI Publishing.

The clip had been viewed hundreds of thousands of times since last month.

The video, which parodies Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' Empire State Of Mind using the backdrop of the south Wales city, was directed by filmmaker M-J Delaney. Made for less than £100, it also featured rapper Alex Warren and singer Terema Wainwright.

Whilst viewers are blocked from seeing it on YouTube the video is still available on other websites.

 

14th August   

Troll Abuse...

Facebook to automatically reject messages identified as trolling
Link Here

Facebook logoFacebook, the social networking site, has pledged to develop new security measures to combat a growing surge in cyber bullying and abuse by strangers.

Engineers at Facebook are reportedly working on new systems to fight the trend of trolling , where anonymous online users bombard victims with offensive messages or abuse.

Reports have claimed a growing number of tribute pages had been targeted including those in memory of the Cumbria shootings victims and soldiers who died in Afghanistan.

At present users can only manually delete abusive messages. But in efforts to combat the growing trend, Facebook officials said they were working on new systems that automatically delete abuse.

Administrators of such sites will also be given new advice on how to cope with trolls and be given access to the new tools.

A Facebook spokesman said that: Users who send lots of messages to non-friends, for example, or whose friend requests are rejected at a high rate, are marked as suspect. We've built extensive grey lists that prevent users from signing up with names commonly associated with fake accounts.

Through the reporting process our team is also able to identify additional accounts using the same IP address so it is possible in certain situations to proactively remove multiple fake accounts.

 

14th August   

Update: Snoop Friendly...

India wants keys to snoop on email and messaging
Link Here  full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

India flagResearch in Motion, maker of the BlackBerry, is headed for a showdown with the Indian government, which has revived a threat to shut off service in the country in a row over access to customers' emails.

India has toughened its position in the wake of reports that RIM has agreed to give the government of Saudi Arabia access to some of the codes with which BlackBerry customer data is encrypted when it passes across the Canadian firm's server network.

A string of emerging markets governments have been demanding RIM provide additional co-operation with their police and security services to allow snooping of email and instant message traffic, in the name of national security.

India's home ministry has summoned the country's telecoms operators to a meeting today to discuss access to their BlackBerry users' data, and is expected to demand a deadline for RIM to share encryption details, with the threat of a suspension of some services if the deadline is not met. A senior government official told Reuters that the operators could be told to shut down RIM's corporate email and messenger services temporarily as a last resort. If they cannot provide a solution, we'll ask operators to stop that specific service, the source said. The service can be resumed when they give us the solution.

Google and Skype Next

Based on article from independent.co.uk

Google logoIndia may shut down Google and Skype Internet-based messaging services over security concerns, the Financial Times reported.

The Financial Times quoted from the minutes of a July 12 meeting between telecommunication ministry security officials and operator associations to look at possible solutions to intercept and monitor encrypted communications.

There was consensus that there more than one type of service for which solutions are to be explored. Some of them are BlackBerry, Skype, Google etc, according to the department's minutes. It was decided first to undertake the issue of BlackBerry and then the other services.

India has set an August 31 deadline for RIM. It wants access in a readable format to encrypted BlackBerry communication, on grounds it could be used by militants. Pakistani-based militants used mobile and satellite phones in the 2008 Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people.

Officials say RIM had proposed tracking emails without sharing encryption details, but that was not enough.

 

13th August   

The Conspiracy Continues...

Acclaimed documentary given restrictive MPAA rating for strong language
Link Here

tillman storyAfter the MPAA handed an R rating for language to an acclaimed documentary about NFL-player-turned-Army-Ranger Pat Tillman, the makers of the movie have lost an appeal to have the rating changed to PG-13.

The filmmakers tried to argue that The Tillman Story – which delves into the official military cover-up of Tillman's death in Afghanistan by friendly fire and the way in which he was exploited as a potent patriotic symbol — is exactly the kind of historically significant film that should be exposed to as many young people as possible, not hidden from them due to squeamishness over some bad words.

Offsite: I'm Pat Fucking Tillman

5th September 2010. See article from chicagotribune.com

According to the MPPA's ratings and classification board. Habitually easy on violence but far more nervous regarding language and skin, the MPAA ratings board issued director Amir Bar-Lev's film an R rating for its 16 instances of the f-word.

Bar-Lev said in a separate conversation Wednesday: If we had sat down and written the film, which of course we didn't since it's a documentary, and used that language to titillate or amuse people — that'd be one context. But we're talking about real-life situations when people are being shot at, or consumed with grief, or a couple of key moments where we show you how Pat Tillman's family sometimes talks.

The veracity of the language is pertinent, Bar-Lev said, given Tillman's likely last words, as he was being fired on, mistakenly, by three of his fellow American soldiers: I'm Pat f---ing Tillman!

...Read the full article

 

13th August   

Update: Back to Norml...

Pro cannabis magazine continues to publish in New Zealand
Link Here  full story: Norml News...New Zealand police try to ban pro-cannabis mag

Norml News coverCannabis law reform magazine Norml News , which both New Zealand Police and Internal Affairs recently tried to ban, has just released its Winter/Spring 2010 issue, including revelations about how and why the magazine nearly got permanently suppressed.

Immediately prior to the Operation Lime raids in April, police went to the Dept of Internal Affairs and discussed the magazine, Editor Chris Fowlie said. Soon after, Internal Affairs requested a ban on Norml News, but that request was refused and we're still here.

Documents uncovered by NORML under the Official Information Act reveal that Internal Affairs officers fronted a covert police initiative to get Norml News banned entirely. The Chief Censor's office didn't go that far, but did decide to classify three previous issues of the magazine as R18 publications. NORML plans to appeal the decision.

The latest issue of Norml News investigates what took place during Operation Lime and concludes that the Government has brought back the War on Drugs, especially their war on NZ's 400,000 cannabis users. Playing to the 'tough on crime' crowd, Judith Collins and Simon Power both seem keen on ramping up the War on Drugs, Fowlie said.

 

13th August   

Nutter Life Centre...

Chessington zoo exhibits primitive human life
Link Here

mermaid bikiniManagers at Chessingtons Sea Life centre have covered up a topless mermaid sculpture.

Justine Locker, Chessingtons Zoo Experience Manager, said: Young boys, and not so young boys, spending a lot of time ogling her in the walkthrough ocean tunnel

 

13th August   

Swinging his Club at the Press...

Colin Montgomerie gets court injunction to ban newspaper story about his private life
Link Here

Photographic Print Montgomerie PA Photos Colin Montgomerie, the golfer, has become the latest sportsman to use an injunction to prevent the publication of a story about his private life.

The injunction relating to Montgomerie was granted by Mr Justice Eady last month, preventing a tabloid newspaper publishing the story. The matter was resolved out of court and there is no suggestion of any truth in the allegations.

Montgomerie, who is Europe's captain for the Ryder Cup in Wales in October, was at a press conference with his American counterpart in Wisconsin on Wednesday. I know a lot of you are having a lot of fun right now at my expense, he said. I apologise for this, that you have to bring this up, but at the same time no further comments from myself on that matter.

Montgomerie's life off the course was in the news in June when he admitted difficulties in his marriage to his second wife, Gaynor Knowles. He said he was very sorry for the hurt he had caused amid reports that he was seeing a former girlfriend.

 

12th August   

F**cking Censors...

ASA easily offended by asterixed strong language
Link Here

fuel agency logoA direct mailing, for a marketing agency, was in the form of a valentine's card; text on the front stated I F**CKING LOVE YOU . Further text on an adjacent page stated … You might f**cking love us .

Two complainants objected that the language in the ad was offensive.

The Fuel Agency Ltd (TFA) said no expletive was used in the ad. They believed it was commonly understood that to communicate an expletive without causing offence, it was acceptable to use the widespread format f**k . They said 1,000 of the ads were sent to a purchased mailing list.

ASA Assessment Upheld

The ASA noted the expletive in the ad was partly obscured but considered the intended meaning was still clear. We were concerned that the expletive, although partly obscured, was used on the front of an untargeted direct mailing. We noted the expletive was irrelevant to the product and considered its use was gratuitous in the context of an ad about marketing services. We concluded that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some recipients.

 

12th August   

Update: Defying the Zombie Censors...

Melbourne Film Festival to show banned film
Link Here

la zombieBanned gay horror porn film LA Zombie is still scheduled to screen in Melbourne on August 29 in defiance of the federal censor.

The movie, from American director Bruce LaBruce, was scheduled to appear in the Melbourne International Film Festival, but on July 20 it was 'refused classification' by the Censorship Board, meaning it could not legally be screened in Australia.

Despite that, Richard Wolstencroft, director of the Melbourne Underground Film Festival, yesterday announced his intention to stage a public disobedience freedom of speech event on August 29.

 

12th August   

Say No to Nutters...

Whingeing about Hooters opening in Cardiff
Link Here

hooters owl logoMembers of the Cardiff Feminist Network gathered outside Cardiff Central Library for the Say no to Hooters in Cardiff campaign, collecting signatures for a petition which will be presented to Cardiff Council.

A licensing application was submitted to Cardiff Council to open the chain in the St David's shopping centre.

Cardiff Feminist Network was set up by organisers of the Breaking the Waves Cardiff Feminist Festival 2011 earlier this year, and the group have been against the application for Hooters from the outset. Sally Hughes, who heads up the network, claimed:

We want to say 'no' to Hooters and sexism in our city. We believe that Hooters would objectify woman and we're concerned that a Hooters in this area of Cardiff will contribute to sexual harassment of women in the city.

We know Cardiff Council and the Welsh Assembly Government are looking at this issue. There are big groups which come to the city for stag parties and other events, and we want to make sure the rights of women in the city and women working at Hooters are protected.

The campaign has gathered support via Facebook, with 230 people joining the Say no to Hooters group. But a counter group has also been set up on the social networking site. Say HELL YEAH to Hooters in Cardiff currently has 400 members and there is an online petition here in support of the restaurant chain coming to Cardiff.

The application will be considered at licensing committee on 3 September.

 

12th August   

Old Fashioned or What?...

Mike Stock whinges about Britney Spears and Lady Gaga
Link Here

Hit Factory Stock Aitken Waterman Songwriter Mike Stock has condemned Britney Spears and Lady GaGa for their raunchy music videos, insisting modern pop stars are bad role models for young children.

The British producer, who helped launch the career of Aussie singer Kylie Minogue in the 1980s, believes acts such as Spears need to tone down their overtly sexual performances - because so many kids look up to them.

He says: The music industry has gone too far. It's not about me being old fashioned. It's about keeping values that are important in the modern world. These days you can't watch modern stars like Britney Spears or Lady Gaga with a two-year-old. 99 per cent of the charts is R&B and 99 per cent of that is soft pornography.

Kids are being forced to grow up too young. Look at the videos. I wouldn't necessarily want my young kids to watch them. I would certainly be embarrassed to sit there with my mum.

And Stock has also singled out pop superstar Madonna, admitting he's concerned about the teen fashion line she has recently launched with her daughter, Lourdes which features short skirts and slashed tops: I'm being told by mothers of young kids they're worried by the pressure on them for their children to wear clothes and make-up at a young age. Lourdes is a 13-year-old girl. Madonna may have been happy but I bet about 90 per cent of parents wouldn't be happy with that.

 

12th August   

Update: Special Relationship...

Barack Obama signs law snubbing UK libel judgments
Link Here  full story: Libel Tourism...UK prosecutions of books published abroad

Barack ObamaPresident Barack Obama has signed the SPEECH Act into US law, a move designed to protect US writers and reporters from England's controversial defamation laws.

The Act, tabled by Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen, makes libel judgments against American writers in foreign territories unenforceable if they are perceived to counter the First Amendment right to free speech.

The Libel Reform Campaign has expressed concern that our reputation is being damaged internationally due to our restrictive, archaic and costly libel laws which cost 140 times the European equivalent.

The coalition government has said it will table a draft Bill to reform our libel laws in January 2011 after the campaign led by English PEN, Index on Censorship and Sense About Science. The campaign has 52,000 signatories to its petition and all three main political parties committed in their general election manifestos to libel reform.

Jo Glanville, Editor of Index on Censorship said:

The US's response to our libel laws has already played a key role in advancing the campaign for reform in the UK. I'm hopeful that the government's draft bill will address the issue of libel tourism, which has a clear chilling effect on freedom of speech, and make it harder for claimants from outside the EU to bully publishers, NGOs, bloggers and investigative journalists into silence.

Síle Lane, Public Liaison of Sense About Science said:

As other countries move to protect their citizens from the chilling effect of our libel laws we urge bloggers, science writers, NGOs and small publications facing threats and bankruptcy to keep up the pressure on the Government to ensure that the proposed draft libel bill brings the meaningful change that is so urgently needed.

 

12th August   

Update: A Question of Intimidation...

Sudan bans BBC radio and requires intimidating security questionnaires from journalists
Link Here

BBC logoThe Sudanese government has announced it is suspending the BBC's license to broadcast in Arabic on local FM frequencies in four northern cities, including the capital, Khartoum.

Security personnel also informed editors in recent days that journalists who had not completed an extensive government questionnaire would be detained, journalists told CPJ.

The BBC said on its website that it hopes that ongoing discussions with the authorities in Khartoum will get it back on air. Jihad Ali Ballout, communications manager for BBC Arabic in London, told CPJ that the broadcaster's priority is its weekly audience of 4 million listeners in Sudan, and that it hopes to find ways to reconnect with them.

Separately, security services distributed a questionnaire to journalists in July consisting of 26 detailed questions about political viewpoints, friends, addresses, bank accounts, and floor plans of journalists' residences. Critical publications were told to return the completed forms no later than August 5, local journalists told CPJ.

Sahal Adam of the Arabic-language daily Ajras al-Huriya told CPJ he refused to submit the detailed information. The aim here is twofold, he said. One, to collect information useful when a need to arrest a critical journalist arises, but also to intimidate us. Agents told his editor that Adam would be arrested if he didn't cooperate, the journalist said. Other journalists refused to submit the questionnaire. However, they were summoned to the security offices and after several hours of interrogation and threats they provided the information.

Sudan has shown itself to be intolerant of any international attention, and this ban on BBC Arabic is merely the latest example, said Mohamed Abdel Dayem, CPJ Middle East and North Africa program coordinator. We are also gravely disturbed by this questionnaire for journalists, especially the demand for a floor plan of their homes. We can see no reason why the government would want this information and the transparent aim is to intimidate journalists, who could face arrest.

 

12th August   

Inappropriate Censorship...

Egyptian TV to suffer even more TV censorship for Ramadan
Link Here

Egypt flagThe censorship committee for the Egyptian television has decided to delete numerous scenes they considered inappropriate from television dramas to be aired during the month of Ramadan.

The committee considered that having inappropriate scenes is not right and should be removed to show respect for Ramadan.

 

11th August   

Update: Suspiciously Closed Curtains...

ASA bans police advert suggesting that perfectly common and normal behaviour is suspicious
Link Here  full story: Stasi Britain...Recruiting an army of snitches and snoopers

talksport big brother hotline video A radio ad for the Anti-Terrorist Hotline stated The following message is brought to you by Talk Sport and the Anti-Terrorist Hotline. The man at the end of the street doesn't talk to his neighbours much, because he likes to keep himself to himself. He pays with cash because he doesn't have a bank card, and he keeps his curtains closed because his house is on a bus route. This may mean nothing, but together it could all add up to you having suspicions. We all have a role to play in combating terrorism. If you see anything suspicious, call the confidential, Anti-Terrorist Hotline. If you suspect it, report it .

1. Ten listeners, who believed the ad encouraged people to report law-abiding citizens who acted in the way described in the ad, challenged whether the ad was offensive.

2. 16 listeners, who believed the ad could encourage people to harass or victimise their neighbours, challenged whether the ad was harmful.

3. Nine listeners challenged whether the ad made an undue appeal to fear.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted that the ad described a man who always paid with cash, did not speak to his neighbours and kept his curtains closed during the day. We noted that description was based on behavioural trends identified by the police, and that the ad suggested that, when taken together, those behaviours could be grounds for suspicion.

However, we considered that the ad could also describe the behaviour of a number of law-abiding people within a community and we considered that some listeners, who might identify with the behaviours referred to in the ad, could find the implication that their behaviour was suspicious, offensive. We also considered that some listeners might be offended by the suggestion that they report members of their community for acting in the way described. We therefore concluded that the ad could cause serious offence.

2. Not upheld

We noted that the ad conveyed its message in a measured and reasonable tone, and we therefore considered the ad was not sensationalist. We also noted that it did not suggest that listeners approach, harass or victimise anyone about whom they might have concerns, but instead asked listeners to call a police hotline. We considered that the ad did not encourage or condone harassment or victimisation and we therefore concluded that the ad was not harmful.

3. Not upheld

We noted that the intention of the ad was to raise awareness of the planning stages of terrorist attacks and to engage the public in reporting anything they might find suspicious. We also noted that the ads message was presented in a measured tone, which we considered was unlikely to provoke alarm.

Notwithstanding our concerns, in point 1 above, that the ad could cause serious offence, we noted that the ad stated that the behaviours described may mean nothing, but together could add up to you having suspicions , and we considered that that conditional wording was proportionate and unlikely to cause anxiety for listeners about the extent of terrorist activity in their neighbourhood. We therefore concluded that the ad did not make an undue appeal to fear.

 

11th August   

Update: No Liberty at Facebook...

Facebook takes down topless Statue of Liberty picture
Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor

statue of liberty go toplessGoTopLess.org is calling for a public protest after an image at the organization's Facebook page depicting the Statue of Liberty with bare breasts was removed by Facebook staff. The disputed image was a photo of a painting by GoTopless member Donna Grabow.

The incident began when GoTopLess president Nadine Gary received an e-mail from Facebook staff on July 18 explaining the reason for the photo's removal. It read, in part:

You uploaded a picture to 'NEW YORK National Go Topless Day: A March for Women's Equal Rights! AUG 22 that violates our Terms of Use, and this picture has been removed. Facebook does not allow photos that attack an individual or group, or that contain nudity, drug use, violence, or other violations of the Terms of Use.

Brigitte Boisselier said:

I'm asking all my friends on Facebook and those who believe in equal rights for men and women to post the picture that was taken down, Boisselier said. Some frustrated individuals can't see a nipple without freaking out or feeling offended, but we've already had enough discrimination against the female body. I'm asking all women on Facebook to stand for equal topless rights by posting this photo to their own pages. And I'm also asking all men who can appreciate a female body without feeling guilty to do the same.

The female chest is beautiful and children shouldn't be told it's sinful to look at it. That sort of repression causes frustration and guilt that they will experience as adults, which is such a ridiculous waste. Bare female breasts are seen on all European beaches at this time of year, but as far as I know, incidence of rape and other sexually violent incidents is lower in Europe than in America.

Artist Grabow agrees that Facebook's action was discriminatory and wrong.

Censorship of this painting denies freedom of speech and expression and reflects American prudishness, she said. What's funny is that the Statue of Liberty was a gift from the French government, and all the French people I know smile when they see this feminized painting. In fact, Europeans just laugh when they learn that Facebook is censoring innocent images like this one. After all, images of nude statues are displayed everywhere else without protest, including in school books.

 

11th August   

Update: Dangerous Leaks...

Wikileaks asked to delete civilian names from disclosed Afghanistan war reports
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Wikileaks Wikileaks has been urged by human rights groups to censor previously secret files on the Afghanistan war to protect civilians who have worked alongside the US and other foreign forces from reprisals.

The Afghan Independent Human Rights Commission, Amnesty International and three other groups have sent a series of emails to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange calling for the names of Afghan civilians to be removed from the 77,000 classified military documents published by the online whistle-blower last month, and from any documents disclosed in the future.

Nader Nadery, of the commission said: There was no consideration about civilian lives , noting a rise in assassinations of Afghan civilians seen as government collaborators.

The Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, the Open Society Institute and the International Crisis Group have also been involved in exchanges about the released documents.

A WikiLeaks spokesman said the group had requested help from NATO to check the files prior to publication to ensure the lives of civilians were not put at risk: For this reason, we conveyed a request to the White House prior to the publication, asking that the International Security Assistance Force provide us with reviewers, he said. That request remains open. However, the Pentagon has stated that it is not interested in 'harm minimization' and has not contacted us, directly, or indirectly to discuss this offer.

 

11th August   

Throwing Shoes...

Pakistan gives GEO TV and ARY News the boot
Link Here

geo tv logoThe Committee to Protect Journalists calls for the Pakistani government to allow GEO TV and ARY News stations back on the air.

The shutdown, coupled with demonstrations by government supporters outside the cable companies' facilities Saturday night came soon after the stations aired news about a protester throwing shoes at Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari during a speech in England.

According to ARY News' correspondent Jamal Khan Baluch: On Saturday evening in Karachi, the staff of President Zardari called cable operators and ordered them to block ARY News transmissions all over Pakistan. When some cable operators refused to do so they started threatening and sent their armed people to different cable operators' locations, where they started firing towards their offices and their staff.

The shoe-throwing incident occurred in Birmingham on Saturday night, as Zardari was speaking to a closed meeting of Pakistanis who live in England. The Associated Press reported from Birmingham that the unnamed heckler was apparently angered by the government's poor response to widespread flooding in the country that has left hundreds of thousands of people homeless.

Soon after the Saturday incident, GEO's website reported that some PPP leaders and government officials had warned cable operators across the country to cease transmission of GEO, but most refused to do so. As of this morning, most of the cable companies in all the large cities have been forced to stop carrying ARY and Geo—it's not just in Karachi .

Today, journalists demonstrated in front of Karachi Press Club, protested the shutdown of the stations, demanding they be allowed back on the air.

 

11th August   

Updated: Euro Gag...

Struck off doctor tries for court gag on criticism from victim's family
Link Here

Germany flagA German doctor who killed a British patient is seeking an injunction across Europe to silence his victim's family. Daniel Ubani was providing out of hours care in the UK when he injected David Gray with ten times the recommended dose of a painkiller.

Nigerian-trained Ubani gave Gray, 70, a fatal dosage of diamorphine when he treated him for kidney stones at his home in Manea, Cambridgeshire, in February 2008.

He is now trying to silence Gray's sons using European human rights laws by claiming that their campaign to bring him to justice is stopping his right to practise.

Stuart and Rory Gray have spoken out repeatedly about how Ubani escaped punishment by refusing to return to Britain to face potential criminal-charges. Instead he cut a deal with German prosecutors which allowed him to avoid extradition and being struck off in Germany.

The brothers now plan to travel to Bavaria to fight the legal action. Stuart Gray, himself a doctor, said: I consider this a grave threat to free speech and we will fight it in every way possible.

Ubani has submitted papers to a Bavarian court calling for the brothers to be banned from talking publicly about the death.

Earlier this year they stood up and denounced him as a charlatan and a killer as he spoke at a medical conference.

Although he was struck off in Britain in his absence, Ubani's ability to continue practising general medicine and cosmetic surgery elsewhere was not affected.

Update: Case Heard

11th August 2010. See article from dailymail.co.uk

Rory Gray spoke at a court hearing as Daniel Ubani launched his legal bid to gag him and his brother to prevent them damaging his reputation in future.

Gray told the panel of three judges at the State Court in Kempten, Bavaria, that his statements were based on fact and not opinion. He spoke of the outstanding malpractice lawsuits still pending in Germany against Ubani who is seeking a European-wide injunction against him and his brother to prevent them damaging his reputation.

He is trying to use European human rights law by claiming that their campaign to bring him to justice is stopping his right to practise. But by the time the court reconvenes on August 25 to give its verdict in the case Ubani's career in Germany may be over.

Ubani, who has a doctor's surgery and cosmetic surgery practice in northern Germany, is facing a fitness to practise hearing on August 18. He has indicated that he does not intend to attend the hearing where the German equivalent of the General Medical Council plans to make him sit a written exam to test his medical skills. This would trigger an application to a judge to suspend his licence to practise as a cosmetic surgeon which would, in turn, disqualify him from also practising as a GP.

If the gagging order is successful, Ubani wants the court to make the brothers pay £200,000 each time they breach it. He also demands that the brothers keep a minimum of 600ft away from him at all times.

 

10th August   

Sweeny Todd with Balls...

The Sun hypes the Thai horror movie Meat Grinder
Link Here

Meat Grinder DVD Mai Charoenpura Meat Grinder is a 2009 Thai horror by Tiwa Moeithaisong

See article from thesun.co.uk

Prepare to hide behind your sofa - as the most graphic gore film ever is soon to be released.

The devilishly named Meat Grinder has a title that suggests human insides will soon be on the outsides. And now the BBFC have just given the Thai movie the green light to a completely uncut version.

Horror fans will be treated to plenty of blood splattering and cannibalism, with gruesome scenes including nails being hammered through fingernails and multiple dismemberment of limbs.

The film tells the story of a deranged woman who runs a noodle stall and starts hearing voices in her head. When she finds a dying man in her stall one night, she decides to chop him up and grind his body parts into meatballs as ingredients for her soup. When the dish proves popular and business begins to flourish, she must find a steady supply of fresh human meat to feed her customers.

Even the company distributing the film had doubts it could ever be released in the UK uncut. Tony Taglienti, Managing Director at 4 Digital Media said: We were expecting the BBFC to send us to the cutting room before being able to release it. We are pleased that this is not the case and applaud their decision to let the public have the chance to watch it as the filmmakers intended.

Comment: Quite Bloody

From DarkAngel on the Melon Farmers Forum

I've seen an advanced screener copy of Meat Grinder , and whilst it is indeed quite bloody in places, and features a few yucky ouch moments, its nothing that hasn't been seen before.

Hostel and some of the Saw films are notably gorier!

 

10th August   

Flame On!...

US Nutters clobber McDonald's Happy Meal toys
Link Here

macdonalds marvel toysThe Campaign for Commercial-Free Childhood has targeted the Marvel figures provided with McDonalds Happy Meals.

The Thing and The Human Torch, two of The Fantastic Four's main members seem to have particularly offended the CCFC who note: One action figure, The Thing, menacingly roars 'It's clobberin' time!' each time a child presses a button on its back. Another, The Human Torch, is a man on fire.

CCFC Director Dr. Susan Linn shows how little she understands boys by adding, But now, for preschool boys, a so-called happy meal at McDonald's features the horrifying spectacle of a man engulfed in flames ...

Linn further demonstrates a certain amount of short-sightedness by stating, It's awful that this giveaway continues the troubling trend of fast food restaurants promoting toys linked to violent PG-13 movies.

The CCFC also argue that putting toys in junk food meals to entice kids to eat McDonalds is a terrible practice.

 

10th August   

Demons Re-summoned...

A new uncut release for Lamberto Bava's Demons
Link Here

Demons DVD Demons is a 1985 Italian film by Lamberto Bava. See IMDb

BBFC c uts were waived when the Director's Cut was passed 18 uncut for:

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

Previously t he DIVID 2000 released was cut by 42s when submitted in 2000 with the following justification: Cut required to sight of razor blade scraped along breast in medium close shot
  • This is the scene where one of the "punk" characters scrapes cocaine off the bare breast of Nina (the punk girl) with a razor blade

Previously to that it was cut even more.

Review from UK Amazon : Classic garbage

Demons is cited on the commentary that accompanies this DVD as being one of the most important Italian horror films of the 80's, and indeed it is. Bypassing the flabby, overcooked acting, unevenly distributed action and horrendous scores of many a Euro-horror, Demons goes straight for the jugular, eyeballs, guts and groin. This film is certainly one of the best paced non-American horror flicks of the decade and contains a level of lovingly crafted, sickeningly visceral gore which just wouldn't happen these days.

For a European film the acting isn't actually too bad and the set is very effective. This film of course has bad points. Loads of them, but as is sometimes the case with these trashy horrors, the bad bits are so bad that they end up enhancing the enjoyment of the picture.

Classic garbage and even the involvement of the terminally abysmal Dario Argento couldn't ruin the fun of this film. Add to this toxic cocktail an interesting commentary with the director and a soundtrack featuring Billy Idol, Saxon and the immensely underrated 'Fast as a Shark' by Accept and you have a total winner. I love it.

 

10th August   

Campaign for Censorship Reform...

Enabling the New Zealand consumer to buy, rent and trade a greater variety of filmed entertainment
Link Here

campaign for censorship reform logo We are seeking amendments to the Films, Videos, and Publications Classification Act 1993 that will enable the consumer to be able to buy, rent and trade a greater variety of filmed entertainment within New Zealand.

This wildly outdated piece of legislation restricts public access to many films and television programs and unfairly over-regulates and disadvantages the DVD medium in particular. This situation has evolved because the Act was implemented well before the advent of DVD, cable television and the internet, and because subsequent amendments to the Act have failed to fairly accommodate its unique properties as a format.

We are seeking public support in our lobby for changes to the current government, who have expressed interest in revising the legislation.

The purpose of this forum is to inform you, the film-watching adult public, about the legislation, how it is applied, and how it results in shortening the long tail of consumer choice.

...Read more about the campaign

 

10th August   

Updated: In the Name of National Security...

Another South African bill proposes repression of the media
Link Here  full story: Security Censorship in South Africa...Censorship in the name of national security

South Africa flagThis week, the South African National Editors' Forum (Sanef) undertook what has now become a familiar visit to Parliament in a bid to stop yet another cynical attempt to erode press freedom.

The difference this time is that the offending Protection of Information Bill has been roundly condemned by civil society and even government agencies themselves for its insidiousness.

The chorus of condemnation has come from, among others, the Institute for Democracy in SA, the Human Rights Commission, the Southern African Catholic Bishops' Conference, the SA Media and Gender Institute, Eskom, the Open Democracy Advice Centre and Print Media Association.

In its current form, the bill provides definitions of national security and national interest that are so absurdly broad they would severely restrict access to information for just about anybody and any institution; making nonsense of the ideal of open society and transparency.

Sanef siad: We have far too many people in Parliament who do not share our beliefs in constitutional democracy and its imperatives of transparency and openness. Some of them have never shared these values and actually once worked against them.

Yet others who once shared them have since stopped doing so, after betraying the liberation struggle ideals of reconstruction and development. Transparency and press freedom are inimical to their corrupt ways; hence the attempts to curb the free flow of information.

Why, otherwise, the Protection of Information Bill that would result in journalists being jailed for lengthy periods for doing their jobs, and also undermine the ability of parliamentarians themselves, and elected officials, to hold the State accountable?

Update: The Tribunal's Out

10th August 2010. Based on article from google.com

Proposed media regulations in South Africa have raised fears that the government is trying to control news coverage, drawing comparisons to apartheid-era censorship.

The ruling African National Congress is mulling a Media Appeals Tribunal, while parliament is considering the Protection of Information Bill, which media organisations say would hamper investigative reporting.

The media tribunal, first mooted in 2007, would adjudicate complaints on media reports in a bid to make journalists legally accountable, the ANC said.

Media houses are wary of legal penalties, and say the Press Ombudsman already hears complaints and can require newspapers to print prominent apologies or corrections.

Recent reports on government spending on luxury vehicles have irked the government of President Jacob Zuma, who also figured in a long investigation into a multi-billion-dollar arms deal first reported in South African media.

ANC secretary Gwede Mantashe said a media tribunal was required to deal with the so-called dearth of media ethics in South Africa. The party's general council will thrash out the idea at a meeting next month.

 

10th August   

Update: A Change of Censorship...

Sudan lifts government pre-publication press censorship
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

Sudan flagSudan's National Assembly has welcomed the National Security Organ's decision to lift censorship, terming it as a significant step toward boosting press freedoms.

Abdurham Ahmed Al-Sheikh Al-Fadni, the Head Acting Human Rights Committee, hailed the initiative of the national press to serve national interests and enlightenment on challenging facing the country. He said the decision would put Sudanese press before a new challenge with regard to performing its duties toward the country through self-monitoring and complying with the Press Ethic, Press Association and Press & Prints Council.

Lieut. Gen. Mohamed Ataa, Chief of National Security and Intelligence affirmed that the organ preserves it constitutional right to impose partial or full censorship whenever necessary, adding that the security organ is keen on press and political rights as long as there is common agreement to prejudice against principles of the country and unity of its territories.

 

9th August   

Listen to the Banned...

CD of banned musicians compiled for Freemuse
Link Here

Listen Banned Various Artists Promotional material describes this worthy CD:

Listen to the Banned is a unique collection of contemporary songs by artists who have been censored, persecuted, taken to court, imprisoned and even tortured for no other reason than their music.

Compiled by singer and composer Deeyah for the international organisation Freemuse, its purpose is to raise awareness of the lack of free expression experienced by many musicians and composers around the world - a freedom that many of us take for granted in a democratic and mainly uncensored society.

Singer, composer and filmmaker, Deeyah is a versatile artist and a passionate human rights activist. Born to Pakistani immigrant parents, Deeyah has released three critically acclaimed albums and worked with renowned musicians such as her teacher Ustad Fatah Ali Khan, Jan Garbarek (ECM: Ragas & Sagas) and Andy Summers. Having endured constant intimidation and physicals threats throughout her career, Deeyah stopped performing and now devotes the majority of her time promoting human rights and freedom of expression through a range of self-initiated projects.

Freemuse is an international organisation dedicated to protecting musicians and composers' rights to freedom of expression.

Track Listings:

  1. Mahsa Vahdat (Iran) - Mystery
  2. Farhad Darya (Afghanistan) - Arooss-e-Aftaw
  3. Lapiro De Mbanga (Cameroon) - Constitution Constipée
  4. Marcel Khalife (Lebanon) - Oh My Father, I Am Yusif
  5. Chiwoniso Maraire (Zimbabwe) - Rebel Woman
  6. Tiken Jah Fakoly (Ivory Coast) - Quitte Le Pouvoir
  7. Abazar Hamid (Sudan) - Salam Darfur
  8. Kamilya Jubran (Israel/Palestine) - Al Shatte' Al Akhar
  9. Kurash Sultan (Uigurien, China) - Atlan Dok
  10. Ferhat Tunc (Turkey) - Alisero
  11. Aziza Brahim (West Sahara) - Regreso
  12. Haroon Bacha (Pakistan) - Speena Kontara
  13. Fadal Dey (Ivory Coast) - Non Au Racisme
  14. Amal Murkus (Israel/Palestine) - Bhallelak

 

9th August   

Update: Friendly Berry...

RIM concedes BlackBerry email snooping powers to Saudi
Link Here  full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

Saudi flagRIM Blackberry services have been restored in Saudi Arabia, reports say.

The authorities object to the devices because they operate an encrypted message service meaning that communication from Blackberry devices cannot be monitored.

The BBC's Ben Thompson, in Dubai, said that there are conflicting reports about why the handsets are currently working again.

Services are up and running again across the country, he confirmed: But inevitably, that raises more questions than it answers. If RIM did grant Saudi Arabia access to its security codes, other countries in the region would now expect the same.

RIM has been contacted by the BBC. In a statement earlier this week a spokesperson for the company said that the devices were deliberately designed to prevent anybody from accessing individual message data, which is stored on servers in Canada: RIM cannot accommodate any request for a copy of a customer's encryption key, since at no time does RIM, or any wireless network operator or any third party, ever possess a copy of the key. [Then how do they so easily seem to be conceding snooping rights to India and Saudi?]

 

8th August   

War Against Fun...

Authorities censor GrassRoots Feastival
Link Here

grassroots feastival logoYet another independent festival has been cancelled after a concerted campaign by bureaucrats, nimbys and police.

The Grassroots Feastival was a small volunteer-run event due to take place in Cambridgeshire in early September. Organisers had lined up three days of revelry, from poetry to Drum n Bass and culminating in a communal banquet replete with juggling waiters.

The Feastival faced determined opposition from the very start. According to one of the organisers, Mooney, when the application process began in January the council and police made it clear they would do all they could to stop the festival taking place.

Mooney said, They didn't want it to happen so they played their games. They couldn't use legislation so instead they used dirty tactics. The now familiar modus operandi involved heaping ludicrous demand after ludicrous demand on organisers and stalling for time to the point that the festival risked financial ruin if they pressed ahead.

After the initial consultation, organisers met monthly with the local authorities and there were six revisions of the festival's management plan in total. Each time they were presented with ever more unreasonable conditions, ranging from heras-fencing the A11 in case of invasion by wandering partygoers who had strayed three miles over fence and field, to installing security watchtowers.

Each time, organisers either met the conditions or managed to argue their case that what they were being asked was beyond the realms of sanity or reason. However the killer blow came with the final application for a licence. When handing in the application, local authorities clearly told organisers that they only needed to submit one paper copy and that the pack of other relevant licensing bodies, such as traffic management and the fire brigade, would be happy with an emailed copy. At the eleventh hour of the last day they had to submit the application, organisers were then told that the licence would be refused unless all the bodies had paper copies. With no time left to do this, organisers would have had to resubmit and wouldn't have received a decision until just days before the festival. If the licence had been refused at that point it would have spelled financial disaster for all involved and so organisers were left with no choice but to cancel.

 

8th August   

Update: Indonesia Wounded by Balibo...

Indonesian court confirms the ban on the film Balibo
Link Here  full story: Balibo...Indonesia bans movie about jounalist deaths

Balibo Conspiracy NON USA FORMAT Reg 4 Jakarta State Administrative Court upheld the film censor's ban on the Australian feature film Balibo , labelling the film sensitive .

A panel of judges ruled that the Film Censorship Board (LSF) had fulfilled the required administrative procedures to ban the controversial film.

The court agreed with the LSF's argument that the film could reopen old wounds .

Balibo recounts the story of five Australian-based journalists who were killed during the invasion of the town of Balibo in Timor Leste in 1975.

The LSF banned the film on the grounds that it depicted violence and that the film had only used Australian and Timor Leste sources, a matter that concerned the Indonesian government. The military has been particularly sensitive on the topic.

 

8th August   

Update: Plugging Leaks...

US press secretary asks Wikileaks to return the disclosed Afghanistan war reports
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA

Wikileaks The website WikiLeaks recently publicly disclosed more than 70,000 classified US field reports from the war in Afghanistan. The Pentagon says it wants them back.

Press secretary Geoff Morrell told reporters the Pentagon was formally demanding – through the news media – that WikiLeaks return the reports, as well as 15,000 additional records the website says it might release soon: We are asking them to do the right thing and not further exacerbate the damage done to date . If doing the right thing is not good enough for them, we'll figure out what other alternatives we have.

He declined to elaborate on whether the defence department was contemplating legal action but said the FBI and the justice department were investigating how the documents were leaked.

Morrell acknowledged that the genie is out of the bottle in regard to the more than 70,000 reports that are not only posted on the WikiLeaks site, but have since been copied and downloaded by people all over the world. He said the Pentagon was primarily interested in blocking the release of the 15,000 other documents.

 

7th August   

Dangerous Phones...

Dangerous Pictures victim sentenced to 200 hours of community service
Link Here

iPhoneA man caught with a jokey bad taste video on his mobile was warned by a judge he could have faced jail. Police found the short video clip on Michael Nelson's mobile after he was arrested and taken to Gill Bridge police station in Sunderland.

The footage showed a man's genitals being mutilated and had been on his phone for several months, a court heard.

Perhaps this was just the well circulated video showing a woman's stiletto heel being ground into a guys dick. This clip is probably languishing forgotten in the inbox of thousands of people.

Persecutor Jeanette Smith told Sunderland Magistrates' Court that the 23-year-old blamed peer pressure, telling police the images were going about the streets , but he did not know who had sent them to him. He said at first he could not delete it, but accepted later he could have deleted it, but pressure from friends made him keep it on his phone, she added.

Nelson admitted to an offence of possessing extreme pornography at a court hearing in June.

Defence solicitor Geoff Pearson said Nelson, who has no previous convictions, did not forward the clip on to anyone and had no other hardcore pornography on his phone. Pearson said: This is an image that was sent to him on his phone by an individual. He did not invite it and he has not done anything with it in the sense he did not distribute it. It just sat on his phone for a long time.

He added: The images are pretty awful, I have to accept that and he accepts that. I can't imagine why you would want to watch this, unless you were the particular type of person that found some gratification in it.

He is, or he was, a young man of impeccable character and this is not the kind of matter he was seeking or gets any gratification from. If only he had pressed the delete button, but it may have been peer pressure that caused him not to do so and got him into this trouble.

District Judge Roger Elsey ordered Nelson to complete 200 hours of unpaid work.

He said: There is no doubt that this was a revolting and perverted piece of video and there is no reasonable explanation for this being on your mobile for the time it was. If you had any previous convictions or you had distributed this piece of video, you would be going to prison.

Nelson was also ordered to pay £85 towards court costs.

 

7th August   

Rules is Rules...

Film makers protest against stroppy censor
Link Here

CBFC logoOfficials of the Kerala Film Chamber of Commerce have announced that they would stage a sit-in outside the regional censor board office to protest against the high handedness of an officer.

Film stars, producers, distributors, directors and exhibitors are likely to take part in the protest, they said.

Convenor of the chamber G. Suresh Kumar said regional censor officer Madhu Kumar was behaving in an irresponsible manner: He is coming out with rules which no producer in the past had to face and, as a result, lot of inconvenience is being caused . We want him to be shifted and save the industry here from more problems .

Citing an example, the chamber official said Vande Matheram ran into trouble with the official asking the producer of the film to delete two songs. Later, the songs were included after the producer of the film went in for appeal. To protest this, tomorrow we are staging a sit-in in front of his office .

 

7th August   

Fairly Free...

California considers political censorship of the internet at election times
Link Here

California state sealPolitical tweets and Facebook status updates should be held to the same standards as paid advertising that voters see on television, radio or in Californian's mailboxes, says California's campaign watchdog agency, The Fair Political Practices Commission, in a report. The Fair Political Practices Commission is considering how to regulate new forms of political activity on Facebook or in a text message.

It's become necessary as politicians in California and elsewhere announce their candidacies and major campaign policies through Twitter, YouTube and a host of social networking sites, said FPPC Chairman Dan Schnur. He also added that California's 36-year-old Political Reform Act needs a modern-day re-write to keep up with the times.

The report reportedly outlines possible hurdles to regulating such online content, like how one would include full disclosure of what group or individual is behind a political message. The changes the commission makes to state law would have to give regulators the flexibility to respond to swiftly evolving technologies, the report says.

The report does draw the line when it comes to the right of regular citizens to tweet or use Facebook to talk about politics or politicians:

People tweeting about someone is typically not something you would regulate, said Barbara O'Connor, professor emeritus of communications and the former director of the Institute for the Study of Politics and Media at California State University, Sacramento. When it becomes an ad, it's a different story. When it becomes an ad it really is a replacement for a 30-second spot for a new generation.

 

7th August   

Dangerous Pictures in Scotland...

Key Points of the Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Act 2010
Link Here

Police raid houseThe Criminal Justice and Licensing (Scotland) Bill received Royal Assent on 6 August 2010.

The Act amends the Obscene Material section of the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.

  1. It increases the penalty associated with Obscene Material to 5 years imprisonment.
  2. It adds clauses to ban the possession of 'extreme pornography'. This mostly based upon the version of the law applying to the rest of the UK but widens the definition of extreme pornography

The Act adds the following clauses:

Section 51A Extreme pornography

(1) A person who is in possession of an extreme pornographic image is guilty of an offence under this section.

(2) An extreme pornographic image is an image which is all of the following—

(a) obscene,
(b) pornographic,
(c) extreme.

(3) An image is pornographic if it is of such a nature that it must reasonably be  assumed to have been made solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.

(4) Where (as found in the person's possession) an image forms part of a series of images, the question of whether the image is pornographic is to be determined by reference to—

(a) the image itself, and
(b) where the series of images is such as to be capable of providing a context for the image, its context within the series of images, and reference may also be had to any sounds accompanying the image or the series of images.

(6) An image is extreme if it depicts, in an explicit and realistic way any of the following—

(a) an act which takes or threatens a person's life
(b) an act which results, or is likely to result, in a person's severe injury,
(c) rape or other non-consensual penetrative sexual activity,
(d) sexual activity involving (directly or indirectly) a human corpse,
(e) an act which involves sexual activity between a person and an animal (or the carcase of an animal).

(7) In determining whether (as found in the person's possession) an image depicts an act mentioned in subsection (6), reference may be had to—

(a) how the image is or was described (whether the description is part of the image itself or otherwise),
(b) any sounds accompanying the image,
(c) where the image forms an integral part of a narrative constituted by a series of images—

(i) any sounds accompanying the series of images,
(ii) the context provided by that narrative.

(8) A person guilty of an offence under this section is liable—

(a) on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 12 months or to a fine not exceeding the statutory maximum or to both,
(b) on conviction on indictment, to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 3 years or to a fine or to both.

(9) In this section, an image is—

(a) a moving or still image (made by any means), or
(b) data (stored by any means) which is capable of conversion into such an image.

51B Extreme pornography: excluded images

(1) An offence is not committed under section 51A if the image is an excluded image.

(2) An excluded image is an image which is all or part of a classified work.

(3) An image is not an excluded image where—

(a) it has been extracted from a classified work, and
(b) it must be reasonably be assumed to have been extracted (whether with or without other images) from the work solely or principally for the purpose of sexual arousal.

51C Extreme pornography: defences

(1) Where a person (A) is charged with an offence under section 51A, it is a defence for A to prove one or more of—

(a) that A had a legitimate reason for being in possession of the image concerned
(b) that A had not seen the image concerned and did not know, nor had any cause to suspect, it to be an extreme pornographic image,
(c) that A—

(i) was sent the image concerned without any prior request having been made by or on behalf of A, and
(ii) did not keep it for an unreasonable time.

(3) Where A is charged with an offence under section 51A, it is a defence for A to prove that—

A directly participated in the act depicted, and—

(a) in the case of an image which depicts an act described in subsection (6)(a) of that section, if the act depicted did not actually take or threaten a person's life
(b) in the case of an image which depicts an act described in subsection (6)(b) of that section, if the act depicted did not actually result in (nor was it actually likely to result in) a person's severe injury,
(c) in the case of an image which depicts an act described in subsection (6)(c) of that section, if the act depicted did not actually involve nonconsensual activity
(d) in the case of an image which depicts an act described in subsection (6)(d) of that section, if what is depicted as a human corpse was not in fact a corpse,
(e) in the case of an image which depicts an act described in subsection (6)(e) of that section, if what is depicted as an animal (or the carcase of an animal) was not in fact an animal (or a carcase).

(5) The defence under subsection (3) is not available if A shows, gives or offers for sale the image to any person who was not also a direct participant in the act depicted.

 

6th August   

Update: Australian Internet Filter to be Blocked...

Liberal Party set to oppose state internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship

Liberal Party of AustraliaJoe Hockey, shadow treasurer, has told Australian radio that the Liberal Party will oppose the Australian government's planned compulsory net filter.

Hockey said his party would not support the policy. We believe the internet filter will not work and we believe its a flawed policy. It is not going to capture a whole lot of images and chatter that we all find offensive... that are going through email.

He told ABC's Hack show that he was in favour of technologies which give parents more control and promised a more detailed announcement soon.

Hockey added: I know it's a contentious issue but the filter does not work, it does not work. The ISP-based filter system does not work. Therefore it creates an assumption of trust which cannot be met by the technology.

Colin Jacobs of Electronic Freedom Australia welcomed the move. He said: We applaud Mr Hockey's announcement that the Liberal Party will vote against Labor's filter. The Opposition are very welcome among the ranks of those many organisations and individuals that see the filter as a policy failure.

And the Nutter Parties

Based on article from itnews.com.au

Australian Christian LobbyPolitical parties have responded to a survey by the Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) that canvassed policy positions on ACMA content classification and ISP-level filtering.

The Christian Democratic Party fully [supported] the filtering of RC [refused classification] material at the ISP level to protect children.

Self-regulation is not working, the Christian Democratic Party stated. A new scheme is required. Serious breaches should result in loss of license for the broadcaster.

Socially conservative Family First stated that it was one of the first groups to begin the campaign for tighter regulation of RC material.

While it did not directly reject Labor's mandatory filtering proposal, the party appeared to support a voluntary regime, stating: Family First ... welcomes industry moves to voluntarily block certain RC content.

However, it also recognises that it [filtering] is not a complete solution. New technologies, including peer-to-peer networks which cannot be filtered, remain an ongoing challenge.

Ultimately, parents must be responsible for monitoring their children's internet use and be provided with the tools and information required to do so.

 

6th August   

Updated: A Debate Unfinished...

MPAA impose restrictive R rating on holocaust documentary
Link Here

a film unfinishedA new documentary from Yael Hersonski called A Film Unfinished takes propaganda footage from the Warsaw Ghetto during WWII and reveals the cinematic deception of the frames.

Hersonski outlines how many of the scenes of real life were crafted by the filmmakers to try and show a hideous disconnect between the Ghetto's rich Jews and poor Jews -- scenes of passerby walking over corpses are juxtaposed with lavish dinners (entirely crafted by the Nazis) and entertainment (where people were beaten if they didn't look like they were having enough fun).

It is a harrowing account, for sure, but also a worthy one. However, the documentary has now hit a snag, getting an R rating from the MPAA, which has inspired the Beastie Boys' (and Oscilloscope founder) Adam Yauch to speak out.

In a press release, Oscilloscope Laboratories has announced that they will appeal the R rating, given to the film for disturbing images of holocaust atrocities including graphic nudity. By banning people under the age of 17 from viewing the film without their parent/guardian, the rating will keep the documentary out of classrooms and educational venues.

Adam Yauch says: This is too important of a historical document to ban from classrooms. While there's no doubt that Holocaust atrocities are displayed, if teachers feel their students are ready to understand what happened, it's essential that young people are given the opportunity to see this film. Why deny them the chance to learn about this critical part of our human history? I understand that the MPAA wants to protect children's eyes from things that are too overwhelming, but they've really gone too far this time. It's bullshit.

The graphic nudity consists of shots of the piles of dead, naked Jewish residents waiting for mass burial. There is another scene where Jewish men and women were forced (at gun point) to strip and bathe together.

It's incredibly hard to watch. But it's also incredibly important to watch. Though, as A Film Unfinished points out, it can dangerous, film and photographs are essential to understanding and comprehending the atrocities and impact of tragedies like the Holocaust, the Rape of Nanking, and every other bit of violence that has, does, and will happen in the world. Words, in this case, simply aren't enough.

Update: R rating stands after appeal

6th August 2010. Based on article from nymag.com

Beastie Boy Adam Yauch's appeal of the MPAA's decision to give an R rating to the Holocaust documentary A Film Unfinished has failed. The rating was upheld by the ratings board by a 12-3 vote.

Yauch expressed his frustration with the decision earlier in the week, arguing the nudity in the film - which compiles footage of the Warsaw Ghetto in 1942 shot for a German propaganda movie - should have been viewed through a historical and educational lens.: In a world where young people are bombarded with meaningless entertainment, it's unfortunate that a film with real educational and historic value would be denied to them by an organization that is supposed to be working to help them. I still have hope that the MPAA will reconsider at some point in the future, so young people will be able to learn from this film.

 

6th August   

Comment: Oops...

ASA caught spouting bollox about likely widespread offence
Link Here

club oops logoA poster, for a lap dancing club was headed Corporate Gentleman's Entertainment Club Oops …! . The ad showed an image of a naked woman from the waist down with underwear pulled down around her thighs. In the place of her face and upper body was a cartoon drawing of the silhouette of a naked woman pole dancing, above the word Oops … .

Issue

The complainant challenged whether the ad was sexist, offensive and demeaning to women and the nudity and sexual content was unsuitable for public display.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA understood that the poster had been in place for a year, but was no longer appearing.

We noted that the woman was pictured naked and considered her pose and the removal of her underwear were likely to be seen as sexually suggestive. We noted that the nudity in the ad reflected the nature of Club Oops, but considered that the depiction of the woman in such a provocative pose with her underwear pulled down around her thighs, was likely to be seen as unduly explicit and degrading to women.

We concluded that the image was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and concluded it was unsuitable for public display.

Comment: Widespread Offence of One Person

6th August 2010. Based on comment from IanG on the Melon Farmers Forum

ASA: We concluded that the image was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and concluded it was unsuitable for public display.

This conclusion is based on one complaint from one complainant after a year on display...

Methinks the ASA is full of shit. To conclude an ad would cause widespread offence and is somehow unsuitable for public display after its been on display for a year and attracted only ONE complaint in all that time can in no way lead to, substantiate or support the ASA's, quite irrational, conclusion .

The ASA are clearly not fit to judge. There's not one shred of rationality in their thinking . Not one shred of evidence to support their view.

Offence is not grounds to censure ANY material under the terms of Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998. This poster is clearly not a threat to national security; it is not libelous or slanderous; nor is it potentially harmful. A drawing of a partial female figure removing underwear is not physically, psychologically or morally harmful, indeed, I'd bet 99.99% of females remove their undewear in a similar fashion everyday without causing any harm to any on-lookers of any age.

Why I wonder do the ASA believe their Code can be implemented in a way which is compatible with the HRA when the HRA doesn't allow mere offence caused to some cretinous and/or deranged twat to justify censorship? Subjective opinions DO NOT constitute proof of harm. One complaint after a year on display doesn't tend to suggest there's any major widespread concern or widespread offence.

 

6th August   

Update: State of the Art Repression...

China sets up ID card swipe system for web access at internet cafes
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Tibet flagChinese authorities in Tibet have ordered Internet cafes across the region to finish installing state-of-the-art surveillance systems by the end of the month, industry sources and local media said.

All the Internet cafes must now install it, said Chen Jianying, head of the customer service department of the industry group Internet Cafes Online: This is a nationwide policy which is part of the implementation of the real-name registration system .

The proprietor of an Internet cafe in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, which is still under tight security following widespread Tibetan unrest beginning in March 2008, confirmed the scheme is already in full swing. He said the new system will mean tighter online controls: If there is something that is being controlled, there's no way anyone will get to see it. It's definitely a tighter form of control .

Under the nationwide scheme, which took effect Aug. 1, second-generation identity cards belonging to the person using the Internet must be swiped to allow online access. Viewed content can then be traced back to that identity, using the the surveillance system.

 

6th August   

Police Bullies...

FBI demands that Wikipedia takes down an image of the FBI seal
Link Here

FBI logoThe US Federal Bureau of Investigation has threatened Wikipedia with legal action if the online encyclopedia doesn't remove the FBI's seal from its site. The seal is featured in an encyclopedia entry about the FBI.

Wikipedia isn't backing down, however. The online encyclopedia sent a chiding letter to the FBI, explaining why, in its view, the FBI is off its legal rocker.

In short, then, we are compelled as a matter of law and principle to deny your demand for removal of the FBI Seal from Wikipedia and Wikimedia Commons, the Wikimedia Foundation's general counsel, Mike Godwin, wrote in a letter to the FBI, which was posted online by the New York Times: We are in contact with outside counsel in this matter, and we are prepared to argue our view in court.

In a letter dated July 22, and also posted online by the Times, the FBI told Wikipedia it must remove the bureau's seal because the FBI had not approved use of the image: The FBI has not authorized use of the FBI seal on Wikipedia . The inclusion of a high quality graphic of the FBI seal on Wikipedia is particularly problematic, because it facilitates both deliberate and unwitting copying and reprinting of the seal's image.

The FBI's deputy general counsel, David Larson, cities a particular law that says duplicating an official insignia is illegal without permission.

But Wikipedia strikes back on that point, saying the FBI redacted the most important part of that U.S. code, which defines an insignia as any badge, identification card, or other insignia. Badges and identification cards are physical manifestations that may be used by a possessor to invoke the authority of the federal government. An encyclopedia article is not . The use of the image on Wikipedia is not for the purpose of deception or falsely to represent anyone as an agent of the federal government.

The magazine Vanity Fair posted the FBI's seal on its website in a symbol of jest. And, as the blog Geekosystem says, an editor on the site aggregator Reddit jokes that maybe the FBI got Wikipedia confused with WikiLeaks — the site that's been causing a stir lately over leaked war documents.

 

5th August   

Update: This Organisation May Contain Nuts...

Girl Guides call for airbrush warning on every glamour image
Link Here  full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts
teen fans

  Sorry girls. The pop star image that you are
idolising has been artificially enhanced.

Photoshopped images of models and celebrities should be labelled to ease the damaging pressures on young women to have the perfect figure, thousands of Girl Guides have demanded.

More than 20,000 girls have signed a petition urging Prime Minister David Cameron to force magazines to tell readers when photographs have been enhanced. They claim airbrushing is undermining the self-confidence of an entire generation.

Their petition follows research conducted by Girlguiding UK, which found that 42%of girls aged 11 to 16 admitted dieting to improve their figures. The research also found that half of those aged 16 to 21 would have surgery to improve their looks.

The guides organisation, which has 700,000 members in Britain, is the biggest group so far to support growing criticism of advertisers and the publishing industry for its routine use of heavily doctored photographs. Images are generally retouched to make celebrities or models appear thinner or to remove wrinkles or blemishes.

Lynne Featherstone, the Equalities Minister, said she wanted magazines to stop airbrushing shots or to have some sort of kitemark to show which images were genuine, although she has said she does not want to impose regulations or change the law. She welcomed the campaign by the guides, the biggest membership group for young girls.

Editors have the right to publish whatever pictures they want, but women and girls also have the right to be comfortable in their bodies and at the moment they are being denied that. The fact that 20000 women have signed this petition shows there is a problem here, she said.

Liz Burnley, chief guide, said that a voluntary approach would not work. From our everyday experiences working with girls and young women, we know how profoundly they feel the pressure to conform to a particular image and how badly they can be affected by these unobtainable ideals. We are proud to support our members, who believe that it is time the prime minister addressed their concerns.

 

5th August   

Update: Prude Attack...

Gaea the beaver daubed in black paint
Link Here

gaea vandalisedGaea, the controversial beaver sculpture, has been vandalized, but quickly cleaned up and returned to normal.

The Bemidji Police Department received an anonymous phone call saying that the sculpture had been defaced with black spray paint.

The spray paint covered what artist Deborah A. Davis has said are the hands of a praying woman.

While Davis has said the front of the sculpture shows Mother Earth praying and the circles are roses coming forth from her hands, others have viewed the sculpture differently, seeing, instead, a portion of the female anatomy.

Police arrived on the site after 11 p.m. Tuesday and found the paint to be tacky the touch, according to a police report.

Davis, in an e-mail sent at 12:35 a.m., said she and Jeremy Anway, a Bemidji artist, repaired the sculpture.

 

5th August   

Update: Friendly Berry...

RIM concedes BlackBerry email snooping powers to India but not UAE
Link Here  full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

BlackBerry 8520 Sim Free Mobile Phone RIM has added India to the list of countries with which it's prepared to share data, and will help Kuwait block porn sites, but still hasn't opened its services up to the UAE.

Indian security forces will be able to intercept emails sent and received by BlackBerry users, within 15 days, as Reuters reports the country has been added to RIM's list of acceptable governments.

BlackBerry users enjoy unparalleled security in their email services, with email stored on RIM's servers and encrypted all the way to the handset. If you want to intercept mail you need access to the handset, or the servers, which is difficult when the former is in the hands of the user and the latter is in a different country.

The UAE-owned operator, Etisalat, did try to get snooping software onto BlackBerry handsets with a faked upgrade that failed in spectacular fashion. That really annoyed RIM, so now the UAE government faces crawling to RIM to ask for access to the servers, or just banning the devices from the country.

 

4th August   

Update: Complaints Aborted...

ASA clears Marie Stopes TV advert
Link Here  full story: Marie Stopes Advert...Advert for abortion services winds up nutters

are you late advert The ASA received 1,054 complaints, plus a further 3,296 postcards which made up a petition organised by the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children (SPUC), and another petition with 63 signatures. In addition there were 327 pre-transmission complaints. As some viewers objected that the TV ad carried a political message, because they believed the advertisers actively campaigned to change the law on abortion, the ASA referred those complaints to Ofcom.

Three women were featured in a TV ad for Marie Stopes International (MSI), a not-for-profit organisation which provided sexual and reproductive healthcare advice, information and services. First, a woman waiting at a bus stop, looking down the road, with the onscreen text Jenny Evans is late ; then, a woman in a park with her two small children, with the text Katie Simmons is late ; and finally, a woman in a café, with the text Shareen Butler is late . A female voiceover said: If you're late for your period, you could be pregnant. If you're pregnant and not sure what to do, Marie Stopes International can help . The end caption carried the text Are you late? , a phone number, and the website address.

Issue

Complainants included members of the public, GPs, people who offered counselling, MPs and other representatives, and MPs who forwarded their constituents' concerns.

The complainants objected that the ad was misleading, offensive and harmful and queried its compliance with specific Code rules.

1. Viewers objected that the ad was offensive because: it promoted abortion; of their religious beliefs; it trivialised the difficult decision faced by women experiencing an unwanted pregnancy; decisions about the life of an unborn child were being equated to decisions about consumer goods; it would be distressing to those women who had taken the decision to have an abortion; it did not take into account the views of the father; it was sexist towards women by implying that the pregnancy was solely the woman's responsibility; and by featuring a mother with her small children, it suggested that the life of an unborn child was less important than a woman's existing children.

2. Viewers objected that the ad was harmful because: the ad would encourage viewers to have an abortion when they had not previously considered that option; and, it would encourage promiscuity, especially amongst young people.

3. Viewers objected that the ad was misleading because: it promoted abortion, but did not make reference to the physical and mental health risks or physical and psychological effects which could be experienced after an abortion; the ad was illegally offering abortion on demand; it implied that obtaining an abortion was easier than it was in reality; it failed to mention that pregnant women who wanted advice should contact their GPs or seek the advice of family members; and it was unclear what services were on offer; some believed Marie Stopes offered a full range of advice about pregnancy, whilst others believed the advertisers were advocates for abortion.

Some viewers challenged whether MSI should be allowed to advertise on TV, because:

4. they believed MSI was a commercial company that charged for its services;

5. the ad promoted a Prescription Only Medicine (POM) or a medical procedure, which they believed was not permitted by the Code;

6. the ad was for a medicinal product aimed at children;

7. the ad offered a remote personal advice service on health matters, which they believed breached rule 8.1.3 of the Code relating to services offering remote personalised advice on medical or health matters or which offer to prescribe or treat remotely.

8. Some viewers objected to the scheduling of the ad at times when children might see it.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that the issue of abortion was controversial and distasteful to some, and that the complainants had strong personal and religious objections to the advertising of abortion services, or services that gave advice about abortion. We also noted that many complainants regarded the advertisers as advocates of abortion and therefore interpreted the ad as a promotion of abortion. However, the ad was for an advice service for women dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, and stated that MSI could help women who were pregnant and not sure what to do . We understood that MSI provided a wide range of advisory and health services and advised on all options during consultations with clients. We noted that the ad did not focus on any one particular service offered by MSI and did not mention abortion. We therefore considered it was an ad for a general pregnancy advice service for women who wished to learn about and discuss their options, which might include, but were not limited to, abortion.

We understood that post-conception decisions could be very difficult, but considered the ad dealt with the issue of possible pregnancy in an understated way and was not sensationalist. The women featured in the ad looked deep in thought, and we did not therefore consider that the ad trivialised the dilemma of an unplanned pregnancy. Whilst the ad featured three women, we did not consider that it suggested that only the woman would be affected, or that she should take any decisions alone. We did not consider that the ad focused on or advocated any particular choice or course of action over another, or put forward any assumptions about what the women would or should do. Whilst we recognised that any reminder of a difficult time, such as an unplanned pregnancy, could evoke a response in someone directly affected, we considered that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence on that basis.

2. Not upheld

We noted that the ad promoted a general advice line for women who were pregnant and not sure what to do, but did not explicitly mention or advocate abortion. We therefore did not consider that the ad promoted abortion or would encourage women to contemplate one particular option above any other. We noted that the ad featured three different women of child-bearing age, but did not focus on their lifestyles or the circumstances of any particular pregnancy in any detail. We also noted that the women were shown in everyday settings and were not presented in a glamorous way, and we did not consider that the ad would have a particular appeal to young people or encourage promiscuity. We therefore concluded that the ad that was not harmful.

3. Not upheld

We noted that the ad was directed at women who thought they might be pregnant. We considered that it was clear that the ad was promoting the Advice Line as a source of information for those women, and noted that it did not advocate one option over another. We did not consider that it suggested that pregnant women should not consult their GP or family members for support or advice. We understood that MSI was a Pregnancy Advice Bureau (PAB) regulated by the Department of Health and, as a provider of services on behalf of the NHS, were obliged to offer a range of advice on all the options available to pregnant women. We were satisfied that any callers to the Advice Line would be advised about the health implications of any intervention or procedure which might be appropriate for her, in consultation with a qualified and regulated healthcare professional. We noted the ad did not refer to abortion and considered there was no evidence that MSI offered abortion on demand, in conflict with the law.

4. Not upheld

We understood that Marie Stopes charged private clients for its services, but that NHS-referred clients did not pay fees. We understood that MSI was a charity registered with the Charity Commission and revenue derived from its fees was not for profit, but was used to support charitable works directly related to post-conception advice and services, as well as family planning, contraception and other sexual and reproductive health related issues. We considered that the ad promoted a non-commercial advice service, and therefore concluded that MSI was permitted to advertise that service on TV under the Code.

5. & 6. Not upheld

We noted the ad was for MSIs general pregnancy advisory service, and that it did not refer to any medicinal product or medical treatment. We therefore considered that the ad did not promote a POM or medical procedure.

In addition, we did not consider that the content of the ad was directly targeted at children, or would have a particular appeal to children. We therefore concluded that the ad was not in breach of the Code on these points.

7. Not upheld

We noted that rule 8.3.1 of the BCAP Television Advertising Code stated that ads for services offering remote personalised advice on medical or health matters were only acceptable where that advice was provided by staff who were regulated by a statutory or recognised medical or health professional body. We understood MSI operated within a clear regulatory structure supervised by government. We also understood that any caller who contacted the MSI Advice Line, and who wanted specific advice on which healthcare option might be most appropriate for her, would only receive advice on medical and health matters from a registered nurse or qualified counsellor. Because we understood that the advice was only provided by staff who were subject to regulation by statutory or recognised medical or health professional bodies, we did not consider that the ad was in breach of rule 8.1.3 of the Code.

8. Not upheld

We noted that the ad had been given an ex-kids timing restriction, which meant it should not be shown on dedicated childrens channels, or in or around those programmes on other channels made for, or specifically targeted at, children. We considered that that restriction was sufficient to keep the ad away from times when younger children were likely to be watching TV alone. We did not consider that the ad needed to be kept away from times when older children would be watching TV, and therefore concluded that the ex-kids timing restriction that had been imposed was sufficient.

 

4th August   

Stark Options...

BBC TV censor responds to complaint about website headline
Link Here

have your say logoThe BBC Trust has rejected a complaint about a headline on the World Service website that asked, Should homosexuals face execution?

The question was linked to a Have Your Say debate page based on a radio programme broadcast on December 16 after the Ugandan government said it was considering legislation which would impose the death penalty for some homosexual acts.

The BBC Trust said a complaint was received in January by a woman who said she considered it outrageous that the question was posed.

She also criticised subsequent apologies from BBC executives David Stead and Peter Horrocks as flimsy and half-hearted and said the decision to generate a debate on the topic would invite comments that could easily be criminal incitement to hatred .

A BBC Trust report said the committee agreed with the director of World Service, Peter Horrocks, who wrote in his blog that the headline was too stark .

The report concluded: The committee would request that the BBC Executive review its online editorial guideline on audience expectations to ensure that content writers are reminded that all content is available globally, and that any contentious issues should be suitably contextualised in order to prevent the general reader from misunderstanding its purpose.

 

4th August   

A Bit of a Nanny Thing Going On...

Philip Glenister speaks of nannying getting in the way of good TV programmes
Link Here

Ashes 3 DVD Keeley Hawes Ashes to Ashes actor Philip Glenister has criticised the BBC and ITV for interfering too much in programme-making, saying there's a bit of a nanny thing going on . The actor said he thought self-censorship sometimes got in the way of making good programmes.

He said: It's just something I think the BBC and ITV need to look at, to see that ultimately it's about making the best show we can. A lot of it is about self-censorship as well, we're grown up and big enough to know when we're pushing the boundaries.

 

4th August   

Liberal Fifth Columnist...

Saudi minister's books unbanned
Link Here

Revolution Sunnah Ghazi Algosaibi Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban on books written by its ailing labour minister whose liberal tone provoked both the official clerical establishment and al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

Ghazi Algosaibi is a former ambassador to London and a confidant of King Abdullah whose push for reform has fostered divisions among senior members of the religious establishment and between reformists and the most conservative clerics.

Bin Laden singled out Algosaibi in a taped message from his hideout in 2006 as a liberal fifth columnist.

 

3rd August   

Saw VI Hacked...

Spain gets a belated and cut release.
Link Here

Saw VI DVD Tobin Bell Saw VI, which was not screened in Spain after it was slapped with an X rating last year, will finally be released in the country in October, its Spanish distributor said.

A new version of the movie, with the most violent scenes cut out, has received a not under 18 rating, meaning it can screen at commercial theatres like the previous installments of the franchise, DeAPlaneta said. It will open across Spain on October 8.

In October 2009 Spain's film institute, a unit of the culture ministry, gave Saw VI an X rating, citing its extreme violence, and in effect relegating the film to porn theatres. It was the first time that the institute's ratings commission awarded an X rating because of violence. The movie ended up not being released in Spain because of the X rating.

 

3rd August   

Ofcom Not Impressed...

by programme on the Gaza aid convoy attack
Link Here

Press TV logoA current affairs programme presented by Lauren Booth has been rapped by the broadcasting watchdog for breaching impartiality rules.

Booth fronted a programme on Press TV, the Iranian international news network, about the events during and after the May interception by Israeli military forces of a pro-Palestinian aid convoy, which resulted in nine deaths.

The programme, broadcast in June, started with a pro-Palestinian song set to anti-Israeli/pro-Palestinian imagery. Comments made by Booth, who is Cherie Blair's half-sister, included: Israeli commandoes ... committed a massacre of innocent civilians sailing aid ships to the besieged Gaza Strip and this was obviously a barbarous attack on civilians .

The broadcaster said it had complied with impartiality requirements and that the intensity of the descriptions in the programme merely reflected the general atmosphere around the world .

But Ofcom ruled that the programme did not contain any alternative views. It said: Presenters or interviewers must ensure they are articulating alternative views in a duly objective manner or putting them to interviewees in a manner that achieves due impartiality.

It said: In summary ... we considered the broadcaster did not provide sufficient evidence of alternative views within the programme. Overall the programme gave a one-sided view on this matter of political controversy. Furthermore and importantly, the broadcaster did not provide any evidence of alternative views on this issue in a series of programmes taken as a whole.

 

3rd August   

Rumours of a Gossip Ban...

Indonesian clerics ban muslims from celebrity gossip
Link Here

celebrity gossip mugIndonesia's highest Islamic authority has forbidden Muslims from viewing gossipy content in the country's media after a celebrity sex clip scandal dominated television news in the past month.

The Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) issued the edict this week because of concerns that some media programs were not meant to educate but went beyond the barriers of decency toward pornography, said the MUI's Ma'ruf Amin: The problem is not about infotainment but its content which contain slander, rumors.. also the shows lead to pornography, Amin said.

He said the organization had recommended the government follow up the edict through regulations to control such infotainment content.

 

3rd August   

Update: Bury Berry...

UAE, Saudi and India whinge about not being able to snoop on BlackBerry phone users
Link Here  full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

BlackBerry 8520 Sim Free Mobile Phone Research In Motion Ltd.'s BlackBerry service may be banned in India unless the Canadian company agrees to allow India to snoop on usres, according to a government official with direct knowledge of the matter.

India has told Research In Motion to set up a proxy server in the country to enable security agencies to monitor e-mail trafficl.

RIM has the best encryption, significant subscribers, and a brand that's known across the world, said Anshul Gupta, principal research analyst at Gartner Inc. in Mumbai.

The Waterloo, Ontario-based company has assured the Indian government that it will address the nation's snooping requirements.

Mint newspaper earlier reported the government is considering banning mobile e-mail services including BlackBerry.

The company faced obstacles recently in Pakistan, where the national telecommunications regulator said it blocked Internet browsers on BlackBerry handsets, citing supposed concerns over blasphemy.

Moves against BlackBerry in Saudi and UAE

Based on article from dailymail.co.uk

More than a million BlackBerry owners are to have services cut in two Gulf states after authorities demanded access to spy on users.

Both Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates are to prevent the use of the instant messaging service between the handsets. And the UAE will also block emails being sent and bar internet access on the smartphones.

There are an estimated 500,000 BlackBerry users in the UAE, and 700,000 in Saudi Arabia.

In Saudi Arabia in particular, BlackBerry handsets have become the must-have gizmo for Saudi youths. They enable them to connect with members of the opposite sex in a deeply conservative society.

The Saudi move will begin later this month. Abdulrahman Mazi, a board member of state-controlled Saudi Telecom, has admitted that the decision is intended to put pressure on Blackberry's Canadian owner, Research in Motion (RIM), to release data from users' communications when needed .

The UAE's telecoms regulator, TRA, said some Blackberry services would be suspended from October 11.

 

2nd August   

Censors on Demand...

ASA appointed to censor advertising on Video on Demand
Link Here

ASA logoFrom 1 September 2010, the way the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) regulates advertising on TV-like video-on-demand (VOD) services will be changing. The ASA has been designated by Ofcom as the co-regulator for advertising appearing on VOD services.

A new Appendix has been included in the British Code of Advertising, Sales Promotion and Direct Marketing (the CAP Code), which will apply to aspects of advertisements on VOD services that are subject to statutory regulation. This Appendix contains rules reflecting the new statutory requirements.

The Appendix doesn't introduce new requirements for VOD advertising: VOD providers are already required, under law, to comply with them and the Appendix doesn't go beyond the rules that are already in the CAP Code. Adding these requirements to an Appendix of the CAP Code means that the ASA can take action on suspected breaches against the VOD service provider and without the need to refer to Ofcom for legal action.

In practice, very little has changed: advertisements on ATVOD-regulated VOD services are already subject to these requirements under the law and the ASA already considers complaints about VOD advertisements under the CAP Code.

What has changed is that the ASA is now able to consider all aspects of VOD advertising, whether the relevant rules derive from the self-regulatory CAP Code or from the law. Previously, the ASA referred complaints that might fall under the law to Ofcom. This change will make it easier for viewers, who can be confident that the ASA is the right body to deal with complaints about advertising in all media, regardless of the underlying legal framework. [except babe channels with remain under the censorship of Ofcom!]

 

2nd August   

Update: Dumb and Dumber and Stephen Conroy...

Vote for the dumbest politician
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Australia...Wide ranging state internet censorship

dumb and dumber and stephen conroyThe man who is trying to protect Australia from all the evils of the world and block the Internet to online gambling websites and dentist offices, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy, was recently voted the Dumbest Politician in a magazine survey.

Zoo Weekly magazine conducted the online survey of 1200 voters to dub Senator Conroy the dumbest politician, followed by Family First senator Steve Fielding, and Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.

Stephen Conroy has relentlessly been working to filter various websites in Australia, though his efforts to date have been all for naught.

At the launch of National Cyber Security Awareness Week in Melbourne last June, Senator Conroy puzzled listeners by declaring: There's a staggering number of Australians being in having their computers infected at the moment, up to 20,000, uh, can regularly be getting infected by these spams, or scams, that come through, the portal (sic).

 

2nd August   

Crime of Police Deception Rife in Gisborne...

New Zealand town police withhold crime news
Link Here

crime free zoPolice in the New Zealand city of Gisborne have decided to stop telling the local newspaper about incidents of crime. It is holding back the data so that people feel safer .

Instead of listing every incident the police force will streamline information to provide an overview of criminal activity.

Our daily feed of information to the media does not provide the right recipe for the community in terms of important information they need to know, said police commander Sam Aberahama.

Gisborne Herald editor Jeremy Muir called the unilateral restriction on crime news as straight out of the communist manual .

 

2nd August   

Competition: Mega Piranha...

3 copies to be given away to readers of Melon Farmers
Link Here

Mega Piranha The Give Away:

Just email Dave at webmaster@melonfarmers.com by midday on 16th August 2010.

Mention Mega Piranha and I will enter you in a draw for the three region 2 DVDs available to Melon Farmers readers.

Only one entry per reader and you must be at least 15 years old to enter. 

The Movie:

Mega Pirahna

DVD Release date: 9th August 2010 Running time: 90 minutes
DVD RRP: £15.99
Cert: 15

Starring 1980s pop sensation Tiffany!

Join Special Agent Finch (Paul Logan) and Professor Sarah Monroe (80's pop star Tiffany) as a mutant strain of giant ferocious piranha escape from the Amazon and eat their way toward Florida…

Will the entire population of Florida be saved from complete annihilation? Will Paul Logan keep his top on for more than 5 minutes? Will Tiffany manage to get through the entire film without bursting into I Think We're Alone Now ?

Featuring explosive set pieces, stunning special effects and the most fearsome marine monsters in the history of film, Mega Pirahna is the riotously entertaining new creature feature from the makers of last year's massive DVD success, Mega Shark Vs Giant Octopus .

Battleships will be destroyed, humanity will be threatened, a continent will reach the edge of disaster, a group of heroes will risk it all to save innocent lives and helicopters will be eaten. Prepare for the ultimate bite-sized blockbusting thrill-ride that will leave you desperately hanging onto the edge of your seat.

DVD Extras:

  • The making of Mega Piranha
  • Mega Piranha Blooper Reel

Result

Congratulations to Dave, Jeroen & Nick

 

2nd August   

Update: Taken For A Ride...

Malta lawmakers duped into censorship hidden behind child protection law
Link Here  full story: Censorship Law in Malta...Lawnmakers hide obscenity law behind child protection

Malta flagMalta's Labour leader Joseph Muscat has admitted that his party did not mean to back a legal amendment that has introduced tougher penalties for the distribution and production of pornography.

He said the controversial amendment to Article 208 of the Criminal Code, approved by Parliament in April, was passed as a measure of stealth by the government, having been sold to the Opposition as part of a package of laws to strengthen penalties for child pornography .

The amendment to the article was made together with various other amendments to laws mostly relating to child pornography.

Admitting that his party had not carefully evaluated what it approved, Dr Muscat said his MPs would not have backed the legal changes had they known they did not have anything to do with child pornography or protecting vulnerable people.

 

2nd August   

Negative Influences...

Vietnam gets repressive about online games
Link Here

Vietnam flagThe government of Vietnam has now implemented restrictions on online games.

Minister of Information and Communications  Le Doan Hop called for the immediate implementation of a trio of stop-gap measures until new laws are drafted and propagated:

  • all new licenses for online games will be suspended
  • all public media ads for online games are banned
  • Internet cafes will have to shut down game services between 11pm and 6am every day.
  • Gamers will also be limited to three hours of playtime for any title that interacts with a server, though taking part in educational or cultural games will be permitted for four or five hours per day.
  • game operators to detail the level of violence in titles they offered via a report which must include video clips that illustrate the violent nature of particular games.
  • Operators also must break down games into acceptable age groups, selecting from six and under, 6-11, 12 to 15, 15 to 18 and 18+.

The measures were taken, according to Vietnam News, following a public outcry about their supposed negative influences on the youth.

 

1st August   

Goading the BBFC...

Feel the Noise cut for cockfighting
Link Here

Feel Noise DVD Alejandro Chomski Feel the Noise is a 2007 US music drama by Alejandro Chomski

The BBFC cut 12s for:

  • 2010 Anchor Bay R2 DVD

The BBFC explained:

  • A compulsory cut was required to a scene of animal cruelty (in this instance two birds goaded to fury and seen pecking and fighting each other during a cockfight)

 

1st August   

Political Padding...

Jacqui Smith applies for job as TV censor
Link Here

TelevisionX logoThe former Home Secretary Jacqui Smith has sparked 'fury' by bidding for a top BBC job.

The ex-cabinet minister, who famously charged taxpayers for the cost of watching two pornographic films, is lobbying to become vice-chairman of the BBC regulator,  the BBC Trust.

The plum position pays £77,000 a year for a two-and-a-half-day week and also offers generous perks.

Smith is hoping to replace the current vice-chairman, Chitra Bharucha, who is stepping down at the end of October. Jacqui Smith

The deadline for applications for the vice-chairman post expired last week. An announcement about the successful candidate is expected to be made by the end of the summer.

 

1st August   

Update: Jammed Shut...

Ethiopian government accused of satellite TV jamming
Link Here  full story: Satellite TV Jammed in Ethiopia...Ethiopian government act as political censors

esat logoThe First independent Ethiopian satellite service (ESAT) said its transmissions in Ethiopia are intercepted for the third time since last May when the service was launched for the first time.

The Amsterdam-based Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) in a press release has held the Ethiopian government responsible for the interception.

For the past 24 hours, Ethiopian Satellite Television (ESAT) broadcasts and transmissions in Ethiopia, the Middle East and Europe have been disrupted for the third time since it began service in May 2010.

ESAT said it has gathered evidences that show that the Ethiopian Government being illegally engaged with certain parties in the satellite business attempted to isolate and disrupt ESAT signals:

Our evidence on the source of the illegal signal interference points exclusively in the direction of the Ethiopian Government. Beginning on July 20, the satellite system carrying ESAT signals was bombarded by intense and sustained radio frequency interference disrupting a whole set of services provided by various public and private entities.'Along with ESAT, the satellite service of state-controlled Ethiopian Television was also knocked of the air.

When ESAT resumed its services after it was disrupted the second time, a request was made to the satellite provided to place ESAT on the same frequency as Ethiopian Television Service. This would ensure that any interference in ESAT signals would also affect Ethiopian Television transmissions. The Ethiopian Government by attempting to knock out ESAT ended up knocking itself off the air.'