Censor Watch
 2013: August
  Menu Censorship News Latest Melon Farmers
  Home Daily UK Ratings from the BBFC Links


31st August

 Updated: Pissing Up a Flag Pole...

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

Malaysian state attempts to ban the movie, Tanda Putera
Link Here  full story: Cesnored Films in Malaysia...Film censors and censorship

tanda puteraThe Penang government is asking cinemas in the island state to observe a ban of the movie Tanda Putera .

The executive councillor in charge of local government affairs Chow Kon Yeow announced the state's decision and said the request will be issued today:

We have no control over the content of the film, (which is the prerogative of) Finas (National Film Development Corporation Malaysia).

However, in view of the sensitive nature of the movie, we are directing the two local councils to write in to ask the 'cooperation' of the cinemas to not screen the movie.

Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng claimed:

The film has scenes which are slanderous, based on lies, and it is a threat to the harmony between the different communities in the country.

Those scenes of Chinese youth urinating inside the Selangor menteri besar (Datuk Harun Idris') residence and Malaysian flag can create chaos in society.

We cannot understand how the government can spend money to sponsor such a malicious and dangerous film.

Lim's father, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang, has been engaged in a war of words with Tanda Putera director Datin Paduka Shuhaimi Baba, for the past year since news broke of an inflammatory scene of a Chinese man urinating on a flag pole at the Selangor mentri besar's residence in the historical film.

Update: Tanda Putera opens in Penang

31st August 2013. See  article from  thestar.com.my

The film opened in Penang after a two-day delay.

The movies was set to open after the state government's clarification that it had never issued a directive against the movie, but had merely given an advisory . The film has been approved by the Censorship Board.

Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng gave an assurance that the state government would not take any action against cinema operators who screen the movie.

 

31st August

  Thailand Simply Does Not Know the Tangled Rules of Political Correctness...

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

US Mainstream DVDs

Video Universe
 

Meanwhile Human Rights Watch stereotypes black people as easily offended
Link Here
donuts thaiHuman Rights Watch has criticized a Dunkin' Donuts advertising campaign running in Thailand that features a model whose face is painted black to sell a chocolate doughnut.

Dunkin' Donuts Thailand recently started running ads for its Charcoal Donut, which features a model wearing blackface makeup and bright pink lipstick and holding up a bitten doughnut. The translated Thai slogan reads: Break every rule of deliciousness.

Phil Robertson, deputy director of the Asia division of Human Rights Watch, spouted:

It's rather incredible that an international company like Dunkin' Donuts would run such an ad. He claimed the ad fits into a long history of racist advertisements in Southeast Asia.

The chief executive of Dunkin' Donuts in Thailand told the AP that the criticism is just paranoid American thinking. CEO Nadim Salhani said:

It's absolutely ridiculous. We're not allowed to use black to promote our doughnuts? I don't get it. What's the big fuss? What if the product was white and I painted someone white, would that be racist?

Thai people have never treated black African people badly, they have never mocked them via minstrel shows or whatever, and simply do not have the background to understand why the West finds it so politically incorrect to have blacked up media people. Thais do call black Africans, 'chocolate men' though.

Similarly Thais have little knowledge or background about Hitler and Nazis and so frequently get caught out being politically incorrect with Nazi imagery.

Perhaps Thais need a few history lessons about when westerners have been real shits, and how they now use over-exaggerated politeness to try and plaster over historic wrongs.

 

30th August

  Clicked with the Easily Offended...

Melon farming Fresh
A website
update service

See further details
Melon Farming Fresh

 

Censor objects dismiss complaints from whinge objects about sex objects in fragrance advert
Link Here

1 million intense advert videoA cinema ad and a TV ad for a men's fragrance , 1 Million Intense:

  • a. The cinema ad featured a man who walked into a room and clicked his fingers, which caused a vault style door to close behind him. When he clicked his fingers again, the lights came on and a woman stood up from a chair. They walked towards each other, briefly touched, and the woman then walked backwards and clicked her fingers, which caused a screen to close in front of her. The woman was shown dancing behind the screen and the man sat down on a bed. As the man clicked his fingers the ad cut to various images which included the woman removing her bracelets, a fireplace lighting up, ice cubes dropping into a drink and the woman's belt falling to the floor, followed by her dress, and her jewellery. The man stood up and clicked his fingers again. The room and the woman turned to gold and she emerged from behind the screen. She walked towards the man and he placed his hand on her waist and clicked his fingers, which caused the lights to go out. An image of the product appeared on screen with the text paco rabanne www.pacorabanne.com. The voice-over stated, "1 Million Intense. The new fragrance for men by Paco Rabanne.

  • b. The TV ad was similar to the cinema ad, but shorter in duration.

The ASA received five complaints.

1. One complainant challenged whether the cinema ad was offensive because he felt it was sexist and objectified women.

2. Four complainants challenged whether the TV ad was offensive on the same grounds.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. & 2. Not upheld

Whilst the ASA acknowledged the complainants concern that the scenario featured in the ad was sexist and objectified women, we considered that the ad showed a surreally dramatized, but complicit seduction between the male and female characters, who had been shown to have equal magical abilities. Whilst we accepted that some viewers might find the ad distasteful, we did not consider that the female character was portrayed as inferior to the male character, or that she had been objectified. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offense.

We investigated the ads under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and Offence) and BCAP Code rule 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach.

 

30th August

  Censored Chat...

Pakistan bans all mobile phone chat services to protect 'moral values of society'
Link Here
pakistan telecommunication authority logoThe Pakistan Telecommunication Authority (PTA) has instructed all the cellular operators of the country to immediately stop all kinds of chat packages, including voice and SMS, at any time of the day.

A previous directive had banned late night chat services but the phone companies had found ways around the rules.

According to the latest directive titled Directive relating to packages offered by CMTOs contrary to moral values of society , cellular operators continue voice and SMS package (bundle offers) with different names despite a ban imposed by the PTA.

The PTA has previously banned all kinds of late night packages in November 2012. However, the cellular operators start selling these packages with different names and times.

Later, the PTA conducted a comprehensive survey which revealed that the chat packages are still operational under different names in clear violation of the PTA directives.

The cellular operators' consortium had approached the Supreme Court over the previous ban and proceedings on their petition are still pending there.

The telecom industry officials said the PTA this time without consulting the stakeholders again issued a directive on packages which generated a major share of the industry revenue. They said they will decide the future course of action after a meeting.

 

30th August

 Comment: Facebook Transparency...

Facebook outline stats about Government information requests, (at least what they are allowed to by secret police states such as the US and UK)
Link Here  full story: Internet Transparency Reports...Google, Twitter and Microsoft report on law enforcement requests

Facebook logoFacebook writes about their 1st transparency report

Transparency and trust are core values at Facebook. We strive to embody them in all aspects of our services, including our approach to responding to government data requests. We want to make sure that the people who use our service understand the nature and extent of the requests we receive and the strict policies and processes we have in place to handle them.

We are pleased to release our first Global Government Requests Report, which details the following:

The report details the following:
  • Which countries requested information from Facebook about our users
  • The number of requests received from each of those countries
  • The number of users/user accounts specified in those requests
  • The percentage of these requests in which we were required by law to disclose at least some data

The report covers the first 6 months of 2013, ending June 30.

As we have made clear in recent weeks, we have stringent processes in place to handle all government data requests. We believe this process protects the data of the people who use our service, and requires governments to meet a very high legal bar with each individual request in order to receive any information about any of our users. We scrutinize each request for legal sufficiency under our terms and the strict letter of the law, and require a detailed description of the legal and factual bases for each request. We fight many of these requests, pushing back when we find legal deficiencies and narrowing the scope of overly broad or vague requests. When we are required to comply with a particular request, we frequently share only basic user information, such as name.

Data Requests (for countries with 50 or more requests)
 
  Total Requests Users/Accounts Requested Proportion actioned at least in part
Argentina 152 218 27 %
Australia 546 601 64 %
Belgium 150 169 70 %
Brazil 715 857 33 %
Canada 192 219 44 %
Chile 215 340 68 %
France 1,547 1,598 39 %
Germany 1,886 2,068 37 %
Greece 122 141 54 %
India 3,245 4,144 50 %
Israel 113 132 50 %
Italy 1,705 2,306 53 %
Malta 89 97 60 %
Mexico 78 127 37 %
New Zealand 106 119 58 %
Poland 233 158 9 %
Portugal 177 213 42 %
Singapore 107 117 70 %
Spain 479 715 51 %
Sweden 54 66 54 %
Taiwan 229 329 84 %
Turkey 96 170 47 %
United Kingdom 1,975 2,337 68 %
United States 11,000 - 12,000 20,000 - 21,000 79 %

 

Comment: Why do we find out more about British snooping in snippets published by American companies than we do from the British authorities themselves?

30th August 2013. See article from bigbrotherwatch.org.uk

Big Brother Watch logoIt is absurd that we learn more about Government surveillance from Microsoft, Google and Facebook than our own authorities. These figures were never mentioned during the Parliamentary debate on the draft communications data bill, nor in the annual report of the Interception of Communications Commissioner's report.

It is particularly concerning that 32% of requests did not result in any data being provided, yet in theory these requests had been signed off as necessary and proportionate by the police force making the request. This should be addressed by the Interception Commissioner and we will be writing to him to make this argument. It also highlights the ongoing questions about the skill base within the police to understand the data that is available -- far, far more than ever before.

What we do not know from these figures is how many requests were made through the Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty process (which involves a formal legal request being made through the US legal system) and how many were voluntarily complied with by Facebook. This is also the case with other companies.

Ultimately, it should not be for US companies to be the ones publishing data on how our own police forces are using these powers. It is impossible to have a realistic debate about capability gaps and how powers are being used if we do not have the data, and the Government should be far more proactive in publishing information.

 

29th August

 Updated: Madras Cafe...

Indian movie loosely based on the Sri Lankan civil war is banned by British cinemas
Link Here  full story: Madras Cafe...India film banned in Tamil Nadu and the UK
madras cafeMadras Cafe is a 2013 Indian action drama by Shoojit Sircar.
With John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri and Rashi Khanna. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

The film is proving controversial in India as it is based on the Sri Lankan civil war where emotions are still running high.  Director Shoojit Sircar has conceded that his movie may have certain scenes resembling events related to Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, but he clarifies that the film's story is not a biopic on the former prime minister. Sircar said:

This is not a biopic on him, this is not a story based on him. Yes, you can say that there is a similarity to that incident. There is a similarity in the facial structure (of the actor who plays the said role).

Rajiv Gandhi died when an LTTE suicide bomber detonated a bomb at an election rally in May 1991. A similar incident has been showcased in the film's trailer. However, the director explained:

We have taken that incident which we read in the paper. Rest, whatever is around it, has been fictionalised in the scripting. But somewhere you may find some historical references in the fictionalised bit too.

Madras Cafe is already facing the ire of Tamil activist groups Naam Tamizhar and MDMK. The members have sought a ban on the film contending that it portrays LTTE cadres as terrorists.

Banned in Tamil Nadu

The film was passed by the Indian film censors but faced court actions calling for a ban in Madras and Tamil Nadu. The court actions failed, but cinema owners took the hint in Tamil Nadu and decided not to exhibit the movie.

Banned in Britain

uk cinemas logoNow the film has been similarly banned by British cinemas. UK cinema chains, Cineworld, Odeon and Vue, have banned the film saying in a statement:

Our policy is to show a wide range of films for different audiences ...HOWEVER... following customer feedback and working with the film distributors, we have decided to not show Madras Cafe. We apologise for any inconvenience.

Press reports suggested that some Tamils had complained that the film was anti-Tamil. The Facebook page of the Tamil Youth Organisation UK has been full of agitation against the film.

The BBFC passed the film 15 uncut for strong violence and injury detail. The BBFC InSight alluded to the emotional impact of the film:

This is a sombre drama and the violence is depicted realistically, with a strong emotional impact. In the opening scene people are forced off a bus and made to kneel in a field as they are massacred. Blood spurts are seen as several of them are shot in the back, and in a more distant image a little girl is shot too as she tries to run away. Several executions are shown, including a man tied to a post, his body juddering under fire with lots of blood as he is killed.

 

29th August

 Update: Filtering Out Inconvenient Privacy Protection...

BT are seeking legal advice on whether warrantless intercepting of people's internet use is legal for the purposes of internet censorship.
Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet

BT logoBT has sought greater legal clarity from the Government in relation to the implementation of website blocking as mandated by the government internet censors.

According to the Financial Times:

BT executives met with Oliver Letwin MP recently to discuss a range of policy issues, a BT spokesperson said. During this meeting the issue of filters came up and we expressed a view that greater legal clarity would be welcome given external legal advice we have received. We have made this point several times during the past year as it is important that any plans are practical and not unintentionally derailed.

Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act (RIPA), the interception of communications is generally prohibited. It is only legal to intrude on private communications if you have a warrant or both the sender and recipient of information consent to the activity, even if the interception is done unintentionally.

Telecoms firms are allowed to unintentionally intercept communications in line with RIPA if it takes place for purposes connected with the provision or operation of that service or with the enforcement, in relation to that service, of any enactment relating to the use of postal services or telecommunications services.

Perhaps BT should also consider the legal liability for businesses trashed by their websites being blocked by cheapo keyword checking algorithms. To date these have a long history of failure resulting in unfair and negligent blocks. ISPs have probably got away with it in the past because the algorithms have been used for requested child protection where users were probably happy with a 'better safe than sorry' approach. But in the next round users will be expecting ISPs to block only what they sign up for.

 

29th August

  Night of the Whingeing Dead...

ASA dismisses complaints about GiffGaff zombie advert
Link Here
giffgaff zombie advert videoA TV ad for the mobile network giffgaff opened with on-screen text that stated This is an Advertisement and this text appeared at one-minute intervals throughout the ad. The ad featured a herd of zombies entering a rural village. The zombies groaned and dragged their feet and the village's inhabitants appeared terrified. However, they gradually understood that the zombies had only come to help them.

Scenes included a zombie twisting and pulling his own arm off to help coax a cat down from a tree, a zombie's body on the roof of a house fixing an aerial while the zombie's head watched TV in the living room and a coconut shy where zombies heads rested on stands in the place of coconuts.

The ASA received 105 complaints:

  1. The majority of viewers challenged whether the level of horror and gore was offensive and likely to cause distress.
  2. Eleven viewers challenged whether the violence in the ad was offensive and so trivialised a recent news item in which a man had been murdered.
  3. Nine viewers challenged whether the ad was suitable for a general viewing audience, which could include children.
  4. Four viewers challenged whether it was sufficiently clear that the material being broadcast was an ad.

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with a post 9 pm restriction.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that giffgaff intended for the ad to be humorous and a parody of a well-known genre. We recognized that the use of zombies was a creative device to show consumers that something they were initially afraid of could actually be useful. We concluded that the level of horror in the ad was not shocking and fell within a well-established zombie genre that audiences would be familiar with, particularly given the ad was not aired before 10.15 pm. We also noted that the horror in the ad faded as it was made clear the zombies were there to help the village's inhabitants. In this context therefore, we concluded that the level of gore and horror was not offensive or likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On this point we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility), 4.1, 4.2 and 4.10 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

2. Not upheld

We acknowledged that the ad contained some blood and gore, as is inherent in the zombie genre. However, we noted that the ad did not depict murder or violence and we therefore concluded, that the ad was not analogous to, nor did it trivialise, a news item in which a man was murdered.

On this point we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 1.2 (Social responsibility), 4.1, 4.2 and 4.10 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

3. Not upheld

We acknowledged that the ad did not air earlier than 10.15 pm, nor did it air adjacent to any programme directed at, or likely to appeal to audiences below the age of 18. We concluded therefore, that children were unlikely to view the ad and the allocated scheduling was appropriate for the level of horror and provided sufficient protection to audiences aged under 18.

On this point we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 32.1 and 32.3 (Scheduling) but did not find it in breach.

4. Not upheld

We acknowledged that the ad opened with a herd of zombies entering a village and there was no mention of giffgaff or the service being advertised. However, we considered the on-screen text that stated This is an Advertisement and which appeared at one-minute intervals throughout the ad, was prominent enough on the screen and made it sufficiently clear that the material was an ad, rather than an editorial or programming.

On this point we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rule 2.1 (Recognition of advertising) but did not find it in breach.

 

29th August

  Causing Distress...

California debates a bill targeting 'revenge porn'
Link Here
California state sealLawmakers in California are currently debating a bill targeting the posting of so called revenge porn , when compromising pictures are posted after a relationship has broken up.

The bill would make it a crime to post pictures of anyone in a state of full or partial undress even if the picture was originally taken with that person's consent. But a crime would have only been committed if the pictures were posted with the intent to cause serious emotional distress, and [that] the other person suffers serious emotional distress .

The bill reads:

This bill would provide that any person who photographs or records by any means the image of another, identifiable person without with his or her consent who is in a state of full or partial undress in any area in which the person being photographed or recorded has a reasonable expectation of privacy, and subsequently distributes the image taken, with the intent to cause serious emotional distress, and the other person suffers serious emotional distress would constitute disorderly conduct subject to that same punishment.

The law has been passed by the State's senate and is now under consideration by the state assembly.

If convicted offenders could be fined up to $2,000, or face a month in prison - or both, according to the BBC. More severe penalties would follow if more offences were proven.

The bill been opposed by anti-censorship groups who argue its definition is too broad in the context of the US constitution.

 

29th August

 Offsite Article: During show trial, China begins online crackdown...

Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship
Index on Censorship logo As the G20 nations prepare to meet in Russia, Index on Censorship is exploring the nations' records on free expression

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

29th August

 Offsite Article: More Danish content censored by Facebook...

Link Here  full story: Facebook Censorship...Facebook quick to censor
Denmark flag Magazine surprised that US prudery applies in Denmark

See article from cphpost.dk

 

28th August

  Ofcom Threatens Broadcasters...

TV violence warning issued and research commissioned after censuring Channel 4 for fatal fight in Hollyoaks
Link Here
hollyoaks train deathOfcom published the following statement in the latest complaints bulletin:

Violence in pre-watershed programmes

Ofcom reminds television broadcasters of the need to ensure that all material broadcast pre-watershed which features violent scenes is appropriately limited. Broadcasters should consider whether individual acts of violence within a programme are suitable, as well as where the overall tone is malevolent, menacing and threatening, that this also remains suitably limited.

Given the lack of recent detailed studies specifically into viewers' attitudes to violence on television, Ofcom has commissioned new independent research on this subject. This research will further inform us about the level of concern about violence included in television programmes scheduled before and immediately after the watershed, and any areas of particular concern to viewers e.g. specific types of violence or genres of programme. The research should be complete this year and Ofcom plans to publish the results as soon as possible in 2014.

The statement was related to Ofcom's censure of a fight scene in Hollyoaks.

Hollyoaks
Channel 4, 19 March 2013, 18:30

Hollyoaks is a long running British television soap drama set in a fictional suburb of Chester called Hollyoaks. It features a large cast of characters primarily aged between 16 and 35. Its main target audience is teenagers and young adults. The programme is broadcast each weekday evening on Channel 4.

Hollyoaks regularly deals with controversial storylines such as sexual abuse, domestic violence and drugs. A complainant alerted Ofcom to a scene in this programme, in which one of the main characters was violently killed by a speeding train. The viewer considered this scene was unsuitable for broadcast before the watershed, particularly as children might have been watching. The scene in question marked

The scene in question marked the conclusion of a long running revenge storyline between two characters: the former undercover policeman, Walker, and the former drug dealer, Brendan. Walker believed Brendan was responsible for the death of his brother Cam, who had died from taking drugs supplied by Brendan. This scene was broadcast at 18:54. From the point at which the characters first made physical contact with one another to the immediate aftermath of the train collision was one minute and nine seconds in duration.

Although the intention was clearly to show an intense fight between these characters, Ofcom particularly noted that, overall, where punches and kicks were exchanged the movements of arms, fists and legs were tightly edited to avoid showing any shots of the actual impact and the use of fast paced music gave the scenes a stylised tone.

In addition, there were no images depicting the impact of the train as it hit Walker, or its aftermath.

Ofcom considered, however, that the cumulative effect of the violent fight scene taken together with Walker being hit by the train, broadcast well before the watershed, raised issues warranting investigation under:

  • Rule 1.3: Children must...be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

  • Rule 1.11: Violence, its after-effects and descriptions of violence, whether verbal or physical, must be appropriately limited in programmes broadcast before the watershed...and must also be justified by context.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 1.3 and 1.11

This episode featured a particularly aggressive fight sequence, ending with one character being pushed into the path of an oncoming train and so to his violent death. The fight sequence itself was carefully edited not to show the actual point of impact of most of the numerous punches and kicks. However, it was clearly intended to leave viewers with the impression that both characters experienced violent punches to the head and the body, as was evident from the blood on their faces as a result of these blows, the impact sounds of the physical contact between the characters, and the groans and moans from the characters as a result of the violence.

In this case it is Ofcom's view that this scene was both violent and shocking and had the potential to distress younger viewers as well as raise concerns about the level of violence amongst parents watching with their children regardless of the editorial context presented or the signposting provided.

For all these reasons Ofcom considered that it was unsuitable for children. Ofcom then went on to consider whether this material was appropriately scheduled. We have set out above in some detail the nature of the violent content in this programme that Ofcom considered unsuitable for children. Ofcom also assessed the nature of the violent scenes as part of its consideration of whether they were appropriately scheduled.

In summary, Ofcom's view was that while the fight sequence was limited in duration it was intense and the climactic scene where Walker was pushed into the path of a speeding train was both shocking and unexpected.

Ofcom acknowledged that the Licensee took steps in attempt to ensure that this sequence complied with the Code. These measures were however on balance insufficient. Ofcom concluded that cumulatively the violent content in this sequence exceeded viewers' expectations for a drama transmitted long before the watershed when young children were available to view and in this case were watching in large numbers. Ofcom, therefore, concluded that the episode was in breach of Rule 1.3.

In summary, Ofcom's view was that the cumulative effect of the violence in the final scene was not sufficiently limited for this time of the evening, nor was it justified by context given that a significant number of younger children were viewing and available to view. Ofcom therefore concluded that this episode was in breach of Rule 1.11.

Breaches of Rules 1.3 and 1.11

Comment: Mediawatch-UK soundbite

29th August 2013. See article from telegraph.co.uk

Vivienne PattisonVivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch-uk, said there was a concern that because of the success of late-night dramas such as The Fall and Ripper Street, which deal with serial killers, there were signs that violence was beginning to be seen as more acceptable before the 9pm watershed. She added:

I think it is good that Ofcom are coming in now and reminding broadcasters that violence is not acceptable, but I just hope that when broadcasters are found in breach Ofcom can show its teeth

 

28th August

  ASA's brains fried by too many Pot Noodles...

Crass and degrading censorship of jokey Facebook advert for Pot Noodles
Link Here
pot noodle hot off advertThree online ads, for Piri Piri Pot Noodles:
  • a. A video ad seen on the Pot Noodle Facebook page, opened with a young man sitting on a bus, eating a Pot Noodle and struggling to cope with its spiciness. Whilst eating, he saw a young woman next to a pole. She was looking at him in a seductive manner. The man and woman started dancing and, towards the end of the ad, the woman took her top off whilst the man watched. He then realised that the Pot Noodle pot was empty and the woman was revealed to be a shabbily dressed man. The voice-over stated Dreaming of something a bit hotter? With new Piri Piri chicken flavour it's easy to peel the top off a hottie. The ad concluded with an image of two Pot Noodle lids, which were arranged to suggest a woman's bust, along with the text PEEL THE TOP OFF A HOTTIE .
  • b. The ad, which was an online game, appeared on the Pot Noodle Facebook page. It showed a cartoon image of the young woman and shabbily dressed man from the video, standing in Pot Noodle containers. In the centre of the ad, there was a picture of two Pot Noodle lids, arranged in the same way as the in the video, alongside the text PEEL THE TOP OFF A HOTTIE .
  • c. The ad appeared on the Pot Noodle Facebook page. It showed a female model in a bikini next to a picture of a Pot Noodle with the text Phwarr is it me or is it getting hot in here? HOT OFF. Which one gets you hotter? .

Issue

  1. Eighteen complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive, sexist and degrading to women.
  2. Six of the complainants also challenged whether the ads were irresponsible and harmful because they suggested it was acceptable to try and remove women's clothing without their consent.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld in relation to ad (c) only

The ASA noted video ad (a) featured a scene in which the female character and the male character flirted in a playful way and that although the tone of the scene changed slightly when the female character was shown (from behind) starting to voluntarily remove her top, this image was very brief and was immediately replaced by the reality of the situation and that it was actually a man with whom the main character was flirting. Although the tone of the ad was mildly sexual, we considered that the interaction between the characters was not salacious and that the female character was not presented in a sexist or degrading way. We therefore concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious offence to those visiting the Pot Noodle Facebook page.

We noted ad (b) was presented in cartoon-like style and featured two of the characters (the female character from the video ad along with her male counterpart) and that the text Peel the top off a hottie was overlaid on two Pot Noodle lids which were positioned and shaded in such a way they looked like a pair of breasts in a low cut top. Although we considered some consumers may have found the ad distasteful, we considered the images were likely to be seen as puerile rather than sexually explicit and considered that the ad was unlikely to cause serious offence to those visiting the Pot Noodle Facebook page.

We noted ad (c) featured an image of the female character from the ads wearing red knickers and a revealing red bra and that she was posed in a provocative way. We further noted the image of the woman was presented next to the image of the product with text stating Hot off and Which one gets you hotter? . Although we noted the intention of the ad was a tongue-in-cheek play on the word hottie , we considered the presentation of the woman in a sexual pose and the blatant comparison with the food product was crass and degrading and therefore likely to cause serious offence to some visitors to Pot Noodle Facebook page

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

2. Not upheld

We noted all of the ads made use of the phrase peel the top off a hottie and considered consumers would understand from their content that this phrase was a play on words and as a reference to both the removal of an attractive person's top (in this instance a woman) and the removal of the Pot Noodle lid. Although video ad (a) showed a brief image of the female character beginning to remove her top in the flirtation scene, the male character merely watched on and the female character was not shown to be doing anything against her will. Although ad (b) featured the pot noodle lids shaped like breasts with one of the lids starting to be peeled off (revealing fire underneath to represent the heat of the product) and ad (c) featured the female character in her underwear, neither ad used visual images to show the removal of the female characters clothing with, or without their consent. We considered that although some visitors to the Pot Noodle Facebook page may have found the Peel the top of a hottie to be distasteful, we considered that none of the ads condoned the removal of a woman's clothing without her consent or suggested that such an act was likely to be acceptable.

On this point we investigated ads (a), (b) and (c) under CAP Code rule 4.4 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach.

 

28th August

 Comment: Parents TV Council Recommends...

Miley Cyrus and Robin Thicke at the MTV Awards
Link Here  full story: Parents TV Council...US moralists whinge at TV sex and violence
miley cyrus videoThe Parents Television Council has issued a whinge in response to MTV's Video Music Awards. PTC Director of Public Policy Dan Isett enthused:

MTV has once again succeeded in marketing sexually charged messages to young children using former child stars and condom commercials -- while falsely rating this program as appropriate for kids as young as 14. This is unacceptable.

This much is absolutely clear: MTV marketed adults-only material to children while falsely manipulating the content rating to make parents think the content was safe for their children.

MTV continues to sexually exploit young women by promoting acts that incorporate 'twerking' in a nude-colored bikini. How is this image of former child star Miley Cyrus appropriate for 14-year-olds?

How is it appropriate for children to watch Lady Gaga strip down to a bikini in the opening act?

How is it appropriate for 14-year-olds to see a condom commercial and a promo for an R-rated movie during the first commercial break?

PTC Advisory Board Member and former BET Executive Paul Porter said:

The Miley Cyrus/Robin Thicke performance simply substituted talent with sex. Viacom has a set of corporate broadcast standards that were obviously broken in this case for financial gain. While the performance was shocking to the audience, MTV approved it during the show run prior to the broadcast. Heads should roll at MTV.

Offsite Comment: Daily Mail Outrage

28th August   2013. See article from mediasnoops2.wordpress.com . Thanks to Dan

Daily Mail logoMail Hack Outraged Over Miley Cyrus' Display Complete With Pics In All Their Raunchy Innocent Children Corrupting Glory

...See the full article

...And if you want to see the naughtiness in all its glory, the Daily Mail is more than happy to oblige, see article from dailymail.co.uk

 

28th August

 Offsite Article: Anti-lads' mags...and anti-people...

Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
Spiked logo Saleha Ali finds a Lose the Lads' Mags protest wet, unpopular and very snobby.

See article from spiked-online.com

 

28th August

 Offsite Article: Mexico: Freedom of expression hobbled by self-censorship...

Link Here
Mexico flag As the G20 nations prepare to meet in St Petersburg, Russia in early September, Index on Censorship is exploring the nations' records on free expression

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

28th August

 Offsite Article: Femen Censored in Ukraine...

Link Here
Femen vs Barbie Police stitch up operation sounds about as sophisticated as Femen's protesting

See article from theguardian.com

 

27th August

 Reports: Frightfest 2013: how horror films should be seen...

Reports from Frightfest
Link Here

frightfest 2013 logoBackground

London's traditional bank holiday horror film festival, provides the perfect setting to watch scary movies which subvert cliches, such as You're Next and No One Lives. By Anne Billson.

See  article from  telegraph.co.uk By Anne Billson

The Films

Day 1 : The Dead 2: India, Curse of Chucky, You're next

See  article from  theskinny.co.uk

Day 2: The Dyatlov Pass Incident, Dementamania, Hatchet III, Haunter, V/H/S/2, 100 Bloody Acres

See article from theskinny.co.uk

Day 3: The Hypnotist, Frankenstein's Army, Hammer of the Gods, No One Lives, R.I.P.D, Cheap Thrills

See article from bleedingcool.com

Day 4 : Missionary, In Fear, The Conspiracy, The Last Days, Willow Creek

See review from  bleedingcool.com

Total Film's annual awards . Best Film: We Are What We Are

See  article from  totalfilm.com

 

27th August

 Update: Dangerous Software...

Iran commutes death sentence for programmer who worked on image upload software for adult websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Death Sentence...Iran goes extreme over website censorship
Iran flagSaeed Malekpour, an Iranian programmer residing in Canada, was sentenced to death in Iran for designing porn websites. This death sentence has now been commuted to life imprisonment, with the explanation that Malekpour had repented.

As AVN reported in January of last year, Malekpour was detained by Iranian authorities in 2008 after traveling back home to visit his father, who was ill. He was charged with helping design porn sites in Canada, and despite appeals from the Canadian government, his family and others that he was innocent of the charges, he was convicted and sentenced to death in December 2010.

Iran had accused Malekpour of being the head of the biggest Persian-language network of pornographic websites. But credible supporters said he had simply worked as a freelance website developer and programmer, creating a program to allow designers to upload photos to their websites.

 

27th August

  F*** Me Sideways with a Censor Stick...

Australian advert censor whinges at music poster
Link Here
F Me Im Famous 2013Posters promoting David and Cathy Guetta's compilation CD Fuck Me I'm Famous have fallen foul of the ad standards board, over the word fuck .

The poster, based on the album cover, was the subject of a few complaints to Australia's Advertising Standards Board (ASB).  The album cover features topless Guetta cupping his wife's breasts through her bra. This was combined with the prominent title featured the asterixed word F***.

The ASB found the F word is being alluded to in conjunction with an image of a near naked couple and is used in a sexual context (fuck me).

The censor also claimed that the poster was likely to be viewed by a large cross-section of the community and as such:

Considered that the advertisement does not treat the issue of sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant broad audience.

The Board considered that a reference to fuck me is strong and would be considered obscene by many people and its use in outdoor media is not appropriate.

 

27th August

  Banging On About Bangers...

Australian advert censor dismisses nonsense complaints about bra adverts
Link Here
gok wan target advertDepartment store chain Target has fiercely defended celebrity advertising endorsements by Gok Wan after it received complaints about using a gay man to advertise women's underwear.

Australia's Advertising Standards Bureau has dismissed complaints about Wan's use of the word bangers to describe breasts in the ads about women being properly fitted for bras, explaining that the ad complies with their anti-discrimination and sexualisation rules.

The How To Look Good Naked TV star is champions women's bra style, saying your bangers will never feel so loved .

The ASB received a few puerile complaints, such as

  • Why do we have to watch an obvious gay man talking about women in this way? It is insulting.
  • A female body is a beautiful thing, not to be cheapened by a poofter calling breasts 'BANGERS'!

Ad Standards concluded the term bangers , while uncommon in Australia, was used in a light-hearted way:

The Board considered that the overall tone of the advertisement is positive and light-hearted and is intended to draw the attention of women to the various bras available in store and also to the fact that it is important to purchase the correct bra size.

The women appear very happy and comfortable being presented in their underwear. The reference to woman's breasts and bras and the use of the term bangers by a male fashion stylist does not amount to material that is discriminatory of any people or persons of a particular gender

 

27th August

 Offsite Article: The Banned #Hashtags of Instagram...

Link Here
instagram logo Instagram blocks searches like #proanorexia and #thinspiration. This got us wondering what other hashtags Instagram blocks users from searching.

See article from thedatapack.com

 

27th August

 Update: Internet Censors...

Malaysia blocks 6640 websites
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet
Malaysia flagA total of 6,640 websites were blocked for violating the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 and other laws since 2008, the Dewan Rakyat was told yesterday.

Deputy Minister of Multimedia and Communications Datuk Jailani Johari said the websites blocked include fake bank websites and for copyright infringement, pornography and insulting the royal institution.

Up to June, 29 cases are under investigation including websites which insulted the Yang Pertuan Agong, royal institution and the sultans, he said when replying to Datuk Bung Mokhtar Radin (BN-Kinabatangan).

 

26th August

 Update: Dictator Dave...

Cameron takes inspiration from Bongoland dictatorships and proposes vague and widespread censorship of political campaigns in the 12 months up to an election
Link Here
the dictatorThe Electoral Commission , Britain's elections watchdog, has concluded that government plans to censor political campaigning before a general election are flawed and in part unworkable.

In a private briefing sent to interested parties, the commission says that it has significant concerns about the coalition's lobbying bill, that some parts of it may be unenforceable and that it is not at all clear how the new restrictions affecting charities will work.

When the transparency of lobbying, non-party campaigning and trade union administration bill 2013-14 was published in July, the day before MPs broke up for their summer recess, it emerged that, as well as long-expected plans for a statutory register of lobbyists, the bill includes proposals that would drastically censor campaign groups from speaking on political issues in the 12 months before a general election.

In its letter, the commission says the proposed rules about spending at constituency level may be unenforceable , partly because it will often be hard for campaigners to identify with a reasonable level of confidence when an activity has 'no significant effects' in a given constituency .

More broadly, it says the proposed rules about what constitutes election-related activity are not sufficiently clear. The briefing says:

In our view, it is not at all clear how that test will apply in practice to the activities of the many third parties that have other purposes beyond political campaigning. For instance, it seems arguable that the new test could apply to many of the activities of charities, voluntary organisations, blogs, thinktanks and other organisations that engage in debate on public policy.

John Sauven, executive director at Greenpeace , one of more than 100 charity organisations that have expressed concerns about the bill, said the legislation was the most pernicious assault on campaign groups in living memory .

A spokesman for the Electoral Commission said it had significant concerns about the bill and would be explaining them in detail to a select committee in September. The bill's second reading is on 3 September, with its three-day committee stage a week later.

 

26th August

 Update: Super Snooper...

Ian Blair calls for more censorship to protect Britain's secret police state
Link Here
ian blairA champion of a secret police state, former Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair, has called for anti-terror laws to be extended to prevent leaks of official secrets. Blair claimed that publication of such material could put lives at risk.

Blair told BBC Radio 4's Broadcasting House programme:

The state has to have secrets - that's how it operates against terrorists.

It has to have the right to preserve those secrets and we have to have a law that covers a situation when somebody, for all sorts of wonderfully principled reasons, wishes to disclose those secrets.

It just is something that is extremely dangerous for individual citizens to [make] those secrets available to the terrorists.

He claimed there was a new threat which is not of somebody personally intending to aid terrorism, but of conduct which is likely to or capable of facilitating terrorism , citing the examples of information leaks related to Bradley Manning and the Wikileaks website. He said:

Most of the legislation about state secrets is in the Official Secrets Act and it only concerns an official.

Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger has said: The state that is building such a formidable apparatus of surveillance will do its best to prevent journalists from reporting on it.

 

25th August

 Update: Every LITTLE Helps...

A few feminists, outside 19 Tesco stores, call for lads' mags to be banned
Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
feminista protestGender extremists from Object and UK Feminista organised a series of protests outside Tesco stores calling on them to ban lads' mags.

19 Tesco scores around the country saw small gatherings of protestors at Manchester, London, Portsmouth and Glasgow

The feminist groups claim that lads' mags:

Fuel sexist behaviours and attitudes underpinning violence against women. Tesco would never allow "girlie calendars" on their office walls. Why are they choosing to stock degrading, pornographic lads mags on their shelves?

Kat Banyard, the founder of UK Feminista, said:

As long as Tesco sells lads mags like Nuts and Zoo its claims of being a responsible corporate citizen are a farce.

The No More Page 3 campaign founder Lucy Holmes said:

Protests are a great way of engaging with the public about the issue.

But the groups seem to be largely failing to attract much in the way of engagement. For instance the Daily Mail, well known for getting onboard moralist bandwagons, itself publishes material just a little too close to lads' mags content for comfort, so has been generally negative about the Feminsta campaign. Similarly the lads' mags material is also a little close to sexy celebrity material that is so widely enjoyed by the general public, so the campaigners don't seem to be attracting wide public engagement with their cause.

 

25th August

 Update: De-Onionisation...

Russia security service commissions legislation to ban Tor
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media
fsb logoThe head of Russia's Federal Security Service (FSB) has personally ordered preparations for laws that would block the Tor anonymity network from the entire Russian sector of the Internet.

FSB director Aleksandr Bortnikov announced the initiative at a recent session of the National Anti-Terrorism Committee, saying that his agency would develop the legislative drafts together with other Russian law enforcement and security bodies.

The FSB official said that the agency initiated the move as internet anonymizers were used by weapon traffickers, drug dealers and credit card fraudsters.

At the same time, an unnamed source told the newspaper that not all Russian security specialists welcomed the idea, as various criminals often overestimated the protection provided by the Undernet, acted recklessly and allowed themselves to get caught. The blocking would require the development of some new methods of search and control in new anonymity networks that would appear soon after the Russian audience loses access to existing ones, the source noted.

Lower House MP Ilya Kostunov noted that the problem was important but doubted that it was technically executable. As far as I know, it is impossible to block Tor, Kostunov said. The network re-tunes quickly, switches to different hubs and starts working again.

The Tor Project administration also said that the blocking of the system was extremely difficult, adding that even Tor's own specialists could not control the information flowing through their servers or identify users.

 

25th August

 Update: Timely Suspending of Sharia Law...

Egypt court turns down case calling for internet censorship based on the claim that porn is incompatible with sharia
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Egypt...Egypt blocks political and porn websites
Egypt flagEgypt's judiciary has turned down a court case calling for banning of internet pornography websites.

The case was filed by lawyer Ibrahim Atteya, citing article two of the now suspended 2012 constitution. The article stated that the principles of Islamic Sharia are the main source of legislation. Atteya claimed that internet websites which spread indecency do not comply with Islamic Sharia.

The case was turned down since Atteya failed to abide by proper procedure when filing his original requests to cancel the decision.

Hassan Azhary, lawyer at the Association for Freedom of Thought and Expression (AFTE) had argued that: Technically speaking, the internet pornography ban is almost impossible . He explained that the ban is very costly; it could costs millions of Egyptian pounds. He added that it's very difficult to list down the names of all pornography websites. Azhary also said there are some programs which can open banned websites: A ban would be a waste of public money.

 

25th August

 Offsite Article: From Burma to China, the cinema industry tests the limits of censorship...

Link Here
Burma flag 2010 Burma's once-celebrated film industry is enjoying a revival after years of funding shortages and suffocating censorship

See article from csmonitor.com

 

24th August

 Update: Less than the Fines for Being Too Sexy Though...

Ofcom Fines Noor TV and Takbeer TV for inciting violence
Link Here  full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check

NOOR TVNoor TV

Al Ehya Digital Television Ltd in respect of its service Noor TV has been fined £85,000 for inciting violence.

The programme Paigham-e-Mustafa was found to be in breach of Ofcom's Broadcasting Code rules:

  • Rule 3.1: Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.
  • Rule 4.1: Broadcasters must exercise the proper degree of responsibility with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes.

Noor TV is a digital satellite television channel that broadcasts programmes about Islam in a number of languages, including English, Urdu and Punjabi. It can be received in the United Kingdom, Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia.

The Finding related to the programme Paigham-e-Mustafa, broadcast on 3 May 2012. The programme featured a presenter, Allama Muhammad Farooq Nizami who answered questions about a wide range of issues and personal conduct relating to Islam and Islamic teachings.

At approximately one hour and 18 minutes into the programme Nizami answered a question from a caller, who was identified as brother Yasir Hanif who asked: What is the punishment for the individual who shows disrespect for Prophet Muhammad? Nizami responded:

There is no disagreement about this [the punishment]; there is absolutely no doubt about it that the punishment for the person who shows disrespect for the Prophet is death. No one [among the Islamic scholars] disagrees about this. No one disagrees about this. The Koran, hadeeth [orally transmitted quotes of Muhammad], the actions of the companions of Prophet Muhammad, all testify to this [punishment] and there is no room for doubt in it. Whoever shows disrespect for Prophet Muhammad will be given death penalty. The procedure for carrying out the death penalty is that if there is an Islamic government operating in a country, then the Islamic government will carry out the implementation of this punishment to the one who shows disrespect for the Prophet. However, if there are no Islamic laws [implemented], if Islamic Law is not being abided by, if the Islamic Law is being shredded and is in tatters, and this environment prevails in Pakistan, then [drops the sentence]. You saw a few months ago, a man specifically said that the Islamic law which was especially designed to protect the sanctity of Prophet Muhammad, whom Allah praises and protects, was a black law. By saying so, he slighted the law and committed insolence against Prophet Muhammad. Then what happened? You saw what happened. The man who did it [killed the Governor] is Mumtaz Hussein. He is a Ghazi and we can absolutely not say that his act was a wrong act [because] the Koran and hadeeth [orally transmitted traditions], testify that the punishment of the one who shows disrespect for the Prophet is death.

Ofcom considered the breach of Rule 3.1 in this case was particularly serious given the wide audience reach of the channel and the fact that the statements were delivered to a Muslim audience, in a religious programme, by a presenter who was held out to be an expert on Islamic teaching; a person who holds a position of authority and respect within the Muslim community, speaking direct to camera. Taken together, these factors would have given the comments extra weight. The seriousness of the breaches was further compounded by the fact that the Programme made no condemnation of any killing or violent action by individuals in response to a perceived insult to, or perceived blasphemy against, Mohammed.

The potential for these comments to be acted upon is demonstrated by evidence of a number of very serious threats and attacks having been made in Western countries against individuals or entities perceived as insulting or making pejorative remarks about the Prophet Mohammed. Dutch filmmaker Theo Van Gogh was murdered by Muhammad Bouyeri in 2004 following the condemnation of his film Submission by Islamic clerics, and in the same year Danish cartoonists received death threats following the publication of illustrations which included depictions of the Prophet Mohammed. In November 2011, there was a fire bomb attack on a magazine in Paris for publishing a satirical cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.

Takbeer TV

Takbeer TVTakbeer TV Ltd has been fined £25,000 for breaches of Ofcom's Broadcasting Code:

  • Rule 4.1: Broadcasters must exercise the proper degree of responsibility with respect to the content of programmes which are religious programmes.
  • Rule 4.2: The religious views and beliefs of those belonging to a particular religion or religious denomination must not be subject to abusive treatment.

Two programmes, both of which were broadcast in Urdu:

Global Khatm-E-Nabuwat Movement – Broadcast on 9 June 2012 at 22:00, this was a two and a quarter hour ‘phone-in’ programme in which a panel of four people answered telephone callers’ questions on issues of Islamic theology;

Ofcom noted that:

  • members of the Ahmadi community were described in words that amounted to abusive treatment of the Ahmadiyya religion and the Ahmadi community more generally. For example, they were described as having monstrous intentions and being both lying monsters and worthy of elimination by Allah, by using worms and vermin ;
  • one of the panellists and a caller made statements that were highly abusive to members of the Ahmadi community and their beliefs, by, for example, equating such beliefs to having piles and agreeing that Ahmadis require operating on ... without ... anaesthesia ; and
  • two callers made sustained, repeated and derogatory references to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, founder of the Ahmadiyya religion , stating, for example, that the whole world knows... Mirza died in a shit cubicle.

Khatm-E-Nabuwat – Broadcast on 3 July 2012 at 22:00, this was a two hour
programme that showed the proceedings of a symposium4 on Islamic themes held in  Luton.

Ofcom noted in particular that the presenter:

  • stated that Ahmadi holy books were: replete with filth ;
  • said the word 'Qadiani' is ... detestable ; and
  • described the Ahmadi religion as filth .

 

23rd August

  Government Called Out over Newspaper Censorship...

Europe calls for Theresa May to explain the pressure exerted on the Guardian to delete US snooping revelations
Link Here
Council of Europe flagEurope's top justice official has expressed worries about press freedom in the UK after British authorities' crackdown on the Guardian over its revelations of US spying programs based on leaks by Edward Snowden.

Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland has called on British Home Secretary Theresa May to explain the pressure put on the newspaper by the British officials over Snowden case.

And Viviane Reding, the EU's commissioner in charge of privacy rules has backed up this call. She said on Twitter:

I fully share Jagland's concerns [over the issue].

British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered his top civil servant Sir Jeremy Heywood to collect sensitive material which has been leaked to the paper by Snowden to be published. Brazilian David Miranda, the partner of the Guardian journalist Glenn Greenwald, was also detained on Sunday at Heathrow Airport, where he was in transit on his way from Berlin to Rio de Janeiro.

 

23rd August

 Update: Noting current website filtering inability to distinguish between education and titillation...

Prominent writers warn Cameron that people will be blocked from accessing to educational websites
Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
Hamlet DVD

   Porn or literature?
Don't bother asking ISPs

The current crop of website blocking options are totally over the top in overblocking with a safety first approach that blocks websites over totally trivial use of eg strong language. It is not clear if the Government or ISPs are intending to upgrade their filters to prevent businesses being trashed over negligent website blocking decisions by automated software. But presumably they will stick with the current crap. Related issues are that educational websites are being likewise blocked merely for using words associated with sexuality.

David Cameron's plan for UK households to block internet porn with default search filters will be very damaging for LGBT people and vulnerable adults who could be denied access to legitimate sexual health and education sites, a group of authors and journalists has warned.

In an open letter to the Prime Minister, prominent figures including the Belle de Jour writer Brooke Magnanti and feminist blogger and author Zoe Margolis, warned that the Government was taking:

A dangerous and misguided approach to internet safety. Focusing on a default 'on' filter ignores the importance of sex and relationship education and sexual health. Worse, you are giving parents the impression that if they install Internet filters they can consider their work is done.

They point out that faults with existing internet service provider filters have been reported numerous times and warn that any default filters could:

Unintentionally block important sites related to sexual health, LGBT issues, or sex and relationship education. This will be very damaging for LGBT young people, for example, or vulnerable adults who may be cut off from important support and advice, in particular those with abusive partners who are also the Internet account holder.

Lee Maguire, technical officer at the civil liberties organisation the Open Rights Group, said that filters could never distinguish:

Between sites that seek to titillate and those with frank discussion of sexuality.

Sites dealing with issues surrounding sexuality are likely to fall foul of miscategorisation as they often contain certain keywords that filters see as inappropriate for children. Even when humans categorise sites, categories will often be set by individuals with their own cultural values.

The open letter, which was also signed by the science-fiction writer Charles Stross and the New Statesman journalist Laurie Penny, said that by promising families one click to protect the whole family , the Prime Minister was:

Giving parents the impression that if they install Internet filters they can consider their work is done. We urge you instead to invest in a programme of sex and relationship education that empowers young people and to revisit the need for this topic to be mandatory in schools. Please drop shallow headline grabbing proposals and pursue serious and demonstrably effective policies to tackle abuse of young people.

 

23rd August

 Updated: Thinly Spread Widespread Offence...

A few people whinge about marmite advert playing on animal neglect reality TV
Link Here

marmite advert videoA TV ad for Marmite with a tongue-in-cheek of animal neglect has prompted more than 250 complaints to the advert censor ASA.

The TV ad shot in reality TV style follows a team parodying animal welfare officers who visit houses and save and rehome jars of Marmite that have been neglected by their owners.

The Advertising Standards Authority received more than 250 complaints that it trivialises the work of animal welfare organisations. Complainants said that the ad was offensive and in poor taste .

A spokeswoman for Marmite said:

We believe we have created an unmistakably Marmite ad -- people will either love it or hate it and they certainly won't forget it. We hope that everyone will watch and enjoy this commercial in the lighthearted way it was intended.

Update: Acquitted

23rd August  2013. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

ASA logoMarmite's animal cruelty commercial will not be investigated by the advert censor. It drew 504 complaints from viewers who claimed it trivialised the work of child and animal welfare agencies.

The complaints led to Marmite's owner Unilever donating £18,000 to the RSPCA.

The Advertising Standards Authority said:

Most [viewers] would recognise the ads were a spoof.

They... did not trivialise issues of abuse or denigrate the work of child and animal protection services.

 

23rd August

 Updated: Madras Cafe...

Indian movie proves controversial as it speculates about the assassination of the Indian prime minister Rajiv Gandhi
Link Here  full story: Madras Cafe...India film banned in Tamil Nadu and the UK
madras cafeMadras Cafe is a 2013 Indian action drama by Shoojit Sircar.
With John Abraham, Nargis Fakhri and Rashi Khanna.

The film is proving controversial in India as it is based on the Sri Lankan civil war where emotions are still running high.

Director Shoojit Sircar has conceded that his movie may have certain scenes resembling events related to Rajiv Gandhi's assassination, but he clarifies that the film's story is not a biopic on the former prime minister. Sircar said:

This is not a biopic on him, this is not a story based on him. Yes, you can say that there is a similarity to that incident. There is a similarity in the facial structure (of the actor who plays the said role).

Rajiv Gandhi died when an LTTE suicide bomber detonated a bomb at an election rally in May 1991. A similar incident has been showcased in the film's trailer. However, the director explained:

We have taken that incident which we read in the paper. Rest, whatever is around it, has been fictionalised in the scripting. But somewhere you may find some historical references in the fictionalised bit too.

Madras Cafe is already facing the ire of Tamil activist groups Naam Tamizhar and MDMK. The members have sought a ban on the film contending that it portrays LTTE cadres as terrorists.

Update: Not banned by Madras court

22nd August 2013. See  article from  timesofindia.indiatimes.com

The Madras high court has cleared the way for the release of the Bollywood movie Madras Cafe refusing to entertain a petition seeking its ban.

The judges in their order also said that the filmmakers have the liberty to release the dubbed version of the film as soon as it gets the clearance from the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC).

However the court case against the film will still go ahead with the next hearing on 3rd September.

Update: But banned in Tamil Nadu

23rd August  2013. See  article from  dailymirror.lk

Madras Cafe is seemingly banned in Tamil Nadu for showing the LTTE group in bad light. The spy thriller would not be screened in the state, reported a spokesperson of the Tamil Nadu Film Exhibitors Association.

The decision has been unanimously taken by the several pro-Tamil groups and political parties, including BJP. The pro-Tamil group demanded delete of some objectionable scenes but the leading actor of the film John refused to do so. He claimed that if censor board has not objection in any scene of the film then why should he delete those scenes.

 

22nd August

 Offsite Article: If Music Be the Food of Love...

Link Here
palestinian strings advert Nigel Kennedy noted of a group of Palestinian musicians: 'We all know from the experience of this night of music that giving equality and getting rid of apartheid gives a beautiful chance for things to happen'

See article from telegraph.co.uk

 

22nd August

 Offsite Article: Huff Puff...

Link Here
huffington post logo Huffington Post announces that it will demand real names for posting comments

See article from theguardian.com

 

21st August

  Going by the Book...

ASA unsurprisingly find Evil Dead advert too scary for kids
Link Here

Evil Dead Blu ray Jane LevyFour TV ads for the film Evil Dead:

  • a. The first ad showed an external shot of a cabin followed by a silhouette of a man standing in the doorway shown from the inside. On-screen text and the voice-over stated, EVIL . A girl was shown running through a forest before the ad cut to a shot of a man inside the cabin looking nervously over his shoulder. On-screen text and the voice-over stated, IS . A book was shown slamming shut and a girl in a white bloodied dress with her head bowed was shown slowly raising her arms. On-screen text and the voice-over stated, COMING followed by a girl walking backwards away from the cabin which was on fire.

  • b. The second ad was identical to ad (a) other than the final screen.

  • c. The third ad showed a shot of man sitting at a desk unwrapping and opening a book as the voice-over stated, I read a passage from that book. A girl was then shown running through the forest before the shot cut to a man by a car and a flooded river. The voice-over continued I released something evil. A number of clips were then shown including a woman standing and screaming inside a cabin whilst other people cowered across the room from her, a figure rising from a swamp, a man holding a chainsaw, a cabinet mirror breaking in front of a woman's face and a cabin bursting into flames. The clips were interspersed with on-screen quotes from critics that stated TERRIFYING , JAW-DROPPING and ASTONISHING . The ad ended with a woman being pulled from behind through a trapdoor.

  • d. The fourth ad showed a number of clips from the film including a cabin bursting into flames, a man operating a chainsaw, a knife passing in front of a woman's bloodied face, a figure rising from a swamp, a woman looking over her shoulder with a scared expression and a woman being pulled from behind through a trapdoor.

Ads (a) and (b) were cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction, which meant they should not be shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children. Ads (c) and (d) were cleared by Clearcast with a post 7.30 restriction.

The ASA received 28 complaints.

  1. 1. Twenty-five complainants challenged whether ads (a) and (b) were inappropriately scheduled.

  2. 2. Two complainants challenged whether ad (c) and (d) were inappropriately scheduled and one complainant challenged whether ad (d) was offensive.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA considered that the scenes in ads (a) and (b) which showed the girl in the bloodied dress and the log cabin burning could cause distress to young children. Furthermore, we considered that the voice-over stating, Evil is coming along with the use of swift cuts, darkly lit scenes and eerie music created a sinister and tension-filled atmosphere. Whilst we acknowledged that the ads had been given an ex-kids restriction and had therefore not been broadcast around programmes that were of particular appeal to children, we considered that they were inappropriate for broadcast during the day when young children might be watching and we concluded that ads (a) and (b) should have been given a post 7.30 restriction.

The ads breached BCAP Code rule 32.3 (Scheduling).

2. Not upheld

Whilst we acknowledged that some adults would find ad (d) distasteful, we did not consider that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence to adults and we therefore concluded that it did not breach the Code in that regard.

We considered that the atmosphere of ads (c) and (d) was similar to that in ads (a) and (b), but that there was an elevated level of threat, partly due to a greater use of scenes involving people who appeared frightened or distressed, including a woman audibly screaming in ad (c) and a bloodied knife passing in front of the face of a woman who appeared to be frightened in ad (d). However, we considered that the post 7.30 restriction was sufficient to ensure that they would not be broadcast when young children, who might be distressed by them, would be watching and we concluded that the ad had been appropriately scheduled.

On this point, we investigated ads (c) and (d) under BCAP Code rules 4.1 and 4.2 (Harm and offence) and 32.3 (Scheduling) but did not find them in breach.

 

21st August

 Update: Groklaw Closes...

Another casualty of US internet snooping
Link Here

groklaw logoGroklaw , a respected legal analysis website, has ceased publication out of concern of inadequate privacy for its users due to US email surveillance.

The website shutdown comes just weeks after two providers of secure email, Lavabit and Silent Circle, opted to discontinue their services.

Groklaw founder and editor Pamela Jones said she cannot continue to operate her community-based website, which often relies on confidential tips, without some degree of email privacy.

Citing LavaBit founder Ladar Levison's observation that if we knew what he knew about email, we wouldn't use it either. Lavabit previously offered email privacy but seems to have been forced to close by the US authorities

Surveillance comes with an associated cost: It drives businesses away from the United States. The Information Technology and Innovation Institute, a technology think tank, estimates that U.S. cloud service providers, unable to assure privacy, could lose between $22 billion and $35 billion to competitors in Europe over the next three years.

But that rather assumes that Europe doesn't operate equally invasive internet snooping.

 

20th August

  Monster News...

Shout! Factory and Morgan Creek announce the 2014 release of Clive Barker's Cabal Cut of Nightbreed
Link Here
nightbreed cabal cutNightbreed is a 1990 USA horror fantasy by Clive Barker.
With Craig Sheffer, Anne Bobby and David Cronenberg. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

Shout! Factory and Morgan Creek Productions have officially announced a strategic distribution alliance to bring Clive Barker's classic horror film Nightbreed extended director's cut to the home entertainment marketplace in the U.S and Canada and on digital entertainment platforms next year. The news initially broke at Comic-Con 2013, however the agreement formally reached by both parties occurred on 19th August 2013.

For years rumors swirled about substantial missing footage from the film. A fan-driven movement was created (www.OccupyMidian.com) to see the full version of the film restored and re-released, which was not only a more faithful adaptation of Clive Barker's book Cabal , but is what originally he intended Nightbreed to be.

Clive Barker said:

I had a dream about the tribes of the moon. They would live in a city called Midian and, though they were monsters of every shape and size, they would be the heroes of a movie called Nightbreed. However, when I made the movie, the studio was not comfortable with this inversion of the classic structure. They wanted the monsters to be simple-minded scare machines, while I wanted them to be the dark side of all of us, mysterious and misunderstood. Finally, with this new version of Nightbreed, which contains over forty five minutes of previously unseen material, my original vision has been realized. Come with me to Midian, the city of monsters. The tribes of the moon await us.

Shout!'s SCREAM FACTORY plans an aggressive rollout of Nightbreed extended director's cut through physical home entertainment releases and a variety of digital entertainment distribution platforms sometimes next year.

David Robinson, President of Morgan Creek Productions said:

We'd also like to take this opportunity to thank the fans. Without their hard work and persistence, this would have never become a reality. Clive Barker is one of the greats, and we are tremendously proud and excited to be working with him and Shout! Factory on this release.

 

20th August

  Parliamentary Trolling...

Yet another parliamentary inquiry into online safety
Link Here

Culture, Media and Sport select committeeThe parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee has announced another inquiry into Online Safety:

Despite technological innovation and an increase in public understanding of dangers, the online world continues to pose hazards, from images of child abuse to trolling. These dangers are the correlation of the immense benefits provided by unimpeded communication and free speech, so any attempts to mitigate harms have to be proportionate and, where possible, avoid disadvantageous consequences.

The Culture, Media and Sport Committee has decided to investigate a number of aspects of online safety that are currently raising concerns, in particular:

  • How best to protect minors from accessing adult content;

  • Filtering out extremist material, including images of child abuse and material intended to promote terrorism or other acts of violence;

  • Preventing abusive or threatening comments on social media.

The Committee invites written evidence from those who wish to contribute to the inquiry.

 

20th August

  Asking For an End to Anonymous Comments...

Ask.fm announces measures to reduce opportunities for harassment
Link Here
ask fm logoSocial networking site Ask.fm has unveiled changes to make its site safer after recent online bullying cases.

It said it would view all reports within 24 hours, make the report button more visible, and include bullying and harassment as a category for a report. It said some of the changes would be live on the site by September.

Ask.fm said it would:

  • Hire more staff, including a safety officer, to moderate comments on the site
  • Create a bullying/harassment category for reported comments, alongside spam or scam , hate speech , violence and pornographic content
  • Raise the visibility of a function to opt out of receiving anonymous questions
  • Limit the number of features unregistered users were able to access, and
  • require an email address upon sign-up for registered users

The UK Safer Internet Centre, which promotes the safe use of technology, said it was delighted by Ask.fm's proposed changes, and added the increased visibility of the anonymous opt-out option was an important development. We strongly advise users, especially children, to switch off anonymous questions, and to report any abuse they see on the site, the group said.

 

20th August

  On the Fringes of Easy Offence...

Comedian questioned by police over his comic character, 'Paki Bashir'
Link Here
jeff mirzaComedian Jeff Mirza has been reported to police for using the word Paki on flyers for his Edinburgh Fringe show.

Mirza was dressed in character as a butcher called Paki Bashir while handing out the leaflets on on the Royal Mile. He was questioned at a city centre police station after handing a flyer for his show Meet Abu Hamsta and Paki Bashir to a fellow British Asian, who took offence.

However the comedian told police that he was trying to reclaim the word, and was sent on his way. Mirza said policemen advised him to put his finger over the offensive word when handing out flyers in future. Police said they would take no further action.

 

20th August

 Extract: Amber Warning: Herd-sourced Censorship Scheme...

We can't crowdsource the right to free speech. The BBFC's plan to put content flags on online video could work, but crowd-sourcing censorship isn't the right way to do it.
Link Here  full story: Internet crowd sourced classification...BBFC propose a traffic lights scheme

light censorshipThe web inevitably makes available some content which is unsuitable or inappropriate for children to access. Some of this will be illegal, but much more will not, or may be suitable say for over 13s or over 16s only. A traffic light system may therefore struggle to distinguish between these and runs the risk of imposing the strictest warning on masses of content by default.

A greater concern however, is how the new system will guard against becoming a tool to enable prejudices of one kind or another to be played out. The system can only operate if it is the crowd's decision which counts - the reason this is even being considered is because there is too much content for a regulator or platform to consider. Relying on the crowd assumes that a collective consciousness emerges from the great mass of web users and their shared values, rather than a set of subjective reactions. This is a dangerous assumption. As a recent MIT study reported in Science suggests, the wisdom of the crowd may be a myth, its mentality more akin to that of a mob or herd.

...Read the full article

 

20th August

 Offsite Article: David Miranda, schedule 7 and the danger that all reporters now face...

Link Here
The Guardian The Guardian reports about how the government set round the heavies to destroy Guardian computers related to the Snowden revelations about state snooping. By Alan Rusbridger

See article from theguardian.com

 

20th August

 Offsite Article: Anti-Trade Union bill may restrict political comment from a far wider group...

Link Here
tuc logo Proposals in a bill slipped out as Parliament broke for the Summer will gag the TUC, trade unions and every campaign group in the country in what can only be seen as a chilling attack on free speech.

See article from touchstoneblog.org.uk

 

20th August

 Offsite Article: France: Strict defamation and privacy laws limit free expression...

Link Here
France flag Index on Censorship explores the G20 nations' records on free expression

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

18th August

 Updated: Re-fucked...

Australian Censorship Board re-bans Baise-Moi for home video
Link Here  full story: Banned Films in Australia...I Want Your Love
Baise moi DVD Karen Bach ArrowBaise-moi is a 2000 France crime drama by Virginie Despentes and Coralie.
With Raffaëla Anderson, Karen Lancaume, Céline Beugnot. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

The Australian Censorship Board has just re-banned Baise-Moi.

The film played in Australian cinemas with an R18+ (18) rating but the real sex coupled with rape made it very controversial. The government stepped in and requested that the film be banned on home video. The resulting ban has persisted from 2002 to the present day.

Now Potential Films have just resubmitted the film for home video hoping that time has healed whatever ailed the censors. But to no avail, the film censors reaffirmed their ban.

Uncut in the UK

UK: Passed 18 uncut for sexual violence, real sex and very strong language with previous BBFC cuts waived for:

However the 2001 cinema release was cut by 10s and 2002 DVDs were cut by 12s. The DVD cuts were:

Cuts required to two sequences of sexual violence involving strong sexual imagery:

  • explicit close up of sexual penetration of woman during rape scene
  • sight of gun being pressed into man's anus prior to being fired

See also: Melon Farmers film cuts details for Baise-Moi

Update: Reasons for the Ban

18th August 2013. See  article from  refused-classification.com

Australian Film Classification BoardSee  article from  refused-classification.com . Note that the version banned by the censors in 2013 was a pre-cut version with the sight of penetration deleted from the rape scene. The Film Censorship Board explained its majority decision to ban the video:

In summary, as this film contains depictions of explicit sexual activity and sexual violence, sexualized violence and violence which are very high in impact and, as such, exceeds what can be accommodated within the R 18+ classification, and, as the film also contains violence, sexual violence and sexualized violence and, as such, cannot be accommodated within the X18+ classification, this material warrants Refused Classification.

 

18th August

 Offsite Article: Peeling Onions...

Link Here
tor logo As Russia prepares an attempt to ban Tor, police in Sweden want to be able to gain access to encrypted communications.

See article from torrentfreak.com

 

17th August

  Control Dressed up as Fairness...

FCC decides that internet TV providers should pay up for 'regulation' so as to provide a level playing field with cable TV
Link Here
fcc logoAmerican internet TV providers will have to pay the same censorship fees as cable companies from 2014, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) confirmed this week.

The FCC said it had been persuaded by the argument that digital television delivered via high-speed internet should pay fees, in an attempt to create a level playing field between operators:

By assessing regulatory fees on cable television systems, but not on IPTV, we may place cable providers at a competitive disadvantage.

The FCC went onto claim that internet TV providers somehow benefit from FCC 'regulation'.

 

17th August

 Offsite Article: Banning Lads' Mags is no step forward for women...

Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
karen lumley By Karen Lumley, the Member of Parliament for Redditch who sits on the All Party Parliamentary Group for Body Image.

See article from conservativehome.blogs.com

 

17th August

 Offsite Article: When politicians get the internet wrong, the internet can be ruthless...

Link Here
ask fm logo David Cameron calling for a boycott of vile websites that breed cyberbullying is well-intentioned but could prove foolhardy. By Caroline Criado-Perez

See article from theguardian.com

 

16th August

 Update: Ofcom Fines Sangat TV 30K for inciting violence...

Compared with the previous Ofcom fine of 40K for advertising an adult website
Link Here  full story: Ofcom on Religion...ofcom keep religious extremism in check
sangat logoSangat TV is a general entertainment satellite broadcaster that broadcasts in English and Punjabi. It is based in Birmingham and broadcasts via the Eutelsat 28A, Sky UK satellite to the Sikh community. The licence for Sangat TV is held by Regis Ltd.

Ofcom had already found Sangat TV to be in breach of Ofcom rule 3.1 in finding published on 21 January 2013 in Broadcast Bulletin 2224. Rule 3.1 states:

Material likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime or to lead to disorder must not be included in television or radio services.

The Finding related to a programme about the attack on Lieutenant-General Brar, which was broadcast on 1 October 2012. This was broadcast almost entirely in Punjabi, was approximately half an hour in duration and comprised eight panellists, including a presenter, who discussed issues surrounding the attack. It had been reported that on a date shortly before the broadcast, while on a visit to London, Lieutenant-General Brar and his wife had been attacked in a central London street by four men. Despite suffering knife injuries, Lieutenant-General Brar survived the attack. In the Finding, Ofcom noted that, in relation to the attack, two men of Sikh origin had been charged with wounding with intent to cause grievous bodily harm.

Ofcom found that the programme was likely to encourage or incite the commission of crime. We considered that, cumulatively,  statements in the programme were an indirect call to action to members of the Sikh community to take violent action against Lieutenant-General Brar, other members of the Indian armed forces who had taken part in Operation Bluestar (the Indian Army's controversial military operation against the Golden Temple at Amritsar in June 1984)7 or those who supported this military operation.

Ofcom decided it was appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances to impose a financial penalty of £30,000 on the Licensee in respect of the breach of Rule 3.1. In addition, Ofcom decided it should issue a direction to the Licensee to broadcast a statement of Ofcom's findings, on a date and in a form to be determined by Ofcom.

 

16th August

 Update: Premier League of Arrogance...

Angered that ISPs refused their incorrect website blocking instructions which also took down websites unrelated to the copyright case
Link Here

premier league logoIn the UK, rightsholders have the power to demand arbitrary censorship of websites they dislike, and ISPs are required to block those sites. The Premier League carelessly added the IP address of a major web-host to its censorship list, and as a result blocked The Radio Times, Galaxy Zoo, and many other legitimate sites.

People who tried to visit those sites instead saw a warning saying that the sites were devoted to copyright infringement and that anyone visiting them was also infringing copyright.

ISPs were flooded with complaints, and began to unblock the sites themselves.

But the Premier League is outraged at this. They say that even if the Premier League censored the wrong sites, it isn't up to the ISPs to uncensor them,  the ISPs are supposed to comply with the lists they get from rightsholders, no questions asked.

 

16th August

 Updated: Chris Tookey Recommends...

Kick-Ass 2. The Daily Mail critic does his glorious best to boost the film's UK box office
Link Here  full story: Kick-Ass...Movie hype featuring cussing teen assassin

Kick Ass Blu ray Chloe Grace MoretzJim Carrey has famously refused to promote this film -- not on the grounds that he's in it for only about half an hour, during which time he's as dull and unfunny as the rest of the picture, but because he feels it trivialises violence.

Actually, it goes further than that. It supports vigilantism, advocates violent revenge and revels in gang warfare. It also suggests that the way to deal with bullies is to bully them back, even more brutally.

...Read the full endorsement

Update: Sob story

16th August 2013. See  article from  dailymail.co.uk

Chris Tookey spins a ludicrous yarn about how he himself is desensitised to violence after having watched so many violent films...

...and of course takes to opportunity to have another rant at Kick-Ass 2 (and also Only God Forgives starring Ryan Gosling).

...Read the full rant .

 

16th August

 Offsite Article: Moral Panics a useful political tool?...

Link Here
the arab spring moves west Is the introduction of internet censorship a reflection of western government desires for wider control of the internet?

See article from moronwatch.net

 

15th August

  Snowflake: The White Gorilla...

Children's cartoon cut by the BBFC for using the word 'spaz'
Link Here
Copito Nieve Region Pere PonceSnowflake - the White Gorilla is a 2011 Spain children's cartoon  comedy by Andrés G Schaer.
With David Spade, Ariana Grande and Jennette McCurdy. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

UK: Passed U for no material likely to offend or harm after 8s of BBFC category cuts for:

  • 2013 Lions Gate video

The BBFC commented:

Distributor chose to cut a use of discriminatory language ('spaz') to achieve a U classification. A 12 without cuts was available.

Summary Notes

Snowflake is special, he's the only white gorilla in the world. He is the zoo's main attraction, children love him, but the other gorillas don't see what's so charming about this weirdo being the center of attention

 

15th August

  Blurred Thinking...

The world mocks Thailand for censoring swimming costumes in TV anime
Link Here
thai tv blurring videoLudicrous TV censorship in Thailand has again come under fire after a blogger posted blurred out content in scenes from Japanese cartoons, or animes, broadcast by MCOT Channel 9.

The blogger wrote his posting in a Japanese news website on Aug 9, including in it a video clip and two images. The posting went viral and has been attracting attention from many online communities.

In the video clip, female characters from the Sailor Moon animation series have their swimsuits blurred out. The girl Shisuka in the popular Doraemon cartoon also has her swimwear edited in the same way, while another picture portrays a young Son Goku from the classic Dragon Ball Z anime with his chest censored as his clothes are ripped apart during a transformation.

The blogger pointed out that many viewers do not think about anything inappropriate when they watch cartoons. However, when censorship is applied it makes audiences assume that there is something unsuitable on screen and brings the content to their attention.

 

15th August

  'Out of the shot and danger of desire'...

Crap internet blocking at the British Library censors Shakespeare's Hamlet
Link Here  full story: Crap Internet Blocking...Cheapo automated filters are not up to the job

Hamlet DVD David TennantA man using the British Library's wi-fi network was denied access to an online version of Shakespeare's Hamlet because the text contained violent content .

Author Mark Forsyth was writing his book in the library, and needed to check a line from the famous play. He revealed on his blog that the filter had logged his attempt to access the page.

The British Library said the fault was caused by a newly installed wi-fi service from a third-party provider.

A spokesperson for the British Library said Hamlet had since been made accessible.

Internet filters have recently come under increased scrutiny, after the government announced that pornography will be automatically blocked by UK internet providers, unless customers choose otherwise. In general the most minute examples of a few words alluding to adult content can be enough to trigger a block. The software then errs on the side of caution and unfairly blocks many websites.

And of course these companies show little concern about legitimate businesses that suffer as a result.

Prof Ross Anderson, a security expert at Cambridge University, told the BBC that internet filters were pointless and that it was completely inappropriate to have one in the British Library. He added:

Everything that is legal should be available over the library's wi-fi network. The only things they should block are the few dozen books against which there are court judgements in the UK. One of the functions of deposit libraries is to keep everything, including smut.

Meanwhile one filter maker has a bit of a Gerald Ratner moment

15th August 2013. See  article from  techradar.com

Some customers of newly filtered ISPs are finding that porn is still getting through , but bona fide sites are being blocked . That's because filter algorithms struggle to distinguish between porn and legitimate sites, like lingerie retailers.

None of these systems are perfect, says George Anderson from online filtering security firm Webroot:

If you're an underwear site that's pretty close [to a porn site] and you get blocked because of this ban, that's going to cause issues.

 

14th August

 Update: Amber Gamblers...

BBFC's peculiar 'traffic light' self rating scheme for YouTube gains traction with the government
Link Here  full story: Internet crowd sourced classification...BBFC propose a traffic lights scheme
light censorshipMinisters want parents and teenagers themselves to be able to assign age-ratings (that don't seem to align with ages) to videos and other content which has been uploaded by internet users onto websites.

The government is working with ISPS and internet censors to test how crowd sourcing such age ratings can work, The Telegraph has learnt.

David Cameron said last month that he lamented the lack of rules on age controls that apply to websites.

The government and industry has formed a working group, led by the British Board of Film Classification, to develop the new system.

Ministers accept that there is far too much material generated by users on their mobile phones or webcams for conventional censors such as the BBFC to be able to monitor.

However, a prototype has been designed, under which website users are asked to complete a simple questionnaire on the depiction of behaviour, drugs, horror, language, sex and violence for videos posted online.

The BBFC and Nicam, the Dutch media regulator, have designed a scheme which can be linked to online filters and which includes an alert feature allowing users to report content to the authorities.

A senior government source said ministers were supporting the developments, which would help protect children from potentially damaging and inappropriate material . The source said

On YouTube at the moment people put comments but there is no way of crowd sourcing, where you can say whether you think this is an appropriate clip for 12 year olds or 14 year olds.

It is a bit strange therefore that the government is supporting a scheme with no obvious differentiation between 12 and 14 year olds. One option being considered would be a traffic light system. A video could be rated as green if it is safe for all, amber if it requires parental guidance and red if it is suitable for adults only.

Green for videos suitable for young children and red for adults only are pretty straightforward, but the large gulf between doesn't seem to make much sense. Most horror films are 15 rated and would be scary for younger children. How does one have a combined 12 and 15 rating. It could nether be said to be either a 12 or a 15. If it is vaguely called 'parental guidance', it then does not convey enough information for parents to know whether it is suitable for their 12 year olds.

Update: Trial

2nd September 2013.  See  article from  huffingtonpost.co.uk

Italian viewers will soon be able to make use of this international ratings tool. Italian media giant Mediaset will shortly being trialling the rating tool for users of its 16MM website and television channel.

We will be monitoring the results of this pilot project closely. What we learn from this trial will help us as we work with other platforms to see how they might apply the tool.

 

14th August

 Extract: Bugger Off!...

BBFC opens the archives to reveal how it dealt with complaints about mild strong language in Ken Loach's then U rated classic Kes
Link Here
Kes DVD David BradleyKes is a 1969 UK drama by Ken Loach.
With David Bradley, Freddie Fletcher and Lynne Perrie. YouTube icon IMDb

The BBFC received Ken Loach's Kes for classification in May 1969. The original examiner reports written for the classification of Kes in 1969 are unfortunately no longer available, but letters sent by Stephen Murphy (BBFC Secretary 1971-1975) in reply to complaints made about use of bad language in the film do reveal the thinking behind the classification of Kes.

In a 1972 letter, Murphy informs the complainant that a U certificate was the most appropriate category for the film at the time - with the categorisation then available, to have given KES anything but a 'U' certificate would have been positively immoral .

In another letter from 1972 Stephen Murphy explains the positive values of the picture were more than compensation for any irritation caused by some authentic dialogue, much of which, for example the word 'bugger, is not regarded as offensive in the area where the film was shot (indeed it is often a term of affection).

...Read the full article

 

14th August

 Update: A Long Way from the Truth...

ASA dismisses inaccurate complaint about a table dancing club
Link Here

the lodge gentlemans club logoA poster for The Lodge Gentlemen's Club in Oxford showed an image of a woman wearing a bra lying on her back, looking towards the camera. With her right hand she was playing with her hair; the left side of her body was obscured by shadow.

A complainant, who stated that the poster had been placed within 100 m of a nursery and directly opposite a youth hostel, challenged whether the ad:

  1. was offensive, sexist and degrading to women; and

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

1. & 2. Starwhite Ltd, t/a The Lodge Gentleman's Club stated that they did not wish to offend anyone, but felt that the image was not of an offensive nature and that the text was innocuous. They said the poster was located almost opposite a youth hostel, but not within 100 m of a nursery. They also said that before the poster had been put up, the ad had been submitted to the CAP Copy Advice team, who had advised that it was suitable.

ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA acknowledged that advertising for gentlemen's clubs would often contain images of women, many of which were likely to be seen as at least mildly sexual because of the nature of the service promoted. However, the fact that a product was offensive to some people was not grounds for finding a marketing communication in breach of the Code. It was therefore necessary to consider the overall impression given by the ad.

We noted that the image showed a woman lying on her back, looking towards the camera. The complainant had described this as a sexually submissive position. Much of the woman's body was shrouded in darkness, but she was shown alone and did not look distressed or coerced in any way, and given that she was wearing a bra and most of the lower part of her body was not visible we considered that the image was only mildly sexual in nature. Whilst acknowledging that the ad would be distasteful to some, we did not consider that it would be generally seen as objectifying or being sexist or degrading to women, and concluded that it was therefore unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

On that point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

2. Not upheld

We noted that the CAP Copy Advice team had viewed the ad before it appeared, and had advised that it should not be placed within 100 m of a school or places that children frequented. We considered that, given the sexually suggestive nature of the ad, that restriction was appropriate and would reduce the risk of its being seen by children. The complainant had believed that the poster was located within that distance of a nursery. However, we understood that the poster was in fact around 350m away from the nursery school. We also understood that the youth hostel referred to by the complainant was generally used by those aged 16--18 years, who were not classed as children under the Code. Because the ad had been placed away from schools or businesses that provided children based services, we concluded that it was not irresponsible.

On that point, we investigated the ad under CAP Code rule 1.3 (Responsible advertising), but did not find it in breach.

 

14th August

  Offensive QR Code...

Easily offended Lib Dem MP 'horrified' by nightclub advert
Link Here
tiger tiger cardiff advertA popular Cardiff nightclub has apologised and withdrawn a promotional image after it came under fire from an easily offended Lib Dem MP

Cardiff Central MP Jenny Willott claimed she was horrified and offended by the posters used in the Cardiff Tiger Tiger.

The adverts featured a woman holding a board with Tiger Tiger Cardiff written on it covering her chest and another with a QR code, a type of barcode, over her crotch area. The poster then directs people to the venue's Facebook page for all our latest deals and news .

Ms Willott claimed that the image was far too provocative and that she would be writing to Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) as a result. She spouted:

Do Tiger Tiger not realise how offensive this kind of advertising is? It suggests the venue is a strip club -- is that really the sort of reputation the company wants?

All too often we see women's bodies used as a tool for selling products and services. To have such an advert on display around Cardiff concerns me greatly, as a woman, a mother and an MP.

The MP added she will be encouraging others who are similarly offended by the adverts to make their concerns heard to the ASA.

The PC extremist advert censors at ASA will no doubt will be very keen to hear, and it only takes a couple of complaints to qualify as 'widespread' offence.

 

14th August

 Offsite Article: There's No Pride in Censorship...

Link Here
ministry of truth logo Anti-gay campaign groups uses US copyright takedown notice to censor interview that it did not like from a WordPress blog

See article from ministryoftruth.me.uk

 

14th August

 Offsite Article: Be Careful What You 'Like'...

Link Here  full story: Intenet Snooping in Thailand...Threatening that Facebook users should be careful what they 'like'
big brother whats not to like Thailand bigs up internet snooping and tells Facebook users that they are being watched

See article from asiancorrespondent.com

 

13th August

 Offsite Article: China Buying up Taiwan's Media?...

Link Here
Taiwan flag In Taiwan, censorship quietly flourishes amid outrage. Its once-famously freewheeling press is becoming more reliant on China as cross-strait cultural and media exchanges grow

See article from indexoncensorship.org

 

12th August

 Extract: Is Cheapo Tweet Reporting Worth Having?...

Twitter's report abuse button has already hurt some good guys, finds Dr Brooke Magnanti
Link Here
Twitter logoUnfortunately, some of the negative effects of a report abuse button that people have feared seem already to have happened. Shortly after the function became available on certain smartphone apps, accounts like @transphobes - which retweets the kinds of violent threats and hate trans women and men get online, to raise awareness of bigotry against them - was suspended.

Whether it was targeted by a concerted campaign of opponents or automatically suspended without being reviewed by Twitter is unclear. It certainly raises the question: how easy is it to mistake awareness-raising for bigotry?

Within 48 hours the account was reinstated. But other similar accounts have also reported problems, with accounts devoted to revealing the bigotry against sex workers and others also facing suspension in the past. However the groups raising awareness of this kind of bigotry do not as yet gain mainstream notice - so who would notice when they disappear?

...Read the full article

 

12th August

 Offsite Article: Anything enjoyed by men is now considered sexist...

Link Here
Daily Mail logo The Daily Mail comes to the defence of lads' mags. Perhaps because some of its own content strays into the same territory

See article from dailymail.co.uk

 

12th August

 Offsite Article: Like Flies Attracted to a Cow Pat...

Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
Germany flag German politician sniffs around David Cameron's internet censorship policy

See article from dw.de

 

11th August

  Blacked Out...

Warner Brothers set to censor two classic Tom and Jerry episodes from its Golden Collection Blu-ray
Link Here
Tom Jerry Golden Collection Blu rayTwo episodes of classic Tom & Jerry cartoons have been pulled from the latest volume of a Blu-ray collector's disc because the feuding cat and mouse were blacked up .

Volume 2 of Warner Brothers' Golden Collection, which fans believed would be a full chronological and uncut series, was meant to have been released two months ago but still hasn't reached the shops and may not be seen until next year. Fans complain that the planned running order omitted Casanova Cat and Mouse Cleaning , episodes from 1951 and 1948 that are often censored when broadcast on children's TV.

One line of protest has been to bombard online sellers, particularly Amazon, with messages on its pre-sale order pages. Culture is always reflected in cartoons, and while this may not have been right, it existed. It is a shame to omit pieces of history in a collection simply due to PR getting shaky boots over the past, said one. Another added: These releases are almost exclusively for the adult collector, so why treat us like infants?

Meanwhile, a Facebook campaign called Unleash the banned Tom and Jerry cartoons rages on.

casanova catIn Casanova Cat, above, Tom tries to impress a rich she-cat by blacking up Jerry's face with cigar smoke and then making him do a minstrel dance.

It is Tom who is blacked up in Mouse Cleaning. With his face covered in coal dust, he fools Mammy into thinking she is chatting to a black man by talking in an African-American accent.

A Warner Brothers spokesprat said:

The company felt that certain content would be inappropriate for the intended audience and therefore excluded several shorts.

 

11th August

  Killing Daytime TV...

Ofcom finds that an episode of the Murder Files was unsuitable for broadcast in the hour before the watershed
Link Here
murder files logoMurder Files: The Sketchbook Killer
Channel 5, 11 December 2012, 20:00 to 21:00

Murder Files: The Sketchbook Killer was an episode of the factual documentary strand Murder Files, which explores how the police have caught suspects in major criminal investigations.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to violent themes and imagery in this programme, which the complainant considered unsuitable to be broadcast before the 21:00 watershed when children might be watching.

This episode featured the crimes of the eponymous Sketchbook Killer, John Sweeney. The episode opened with actual footage, dating from 2001 and filmed from a police helicopter. It was described in the commentary as showing the horrific discovery of holdalls located in the Regent's Canal in London in 2001 which were found to contain ten parts of the dismembered body of Paula Fields. The programme went onto explain how a similar discovery of a dismembered body, later named as Melissa Halstead, in a Rotterdam canal some 11 years previously, was, after many years of investigation linked to the same murderer, John Sweeney. The programme explored: Sweeney's life before he met his first murder victim, Melissa Halstead, and his violent relationship with her; the subsequent violent relationships he formed with two other women, Delia Balmer and Paula Fields; and the events leading to his arrest for the murders of the two women found in the canals.

Ofcom noted that the programme included the following example:

A series of reconstructions using actors, darkly lit and in soft focus and largely consisting of a series of brief shots tightly edited together, of the violence inflicted by Sweeney on Melissa Halstead and Delia Balmer. These included, at the times indicated:

20:14: an attack by Sweeney on his first victim, Melissa Halstead, in a hotel room in Austria which had taken place prior to Melissa Halstead's murder. This reconstruction was introduced by the narration: ...it's here that Sweeney's savage nature brought him right to the brink of murder. The reconstruction which followed showed a man and woman arguing, the man pushing the woman onto the bed, a brief shot of a hammer being picked up, and the man moving his arm up and down violently, accompanied by the thumping sound effect of a hammer. The voiceover continued over the reconstruction: It's never been established what prompted this attack but it left Melissa with a fractured skull and other injuries which needed emergency surgery . This final image of the male actor wielding the hammer continued, until the British Detective Inspector, Steve Smith, who investigated Sweeney's crimes, appeared saying: he [Sweeney] was convicted of attacking her [Melissa Halstead] with a hammer. He was imprisoned in Vienna...but Melissa...petitioned the judge and asked for clemency. The visuals then returned briefly to the actor playing Sweeney using the hammer and the accompanying hammering sound effects, before this sequence concluded with a final comment from the detective

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3:

Children must ... be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Ruler 1.3

While Ofcom acknowledges that the use of reconstructions and real life police footage and photographic evidence is central to murder investigation documentaries like Murder Files, this particular episode included a number of reconstructions throughout the programme (as detailed above), some of which were repeated albeit in an edited form. In our opinion these reconstructions when assessed individually were reasonably limited, showing for example, no detail of the head wounds inflicted with the hammer on Melissa Halstead, the attack with the axe on Delia Balmer, or the dismembering of the body of Melissa. The images used in Ofcom's view implied the horrific violence perpetrated rather than explicitly depicted it.

Ofcom was of the view that the overall effect of the (albeit limited) reconstructions, accompanied by detailed commentary on Sweeney's savage acts and the menacing music, resulted in material which would have been more suitable for an adult audience. We noted how the British police footage and Dutch police photographs, anatomical drawings and photographs were combined with relatively explicit descriptions of the dismembered body parts. In Ofcom's opinion these factors, taken together, meant that this programme was unsuitable for children.

Breach of Rule 1.3

 

11th August

  Recommended Reading...

Prize winning children's book referred to the New Zealand book censor
Link Here
ted dawe into the riverA children's novel is being reviewed by the New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Censorship (OFLC).

Auckland author Ted Dawe's Into the River claimed the top prize in this year's New Zealand Post Children's Book Awards. But the Herald on Sunday reported one well-regarded book store refused to stock the novel because of explicit descriptions of sex and drug-taking. Parental advisory stickers were sent to stores to put on the covers after concerns were raised.

OFLC Information officer Kate Ward this week confirmed Into the River was now being reviewed and a decision would be made within weeks. The office has the authority to order a book be labelled unrestricted and recommend a suitable age or restricted - with a legally-enforceable age limit for sale or distribution.

 

10th August

 Update: Showing a United Front...

Sounds like supermarkets are worried about lads' mags boycotts and/or customers voting with their wallets
Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
morrisons logoThe supermarket chain Morrisons has called on rivals to adopt a collective stance over the controversy of how to display lads' mags on shelves, arguing that consumers are supposedly confused by the different policies being adopted by the major players. A spokesman for Morrisons said:

Going it alone doesn't feel the right approach. It would be better to have an industry approach, as it could be confusing for customers.

Morrisons will talk with bodies such as the British Retail Consortium (BRC), the trade body for the UK retail industry , in the hope that it can encourage its rivals to come together on a collective stance.

 

10th August

  Is it a healthy message for children that everything sexy must be banned?...

Australian Christian Lobby supports Melbourne in banning offensive sexualisation objects (or something like that)
Link Here

melbourne council logoThe Australian Christian Lobby has predictably welcomed the decision by the Melbourne City Council to push for the banning of ads that supposedly 'sexualise' women.

ACL spokesprat Wendy Francis bleated that the initiative is a much-needed step towards dealing with the 'objectification' of women in outdoor advertising.

ACL congratulates Lord Mayor Robert Doyle for his stand against offensive and sexist imagery in Melbourne's public spaces.

This sets an example for other city councils around Australia to crack-down on sexualised advertising that threatens our children's innocence and promotes negative representations of women and girls,.

Apart from advocating for a ban on advertising that sexualises and objectifies women, the Council will also encourage the community to report such material. The plan also includes creating special safety zones for women in the inner city with CCTV surveillance, strong lighting and security patrols.

 

10th August

 Extract: The Pixellated Penis and Other Tales of Modern Censorship...

Why fear of India's obscenity law turned HarperCollins prudish on a recent graphic novel
Link Here

Paying Chester Brown bookIn the Indian edition of Paying For It , Chester Brown's comic-strip memoir about paying for sex, there is a cloud of grey dots where a condommed penis should be. This is surprising, not only because Brown's book is a sexual memoir, but also because it is otherwise full of uncensored nudity, or, more precisely, of minimalist line-drawings of unclothed people.

Brown's cartoon people are by no means smoothed out Barbies and Kens; they have all the parts people are supposed to have. But on the four occasions in the book that Brown chooses to zoom in on those parts---his own---they appear pixellated almost beyond recognition. His cartoon penis is still visible at a safe distance throughout the rest of the book.

VK Karthika, publisher and chief editor at HarperCollins India, which is publishing Brown's book in India, says this was a discretionary measure to pre-empt accusations of obscenity, taken on the advice of Harper's lawyer. Four close-up shots, a total of nine panels in 227 pages of eight panels each, were blurred. The logic behind the selective pixellation is that these four sequences---which depict, in order, the putting on of a condom, masturbation, a thorough manual examination conducted by a woman (no, that is not a euphemism), and impending fellatio---are more graphically sexual than others, hence more likely to be interpreted as obscene.

...Read the full article

 

10th August

  Demanding Honour...

Canada store pulls feather headdress after complaints
Link Here

hm indian headdressH&M stores across Canada have pulled an indian feather headdresses from their shelves after receiving complaints the items are 'offensive' to aboriginals.

Kim Wheeler, an Ojibwa-Mohawk from Winnipeg, said she first saw the $15 fashion accessories while shopping with her daughter last week at the store in Vancouver's Pacific Centre mall:

My first instinct was to buy all of them and throw them in the garbage. It's not honouring us. It's not flattering us. It's making a mockery of our culture. We just don't think it's cool.

Headdresses are worn by chiefs in some of our communities ... It is a symbol of respect and honour and should not be for sale as some sort of cute accessory. It is not honourable nor flattering.

People in my community have kind of been fighting that whole 'hipster headdressing' for awhile now.

Emily Scarlett a spokeswoman for H&M said the company received three complaints about the headdresses and quickly made the decision to remove them from the market.

 

10th August

 Offsite Article: Lads' Mags: Objectification Is Bad...

Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
keeley hazell But So Are Censorship and Sexual Repression. By James Bloodworth

See article from huffingtonpost.co.uk

 

10th August

 Offsite Article: Military and History...

Link Here
history-and knowledge Germany keeps an eye on magazines covering the Nazi period of history

See article from theguardian.com

 

10th August

 Offsite Article: Pruning the Tree of Knowledge...

Link Here
Wikipedia logo Wikipedia Co-Founder Jimmy Wales said he would rather have no Wikipedia in China than comply with any form of censorship.

See article from blogs.wsj.com

 

9th August

 Obituary: Karen Black dies aged 74...

A fine and long career in cult movies and a few horrors
Link Here
KAREN BLACK 24X36 COLOR POSTERKaren Black was an American actress, screenwriter, singer, and songwriter. She is noted for appearing in such films as Easy Rider , Five Easy Pieces , The Great Gatsby , Rhinoceros , The Day of the Locust , Nashville , Airport 1975 , and Alfred Hitchcock' s final film , Family Plot.

Over the course of her career, she won two Golden Globe Awards (out of three nominations), and an Academy Award nomination in 1970 for Best Supporting Actress , among numerous other honors.

And just a few of her films that caught my eye or are in my video collection:

  • Easy Rider (1969)
  • Five Easy Pieces (1970)
  • Drive, He Said (1971)
  • Portnoy's Complaint (1972)
  • The Outfit (1973)
  • Trilogy of Terror (1975)
  • The Day of the Locust (1975)
  • Nashville (1975)
  • Family Plot (1976)
  • Burnt Offerings (1976)
  • In Praise of Older Women (1978)
  • Killer Fish (1979)
  • Police Story: Confessions of a Lady Cop (1980)
  • Come Back to the Five and Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982)
  • Can She Bake a Cherry Pie? (1983)
  • Savage Dawn (1985)
  • Children of the Corn IV: The Gathering (1996)
  • House of 1000 Corpses (2003)

 

9th August

  Banned by the Oppressed Students Revolutionary Force...

Chennai opening of the action movie Thalaivaa cancelled after bomb threats
Link Here

thalaivaaThalaivaa - Time To Lead is a 2013 India action thriller by Vijay.
With Vijay, Amala Paul and Santhanam. YouTube icon BBFC link IMDb

A students' body called Tamil Nadu Oppressed Students Revolutionary Force threatened theatres and multiplexes, following which bookings for the opening night of the film were cancelled.

Members of the group threatened violence if Thalaivaa was screened in the state. According to the group, income tax on the money invested by the distributor of the film Vendhar Movies has been evaded. Besides, the money has been earned by exploiting students of SRM group of educational institutions, it is alleged.

Thalaivaa is being distributed by Vendhar Movies, who own SRM group, one of the biggest educational institutions in the state.

The film had been set to open in 500 theatres in the state of Tamil Nadu. An organisation representing cinema owners has now asked the government to step in and provide the necessary security for the film to open.

The release of the film in other states and other countries including the US and UK remains unaffected.

Cut for UK cinema release

Coincidentally the film has just received its cinema certificate. It was initially passed 15 uncut but the distributors wanted a lower age certificate, so resubmitted for a cut 12A.

The BBFC passed the film 12A for moderate violence and soft drug use after 2:21s of BBFC category cuts. The BBFC commented:

Distributor chose to make cuts to obtain a 12A classification. Cuts made to remove a focus on violence and bloody injuries, including throat slittings and bloody stab wounds, as well as sight of blood on swords and machete blades.

 

9th August

 Update: Society Harmed by Moralists...

The movie Silk Sakkath Hot has been banned for a few days pending a court hearing to consider claims of harm to society
Link Here  full story: Banned Movies in India...Sex, religion and easy offence

silkVeena Malik's Silk Sakkath Hot screening has been halted.

A moralist campaigner has convinced a court stay the movie untill August 10. Bhimashankar Patil, the President of Karnataka Navnirman Sene, filed a petition to ban Silk Sakkath Hot from screening.

Patil claims that the film projects women in a bad taste, and that there are vulgar scenes in the movie in the name of sensuous sequences. The film supposedly sends a bad message to society and allowing such films for screening will harm the society. He also claimed that the posters of the film are as bad as the movie, and it should be removed with immediate effect.

Silk Sakkath Hot has been cleared by the local Regional Censor Board with an 'A' (Adult) certificate.

 

9th August

 Update: Irish Sun Dresses Its Sex Objects in Bikinis...

Page 3 goes clothed in the Irish edition of The Sun
Link Here  full story: Page 3 Girls...Miserable campaigners whinge about page 3 fun

irish sunThe Sun has dropped topless Page 3 pictures in Ireland because of supposed cultural differences between that country and Britain. The editor of the paper's Irish edition, Paul Clarkson, is quoted in the Irish Times as saying :

Page 3 is a hugely popular pillar of the Sun in the UK...

In the Irish Sun we strive to share the qualities that make the newspaper great in print and digital, but we also strive to cater for our own readers' needs and reflect the cultural differences in Ireland.

Roy Greenslade of the Guardian notes that this is a remarkable decision given that the paper has been running pictures of topless women for many years without apparently being aware of the cultural differences .

 

9th August

 Updated: Cooperating with Miserablists...

Co-op demands that lads' mags conceal their covers or else they will be banned from stores
Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills

co-op logoThe Co-operative store chain has given lads' mags six weeks to cover-up their front pages with sealed modesty bags or be taken off sale in its stores.

The 4,000-outlet retailer said it was responding to 'concerns' by some members, customers and colleagues about images of scantily clad women on covers. Titles such as Front, Loaded, Nuts and Zoo have been given a deadline of 9 September to act by the Co-op.

Steve Murrells, retail chief executive for the Co-operative Group, said:

As a community-based retailer, we have listened to the concerns of our customers and members, many of whom say they object to their children being able to see overt sexual images in our stores. 'Welcome move'

Whilst we have tried to mitigate the likelihood of young children seeing the images with a number of measures in store, the most effective way of doing this is for these magazines to be put in individual, sealed modesty bags. As an interim measure, we have introduced our own opaque screens on shelf to reinforce our existing policy limiting the display of such material.

Women and Equalities Minister Jo Swinson said the Co-op's move was very welcome :

Many parents aren't comfortable with the way that sexualised imagery has become like wallpaper - everywhere from the bus stop to the corner shop. Adults should be left to make their own decisions about what legal sexual images they look at, but the place for these is not next to the sweets at children's eye-level. I hope other retailers will follow the Co-operative's lead.

But of course the gender extremists of the Lose the Lads' Mags campaign said the Co-op was not going far enough and are calling for a complete ban:

The Co-operative are attempting to sell their customers short. The so-called 'modesty bags' they are demanding from publishers are designed to allow the Co-operative to continue profiting from sexist, harmful lads' mags - but just a bit more discreetly.

Update: Uncooperative

8th August 2013. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

hands off our nuts logoThe publisher of Nuts men's magazine is refusing to place modesty bags over its magazines, and says it is willing to risk a drop in readership.

The miserable management of the Co-op supermarket had demanded the magazine be delivered in plastic bags that would conceal provocative images of women on the front cover. The chain threatened that it would stop stocking the magazine from 9 September if that did not happen.

Nuts called it an astonishing ultimatum . Editor Dominic Smith told Newsbeat he had been shocked when he heard about it in the media. He said if Co-op now removed Nuts from its shelves, it would encourage its readers to shop elsewhere.

I think Co-op will be surprised that we're not putting it in the bag. I think they were probably hoping for a nice easy PR win. If we do sell a few less issues, then so be it.

Update: Boycott the Co-op

9th August 2013. See article from independent.co.uk

co-op logoThe Co-op has re-iterated that it will ban Nuts and Zoo for not taking up the option of modesty bags:

Our position has not changed. If Nuts and Zoo, or any of the other publications, Loaded and Front, do not put their titles into modesty bags by the date we've given of September 9, we will no longer sell the magazines.

Kate Jones, the Co-operative's head of product development, admitted that the store would lose money over the move. Speaking on ITV's Daybreak, she said:

We will be losing money but we are responding to our customers' concerns.

These are the publications that our customers are telling us they're concerned about. We do everything we can to ensure they are out of sight of children shopping in our shops.

But sometimes during the trading day displays get disrupted. We think a modesty cover would be a fail-safe solution.

 

9th August

  Welcome to Sochi 2014...

Russian curator sacked for not censoring satirical art associated with the upcoming Winter Olympics
Link Here

vasily slonov stalinThe curator of a Russian museum says he was fired for refusing to censor an exhibition which criticises the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games.

Marat Guelman was dismissed as director of the Perm Museum of Contemporary Art after backing the collection, which portrays a dark side of Russia. The work, entitled Welcome Sochi 2014 , was created by artist Vasily Slonov and features the Olympic rings as nooses and loops of barbed wire, bloody axes, grenades and a evil looking caricature of Joseph Stalin in a polar bear suit.

Guelman said that he had been sacked by minister of culture Igor Gladnev:

Gladnev just called me and confirmed the fact of my dismissal. The Ministry of Culture, it seems, has confused its role with that of the FSB [the former KGB].

I had hoped that censorship was impossible and illegal.

The new trend of Russian politics is to divide everyone into groups of 'us' and 'them' and the small liberal islands are getting even smaller.

 

9th August

  Fine Lines Between Mockery and Hate...

Facebook take down group page entitled Virgin Mary Should've Aborted
Link Here

virgin maryA Facebook has taken down a group page entitled Virgin Mary Should've Aborted. The page had at its peak about 6,800 likes. The ban was likely due to complaints from Christian activists.

Created in February, the Mary Should've Aborted page included humerous pictures plus a mix of mockery and truth eg:

The bible is a load of outdated traditional horse manure and has no place in education, laws, politics or government.

Organized religion is a man-made tool to control society and justify oppression, currently dividing and destroying the planet.

The admins encouraged debate on religion and politics, explaining that if individuals are offended by their page then they should join it and offer arguments in response.

A Facebook group called Catholics & Protestants Against FB Religious Discrimination, has been campaigning for a ban. An online petition calling for its removal reached about 16,000 signatures.

Campaigner Cary Bogue spouted:

We're not trying to censor anyone ...BUT.. .this falls under the category of hate speech.

It's one thing to say we're atheists and we're proud of it...it's another thing to say his mother should have aborted him.

A new group page has now been created named Virgin Mary STILL Should've Aborted.

 

9th August

 Offsite Article: The good, the bad, and the ugly of ask.fm...

Link Here
ask fm logo A few examples of what goes down at ask.fm

See article from storify.com

 

9th August

 Offsite Article: Porn filters: 12 reasons why they won't work (and 3 why they might)...

Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
walled garden internet I wonder how many people realise that they will lose half the internet if they turn on David Cameron's website blocking option

See article from theguardian.com

 

8th August

 Update: Necessary Evil?...

Speculation that a cut version of I Spit on Your Grave 2 will be shown at Frightfest
Link Here  full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity

Spit Your Grave Blu raySteven R Monroe's I Spit On Your Grave 2 , is set to play at this year's FrightFest in a few weeks time and there is speculation that this will be a cut version.

bleedingcool.com explains:

Bloody Disgusting have just put up a new still from the film, which you can see at the head of this post, and have mentioned in their copy that a festival cut of the film is playing at FrightFest,

This very special festival cut has been over-seen by the producers specifically for FrightFest 2013 and will be the first time the film will be screened to audiences anywhere.

The film is set for an MPAA Unrated US DVD and Blu-ray release on 24th September so it seems pretty sure that this will be definitive version. Anything else seems likely to be something to keep censors happy.

 

8th August

 update: Another Skirmish in Ofcom's War on Sexy...

Further whinges against Studio 66 babe channels
Link Here

studio66 logoStudio 66 TV Nights Studio 66 TV 3 (Channel 941), 5 March 2013, 00:20 to 00:30
Studio 66 TV Days Studio 66 TV 3 (Channel 941), 17 April 2013, 10:30 to 11:45
Studio 66 TV Nights Studio 66 TV 2 (Channel 938), 17 April 2013, 21:04 to 21:08

Studio 66 TV 2 and Studio 66 TV 3 channels are free to air babe channels owned and operated by the same licensee, 965 TV Ltd.

Ofcom cited examples from the above broadcasts:

Ofcom noted a female presenter wearing red shoes, a black thong, red bra and red fishnet tights. During the broadcast the presenter lay on her back with her legs open to camera and repeatedly gyrated and thrust her hips as if to mime sexual intercourse. She held this position for a prolonged period. Her underwear did not adequately cover her anal area which was clearly visible during this broadcast.

A female presenter was initially shown lying face downwards and wearing a short black crop top that was covering some of her shoulders and breasts, and a pair of cutaway leopard print knickers, exposing the cheeks of her buttocks. Ofcom noted that:

  • the presenter was shown repeatedly rocking her buttocks; and
  • at various times, the presenter adjusted her position so that her crop top did not fully cover the bottom half of her breasts

A female presenter was initially shown lying sideways facing the camera, with bare breasts except for her nipples being covered by a thin strip of black plastic tape. Another thin strip of black plastic tape had been stuck around the presenter's stomach. The presenter's only other clothing was a skimpy pair of black knickers, with what appeared to be a black G-string worn underneath. While the presenter was lying on her side:

  • she was shown occasionally: rocking her body backwards and forwards; and at times touching her breasts, apparently to check to see if the plastic tape was adequately covering her nipples; and
  • the camera occasionally zoomed in and moved down the presenter's body.

At approximately 21:06 the presenter turned to lie on her front, thrusting and rocking her buttocks up and down. In this position, it was apparent that the presenter's knickers were cut away exposing the cheeks of her buttocks

Ofcom considered 

BCAP Rule 32.3: Relevant timing restrictions must be applied to advertisements that, through their content, might harm or distress children of particular ages or that are otherwise unsuitable for them.

BCAP Rule 4.2: Advertisements must not cause serious or widespread offence against generally accepted moral, social or cultural standards.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 32.3 and 4.2

The combination of these images and actions resulted in the material being of a strong sexual nature. Ofcom considered the broadcast included images that are not permitted in adult chat broadcast advertisements that are freely available without mandatory restricted access. Ofcom found this material in breach of Rule 4.2 of the BCAP Code.

And when before the watershed or soon after the broadcasts were in breach of BCAP Code Rule 32.3.

Given previous code breaches, Ofcom is requiring the Licensee to attend a meeting to discuss its compliance procedures.

 

7th August

  Snowpiercer...

Americans have to wait whilst Hollywood dumbs it down
Link Here

snowpiercerSnowpiercer is a 2013 South Korea/USA/France action Sci-Fi drama by Joon-ho Bong.
With Chris Evans, Jamie Bell and Alison Pill. YouTube icon IMDb

Summary Notes

In a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off most life on the planet, a class system evolves aboard the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe via a perpetual-motion engine.

Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer opened in the director's native South Korea last week, and will continue to roll out around the world for the next couple of months. It has broken box-office records at home and is very well-reviewed across the board. But despite having a US distributor in The Weinstein Co., the film has yet to announce a U.S. opening date. Now we know what the holdup is.

Harvey Weinstein reportedly has plans to chop up Snowpiercer, reducing its running time by about 20 minutes. And it's not because the film's bloated or unwieldy. It's because in his opinion, according to one report, Midwesterners are too stupid to understand the movie as-is.

Film critic Tony Rayns explained that the cuts will remove much of the character work to make the film play more like a traditional action movie. In addition, voiceovers will be added to the beginning and end of the film.

Rayns reports that the U.K., for one, isn't interested in having Snowpiercer watered down.

Update: Good news for European film fans

18th November 2013. See article from blogs.indiewire.com

Good news for European film fans. Director Bong Joon-ho explained:

Me and The Weinstein Company are still negotiating about everything. The movie at the festival, the French version is my own director's cut. In Korea, Japan, France and many other European countries have all bought my director's cut. And for North America we are still negotiating with The Weinstein Company, we are discussing.

 

7th August

  Sexy Week in the Sun...

TV adverts cleared by advert censor
Link Here

sun newspaper logoTV ads and a VOD ad promoted different editions of The Sun newspaper:

a. A TV ad for The Sun stated This Saturday it's all going on in The Sun . On-screen text stated Sexy Week alongside an image of some lips, surrounded by photographs of Myleene Klass posing in a bikini and two other female celebrities, then featured a photo of Cheryl Cole next to a mannequin of herself. The voice-over stated It's Sexy Week and we have 50 spicy tips for hot sex and Plus we begin our countdown of Britain's ten sexiest babes (as voted for by you).

b. A TV ad for The Sun on Sunday stated This Sunday it's all going on in The Sun . On-screen text stated SEXCLUSIVE and featured photographs of four female celebrities. The voice-over stated, Our Sexy Week climaxes tomorrow with the winner of Britain's sexiest babes , which was followed by an image of the upper body of a female celebrity in nightwear, alongside the on-screen text SEXCLUSIVE . The voice-over continued, Plus get our 'Lovers Guide to Hotter Sex'.

c. A TV ad for The Scottish Sun on Sunday featured the same content as ad (b).

d. A VOD ad, viewed on the ITV Player during Britain's Got Talent and British Animal Honours 2013, featured the same content as ad (b)

1. Forty-eight viewers challenged whether ads (a), (b) and (c) were inappropriately scheduled, because the sexual themes and references to sex were unsuitable to be shown around family programmes likely to be seen by children;

2. Four viewers challenged whether ads (a) and (b) were offensive because they were sexist and objectified women.

3. Two complainants also challenged whether ad (d) was appropriate to be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted that ad (a) featured a woman in a bikini and ads (b) and (c) featured women in nightwear and a cropped top, but did not consider they were overtly sexual images or that the women were featured in sexualised poses. Moreover, we considered that the impact of the images was further reduced due to the brief duration of the images and the fast cutting style of the ad.

We did consider that the content of the voice-over was mildly sexual in content, but noted that it was describing the features of the forthcoming issues of the Sun and, whilst that content might be inappropriate for broadcast at times when children were likely to be watching TV unaccompanied, we acknowledged that Clearcast had applied a restriction which prevented the ads from being broadcast in or around programmes directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children. We also noted that the ads had been broadcast at around 7:45 pm and 8 pm, and considered that further reduced the likelihood of them being seen by unsupervised children.

Although we acknowledged that the complainants considered the ads had been inappropriately broadcast during family programmes, we considered that the scheduling restriction applied was sufficient and concluded the ads were not inappropriate for broadcast when children might be watching TV in family viewing time.

We investigated ads (a), (b) and (c) under BCAP Code rules 4.1, 4.2 (Harm and offence), 32.3 (Scheduling of Television and Radio Advertisements - Under-16s), but did not find them in breach.

2. Not upheld

As set out under point 1, we considered that the ads contained some mildly sexual content and noted they featured women dressed, for example, in a bikini, nightwear and a cropped top, but also featured women in other styles of dress, and, in ad (a), also promoted the acting talents of Sheridan Smith. Although we noted that the ads predominantly featured images of women in the context of its Britain's ten sexiest babes feature and acknowledged that some viewers might consider a feature of that kind to be sexist and to objectify women, in light of the content of the ads, we did not consider it inappropriate for the ads to promote its Sexiest babes feature or consider that the portrayal was likely to cause offence.

Because we considered that viewers would be likely to be aware of the kind of articles and images which often featured in the Sun and would view the content of the ad as representative of that publication, and because we considered that content of the ads was not overtly sexually provocative or explicit, we concluded that they were unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

We investigated ads (a), (b) and (c) under BCAP Code rules 4.2 (Harm and offence) but did not find them in breach.

3. Not upheld

We understood that ad (d) had been scheduled so it would not appear around programmes directed at or likely to appeal particularly to children. For the reasons detailed under point 1, which related to a TV ad with the same content as ad (d), we considered that the scheduling restriction applied was sufficient and concluded that ad (d) was not inappropriate for broadcast when children might be watching online TV content in family viewing time and was not in breach of the Code.

We investigated ad (d) under CAP Code rules 1.3 (Responsible advertising) and 4.1 (Harm and offence), but did not find it in breach.

 

7th August

 Update: A Heritage of Censorship...

Turkish Supreme Court censors French erotic novel
Link Here

The Exploits Young Juan IreneTurkey's Supreme Court of Appeals has overturned a previous ruling of acquittals of supposed obscenity regarding Guillaume Apollinaire's The Exploits of Young Don Juan .

Ruling that the previous ruling was unlawful , Supreme Court of Appeals said the book could not be considered within the freedom of expression.

Irfan Sanci, owner of Sel Publishing House, told bianet:

It is impossible to agree with Supreme Court of Appeals verdict. On the other hand, Guillaume Apollinaire's written works have been recognized as world heritage by European Parliament. In a way, they are prosecuting the world heritage here.

We don't appreciate the fact that experts are to determine whether a book is literary or not. This decision can only be made by readers, publishers and editors. You can't say a book is literary because the court said so. However, we applied to court for expert report after a report by Prime Ministry Protecting Youngsters From Obscene Publications Council.

Previously, publishing house owner Irfan Sanci and translator Ismail Yerguz stood trial for translating and publishing supposedly obscene material. Istanbul 2nd Assize Court acquitted the book, saying that it didn't include any crime elements. The case was sent to Supreme Court of Appeal. The chamber unanimously overthrew the previous ruling, ordering a new trial.

The Supreme Court censors explained their verdict:

The aforementioned book in trial included content with no story frame and solely simple expression to arouse sexual instincts. Through the narrative of children, it uses a language where anal, lesbian, unnatural and bestial relations are depicted. Those expressions degrades society's general moral values, provoked and violated sexual desires, and disgusted readers with depictions of characters' excretion. The aforementioned book was not based on artistic point of view. It is unacceptable that a French translation including pervert expression on family members, same sexes and animals could be considered as symbol of open-mindedness within the borders of expression freedom in a democratic society.

 

7th August

 Update: Oppression of People's Websites...

Chinese authorities shut down websites related to legal rights and anti-corruption reporting
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

global voices advocacy logoOver 100 illegal websites have been shut down by Chinese authorities since early May. Many believe that the crackdown is aimed at independent watchdog sites in mainland China.

According to the State Internet Information Office, the 107 websites were shut down for failing to obtain official permission to establish and run sites, allegedly blackmailing government and corporate officials, and using terms such as China and people in their names.

However the Chinese authorities didn't mention the onerous expense and conditions that make it nearly impossible for small websites to actually obtain such permission.

For individuals or small groups wanting to start their own websites, these regulations create large, often insurmountable obstacles. Many do not have the resources to comply with government requests for content removal and user data, which can easily become a full-time job for one or more people. Others are unable to obtain the costly business licenses needed to apply for an online content provider license.

To get around these bureaucratic procedures, some choose to affiliate themselves with established institutions or corporations so that they can register as a web-branch of a legitimate entity. Currently, there are many privately-run websites registered as web-branches of established institutions. A crackdown on these web-branches would be disastrous.

A handful of sites on the crackdown list are indeed linked to corporate extortion. But most of the so-called blackmailing activities are citizen initiatives that uncover corruption of government officials and party members.

Websites that use terms such as people , China and Chinese to name themselves are considered fraudulent and thus deemed illegal . The Chinese authorities claimed that websites such as People's Voices or People's shopping , People's News mislead the public, giving the false impression that these sites are affiliated with the Party's mouthpiece, the People's Daily.

Among the sites recently taken down are several devoted to citizen legal rights and anti-corruption efforts, including China Legal Rights Net, Xiaoxiang Anti-corruption Forum, Legal Rights Defense Net, China Legal System Monitor, People's Rights Monitor, Legal Report, People's Petition, and many other similar organizations.

 

7th August

  Sexist, Racist and Americanist...

US DVD cover provokes 'outrage' over prominence of its American star
Link Here

Sapphires Chris ODowdThe US distributor of Australian film The Sapphires has apologised for a DVD cover appearing to focus on Hollywood actor Chris O'Dowd at the expense of his Aboriginal but less well known female co-stars.

Anchor Bay Entertainment it regrets any unintentional upset and that it was now considering new cover art.

The Sapphires tells of an all-female Australian Aboriginal singing group that entertained US troops in Vietnam. It was a box office hit Down Under and won 11 AACTA awards earlier this year.

The Australian DVD cover places the actresses playing the Sapphires in the foreground, with O'Dowd standing behind them. Their positions are inverted on the US cover, which places O'Dowd front and centre and relegates his co-stars well into the background.

The design has prompted some commentators to accuse Anchor Bay of being both sexist and racist.

A change.org protest has attracted almost 18,000 supporters.

 

7th August

 Offsite Article: Asking About Ask...

Link Here
ask fm logo Ask.fm is a social networking site with 60 million users. It's a place where kids can gossip without adults around. But lately the playground atmosphere has turned nasty and it has been linked to a spate of teenage suicides

See article from theguardian.com

 

7th August

 Offsite Article: Anti-Social Legislation Order...

Link Here
House of Commons logo A terrifying attack on our civil liberties is going through Parliament

See article from liberalconspiracy.org

 

7th August

 Offsite Article: Declining Internet Freedom in 2013...

Link Here
Ragged Union Jack Britain gets sandwiched between Vietnam and Jordan in an article on internet censorship

See article from washingtonpost.com

 

7th August

 Offsite Article: What do you get on TV when everything is banned...

Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in China...TV censors SARFT
the voice of  china logo Wall to wall talent shows. And now the Chinese TV censors have had enough of them too

See article from blogs.wsj.com

 

6th August

 update: War on Sexy...

Ofcom resumes its whinge against babe channels starting with Studio 66
Link Here

studio66 logoStudio 66 Days
Studio 66 TV 1 (Channel 912), 4 April 2013, 11:30 to 12:05

Studio 66 Days is a segment of free to air interactive daytime chat advertising content broadcast on the service Studio 66 TV 1 (Sky Channel 912). Viewers are invited to contact on-screen presenters via premium rate telephony services ( PRS ). All dress and behaviour should be non-sexual in tone and apparent intent.

The licence for Studio 66 TV 1 is owned and operated by 914 TV Limited.

As part of its routine monitoring, Ofcom assessed some advertising content broadcast on 4 April 2013 between 11:30 and 12:05 featuring a female presenter. The presenter was wearing a low cut, black and white spotted strapless one-piece, and shown lying on her side with her legs apart while thrusting her body backwards and forwards, and gyrating her hips. Ofcom further noted that:

  • on several occasions one of the presenter's nipples was partially exposed, due to the one-piece falling down. Furthermore, the presenter was shown repeatedly pulling the top of the one-piece up to ensure that her nipples were adequately covered;

  • from 11:42 to 11:45, the presenter switched position to lie on her back, with her legs apart, while she continued to gyrate her hips and thrusting backwards and forwards; and

  • at various times, the presenter caressed her inner thigh, breasts, and buttocks.

Ofcom considered Broadcasting Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) Rule 32.3, which states:

Relevant timing restrictions must be applied to advertisements that, through their content, might harm or distress children of particular ages or that are otherwise unsuitable for them.

914 TV apologised for this incident. The Licensee said that: we agree that this piece of content fell short of complying with both our own internal guidelines and Ofcom's published guidance regarding 'Daytime Chat' . The Licensee, however, made a number of representations by way of mitigation.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rule 32.3

Ofcom noted that the female presenter was wearing clothing that did not adequately cover her body, in particular a one-piece which repeatedly slipped down to expose one of the presenter's nipples. While wearing this outfit, the presenter acted in a sexualised manner: she was shown lying on her side for prolonged periods of time, her legs apart whilst thrusting her body backwards and forwards, and gyrating her hips (albeit away from camera), so as to mimic sexual intercourse. She also caressed her breasts, inner thighs and buttocks in a sexually suggestive manner. Ofcom concluded that this material was unsuitable for children.

In view of earlier findings and subsequent guidance, Ofcom is very concerned that 914 TV has again broadcast material that has breached Rule 32.3 of the BCAP Code. Given the Code breaches recorded in this Finding, Ofcom is requiring the Licensee to attend a meeting to discuss its compliance procedures.

Breach of BCAP Rule 32.3

 

6th August

  Propaganda Games...

Russian game distributors withdraw Company of Heroes 2 after complaints of the USSR being depicted as baddies
Link Here

Company Heroes 2 PC DVDAfter numerous Russian Company of Heroes 2 players expressed issues with the game's portrayal of the Soviet Union in World War II, the game's distributor, 1C-SoftClub, has withdrawn the game from sale.

The game publisher Sega, has also released a statement to GameSpot:

Sega and Relic are aware of the press stories circulating concerning Company of Heroes 2 and the historical context of the game from a Russian perspective.

At this time we cannot offer any further comment, however we are taking this issue very seriously and are investigating these concerns thoroughly with all relevant partners.

Some gamers have taken issue with Company of Heroes 2 for supposed Western bias. A Change.org petition has been launched calling on Valve to remove the game from Steam to protect the young people from that propaganda.

 

6th August

 Updated: Anally Probed Censors...

A cut version of Saints Row IV sees the game unbanned by the censors
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban

Saints Row IV Commander ChiefA cut version of the computer game Saints Row IV has been classified MA15+ by the Australian Censorship Board.

An optional side mission has been removed. The mission contained the use of a substance Volition referred to as alien narcotics which improved certain superpowers temporarily within the game. The cut episode represents about 20 minutes of game play.

The anal probe weapon, which was highlighted as problematic when the Censorship Board initially rated Saints Row IV RC back in June, is due to be available in Australia as part of scheduled online update which has been agreed with the censors.

Update: Aussies thrown out of international gameplay

6th August 2013. See  article from  ausgamers.com

Game developer Deep Silver has revealed that the recent Australian cut version of Saints Row 4 will not enable play with international fans in the optional co-op mode. The company explained:

We feel that you deserve to know what you are getting in Australia. Due to the changes we were forced to make, this version is different than the version rated by rating boards like the ESRB, USK, and PEGI, which is why it will be incompatible with those versions in co-op.

The Facebook post also revealed that the other controversial topic for classification, the Rectifier weapon that acted as an anal probe, is still under consideration on whether to be included in the Season Pass for Australian versions.

Uncut in New Zealand

Those in New Zealand who are concerned they may also be getting a cut version will be happy to know that this isn't the case. Gamers will have access to both international co-op and the Rectifier weapon in the uncut version.

 

6th August

  Another Brick in the Wall...

Jewish group takes offense at being included in Roger Waters' symbols representing fascist regimes
Link Here

roger waters pig videoFormer Pink Floyd bassist Roger Waters has been accused anti-semitism by a leading rabbi because of a prop used on stage during a recent world tour.

The musician, who is a vocal pro-Palestinian campaigner, came under fire last week after he floated a balloon of a giant pig emblazoned with several symbols considered to represent fascist regimes including the Crucifix, the Star of David, the Crescent and Star, the Hammer and Sickle, the Shell Oil Logo and The McDonald's Sign, a Dollar Sign and a Mercedes sign

The move sparked 'fury' within the international Jewish community, including that of Rabbi Abraham Cooper, of the human rights group Simon Wiesenthal Center, who branded the showpiece a grotesque display of Jew-hatred . He said:

With this disgusting display Roger Waters has made it crystal clear: forget Israel, never mind "limited boycotts promoting Middle East Peace", Waters is an open hater of Jews. The video is beyond shocking. The only books this bigot should be getting should be with the Mullahs in Iran and the Muslim Brotherhood.

But Waters almost immediately issued an impassioned retort on Facebook, in which he called Cooper's remarks:

So wild and bigoted they demand a response. I hold your outburst to be inflammatory and un-helpful and would suggest it can only impede progress towards peace and understanding between people. It is also extremely insulting to me personally in that you accuse me of being 'Anti Semitic, A Jew Hater and Nazi Sympathizer.

The Wall Show, so lamely attacked by you, Is many things. It is thoughtful, life affirming, ecumenical, humane, loving, anti war, anti colonial, pro universal access to the law, pro liberty, pro collaboration, pro dialogue, pro peace, anti authoritarian, anti fascist, anti apartheid, anti dogma, international in spirit, musical and satirical.

 

6th August

 Update: Rumours of Overreaction...

Thai Government doesn't like Facebook likes
Link Here  full story: Red ShIrt Censorship in Thailand...Overt censorship of Thaksin supporting politicians

danger likePolice in Thailand have opened investigations of four people for supposedly causing panic by posting rumours of a possible military coup on Facebook.

Such rumours are commonplace in Thailand and it would take more than a few articles on Facebook to create even a credible rumour. But of course authorities are prone to go over the top, and a police chief has threatened to charge anyone who even liked the postings.

The move comes as Bangkok braces for possible political protests this week coinciding with a reconciliation bill related to the 2006 coup in the country.

Technology Crime Suppression division chief Police Maj. Gen. Pisit Paoin said that the four posted Facebook entries with false information that could damage the country. Among those accused are Sermsuk Kasitipradit, the political editor of public television channel TPBS, and a local pro-government protest leader. The postings mentioned a possibility of a military coup and urged the public to hoard food and water. Pisit threatened:.

Those who 'liked' and 'shared' the posts will also face charges, so we would like to ask the public to contemplate very carefully about the way they use social media,

More than 1,000 anti-government protesters kicked off a rally in Bangkok on Sunday as lawmakers were scheduled to deliberate on the controversial bill on Wednesday. Last week, the government invoked the Internal Security Act in three Bangkok districts, citing the possibility of protest violence. The act, in effect from Aug. 1 - 10, authorizes officials to seal off roads, take action against security threats, impose curfews and ban the use of electronic devices in designated areas. Peaceful and unarmed rallies are allowed under the law.

 

5th August

  Hands Off Our Games...

The Last of Us video game published in a censored version for European
Link Here

Last Us Playstation 3Computer game producer Naughty Dog has confirmed that the European version of The Last of Us has bee censored compared with the American release.

After weeks of questions from suspicious players, a community manager answered a private message from a user, and their response was posted on the Naughty Dog forums:

The gore and violence ratings are subject to local regulatory boards in various countries, so the game must be slightly changed in order to accommodate those choices, the representative wrote. If you import the North/South American version, it will not be censored, but EU/UK will be.

The version of the game released in Europe, Australia and other PAL territories is missing certain elements of gore in multiplayer mode. Survivors cannot be dismembered (with limbs disintegrating into meaty chunks), and there's much less blood. Gameplay in single player mode is uncensored in all versions.

The cuts seem to have been implemented to pre-empt the censorial requirements of Germany and Australia. European gamers outside of Germany are annoyed that their versions are unnecessarily cut, and are also annoyed that the secretive approach meant they lost the opportunity to buy the uncut US version.

 

5th August

 Update: Janet Jackson's Malfunctioning Wardrobe Not Yet Lain to Rest...

FCC reveals that, by a majority of 1000 to 1, consultation responses called for a continued policy of fining broadcasters for fleeting nudity and strong language
Link Here  full story: FCC TV Censors...FCC wound up by nudity and fleeting expletives

fcc logoThe Parents Television Council (PTC) has issued a press release commenting on the FCC proposal to end fines for broadcasting fleeting strong language and nudity like Janet Jackson's 'wardrobe malfunction'.

The PTC President Tim Winter wrote in a press release:

The FCC asked for the public's comment, and they got it. By a margin of nearly 1,000 to 1, the American public told the FCC to enforce existing broadcast indecency law, and not to weaken it. The only question now before the FCC is whether to heed or disregard the public's comments that they, themselves, asked for.

The broadcast networks and their agents continue to cloud the issue at hand by arguing against the very existence of the broadcast indecency law. They are trying to re-litigate the Supreme Court cases that they lost, rather than focus on the FCC's proposal to focus only on 'egregious' instances of indecency.

It is essential for the FCC to remember whose interest it is that they are mandated by Congress to serve. The sheer volume of public comments -- over 102,000 comments that were individually filed by individual Americans, and were roughly 1,000 to 1 in favor of keeping existing indecency standards -- speaks louder than the broadcast networks that want to dismantle the law.

The American people have spoken. We call on the FCC to hear and to heed the public's overwhelming support for the existing broadcast indecency law. And we call on the Commission to reject the proposed change to the law as crafted by its outgoing and now-departed chairman.

 

5th August

 Update: Never Enough Censorship...

Now the Daily Mail pushes for UK adult websites to be forced into the .xxx top level domain
Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet

xxx logoBritain hosts the third biggest volume of internet pornography in the world and is home to more than half a million sites. There are more than 52million pages of pornographic content in the country registered under the national domain .co.uk.

There are no restrictions on pornographers registering their sites under Britain's domain name, for which a private company called Nominet UK is responsible.

John Carr, an anti-porn campaigner acting as an adviser to the government on child internet safety, called on Nominet to ban websites containing certain words like rape and said the free for all should end. He said that all porn sites should be under the domain name .xxx and declared:

The UK should not provide succour and comfort to porn merchants. Nominet should have a policy that websites registered under the national domain name do not contain depraved or disgusting words. People should not be able to register websites that bring disgrace to this country under the national domain name.

Ed Vaizey, the communications minister, is now writing to Nominet to ask what its plans are to prevent abusive behaviour . He added that he took Carr's complaint 'extremely seriously' .

The evidence that Britain hosts more pornography than any other country apart from the US and Holland will be presented by a web analysis company called MetaCert this week. Apparently Britain hosted six times as many porn web pages as Germany in fourth place and ten times as many as France in fifth place. The US is home to nearly two-thirds of the world's pornography.

 

5th August

 Offsite Article: First they came for the porn stars: the problem with an online filter...

Link Here
newstatesman logo The idea that you can tackle misogyny with a porn filter or a plastic bag is one of the more ludicrous conceits of social conservatives in modern times.

See article from newstatesman.com

 

5th August

 Offsite Article: Video Police...

Link Here
Tunisia flag Turkish police don't see the funny side to stage satire about the country's justice system

See article from bloomberg.com

 

4th August

  Warning: According to the BBFC this article is only suitable for adults...

BBFC details policy about the number of uses of the word 'cunt' in a 15 rated film
Link Here

Worlds End DVD Simon PeggThe World's End screenwriter, Edgar Wright, asked the BBFC about how many light hearted uses of the word 'cunt' are allowed in a 15 rated film.

Senior Examiner Craig Lapper provided an interesting and detailed reply about current BBFC policy.

The BBFC's Guidelines at 15 state:

The strongest terms (for example, 'cunt') may be acceptable if justified by the context. Aggressive or repeated use of the strongest language is unlikely to be acceptable .

As a general rule, it is highly unusual for the BBFC to permit more than three or four uses of very strong language at 15 in a feature length work. In terms of context, it is more likely that we would pass throwaway, matter-of-fact, or comic uses than uses that are aggressive, personally directed, or accompanied by complicating factors such as violence, threat, racism, or a power imbalance (for example, male to female uses are more of a problem than the other way around). In an extreme case, even a single aggressive use can push a film to 18 (for example, if a man were hitting a woman and calling her a cunt, or a man of one race hitting a person of a different race and using very strong language in combination with racist terms). Similarly, putting several uses together in a very short space of time may breach the 'repeated section of our Guidelines and cause problems at 15. It is generally better if uses are spread out somewhat.

As you say, we passed a single use in SHAUN OF THE DEAD because the use in question was throwaway, unthreatening, and essentially a term of endearment amongst friends ("Can I get any of you cunts a drink?"). In the case of HOT FUZZ we actually permitted two uses, one spoken and one written. First of all, we see the word 'cunt' on the list of prohibited terms on the swearbox in the police station and then we hear 'What a cunt' when a man tells his friend about a man who sold drugs to kids. In the first case, the use was written (which reduces its impact) and of course lacked any aggression. In the second case, the use was not aggressive and was not personally directed but instead uttered about a person who is not present at the time.

So, the answer to your question is that it is possible to receive a 15 with three or four uses, provided they are not aggressive or threatening or complicated by any kind of power imbalance. However, it's best not to concentrate them together into a short outburst and we'd certainly caution against more than three or four uses.

 

4th August

  Abuse in 140 Characters...

Twitter set to introduce buttons to report tweets
Link Here

Twitter logoThe boss of Twitter UK has said sorry to women who have experienced abuse on the social networking site. Tony Wang said the threats were simply not acceptable and pledged to do more to tackle abusive behaviour.

The apology came as Twitter updated its rules and confirmed it would introduce an in-tweet report abuse button on all platforms, including desktops.

In a series of tweets, Twitter UK general manager Wang said:

I personally apologize to the women who have experienced abuse on Twitter and for what they have gone through. The abuse they've received is simply not acceptable. It's not acceptable in the real world, and it's not acceptable on Twitter. There is more we can and will be doing to protect our users against abuse. That is our commitment.

Twitter has clarified its guidance on abuse and spam - reiterating that users may not engage in targeted abuse or harassment . The report abuse button already available on the iOS Twitter app and mobile site will also be rolled out to the main website and Android app from September, Twitter said. The bosses said in the blog that additional staff were being added to the teams that handle reports of abuse.

 

4th August

  Don't Tell Putin...

Bloodhound Gang Bassist offends Russians after stuffing flag into his pants
Link Here

Show Your Hits Bloodhound GangUS rock group Bloodhound Gang has been banned from a Russian music festival in Odessa after a band member stuffed the Russian flag into his underpants on stage.

Culture Minister Vladimir Medinsky described the band as idiots and added :

I spoke to the Krasnodar region authorities. Bloodhound Gang is packing their suitcases,

Bass player Jared Hasselhoff was seen in a video pushing the flag into the front of his pants and pulling them out of the back. Don't tell Putin, Hasselhoff said to applause as he grabbed a Russian flag from the wall behind and performed the stunt.

Local media reports later said that Hasselhoff had been questioned by police. The head of Russia's Investigations Committee, Vladimir Markin, said his department was prepared to pursue criminal charges against all those involved if prosecutors decided there was a case.

Hasselhoff later apologised for the stunt.

 

4th August

 Update: Encyclopaedic Knowledge...

Wikipedia founder explains that Cameron's internet censorship plans are absolutely ridiculous
Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet

jimmy walesDavid Cameron's plan to protect children from obscene material online has been dismissed as absolutely ridiculous by Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales. He said:

It's an absolutely ridiculous idea. It won't work. The software you would use to implement this doesn't work.

My view is that instead of spending literally billions of pounds, billions of dollars, snooping on ordinary people and gathering up all of this data in an apparently fruitless search for terrorists, we should devote a significant proportion of that to dealing with the real criminal issues online - people stealing credit card numbers, hacking into websites and things like that.

Unfortunately we're not seeing a lot of that. We see a lot of flash and a lot of snooping. But this is, at the end of the day, going to take an investment in real, solid police work.

Wales said problems like online child abuse, hacking social media sites and abusive or threatening messages could be tackled without the introduction of new legislation.

Wales also spoke of the issue of abusive tweets. He suggested that Twitter should make it easier for users to report abuse, but rejected calls for tighter censorship of the social network. He said:

When you think about rules about verbal threats, human society has a long history of rules and laws around this, and those rules and laws are very well thought-out. They deal with complicated cases.

I do think that Twitter has needed in the past to do more to give people more control of the environment, to allow faster means for people to complain and to have people behaving badly exposed, blocked or arrested as necessary.

But it is not like we don't have a law against threatening people. We do, and people are quite rightly being called up on this.

 

3rd August

  Clearer Ratings...

ESRB game rating symbols slightly updated for readability
Link Here

esrb ratings 2013The US Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) is altering the appearance of its game rating symbols for the first time in more than a decade. The organization is tweaking the icons so they're clear and easy to recognise.

This redesign is a subtle shift from the existing style The ESRB has removed the tiny font phrase: content rated by, leaving only the ESRB name below the rating letter. The name of the rating now appears in black text on a white background. And the registered trademark symbol has been moved from the top left corner to the bottom right.

The goal is really to ensure that our symbols are displaying as clearly and legibly as possible in the increasing variety of environments that they're being displayed [in], including online and [on] mobile devices, said Patricia Vance, president of the ESRB, to Polygon over email. The old icons were originally designed to appear in prominent locations on game boxes and in trailers and advertisements, and for the new style, the ESRB wanted a design that would be just as clear at a lower resolution.

Vance added that the ESRB didn't want to radically redesign the rating icons because they're familiar symbols parents have come to recognize and trust.

 

3rd August

 Update: Every Little Censor Helps...

Tesco pressurise lads' mags into using less sexy covers
Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
censored lads magZoo, Nuts and Front have agreed to self censor their front covers as demanded by Tesco. The supermarket has been lobbied by anti-sex miserablists. The new censorship code will apply only to the magazines' covers.

Highly explicit front covers of lads' mags may be a thing of the past, Tesco said. Zoo, Nuts and Front have agreed to make their covers more modest , the retailer said, meaning no more nudity, with less salacious coverlines and a more conservative feel.

nuts cover august 2013

  Latest Issue of Nuts

In addition to demanding toned-down covers, the store said Nuts, Zoo, Front and Bizarre would now be sold only to customers over 18, to reassure parents who do not want their children to be able to purchase these titles , and the magazines will be displayed at the back of sales racks, where their covers will be obscured by other magazines.

Of course the censorship campaigners dismissed the move as a half-measure that doesn't address the harm of these publications .

Kat Banyard, founder of UK Feminista, one of two groups behind the Lose the Lad Mags campaign , said that lobbying to have the titles removed from shelves altogether would continue, because they are deeply harmful. They fuel sexist behaviours which underpin violence against women.

Nuts, which is published by IPC Media, said it had introduced new covers ... which have a more conservative tone several weeks ago, adding: We are delighted with our readers' response and this week's issue is our biggest selling since February. While previous issues have shown women fully topless with their nipples covered by headlines or their hands or hair, and promising the boobiest shoot ever or big-boobed brunettes , recent editions of Nuts feature models in less highly sexualised poses, wearing slightly more modest lingerie.

 

3rd August

 Offsite Article: You Know What Other Countries Cover Up Lads' Mags?...

Link Here  full story: Lads Mags...Blaming lads mags for all the world's ills
censored lads mag Misogynistic Islamist Ones. By Brendan O'Neill

See article from huffingtonpost.co.uk

 

3rd August

  Bookshop Censors Recommend...

Tampa by Alissa Nutting
Link Here

Tampa Alissa NuttingA new novel about a female teacher who seduces a 14-year-old boy student is too hot to handle for two Australian bookshops.

Written by American debut novelist Alissa Nutting, Tampa follows the story of sociopathic sexual predator Celeste Price, 26, who seduces one of her high school students.

Victorian booksellers are stocking the book, but Dymocks Camberwell has put a R18+ sticker on it. But Queensland bookstore owner, Stephanie Walkem, who has Angus and Robertson shops said she would not be selling Tampa at either of her outlets. She said:

While I believe it is vital that we continually push the boundaries of modern writing ...[BUT]... I did not take this book because it would require careful hand selling.

Publisher Allen and Unwin is promoting the title as sure to be the most controversial book of the year. A spokesman said:

It would be easy for moral outrage to swamp this critically acclaimed and thought-provoking novel, especially from those who haven't read it.

 

3rd August

 Offsite Article: Crap website blocking algorithms by Fortiguard...

Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet
Nazi Zombie Death Tales DVD Blocked! Pornography, The Filter and Me by Pat Higgins

See article from huffingtonpost.co.uk

 

2nd August

 Update: Supercensor...

Pakistan's film censor bans Man of Steel
Link Here  full story: Banned Films in Pakistan...Sensitive issues of image and religion

Man Steel Two Disc Special UltraVioletPakistan's film censor board has banned the screening of Sanjay Dutt's Policegiri and Zack Snyder's Man Of Steel.

No specific reasons were cited for the decision. A press release issued by the Central Film Censor Board only said the ban was imposed as the films violated the Motion Pictures Ordinance of 1979.

Both movies were released in cinema halls in major Pakistani cities several weeks ago. They are still being screened in some cities like Karachi and Lahore.

 

2nd August

 Offsite Article: Crippling free speech in the name of actions against trafficking...

Link Here
aclu logo US state attorney generals ask for safe harbour protections to be dismantled so they can pursue their pet projects against hyped up problems of sex trafficking

See article from aclu.org

 

1st August

 Update: The Censorative Party...

57% of Conservative MPs support David Cameron's internet censorship policy
Link Here  full story: David Cameron's Internet Porn Ban...Attempting to ban everything on the internet

conservative party logoThe ToryDiary website writes:

Respondents were asked in our latest survey whether or not they supported David Cameron's proposals on the internet and pornography.

  • 57 per cent said that they do.
  • 27 per cent said that they don't.
  • 15 per cent said that they have no view.

This represents decisive support for the Prime Minister's proposals, which have been strongly driven by the Culture Department. It's worth adding that at this stage this is very much support in principle: we have yet to see the detail.

However Tory MPs don't seem to be lining up make their pro-censorship views known to the electorate. Perhaps too many votes to be lost.

 

1st August

 Extract: A Letter to the Co-op...

I am worried about this overall message that demonises the female body and buys into the tradition that female flesh is sinful and corrupting. It is this mentality that spurred the Witch Trials of the 16th Century.
Link Here

co-op logoA letter from Edie Lamort, feminist and sexual freedom activist, to the Co-operative Group about their latest censorship decision:

...As a woman I find the current trend towards more puritan values very disturbing. Lobby groups such as UK Feminista and Object represent the more extreme and fanatical end of this trend and I am very disappointed that the Co-op has buckled under pressure from them. With the proposed censoring of the Internet last week and the general moral panic at the moment about sexualisation this is another retrograde step. It is almost like we are experiencing a sexual counter-revolution.

I am worried about this overall message that demonises the female body and buys into centuries old patriarchal tradition that female flesh is sinful and corrupting. It is this mentality that spurred the Witch Trials of the 16th Century and in more recent times has cast a veil of silence over sexual abuse. It leads to an environment where people are made to feel shame about a perfectly natural urge leading to anger and frustration rather than self-awareness and understanding.

...Read the full letter

 

1st August

 Updated: Miserable Morality...

Morality in Media turned down in their quest to get adult magazines banned from military bases
Link Here  full story: Morality in Media...Misreable campaigners for censorship

morality in media logoUngrateful US moralists from Morality in Media have been aggressively campaigning to get porn magazines totally banned from military bases.

But now a top Pentagon official has stood up for the troops explaining that adult magazines are allowed for sale on military installations because they do not meet the definition of indecent material.

According to a story in The Military Times , Frederick Vollrath, assistant secretary of defense for readiness and force management, in response to a complaint from Morality in Media, said publications such as Playboy, Penthouse and Nude, do not meet the federal definition of indecent material, and are thus allowed for sale on Department of Defense property.

Morality in Media had complained that the magazines should not be sold on DOD property because it violates the Military Honor and Decency Act of 1996 which prohibits the sale or rental at military exchanges of material in which the dominant theme ... depicts or describes nudity, including sexual or excretory activities or organs in a lascivious way.

Morality in Media subsequently spewed that his response would be hilarious if it were not so tragic. The group said it does not understand why the Pentagon will continue to sell porn magazines despite being in the midst of its unprecedented sexual exploitation scandal.

Update: Freedoms not worth fight for

1st August 2013. See  article from  pornharms.com

Army and Air Force Exchange Service (AAFES) have decided to remove porn  magazines from their shelves.

The development comes after the release of a Department of Defense letter claiming that pornography magazines can be sold on base.