Censor Watch
 2009: September
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15th October   

Update: British Freedom of Speech Belittled...

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

California passes a law to ignore UK libel judgements
Link Here  full story: Libel Tourism...UK prosecutions of books published abroad

California state seal The state of California has banned libel tourism in an effort to resist the influence of British judges.

Its governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a law which will allow its courts to refuse to enforce libel judgments handed down in London.

He acted following alarm in the U.S. that powerful individuals use British courts to silence criticism and prevent investigation of their activities around the world.

California legislators said their courts must have power to block libel judgments from Britain which has become a jurisdictional Mecca for the rich and famous .

And in a verdict deeply embarrassing for the British government, they said the libel tourism law must be passed to pressure foreign jurisdictions like Britain to change its laws to place greater protections on free speech .

The California law means that courts in all the most important U.S. cities now have laws to shield Americans from damages and gagging writs ordered in the High Court in London.

New York and the state of Illinois have already passed libel tourism legislation and other states, including Florida, are in the process.

The California law gives its courts the right to refuse to enforce defamation judgements made abroad unless it is shown that the foreign court had the same or better freedom of speech protection than is given by the US constitution.

 

30th September   

An Army of TV Censors...

Melon farming Fresh
A website
update service

See further details
Melon Farming Fresh

 

Honduras troops close TV stations supporting return of deposed president
Link Here

Honduras flag Troops working for Honduras' de facto government have shut down television stations that were loyal to ousted president Manuel Zelaya.

Radio Globo and the Cholusat Sur television station – both critical of the government that came to power through a coup on 28 June – were taken off the air and their offices were cordoned off.

The crackdown came hours before Zelaya followers planned a march in the capital city of Tegucigalpa, in what the deposed leader called the final offensive.

Zelaya has been hiding in the Brazilian embassy since he returned from exile. with hundreds of soldiers and riot police surrounding the building as he urges his followers to take to the streets to demand he be restored to power.

 

29th September   

Update: Absolute Twats...

Whingers about David Cameron's mild language not heeded by Ofcom
Link Here  full story: Pissed Off Twats...David Cameron under fire for mild cusses

Christian O'Connell David Cameron did not breach regulations by saying twat and pissed off on Christian O'Connell's Absolute Radio show, Ofcom has ruled.

The Conservative leader apologised after as he explained to Absolute Radio presenter Christian O'Connell why he did not use the Twitter social networking service.

During the interview, Cameron was asked whether he used Twitter, and he replied: The trouble with Twitter, the instantness of it - too many twits might make a twat.

Shortly afterwards, the Tory leader was talking about the impact of the expenses scandal on Westminster's reputation and said: The public are rightly, I think, pissed off - sorry I can't say that in the morning - angry with politicians.

The incident prompted 20 complaints about offensive language to Ofcom, but the broadcasting watchdog said the show was not in breach of its rules.

An Ofcom spokesman said: In the context of the interview and the programme overall, the remarks did not breach the broadcasting code.

 

29th September   

Update: Counter Cultural...

Bruno banned in Malaysia
Link Here  full story: Bruno...Supporting the hype for Bruno

Bruno film paster Malaysia has banned Sacha Baron Cohen's comedy Bruno because it contains a lot of sex, a senior official said .

The movie has been banned in Malaysia because of the sexual content. It was decided by a three-man committee. (There is) a lot of sex in it, an official with the National Film Censorship Board told AFP.

He said the panel judges movies based on whether they feature violence, horror, sex or counter-cultural themes. In the case of Bruno , the ban is based on its sex and counter-culture content, he said on condition of anonymity.

Borat was also banned in Malaysia. Since last year alone, Malaysia has banned five movies, the most recent being US horror film Halloween II , written and directed by Rob Zombie.

 

29th September   

Offsite: Daily Mail Tosh...

Do you know what your child is REALLY watching on their mobile?
Link Here

Daily Mail logo Phone companies are making millions from pornography available at the press of a button on children's mobiles. And the first you'll know about it is when you get the bill...

The video is called Breast of British , and customers are invited to tuck into tasty topless totty . One of the stars is Page Three Girl Leilani. You can see her in the bath soaping her decolletage, stripping down to her G-String from her PVC dress, or parading in a studio while revealing her sexy secrets .

...Read the full article

Comment: Couldn't help but chuckle

From Dan

If middle class parents only have a few nudy pics of girls on their kids mobile phones to worry about then surely they don't have very much to worry about at all.

I couldn't help but chuckle when I read about the woman with the 11 year old son who raked up a £500 bill by looking at porn on his mobile.

If this was a mother from a council estate the Mail would be asking what kind of mother lets her son look at porn on his phone and suggesting social services are called in. But as this woman is middle class of course she's totally innocent and it's all the fault of the mobile phone companies.

 

29th September   

Ethics and Rules...

Kenya defines enforceable TV content rules
Link Here

Kenya flag A major battle looms between the Kenya Government and broadcasters over new regulations seeking to take back licenses and vet programmes.

By far the most ambitious attempt at shaping broadcasting in Kenya, the new rules basically follow modern trends, with the regulations seeking to determine broadcast content, technology, advertising, ownership and public interest issues.

Until now, programme content has been left to self-regulation. Broadcasting content has basically remained in the realm of codes of ethics observed by the Media Council of Kenya and editorial guidelines constructed by individual media houses.

The point of departure in the draft broadcasting regulations are rules on content that appear to be not only too intrusive but also prescriptive. Offensive language, blasphemy and sexual matters presented explicitly will no longer be a matter of codes of practice, but will be offences punishable by the regulator.

 

29th September   

Update: Democracy Benefits...

Sudan lifts press censorship law
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

Sudan flag As Sudan prepares for the first general elections in decades, President Omar al-Beshir lifts censorship on the press.

As of today, censorship is over and journalists have complete freedom, said a presidential decree carried by the official SUNA news agency.

Head of the country's Press Council, Ali Shimo, said the pre-censorship system was called off after editors, journalists' associations and censors signed an ethics code for practicing journalism.

Up to now, a group of government-led sensors screened newspapers every night before hitting the stands to purge them of sensitive articles despite a law guaranteeing freedom of the press .

Under the law, passed in parliament in June, the press were granted freedom but banned from provoking religious or ethnic or racial sedition or calling for war or violence, while respecting and protecting public ethics, religious values and those found guilty of violating the press law had to pay a fixed penalty set by the courts. But in practice, the law was impractical and the censors continued their job.

The new press law and lifting of censorship will only be applied to the written press and not to television.

 

28th September   

Stereotypical Censors...

BBC whinges at Graham Norton lesbian quip
Link Here

Graham Norton DVD The BBC has reprimanded Graham Norton's chat show for perpetuating potentially offensive stereotypes of lesbians.

The corporation upheld a complaint about a show in which the star made comments about a patent application. Referring to a woman used to illustrate the application, Norton said: I don't know why they've got some strange lesbian to be the model.

After the comments, guest Ruth Jones, the star and co-writer of sitcom Gavin and Stacey, scolded Norton, saying: She may not be a lesbian, come on now . She went on to say people should not be judged by their appearance, asking the host: What does a lesbian look like?

Indicating the illustration, Norton replied: That . He also stressed: Anyway, there's nothing wrong with being a lesbian .

One viewer complained to the BBC about the episode, broadcast on BBC Two in March.

The BBC's Editorial Complaints Unit agreed with their comments: Although the initial references might have been inoffensive if considered on their own, they prompted an exchange with one of the programme's guests which gave the references the appearance of perpetuating or reinforcing a potentially offensive stereotype. The programme team were reminded of the need to avoid any possibility of being seen to endorse offensive sexual stereotypes.

 

28th September   

Update: Family Censor Guy...

Venezuelan minister takes offence at Family Guy TV show
Link Here

Family Guy DVD Authorities in Venezuela say they will punish TV stations if they continue to broadcast episodes of cult US animation Family Guy .

Injustice Minister Tareck El Aissami says the show should be banned because it promotes the use of marijuana.

He took exception to a recent episode in which one character - Brian, a talking dog - started a campaign to legalise the drug.

Cable stations which refuse to dump the show would be fined, El Aissami said.

 

27th September   

Army of Web Censors...

Thai military personnel ordered to report offending websites
Link Here

Thai Army flag Thailand's Defence Minister, Prawit Wongsuwon, has ordered all military units and their commanders to keep a close watch for websites running reports with lese majeste content, defence spokesman Col Thanathip Sawangsaeng said.

Pol Gen Prawit issued the order at a meeting of the Defence Council.

All military units and their commanders who come across such websites were to coordinate with the Information and Communication Technology Ministry to take legal action against them, the spokesman said.

Units under the Internal Security Operations Command have also been tasked with monitoring community radio stations for lese majeste content.

 

26th September   

Updated: Evolving Fears...

No takers to distribute Charles Darwin film in the US
Link Here

Origin of the Species A new British film about Charles Darwin has failed to land a distribution deal in the States because his theories on human evolution are too controversial for religious American audiences, according to the film's producer.

Creation follows the British naturalist's struggle between faith and reason as he wrote his 1859 book, On The Origin Of The Species .

The film, directed by Jon Amiel was chosen has now been sold to almost every territory in the world. But US distributors have turned down the film that could cause uproar in a country that, on the whole, dismisses scientific theories of the way we evolved.

Christian film review website Movieguide.org described Darwin as a racist, a bigot and a 1800s naturalist whose legacy is mass murder. The site also stated that his half-baked theory influenced Adolf Hitler and led to atrocities, crimes against humanity, cloning and generic engineering.

Update: Evolving News

26th September 2009. From the National Secular Society

After weeks of being unable to find an American distribution company, the creators of a forthcoming biopic on the life and work of Charles Darwin have announced that the film will now be shown in the U.S.

Indie movie distributor Newmarket announced that it has closed a deal to handle Jon Amiel's film which has already generated controversy over its 'sensitive' material, namely, the theory of evolution.

According to Hollywood Reporter, U.S. audiences will have to wait until December to see Creation .

Chris Ball of Newmarket released a statement saying: We at Newmarket pride ourselves in getting behind important films that help open the door for discussion and conversation, as is the case with Creation. While Darwin's name has come to symbolise one side in a debate between the scientific and the theological, Creation personifies the debate, with both sides contending, sometimes violently, within the man. In that sense, we believe that the film will appeal to both people of faith and people of science.

 

26th September   

Shooed Away...

Brussels art exhibit closed after predictably violent reception
Link Here

Mehdi Lahlou-Georges’ exhibit An art installation in a Brussels shop window has been forced to shut down early because of the violently negative reaction it provoked in some passers-by.

Mehdi Lahlou-Georges' exhibit took up the whole of the shop floor with an array of Muslim prayer mats. Each mat had a pair of men's shoes next to it, except one which was occupied by a spot-lit pair of stilettos.

The shop window had stones thrown at it and was spat at before it was boarded up by the owners.

The artist said that the Muslim community did not understand the message of his work.

 

26th September   

Unreal...

Some French politicians want all public photos to be labelled as 'photoshopped'
Link Here  full story: Photoshopped Models...Campaigners to ban photoshopped adverts

Photoshop logo The French parliament has held its first hearing of a proposed law that would require every advertisement to display a disclaimer telling the public that images of people were manipulated. The goal is to help cut down on body issues in adolescents, and violating the law could be costly.

Lawmakers are concerned about the effect that Photoshopping has on people's body images. As a result, one such member of parliament, Valerie Boyer, has proposed a law that would require enhanced images to sport a warning, making it clear that viewers are not looking at an unretouched image.

A proponent of anorexia and bulimia awareness within the French government, Boyer believes that the disclaimer would help bring youngsters back to reality and promote a healthier body image for all. These photos can lead people to believe in a reality that does not actually exist, and have a detrimental effect on adolescents, Boyer said in a statement this week: It's not just a question of public health, but also a way of protecting the consumer.

It's not just Boyer who believes this, either. Fifty other French politicians have gotten behind the proposed law, which would require all enhanced photographs to read: Photograph retouched to modify the physical appearance of a person. This would not only apply to advertisements, it would also apply to press photos, political campaigns, art photography, and photos on product packaging.

 

26th September   

Offsite: Hard Truth for Aspiring Writers...

Censorship in Egypt out of control
Link Here  full story: Metro Censors...Egypt's first graphic novel gets censored

Metro graphic novel It's a hard fact that all authors, journalists and bloggers are having to deal with on a daily basis in Egypt: the government is cracking down on freedom of speech. The most recent case to run the press rounds is the country's first graphic novel, Metro . Ruling National Democratic Party agents are attempting to throw the author in jail and ban the book from being purchased in Egypt. A hard truth for aspiring writers.

The case has been postponed until October, so the year and a half drama continues.

 It highlights the ongoing difficulties of writing one's opinions, whether they are fiction or non-fiction, in the country.

And to think Egypt had a blossoming literary industry not too long ago. No more.

....Read full article

 

25th September   

Censorship Foretold...

Armstrong and Miller debate whether the word 'gypsy' is ok on the BBC for comedy
Link Here

Armstong & Miller Series 4 DVD The BBC has stepped in to stop the word gipsies being used in a TV comedy sketch for fear of being seen as racist.

Ben Miller, one half of the comedy duo Armstrong and Miller, said he had a debate with TV bosses over plans to use the word in a sketch poking fun at racist attitudes in Britain in the 1970s.

Miller's claims appeared in the latest issue of FHM magazine and it appears that the BBC had won the day. Miller told the Daily Mail he and partner Alexander Armstrong had now dropped plans to use the word gipsies in the sketch.

After discussions they had decided to use a different word so that the target of the joke was clearer and it was funnier, he said.

Miller told the November issue of FHM: We're having a debate at the moment with the BBC over whether we can say gipsies, because they say gipsies is a racist term, and you think "Yes it is but that's the point that we're making, that we were more racist in the 70s than we are now".

But following a request to explain his comments further, the comedian appears to have backed down.

A BBC spokesman said: There are no banned words on the BBC; gipsy isn't a banned word: This wasn't about the word itself, but about the sketch as a whole and the potential to cause offence. As with all comedy, it's about context, and in this particular case we felt there were less offensive ways of making the same joke.

 

25th September   

Updated: Never Ending Wave of Zombies and Censors...

Australian censor bans another game, Left 4 Dead 2
Link Here

Left for Dead 2 A quick glance at at Australian Classification Board database shows that Valve's upcoming Left 4 Dead 2 has received a rating of RC, ie refused classification and banned.

Back in June, we reported that the refusal to classify games not suitable for those over 15 was applicable only to brick and mortar sales; however, the ban now applies to downloadable games as well, which means Australian gamers will not be able to purchase this game over Steam, Xbox Live, or through any other legal channel.

Left 4 Dead 2 is set in the Deep South of the U.S., your team of four players must once again fight for survival against a never-ending wave of zombies and mutant monsters.

Update: Australia's Censors explain their Ban

18th September 2009. Based on article from gaming.icrontic.com

Australian Film Classification Board The Australia's Film Censorship Board have now published their reasoning behind their ban of the video game Left 4 Dead 2:

The game contains violence that is high in impact and is therefore unsuitable for persons aged under 18 years to play.

The game contains realistic, frenetic and unrelenting violence which is inflicted upon “the Infected” who are living humans infected with a rabies-like virus that causes them to act violently. The player can choose from a variety of weapons including pistols, shotguns, machine guns and sniper rifles. However, it is the use of the “melee” weapons such as the crowbar, axe, chainsaw and Samurai sword which inflict the most damage. These close in attacks cause copious amounts of blood spray and splatter, decapitations and limb dismemberment as well as locational damage where contact is made to the enemy which may reveal skeletal bits and gore. Projectile shots to infected humans can cause abdominal wounds which can reveal innards or even cause intestines to spill from the wounds.

The Infected attack the player in an unrelenting fashion, with numerous foe attacking the player at one time. The use of the “melee” weapons can wipe out several Infected in one blow which cause the above mentioned blood and gore effects. The player kills a very large amount of enemy characters to proceed through the game. Whilst no post mortem damage can be inflicted, piles of bodies lay about the environment.

The interactive nature of the game increases the overall impact of the frequent and intense depictions of violence. This coupled with the graphic depictions of blood and gore combine to create a playing impact which is high.

A minority of the Board is of the opinion that the violence is strong in playing impact and therefore warrants an MA 15+ classification with the consumer advice of strong violence.

Decision: This game is Refused Classification.

Update: Unlikely to be Banned in New Zealand

18th September 2009. Based on article from blogs.pcworld.co.nz

New Zealand flag New Zealand deputy chief censor Nic McCully told PC World the Australian decision would not influence any decision the New Zealand Office of Film and Literature Classification might make: It's different legislation in Australia... they do not have an R18 rating available to them [for games].

The first Left 4 Dead was given an R18 rating in New Zealand and McCully said that she would be surprised if Left 4 Dead 2 had vastly different content. However, she said she had not yet received any request from a distributor wanting to sell the game in New Zealand, and the New Zealand Office of Film and Literature would have to review the game and classify it before it could go on sale in New Zealand.

Update: EA comment on Australia's ban on games for adults

24th September 2009. Based on article from au.gamespot.com

Electronic Arts logo Left 4 Dead publisher EA have commented on the Australian ban. Tiffany Steckler, an EA spokesperson, told GameSpot AU that adults should have the right to choose what games they play.

It's funny that a place like Australia, which has come up with some pretty violent material in the past with something like Mad Max, can effectively ban video games for the same reason, she said.

EA believes that adults should have the right to make their own choices when it comes to the content they consume.

Steckler would not comment on whether Valve will make any changes to the game following the Classification Board of Australia's decision.

Update: Valve to appeal the ban

25th September 2009. Based on article from gameplanet.co.nz

Valve logo Valve has formally appealed the Australian Classification Board decision to ban the zombie shooter sequel Left 4 Dead 2 .

In the Australian censor's decision on 17 September, it stated that the game was unsuitable for an MA 15+ rating due to frequent and intense depictions of violence and graphic depictions of blood and gore. The censor did note in its report that a minority of the board believed the game warrants an MA 15+ classification with the customer advice of strong violence, the same classification given to the original Left 4 Dead - which may provide Valve with a foothold for its appeal.

 

25th September   

Dicks Spotted on Flintshire Council...

Half baked bid to rename 'spotted dick' pudding fails
Link Here

Spotted Dick Flintshire County Council has been forced to rethink its ill-considered decision to rename Spotted Dick as Spotted Richard .

According to the BBC, the powers that be pulled Spotted Dick from the menu after several immature comments from a few customers at its HQ in Mold.

Councilor Klaus Armstrong-Braun who'd slammed the rebrand as ludicrous told the BBC: It's a great victory for Spotted Dick and for everyone who makes it. It's made Flintshire a laughing stock all over the world. I've had lots of letters criticising them.

Flintshire council's Colin Everett, confirmed: Although the majority have seen the humorous side of the story, the impression given in the media that the council might have been 'politically correct' has led to some derision and, sadly, to a number of abusive letters being sent in from across the country.

In full agreement with the catering management Flintshire County Council will observe proper tradition and refer to all dishes by their proper name. Spotted Dick will be back on the menu under its proper and proud name. In future, any customers who act in this childish way will be asked to behave properly or will be refused service.

 

25th September   

Censorship by Committee...

Singapore reviews its censorship policies
Link Here

mda singapore logo Singapore's government has appointed 17 people from various fields to sit on a committee that has been tasked with updating policies on censorship of the media and the arts.

Goh Yew Lin, chairman of Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music is the chairman of the Censorship Review Committee (CRC).

Sixteen others representing a cross-section of the society have been appointed as members of the committee. They include people from the arts and media sector; the community and social sector; and various professions, said a statement from the Ministry of Information, Communication and the Arts.

The independent committee has been set up to conduct a mid-term review of content issues across the spectrum of broadcast, films, videos, publications, audio materials, the arts and new media.

It will look largely at issues that have been raised by the industry players during their regular dialogues with the Media Development Authority and from community feedback. These include the fine-tuning of current film and video classifications; sale and distribution of videos; and content issues related to entertainment and lifestyle publications.

The review will also examine how media convergence is testing traditional content regulation concepts and whether new content codes are necessary to guide the emergence of new technologies and new media platforms.

The terms of reference of the committee are:

  • To recommend refinements to existing content standards and guidelines to reflect societal and technological changes since the last CRC, while recognising the need to protect the young and respect racial, religious and social sensitivities.
     
  • To study whether there is a need to introduce additional content standards and guidelines that would be relevant to the emergence of new technologies and new media platforms.
     
  • To recommend ways to encourage industry players, community and artists to be involved in co-regulation of media content and classification.
     
  • To recommend avenues to improve community engagement and public education in content standards and guidelines.

The committee will target to complete the review and submit its report and recommendations to the Government by mid-2010.

 

25th September   

Updated: Cowing to Religious Intolerance...

Malaysian censor attempts to remove video of cow head protest from news website
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet

Malysia Comms and Multimedia Commission A Malaysian state government searched for a new site for a Hindu temple, bowing to pressure from Muslim residents who staged a gruesome protest against its planned construction that triggered debate about religious intolerance.

Authorities in central Selangor state tried to reach a compromise in talks with residents of the Muslim-majority neighborhood in the state capital, Shah Alam, where the temple was to be built. The meeting descended into chaos when protesters shouted insults at Selangor Chief Minister Abdul Khalid Ibrahim and other lawmakers, according to a video of the meeting posted on Malaysiakini, an independent news Web site.

The protesters insist the temple would be too close to their homes and could generate excessive noise and traffic, which would disrupt their concentration during Muslim prayers they ludicrously claimed.

Cow Head Protest

Based on article from prachatai.com

The Centre for Independent Journalism (CIJ) has criticised the Malaysian Communication and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) over its request to online news portal, Malaysiakini to take down videos related to a controversial protest against the relocation of a temple in Shah Alam, close to the capital city of Kuala Lumpur.

CIJ executive director Gayathry Venkiteswaran said the request was unwarranted as it is an attempt by the government body to silence the messenger, in this case the media, from reporting news.

She was referring to the letter sent to Malaysiakini by the MCMC requesting it to remove two videos from its website. One of the videos was a footage from the protest where a group of residents, mainly Malay Muslim dragged a severed cow head to the premise of the state government office to protest the relocation of a Hindu temple to their residential area on 28 August. Cows are generally regarded with respect by most Hindu devotees.

Despite the action, there was no immediate police investigation into the protest, which civil society groups condemned as legitimising violence and hatred. In the last week, the Home Minister has come out in defense of the protestors and even described them as victims in the issue. The Prime Minister has come out more strongly against the actions of the protestors and the authorities have promised to investigate the matter. The Home Minister's statement was made in an environment where activists, critics and opposition political parties have very little space for expression as the media is overwhelmingly controlled by the ruling government and where their public demonstrations have been met with heavy-handed tactics by the state.

Update: Cow Head Protestors charged with sedition

11th September 2009. Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

Six Malaysian Muslims have been charged with sedition for parading the severed head of a cow through the streets of Shah Alam in Selangor state last month. The men were protesting against the building of a Hindu temple near a mosque in the area. Some of the demonstrators stamped and spat on the cow's head.

The case has stoked tensions between Malaysia's Muslim majority and the Indian, mainly Hindu, minority to whom cows are considered sacred.

Twelve of the protesters were charged with illegal assembly, which could see them fined and jailed for up to a year.

Six were also charged with sedition - for promoting hostility between different groups - and could face an additional three years in jail.

Defence lawyer Salehuddin Saidin said his clients were carrying the cow head to illustrate the state government's stupidity - and did not intend to offend local Hindus: For Malays, the cow symbolises stupidity, not an insult to any other religion, Salehuddin claimed.

The authorities in Selangor have now found an alternative site for the Hindu temple, further away from the mosque.

Update: Reporters without Borders supports malaysiakini.com

25th September 2009. Based on article from rsf.org

Reporers without Borders logo Reporters Without Borders has pledged its backing to independent news website Malaysiakini which has decided to resist an order to remove two news videos judged to be offensive by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission.

The commission told the website in a letter on 3 September that it considered the two film clips offensive and intended to upset people, and particularly the Indians . The penalty for refusing to comply is a fine of 50,000 ringgit (14,325 dollars) and one year in prison.

The website www.malaysiakini.com had posted two video clips accessible only to subscribers to the site, the first on 28 August showing demonstrations by Malay Muslims against the building of a Hindu temple in their neighbourhood, in which they spat on and trampled the bloodied head of a cow, an animal sacred to Hindus. The second, on 2 September 2009, featured interior minister, Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Tun Hussein, speaking at a press conference at which he urged demonstrators not to use violence, while defending their right to protest.

But in a change of stance, on 3 September, the minister ordered proceedings against the demonstrators. The removal order was made under the Communications and Multimedia Act of 1988 banning all content that is indecent, obscene, false, threatening or offensive with the intention or harming, abusing, threatening or harassing a third party .

The Malaysiakini website is right to resist the censorship the government is trying to impose on it. The authorities should understand that it is footage that shows something that happened, which may indeed be embarrassing for some authorities but does not constitute an offence , the worldwide press freedom organisation said.

 

24th September   

Better Standards in Soundbiting...

Mediawatch-UK appoint Vivienne Pattison as director
Link Here

Vivienne Pattison Mediawatch-UK have issued a press release about their new director, Vivienne Pattison:

Mediawatch-uk, the campaigning organisation which fights for decency and standards in the media, announced today that it has appointed Vivienne Pattison as its new Director.

Vivienne, previously an Account Director at Midas Public Relations, will be building on the work of her predecessors and providing an independent voice for those concerned about taste and decency issues.

She will ensure that mediawatch-uk maintains its reputation for principled protest, informed comment and reliable research

mediawatch-uk monitors broadcast output, publishes reports about programme content and responds to Government and other consultations on broadcasting policy, as well as arguing for parliamentary accountability for broadcasters and greater public involvement in broadcasting policy issues. mediawatch-uk plays an important role in promoting media literacy and in initiating discussion and debate.

mediawatch-uk Acting Chairman, John Milton Whatmore said: I am in no doubt that in a media environment, the technology of which is changing faster than ever before, the need for mediawatch-uk is more apparent than at anytime during the last 50 years. I believe that, in Vivienne Pattison, mediawatch-uk has the person to meet the challenges of ensuring that the Media is responsible for what it produces, and in safeguarding what the general public can reasonably expect from such sources .

Vivienne Pattison said mediawatch-uk performs a vital role in creating good media values and seeking to protect the young and vulnerable from offensive and harmful material. Gordon Brown has expressed personal concern about the violence and pornography that children and young people are easily able to access and I am looking forward to working with government and regulators to press for better standards in broadcasting.

Outgoing mediawatch-uk Director, John Beyer said: I am delighted that Vivienne has taken over the role of Director. It remains essential that there is an effective voice speaking up for the viewer and listener in the digital age. I believe that Ofcom is failing to represent the interests of consumers and that is why mediawatch-uk will remain a crucial organisation in the future.

The Melon Farmers welcome Vivienne to her new role and look forward to being amused by continued sound bite nonsense. John Beyer will be a tough act to follow, setting the highest standard of puerile ideas such as ASBOs for TV and imprisoning porn viewers for 3 years.

 

24th September   

Courageous Journalists...

CPJ announce winners of its International Press Freedom Awards
Link Here

CPJ logo The Committee to Protect Journalists will honor courageous journalists from Somalia, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, and Azerbaijan with its 2009 International Press Freedom Awards at a ceremony in November.

Mustafa Haji Abdinur of Somalia, Naziha Réjiba of Tunisia, Eynulla Fatullayev of Azerbaijan, and J.S. Tissainayagam of Sri Lanka and have faced imprisonment, threats of violence, and censorship to stand up for press freedom in their countries.

These are reporters who risk their personal freedom and often their lives to ensure that independent voices resonate within their nations and across the globe, said CPJ Board Chairman Paul Steiger: Their fearlessness to report the news in the face of great obstacles is an inspiration to us all.

The awards will be presented at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on Tuesday, November 24.

Here are the recipients of CPJ's 2009 International Press Freedom Awards:

  • Mustafa Haji Abdinur, Somalia: Haji has seen six of his colleagues die this year on the streets of Mogadishu, caught in the crossfire of battling insurgents, or gunned down for their work. He is one of a very small number of courageous journalists still working in Mogadishu despite ongoing violence and a shattered economy. As a correspondent for Agence France-Presse in Mogadishu and editor-in-chief of independent radio station Radio Simba, Haji faces danger and threats on a daily basis to report from Mogadishu's once-bustling Bakara Market, which has become a stronghold of insurgents in the war-torn city.
     
  • Naziha Réjiba, Tunisia: As editor of the independent online news journal Kalima, which is blocked in Tunisia, Réjiba is one of Tunisia's most critical journalists. In a country where the media is heavily restricted and the government actively harasses the few independent journalists who attempt to write critically of the government, Réjiba, also known as Um Ziad, has been the target of intimidation and harassment since November 1987, when President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali came to power in a coup. Rejiba's home is under constant surveillance, her phones lines are monitored, and she has been summoned for questioning repeatedly. Réjiba co-founded Kalima in 2000 with prominent journalist Sihem Ben Sedrine, herself a frequent target of the government.
     
  • Eynulla Fatullayev, Azerbaijan: When Fatullayev's friend and colleague Elmar Huseynov was murdered, the journalist set out to find his killer, and ended up facing more than eight years in prison. In 2005, Fatullayev was working as an investigative reporter for the opposition magazine Monitor when his colleague and Editor-in-Chief Elmar Huseynov was assassinated. In 2007, he published an article in Realny Azerbaijan, a newspaper he founded after Huseynov's assassination. The article, Lead and Roses, accused Azerbaijani authorities of obstructing the investigation into the killing and alleged that Huseynov's murder was ordered by high-ranking officials in Baku and carried out by a criminal group, including five Georgian citizens who had arrived in Baku two months prior to the assassination. Four days later, Fatullayev began receiving death threats. In the months following, he was convicted on charges of libeling and insulting Azerbaijanis in an Internet posting that was attributed to him but which he denied making, and his newspaper's offices were raided and shut down.
     
  • J.S. Tissainayagam, Sri Lanka: On March 7, 2008, Tissainayagam, editor of news web site OutreachSL and a columnist for the English-language Sri Lankan Sunday Times, went to the offices of the Terrorism Investigation Division to ask about a colleague who had been arrested the day before. He never made it back home. Tissainayagam, also known as Tissa, was one of the dozens of ethnic Tamil journalists who were swept up during the 26-year-long conflict between the Sinhalese-dominated government and Tamil separatists, which ended this year. Terrorism Investigation Division officials arrested Tissainayagam and held him without charge for six months. Then in August 2008, he was charged with inciting communal disharmony, an offense under the Prevention of Terrorism Act, in two articles written nearly three years earlier in a defunct magazine called North Eastern Monthly. In September 2009, he was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

CPJ will honor Anthony Lewis with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award given for a lifetime of distinguished achievement in the cause of press freedom. Twice awarded the Pulitzer Prize, Lewis is a former columnist for The New York Times. He is widely recognized as one of the United States' foremost thinkers on freedom of speech and First Amendment rights. Lewis has been a tireless scholar of journalism, having taught and lectured at Columbia's School of Journalism as well as at Harvard University. His book Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment was published in 2008.

 

24th September   

Update: No Prizes...

100 Iranian poets boycott state sponsored events
Link Here

Iran flag One hundred Iranian poets have boycotted all government literary awards to protest the oppression of their people's movement toward peace and democracy in the post-election events.

The announcement speaks out against the censorship, threats and arrests that numerous poets have been subjected to. The signatories declare that in protest to the current national atmosphere and in empathy with the people, they will not participate in government-sponsored contests. The announcement has been signed by 100 poets such as Kaboutar Arshadi, Ali Sobati and Maryam Houleh.

Despite government attempts at silencing all opposition in the past months, Iranian artists have been vocal about their protests against the violent confrontation of the government with the protesters of the elections.

 

24th September   

Screwed...

Thai man sentenced to a year in prison for sexy pictures on the internet
Link Here

Thailand flag A Thai man has been sentenced to a year in jail and fined the equivalent of about $600 for allowing an internet user to post photos of a woman having sex to his website.

According to the Bangkok Post, Phongwit Singan was charged under Thailand's Cyber Crimes Act with allowing nude, explicit images of the unidentified woman to be posted to his public photo uploading site, postmungang.com. Because Singan reportedly confessed, his initial sentence of two years in jail and a $1,200 fine was halved.

Pictures of a naked woman having sex with a man appeared on the site from Oct. 6 to Nov. 30, 2007, and were viewed many times, reports the Post, adding that Singen, who said it was not easy to control the site's nearly 100,000 members despite continuous efforts to delete improper content, earned about $600 a month from online ad sales.

Considered one of the most intrusive laws regulating the internet in the world, Thailand's Cyber Crimes Act took effect in July 2007.

 

24th September   

Offsite: The Right to Offend...

Not being upheld in Britain
Link Here

Royal Devon & Exeter Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, says the Human Rights Act. This freedom includes the right to manifest his (or her) religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.

That's a fine aspiration but of course the Human Rights Act (HRA) isn't all it's cracked up to be by its supporters.

...Read full article

 

23rd September   

Symbolic Gesture...

Wolfenstein game pulled in Germany over possible swastika
Link Here

Wolfenstein game In light of the game possibly containing a swastika, Activision Blizzard has decided to recall the game Wolfenstein from stores in Germany according to Kotaku.

A translation of a story on the 4players .de website, the original source of the story, notes that although the imagery is not a conspicuous element in the normal game, the publisher has decided to decided to take this game immediately from the German market. All versions are being recalled.

 

23rd September   

Update: More Trouble in Thailand...

Big Trouble in Thailand programme maker flees to the UK
Link Here  full story: Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand...UK TV program makes waves in Thailand

Big Trouble in Thailand title A British producer cameraman has had to flee Thailand after filming a sequence in which British Royal Marines were held at gunpoint by Thai mafia after hiring a Jet Ski on a Phuket beach.

The cameraman Gavin Hill was today back in London, after fleeing Bangkok, as his Thai crew faced up to a year in jail. They stand accused of assisting in the filming of a sequence which could damage the country's image .

A battle with the Thai authorities has raged for two weeks. Hill said : I've made a tactical withdrawal and am in London to discuss how we can help our Thai colleagues. But yes, I did not wish to argue my case from prison.

We filmed the mafia but suddenly we are the criminals apparently. The atmosphere is a little bit hysterical. The Marines are behind me thank god.

 

23rd September   

Updated: Culturally Repressive...

Egyptian targeting the post of world censor
Link Here

UNESCO To Farouk Hosni's fans, it seems the only conceivable objection to crowning him global protector of culture is his public habit of making anti-Israel slurs, notably last year's offer to burn Hebrew books.

The Egyptian Culture Minister is campaigning ahead of this week's meeting to decide the next chief of the U.N. Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (more commonly known as Unesco).

But there is reason to pause before appointing Egypt's Culture Minister as Unesco head: namely, the unbroken social, political and cultural repression in Egypt under his tenure.

Having told Agence France-Presse that he believes he has won over 32 of the 58 nations on Unesco's executive council, the 22-year steward of Egyptian culture can taste victory. Cairo is now scrambling to quash any stray quibbles with his candidacy ahead of a vote this week on his appointment. To this end, since the Unseco job campaign began, Egypt has announced plans to allow the translation of Israeli books while feverishly contextualizing Hosni's past tirades against the Jewish state. And last month Egypt ostentatiously unveiled the ongoing restoration of an important synagogue in Cairo.

That scramble, sincere or not, cannot erase Hosni's sorry record as a culture czar in general. Human-rights activists are not the only ones reeling at the thought of one of Egypt's pre-eminent censors being named standard-bearer in Unesco's self-described goal to build peace in the minds of men. One can only imagine the peace in the minds of thousands of Egyptian writers, bloggers, artists, musicians, filmmakers, lecturers, broadcasters and other culture-purveyors who have been tortured, harassed, imprisoned or banned in Egypt since Hosni took office in 1987. Or the 100-plus heavy-metal fans arrested there over the last decade for their supposed Satanism. Or any of the remaining 80 million Egyptians regularly denied access to any new ideas their government deems harmful.

Update: Hosni Loses Ballot

23rd September 2009. Based on article from nytimes.com

Egyptian Culture Minister Farouk Hosni, who said last year he was ready to burn Israeli books, has failed to become the next head of the U.N. culture and education body, losing out to a Bulgarian diplomat.

Irina Gueorguieva Bokova won the fifth and final round of voting by 31 to 27 in a ballot that laid bare bitter divisions within the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

Hosni was favourite to become the Arab world's first UNESCO director-general, but his candidacy created outrage amongst Jewish organizations, while media rights activists accused him of turning a blind eye to censorship in Egypt.

Hosni stirred fierce controversy last year in an angry exchange in the Egyptian parliament, when he said he would burn Israeli books if he found them in Egyptian libraries. He has also been quoted as calling Israeli culture inhuman.

 

23rd September   

Portrait of a Censor...

Philippines censors demand removal of president's portrait
Link Here

Philippines film cesor logo A scene showing the picture of President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo on the wall of a military office nearly earned a ban for an upcoming film about forced disappearances and human rights violations in the Philippines.

The Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB) approved the commercial run of Dukot, giving it an R-18 rating, after director Joel Lamangan agreed to cover Ms Arroyo's portrait, the Inquirer reported.

It was a struggle, Lamangan said in a phone interview: Both the MTRCB and the producers came up with a compromise that was acceptable to both parties. We only removed the close-up shot of President Macapagal-Arroyo's photo, but we retained her photos in the other shots.

Before it was covered using special effects, the President's picture could be seen mounted on the wall behind the desk of a military commander who was dealing with families looking for missing relatives.

The movie can still deliver its message even without the picture. The time frame is still clear that it's current, Dukot producer Dennis Evangelista said. There's also a [caption] showing that the story happened in 2005 (or during the Arroyo administration).

In a text message to the Inquirer, MTRCB Chair Consoliza Laguardia relayed what she said was a statement by one of the reviewers of the film: There was a compromise with the producer and the director because they agreed to cover the photo of President Arroyo in a close-up scene [where] parents of missing students were appealing to [an] Army colonel.

 

23rd September   

Update: Disappeared...

Yemeni website editor kidnapped by security forces
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Yemen...Bloggers and websites under duress in Yemen

Yemen flag On September 18th, 2009, the Yemeni Editor of the opposition Socialist Party's website, Al Eshteraki , Mohammed al Maqaleh has been kidnapped in the capital Sana'a by security forces.

According to eyewitness reports cited by the International Federation of Journalists :

Five gun wielding masked men in a minibus intercepted al Maqaleh's car. They bundled him into another vehicle. In dozens of instances, plain clothes intelligence operatives driving vehicles with military plates have snatched journalists off the street who have then disappeared and often tortured.

Reports say that Mohammed al Maqaleh, has been abducted after writing about the humanitarian situation and the fighting in the northern province of Sa'ada between the army and Shia rebels.

The International Federation of Journalists (IJF) is calling for the release and safekeeping of the Abducted editor. A Facebook group has also been created in support of Mohammed al Maqaleh.

 

22nd September   

Update: Cycle of Life...

Cologne bans sex and death art
Link Here  full story: Plastination...Rants at sex and death art

Death and Sex The Health and Safety Department in Cologne, Germany, has barred the Body Worlds: Cycle of Life exhibition from depicting preserved bodies as if they are having sexual intercourse. The exhibit cannot show videos or photographs of the material, either.

Gunther von Hagens and his wife Angelina Whalley show corpses prepared using a technique invented by von Hagens called plastination, that removes water from specimens and preserves them with silicon rubber or epoxy resin. The cadavers are stripped of skin to show muscles and organs, and are often put in active poses, including playing baseball and football.

Previous exhibits have been met with a mixture of intrigue and criticism, but for years now, the corpses have traveled the world as medical/art exhibits and been visited by more than 27 million people worldwide.

The two copulating corpses are only a portion of the latest exhibit, which covers conception to old age, but von Hagens said he is planning a new show entirely dedicated to displaying the dead bodies having sex.

While some cities have shown the bodies in sexual positions, but covered by clothing, Cologne has banned the material outright, and the Catholic Church has condemned the exhibit as a desecration of the human body. The copulating corpses also were banned in Augsburg and Zurich.

The exhibition runs until January 31, 2010.

 

21st September   

Updated: Censor On...

BBFC explain that they are voluntarily continuing to censor according to the erased Video Recordings Act
Link Here  full story: Video Recordings Act Erased...VRA was not properly enacted

BBFC logo The BBFC have published an unsurprising disclaimer as to why the continue to censor citing the Video Recordings Act as justification for cuts:

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has notified the BBFC of a serious issue which has come to light in relation to the Video Recordings Act 1984 (VRA). Because the then British Government failed to notify the European Commission under the Technical Standards and Regulations Directive (83/189/EEC) of the Act, the VRA is no longer enforceable against individuals in the United Kingdom. The Government has said that its priority is to remedy this situation as soon as possible and has urged the industry in the interim to comply with the provisions of the VRA on a voluntary and best practice basis. The BBFC will continue to classify video works submitted by distributors on a voluntary basis for this period.

In these circumstances and for the time being, the information on the BBFC's website should be read in the light of the DCMS's notification.

Update: VRA 2 Set in Progress

Thanks to DoodleBug
21st September 2009. From bbfc.co.uk

BBFC logo The BBFC have now added to their comment:

The Government has set in train the actions necessary to remedy this situation as soon as possible and, as part of that process, have notified the Commission of the new draft Act and the Labelling Regulations deriving from it.

The Government has made clear to the BBFC that, once the process of re-enacting the VRA is complete, all video classification certificates issued by the BBFC since 1984 will be valid, and the legal consequences of non-compliance with the classification regime will be re-instated and enforced as vigorously as previously. Any video recording containing an unclassified video work which has been released in the interim period will need to be withdrawn from sale once the new Act is in force, unless the work can claim exemption.

The Government has therefore urged the industry in the interim to comply with the provisions of the VRA on a voluntary and best practice basis. The BBFC will continue to classify video works submitted by distributors on a voluntary basis for this period.

 

21st September   

Electorially Correct...

Election Commission won't be scanning YouTube for political spoofery during next general election
Link Here

The Electoral Commission logo The UK Electoral Commission has said it will not be able to police the expected explosion in spoof internet videos at the next general election.

Some experts believe unattributed videos on YouTube and e-mails could be used to spread false information.

Election leaflets must include a named individual to prevent foul play - but there are no such laws on the internet. The elections watchdog has told the BBC it does not have the resources to scour the internet for malicious videos.

The Electoral Commission says candidates' websites should include details of who published the material as a matter of good practice but they are not required by law to do so.

In 2003, it said spoof websites were an acceptable part of the democratic debate as long as they were clearly identifiable as such and did not seek to deceive the voters. But the advent of video sharing sites such as YouTube has led to a massive increase in political material on the internet - and it is expected to play a crucial role at the general election, which must take place before June.

An Electoral Commission spokesman said it had no plans to police internet material during the general election campaign: There is nothing in electoral legislation that would cover that kind of stuff. Our job is to provide guidance for those people taking part in an election and to help them stay within the law.

But he makes clear that complaints about potentially defamatory material, under electoral laws, remain a matter for the police and that cases will be investigated.

 

21st September   

Update: Unconditional Cinema...

Taiwan to show The 10 Conditions of Love despite Chinese opposition
Link Here

Taiwan flag A documentary about exiled Uighur activist Rebiya Kadeer is to be shown in Taiwan's second city, despite opposition from China.

A spokesman from Beijing's Taiwan Affairs Office said it opposed the screening and urged the city not to stir up trouble in cross-strait ties, Xinhua news agency reported.

Businesses had urged the city to cancel the screening, fearing repercussions. Local tourism officials had spoken out against the move, Taiwanese media reported, fearing it would drive Chinese tourist numbers down.

But local officials said the film would be shown this week, not during a festival next month as originally planned. Officials in Kaohsiung said that they would show the documentary, The 10 Conditions of Love , four times in the coming week.

To draw the curtains over this controversy as soon as possible, the film will be screened ahead of schedule, the city said in a statement.

 

21st September   

Update: Libel Trumps Science...

Richard Dawkins highlights the misuse of UK libel laws
Link Here  full story: Simon Singh vs Chiropractors...Chiropractors take science sceptic to libel court

The Enemies of Reason: Uncut Interviews DVD Richard Dawkins, the evolutionary biologist, has called for Britain's libel laws to be reformed following a string of cases in which science researchers and writers have been sued for criticising health therapies they felt to be unreliable.

Among those currently facing writs is Simon Singh, the broadcaster and author, who is being sued by the British Chiropractic Association for an article criticising the use of chiropractic techniques for some childhood illnesses. He has spent £100,000 defending the action.

Another is Peter Wilmshurst, a heart specialist at Royal Shrewsbury Hospital, who is being sued by NMT Medical, an American company, for suggesting that medical trials into one of its devices had been described inaccurately to other scientists. Wilmshurst made his remarks in America to a US journalist who published it on an American website. However, the company was still able to issue its writ in Britain, where libel laws are regarded as among the most draconian in the world.

Dawkins told the Lib Dem conference in Bournemouth that the UK's libel laws are having a chilling effect on public debate about science and medicine: England's libel law is being ridiculed as an international charter for the litigious. I urge politicians to support the call for reform so we can get cross-party support on this vital issue.

The campaign to change Britain's libel laws has won widespread support. Sile Lane of Sense About Science, which is co-ordinating the Keep Libel Laws out of Science campaign, said the same plea would be made to the upcoming Labour and Conservative conferences.

 

21st September   

Going GaGa...

Lady GaGa performance winds up nuns and suicide campaigners
Link Here

Lady GaGa Paparazzi Catholic school officials at Lady GaGa's New York old school are following anti-suicide groups by reportedly blasting her gory performance at the MTV Video Music Awards on 13th September.

The singer stunned the star-studded audience at the Big Apple ceremony with her most bizarre stage act to date with a shocking rendition of her hit Paparazzi.

GaGa danced with crutches alongside a wheelchair-bound performer while blood poured down her bare mid-riff. She was then surrounded by her dancers, who acted as if to mourn her death, before her lifeless and blood-spattered body was pulled up from the stage on a winch as the curtain came down.

The performance sparked criticism from teen suicide prevention group PAPYRUS, whose bosses accused her of romanticising suicide .

The singer later revealed that the quirky routine represented her private life being killed by the paparazzi.

However, GaGa, who attended the Convent of the Sacred Heart girls school as Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, has failed to justify her sensational show to the nuns who teach at the centre in Manhattan's Upper East Side. A source tells the New York Post, When someone showed the nuns a video of her bloody performance at Sunday night's VMA Awards, the good sisters were not amused.

 

21st September   

Update: Mendacious State Security...

Syrian blogger jailed for causing Syria's weak morale
Link Here  full story: Free Tariq...Syrian blogger jailed

Akwahia logo On September 13, 2009, the Syrian State Security Supreme Court sentenced the young blogger Kareem Arbaji to three-years prison for publishing mendacious information liable to weaken the nation's morale, under article 286 of the Syrian penal code.

Kareem Arbaji has been detained for over two years, since June 7th, 2007, by military intelligence officers.

Human Rights Reports reveal that Arbaji has been tortured during the detention:

Kareem Arbaji was detained before being tried, he received a cruel and disproportionate sentence even if he was convicted. He was tortured during investigations and ill treated for more than two years in prison.

It is likely that Arbaji has been arrested, detained and then sentenced for opinions he expressed on the blocked Syrian forum, Akhawiya, which he used to administrate along with other members.

The forum members have created a page to honor and support their friend behind bars. A Facebook group too has been recently created in support of the jailed blogger.

 

20th September   

Updated: What's Eating these People?...

Supporting the hype for District 9
Link Here

District 9 poster Nigerian immigrants play a large part in the film District 9 – taking the roles of gangsters, prostitutes or witch-doctors. They are depicted eating alien flesh or having sex with the creatures. Many Nigerians are furious.

An internet backlash is under way with an online petition and a Facebook group, District 9 Hates Nigerians accusing the film of xenophobia.

One blogger, Nicole Stamp, wrote: That's Hollywood's Africa, isn't it. Black Africans shown as degenerate savages who'll have sex with non-humans and are pretty damn eager to eat people. Disgusting.

There was further criticism yesterday from the Nigerian-born British actor Hakeem Kae-Kazim, who appeared in the films Hotel Rwanda and Wolverine . On Facebook, he wrote: If the African continent truly wants to be liberated, we cannot sit back and allow this depiction of a 'few rotten apples' to be spread across the world. He expressed concern that District 9 would reinforce negative stereotypes of all Africans. The manner in which the Nigerians are depicted cannot be justified.

Update: Nigerian government demands ban on District 9

Thanks to Nick & Dan
20th September 2009. Based on article from news.bbc.co.uk

Nigeria's government is asking its cinemas to stop showing the science fiction film, District 9 , that it says denigrates the country's image.

Information Minister Dora Akunyili told the BBC's Network Africa programme that she had asked the makers of the film, Sony, for an apology. She says the film portrays Nigerians as cannibals, criminals and prostitutes.

An actor from the film said that it was not just Nigerians who were portrayed as villains. The Malawian actor, Eugene Khumbanyiwa, plays a gang leader with the nickname of Obasanjo, also the surname of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo.

The film is about alien refugees who set up home in a South African shanty town called District Nine. It is a loose allegory about apartheid and recent violence by South Africans against foreigners.

Akunyili said it clearly took aim at Nigerians: We feel very bad about this because the film clearly denigrated Nigeria's image by portraying us as if we are cannibals, we are criminals, she said: The name our former president was clearly spelt out as the head of the criminal gang and our ladies shown like prostitutes sleeping with extra-terrestrial beings.

The information minister said she had ordered the Nigerian film and video censors' board to ask all cinemas to stop showing the film and to confiscate it. I have also formally written to Sony Pictures Entertainment, the company that produced this film, demanding an unconditional apology for this unwarranted attack on Nigeria's image, she added.

 

20th September   

UNPromising...

A billion dollars for new UN women's agency
Link Here

UN logo On September 14, the U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution aimed at creating a more potent women's agency, a single U.N. body to promote the advancement of women around the world.

The decision came after three years of negotiation. Supporters of the new agency say it will serve as a landmark in the struggle for women's equality and rights, reported Reuters.

The move would merge four existing U.N. offices that all deal with women's affairs--the United Nations Development Fund for Women, or UNIFEM; the Office of the Special Adviser on Gender Issues and the Advancement of Women; the Division for the Advancement of Women; and the United Nations International Research and Training Institute for the Advancement of Women.

These groups will be put under a single office, forming a full-fledged new agency perhaps by the middle of next year, reported Inter Press Service. The agency will be headed by an under-secretary-general, the third highest ranking position within the U.N. The under-secretary-general will represent the interests of women in senior policymaking bodies, serving as a watchdog for women. This change should bring both greater coordination and accountability, reported Global Post.

Donor countries will need to pledge approximately one billion dollars to support the agency in order to help it fulfill women-related promises by governments and the U.N., Inter Press Service reported.

 

20th September   

Political Chanting...

Iranian football match broadcast without seeing or hearing crowd
Link Here

Iran flag Live television coverage of an Iranian football match was blacked-out because sections of the crowd were chanting anti-government slogans and waving green emblems in support of the country's political opposition.

The premier league match between Esteghlal and Steel Azin took place at Tehran's Azadi stadium just hours after tens of thousands of green-clad protesters used the state-organised Quds Day anti-Israel demonstrations to voice their opposition to the president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is accused of stealing Iran's recent election.

The game's scheduled live TV coverage was disrupted apparently after bosses of the state broadcaster, Irib, learned of the presence of protesters inside the stadium.

According to Iranian websites, the match was initially broadcast for a few minutes in black-and-white without crowd noise to show that technical problems were being experienced. The transmission then cut back to a studio presenter who said that the problems had arisen because Irib had sent only one camera to the stadium .

Eventually the match was shown nearly an hour late, again without sound and with close-up shots focusing solely on the pitch and editing out the 70,000 spectators.

The Mizan Press website – linked to the opposition National Religious party – said the real reason was the presence of supporters of Mir Hossein Mousavi, the reformist who says Ahmadinejad cheated him of victory in June.

 

20th September   

Banking on Censorship...

Kazakhstan newspaper seized after story that allegedly caused a run on a bank
Link Here

Kazakhstan flag The Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the seizure of the print run of one of the few remaining independent newspapers in Kazakhstan.

On Friday, court officers in the financial capital Almaty confiscated the entire print run of the independent weekly Respublika-Delovoye Obozreniye , the Associated Press reported. Authorities also froze the bank accounts of the weekly and its publisher, news Web site Lenta reported.

BTA Bank filed a lawsuit last month against Respublika-Delovoye Obozreniye, claiming that an article in the March issue of the weekly led to 6.7 billion Kazakh tenge (about US$44 million) in withdrawals, regional news Web site Ferghana reported. The newspaper said the confiscation of its print run was part of the government's campaign to shut down the publication.

It is outrageous that a country that is set to assume the chairmanship of an organization that promotes human rights, security, and press freedom should censor and harass one of its few independent news outlets, said CPJ Deputy Director Robert Mahoney: We call on Kazakh authorities to return the confiscated print run and to overturn the verdict against the paper on appeal.

 

19th September   

Censorship H*A*S*H...

Afghanistan military satire pulled from Danish TV
Link Here

H*A*S*H title Hash-smoking soldier puppets in Afghanistan may have been too controversial for Danish public broadcaster DR's Christmas lineup

A satirical puppet show about Danish troops in Afghanistan that was to be part of public broadcaster DR's Christmas lineup has now been dropped by the station, which stated the programme was not funny enough.

But the writers and directors for the show, H*A*S*H – along with many critics who saw the pilot episode – believe there may be political motivations behind DR's decision. The episode was shown in August during a TV festival, but DR made no comments about the show not being funny at the time.

I don't know whether this is censorship or not but it's very strange, said Christian Dyekjær, H*A*S*H's director: I also don't know whether it was a political decision, but I can't help thinking it could be.

The Red-Green Alliance party is calling for an investigation into the matter to determine whether DR's decision was politically influenced.

 

19th September   

Update: Bigger Trouble in Tourist Thailand...

Thai authorities to prosecute TV company for revealing Phuket scams
Link Here  full story: Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand...UK TV program makes waves in Thailand

Big Trouble in Thailand title The Thai television company responsible for producing the Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand series, which featured footage of an alleged jet-ski scam on Phuket, is to be prosecuted, the Bangkok Post has reported.

The managers of Black Sheep Productions, which produced the show, could face 12 months in jail and fines of up to a million baht (£18,000), the report said.

The first episode of the series showed a Patong jet-ski operator, Winai ‘JJ' Naiman, extracting 35,000 baht (£630) from a group of British Royal Navy Marines in compensation for ‘damage' to one of his vehicles. At one point, Winai was shown holding an air rifle as he argued aggressively with the men, who denied damaging the jet-ski.

As well as being broadcast on British TV, the show has been uploaded to YouTube, causing uproar among those who say jet-ski scamming is rife on Phuket's beaches.

In today's Bangkok Post report, Wanasiri Morakul, director of the Thailand Film Office, is quoted as saying those responsible for the show had violated Article 34 of the motion picture law by failing to submit the footage to the Tourism and Sports Ministry for approval before its broadcast abroad.

Director-general of the Office of Tourism Development, Seksan Nakawong, reportedly said the film-makers had violated Article 23 of the same law for making a film damaging to Thailand's reputation.

Gavin Hill, the British producer of the series, denies the allegations, saying the show was neither fake nor stage-managed.

Meetings at Patong Municipality offices are ongoing with the aim to hammer out details of a compulsory insurance scheme for the island's jet-ski industry. It is hoped such a scheme will put a stop to rip-offs and disputes on the island's beaches.

 

19th September   

Potentially Dangerous People...

UK police dream up new label to justify targeting people with no criminal record
Link Here

Northumbria police logo People without criminal convictions could be subject to covert surveillance, under new police tactics revealed.

Durham Police has begun applying methods used to contain people found guilty of violent or sexual crimes to individuals not convicted of such offences.

The 'Potentially Dangerous People' (PDP) initiative is thought to be the first of its kind in the country and police chiefs are aware going public will raise concerns over human rights.

But Ian Scott, head of Durham CID, said: Anything we do has got to be proportionate and legal. This is about preventing offending. Scott said the policy affected people in “present likelihood” of serious sexual or violent offending, such as rape, indecency towards children or wounding with intent.

Mike Creedon, assistant director of County Durham Probation Service, spewed old clichés about 'balance': You've got to balance the human rights of the offender and the human rights of the potential victim in the community. We're talking about people who constitute a very real threat to life or limb.

People can be declared PDPs following a referral to the Public Protection Unit and a multi-agency meeting to discuss the case. A PDP could be watched or contacted by police about their behaviour.

Comment: Presumed Guilty

See article from guardian.co.uk by Henry Porter

It is all part of the trend under Labour that allows the authorities to undermine the legal concept of innocence and to determine a person's intentions and take action, without reference to a normal court of law and without informing the individual of the nature of accusations against him or her. On Sunday I wrote about a "sleeper" clause in the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004 which works with Jack Straw's Protection from Harassment Act 1997 to allow a restraining order to be made on a person who has been acquitted.

It is of enormous importance that we understand that to allow the policy of Northumbria and Cleveland forces to go unchallenged is to lose an essential right in British life. If the exchange of information on people merely suspected of violent or abusive intentions continues, how long will it before these networks of agencies begin to turn their attention to people suspected of other crimes or simply of behaviour that the state finds inconvenient?

That the police can instigate this policy without the slightest murmur of dissent, without debate in parliament, without local MPs raising the mildest concern, is a very worrying sign indeed.

...Read full article

 

19th September   

F**K the ASA...

ASA whinges at SMS ad with the text 'F**K'
Link Here

Ruby Lounge logo A text message from the Ruby Lounge and Cellar 35 venues stated F**K EXAMS! FREE ENTRY B4 11:30, FREE SHOT b4 12 wit [sic] text, TONIGHT! @ Ruby Lounge & Cellar 35. £1 vodkamxr, Sambuca. Rm1. Pop & Rnb. Rm2. House & Electro. Pass it on.

A complainant, who was 17 years old and the recipient of the text message, challenged whether:

  1. it was irresponsible, because it was sent to under 18-year-olds
  2. the text "F**K" was offensive
  3. it had been sent unsolicited.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA was concerned by Ruby Lounge's lack of response and apparent disregard for the Code, which was a breach of CAP Code clause 2.6 (Non-response). We reminded them of their obligations under the Code and told them to respond promptly in future.

1. Upheld

The ASA understood that the complainant was concerned that the nightclub had used alcohol as an incentive for their free entry offer because he was 17 years old and, therefore, under the legal drinking age.

We noted the text message referred to FREE SHOT and £1 vodkamxr, Sambuca following free entry into the nightclub and were concerned that it had been sent to someone under the age of 18. We reminded Ruby Lounge that the Code required marketers to take all necessary steps to ensure that marketing communications were suitable for those targeted and, in the absence of any satisfactory explanation from them, concluded that the message was irresponsible.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clauses 2.2 (Responsible advertising) and 43.2 (a) (Database practice).

2. Upheld

We understood that the complainant was concerned that the text "F**K" could cause offence, particularly to minors. We considered that, in the context of an unsolicited text message, it was likely to cause offence.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clause 5.1 (Decency).

3. Upheld

We referred to the CAP Code, which specified that the explicit consent of consumers was required before marketing by SMS text transmission. We understood that the complainant had not been asked for or given consent for his telephone number to be used by Ruby Lounge for marketing purposes and concluded that the message had therefore breached the Code.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clause 43.4 (c) (Database practice).

 

18th September   

Update: Pay Per Click...

Ministry of Justice consults on reining in online libel
Link Here  full story: Libel Tourism...UK prosecutions of books published abroad

Ministry of Justice logo Proposals for radical changes to UK libel laws aimed at updating them for the internet age have been published.

Online publishers currently face the prospect of fresh legal action every time an article is downloaded, even if many years have passed since it first appeared. Newspapers and civil liberties campaigners complain the effect is to drastically limit freedom of speech.

Changes to the law could involve the abolishing of the 160-year-old multiple publication rule , which allows for a new libel claim with every click, providing it is made within a year.

That could be replaced with a single publication rule, allowing only one court action against defamatory material, to prevent open ended liability.

A consultation paper published by the Ministry of Justice also suggests increasing the limitation period of claims to three years after discovery of the article. Publishers of online archives and blogs might also be given a defence of qualified privilege against offending article after the year time limit had expired. They would face action only if they refused to publish a correction on the offending web page.

Media lawyers say the effect of the multiple publication rule has been to make London the libel capital of the world with litigants claiming here against publications based all over the world on the basis of web-based literature.

 

18th September   

Starve them Out!...

Royal College of Psychiatrists call for action about pro-anorexia websites
Link Here

RC Psych logo One million people in the UK suffer from eating disorders, commonest in teenage girls. More than one in 10 girls look at pro-eating disorder websites repeatedly, the Royal College of Psychiatrists says.

In a paper today, the College calls on the Government to do more to protect vulnerable women. They say the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, set up last year, should specifically target pro-eating disorder websites in its monitoring and educational activities.

Professor Ulrike Schmidt, chair of the College's Eating Disorders Section, said: This is not a rare problem; it affects a significant number of schoolchildren. Studies have shown that girls who looked at these sites had low self-esteem, felt bad about their bodies and were miserable. Patients in eating disorders units spend up to 20 hours a week looking at [the websites]. There is a vulnerable group of women who are being sucked into this.

The pro-eating disorder websites offer a forum for debate and help young girls stave off doubt about what they are doing. They offer a way of keeping in touch with thousands around the world who share their vision. Other countries have tried to control the websites by law. A Bill to ban them in France last year was ultimately lost. In Spain, the health ministry has closed sites accused of promoting self-starvation in girls and, in the Netherlands, moves have been made to add warnings to the sites. Professor Schmidt said the College was not proposing a ban on the websites, many of which were beyond UK jurisdiction: These sites are probably set up by people who are themselves vulnerable. Criminalising the problem would not be helpful.

 

18th September   

Update: Identified as Spurious...

Whinges at No2ID campaign advert not upheld by the ASA
Link Here  full story: ID Cards in UK...UK introduces ID cards

No 2 ID logo An ad in the New Statesman was headlined I work on the Identity Card system for the UK Government. Below, text stated >The "National Identity Register" is the most detailed citizen database of its kind in the world. I am security cleared, which means I can get anything I want, on any UK resident. Address, heath info, financial records, criminal records, whatever. >It's all meant to be stored securely but anyone who works on the project knows it can't be. Better yet, I have a contact who works for a mobile telephone company, so sometimes I can cross-match a person to their geographical location for the last six months or more. I know exactly who they speak to. And when their mother calls. And where she lives, too. >I sell information, if the price is right. Trade is good at the moment. It's mostly private investigators and newspapers, but I get some unusual stuff too. I don't ask questions. It's nothing personal; it's just business. >I am God :o). Text below read The Government wants state management of personal identity. It isn't simple. Or safe. NO2ID is a non-partisan campaign to stop it. Join us. www.no2id.net.

A complainant objected that the ad:

  1. misleadingly exaggerated the information that would be held on the National Identity Register and how staff would be able to access it
  2. was offensive to those who worked for the National Identity Register and implied they were corrupt.

ASA Assessment:

1. Not upheld

We noted the National Identity Register was not yet in existence, but that under current proposals, the database would not contain health, financial or criminal records. We considered, however, that readers of the New Statesman would understand that NO2ID was a lobby group opposed to the ID card scheme and that the ad used an illustrative fictionalised account to set out their view that the ID card system was a threat to personal privacy and that a national database system might be vulnerable to abuse. We noted that the issues relating to the National Identity Register and ID card scheme, including the information the database was likely to hold, had been well documented in the press, and considered people would recognise the ad was deliberately controversial, to encourage discussion on a sensitive political issue. We concluded that the ad was not misleading.

2. Not upheld

We did not consider that most people would interpret the ad to mean that all those who might work for the National Identity Register, or a similar database scheme, were corrupt and likely to sell confidential information or abuse their position. We considered people would understand that the ad was highlighting a lobbying group's opinion that a database containing personal information might be vulnerable to abuse by a minority of those who worked with it. We concluded therefore that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

 

18th September   

Updated: Pervez Saved...

Student jailed for blasphemy in Afghanistan is freed
Link Here  full story: Blasphemy in Afghanistan...Afghan sentenced to death for blasphemy

Save Pervez Twenty months on, and with more than 100,000 signatures from Independent readers seeking his release, Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, the Afghan student sentenced to death for the ‘crime' of downloading information on women's rights, is free.

The Independent has learned that he is now living outside the country after being secretly pardoned by President Karzai.

Kambaksh was moved from his cell in Kabul's main prison a fortnight ago and kept at a secure location for a few days before being flown out of the country. Prior to his departure, he spoke of how his relief was mixed with deep regret at knowing he was unlikely to see his family or country again.

Only a handful of people were aware of the intensive diplomatic negotiations which took place behind the scenes to get Kambaksh out of jail, details of which cannot be revealed to protect those, Afghans and foreigners, who were involved.

According to senior officials Karzai has been well aware of how Kambaksh's case was reinforcing the negative image of his country abroad but also had to be mindful of not being seen to be bowing to Western pressure. Now his role in rectifying something which was widely seen as a miscarriage of justice will be lauded by the West, human rights groups and progressive opinion in Afghanistan. But he will face opposition from religious conservatives, which may prove electorally costly if there is a second-round run off at the polls.

Update: Angry Mullahs

9th September 2009. See article from independent.co.uk

Conservative and religious groups in Afghanistan reacted with fury yesterday to the news that Sayed Pervez Kambaksh, who was sentenced to death for promoting women's rights, has been freed.

After President Hamid Karzai secretly pardoned the 24-year-old student, hardliners called for an urgent ulama, a meeting of Islamic scholars, to organise protests against the decision.

Maulavi Hanif Shah Hosseini, a prominent mullah, declared: Kambaksh committed a crime against the Koran and the people who conspired so that he escaped the law have also committed a crime.

All the decisions to help this man who disrespected Islam are coming from the foreigners. But the decision to follow along with this came from Karzai and the Afghan government and we disown them. We are going to call for a gathering of the ulama to decide what to do. We are not going to make a big stand against this and any trouble will be the fault of people who helped Kambaksh.


Qari Rahmatullah, MP for Kunduz, said: This just shows that our country is not independent. Our policies are dictated by outsiders. Why should a man be allowed to insult Islam and then just walk away? And he added: Good Muslim people will be unhappy about this and Mr Karzai will have difficulties if the voting [in the election] goes to the second round.

Update: Angry Parliament

18th September 2009. Based on article from smh.com.au

Afghanistan's upper house of Parliament has condemned the presidential pardon of a journalist sentenced to 20 years in prison for downloading an internet article about women's rights and Islam.

The upper house expresses its strongest concerns and annoyance and considers this decision contrary to the Islamic values and the laws in place in the country, said the statement signed by the speaker of the upper house.

It called on Kambakhsh to serve his term, and said that those convicted of apostasy and hatred of Islam must be punished.

Media watchdog Reporters Without Borders (RSF) said last week the case would be remembered as a miscarriage of justice marked by religious intolerance, police mistreatment and incompetence on the part of certain judges. Kabul must ensure that blasphemy is no longer used to bring politically motivated charges and to suppress free expression , it added.

 

17th September   

Trusting the BBC to Self Censor...

Government questions the role of the BBC regulator
Link Here

BBC Trust The Culture Secretary, Ben Bradshaw, called for an overhaul of the regulatory structure of the BBC yesterday and claimed that the Corporation's governing body, The BBC Trust, should be scrapped.

In a speech to the Royal Television Society's annual convention, Bradshaw said the Trust, which only came into effect in 2007 was an unsustainable model and should be replaced. I know of no other area of public life where – as is the case with the Trust – the same body is both regulator and cheerleader.

The BBC is under intense pressure from commercial media organisations that whinge it has grown too large. The Corporation's senior management is concerned that a future Conservative government would try to reduce the BBC licence fee.

 

17th September   

Update: Conroy Report's In...

ISP internet censorship report to be published soon
Link Here

Stephen Conroy The Greens communications spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam has  confirmed that Senator Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy has taken receipt of his ISP-level filtering report, but was yet to release it.

The live pilot trial into ISP-level filtering has recently been completed, Conroy said. He explained how his department would release it shortly.

He also addressed concern about the potential influence for politicians in blocking material they might push to be censored:

As I indicated at [Senate] Estimates, I have been in discussion with some in the industry about an enhanced practical measure to ensure confidence that a government minister or a government bureaucrat is not the sole arbiter. There have been a number of options floated

The Classification Board may consider all of the items that are ... to be classified.

An industry-based body may also be an option, where an industry body with the government agency involved could go through and examine [refused classification material]. That's one of the options I'm considering. Another being a parliamentary committee [that] can also examine the classification process.

There are a number of options that the government is generally considering.

 

17th September   

Should be Locked Up...

Australian politician looks for criminal charges for parents who show their children 18 rated films
Link Here

Scott Morrison Australian parents who expose their children to pornography would face criminal charges under plans being drawn up by a senior Liberal MP to shield the young from sexual material.

Not So Liberal frontbencher Scott Morrison is pushing for changes to the law after being made aware of a child protection case in his Sydney electorate where a father with a 'recognised' pornography addiction watches explicit movies and web videos in front of his child aged under five.

The child's mother has complained both to police and the Department of Childrens Services but been told there is nothing in the law to prevent such conduct. Adults cannot be charged with indecent exposure inside their homes and there is no case to be made for child abuse unless the father physically interferes with his child.

Morrison said the case had exposed a 'loophole': The problem was the father in this case was not seeking to expose the child to this material, or anything else he was doing, as a step towards physically or sexually abusing the child. He just didn't seem to care that bringing this stuff into the home and putting it in full view of his own child was a problem. While his actions may not constitute a sexual offence against a child under the strict definitions of the law, most of us would agree he is a complete idiot.

Morrison said the NSW Classification Act states that a person must not privately exhibit in the presence of a minor a film classified R18, unless the person is a parent or guardian of the minor. The same Act says that a person must not sell or deliver to a minor a publication classified Category 1 restricted or Category 2 restricted, unless the person is a parent or guardian of the minor.

This is not on, he said: The same position seems to be taken up by most, if not all, other jurisdictions, including in Victoria where your mum and dad can show you an X18+ film at home.

Convenor of the Australian Sex Party Fiona Patten said the existing laws did not cover R-rated films, but did cover X-rated movies which contained sexual imagery: Sorry…he's trying to pull the wool over their eyes about pornography! Not content with calling the object of his attention, ‘porn' and then revealing that its actually R rated DVDs he's trying to have locked up, he's suggesting legislation to force parents to lock R rated DVDs in a cupboard like guns.

 

17th September   

Danish Mother Seeking...

YouTube tourist video pulled
Link Here

Danish Mother Seeking Denmark's tourism agency has removed one of its advertisements from YouTube after complaints that it promoted promiscuity in the liberal Scandinavian country.

The video clip, nearly three minutes long, showed a young, blonde woman cradling an infant called August and saying he was the result of a brief fling with a foreign tourist.

Speaking English in the video, she said she was trying to find August's father through Google's YouTube website.

An investigation by a Danish TV channel clarified that the scene was staged and the woman was an actress.

Karen Sjoerup, a sociologist, said the advert suggested that you can lure fast, blonde Danish women home without a condom.

Lene Espersen, economy minister who also holds the government's tourism portfolio, said the video presented a not very well thought out picture of the country. The recording was posted by VisitDenmark last Thursday and before being removed on Monday, it had clocked up more than 800,000 hits on YouTube.

Dorte Kiilerich, the manager of VisitDenmark, initially described the video as the most effective thing we have ever done to market Denmark but later offered an apology: I regret that the film has offended so many people.

 

17th September   

Public Disharmony...

Call for Indian film to be banned for showing muslims as violent and antisocial
Link Here

Baabarr poster A case has been filed in the Bombay High Court seeking a ban on the film Baabarr , released last week, for alleged negative portrayal of Muslims.

Questioning the censor board's clearance to the film, petitioner Amar Hussein Mukeri, a Mumbai-based businessman, has alleged that certain characters and incidents are clearly identifiable with real life personalities and the screening of the film may lead to public disharmony.

Contending that the Central Board of Film Certification should not have cleared the film for public viewing even with an adult 'A' certificate, the petitioner has objected to the depiction of Muslims as violent and antisocial.

Seeking an immediate ban on the film, the petitioner said it has hurt his religious sentiments and would evoke similar feelings among fellow Muslims.

The case will come up for hearing on September 17.

 

17th September   

Offsite: Delaying Games...

Gamespot enquires about late running R18+ for games consultation
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

Gamespot logo Last April, Censorship Ministers meeting at the Standing Committee of Attorneys General (SCAG) in Canberra failed to come to a unanimous decision regarding changes and the release of the R18+ discussion paper, prompting then-Minister for Home Affairs Bob Debus to take matters into his own hands, announcing his department would take over handling the R18+ public consultation and see to its release.

When GameSpot AU interviewed Debus in April, a proposed deadline of July 31, 2009 was given for the public consultation process. However, Debus was replaced as Minister of Home Affairs by Brendan O'Connor in June as part of a cabinet re-shuffle and since then, no news about the public consultation has surfaced.

...Read full article

 

16th September   

Mainly Unfair, Stormy and Rough over Fuckall...

Radio 4 Shipping Forecast announcer apparently sacked
Link Here

Radio 4 logo Radio 4 has replaced a continuity announcer known as the voice of the Shipping Forecast a month after he accidentally swore on air.

Peter Jefferson, who worked for the BBC for 45 years, swore after mixing up his words as he tried to complete a sentence before the famous "pips" at the top of the hour on Radio 4. The 64-year-old has been told by BBC managers that his services are no longer needed.

The Corporation received two complaints after Jefferson's accidental outburst during the 8pm pips on 18 August. He was reading a continuity announcement when he mixed up his words, causing him to almost talk over the beginning of the pips.

Although he managed to finish just in time he could then be heard muttering 'fuck' between the second and third pips, mistakenly believing he had turned the microphone off.

The BBC offered a swift apology and said at the time it would discuss the issue with Jefferson.

Last night, the Corporation claimed that the decision to end his freelance work as a Radio 4 continuity announcer was unrelated to the incident and part of a wider plan to open up opportunities for newcomers. It said Jefferson would still feature on the station's panel game Quote Unquote.

 

16th September   

No Playtime for Adults...

TV censor bans sexy music video on late night TV
Link Here

Channel AKA logo TXXX Channel AKA
‘Playtime Two', Giggs Featuring Kyze
Channel AKA, 25 June 2009, 22:45 approximately

Channel AKA is an urban music channel whose licence is held by Mushroom TV. The channel is available without any access restrictions. XXX Channel AKA is part of the channel's late night programming, broadcast between 22:00 and 05:30. The programme features music videos of a more adult nature containing stronger images.

A viewer complained about the broadcast of the music video Playtime Two by Giggs Featuring Kyze, which featured material of a sexual nature. The complainant considered the sexual material broadcast in this video too strong to be available at approximately 22:45 and on this channel.

Ofcom noted that the video included: frequent shots of naked breasts; women wearing revealing thongs and pulling at their underwear to expose genital detail; women touching their breasts and genital area in a sexual manner; women squirting water and licking whipped cream off each other's naked breasts; frequent shots between women's legs (while wearing thongs); frequent close up shots of female buttocks (while wearing thongs); a brief shot of a woman pulling her buttocks apart to show anal detail; and a man simulating sexual stimulation between a woman's legs.

Ofcom considered Rules 2.1 (generally accepted standards) and 2.3 (material which may cause offence must be justified by the context).

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rules 2.1 & 2.3

Ofcom was concerned by the strong sexual imagery included in the Playtime Two video and in particular the time of broadcast. This video contained frequent shots of naked breasts; women touching their breasts and genital area in a sexual manner; women licking whipped cream off each other's breasts; and a man simulating sexual stimulation on a woman. In Ofcom's view, given the strength of the material and the time of broadcast Ofcom did not consider that the broadcaster had applied generally accepted standards. In Ofcom's opinion, despite the title of the programme and the later evening scheduling, Ofcom considered that this particular material would have exceeded audience expectations for a music programme of this nature broadcast at 22:45 without any access restrictions on a music channel.

While taking into account the name of the programme and that it does include music videos of a more adult nature, it was Ofcom's view that, on balance, the broadcaster did not apply generally accepted standards to this content and the material was not justified by the context. Therefore the material breached Rules 2.1 and 2.3 of the Code.

 

15th September   

Censorship on Demand...

Ofcom consult over VOD regulation and censorship
Link Here

Ofcom logo Ofcom have published a consultation on the future regulation and cenorship of Video on Demand (VOD) services.

Under revised European law, content on VOD services such as BBC iPlayer, 4OD, ITV Player, SkyPlayer and Demand Five will be regulated from 19 December 2009. Such services are available through Virgin Media, Sky and BT Vision as well as through the internet.

Regulation of these services is a requirement of the EU's Audiovisual Media Services Directive and covers all VOD services which are, according to the Directive, TV-like. The Government plans to give the overall duty to regulate these services to Ofcom.

Electronic versions of newspapers, private websites and unmoderated user generated material (hosted on services such as YouTube) will not be regulated.

Industry Bodies ATVOD and ASA

Ofcom is consulting on its proposal that two bodies carry out most aspects of the regulation on its behalf: Ofcom proposes that VOD services are regulated by the industry body, the Association for Television On Demand (ATVOD), and that advertising included in those services, is regulated by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA).

But VOD programming would not be subject to Ofcom's Broadcasting Code, which broadcast services currently licensed in the UK have to observe

Under the proposed co-regulation, Ofcom will have back-stop powers to intervene if the new co-regulatory system does not work effectively and Ofcom will also retain the power to impose sanctions against service providers.

Content Censorship

ATVOD logo Under the proposals for consultation ATVOD would regulate VOD services and would be required to ensure that programming on VOD services adheres to a number of minimum standards from the Directive which will be set out in UK legislation. Programmes, for example:

  • must not contain any incitement to hatred based on race, sex, religion or nationality
  • must not provide material which might seriously impair the physical, mental, or moral development of minors unless it is made available in such a way that ensures that minors will not normally hear or see such content
  • sponsored programmes and services must comply with applicable sponsorship requirements.

Advertising

ASA logo Since 2004 the ASA has regulated TV and radio advertising in the UK under a co-regulatory agreement with Ofcom. Under the proposals for consultation the ASA would regulate the advertising on VOD services.

The new legislation requires that advertising on VOD services must also comply with a number of minimum standards. For example:

  • advertising must be readily recognisable and cannot contain any surreptitious advertising or use subliminal advertising techniques
  • advertising must not encourage behaviour that is prejudicial to the health or safety of people
  • tobacco products, prescription-only medicines or medical treatments cannot be advertised.

Viewer complaints

Under Ofcom's proposals any complaints that viewers have about video material that they feel has breached these rules will be assessed by ATVOD or the ASA.

BBC

BBC content is jointly regulated by the BBC Trust and Ofcom.

Content on the BBC iPlayer will be subject to these new regulations but as with other BBC content will be regulated by the Trust and Ofcom and not under the proposed co-regulatory arrangements.

Consultation

Our consultation closes on 26th October 2009. See further details here

 

15th September   

Update: Crying for Blood...

Ofcom unimpressed by one sided and gruesome anti-abortion programme
Link Here  full story: Revelation TV...Religious views winds up TV censors

Revelation TV logo The Land Cries Out for the Blood that Was Shed
Revelation TV, 23 June 2009, 15:30

Revelation TV is a UK-based Christian channel that features a range of programmes with a religious theme. Ofcom received a complaint about The Land Cries Out for the Blood that was Shed , objecting to the programme's stance against abortion, and the showing of graphic images of aborted foetuses. The complainant was concerned that the programme had been broadcast in the afternoon and prior to a children's programme called R Kids .

The programme was a documentary film, which consisted of commentary and interviews setting out facts, figures and opinions about abortion. All the interviewees (drawn mainly from anti-abortion organisations in the UK, the US and Israel) put forward arguments and opinions against abortion, with the views expressed being predominantly delivered from a Christian and Jewish perspective. During the programme, a range of images were shown, which depicted, in photographic form, aborted foetuses or the process of abortion. In summary, the Images consisted of the following:

  • Firstly, montages  of still photographs of late-stage aborted foetuses shown three times during the programme lasting in excess of thirty seconds in total
  • second, a number of times, brief but discernable “flash frames” of photographs of late-stage aborted foetuses, shown intermittently throughout the programme.

The programme also touched on: the legal situation pertaining to abortion in the UK, the US and Israel; and the United Nations policy concerning abortion. In addition, a number of interviewees gave their perspectives on the legal situation surrounding abortion in the above countries, and how it was being dealt with at the UN.

Ofcom considered Rules of the Code:

  • Rule 1.3: Children must be protected by appropriate scheduling
  • Rule 2.1: Generally accepted standards must be applied to the contents of
    television programmes
  • Rule 2.3: Offensive material must be justified by the context and appropriate
    information should also be broadcast
  • Rule 5.5: On matters of political controversy or relating to current public policy
    due impartiality must be preserved.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of Rules 1.3, 2.1, 2.3 & 5.5

Ofcom had two broad areas of concern about the programme:

Firstly, Ofcom noted that collectively the Images consisted of depictions in photographic form of late-stage aborted foetuses. Ofcom therefore had to consider whether by broadcasting the Images, Revelation TV had failed to ensure that people under eighteen were protected, and generally accepted standards were maintained.

Second, given that the programme was touching on and discussing Governmental and international policy on abortion, Ofcom had to consider whether Section Five of the Code (concerning due impartiality) was engaged, and if so, whether due impartiality was maintained on a matter of political or industrial controversy or matter relating to current public policy.

Ofcom considered the Images collectively as being highly problematic, with real potential to cause harm and offence, including harm to any children watching.

Firstly, the Montages consisted of extremely graphic still photographs showing full images of different late stage aborted foetuses outside of the womb. These images included severed body parts including heads and limbs. Given the very explicit nature of these photographs, and the length of time they were visible to viewers, Ofcom considered the Montages had the greatest potential to cause harm and offence, including harm to any children watching. There were similar concerns about the graphic nature of the Flash Frames which included some of the same stills in the Montages.

This programme was broadcast well before the 9pm Watershed, and in fact, at a time when children would be arriving home from school. It also was broadcast only a short time before one of Revelation TV's programmes aimed at children (R Kids). Ofcom therefore considered that there was a material chance that some children might be in the audience for The Land Cries Out. Ofcom considered that the strength and highly graphic nature of the Images were totally unacceptable to be broadcast at a time when children might have been watching. The highly graphic nature of the Montages in particular, would have had, in Ofcom's opinion, the likely potential to have caused distress and upset amongst any child viewers exposed to such material. As a consequence, Ofcom considered the content to be in breach of Rule 1.3.

Ofcom considered that a combination of the Images, and in particular, the Montages, could not be justified by the context given the time of broadcast and the failure to provide adequate information about the nature of the programme, and were, therefore, in breach of Rules 2.1 and 2.3.

Outside of news programmes, under Section Five of the Code, broadcasters must ensure that they preserve “due impartiality” on matters relating to political or industrial controversy or matters relating to current public policy. Having reviewed the programme, Ofcom noted that The Land Cries Out contained no opinions or viewpoints that could be portrayed as being from a pro-abortion stance. Ofcom therefore considered the programme to be in breach of Rule 5.5.

Ofcom considered these breaches of the Code to be serious.

 

15th September   

Update: Must Not Dawdle in the Corridors of Power...

Tanya Byron hurries along the Government's internet censors along
Link Here  full story: The Byron Report...Tanya Byron reports on media child protection

Tanya Byron Tanya Byron is so frustrated at the lack of effort to implement her action plan, which was published 18 months ago, that she is taking matters into her own hands and visiting schools to warn pupils and teachers of the dangers directly.

Although the UK Council for Child Internet Safety has been set up, very little of substance has emerged. Dr Byron, a child psychologist asked by the Prime Minister to draw up proposals on internet safety, said that big ideological divides remained over the scope of online regulations and who should enforce them.

Dr Byron is frustrated that a national strategy on child safety has been delayed from last spring until at least December. A safety campaign pencilled in for the summer has yet to materialise.

A move to adopt the pan-European video game classification system so parents can check if their children's video games are appropriate for their age group is under threat. This summer the Department for Culture, Media and Sport told Dr Byron that there were fears that the existing legislative framework could make it hard to adopt the EU-wide system. She wrote back immediately, asking to meet officials without delay, but has had no response.

She is particularly frustrated that the council appears still to be deadlocked over old issues: the strength of new standards and how to enforce them. Without a figure independent of both the industry, which wants a light touch, and the world of child protection, which is seeking more stringent rules, progress will not be made.

The Government has now set a date of December 8 for a meeting to produce a national strategy, having initially set the spring deadline. Dr Byron has set up her own campaign, the 21st Century Schools Project, and is visiting schools to tell pupils, teachers and parents about safety. The internet moves so much faster than policy. I realised unless I started doing something right now, my own children would be long gone from school before anything changed, she said.

 

15th September   

Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand...

Thailand tries to stop Bravo TV series highlighting tourist scams in Thailand
Link Here  full story: Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand...UK TV program makes waves in Thailand

Jet skis The  second episode in the controversial Big Trouble in Tourist Thailan d television series has just been broadcast in Britain on Bravo - but Thai authorities are now trying to prevent the rest of the eight-part series from being completed.

Producer-director Gavin Hill says the Thailand Film Office has sent a letter asking the British production company, Bravo, not to screen any more episodes.

Episode Three, being edited in Britain, is in rough-cut form. The show can only go on with permission from all the people shown on-screen. That includes Winai ''JJ'' Naiman, the now-notorious Phuket jet-ski operator, who signed a release form so that his actions could be displayed to viewers with his approval.

Hill said tonight's second episode does not reflect badly on Thailand. That was never the intention of Big Trouble in Tourist Thailand, he added.

I don't know what's going to happen now with the series, he said. The Thailand Film Office has 'pulled all the releases and permissions that are required to complete the series. He has been told there is the likelihood of a complaint being made to the British embassy. At least one volunteer expat tourist policeman in Pattaya had also expressed concern.

In some ways, it's very positive for Thailand, he said: The young lady who was in trouble on Koh Phangan in the first episode is fined 50 pounds, she gets her bail money back, and she is allowed to go, with the only real penalty being an extra three weeks in Thailand.

By coincidence, authorities on Koh Phangan have announced a plan to make the island, noted for expat full moon rave parties, drug-free as fast as possible.

Episode One of Big Trouble screened last week, revealing footage of what appeared to be an extortion bid by ''JJ'' with a gun in hand, and it came just before a planned summit on jet-ski scams on Phuket. The Jet Ski operators demand enormous compensation for unlikely damage to the jetski.

Nationwide, crackdowns are underway on crimes against tourists at Suvarnabhumi airport in Bangkok as part of a push against corruption by the Prime Minister.

The jet-ski crackdown on Phuket came after the Deputy PM met with the Australian ambassador. Other ambassadors later echoed their increasing concerns about jet-ski scams to the Phuket Governor, Wichai Praisa-nob.

 

14th September   

Socio-cultural Censorial Values...

Malaysian government rewriting film censorship rules
Link Here

Malaysia flag New guidelines by Malaysian film censors will supposedly allow movie producers more flexibility and freedom, without having to compromise on issues related to security, racial and religious harmony and socio-cultural values.

Home Ministry secretary-general Datuk Seri Mahmood Adam said a draft has been prepared and was being studied by film producers and script writers for their views and suggestions on how the new guidelines should be shaped: What is special is that the guidelines are drawn with the participation of industry players, authorities and other interested parties. However, we expect them to abide by the rules, because they are the ones who had a hand in laying them down.

He said the guidelines revolved around security and public order, religion, and socio-cultural and ethics values. For example, Mahmood said, while it would not be an outright no-no for film producers to have a story-line based on religion, it should not portray one religion as better than the other.

Crime and criminals can be highlighted, but not in a way that will encourage the audience to consider committing a crime. Likewise, some harsh language may help enhance the dialogue of a film, but not extreme profanity and vulgarity.

Mahmood added that the film producers and script writers had about a month to study the draft guidelines, after which another meeting would be convened for their feedback and ideas.

 

14th September   

Update: Blue Dam...

China dictates new internet censorship system for ISPs
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Great Firewall of China The Beijing government has recently required all ISPs and data centers to install a software called Blue Dam in all their servers.

According to today's Taiwan Apple Daily News, the Blue Dam has to be activated by September 13 or the companies will be subject to punishment.

The Blue Dam is developed by Shanghai Andatong Information Safety Technology Company and according to a report back in July 2009, the Blue Dam is 20 times more effective than the Green Dam as it is a combination of software and hardware.

The Blue Dam system is consisted of the following features: a graphic-filtering system, administrative-management system, internet-behavior manager, VPN client. The developer said that the business version of the Blue Dam can help company to stop their workers from visiting websites or hanging around in the Internet on non work related activities.

 

14th September   

Censorial Aerosols...

Australian censors ban graffiti magazine
Link Here

Death from Above The Wentworthville branch of the New South Wales Police recently submitted two Aussie graffiti magazines to the Classification Board for rating.

Death From Above Issue 1 (May 2003) was banned according to www.graffiti.org

City Circle Magazine Issue 2 (May 2009) was rated M (Not recommended for readers under 15 years).

 

14th September   

Diary: Green Inspiration...

Stephen Green inspires theatre group to a production of The Censor
Link Here  full story: Christian Voice vs Poetry...Stephen Green accuses poet of blapshemy

The Censor The Censor
Chapter Arts Centre, Cardiff
16-19th September, 8pm
Call 029 2030 4400 for tickets

Challenging and unsettling, the latest production from controversial theatre group Faction Collective looks set to spark plenty of debate. But, as director Chris Durnall says, that's exactly what they want

Featuring pornographic films, frank discussion of sexual acts and a shocking denouement, The Censor is not what you would call an easy watch.

Being staged by Faction Collective, the theatre company formed to perform writer Patrick Jones' 2008 play Revelation , the roots of the decision to bring The Censor , by Scottish playwright Anthony Neilson, to Cardiff next week lie in an incident that took place late last year.

Patrick Jones was due to read a selection of his poetry at a Cardiff branch of Waterstone's. This was cancelled after some protests by a Christian pressure group, Stephen Green's Christian Voice, and after some Assembly Members took up the cause they held the reading at the Senedd.

Director Chris Durnal said: So when we started looking around for something to perform this year, The Censor seemed an obvious choice as it picks up on some of the issues surrounding that whole incident.

The play deals with the burgeoning relationship between a female director of pornography and a film censor and the effect this has on his wife. The Censor features what can only be politely described as quite a supremely unsettling coup de theatre involving an act normally performed in the solitude of the smallest room.

 

13th September   

Update: Bollox TV Strong Language Survey...

The Telegraph counts the words and provides Beyer with a platform
Link Here

Telegraph logo In 25 post-watershed programmes monitored last week, 'serious' expletives – 'fuck', 'shit' and 'piss' – were used a total of 155 times. When a similar monitoring exercise was carried out a year ago, the words were used only 127 times.

Of the programmes monitored last week, the one with the most swearing was Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares USA , in which the 'fuck' was used 63 times and other 'serious' expletives 18 times. There were a total of 103 swear words used. Other major 'offenders' were the film Stripes starring Bill Murray on Channel 5, which had 14 uses of 'serious' expletives, BBC1's Traffic Cops , with 12, and BBC2's The Last Days of Lehman Brothers , with 11.

John Beyer, the director of Mediawatch-UK, said: Broadcasters are not really responding to the public concern about swearing on television. What happened last year was largely thanks to The Sunday Telegraph. A lot of the comments made by Michael Grade and Jana Bennet were responding to the public concern there was. What your results show is broadcasters have paid lip service, made all the right noises, but they haven't actually done anything to reduce the level of swearing.

He accused the Government and industry regulator Ofcom of ignoring the situation: With the government not prepared to intervene and with Ofcom failing to really enforce its code on swearing, there's little that an ordinary viewer, who continues to be offended by this language, can do. I just think it's a situation that's out of control.

A spokesman for the regulator said: We regularly carry out research on viewers' attitudes, including to swearing on TV and radio. The results have not varied much in recent years. Most people on balance are reasonably satisfied about the amount of swearing on TV and radio, with older viewers and listeners more concerned and younger ones less so.

Channel 4 defended the use of swear words, saying it had an alternative public service remit and at times will transmit content of a stronger nature which may not appeal to all viewers and that people knew what to expect from notoriously foul-mouthed chef Gordon Ramsay.

A spokesman for the channel said: Channel 4 strives to reflect social reality and strong language is part of that reality; potentially offensive language can feature when scheduled responsibly, preceded by a warning and justified by context; strongest language is not broadcast before the watershed. We are confident that our target audience and regular viewers have the right expectations of Channel Four content, and we have a strong track record on compliance.

The BBC also said swearing had a place on television. For the BBC, it is not about quotas or stopping the judicious use of strong language, but rather avoiding gratuitous use and looking hard at context in terms of channel, genres of programme, time slot and audience expectation, a spokesman for the corporation said.

 

13th September   

Update: Gothic Origins of a Ban...

Australian censors revoke certificates to 2 games
Link Here

Dragonball Origins game Dragon Ball: Origins on the Nintendo DS hit the news in January 2009 when  a shot of one of the character's pants forced a recall of the game so it can be given a more mature M rating.

refused-classification.com is now reporting that this M Rating has now been revoked.

Gothic II , a role playing PC game has also had its M Rating revoked.

The precedent for a revoked certificate began with the Hot Coffee mod to GTA: San Andreus. So refused-classification.com are speculating that this latest action from the Australian censor may be related to content modification.

 

13th September   

Update: Chinese Given a Lesson in Democracy...

Chinese attempt to bully Frankfurt Book Fair
Link Here

Yangtze Yangtze! by Dai Qing Two Chinese dissidents caused a furore when they addressed a symposium ahead of the Frankfurt Book Fair, causing much of the Chinese delegation to walk out. The Chinese delegates only returned after the book fair's director Juergen Boos apologized.

Bei Ling and Dai Qing travelled to Frankfurt although their invitations to the China Symposium as guests of the book fair had been revoked after pressure from Beijing.

China's former ambassador to Germany, Mei Zhaorong, said they felt unfairly treated: We didn't come for a lesson on democracy, these times are over, Mei said from the podium, adding that Dai Qing and Bei Ling were welcome to participate in the discussion but did not represent China's 1.3 billion citizens.

Beijing had objected to the pair being invited to the forum, being held in the run-up to the Frankfurt Book Fair, where China is guest of honour. The revocation of the dissidents' invitations triggered fierce criticism in Germany, where the organizers were accused of bowing to China's censorship.

 

13th September   

The Last British Bullfighter...

Like a red rag to an animal rights activist
Link Here

The Last British Bullfighter book Britain's only matador has been told he cannot promote his memoirs in Waterstone's following protests by animal rights groups.

The book chain has cancelled a series of in-store appearances by Frank Evans, who was due to sign copies of his autobiography, The Last British Bullfighter . The 67 year-old came out of retirement last month to step back into the bullring, becoming the oldest toreador in the business.

Waterstone's acted after receiving complaints from supporters of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta), the Born Free Foundation and the North West Hunt Saboteurs Association, among others. The signings were scheduled to take place in Manchester and Liverpool.

A spokesman for the chain said: In the best interests of our customers and staff, last week Waterstone's decided to cancel the two Last British Bullfighter events. No further events related to the book are planned.

Evans said Waterstone's had made the right decision. He told The Daily Telegraph: I've been in this business for over 40 years so I'm quite used to animal rights activists targeting me. I would hate for any of Waterstone's staff to come to any harm so I completely understand their decision to cancel.

It's a sad day when they can stop people reading something. Over the years I've had letter bombs in the post and death threats. These extremists can be quite sinister.


The Last British Bullfighter chronicles Evans' unlikely journey from the backstreets of Salford, where he grew up as the son of a butcher, to the Spanish bullfighting circuit, where he is known to fans as El Inglés.

 

12th September   

Hear No Evil...

Chinese internet censors turn their attention to foreign music
Link Here

China flag China has announced that all songs posted on music websites must receive prior approval and foreign lyrics must be translated into Chinese, in a new push to control online content.

The culture ministry says the rules are designed to step up regulation of the Internet, curb rampant piracy and protect intellectual property rights.

The official Global Times said that music providers would have to submit songs for approval by December 31, at which date the new rules go into effect.

In a statement sent to AFP, the ministry said the rules were necessary to regulate the transmission of cultural information, guarantee the safety of the nation's culture, and regulate public ethics.

The rules are an extension of requirements already in place for the offline music industry, which has to submit foreign albums to the government for prior approval.

According to the ministry's guidelines, the rules also aim to strengthen the protection of intellectual property rights, and to increase the market share of legal businesses and legal music products.

Online music providers will be required to get a special licence from the culture ministry.

A culture ministry spokesman said content generated by Internet users -- including songs composed, recorded or uploaded by individuals -- would not have to go through the censorship process.

 

12th September   

Balibo Hullabaloo...

Indonesia not impressed by movie about reporters who were murdered to cover up invasion of East Timor
Link Here  full story: Balibo...Indonesia bans movie about jounalist deaths

Balibo film poster The Indonesian Government says it finds the new Australian film about the Balibo Five newsmen offensive but it's up to the country's censors to decide if it should be banned.

Indonesia's military has urged the country's censorship board, the LSF, to ban Balibo , which depicts Indonesian soldiers brutally murdering five Australia-based newsmen in the East Timor border town in 1975.

Foreign affairs ministry spokesman Teuku Faizasyah today said he believed the film, which is in the running to be shown at the next Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFF), was offensive: I don't think rational people would like to see such an offensive movie shown in our country, because it only opens the old wounds. And it won't be good for the interests of the Indonesian people.

Faizasyah said the film, which contradicts the official Indonesian explanation that the journalists were accidentally killed in crossfire, could spark confusion.

Indonesian debate about the film follows the Australian Federal Police's (AFP) announcement this week that it will conduct a formal war crimes investigation into the Balibo killings. The decision has reignited diplomatic tensions between Australia and Indonesia, which believes the case should remain closed. The AFP probe comes almost two years after a coronial inquest concluded Indonesian forces deliberately killed the journalists to cover up their invasion of East Timor.

Update: Special Censor Team

18th November 2009.  Based on article from news.com.au

Indonesian censors have formed a special team to decide whether to allow the politically sensitive Australian movie about the Balibo Five to be shown in the country.

The Indonesian government has declared Robert Connolly's Balibo offensive and the Indonesian military has urged the country's censorship board, the LSF, to ban it.

The movie depicts Indonesian soldiers brutally murdering five Australia-based newsmen in the East Timor border town in 1975. It contradicts the official Indonesian explanation they were killed in crossfire.

The organisers of the Jakarta International Film Festival (JIFF), which kicks off next month, want to show the movie despite the possible controversy it could generate. They have submitted the movie to the LSF, which has formed a special team to decide whether the thriller is too politically sensitive for Indonesian audiences.

 

12th September   

Censorship Mores...

Indian censors set up meeting to discuss revising their rules
Link Here

CBFC logo India's Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni has convened a meeting of the Central Board of Film Certification and the nine regional boards in mid-October to study the whole gamut of film censorship and the possibilities of revising the Film Censorship Guidelines.

Ministry sources told indiantelevision.com that the meet will discuss all issues relating to film censorship in the light of various directives of different courts and changing mores in society.

The meeting may consider the suggestion – made first by an earlier Chairperson Anupam Kher and now by Sharmila Tagore – for permitting adult content on television in late night or early dawn hours.

When it was pointed out that some regional boards had as many as 150 members, the sources said the CBFC only had 25 people and there was no objection to the regional boards having more members as long as these were people representing all sections of society who understood cinema. In any case, the rule was that a minimum of five persons should be present whenever a film is screened for censorship.

 

11th September   

Mass Censorer...

AIDS is a mass murderer ad pulled from YouTube
Link Here

AIDS is a mass murderer ad A controversial ad that uses Hitler to scare viewers away from unsafe sex was pulled from YouTube, according to news reports.

The Regenbogen (Rainbow) Association ad features a steamy sex scene in which the face of Hitler, heretofore a disguised lover, suddenly leers at the viewer, followed by the message AIDS is a mass murderer. It is due to air later in September on German TV.

The association's web site also shows poster designs featuring Saddam Hussein and Joseph Stalin, each with a naked woman, under the same slogan.

YouTube citied possible violations of terms of use for pulling the ad. Earlier, Regenbogen director Heiko Schoessling said the shock ad was needed to bring home the message that AIDS cases are on the rise.

But Stephan Kramer, secretary-general of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, told the French news agency AFP that while the ad might gain attention for an important issue, it was an insult to the victims of the Nazi era, among them gays and lesbians who were sent to concentration camps in the thousands.

 

11th September   

Double Compliance...

ITV in show fear of the 'light touch' TV censor
Link Here

ITV logo Independent producers commissioned by ITV will have their content vetted for compliance by the commercial broadcaster, following moves by Ofcom which beef up the fines the network faces for breaches of the broadcasting code.

In a statement, ITV said that the decision to adopt double compliance reflected a lack of confidence in the compliance procedures of its subsidiary Channel Television. Channel TV currently vets most of the network's indie-produced content..

Previously, only the ITV network that had authorized compliance was able to be fined by the watchdog for breaches of the code. It meant that Ofcom could only fine Channel TV up to £200,000 for a breach.

Under the changes, the whole of the ITV network can be liable to pay up to 92% of any content breaches, with the cost capped at 5% of the total network revenue - meaning fines could easily top millions of pounds for a breach.

As a result, ITV plc is now obliged to take steps to protect itself from exposure to sanctions arising from compliance processes in respect of which it currently has no control, and little visibility, the statement said.

 

11th September   

The Organisers...

ASA bans advert with image of child in bikini
Link Here

ASA logo An internet banner ad appearing on Lastminute.com titled The Organisers. Operation Bikini. The ad featured an image of an adult woman alongside a young girl posing with her hand on her hip. Both were dressed in bikinis.

The complainant challenged that the ad was offensive because it showed a young girl in a sexually provocative pose.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted the banner ad was a portion of a larger campaign ad by NH Hoteles. However, the banner ad appeared in isolation on Lastminute.com and we did not agree with NH Hoteles argument that it would be seen as part of the campaign as a whole. We acknowledged that some readers might think the image of a child in a bikini acceptable in the context of an ad for a holiday. However, we noted the young girl was not shown in a typical holiday scenario appropriate for her age, but rather shown in a bikini, striking a pose akin to that of a fashion model alongside an adult model. We considered that the image was likely to be seen to sexualise children in an irresponsible manner and therefore to cause offence.

The ad breached CAP Code clauses 2.2 (Social responsibility), 5.1 (Offence) and 47.2 (Children). The ad must not appear again in its current form.

 

11th September   

Update: Church of Absurdity...

Vengeful god kills 15 in boating accident out of petulence at Madonna gig
Link Here

Sticky & Sweet book A Bulgarian religious official has claimed a Madonna gig was to blame for a boating accident which killed 15 people.

Nikolay, the metropolitan of Bulgarian city Plovdiv, says he is angered that the September 5 leg of the star's Sticky & Sweet tour took place.

Locals are expected to commemorative the anniversary of the beheading of John The Baptist on that day.

Demanding it should have been spent in contemplation rather than enjoyment, he cited the tragedy on Lake Ohrid, which saw a pleasure boat crash with many fatalities.

The catastrophe in Macedonia in which 15 Bulgarian citizens died was a sign from heaven, claimed Nikolay.

The Orthodox Church had called for people not to enjoy themselves on the day marking the execution of John. We should not allow the young to have fun on a day that should be dedicated to spiritual reflection, he insisted.

 

11th September   

Update: New Censor on the Blog...

Vietnamese Administration Agency for Radio, Television and Electronics Information
Link Here  full story: Blogging in Vietnam...Bloggers under duress in Vietnam

Vietnam flag In response to the fast growing citizen journalist movement, the Vietnamese government launched a new entity (Administration Agency for Radio, Television and Electronics Information) and decree to restrict Internet freedom, censor private blogs, and compel information technology companies to cooperate with authorities.

Since the end of last year, authorities in Vietnam have taken further steps to restrict freedom of expression by unleashing a systematic campaign against bloggers and internet activists. At least 15 bloggers have been arrested and harassed since September 2008.

 

11th September   

Offsite: Family Nutters...

Did Family Guy cause 179,997 FCC indecency complaints?
Link Here

Family Guy DVD The Every three months the Federal Communications Commission comes up with its Quarterly Report on indecency complaints, and we sit around scratching our heads. How come the latest stats, in this instance for the first quarter of this year, show the viewers relatively calm at 578 complaints in January, then 505 in February, followed by 179,997 in March?

179,997? Um, did we miss something? Did television really get that much more indecent in March? No worries. In these situations, we know what to do. We go over and check out the Parents Television Council's website. And sure enough, there's a plausible instigator—a PTC viewer action alert crusade against a March 8 episode of the animated comedy show the PTC just loves to hate, Fox TV's Family Guy.

...Read full article

 

10th September   

Update: Swinging too Far towards a Vindictive Nanny State...

All charges dropped against baby swinging video uploader
Link Here  full story: Swinging Baby...Circus family video clip causes police hassle

Swinging Baby video A Queensland man plans to sue police who arrested and charged him for child abuse offences after he uploaded a video of a man apparently recklessly swinging a baby to a video website.

Australian prosecutors have dropped all charges against Chris Illingworth opening the door to a compensation claim.

The Sydney Morning Herald reports the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions has decided not to proceed with the case. The decision follows soon after censors responded to a separate complaint about the clip by giving it the equivalent of a 15 rating.

This prosecution was discontinued yesterday after the matter was reviewed... taking into account all of the circumstances involved including the classification given to the material by the Classification Board, prosecutors said.

 

10th September   

Update: Ruddy Hackers...

Anonymous attack Australian PM's site in protest about internet censorship
Link Here

Anonymous logo The Australian Prime Minister's website has been hacked in protest over proposed reforms of internet censorship.

The website, www.pm.gov.au, was brought down  along with that of the Australian Communications and Media Authority, but both were back online about an hour later.

A post on the Inquisitr blog shows a flyer, allegedly from the group Anonymous, claiming they organised the hack in response to a Federal Government proposal to introduce mandatory internet filtering.

Anonymous are a loose collection of internet users known for posting anonymously to message boards and who have previously organised global rallies protesting against Scientology.

The Anonymous flyer complains that the proposal to introduce internet filtering would block legal content, and take censorship to levels like that seen in China.
Related Coverage The flyer called for Senator Conroy to resign and also posted a link which is claimed to be a list of websites on the banned content list.

 

10th September   

Morally Conservative...

New censorial film bill passes Indonesia's House of Representatives
Link Here  full story: Film Censorship in Indonesia...Rreforms to film censorship law

Indonesia flag Indonesia's House of Representatives passed a film bill on Sept. 8. This came as a surprise to many in the film industry, since the Film Law was drafted without any prior consultation with active producers, directors and other relevant parties.

The film bill will do the same for movies that the Pornography Law has done for culture in general: delegitimize diversity and liberalism and give legal ammunition to moral conservatives. Unspecified restrictions will be placed on the depiction of drug use, sexual content and other controversial topics.

The use of a media influence model, which treats the audience as cultural dupes in need of protection from unsavory images, remains the central paradigm of this new bill. It seeks to control film making so as to limit its scope of creative inquiry and representation. It is patronizing to both filmmakers and audiences and assumes they have no moral responsibility in what they make or watch.

This law gives greater legal authority to those who find content objectionable. It seeks to circumscribe the limits of what can and cannot be filmed in order to preempt potential protest and thus avoid situations in which the state would have to deliberate. Instead of protecting film and the dialogue it can open, it seeks to limit what a filmmaker can imagine on screen.

The draft contains some progressive articles on film censorship (that the Censorship Board will no longer cut films but provide recommendations to filmmakers to cut the film themselves and the implementation of a film classification system) but the regulations governing the film business read as they did under the New Order. A dangerous re-bureaucratization of film making is proposed, stipulating prior approval for films titles and scripts, permission for importing and exporting film, and the compulsory registration of all film making activities. Compulsory written contracts will formalize the relationship between the film industry and the Ministry.

Import quotas and minimum screen time allocation for local productions (50%; Article 32) seem good on paper, but the lesson of this flawed policy should have been learnt long ago. Local productions have achieved a 55% market share without the help of a screen time obligation. Any system of quotas, either on imports or screen time, will adversely affect audiences, who will have less choice at the cinema and will logically turn to other sources of entertainment.

The most glaring absence from this law is the lack of state support for the film industry. Provisions are provided for compulsory archiving of material, and the government would continue to promote Indonesian films overseas. But there is no concrete institutional support that would strengthen or even sustain the film industry, either in terms of reaching audiences who do not have access to Indonesian films, subsidizing film production, establishing facilities that would help the industry or promoting film literacy. The only institution that is strengthened is the censorship board.

The government cannot have it both ways. It cannot hope that film will become a vital and productive cultural domain while at the time treating it as a cultural threat and thus subjecting it to a disproportionate amount of control. If this law is pushed through it will be a victory for reactionary politics and a severe defeat to a film industry that has worked so hard to recover from financial and cultural restraints.

 

9th September   

Update: Bruno Gets Hard...

Bruno a wind up in Hong Kong
Link Here  full story: Bruno...Supporting the hype for Bruno

Bruno film paster A promotional poster for Bruno has been deemed too risque by an advertising agency that banned the ads from the Hong Kong Mass Transit Railway system.

The comedy and all its promotional material had been approved by the Television and Entertainment Licensing Authority, Hong Kong's ratings administrator, with the film rated Category III (restricted to people over 18) and the advertising material rated Category I, suitable for all ages.

The ad agency has taken offense at a term in the film's translated Chinese title, a pun that means both definitely deceive and make hard in Chinese.

It's standard practice for us to censor the advertising materials when we receive them, even after they've been approved by TELA. We're uncomfortable with the wordings, and are concerned that it might affect the passengers, so we decided to reject the ad, Amy Chan, deputy managing director of JCDecaux told The Hollywood Reporter. The admittedly conservative agency has asked the film's distributor, Panorama, to change the wording, a request the distributor refused to accept.

 

9th September   

Update: Cult of Censorship...

Scientology calls for Australian laws to censor their critics
Link Here  full story: Scientology Censors...Scientogists quick to litigate against critics

Scientology logo Scientology has called upon the Australian Government to censor the internet and media locally in direct response to protests from Anonymous.

In a long, rambling submission made to the Australian Human Rights Commission made earlier this year, the 'Church' attacks Anonymous calling them, among other things, a hate group of cyberterrorists that is engaged in a malicious campaign of hate that is an anathema to democracy.

The submission states:

In Australia Anonymous have mounted a sustained campaign of misinformation against the Church. As we are a minority religion with the vast majority of the population unaware of our true beliefs and humanitarian programs, their campaign has no justifiable purpose and violates the Church of Scientology's and parishioners rights to human dignity and religious freedom under the Constitution.

Scientology wants the Internet and media in Australia censored to prevent any negative stories being told about the church, and more, including:

  • Banning the use of domain name registration anonymity tools such as WhoisGuard by sites who talk about the church
  • The introduction of criminal sanctions for vilification of religion, including jail time for serious religious vilification.
  • The prohibition of concealing ones identity with a mask by people engaged in campaigns of harassment and vilification against religions (which they specifically mean Guy Fawkes masks.)

The statement gets worse:

It is recommended that a law be enacted to prevent the dissemination of antireligious propaganda in the media, which is based on unfounded hearsay and either known or reasonably known to be untruthful. Such dissemination shall be the subject of a civil penalty provision in favour of the defamed Church, and/or its individual parishioners if they are individually named or otherwise identified.

 

9th September   

Not Compassionate Reggae...

US concert tour by Banju Banton cancelled over homophobic lyrics
Link Here

Buju Banton CD The concert promoters Live Nation and AEG canceled shows by the Jamaican reggae singer Buju Banton after protests from gay rights advocacy organisations over the singer's homophobic song lyrics, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Buju Banton's scheduled shows in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago, Las Vegas, Dallas and Houston were reported to be canceled.

After reports that Buju Banton signed the reggae compassionate act in 2007, a pledge to refrain from anti-gay songs and statements, he denied having signed it. Buju Banton was tried and acquitted on charges that he participated in the beating of six gay men in Jamaica in 2004.

To some reggae fans, pressure to prevent Buju Banton from playing amounts to censorship, while gay activist groups see Banton's songs as hate speech — an example of an ugly undercurrent of homophobia in some reggae music.

Buju Banton has a long-standing reputation for inciting anti-gay sentiment. His 1992 single Boom Bye Bye proposes pouring acid on homosexuals and shooting them in the head with an Uzi, among other things.

 

9th September   

Pre-publication Censorship...

Draconian new media law in South Africa
Link Here

South Africa flag Journalists, editors and publishers not recognised by the South African press ombudsman and not adhering to its code of conduct face the prospect of being jailed for five years or a fine, or both, if they fail to submit their copies or material prior to publication or broadcast, exhibition or distribution to the Films and Publications Board (FPB) for approval.

This is according to the newly-signed Films and Publications Amendment Act 3 of 2009.

The aim is to check if the material contains sexual conduct which violates or shows disrespect for the right to human dignity of any person, degrades a person, constitutes incitement to cause harm, advocates propaganda for war. The FPB also wants to ensure that the material is free from inciting violence or advocating hatred based on any identifiable group characteristic.

The Freedom of Expression Institute (FXI) says it is disappointed by the signing of bill into law, calling it problematic and adding that it violates section 16(2) of the Constitution. FXI acting executive director Melissa Moore said last week: “The Amendment Act constitutes a grave intrusion of the right to freedom of expression. To this end we are of the view that certain sections of the Amendment Act fail dismally in giving effect to the right to freedom of expression.

The most intrusive element of the act is that, under the guise of the ‘protection of children's rights' the legislature has introduced a system of pre-publication censorship and self-censorship which offends against the letter and spirit of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa.


The act also introduces a new offence in SA law, Moore said, requiring that anyone who knows of, suspects or has reason to suspect, that an offence has been or is being committed under the provisions of the Act to furnish the police with a full report of such knowledge or suspicion, failing which such person shall be guilty of an offence.

 

9th September   

Update: No Censorship, Only Measures Against Immorality...

Malaysian politicians continue to assert that they will not censor the internet
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet

Malaysia flag The Malaysian government claimed that it efforts to enhance legal provisions and policies to deal with illegal and immoral activities on the Internet will not lead to the removal of provisions under laws ensuring no censorship of the Web.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the Internet had given rise to cyber-threats which were a real concern to the nation due to the illegal and immoral activities in cyberspace and the Government was forced to look at ways to curb such activities: Nevertheless, as we know freedom of speech is not absolute, it must come with responsibility, (because) what is illegal and immoral should be the same for both the online and offline environment, he told reporters.

He said the Bill of guarantees and the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 provide for no censorship of the Internet and this would be maintained.

 

8th September   

Selfish...

Mediawatch-UK respond to Ofcom consultation about the Programme Code
Link Here

Mediawatch-UK banner Ofcom, the TV censor has just closed a consultation on the wording of its programme code.

Ofcom did say that the consultation was about the wording and that essence of their TV censorship will stay unchanged. But that hasn't stopped Mediawatch-UK from sending a its usual arrogant response that everything should be banned outside of their very own blinkered tastes.

Mediawatch-UK spout:

Indeed, mediawatch-uk would argue that in some respects standards are now very much worse because of the ill-defined Code and the way broadcasters have been able to interpret it in their own interests. Far too much emphasis has been placed on ‘freedom of expression' with little or no emphasis on the corresponding responsibilities that should flow from these freedoms.

We sympathise with Ofcom whose endeavours to enforce their Code have been made more difficult by broadcasters who have little or no regard for it. In particular we criticise the pornography industry for constantly seeking to undermine the Code and to thwart efforts to effectively regulate them.

...

We would suggest that there is only one sure way of effectively protecting the under-18s and that is not permit ‘adult sex' material on television at all. (4.30) It is no justification to argue that such material is shown at the Cinema and is easily accessible on the Internet and should, therefore, be permitted on TV!

We would also observe that if the Obscene Publications Act 1959 were to have fulfilled Parliament's intention to "strengthen the law" much of the material in this category would be illegal and the numerous regulatory and other problems associated with it would not arise. It is not enough to hope that "potential harm and/or offence for all viewers would be lessened".

It is simply astonishing, given that Video on Demand facilities have become so well established, that Ofcom continues to rely on ‘the Watershed' as a primary means of protecting people from "images and/or language of a strong sexual nature".

And on the subject of violence on TV:

It is evident that the existing Code is failing to constrain unnecessary violence despite requiring that "programmes must not include material, which, taking into account the context, condones or glamorises violent, dangerous or seriously antisocial behaviour."

We believe the interpretation of this Rule is far too narrow and focuses solely on incitement. It is also based upon the false assumption that viewing violence and anti-social behaviour has no influence. This section of the Code should be reviewed urgently and the above assumption reversed.

We also believe it is essential, in order to promote public understanding, that "antisocial behaviour" ought to be defined in the Code. A good starting point would be the Home Office paper ‘Defining and measuring antisocial behaviour' (Development and Practice Report No 26) (Crime and Disorder Act 1998).

We note that portrayals of smoking tobacco are now being actively discouraged by not being presented in programmes. The clear assumption is that portraying smoking encourages viewers to take up the practice. Accordingly, we believe that antisocial behaviour, as portrayed on television, should also be discouraged in the same way. The Code should, therefore, clearly define what constitutes antisocial behaviour for the purposes of the Code.

 

8th September   

Update: Questions Remain...

Police music censor scraps music genre question on form 696
Link Here  full story: Licensed Music Censors...Licensing sets up authorities as music censors

Metropiltan Police badge Scotland Yard said today that it was altering a potentially racist form which asks clubs whether they play music popular with the black and Asian communities, after pressure from politicians, musicians and equality campaigners.

Form 696 asks owners to provide the name, address and telephone numbers of artists and promoters, as well as the style of music to be played at forthcoming events.

In particular, the form gives bashment, R&B, garage as options – genres popular with black and Asian people.

Detective Chief Superintendent Richard Martin, the head of the Yard's clubs and vice unit, announced that venues would no longer be asked for details of the music style. A requirement to provide the telephone number of the performing artist will also be dropped and an independent scrutiny panel will be set up to ensure that the form is not misused, Martin said.

Feargal Sharkey, campaigner and former lead singer of the Undertones, described the move as an exercise in semantics and demanded that the form be scrapped altogether. He said it was clear that the altered version continued to target musicians from ethnic minorities and he objected strongly to a question which asks about the make-up of the patrons.

What is the club owner going to say: 'White, middle class Londoners'. I don't think so, Sharkey said: These changes raise more questions than they answer. You have to ask how many violent crimes are linked to live music anyway. Why should the Met get the details of performers 14 days before an event. These changes will do nothing to alleviate the concerns of disenchanted young artists.

 

8th September   

Channel 4 Highlights...

Monthly whinge report
Link Here

Alan Carr Ding Dong Channel 4 received 200+ complaints last month.

The Kevin Bishop Show regularly attracts whingers on taste grounds, though in C4's round-up of August's complaints log, the broadcaster chose to illustrate the 107 criticisms with a comment slating its quality rather than its standards.

One viewer said that it was poor, adding: The jokes are non-existent, the impersonations are lame and to be frank it's just not funny.

A skit on chat show Alan Carr: Chatty Man in which Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden joined the host to lampoon Susan Boyle generated 75 complaints, while 34 felt Charlie Brooker overstepped the line with a rant about God in an edition of You Have Been Watching .

How the Other Half Live, which pairs a rich and poor family, was the most praised show last month, with 34 messages of support, but 42 criticised what one viewer termed a self indulgent PR exercise on the part of the richer participants.

 

8th September   

Greek Pete...

Gay docu-drama contains hardcore at R18
Link Here

Greek Pete DVD Greek Pete is a 2009 UK gay docu-drama by Andrew Haigh

The BBFC passed the 2009 Peccadillo DVD 18 uncut with the comment: Contains strong real sex, nudity, sex references and drug use

See review from IMDb : Intelligent debate

This film won prizes at Outfest and some other festivals and was British, quite a rarity, so I made sure I checked it out.

I left the screening wanting to talk about the film, to discuss it with as many people as possible as it is nothing like I have ever seen before.

Some scenes are incredibly powerful and moving, and I wanted to know exactly which moments were real and which were staged. Nothing seemed staged at all and although Pete himself has approached this line of 'work' with a goal to pull together enough finances to invest in an education and a better future, some of the other boys amongst his friends do not have this immediate sense of ambition. What happened to them?

This is what I thought was very brave about the film. It never at any point made a judgment. It was an intimate peek into the lifestyle of a rentboy and dashed any preconceived ideas that people have about the oldest profession in the world. Pete is not that person you expect to see, but some of his friends are, yet they all look after one another. This is not Wiktor Grodecki, and anyone who watches this thinking that their Daily Mail high-ground will be bolstered by a mucky, seedy voyeurism that condemns it's subject matter via subjectivity will not get what they want. There is care, love and affection here, alongside extremely raw moments of insecurity and depression simmering beneath that confident veneer you see in many young men. There is no forced introspection. No moment where Pete must explain himself to camera. This is a film projected from within a society that does not judge itself and would never care to.

Greek Pete will divide audiences, but if you go in with an open mind, you will be stirred, jolted into action. It will make you think, and talk about it with others who have seen it. Any film that encourages intelligent debate should be seen, and this is one of them.

 

8th September   

Gambling with Freedom...

Thailand to punish ISPs who don't implement the extensive blocking list
Link Here

MICT logo Thailand's Ministry of Information and Censorship Technology (MICT) is seeking more cooperation from relevant agencies and business groups to prevent supposedly inappropriate content on the internet.

The Department of Special Investigation (DSI) says the National Telecommunication Commission (NTC) is authorized to withdraw or suspend the licenses of the Internet Service Providers (ISPs) who do not cooperate in blocking inappropriate web pages.

On 3 Sept, Minister Ranongrak Suwanchawee, spoke at a seminar on blocking inappropriate and illegal websites, saying that the Ministry would work more closely with the NTC which has the authority to provide licenses to ISPs and providers of internet gateway service.

The MICT alone cannot handle the blocking of the websites, because there must be various agencies working together and inappropriate websites, including those which are subversive to national security or the Nation, Religion and King, quickly spread on the internet. the Minister said.

According to Ranongrak, the MICT has set up the Operations Centre to Monitor the Threat of IT Crimes. The MICT is also seeking cooperation from about 100 companies which provide internet-related services, the Thai Internet Association, the Thai Webmasters Association, the NTC, the police and the DSI to monitor and block supposedly inappropriate or illegal websites.

The seminar was attended by about 180 representatives of these companies and agencies.

Pol Col Suchart Wonganantachai, Deputy Director-General of the DSI and chair of the committee overseeing the blocking of websites, said that currently the most dangerous were gambling websites which were the most easily accessible. He called for cooperation from all parties, especially the NTC which he said is authorized to revoke or suspend the licenses of internet-related service providers.

Pol Col Suchart said that to deal with inappropriate websites a filtering system must be in place, which required a budget of about 100 million baht. The filtering system is already in place in the US and Israel. The DSI is now developing such a device, but the details cannot be revealed for now. He believed that the device would improve the effectiveness of the blocking by 90%.

So far the MICT has blocked 18,390 web pages of which 10,578 are considered as affecting national security, 7,690 contain pornographic content, 50 advertise drugs, and 72 offer gambling services.

 

8th September   

Burnt...

Burning Man organisers claim ownership of all festival photos
Link Here

Burning Man logo Organisers of the popular US Burning Man festival have been criticised over their strict photography rules, implemented in a bid to stop images of nude participants ending up on porn websites.

Under the rules many deem heavy-handed, organisers of the famous festival claim to hold the copyright for images and videos taken at the event and may request the removal of any images they don't approve of on any website.

The organisers claim the rules are designed to protect the rights of those who attend the event, which is currently in full swing at the Black Rock Desert in Nevada, US.

Many participants like to shed their clothes at the liberating event, which attracts around 50,000 revellers each year in a celebration of community, participation, self-expression and self-reliance , and involves burning down a tall man-like structure.

However, Burning Man spokeswoman Andie Grace said the organisers are concerned that photographs of naked female festival-goers have appeared on porn websites in the last few years. There are a lot of nude people out here, and this protects the school teacher from Iowa who doesn't wasn't want to appear on a porn site, Grace said.

The US Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has criticised Burning Man over the photo restrictions: We do empathize with Burning Man Organization (BMO)'s desire to preserve the festival's noncommercial character and to protect the privacy interests of ticket-holders. But by granting itself ownership of your creative works and forbidding fair uses of its trademarks, BMO is using the 'fine print' to give itself the power of fast and easy online censorship. Those Terms and Conditions include a remarkable bit of legal sleight-of-hand: as soon as 'any third party displays or disseminates' your photos or videos in a manner that the BMO doesn't like, those photos or videos become the property of the BMO.

The rules have provoked widespread debate on various websites, with many participants outraged at what they see as a restriction to their rights, while others want to protect their privacy. Where does BMORG get off claiming copyright of other people's work? photographer Pereubu said on blogging website BoingBoing.

Others are supportive of the rights of those wanting to let their hair down at the event. You could argue that if you don't want to be photographed in public doing something 'wrong' you shouldn't do it in public. That kind of defeats the entire purpose of this private event we call Burning Man. This is one of the few places where you can feel liberated wearing your crotch flame thrower, a blogger called Rindan said.

 

7th September   

First Internet Censorship Law...

Government prepares bill to mandate IWF style website blocking
Link Here

IWF logo ISPs that fail to curb child pornography on the web would be criminalised in a crackdown to be introduced in the Queen's Speech this autumn.

The Home Office is drawing up plans for what, in effect, would be the first form of state intervention in Britain in relation to the internet.

British ISPs would face heavy fines for failing to block sites containing images of child sexual abuse, according to the contents of a leaked Home Office document seen by The Independent on Sunday.

Figures show that 98.5% of ISPs already take down or block illegal sites through the Internet Watch Foundation, a self-regulation body created in 1996 that monitors content and reports obscene images to police.

Opponents of the move say the IWF is working well and claim a new crackdown would force ISPs to deal with Scotland Yard, which has less experience of blocking websites, and in the process allow more illegal images to slip through the net.

The leaked Home Office letter says a clause in the Police, Crime and Private Security Bill in the Queen's Speech would compel domestic ISPs to implement the blocking of illegal images of child sexual abuse.

There will be a four-week consultation with ISPs on the proposals, but insiders said the firms had not been informed about the proposed crackdown. A Whitehall source said: "This is a gesture which will undermine the real work that is going on to tackle child porn abuse. The Internet Watch Foundation is already working to take down sites and people are getting arrested.

 

7th September   

Pots and Kettles...

Alessandra Mussolini attempts to get film banned over an unflattering reference to her
Link Here

Francesca The Granddaughter of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini has blocked the release of a film which has received critical acclaim at the Venice Film Festival because a character in it refers to her as the Mussolini whore who wants all Romanians to be killed.

Alessandra Mussolini, a right-wing politician and a former actress, threatened the distributors of the film Francesca with legal action. She is demanding that the offending dialogue is removed or she says she will attempt to block it from nationwide release in Italy, due next month.

Ms Mussolini, who in 2007 caused a political outcry by claiming that all Romanians living in Italy were criminals , faxed a letter to the distribution company Fandango and festival organisers. In it she threatened to start legal proceedings for defamation unless the dialogue was either cut or the film cancelled from the festival's schedule, where it is a contender for the Orizzonti award, second to the festival's main Golden Lion prize.

She has declared that she wants to ban the movie from being distributed in Italy. If what I've read about the movie is true, my lawyer said he could ask, apart from damages, for it to be banned. Its tone is unacceptable, even if it's art, she was quoted as saying by Italian newspapers.

The film was written, directed and produced by the award-winning filmmaker, Bobby Paunescu. Speaking to The Independent, he suggested that Ms Mussolini – who was not at the film's premiere – had clearly missed the point. Paunescu said the film was a critique of the xenophobic treatment of immigrants in Italy and accused Ms Mussolini of intimidation . He said he was angry that the public have not been able to see it so far. The attempt to block its release was dangerous , he added.

 

7th September   

The Freeport Case...

Portuguese TV programme about alleged government corruption mysteriously dropped
Link Here

Portugal's Prime Minister Jose Socrates is embroiled in a row after a national TV channel shelved a programme dealing with alleged government corruption.

Chief editors of the privately run TVI channel resigned after the broadcast - due on Friday - was dropped.

Opposition politicians have accused the ruling Socialists of censorship. But Socrates, who is running for re-election, denies influencing TVI.

The shelved programme dealt with the so-called Freeport case, involving claims that government officials took bribes during the construction of a shopping mall south of Lisbon in 2002. Socrates, who was environment minister at the time, has denied any wrongdoing.

The deputy leader of the main opposition party, the centre-right PSD, accused the government of an attack on freedom of speech. We have a prime minister and government who coexist very, very badly indeed with the freedoms and who don't mind using any means in order to control or silence those who criticise them, said Jose Aguiar Branco in a statement to Reuters news agency.

 

7th September   

Update: Smoked Out...

Indonesia looks to stub out smoking in movies
Link Here  full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films

Indonesia flag The National Commission for Child Protection said that politicians had to ban the advertising of cigarette in movies in Indonesia

We demand that the House of Representatives insert an article in the bill on films banning cigarette promotions in movies, said Muhammad Joni, the vice chairman of the Commission. The Commission said the bill must forbid cigarette companies from sponsoring the production of films, ban scenes where actors are shown smoking and prevent companies from marketing tobacco brands in the film.

Observers have speculated that the reason Indonesia has not devised a law banning cigarette ads or promotions could be that tobacco companies pay millions of rupiah in tax every year. The government has issued a regulation banning cigarette ads at sporting events and during certain hours in electronic media, like television.

 

7th September   

Update: Authoritarian, Oligarchic and Repressive...

Serbian media censorship bill passed
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Serbia...Serbian media censorship bill

Serbia flag The Serbian parliament passed a controversial media law this week that has been criticised for jeopardising press freedom because of its provision for hefty fines against journalists.

The law, slammed by journalists' groups and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe, was passed after pro-European President Boris Tadic's ruling coalition withdrew two of its most criticised sections.

Media outlets, editors and journalists now face fines of tens of thousands of euros, calculated according to a newspaper's circulation and daily advertising revenue, if they publish false or libellous information.

Electronic media will also have to pay a fine equivalent to their daily advertising revenue, prompting criticism that the new law will lead to self-censorship.

The head of the OSCE mission to Serbia Hans Ola Urstad warned in a statement last week that the law sets fines that are too high for a Serbian context which could lead to self-censorship and the closure of media outlets.

Following a public outcry, the government dropped sections calling for media outlets to be closed if they were in the red for more than three months and for all media to pay a deposit of 50,000 euros (71,000 dollars) to set up.

 

7th September   

Update: NewSpeak for Sorry...

Amazon replaces copies of 1984 it deleted from customers' Kindles
Link Here

1984 on Kindle After suffering multiple black eyes in the blogosphere and plenty of ire from Kindle users, Amazon has finally decided to make good on its ill-advised decision to delete illegally distributed copies of George Orwell's 1984 from users' Kindle e-reader devices.

Those who purchased the book only to find it remotely deleted from their devices without warning will receive a digital copy of the book–with all their annotations still intact--or a $30 credit for Amazon products. Or they can just opt for a $30 check. Considering they paid just 99 cents for the book, it's not such a bad deal for customers. It has, however, been quite the ordeal for Amazon.

Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos offered the following apology to customers in an email sent to those affected by the mass deletion: This is an apology for the way we previously handled illegally sold copies of 1984 and other novels on Kindle. Our "solution" to the problem was stupid, thoughtless, and painfully out of line with our principles. It is wholly self-inflicted, and we deserve the criticism we've received. We will use the scar tissue from this painful mistake to help make better decisions going forward, ones that match our mission.

 

7th September   

Censoring...

Review of an Iranian love story set in the world of book censorship
Link Here

Censoring book In his first novel to be translated into English, Shahriar Mandanipour, who moved to the US in 2006 but had previously published dozens of stories in Iran, puts censored and uncensored versions in one book. In this playful tale, both writer and censor appear as fictional characters; while for his lovers Mandanipour has chosen Sara and Dara.

As their love story progresses, Mandanipour elucidates the history of censorship in Iran, dating back hundreds of years to the intricate metaphors and complicated allegories employed by such poets as Rumi, Hafez and Khayam. However, it was only with the Islamic Revolution that censorship became official. Under this regime it could take the ministry weeks, months or sometimes years to respond to a manuscript; and this response would range from a simple yes or no to a detailed list of contested chapters, dialogues, sentences or even individual words.

In Mandanipour's novel, the ministry censor, Mr Petrovich - named after the detective in Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment - argues with the author about words and phrases he wants removed from the story on the grounds that they might sexually arouse readers, harm Islamic values, endanger national security or ignite revolution. He underlines every word, every sentence, every paragraph, or even every page that is indecent and that endangers public morality and the time-honoured values of the society. In a further complication, Mr Petrovich has gradually fallen in love with Sara while censoring her story, and is now trying to persuade the author to kill Dara off and leave the field open for himself.

Censoring an Iranian Love Story is a brilliant novel about the complexities of writing and publishing in Iran. It will help to further understanding of the frustrating and sometimes perilous situation of the book industry in a country where copyright is not respected, where writers struggle desperately to publish and can be jailed simply for exercising their imaginations.

 

6th September   

Contrary to the Development of Turkey...

Turkey humiliated by a ban on Love Sex Magic by Ciara and Timberlake
Link Here

Love Sex Magic mp3 Turkey's TV censor has banned the music video for Love Sex Magic , a duet between pop star Justin Timberlake and Ciara, due to its sexually explicit content, Milliyet newspaper said.

The Radio and Television Supreme Council has barred TV channels from showing the video because it contains sexual outfits, dancing and scenes that are contrary to the development of children and youth and morality in general.

The video features a skimpily clad Ciara licking Timberlake's ear and bent over in various positions as the two singers dance closely together.

Ali Karacan, the owner of Numberone TV which has aired the video, called the ban anachronistic and humiliating for Turkey, a secular Muslim country, which is trying to join the European Union.

 

6th September   

Comment: Chucky's Back!...

Daily Mail re-opens it's Child's Play blame game
Link Here

Child's Play 3 DVD Dan comments:

The Doncaster child murderers story has, predictably enough, got the right-wing tabloid press screaming about the threat of a violent and out of control feral youth and spewing indignation about Britain's ammoral underclass.

Nobody knows what caused this two boys to commit such acts of grotesque brutality but the Tory tabloid press will go for the usual easy scapegoats.

The Daily Mail is already trying to insinuate some link between this appalling case and the Child's Play horror movies. Echos of 1993 and Jamie Bulger spring to mind.

Based on article from dailymail.co.uk

The two tormentors convicted yesterday used to watch the same horror films as Robert Thompson and Jon Venables, the killers of James Bulger, it emerged last night.

From the age of six and seven, the Doncaster attackers were allowed to sit through Child's Play videos while their mother smoked cannabis, a relative claimed.

The central character of the horror film series is a demonic doll called Chucky, which comes to life and kills people.

The films feature scenes of graphic violence which many adults find too disturbing to watch. It was Child's Play 3 that came under scrutiny during the trial of Thompson and Venables in 1993.

 

6th September   

Chucky's Back!...

Coincidently, US Blu-ray of Child's Play is set for release
Link Here

Child's Play Blu-ray Child's Play is a 1988 US horror film by Tom Holland

MGM is set to release the US encoded Blu-ray of Child's Play on 15th September 2009.

Back in the UK, the BBFC waived their cuts for the 2005 MGM DVD.

Previously the BBFC cut the 1989 cinema release (12s) and 1989 Warner Home Video (7s):

  • Cuts are to the electrocution of the doctor including a shot of the boy falling over some apparatus and two thrusts of the electrocution gadget on the doctors head.

Review from UK Amazon : A Doll Possessed

This film has an interesting storyline, and I think that the idea of a serial killer possessing a doll is great.

Okay Chuckie is evil, yet there are moments in the Chuckie films where he makes me laugh, such as the scene in the second film, where he buries a good guy doll. The way he laughs at that moment and the way he looks at the same time, I find quite funny.

This film starts of in the early hours of the morning, with Charles Lee Ray. He is chased by a cop, who follows Charles into a toy shop. There Charles is shot and fatally wounded. To avoid death Charles gets his hands on a good guy doll and mutters a voodoo chant, transferring his soul into the good guy doll.

Later that morning, a woman buys that doll as a present for her son Andy's 6th birthday. Charles in that doll, calls himself Chuckie. That evening, Andy's babysitter is pushed through the window, and Andy claims that Chuckie did it.

Soon Chuckie is shot and to his surprise feels pain and actually bleeds. He learns from an old friend of his, who taught him the voodoo chant that he's becoming human again, and to get out of the good guy doll, he needs to transfer his soul into the body of the first person he revealed his secret to; which was his true identity. And that person is Andy.

This is a great film that mustn't be missed.

 

6th September   

Offsite: Is 'Compliance' Fucking Up TV?...

If I watch a crime show on TV, will it make me break the law?
Link Here

This Life Compliance. It's a spooky word, like some kind of euphemism employed by the Ministry of Torture in a totalitarian regime. If a female is compliant you imagine her as a limp doll that might be anyone's for the taking. But compliance, apparently, is big in television. And Jimmy Mulville and Stephen Fry have been making industry headlines by lambasting broadcasters at the Edinburgh TV Festival for what they call the box-ticking culture of compliance in television.

The pair were taking part in a session entitled Is Compliance Fucking Up TV? when they put the cat among the pigeons. Fry said he wanted compliance to fuck off and Mulville, the producer of Have I Got News For You , referred to a culture of fear at the BBC.
Related articles

Compliance with what, you may ask. Compliance with stupidity, was Stephen Fry's take. In fact, compliance refers to compliance with various industry rule books such as the BBC's and Ofcom's editorial guidelines.

...Read full article

 

5th September   

Earwig Oh!...

Amazon remove Manchester United chants from their store
Link Here

Manchester United Chants Amazon UK have withdrawn a CD of Manchester United chants from sale on its website because of complaints that some of the lyrics are offensive.

The unofficial album Manchester United Chants contains a supporters' song aimed at Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger.

A statement from Amazon.co.uk explained that Arsenal had complained about the nature of the chants.

It said: Arsenal Football Club has provided us with formal notice that content within the album Manchester United Chants is defamatory in nature and we have, therefore, removed this title from our website.
We would not remove a product from our site because some, or many, people find it to be distasteful or otherwise objectionable.

Wenger was sent off during Arsenal's recent 2-1 defeat against Manchester United after he kicked over a water bottle following a disallowed Gunner's goal. Arsenal supporters have complained that he was then subjected to this particular chant by some Manchester United fans.

Manchester United's director of communications Philip Townsend said: We have gone on the record - several times - about this disgusting chant.

The chants listed for the album are:

1. Park Park Wherever You May Be [Explicit]
2. Anderson Anderson [Explicit]
3. Who Are Ya? [Explicit]
4. Sit Down [Explicit]
5. Easy Easy Easy [Explicit]
6. Same Old Arsenal Always Cheating [Explicit]
7. Champions 07/08 [Explicit]
8. When The Reds Go Marching In [Explicit]
9. Build A Bonfire [Explicit]
10. United wohohoh! [Explicit]
11. We Are The Stretford Enders [Explicit]

Is "Same Old Arsenal Always Cheating" the chant that is considered so disgusting?

 

5th September   

Update: Public Tranquillity Restored...

Indian state unbans book about the founding of Pakistan
Link Here  full story: History Book Banned...Indian bans Jinnah India Partition Independence

Jinnah-India Partition book The high court in the Indian state of Gujarat has ordered the government to lift the ban on a controversial book on Pakistan's founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah.

The book was written by Jaswant Singh, a leader in India's Hindu nationalist main opposition party, the BJP. The party subsequently expelled him.

But two social activists from Gujarat challenged the ban in court.

The state government said it had banned the book for defamatory references to India's first home minister who is a political icon in his home state of Gujarat.

While banning the book last month, the Gujarat government had said that Singh's book Jinnah: India-Partition-Independence was objectionable, misleading and against public tranquillity.

But the Gujarat high court said that the government had not read the book before imposing the ban. The court said the government had not applied its mind to arrive at the opinion that the book was against national interest and would affect public peace.

 

5th September   

Update: Menace of Overly Cautious Do Gooders...

Australian police continue to persecute uploader for widely available video rated MA15+
Link Here  full story: Swinging Baby...Circus family video clip causes police hassle

Swinging Baby video Queensland Police want to send a man to jail for up to 20 years on child-abuse charges over a video the Federal Government's own censors have classified as MA15+.

Chris Illingworth was charged late last year with accessing and uploading child-abuse material after he published, on a video-sharing site, a video of a man swinging a baby around like a rag doll.

Despite having no involvement in the creation of the three-minute clip, he was committed to a trial by jury in the District Court on July 8. He faces a maximum penalty of 10 years' imprisonment for each of the two charges.

Illingworth's solicitor, Chelsea Emery has said that, if the case goes ahead, every Australian who surfs the net could be vulnerable to police prosecution.

But the Australian Communications and Media Authority, responding to a complaint about the video on July 9, sent the clip to the Classification Board, which classified the content MA15+.

Under the Classification Board's guidelines, the impact of MA15+ material should be no higher than strong and violence and strong themes should be justified by context. MA15+ material is considered unsuitable for persons under 15 years of age.

As a result of the Classification Board's decision, the content is not prohibited under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, read a letter from ACMA, seen by this website.

Queensland Police has said any Australians who simply view the clip could face a maximum of 10 years in jail but today it refused to comment on the apparent disparity between its and the Classification Board's definition of child-abuse material.

The information on the Classification Board's classification decision has been passed on to the Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions. A spokesman said Illingworth's case would be reviewed.

It is not suggested that the Classification Board's decision to give the content a relatively minor MA15+ rating will have any bearing on Illingworth's trial, but the case has caused much controversy because the clip has already been shown on numerous Australian and US TV news shows and can still be found online today.

The video was just one of hundreds that Illingworth has uploaded to the Liveleak video sharing website as an administrator of the site.

This decision by the Classification Board shows either that the criminal definitions [of child abuse material] are too broad, or that the police and the public prosecutors are overly enthusiastic in bringing criminal charges under those provisions, Nic Suzor, spokesman for the online users' lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, said.

In the Queensland Police brief of evidence, Susan Cadzow, specialist pediatrician at Royal Brisbane Children's Hospital, said she thought the clip represented child abuse: The child's demeanour at the end of the video would seemingly suggest that no significant injury has occurred. However, it does not exclude the presence of a [hidden] injury, Cadzow said in her statement.

 

5th September   

Teachers Taught a Miserable Lesson...

Teachers banned from pubs, swingers clubs and holidaying in Pattaya
Link Here
The Pub

  Sorry, we don't serve teachers!

UK teachers are demanding the right to get drunk at weekends as they protest against a tough new code of conduct.

More than 10,000 have signed a petition calling for the scrapping of rules which require them to uphold public trust in their profession outside school.

The code, drawn up by the General Teaching Council and coming into force next month, aims to reinforce the traditional role of teachers as pillars of society.

It urges teachers to act as role models for pupils inside and outside the classroom by maintaining reasonable standards in their own behaviour.

But teachers have branded the code unnecessary intrusion into their private lives which could lead to staff being pulled up simply for letting their hair down on weekends. They also say the code contains other vague statements that are open to wide interpretation.

Now the NASUWT union has launched a petition attacking the code, which has attracted more than 10,000 signatories over the summer holidays. It has also sent a poster to every state school in England urging staff to campaign for the code to be withdrawn.

A draft version of the code stated that teachers must maintain standards of behaviour both inside and outside school that are appropriate given their membership of an important and responsible profession.

However this was toned down following consultation. It now says staff must maintain reasonable standards in their own behaviour that enable them to...uphold public trust and confidence in the profession. Meanwhile a late addition to the code states that it does not limit a teacher's right to a private life.

 

5th September   

Offsite: Did Director Die for his Art?...

Christian Poveda filmed the brutal gangs of El Salvador, then was found shot dead
Link Here

La Vida Loca Christian Poveda, a French documentary-maker, was gunned down in the early hours on Wednesday as he drove through Tonacatepeque, a semi-rural area 10 miles outside San Salvador. It was a senselessly violent end to a career spent exposing the senseless violence that has for years plagued El Salvador for years.

The killing was also predictable. Poveda had made himself a marked man, thanks to his film La Vida Loca (Crazy Life), which chronicled daily life among the 30,000-odd gang members whose activities have turned the tiny Central American nation of 5.5 million into one of the most dangerous places in the Western hemisphere, outside of a war zone.

Such had been the impact of the 90-minute documentary, exposing the dangerous lives and depressing backgrounds of tattooed gang members who battle for control of drug, prostitution and extortion rackets, that his murder sparked an immediate wave of political revulsion.

...Read full article  

 

4th September   

Update: Nail Everything you Can...

TV Advert censor bans Peta's Sex Talk
Link Here  full story: Peta...Animal activists challenging the media

Peta: Sex Talk ad A TV ad called Sex Talk that animal rights advocates Peta planned to air across Britain has been rejected by TV advertising authority Clearcast as being unacceptable on the grounds of offence.

Peta's 30-second ad, which has already aired in several markets across the US, features two parents encouraging their teenage daughter to become sexually active.

The father says Get out there and nail everything you can and the mother follows by saying If it's got a pulse you should be wrapped around it.

When the horrified girl asks But what if I get pregnant? , her parents tell her to pop out all the kids she wants. We can leave them in the shelter, dump them in the streets ... whatever.

The ad ends with the strapline: Parents shouldn't act this way. Neither should people with dogs and cats. Always spay or neuter.

 

4th September   

Holy Insensitivity Batman...

Art exhibition unsurprisingly loses pictures of terrorists as madonnas
Link Here

Face of a terrorist The Ferror (feminist terrorism) art exhibition, which was slated to open Thursday at the Sokolov House in Tel Aviv, will not include paintings of female suicide bombers in light of the political establishment's protest.

According to a report in Yedioth Aharonoth, the exhibit showing the works of Galina Bleich and Liliah Check includes paintings of seven female suicide bombers being depicted as Madonna holding a baby Jesus. Organizations of terror victims as well as the political establishment protested the pictures, demanding that they be removed from the exhibition.

Tel Aviv Journalists' Association Secretary General Yossi Bar-Moha carried out a telephone survey of 17 association members, who together decided whether to allow the exhibition to go ahead in its current format or to partially censor or remove it all together.

Galina Bleich, one of the artists, is unapologetic. I don't understand how this turned into an insult to bereaved families. We came actually to emphasize the exact opposite. The baby in Madonna's hands is in danger. This really needs to disturb people. It isn't just an Israeli problem, but a global one. Therefore, we chose Madonna, who is a symbol of Christianity.

Bleich hopes that the exhibition will be allowed to be shown. She is actually pleased with the media buzz her works are getting. She said: Modern art is actually a language that shakes up the subjects that are painful to us. It's not only flowers in a vase. Art asks questions and doesn't provide answers.

 

4th September   

Hate Censorship...

Tribunal finds that Canadian hatred law is unconstitutional
Link Here

Canada Human Rights Tribunal A one-time member of a Canadian neo-Nazi group is declaring victory after the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal denounced the country's Internet hate speech law as an unconstitutional violation of free expression.

What this means is that I can write about controversial topics without Big Brother looking over my shoulder, said Marc Lemire, whose website was the target of a human rights complaint: It's a good day for freedom of speech in Canada.

Free speech proponents are praising yesterday's decision as the beginning of the end of the Canadian Human Rights Act's Section 13, a contentious provision targeting online hate speech that has fielded numerous complaints of censorship.

Tribunal chair Athanasios Hadjis's decision dismissed six-year-old complaints by Ottawa-based lawyer Richard Warman that postings hosted on the Lemire's website were allegedly discriminatory and would likely expose identifiable groups to hatred or contempt.

Hadjis said that Section 13 cases were supposed to be remedial, but had instead become more penal in nature. On top of being asked to cease producing the discriminatory messages, the act stipulates that an accused can be fined upward of $10,000.

Hadjis did find Lemire responsible for hate speech for one posting on his website, an article titled AIDS Secrets, that blames the HIV epidemic on the rise of the sick and sleazy pleasure houses of the `liberated' homosexuals. But because of the unconstitutional nature of the law, he refused to make any orders against Lemire.

 

3rd September   

ASA Add to the Climate of Fear...

Advert censor whinges at 23 year old model who they claim looks under 16
Link Here

An ad, for American Apparel (AA) clothing, which appeared on the back cover of Vice magazine, was headlined FLEXFLEECE Ryan wears the classic unisex Flex Fleece zip hoody .... Below were two rows each consisting of three photographs of a young looking girl wearing the hoody and looking directly at the camera. In the first row, she was wearing the hoody zipped up and appeared to be wearing underpants. In one photograph, she was wearing big-framed glasses.

In the second row, she was wearing the hoody unzipped and was naked underneath. She was wearing underpants and wore the glasses in two of the photographs. In the last photograph, her left nipple was partially exposed.

The complainant challenged whether:

1. the depiction of nudity in the ad was offensive and unsuitable to appear on the back of a free magazine that could be seen by anyone, including children;

2. the ad was offensive and inappropriate, because the model seemed young and vulnerable and could be seen to sexualise a child.

ASA Assessment:

1. Not upheld

The ASA noted the free magazine targeted 18- to 34-year-olds and the editorial content was of an adult nature, featuring articles on culture and sex. We noted the ad appeared on the back cover of the magazine but also noted that the magazine was primarily distributed through channels which greatly reduced the chance of it being seen by children. We considered that the depiction of nudity in the ad (ignoring the age of the model which is dealt with in point 2 below) was not so overly gratuitous as to make it unsuitable for or likely to cause serious or widespread offence to the target audience. We concluded that, given the targeted medium, the depiction of nudity was acceptable for the back cover of Vice magazine.

2. Upheld

We noted the model was 23 years old and had been styled without make-up to give a natural look. We nevertheless considered that she appeared young, and in some of the pictures, looked under 16. We did not however consider that she appeared especially vulnerable.

While the ad depicted only partial nudity, we considered that the images were provocative with the model exposing progressively more skin in each photo in the series. We considered that the photographs suggested that she was stripping off for an amateur-style photo shoot.

Because the ad could be seen to sexualise a model who appeared to be a child, under the age of 16 years, we concluded that it was inappropriate and could cause serious offence to some readers.

On this point, the ad breached CAP Code clause 2.2 (Social responsibility) and 5.1 (Taste and decency).

The ad must not appear again in its current form.

 

3rd September   

Update: Peas Peace...

Malaysia unbans muslims from Black Eye Peas gig over Guinness sponsorship
Link Here

Black Eyed Peas CD The Malaysian government has reversed a ban on Muslims attending a concert by the Black Eyed Peas in Kuala Lumpur.

Officials had imposed the ban because the show is being sponsored by Irish beer giant Guinness.

A culture ministry official said the ban was lifted late last week but did not give any further details as to why.

Government regulations forbid alcohol firms from organising public concerts, but the Black Eyed Peas gig had been allowed in order to boost tourism.

Muslims account for nearly 60% of Malaysia's 27 million people and they are barred from consuming alcohol under threat of a jail, a fine and a caning. This applies also to muslim visitors from other countries.

 

3rd September   

Who Can Deny It?...

Holocaust denial law proving discriminatory
Link Here  full story: Holocaust Denial in the Netherlands...Cartoon wars over Mohammed cartoons

Netherlands An Arab organisation is to be put on trial in the Netherlands over its publication of a cartoon deemed offensive to Jews, prosecutors say.

The cartoon, published by the Arab European League (AEL) on its website, questions the Holocaust.

It said the decision to prosecute illustrated bias against Muslims.

It said the same standards were not applied to the Dutch MP Geert Wilders, who made a film including cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. However, he is still being investigated separately for inciting hatred against Muslims by making statements comparing Islam to Nazism.

But Dutch prosecutors said the AEL cartoon was discriminatory and offensive to Jews as a group... because it offends Jews on the basis of their race and/or religion.

The cartoon shows two men standing near a pile of bones at Auswitch (sic). One says I don't think they're Jews. The other replies: We have to get to the six million somehow.

A spokeswoman for the prosecuting authority said the group could be fined up to 4,700 euros (£4,100), though in theory a prison sentence was also possible.

AEL chairman Abdoulmouthalib Bouzerda said the charges proved what Muslims have been saying for decades. Freedom of expression is only a pretext to make life bitter for Muslims... and if [they] try to bring this hypocrisy to light, that right is denied them.

The AEL says it does not deny the facts of the Holocaust but posted the cartoon as an act of civil disobedience. It said it had agreed to remove it from its site, but reversed that decision to protest over the failure to prosecute Geert Wilders.

 

3rd September   

Update: Videocracy at Work...

RAI trailer censorship fuels demand to see film about Berlusconi enjoying life
Link Here

RAI logo The ban by the RAI network on the clip for Videocracy – showing at the Venice Film Festival – has backfired and led to a surprising uptake in interest in the documentary.

Videocracy is among the most contentious films to be shown at the two-week event. RAI wrote to the director, Erik Gandini, stating that the film was offensive to Silvio Berlusconi's reputation. The advert showed scantily-attired women and statistics claiming Italy lacked press freedom. Berlusconi's company, Mediaset, also declined to screen the trailer.

Since then, requests from cinemas in Italy to obtain a print of the film have shot up from 35 to 70 venues, leading to many hundreds more screenings. The ban indicated the level of tension in Italy regarding everything that goes on TV, Gandini said: I was scared by the ban, and by RAI's Orwellian-style letter, but the day after, there was a huge explosion of interest on the internet. The print numbers have doubled.

 

3rd September   

Religious Censors...

Super censors make Bollywood listen and comply
Link Here

Charandas Chor poster Enter the super censors. Religious censors are forcing Indian filmmakers to arrange pre-release screenings and modify their movies pre or even post release, with the filmmakers readily complying to avoid bombs going off, street protests and all kinds of trouble.

Not even the Censor Board can evoke such compliance from our Bollywood types. In fact, this authorised body gets a much more belligerent response when it does object to something, with filmmakers crying hoarse about the need to do away with censorship in a democracy, and how they don't understand why the body can't keep up with the changing times. Is the censor board becoming increasingly marginal to the process of censorship?

It was objections by Sikh bodies that made Vipul Shah reshoot portions of Singh Is Kinng , with the ‘guidance' of Sikh leaders, and Akki had to prostrate himself at the Rakabganj Gurudwara in Delhi to ask for forgiveness for the sin of making the film.

Jo Bole So Nihaal ignored such ‘objections' and got a few bomb blasts for it.

Other Examples:

  • Dil Bole Hadippa
    The Sikh community is protesting against – 1) The use of the Sikh small turban, 2) Rani's character being portrayed as strong but foolish, 3) Promos depicting it as a tale of turbans, twists and tricks.
     
  • Love Aaj Kal
    Objections were raised by the Sikh community to Saif's trimmed beard in the film and a few romantic scenes set in a gurudwara.
     
  • Kambakkht Ishq
    Hindu Jan Jagruti Samiti said the song Om Mangalam includes lyrics of a religious song, which was deemed offensive
     
  • Kaminey
    Priests at the Jagannath temple have alleged blasphemy, and the Jagannath Sena Sangathan has filed an FIR against the director and producers. There's a scene in the film in which ‘Apna haath, Jagannath' is written on a toilet door, with a photograph of a scantily-clad woman alongside.
     
  • Jo Bole So Nihaal
    There were two blasts at a couple of Delhi halls after the SGPC accused the film of misusing a Sikh religious term and showing a Sikh character being chased by scantily clad women

 

2nd September   

Update: Ruddy Embarrassing...

Opposition senator lays into Rudd's internet censorship policy
Link Here

Nick Minchin The Rudd Government plan to introduce mandatory ISP-level filtering was dead in the water and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy should end the farce now, the Opposition's leader in the Senate Nick Minchin said.

Senator Minchin, who risks a backlash from elements within the Coalition, says Senator Conroy already knows the mandatory filtering plan is heading for the rocks and was delaying its demise to avoid ultimate embarrassment.

Senator Minchin complained that Government had not even said what metrics it planned to use to determine whether a filtering trial could be considered successful or not.

Almost two years after coming to office with a plan to censor the internet, Senator Conroy has not even managed to release results for long overdue filtering trials, let alone come close to actually implementing this highly controversial policy, Senator Minchin said.

Huge doubts also continue to surround the type of content Labor wants to filter and how it will compile a black-list which would form the basis of its filtering regime.

The Coalition has said from the beginning it was prepared to assess any credible trial results, but almost two years after coming to office Senator Conroy has failed to produce them, let alone put forward any formal proposal for consideration, Senator Minchin said.

 

2nd September   

Update: TinTin Under Duress...

Retroactive Political Correctness
Link Here  full story: TinTin Book Censorship...TinTin au Congo and the overly sensitive

TinTin au Congo book A Congolese accountant is to launch a lawsuit in France against Tintin for racism, accusing judges in the cartoon hero's native Belgium of trying to bury his case to protect a national symbol.

Bienvenu Mbutu Mondondo is taking legal action claiming Hergé's controversial Tintin In The Congo is propaganda for colonialism and amounts to racism and xenophobia.

Tintin's little (black) helper is seen as stupid and without qualities. It makes people think that blacks have not evolved, he said.

Mbutu Mondondo launched a case in Belgium two years ago for symbolic damages of one euro from Tintin's Belgian publishers Moulinsart, and demanded the book be withdrawn from the market. But since then his lawyer, Claude Ndjakanyi, said there had been no response from Belgian justice.

Georges Remi, the Tintin cartoonist who worked under the Hergé pen-name, reworked the book in 1946 to remove references to Congo as Belgian colony.

But it still contained images such as a black woman bowing to Tintin and saying: White man very great White mister is big juju man! Moulinsart, Tintin's publishers, argued that the whole row was silly and that book must be seen in its historical context: To read in the 21st century a Tintin album dating back to 1931 requires a minimum of intellectual honesty. If one applied the 'politically correct' filter to great artists or writers, we could no longer publish certain novels of Balzac, Jules Verne, or even some Shakespeare plays.

 

2nd September   

For Football and For Children...

South Africa looks to emulate China and ban all porn
Link Here

South Africa flag South Africa's Department of Home Affairs said it's developing an inter-departmental protocol to shield kids against child porn in time for the country hosting the 2010 World Cup next June. While details are vague, the DHA's Deputy Minster Malusi Gigaba is advocating an extremely hard-line approach to the issue:

South Africa should explore an outright ban on pornography in the public media as is the practice in countries such as China and India, Gigaba stated in the Department's announcement. He further vowed to approach the South African Law Reform Commission with a request to investigate and make recommendations on instituting the ban.

The increase of access to technology and mobile internet, with all its benefits, also poses risks such as creation and distribution of child pornography, Gigaba stated: We need to be proactive in protecting children against this heinous crime.

 

1st September   

Clodogame...

Tramping all over nutter sensitivity
Link Here

Clodogame A new online video game in which users are invited to be tramps and steal and fight their way to success has provoked 'controversy' in France, with its makers accused of stoking prejudice against homeless people.
 

In Clodogame , which means Trampgame , internet users are invited to progress from being a penniless homeless person in Paris to becoming "king of the streets, the most talented tramp in Paris and eventually move in to the Palace of Versailles.

Players are invited to attack other homeless people, become a peerless pickpocket, steal from sweet machines, public toilets and laundrettes. They need to learn to play an instrument, choose a pet liable to increase their begging skills, and keep control of their alcohol intake.

French homelessness groups reacted with outrage to the free game, which was launched last week and has already attracted 5,000 registered users.

It's a disgrace, it's degrading, it's humiliating to make the homeless the butt of derision, Jean-François Riffaud, a spokesman for the Red Cross, told Le Parisien: The image portrayed is exactly the one against which we've been trying to fight.

David Berly, the head of a homelessness collective, CDSL, said: How can one make a game based on great suffering? One shouldn't take enjoyment out of the misfortune of others.

 

1st September   

Below the Belt...

Boxer banned from competition after appearing in gay magazine
Link Here

The Stage Thailand's boxing silver medalist in the Athens Olympic Games, Worapoj Petchkhoon, will not see action in the Southeast Asian Games in Laos in December as he has been banned for three months as a punishment for modeling in a gay magazine.

There were reports that Worapoj appeared nearly naked in the Thai gay magazine STAGE which got the attention of the media as well as the Amateur Boxing Association of Thailand (ABAT).

ABAT president Taweep Jantararoj initially stated that national athletes were supposed to present a good image while Worapoj defended his actions claiming the images, including the one on the magazine cover, were sporty and not obscene, but still they have tarnished the reputation of the national athletes.

 

1st September   

Update: Human Rights Bashment...

Musicians write to Equality Commission over for 69
Link Here  full story: Licensed Music Censors...Licensing sets up authorities as music censors

EHRC logo Musicians, politicians and figures from the entertainment industry have now called on the government's equalities watchdog to intervene in the controversy over the Metropolitan police's Form 696, which they claim is potentially racist. Opponents fear that the Met scheme will be adopted by forces nationwide.

Form 696 asks venues to provide the name, address and contact telephone numbers for artists and promoters. When the layer of red tape was introduced, it also asked for details of which ethnic group was likely to attend the proposed event.

That requirement was dropped last year after widespread criticism, but the form still asks promoters to say what style of music is to be played and gives bashment, R&B, garage as examples – all of which are styles of music popular with black and Asian fans.

To me it is quite remarkable that anyone could have thought this level of intrusion was a good idea, said Feargal Sharkey, the former lead singer of the Undertones and now chief executive of UK Music, who is one of the signatories of a letter to the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), asking it to intervene.

The organiser of the appeal to the EHRC, journalist Sunny Hundal, said that although the form was voluntar ", many events had applications for licences turned down after refusing to fill it in.

There is a deep sense of unease among many within the music scene that it is being used to target events by black or Asian organisers. With live events being an integral part of the music scene, this only makes life harder for everyone and denies the people of London a diverse range of entertainment.

The letter, which has more than 50 signatories, states: We are deeply concerned that Form 696 has the potential to be misused by the police to discriminate against ethnic minorities … There is now a danger that police across the country will adopt this measure and further entrench this illiberal and potentially racist practice.