Censor Watch
 2011: August
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31st August   

Life and Death of a Porno Gang...

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Film often mentioned in the same breath as a Serbian Film passed R18+ uncut in Australia
Link Here

life and death of a porno gang Life and Death of a Porno Gang ( Zivot I Smrt Porno Bande ) is a 2009 Serbia drama by Mladen Djordjevic.

It is described as a disturbing film taking cues from the more famous A Serbian Film . It similarly uses the setting of a porn film being made with allegories to some of the shit going down in Serbia. It's a transgressive film with the scenes of rape, self-mutilation, bestiality, snuff murders and suicide.

It was passed R18+ uncut for home video by the Australian film censor in June of this year. No signs of a release as yet though, but will be sure to stir up a nutter reaction when it does appear.

The Australian censor noted that Life and Death of a Porno Gang contains: High impact sexual themes, violence and actual sexual activity

 

31st August   

Update: Nutter at the Helm...

  Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

US Mainstream DVDs

Video Universe
 

Claire Perry to head yet another Parliamentary inquiry child protection on the internet
Link Here  full story: Harmful Content...Parliament Inquiry: Internet And In Video Games:

Clair Perry Parliament has announced a another inquiry into online child safety, to be headed by Conservative MP and anti-porn campaigner Claire Perry. She got noticed due to her impractical campaign to force ISPs to block porn unless people opt to receive it.

According to a press release on Claire Perry's constituency website, the inquiry will seek:

1) To understand better the extent to which children access on-line pornography and the potential for harm that this may cause

2) To determine what British Internet Service Providers have done to date to protect children online and the extent and possible impact of their future plans in this area

3) To determine what additional tools parents require to protect children from inappropriate content

4) To establish the arguments for and against network level filtering of content that would require an 18 rating in other forms of media

5) To recommend to Government the possible form of regulation required if ISPs fail to meet Recommendation no.5 from the Bailey Review.

Public evidence sessions will take place in Committee Room 7, House of Commons between 14:00 and 16:00 on September 8th and October 18th.

The inquiry will include approximately 60 MPs and gather feedback from ISPs as well as parents and many others [but probably not those who actually enjoy adult material on the internet].

A final report is expected in November 2011.

 

31st August   

Policing the Censors...

Video Universe - Buy New Release DVDs, TV on DVD, Music Videos and Much More

Israeli minster questions shows disquiet over film censors who can make up the rules as they go along
Link Here

Policeman Hashoter Azulay ntsc Version Israel's Culture and Sports Minister, Limor Livnat, has asked Israel Film Council Chairman Nissim Abouloff to hold off on a decision to restrict the award-winning Israeli film Hashoter (The Policeman) to viewers 18 and above.

The film, written and directed by Nadav Lapid, won the special jury prize at the Locarno Film Festival and three awards at the Jerusalem Film Festival.

It's not clear how the council reached its decision, since the movie does not contain violence or sexually explicit scenes. The decision was handed down last week, without an explanation backing up the ruling.

This is an absurd decision and the censorship is political, Lapid said.

The Israel Film Council falls under the Culture and Sports Ministry. Its decisions are not based on clear criteria or permanent rules; this apparently led Livnat, when she took office in 2009, to seek to stop the council's work in its present form.

According to the culture minister's media adviser, the council has held a number of meetings on the film. Another meeting has been scheduled for next week to study whether to disband the council or set clear criteria for its decisions. This was a pledge the minister made when she came into office, and she intends to keep it, Livnat's office said.

Lapid said the council's decision represents:

the highest form of censorship that can be handed down. Eighteen-year-olds in Israel are able to go into the army, engage in combat, kill and be killed, as well as vote in elections. Israeli girls and boys of 16 are able to visit Poland and deal with scenes of the concentration camps, on trips organized by the Education Ministry. But the critical view of life in Israel as portrayed by Hashoter, its wrestling with the regime and the wealthy, its view of the place of a policeman, a combatant, apparently constitutes a threat to the censorship people.

The film's producer, Itai Tamir, added:

Anyone for whom freedom of speech in Israel is important should be alarmed by the lightness with which the censorship officials decide which viewpoints are worthy to appear on the screen in front of everyone and which are not appropriate.

 

31st August   

Offsite: Esc and Ctrl...

A new series about controlling the internet
Link Here

esc ctrl Does the net's liberating power need to be defended from the traditional authorities that fear it? Jon Ronson's Esc & Ctrl will look at attempts to control the online world.

The rest of the series isn't filmed yet, so do suggest directions you'd like to see it take.

...See the video

 

30th August   

WHSmith Recommend...

WHSmith ban Garage magazine with Damien Hurst tattoo on the cover
Link Here

garage magazine dien hurst Dasha Zhukova's new art and fashion magazine, Garage, has received some good publicity from WHSmith. The newsagent and distributer has banned the publication before it hit the newsstands.

The offending cover features a closeup shot of a Damien Hirst-designed butterfly tattoo as displayed by a 23-year-old model.

 

30th August   

Advert Kerbs...

Hyundai car advert banned by Dutch TV
Link Here

hyundai grim reaper advert A clever but television commercial for the all-new Hyundai Veloster has been banned in the Netherlands.

The ad contends that, in a standard car, the rear doors open out onto the traffic side of the road, potentially placing passengers in the path of passing traffic -- and into the spindly grasp of the Grim Reaper.

The Veloster, however, only has a rear door on the kerb side of the vehicle, meaning anyone exiting from the rear will be stepping on the footpath rather than into the path of oncoming traffic.

The ad makes a poignant point, but apparently it was a little too graphic for the Dutch censors.

However Mashable suggests that the ban may just be hype.

 

30th August   

Beyond the Watershed...

New Zealand TV censor doesn't like being blamed for unnecessary censorship
Link Here
Zack Miri Make Porno DVD A TV2 decision to edit strong language out of the first scenes of a 9pm movie has been labeled unnecessary by the Broadcasting Standards Authority.

The authority has told the station to stop blaming it for the decision to censor the film.

Expletives were muted for the first 17 minutes of the movie Zack And Miri Make A Porno on TV2 at 9pm..

Viewers launched into a fiery debate with the broadcaster on Twitter over its decision to censor the movie, which uses the 'fuck' 219 times.

PaMelville said blanking out the expletives had robbed the movie of half its dialogue. Are we not grown up yet in this country? Another Twitter user, hamo_d,  said it would have been better not to show the movie than to cut three dozen swearwords in the first 15 minutes: People love an uncensored piece of work, delivered as intended. Don't play movies you haven't got the balls to show as intended.

TV2 Twitter editor Chris Hooper last night blamed the edit on Broadcasting Standards Authority rules.

The station was required to censor offensive content during the transition between the G-rated My Kitchen Rules and the adults only movie, he said: It's not because we liked the extra editing work - BSA rules about going from a family show into AO.

BSA guidelines urge broadcasters to ensure strong adult material is not shown soon after the 8.30pm cut off time for children's programming. But BSA chief executive Dominic Sheehan said there were no rules requiring TV2 to censor a movie with a 9pm start time. He said the station was blaming the BSA for an editorial decision.

 

30th August   

Update: Nutters Unkaged...

US petition to remove dog fighting game from the Android app store
Link Here

Dog Wars by Kage Games Animal rights activists have taken to the virtual streets hoping to persuade Google to remove Kage Games' virtual dogfighting game, KG Dogfighting, from its Android Market for smartphone apps.

Change.org is one of the groups supporting the effort; an online petition there has attracted more than 41,000 signatories. According to Change.org:

This app makes a game out of dog fighting -- celebrating cruelty against animals and contributing to the attitude that there's nothing wrong with using animals in bloodsports. This type of media fuels animal abuse and breed specific legislation, which costs innocent dogs their lives...

Dog fighting is a felony across all 50 states. KG Dogfighting promotes violence and creates a virtual community for a very real crime. Like many sites, Android Market's policies don't specifically address animal cruelty, but do state: Android Market should not be used for unlawful purposes or for promotion of dangerous and illegal activities.

Kage Games' description of the $4.99 app includes a long and often cheeky response, including such observations as

Perhaps one day we will make gerbil wars or betta fish wars for people who can't understand fantasy role play games and Just because something is illegal in real life in certain countries, does not mean it is illegal to make a song, movie or video game about it.

There are hundreds of games on the Google Android market as well as any other popular game platform which, if acted out in real life, would be illegal. What makes the Google Android platform special is that it gives the freedom and responsibility to the individual users to decide what to put on their phones as opposed to the phone carriers and app stores making value judgments on our behalf.

 

30th August   

Update: Virtually Repressive...

Pakistan bans VPNs
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking
hide my ass logo Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) have been banned in Pakistan.

According to a report in the Times of India, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has issued a directive to all the ISPs in the country to disable any technology that aids private browsing.

It has also been noticed that the PTA, apart from the VPN block has been blocking several websites, too. Turns out that the Rolling Stone website has been blocked in Pakistan, probably because it shared an IP address with a banned site and the ISP could not deactivate a single URL.

 

30th August   

The Daily Mail Recommends...

Comic Strip: The Hunt for Tony Blair
Link Here

comic strip logo The Daily Mail writes:

A new grossly offensive comedy will portray Lady Thatcher as a sex-starved Falklands War obsessive, and mocks her frail mental health.

Channel 4 is reviving controversial satirical comedy show Comic Strip , but is set to cause controversy with its portrayal of the former Conservative Prime Minister.

Lady Thatcher is shown as a Norma Desmond-type nymphomaniac obsessed with watching re-runs of the Falklands War.  It also mocks her relationship with beloved husband Denis - and shows her keeping his decaying skeleton in her cupboard.

The Comic Strip is being brought back by TV chiefs 30 years after its debut with a show depicting Tony Blair as a fugitive on the run from police, who ends up being seduced by the former Conservative leader at her countryside mansion. Thatcher is shown luring Blair into her boudoir, forcing him to dress in hunting attire, and exclaiming Kiss me Tony before seducing him.

Andrew Rosindell, Conservative MP for Romford, said: 

I think it is in very poor taste and people will feel quite angry...She is obviously quite elderly and frail and it is quite wrong to use someone's image in that way, it is certainly disrespectful. To project Lady Thatcher in that way is rather cruel to be honest...It is all in very poor taste, maybe they should consider whether it is appropriate to be screened.

Comic Strip: The Hunt For Tony Blair , will air on October 4.

 

30th August   

Updated: Unhatcheted in the UK...

DVD/Blu-ray of Hatchet 2 will be the Director's Cut
Link Here  full story: Hatchet II...Unusual unrated theatrical release

Hatchet 2 DVD Danielle Harris Hatchet 2 is a 2010 UK horror by Adam Green. See IMDb

The Unrated Version/Director's Cut was passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2011 Arrow RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon for release on 29th August 2011
  • UK 2011 Arrow R2 DVD at UK Amazon for release on 29th August 2011
  • UK 2011 cinema release

There is also a cut US R Rated Version to avoid. This was a replacement for a rare and controversial MPAA Unrated cinema release that was brought to an abrupt end in favour of the more family friendly cut R Rated version.

The hassle free UK certificate has been noted and compared with the US release. Director Adam Green noted:

See how simple that was? No police in theatres. No shutdowns. No silly controversy. Just pay for your ticket and see a movie about a swamp monster with a wireless belt sander. That's right, kids! The UK will be getting Hatchet II as it was meant to be seen when it opens there in theatres this week. Free of all the MPAA stupidity and hoopla.

According to Adam Green, hatchet II has received an 18 Rating with NO cuts enforced. When it opens in cinemas on Friday in the UK - you'll be getting the uncut film!

We sure could take a page from our friends across the pond.

 

30th August   

Life's a Cabaret...

Venezuelan court bans magazine with government officials portrayed as cabaret dancers
Link Here

6to poder A court in the Venezuelan capital Caracas has issued a temporary injunction to prohibit the publication and circulation of satirical magazine 6to Poder after it published a cover with six Venezuelan government officials portrayed as cabaret dancers.

The Intelligence Service arrested the magazine's editor, Dinorah Giron, and put out a warrant for the arrest of the president of the publishing company, Leocenis Garcia.

Update: Resumed

1st September 2011. See  article from  indexoncensorship.org

A judge has this week lifted a week-old court ruling banning the distribution of 6to Poder . However, the weekly was still prohibited from referring to the case in print or from publishing similar content.

 

30th August   

Offsite: Profit above Humanity?...

Victims of Chinese censorship sue Cisco claiming that they facilitated their detention
Link Here  full story: Supporting Internet Censorship...US multi-nationals support repressive censorship

ciso logo Three Chinese writers who have spent time in prison for articles published online are suing California-based Cisco Systems Inc., according to international news reports.

The suit accuses the company of providing information and technology to Chinese authorities that facilitated the writers' detention.

...Read the full article

 

29th August   

Updated: Category 1 Whingers...

Mediawatch-UK have a knock at gay sex on Torchwood
Link Here

Torchwood Miracle Day Eve Myles Nutters have Complained about BBC's Torchwood over sex scenes featuring Captain Jack Harkness and his gay lover Angelo.

Thursday's show, in which Captain Jack (played by John Barrowman) seduced Angelo, reportedly drew hundreds of complaints from viewers.

According to the Daily Mail, more than 500 viewers showed their disapproval by complaining to the Beeb, calling the scenes pointless .

Some questioned the need for sex scenes, gay or straight, in a sci-fi show while others were said to be concerned that younger viewers would be 'shocked'.

David Turtle, from campaign group Mediawatch-UK, told the Mail: The BBC will say the programme is being shown after the 9pm watershed. But it doesn't alter the fact that the programme is watched by a lot of young people and is easily accessible on iPlayer at any time of the day.

A BBC spokesperson responded by saying: We felt the content was justified in terms of the context and character and within the expectations of regular viewers. We aim to depict relationships, whether heterosexual or homosexual in an honest and realistic way. These scenes are not meant to cause offence.

In fact the BBC had previously said that they would cut a scene showing Captain Jack sleeping with a barman:

It wasn't that it was a gay scene that worried people, but just the fact that it was such an explicit sex scene full stop, a source said. You can get away with scenes like that on American cable channels, but you can't on primetime BBC One.

Even though the show airs after the watershed, it has a lot of young fans who would have been shocked at the graphic nature of the sex.

So it seems that even cutting the scenes isn't enough for the likes of Mediawatch-UK

Update: Complaints Dismissed

3rd November 2011. See  article from  stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk

Ofcom have dismissed 78 complaints against Torchwood on the subject of 'sexual material'. However Ofcom did not comment further on their decision.

 

29th August   

Update: The Daily Mail Recommends...

Channel 4 to show Four Lions around the time of the 9/11 tenth anniversary
Link Here

Four Lions Special Riz Ahmed The Daily Mail has such a way with words:

Channel 4 is to spark 'outrage' by airing a controversial comedy film about Muslim suicide bombers as part a season of programmes to mark the tenth anniversary of 9/11.

In a move set to 'shock' TV viewers, the broadcaster is to show Four Lions , the 2010 film by Brass Eye comedian Chris Morris, just days before the memorials take place for the terrorist outrages in New York.

Insiders at the Channel 4 have revealed that Morris was looking to create even more controversy by trying to air the film on the actual day of the anniversary, but bosses at the channel have resisted this.

Four Lions is a comedy depicting the activities of a group of home-grown and incompetent British terrorists who plan to kill thousands of people at the London Marathon in a terror attacks, but end up bungling the operation.

Channel 4 will premiere the film alongside factual documentaries about heroes from the emergency services and a reconstruction documentary about the killing of Osama Bin Laden for the season of programmes.

 

29th August   

Offsite: Public Complaints Counter...

PCC not impressed by the description that it is more complaints dept than industry regulator
Link Here

new left project logo When the Leveson Enquiry was announced in July, the Press Complaints Commission immediately stated its intention to review its own constitution and funding arrangements, the range of sanctions available to it, and its practical independence . This, it said, would be a key contribution to the inquiry , adding that it remains committed to the establishment of a more effective system, one that supports appropriate freedoms, but demands the highest ethical standards. The PCC, and its independent members (who are in the majority), has led the call for appropriate reform. We welcome the consensus of Parliament that the model of regulation for the press should continue to be a non-statutory one .

This may sound reasonable enough. However, there's just one slight problem: the PCC is not, and never has been, a regulator -- it's merely a body which deals with complaints about the press, the equivalent of the customer services department of any large corporate organisation.

...read the full article

Offsite: PCC response

See  response from  pcc.org.uk by Jonathan Collett, PCC Director of Communications

Julian Petley is obviously wrong to try to characterise the PCC as merely a mediator and not a regulator. He is wrong to suggest there is nothing in the PCC's Articles of Association to suggest it performs a regulatory function when those articles actually specifically state that the PCC has responsibility to: consider and pronounce on issues relating to the Code of Practice which the Commission, in its absolute discretion considers to be in the public interest .

...read the full repsonse

 

29th August   

Miracle Olive Oil Soap...

Ofcom considers sanctions against Believe TV for potentially harmful nonsense about a miracle cure for cancer
Link Here

believe tv logo Believe TV
21 and 22 December 2010, 4 January 2011 and 1 February 2011

Believe TV is a service which broadcasts Christian programming. The channel broadcasts programmes which include testimony , where members of the churches featured proclaim how health problems, financial issues or other personal matters have been alleviated through healing from a pastor or other religious leader and their faith in God. Believe TV also features other Christian programming including preaching and healing from churches in the UK and around the world.

The licence for Believe TV is held by The Light Academy Limited.

In January 2011 the Advertising Standards Authority ( ASA ) informed Ofcom that it had written to the Licensee regarding the broadcast on Believe TV of two programmes, featuring the televangelist. Paul Lewis, on 21 and 22 December 2010. Both programmes featured Paul Lewis's Miracle Olive Oil Soap . which it was claimed has healing properties that can cure serious illnesses such as cancer.

The ASA informed Light Academy that these broadcasts contained similar claims by Paul Lewis to those which had already been the subject of an ASA adjudication in May 2007. Further, the ASA advised the Licensee that Ofcom had also previously recorded breaches of the Broadcasting Code in relation to content containing similar claims by Paul Lewis that had been transmitted by two other broadcasters in 2008.

In response to the ASA, the Light Academy confirmed that Paul Lewis Ministries content had now been removed from its schedules as of 24 December 2010 onwards, and that in any event the content was editorial and not advertising.

The ASA therefore referred the material to Ofcom for further investigation, as well as further material broadcast on Believe TV (not featuring Paul Lewis) the ASA had recorded on 4 January 2011.

Ofcom reviewed this material and agreed that the content being investigated in this case should be regarded as editorial and not advertising and therefore that the Code applied. Separately Ofcom was also concerned that other material broadcast on Believe TV, on these three dates, contained examples of potentially unsubstantiated and dangerous claims about the healing of serious conditions such as infertility and cancer.

Ofcom considered that such material raised potentially serious issues under the Code. In particular, Ofcom was concerned about the risk that as a result of watching the testimonies and preaching, viewers with serious medical conditions would either not seek or discontinue conventional medical treatment.

Ofcom also notified the Licensee of its concerns about the apparent promotion of products such as CDs and DVDs in some of its programming.

Ofcom noted further broadcast content which raised similar issues, for example:

  • hCancer healing testimonies and claims.
  • Members of the congregation claiming to give up their medication as a result of the receiving healing at the church.
  • Members of the congregation claiming to have disregarded conventional medical advice and treatment in favour of healing at the church.
  • Infertility healing testimonies and claims.
  • Claims of healing of other serious medical illnesses, for example: blood pressure problems, heart disease and drug and alcohol addictions.

Ofcom considered:

  • Rule 2.1: Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of television and radio services so as to provide adequate protection for members of the public from the inclusion in such services of harmful and/or offensive material.
  • Rule 4.6: Religious programmes must not improperly exploit any susceptibilities of the audience.
  • Rule 10.2: Broadcasters must ensure that the advertising and programme elements of a service are kept separate.
  • Rule 10.3: Products and services must not be promoted in programmes. This rule does not apply to programme-related material.

Ofcom Decision: In Breach

Given that some viewers who may have watched this material may also have been suffering from serious medical conditions, and were therefore likely to be in a vulnerable state, Ofcom also concluded that this material clearly had the potential to cause harm, and possibly very serious harm. In view of the fact that the Licensee did not take steps to provide viewers with adequate protection from this potential harm by providing any context to the claims made, Ofcom concluded that the Licensee did not apply generally accepted standards. Rule 2.1 was therefore breached.

Given that the content was also soliciting a response from viewers and such individuals experiencing serious illnesses may be vulnerable to the healing claims being made, Ofcom concluded that there was a material risk that susceptible members of the audience may be exploited by the material broadcast on Believe TV. This was a breach of Rule 4.6.

Ofcom also considered that the references to the products were made in such a highly promotional manner that they appeared akin to advertising within a programme. Ofcom therefore also found the programmes in breach of Rule 10.2 and 10.3 of the Code.

The Licensee broadcast material where there was a likelihood that significant potential harm may have resulted. It is Ofcom's view that any material broadcast which may lead to a material risk to the health and safety of the audience must always be considered a significant breach of the Code.

In deciding what further regulatory action to take in this case. Ofcom considered that at no time were steps taken by the Licensee to provide adequate protection to members of the public from harm or exploitation, taking into account the fact that the self selecting audience of Believe TV, given that it is a religious service, may have been less likely to question the potentially harmful and exploitative content broadcast.

The Licensee is put on notice that the breaches of Rules 2.1 and 4.6 in this case are being considered for the imposition of a statutory sanction.

 

29th August   

Dishing Out Repression...

Abseiling Iranian police forcibly remove satellite dishes from apartment blocks
Link Here

iran satellite police In the past week, Tehran Police Special Operations forces came together with plainclothes forces and, as part of a continuing operation, raided homes in Tehran's Saadat Abad neighborhood and collected satellite dishes.

During the raid, forces tried to intimidate and frighten the neighborhood residents and attempted to destroy satellite dishes on people's roofs, a neighborhood resident told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. Police commandos used ropes to climb onto balconies and enter people's private homes.

Plainclothes forces also recorded videos and took photographs of the raids.

During the past two years, along with newspaper bans and the active role of the Revolutionary Guard in jamming satellite news programs, raiding people's homes has comprised another component of the Iranian government's policy of depriving Iranians from learning about news and world events.

During several of his interviews with foreign media, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has stated that the use of satellite equipment is legal in Iran. The Iranian government, however, continues to use different tools for limiting freedom of expression including preventing people from having access to satellite programming.

 

28th August   

Update: Unstifled by Fairness...

FCC finally getting rid of last vestiges of the Fairness Doctrine
Link Here  full story: Censorship by Fairness...Demands that radio and TV should be fair to all views

FCC logo The Fairness Doctrine was a US requirement banning one-sided news programming. Of course this proved somewhat stifling in the land of 'shock jocks' and Fox News.

The US TV censors of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) enforced The Doctrine from the late 1940s through the early 1980s. The agency, not Congress, created the rule. It said that broadcasters had to provide reasonable opportunity for contrasting points of view. In the early 1980s the FCC concluded that the policy (which, in fact, was rarely enforced) was having a chilling effect on broadcasters, and let it go. Then Congress tried to restore it several times, but these efforts were vetoed by Presidents Reagan and the first President Bush.

But now FCC Chair Julius Genachowski announced that the policy needs to be scotched yet again:

An unnecessary distriction, Genachowski called the Fairness Doctrine, which holds the potential to chill free speech and the free flow of ideas and was properly abandoned over two decades ago. I am pleased we are removing these and other obsolete rules from our books.

In fact the FCC left vestigial references to the concept in its rule book, eg:

The Fairness Doctrine is contained in section 315(a) of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended, which provides that broadcasters have certain obligations to afford reasonable opportunity for the discussion of conflicting views on issues of public importance.

Section 315(a) covers broadcasters obligations to political candidates. It says that if radio and TV station licensees offer air time to any given political candidate, they have to offer equal opportunities to other candidates, except when it comes to news stories.

Now it, and 82 other outdated and obsolete media-related rules have been dumped, Genachowski pledged:

The elimination of the obsolete Fairness Doctrine regulations will remove an unnecessary distraction, his press statement added. As I have said, striking this from our books ensures there can be no mistake that what has long been a dead letter remains dead.

 

28th August   

Offsite: From Bad to Worse...

Sudan prepares even more press censorship
Link Here

Sudan flag Sudan's government is considering introducing even more restrictions on the country's press..

The Sudanese National Assembly is considering introducing a new press and publications law that will further restrict freedom of expression in the North. Sudan's National Congress Party (NCP) is contemplating enforcing pre-publication censorship as it did between 1989 and 2009. Following this, the government passed a new law, which it claimed was a step towards press freedom. However, despite the new law, pre-publication censorship was selectively enforced by the regime during Sudan's 2010 elections.

The details of the proposed legislation have not been made available to the public.

...See the full article

 

27th August   

Update: 3D Sex and Zen Forcibly Consensualised...

The BBFC further explain their cuts
Link Here  full story: 3-D Sex and Zen...Hong Kong erotic movie in 3D

3 D Sex Zen Extreme Ecstasy 3D Sex and Zen is a 2011 Hong Kong erotic drama by Christopher Sun Lap Key. See IMDb

An already short version was passed 18 after 2:48s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 cinema release

IMDb notes that there is an 129 minute version and that the Hong Kong cinema release was noted as 118 minutes after local censor cuts

The BBFC further explained (ignoring a rather redundant explanation that the film goes beyond a 15 rating):

3D SEX AND ZEN EXTREME ECSTASY is a Chinese erotic period drama about a recently married young man who embarks on a sexual odyssey when his wife is unable to satisfy his sexual desires. The film was classified 18 for strong sex, violence, nudity and sexual violence.

There are frequent sequences of strong sex and nudity which include sight of a man sucking a woman's nipples, pubic nudity in a sexual context, sight of a man's erect penis, buttock thrusting implying penetration, and implied but masked fellatio and cunnilingus.

Before the film was classified 18 , the BBFC required cuts in two scenes.

  • In the first scene, a man rapes a woman, with the woman then going on to enjoy the sex. The scene is shot in the same eroticised style as the rest of the film and creates the impression that rape can be an enjoyable and exciting erotic experience. The scene was cut to remove the non consensual set up, leaving a purely consensual sex scene.
  • In the second scene, a man engages in violent sex with a woman. Although the sex is consensual, the man beats and whips the woman during sex, before finally suffocating her to death as he thrusts into her. The scene, which is filmed in the same eroticised style as other scenes, creates a strong link between violence and sexual arousal. Although the BBFC suggested that the scene could be reduced to an acceptable level by multiple cuts, the distributor chose to remove the scene in its entirety.

Both scenes breach the terms of the Guidelines at 18 which state the BBFC may cut any portrayals of sexual or sexualised violence which might, for example, eroticise or endorse sexual assault .

 

27th August   

Update: Didn't Even Merit Discussion...

David Cameron's Chinese style internet ban dismissed without discussion
Link Here  full story: Social Networking Censorship in the UK...Internet censorship set to solve Britain's broken society

David Cameron Theresa May met with bosses of social network sites in Westminster to discuss whether users should be blocked if they are plotting to riot or commit crimes

David Cameron's plan to shut down social networking sites to prevent disorder was ditched in a humiliating U-turn.

The Home Secretary Theresa May firmly killed off the prospect of any clampdown in the face of opposition from human rights groups and social networking companies.

In a summit with Facebook, Twitter and Research in Motion, the Home Secretary indicated that Cameron's plan did not even merit discussion.

She told the firms that she was not there to talk about restricting internet services. Instead May appealed for help, seeking advice on how law enforcement could more effectively use social media.

Social networking firms are said to have advised police to employ internet monitoring firms to help keep an eye on public chatter on the web.

The Government's retreat came after leading human rights groups, including Amnesty International and Index on Censorship, wrote to the Home Secretary voicing strong concerns about a possible clampdown. The coalition of ten human rights and free speech advocates said:

Dear Home Secretary,

We are writing to you regarding discussions scheduled to take place between the Government and some social network and communications providers following the recent civil unrest. We noted the Prime Minister's suggestion that the Government will look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality.

We believe that Twitter, Research in Motion and Facebook have been invited to meet you to discuss this issue. As you know, there is existing legislation regulating the interception and disclosure of communications information, the use of communications evidence by law enforcement and restrictions on people's use of communications technology.

It is reasonable to review the existing legal regime to ensure that it appropriately fits new technologies. However, turning off, restricting or monitoring people's communications networks are matters that require extreme care and open, detailed deliberation.

We are very concerned that new measures, made in good faith but in a heated political environment, will overextend powers in ways that would be susceptible to abuse, restrict legitimate, free communication and expression and undermine people's privacy. This is especially so if proposals involve unaccountable voluntary arrangements between law enforcement and communications providers.

It is essential that any review of regulations covering communications networks happens through a public consultation, with full details of meetings between the Government and social network platforms made public as soon as possible. This should involve a genuine multi-stakeholder process that includes not only the communications providers but groups representing broader citizens' rights such as freedom of expression and privacy.

We would like to request a meeting to discuss these issues, and look forward to engaging with you further.

Yours sincerely,

Amnesty UK
Article 19
English PEN
Index on Censorship
Liberty
Open Democracy
Open Rights Group
Privacy International
and others

 

27th August   

Symbol of State Control...

Wolfenstein game censored from Swiss app store due to the appearance of swastikas
Link Here

BAM Wolfenstein 3D id Software has reported that Wolfenstein 3D Classic is no longer available in both the Swiss and Austrian versions of the iOS App Store.

John Carmack, technical director of id Software, tweeted: The iOS App Stores in Switzerland and Austria just lost Wolfenstein Classic due to the offensive swastikas. :-(

 

27th August   

Idiots at ABC Fall for Movie Hype...

ABC kindly ban trailer for Our Idiot Brother
Link Here

Our Idiot Brother Paul Rudd There's nothing like a censorship 'controversy' to help market a movie.

Movie mogul Harvey Weinstein is surely emjoying ABC's decision to ban one of the trailers for Our Idiot Brother . The TV network didn't like the shots of what looked like a drug exchange or a shot of Paul Rudd pretending to urinate, or the general talk about smoking and getting high.

So The Weinstein Company cut another red band trailer aimed at mature audiences. And Weinstein issued a flippant statement: We'd like to dedicate our new red band trailer for Our Idiot Brother to censorship everywhere. Enjoy!!

 

27th August   

Update: Dangerous Writing...

US citizen charged with lese majeste in Thailand
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Thailand flag A US embassy spokesman has said that the United States is disappointed Thailand has charged a US citizen with lese majeste.

Joe Gordon allegedly translated parts of an unauthorised biography of His Majesty the King and posted articles online that were deemed to have better been left unsaid.

Gordon was formally charged after being arrested in May and detained for the maximum 84 days that a suspect can be held without charge.

Gordon is a US citizen. Reports say he had lived in the state of Colorado for more than 30 years, before entering Thailand - and being arrested.

US embassy spokeswoman Kristin Kneedler said Washington has urged Thai authorities to respect freedom of expression and was disappointed with the charges against Gordon.

 

26th August   

Update: Cameron's Chinese Puzzle...

Surely the repression of speech adds to the causes of an uprising, but may disrupt the organisation of an uprising once it starts
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
China flag China has ordered a widespread crackdown on the internet in attempts to prevent uprisings like those seen in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya.

The secretary of the Communist Party, Liu Qi has warned ISPs that they must tighten control of online content to prevent the spread of fake and harmful information and that the internet companies should resist such information, the Associated Press reports.

It's not clear how the Chinese government expects the ISPs to control content online, but it's likely that it wants them to monitor people's online activities and disconnect those participating in the spread of dissenting views. Penalties for non-compliance could be to shut down the ISP altogether.

The government-approved Beijing Internet Media Association also called on its 104 members to police the internet for rumors or vulgar contents , saying that the public should be led toward a correct direction - the proper direction being support of the government, of course.

China's equivalent of Twitter, Sina, which has over 140 million users, has been a particular focus of censorship. The company has been forced to monitor users, with over 100 employees checking for dissenting views 24 hours a day. Of course, with such a large user base it might be impossible to censor everything.

This latest move marks one of the strictest crackdowns on internet freedom so far, which could cause even more upset and dissent amongst its citizens.

Twitter and Facebook to resist government censorship

See  article from  mediapost.com

David Cameron Facing the first true threats of censorship from the Western world, Facebook and Twitter appear ready for a fight. The major social networks are expected to offer no concessions when they meet the home secretary, Theresa May, at a Home Office summit on Thursday, the Guardian reports.

In the wake of riots and looting across England, government ministers have called for a ban on social networks during times of civil unrest. Prime Minister David Cameron has also asked that suspected rioters be banned from social networks.

The home secretary is expected to explore what measures the major social networks could take to help contain disorder -- including how law enforcement can more effectively use the sites -- rather than discuss powers to shut them down, according to the Guardian.

Facebook and Twitter are expected to strongly warn the government against introducing emergency measures that could usher in a new form of online censorship, the Guardian reports.

 

26th August   

Updated: Censorship Overkill...

Last victims of Australian ban on games for adults
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban

House Dead Overkill Extended Cut As the Australian Government prepares legislation to introduce a games classification for adults, Sega's zombie shooting game The House of the Dead: Overkill -- Extended Cut has been banned.

Sega Australia says it is determined to appeal the decision immediately and hope to have the classification overturned without making any changes or amends to the final game .

Sega Australia Managing Director Darren Macbeth said:

There are far worse titles currently available in the marketplace which involve more than shooting down mutants in humorous circumstances.

We will do everything we can to prove that House of the Dead: Overkill is worthy of an MA15+ rating in Australia.

The House of the Dead: Overkill -- Extended Cut had been scheduled for release in Australia on October 27. It is scheduled for release in Europe at about the same time.

Update: Reason for Ban

5th November 2011. Based on article from kotaku.com.au :

It's a particularly strange decision, considering the fact that the original Wii version was released as MA15+ without incident, but the Classification Board's issue is with a new Hardcore mode which has been added to the game.

The Hardcore game mode allows players to play in a manner that exceeds strong in impact, claims the report, engaging a headshot-only mode which results in frequent, detailed blood and gore as the zombies and mutants [sic] heads explode into bloody pieces that spread around the environment and onto the screen. The game also contains an Extra mutants mode which increases the amount of mutants the player must kill to proceed, resulting in an increased intensity and frequency of violence. In addition the game contains a baby mutant that jumps onto the screen and explodes into bloody chunks when killed.

Update: BBFC 18 uncut

See  article from  bbfc.co.uk

BBFC logo The BBFC have just passed The House of the Dead: Overkill -- Extended Cut 18 uncut. The BBFC added the comment:

Contains frequent strong bloody violence, gore and language

The BBFC also noted that the game contains 61:44s of cut scenes (insert video material).

 

26th August   

Update: China Goes GaGa...

China announces 100 songs that must be removed from websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Judas Hits by Lady Gaga, Beyonce and Take That are among 100 songs that have been placed on an internet blacklist by China's culture ministry.

Music websites have been given until 15 September to remove the offending tracks, which officials claim harm national cultural security . Those that fail to do so risk being prosecuted by the Chinese authorities.

A notice posted on the culture ministry's website said the 100 songs had not been submitted for official approval.

A 2009 directive was cited that targets supposed poor taste and vulgar content as well as copyright violations. This directive requires that alll hosted tracks have official sanction.

Most of the banned songs are from Taiwan or Hong Kong, with several from Japan. Among the Western acts:

  • Lady Gaga has six banned tracks: The Edge of Glory, Hair, Marry the Night, Americano, Judas and Bloody Mary .
  • Beyonce's Run the World (Girls)
  • Katy Perry's Last Friday Night.
  • Backstreet Boys track I Want It That Way.

 

26th August   

Updated: Cast Out of Three Indian States...

Caste sensitivity results in state bans of the Indian film Aarakshan
Link Here
aarakshan Aarakshan the Bollywood movie about the caste and education system in India has featured in a banning row with politicians from three states in India, despite the movie being passed by the censors.

Prakash Jha's Bollywood film Aarakshan attracted bans from three key states in India, namely, Punjab, Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Andhra Pradesh (AP). The opening weekend of the film had a restricted release due to politicians in the banning states feeling the film was insensitive to low-caste Hindus by using objectionable terms.

Aarakshan, translated as Reservation, is based on caste-orientated reservation in the Indian education system. Supposedly derogative references made to Dalits (formerly known as untouchables) in the film instigated protest and vandalism of posters. Some Dalit groups are not happy with the casting of actor Saif Ali Khan (a Muslim royal) as a low-caste Hindu in the film.

Prior to the release of the film it was reported that Prakash Jha's residence and office were ransacked by activists of Republican Party of India (RPI). Reacting to the attack, Jha said: The censor board (Central Board of Film Certification) has cleared the film without a single cut and with a U/A certificate (Parental Guidance). I am confident my film has examined the issue of reservation and caste divides with sensitivity. I don't understand why is everybody up in arms against my film. However, it's a democratic country, so everyone has a right to protest.

However, due to the media commotion surrounding the film and the move from Praksah Jha the director seeking the lifting of the bans at the Supreme Court, it's emerged that authorities in Punjab reviewed the film and the government panel lifted the ban and similarity the same by Andhra Pradesh officials. Leaving the ban in UP outstanding.

Update: Government don't want to get involved

16th August 2011. See  article from  tribuneindia.com

Defending the censor board's decision to allow the film Aakarshan release, the Centre ruled out any scope for intervention in the matter.

I am fully with the decision of the Censor Board.... My Ministry has no role in it, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters.

To a question why the I & B Ministry was not intervening, Soni said: In the Cinematograph Act, there was some scope for intervention earlier. But in 2000, that right was taken away by the Supreme Court. As of today, the Ministry has no right to intervene. She said the Central Board of Film Certification is an autonomous body and it had been reconstituted very recently.

Update: Court judgement bans states from rethinking decisions made by the national film censor

26th August 2011. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

high court delhi The Indian Supreme Court has ruled that state governments cannot ban a film, which has been cleared by the censor board for public screening, on the apprehension that it could cause a law and order problem.

Clearing decks for release of Prakash Jha's film Aarakshan in Uttar Pradesh, a bench of Justices M K Sharma and A R Dave said it was the state's duty to maintain law and order and quashed an order banning the film's screening for two months.

The court said:

It is for the state to maintain law and order effectively and meaningfully. It said reservation as a social issue needs to be debated in every forum. We feel reservation is a social issue and in a vibrant democracy like ours, public discussion is necessary. Such discussion on social issues bring about awareness for effective working of the democracy.

Once an expert body has cleared a film, the state cannot go behind law and order situation to stall its screening in theatres.

 

25th August   

Update: Child Beating...

Religious book on the subject of how to bring up kids to be examined by the New Zealand censor
Link Here  full story: To Train Up a Child...Religious book advocating beating children
Train Up Child Michael Pearl A book teaching parents how to smack, thump and pull their children's hair could soon be banned in New Zealand following a complaint.

To Train Up a Child has been removed from Whitcoulls' online store but other leading book sites are still selling it.

The book, by fundamentalist United States Christians Michael and Debi Pearl, promotes using a rod, such as a branch or belt, several times on a child as a way of disciplining and training them to obey.

It has courted controversy worldwide after a California couple who followed the book's instructions were convicted of murdering their seven-year-old adopted daughter.

The New Zealand Internal Affairs Department's Censorship Compliance Unit confirmed it was investigating the book after a complaint was made last week.

An American child abuse victim, now living in New Zealand, complained to Whitcoulls, which agreed to remove the book from its website. The victim said he was shocked to find out the book was being sold in New Zealand, despite the country's anti-smacking law. He said: I'm not one to prevent books from being sold, ...BUT... I think an instruction manual on how to enact violence on your child is a completely different story.

Sue Bradford, who campaigned as a Green Party MP to remove the defence of reasonable force when disciplining a child, said she was concerned parents would buy the book and follow its instructions.

Censorship Compliance Unit manager Stephen OBrien said the book's content would be investigated and, if it was found to be objectionable, it could be either banned, restricted or referred to the human rights or children's commissioners.

There are 1309 books already banned in New Zealand.

 

23rd August   

Update: Generating Unrest...

Louise Mensch MP tweets about email threats presumably over her call to ban social networking at times of riot
Link Here  full story: Social Networking Censorship in the UK...Internet censorship set to solve Britain's broken society

louise mensch Police are looking into alleged email threats against the Conservative MP Louise Mensch's children from supporters of the Anonymous and LulzSec hacking groups.

Mensch, a high-profile backbencher and member of the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, disclosed the alleged threats to her via Twitter. She said: I'm posting it on Twitter because they threatened me telling me to get off Twitter. Hi kids!

The prompt for the threat is unknown, but Mensch has led calls for social networks to be temporarily shut down during periods of civil unrest such as the recent riots in English cities.

Anonymous and LulzSec have previously targeted individuals and organisations from which they perceive a threat to free speech online, such as the Church of Scientology and Arab governments.

 

23rd August   

Leaky Censors...

Argentina blocks 2 million websites to implement court decision to block 2 websites
Link Here

Blogger.com logo An Argentina court ordered blocks on two specific sites, leakymails.com and leakymails.blogspot.com.

But this resulted in over a million blogs being blocked. That's because some ISPs, in order to cut off the blogspot site, simply blocked the IP address used across all of Blogger's blogspot websites.

 

23rd August   

Updated: Gangs of Politically Correct Viewers...

Online campaign calling for apology from David Starkey over comments about the riots and black culture
Link Here

newsnight logo A petition demanding a public apology from historian David Starkey has been circulated online after he blamed black culture for initiating the London riots, while controversially adding that in today's society whites have become black .

During his appearance on BBC2's Newsnight , Starkey said that a culture which used to be associated with black youths has permeated into other facets of society. His controversial comments included: A particular sort of violent, destructive, nihilistic gangster culture has become fashion and the black and white, boy and girl, operate in this language together. The whites have become black.

Hundreds of people have shared a petition on sites including Twitter and Facebook, demanding that Ofcom fine the BBC for the racial comments and that both the BBC and Starkey make a public apology.

The petition, which so far has 444 signatures, says: We, the undersigned, call Ofcom to fine the BBC for not challenging the racist comments made by David Starkey.

Twitter users have been commentating and debating on Starkey's comments. Many have been calling him racist.

Krishnan Guru-Murthy, a prominent presenter on Channel 4 News, also questioned whether the historian had lost it .

Update: BBC Response

16th August 2011. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

The BBC has defended a Newsnight debate which prompted almost 700 complaints about historian David Starkey's offensive views.

Responding to the viewer complaints, the BBC said:

Whilst we acknowledge that some people will have found David Starkey's comments offensive he was robustly challenged by presenter Emily Maitlis and the other contributors who took issue with his comments.

Owen Jones particularly highlighted that many people listening would find the views expressed offensive and Emily provided further context making it clear that David Cameron had said this was not a race issue and that people taking part in the riots came from a range of ethnic backgrounds.

Update: Ofcom Complaints

17th August 2011. See  article from  stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk

Ofcom have reported that they received 77 complaints in response to the Newsnight item with David Starkey.

Comment: Terry Sanderson of the National Secular Society

20th August 2011. From secularism.org.uk

David Starkey is an honorary associate of the National Secular Society (NSS) who have come under pressure to withdraw David Starkey's honorary associateship.

Terry Sanderson defended the right of David Starkey to air unpopular opinions:

When the NSS challenged the laws of blasphemy a few years ago, we argued that people should have the right to voice unpopular opinions, even if they caused offence to others. I think that is an important principle for the NSS and one that we should support and stick to, even when the going gets rough.

David Starkey is not a spokesperson for the NSS and we are not spokespeople for him, he is simply a public figure who supports our objectives and agreed to be associated with them. Listening to the Newsnight debate, I didn't agree with everything that David said any more than I agreed with everything that the other two speakers said.

But the McCarthy-like pressure that permits only approved opinions to be voiced must be resisted. Voltaire's reported comment about not agreeing with what you say but defending your right to say it is one that takes courage to defend to the letter. There may be circumstances when an honorary associate might be drummed off the list -- but voicing a well-intentioned but off-beat opinion in an important debate should not be one of them.

Offsite: We're too easily offended

23rd August 2011. See article from independent.co.uk by John Kampfner

The Independent Free speech is a grisly vocation. A number of my assumptions about British society have been tested to the full since I became an advocate for this rarefied freedom nearly three years ago. An early lesson was that one should not confuse liberalism with open-mindedness. Another is that we're happy to listen to anyone, as long as they don't upset us.

The manufactured brouhaha over David Starkey's comments last week follows a well-trodden and wearisome path.

...Read the full article

Offsite: Wrong Type of Culture

25th August 2011.  See  article from  telegraph.co.uk by David Strakey

david starkey It's not about criminality and cuts, it's about culture... and this is only the beginning Condemned as a racist for his comments on Newsnight following the riots, the historian David Starkey speaks out against those who tried to silence him for confronting the gangster culture that has ruptured our society.

...Read the full article

 

23rd August   

Update: Threadbare Palestine...

Palestinian TV satire banned after complaints from police and doctors
Link Here

watan-al watar The Palestinian attorney general has ordered a popular television satire off the air, sources at Palestine Television told AFP.

The program, known in Arabic as Watan al Watar ( Nation hanging by a Thread ), was censored under an order citing complaints [from officials rather than viewers] about its skewering of everyone from doctors to police officials, the sources said.

One Palestine Television official said the order accused the program of crossing red lines and inappropriately criticising public figures.

The decision... followed complaints from the president of the anti-corruption commission Rafik Natsheh, the head of the doctors' union, and the director of the Palestinian police, the source quoted the order as saying.

Imad Farajin, a co-creator of the show which has been running since 2009, criticised the order as a blow to Palestinian democracy. This decision violates national rights which are protected by law and the constitution.

Yasser Abed Rabbo, who is secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organisation and also serves on the board of Palestine TV, condemned the order, warning it laid the groundwork for censorship and stifling of freedoms. He said the station would abide by the order in the short-term, but pledged that it would be challenged before the courts: This decision sets a dangerous precedent in the history of the Palestinian National Authority.

 

22nd August   

Update: Censorship and Snitching...

Turkey implements internet blocking and ISP reporting of access to banned sites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Turkey...Website blocking insults the Turkish people

Turkey flag Turkey's repressive Internet blocking plan, which has drawn criticisms from rights groups, the European Union and web users in Turkey, will come into force Monday.

Based on the Rules and Procedures for the Safety of Internet Use regulation approved by the Prime Ministry's Information and Communication Technologies Authority, or BTK, in February, Internet users in Turkey will be given the option of signing up for one of two Internet packages: family or children. The list of websites filtered by each package will be decided by the BTK, but will not be made public.

According to the BTK, those who decide against using a filter will be able to continue accessing the Internet normally. However, the new plan also a very nasty sting in its tail. Accessing the BTK's banned sites, according to the plan, will be considered a criminal offense, and service providers will be responsible for reporting people who attempt to access the banned sites. Otherwise, they themselves will be charged with heavy financial penalties.

BTK Chairman Tayfun Acarer claimed the new plan will be launched to protect the youth and children from accessing dangerous and obscene content on the Internet.

A commission of 11 people, determined by the Family and Social Policies Ministry, will determine the block lists. However, no criteria have been defined by the BTK as to how the blacklist will be determined. The commission doesn't include any legal experts or news media or communication experts, NTVMSNBC technology editor Noyan Ayan told the Hu rriyet Daily News. Plus we still do not know who determines how and what sites will be banned. Experts say that Turkey's new Internet cyber censorship system is similar to the one used in China.

 

22nd August   

Update: Funding Censorship...

Australian art gallery takes down artwork featuring child, lest funders get easily offended
Link Here  full story: Art Censorship in Australia...Getting wound up by children in art

child safety commissior A photograph of a partly naked prepubescent girl by internationally renowned photographer Jan Saudek was removed from the Ballarat International Foto Biennale on the eve of its opening.

Biennale director Jeff Moorfoot said he understood a woman went to the Orwellian sounding Office of the Child Safety Commissioner, Tourism Victoria and the local council to complain that the 1995 Saudek work, Black Sheep & White Crow , which she had seen in an ad promoting the exhibition in Art Almanac, depicted a mother prostituting her child.

Moorfoot said the council and tourism agency warned him that a controversy surrounding the image could imperil funding, even though Saudek's works were in a separate room with a warning at the door that they contained adult content.

Moorfoot said: No one's said 'take the work off the wall or else'.   [...BUT... they said] 'if this goes to the ministerial level, chances are we won't fund the next festival'.

 

22nd August   

BBC Grovel...

Strong language on Sunday morning Radio 4
Link Here

broadcasting house logo A few Radio 4 listeners may have been shocked by the word 'fucking' on the Sunday morning newspaper review show, Broadcasting House.

The BBC apologised after the comedian Mike McShane swore live on a Sunday morning Radio 4 show.

McShane, an American and regular on the comedy improvisation show Whose Line Is It Anyway , made the comment as he reviewed a story about race at around 9.58am.

He said: The thing about race in America is that black folks have always known more about white folks than white folks have known about black folks because black folks were cleaning their fucking houses.

He immediately apologised and was admonished by the show's presenter Paddy O'Connell who also warned him not to do it again. The live audience laughed but McShane realising his mistake immediately apologised for his language .

A BBC spokesman said: We apologise for any offence caused.

 

22nd August   

Update: Epic Censorship...

Iran censors 831 year old classic poem
Link Here  full story: Book Censors in Iran...Iranian literary censors

khosrow and shirin by zami ganjavi Iranian book censors have refused a publishing house permission to reprint an edition of one of the country's best-known classical epic poems.

The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance decided that some parts of the epic poem Khosrow and Shirin by Nezami Ganjavi needed reworking, despite the fact that the book-length masterpiece has been a classic of Iranian literature for 831 years.

The news not only astounded the publishing house, it also shocked Iran's intellectual class, despite decades of inurement to the censors' heavy hand.

The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance has given no official explanation for its decision to belatedly censor the epic. But one objection reportedly concerns the poem's reference to the heroine Shirin embracing a male body.

If the embrace is indeed the reason for the censorship, it would be in line with decades of similar objections by Iran's censors to anything they construe as indecent. According to their guidelines, indecency can come in a million unexpected forms.

Faraj Sarkouhi, who edited the Iranian cultural weekly Adineh before he was imprisoned for propaganda in the 1990s and fled to Germany following his release, says that Iran's censors are obsessed with the idea that romance can be a corruptive force in society. They make Iran a hell for literature, without regard to whether it is contemporary or classical.

Sarkouhi notes that the dialogue in a recent Iranian version of one of the novels of German-Swiss author Hermann Hesse was altered so that a reference to wine instead became a reference to coffee. Similarly, if a man and a woman who are not married are in love, the censors feel no compunctions about adding a paragraph to marry them and legalize their situation.

 

21st August   

No Laughing Matter...

Parents TV Council have a whinge at supposed adult content in cartoons
Link Here

ptc cartoons The Parents Television Council has released the results of its latest study, Cartoons Are No Laughing Matter , documenting supposedly shocking levels of adult content on networks with the highest-rated primetime animated cable shows among children ages 12-17.

PTC President Tim Winter claimed:

Nielsen data told us where children ages 12-17 are watching animated programming on basic cable. PTC analysts followed the Nielsen data in order to see exactly what type of material kids are consuming. The findings of this report should be vexing for every parent. The term 'adult' not only describes the nature of the cartoon content itself; it also describes the products being marketed to kids.

Our data demonstrates that today's norm is profanity-laden storylines involving everything from rape and cocaine to STDs and crystal meth. There is now more sexual content on these cartoons than violence -- even when counting traditional 'light' cartoon violence.

Just as shocking as the volume and degree of adult material in the cartoons was the abysmal network failure rate in applying consistent TV content rating standards. During the study period, harsh profanity and graphic sexual depictions aired during programs rated TV-PG. Cartoon Network failed to use the ratings system to warn parents about sexual content, suggestive dialogue and explicit language 100 percent of the time. We also discovered the networks are directly marketing adult entertainment products to kids during TV-PG programming, including R-rated movies and TV-MA shows and DVDs.

Parents need to understand just how explicit these cartoons are so they can make better viewing decisions for their family. They also must be given the chance to unsubscribe to explicit cable networks. As it stands now, every parent who subscribes to cable so their kids can watch Disney or Nickelodeon is also forking over cash every month to Adult Swim. Parents, not cable companies, should decide which cable networks they want to pay for.

PTC research analysts documented 1,487 incidents of supposedly explicit language, drugs and sexual content during the four-week study period. On average, young viewers were exposed to 'adult' content once every two minutes and 19 seconds. TV-PG rated animation featured sex, drugs or profanity every two minutes and 31 seconds. Adult Swim, which used to begin airing at 11:00 pm ET and now begins at 9:00 pm ET (8:00 pm CT), included some of the highest-rated animated shows among ages 12-17 and the highest levels of explicit content.

Major Findings:

Sex

  • Sex (680 instances) surpassed every form of violence (674 instances) in animated primetime cable programming.
  • .Sexual depictions included simulations or obscured scenes of sexual intercourse, pornography, masturbation, pedophilia and prostitution.

Drugs

  • There were a total of 208 incidents relating to drugs, including cocaine, marijuana, crystal meth, psychedelics and alcohol. Eighty percent of the drug-related incidents were depictions rather than references.

Profanity

  • The study identified 565 incidents of explicit language on shows rated TV-PG and TV-14. Twenty-seven percent of the uses of fuck and shit occurred on TV-PG programs.

Content Ratings

  • 85% of the TV-PG shows and 64% of the TV-14 shows containing sexual content did not have an S descriptor warning parents.

Advertisements

  • TV-PG and TV-14 shows included advertisements for adult media, including TV-MA DVDs, TV-MA shows, and R-rated movies.
  • All R-rated movies that aired during the study period were advertised during TV-PG programs.

 

21st August   

Insulting Censorship...

Cambodia closes two critical newspapers
Link Here
Cambodia Two newspapers critical of the Cambodian ruling party have been shut down permanently by the government.

The Water & Fire News and The World News had their publishing licences revoked on 3 August because of a perceived insult to the ministry of information."

 

21st August   

Censored by Rioters...

DVD releases affected by riots in Enfield
Link Here

A Bay of Blood DVD Arrow Films previously announced that the riots in north London which destroyed the Sony distribution centre would effect stocks.

Several Arrow DVD titles will now go out of print, pending release on the ArrowDrome label:

The Blu-rays of these films are not effected and there are still stocks of the DVDs remaining at retailers.

 

20th August   

So How Did ATVOD Decide on Onerous Restrictions on Porn?...

Freedom of Information and ATVOD
Link Here

Freedom of Information logo The Authority for Television On Demand is a supposedly independent co-regulator for the editorial content of UK video on demand services. However the government seems to be in the driving seat when it comes to restricting access to porn.

ATVOD is not formally subject to Freedom of Information law, but is listed on WhatDoTheyKnow.com due to its public regulatory role.

This site assists in the process of making Freedom of Information requests to ATVOD and others.

Make a new Freedom of Information request to The Authority for Television On Demand Freedom of Information requests made using this site

Nobody has made any Freedom of Information requests to The Authority for Television On Demand using this site yet.

 

20th August   

Update: Easier Said then Done...

Tunisian court confirms requirement for ISPs to block all porn sites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Thailand...Thailand implements mass website blocking

Tunisia flag A Tunisian appeal court has rejected a motion by the Tunisian Internet Agency to defer a lower court's May ruling making ATI responsible for blocking Tunisian internet users' access to pornographic websites.

One of the three lawyers who brought the original case, Moneem Turki, told the news agency that the court of appeal confirmed the initial decision to censure all pornographic websites despite the ATI counsel having submitted proof that her organisation did not have the financial or technical means to do so.

It had been argued that such websites should be filtered because they constituted a danger to young internet users and went against Moslem values.

Although ATI announced that it would file an appeal with the highest court of appeal ( cour de cassation ), the agency is required to comply with the blocking immediately.

 

20th August   

Dishing Out Media Restrictions...

Turkmenistan president orders the removal of satellite dishes from apartment blocks
Link Here

Turkmenistan flag Turkmenistan's leader has ordered the removal of satellite dishes from apartment blocks in a move that could restrict access to foreign television channels in the reclusive Central Asian state. President Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov, whose word is final told his government to install cable television to replace the dishes that crowd the walls and roofs of many buildings in Ashgaba.

Numerous television aerials installed on the roofs and facdes of houses reflect negatively on the capital's architectural appearance, Berdymukhamedov claimed in comments published by state newspaper Neitralny Turkmenistan.

Satellite television is one of the few means by which residents of Turkmenistan can access independent information in a nation dominated by state media. An official at the Ministry of Communications, who declined to be identified, said cable television would be installed free of charge and that a basic package would include channels already transmitted by four satellites.

 

19th August   

Update: Victory at the Inquisition...

Court acquits a death metal band frontman who ripped up a Bible
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Poland...Under duress for minor comments about religion

Satanica Behemoth A judge in Poland has ruled a death metal singer who tore up a Bible during a show was entitled to do so as an artist acting in a way consistent with the genre. Adam Darski, who goes by the stage name Nergal and is the frontman for the death metal band Behemoth, was charged with offending religion after he ripped up the Bible during a 2007 concert in the Polish town of Gdynia.

He was found innocent by a court last year but prosecutors appealed, and again the court cleared him.

Concert video footage shows Darski throwing the torn pages to the audience and asking fans to burn them. According to Polish news agency PAP, he also called the Bible a deceitful book and the church a criminal sect .

In his ruling Judge Krzysztof Wieckowski said he considered Darski's actions a form of art consistent with the style of his band. He added that the court had no intention of limiting freedom of expression or the right to criticise religion.

The musician said on his band's website : I'm so glad to see that intelligence won over religious fanatics in my home country.

 

19th August   

Updated: Anti-Social Social Networking...

Riot sentences related to the internet
Link Here  full story: Social Networking Censorship in the UK...Internet censorship set to solve Britain's broken society

HM Courts Service Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan both pleaded guilty to using Facebook in attempts to instigate riots in Cheshire. They have been jailed for four years

Jordan Blackshaw set up an event called Smash Down in Northwich Town for the night of 8 August on the social networking site but no one apart from the police, who were monitoring the page, turned up at the pre-arranged meeting point outside a McDonalds restaurant. Blackshaw was promptly arrested.

Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan used his Facebook account in the early hours of 9 August to design a web page entitled The Warrington Riots. The court was told it caused a wave of panic in the town. When he woke up the following morning with a hangover, he removed the page and apologised, saying it had been a joke. His message was distributed to 400 Facebook contacts, but no rioting broke out as a result.

Sentencing Blackshaw to four years in a young offenders institution, Judge Elgan Edwards QC said he had committed an evil act . This happened at a time when collective insanity gripped the nation. Your conduct was quite disgraceful and the title of the message you posted on Facebook chills the blood. T he judge said Sutcliffe-Keenan caused a very real panic and put a very considerable strain on police resources in Warrington .

The revelation that magistrates were advised by justices' clerks to disregard normal sentencing guidelines when dealing with riot-related cases alarmed a number of lawyers who warn it will trigger a spate of appeals.

Water Fights

Based on article from guardian.co.uk

A man will appear before magistrates next month for allegedly trying to organise a mass water fight via his mobile phone. The 20-year-old from Colchester was arrested on Friday after Essex police discovered the alleged plans circulating on the BlackBerry Messenger service and Facebook.

The unnamed man has been charged with encouraging or assisting in the commission of an offence under the 2007 Serious Crime Act, police said.

He was arrested with another 20-year-old man the day the water fight was allegedly due to take place, and has been bailed to appear before Colchester magistrates on 1 September. The second man was released without charge.

Update: Dundee Riots?

19th August 2011. See  article from  news.scotsman.com

A schoolboy has been banned from using the internet until he stands trial accused of trying to incite riots on Facebook. The 14-year-old boy appeared at Dundee Sheriff Court. He was arrested along with Shawn Divin and Jordan McGinley who were remanded in custody.

The schoolboy appeared on a petition alleging that along with Divin and McGinley he encouraged others to riot in Dundee. Prosecutors say the trio acted in a disorderly manner by creating the page between 9 and 10 August. The 14-year-old was released on bail with the condition that he does not access the internet by any means.

Update: Northwich Riots?

19th August 2011.  See  article from  bbc.co.uk

A Cheshire man jailed for using Facebook to incite disorder during last week's riots is to appeal against his prison sentence.

Jordan Blackshaw was jailed for four years at Chester Crown Court. The judge said he hoped the sentences would act as a deterrent.

Blackshaw's barrister said his 21-year-old client and his family were somewhat shocked by the sentence .

Update: Bream Riots?

19th August 2011.  See  article from  bbc.co.uk

A 19-year-old in Gloucestershire who posted Facebook messages encouraging people to vandalise a shop during last week's riots has avoided court.

Joshua Moulinie posted a message on his Facebook wall urging people to damage the Spar store in his home town of Bream, Forest of Dean. But instead of facing the courts, Moulinie - who said it was a blatant joke - was told to write a letter of apology to the shop owner.

Update: Two More

19th August 2011.  See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Two more people have been charged with inciting public disorder via social network sites and are due to appear in court on Thursday, Cheshire police said.

A 24-year-old man from Runcorn is due to appear at Warrington Magistrates Court and a 17-year-old male from Crewe will appear at Crewe Magistrates Court.

Update: Appeals

1st October 2011.   See  article from  huffingtonpost.co.uk

Two men jailed for four years for setting up Facebook pages inciting others to riot have challenged their manifestly excessive custodial terms.

Lawyers for Jordan Blackshaw and Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan told three Court of Appeal judges that what their clients had done was monumentally foolish , hugely stupid and hugely short-sighted .

But they urged the Lord Chief Justice, Lord Judge, sitting in London with Lord Justice Thomas and Lord Justice Leveson, to rule that their sentences were too long.

Chester Crown Court had heard that Blackshaw set up a Facebook event called Smash Down In Northwich Town but nobody turned up at the meeting point outside a McDonald's restaurant.

Sutcliffe-Keenan's page, The Warrington Riots, invited people to riot on the evening of Wednesday August 10 between 7pm and 10pm.

Gareth Roberts, counsel for Blackshaw, told the appeal judges: Four years goes well beyond what could be a properly deterrent sentence and could properly be deemed to be a fair sentence, even in the context of what was going on nationwide.

Judgement was deferred to a later date.

Update: Appeal Outcomes

19th October 2011. See article from bbc.co.uk , thanks to Nick
See also Rejecting these riot appeals is no deterrent from  guardian.co.uk by Alan Travis

Old Bailey Appeals by two men jailed for using Facebook to try to incite disorder during August's riots in England have been rejected by the Court of Appeal.

Perry Sutcliffe-Keenan and Jordan Blackshaw were among 10 people challenging riot-related sentences. The court rejected five other appeals but cut the sentences for three people convicted of handling stolen goods.

Update: Joking in Hastings

22nd November 2011. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

A man has been cleared inciting looting at the height of the nationwide riots in the summer with a series of Facebook messages.

A jury decided unemployed Nathan Sinden was joking when he wrote comments including: Let's start a riot in Hastings. Who's on it? In postings visible to his 754 Facebook friends, he also wrote: Looting it is then today. Who's up for shopping? and followed it up with Town on lockdown. LOL. But in a private chat thread on Facebook, Sinden was asked by a friend whether he was serious about his comments and he confirmed he was joking.

Shaven-headed Sinden, of St Leonards-on-Sea, was arrested the following day but told police he was joking and never had any intention to follow through with his threats. He denied intentionally encouraging or assisting the commission of burglary.

Jurors sitting at Hove Crown Court returned a not guilty verdict after deliberating for 30 minutes.

Update: Riot in the Toon

21st December 2011. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Two teenagers who used Facebook to try to start a riot in a Scottish city have been locked up for three years each.

Shawn Divin, 16, and Jordan McGinley, 18, were administrators of a Facebook page called Riot in the toon which urged people to kill some daftys .

The Dundee riot page was published during the summer's unrest in England.

Update: Southampton Riots

22nd June 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

A man who used Facebook to try to incite violence and urged others to attack the police and Muslims during the height of last summer's riots has been jailed for three years.

A jury took less than two hours to find Mitchell Stancombe, 21, guilty of encouraging and assisting people to commit violent disorder.

He made three posts on his personal page on the social networking site on 9 August starting with the words: When are we going to start the Southampton riots then? When told to shut up by a friend, he replied: LOL -- do a few coppers in. He then made a post which included an abusive remark about Muslims.The posts, which could be accessed by anyone, were made during widespread rioting in Birmingham, Manchester, Derby, London and Liverpool.

 

19th August   

Update: Intense Sexual Hypocrisy...

Apple relents and allows softcore programming on its iTunes store
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

cimax app A new app has arrived at the iTunes store that appears to contradicts Apple's censorship policy of keeping adult material off its app store.

The company has approved the Cinemax Max Go app, which provides on-demand access to movies and programming on mobile devices to the cable channel's subscribers. The app also includes a Max After Dark tab, which allows streaming of some of the channel's softcore programming .

The app includes a disclosure that states users must be at least 17 years old to download the app because, among other things, it includes frequent/intense sexual content or nudity.

Movies with softcore titles such as The Hills Have Thighs, Bikini Jones, and The Temple of Eros are available under the tab.

 

19th August   

Private Judgement...

Delhi High Court puts a stop to move to require film certification for home VCDs and DVDs
Link Here

high court delhi The High Court of Delhi has put a stop to a lower court judgement that somehow mandated CBFC film certificates for DVDs and home viewing.

India's film censorship laws requires a film censor certificate for public exhibition.

The lower court judgement said that because a VCD or DVD might be shown in public then they all require a film certificate. The lower court judge said:

Once it leaves the shop where the film is purchased, neither the maker of the film nor its seller, has any control on whether it is viewed by one person or by a hundred, or whether it is viewed in a place to which the public is invited or in the private confines of a home. At the point where a member of the public plays it on an equipment and views such film, whether in the confines of a private space or otherwise, prior certification of that film in terms of Section 5-A of Cinematography Act would become necessary.

Now the Delhi High Court has stayed the order as requested by Super Cassettes Industries who argued that films made for private screening should not require censor board certificates.

 

18th August   

Update: South Australia Recommends...

A Serbian Film. Good enough to ban
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

Serbian Film DVD Srdjan Spasojevic On the day before Australia's A Serbian Film DVD release, South Australia has decided to ban it.

The movie has been given an Australian R18+ rating after cuts similar to the UK release.

Attorney-General John Rau says the film was banned by the South Australia's Classification Council. He explained:

It was grotesque at a number of levels. Exploitative sexual violence, offensive depictions of interactions between children and adults, exploitative behaviour generally of a nature that is so unusual that I can't imagine how any right-thinking person could think that this was something that should be appropriately, legally obtained in South Australia.

It's not just my opinion, but the opinion of the South Australian Classification Council, that we respectfully disagree with the decision made at a national level in respect to this particular film.

Nutter controversy about the film had also prompted the Federal Government to ask the national film classification board to review its decision to allow the film into Australia. A spokeswoman for Federal Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor says the review will not affect the imminent screening of the film at the Melbourne festival.

 

18th August   

Censor Objects...

Australian advertising censor whinges at advert it claims is 'sexualised'
Link Here

new love club advert An advert for the menswear company, New Love Club, that shows a teenage girl with the word slave barcoded on her bare shoulder and her open mouth filled with a disc showing the Union Jack, has been banned because it supposedly presents her as a sexual object.

Following several complaints about the ad for menswear retailer Roger David, the Australian Advertising Standards Bureau asked for it to be withdrawn, claiming it inappropriately depicted a young girl in a sexualised manner .

The ASB said the ad suggested the girl was being held against her will, that the object filling her mouth evoked a sense of her being gagged and that she looked as though she was under 18.

Roger David defended the ad, telling the ASB that the woman was 18 when the photo was taken and that she is a model in the United Kingdom . Roger David also said the woman was fully clothed and that the ad did not portray sex, sexuality or nudity.

Roger David sent the ad via email to members on its subscriber list but has now withdrawn the ad.

 

18th August   

Petition: Save Our Social Media! Stop Cutoffs and Closedowns...

The Open Rights Groups raises a petition against David Cameron's jerky knee
Link Here  full story: Social Networking Censorship in the UK...Internet censorship set to solve Britain's broken society

Open Rights Group logo openrightsgroup.org have set up the following petition:

Prime Minister David Cameron announced that social media could be used for good or ill and therefore would look at whether it would be right to stop people communicating via these websites and services when we know they are plotting violence, disorder and criminality .

We know this is a knee-jerk reaction. If it involved suspension of services, it would be unworkable, and would hit people trying to stop disorder or protect themselves. Targeting individuals would need to be supervised by the courts: but the UK usually leaves decisions like this to the Police, rather than courts, as in RIPA.

The Government is focusing on entirely the wrong problem in trying to increase their powers to ban, block or monitor people's communications. Social networks like Twitter are used for a huge array of positive purposes such as warnings of danger and organising clean up projects. Blanket surveillance measures of private communications or increased powers to mine users data would undermine people's freedom to communicate in very damaging ways, and would in no way address the problems at hand. Making laws in haste, with limited analysis and information, to deal with an exceptional problem is likely to create unbalanced laws and abuses of our rights.

...Sign the petition

 

18th August   

Dangerous Reporting...

Oman throws the book at newspaper reporting corruption at the 'justice' ministry
Link Here

Oman flag Reporters Without Borders has written to Sultan Qaboos, Oman’s head of state, expressing deep concern at the trial of Yousef Al-Haj , a journalist with the Muscat-based daily Al-Zaman , as a result of a complaint by justice minister Mohamed Al-Hanai about article published on 14 May.

In its letter, sent on 11 August, Reporters Without Borders voiced amazement at the range and scale of the charges brought against Al-Haj in response to the article, which quoted a justice ministry employee’s allegations about growing corruption within the ministry and favouritism in promotions.

The proceedings are out of all proportion to the gravity of the offence and we call for their immediate withdrawal ,” the letter said. “ We fear that Yousef Al-Haj will not have time to organize his defence for the first hearing and will not get a fair trial .”

After being summoned at short notice for interrogation at the prosecutor’s office on 5 July, without having time to notify is lawyer, Al-Haj was charged with:

  • insulting the justice ministry
  • insulting the justice minister and his under-secretary
  • trying to create divisions within Omani society
  • violating article 60 of the civil code (the publications law)
  • working as a journalist without a permit.

The Reporters Without Borders letter also advised against closing Al-Zaman in response to an order issued by a Muscat court in connection with the case. “ It would be regrettable if the Omani courts upheld this decision, which would violate freedom of the press and would give credence to the journalist’s allegedly defamatory claims. ” The newspaper has nonetheless been closed.

The president of Al-Zaman ’s board, its editor and one of its design editors are also charged with illegally employing Al-Haj without a permit from the information ministry. Many journalists work without permits in Oman.

 

17th August   

Inbetween Censorship and Classification...

The Inbetweeners cut for a 15 certificate
Link Here

Inbetweeners Movie DVD Simon Bird The Inbetweeners Movies  is a 2011 US comedy by Ben Palmer. See IMDb

Passed 15 after BBFC suggested cuts for category were implemented for:

  • UK 2011 cinema release

The BBFC commented:

The Inbetweeners Movie was originally seen by the BBFC in an unfinished version. The company was informed that the film was likely to receive an 18 classification but the preferred 15 classification could be achieved by making cuts in four scenes. These were:

  • to remove an aggressive use of very strong language,
  • to remove a particularly crude verbal sex reference (to urolagnia)
  • and to reduce the explicitness of two scenes of sexual activity (one of self-fellatio and one of masturbation).

When the completed version of the film was submitted, the aggressive use of very strong language had been redubbed, the crude verbal sex reference had been removed, and the strong scenes of sexual activity had been reduced, by a mixture of cutting and reframing. The film was therefore classified 15 without further cuts.

 

17th August   

Update: A Talent for Pandering to Nutters...

Ofcom said to be preparing buffer censorship rules to stop broadcasters getting anywhere near breaching the actual censorship rules
Link Here  full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

X Factor Revealed DVD X Factor producers have been told by Ofcom to keep the new series clean in the wake of the nutter overreaction to sexy performances from Rihanna and Christina Aguilera last year.

Ofcom ruled in April the final was at the limit of acceptability for broadcast before 9pm for a family audience.

Ofcom have had talks with producers ahead of Saturday's opener to ensure there is no repeat of the nutter nonsense.

An X Factor source said:

There have been lots of conversations about making sure The X Factor stays a family show and doesn't become controversial for the wrong reasons. Ofcom made themselves very clear about what they expect, and the message they gave us was basically to cut the smut.

Ofcom is drawing up new guidelines on the use of 'racy imagery' on family shows and plans to publish them by the end of the year. The TV censor said last month:

The guidelines will be there to make sure broadcasters like ITV don't hover near the boundaries of harmful content to children.

This is what happened with Rihanna's performance on the show last year, where the broadcasting code was almost breached.

Ofcom confirmed it had discussed the guidelines with ITV.

 

17th August   

Update: Anti-Social Social Networking...

Met Police report on call for social networking to be taken down during riots
Link Here  full story: Social Networking Censorship in the UK...Internet censorship set to solve Britain's broken society

Metropiltan Police badge Police claim they prevented attacks by rioters on the Olympic site and London's Oxford Street after picking up intelligence on social networks.

The Blackberry Messenger (BBM) system is popular among many young people because they think it is both private and secure. Users are invited to join each other's contacts list using a unique PIN, although once they have done so, messages can be distributed to large groups.

Assistant Met Police Commissioner Lynne Owens told a committee of MPs officers learned of possible trouble via Twitter and Blackberry messenger. Owens said officers had been attempting to sift through an overwhelming amount of chitter chatter on social networks during last week's riots in London, but some had proved vital.

But Acting Commissioner Tim Godwin said that on Monday, when disorder spread to 22 of London's 32 boroughs, police were receiving a new piece of intelligence every second. And while much of the information coming via social media was obviously wrong and rather silly , he said police did considered trying to shut the networks down in order to prevent them being used to organise further violence:

We did contemplate, I contemplated, asking the authorities to switch it off. The legality of that is very questionable and additionally, it is also a very useful intelligence asset. So, as a result of that, we did not request that that was turned off, but it is something that we are pursuing as part of our investigative strategy.

 

16th August   

Update: A Missing Dimension...

A short version of 3D Sex and Zen further cut by the BBFC
Link Here  full story: 3-D Sex and Zen...Hong Kong erotic movie in 3D

3 D Sex Zen Extreme Ecstasy 3D Sex and Zen is a 2011 Hong Kong erotic drama by Christopher Sun Lap Key. See IMDb

An already short version was passed 18 after 2:48s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 cinema release

The BBFC vaguely explained their cuts:

  • Compulsory cuts were required to two scenes of sexual and sexualised violence, which included elements with a tendency to eroticise and endorse sexual violence.

IMDb notes that there is an 129 minute version and that the Hong Kong cinema release was noted as 118 minutes after local censor cuts

 

16th August   

Policing with No Apparent Value...

American photographer detained by police for taking photos with no apparent esthetic value
Link Here

sander roscoe wolff Police Chief Jim McDonnell has confirmed that detaining photographers for taking pictures with no apparent esthetic value is within Long Beach Police Department policy.

McDonnell spoke of an incident in which Sander Roscoe Wolff, a Long Beach resident and regular contributor to Long Beach Post, was detained by Officer Asif Kahn for taking pictures of a local refinery.

McDonnell explained: If an officer sees someone taking pictures of something like a refinery , it is incumbent upon the officer to make contact with the individual.

McDonnell went on to say that whether said contact becomes detainment depends on the circumstances the officer encounters. McDonnell says that while there is no police training specific to determining whether a photographer's subject has apparent esthetic value, officers make such judgments based on their overall training and experience and will generally approach photographers not engaging in regular tourist behavior.

This policy apparently falls under the rubric of compiling Suspicious Activity Reports (SAR) as outlined in the Los Angeles Police Department's Special Order No. 11, a March 2008 statement of the LAPD's policy ... to make every effort to accurately and appropriately gather, record and analyze information, of a criminal or non-criminal nature, that could indicate activity or intentions related to either foreign or domestic terrorism.

Among the non-criminal behaviors which shall be reported on a SAR is taking pictures or video footage with no apparent esthetic value .

 

16th August   

The Daily Mail Recommends...

Gaga by Gaultier
Link Here

gaga gaultier A Daily Mail piece designed to provoke controversy for publicity's sake.

She's always been unafraid to shock, and taboos give her little pause for contemplation as she tears through them with her spiked fingernails, crushing accepted norms with stack-heeled boots.

But for all her gimmicks, Lady Gaga has still managed to (just about) stay on the right side of the taste boundary - she's been edgy rather than appalling.

Until now, that is, because in a short clip released from her forthcoming documentary Gaga by Gaultier , the Lady, in cahoots with the legendary fashion designer, has perhaps taken it too far.

The 25-year-old dressed up as a nun, while Gaultier donned priest's attire, before the singer kneeled on chair to be spanked the Frenchman.

It's a provocative image, but also frivolous, and in typical Gaga style, designed to provoke controversy for publicity's sake, rather than make any deeper point.

Gaga by Gaultier, will air on September 12 in the US but it is not yet announced for the UK.

 

15th August   

Update: Cinema Chain...

Human Centipede 2 set for a US theatrical release
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

human centipede 2 The Human Centipede Part 2 (The Full Sequence) continues to languish in the UK banned vault. The last I heard, the appeal against the ban is still in progress.

But across the Atlantic in the Land of the Sometimes Free, the film is set for a theatrical release (albeit limited).

According to the guys over at Arrow in the Head, The Human Centipede Part II: [Full Sequence] will hit select Landmark theatres on October 7th.

 

15th August   

Diary: Best of the Fest...

The Horror Channel lines up a programme of movies featuring at past Frightfests
Link Here

Colin DVD Alastair Kirton The Horror Channel on Sky has line up a programme of films that have made their name at previous Frightfest events.

There is a film each night from 15th to 31st August starting at 10:55pm each day

  • 15 Colin (Marc Price)
  • 16 Seed (Owe Boll)
  • 17 Deadgirl (Gadi Harel & Marcel Sarmiento)
  • 18 Storm Warming (Jamie Blanks)
  • 19 Pontypool (Bruce McDonald)
  • 20 Autopsy (Adam Gierasch)
  • 21 Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon (Scott Glosserman)
  • 22 Trailer Park of Terror (Steven Goldmann)
  • 23 The Horsemen: (Steven Kastrissios)
  • 24 Welcome to the Jungle (Jonathan Endsleigh)
  • 26 Bad Biology (Frank Hennenlotter)
  • 27 The Lost (Chris Siverston)
  • 28 Audition ( Miike Takashi)
  • 29 Monster Man  Michael Davis)
  • 30 House of 1000 Corpses (Rob Zombie)
  • 31 The Final (Joey Stewart)

 

15th August   

Go Home Yankee Hipster...

Art defaced and US artist beaten up as political message is not appreciated in Copenhagen
Link Here

shepard fairey advert An American graffiti artist has been beaten up in Copenhagen after accusations that his new mural was government propaganda.

Shepard Fairey made a name for himself for designing the 'Hope' posters that helped elect Barack Obama. But when he employed a similar political tactic in Denmark, the reception was less appreciative, and he was beaten up after the opening of his exhibition at a Copenhagen gallery, V1.

I have a black eye and a bruised rib, Fairey told the Guardian. According to reports, Fairey and his colleague Romeo Trinidad were punched and kicked by at least two men outside the Kodboderne 18 nightclub. Fairey claims the men called him Obama illuminati and ordered him to go back to America .

The LA-based artist believes the attack was sparked by his mural commemorating the demolition of the legendary Ungdomshuset (youth house) at Jagtvej 69. The building, a long-term base for Copenhagen's leftwing community, was controversially demolished in 2007. In the intervening years it has become a potent symbol of the standoff between the establishment in Copenhagen and its radical fringe.

Fairey's installation, painted on a building adjacent to the vacant site, depicted a dove in flight above the word peace and the figure 69 .

But the mural appeared to reopen old wounds, with critics accusing Fairey of peddling government-funded propaganda. The city council is using the painting -- directly or indirectly -- to decorate the crater-like lot at Jagtvej 69, said local activist Eskil Andreas Halberg.

Within a day of completion, the mural was vandalised by protesters, with graffiti sending messages of no peace and go home, Yankee hipster .

 

15th August   

Update: Frustrations...

Newspaper seized in Yemen
Link Here  full story: News Censorship in Yemen...Yemen news media and southern unrest
ahdath al madina Yemeni security forces confiscated copies of Ahdath al-Madina , a local independent newspaper, on 7 August.

Security forces seized the paper from newsstands in order to stop its distribution on the national level.

According to the Arabic Network for Human Rights Information (ANHRI), security forces regularly remove newspapers in order to suppress the public's growing frustrations with President Saleh.

 

14th August   

Bad Decision...

Reports that the new US Blu-ray of Executive Decision is the cut European Version
Link Here

Executice Decision DVD cover Executive Decision i s a 1996 US action film by Stuart Baird. See IMDb

Note that the 2011 US Blu-ray has been reported to be the cut European Version with removed references to islam.

The US Version is uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

The European Version was passed 15 after a further 8s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1998 Warner R2 DVD
  • UK 1996 Warner VHS
  • UK 1996 cinema release

BBFC cuts from IMDb:

  • During the attack at the beginning of the film there are 3 cuts to the use of the knife by the Steven Seagal character. One bad guy suffers a sliced throat, a second gets stabbed in the throat and another gets stabbed trying to run away.

The European Version was pre-cut to remove references to islam

  • Al Tar, the David Suchet character, is seen rising from a praying position to answer a phone call from the cockpit. The UK version shows him answering the phone only, you do not know he has been praying.
  • In German language releases the dubbing of terrorists speaking in Arabic was mistranslated to tone down references to Allah and islam

 

14th August   

Underground Protest...

San Francisco police shut down underground mobile phone service to prevent protest about police shooting
Link Here

San Francisco art In response to a threatened protest in its subway system, San Francisco authorities temporarily shut down mobile phone service in the underground stations of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District, known locally as BART.

A civil disturbance during commute times at busy downtown San Francisco stations could lead to platform overcrowding and unsafe conditions for BART customers, employees and demonstrators, BART officials claimed in a statement. BART temporarily interrupted [mobile phone] service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform.

According to the local-news website SFist, the demonstration had been publicized by a group known as No Justice No BART in response to the July 3 fatal shooting by BART police of an intoxicated homeless man, Charles Hill, who had allegedly thrown a knife at an officer.

To protest the shooting No Justice No BART posted on its website that it wanted to mobilize without public announcement beforehand to preserve the element of surprise .

Unfortunately for No Justice No BART, their web posting was noticed, BART police were informed, and the mobile phone shutdown was instituted. The call to pretest was removed from the website and the protest did not take place.

Rapper could face charges over flash mob tweet'

See also article from  telegraph.co.uk

 

14th August   

Dangers Revealed...

South Korea to scrap real name registration for posting on websites
Link Here
South Korea flag The South Korea government will push ahead with plans to scrap the current real-name system for Internet users in the wake of the country's worst online security breach.

The Ministry of Public Administration and Security is set to report to ruling party lawmakers about comprehensive measures to protect personal information online, including abolishing the real- name registration system, Yonhap news agency said.

The real-name system, introduced in 2007, requires people to use their real names and resident registration numbers when making online postings on websites with more than 100,000 visitors per day.

The move comes after the personal information of about 35 million users of the country's popular Internet and social media sites Nate and Cyworld was stolen in a hacking attack last month. The stolen data included user IDs, passwords, resident registration numbers, names, mobile phone numbers and email addresses.

 

13th August   

Updated: Swiss Police Recommend...

The video game Darkness II, even though there are no police in it
Link Here

darkness ii A Swiss police association is calling for a ban on The Darkness II because the game includes moments of police being shot and killed, a Swiss newspaper reports.

Politicians, game producers and sellers have been advised that such games be immediately removed from circulation, according to The Swiss Christian Police Association.

When police in England are the target of mobs running amok, it is important that police are not portrayed as the enemy, said Felix Ceccato, president of the association.

However the game's publisher, 2K Games, said: Reported stories regarding police officers in The Darkness II were erroneous. To be clear, there are no police officers in the game.

 

13th August   

Update: A Riotous Blame Game...

And today's entrant for the Blame of the Year award is the movie Shank
Link Here  full story: A Riotous Blame Game...So what is to blame for the 2011 hoodie riots

Shank Adam Deacon The Daily Mail writes:

A teenager who incited his 2,000 Facebook friends to riot was inspired by a violent cult film about gangs ruling the streets, a court has heard.

Amed Pelle, 18, sent three messages on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday following the outbreak of violence in his home city of Nottingham.

The first two read: Nottz Riot whose onit? and Kill one black youth, we kill a million Fedz [police], riot til we own cities .

In his third message, Pelle asked if friends wanted goods from a fashion shop. He wrote: Rioting 2nyt anyone want anything from Flannels? The store, in the city centre, had its windows smashed hours later.

Unemployed Pelle pleaded guilty at Nottingham magistrates' court to a breach of section 44 of the Serious Crime Act 2007. He was remanded in custody for sentencing at the city's crown court.

Prosecutor John Wallis said Pelle told police that he had watched a film called Shank , in which gangs take over London, and that he wanted the same to happen here . The 2010 film depicted an apocalyptic future capital where gangs of youths rule the streets and carry out looting and wanton violence.

Pelle, who is from Cuba, was arrested after police officers spotted the messages while monitoring social networking sites during the trouble in the city.

 

13th August   

Uzblokistan...

Uzbekistan locks out external internet
Link Here
Uzbekistan The Uzbek authorities greeted the start of the Internet Festival celebrating the national domain .uz with a block on almost all Russian, western and Central Asian news websites.

The blackout of dozens of websites began on 9 August. Uznews.net's editorial office checked the reported blocking of 65 Russian news sites and found that 29 had been blocked including the sites of national TV channels First Channel; Rossiya; NTV and the business channel RBK TV.

The internet block also extended to the websites of many Russian socio-economic and political institutions and publishing houses.

Internet users in Uzbekistan also found that radio stations were blocked including Mayak; Radio Rossii and Echo Moskvy.

The BBC and Deutsche Welle are among the western news outlets which were blocked six years ago after the events in Andijan. Now the Financial Times (London), the New York Times and Reuters news agency are unavailable too.

Central Asian news sites appeared to be a particular target of the web censor. Information agencies in Kyrgyzstan were all blocked as were practically all news sites in Tajikistan and some in Kazakhstan.

 

13th August   

Update: Listening In...

India to monitor blogs and social networking to keep tabs on 'extremism'
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in India...India considers blanket ban on internet porn
India flag India's Department of Telecommunications has been asked to monitor Twitter and Facebook, because of fears that the sites are being used to plan terrorist attacks.

In April, the Indian Information Technology (IT) Act of 2008 was amended, giving officials the ability to monitor web activity. It also provides officials with access to private information, including passwords, without a court order.

However, Facebook and Twitter do not release the information of their users without a court order.

 

13th August   

Offsite: Listening In...

China to monitor blogs and social networking to keep tabs on 'extremism'
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
China flag China's microblog sites, which claim 195 million users and allow people to shoot out short bursts of often strongly worded opinion, have put China's Communist rulers in a difficult spot. Fearing an uproar if they block the sites outright, the censors struggle to keep ahead of the rapid-fire messages that often spread news and opinion the government would like to contain.

Chinese officials, Internet operators, media and citizens are all players in an online contest over how far microblogs will be allowed to challenge the censorship demanded by the Communist Party.

...Read the full article

 

13th August   

Offsite: China Gloats...

China enjoys David Cameron speaking in favour of Chinese style internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Social Networking Censorship in the UK...Internet censorship set to solve Britain's broken society
Ragged Union Jack Here's a post from the Chinese News Agency Xinhua:

Apparently rioters used social media, like Twitter, Facebook and the Blackberry messenger system and Prime Minister David Cameron said Thursday he's looking at banning potential troublemakers from using the online services.

The British government, once an ardent advocate of absolute Internet freedom, has thus made a U-turn over its stance towards web-monitoring.

In a speech delivered in Kuwait in February, the British prime minister, however, argued that freedom of expression should be respected in Tahrir Square as much as Trafalgar Square.

This is sheer hypocrisy on the UK government's part, and completely undermines its ability to criticise any other country - like China - for blocking access to the Internet or instituting online censorship.

...Read the full article

Update: An American View

14th August 2011. Based on article from mashable.com

U.S. journalist Jeff Jarvis asked on his blog:

If you take these steps, what separates you from the Saudi government demanding the ability to listen to and restrict its BBM networks? What separates you from Arab tyrannies cutting off social communication via Twitter or from China banning it?

Offsite: The Committee to Protect Journalists

22nd August 2011. See  article from  cpj.org

CPJ logo T here is no shortage of examples that demonstrate how repressive governments have seized on the riots as an opportunity to rebuke Britain. As soon as riots broke out, Iranian officials demanded that the U.K. government exercise restraint in dealing with rioters, offered to send a delegation to investigate human rights violations, and complained that the U.N. had been silent about the situation. In Russia, there have been comparisons between the riots and the protests in Libya. An opinion article in China's official People's Daily newspaper referred to the riots as a case in which the West is tasting the bitter fruit after championing Internet freedom. Syria has also accused your government of hypocrisy.

In light of such defiance of the U.K.'s moral authority on human rights, we urge you to clarify the intent behind your statement, spell out any planned actions you may take, and reaffirm your government's commitment to protecting free expression. Failure to do so would gravely undermine global efforts to defend human rights and would provide authoritarian regimes with arguments they will use to justify censorship and surveillance.

...Read the full article

 

12th August   

Update: A Riotous Blame Game...

So what's to blame for the riots?
Link Here  full story: A Riotous Blame Game...So what is to blame for the 2011 hoodie riots

Stephen Green Well Christian Voice suggest:

Legalised sodomy and pornography and moral-free sex education

David Cameron has identified the causes of the riots and looting this week in Britain. It is a lack of responsibility, which comes from a lack of proper parenting, a lack of proper upbringing, a lack of proper ethics, a lack of proper morals. It is as much a moral problem as a political problem, he has said.

We must give him full marks for stating the blindingly obvious. People behave well for one of two reasons; either they have the fear of God before their eyes, or the fear of the long arm of the law. In other words, either an internal or an external moral compass is necessary for good behaviour.

But who defines good behaviour ?

David Cameron blames the parents ('a lack of proper parenting, a lack of proper upbringing'), but does he realise that 50% of children are growing up in Britain without their natural father?

Who is responsible for that if it isn't the politicians who legalised no-fault divorce on demand in the 1960s, legalised sodomy and pornography, brought in moral-free sex education around the same time and pushed condoms at teenagers just because they hated Christian morality?

And who is equally responsible if not the present Coalition Government which allows all of that to continue on its life-destroying way, not seeing any of it as an offence against proper morals ?

Perhaps David Cameron knows better:

See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

David Cameron Twitter, Facebook and Blackberry Messenger

Prime Minister David Cameron pledged to explore ways to halt the use of social media tools like Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry Messenger if these were being used to plot violence, disorder and criminality.

All three have been implicated in rioters' ability to communicate since the violence began in London on Saturday. A solemn David Cameron addressing the House of Commons about the riots

The Government and the intelligence agencies MI5 and GCHQ are in talks with mobile phone companies and internet service providers about how they might prevent gang leaders from co-ordinating looting raids using social media.

Senior sources said that among the options they are considering are turning off mobile phone masts in riot areas or shutting down the accounts of known suspects when trouble starts.

Social media is being targeted as there is no straight-forward way for police to cut off individual's phones at short notice.

Technology blogger for Msnbc Rosa Golijan said the Government had three options to prevent rioters from using social media; banning individuals from social media sites, black-listing certain web-pages in the way the China does, or temporarily shutting down the internet.

Surely turning off the internet would be enough to cause a riot in the streets

 

12th August   

Update: No Sex, We're American Cinema Viewers...

An NC-17 for 3D Sex and Zen makes distribution difficult
Link Here  full story: 3-D Sex and Zen...Hong Kong erotic movie in 3D

3 D Sex Zen Extreme Ecstasy 3D Sex and Zen has earned a NC-17 rating from Motion Picture Association of America, meaning big, fat corporate theaters weren't interested in showing the movie and most smaller, independent art house theaters don't have the technology to show 3D films.

The Distributor Milt Barlow, CEO of China Lion, says in general, finding happy host screens in the US has been a battle, but San Francisco seems to be the biggest loser in this round. On the surface, America is a very conservative country and I find it quite puzzling. It's supposed to be the land of free speech, sex, drugs, and rock 'n' roll, says Barlow, chuckling, although audibly disappointed. Americans invented porn, didn't they?

According to the MPAA, NC-17 simply means the film contains visuals most parents would consider patently too adult for their children 17 and under and does not mean 'obscene' or 'pornographic' in the common or legal meaning of those words, and should not be construed as a negative judgment in any sense. Many corporate theaters uphold policies that restrict the showing of anything past the R rating. When you take a glimpse at the types of programming available on cable or even prime-time TV, it feels likely some creepy censorship shit.

 

12th August   

Updated: Fans See Red...

Australia to get a cut version of the up 'n' coming Red Orchestra 2 game
Link Here

Red Orchestra Heroes Stalingrad DVD It seems as if the Australian version of Red Orchestra 2: Heroes of Stalingrad may be neutered in comparison to the rest of the world.

Hook into Steam and take a peak at your pre-order, and a helpful message will inform you that you'll be receiving the low violence version of the game.

Update: Not so cut after all

12th August 2011. See  article from  games.on.net

Red Orchestra 2 's representatives in Australia confirmed to us moments ago that the Classification Board has passed the game uncut and with no modifications, giving it an MA15+ rating for strong war violence .

This means that the game will now be sold universally, without the need for a low violence version designed around Australian audiences.

 

12th August   

Comment: Blame Warriors...

The Last Samurai blamed for tragic death of 8 year old
Link Here

last surai The Daily Mail wrote:

A boy of eight whose parents allowed him to watch violent movies was found hanged after viewing a film that features ritualistic suicides.

Lewis McGlynn had been watching the Tom Cruise film The Last Samurai , which has a 15 certificate, when his father discovered him hanging from his bedroom door.

His family and neighbours desperately tried to resuscitate him but he was pronounced dead at hospital shortly afterwards.

An investigation revealed Lewis had a large number of DVDs in his bedroom that belonged to his older brother, but his parents, John and Beth, had not stopped him watching them. He also had a habit of playing out scenes in films.

Hertfordshire coroner Edward Thomas warned of the danger of allowing children to watch adult movies as he recorded a verdict of accidental death following an inquest in Hatfield: He may well have been doing some of the things he might have seen in videos, he told Mr and Mrs McGlynn. You described he wanted to be Indiana Jones with a whip and things like wrestling. I think he was playing around. It's so important that these videos have 18 or 15 certificates. They are there for a purpose. It's important that kids do watch what is suitable for their age. He didn't need to die.

Vivienne Pattison, director of lobby group Media Watch UK, said the death highlighted the dangers of exposing children to extreme violence : Violence is not a taste issue but a harm issue and this case unfortunately shows what can happen when children are exposed to extreme violence. Parents must ensure they keep these films and games out of reach of children.'

Comments: Wonder Woman

12th August 2011. From David

Vivienne Pattison Vivienne Pattison, director of lobby group Media Watch UK, said the death highlighted the dangers of exposing children to extreme violence: [,,,]. Parents must ensure they keep these films and games out of reach of children.'

Hang on, is that actually her recommending proper parental responsibility instead of just banning stuff? Wonders will never cease!

 

12th August   

Update: Security Censors...

Sudanese newspaper seized by security forces
Link Here

Sudan flag On August 8, issues of Al-Ahdath , a Sudanese daily newspaper, were confiscated by security forces.

Officials have yet to provide an explanation for the confiscation. Previously, officials pressured the editor of Al-Ahdath to retract articles written about violence in South Sudan.

 

11th August   

Censored by Rioters...

DVD and Blu-ray releases affected by riots in Enfield
Link Here

Midnight DVD It is most unfortunate that rioting has broken out in Enfield and the Sony DADC, Enfield distribution centre was looted and set on fire. Thankfully no staff were harmed in this atrocious attack on the plant but it does mean all Arrow stock, and the stock of many other distributors is now no more.

We are working with Sony DADC and our partners to find a solution for getting stock back in stores very soon. What is with existing retailers is all that will be available for the moment and new releases such as Midnight and the forthcoming ArrowDrome titles will surely be affected.

We thank you for your understanding through this difficult time and will update with news of the availability of Arrow stock as it is available.

 

11th August   

Financially Challenged...

US nutters, Morality in Media, in financial difficulty
Link Here

Morality in Media logo Poor Patrick Trueman! Ever since he got roped into taking over the flagging censorship organization Morality in Media, contributions have been dropping away.

It now appears that Morality in Media is in deep financial trouble.

Trueman wrote in an email sent to MiM fans on Monday:

The economy is taking a great toll on non-profits like ours.

I don't like to approach you this way, but knowing of your keen interest in our work, I thought you would like to hear from us on this.

Money is what the porn industry has. We have people, in growing numbers and with a great willingness and spirit to fight the scourge of pornography. I know it is a sacrifice for many of you to give your hard-earned money to help us in our fight. But, you know that our small staff is making a major difference and we count on you. We need immediate help. There is no other way to say it. We have been very aggressive in our war on the porn industry and we are fighting on many fronts. We have stretched even the smallest funds to accomplish great things!

Apparently, that plea didn't do a lot of good, because on Tuesday, he sent this:

I wrote you yesterday telling you of our urgent need for funding, Trueman wrote urgently. I profoundly thank those who gave. We are far from our goal, however. Frankly we need to raise $40,000 in the next 10 days. I know from past experience that that amount is possible. I also know that it will take some sacrifices on your behalf for which we are so grateful. [Emphasis added]

We have a very small staff, four full-time people, he continued. And we keep costs down. We even discontinued using our mailing house and all mailings, such as our newsletter, fundraising appeals, etc. are done in our office to save money. Your contribution goes a very long way.

Even with that appeal not enough people sacrificed, because today, we got this:

We received many contributions yesterday and it is so helpful. We are still far from our goal of $40,000 and our financial situation threatens us.

 

11th August   

Updated: Unblamed...

Evening Standard changes its mind about blaming the riots on Grand Theft Auto
Link Here  full story: A Riotous Blame Game...So what is to blame for the 2011 hoodie riots

Grand Theft Auto IV game The London Evening Standard, whose front page suggested Grand Theft Auto had inspired London's riots, later issued a reprint binning the game blame reference altogether.

The paper originally carried the blurb: Children as young as ten, inspired by video game, among the looters , along with a Lawless London headline.

However, the sub-head later switched to: Children as young as ten hunted by Police . All reference to Grand Theft Auto was also removed from the main story.

The change followed pressure from CVG's WRONG campaign, as well as other games media and outraged fans on Twitter.

...Read the full article

Update: Safermedia join in the GTA Blame Game

11th August 2011. See  article from  facebook.com

Safermedia write:

We are in the process of drawing the government's attention to the role of the media in the riots. Not the only cause, but a very significant one that must not be ignored. See how the hugely popular videogame Grand Theft Auto glamourises crime.

 

11th August   

Whinger Given a Bloody Nose...

ASA dismisses complaint about advert for video game L.A. Noire
Link Here

Rockstar Games L A Noire PS3 A TV ad for L.A. Noire , broadcast at 7.35pm on 18 May, on Channel 5, showed animated scenes from a Film Noir-style computer game about a murder enquiry in Los Angeles.

A man said New case. White female dumped in the grass at the end of Hills Street. Hacks are all over it. A woman was shown stepping from a bus onto an empty street at night. She was then shown lying dead on the ground during the day, with two detectives standing over her. One said Blunt force trauma. A brief scene showed the woman being thrown onto the ground next to a car, at night. The ad cut back to the woman lying dead on the ground, and one of the detectives said I doubt very much he was concerned with her dignity. A brief scene showed a man hitting something out of shot with a large spanner, at night. The ad again cut back to the woman lying dead on the ground. A detective moved her head and bruises were visible on her face.

Further scenes included a detective with a gun searching a room, a detective firing a gun twice, and two cars next to each other speeding along a road with people firing guns at each other. Another scene showed a detective saying You give me something or I will break your jaw followed by a scene in which a man fell to the ground after being punched in the face. The game was rated 18.

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with a post 7.30pm restriction.

The complainant challenged whether the ad was inappropriately scheduled, because they thought the actual and implied violence was too explicit for broadcast at a time when children might be watching.

Rockstar Games said the ad used scenes from a video game and as such it was clearly fictional rather than relating to real events. They said any scenes with violence or implied violence related only to fictional digital characters, not real people, and the ad was therefore unlikely to cause any harm. They added that the ad could not have been said to have caused widespread harm or offence because the ASA only received one complaint out of an estimated total viewing audience of 33 million throughout the duration of the advertising campaign.

ASA Assessment:  Complaint Dismissed

The ASA acknowledged the ad contained brief scenes of violence and implied violence but noted that only one scene directly depicted violence between people. We therefore considered that, overall, the depiction of violence in the ad was of a low level. We noted that only a very small proportion of the viewing audience was under 16 and considered the possibility of younger children viewing the ad and being distressed by it was low. We also considered that the animated context would be unlikely to be perceived by older children to be representative of real events. We concluded the ad was unlikely to cause harm to children and had been scheduled appropriately.

We investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Compliance), 4.1 (Harm and offence), 5.1 (Children), 32.1 (Scheduling of Television and Radio Advertisements) and 32.4.8 (Under-16s), but did not find it in breach.

 

10th August   

Barbaric Censorship...

UK Blu-ray of Conan the Barbarian features a hidden uncut version
Link Here

Conan Barbarian Blu ray Arnold Schwarzenegger Conan the Barbarian i s a 1982 US action film by John Milius. See IMDb

The Longer International Version was released uncut for:

The UK Blu-ray contains both the uncut international version and the cut UK variant of the international version.

The uncut version is played when the default language for the Blu-ray Player internal menus is set to one of the non-English options. The English language film may still be selected. If the English Blu-ray player menuing system is selected then the cut UK version will play.

Previously the longer International Version was passed 15 after 19s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 20th Century Fox R0 Blu-ray
  • UK 2005 20th Century Fox R2 DVD
  • UK 2002 20th Century Fox R2 DVD
  • UK 1993 Fox VHS

The BBFC cuts were:

  • Several horse falls have been trimmed from the U.K  versions in differing ways. One of which is from the opening raid on young Conan's village.
  • The rest of the horse falls are from the lengthy stand-off in the desert, featured much later in the movie. One fall is severe as it caused by Conan hacking at the horses legs with a sword.
  • A sex scene with the witch featuring a lost naked rump was also trimmed to remove 3 out of 6 groans

 

10th August   

Fat Cat Censors...

ASA moralises about a tee shirt appearing on an American website
Link Here

thing tastes as good as skinny feels tshirt-p235048474566935258yc5n 400 The California company Zazzle Inc's website advertised a children's T-shirt in April 2011. It was labelled Nothing Tastes As Good As Skinny Feels Tee Shirt . An image of the product, which carried the slogan NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS SKINNY FEELS! , was included.

The complainants challenged whether the ad was irresponsible and could cause harm to children, because they believed it implied being underweight was desirable and therefore might encourage children to develop an unhealthy body image and an unhealthy relationship with food.

Zazzle said they were a technology company that had developed a platform to allow an open marketplace for products designed by users. They said members of their marketplace were free to create and sell their own designs on products. Although Zazzle did not pre-screen content before it was uploaded to their website, the marketplace had tools to allow users to report products they found offensive or that otherwise violated their user agreement. They said the designs in question were created by a member or members of the marketplace. However, when they were contacted by the ASA, Zazzle had restricted the designs so they did not appear on children's clothing.

ASA Assessment Upheld

The ASA noted Zazzle had restricted the design so it no longer appeared on children's clothing. We also noted, however, that at the time the ad appeared, it featured children and promoted a product that was designed for them to wear. We considered an ad that promoted a children's T-shirt that carried the slogan NOTHING TASTES AS GOOD AS SKINNY FEELS! implied being underweight was desirable and that it might therefore encourage children to develop an unhealthy body image and an unhealthy relationship with food. Because we considered the ad could condone or encourage an unsafe practice or result in physical, mental or moral harm to children, we concluded that it was irresponsible.

The ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility), 4.5 (Harm and offence) and 5.1 (Children).

The ad must not appear again in its current form. We told Zazzle to ensure future ads were not irresponsible and, particularly where they were addressed to or depicted children, did not contain anything that was likely to condone or encourage an unsafe practice or to result in their physical, mental or moral harm.

 

10th August   

Update: Unabstained...

Now all Australian states and territories back an adult rating for games
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

r18 unbanned The New South Wales Attorney General, Greg Smith, has changed his stance and decided back an R18 rating category for games. Previously he abstained from the vote.

This means that all Australian Attorneys General now back the move.

Cabinet has now given its in-principle support for the introduction of the R18+ rating.

Smith said:

Few people would dispute the value of a classification system that helps keep adult material beyond the reach of children. With strong classification guidelines in place, an R18+ rating should result in violent games currently rated MA15+ in Australia being reclassified as adults-only, as they already are in many other countries.

 

10th August   

Offsite: PG-13...

US commentator has a go at supposedly increasing violence in PG-13 films
Link Here
us pg 13 Make no mistake, the PG-13 rated movies are getting edgier and rougher -- including, notably, the final Harry Potter installments, and the even more brutal Rise of the Planet of the Apes that debuted last weekend.

Meanwhile, a genial Oscar-bait historical film that features a four-letter word in just one scene got clobbered with the dreaded R rating, as do any number of films with milder sex than you'd see on HBO in primetime.

...Read the full article

 

10th August   

Mr Monkey...

Twitter user seeks to sue council about the use of substantial public funds to reveal his identity
Link Here  full story: Anonymous Tweets...Twitter and identification under court duress

mr monkeys bg logo The first Briton to have his Twitter identity forcibly revealed by a court is seeking to sue the council that blew his anonymity and force a judicial review of the case.

A review could have implications for whistleblowing websites and for a council that used public funds to unmask a perceived detractor.

In April, South Tyneside Council won an order from the Superior Court of California forcing Twitter to release details about four accounts. The council claimed the information, including contact details and IP addresses, could reveal who is behind the Mr Monkey blog, which it claimed was spreading libellous comments.

South Tyneside Councillor Ahmed Khan admits being the owner of one of the Twitter accounts, but maintains he is not Mr Monkey .

South Tyneside Council has already spent about £ 75,000 on the case. Khan is looking into the possibility of forcing a legal review into the misuse of public funds.

Khan is waiting for a court decision before taking further legal action.

 

9th August   

Censorship Highs...

The censorship story of Paul Morrissey's Trash
Link Here

Trash DVD Region US NTSC Trash (aka Andy Warhol's Trash ) i s a 1970 US drama by Paul Morrissey. See IMDb

Banned

Banned by the BBFC for:

  • UK 1971 cinema release

See  article from  sbbfc.co.uk : Bad Timing

The drugs theme was nominally the justification for the ban, but in fact timing was also an issue. Stephen Murphy was coming in for nutter pressure at the time. A series of controversial films such as The Devils put the BBFC under nutter scrutiny from the likes of Mary Whitehouse's Festival of Light.

According to the only surviving examiner report, the BBFC was concerned by its effect upon those young people who are not intimately involved in the hard stuff. We think that any cautionary message it might have is outweighed by the undoubted degradation and its destructive effect upon those who are not intimately involved in the drug scene, or even upon the fringes of it . In considering whether cuts, as Stephen Murphy had initially suggested, might provide a remedy, the examiners concluded that We do not think that cutting would be a good solution as we would still incur the rage of many ordinary cinema goers without satisfying the progressives .

Banned by the Greater London Council (GLC) for:
  • UK 1971 London cinema release

Possibly the GLC were also coming under nutter pressure for passing controversial films for exhibition in London.

Extensive Cuts

Passed X (18) after 2:48s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1972 cinema release

The BBFC required 2:48s cuts to:

  • the opening fellatio scene [in fact masked fellatio]
  • the first heroin injection scene
  • Holly's masturbation with a beer bottle.

The distributor then cut an additional 8 minutes without BBFC permission. The additional cuts were to remove non controversial material the distributor thought was boring!

The same cut version was released for:

  • UK pre-cert Virgin VHS

The submitted running time was noted as 109:41s = 105:18s

See  article from  sbbfc.co.uk : Discussing Cuts

Denied a London release, the next opportunity to gauge public and critical opinion would be at the London Film Festival, where the film was shown to critics first and then to a public audience on 19th November 1971 at the National Film Theatre. Questionnaires were issued to the audience by the film's distributor asking whether or not they thought the film should be classified and the critics were also encouraged to review the film. Of those members of the public who filled in the questionnaire, only seven were opposed to the classification of the film.

Although the reaction to the Festival screening had gone some way towards reassuring the Board that the film was not regarded as a glamorisation of drugs, there was still a serious concern over its potential offensiveness and therefore its unacceptability to local authorities.

BBFC Director Stephen Murphy felt that the self selecting nature of the NFT Festival audience ruled it out as an indicator of general public opinion and therefore decided to commission some research of his own from the University of Leicester's Centre for Mass Communication. This research, undertaken at the end of 1971, involved showing the film to a group of 86 individuals and asking for their reactions. In addition to a number of university students, the researchers also bussed in a group of middle aged housewives to seek their views. The results, presented to the Board in February 1972, showed that the majority (58%) were in favour of passing the film as it was and did not think that it promoted drugs (only six people expressed concerns in this regard). However, there were substantial reservations about the offensiveness of certain scenes (which perhaps not coincidentally included two of the sequences that would later be cut when the film was finally classified).

In June 1972 the distributor again asked the BBFC to reconsider the ban. Unsurprisingly, the BBFC simply restated its view that, in its full version, the film was not acceptable. However, Murphy conceded that it might now be possible to pass the film if its most offensive moments (as singled out in the Board's own research) were toned down.

Sensing that there was little alternative but to go along with the Board the distributor accepted cuts as an option but stated that he could not make changes without the permission of the director. Accordingly Paul Morrissey flew to London on 15th July and cuts were discussed. An edited version was prepared and presented to the BBFC with 1:08s cut from three scenes. However, the cuts were still considered insufficient by Murphy and the board upped the cuts to 2:48s

In a further twist, it was brought to Murphy's attention in 1973 that the version of Trash playing in cinemas might not be the same as the version he had passed. Murphy received a highly defensive letter admitting that the film had in fact been subject to further cuts after it had been passed by the BBFC. Distributor Jimmy Vaughan explained that During the re-editing of Trash to meet the requirements of your Board, I felt I might as well make certain cuts of my own [...] I would also like to mention that I myself removed two scenes of blood going into the syringe and several other cuts which I felt myself were either boring or possibly distasteful .

Even More Cuts

The extensively cut cinema version was passed 18 after a further 1:48s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1991 Virgin VHS

The BBFC explained their additional cuts:

  • Two scenes in this film are problematic. the scenes at 19 minutes and 55 minutes contain so much detail that they are both instructive and also seductive in immersing the viewer in the ritualistic process of fixing heroin, mixing it in a spoon, using a tourniquet, finding a vein and actually puncturing it and injecting it

Less Cuts

The complete film was submitted and passed 18 after 2:20s of BBFC cuts for:
  • 1996 First Independent VHS

The BBFC cuts info:

  • The BBFC waived their previous cuts to fellatio and masturbation with a beer bottle
  • The original cinema cuts for drug taking were retained
  • The original cinema distributor cuts to drug taking scenes were retained
  • The 1991 video cuts to drug taking were also retained

Uncut

The full version was passed 18 uncut with previous cuts waived for:

The BBFC commented about the waived cuts in an article from  sbbfc.co.uk : Not Instructional

The only consideration this time was whether or not the two famous injection scenes could be released intact.

Since James Ferman's departure from the Board in 1998 fresh advice had been taken from experts working in the field of drugs. Having viewed other films previously cut by Ferman they concluded that the type of material shown in Trash was not in fact likely to be instructional. The fact that heroin is injected is widely known and no genuinely useful information (eg how to dissolve the heroin, what quantities to use, etc) could be gained from the film.

The US release is uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

Summary Review: Trash is a classic

It is a film that could only have been made in the early '70's. It captures people, locations and scenarios that existed then. This type of guerilla filmmaking is less about a script and more about capturing a moment. I can't imagine these actors sitting around rehearsing scripted lines.

We will never see the likes of this type of filmmaking again. It is an era unto itself. See this film. At times it can be banal and boring and insane but so is life.

 

9th August   

Less Heavy Rain...

France to get a cut version of last year's Heavy Rain game
Link Here

Sony Heavy Rain PS3 A toned down version of the 2010 video game, Heavy Rain, spotted on pan-European ratings board PEGI is exclusive to France, Sony has told Eurogamer. This is just a small initiative for France only, a Sony spokesperson said.

Heavy Rain Edition Modifiee is redesigned to be suitable for those aged 16 and over only, whereas the original is PEGI 18 rated.

The uncut version of the game is BBFC 15 rated in the UK.

 

9th August   

Offsite: Link Website Unlinked...

A US federal court has backed the government's domain siezures
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
doj logo A US federal court has ruled that the domain seizure of sports streaming site Rojadirecta does not violate the First Amendment, and has refused to hand the domain back to its Spanish owner.

The order stands in conflict with previous Supreme Court rulings and doesn't deliver much hope to other website owners who operate under US controlled domain names.

Two months ago the company behind the site, Puerto 80, filed a petition in the Southern District of New York for the return of its domains. This call was later supported by the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) who together with Center for Democracy and Technology and Public Knowledge submitted an amicus brief in support of the Spanish company.

However the United States District Court Judge Paul Crotty decided to deny Puerto 80?s request, which means the domain will remain in the hands of the US Government. The Judge argues that seizing Rojadirecta's .com and .org domains does not violate the First Amendment of the Constitution.

The Judge wrote that the main purpose of the Rojadirecta websites, however, is to catalog links to the copyrighted athletic events, any argument to the contrary is clearly disingenuous.'

 

8th August   

Dishing Out Rights...

European Court supports the right of Swedish tenants to install a satellite dish against the wishes of their landlord
Link Here

European court buildings The European Court of Human Rights has backed two Swedish tenants who wanted a satellite dish against the wishes of their landlord.

In an important ruling, lawmakers in Strasbourg have warned that banning dishes on listed buildings, social housing and even private homes could breach the right to freedom of expression by preventing people from practicing religion.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), Britain's discrimination watchdog, has now published new guidance warning that landlords could be at risk of being sued if they try to stop their tenants putting up a satellite dish.

Housing Minister Grant Shapps whinged that the ruling, under the Human Rights Act, threatened to drive a horse and cart through planning laws.

The European Court of Human Rights made the judgement after a Swedish couple were evicted for refusing to take down a dish The judges ruled that the Swedish government had failed in its obligation to protect the couple's right to receive information. It found that satellite dishes come under Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

The European Commission's Internal Market Commissioner Frits Bolkestein said:

The right to use a satellite dish [is] one of the many concrete benefits for European consumers of the free movement of goods and services within the internal market.

Satellite dishes are an increasingly popular tool for receiving multiple services via satellite: they facilitate mutual exchanges between our various cultures by overcoming national borders, and familiarise the general public with the new remote communications technologies. Their use must therefore be free from any unjustified obstacle.'

 

8th August   

Clapped in Irons...

Belarus dictator bans clapping after it is used in protest against him
Link Here
alexander lukashenko Dictator Alexander Lukashenko is to ban clapping in Belarus, after people inspired by the Arab Spring uprising started protests.

Hundreds marched through streets, clapping their hands to show opposition to his regime.

 

8th August   

Petition: Protect Freedom of Speech...

By removing the word 'insulting' from Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986
Link Here

Law Public Order Protest Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 forbids the use of insulting words or behaviour in a public place, if this is likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress .

This provision has been responsible for a number of arrests in recent years. For instance, Leicestershire trader Tony Wright found himself arrested in 2005 for selling T-shirts emblazoned with the words Bollocks to Blair . In 2008, a 16 year old boy was arrested for calling Scientology a dangerous cult . In addition, members of a Worcester based animal rights group found themselves arrested in 2006 for using toy seals painted with red food dye as part of a protest against seal culling. Moreover, Oxford University student Sam Brown was arrested in 2005 for saying to a police officer Mate, your horse is gay, I hope you don't have a problem with that.

Feeling insulted should never constitute a crime by itself. Therefore, we the undersigned petition the government to remove the word insulting from Section 5.

...Sign the petition

 

8th August   

Update: What's the Harm in Excessive Censorship?...

Ofcom recommends strict age verification for R18 material on Video On Demand and a ban on anything stronger
Link Here

ofcom sexually explicit material Background

This report concerns the protection of children from hard core pornography on UK- based video on demand services1 . The government is concerned that under the current UK legislation these protections may not be adequate.

On 1 April 2010, DCMS wrote to Ofcom about the new legislation for UK-based video on demand services (implementing European law), which for the first time impose certain minimum requirements on regulated UK-based video on demand services

In particular, the legislation introduces minimum requirements on the provision of potentially harmful material in VOD services. The relevant section of the Communications Act (368E(2)) states that:

If an on-demand programme service contains material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, the material must be made available in a manner which secures that such persons will not normally see or hear it .

DCMS raised concerns as to whether this provision would in practice provide sufficient safeguards to protect children from sexually explicit material, or whether greater safeguards might be appropriate for such material which is made available over VOD Services.

DCMS considered in its letter to Ofcom that a precautionary approach would be justified. This was because such an approach:

  • would be generally supported by the public, given the nature of the material in question and the need to protect minors
  • would be consistent with the tough constraints which Parliament has already placed on the distribution of sexually explicit material in hard copy form as a film or a DVD (i.e. material classified as R18 by the British Board of Film Classification
  • would also be consistent with the approach Ofcom has taken on the provision of this material on television under its Broadcasting Code.
  • In DCMS's view, there is plainly an argument for concluding that on-demand programme services, which are capable of being accessed by children and young people at home round the clock, require sufficient safeguards.

Evidence relating to harm

In light of the Government's clearly stated intentions, we commissioned research to inform our response to DCMS.

A review was commissioned from Dr Guy Cumberbatch, an independent expert in the effects of media, especially on young people.This looked at the available evidence on the risk of harm from R18 material. The review updates the review of the research literature in this area conducted for Ofcom by Dr Ellen Helsper of the London School of Economics ( LSE ) in 2005.

Guy Cumberbatch's main conclusions are consistent with the conclusions of the 2005 review. Firstly, that the research does not provide conclusive evidence that R18 material might seriously impair minors' development. Secondly, the research does not provide clear, conclusive evidence of a lesser degree of harm. It is acknowledged that the research is by its nature limited given there are significant ethical constraints about conducting experiments which expose children to this type of material and monitor their development for signs of potential harm.

However, some experts believe that there is evidence that exposure of minors to R18 material can have adverse effects. In short, this area remains highly controversial and in light of these considerations, it cannot be confidently concluded that sexually explicit material carries no risk of harm to the development of minors.

Guy Cumberbatch's report has been peer reviewed by Dr Sonia Livingstone of the LSE's Department of Media and Communications.

Conclusions and recommendations

In reaching a view in response to DCMS's request as to whether greater safeguards might be appropriate for the protection of children in this important and controversial area, Ofcom considered both R18 material and also material stronger than R18. It took account of the following important considerations.

In relation to R18 material, these considerations are:

  • that the evidence for children being caused harm by exposure to R18 material is inconclusive and the research is necessarily limited by the ethical constraints of exposing children and young people to sexually explicit material
  • Ofcom has a statutory duty under Section 3 of the Communications Act 2003 to further the interests of citizens and consumers and in doing so, to have regard to the vulnerability of children (and others whose circumstances appear to Ofcom to put them in need of special protection)
  • that the public (including parents) consider that whilst those who wish to should have access to pornography, access to this material should be restricted in such a way that children cannot see it
  • the range of approaches in Europe as regards implementing the might seriously impair obligation in the Directive, and the number of countries that have relied on other legislation (existing or new) to restrict access to sexually explicit material on VOD
  • the lack of any test case under current UK law establishing whether R18 promotional material supplied over the internet is obscene (i.e. has a tendency to deprave and corrupt its likely audience), but noting also that according to the Crown Prosecution Service ( CPS ) (Legal Guidance to prosecutors) , it is possible that the publication of such material, provided it is sufficiently explicit and is freely accessible, is capable of being prosecuted as obscene and therefore a criminal offence under the Obscene Publications Act [Although it is noted later in the report that no such prosecution has ever actually been attempted].
  • the desirability in the public interest of giving children appropriate protection from highly unsuitable material
  • the absence in the current regulations of a clear standard requiring sexually explicit material of R18 standard (or its equivalent) to be prohibited, in VOD services, unless it is made subject to restrictions;
  • the Government's clear intention to ensure protection of children from sexually explicit material on UK-based VOD services
  • the value of adopting a precautionary approach to protecting minors from the risk of harm from accessing R18 material (and material stronger than R18) on UK- based VOD services. There is clear evidence that the public (and in particular parents) support a precautionary approach.

In relation to material stronger than R18 we had regard to the following considerations:

  • content stronger than R18 material encompasses a wide variety of unclassified material which cannot legally be supplied in the UK in licensed sex shops and includes abusive and/or violent pornography, examples of which have been held to be obscene and a criminal offence to provide, if accessible by children
  • this material is acknowledged to be potentially harmful or very harmful to adults, particularly those who are vulnerable
  • yet the current legislation does not clearly prohibit it from VOD Services.

In summary, Ofcom's opinion is that taking into account:

  • all the considerations set out in this report, including the evidence relating to harm
  • DCMS's clearly stated intention to ensure the protection of children
  • the desire for certainty in this important and controversial area
  • the legislative protections currently in place are not sufficiently clear to provide that certainty. Greater safeguards should therefore be put in place.

We recommend the Government introduce new legislation which would specifically:

  • prohibit R18 material from being included in UK-based VOD services unless appropriate mandatory restrictions are in place
  • prohibit altogether from UK-based VOD services material whose content the BBFC would refuse to classify i.e. material stronger than R18.

 

8th August   

Updated: PG-13 Rated for Suckers...

Sucker Punch released on Blu-ray in two versions
Link Here

Sucker Punch Triple Blu ray Digital Sucker Punch is a 2011 US/Canada fantasy by Zack Snyder. See IMDb

The Extended Cut was passed 12 uncut for:

  • UK 2011 Warner (Extended + Theatrical Cut) R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon now released

The US release is uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

The Theatrical Cut was passed 12A without cuts for:

  • UK 2011 Warner R0 Blu-ray
  • UK 2011 Warner R1 DVD
  • UK 2011 cinema release

There is also an IMAX variant

See pictorial cuts details from movie-censorship.com :

The film was substantially edited to tone down the R Rated material to PG-13. The Theatrical Version is toned down in both battlefield violence and for sexual threat. The Extended Cut is the better version.

 

8th August   

Severely Provoked...

Easy offence cause by nude art in Albania
Link Here

art by mustafa biduli Muslims in the Albanian coastal town of Durres have protested against the opening of an exhibition of nude photographs and sculptures in a gallery a few metres from the local mosque.

This exhibition is unacceptable. It should not be opened next to the mosque of the town , local mufti Redi Quku was quoted by media as saying.

Quku said the opening of the exhibition of works by Albanian artist Mustafa Biduli was offensive to Muslims, in particular as the show takes place during the holy month of Ramadan.

The local Muslim community has said it will file a complaint against local authorities who have severely provoked believers with the exhibition

 

7th August   

Update: Morally Impaired Plot...

In the absence of evidence of harm due to porn, ATVOD will blather on 'serious impairment of the moral development' of minors until legislation can be drawn up to legally ban it
Link Here

Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey wrote to Ed Richards of Ofcom on the subject of restricting hardcore Video on Demand:

SEXUALLY EXPLICIT MATERIAL AND VIDEO ON DEMAND SERVICES

Ofcom produced a report on this last autumn and our officials have subsequently discussed the best way forward in the light of the recommendations of the Ofcom report, the policy position taken by ATVOD to require access controls to any such material and Government policy generally on access to potentially harmful material, including work in UKCCIS and the current Communications Review.

Like you, we are quite clear that children should not have access to hard-core pornography on ATVOD-regulated video-on-demand services. The current rules put in place by ATVOD requiring access controls on such material should remain in place.

As ATVOD regulates only a comparatively small number of services available over the Internet, our wider approach to protecting children from potentially harmful material is being taken forward by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS), building on the commitments made in our industry round-tables. We are committed to making progress in this area, preferably through industry action, but if necessary through legislation. Any necessary legislation is best taken forward in the forthcoming Communications Bill.

Your report examined the current UK regulations, transposing the requirement in the Audiovisual Media Services Directive that VOD material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of minors [is] only made available in such a way that ensures that minors will not normally hear or see [it] (which means in effect that this content must generally be encrypted). Department for Culture, Media and Sport

What concerned us was whether that requirement would provide sufficient safeguards to protect children from material equivalent to that classified by the BBFC at R18 and suitable for sale on DVD only in licensed sex shops. Our policy aim was that such material should not be made available in ways accessible to children on those UK-based VOD services which fell to be regulated under the Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

The Ofcom report concluded that this was an area in which it was probably impossible to get conclusive evidence of harm and that it was Ofcom's view that, in the absence of such evidence, there was a case for taking a precautionary approach and indeed seeking a legislative opportunity to provide a more certain legal basis for requiring access controls to protect children.

In the meantime, of course, ATVOD's rules have continued to require access controls to prevent children's access to R18 material on regulated sites – as we understand it, this generally at present takes the form of short video sequences promoting hard- core pornography sites which can be accessed in full only after supplying credit card details.

The Ofcom review considered two main areas of content. The principal one, and the one on which the Department had sought your advice in particular, was the availability of hard-core pornography with content equivalent to that which would be classified by the BBFC as suitable to the R18 category in DVD format. However, the report noted that there may also be material for which the BBFC would refuse a classification but which would not necessarily be illegal to distribute to adults.

All such material is prohibited by Ofcom on licensed broadcasting services and is allowed on VOD services regulated by ATVOD only when access controls are in place to prevent access by children. Outside the small number of regulated services, such material is known to be widely available on the Internet and that is why Ministers have given priority to working with ISPs to allow parents to make an active choice as to whether they want such material to be available to their household. The wider application of this policy by ISPs, and the use of effective parental controls by parents, would do much to minimise the accessibility of hard-core pornography, and worse, by children on all on-demand services.

The questions addressed by the Ofcom report were therefore whether, on the small number of on-demand services regulated by ATVOD, where additional controls could be put in place under the AVMS Directive, the Regulations provided an adequate level of protection for children from material equivalent to R18 by offering a secure legal basis on which to require access controls. Department for Culture, Media and Sport

We remain of the view - like you - that there is a good case that the Regulations require a precautionary approach in that the test is whether material might be seriously harmful rather than that it necessarily is demonstrably harmful. However we accept that, in the light of Ofcom's recommendation, it would be preferable to provide legal certainty to ensure that the ATVOD rules are robust, in case of future legal challenge, and the protection for children secure.

In these circumstances, and given the wider policy context, it seems to us that these issues would be best addressed comprehensively in the Communications Review. We would appreciate it if Ofcom, with ATVOD, would take any steps necessary in the interim period to ensure that children remained adequately protected under the ATVOD rules, in the knowledge that we could bring forward Regulations in the short term if it proved necessary to support this position.

 

7th August   

Driving Internet Business Offshore...

ATVOD publish their long list of websites under investigation
Link Here

Election Promise:

A Conservative government will introduce a powerful new Star Chamber cabinet committee, to be chaired by Ken Clarke, which will enforce a stringent One In – One Out requirement where any new law must include cuts in old laws.

. Con Lib logo
New law in:

Repressive new website registration law driving much of the UK internet business offshore

Old Law out:

Shops will be allowed to sell liquor chocolates without an alcohol licence.

ATVOD have announced a long list of websites that are under investigation for not registering with them, and of course, not paying their burdensome registration fee required to keep the red tape administrators in business.

ATVOD explained that the Website Registration Act requires that nearly all websites incorporating video need to notify ATVOD by 30 April 2010.

By the end of April 2010 it was apparent to ATVOD that a significant number of websites had not registered.

ATVOD therefore began an investigation process in order to ensure that such services were identified, were informed of their obligations, and were given an opportunity to notify or to make representations on the issue.

See  the long List of Websites under Investigation [pdf]

 

7th August   

Fueling the Nutter Fire...

ASA censor advert for the Fuel Girls appearing Wahoo Bar in Southampton
Link Here

fuelgirls A circular for Wahoo Bar in Southampton, distributed on 16 March 2011, featured a topless woman with the word Wahoo placed over each of her nipples, wearing a small pair of knickers Issue

1. Two complainants, who had received the circular through their letterboxes, challenged whether the images in the ad were offensive and unsuitable for a circular which could be seen by anyone, including children.

2. The ASA challenged whether the ad linked alcohol with sexual activity.

ASA Decision: Widespread Single complaint Upheld

1. Upheld

The ASA considered the image on the back of the circular, of the six women wearing underwear and walking towards the camera, was not explicit because the models were not topless, and there was nothing sexually suggestive about their poses. We considered that this image was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence in an untargeted medium where it could be seen by anyone, including children.

However, we considered that the image of the woman on the front of the circular with the word Wahoo covering each of her nipples was explicit and gratuitous as most of the woman's breasts were exposed. We also considered that the way in which she was pulling her knickers down on one side was sexually suggestive. Because of the explicit and sexually suggestive nature of that image, we considered that the ad was irresponsible as it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence and was therefore unsuitable for an untargeted medium where it could be seen by anyone, including children.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.1 (Harm and offence).

2. Upheld

We considered that the image of the woman on the front of the circular was explicit and sexually suggestive. We further considered that the text The Fuel Girls. AS SEEN ON PLAYBOY TV! from the guys that bring you FRAT PARTY A NIGHT OF FILTH & FIRE! ... LIVE FIRE & STRIP SHOW! SEXY WET & WILD BAR SHOW. had sexual connotations. We noted that the ad also contained text regarding the alcoholic drinks that would be available on the night and their prices. We considered that by including those references to alcohol alongside the sexually suggestive image and text, the ad linked alcohol with sexual activity.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code rule 18.5 (Alcohol).

 

7th August   

Update: Oops...Ofcom Kindly Detail Site Blocking Work Rounds...

DCMS ask Ofcom to delete part of their Site Blocking report
Link Here  full story: Digital Economy Act...Clause 11 grants government control of the internet

DCMS logo Ofcom have recently written a report, Site Blocking to reduce online copyright infringement, as part of a feasibility study into measures contained in the Digital Economy Act.

For the moment Ofcom has come out against the use of website blocking and explained some of the difficulties in the report. Particularly the current ease with which both websites and readers may circumvent current blocking techniques.

According to The Register, the Department of Media, Culture and Sport weren't too impressed by Ofcom letting the public be aware of the limitations of current website blocking technologies and asked Ofcom to censor the information.

Ofcom deleted the offending but some of the censored information was left in the document presumably in the document history. It was published and some clever people were able to restore the deleted text. Ofcom have now properly implemented the censorship but not before it was published on scribd and internet commentators had pointed out some of the sensitive work rounds to site blocking techniques. eg:

  • Websites providing encrypted access to their websites via SSL/HTTPS
  • Websites using a network port other than the usual port 80
  • Websites changing the IP address and bypassing the network routing announcements
  • Websites registering a new domain name and letting users know via email and social networking
  • Websites using page naming to defeat individual page blocking perhaps by having arbitrary search strings that lead to the blocked page
  • Readers using Virtual Private Networking (VPN)
  • Readers using anonymous web proxies

In general the authorities are not going to be very keen on large numbers of internet users being encouraged to use hard to monitor web routings that make life difficult for policing the net for more serious issues.

 

7th August   

Update: Obscene Step of Faith...

Morality in Media calls for the investigation of ICM Registry over its .XXX domain
Link Here  full story: ICANN XXX Domain...Long debate about allowing .xxx domain

Morality in Media logo News that the first hard-core porn .xxx domain has gone live caused US nutters of Morality in Media to call for an investigation of ICM Registry, the company behind the .xxx domain, for possible violations of federal laws prohibiting distribution of hard-core internet pornography.

Title 18 United States Code Sections 1462 and 1465 prohibit distribution of hardcore, obscene Internet pornography. Yet, isn't that the purpose of the .xxx domain? asked Patrick A. Trueman, President of Morality in Media. He continued:

Further, Title 18 U.S.C. Section 2 prohibits aiding and abetting a federal crime and title 18 U.S.C. 371 prohibits a conspiracy to commit a federal crime. The U. S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, should review the activities of ICM Registry in relation to these federal criminal laws immediately.

Will Attorney General Holder stand by and watch this pandemic of harm continue to spiral when he has laws at his disposal that can be enforced against this destructive material? We take this opportunity to urge him to vigorously enforce federal obscenity laws against major online commercial distributors of hard-core adult pornography and those who aid and abet its distribution.

If Attorney General Holder won't investigate ICM Registry now, we will press the next attorney general to do so. This issue will never go away for ICM Registry or for Internet pornographers who attempt to hide their criminal activities behind the .xxx domain.

But of course in reality the .XXX domain may specialise in : hardcore, Internet pornography, but this certainly does not necessarily mean it is : hardcore, obscene Internet pornography.

 

7th August   

Friday the 13th: The Ultimate Collection...

New limited edition US DVD release
Link Here

Friday 13th Collection Betsy Palmer Take a ride down memory lane with everyone's favorite psychotic killer Jason Voorhees in the to-die-for DVD set FRIDAY THE 13TH THE ULTIMATE COLLECTION arriving just in time for Halloween on October 4, 2011 from Paramount Home Entertainment.

When the original Friday The 13th debuted in 1980, it captured audiences' imaginations and permeated our collective psyche. 31 years later, the iconic machete-wielding killer continues to haunt, fascinate and terrify a new generation. This comprehensive set includes every murderous moment from

  • Friday The 13th - Uncut Deluxe Edition
  • Friday The 13th Part 2 Deluxe Edition
  • Friday The 13th Part 3-3D Deluxe Edition (with two pairs of 3D glasses), Friday The 13th - The Final Chapter Deluxe Edition,
  • Friday The 13th Part V: A New Beginning Deluxe Edition
  • Friday The 13th Part VI: Jason Lives Deluxe Edition
  • Friday The 13th Part VII: The New Blood Deluxe Edition
  • Friday The 13th Part VIII: Jason Takes Manhattan Deluxe Edition.

This extraordinary collection, which will be released in a Limited Edition of only 50,000 numbered units worldwide, includes:

  • a replica of Jason's hockey mask
  • an 8-page Collector's Booklet
  • hours of special features including slashed scenes
  • making of featurettes,
  • killer commentaries
  • and much, much more.

 

7th August   

Offsite: ASA and Ofcom: you're not worth it...

We don't need quangos to protect us from misleading L'Oreal adverts or bad soap-opera storylines.
Link Here

Spiked logo Thank god that we, the people of the UK, have these brave but very, very wise men and women holed up in state-backed organisations to look over us. Just imagine for a moment where we would be if the Advertising Standards Agency (ASA) or, perish the thought, the Office of Communications (Ofcom) ceased to exist. Not only would British public life be a couple of acronyms lighter, we would almost certainly be shaking, upset and very probably ill.

..Read the full article

 

6th August   

Gagged by ASA...

British advertisers stymied by the easily offended advert censor
Link Here

maxim advert An ad for the Maxim Creative Group, in Retail Design and Technology magazine featured a photograph of a woman who had been gagged. Text stated MAXIMUM DOMINATION CONTROLLING YOUR RETAIL ENVIRONMENT...

A single [presumably widespread] complainant challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it was demeaning to women.

The Maxim Creative Group (Maxim) said the ad was not intended to be demeaning to women. They said the ad was a play on the words used more than the image. They understood that the readership of the magazine was exclusively adults.

ASA Decision: Widespread Single complaint Upheld

The ASA noted that the readership of Retail Design and Technology magazine was exclusively adult. We also noted that the images were highly stylised and that the woman was shown in a strong and confident pose.

However, we noted that the text in the ad made reference to domination and control and considered that readers were likely to interpret the use of such references in conjunction with an image of a woman who had been gagged to be demeaning to women.

On that basis, we concluded that ad was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

The ad breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

 

6th August   

Update: Destined for the E-Plastic Bag Behind the Speaker's Chair...

UK Government restores an e-petitions website
Link Here  full story: UK Petitions...Petitioning the UK Government

hm government e-petitions4 logo A government e-petition website has gone live, showing petitions that have been accepted for consideration for debate in the Commons.

The leader of the house, Sir George Young, has said petitions that garner more than 100,000 signatures should warrant consideration for debate.

Speaker John Bercow is supporting the move, privately complaining the current written petition system is little understood and appreciated. Once received, written petitions, he points out, are put in a plastic bag behind the Speaker's chair, a fate he claims speaks volumes about the seriousness with which petitions are taken.

Bercow is understood to be flexible about how parliament should be seen to be responding to an e-petition garnering big support. He does not necessarily think every issue should be considered at a full-length debate, but might simply require a minister to come to the house and answer a question on the issue.

It is widely expected that supporters of capital punishment, immigration controls, withdrawal from Europe and opposition to green taxes will initially dominate. An e-petition will only be allowed to stay on the website for a year, and duplicates will not be allowed.

The system replaces a previous system set up by Tony Blair's aides on the Downing Street website, which was suspended before the 2010 general election. Then there was no requirement for Downing Street to do anything formal in response to an e-petition.

Update: E-Petitions shunted into the sidings

Oops the out of touch government doesn't want to talk about what the people want to talk about.

20th November 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

sidings David Cameron's pledge to allow the public to choose topics for parliamentary debates is being watered down following a series of political embarrassments, Westminster sources have claimed.

Ministers have discussed increasing the number of online signatures needed before a petition is considered for a Commons debate from 100,000 to 150,000. Some debates generated by e-petitions have been moved away from the main chamber to the lower-profile Westminster Hall where they are not put to a vote.

Critics claim that some of Cameron's biggest political problems have been exacerbated by e-petitions, which are open to the public on a government website. Last month, 81 Tory MPs defied a three-line whip to endorse a motion generated online that called for a referendum on Britain's membership of the European Union. On Tuesday, a motion on fuel prices, sparked by another e-petition, forced the government to come to a compromise with Tory MPs to head off a rebellion.

 

6th August   

Insanity on the Airways...

Ghana's government set to censor film and TV
Link Here

Ghana flag Ghana's Information Ministry is threatening to rein in supposedly errant television stations and movie makers by instituting a committee to censor the content and activities of Film makers.

A deputy Information Minister, Baba Jamal told Joy News that the government would not remain unconcerned whilst pornography and violent content 'takeover' the screens and movie theatres: Generally the Ministry of Information is in charge of content and what goes out into the system. He said the ministry will be seen as irresponsible if it remains a by-stander in the growing insanity on the airways, adding, in this situation we are bringing even the film people in; we are bringing everybody on board so that from the film acting to the showing, [everything] will be sanitized.

Baba Jamal noted until the broadcasting law is put forward, the Information Ministry will take up the responsibility to ensure that what is fed the public through the media is wholesome.

 

6th August   

Offsite: Recommended by MTV...

The 10 best music videos banned by MTV
Link Here
madonna justify my love video MTV has gotten some flack for censorship over the course of its 30 years on the air. The station, in addition to helping proliferate the music video concept, is equally known, it seems, for bleeping words, playing only censored versions of certain videos, relegating racy videos to late-night play only and, on occasion, banning videos entirely.

These days, most music video consumption happens via the Internet, and MTV's content is mostly made up of bottom-barrel reality programming. So it's easy to forget that some really awesome music moments happened courtesy of the hubbub surrounding MTV censorship.

Thus, we've collected the top 10 music videos banned on MTV.

...Read the full article

 

5th August   

Update: Listening In...

Russia to monitor blogs and social networking to keep tabs on 'extremism'
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
Russia flag Russian Interior Minister Rashid Nurgaliyev has called for limits to be imposed on the Internet to prevent young people from being influenced by extremism on the web.

The remarks fueled fears among bloggers, journalists, and rights activists that Russia may seek to adopt China-style restrictions on the Internet.

Nurgaliyev warned that young people are no longer united by the love songs of old and that they are prone to the malicious sway of an estimated 7,500 extremist websites operating on Russian territory:

Nurgaliyev later said the time has long been ripe to carry out monitoring in the country to find out what they are listening to, what they are reading, [and] what they are watching.

Nurgaliyev was not specific about what kind of controls he believes are needed. But he is, nevertheless, the highest-ranking official to call for restrictions on the Internet.

Security services expert Andrei Soldatov Andrei Soldatov, an expert on Russia's security services and head of the Agentura think tank, said Nurgaliyev's comments partially reflect a desire by law-enforcement bodies to stave off unrest ahead of elections to the State Duma in December and for the presidency in March 2012.

But Soldatov added that the Interior Ministry is also eager to win additional budget money to expand the online portion of a four-year-old campaign to combat extremism, which allows it to take preventive measures against those who may pose a threat: If we are talking about preventive measures, then we need to understand what people or person might in the future commit a crime, write something or publish something . For that you need to monitor what is going on the Internet.

Soldatov said the ministry would like to deploy special, so-called anti-extremism profiling systems such as one currently under construction by Roskomnadzor, an agency in the Ministry of Communications, that will monitor online media and new media in Russia.

 

5th August   

Update: Listening In...

US to monitor blogs and social networking to keep tabs on 'extremism'
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in USA...Domain name seizures and SOPA
US flag The Department of Homeland Security's National Operations Center (NOC) will monitor blogs, social media, public forums, message boards and keywords to create a real time estimate of the U.S. national threat situation.

The Mexican paper Milenio reported a few weeks back that the Department of Homeland Security Office of Operations Coordination and Planning (OPC) through its National Operations Center (NOC) will monitor social media websites, blogs, public forums, news websites and keywords to create a real-time snapshot of the [U.S.] nation's threat environment at any moment.

As the document, titled Privacy Impact Assessment of Public Available Social Media Monitoring and Situational Awareness Initiative , states:

The NOC will use Internet-based platforms that provide a variety of ways to follow activity related to monitoring publicly available online forums, blogs, public websites, and message boards. Through the use of publicly available search engines and content aggregators the NOC will monitor activities on the social media sites.

The NOC will review information posted by individual account users on third-party social media websites of activities and events necessary to provide situational awareness and establish a common operating picture. The NOC will access these web-based platforms to identify content posted by public users for the purpose of providing situational awareness and establishing a common operating picture.

 

4th August   

Update: Britain's Adult Internet Trade to be Driven Offshore...

Ed Vaizey looks to restrict UK internet porn to credit card holders only
Link Here

Ed Vaizey Repressive controls to prevent children from accessing hard-core pornographic material through video-on-demand (VoD) services will be secured as part of the comprehensive review of communications legislation currently being undertaken, Communications Minister Ed Vaizey has announced.

Rules are already in place which mean that video which the BBFC would classify as R18, pornography which is explicit and sold in licensed sex shops, but not illegal, can be made available through VoD services only if excessively restrictive controls are in place to prevent children from accessing it.

The Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) is the internet censor for VoD services and enforces rukles which ensure that any material which 'may' seriously impair children's physical, mental or moral development, but probably doesn't must not be freely available. Access controls such as pin protection must be put in place if R18-type content is to be made available on anytime television services or internet websites that include video.

But, in the light of an Ofcom report which recommended a precautionary approach to protecting children and new legislation, the Government has committed to securing the present controls and looking at whether the legal position should be bolstered further by future-proofing legislation as part of the current review of communications policy.

Vaizey said:

The Government is clear that children must be protected from harmful content, on television or online. We have made it a priority to address the concerns of parents that their kids are being exposed to material that's not appropriate for them to see.

Without a doubt we want to make sure that video-on-demand services carrying adult material cannot be seen by children and it's already a legal requirement that any such content has access controls.

But the communications review gives us an opportunity to consider whether there's more we should do to ensure children remain protected and to limit access to potentially harmful material, such as introducing unclassified material into the statutory framework.

A starting point is Ofcom's report to Government, Sexually Explicit Material and Video On Demand Services which has just been published.

The review will look at the availability of both R18-type material, and video content which is stronger than that classified as R18 by the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC) but still might be made available to adults.

Ensuring the effectiveness of restrictive controls on VoD services will also complement the recommendations made by Reg Bailey in his independent review of the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood, Letting Children Be Children.

 

4th August   

Update: One Dimensional Censorship...

BBFC ask for 2 minutes of cuts to Sex and Zen 3D
Link Here  full story: 3-D Sex and Zen...Hong Kong erotic movie in 3D

3 D Sex Zen Extreme Ecstasy The BBFC have asked for cuts to the up and coming film release for Sex And Zen 3D .

Distributors Metrodome have announced that they were required to make two minutes of cuts to scenes of non consensual and violent sex.

 

4th August   

Update: For the Moment...

Ofcom come out against file sharing website blocking
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block

ofcom site blockinh The Department of Culture, Media and Sport has said that the government will not bring forward regulations on site-blocking established as reserve powers in the Digital Economy Act, following a technical Ofcom report. The ministry added: We are keen to explore the issues raised by Ofcom's report and will be doing more work on what measures can be pursued to tackle online copyright infringement.

Ofcom's report effectively kicked web-blocking into the long grass. Ofcom examined various techniques and concluded that blocking discrete URLs or web addresses is not practical or desirable as a primary approach. Ofcom instead recommends something critics might see as more draconian, however:

The report says that if site-blocking is adopted, it should be at the domain level. But such a technique will become harder, when digital signing is more common. So it recommends examining further measures such as transparent proxy-blocking (cleanfeed) or hybrid routing technology:

In the medium to longer term we consider that deep packet inspection techniques are likely to provide a more robust approach to blocking than DNS. Although costly to implement today, we would expect that costs will fall as the larger ISPs invest in DPI devices for other purposes. However, for it to be part of a legislative approach the cost burden for smaller ISPs would need careful evaluation as would legal concerns related to compatibility with privacy, data protection and interception rules.

 

4th August   

Update: Speaking of the Unmentionable...

Norway debates whether commentators should refrain from criticism of islam
Link Here

Norway flag After the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, a debate erupted in Western countries over how to approach the more moderate but influential voices of Islamic fundamentalism: Outlawing them, tolerating them or engaging them in dialogue.

Now, in the wake of the July 22 attacks in Norway, a similar discussion has broken out in Europe over how to handle a potentially threatening group with a similar world view but an opposite perspective: the continent's many angry but generally non-violent voices of anti-Muslim conservatism.

This has led some politicians to suggest that the tone of the debate be moderated in order to prevent inflaming extremists into further such attacks or inspiring young people to take up the cause.

Thorbjorn Jagland, a former Norwegian prime minister and current chairman of the Nobel Peace Prize committee, said in an interview that European right-wing politicians need to be careful about the words they use, lest they inflame moderates: We should be very cautious now, we should not play with fire. Therefore I think the words we are using are very important because it can lead to much more.

He specifically suggested that politicians such as British Prime Minister David Cameron and German Chancellor Angela Merkel avoid future attacks on multiculturalism, something both leaders have expressed this year, apparently in order to cement the support of their parties' right-wing members.

Jagland's remarks were quickly rejected by free-speech advocates and conservatives in Britain, Norway and elsewhere.

But they do echo the stance taken by many leaders in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks, in which fundamentalist preachers without terrorist connections were told to tone down their messages and avoid certain inflammatory concepts. Some called for the banishment of fundamentalists while free-speech advocates fought a campaign to allow them to speak.

 

4th August   

Locke Cutting...

New US Blu-ray of Clint Eastwood's The Outlaw Josey Wales
Link Here

Outlaw Josey Wales Blu ray US The Outlaw Josey Wales is a 1976 US Western by Clint Eastwood. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2002 Warner R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 1999 Warner R2 DVD
  • UK 1999 Warner VHS
  • UK 1986 Warner VHS

The US release is uncut and MPAA PG Rated for:

Previously passed AA (14) after 16s of BBFC cuts for category for:

  • UK 1976 cinema release

The cuts were to the rape scene featuring Sondra Locke

See trailer from youtube.com

 

4th August   

Offsite: Who's Afraid Of Hope Solo's Nipple?...

ESPN are!
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

espn logo Hope Solo is a nascent sporting sex symbol. A celebratory image of her ended up splashed across the internet and in particular on the home page of the ESPN website. However it was spotted that a sticky out bit had been photoshopped away.

...See the full article

 

3rd August   

Moralist Advert Censorship...

ASA easily offended by bikini bus advert
Link Here

kerching advert Seven ads, for a scrap metal dealer Eric France Metals, on the back of local buses in Wakefield, featured images of different women dressed in underwear. Each ad contained text stating KERCHING! GET MORE CASH FOR YOUR SCRAP AT ERIC FRANCE SCRAP METAL MERCHANTS .

a. One ad featured a woman wearing red and white leopard-print underwear and black shoes, lying on her side and propped up on one arm.

b. A second ad featured a woman wearing black underwear. She was lying on her back across some large metal nails with her legs straight in the air and her left hand draped across her chest.

c. A third ad featured a woman wearing blue underwear and white sandals. She was kneeling down with her legs apart and holding two metal bars draped across her shoulders. In the background, there was a muted image of the same woman in a different pose.

d. A fourth ad featured a woman wearing flesh-coloured underwear. She was standing upright and clutching some white-coloured strips of metal in her hands.

e. A fifth ad featured the same woman as ad (c). She was kneeling on all-fours and had her mouth open. There was a muted image of the woman in the background in which she was standing with her legs apart and holding two metal bars in her outstretched arms.

f. A sixth ad featured the top half of a woman wearing a pink and black bra standing upright. There was a muted image of the same woman in the background adopting a similar pose.

g. A seventh ad featured a woman wearing black satin underwear standing upright. There was a muted image of the same woman in the background in a similar pose. Issue

1. Five complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive, because they believed they were sexist and demeaning to women and noted that the images bore no relation to the product being advertised.

2. Two of the complainants challenged whether the ads were unsuitable to be seen by children.

ASA Decision: Complaints Upheld

1. Upheld

The ASA considered that the women featured in the ads were positioned in sexually provocative poses. We disagreed with EFM's argument that there was a sufficiently strong connection between the images and the product, and the target audience which was largely male heterosexual men. We considered that EFM's argument, that the image of an attractive woman in her underwear was a positive signifier of a good lifestyle to heterosexual men and was aspirational to women, was unconvincing and we failed to see a connection between the advertised product and the images. We considered that the sexually provocative poses of the women in the ads had the effect of making them appear sexually available. This was further heightened by the text KERCHING! GET MORE CASH FOR YOUR SCRAP AT ERIC FRANCE SCRAP METAL MERCHANTS which, alongside the images of women in their underwear, implied that the women were sexually available in exchange for cash from scrap. We therefore considered that the women in the ads were portrayed as sexual objects or commodities that could be purchased.

We considered that the images, which featured on the back of local buses, were as likely to be seen by women and children as heterosexual males and were not, therefore, targeted at a predominantly male, heterosexual audience. We noted that the ads were in an untargeted medium and were mobile. We considered that the images in the ads were large and intrusive, especially for drivers and passengers travelling behind the buses on which they featured.

We therefore concluded that the ads, which featured images of women in sexually provocative poses in their underwear and which bore no relation to the advertised product, alongside text KERCHING! GET MORE CASH FOR YOUR SCRAP... which implied they were sexual commodities to be purchased, were sexist and demeaning to women and were likely to cause serious or widespread offence in an untargeted medium.

On this point, ads (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) breached CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence).

2. Upheld

We noted EFM's argument that children's minds were not sufficiently sophisticated to infer any innuendo from the ads and that children would not automatically associate underwear with anything unpleasant. However, we considered that the ads, which featured women wearing underwear in sexually provocative poses, were unsuitable to be seen by children, regardless of whether or not children understood the sexual nature of the images and were socially irresponsible in an untargeted medium.

On this point, ads (a), (b), (c), (d), (e), (f) and (g) breached CAP Code rule 1.3 (Social responsibility).

 

3rd August   

Update: ATVOD...An Expensive Heavy Handed Internet Censor and a Burden to Growth...

Jeremy hunt asks ATVOD if it is a burden to growth
Link Here

jeremy hunt Government minister Jeremy Hunt wrote an open letter of 16 May 2011 on 'A Communications Review for the Digital Age'. This included the question:

Q13. Where has self- and co-regulation worked successfully and what can be learnt from specific approaches? Where specific approaches haven't worked, how can the framework of content regulation be made sufficiently coherent and not create barriers to growth, but at the same time protect citizens and enable consumer confidence?

Ruth Evans replied as chair of ATVOD:

As you would expect, the answer we are in a particularly good position to answer concerns models of self and co-regulation in the content arena:

...

Co- and self-regulation are particularly appropriate in rapidly developing sectors where the nature of services and the scope of potential consumer protection is subject to frequent change. Our experience is that co-regulation of video on demand services has proved capable of yielding nimble, economical solutions and the promise of establishing a broad consensus around light touch regulation. In our short life we have worked through some complex issues with the industry (e.g. the scope of the Regulations and determining where to draw the line on the protection of children from harmful content) in an efficient manner and have delivered more equitable funding arrangements for our second year, with concessionary rates for small scale providers and new market entrants.

We have taken a definitive stance on what video material might seriously harm children (and therefore an ODPS must make provisions so that children cannot access the material) and we suggest that in the area of child protection online some rules might benefit from greater clarity and certainty, building on the guidance we have determined.

The UK must not lose sight of the fact that the global nature of services accessible via the internet presents special challenges in respect of editorial regulation of VOD services. We are unable to regulate services sitting outside the UK which are accessible to UK internet users. We suggest that a combination of action in respect of services which are subject to ATVOD regulation and action by other internet intermediaries in support of parents will be necessary going forward. Action such as promoting use of filtering tools and greater awareness of the risks and protections that exist online will be important and complimentary to pure regulatory activity. Consideration should also be given by Government to what can done to harmonise actions on an international level in this regard.

What ATVOD really means is that it has invented a very expensive censorial regime for practically every website with video based in the UK, and for no benefit to them whatsoever. ATVOD has also imposed an almost impenetrable barrier to trade on all British adult sites that include hardcore video.

 

2nd August   

Update: Less Cruel Cuts...

Ruggero Deodato's New Edit of Cannibal Holocaust passed 18 without BBFC cuts
Link Here  full story: Cannibal Holocaust...Re-release of notable video nasty

Cannibal Holocaust Redux DVD Cannibal Holocaust is a 1979 Italian adventure by Ruggero Deodato. See IMDb

The complete film was recently passed 18 with just 15s of animal cruelty cut. All the violence and sexual violence had been restored with the blessing of the BBFC along with most of the animal nastiness not in contravention of the law. The remaining cut was to the cruel killing of a muskrat.

Distributors Shameless also commissioned a version that was pre-cut by director Ruggero Deodato to reduce the animal violence in a way that best preserved the film.

This new version referred to as Ruggero Deodato's New Edit has now been passed 18 without further BBFC cuts. The BBFC noted that it was pre-cut in line with 2011 BBFC cut version.

Assuming that both versions have the same introductory banners and logos etc then it is estimated that Deodato cut about 23s for his edit.

 

2nd August   

Update: Genital Pixellation...

Japanese police order digital masking for general release of Hangover Part II
Link Here  full story: Hangover Part II...International hype for comedy set in Bangkok

Hangover Part II DVD Japanese police censors have ordered that Hangover Part II must be censored for general release. Male genital shots must be masked for an R15 certificate release.

However a single cinema will be allowed to show the uncut version with an R18 rating. Tokyo's Metropolitan Police, which monitors 'obscene' content under Japan's legal code, passed the shots for the R18 print saying the aim was to arouse laughs, not lust.

The police launched a probe, acting on complaints about nudity, after the comedy was released on nearly 130 screens on July 1. It decided not to prosecute but did ask Warner not to release the R18 version on DVD.

 

2nd August   

Update: Serbian Blu...

A Serbian film scheduled for US DVD and Blu-ray
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

Serbian Film DVD Srdjan Spasojevic A Serbian Film will debut on Blu-ray in North America on October 25, 2011, courtesy of independent distributor Invincible Pictures. The news comes after the Serbian horror movie had a brief theatrical run and appeared on VOD through FlixFling.

Twitch Film is reporting that Invincible hasn't yet released the content, runtimes and extras that will be included on the Blu-ray and DVD. However, the studio has listed that the Blu-ray is expected to include the unrated version of the movie, which features approximately an extra minute of footage. However it has previously been suggested that the unrated version will still be cut.

Update: Uncut

The Scandinavian release on the Cinematic Vision is uncut but has no English subtitles for the Serbian soundtrack

 

2nd August   

Update: Nonsense Beyond Reproach...

Hillary Clinton to talk with the OIC about international laws against the 'defamation of religion'
Link Here  full story: Defamation of Religion...OIC pushes for global blasphemy laws at UN

UN logo Washington plans to host a coordination meeting to discuss with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) how to implement resolution no. 16/18 on combating defamation of religions, and how to prevent stereotypes depicting religions and their followers; as well as disseminating religious tolerance, which has been endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council last March, in agreement with Western countries.

The U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had announced the intention of the U.S. State Department to organize a coordination meeting during her participation in the meeting which she co-chaired with the OIC Secretary General, Professor Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in Istanbul on 15 July 2011.

According to informed sources in the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, the two sides, in addition to other European parties, will hold a number of specialized meetings of experts in law and religion in order to finalize the legal aspect on how to better implement the UN resolution.

The sources said that the upcoming meetings aim at developing a legal basis for the UN Human Rights Council's resolution which help in enacting domestic laws for the countries involved in the issue, as well as formulating international laws preventing inciting hatred resulting from the continued defamation of religions.

OIC Secretary General, Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, stressed that the crime committed recently in Norway was a result of the rise of the extreme right in Europe and its easy mobility in political circles. He said that the OIC had warned several times against of what might be called institutionalization of the phenomenon of Islamophobia.

 

2nd August   

Update: Setting a Bad Example...

Article 19 notes that UK internet censorship will set a bad international precedent
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block

article 19 logo The High Court's decision requiring British Telecom to block access to the file-indexing website, Newzbin.com sets a worrying international precedent against the right to freedom of expression.

The decision sets too low the threshold for ordering blocking, fails to properly balance the right to property with the right to freedom of expression, and shows no consideration for the chilling effect such a decision would have. Ordering the blocking of an entire domain name, as opposed to specific webpages, is also likely to breach the requirement for necessity in international law.

Although ARTICLE 19 supports development of clear standards related to online copyright infringement, the judgment of the English High Court on 28 July 2011 sets a worrying precedent which could have a dramatic chilling effect on legitimate online content. It is also highly likely to breach international standards of freedom of expression.

ARTICLE 19 notes with concern that the judge granted the website blocking injunction not only in relation to the studios' own films but also those of third parties who were not involved in the case, on the basis that there was no reason to believe that they would not support it. The judge accepted that the order would also prevent BT subscribers from making use of Newzbin.com for legitimate purposes, but considered that there was little evidence that the site was being used in this way.

ARTICLE 19 believes that the high court order is very likely to breach international standards for the protection of freedom of expression, in particular the principle that any restriction on freedom of expression for a legitimate aim must be proportionate.

The ruling gives short shrift to this well-established principle as follows:

  • In its judgment, the high court failed to carry out a proper balancing exercise between freedom of expression and the right to property. In particular, the judge provided very little reasoning for his conclusion that the intellectual property rights of the studios clearly outweighed the free speech rights of BT and its many UK users;
     
  • The threshold for granting such a website blocking order was set very low, despite its obviously far-reaching consequences. In particular, the studios simply had to show that BT knew that one or more persons were using its service to infringe copyright, and that was sufficient to justify an order blocking the entire site;
     
  • Moreover, little or no consideration was given to the chilling effect that the order is highly likely to have on freedom of expression and the free flow of information on the Internet, especially legitimate online content. This is borne out by the overly broad terms of the order sought, which is directed to the website's domains and sub domains rather than specific URLs deemed illegitimate. In ARTICLE 19's view, any order seeking to block access to domain names as a whole rather than specific URLs is very likely to breach the requirement of necessity under international law. In this respect, ARTICLE 19 also points out to a July 2011 report by the OSCE Special Representative for Freedom of the Media said that Arguably, the practice of banning access to entire websites, and the future publication of articles thereof (whose content is unknown at the time of access blocking) goes beyond any notion of necessary restraint in a democratic society and, instead, amounts to censorship .

ARTICLE 19 urges the establishment of clear legislative standards in this area in order to strike a fairer balance between the interests of rights holders and Internet users and better protect freedom of expression on the Internet.

 

2nd August   

Teaching Repression...

Missouri criminalises student-teacher friendships on Facebook
Link Here  full story: Facebook Friends...Missouri bans teachers from being Facebook friends with pupils

Facebook logo Teachers and students walk a dangerous line where they could become too personally involved, at least in cyberspace. And without constant outside supervision to ensure all interaction is proper, who knows what could happen?

At least, that appears to be the argument behind a new bill signed into law by Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, that bans student-teacher friendships on social networks, like Facebook and twitter. The law is intended to keep personal interaction at an absolute minimum to ensure all relationships are entirely professional and public seemingly by trying to ban all relationships.

There are also complainst that the vagueness of the language of the law makes it unclear what actually counts as a violation. The law forbids any online interaction between teachers and current or former students on any system that allows private messages. But does students refer to anyone in your class? Or your school? Or anyone in any classroom at any school? Does former mean students you used to teach, and if so, for how long? And how does this apply to twitter, where often people aren't even sure totally sure of the names and identities of everyone who follows them?

 

2nd August   

Facing up to Holocaust Denial...

Facebook comment on request to remove holocaust denial pages
Link Here

Facebook logo A Los Angeles-based group of Holocaust survivors has asked the Facenbook's administrators to remove Holocaust denial groups from its pages.

MSNBC reported that Facebook sent them an email in which the website claimed that despite the nature of the Holocaust-denial pages, they still do not rise to the level of something they would remove. Facebook said:

At Facebook, one of the toughest questions we face is how to handle the sharing of controversial ideas and opinions on the site. Recently, there has been a focus on groups created to deny the occurrence of the Holocaust. We find these groups to be repugnant and ignorant, just as we object to some of the other ideas expressed on Facebook, write spokesman Andrew Noyes. We have spent considerable time internally discussing the issues of Holocaust denial and have come to the conclusion that the mere statement of denying the Holocaust is not a violation of our terms... However, if the members of the Holocaust denial groups consistently post hateful or threatening comments, we will take the groups down, and we have done so on many occasions... Many of us at Facebook have direct personal connection to the Holocaust, through parents who were forced to flee Europe or relatives who could not escape. We believe in Facebook's mission that giving people tools to make the world more open is a better way to combat ignorance or deception than censorship, though we recognize that others may disagree.

 

2nd August   

Not Real Media...

Kyrgyzstan decides that websites should not participate in upcoming election
Link Here
Kyrgyzstan flag Kyrgyzstan's Central Elections Committee (CEC) has decided to bar web-based news media from participating in the campaign ahead of the 30th October presidential election.

Eleven news sites have been denied accreditation to inform voters on pre-election developments. A CEC spokeswoman said: the Kyrgyz law on mass media does not regard web-based news agencies as media outlets; that is why they cannot generate revenue from promotion of the candidates.

 

1st August   

Update: Handled with Kids Gloves...

Ofcom dismiss complaints about the New Year EastEnders storyline
Link Here  full story: Eastenders...Eastenders TV programme complaints

Eastenders logo Eastenders
BBC 1
31 December 2010, 20:00, 1 January 2011, 20:30; and various episodes to 14 April 2011, 19:30

EastEnders is a long-running and well established drama with a record of tackling controversial and, at times, highly sensitive social issues.

Over two episodes, the character Ronnie Branning lost her new born son James to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome ( SIDS or cot death ). The programme showed the stunned Ronnie cradling her dead child in Albert Square as the New Year festivities went on around her. On being alerted to the sound of another new born baby boy crying in the Queen Vic pub, Ronnie entered the building and made her way to the crying baby, Tommy, who had just been born to the character Kat Moon. Ronnie then swapped her dead baby for Tommy. The episodes that followed explored the experience of the characters Kat and Alfie Moon, who believed it was their baby Tommy who had died of cot death, and Ronnie became withdrawn and tearful.

Ofcom received 1,044 complaints from viewers, most of which were received in the days following the episodes broadcast on New Year's Eve and New Year's Day. Complainants were concerned that the baby swap storyline was an inaccurate, insensitive and sensationalised portrayal of the behaviour of a mother who has lost a baby from cot death. Others commented that, in addition to the storyline being distressing and horrific particularly for those parents affected by SIDS, the scheduling of the broadcast was inappropriate, particularly given it was broadcast pre-watershed on New Year's Eve.

The storyline concluded in April 2011 when Ronnie could no longer cope with her actions and confessed to Kat and Alfie, returned baby Tommy to them and turned herself in to the police.

Ofcom considered the material with reference to Rule 2.3 of the Code:

In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by context ... Such material may include, but is not limited to, ... distress ... Appropriate information should also be broadcast where it would assist in avoiding or minimising offence.

Ofcom Decision: Not in Breach

The main issue raised by the baby swap storyline, as referred to by complainants, was that the drama presented the baby swap in an offensive manner because it appeared to suggest that a mother who has suddenly and tragically lost a baby through cot death would react by stealing another baby to replace that loss. This was considered to have the potential to generate great distress. Any offence was potentially heightened not just by the time of the broadcast, which was pre- watershed, but also because it was scheduled on New Year's Eve. Ofcom acknowledged that the broadcast on New Year's Eve, when taken in isolation, was clearly capable of causing offence.

Ofcom went on to consider whether the material which had the potential to generate offence was justified by the context provided by the broadcaster. Ofcom first considered the character of Ronnie as depicted in the programme and whether the storyline did suggest that it was the loss of her baby alone that was critical in her motivation for swapping the baby. While Ofcom noted that this was the immediate shocking event that preceded the baby swap, there had also been a number of other events in the storyline leading up to her taking this action which arguably contributed to her behaviour. These included: her losing the daughter she had been forced to give up for adoption at 14, her desperation to have a baby and the tragedy she had experienced when she had miscarried, and the recent revelation of sexual abuse by her father. Ronnie's state of mind at the time of the swap was revealed in full to viewers in the episode following the handing back of baby Tommy to his mother Kat, when Ronnie talked to a police psychiatrist and discussed her personal history.

Whilst the loss of baby James was a catalyst, Ronnie's reaction was born out of extreme personal trauma in her life and not as the direct and sole consequence of losing her baby. It is Ofcom's view that the broadcaster did not intend the storyline to suggest that her actions were a typical response of a mother who had experienced SIDS and therefore sufficient editorial context was provided to viewers.

The BBC advised that the programme makers consulted the Foundation for the Study of Infant Death ( FSID ).

Ofcom considered that for the regular EastEnders audience, the storyline would not have exceeded their expectations given that the soap is known for presenting a range of challenging and, at times, controversial issues. For those less familiar with the programme it is Ofcom's view that the publicity surrounding the storyline and the guidance provided by the broadcaster before the start of the programme would have provided additional context thereby limiting the degree of offence likely to be caused by the baby swap storyline.

Ofcom concluded that the broadcaster provided sufficient context overall to justify the potential offence. Consequently, there was no breach of Rule 2.3.

 

1st August   

Update: Games Retailer Solves Norway's Extremism Problems...

Games retailer removes violent video games from sale
Link Here

Call Duty Modern Warfare Xbox Norwegian retailer Coop Norway has temporarily taken 51 gaming and toy brands off its shelves in response to the murders committed by Anders Behring Breivik last month.

Breivik referred to Call Of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 and World Of Warcraft in his manifesto.

Geir Inge Stokke, director of Coop Norway Retail told the Norwegian press.

Others are better suited than us, to point to the negative effects of games like these. At the moment it's [appropriate] for us to take them down. I wouldn't be surprised if others do the same. We have to think very carefully about when to bring these goods back. The economy involved is of no importance.

Other titles removed include several other Call Of Duty titles, Homefront , Sniper Ghost Warrior , and Counter-Strike Source . Toy guns have also been taken off sale.

 

1st August   

The Art of Politics...

Spanish government moves to protect bull fighting as an artistic discipline
Link Here  full story: Bull Fighting...Entertainment vs animal rights

Photographic fighting posters Robert Harding The debate over bullfighting has been reignited in Spain after the government recognised the spectacle as an artistic discipline and cultural product , delighting enthusiasts but outraging animal rights campaigners.

Prime minister Jose' Luis Rodri'guez Zapatero's socialist government announced that the ministry of culture will from now on be responsible for the development and protection of bullfighting, which previously fell within the remit of the interior ministry.

The move follows pressure from bullfighting organisations keen to protect their livelihood following a controversial vote to ban bullfighting in the Catalonia region last year.

The ministry of culture said in a statement: As it is understood that bullfighting is an artistic discipline and a cultural product, it was considered that the ministry of culture was the correct place for its development and protection.

The Catalan ban, which will come into effect next January and will not be affected by Friday's decision, will be the first to be introduced in mainland Spain.