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 2010: September
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30th September   

ASA Pissed...

Whinges about Virgin holidays advert and 'responsible drinking'
Link Here

virgin holidays advertA poster for Virgin Holidays at a London underground station showed four rockstars drinking champagne in a jacuzzi. There were a number of empty bottles and glasses lying by the jacuzzi. One of the rockstars and a female staff member were pouring champagne into the jacuzzi. The text stated ROCKSTAR SERVICE. Book a stunning Hip Hotel in one of the world's most incredible destinations and Virgin Holidays' unique Travel Guru service will ensure your every desire is met .

The complainant objected to the way alcohol was portrayed in the ad, because they believed it promoted the misuse of alcohol.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA understood that Virgin's intention was to emphasise the extent and level of service provided by the Travel Guru service. However, we noted that rockstars were widely accepted as glamorous and exciting figures, and that the ad depicted these rockstars in a scene that featured alcohol prominently.

We noted that the four rockstars in the ad were drinking in a party scene, with one rockstar holding two glasses of champagne at once, one pouring a bottle into the jacuzzi, and another tipping a glass back behind his head, which clearly implied that they had also been drinking the champagne. As well as the two bottles being poured into the jacuzzi, the ad featured five empty bottles and two other glasses lying beside the jacuzzi. While we understood this could be interpreted as empty bottles left from filling the jacuzzi, we considered that the number of bottles in the scene, with some tipped over and with roughly torn labels, and a character with more than one glass in his hand, indicated a casual attitude towards the handling and consumption of alcohol.

We concluded that the scene depicted in the ad, and actions of the glamorous characters in it, was likely to appeal to people under 18 years of age and encourage people to adopt styles of drinking that were unwise.

 

30th September   

Updated: Blue Nile...

Australian nutter MP is caught with 200,000 hits on porn websites
Link Here

rev fred nileAustralia's nutter MP, Fred Nile, is red-faced after Parliament's IT audit suggests he checked porn sites – clicking them up to 200,000 times.

The Daily Telegraph has the scoop, but Nile today claims his staff were using his log-in to conduct research purposes. Particularly researching the Sex Party according to his staff.

The Christian Democrat adds that a huge 200,000 hit-count on the suspect' NSFW sites is surely impossible.

Nile is holding on, though another NSW politician's career is over after he was similarly discovered having accessed porn at work. Ports Minister Paul McLeay resigned following his net history revelation.

In a teary media conference, McLeay said he had apologised to the Premier. The audit, by the Department of Parliamentary Services, is understood to have found more than 60,000 suspect hits on McLeay's log-on. I am quite embarrassed to be standing here before you. This behaviour is not the standard expected of Government ministers, he said.

A firewall was installed in July for Legislative Assembly MPs so they could not view pornography, but Legislative Council President Amanda Fazio elected not to install a firewall for the Upper House. Before news of McLeay's resignation broke, Ms Fazio yesterday said she was refusing to implement a similar ban in the Upper House saying she was against internet censorship . She said MPs should be able to research pornography.

Nile's comeuppance follows a long line of attacks against LGBT communities from from the early 80s right up to this week. Wading unhelpfully into the NSW debate on same-sex couples adopting children, he bizarrely claimed at a rally on Tuesday that some women would abort their children rather than risk them being raised by gay couples.

The Bible-thumper's hatred towards homosexuality is well-documented through his long political career. He used to frequently state that being gay was an "immoral and unnatural lifestyle choice" and described Mardi Gras as a "public parade of immorality and blasphemy." He has labels his Green Party rivals as "anti-family."

Update: Crap filter definitions make for false accusations

4th September.  Based on article from  news.com.au

An audit of politicians' internet use that claimed the scalp of a state minister ranked the newspaper site news.com.au as the most visited adult website .

The audit supposedly showed whether NSW MPs had been visiting adult links such as gambling and pornography sites. However Legislative Council president Amanda Fazio yesterday revealed the audit had incorrectly classified news sites as adult because they contained links to or advertisements for adult dating sites.

Both news.com.au and smh.com.au (Sydney Morning Herald) were classified as adult sites in the audit.

The definition of what has been classed as an adult site is something we're reviewing, she said: What surprised us... the biggest (site) of what is classed as an adult site being hit by the parliament is the news.com.au site. Because there are adult matchmaking links or ads on their site, every time someone accesses news.com.au and they go from one article to another, that's counted as an individual hit on an adult site.

The bungle is one of the most embarrassing examples to date of the problems that can occur when governments and organisations try to regulate internet use.

The revelation could also absolve some MPs tangled in the web porn scandal at NSW parliamentary offices that erupted this week.

Opposition Leader Barry O'Farrell said every politician had been tainted by the scandal and asked for the matter to be settled quickly.

Update: Democratically elected representatives have to ask permission to access more adult areas of the internet such as news websites

6th September.  Based on article from  sify.com

nsw parliament armsPoliticians at New South Wales Parliament House will now be able to access porn sites (including mainstream news sites with links to porn sites) with prior permission and only if it's for research .

Upper House President Amanda Fazio has reviewed the policies over Internet use. The new guidelines will allow staffers to seek an exemption to view adult sites if they need to research, reports the Daily Telegraph.

Fazio said a memo will be issued to MPs this week of the new arrangements, with the permission slip already available on the parliament intranet.

Update: Parliamentary (Dis)Services

7th September.  Based on article from  smh.com.au

dps logoThe parliamentary staff member who commissioned an unauthorised audit of internet use which forced the sudden resignation of a minister last week has herself resigned.

Lisa Vineburg, a human resources executive in the NSW Department of Parliamentary (Dis)Services, left her position after it emerged she had asked the IT department to trawl through the computers of all ministers and MPs, their staffers and all non-political employees.

The raw data, which suggested about five people had recorded an usually high level of activity or hits from adult or gaming websites, was subsequently leaked to the media.

Ms Vineburg took it upon herself to audit everyone in the building , a senior parliamentary source said.

Update: Government inquiry finds crap internet filter definitions

30th September 2010.  Based on article from  aolnews.com

Australia: New South Wales flagA state government investigation into Internet use among Australian politicians has been revealed as an embarrassing bungle after mainstream news websites were classified as adult sites.

The audit, conducted by the Australian state government of New South Wales, labeled Fred Nile, president of Australia's right-wing Christian Democratic Party, as one of the most prolific visitors to adult websites in the Aussie parliament.

Paul McLeay, the minister for the state's ports and waterways, resigned after admitting he looked at adult and gambling websites on his parliamentary computer.

However, further investigation revealed that McLeay -- guilt aside -- possibly resigned prematurely, while Nile probably was using the Internet for research purposes.

Analysis of the audit left investigators red-faced when it was discovered that mainstream news websites had been classified as adult because of advertisements or links to matchmaking and dating sites.

The definition of what has been classed as an adult site is something we're reviewing, said Amanda Fazio, president of the New South Wales state Legislative Counci.

Critics of the hotly debated Australian proposal believe the latest episode demonstrates exactly why Web censorship is unworkable. The [Australian government] audit shows how a system that automatically classifies Web pages is going to be flawed, Colin Jacobs, of the Internet civil liberties lobby group Electronic Frontiers Australia, told AOL News.

 

30th September   

Censorship Debacle or Censorship Saga?...

Unelected council officers censor criticism by elected councilors
Link Here

kirklees logoA councillor has accused unelected officers of censoring him.

Kirklees Council has refused to put Clr Martyn Bolt's annual report on its website – because it includes criticism of the council and a former MP.

Instead officers have presented a watered-down version for publication. The Kirklees report is radically different to the original, with phrases like debacle replaced by saga .

Clr Bolt said yesterday he would not sign-off the censored report: Their version doesn't read like something I would write. I'm a forthright Yorkshireman who calls a spade a spade.

The deputy Conservative leader added he was concerned that unelected officers were telling him what to say. He said: In some cases I think officers forget how a council should be run. Councillors need to stick up for themselves and point out that we actually put our names forward for re-election every four years. If more councillors did that, Kirklees would be more democratic.

Clr Bolt criticised the way Kirklees is run. His report says monthly council meetings are of questionable value given the power of the ruling Labour Cabinet. But the censored version includes a line added by officers which describes the monthly meetings as important and influential .

Bolt uncut on the ability of councillors to hold the Cabinet to account:

I have continued to play a leading role in council meetings, though many were of questionable value as the 'partnership' between other parties gives them a majority in council and Cabinet has no effective means of challenge.

The official version:

I have continued to play a leading role in council meetings, though the power of the council remains limited and the majority of decisions are made by the council's Cabinet. Having said that, full council remains an important and influential arena which can have an impact.

Bolt uncut on the Government's decision to overturn the council's plan to close Castle Hall: The conclusion of the debacle was very pleasing as the entrenched position of Kirklees Cabinet and their supporters was overthrown by an independent adjudicator.

The official version: The saga has had a positive conclusion in regard to our two secondary schools, despite proposals to close one of them.

 

30th September   

Updated: Dignity Banned...

Australia bans TV euthanasia advert
Link Here

exit international advert videoAustralia has outlawed a television advertisement in favour of euthanasia - the first in many years to challenge a legal ban on the practice.

In the advert, a gaunt-looking actor speaks of intolerable suffering and urges the government to listen to those who wanted to die with dignity.

The group behind the campaign, Exit International, told the BBC it would fight for its reinstatement.

In the banned advertisement, an actor plays a man reflecting on his life and of being struck down by a terminal illness, while pleading to be allowed to die with dignity:

I chose to marry Tina, have two great kids. I chose to always drive a Ford. What I didn't choose was being terminally ill. I didn't choose to starve to death because eating is like swallowing razor blades. And I certainly didn't choose to have to watch my family go through it with me. I've made my final choice. I just need the government to listen.

Permission for the advert to be broadcast has been withdrawn by censors on the grounds that it promotes suicide.

Dr Philip Nitschke, the director of lobby group Exit International, says it is time to restart the debate with a new generation of Australians.

Update: Canada bans TV euthanasia advert

30th September 2010.Based on article from  torontosun.com
See also article from  torontosun.com

Canada flagA controversial pro-euthanasia ad has been banned from Canadian airwaves, and the group behind it is facing roadblocks at every corner of its Canadian speaking tour, where it instructs people on how to commit suicide painlessly.

Exit International's ad, which is available online, features a gaunt-looking man sitting at the edge of a bed. I chose to marry Tina, have two great kids. I chose to always drive a Ford, says the actor in the commercial. What I didn't choose is being terminally ill. I didn't choose to starve to death because eating is like swallowing razor blades. I certainly didn't choose to have to watch my family go through it with me. I've made my final choice. I just need the government to listen.

Exit took the ad to Canada to promote its Canadian speaking tour, but the Television Bureau of Canada also banned it for contravening Canadian law, which does not permit assisted suicide.

There's always some opposition, he says. Our line is that the provision of good information allows people to make free choices.

Dr. Philip Nitschke, the Australian physician behind Exit International will tour Canada starting in Vancouver on Oct. 7, and continues in Toronto on Oct. 13. But he's already run into obstacles. The Toronto Public Library cancelled his Oct. 13. appearance, and he's speaking at a Unitarian Church instead. Last fall, the Vancouver Public Library banned an appearance.

Update: New Zealand accepts TV euthanasia advert

Based on article from  stuff.co.nz

New Zealand flagAn advertisement advocating voluntary euthanasia that was banned from Australian screens is likely to air in New Zealand.

The script for the ad from Exit International was approved by the Commercial Approvals Bureau this week.

Exit International director Dr Philip Nitschke is hopeful the initial positive response means the full ad will also be approved for screening: However, the same thing happened initially in Australia and then the ad was pulled 24 hours before it was due to screen. Hopefully the same thing doesn't happen in New Zealand.

Commercial Approvals Bureau director Rob Hoar said he didn't understand the Australian's reasoning: We had no problems with the script. It would probably have to been screen during adult's viewing time because it deals with adult issues, but initially there are no problems with it.

 

29th September   

Short Sighted Complaint...

'Ref needs glasses' advert cleared by the ASA
Link Here

free eye test for-uruguayans advertAn online sales promotion for Asda opticians stated, Our special World Cup offer: Free eye tests for all Uruguayans Like everyone in England, we couldn't believe our eyes when the Uruguayan referee and linesman failed to recognise Frank Lampard's equalising goal against Germany. We're responding by offering all Uruguayans a free eye test to avoid anything like this happeneing [sic] again. All you have to do is bring your passport into any Asda opticians ... Optical buying manager Nik Langrish-Dixon says: 'Let's face it - it could have been a very different game had the disallowed goal been counted. After the linesman's slip-up our expert opticians are concerned about the state of his Urug-eyes, so we're offering anyone with a Uruguay passport a free eye test' ... .

The complainant, a British-Uruguayan, objected that the ad was offensive.

ASA Assessment: Not upheld

We understood that the promotion was intended to be light-hearted and humorous, exploiting the controversy resulting from the Germany and England World Cup game. In that context, while we acknowledged the attempt at humour might be distasteful to some, we considered that most readers of the ad would interpret it as football banter rather than malice towards Uruguayans. Because of that, we concluded that the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

 

29th September   

Updated: Dangerous Blogging...

Iranian blogger convicted of a shopping list of crimes
Link Here

Iran flagIranian prosecutors have demanded the death penalty for a writer known as the blogfather who was put on secret trial earlier this year, according to his family.

Hossein Derakhshan who has both Iranian and Canadian nationality, won his nickname after developing a blog platform for Persian characters that was widely copied by online activists and commentators.

While living in Canada and Britain he became known as a defender of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran's president, against attacks from his many critics in the West. But he also went on a one-man peace mission to Israel, trying to show an Israeli perspective on conflicts in the Middle East to Iranians and also to humanise Iranians for his hosts.

He was arrested within weeks of his voluntary return to Iran in 2008. His alleged offences include working with hostile governments, propaganda against the Islamic establishment, propaganda in favour of anti-revolutionary groups, and insulting religious sanctities.

An anonymous source told Radio Free Europe that he has been convicted in a trial taking place behind closed doors and that although no sentence had yet been handed down, the prosecutor had sought the death penalty.

Update: 19 Years

29th September 2010. Based on article from  telegraph.co.uk

Iranian-Canadian Hossein Derakhshan nicknamed the Blogfather and credited with launching a blogging revolution in Iran, has been held in prison in the Islamic state since 2008 on what the media has calaimed are suspicions of spying for Israel.

We were surprised that Derakhshan has been sentenced to more than 19 years in prison for co-operating with hostile countries, spreading propaganda and insulting religious figures, said the human rights activist, who asked not be named.

The semi-official Fars news agency quoted an informed judiciary source as saying the sentence issued for Derakhshan was not final and he could still make an appeal.

 

29th September   

Undermining Kuwait...

Book banners at the Kuwait book fair
Link Here

Yacoubian Building Alaa Al AswanyKuwait's information ministry dismissed criticism from liberal MPs for banning books from a fair due next month while Islamists praised the move.

The ministry said in a statement that its censorship committee has banned only 25 titles out of 24,000 books for abusing God, prophets and other religious figures, books on pornography and others undermining Kuwait.

It provided no other details on the books or the authors banned from displaying their works at the book fair which will run from October 13 to 23.

Liberal MPs and civil society groups charged that the government was attempting to stiffle freedom of speech and thought.

Barring books from the Kuwait book fair is a breach of the constitution, which does not apply restrictions on the freedom of speech, liberal MP Saleh al-Mulla said in a statement.

But Islamist MPs praised the measure saying it is obligatory for the information ministry to ban books that abuse God and other religious figures.

Banning books that abuse God, prophets and Kuwait is mandatory for the government and it will be held accountable if it fails to do so, Salafi Islamist MP Waleed al-Tabtabai said in a statement.

The ministry's statement came as several Kuwaiti and Egyptian newspapers carried reports in recent days saying that works by prominent Egyptian authors have been banned from the Kuwait book fair.

Among those banned were books by Alaa al-Aswany, author of the acclaimed novel The Yacoubian Building which has been translated into several languages and made into a film. Books by author Gamal al-Gitani, regarded as the best student of the late Naguib Mahfouz, who won the 1988 Nobel Prize for Literature, have also been banned.

 

29th September   

Tangoed...

The history of Last Tango in Paris
Link Here

Last Tango Paris Marlon BrandoLast Tango in Paris is a 1972 France Italy drama by Bernardo Bertolucci. See IMDb

Passed X after 10s of cuts for:
  • 1973 cinema release

From IMDb:

  • The BBFC originally demanded 20s of cuts to include edits for language but these were successfully appealed by the director. In the end a 10s shot of Paul putting his fingers between Jeanne's buttocks was censored from the sodomy scene.
  • The BBFC was also concerned about a scene of sexual dialogue, but decided that it could not be cut without damaging the film.

Obscenity Prosecution

The Festival of Light, a pro-censorship pressure group, started a concerted campaign to prevent the film reaching British cinema screens, circulating copies of the script to MPs and writing to local authorities - with considerable success, since several dozen banned it.

However, it received favourable write ups from the film critics and played unopposed in most areas.

Events took an unprecedented turn, however, when Edward Shackleton, a Salvation Army member, brought a private prosecution against the film's distributors for publishing obscene material. The case ultimately collapsed when it was found that the Obscene Publications Act (OPA) did not apply to film.

Cuts waived due to artistic value

It was rather ironic that after the failed obscenity prosecution, when the OPA was eventually applied to film in 1977, the BBFC's response was to waive its original 1973 cut and pass the film X uncut in 1978.

According to the new Secretary of the BBFC, James Ferman, the application of the OPA to this film guaranteed that it must be considered as a whole and that a defence of artistic value was applicable. Therefore the film was not obscene in its complete version.

The Board's decision to waive the cut provoked no comment.

The BBFC waived their cuts for:

  • UK 2000 MGM R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2000 MGM VHS
  • UK 1988 Warner VHS
  • UK 1978 X rated cinema release

 

29th September   

Not Funny...

Malaysian political cartoonist arrested on sedition charges
Link Here

cartoonist malaysiaThe Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the arrest of Malaysian cartoonist Zulkifli Awar Ulhaque, also known as Zunar, a contributor to the popular news site Malaysiakini and author of a new collection of political cartoons.

Police raided Zunar's Kuala Lumpur office and arrested him under the Sedition Act, just before the scheduled release of his new book, Cartoon-O-Phobia . He was released on bail on Saturday, according to local news reports.

Sedition charges in Malaysia are often used to suppress press criticism and carry possible three-year jail terms for first-time offenders, according to CPJ research.

Zunar's drawings often tackle sensitive issues, including the ongoing sodomy trial of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim and the perceived influence of Prime Minister Najib Razak's wife over his decision-making.

Home Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the arrest was related to cartoons that touched on the legal system and religion, the state news agency Bernama reported.

We call on Malaysian authorities to stop harassing political cartoonist Zunar and to drop all charges against him, said Shawn W. Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative: The arrest of a cartoonist is inconsistent with Prime Minister Najib's vow on taking office that he would uphold, not suppress, press freedom.

Update: Freed but books still banned

13th October 2011.See  article from  online.wsj.com

Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaque, better-known among comic fans as Zunar is one of the few satirists willing to take open shots against the country's ruling establishment, and in September 2010, police arrested him on a sedition charge just hours before the launch party for a new book of cartoons poking fun at the aristocratic, British-educated Prime Minister Najib Razak, among other topics.

Government officials said Zulkiflee's cartoons violated Malaysia's Printing Presses and Publications Act, which regulates newspapers, because he didn't have a license to publish. He was later released without charge, but not without sneaking out a cartoon or two from behind bars.

His books, though, remain banned.

Update: Can I have my books back?

27th January 2012. See  article from  indexoncensorship.org

Political cartoonist Zunar (Zulkifli Anwar Ulhaque) has appeared at the Kuala Lumpur High Court for the first hearing of a civil suit in which he challenges the Malaysian government and police for his arrest and detention on 24 September 2010.

Zunar is seeking the return of confiscated property as well as aggravated losses and damages incurred in the raid of his office, during which police seized copies of his latest work, Cartoon-O-Phobia, and arrested him for sedition. The raid occurred just hours before the book's launch.

Update: Books ordered returned

10th August 2012. See  article from  bikyamasr.com

A Malaysia court has ruled that the arrest and detention of popular and award-winning cartoonist Zulkiflee Anwar Ulhaqur, or Zunar, 2 years ago by police was lawful.

The court, led by Judicial Commissioner Vazeer Alam Mydin Meera argued that the government's seizure of 66 of his books and paintings was illegal. He ordered the books and the painting to be returned to the cartoonist.

In his ruling, Vazeer said:

The authorities had failed to provide evidence to substantiate the seizure of the books, adding that the law did not allow for the materials to be kept for a long time.

The continued confiscation of the books will affect the plaintiff's right to his livelihood.

 

29th September   

Update: Licensed to Blog...

Saudi ministry suggests that bloggers will have to register
Link Here  full story: Blogging in Saudi...Saudi bloggers arrested and imprisoned

Saudi flagThe Ministry of Culture & Information spokesman Abdul Rahman Al-Hazzaa did a quick volte-face after saying that bloggers and Web forums in Saudi Arabia would have to register themselves under a proposed new electronic media law.

Earlier that same morning, Al-Hazzaa told Al-Arabiya channel that electronic publishing would be included in the publication and printing bylaws applied in the Kingdom. He added that blogs and online forums would be included in this ruling. Approval has been given to provide the ministry with the power to view any case related to blogs and online forums, he said, adding that online media would be treated the same as the print media.

The remarks sparked a storm among Saudi online users, leading to a further statement from Al-Hazzaa who said the new law would require online news sites to be licensed, but would only encourage bloggers and others to register.

We do not want to license them. There are so many we cannot control them, he said of the thousands of Saudi bloggers and online forum operators. He claimed that his remarks on Al-Arabiya had been taken out of context, but stressed it would not be compulsory to be registered. It's not required, no; it's not in the plan, he told AFP.

He said there were more than 100 news websites and that licensing them would permit their reporters to take part in regular media activities alongside the traditional media.

In the interview, Al-Hazzaa had said that the new regulations being finalized are mainly to give his department supervisory authority over electronic media, as it has over traditional print and broadcast media and publishing houses in Saudi Arabia.

 

28th September   

Update: Ofcom a Bit Late...

Ofcom clears abortion advert over claims that it was political
Link Here  full story: Marie Stopes Advert...Advert for abortion services winds up nutters

are you late? advertOfcom has cleared the UK's first television advert for advice on abortion services after rejecting complaints about its political nature.

Last month, the Advertising Standards Authority ASA dismissed over 4,000 complaints about an ad run for sexual health charity Marie Stopes International (MSI).

The ad featured three women who had missed their period, as a voiceover pointed them to MSI for pregnancy advice.

Separately, media regulator Ofcom received 270 complaints about the ad, with the majority claiming that its political nature was in breach of the broadcasting code.

However, the watchdog ruled that the ad was not in breach of its guidelines as MSI is a not-for-profit organisation and so is permitted to advertise on television: Ofcom does not consider that the content of the advertisement itself in any way sought to bring about changes in the law or influence the legislative proces.

The advertisement was the promotion of MSI as an organisation that gives post-conception advice and to encourage viewers who needed such advice to contact them.

 

28th September   

Update: The Soviet Block...

Artists to boycott Paris exhibition over Russian censorship
Link Here  full story: Art Censorship in Russia...Art exhibitions winds up the nutters

counterpoint russian art logoRussian artists have threatened to boycott an exhibition of contemporary Russian art at the Louvre over the removal of works deemed offensive to Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, a gallery owner said.

Seven artists have declared that they won't participate in the exhibition in solidarity with Avdei Ter-Oganyan whose works were censured by the [Russian] culture ministry, prominent Moscow gallery owner Marat Guelman told AFP.

The ban covers Ter-Oganyan's abstract works that include sometimes provocative notes by the artist. One work, a black rectangle on a red background, bears the inscription: This work urges you to commit an attack on statesman V.V. Putin in order to end his statist and political activities.

The boycott of the exhibition at the Louvre opening next month will draw attention to this absurd conflict between art and the authorities. My works were created for this purpose and demonstrate the idiocy of idiots, Ter-Oganyan wrote on his website.

The Counterpoint: Russian Contemporary Art is scheduled to open at Paris' top museum on October 14 and run through January 31, 2011.

Update: Russia Confirms Censorship

30th September 2010. Based on article from  google.com

Russia  has confirmed that it had blocked the export of paintings by a controversial contemporary artist due to be shown at the Louvre in Paris because they could incite extremism.

The abstract works by artist Avdei Ter-Oganyan could be seen as calls for a coup d'etat, or inciting national or religious hatred, deputy culture minister Andrei Busygin told the Interfax news agency.

The series of works consist of geometric patterns with provocative captions such as This work urges you to commit an attack on statesman V.V. Putin in order to end his state and political activities.

Deputy culture minister Busygin told Interfax that it was debatable whether the works were a joke or something that falls under the federal law on fighting extremism.

The culture ministry and a federal arts watchdog expressed doubts about the advisability of exhibiting these works at the Louvre, he said.

 

28th September   

Googling for Word Associations...

Damages for libelous search suggestions
Link Here

google france logoA French court has found Google guilty of libel after a man's name was linked to several unflattering words, including rape and Satanist in the search suggestions.

A Paris tribunal ordered Google to pay one euro of damages and 5,000 euros of costs to the plaintiff for public defamation.

The plaintiff sued Google after the tools Google Suggest and Related Searches linked the words rape , sentenced , Satanist , prison , rapist to his name.

In February he was given a three-year suspended sentence for the corruption of a minor.

A Google spokeswoman told Reuters that his company is planning to appeal the decision.

 

28th September   

Corrupted Minds...

Malaysian film censor warns that anime may not be for children
Link Here

Malaysia flagJapanese animation, or anime, DVDs contain negative elements which can corrupt the minds of Malaysian children, claimed Film Censorship Board chairman Datuk Mohd Hussain Shafie.

He said many people were not aware of the effects because they did not know the contents of such DVDs, and thought of anime as another cartoon creation for children.

We have banned a lot of anime although they are animation said to be suitable for children, but are actually more appropriate for adults. Some of the anime feature scantily-clad women and scenes which are not good for children, he told reporters after a dialogue with the secretary of the state branch of the Film Censorship Control and Enforcement Division.

The session was the first held by the board in the state, which was also attended by representatives from the Kelantan Domestic Trade, Cooperatives and Consumerism Office, several film producers, distributors as well as DVD and VCD sellers.

Without mentioning the number of anime banned so far, Mohd Hussain expressed concern over the matter and said the board had to prohibit those that could not be edited and those too risky for children: If the anime cannot be edited, then we will ban the episode or the whole series from being aired.

 

28th September   

Offsite: The Seventies...

An explosion in promiscuity, abortion and pornography
Link Here

Confessions Window Cleaner Askwith AnthonyAs for society as a whole, what it got from the sexual revolution was a widespread eroticisation that persists to this day. Suddenly, in the Seventies sex was everywhere, not just in the strip clubs and sex shops of Soho, but in mainstream news reports, in cinemas, in paperback bestsellers and on the television screens.

The blatant smut of Benny Hill's television spectaculars, with their cast of nubile young women in suspenders, also represented something new on television that many middle-class families had never seen before.

As for the film industry, with audiences in free-fall because of television, producers concluded that only more and more explicit material would get people back into the cinemas.

The outpouring of X-rated filth that followed claimed at least one victim. The official film censor, John Trevelyan, could take no more and gave up his job. I am simply sickened , he said, by having to put in days filled from dawn till dusk with the sight and sound of human copulation.

And that was before Ken Russell's The Devils , Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs and Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange caused further outrage with their vivid portrayals of sex and violence.

Possibly more insidious than even these were the so-called sex comedies, perhaps the most embarrassing British cultural products of the decade. Between 1971 and 1975, studios pumped out a staggering 43 examples, from Secrets Of A Door-to-Door Salesman and Can You Keep it Up For A Week? to Confessions Of A Driving Instructor and Adventures of a Plumber's Mate.

Hundreds of thousands of people paid good money to see these alleged comedies.

Many ran in provincial cinemas for months on end. With their world of perky, carefree housewives and lecherous young men, of suburban sex romps and ever-available dolly birds, they were said to tap a rich seam of bawdy vulgarity in British working-class humour, from seaside postcards to the Carry On films.

Suddenly, in the Seventies sex was everywhere, not just in the strip clubs and sex shops of Soho, but in mainstream news reports, in cinemas and on the television screens

...Read the full article

 

28th September   

Update: Resolving to Oppress...

OIC propose UN resolutions against Koran burning days and defamation of religion
Link Here

OIC flagAn Islamic organization that claims to represent the collective voice of the Muslim world is trying to get the U.N. Human Rights Council to pass a resolution condemning the highly-publicized and now-defunct plan of a U.S. preacher to burn Qurans.

In a draft resolution submitted by Pakistan, the 57 member states of the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) expressed their concern over the instances of intolerance, discrimination, profiling and acts of violence against Muslims occurring in many parts of the world.

They also called upon the U.N. Human Rights Council to condemn any advocacy of religious hatred that constitutes incitement to hatred, discrimination, hostility or violence, and to call upon the international community to stand together against acts that undermine peaceful coexistence between nations and create an environment conducive to violence and reprisal.

Specifically, their resolution asks the council to speak out against the recent call by an extremist group to organize a day to burn copies of Islam's sacred text, the Quran.

Aside from the resolution on the planned Quran burnings, OIC is also trying to push through another resolution that it has brought before the U.N. Human Rights Council every year over the past decade.

The resolution, which OIC has annually sponsored since 1999, seeks to make the defamation of religions a human rights violation, saying that the defamation of religions, and incitement to religious hatred in general, could lead to social disharmony and violations of human rights. [As per Pakistan].

It claims there is a need to effectively combat defamation of all religions and incitement to religious hatred in general and against Islam and Muslims in particular.

The OIC resolutions, together with others yet to be submitted at the council, are likely to be voted on when the council wraps up its current autumn session at the end of next week. The council's 15th session, which commenced Sept. 13, concludes on Oct. 1.

 

28th September   

Update: Press Criticism...

Prachatai news website editor arrested on lese majeste charges
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Prachatai logoThe Committee to Protect Journalists condemns the arrest of Chiranuch Premchaiporn, editor of the popular Thailand news website Prachatai, on charges of insulting the royal family.

Prachatai said police at Suvarnabhumi Airport detained Chiranuch as she arrived from Hungary, where she had attended an Internet freedom conference. Police confirmed the arrest in comments to Matichon, a Thai-language daily newspaper.

Her arrest stems from comments posted to Prachatai in 2008 that were allegedly in violation of the Computer Crime Act and lese majeste laws.

We urge Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to release journalist Chiranuch Premchaiporn immediately and unconditionally, said Shawn W. Crispin, CPJ's senior Southeast Asia representative. The government should stop using anti-crown charges to suppress legitimate criticism.

 

28th September   

Offsite: Cyber Cossaks...

Russia's blogging revolution
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

Russia flagArtyom Tiunov was recently detained by Russian police on suspicion of theft and subjected to 14 hours of brutal interrogation. The police hoped he would confess to a crime he didn't commit. They hoped he would provide them with an open-and-shut case; every police department has to present a certain number of these in a given a period or be subjected to severe questioning over their low clear-up rate. This pressure has become a major source of the abuse and corruption which everybody, including the police themselves, hopes to see off in the reforms scheduled for 2012-13..

But instead the police had to release Tiunov after being confronted with CCTV footage of him exiting a restaurant at the time of the alleged crime. Tiunov described the whole ordeal on his Livejournal.com page – a blogging platform massively popular in Russia ,hosting over 1.5 million Russian-language blogs – and the post, titled Wrong place, wrong time , attracted more than 1,000 comments in just two days.

...Read the full article

 

27th September   

Means Diddly Squat...

Daily Star censured by PCC over Rochdale squat loo story
Link Here

star muslim only loosAdam Sheppard complained to the Press Complaints Commission that an article headlined Muslim-only public loos , published in the Daily Star on 15 July 2010, was inaccurate and misleading in breach of Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code of Practice.

The complaint was upheld.

The front-page article reported that a Rochdale shopping centre had installed Muslim-only squat-hole loos , and that the local council had wasted YOUR money on them.

The complainant said that it was inaccurate to say that the toilets were Muslim-only : the facilities, which were common to many countries, would be available to all. In addition, the decision to pay for the nile pans was taken by the shopping centre itself, rather than the local council. It did not therefore involve taxpayers' money.

The newspaper said that - while non-Muslims could have used the loos - they were designed with Muslims in mind. Nonetheless, it accepted that the headline was inaccurate in that non-Muslims would be free to use the toilets. It also accepted that the loos were paid for by a private developer.

Adjudication

In this prominent story, there were two clear errors of fact which, in the circumstances, would have misled readers in a significant manner: the toilets could not be described as Muslim only ; and were not paid for by the local council. While the newspaper had accepted that the article was wrong - and offered to correct the item - the Commission was particularly concerned at the lack of care the newspaper had taken in its presentation of the story. This led to a breach of Clause 1 of the Code which makes clear that newspapers must take care not to publish inaccurate, misleading or distorted information . The complaint was upheld.

 

27th September   

Howl...

New movie tells story of a notable US obscenity trial in the 1950s
Link Here

Howl James FrancoBeat-icon Allen Ginsberg is getting a resurgence of attention, 13 years after his death at the age of 70.

A movie based on the story behind Ginsberg's signature poem, HOWL , opened on September 24.

It stars James Franco as the young poet embroiled in a 1957 obscenity trial over the poem, which ended in a landmark win for free speech.

 

27th September   

Update: Unfounded Persecution...

Ukraine TV station to defy ban
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Ukraine...Journalists protest censorship

Kanal 5 UkraineA banned Ukrainian television station, which had its broadcast frequencies cancelled after a court found in favour of supposed irregularities in the manner in which the stations were awarded their licences, has decided to defy the court ruling and continue its terrestrial broadcasts.

Channel TVi called the action by the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting - which issues the licences - unfounded persecution .

TVi Chief Executive Mykola Kniazhytskyi said in a statement sent to the International Press Institute: In accordance with current legislation of Ukraine, we do not consider the decision of the National Council of Ukraine on Television and Radio Broadcasting to revoke amendments to our license a sufficient cause for termination of our terrestrial broadcast. We will continue to broadcast … [and work] to prevent further imposition of censorship in Ukraine.

 

27th September   

Scandalised Censors...

India's first gay film runs foul of the film censors
Link Here

dunno-y-na-jaane-kyunIndia's first gay film, Dunno Y… Na Jaane Kyun, could face serious cuts from censors because of its sex scenes.

Director Sanjay Sharma was asked to remove the sequence featuring leads Sharma and Yuvraaj Parasher, Bollywood Hungama has reported.

In an interview with the site, co-star Karpal said: Why should the censors be scandalised if two men are kissing and making love? The ones in my film are very aesthetic. And so what if it's two men making love? Love is love regardless of gender.

The film is the first Indian movie to feature a sex scene between two men. It has been resubmitted on appeal to the revising committee.

 

27th September   

Derogatory Censors...

Indian film about honour killings runs foul of the film censors
Link Here

aakroshA new Indian film, Aakrosh , which is based on honour killing, has got into trouble with the Central Board for Film Certification (CBFC).

The board has issued a show-cause notice to the producer, demanding 30 cuts or changes in the dialogue of the film.

It is learnt that the film's producers may not agree to all the changes asked for by the examining committee and may appeal to the CBFC revising committee.

Regional officer of CBFC, Alpana Sharma told TOI: We have issued a show-cause notice asking the producer to delete some dialogue. The examining committee has objected to derogatory remarks made against the CBI, caste, community and women and has asked them to delete it.

Another source said the film allegedly has a lot of dialogue that has double meaning and remarks against women that are highly objectionable. An industry source confirmed that there is strong language in the film. The examining committee has asked the producer to either delete or replace this language with milder words, said the industry source.

The producer feels that the whole purpose of making a film on honour killing would be defeated if some of the dialogue is scrapped.

Update: Appeal

5th October 2010. See  article from  bollywoodhungama.com

The film has been granted an A certificate with five cuts by the Revising Committee, a drastic improvement from the initially asked for 30.

With this new certificate, Aakrosh is all set to release on October 15.

 

26th September   

Updated: Failing Democracy...

Man charged with hate crime for calls to criminalise gay sex in an election address
Link Here

Christian Voice logoWhilst Christian Voice have reprehensible views when it comes to homophobia, they surely do have a point in this case. They write

Colchester Magistrates are to hear the case of a Christian man accused of a public order offence in two weeks' time.

Paul Shaw was charged by Essex Police with a hate crime after an election address was distributed in Colchester calling - in very moderate language - for a review of whether sodomy and other homosexual acts should remain legal.

Two homosexual men complained to the police after the leaflet dropped through their door in south-east Colchester , leading to a completely over-the-top police search of Paul Shaw's flat and confiscation of his diaries in June.

Mr Shaw was put in the cells, interrogated in what he describes as a hostile and provoking interview, and then charged on 12th June with causing religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress by words or writing under Section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

MAKE HOMOSEXUAL ACTS UNLAWFUL The offending words were in an election address, distributed after Paul Shaw had stood for election as an independent at a time when he thought a new election was imminent. In a leaflet previously approved by the Returning Officer and the Royal Mail, he said:

I believe for example that homosexual and lesbian acts are immoral and that the law should reflect that; by making them unlawful as they once were; and so acting as a deterrent to such behaviour.

The concept of homophobia is nonsense and a play on words; it is not and has never been a phobia! A phobia is an un-natural fear; whereas a rejection of perverse behaviour; is a righteous godly fear; that fears to do wrong because it knows that there are consequences and punishment otherwise! This is the most pronounced example of a nation that has lost its way ..

However, during a preliminary hearing on Thursday 26th August, the Crown Prosecutor applied for an adjournment. This was in order, he said, to consider the implications for freedom of speech raised by the case.

The Magistrate, District Judge David Cooper, readily agreed and the case was adjourned to Thursday 23rd September at 9.15am. Paul

Update: CPS withdraws its case

26th September 2010. Based on article from  ccfon.org

Crown Prosecution ServiceThe Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has withdrawn its case against a Christian man charged under public order legislation in relation to offence caused to homosexuals.

Paul Shaw was charged by Essex Police with a hate crime after an election leaflet was distributed in Colchester that called for a review of whether homosexual acts should remain legal.

An extensive investigation followed during which Shaw was arrested, locked in a cell and interrogated, in what he has described as a hostile and provoking interview. His flat was also searched and his diaries confiscated. He was subsequently charged with causing religiously aggravated harassment, alarm or distress by words or writing under Section 31 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998.

After considering the case, the CPS decided that that there was insufficient evidence to proceed.

 

26th September   

Updated: Operation Dark Heart...

Military operation to prevent the sales of a book
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship by US Security...Book censorship over military operations

Operation Dark Heart Frontlines AfghanistanOperation Dark Heart is the new book by former Defense Intelligence Agency officer and retired army reservist Anthony Shaffer

It sounds like an interesting read with the tagline: spycraft and special ops on the frontlines of Afghanistan and the path to victory but now the Pentagon does want to let people get a look at what's inside.

The book was originally cleared by army reviewers, who vetted the manuscript to ensure it didn't reveal national security secrets. It went to press, was sent to reviewers, and was even available for a short time online.

But now the Pentagon is now negotiating with Shaffer's publisher to purchase all 10,000 copies of the first print run with the intention of destroying them. It turns out the book may indeed contain a significant amount of senstive material. Once the DIA looked over the book, and shared it with other intelligence agencies, 200 passages suspected of containing classified information were discovered setting off a scramble by Pentagon officials to stop the book's distribution, according to the Times.

The classified portions of Shaffer's book, according to the Times, include the names of American intelligence officers who served with Colonel Shaffer and his accounts of clandestine operations, including N.S.A. eavesdropping operations.

Fox is reporting that intelligence officials are also trying to deep-six portions of the book concerning a classified data mining program known as Able Danger.

Update: Nameless Censorship

18th September 2010. Based on article from  google.com

A publisher has agreed to remove US intelligence details from a memoir by a former army officer in Afghanistan after the Pentagon raised last-minute objections, officials said.

The book, Operation Dark Heart , had been printed and prepared for release in August but St. Martin's Press will now issue a revised version of the spy memoir after negotiations with the Pentagon, US and company officials said.

In an unusual step, the Defense Department has agreed to reimburse the company for the cost of the first printing, spokesman Colonel Dave Lapan told AFP. The original manuscript contained classified information which had not been properly reviewed by the military and US spy agencies, he said.

St. Martin's press will destroy copies from the first printing with Pentagon representatives observing to ensure it's done in accordance with our standards, Lapan said.

The second, revised edition would be ready by the end of next week, said the author's lawyer, Mark Zaid.

Update: Books Burnt

26th September 2010. Based on article from  us.cnn.com

In a statement to CNN, Pentagon spokeswoman Lt. Col. April Cunningham said defense officials observed the September 20 destruction of about 9,500 copies of Army Reserve Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer's new memoir Operation Dark Heart.

Shaffer says he was notified Friday about the Pentagon's purchase: The whole premise smacks of retaliation, Shaffer told CNN on Saturday. Someone buying 10,000 books to suppress a story in this digital age is ludicrous.

Shaffer's publisher, St. Martin's Press, released a second printing of the book that it said had incorporated some changes the government had sought while redacting other text he (Shaffer) was told was classified.

From single words and names to entire paragraphs, blacked out lines appear throughout the book's 299 pages.

 

26th September   

Cover Up!...

US Nintendo censors cover art cleavage
Link Here
Samurai Warriors 3 Nintendo Wii

  German edition

The Nintendo Wii game Samurai Warriors 3 is being released in the USA very soon, but not in its original form. It has been noticed that Nintendo of America edited out a little bit of cleavage on the game's box art!

Samurai Warriors 3 Nintendo Wii

 US edition

This is perhaps the most pointless and ludicrous edit I've ever seen. The European box art shows some significant cleavage on one of the characters, while the North American version features ... a little bit less cleavage. You still see cleavage, but just a bit less.

And this achieves ... what, exactly?

 

26th September   

Something to Hide...

Brighton and Hove Council censors criticism by claiming copyright on council meeting videos
Link Here

brighton and hove council logoA Brighton And Hove Green Party councillor, Jason Kitcat, is being disciplined for posting clips of Brighton & Hove Council meetings to Youtube.

The clips are claimed as a political use of Council resources .

Their documents say Jason attempted to hold the administration politically to account by trying to highlight what the he believed were the administration's deficiencies , while using the council's intellectual property and website. Rather than concluding he was doing his job, they say Jason should face being suspended from his post.

The Council claim the web clips are resources which belong to the Council. They assert Jason must therefore abide by the Council's code of conduct, which: specifically prohibits the use of resources (such as IT equipment) improperly for political purposes, including party political purposes

These rules are designed to stop unfair use of telephones and offices to campaign for re-election, for instance. The rules are not meant to be applied to matters of free speech, with no impact on council finances, using tools that are freely available to everyone.

Jason has, in copyright law, a fair dealing right to use clips to report news. Fair dealing is meant to stop copyright interfering with free speech, by placing a limit on intellectual property . Whether Jason's use of the material is fair dealing can only be decided in a Court.

If Jason is held to have abused council property , Councillors will be intimidated from using information to tell residents what is going on. The same information, in words, is reported in minutes and placed in political leaflets. Will Brighton Councillors stop such reporting, as the same copyright subsists in Council minutes?

 

26th September   

A Question for Breakfast Censure...

Polish broadcaster punished for porn discussion on breakfast TV
Link Here

krrit logoPolish public broadcaster TVP has suspended editor Alicja Resich-Modlinska for hosting a chat about porn films on morning TV.

The hosts of the popular morning show Pytanie na sniadanie ( A question for breakfast ) were also punished by having their salaries cut and the head of the department got reprimanded after Krzysztof Garwatowski, spokesman for porn publishers Pink Press appeared on the show on 18 May.

The hosts asked Garwatowski, for example, what is fashionable in amateur porn films?

After the show Piotr Strzembosz from the rightwing Polish Right political party kicked off. I almost choked on my breakfast when I heard what the conversation was about, Strzembosz told the Rzeczpospolita daily. He then asked the president of TVP for an explanation and informed the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT) about the incident.

 

26th September   

Updated: Old Rules...

Singapore censorship review committee proposes less restrictions on R21 films
Link Here

singapore ministry of censorship logoR21 films may soon make their way to local cinemas as well as DVDs and pay TV, if recommendations by the Censorship Review Committee (CRC) are accepted by the Government.

The CRC report called for relaxation in content and regulation standards, given that technological changes are undermining the old ways of restricting content. With more content streaming through the Internet, the existing media regulations will become less effective. Responsibility must shift to individuals and parents, who must be empowered to make choices for themselves and for their children.

The panel, a state-appointed group of 17 people, was convened to review current censorship regulations across media such as films, videos and publications, as well as the arts. It is chaired by Goh Yew Lin, chairman of the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory.

In a bold suggestion that may raise eyebrows, the panel wants R21 content to be made available on more platforms - at home and in local cinemas, the panel has recommended that videos may be sold in video stores, provided the industry can enforce the restriction of sale to minors.

It also suggests that R21 content be available on subscription TV and video-on-demand with a default parental lock.

Making a case for easing of R21 content, the committee's report said: Where consumers have the ability to exercise controlled choice, as is the case with video-on-demand, R21 content should be permitted. However, its introduction should be carefully calibrated, and only allowed if there are adequate safeguards in place to prevent access by minors .

The commitee also recommended that a new PG13 rating be introduced to 'provide a stronger signal to parents on the nature of the content and to facilitate appropriate rating of films with some mature content.

The CRC has submitted its report to Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts, which is expected to respond in a month's time.

Update: Fitting in Dark Knight

26th September 2010. Based on article from  filmbiz.asia , thanks to Sean

Dark Knight Discs DVDSingapore's Censorship Review Committee is recommending that the country become slightly less buttoned up and that content regulation become more pragmatic.

The committee, which spent nearly a year deliberating, recommends the introduction of a new PG-13 film classification.

Explaining the idea of a PG-13 category Vijay Chandra, chairman of the Films Consultative Panel, said that The Dark Knight was rated PG, meaning that even primary school age children could watch it, although its violence may have upset parents. However, he said that an NC-16 rating would have been unwarranted.

As a consequence of the result of a PG-13 rating being introduced, Chandra said that the average PG film would then become milder and more innocuous.

In total the committee made some 80 recommendations – including dropping the word censorship from the title of future review committees – to the Ministry of Information, Communications and the Arts. The ministry is expected to respond within a month.

 

26th September   

Google Pragmatics...

Spanish court confirms the legal model that copyright owners must identify infringements on user generated content websites
Link Here

telecinco tv logoA Madrid court has thrown out copyright infringement charges brought against Google's YouTube by Spanish TV station Telecinco.

The court dismissed charges and found it the responsibility of copyright owners to guard their own intellectual property and inform Google when it is infringing copyright.

The judgement, translated by AFP, said it was impossible to control all the videos that are made available to users, as there are in fact more than 500 million. YouTube is not a supplier of content and therefore has no obligation to control ex-ante the illegality of those.

YouTube's chief European spin doctor said in a blog post that it was a big win for the internet . He said the court noted that YouTube offers content owners tools to remove copyright infringing content and this means that it is the responsibility of the copyright owner – not YouTube – to identify and tell YouTube when infringing content is on its website. This decision reaffirms European law which recognizes that content owners (not service providers like YouTube) are in the best position to know whether a specific work is authorised to be on an Internet hosting service...

 

25th September   

Substantial Reform...

Ofcom on list of quangos targeted for government cost cutting
Link Here

Ofcom logoOfcom could be subjected to substantial reform as part of a series of mergers, cuts and overhauls to public sector quangos outlined by the coalition government.

Leaked documents obtained by the BBC show that the government is seeking to overhaul the role of the media watchdog, as well as merging it with postal services regulator Postcomm.

The decision to combine the two organisations has been on the cards for almost two years, after a review backed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in 2008 and this month.

A spokesman for Ofcom said that he is unable to comment on the substantial reform aspect of the leaked documents, as he is unaware of what this may entail.

 

25th September   

Update: Threat or Tweet?...

Authorities seem unable to differentiate an obviously jokey tweet from a real threat
Link Here

Twitter logoPaul Chambers, a 27-year old trainee accountant from South Yorkshire, has launched a fightback against what is thought to be the UK's first criminal conviction for the content of a tweet on the microblogging site.

He landed a £1,000 fine after the snow closed Robin Hood airport near Doncaster in January as he planned a trip to see Crazycolours, a Northern Irish girl he had just met online, and he tweeted to his 690 followers: Crap! Robin Hood airport is closed. You've got a week and a bit to get your shit together otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!!

A week later, he was arrested at work by five police officers, questioned for eight hours, had his computers and phones seized and was subsequently charged and convicted of causing a menace under the Communications Act 2003.

In an appeal at Doncaster crown court, his barrister, Stephen Ferguson, said Chambers had been merely engaging in banter and craic and that far from having menacing intent, his message was a jest, a joke, a parody .

The defence applied to the judge to rule out the prosecution case that the tweet was menacing on the grounds it had not been sufficiently proved and there was no intent on Chambers' part to cause menace. Throughout proceedings, Chambers sat largely expressionless behind toughened glass panels with a security guard beside him, only wincing slightly at the the continual repetition of his offending tweet. He nodded when Ferguson told the judge simply: The intention was innocent.

Fresh evidence emerged which was not heard at the previous trial that the police noted after Chambers was bailed there is no evidence at this stage this is anything other than a foolish comment posted on Twitter for only his close friends to see . But the crown said the conviction should stand and presented evidence that Chambers had sent direct messages to his girlfriend apparently on the terrorist theme.

The court earlier heard that a senior airport official had determined [the message] was a non-credible threat after it had been found by Sean Duffield, an off-duty airport duty manager searching on-line at home. Under cross-examination, Duffield, said the impact after he found Chambers' message was operationally nothing. It had no impact.

Chambers was not cross-examined, but the court heard extracts of his original police interview. Looking back it's daft now but that's my kind of humour, Chambers had said. Not for one second did I think anyone would even look at it. It was just a comment made on the back of the fact that the flight had been grounded. The tweet, Stephen Ferguson pointed out, was made in the context of a young man and a young woman .

The judge and magistrates retired to consider their ruling and said the case would conclude a later date.

 

25th September   

Diary: Banned Manga at Banned Books Week...

Events at US schools and libraries, 25th September to 2nd October
Link Here

Dragon Ball Viz Paperback PreboundBanned Books Week is the only US celebration of the freedom to read. It was launched in 1982 in response to a sudden surge in the number of challenges to books in schools, bookstores and libraries. More than a thousand books have been challenged since 1982. The challenges have occurred in every state and in hundreds of communities.

People challenge books that they say are too sexual or too violent. They object to profanity and slang, and they protest against offensive portrayals of racial or religious groups--or positive portrayals of homosexuals. Their targets range from books that explore contemporary issues and controversies to classic and beloved works of American literature.

animenewsnetwork.com have listed Manga titles that have been challenged in the last 12 months.

October 2009: Maryland's Wicomico County Public Schools announced their intent to remove Akira Toriyama's Dragon Ball manga from its elementary school, middle school, and high school libraries, which it did later that month. The ban came as the result of a complaint from a nine-year-old's parent that the manga depicts nudity, sexual contact between children, and sexual innuendo among adults and children.

May 2010: The mother of an Albuquerque high school student campaigned for the banning of Tsugumi Ohba and Takeshi Obata's manga Death Note , saying that killing is just not something we should put out there for our kids to read in this way. The city's public schools committee met to discuss the possibility of a ban, but voted unanimously against it.

In addition to these challenges against specific manga volumes, American branches of Japan's Kinokuniya bookstore chain removed five bisho-jo magazines this past July due to inappropriate content.

 

25th September   

Nasty in Blu...

UK Blu-ray release for Sam Raimi's The Evil Dead
Link Here

Evil Dead Blu ray Bruce CampbellThe Evil Dead is a 1982 US horror by Sam Raimi. See IMDb

All BBFC cuts waived for:

  • UK 2010 Sony R0 Blu-ray at UK Amazon for release on 11th October 2010
  • UK 2006 Anchor Bay R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2002 Anchor Bay R2 DVD
  • UK 2001 Anchor Bay R2 DVD
  • UK 2001 Anchor Bay VHS

Previously due to the video nasty scare of the early 80's the BBFC removed a further 1:06s for video when submitted in 1990. There were 41 cuts specified:

  • Cheryl being raped by a possessed tree (4 cuts)
  • Ash's fight with Shelly (8 cuts)
  • Ash's fight with Linda (6 cuts)
  • Ash's fight with Scott (5 cuts)

Examples of these numerous cuts:

  • A zombie women being repeatedly hit with a pole has vanished
  • Shots of zombies clawing at flesh and eye gouging have been deleted
  • A man being hit repeatedly with a hot iron is reduced from 5 hits to 3
  • Zombies limbs being severed with axes are no more
  • A fight between the protagonist and a headless female zombie is missing.
  • The blood gushing from the girl's neck over Ash's face when he decapitates her with the spade has been removed
  • Shots of exploding zombies and a zombie biting her own arm off have been removed
  • A female zombie being repeatedly slapped across the face has been reduced to one slap
  • A zombie's face burning in the fire isn't present anymore

And before that, the pre-VRA version from Palace Video was the same as the BBFC approved but cut cinema release. It didn't stop the panic stricken press from adopting the video as public enemy No 1 and it was added to the banned list of video nasties in October 1983. It was dropped from the banned list in September 1985

Review from imdb : Raimi is already a legend

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

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

 

25th September   

Update: Economical with Freedom...

The Economist reports on its world censorship
Link Here  full story: The Economist...Magazine reports wind up sensitive countries

economist aug 2010Since January 2009 The Economist has been banned or censored in 12 of the 190-odd countries in which it is sold, with news-stand copies particularly at risk.

India, the only democracy on our list, has censored 31 issues and at first glance might look like the worst culprit. However its censorship consists of stamping Illegal on maps of Kashmir because it disputes the borders shown.

China is more proscriptive. Distributors destroy copies or remove articles that contain contentious political content, and maps of Taiwan are usually blacked out.

In Sri Lanka both news-stand and subscription copies with coverage of the country may be confiscated at customs. They are then released a couple of weeks later (sometimes sooner if the story is also reported by another news outlet).

In Malaysia the information ministry blacks out some stories that it judges may offend Muslims, among other things.

And in Libya, four consecutive editions were confiscated in late August/early September 2009, the first of which featured a piece critical of Muammar Qaddafi.

Images can also prompt action. The cover of last year's Christmas issue showing Adam and Eve was censored in five countries. Malaysian officials covered up Eve's breasts. Pakistan objected to the depiction of Adam, which it said broke a prohibition on depicting Koranic figures.

 

25th September   

ASA Grannies...

ASA offended by newspaper phone sex advert
Link Here

ASA logoA regional press ad, for an adult chatline, stated LIVE CHAT GRANNIES and featured a phone number and the picture of a naked woman, with stars covering her nipples, who had her hand between her legs.

A reader challenged whether the ad was offensive and unsuitable for a free newspaper, where it might be seen by children.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

We noted the Advertisers argument that the ad had been accepted in error and welcomed their assurance that it would not be used again.

However, we noted the ad appeared in a free newspaper, which was available for anyone to pick up, including children. Although we noted the ad appeared in the Personal section of the paper, we nonetheless considered that the image of a naked woman in a provocative pose with her hand between her legs, was overtly sexual in nature and unsuitable for an untargeted medium that could be seen by children. We therefore considered that the ad was likely to cause serious offence to some readers, and concluded that it was in breach of the Code.

The ad breached CAP Code clauses 2.2 (Social responsibility) and 5.1 (Decency).

 

25th September   

Stacks of Book Censors...

Iran plans to create another book censor
Link Here

Iran flagIranian Culture Minister Mohammad Hosseini has announced plans to create a new five-person board that will approve the content of all books prior to publication, RFE/RL's Radio Farda reports.

Hosseini said that the new board would be similar to Iran's Press Supervisory Board, and its members would decide which books can be published.

The five board members will be appointed by the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution.

Faraj Sarkouhi, a prominent writer and journalist living in exile, told RFE/RL that it appears that the five members of the new board are going to be in charge of supervising book censorship. He added that censorship by the Culture Ministry, without whose approval nothing is published in Iran, had no legal basis. Even according to the laws of the Islamic republic, censorship is illegal, he said.

The Office to Examine Books, which is subordinate to the Culture Ministry, was responsible for censoring books, Sarkouhi said, but with the establishment of the five-member board, another institution, too, will be in charge of censorship in Iran.

 

25th September   

Junk Whinge...

Women's group whinges at KFC promotion girls
Link Here

double downNutters have accused accused of embarking on an obnoxious product promotion scheme, using clothes with logos emblazoned on the backsides of female college students.

The fast food chain KFC has recruited female college students to hand out customer coupons while wearing tracksuit bottoms emblazoned with a popular product's logo emblazoned on their backside.

For their trouble, the students from Spalding University, in Louisville, are paid $500 (£320) to promote the new Double Down sandwiches. The 540-calorie sandwiches contain bacon and cheese between two pieces of chicken.

Although Spalding, a Catholic institution, is currently the only first college to agree to the scheme, the company hopes to expand it to other universities. Other colleges and the women will be picked from promotion on Facebook, the social networking site.

America's largest women's group criticised the human billboard scheme. It's so obnoxious to once again be using women's bodies to sell fundamentally unhealthy products, Terry O'Neill, the president of the National Organisation for Women, told USA Today.

But John Cywinski, KFC's chief marketing and food innovation officer, defended the scheme. He said it was an effective way to attract the attention of young men, which he said were the company's key customers and the biggest fans of the hamburger. In an effort to reach consumers coast-to-coast, and especially our key target of young men, we've established … another advertising first – one that's fitting of the Double Down's head-turning history, he said in a statement.

 

24th September   

Update: Dangerous Talk...

Double suicide linked to encouragement on internet forum
Link Here  full story: Suicide Censorship...UK government proposes to ban suicide information

geric intert forumUsers of a website who helped a stranger couple commit suicide have been warned they face up to 14 years in jail.

Joanne Lee and truck driver Steve Lumb were found dead in a Vauxhall Astra parked alongside an area of overgrown wasteland on an industrial estate. They had gassed themselves after meeting just hours earlier after making contact on the internet.

It has emerged that Miss Lee, who used the user name Heaven's Little Girl, received advice and encouragement on a German hosted internet forum in the days leading up to her death.

Cyber friends had given her tips on how to successfully kill herself and expressed their sorrow that she had failed to end her life on previous suicide attempts.

Miss Lee had written: I haven't the strength to do this alone. I have all the ingredients and want to do it ASAP. You should... be willing to pick me up when it is time to (kill myself). If you are "very" serious, please email me .

Answering the advert Lumb then drove 200 miles to Braintree, Essex, and shortly after the pair were dead.

A Ministry of Justice spokesman confirmed that anyone who promotes or encourages suicide on a website could face prosecution and jail. She added that even if no suicide attempts take place as a result of the information, the author could still be found guilty of an offence.

The law was amended last year to deal with cases such as these. It reads:

Under section 2(1) of the Suicide Act 1961 (as amended by section 59 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009) it is an offence to do an act capable of encouraging or assisting the suicide or attempted suicide of another person with the intention to so encourage or assist.

The person committing the offence need not know the other person or even be able to identify them.

Brooks Newmark, Conservative MP for Braintree, Essex, said: We need to do far more to deal with these suicide websites which unfortunately lead to tragedies like this. It's not a question of more regulation but of better regulation and also figuring out how we can close down websites such as these.

 

24th September   

Elmo's World of Cleavage...

Sesame Street drops Kate Perry video
Link Here

kate perry videoProducers of the hit children's television show Sesame Street cancelled an appearance by the cleavage-baring pop singer Katy Perry following feedback from parents.

Perry was set to appear on the premiere of the programme's 41st season on 27 September, performing her song Hot N Cold alongside the lovable puppet Elmo.

But after the segment appeared online showing Perry in a bright yellow bustier, Sesame Street decided not to air it.

In light of the feedback we've received on the Katy Perry music video which was released on YouTube only, we have decided we will not air the segment on the television broadcast of Sesame Street, which is aimed at preschoolers, the show said in a statement.

Sesame Street producers noted the show has a long history of working with actors, athletes, musicians and artists, and has always been written on two levels – for children and adults.

 

24th September   

New Nutters on the Block...

Men of the AntiPornMenProject join the women of the AntiMenProject
Link Here

anti porn men logoMatt McCormack Evans, co-founder of the Anti Porn Men Project, said that the campaign aimed to raise awareness of the harms of pornography and encourage more men to speak out against it: Coming at a time when the UK feminist movement is experiencing a resurgence, the project is unique in its targeting of men .

Between 2000 and 2006 the number of men in Britain using internet porn increased by more than 400% to around 40% of the entire male population, according to the group.

But picking a fight with an industry estimated to be worth around £63 billion worldwide is not an easy task.

A new generation is being raised on porn - an industry whose product is overwhelmingly violent and degrading towards women, said McCormack Evans, who is just 22: This must be seen in the context of our society where one in five teenage girls have been hit by a boyfriend. To date, there has been little room for men to speak out against pornography. The Anti Porn Men Project is here to change that.

 

24th September   

Updated: More Cat and Mouse Games...

BBFC waive their cuts to Dario Argento's Inferno
Link Here

Dario Argentos Inferno Ryan HilliardThe planets must have aligned in some way recently, as the BBFC have reversed a censorial decision for the Arrow Video release of Dario Argento's Inferno .

Their original ruling saw the movie left with the same cut after all these years, that being the instance of a cat eating a live mouse. Sure it's only about six seconds of footage, but the fact that they are tampering with art depicting something which occurs in nature is annoying.

A lot of effort was put into the new transfer, and Arrow stood to lose a packet from disgruntled Argento fans electing not to purchase the UK Blu Ray.

A sensible head was kept, and the were BBFC politely lobbied to re-examine their decision. To the surprise of everybody involved, the board revoked the cut to the movie, and have granted it an uncut 18 rating.

The importance of this seemingly minor victory cannot be appreciated enough. There is hope for an uncut edition of The Abyss after all.

 

24th September   

Standards of Easy Offence...

New Zealand TV censor has a whinge at Home and Away
Link Here

home and away videoA raunchy and sexually charged scene on prime-time soap opera Home and Away breached broadcasting standards, the Broadcasting Standards Authority (BSA) has ruled.

The BSA said the Home and Away episode, which aired on TV3 at 5:30pm on March 24 with a General (G) classification, breached standards relating to responsible programming, children's interests, and good taste and decency.

During the episode, two adult characters, Martha and Liam, began kissing and Liam removed Martha's bathrobe, leaving her in a bra and pyjama pants. Liam then lay back on a table while Martha straddled him as they continued to kiss until another character walked in.

TV3's broadcaster TVWorks said that the programme had screened in a timeslot that was not considered to be predominately children's viewing time on the channel and that child viewers would not be alarmed or distressed by such scenes.

The BSA disagreed, saying the programme was raunchy and sexually charged and went well beyond the level of sexual activity that should be included in a G-rated programme.

TV3 legal counsel Clare Bradley gave 3news.co.nz the following response today:

TV3 is considering whether it will appeal the decision concerning content in Home and Away but there is no plan to change the time at which it screens

We don't agree that the material in this scene would alarm or distress children under the age of 14yrs who might view the programme. They would see two people in a friendly, affectionate embrace kissing and cuddling and then jumping apart in embarrassment when they were interrupted by another member of the cast. Importantly there is no violence or threatening behaviour in the scene which might have the potential to be alarming or distressing for children. There was categorically no explicit sexual activity nor was there any nudity.

 

24th September   

Spineless...

BBC takedown of news video results in loss of reputation all round
Link Here

malcolm brabantThe BBC has been accused of failing to support one of its foreign correspondents after his report about a shoe being thrown at the Greek prime minister was temporarily removed from the BBC News website.

Malcolm Brabant, an award-winning BBC correspondent, filmed the shoe-throwing incident involving the Greek prime minister, George Papandreou, earlier this month.

The incident happened when Papandreou was visiting the city of Thessaloniki, where approximately 20,000 protesters were demonstrating against his government's swingeing austerity cuts.

The corporation took the footage down from the website after what it described as supporters of the [Greek] government complained about the video and made allegations about its authenticity.

The film was taken down despite, it is understood, protests by Brabant. Since the Guardian made inquiries, the BBC has put the video back online.

The fact the BBC took the footage down was seized upon by Greek government supporters and some of the country's media. They took the takedown as evidence of doubts about the video's authenticity and then publicly questioned Brabant's reputation.

A friend of Brabant's said: The BBC's spinelessness has done immense damage to his reputation in Greece, so much so that he may not be able to operate there any more. He is furious.

A BBC spokesman said: The shoe incident was covered as part of the BBC News Online article throughout the weekend. There were questions about the video showing the incident so the page featuring the clip was taken down, but it is now back up on the website given it is clear to us that the allegations were unfounded.

 

24th September   

nuttiermediamarch...

mediamarch rename themselves to safermedia
Link Here

safermedia logoA few months ago the nutters of Mediamarch have re-named and re-jigged themselves and given themselves a new name: Safermedia.

And they have got themselves a blog at safermedia.blogspot.com

They describe themselves as:

safermedia (formerly known as mediamarch) is a voluntary group seeking to reduce the harmful effects of the media on our children, families and society. Our dream is to see the media influencing people positively to create a safer and happier society for everyone

 

23rd September   

Update: Shear Revenge...

Remake of I Spit on Your Grave gets an unrated cinema release in the US
Link Here  full story: I Spit on Your Grave...Remake enjoys some good publicity

i spit on your grave remakeIs unrated cinema becoming the new 3D? A gimmick to get horror fans' asses into theater seats? Anchor Bay is following in Hatchet II 's footsteps by releasing I Spit on Your Grave unrated in select theaters on October 7, 2010.

We are thrilled to be releasing the unrated, uncensored version of the new I Spit On Your Grave , says Bill Clark, President of Anchor Bay Entertainment: Steven R Monroe has brought his own remarkable vision to this cult classic and we are certain that the unrated cut will, like the original, evoke a visceral reaction from audiences worldwide.

 

23rd September   

Update: Censors of Few Words...

China starts closing down Twitter like blog accounts
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

netease logoChinese authorities have begun a massive clamp down on social media on the mainland, particularly Twitter like microblogs, according to Reporters Without Borders (RSF).

LAuthorities have now set their sights on social networking with the closure of dozens of micro blog accounts. Blocked last month were four of the leading Chinese micro blogging services, Netease, Sina, Tencent and Sohu.

The sites were reportedly either displaying messages that said they were closed for maintenance or had inexplicably reverted to an earlier 'beta' testing phase.

Prominent Chinese bloggers, known for raising sensitive issues, have spoken out against the action.

I was writing a new post and suddenly my blog couldn't open, lawyer Pu Zhiqiang told The Associated Press (AP).

Blogger Yao Yuan, working on a separate unclosed blog, cited at least 61 closed Sohu blogs, including his own. He described the closings as mass murder, AP said.

Despite the massive resources that the regime deploys to control the Internet, it is impossible to keep track of all the flow of information on Twitter and its Chinese equivalents, RSF said: Micro blogging is also used by the government itself as well as by millions of Chinese who have nothing to do with dissidents .

 

23rd September   

Losing Trust...

BBC TV censor announces that he will not seek reappointment to the BBC Trust
Link Here

christopher blandThe former BBC chairman Sir Christopher Bland has joined the criticism of the BBC trust, the corporation's governing body, and hinted it should be replaced. The structure, the BBC trust, never made sense, it was wrong when it was set up, Bland said. The system has been undermined.

The trust's chairman, Sir Michael Lyons, announced last week he would not seek reappointment when his current term expires in April next year. He said he had decided over the summer to step down from the role. Industry insiders claim he stepped down because he suspected he was unlikely to be reappointed to the role by the culture secretary, Jeremy Hunt.

Bland said it is unclear if the trust is designed to regulate the BBC or act as a guarantor of the corporation's independence, protecting it from government interference. Although I think [outgoing trust chairman] Sir Michael Lyons has done as well as he possibly could, it's very difficult, being an advocate, regulator and admonisher, he said.

 

23rd September   

With All Due Respect...

Venezuela to investigate social networks for enabling celebration rather than mourning over the deaths of government dignitaries
Link Here

Venezuela flagLast week in Venezuela, the President of the Media Commission of the National Assembly, Manuel Villalba, declared that he'll file a petition before the National Prosecutor against several websites.

The government are displeased that during a spate of deaths of people belonging to the high spheres of the government, several people have celebrated rather than mourned via messages on social networks and forums.

Legislator Gustavo Capella has declared that this investigation should encompass Twitter and Facebook.

 

23rd September   

Offsite: A Fetish for Non Violent Erotica...

Australian Sex Party sets out their classification policies
Link Here

Australian Sex PartyThe Australian Sex Party have outlined their key polices re state media censorship:

Key Policies:

* To establish a national classification scheme that includes uniform ratings for explicit adult material across all jurisdictions and through all media (including computer games, magazines and films)

*To legalise the sale of and making of X rated films nationally

* To move away from privileging narrow moulds of sexual taste, acts and cultures to expressly include depictions of fetish (currently excluded from Australia's X rating) in a new rating category called Non Violent Erotica

* To actively promote the responsible enjoyment of erotica, endorsing positive messages about consensual and safe sexual activity, and condemning non-consensual sexual activity and sexual violence

*To develop a best practice model with recommendations for the ethical production of pornography that is rewarding and positive for the contributor

*To provide training for all appointees of the Classification Board and Classification Review Board in the latest developments around sexuality to bring them up to date with a pluralistic range of adult sexualities, subcultures, behaviours and body types

* To introduce R, X and NVE ratings for computer games

...Read the full article

 

22nd September   

Falling Foul...

BBFC cut horse fall from Little Big Soldier
Link Here

Little Big Soldier Jackie ChanLittle Big Soldier is a 2010 China/Hong Kong action film by Sheng Ding. See IMDb

The BBFC cut 2s for the 15 rated:

  • UK 2010 Showbox Blu-ray
  • UK 2010 Showbox R2 DVD
  • UK 2010 cinema release

The BBFC commented:

  • Cut required to remove a cruel and potentially harmful horse trip in which the horse has its legs pulled underneath it causing it to fall heavily onto its side.

The BBFC further explained their 15 rating:

Little Big Soldier is a Chinese period battle drama which tells the story of an old foot soldier, played by Jackie Chan, who has survived one of the most ruthless battles in the Warring States Period of China. The film was classified 15 for strong martial arts and battle violence.

The violence is typical of a Chinese period martial arts/battle movie with stylised, effective and frequent scenes of martial arts and battle violence. For example sword slashes with blood, close shots of bloody wounds to the leg and some impaling shots. The BBFC's Guidelines at 12A'/'12 state that Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood . The occasional focus on blood and bloody injury exceeds this level, but is permissible at 15 where Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury .

The film also contains infrequent mild bad language, for example asshole and bleeped Cantonese language. These would otherwise have been permissible at PG .

 

22nd September   

New Censors Now On Demand...

ATVOD now the point of contact for Video on Demand complaints
Link Here

ATVOD logo Ofcom has officially handed responsibility for overseeing all video on-demand complaints to its co-censor, the Association For Television On-Demand (ATVOD).

ATVOD, which took over promised light touch regulation duties from Ofcom in March, will now respond to any complaints relating to editorial content on UK-based VOD services.

Ofcom has tasked the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) with handling all advertising related issues, while ATVOD will deal with all matters pertaining to consumer protection standards and guidelines for taste, decency and sponsorship requirements.

Ruth Evans, former deputy chair of Ofcom's consumer panel, currently acts as ATVOD's independent chair on a five-strong board that includes former Channel 4 News editor Sara Nathan, Advertising Association chief executive Tim Lefroy, ASA Council member Nigel Walmsley and broadcasting censorship specialist Ian McBride.

Sky's Daniel Austin, BT's Simon Milner, Virgin Media's Simon Hunt and Five's Chris Loweth will provide the ATVOD board with an industry perspective.

The organisation has further hired Pete Johnson as its chief executive, after he previously managed VOD and censorship policy for the BBFC.

The material to be regulated, though, does not include all internet video. The rules apply only to television-like services delivered on demand, not to user-generated videos such as those that appear on YouTube.

Material qualifies for regulation if it is similar in form and content to television programmes; if it has a person who is editorially responsible for it; is based in the UK; and is available on an on-demand basis.

The material that does fall under ATVOD's regulation must conform to some of the standards expected of broadcast television. It must not incite racial hatred; harm under-18s; or break rules on sponsorship or product placement, ATVOD's rules say.

 

22nd September   

Transparency Report...

Google shows counts of government requests to block or takedown data
Link Here

google transparencyGoogle has lately found itself on the receiving end of criticism from privacy and transparency advocates. But with two new tools, Google is trying to convince them that the company is on their side.

Google has introduced a new tool called the Transparency Report. It publishes where and when Internet traffic to Google sites is blocked, and the blockages are annotated with details when possible. For instance, the tool shows that YouTube has been blocked in Iran since the disputed presidential election in June 2009.

The Transparency Report will also be the home for Google's government requests tool, a map that shows every time a government has asked Google to take down or hand over information, and what percentage of the time Google has complied. Google introduced it in April and updates it every six months. Government requests could be court orders to remove hateful content or a subpoena to pass along information about a Google user.

The transparency project was the brainchild of engineers during their 20 percent time, the time that Google allots for people to work on their own projects.

Google Explains

See Transparency Report from google.com

Transparency is a core value at Google. As a company we feel it is our responsibility to ensure that we maximize transparency around the flow of information related to our tools and services. We believe that more information means more choice, more freedom and ultimately more power for the individual.

We've created an interactive map of Government Requests that shows the number of government inquiries for information about users and requests for Google to take down or censor content. We hope this step toward greater transparency will help in ongoing discussions about the appropriate scope and authority of government requests.

Our interactive Traffic graphs provide information about traffic to Google services around the world. Each graph shows historic traffic patterns for a given country/region and service. By illustrating outages, this tool visualizes disruptions in the free flow of information, whether it's a government blocking information or a cable being cut. We hope this raw data will help facilitate studies about service outages and disruptions.

UK censorship requests

See Government Requests from google.com

Interesting to see that the UK is predictably high up the list of state censors. Second to none in terns of data requests and only behind Brazil and Libya in terms of blocking requests

1343 data requests.
48 removal requests, for a total of 232 items 62.5% of removal requests fully or partially complied with.

  • Blogger
    • 1 court orders to remove content
    • 1 items requested to be removed
  • Video
    • 3 court orders to remove content
    • 32 items requested to be removed
  • Groups
    • 1 court orders to remove content
    • 1 items requested to be removed
  • Web Search
    • 8 court orders to remove content
    • 144 items requested to be removed
  • YouTube
    • 6 court orders to remove content
    • 29 non-court order requests to remove content
    • 54 items requested to be removed

 

22nd September   

Nutter Hang-Ups...

New Zealand TV censor has a whinge at TV drama, Hung
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in New Zealand...Easily offended Broadcasting Standards Authority

hung advertA scene implicitly depicting oral sex and genital nudity in an episode of Hung shown on TV One breached the good taste and decency standard, a majority of the Broadcasting Standards Authority has found.

Hung is a comedy-drama series about a divorced and financially struggling father, Ray Drecker, who starts working as a male prostitute.

In the episode broadcast on TV One at 9.50pm on Monday 22 March, Ray went on a date with a woman called Lenore.

At approximately 10.10pm Ray was shown lifting up Lenore's skirt and removing her underwear. One brief shot of Lenore's genital area was shown in the scene, which was shot at a short distance in front of her.

Lenore then sat down on a couch and placed her legs over Ray's shoulders. Ray crouched with his head between Lenore's legs and performed oral sex. Lenore's legs and torso were visible as Lenore writhed and moaned on the couch. The top half of Lenore's body was fully clothed and her genital area was obscured by Ray's head.

A formal complaint was made to Television New Zealand that the scene amounted to soft porn .

In response TVNZ said that the programme had screened at 9.50pm, which was over an hour after the 8.30pm Adults Only (AO) watershed, was classified AO, and was preceded by a written and verbal warning.

The scene complained about had been relatively brief, not detailed, obviously acted and important in the context of the series, TVNZ said.

In its decision a majority of the BSA found that that although the context went some way to alerting viewers to the challenging nature of the programme, the content complained about went well beyond the level of sexual material that viewers would expect to see on free-to-air television.

In the majority's view, the scene complained about was prolonged, explicit and gratuitous, leaving nothing to the imagination and designed solely for the purpose of shocking and titillating the audience, the decision said.

In these circumstances factors such as the programme's AO classification and the use of a written and verbal warning were not sufficient to prevent the broadcast breaching standards of good taste and decency, the decision said.

The BSA did not make any orders, saying that publication of the decision would be sufficient to clarify its expectations surrounding sexual content of this nature.

 

21st September   

A Mature Decision...

Oregon law prohibiting sexuality in young people's fiction overturned
Link Here

OregonBooksellers and sex educators have won an appeal against Oregon laws supposedly intended to keep adults from using pornography to groom young people for sex, but in fact cast so widely as to effectively prohibit references to sexuality in young people's fiction.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals overturned major portions of the 2007 laws, saying they could apply to standard sex education literature, books such as The Joy of Sex or books for children or young people by author Judy Blume.

State legislators supposedly tried to craft laws against adults using hardcore pornography to lower the inhibitions of young people, the court said. But, it said, the laws they wrote were too broad, and good intentions cannot trump the language of the statute.

Booksellers and groups such as Planned Parenthood, the Association of American Publishers and the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the laws, which a federal judge had upheld.

This is an important victory permitting readers — both younger and older — to obtain what they are constitutionally entitled to read, Michael Powell of Powell's Books said in a statement: It is also a victory for booksellers who do not want to ask 13-year-olds for identification or risk going to jail for selling a Judy Blume book.

The ruling from a three-judge panel of the 9th Circuit applied to two Oregon laws:

  • It struck down a law against furnishing sexually explicit material to children — those under 13.
  • It struck down part of a law against furnishing images or descriptions of sexual conduct to minors, ie those under 18.

The judgement left intact a part that forbids using such material when the purpose is inducing the minor to engage in sexual conduct.

Spokesman Tony Green of the state attorney general's office said no decision had been made on an appeal.

 

21st September   

Dangerously Extendable Powers...

US law allows authorities wide powers to close down websites in the name of file sharing
Link Here  full story: Online Infringement Act...Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act

US SenateA group of senators want to hand the U.S. Department of Justice the power to shut down Web sites dedicated to the illegal sharing online of film, music, software, and other intellectual property.

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act will give the Department of Justice an expedited process for cracking down on these rogue Web sites regardless of whether the Web site's owner is located inside or outside of the United States, according to a statement from Senator Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, and committee member Senator Orin Hatch.

Under the proposed legislation, the Justice Department would file a civil action against accused pirate domain names. If the domain name resides in the U.S., the attorney general could then request that the court issue an order finding that the domain name in question is dedicated to infringing activities. The Justice Department would have the authority to serve the accused site's U.S.-based registrar with an order to shut down the site.

According to a staffer from Leahy's office, if the site resides outside the United States, the bill would authorize the attorney general to serve the court order on other specified third parties, such as Internet service providers, payment processors, and online ad network providers.

The way it sounds, the Justice Department would try to block these sites from being accessed by people in the United States or cut them off from credit card transactions or receiving ad revenue from U.S. companies.

 

21st September   

Proposing More Cuts...

Australian TV censor harangues channel for not cutting enough for the advertised M rating
Link Here

Proposition Blu ray DVD Guy PearceAustralia's TV censor, The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA), has found that ABC TV breached the rules by incorrectly classifying Australian film The Proposition as M, despite it containing frequent and realistic scenes of violence.

Correct classification of films on television meaningfully guides the audience in deciding what is appropriate for them and their families, said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. In this instance, the ABC did not go far enough to modify The Proposition from its cinematic release—classified MA 15+—so as to be suitable for classification and broadcast as M.

M is an advisory certificate recommending a 'mature' audience. MA15+ is mandatory age 15 rating.

The ACMA investigation found that The Proposition , as broadcast by the ABC, contained frequent, realistic treatments of detailed violence. The broadcast also included a high impact and prolonged scene of violence at the film's climax that was unsuitable for an M audience.

The ABC has indicated it will ensure any future broadcasts of the film will be televised with an MA15+ classification. It will also provide a copy of the final investigation report to its classification staff as part of training sessions.

 

21st September   

Nutter Men of Jesus Christ...

Protestors against adult video shop find little support from the customers
Link Here

men of jesus christ logoThe Men of Jesus Christ reported on their website:

On 18th September about 40 people came out to protest against Family Video and the fact that they distribute pornography in the town of Tonawanda in New York State.

There were many people that we spoke to that were totally unaware of this and immediately turned around.

Of course there was the flip side as well, where people were so desensitized to pornography that they just did not care. And there were those that came out and told us that they were OK with it and it should be there. There was even a situation in which a woman and her 12 and 6 year old, just to spite the protest, said to the manager, in front of her children, Can you point me to the dirtiest movie you have in here? .

This is the problem that this country faces, the fact that pornography is legal, but just because it is legal does not make it right.

The major response I received from people who were pro-porn was that I may not agree with it, but what you do in your home is your business and if you don't like it, then don't rent it .

 

20th September   

Censor Spit...

Irish film censor bans the original I spit on Your Grave
Link Here

I Spit on your GraveThe Irish film censor (IFCO) has banned the DVD re-release of the 1978 horror film I Spit on Your Grave starring Camille Keaton.

UK fans of the infamous cult film will be able to purchase the ultimate collector's edition on DVD and Blu-ray albeit cut by the BBFC. However Irish fans of the cult video nasty will be prohibited from purchasing locally, forcing them to import UK versions from internet retailers.

The decision to ban the DVD re-release of the cult classic film was due to the film depicting acts of gross violence and cruelty (including mutilation and torture) towards humans.

Director Meir Zarchi commented on the ban: It doesn't surprise me that Ireland have decided to ban the film. It has relentlessly continued to shock and offend audiences since 1978 when it was first released, and it still does to this date. However, with the level of graphic violence and horror available these days, it's surprising that IFCO sees this 1978 film more offensive than some of the most daring and empty of content torture porn available today.

Since the birth of the Internet all censor boards around the world have instantly become irrelevant. IFCO included. Anyone anywhere in the universe can simply push a button on any video website store and order a disc of I Spit On Your Grave. There are no iron curtains in the skies that can stop it from landing at his or her door.

Are we going through the Lady Chatterley's Lover syndrome all over again? The bottom line - thank you IFCO for promoting the film in Ireland.

The Original Cult Video Nasty is available today on UK DVD and Blu-ray as an ultimate collector's edition dual format - still cut but less so than previous releases.

 

20th September   

More Bush...

Uncut release of Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush
Link Here

Here Round Mulberry Bush DVDHere We Go Round the Mulberry Bush is a 1968 comedy drama by Clive Donner. See IMDb

The film was passed 15 uncut for:

Previously the BBFC cut the X rated 1967 cinema release.

From cuts details on IMDb :

  • edits to dialogue and sexual references, eg to a condom
  • Removal of Mary's topless footage during the bathing scene

 

20th September   

Land of the Not So Free...

Journalists heavily restricted in reporting military trials at Guantánamo Bay
Link Here

Guantanamo BayThe Obama administration has made many pledges of transparency and openness, but neither of those fundamental principles were anywhere to be seen when the Pentagon opened its first military trial at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, under President Obama. What we did see were intolerable limitations on journalists covering the trial — or at least trying to cover it.

Journalists were required always to be in the company of a soldier — even when they went to the bathroom. Military censors routinely deleted photographs from cameras.

Responding to an outcry by news organizations, including The New York Times, the Pentagon has announced a revised set of rules.

Most important, the Pentagon's public affairs division has agreed not to ask reporters to withhold information deemed privileged by the military if the information is already in the public domain. Under the revised policy, reporters will not be deemed in violation of the rules if what they report was legitimately obtained in the course of newsgathering outside Guantánamo.

The Pentagon has eased somewhat the rules for photographers and videographers. There will now be a more formal chain of appeal to challenge decisions by military censors. They will also be allowed to have up to two images a day cropped rather than blocked entirely.

 

20th September   

Astro Blame...

Malaysia blames Indian TV drama for local crime
Link Here

astro logoThe Malaysian Government wants to hold discussions for a mechanism to control the influx of shows with violent content into the country.

Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk T. Murugiah said such shows, especially from India, posed a social problem for the local Indian community: It is about time for the Film Censorship Board to interfere. Many crimes committed by Indian youths were actually copied from what they saw in such shows.

He said he had urged the Home Ministry to seriously focus on the problem of gangsterism involving Indians as the percentage of criminal cases involving them was increasing.

Murugiah said the Goverment should also seek a solution to control the serial dramas aired by Astro, the satellite pay television operator: Currently, we can't control Astro. We may have to hold a discussion with certain parties to seek a solution for this problem .

Update: Hindhu group joins the bandwagon

27th September 2010. See  article from  news.in.msn.com

Malaysia Hindu Sangam has called on the country 's Censorship Board to ban Tamil movies and soaps which depict violence.

Sangam president RS Mohan Shan said that Tamil movies, which supposedly glorify crime, are a bad influence on the youth. Mohan also felt that Tamil TV dramas, produced in Chennai and shown over local television stations, too were full of anti-social elements.

Tamil movies are very popular among the Tamil youth while Hindi movies especially those starring Shah Rukh Khan are a favourite among the Malays.

 

20th September   

Update: Customs Censors...

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

economist aug 2010Sri Lanka has allowed its citizens to read the latest issue of The Economist magazine, which carries a story on a controversial change in the country's constitution after being held back by customs authorities for nearly a week.

Any material that comes to Sri Lanka should fall into the standards that we have set out, information minister Keheliya Rambukwelle told reporters.

One is that it must not make any kind of allegations within the country - could be civil - in terms of articles. So that has to be scrutinized. But that won't take time, unless it is really detrimental to the sovereignty.

The Economist had not been released by Sri Lanka's customs authorities for nearly a week after it arrived in the country last Friday.

The held back Economist referred to a contentious change to the constitution which nullified an earlier attempt to create a more independent public service and reduce arbitrary rule.

Responding to reporter's questions about which unit at Customs was legally empowered to censor publications, Rambukwelle denied there was censorship but said a customs unit like those that probed drugs looked at publications also.

The minister said authorities examined whether a publication affected national security , sovereignty or promoted racial disharmony, as a government policy before release.

 

19th September   

Update: Classified as Repressive...

South Africans protest against two repressive censorship bills
Link Here  full story: Security Censorship in South Africa...Censorship in the name of national security

South Africa flagHundreds of demonstrators have marched in Johannesburg, South Africa, against new measures they fear will muzzle the country's media.

They criticised plans to introduce a protection of information bill and a new media tribunal, to punish journalists who step out of line.

Demonstrators carrying placards condemning press censorship marched to the Constitutional Court to voice their anger against the two proposals.

The protection of information bill would allow the government to classify material that is currently not secret.

The media tribunal, which would be answerable to parliament, would have the power to jail or fine journalists for inaccurate reporting.

Helen Zille, leader of the opposition Democratic Alliance, said the proposals are worse than apartheid-era measures. Zille - once herself a prominent journalist - has described the tribunal as a tool to mask corruption. She argued it would be worse than the apartheid-era media council, which was headed by a judge.

 

19th September   

Offsite: A Tweeter Persecuted...

Twitter and a terrifying tale of modern Britain
Link Here

Twitter logoPaul Chambers has felt the full force of state persecution, simply for sending a tweet

The 27-year-old worked for a car parts company in Yorkshire. He and a woman from Northern Ireland started to follow each other on Twitter. He liked her tweets and she liked his and boy met girl in a London pub. They got on as well in person as they did in cyberspace. To the delight of their followers, Paul announced he would be flying from Robin Hood airport in Doncaster to Northern Ireland to meet her for a date.

In January, he saw a newsflash that snow had closed the airport. Crap! Robin Hood Airport is closed, he tweeted to his friends. You've got a week… otherwise I'm blowing the airport sky high!

People joke like this all the time. When they say in a bar: I'll strangle my boyfriend if he hasn't done the washing up or post on Facebook: I'll murder my boss if he makes me work late , it does not mean that the bodies of boyfriends and bosses will soon be filling morgues.

You know the difference between making a joke and announcing a murder, I'm sure. Apparently the forces of law and order do not.

...Read the full article

 

18th September   

Dictators...

Czech court orders ban on Hitler's Mein Kampf
Link Here

Mein Kampf Adolf HitlerA court has ordered a Czech publisher to withdraw and destroy all its published copies of Adolf Hitler's Mein Kampf.

Prague's municipal court issued the verdict at the request of the German state of Bavaria that was suing the publisher, KMa, for copyright infringement.

Mein Kampf is banned in Germany and Bavaria, which holds the copyright for the book, is seeking to block its publication in other countries for fear it could be misused by right-wing extremists.

The 1925 book expresses Hitler's desire to exterminate Jews and occupy territory in Eastern Europe.

The publisher can appeal the verdict.

 

18th September   

Royal Scraps...

India unbans Satyajit Ray's Sikkim
Link Here  full story: Sikkim Banned...Historical ban on Satyajit Ray's Sikkim

Satyajit Ray Collection Vol 1 DVDIndia has finally lifted the ban on a documentary film made on the Himalayan state of Sikkim by the legendary director Satyajit Ray, his family said.

The film was banned after Sikkim merged with India under controversial circumstances in 1975.

It was made 40 years ago when Sikkim was an independent kingdom - Sikkim's last ruler Palden Thondup Namgyal commissioned the film to woo tourists.

Ray died in April 1992 after receiving an Oscar for lifetime achievement.

His son, Sandip Ray, also a film-maker, told the BBC that he was delighted that the ban on the documentary - called Sikkim - had been lifted.

When the film was completed, the king and his wife were reportedly furious - especially over a shot that showed poor people scrambling for leftover food behind the royal palace in the capital, Gangtok.

My father was asked to drop some shots and redo the final product, said Sandip Ray. He did that but the situation changed. By the time the final cut emerged, Sikkim had been merged with Indian under rather controversial circumstances in 1975. Unsure how the people of Sikkim would react to the controversial shots in the film, the Indian government decided to ban Sikkim.

Except for a private screening by my father, the film has not been seen by anybody else, Ray said. The two existing copies of the film are in the US and the British Film Institute.

 

18th September   

Safer Sources...

European Court reaffirms protection of journalistic sources
Link Here

European court buildingsThe European Court of Human Rights has unanimously held that media premises are exempt from police searches, marking a major victory for press freedom across the continent.

This ruling was an acid test for the Court and for media freedom across Europe, said Geoffrey Robertson QC, counsel for a coalition of intervening organizations. It sets a high benchmark for protection of journalistic materials and will force police and prosecutors across Europe, from Russia to France, to change their practices.

In its decision in Sanoma v. the Netherlands, the Court reversed an earlier ruling and held that police cannot search media premises or seize journalistic materials unless they can show it is absolutely necessary in the investigation of a serious crime and have obtained a judicial warrant.

In this judgment, the European Court lays down a clear marker for the protection of journalistic materials, said Peter Noorlander, legal director at the Media Legal Defence Initiative. This will force a change in law and practice across Europe, not only in countries like Russia and Romania but also in France and the Netherlands, where new legislation is now required.

The Court today said in the clearest terms that all European nations must have strong laws that protect the media's fundamental right to confidential sources in order to ensure the public's right to know. Every country must now review their laws and ensure that these rights are fully respected. said David Banisar, Senior Legal Counsel for ARTICLE 19.

 

18th September   

Euro Censors...

European Parliament to debate Europe wide internet filtering
Link Here

European Parliament logoThe debate on Internet filters reaches the hot phase now on EU level, as discussions begin in the EU parliament.

On September 28th/29th, the committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs will consult on Combating sexual abuse, sexual exploitation of children and child pornography . The hearing is split into different sessions.

The list of invited experts hints at the general tendency. For example, strong supporters of Internet filtering laws, like Julia von Weiler (Innocence in danger) and Sigrid Valentin (German Federal criminal police, BKA) are invited. It looks like the vast majority of the experts will argue in favor of Internet filters.

Last year, there was a great movement within net-communities to stop Internet-filters in germany. Some of these attempts were successful: We stopped the law. Now we have to look closely and be careful that filters don't become effective via the european level without much public interest or resistance. Debates on EU-level are difficult. Not many are interested in them, and delegates are far away in Brussels or Strasburg.

 

18th September   

High Price to Pay...

Mozambique SMS service turned off as text messages used to encourage food riots
Link Here

Mozambique flagA letter apparently from the Mozambique communications authority asked mobile networks to block text messages during food riots in the southern African country earlier this month.

Hundreds of people were arrested over the protests and 13 killed, after the government put up the price of bread by a third. Petrol and electricity also went up sharply. The riots were encouraged by round-robin text messages.

A letter sent by the National Communications Institute asked both Vodacom and M-Cel to switch off text message functions but only for pre-pay customers. The letter, seen by the BBC, was sent to Mediafax which noted that messaging was unavailable to pre-pay punters on both networks for several days.

 

18th September   

Update: Facing the Other Way...

Facebook bans pages supporting Iranian stoning victim
Link Here  full story: Death by Stoning...International condemnation of barbaric execution

Facebook logoMaryam Namazie and Mina Ahadi, have had their pages on Facebook disabled.

Both were campaigning to save Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani from being stoned to death in Iran.

Maryam and Mina have asked for support in their campaign to get their Facebook pages reinstated.

ICAS' Abbas Goya has started a campaign on Facebook itself.

Update: One Restored, One to Go

22nd September 2010. From Maryam Namazie

By the way, Facebook had disabled Mina and my accounts recently right before the 18 September day of action for Sakineh and against stoning. After many letters of protest from supporters, and an open letter to Facebook founders by a number of well-known personalities, my account has been enabled again, though Mina's has not. Please keep writing to Facebook until they enable her account as well.

 

17th September   

Update: Taking an Axe to Tradition...

Hatchet II is the widest release for an unrated film in 25 years
Link Here

hatchet 2This month marks the 20th anniversary of the NC-17 rating, invented by the MPAA to separate certain graphic yet non-pornographic films from the porn connotations of the X rating. But the new classification immediately had its own stigma and many theater chains and video stores wouldn't carry films with the NC-17 mark.

Now AMC Theatres, which has long been one of those against booking films lacking classification, is opening its screens (around 60 locations) to the horror sequel Hatchet II , which makes this the widest opening for an unrated film in 25 years. (probably referring to The Evil Dead which opened unrated in 128 theaters and took home more than $2 million)

It's assumed that following the October 1 release of Hatchet II, the also-unrated horror release I Spit on Your Grave will be booked in similar fashion. Then what? If the first title is successful -- and I think it has a good shot at being the highest-grossing unrated film of all time -- can we expect filmmakers to actually start trying to garner an NC-17 just to then go out unrated? Will films that wouldn't even receive an NC-17 exploit the sudden approval by going unrated anyway?

 

17th September   

Anti-Censorshipman...

Comic book writer Stan Lee likens video games bans to old comic book bans
Link Here

Stan Rise Fall American ComicLegendary comic book writer Stan Lee knows a thing or two about censorship. Back in the 1950s when he first unleashed the likes of Spiderman on the world his work, and that of other comic book writers and artists was considered dangerous .

Comics were burned and a Senate committee decided that afford the calculated risk involved in feeding its children, through comic books, a concentrated diet of crime, horror and violence.

That is why the now eighty seven year old Lee wrote a letter the Video Game Voters Network encouraging gamers not to give up the fight against the current calls for video game censorship.

In his missive Lee wrote If you restrict sales of video games, you're chipping away at our First Amendment rights to free speech. He went on to urge all gamers to take a stand and defend both the First Amendment and the rights of computer and video game artists.

Lee wrote that he recalls the time when the government was trying to do to comic books what some politicians now want to do with video games: censor them and prohibit their sales. It was a bad idea half a century ago and it's just as bad an idea now. And you can do something about it.

 

17th September   

Window's Children's Phone 7...

Microsoft ban anything near adult content from phone apps
Link Here

Programming Windows Phone Charles PetzoldMicrosoft has released the final version of its Windows Phone Developer Tools, giving developers the green light to start working on apps for the new Windows Phone Marketplace. The Marketplace will launch in October, Microsoft says -- the same month the first Windows Phone 7 devices are expected to debut.

Here are some of the more censorial restrictions from Microsoft's Windows Phone Marketplace guidelines:

  • Not allowed: sex/nudity -- images that are sexually suggestive or provocative. The document goes on to name a lot of specific stuff, including n ipples and pubic hair.
     
  • Not allowed: content that a reasonable person would consider to be adult or borderline adult content.
     
  • Not allowed: content that generally falls under the category of pornography.
     
  • Not allowed: realistic or gratuitous violence, including depictions of ... decapitation, impaling, blood splatter/blood spurting/blood pooling, or ... guns/weapons pointed toward user/audience.

 

17th September   

Pedalling Easy Offence...

Clare Balding wins PCC censure of AA Gill for calling her a dyke on a bike
Link Here

Race Country with Clare BaldingSports presenter Clare Balding's official complaint over an article in the Sunday Times that mocked her sexuality has been upheld.

In July, she complained to the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) over AA Gill's review of her new TV show, in which he called her a dyke on a bike .

The paper defended its columnist on freedom of expression grounds, saying he was well-known for his acerbic and sometimes tasteless sense of humour.

Balding took exception to Gill's review of her show, Britain By Bike , claiming his comments were irrelevant to the programme.

But the newspaper argued the term dyke had been reclaimed by various groups as an empowering, not an offensive, term. The paper also drew attention to two organisations, which are both called Dykes on Bikes.

The PCC ruled that the use of the word dyke in the article - whatever its intention - was a pejorative synonym relating to the complainant's sexuality . The context was not that the reviewer was seeking positively to 'reclaim' the term, but rather to use it to refer to the complainant's sexuality in a demeaning and gratuitous way . As such, it represented a breach of the Code.

Stephen Abell, director of the PCC, said: Freedom of expression is a key part of an open society and something which the Commission has defended robustly in the past. While the commentator is clearly entitled to his opinion about both the programme and the complainant, there are restraints placed upon him by the terms of the Editors' Code. It said the clause was very clear that newspapers must avoid prejudicial, pejorative or irrelevant reference to an individual's sexual orientation and the reference to Miss Balding plainly breached its terms .

The presenter has also asked for the newspaper to apologise.

 

17th September   

Offsite: Antonio Federici Crucified...

ASA easily offended at ad for 'immaculately conceived' ice cream
Link Here  full story: Antonio Federici Ice Cream...Ice cream adverts wind up the nutters

antonio federici advertA magazine ad for Antonio Federici ice cream showed a heavily pregnant woman dressed as a nun standing in a church holding a tub of ice cream in one hand and a spoon in the other. Text stated Immaculately Conceived ... ICE CREAM IS OUR RELIGION .

Ten readers challenged whether the ad was offensive to Christians, particularly to those who practised Catholicism.

Antonio Federici said the idea of conception represented the development of their ice cream. They said their decision to use religious imagery stemmed from their strong feelings towards their product (they cited the text ICE CREAM IS OUR RELIGION ) and also from their wish to comment on and question, using satire and gentle humour, the relevance and hypocrisy of religion and the attitudes of the church to social issues. They believed the small number of complaints the ASA had received represented a very small proportion of the readership of the publications. They did not believe offence had been so deeply felt as to affect their right, as marketers, to free expression and that offence caused to a small minority should not affect the ability of the wider public to see their ad. They believed that, as a form of art and self-expression, advertising should be challenging and often iconoclastic.

The publishers of The Lady magazine had received eight complaints made direct to them. They said that, in hindsight, it had been a misjudgement on their part to publish the ad. They regretted the offence that had been caused to their readers and said they would not publish the ad or anything similar to it in future.

Grazia said they considered the statement ICE CREAM IS OUR RELIGION suggested that the ad was intended to be lighthearted and not mocking of any religious groups. They said the editorial content of Grazia encouraged debate and questioning. As such, they believed the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to their readers.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted that the CAP Code stated that ads should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability. Compliance with the Code will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards of decency . We considered the use of a nun pregnant through immaculate conception was likely to be seen as a distortion and mockery of the beliefs of Roman Catholics. We concluded that to use such an image in a light hearted way to advertise ice cream was likely to cause serious offence to readers, particularly those who practised the Roman Catholic faith.

We noted that the number of complaints was relatively small but that the ad had been placed in a small number of publications only.

The ad breached CAP Code clause 5.1 (Decency).

Comment: ASA should pay penance

16th September 2010. Thanks to Tom who commented:

Please explain what the big deal is here. I am a practicing christian and I personally found the add to be extremely funny. I see no reason that it should be banned after a few nutters got upset.

If we allow a few complaints to derail an advert like this, what next? All I can say is thank God I live in Canada. Things are not perfect here, but at least they make sense.

Comment: Bringing blasphemy back from the dead

17th September 2010. See  article from  spiked-online.com by Tim Black

Spiked logoThe big beef we have with the Advertising Standards Authority is: who the fuck are they? Who is this shady cabal of people making moral judgements about our advertising? What authority do they have?

This defiant message comes not from any well-known defender of people's freedom, but from a spokesman for a UK-based ice-cream company, who was talking exclusively to spiked.

...Read the full article

 

17th September   

Ageing Rapidly...

Old cuts to Ruggero Deodato's Off Balance
Link Here

Phantom Death DVD Michael YorkOff Balance or Phantom of Death is a 1987 Italian Thriller by Ruggero Deodato. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut for:

Previously cut by 18s for an 18 rating for:
  • UK 1989 Trans Global VHS

From IMDb:

  • The BBFC edited gore from the train station murder
  • Edits to the stabbing of a woman with a table lamp

Review from UK Amazon : Quite Good

Directed by Ruggero Deodato (Cannibal Holocaust) this is probably the last half decent film he made before disappearing from view.

Michael York plays the pianist who becomes mad after discovering he has a disease that makes him rapidly grow old. Donald Pleasence is the cop on the trail of the killer but at the same time being driven to the edge by the constant taunts of the killer.

It's quite a nicely directed film and is mostly entertaining but it's no way as extreme or nasty as the Directors more infamous work. It does still contain some ok deaths with alright amounts of blood on offer. Pleasence's performance is highly amusing and his reaction to the death of one of his police colleagues is absolutely priceless. It all leads to a totally dramatic ending that you would only see in an Italian film.

 

17th September   

TV Causes Russians to Beat Up Passers By...

Russian TV under nutter pressure
Link Here

dom 2Russian TV is under nutter pressure for a clean up as United Russia cries out against the polluting effects of impure images across our screens . Moral evangelists want to pull state funding on a range of popular daytime money spinners across popular channels.

The social-conservative club of Russia's political powerhouse discussed the 'problem' of upholding decency in the modern media, principally on television.

The group wants to use money as a lever on channels which receive federal or state funds, to stop them broadcasting crime programmes or erotic material before 11.00pm.

The Moscow budget subsidises channels 1 and 2, Moscow Duma deputy Lyudmila Stebenkova told gzt.ru. I know that Gazprom-Media pay NTV and TNT. We believe that the main channels, which receive public money, must promote decency and not chase ratings, she said.

The CrossTalk presenter and political commentator at Russia Today said that there is less for United Russia to complain about now, If you compare Russian TV today to even seven years ago it was far more violent…you could come across hard pornography on the screens. It is still a lot more explicit than western media, he says, with western media being extremely tame in comparison.

The party named some shows in particular as falling short of the moral mark, TNT's Big Brother clone Dom 2 and Comedy Club , Channel 1's gritty youth drama Shkola , and TNT's Ochnaya Stavka, Chrezvychainoe Proisshestvie, Osobono Opasen, Programma Maximum and Russkie Sensatsy.

TV affects the minds of children, and then gives teenagers the idea of going out onto the street and…beating up passers by, NGO activist Nikolai Smirnov of Za Slovom – Delo told gzt.ru.

United Russia's Leonid Goryainov said the state has to do something to avoid descent into Sodom and Gomorrah. He added that while TV is cleaning up its act the traditional faiths should preach the word of appropriate behaviour to their faithful.

 

17th September   

Update: Cyber Wellness Programme...

Singapore recommends mandatory internet filters for parents
Link Here

singapore ministry of censorship logoThe Censorship Review Committee has issued its report after nearly a year of deliberations.

Among its recommendations are mandatory Internet filters to give parents more control and responsibility over what their children can access online. Filtering services are currently available through Internet Service Providers SingTel and StarHub but there has been minimal marketing and take-up of these services , said the report.

The committee said these filters should be easy to understand, requiring parents only to answer a yes or no .

The filters would replace the current symbolic ban on 100 websites, but the government should retain the power to ban websites that are seen as a threat to national security, for example, terrorism and extreme racial or religious hate sites.

These efforts should be complemented by a cyber wellness programme that is incorporated into the national educational curriculum.

 

17th September   

Offsite: Witcher 2 Beset by Prudes...

Witcher 2's nude woman torture scene being reconsidered
Link Here

Witcher Assassins Kings PC DVDThere's a scene in which our protagonist Geralt rescues an imprisoned and about to be tortured woman who is nude from the waist up -- pretty much what you'd expect were this is a real-life situation. After all, prison ain't pretty, especially in olden times. Upon her release, she tells him she must cover up; she does, and they resume conversation.

But Alec Meer of Rock, Paper, Shotgun wrote that the scene was an indication of immaturity:

It's masturbation fodder, an unashamed invitation to admire a pixel-perfect fantasy figure. This women is supposed to be suffering, but I'm supposed to salivate. The camera lingers, closes slightly on those improbable appendages – even when Geralt dispatches her torturers-to-be, rescues her and she requests to cover her porn star body up again, we're treated to a final titilatting jiggle, rather than a demure turnaround, as she pulls her unscathed dress back up. She doesn't seem terribly bothered. The game doesn't seem terribly bothered. It just wanted to show us some tits, because apparently that's how you know a game is mature.

...Read the full article

 

17th September   

Offsite: Whipping Boys...

ISPs can't be the Great Wall of the Web
Link Here

usiia logoGovernments around the world increasingly expect Internet service providers (ISPs) to take responsibility for every bit of data that passes through their systems, says David McClure, the president and CEO of the US Internet Industry Association.

He will participate in the the International Internet Industry Association (IIIA) meeting to be held in SA this week that will cover how ISPs and governments should work together to create better Internet-related laws and regulations.

Legislative bodies, left on their own to develop Internet law, often do not have the technical expertise or the understanding of Internet trends to make good laws, he says.

...Read the full article

 

16th September   

Illusory Complaints...

A few complaints about Derren Brown's railway escapology stunt
Link Here

derren brownThe TV censor Ofcom is investigating illusionist Derren Brown's latest show over a scene which showed a man in a strait jacket, chained to a rail track.

The Channel 4 programme, Hero at 30,000 Feet , followed a volunteer with an unconfident character as Brown built up his courage, enabling him to take on a series of personal challenges.

The scene in question saw him escaping from an oncoming train in the scene.

Ofcom received 11 complaints from viewers about the safety of the stunt.

The media regulator is investigating the show, broadcast on  8th September, to see if it breaches broadcasting regulations. It will consider whether the scene condones or glamorises violent, dangerous or seriously antisocial behaviour and is likely to encourage others to copy such behaviour or breaches generally accepted standards in broadcasting.

A spokesman for Channel 4 said: The railway track challenge was one of many confidence-building experiences within the show which prepared Matt for the finale. For all the experiences, the programme-makers have procedures in place to ensure the contestant's welfare was protected.

 

16th September   

Monthly Blood Letting...

A new uncut UK release for The Curse of the Werewolf
Link Here

Curse Werewolf DVD Clifford EvansThe Curse of the Werewolf is a 1961 UK horror film by Terence Fisher. See IMDb

Passed 12 uncut for:

  • UK 2010 Media Sales/Final Cut R2 DVD at UK Amazon for release on 4th October 2010.

The US release is uncut for:

The film has been completely restored with all the missing footage intact. This was first shown on BBC in 1994.

Previously the 1961 cut Cinema Version was passed 12 for:

  • UK 1995 Warner VHS

The film had considerable problems with the BBFC on its initial 1961 cinema release and was subsequently cut by around 2 minutes.

Among the scenes edited:

  • heavy cuts to the repeated stabbing of the Marquis (reduced to 1 stab)
  • the murder of the prostitute where scenes of biting and a shot of her dead body were completely removed
  • the killing of the werewolf in the bell tower which saw shots of his screaming when the bells ring, a blood spurt from a gunshot, and a closeup of his blood-dripping face also removed.
  • In addition the film was also cut to edit scenes of the servant girl waking in the dungeon
  • a shot of the Marquis picking a scab from his face
  • images of dead lambs.

 

16th September   

Offsite: Faceless Censors...

Facebook fudges policy in page-purging pickle
Link Here

Facebook logoFacebook yesterday vigorously denied suggestions that it responds selectively to complaints, or that it favours the blocking of politically progressive links over the slightly more reactionary. Still, there are red faces today at Facebook Central over the strange and divergent fate of two controversial pages.

...Read the full article

 

16th September   

Offsite: Flagged After the Horse Has Bolted...

YouTube Live Unfiltered: Good Idea, Bad Idea?
Link Here

youtube live logoSteve-O, best known for his work on the MTV show Jackass, has a history of doing stunts bordering on the obscene or inappropriate in front of the camera. He even broadcast his downward spiral of cocaine usage once on YouTube, in a chilling video. So who thought it was a good idea to put him in front of the camera in an online video segment testing Google's new YouTube Live service on Monday?

...Read the full article

 

15th September   

Update: Antonio Federici Crucified...

ASA easily offended at ad for 'immaculately conceived' ice cream
Link Here  full story: Antonio Federici Ice Cream...Ice cream adverts wind up the nutters

antonio federici advertA magazine ad for Antonio Federici ice cream showed a heavily pregnant woman dressed as a nun standing in a church holding a tub of ice cream in one hand and a spoon in the other. Text stated Immaculately Conceived ... ICE CREAM IS OUR RELIGION .

Ten readers challenged whether the ad was offensive to Christians, particularly to those who practised Catholicism.

Antonio Federici said the idea of conception represented the development of their ice cream. They said their decision to use religious imagery stemmed from their strong feelings towards their product (they cited the text ICE CREAM IS OUR RELIGION ) and also from their wish to comment on and question, using satire and gentle humour, the relevance and hypocrisy of religion and the attitudes of the church to social issues. They believed the small number of complaints the ASA had received represented a very small proportion of the readership of the publications. They did not believe offence had been so deeply felt as to affect their right, as marketers, to free expression and that offence caused to a small minority should not affect the ability of the wider public to see their ad. They believed that, as a form of art and self-expression, advertising should be challenging and often iconoclastic.

The publishers of The Lady magazine had received eight complaints made direct to them. They said that, in hindsight, it had been a misjudgement on their part to publish the ad. They regretted the offence that had been caused to their readers and said they would not publish the ad or anything similar to it in future.

Grazia said they considered the statement ICE CREAM IS OUR RELIGION suggested that the ad was intended to be lighthearted and not mocking of any religious groups. They said the editorial content of Grazia encouraged debate and questioning. As such, they believed the ad was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence to their readers.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted that the CAP Code stated that ads should contain nothing that is likely to cause serious or widespread offence. Particular care should be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, sex, sexual orientation or disability. Compliance with the Code will be judged on the context, medium, audience, product and prevailing standards of decency . We considered the use of a nun pregnant through immaculate conception was likely to be seen as a distortion and mockery of the beliefs of Roman Catholics. We concluded that to use such an image in a light hearted way to advertise ice cream was likely to cause serious offence to readers, particularly those who practised the Roman Catholic faith.

We noted that the number of complaints was relatively small but that the ad had been placed in a small number of publications only.

The ad breached CAP Code clause 5.1 (Decency).

 

15th September   

Shameless Exploitation...

A new UK release for The Bronx Warriors
Link Here

Bronx Warriors DVD Enzo CastellariThe Bronx Warriors is a 1982 Italy Sci-Fi film by Enzo G. Castellari. See IMDb

The certificate was reduced to 15 uncut for:

Previously rated 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2003 Michael Lee/Vipco R2 DVD

And before that the BBFC cut 12s for an 18 rating for:

  • UK 1993 Simitar VHS
  • UK 1986 EIV VHS
  • UK 1983 cinema release

See cuts details on IMDb :

  • Cut to edit the killing of the tramp and a man's face being hit with a baseball bat.

Review from US Amazon : Cult classic

17-year-old Mark Gregory stars as Trash, leader of The Riders - a motorcycle gang that survive in the Bronx of the future. Crime has supposedly risen to such impossible heights that the police have abandoned the Bronx to its own devices - the gangs now rule the streets.

Originally made in Italian (although filmed in the Bronx) as I Guerrieri del Bronx , this cult classic was later dubbed into English. Only recently released in its uncut version, it was notorious for its violence and suffered extensive cuts in both its original UK and US releases. It also featured a lot of real Hell's Angels as the supporting bikers.

It has to be said that these days the violence in it looks quite restrained and won't shock as many as it once did. Suspension of disbelief is definitely required in order to deal with gangs who roller skate or tap dance, but the imagery of it all remains quite vivid.

 

15th September   

Updated: Regional Criticism Banned...

Thailand pressures FCCT to cancel press conference
Link Here  full story: Human Rights Events in Thailand...Human Rights Critics Banned from Thailand

fcct logoThe Thai government acted inappropriately in pressuring the Correspondents Club of Thailand (FCCT) to cancel a press conference that would have criticized Vietnam, the Committee to Protect Journalists have said.

The Bangkok-based FCCT had intended to host a press conference by the Paris-based International Federation for Human Rights and the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR). The two independent rights groups had planned to launch a new report called From Rhetoric to Reality: Human Rights in Vietnam, under its Chairmanship of ASEAN 2010.

The FCCT said in a statement that the ministry first contacted it by telephone on September 9 to request that the club cancel the press conference because it might contain information detrimental to a neighboring country. The ministry also requested that the FCCT inform the event's two scheduled speakers, VCHR's Vo Van Ai and Penelope Faulkner, that the ministry would deny them visas on arrival upon landing in Thailand. The event was then formally cancelled by the two groups.

The FCCT provides an important space for journalists to meet and exchange ideas with newsmakers and that space should remain open and free of restrictions, said Shawn Crispin, CPJ's Senior Southeast Asia Representative. Regrettably, the pressure put on the FCCT is consistent with a wider crackdown on the free press and Internet under way in Thailand.

Thani Thongphakdi, head of the Thai ministry's Department of Information, wrote in a September 10 e-mail to the FCCT that the government attaches great importance to the principles of freedom of expression and diversity of views ...BUT... that it also has a long-standing position of not allowing organizations and/or persons to use Thailand as a place to conduct activities detrimental to other countries.

There are rising concerns among Bangkok-based journalists that the Thai government will become less tolerant of such programs to guard against regional criticism of its own anti-democratic tendencies.

Update: Vietnam thanks Thailand for gagging human rights criticism

15th September 2010. Based on article from  monstersandcritics.com

Vietnam flagThe Vietnamese government has thanked Thailand for preventing two activists from travelling to Bangkok to present a report criticising human rights in Vietnam.

Vietnam welcomes Thailand's refusal to allow Thai territory to be used for activities opposing Vietnam, government spokeswoman Nguyen Phuong Nga said.

She said the action was appropriate to the friendly and cooperative relations between Vietnam and Thailand, and to the charter of the Association of South-East Asian Nations (ASEAN).

 

15th September   

Barack Obama Easily Offended...

British teenager banned from the US over angry email to Obama
Link Here

barack-obama stony facedA British teenager has been banned from America for life for sending Barack Obama an abusive email, in which he calls the President a 'prick'.

Luke Angel, 17, insulted Obama while drunk after watching a programme about the 9/11 attacks on the U.S.

Angel was reprimanded by police on both sides of the Atlantic after firing off the message to the White House.

The FBI intercepted the message and contacted police in the UK who went to see Angel at his home. The college student is now on a list of people who are banned from visiting the States.

When asked about the ban, Luke said: I don't really care. My parents aren't very happy about it. The police who came round took my picture and told me I was banned from America forever.

A Bedfordshire Police spokesman said: The individual sent an email to the White House full of abusive and threatening language. We were informed by the Metropolitan Police and went to see him. He said, "Oh dear, it was me".

Police will take no criminal action.

 

15th September   

Curbing the Violation of Freedom of Expression?...

Nepal debates internet censorship
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Nepal...Nepal gets wound up by porn

Nepal flagJournalists have supposedly streesed the need to regulate internet and online journalism to curb the violation of freedom of expression.

They aired their views at a discussion in the capital. The meeting was called in response to the Nepal Telecommunication Authority asking ISPs to filter internet content.

According to the Electric Transaction Act 2006, ISPs should restrict storing, disseminating, broadcasting web sites containing pornography, horror and extreme violence.

However, pornography, horror, communal violence and contempt of court are not well-defined, according to lawyers Santosh Sigdel and Baburam Aryal, who jointly presented papers on Freedom of Expression on Cyberspace and Internet Regulation in Nepal .

Sigdel and Aryal said: filtering web content without clear legal provision might violate freedom of expression and breach the right to privacy.

There was agreement that web content should only be censored after a clear legal definition of the acts and regulations; otherwise, it may create chaos.

 

15th September   

Updated: Burning Bridges...

Dove World Outreach Center planned to burn copies of the Koran
Link Here  full story: Koran Burning...Symbolic gesture and easy offence

dove world outreach centerA small US church says it will defy international condemnation and go ahead with plans to burn copies of the Koran on the 9/11 anniversary.

The top US commander in Afghanistan warned troops' lives would be in danger if the Dove World Outreach Center in Florida went ahead.

Gen David Petraeus, the top US commander in Afghanistan, said on Monday that the action could cause problems not just in Kabul, but everywhere in the world . It is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems.

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the church's plan was disrespectful and disgraceful .

Muslim countries and Nato have also hit out at the move.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Tuesday that any type of activity like that that puts our troops in harm's way would be a concern .

Nato chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen blasted the plans, telling reporters that burning Korans violated the Nato alliance's values .

And the US Attorney General, Eric Holder, called the idea idiotic and dangerous .

But organiser, Pastor Terry Jones said: We must send a clear message to the radical element of Islam.

Dr Jones - author of a book entitled Islam is of the Devil - has said he understands the general's concerns but that it was time for America to quit apologizing for our actions and bowing to kings .

News of the bonfire has also sparked protests in Afghanistan and Indonesia. In Kabul on Monday, about 500 protesters chanted long live Islam and death to America as they set fire to an effigy of Jones. Thousands of mostly Muslim demonstrators rallied around Indonesia at the weekend.

The role of Islam in America has become a hot button issue with social and political implications. While most Americans would probably take issue with exhortations to burn the Koran, there is clearly widespread concern about the influence of Islam.

Update: Website Censored

10th September 2010. Based on article from  wired.com

rackspace logoThe website of the church that was planning to burn a Koran on Saturday to commemorate 9/11 was removed from the internet after its hosting service claimed the site violated its terms of service agreement.

The removal of the doveworld.org site comes as President Barack Obama urged the Florida pastor not to burn the Koran on the 9-year anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. This could increase the recruitment of individuals who would be willing to blow themselves up in American cities or European cities, Obama said.

Rackspace, of San Antonio Texas and the web hosting service in question, pulled the plug on the Dove World Outreach Center's site at midnight over what it said was a terms of service breach. Its terms of service agreement prohibits using Rackpace servers if such usage incites violence, threatens violence, or contains harassing content or hate speech.

Dan Goodgame, a Rackspace spokesman, said that the company reserved the right to stop hosting Jones' hate speech as of Thursday morning. He said Rackspace was protecting its right not to associate and do business with Jones under the company's terms of service contract.

Jones said Rackspace's decision was an indirect attack on our freedom of speech.

Update: Dove of Peace Restored

10th September 2010. Based on article from  independent.co.uk

dove world outreach center logoThe fundamentalist pastor who promised to mark the anniversary of the September 11 attacks by burning hundreds of copies of the Koran has pulled the plug on his stunt, in the face of blanket condemnation from world leaders and a warning from Interpol that Christians around the world were at risk of violent revenge attacks.

As anger mounted against the obscure Florida church, called the Dove World Outreach Centre, Pastor Terry Jones said he was changing his plan, following a meeting with local Muslim leaders.

Earlier, Barack Obama and the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, had led a chorus of condemnation at the proposed book-burning which only intensified through the day, amid claims that it had already prompted killings in Iraq.

In the news conference announcing his decision, the pastor claimed that he decided to cancel his protest in exchange for a deal to move a planned Islamic centre and mosque away from New York's Ground Zero. The imam planning the centre, however, quickly denied any such deal.

The cancellation came as reports emerged from Baghdad of an apparent revenge attack on Iraq's only operating Anglican church, St George's. According to two eyewitnesses, up to four people were killed after gunmen opened fire on guards outside the church, which lies in a compound just outside the comparative safety of the Green Zone.

Update: Bored of the Westboro Baptists even when they burn a Koran

12th September 2010. Based on article from cjonline.com

God Hates You placardThe burning of a Quran and an American flag Saturday by members of Westboro Baptist Church drew little visible interest. Instead of the hoards of media representatives that descended on Florida, only a handful of area reporters turned out at noon for Westboro's burning.

I'm glad it didn't get a lot of publicity and it didn't draw a lot of people to the church, said Imam Omar Hazim, of the Islamic Center of Topeka: It seemed people in Topeka ignored what they were doing. Members of Topeka's Islamic community were absent from the event. Hazim said that was by design.

Mayor Bill Bunten, who was at home watching The University of Kansas football game during the burning, said national attention on Westboro Baptist is waning.

The fool in Florida one-upped them, Bunten said, referring to the Rev. Terry Jones, of the Dove Outreach Center church in Gainesville, Florida: They were apparently tagging along on his idea, so the fellow in Florida had stolen the stage, so to speak.

Update: A few pages ripped assunder

12th September 2010. Based on article from  news.brisbanetimes.com.au

US SenateA small Christian group tore a few pages from a Koran in a protest outside the White House on Saturday to denounce what they called the charade of Islam as they marked the anniversary of 9/11.

Part of why we're doing that, please hear me: the charade that Islam is a peaceful religion must end, said Randall Terry, one of the six members in the group.

Another activist, Andrew Beacham, read out a few Koran passages calling for hatred towards Christians and Jews, and then ripped those pages from an English paperback edition of the Islamic holy book.

He carefully put the torn pieces into a plastic bag, in order not to litter, and said: The only reason I will not burn it at the White House is because to burn anything on the Capitol grounds is a felony.

Update: A couple of burned Korans

13th September 2010.  From  islamophobia-watch.com

Michigan state sealA national Islamic group has called for an FBI investigation after a burned Quran, pages allegedly covered in feces, was found Saturday at an East Lansing mosque frequented by the Michigan State University community.

To have the Quran burned at a mosque is equivalent to having a cross burned at a black church, said Dawud Walid, executive director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, referring to an intimidation tactic frequently used during the civil rights movement by those opposed. He has asked the FBI to consider the burning a hate crime.

Meanwhile in Tennessee, the Rev. Bob Old vowed to stick with his plan to burn the Quran. On Saturday, despite the national tempest and opposition from conservative Christian leaders including Middle Tennessee pastors, Old carried out his plan. But for all the controversy and hype, his Quran burning took place in front of just a handful of people, most of them from the media.

Old and the Rev. Danny Allen stood together in Old's backyard, answering what they say was a message from God. The pair soaked two copies of the Quran and one other Islamic text with lighter fluid, ignited them and watched the books disintegrate into ashes. This is a book of hate, not a book of love, Old said, holding the Quran, before setting it afire. It's a false book, it's a false prophet (Muhammad) and it's false Scripture.

Three protesters stood across the street from Old's home, holding signs that read My husband fights terrorism and your actions perpetuate it and Proud of my country but ashamed of my neighbors.

Update: Violence in Afghanistan

13th September 2010.  Based on article from  independent.co.uk

Afghanistan flagTwo protesters were killed and several more injured as for a third straight day violent demonstrations swept Afghanistan in response to the threats made by a US church to burn copies of the Koran.

Chanting Death to America and Death to Christians , about 500 demonstrators clashed with Afghan security forces in Logar province, south of Kabul, pelting them with stones until the soldiers opened fire, killing two and wounding five others. Few protesters were aware that the Koran burning by the pastor of a small church in Florida had been called off, and some warned of more violence to come.

The [district] governor must give us an assurance that the church is not going to burn the Koran, otherwise we will attack foreign troop bases in our thousands, Mohammad Yahya, one of the protesters, said. For his part, the governor, Mohammad Amin Rahim, said he had tried to convince demonstrators that the burning would not go ahead but the demonstrators were not convinced and attacked us .

Update: Roll Up, Roll Up, for Easy Offence

15th September 2010.  Based on article from  dailymail.co.uk

paul stewartAn Australian lawyer has contributed to the US pastor's plan to burn the Koran by allegedly smoking holy books and posting the videos on YouTube.

Brisbane-based lawyer Alex Stewart is seen smoking what appear to be joints made up of pages from the Koran and the Bible filled with (lawn) grass.

He was shown lighting up his religious joints under the YouTube title: Bible or Koran - Which Burns Best?

He gave the Bible a seven out of 10 for its burning qualities, and said it was better than the Koran which left him feeling sick. Stewart says burning religious books is no big deal and that people need to get over it .

But since his video attracted approbation from around the world, Stewart - who appeared in the video wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the words I'm an atheist, Thank God - has gone into hiding.

The president of the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils, Ikebal Patel, said: I think it's highly offensive that he has done this to two of the holiest books in the world. It does not in any way add value to trying to promote world peace and the consideration of different views, especially when there are heightened tensions around the anniversary of September 11 and the Eid el Fitr (end of Ramadan) celebrations.

Sheik Muhammad Wahid, president of the Islamic Association of Australia, said: We condemn the video and our feelings have been hurt by this man's actions.

Stewart told Queensland's Courier Mail newspaper before he fled from his Brisbane home that the video was a joke and he does not do drugs. He insisted that the green substance he showed in a plastic bag before rolling it up in the torn-out pages was actually grass clippings.

The video has been censored and removed from YouTube.

Update: Another burnt Koran

15th September 2010.  Based on article from  islamophobia-watch.com

Chicago police are investigating the discovery of a burnt copy of the Quran found outside the Muslim Community Center on the Northwest Side to determine if the book was damaged in a hate crime.

Update: 18 Protestors shot by police

16th September 2010.  Based on article from  independent.co.uk

India flagThe long-troubled state of Kashmir suffered one of its bloodiest days when at least 18 people were killed and more than a hundred injured as security forces opened fire on protesters in confrontations across the valley.

As politicians in Delhi debated whether to ease a bitterly controversial law that provides effective immunity to troops, Indian forces again responded to widespread demonstrations with deadly force. Related articles

The protests, which saw tens of thousands of people ignore a curfew and take to the streets, were at least partly in anger over reports that copies of the Koran had been burnt in the US. A police officer also lost his life.

Update: The Bill

22nd September 2010. Based on article from  dailymail.co.uk

dove world outreach centerThe maverick preacher who sparked an international crisis over plans to burn the Koran has been hit with a £100,000 bill to cover the cost of police security for the stunt.

More than 200 police, including members of a SWAT team, were on duty outside the church in Florida where Jones planned his mass burning of the Holy Book.

The huge security operation was put into place even though Jones called off the burning protest that had been condemned by President Obama and the Vatican.

City officials in Gainesville said they planned to send Jones the security bill.

But Jones has said he will not pay the police bill.

Update: Vengeful Pakistan

24th September 2010. Based on article from  cathnewsindia.com

Pakistan flagA Pentecostal church in Karachi has been attacked and vandalized by militants still angry over a threat to burn Qur'ans in the United States earlier this month.

Nine copies of the Bible, three hymn books and three wooden crosses were found burnt on Sept. 18 at the Nasri Pentecostal Church in Shah Latif Town, Karachi.

 

14th September   

Bye Buy Childhood...

Mothers' Union shake its rattle at 'sexualisation'
Link Here

bye buy childhood 1 logoThe christian campaign organisation writes:

Mothers' Union believes children should be valued as children, not consumers. However, childhood has become a marketing opportunity worth £99 billion in the UK. Marketers target children's natural inexperience, through methods such as celebrity endorsement, in order to reach not only children's pocket money but also the household purse. These commercial pressures encourage materialism which negatively affects children's wellbeing, family life and peer relationships, and can encourage values that Jesus taught against. The use of sexualised content and the imposition of sexuality on children to market and sell goods is particularly concerning. Families can feel overwhelmed by this commercialisation of childhood and unsure how to challenge powerful marketing initiatives.

In response to this, Mothers' Union is launching a major campaign to:

  • Raise awareness of the commercialisation of childhood
  • Empower families to address the influences of the commercial world within the home
  • Hold the UK Government accountable to its pledge to address the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood; and through Mothers' Union members lobby political representatives in the UK and Republic of Ireland.

From the report:

Regulatory bodies responsible for rating films and video games do not do enough to protect children

Agree: 52%

Disagree: 29%

Don't know: 19%

TV programmes that are inappropriate for children are often shown before the 9pm watershed

Agree: 67%

Disagree: 25%

Don't know: 8%

Source: ComRes for Mothers' Union

 

13th September   

Offsite: American Values...

Is US prudishness ruining the internet?
Link Here

Facebook logoIs US dominance of the internet – and particularly of the social networking space – leading to the export of US prudery across the globe? Or is the growing debate on international censorship a little more complicated?

As Becky Dwyer, a US citizen and, as member of CAAN Scotland, a campaigner for less censorship in the UK put it: Isn't this more about American Corporations forcing conformity upon private individuals rather than 'American' values?

...Read the full article

 

12th September   

Update: Minister for Banned Broadband...

Stephen Conroy keeps his job as minister for internet censorship
Link Here

Stephen ConroyAustralian Prime Minister Julia Gillard has been rejigging her government.

As expected, Senator Conroy retains the Broadband, Communications and Digital Economy portfolio in the Gillard Government's new Ministry, and has been given an additional role as Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity.

Ploughing On

Based on article from  smh.com.au

The Communications Minister, Stephen Conroy, is ploughing ahead with his internet filter policy despite there being virtually no chance any enabling legislation will pass either house of Parliament.

Independent MP Rob Oakeshott, the Opposition and the Greens have all come out against the policy, leaving it effectively dead in the water. The Greens communications spokesman, Scott Ludlam, has called on the government to end the facade and drop the internet censorship scheme once and for all, as it was wasting time and taxpayers' money.

University of Sydney Associate Professor Bjorn Landfeldt said, given the catastrophic election result after only one term in government, it was remarkable the government was pushing the very issues that undermined their credibility, rather than focusing their energy on important societal issues . One may wonder exactly what underlies this relentless pursuit of a mirage, given that there is just about zero support outside the cabinet . Surely it is no longer a matter of believing that the policy would benefit the general public.

Senator Ludlam said in a phone interview that he wanted the review of RC guidelines to still go ahead but the government should drop the internet filtering policy altogether.

It [the RC review] was quite transparently a political stalling tactic but that didn't make it a bad idea, he said: [The filter] is just a complete waste of chamber time. It's a waste of public servants' time who for the next 10 months are going to be progressing a mandatory filter proposal that has no chance of passing either house of parliament now.

 

12th September   

Chicken to Change...

Zimbabwe bans band for spitting image like take on Robert Mugabe
Link Here

chicken to change videoThe government of Zimbabwe has banned South African band Freshlyground over a Spitting Image-style music video which portrays its ageing president Robert Mugabe as afraid to relinguish power.

The band, which is made up of South Africans, Zimbabweans and Mozambicans and has a pan-African following, was due to perform a concert in the capital Harare next month.

But this week, Zimbabwe's Immigration Department revoked its working visas without explanation, just days after the launch of the Chicken to Change song.

The song and accompanying video is the result of a collaboration between Freshlyground, best known for performing the World Cup anthem Waka Waka with Shakira, and controversial cartoonist Jonathan Shapiro, most recently in hot water for portraying South African president Jacob Zuma as raping Lady Justice.

You promised always to open the doors for us. Indeed it is you and only you who sleeps with the key. You are chicken to change, lead singer Zolani Mahola sings, as Mugabe, in a puff of feathers, transforms into a poultry version of his former self in the back of his presidential limo.

Thierry Cassuto, the executive producer of ZA News, the satirical news programme that features Zapiro's latex puppets and created the music video, said the chicken for change was not a protest song but an appeal to Mugabe's conscience. We knew that if there was someone watching in Harare who didn't have a sense of humour, they wouldn't have liked it, he said: People can read their own meanings into this video. It's a pity that Freshlyground have had their permits cancelled because they are popular in Zimbabwe. What kind of a threat does this song really represent?

 

12th September   

Update: Deteriorating Freedom...

Human rights organisations pan Azerbaijan
Link Here  full story: Blogging in Azerbaijan...Bloggers make a donkey of the state

Azerbaijan flagTen international NGOs, among them Freedom House, Article 19, Index on Censorship, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, International Federation of Journalists, Media Diversity Institute, Press Now, Open Society Foundations, Reporters without borders, and World Association of Newspapers and News Publishers, adopted on September 9 a joint statement following their three-day mission to Azerbaijan.

The mission aimed to meet journalists, human rights defenders, government officials and other civil society activists on critical freedom of expression issues in advance of the country's parliamentary elections planned in November.

Representatives from the organizations highlighted their serious concerns regarding the deteriorating freedom of expression situation in Azerbaijan, including the continued imprisonment of journalists and bloggers, acts of violence and ill-treatment against journalists.

The international human rights mission called for Azerbaijan's authorities:

  • to free immediately the three jailed journalists and never practice such kind of arrests in future
  • to launch an immediate investigation into the cases of suppressing and hunting media
  • to decriminalize defamation
  • to spread honestly and fairly the state advertisement
  • to establish a commission supporting media
  • to establish an independent body to regulate broadcasting-related issues
  • to lift up the ban on foreign radio stations
  • to invest in the Internet and improve the access to Internet
  • to provide candidates with the same access to the on-line media during the election campaigns, and etc.

 

11th September   

Age of Censorship...

US release of Destricted has taken 4 years to collect the 2257 age record keeping requirements for explicit films
Link Here

Destricted DVDA film by Matthew Barney, Marina Abramovic, Richard Prince and other artists that's playing at the Los Angeles Downtown Film Festival is so graphic that it took four years to get U.S. distribution.

This week's Los Angeles Downtown Film Festival, which will bring together sex and art by some of the world's most innovative and provocative artists and directors, is shadowed by controversy with the screening of the much-talked-about art/sex film, Destricted .

Destricted , an art-based film in which multiple directors—among them Larry Clark (Kids), artists Matthew Barney and Marina Abramovic, and photographer Sam Taylor-Woods—explore modernistic views of sex, sexuality, and pornography in modern film.

Formed in 2004 as a brand (instead of strictly as a film) and originally released in September 2006 in the U.K., Destricted won awards at a range of international film festivals, including Cannes, Sundance, Edinburgh, Amsterdam and Locarno. Despite Destricted's successful debuts, the film would have to wait four years for its U.S. release.

All this time, Destricted has been tied up in American laws governing pornography, which dictate that anyone who appears in a sexually explicit film must be legally documented as over 18. Because some shorts were filmed overseas, under disparate conditions, and perhaps without the artists' foreseeing the necessity of such documentation, some didn't have proper papers, thus they could not be released for profit (which is why admission to the festival screening is free). Just this year, Destricted amassed the necessary documents to clear eight shorts for commercial distribution in the U.S., which will happen in November, via DVD and a small theatrical release.

Destricted 's roster of shorts varies from the international release, to the U.S. release, to what is screened at the festival: the U.S. version features eight short reels, all of which are explicit in nature; six short films, including some not on the U.S. release, will be screened at the Downtown Film Fest; and seven shorts, a mix-up of the previous lists, appear on the U.K. version.

While porn is now a mainstream commodity, its shock value challenged by saturation and corporate marketing, and, some might say, the loosening of American mores, the films comprising Destricted aim to explore and underscore a still-vibrant polemic: to highlight controversial issues about the representation of sexuality in art, opening up for debate the question of whether art can be disguised as pornography or whether pornography can be disguised as art, according to the film's creators.

 

11th September   

Classified as Mean Minded...

New Australian bill ends role of film censor in prosecutions involving adult films seized by police
Link Here

X18+ symbolAustralia's sex industry lobby has condemned proposed new laws which will give New South Wales police powers to classify adult films.

The new laws introduced to NSW parliament on Wednesday lower evidence requirements for police pursuing prosecutions against persons suspected of illegally selling adult films.

Under current laws, police are required submit films to the film censors to verify their rating. However, under the proposed new laws, police would be able to side-step the requirement by offering film vendors facing pornography charges agreements that the films would be found to be classed illegal to sell if submitted to the classification board.

Those who demand that films be submitted to the board for formal classification will be forced to foot the bill if they're found guilty of pornography offences.

The sex industry lobby says it's an attempt to coerce adult video sellers to plead guilty to illegal pornography charges without evidence.

The laws would see large numbers of adult film vendors jailed and encourage police corruption, Australian Sex Party President Fiona Patten said: Most police officers do not understand the differences between R18+, X18+ and Refused Classification (RC) material. This is a truly frightening move toward a police state in NSW. If the shop owners say they are not happy with the police evaluation of their films then under the new laws they will have to pay for the classification fee themselves. But this is what is already happening so the Attorney General is being extremely disingenuous in his reasons for this .

NSW Parliamentary Secretary Barry Collier introduced the bill, the Classification (Films, Publications and Computer Games) Enforcement Amendment Bill 2010, for in-principle agreement on Wednesday. He said that it would address rising costs for police enforcing NSW classification laws.

The bill also introduces measures that will allow the Director of the Classification Board to pull material for sale in NSW once it has been flagged by another state and territory.

 

11th September   

Instant Censorship...

Google instant (sensibly) bans porn terms from being predicted from partially typed words
Link Here

Google logoThe Web is buzzing about Google's latest advancement, Google Instant, which doesn't even wait for the user to click the search button after typing a query. It simply goes straight to the page by predicting what you will type, as you type it.

However, it's been discovered that the autocomplete excludes certain terms related to pornography, violence and hate speech, according to Google. The feature also happens to exclude the words bisexual and lesbian while allowing homosexual, gay, queer, dyke, transvestite, and transgender to be searchable instantly.

A petition at Change.org urges the search engine giant to reverse the censorship, as the terms are not exclusive to pornography.

Google's FAQ

Based on article from google.com

Q: If an offensive or lewd word is a fraction of my query, will Google push these results in front of me as I type?

A: As always, we provide options to filter the content you see in search. You can choose to set SafeSearch to filter out explicit content, and parents can lock SafeSearch to the strict setting. In addition, autocomplete excludes certain terms related to pornography, violence and hate speech.

 

11th September   

News Censorship...

PinkNews.co.uk blocked for under 18s on mobile phones
Link Here

Pink News logoPinkNews.co.uk readers have complained that their mobile phone providers block access to gay websites – with five of the major companies implicated.

Last week, PinkNews revealed that T-Mobile blocks gay news, travel and support websites which contain no offensive content, including PinkNews.co.uk.

Since then, Virgin Mobile, 3, O2 and Vodafone have also been flagged by readers as blocking gay websites. Some readers have reported that websites such as Stonewall.org.uk, which offers advice on issues such as homophobic bullying, are also blocked.

The two issues are the blocking of all gay content (including adult content) for those who can prove they are over 18, and the blocking of gay websites which contain no adult content for those under 18.

Sixteen-year-old reader Harriet Bettany told us: I'm with Virgin Mobile and am unable to access most LGBT-related websites. Amongst those I can't access are the Queer Youth Network and Gay Youth Corner, sites meant for under 18s.Other sites I visit frequently and can't access on my mobile are After Ellen and The Lesbian and Gay Foundation, I can however get onto PinkNews.co.uk. I'm 16 and don't see why I should have to lie about my age to access perfectly innocent sites.

An O2 spokeswoman said that contract customers over the age of 18 could view PinkNews.co.uk on their phones but admitted that those under the age of 18 cannot.

The owners of PinkNews.co.uk are considering whether there are grounds for a legal case. Company secretary and solicitor to PinkNews.co.uk, Richard Cohen, said: This might be a breach of the Equality Act and it is damaging to gay young people who need to access information about their sexuality. Clearly, they are not going to call up a customer services advisor to complain.

 

11th September   

Update: Room Cleaners...

Minnesota county bans employees from staying in hotels with in-room porn
Link Here

Minnesota state sealA county in Minnesota is taking a stance about pornography. In most situations, Winona County will no longer reimburse workers for staying at hotels that offer pay-per view pornography.

Winona County is now the first in the USA to pass a clean hotel policy. The decision makes employees stay in porn-free hotels if they want reimbursement.

Chuck Derry with the Gender Violence Institute claims: Contemporary pornography 90% of it is degrading and violent towards women and girls. For the board members, it was an ethical decision. Derry says, The public is not going to pay for employees that stay in establishments that support this kind of material.

Policy initiators hope this action will cause a ripple effect throughout the US.

 

11th September   

Update: Repressive Ethics...

Uganda nutter minister proposes extreme penalties for minor erotics
Link Here  full story: Ugandan Ethics Minister...Nutter minister rants about gays and miniskirts

james nsaba buturoA proposed anti-pornography law could see journalists and ISPs jailed for terms ranging from five to 10 years and their businesses closed, 'Ethics' Minister James Nsaba Buturo said.

Buturo said pornography, which he described as a terrible vice, was growing in the country but the laws against it were too weak. He said the new law, which extensively expands the definition of pornographic material and the accompanying sanctions, will help rein in offenders. Those who deal in pornographic materials, your days are numbered, Buturo said.

We have finally acted and this time, this law will work because our integrity is not for sale, he told journalists. The Bill, he said also provides for fines. He emphasised that pornography is evil and makes the mind receptive to other vices such as homosexuality .

The current legal provisions on pornography prohibit obscene publications but Buturo says this law is incomprehensive. The issue of pornography transcends publications and includes communication, speech, entertainment, stage play, broadcast, music, dance, art, fashion, motion picture and audio recording.

Under the proposed Bill, pornography is defined as any form of communication from literature to fashion or photography that depicts unclothed or under-clothed parts of the human body (such as breasts, thighs, buttocks or genitalia), that narrates or depicts sexual intercourse or that describes or exhibits anything that can lead to erotic stimulation.

According to the proposed Bill, pornography includes fashion , implying that women could be arrested for wearing short skirts and skimpy dresses.

An increase in pornographic materials in the Ugandan mass media and nude dancing in entertainment world calls for long legal framework to regulate such vices, he said. Only teaching aides, spouses and sportsmen will get exemptions of punishment from the new law.

However, analysts say the flaws of the proposed law, lies in the broad definition of pornography.

 

10th September   

Update: Your Freedom...

Last day for comments and votes on laws to repeal
Link Here  full story: Great Repeal Bill...UK government consults on bad laws to repeal

your freedom logoNick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, today thanked the public for their contribution to the Your Freedom debate, which he launched on 1 July. Now that 46,000 people have left 14,000 ideas and 95,000 comments on the Your Freedom website, Mr Clegg said that it is time for ministers and officials to set to work examining every idea to see what might be feasible and how it might be brought into effect.

This phase of Your Freedom will begin on Friday 10 September, after which the site will not be accepting new comments or ideas.

repeal-section-63-of-the-cjia-2008-extreme-porn

section-63-of-the-criminal-justice-and-immigration-act-2008

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repeal-most-of-the-video-recordings-act

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repeal-the-obscene-publications-act

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ban-all-laws-controlling-the-sexual-activities-of-consenting-adults

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prohibit-councils-from-applying-blanket-alchol-bans

why-do-we-need-a-new-version-of-the-abolished-blasphemy-laws

 

10th September   

Demons Expelled...

Lamberto Bava's Demons 2 passed 15 uncut
Link Here

Demons 2 DVDDemons 2 is a 1986 Italy horror film by Lamberto Bava. See IMDb

The Director's Cut was passed 15 uncut for:

Previously the Director's Cut was passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2000 Divid R2 DVD
  • UK 1993 GLS VHS
  • UK  Avatar VHS
  • UK 1987 cinema release

 

10th September   

Legendary Cuts...

True Legend cinema release cut for a horse fall
Link Here

TRUE LEGENDTrue Legend is a 2010 China action drama by Woo-ping Yuen. See IMDb

The BBFC cut 22s for

  • UK 2010 cinema release

The BBFC noted:

  • Cut required to remove sight of unsimulated animal cruelty (in this case, a horse being tripped).

 

10th September   

Prudes to Censor Internet Advertising...

Can't we chuck the ASA on the bonfire, too?
Link Here

Spiked logoWe don't need a prudish and unaccountable watchdog to decide how products and services are presented to us.

The Lib-Con chancellor George Osborne has announced a bonfire of the quangos with a wide range of bureaucratic, regulatory bodies being scaled back or biting the dust. Even media and telecoms regulator Ofcom is facing significant cuts. One body bucking this trend, however, is the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which will be recruiting new staff to police vast swathes of the internet previously outside of the watchdog's remit.

For the ASA, the internet is better described as the Wild West Web .

This is now changing. Apparently, in response to a formal recommendation from a wide cross-section of UK industry , the ASA will now extend its coverage to all marketing communications emanating from the UK online, including advertising on Facebook and Twitter as well as the websites of companies and organisations of all sizes. Even members of the public could be censured online if it is found that they have been asked by companies to partake in marketing initiatives. It will be – in the words of ASA chairman Chris Smith - the most comprehensive approach to the regulation of advertising in website space anywhere in the world .

...Read the full article

 

10th September   

Censorship Mafia...

UAE bans the video game Mafia II
Link Here

Take 2 Mafia II DVDThe United Arab Emirates' National Media Council has banned the release of Take-Two Interactive's Mafia II videogame in that country.

Nitin Mathew, of the Dubai-based distribution firm Red Entertainment Distribution said that the game was banned because of its excessive violence and nudity.

Mafia II was going to be released at the end of August, but now it will share the same fate as its predecessor Mafia , which was also banished from the UAE.

 

10th September   

Hammer Cracks Game Nuts...

South Korea seeks to rate even small or non-commercial games
Link Here

game rating board korea logoKorea's Game Rating Board (GRB) is making life difficult for independent Korean online game makers, strictly enforcing a law that virtually all games published in the country must be rated.

Posting to Reddit, a Korean game fan indicated that GRB recently swooped down upon a website for users of RPG Maker, a free tool that can be used to create role-playing games. While the games created and shared on the site were apparently not for sale, the GRB demanded that all the games shared on the site must be rated. The forum's moderators were said to have deleted all the games on their website in light of paying the fees.

The fees for gaining a rating can also be excessive, as the Korean gamer laid out pricing structures for indie-made games to get rated. A basic fee is charged per MB, with multipliers applied for network-related games, as well as for different game types and for localization of the game. The example used showed that a developer of a free Korean RPG, with a size of 105MB, would have to pay approximately $71 in order to receive a rating necessary for release of the game.

Similarly, Valve Software's Steam is now in the firing line of the GRB, as Team Liquid writes that Steam could be banned in Korea, due to the fact that neither the service nor games offered through it have been rated.

 

10th September   

Rule of Life...

Russian police call punk band in for interrogation over song lyrics
Link Here

bartoSoviet-era censorship could be on the way back after police hauled in singer Marya Lyubicheva for questioning over the lyrics of her songs.

Lyubicheva, singer with punk group Barto, attracted controversy after her appearance at a rally-concert last month in support of Khimki forest.

One of her songs on Pushkinskaya Ploshchad included lyrics about setting fire to police cars, prompting an invitation to discuss the lyrics with the authorities.

After her visit to the station Lyubicheva said she was asked about the song and the meeting and she was hoping that all the questions to the band would be resolved after her visit to the station.

It was clear that they are interested in the meeting's organisers, she told Interfax after the questioning. But we only answered questions related to the band and the song. They told us that the lyrics had already been adjudged extremist

The song in question has lyrics: I am ready and you are ready/ to burn cops' cars at night/ It is like a rule of life, a sign of good taste/ with regard to those for whom the law is trash.

The band explained that the song was about love and was not written as a slogan. It is a story of two young people who met at a demonstration and are later testing their feelings like this. The question I am ready – are you ready is not a call [for extremism].

Lyubicheva said that she could face a fine or up to three years in prison.

 

10th September   

Blogging a Dying State Machinery...

Cuban blogger honoured as 60th World Press Freedom Hero
Link Here  full story: Generation Y...Visa censorship in Cuba

genreation y logoCuban blogger Yoani Maria Sánchez Cordero has been named by the International Press Institute as its 60th World Press Freedom Hero.

Sánchez's blog, Generation Y , is an acerbic critique of life in Cuba, and a telling reminder to the world of the restraints on free speech and expression on the island.

Launched in 2007, the site was rendered unavailable in April 2008 by the Cuban authorities. Since then, Sánchez has managed to keep the blog alive through a series of ingenious measures and is thought to have a regular readership of more than one million.

Sánchez has repeatedly faced harassment by authorities. In November 2009, the Daily Telegraph reported that she was beaten by a group of men while on her way to a peaceful protest.

However, Sánchez refuses to be silenced. If you are insulted by the mediocre, the opportunists, if you are slandered by the employees of the powerful but dying machinery, take it as a compliment, she says on her blog.

Sánchez's tremendously important work provides a glimpse into what is otherwise a closed world, said IPI's interim director Alison Bethel McKenzie.

 

9th September   

Update: Cartoon Bravery...

Angela Merkel honours Kurt Westergaard by presenting him a press freedom award
Link Here  full story: Mohammed Cartoons...Cartoons outrage the muslim world

westergaard merkelDanish cartoonist Kurt Westergaard received this year's M100 Media Prize.  This year's award is for Freedom of the Press in Europe .

Kurt Westergaard created one of the 12 Muhammad cartoons accompanying a feature entitled The Face of Muhammad , published on 30 September 2005, in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten. His illustration triggered an international controversy about freedom of speech and sparked world-wide, partly violent demonstrations of Muslims who felt insulted.

It wasn't my intention to attack Islam , stated Westergaard in an interview with Der Spiegel, but instead terrorists who abuse Islam for their spiritual ammunition.

Despite an alleged bounty of eleven million Dollar on him and his colleagues, Westergaard defended the publication by invoking the right to freedom of speech.

The board of the M100 Sanssouci Colloquium honours his courage to stand by these democratic values and defend them, notwithstanding threats of violence and death.

The Lord Mayor of Potsdam declared: With Kurt Westergaard we honour a personality who has become a symbol for freedom of speech and opinion. When the drawing of a caricature results in death threats it is our duty to publicly back the illustrator. The Prize is setting a signal.

Based on article from  bbc.co.uk

German Chancellor Angela Merkel presented him with the award, saying Westergaard was entitled to draw his caricatures: Europe is a place where a cartoonist is allowed to draw something like this. We are talking here about the freedom of opinion and the freedom of the press

Merkel, who grew up in communist East Germany, added that German people clearly remembered the implications of a lack of freedom and should therefore cherish it: It's about whether in a Western society with its values he [Mr Westergaard] is allowed to publish his Muhammad cartoons, or not. Is he allowed to do it? Yes he is, Ms Merkel said.

She described Europe as a place that respects and values the freedom of belief and religion.

Security was tight at Sanssouci palace in Potsdam where the cartoonist told reporters: Maybe they will try to kill me and maybe they will have success, but they cannot kill the cartoon.

Merkel's decision to speak at the event about press freedom has caused some surprise in Germany. One newspaper said she was taking a huge risk . Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung said that the effect of having a photograph taken with Kurt Westergaard was incalculable, describing it as probably be the most explosive appointment of her chancellorship so far .

Germany's Central Muslim Council (ZMD) criticised Merkel for attending the award ceremony. A ZMD spokesman, Aiman Mazyek, told public broadcaster Deutschlandradio that the Chancellor was honouring someone who in our eyes kicked our prophet, and therefore kicked all Muslims . He said giving Westergaard the prize in a highly charged and heated time was highly problematic .

 

9th September   

Update: Trade War in Internet Filters...

Google boss likens internet filtering to a trade barrier
Link Here  full story: Supporting Internet Censorship...US multi-nationals support repressive censorship

Google logoGoogle's legal chief has called for pressure on governments that censor the Internet, such as China and Turkey, arguing that their blocking access to websites unfairly restrains U.S. businesses and would be unacceptable in physical trade.

David Drummond said: If this (Internet censorship) were happening with physical trade and manufacturing goods, we'd all be saying this violates trade agreements pretty fundamentally.

In our view at Google it's high time for us to start really sinking our teeth into this one, said Drummond. We have great opportunities now with pending trade agreements to start putting some pressure on countries to recognize that Internet freedom not only is a core value -- that we should be holding them to account from a human rights standpoint -- but also that if you want to be part of the community of free trade, you are going to have to find a way to allow the Internet to be open.

 

9th September   

What a Load of Wank...

Pitiful obsessive attacks NHS porn mags for IWF and sperm donors
Link Here

2020 health org logoJulia Manning, director of 2020health.org writes:

Who said pornography was acceptable in the workplace? An investigation into the use of pornography by NHS fertility clinics -

Every so often we hear of a council worker, a judge or a teacher – someone in a position of trust and authority - being sacked for viewing pornography at work. Pornography is still considered unacceptable in the work environment, and should be illegal. The Obscene Publications Act was designed to convey the message that it is unacceptable full stop, but the lack of prosecutions would imply that we have been feeble at enforcing this. Not surprisingly, both because of ease of availability and a largely permissive culture, we have an alarming amount of graphic images that would imply a major disconnect. Is it that in our anti-censor society we have forgotten the negative impact on men, women and children of such material? Or have we subconsciously accepted the pornographer's line that porn is just another word for sex and we dismiss the evidence base for pornography both encouraging aggressive, debasing treatment of women and being a causative factor in the hyper-sexualisation of our culture?

Either way, the workplace should be a location in which we can work in a safe and healthy environment, where our dignity is not threatened and we feel respected. The presence of pornography would compromise this.

Waste of Space Think Tank

Based on article from telegraph.co.uk

One in three hospitals which provide fertility services provide pornographic material for donors, according to a report by nutters posing as a health think tank.

Some 17 hospitals disclosed they had bought porn when questioned by 2020health.org, which highlights cases of NHS waste.

Most of the magazines were bought from newsagents, but two hospitals admitted having placed orders with publishers while others said the porn had been donated by staff, patients and visitors, The Sun reported.

The think tank said the disclosure was disrespectful to women working for the NHS, many of whom face uncertain futures thanks to tight budgets.

 

9th September   

Offsite: Minding their p's, q's and 'bollocks'...

The curse of swearing in children's books
Link Here

Skellig David AlmondSqueamishness about exposing young eyes to filthy language has produced some memorably mealy-mouthed evasions

Swearing in children's books, and even in books for teenagers, used to be pure anathema. SE Hinton's 1967 young adult novel The Outsiders , for instance, an emotionally-charged account of youthful gangs clashing in Tulsa, features no language more colourful than Glory! , Shoot! or a very occasional Hell!

On this side of the pond, Robert Westall's 1975 Carnegie-winner The Machine-Gunners generated a sustained fuss over the inclusion of bloody . Despite being set in second world war-torn England at a time of great fear and freedom for its child protagonists, and featuring a story saturated with exhilaration, danger and distress, the use of even a mild swearword was a step too far into realism for many parents and teachers at the time of its publication.

...Read the full article

 

9th September   

Hanging by a Thread...

Political satire proves brave and popular in Palestine
Link Here

watan ala watarPalestinian TV viewers are dropping everything to watch local politicians sent up in nightly sketch show

The Palestinian TV satire Watan ala Watar tackles controversial issues such as politics, corruption, nepotism and religion.

Political rivals Hamas and Fatah are united – in anger. But the bite-sized nightly satirical sketches of Watan ala Watar have become a Ramadan sensation, cheering thousands of Palestinian television viewers through the holy month.

Watan ala Watar – the title roughly translates as country hanging by a thread – has been broadcast every night since Ramadan began on 11 August.

We put issues under the spotlight, and when you make people laugh you reach them, says the show's star and scriptwriter, Imad Farajin: We touch traditionally taboo issues. There have been discussions about whether to show some episodes, but none have actually been omitted. Sometimes we ourselves feel we have gone too far, especially with religion .

The Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, was approached by critics demanding the show be taken off the air, according to the Watan ala Watar team. But Yasser Abed Rabbo, a veteran Palestinian politician, defended it, says Farajin. He told the president that we live in a democratic society and that we shouldn't be stopped.

The programme reaches beyond the Palestinian territories, thanks to its appearance on YouTube within an hour of being broadcast, and a Facebook page.

 

8th September   

Update: Labor De-Fanged...

Australian Labor party return to government but hopefully without the support for internet censorship
Link Here

alp logoLabor's bollox internet filter plan faces near-death despite the ascension of Julia Gillard as Australia's 28th prime minister.

Ms Gillard won the backing of independent MPs turned powerbrokers Tony Windsor and Rob Oakeshott despite Bob Katter supporting the Coalition and Tony Abbott.

The Coalition vowed to dismantle the plan regardless of last month's election outcome. And with the Greens set to hold the balance of power in the Senate from next July, it is almost certain Labor's filtering aspirations are as good as dead.

 

8th September   

Jingle Bells Rankle All the Way...

Malaysian TV Ramadan clip canned for being too christmassy
Link Here

eid sleigh videoA Malaysian TV station said it has withdrawn an advertisement marking the Muslim festival of Eid al Fitr after the ad's Christmas-like theme was criticized for being un-Islamic.

The private TV3 channel began airing the one-minute commercial marking the end of the Ramadan fasting month. The ad showed a man wearing an Islamic skullcap taking children on a magical rickshaw for a ride through the sky.

But some viewers in Malaysia said the character was reminiscent of Santa Claus, and several groups demanded that the ad be retracted. There was also criticism that the ad featured a lotus flower, which is linked to Buddhism.

TV3 apologizes on the airing of the advertisement ... which has offended many people, the station said in a statement, adding that it had been taken off the air. We will be more cautious to avoid similar incidents ... in the future.

 

7th September   

Found Censored...

Belarus web activist Oleg Bebenin found hanged
Link Here

charter 97 logoOfficials in Belarus claim a prominent opposition figure found hanged at his weekend home committed suicide.

Oleg Bebenin founded Charter 97, a leading opposition website critical of President Alexander Lukashenko.

Colleagues said they could not believe the father-of-two had killed himself. They pointed out that he had left no note and Charter 97's editor, Natalia Radina, said he had not been having any family or health problems.

He had, she told independent Moscow radio station Ekho Moskvy, been absorbed in his work and campaigning for opposition presidential hopeful Andrei Sannikov.

Most independent media in Belarus have been closed down and the authorities barely tolerate political dissent, correspondents say.

 

7th September   

On a Personal Note...

Cherie Blair seeks to censor personal note published in Peter Mandelson's memoirs
Link Here

Third Man Life Heart LabourCherie Blair has launched a legal action against Peter Mandelson over the publication of details of a private letter in which she made a vitriolic attack on Gordon Brown.

Mrs Blair was furious when she read Lord Mandelson's recently published memoirs, The Third Man , which includes details of a personal note from Cherie after he had to resign from the Cabinet following a home loans scandal in 1998.

She said in the note that Mandelson had been the victim of a ‘vicious and selfish' campaign orchestrated by Mr Brown and his supporters and that she was ‘angry and upset by what had happened'.

Blair has now employed lawyers Atkins Thomson, who have written to his publishers, HarperCollins, to demand the removal of the entire section.

In the legal letter, which arrived last week, they also ask for the note to be returned to Blair, and demand £800 (plus VAT) in legal costs.

A source at HarperCollins said: We think it is a bit petty. Hasn't her husband just betrayed a series of confidences in his own book?

 

6th September   

More Salty...

Salt set for an uncut 15 rating on DVD
Link Here

Salt DVD Angelina JolieSalt is a 2010 US spy thriller by Phillip Noyce. See IMDb

A re-edited version with an alternative ending was passed 15 uncut for:

  • UK 2010 Sony video version

The BBFC explained their rating:

SALT is an action espionage thriller starring Angelina Jolie as CIA agent Evelyn Salt. She is forced to go on the run after being accused by a defector of being a Russian deep-cover sleeper agent.

This is an extended version of a film that was classified 12A in the cinema and 12 on DVD for moderate violence and one use of strong language . Additional material present here meant this version of the film was classified 15 for strong violence.

The BBFC's Guidelines at 12A'/'12 state that Moderate violence is allowed but should not dwell on detail. There should be no emphasis on injuries or blood, but occasional gory moments may be permitted if justified by the context . SALT includes several fast-paced fight scenes featuring moderate violence, with crunchy kicks and blows. In most scenes little is seen in terms of blood or injury detail but there are a few sequences of strong violence, including a woman being repeatedly beaten and smashed into a desk as she fights a dirty agent and a woman pulling a chain around a man's neck to throttle him. The film also opens with a torture scene in which a plastic tube is forced into Salt's mouth and filled with water, with some brief emphasis on her struggle. These stronger scenes exceed the terms of the 12A'/'12 Guidelines and are more appropriately placed at 15 where Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain or injury. The strongest gory images are unlikely to be acceptable. Strong sadistic or sexualised violence is also unlikely to be acceptable .

SALT also contains a single use of strong language that is neither aggressively delivered nor directed. This would have been permissible at 12A'/'12 where the Guidelines state that The use of strong language (for example, 'fuck') must be infrequent .

Previously the BBFC suggested the cuts for 12A for:

  • UK 2010 cinema release.

This film was originally shown to the BBFC in an unfinished version. The BBFC advised the company that the film was likely to receive a 15 classification but that the requested 12A certificate could be achieved by making cuts in six sequences in order to reduce a scene of torture, four violent scenes and a scene of strangulation. When the finished version of the film was submitted, all six scenes had been reduced acceptably and the film was classified 12A .

 

6th September   

God Hates UFC Fans...

Baptist nutter throws his Bible at UFC fans
Link Here

UFC Ultimate Greatest Fight MomentsHow should we as Baptists regard the growing popularity of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC)?

Simply put, we should hate it.

Psalm 11:5 says, The LORD examines the righteous and the wicked. He hates the lover of violence. This is a hard verse for at least two reasons. First, it does not say that God simply hates violence, but rather, that God hates those who love violence. Second, it confronts our culture's lust for violence, a lust which many Christians indulge rather than reject.

UFC and MMA comprise a lucrative mainstream business of entertainment violence. Gate revenue for UFC fights in 2007 totaled $2.8 million and $200 million for pay-per-view. An international phenomenon, one UFC fight in Dublin sold all 10,000 seats in two weeks. Surprisingly, an estimated one-third of fans are female. UFC and MMA fighters have been featured on mainstream shows such as 60 Minutes and Dr. Phil, and on ESPN.

What exactly are people paying to see? MMA and UFC offer a simple formula. Two people are put in an enclosed or confined space, usually an octagon cage, and fight until one of them is deemed (by the referee) too injured to continue or taps out , meaning he just can't take any more beating. Fighters wear minimally padded gloves which lead to more blood, and those bloody images are then used to market the sport.

Those who pay to see the fights also pay to see octagon girls, scantily clad eye-candy between bouts. MMA and UFC are far from a harmless sport. They are a sinful amalgam of blood lust and female objectification that reflects our cultures growing desensitization to the inherent value of human life.

UFC and MMA amounts to violence porn, a term which has been applied to movies with wanton violence such as SAW, where violence is not part of the plot, it is the attraction. Violence for violence's sake, as opposed to instrumental or redeeming violence, desensitizes the viewer to the graphic horror of watching two people pummel each other for the sake of entertainment. UFC and MMA offer exactly the kind of violence condemned in Psalm 11:5. Ezekiel 7:23 decries, the city is full of violence. Why are Christians supporting violence in the city?

Early Christians were objects of violent persecution, being thrown into Roman coliseums for the amusement of the masses. Two-thousand years later, some Christians are now in the stands, cheering and supporting the blood and violence. Christians must avoid any support or association with the entertainment violence of MMA and UFC. We must not envy the men of violence or choose any of their ways (Proverbs 3:31).

Or have we forgotten the words of Christ? Blessed are the peacemakers.

 

6th September   

Re-Slayed...

Recent re-release of the video nasty: The Slayer
Link Here

Slayer Beyond Terror Sarah KendallThe Slayer is a 1981 US horror by JS Cardone . See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2010 Cornerstone R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2001 Protected/Vipco R0 DVD
Previously the BBFC cut 14s for an 18 rating for:
  • UK 1992 Vipco VHS

From IMDb:

  • Edited to shorten a pitchfork murder

And before that, Vipco released the uncut VHS in June 1982. It appeared on the video nasties list in October 1983 but was dropped in April 1985

Review from UK Amazon : Minimal Gore

The Vipco DVD is grainy and washed out.

The film is quite good. two couples fly to a quiet island for a well-earned break, but Kay knows the horror that is waiting for them & sure enough they are killed off by this monster. Once the killings start & the storm comes, there's a good atmosphere .

Unfortunately, the gore is way too minimal - with a decent pitchforking scene being its only saviour.

 

6th September   

Entertaining Repression...

Zimbabwe dusts off old entertainment licence law
Link Here

Zimbabwe flagIt's reported the Zimbabwe's censorship board has declared it will now be a crime for artists to perform without an entertainment licence.

Solomon Chitungo, an official with the Censorship Board, is quoted as saying; This is not a new thing it has always been there but it's just that it was not applied strictly and artists have been performing illegally. The certificate will be valid for 12 months. It's just like a drivers licence, we are also just issuing a licence to provide entertainment and if one is to be found without the certificate we will stop the show and confiscate their equipment, he said.

Newsreel has been told artists will now need to pay US$25 a year while institutions will have to cough up US$155 a year to get the entertainment licence. While the law is not new, as the censorship board official admitted, their motivation in dusting-off an outdated law from Ian Smith's Rhodesian regime is meant to find yet another way of controlling free expression.

 

6th September   

Out of Control Policing...

Police raid magazine over report on riot police
Link Here

new times logoArmed policemen, including masked special-forces officers, have raided the Moscow office of the The New Times , one of Russia's few opposition-minded media outlets.

During the raid, on September 2, Russian police Colonel Stanislav Pashkovsky pressed the magazine's editor in chief, Yevgenia Albats, to hand over recordings of interviews and other material used in a February report on alleged abuse of power by the country's feared OMON riot police.

The magazine posted videos of the raid on its website.

The article in question, entitled Slaves of OMON , cited police sources who alleged that riot police have been given permission to commit abuses when breaking up protests: It was an article about the violations taking place inside Moscow's OMON -- how they are given instructions on how to break up Marches of Dissent, how it is explained to them that supporters of the Russian opposition are the enemies of Russia, Albats said.

 

5th September   

Flagged as Offensive...

Mexico 'offended' by flag cartoon
Link Here

mexico shot eagle flagA cartoon penned by a US artist depicting the Mexican flag and its eagle riddled with bullets and dead in a pool of blood has incited offense across Mexico.

Many Mexicans have accused the American cartoonist, Daryl Cagle, of mocking their country and its national symbol (the eagle) during a difficult time in the nation's history.

Editorial cartoonists look for readily recognizable metaphors and that's an obvious one for Mexico, Cagle told CNN, appearing unmoved by the reaction to his drawing.

As any democratic society, Mexico respects and defends freedom of speech and freedom of expression, in any way it's manifested ...[BUT]... Regarding the case of Mr. Cagle's cartoon, we differ on the use he makes of the Mexican flag and the message it conveys, read a statement released by the Mexican embassy in Washington.

 

5th September   

Blood, Sweat and Tears...

Indian censors offended by minor quip about bank note
Link Here

1000 rupeesThe Indian movie Knock-Out is in censor trouble. The trailer of the thriller has been banned by the censor board for an allegedly derogatory reference made by star Irrfan Khan to the 1000-rupee note.

Apparently in the trailer, when someone wonders aloud why the Rs 1000 note is pink in colour, Irrfan retorts: Because it is created from the blood and sweat of the common man.

The censor board raised an objection to what they see as a derogatory reference to the Indian currency.

Rather than deleting the objectionable reference, the film's makers have gone with the trailer to the revising committee [appeals body].

 

5th September   

Mouths Jammed Shut...

Zimbabwe resumes jamming of SW Radio Africa
Link Here

sw africa radio logoSW Radio Africa (SWRA) have done an incredible job ensuring news-deprived Zimbabweans still have access to impartial objective information despite the Zanu PF government's passing of repressive legislation.  SWRA, broadcasting from outside Zimbabwe on short wave, have managed to provide independent news to parts of the country that email and online news sources cannot reach. As such they have been a lifeline of information to oppressed Zimbabweans.

It has also made SWRA a thorn in the side for members of the political elite who feel most threatened by a critical and enquiring press that seeks to expose corruption and human rights abuses.

SWRA have been jammed before, but their article on their website about this instance conveys shock at the fact that, this time, the jamming is happening under the inclusive government which includes former opposition parties that have supposedly fought for democratic principles.

Robert Mugabe's regime has resumed jamming news broadcasts from SW Radio Africa. On Wednesday evening the first half hour of our broadcast featuring Newsreel was drowned out by a heavy noise, sounding like a slow playing record.

In 2005 Mugabe's regime began jamming SW Radio Africa frequencies just before the controversial Operation Murambatsvina. It was reported that the jamming equipment and expertise was provided by China and at the time we spoke to a soldier who says he was sent to China to be trained in jamming techniques.

For the past few weeks we have been concerned that jamming tests were being carried out on our broadcasts as various radio hams around the world have been sending us regular reports of a faintly audible music loop. Unfortunately it was confirmed that these were tests, as jamming began in earnest on 1st September.

 

5th September   

Press Pressure...

Jordan backs off from most repressive parts of new cyber crime law
Link Here

Jordan flagJordanian journalists succeeded this week in turning back some of the most repressive aspects of a new law on cyber crimes.

The initial version of the law, approved by the cabinet of ministers on August 3, included broad restrictions on material deemed by the state to be defamatory or to involve national security. It also allowed law enforcement officials to conduct warrantless searches of online outlets.

Facing domestic protests and international pressure from CPJ and others, the cabinet revised the measure on Sunday. The government said it had deleted one of the most contentious provisions, Article 8, which vaguely barred the sending or posting data or information via the Internet or any information system that involves defamation or contempt or slander. Online journalists saw the article as an invitation to harass journalists who post critical articles.

The cabinet also deleted a worrisome clause in Article 12 that banned spreading ideas affecting national security or foreign relations of the Kingdom, as well as public safety or the national economy.

The revised measure still imposes restrictions on national security reporting online, although it sets more precise boundaries: Websites may not publish data or information not available to the public, concerning national security or foreign relations of the kingdom, public safety or the national economy.

The cabinet backed off warrantless searches as well. Its revised version requires law enforcement officials to obtain a warrant from a public prosecutor or court in order to search an online outlet. It also requires police to provide evidence of a crime.

On Monday, the state-funded National Centre for Human Rights and the head of the Jordanian Bar Association welcomed changes to the law. Both groups had been critical of the initial version.

 

5th September   

Offsite: A Snapshot of British Policing...

Police seizure of a journalist's photos from a demonstration
Link Here

marc vallee logoMarc Vallée writes:

On Monday I covered a protest in Brighton. I saw the police seize an anti-fascist protesters film cassette. The police used Section 19 of the Police and Criminal Evidence Act (PACE) 1984. What I found out is of great concern for photographers, journalists, media activists and especially New York fund mangers

...Read the full article (The comments contain interesting views from the police and the photographer involved)

 

4th September   

Fair's Fair...

Ohio law proposes criminalising webmasters so that ex-criminals can have their convictions hidden
Link Here

Ohio state sealSix Ohio state senators have introduced a bill that would compel individuals media organizations to erase stories from the Internet about former convicts whose case records are sealed by the courts.

The bill in question, Senate Bill 291, would also penalize organizations to the tune of $250,000 - with a maximum fine of up to $1 million - for failing to delete the information and then knowingly publishing it on their websites.

Under current Ohio law, first-time non-violent offenders are able to get the courts to expunge their records. The bill being pushed by the senators would also extend that privilege to people convicted of multiple offenses. In order to be eligible to seek court approval, a convict would need to maintain a clean record and the crime in question would need to be more than five years old.

According to the Columbus Dispatch, the bill would require individuals and private businesses to erase the historical record by destroying records they hold about the convictions of those whose cases are sealed. The relevant provision in the proposal reads: Whoever violates division (C)(2) of this section by knowingly releasing or otherwise disseminating or making available information over the internet is guilty of releasing sealed records and shall be fined one million dollars.

But critics have attacked the bill as posing a threat to freedom of speech. The Wheeling News-Register, wrote in an editorial that the bill simply was unworkable. Here at the newspaper, for example, we have computerized records of criminal reports dating back more than five years. It would be very difficult to find and erase them all. Smith's bill clearly is unconstitutional. The First Amendment guarantees freedom of speech, even when those guilty of old crimes would prefer their offenses be forgotten.

 

4th September   

Update: Playing the Baddies...

Medal of Honor banned from US military base stores
Link Here  full story: Medal of Honor...Video game that lets players play the baddies

Medal of Honor PC DVDU.S. military base exchanges have decided to not carry the controversial Medal of Honor video game.

I'm thrilled, said Karen Meredith, whose son, Lt. Ken Ballard, perished in 2004. She has set off a storm of protest against Redwood City-based Electronic Arts and its first-person shooter game, which allows players to pretend they're Taliban fighters killing American soldiers in Afghanistan. She applauded Maj. Gen. Bruce Casella, commander of the Army and Air Force Exchange Service for the decision to keep the game out of its stores worldwide.

I've heard from people all over the world, many of them upset about this game, so at least this has started a conversation, she said. And this country needs to have a conversation about the place of violent video games in our society, especially a game based on an ongoing war.

Due out Oct. 12, Medal of Honor has drawn accolades from gamers and has been defended even by some U.S. soldiers.

 

4th September   

Bad Intentions...

Man convicted for online story considered as harassment and stalking
Link Here

HM Courts ServiceA stalker was jailed after writing an online story about raping and murdering a woman he had been harassing in real life for two years.

Greg Downing detailed the imagined attack on children's author Katharine Quarmby in an online novel.

He had bombarded Quarmby with phone calls and e-mails since they met through an online dating site in 2008. He was convicted of stalking her on three separate occasions before she found the blog online after typing her name into the internet search engine Google.

The 29-page piece, titled A Novel: Katharine Quarmby , is about a man stalking the writer, burgling her home, raping and finally murdering her.

Judge Deva Pillay sentenced Downing to six months in jail. He said: This can only be described as a campaign of harassment. It is clear that your harassment of Miss Quarmby has been deliberate and premeditated so as to cause her and her family the maximum discomfort, embarrassment and fear.

 

4th September   

Update: Censorship Power...

Malaysian establishes internet censorship task force
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Malaysia...Malaysia looks to censor the internet

malaysia information ministry logoMalaysia has formed a task force to censor the Internet of blog postings deemed harmful to national unity.

Home ministry deputy secretary general for security Abdul Rahim Mohamad Radzi said the unit would involve the police, Internet regulators, the information ministry and the attorney general's chambers: It is a mechanism that will coordinate these various agencies to help monitor what is being said in cyberspace and to take action against those that are trying to stoke racial tensions and disunity .

Abdul Rahim said the group would also monitor alternative and mainstream media for similar content: There is a disturbing trend now appearing on the Internet where some people are inciting racial unrest and causing confusion and this will damage the peace we have in the country

Abdul Rahim cited the recent case of a Facebook page that insulted Muslim Malays. Police are also investigating ethnic Chinese rapper Wee Meng Chee for sedition, after he posted a three-minute rap on YouTube criticising a Malay headmistress accused of making racial slurs against minority students.

In another case, Malaysian journalist Irwan Abdul Rahman was charged this week over a satirical blog which made fun of the state power firm Tenaga, and faces a year's jail if convicted.

State media said that Irwan Abdul Rahman, a sub-editor with a Malay-language daily, pleaded not guilty in the Sessions Court to a charge of posting a fictitious comment.

It said he was accused of intent to hurt over the posting, entitled TNB to sue WWF over Earth Hour which jokingly said Tenaga would take action over the World Wildlife Fund's annual energy-saving initiative.

Update: Discharged

24th March 2011. See  article from  cpj.org

It took almost a year, but the Petaling Jaya Sessions Court has dismissed the charges against Irwan Abdul Rahman, noting that there were no grounds for prosecution.

As Rahman points out in his post on the case, having the case discharged does not amount to an acquittal. Almost one year for Rahman to get out from under the pressure of a court case. Is that just Malaysian justice slowly grinding forward? Possibly.

But it's also one year of intimidation for one blogger who dared to poke fun at a powerful government-run institution. Lingering in the back of every Malaysian journalist's mind, the case was and remains chilling.

 

4th September   

Update: Self Discipline Commissioners...

A new euphemism for Twitter censors
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

Twitter logoChinese authorities have just announced that microblogging websites – sites offering Twitter-style services – will be told to appoint self-discipline commissioners to be responsible for censorship.

In a parallel development, new rules took effect on 1 September. Now anyone wanting to buy a mobile phone that uses prepaid SIM cards will have to produce identity papers while anyone already owning such a phone will have three years to register their ownership.

China's censors are giving themselves an additional layer of control, Reporters Without Borders said. The Great Firewall of China is getting human reinforcements to boost its effectiveness. But if they are held to strict performance criteria, it seems these commissioners are being assigned an impossible mission, given the volume of information circulating online for which they will be responsible.

The press freedom organisation added: Nonetheless, their very existence will be dangerous because of their nuisance value and because they could encourage microbloggers to censor themselves. Meanwhile, under the pretext of combating spam, a new blow has been dealt to the personal data of China's mobile phone users.

The microblogging platforms will themselves have to hire the commissioners whose job it will be to monitor and censor anything that could threaten China's security and social stability. They are supposed to target content linked to illegal activities, pornography and violence, as well as baseless rumours and politically sensitive issues. Although hired by the site, each commissioner will be responsible for its content and will be operationally independent.

 

4th September   

Blu Assassin...

New US Blu-ray release of Shogun Assassin
Link Here

Shogun Assassin Blu ray Tomisaburo WakayamaShogun Assassin is a 1980 Japanese/US action film by Robert Houston. See IMDb

The BBFC passed the 1999 Horror Video 18 uncut.

Previously, the 1992 Vipco was pre-cut along the lines of the cinema version. No further BBFC cuts were required

  • The Vipco release is missing a short sequence early on just before the initial decapitation. In the US version, The Shogun lowers his head to reveal the baby wearing a circular mirror like a headlamp around his head (he is carrying the baby piggy-back), the mirror blinds his enemy allowing the Shogun to whack his head off.
  • Also the scene on the boat with the eye gouging is there in both versions, but is a second or so shorter in the Vipco release.

And before that Vipco released the video in the early 80's and it got caught up in the video nasties panic . Copies were seized and the distributors were prosecuted. But the prosecution failed and the videos were returned. Shogun Assassin was never officially listed as a video nasty by the DPP.

Review from US Amazon : A great film

Shogun Assassin is a great film. Much "controversy" has arisen over the years regarding this film having been cobbled together from two other films in the Lone Wolf series. I think that what has been achieved is an extremely entertaining, fast-paced piece of action. By eliminating non-essential story lines and including a voice over narration, the action moves at break neck speed.

The amount of blood spilled is so over the top as to be cartoonish, which only adds to the uniqueness of the movie.

If you have never seen Shogun Assassin or have seen it a thousand times, buy this DVD, it is well worth it.

 

4th September   

Going Soft...

BBC's HARDtalk cancels interview with embattled Malaysian blogger
Link Here

hardtalk logoThe BBC has denied dropping controversial blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin from its Hardtalk segment due to political pressure.

Raja Petra Kamaruddin (popularly known as RPK) was originally scheduled for a Sept 1 interview with Hardtalk .

Malaysia Today had previously alleged that the BBC had cancelled RPK's interview because it would upset the Malaysian government and expose the station to legal action.

The suggestion that the item was dropped due to political pressure is untrue, said Peter Connors, BBC global news senior press officer in an e-mail statement. Citing editorial reasons , Connors told FMT that it was normal for certain news or current affairs stories not to be aired on the BBC's channels.

It became clear in our research that any comprehensive interview with RPK would prominently feature issues that are currently the subject of a current court case in Malaysia, Connors said.

He also added that a meeting with the controversial blogger would raise issues of defamation. Connors did not specify which court case he was referring to.

 

4th September   

Beeping Celebrities...

censor cuts to famous names in docu-drama
Link Here

332 mumbai to indiaSangeeth Sivan's decision to turn producer a so-called realistic film on the October 2008 shootout on 332 bus, did not go down well with the Censor Board. Sivan's film 332 Mumbai To India , directed by Mahesh Pande has undergone several editing sessions since members of the Censor Board watched it.

Our source said, There were as many as 20 dialogue cuts in the film and although Sivan and his director Mahesh Pande fought hard for every cut, they finally had no option but to beep or mute the names of many prominent people in the film.

These included references to prominent people like Amitabh Bachchan, Ambani's, MS Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and Raj Thackeray.

Though the above-mentioned names were deleted Sivan and Pande apparently fought hard to retain the names of Dhoni and Tendular. The producer-director duo opted to mute Thackeray's name but they could not prevent the other cuts from happening.

Sivan feels that the essence of the film is now lost. When contacted, a distraught Sivan lamented: I only feel that there should be a particular guideline for everyone, a set rule, which we all are aware of: that we can't do this and that certain things will be objected to. Here, what happens is that a few privileged ones get away with everything and that is much more controversial than the content of our film.

When contacted Alpana Sharma, Regional Officer of the Censor Board said : Yes the cuts have been added as there were famous names mentioned in the film in a derogatory manner.

 

3rd September   

F**K You, Forget You...

Creating a buzz in the music world
Link Here

Fuck You ExplicitCee Lo's profanity-laced single, with a catchy Motown backing track and the blunt title F**k You , has become a phenomenon since its online release, driven in large part by YouTube views of the song's inventive video.

Zano Ludgood, a record shop manager at Criminal Records in Atlanta, Cee Lo's hometown, says viral videos act as advertisements for when the actual product goes on sale.

People are excited now about Cee Lo, and if they like a song, even if they download it, they'll still come out and buy the complete album, Ludgood says. People talk about record stores dying, but social media works with us, it's a great way to build buzz.

The buzz on Cee Lo has been deafening, even if his new song has a title unfit for a family newspaper. Soon after a celebrity release on MySpace, it had become a smash in the clubs.

When the DJ dropped it, I was like, 'Cee Lo's got another one!' says Mizz Shyneka, an on-air personality at Atlanta's HOT 107.9FM. Everybody was dancing, and the people that hadn't heard the record were all trying to listen. I wish they could hear it on the radio, but given the title, I don't think there's any way around that.

MTV has reported the track will be re-released as Forget You , The idea of leaking an explicit track and then re-releasing it for the radio isn't new. In 2006 Snoop Dogg made a song called I Wanna Love You that originally had a different chorus, with the word love dropped in favour of a more explicit verb. The song went No. 1 on Billboard's singles chart.

 

3rd September   

Stopping Mosques...

Online flash game winds up the easily offended
Link Here  full story: Bye Bye Mosque...Right wing politician prosecuted for anti-mosque flash game

morchee babaA simple online flash videogame backed by the right wing Austrian Freedom Party (FPO), launched in advance of regional elections to be held on September 26, depicts the province of Styria as overrun with mosques and tasks players with stopping further ones from being built.

A Reuters story claims that the Bye Bye Mosque game has already drawn over 60,000 visitors.

Iin addition to criticisms from the local Islamic community, Social Democrats and the Green Party. A local Islamic leader named Anas Schakfeh called the game tasteless and incomprehensible, adding, This is religious hatred and xenophobia beyond comparison.

As the game ends, a message reads, Styria is full of minarets and mosques. So vote for Dr. Gerhard Kurzmann (pictured) and the Freedom Party on September 26 so that this doesn't happen.

 

3rd September   

Updated: Snoop Friendly...

BlackBerry enables snooping for the Indian authorities
Link Here  full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

India flagThe Indian government has lifted a threat to block certain BlackBerry communication services following moves by the technology firm Research in Motion that could allow the country's security authorities greater access to snoop on messages.

Stepping back from the brink of a crackdown, India's ministry of home affairs said RIM had made certain proposals for lawful access by law enforcement agencies and these would be operationalised immediately . It did not offer any detail on these concessions

Following RIM's apparent concessions, the Indian government said today the situation would be reviewed in 60 days' time. It added that the country's telecoms ministry was examining whether all the subcontinent's BlackBerry communications could be routed through a server physically located in India.

Update: Wider Issues

3rd September 2010. See  article from  bbc.co.uk

Google logoIndia has toughened its scrutiny of telecoms firms with a directive demanding access to everything .

An Indian Home Ministry official told the BBC that any company with a telecoms network should be accessible . It could be Google or Skype, but anyone operating in India will have to provide data, he said.

The move follows high-profile talks with Blackberry maker Research in Motion about ways to allow Indian security forces to monitor data.

The government is also likely to target virtual private networks, which give secure access to company networks for employees working away from their offices.

Update: UN

3rd September 2010. Based on article from  thescotsman.scotsman.com

UN logoThe head of the UN's telecommunications agency is urging BlackBerry's manufacturer to allow foreign law enforcement agencies access to its customers' data.

Hamadoun Toure says governments fighting terrorism have the right to demand access.

 

3rd September   

Secret Detentions...

Bahrain detains 159 opposition activists and then bans the press from reporting this
Link Here

Bahrain flagBahrainian prosecutors have banned journalists from reporting on the detentions of dozens of opposition activists, according to news accounts. The Committee to Protect Journalists calls on authorities to lift the censorship order immediately.

Authorities detained Shiite opposition activists in a series of arrests. The New York Times reported that as many as 159 people had been detained, and that later detainees included people not known as activists. The detainees include Abduljalil Alsingace, a blogger who has been critical of the government and who tracks human rights issues for the opposition Haq Movement for Civil Liberties and Democracy.

In a statement published Friday in all Bahraini newspapers, Al-Buainain banned print, radio, TV, Internet, and other media from publishing or broadcasting any news related to the case of Alsingace and the other detainees. The statement said ongoing investigations require secrecy in order to uncover the truth and preserve public order. Violations are subject to penalties of one year in prison.

The authorities in Bahrain cannot cite operational secrecy as pretext for barring domestic coverage of a crackdown that has already been widely reported by the foreign media, said Robert Mahoney, deputy director of CPJ. The people of Bahrain have a right to know if their government is detaining scores of their fellow citizens and the media have a duty to report it. This gag order must be lifted immediately.

Update: Global Voices Advocacy author arrested

7th September 2010. See  article from  advocacy.globalvoicesonline.org

Ali Abdulemam, a leading Bahraini blogger and Global Voices Advocacy author, was arrested earlier today by the Bahraini authorities for allegedly spreading false news on BahrainOnline.org portal, one of the most popular pro-democracy outlets in Bahrain.

The BahrainOnline portal is censored in Bahrain. He sent an email earlier mentioning that he got a call from the Bahraini national security just before his arrest, then arrested him and alleged that he was trying to flee.

 

3rd September   

Shortages of Food and Press Freedom...

Malawi president threatens a ban on newspapers reporting food shortages
Link Here

Malawi flagThe Committee to Protect Journalists condemns threatening comments made by President Bingu wa Mutharika against Malawian news outlets last week. Mutharika threatened to close newspapers that report critically about his administration after the private weeklies Malawi News and Weekend Nation cited a regional agency's report forecasting food shortages in the country.

I will close down newspapers that lie and tarnish my government's image, the president said at an agricultural fair in Blantyre. The president told editors to leave blank pages or else publish pictures of cows, hyenas, or dogs, if they have nothing positive to report, according to local reports.

Instead of making threats and telling editors what to print, the president should uphold his country's constitutional commitment to press freedom, said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. The president should allow the press to report freely, especially on such vital matters as food supply.

Malawi News and Weekend Nation cited a food supply forecast by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), which said more than one million Malawians could face shortages in the wake of dry conditions in the south.

 

2nd September   

Update: Harmful to Alaskans...

Lawsuit challenges Alaskan law that will ban adult material from the internet
Link Here  full story: Internet Minors...Criminalising internet comms harmful to minors

Alaska state sealAn Alaskan law that goes into effect on July 1, and deals with the electronic distribution of indecent material to minors, has come under fire by free speech advocates.

Section 11.61.128 of the Alaska Statutes, signed into law by Governor Sean Parnell in May, calls for parties to be criminally liable for media transmissions (or hosting) of material that is considered harmful to minors. Additionally, violators can face up to two years in prison, could be forced to forfeit their business and would have to register as sex offenders.

Those in opposition label the law as broad censorship, and claim that it bans from the Internet anything that may be 'harmful to minors,' including material adults have a First Amendment right to view.

Hostility to the law has resulted in a lawsuit attempting to block it, brought forth by groups like the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), the American Booksellers Foundation for Free Expression, American Civil Liberties Union of Alaska, the Freedom To Read Foundation and the Association of American Publishers.

Citing the First and Fourteenth Amendments, in addition to the Constitution's Commerce Clause, the lawsuit seeks to have the law declared unconstitutional.

 

2nd September   

Offsite: Not Showing at a Cinema Near You...

The BBFC's cutting of A Serbian Film shows that we still aren't trusted to judge movies for ourselves.
Link Here

Spiked logoFor the uninitiated, FrightFest has over the past decade become the home of UK film premieres in the horror and fantasy genres. It's a forum that combines scholarly appreciation of legendary Italian director Dario Argento with a close working relationship with filmmakers such as Neil Marshall ( Centurion ) and Christopher Smith ( Black Death ), while giving horror fans ample opportunities to cheer wildy at gore effects. Film director Gregg Araki - whose new comedy Kaboom! was withdrawn from this weekend's programme - has denied calling us FrightFest aficionados a bunch of geeks , but FrightFest is still probably the only European festival where the terms and conditions on a three-day pass include remember personal hygiene .

...Read the full article

 

2nd September   

Up Against the Facebook Wall...

Philippines president takes a hammering on Facebook
Link Here

president benigno aquinoA hostage drama in the Philippines on August 23, 2010 tested the patience and tolerance of the Philippine government, particularly newly installed President Benigno Noynoy Aquino III.

The hostage crisis and the alleged mishandling of the entire situation was seen by almost everyone which illicited various reactions. The question is, where will they air their grievances and disappointments? Where else but to use the world's most popular social networking site to date - Facebook.

President Aquino created his Facebook page to promote transparency, but now angry netizens and President Aquino detractors are flooding the page with negative comments, strong language and insults.

And because of the barrage of negative posts, President Benigno Aquino or whoever is in-charge of this page censored his Facebook page after users ignored an appeal to stop bashing the Philippine government.

His Facebook account is followed by 1.9 million readers.

 

2nd September   

A Moment of Madness...

Zimbabwe bans art depicting 1980 atrocities
Link Here

owen masekoThe Zimbabwe Government has banned the works of prominent visual artist Owen Maseko depicting the Fifth Brigade atrocities of the 1980s in which an estimated 20 000 civillians, mostly supporters of the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), were killed by the army unit.

The civilians were massacred in the Matableland and Midlands Provinces and Robert Mugabe's only apology was that it was a moment of madness.

Maseko's works were banned under the Censorship and Entertainment Act. In a government gazette, the government banned the showing of video clips with effigies, words and paintings on the walls of the National Art Gallery set up by Maseko.

Meanwhile, Vote Thebe, the Director of the National Art Gallery and the sculptor of a nude statue, Looking into the Future , is expected to appear in court on charges of allowing Maseko to hold the art exhibition without a licence.

Thebe will also be charged under the Censorship and Entertainment Act for allegedly keeping a nude statue at the gallery showing male genital organs. Looking into the Future was pulled down from Bulawayo's Tower Block gardens in the 1980s after the local authority was accused of aiding Thebe to mount an offensive piece of art in public.

Police closed Maseko's exhibition on March 26, showing President Mugabe and his crack army unit dripping with blood of cowed innocent civilians, 24 hours after it was mounted at the gallery. He was then arrested and granted bail a few days after police closed a photography exhibition in Harare showing human rights violations by Mugabe's supporters.

 

1st September   

Internet Censors...

ASA to censor internet adverts from 1st March 2011
Link Here

ASA logoThe Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is extending its remit to cover the online realm.

It means that online marketing and ads will, from 1 March 2011, be subject to the same strict advertising rules as traditional media.

The ASA will also have the power to ban marketing statements on social networks such as Facebook and Twitter

This is a massive step. Consumers don't differentiate between adverts on TV or online and this ensures that claims online will be subject to the same strict scrutiny of those in traditional media, said an ASA spokesman.

The new rules will apply to adverts and any statement on a website that is intended to sell products or services. Websites will be given until 1 March 2011 to comply with the new rules.

In an effort to protect online freedom of speech, the ASA's new remit will not extend to journalistic and editorial content related to causes and ideas. But direct requests for donations for fund-raising will be under its jurisdiction.

The ASA will also be given new sanctions against online ads found to be in breach of its regulations, including the removal of paid-for search advertising and the right to place its own advertisements highlighting an advertiser's non-compliance.

 

1st September   

Pride in Anti-Gay Free Speech Ban...

Manchester Council seeks a ban on Christian Voice anti-gay protesters
Link Here

Christian Voice logoChristian protesters who picketed the Manchester Pride parade could be banned from the streets during next year's event.

Council chiefs are 'outraged' that around 20 placard-waving demonstrators – many from the conservative pressure group Christian Voice – were allowed to disrupt the event.

They gathered outside the John Rylands Library on Deansgate as more than 100 floats – celebrating Greater Manchester's gay, lesbian, bisexual and trangender communities – went past.

Members of the protest were filmed shouting sinful and wicked at people taking part in Saturday's parade.

The group was largely drowned out by the whistle-blowing crowd of thousands – and Lord of the Rings actor Sir Ian McKellen gave them an ironic wave as he led the procession. But town hall bosses believe the protesters overstepped the mark.

They now plan to work with police to see whether anti-hate laws can be used to ban similar scenes at Pride next summer.

Pat Karney, the council's city centre spokesman, said such protests had no place in Manchester. He said: I will be meeting organisers and police to make sure that next year people are not subject to these vile, hate-filled rantings. This is 2010, not 1950, and young gay men and women should not be subjected to this hatred. We have a proud history in Manchester of freedom of speech but there is no place for this. I am a Christian and I believe that these people are a terrible advert for Christianity. There are things we can do using hate laws to make sure they do not come back.

Stephen Green, national director of Christian Voice, said: It is a very sad day for this country when the authorities want to clamp down on the teachings of the Gospel. This is a major assault on freedom of speech.

 

1st September   

Update: BlackBerry BlackOut...

Indonesia joins the anti-BlackBerry bandwagon
Link Here  full story: BlackBerry Mobile Phones...Winding up countries who can't snoop on users

Indonesia flagThe war in Indonesia over the available of pornography on mobile devices has resulted in Communication and Information Minister Tifatul Sembiring threatening to kick BlackBerry out of the country. He wants parent company Research in Motion (RiM) to agree to block all porn from the devices.

The minister has said that he had communicated to RiM his wishes, but has yet to receive a reply.

If they are still not responding to our request, we have to close it down, Tifatul said, adding, RIM may violates our law if it remains providing porn content in its service [in Indonesia].

Earlier this month, Titaful urged RiM to set up servers in the country. The servers were needed, he claimed, in order to perform wiretaps in crime cases, bringing in non-tax revenue for the country and reducing service charges for customers. They would also make it much easier for the government to block porn locally.

 

1st September   

Snoops in your Face...

Facebook monitoring in Egypt
Link Here

Facebook logoOn 1st July, 2010, the Egyptian Ministry of Interior (MOI) has reportedly established a special department to monitor Facebook activities and content in Egypt according to the administrative decision 765.

The main task of this group is to monitor Facebook content like groups, pages and chat and to publish reports countering online criticism of current Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak or his son Gamal.

There is team of 45 members in Egypt who are monitoring the activities of Egypt's 3.8 million Facebook users as well as the monitoring of e-mail .

An anonymous security source mentioned to the Aljarida newspaper that Egyptian security authorities used to censor Facebook among other websites but the MOI paid special attention to Facebook in 2008 after the first call for 6 April Strike that was organized on Facebook.

The anonymous source mentioned to the newspaper that there are groups of paid young Egyptians from the National Democratic Party (NDP) youth, to defense the NDP and the government. According to the same source they have already created 166 Facebook group in support of president's son Gamal Mubarak and 38 other groups supporting his father, resident Hosni Mubarak.

 

1st September   

Offsite: Dirt Doesn't Stick...

US based TechDirt feel protected from British libel claim by newly enacted SPEECH act
Link Here  full story: Libel Tourism...UK prosecutions of books published abroad

techdirt logoWe have recently received a legal threat that we feel deserves attention and airing for a variety of reasons.

...2. The threats are quite incredible, demanding that we shut down the entire site of Techdirt, due to a comment (or, potentially, comments) that the client did not like.

...5. Most importantly, this threat is coming from the UK, and the lawyers insist that they will take it to court in the UK. This makes it rather timely and newsworthy for an entirely different reason. Just a few weeks ago we wrote about the new SPEECH Act that was passed into law to protect against libel tourism. As the Congressional record shows, the law was specifically designed to protect US businesses from libel judgments that violate Section 230 -- and the bill's backers explicitly call out libel judgments made in the UK. In other words, the SPEECH Act explicitly protects us from exactly the sort of threat that these lawyers and their client are making against us:

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Given the newsworthy nature of an example of where the brand new law (thankfully) protects us, as well as the fact that we do not feel it is decent or right for anyone to demand we shut down our entire site or be sued halfway around the world, because he does not appreciate a comment someone made about him, we are publishing the letter that was sent to us.

Thanks in part to the new law, we have no obligation to respond to Mr. Morris, his friend or the lawyers at Addlestone Keane, who (one would hope) will better advise their clients not to pursue such fruitless legal threats in the future.

...Read the full article