Censor Watch
 2011: September
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30th September   

Blu-Basketry...

New US RA Blu-ray release of Frank Henenlotter's Basket Case
Link Here

Basket Case Blu ray Kevin Hentenryck Basket Case is a 1982 US comedy horror by Frank Henenlotter. See IMDb

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

In the UK it was passed 18 uncut for:

But before that it was passed 18 after 35s of video cuts beyond the 1:09s cinema cuts for:

  • UK 1987 Palace VHS

From cuts details on IMDb

  • The scene where Duane watches a kung-fu film is missing shots of 'chain-sticks' from the kung-fu film itself.
  • The second doctor's death scene is missing a shot of him spitting blood as well as the climatic shot of blood splashing on his face.
  • The death of the female vet shortens shots of Belial clawing her face, the terminating shot of the scene showing the vet with scalpels sticking in her face is deleted.
  • Shots of the noisy neighbour being clawed to death by Belial are cut; this sequence was originally intercut with two other scenes making the editing at this point awful due to these cuts.
  • The infamous scene where Belial 'romances' Duane's girlfriend is the worst to suffer cuts- after she wakes up the entire scene has been removed bar a brief shot of her being strangled. In addition the shot of Belial on top her dead body and Duane's attempts to pull him off her is missing.

Summary Review: Cult horror trash classic

It's gory with really cheesy 80's special effects. However, it is an interesting idea. The two brothers are clearly deeply connected to each other (or, at least they were...). The emotional conflict between the two (particularly the more able brother's desire to date) is intense and understandable.

Overall, it's one of those films that you probably should watch. Get a friend who won't hate you when it's over, come to an agreement that this is intentionally quite trashy, and have fun watching a truly original, truly bizarre flick.

 

30th September   

Update: Creepy Crawly Politician...

Australian Attorney General asks film censor's Review Board to reconsider the R18+ awarded to The Human Centipede 2
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

human centipede part ii Australia's Sex Party has tweeted that the New South Wales Attorney general has asked for the film censor's Review Board to reconsider the uncut R18+ certificate previously awarded to The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence).

 

30th September   

Obituary: David Z Goodman...

Noted for the controversial screenplay for Straw Dogs
Link Here

Straw Dogs Ultimate Anniversary Blu ray David Z Goodman, who died on September 26 aged 81, wrote the screenplay for the controversial thriller Straw Dogs (1971), one of the great banned films of the 1970s, which revealed rural Britain to be just as brutal as the mean streets of downtown America. Though based on The Siege Of Trencher's Farm , a 1969 novel by the Scottish author Gordon Williams, the director, Sam Peckinpah, ordered Goodman to write in some controversial scenes that do not occur in the original.

David Zelag Goodman was born on January 15 1930 in New York. His orthodox Jewish parents wanted him to become a rabbi, sending him to a yeshiva to be trained. But at 18 he became totally secular, took a degree in English at Queens' College, studied Drama at Yale University, and became a playwright.

His film breakthrough came in England in 1959, at the Bray studios in Berkshire, with the script for the Hammer adventure film Stranglers of Bombay . During the 1960s he wrote American television episodes of The Untouchables, Combat! and Mr Broadway.

For Hollywood Goodman scripted the mystery thriller Man on a Swing (1974), starring Cliff Robertson, and Farewell, My Lovely (1975), a remake of the Raymond Chandler story starring Robert Mitchum as Philip Marlowe.

 

30th September   

'Contains Frequent Text References'...

BBFC release their classification database app for Android devices
Link Here

bbfc app android The BBFC free App is now available on Android devices. The App lets users check the latest film and DVD classification decisions from the BBFC. A useful tool for parents and guardians, the App gives instant access to the classification, running time and detailed information about why a film or DVD got the classification it did.

All BBFC film classification decisions come with Extended Classification Information (ECI) which, in the case of cinema films, is available on the App 10 days before the film opens. ECI explains the classification issues in any film, enabling users to make informed decisions about what they or their family watch.

David Cooke, Director of the BBFC says: We designed the App to equip parents with the tools they need to make informed decisions about the films, videos and video games their children see and play, whether they are visiting the cinema, at home or purchasing a new DVD or video game. The BBFC is the only film classification body to provide detailed Extended Classification Information and we wanted to make this as accessible to parents as possible.

Each time the App is updated by the user, the classification information is stored on the mobile device making it fully accessible regardless of where the user is, even if they are unable to access mobile internet signal.

The BBFC App is now available for Android, iPhone 4, iPhone 3GS, iPhone 3G and iPod touch.

 

30th September   

Offsite: The BBFC Archive...

The films that vexed the censor
Link Here

bbfc x card logoThe way films are censored can tell us much about changing attitudes in society to sex, violence and rebellion.

Enter the hidden world of the British Board of Film Classification's written archive and a hundred years of film censorship are laid bare.

The letters between censor and film-makers begin to take on a life of their own as the relationship develops from regulator to collaborator and beyond.

The board have imposed a rolling 20-year embargo on the written archives.

Correspondence over notorious films like Natural Born Killers or Reservoir Dogs remains under lock and key, but the archive revealed so far shows an ever-changing attitude to the things that have concerned us most over the past 100 years.

...Read the full article

 

29th September   

Series: Gavin Salkeld Presents: 007 Censor Cuts...

Resuming with detailed BBFC cinema cuts to Diamonds are Forever
Link Here

Gavin Salkeld presents Diamonds are Forever is a 1971 UK James Bond film by Guy Hamilton. See IMDb

Passed A (PG) after BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1971 cinema release

The BBFC cinema cuts were:

  • The fight in the lift between Peter Franks and Bond was reduced to remove blows and sound effects.
     
  • Bond squirting the fire extinguisher into Frank's face was reduced in length.
     
  • Bond menacing Mr Kidd with a broken brandy bottle was trimmed. It's so brief in the film, one wonders what was cut, but my guess is that the actual grabbing and breaking of the bottle was cut, leaving just the footage of Bond throwing the liquid onto Kidd's arms. Perhaps what little focus there is on the weapon was deemed a more serious imitability issue back then.
     
  • Footage of the ablaze Mr Kidd running across the deck screaming and climbing up onto the railing, as he throws himself overboard was removed, leaving just the shot of him hitting the water. When shown on TV, this scene is usually cut similarly.

Diamonds are Forever DVD Passed PG uncut with film cuts restored for:

  • UK 2008 MGM  R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2007 20th Century Fox R2 DVD
  • UK 2006 MGM R2 DVD
  • UK 2003 MGM R2 DVD

  • UK 2003 MGM VHS

  • UK 1992 Warner VHS

  • UK 1987 Warner VHS

 

29th September   

Blu-Underground...

New US R0 Blu-ray release of Sergio Martino's Torso
Link Here

Torso Blu ray US Luc Merenda Torso is a 1975 Italian thriller by Sergio Martino. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut after previous cuts waived for:

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

  • US 2011 Blue Underground R0 Blu-ray at US Amazon just released on 27th September 2011
  • US 2011 Blue Underground R0 DVD at US Amazon just released on 27th September 2011
Previously passed 18 after 50s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1990 Vipco VHS

Summary Review: Worth the wait

This is one of those Italian horror classics that's actually worth the wait. Not as well put together as Argento or Fulci, but packed with really great jazz tinged music and some totally unforgetable scenes, mainly the beautifully shot murder in the woods and the final showdown in the house with Suzy Kendall and the masked killer.

Almost a classic.

 

29th September   

Prayers for Cash...

Noor TV asked to donate 75,000 to Ofcom in return for the chance of continued business health
Link Here

noor tv logoOfcom has imposed a statutory sanction of £ 75,000  on Al Ehya Digital Television Ltd ( the Licensee ) in respect of its service Noor TV.

Noor TV is a general entertainment and Islamic education channel broadcast on the Sky platform. The channel is aimed at Muslims living in Europe.

Saturday Night Special was a programme which mainly consisted of a presenter taking calls from viewers who donated money to the channel in return for prayers for themselves or for their relatives.

Ofcom had previously found the programme had breached the following Code rules:

  • 2.1: (generally accepted standards)
  • 2.2: (materially misleading)
  • 4.6: (the exploitation of susceptibilities of the audience by religious programmes)
  • 10.3: (promotion of products and services)
  • 10.15: (appeals for funds)

Ofcom considered that the inducements which were made in this programme, i.e. the receipt of a special gift for a donation of £1,000, and the offer of a prayer that would improve the donor's health, wealth, success or good fortune carried the risk that susceptible members of the audience may have been persuaded to donate money to Noor TV when they would not otherwise have done so. In particular, the appeal focused heavily on religious beliefs, which Ofcom considered had created an additional risk that susceptible viewers would have been more likely to make donations than they otherwise would have done.

Ofcom was also extremely concerned that although viewers were told that their donations were for the purpose of funding Noor TV's programming, the funds donated via the Mohiuddin Trust website, were not in fact received by Noor TV and therefore were not used for their stated purpose.

 

29th September   

Predicting Storms...

Chinese gamers fear that Blizzard's Diablo III will be censored
Link Here

Diablo III PC Mac DVD Western video games don't always make it big in China, but there's one developer whose name gets the attention of gamers: Blizzard.

The company is well on the way to release an action role playing game called Diablo III.

Internationally, fans are enjoying the beta, but in China, players are starting to get nervous. The game appears to be quite bloody, and fans are worried that means it will be toned-down for Chinese servers and Chinese fans will end up playing a watered-down version, just like they did with World of Warcraft .

The Chinese version of World of Warcraft was changed in a number of ways that met with displeasure from Chinese gamers and international critics. Most notably, the skeletons of the original game were covered with skin to make them --- well, not skeletons. Blood and skeletons were also cut from the Chinese version of Blizzard's latest hit, Starcraft 2 . Given that Diablo 3 is a game that takes place in hell and in which the player's ultimate goal is to kill the devil, many gamers in China feel it's a foregone conclusion that China's Diablo 3 will be censored too.

 

29th September   

Diary: I Wish I Could See My Little Willy...

Exhibition of saucy postcards seized as obscene in the 1950s
Link Here
obsce cartoon

  I Wish I Could See My Little Willy

I Wish I Could See My Little Willy
Templeman Library, University of Kent, Canterbury
23rd September - 13th November 2011

I Wish I Could See My Little Willy : Margate's 1950s campaign against saucy seaside postcards

This exhibition celebrates the completion of the JISC-funded Cartoon Archive Rapid Digitisation (CARD) project which has added 32,000 cartoons to the BCA's online catalogue. The project included the Director of Public Prosecutions' collection of seaside postcards seized as obscene by police in the 1950s, and this exhibition features those seized in Margate.

The exhibition is free, and runs until 13 November 2011.

 

29th September   

School Lesson in Easy Offence...

Simon Wiesenthal Center overreacts to naive Nazi parade at Thai school
Link Here

thai naziA Jewish campaign organization has called for Thailand's Christian leaders to condemn a parade at the Sacred Heart School in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in which participating students wearing Nazi uniforms performed Sieg Heil salutes.

Parade participants carried a Swastika flag, performed Nazi salutes and donned SS uniforms, while others dressed as Adolf Hitler complete with moustache.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, based in Los Angeles, denounced the event, claiming it was glorifying Nazis. Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, said the images made it clear that the event could not have taken place without the knowledge and cooperation of the school administration:

It is difficult to calculate the hurt such a display inflicted on survivors of the Nazi Holocaust and the families of all victims of Nazism. There can be no justification for such an outrage to emanate from place of learning.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center urged those responsible for the school to take immediate action against the individuals who promoted and facilitated the event.

A school director apologised: We, the entire Sacred Heart School [personnel] are deeply saddened by this incident, and explained that the sports day activity involved groups being differentiated by colors, the Red group having used Nazi symbols.

Nazi Germany is not well covered in the Thai school syllabus and it is very unlikely that any of the participants understood much about the significance of their regalia.

 

29th September   

The Passion of the Christ...

A new book in the Controversies series by Neal King
Link Here

Passion Christ Controversies Neal King Controversies is a new series of books edited by Stevie Simkin and Julian Petley dedicated to exploring controversial films of the past 40 years or so via in-depth studies of the films and the censorship and other issues that have surrounded them.

From promotional material:

The Passion of the Christ was the cinematic event of 2004. Its unflinching depiction of the torture and crucifixion of Jesus was praised and deplored in equal measure, and it provoked a nationwide storm of controversy for what many saw as its anti-Semitic portrayal of Jewish religious leaders.

Neal King's study of the controversies over The Passion of the Christ explores how conservative Christians united in support of Mel Gibson and in opposition to liberal, secular and Jewish critics. The resulting public battle over the editing and rating of this film generated more controversy than any other film in recent cinematic history. King chronicles the publicity campaign that helped make The Passion the highest-grossing independent production of all time, and discusses how religious groups inspired ratings boards, media watchdogs and government censors worldwide to break their rules and guidelines about violence and the depiction of religious figures.

King's analysis of the film's narrative and visual style shows how the choices made by director, cast and crew contributed to the biggest argument over Hollywood and anti-Semitism in decades, and how longstanding patterns in the production and marketing of stories of Christ helped one filmmaker to turn his statement of faith into a partisan, blockbuster event.

Neal King knows more about the making, marketing and reception of The Passion of the Christ than anyone else. He gives us an elegant and perceptive analysis of the controversies that surrounded Gibson's film and a sociological portrait of their origins in the competing objectives of polarized groups. King's book is an essential source on the making and meaning of a film that has been both celebrated and condemned. Stephen Prince, author of Firestorm: American Film in the Age of Terrorism

Neal King is Associate Professor of Sociology at Virginia Tech, USA.

 

28th September   

Red Flag Policy...

Labour Shadow Culture Secretary suggests licensing for journalists
Link Here

China flagLabour's Shadow Culture Secretary, Ivan Lewis, provoked justified protest when he suggested journalists should be licensed, meaning they could then be struck off and banned from working, should they misbehave.

But within hours Ed Miliband was forced to disown the policy. Critics warned it would turn Britain into a banana republic in which ministers were able to silence awkward members of the Press.

Lewis, who has in the past faced embarrassing revelations in newspapers about his own private life, told the conference the phone-hacking scandal meant the media could no longer be trusted to regulate itself. He said existing media self-regulation was broken .

Lewis suggested journalists should be licensed to practise, in a similar way to doctors. Any reporter found guilty of gross malpractice could then be struck off and barred from having their words published.

Former Labour adviser Dan Hodges suggested the proposal must be a bad joke: On the day of the leader's speech we announce the state banning of journalists . Labour is ceasing to exist as a serious political party.

Tory MP Philip Davies said: Once the Government starts involving itself in the regulation of the media, that is a very slippery slope, he said. It is the kind of thing that happens in Third World dictatorships. We need a free Press and self-regulation, that is the cornerstone of a free society and democracy.

The Lewis speech sparked panic in Ed Miliband's office, with aides insisting the idea of striking off journalists had not been cleared with the Labour leader. A senior party source claimed: We're not in the business of regulating journalists. We have always said self-regulation is the best policy.

 

28th September   

Update: Extreme Penalties...

Italy's bloggers to protest over right to reply bill slipped in seemingly to protect Berlusconi from comments about his indiscretions
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Italy...Censorship affecting bloogers and the press in Italy

Italy flagItalian bloggers are to demonstrate in Rome on Thursday against what one opposition leader called a fascist measure that would make them liable for fines of up to EUR12,000 ( £ 10,000).

The proposed restrictions were slipped into a bill to curb the right of the media in Italy to publish wiretap transcripts gathered during criminal investigations.

Critics argue it was drafted by Silvio Berlusconi's government to protect the prime minister from embarrassment. It seems to be in response to a media report that included transcripts in which the prime minister discussed the quantity and qualities of  sex workers, and boasted he had sex with eight in a single night.

The bill, due to begin its journey through parliament next week, includes a clause that puts blogs on the same footing as news websites. It stipulates that anyone who believes they have been defamed or misrepresented in a blog has a right of reply. The blogger would get 48 hours in which to accede to the demand. In the event of a refusal, he or she would become liable for the fine.

Antonio Di Pietro, the leader of the anti-corruption Italy of Principles party and a keen blogger, called the proposal an insult to freedom and democracy. It is a fascist measure.

 

28th September   

Councillor Contorts his Dick onto his Head...

Having a whinge at a Leamington Spa stage performance of Puppetry of the Penis
Link Here

Puppetry of The Penis DVD It has been on the road for 13 years, but Puppetry of the Penis is still proving a wind up for the easily offended.

No So Liberal Democrat councillor, Roger Copping, is protesting against the genital origami tour's visit to Leamington Spa. He claims the show to be highly obscene, even though the BBFC decided that DVD of show is only 15 rated.

And he sniffed: This is Royal Leamington Spa. This sort of show is more suitable for a place like Blackpool.

Copping said he has received complaints from half a dozen women who, he said, are appalled that this sort of show should be shown at a family venue . He told the Leamington Spa Courier:

It contains full frontal nudity. It is highly obscene and in very poor taste. The Spa Centre is a venue which is paid for by the council taxpayer and we should have more control over the sort of shows they are putting on.

 

28th September   

More Deep...

New ArrowDrome release of Dario Argento's Deep Red
Link Here

Deep Red DVD Deep Red is a 1975 Italian Giallo by Dario Argento. See IMDb

The Italian Language Version was passed 18 uncut with BBFC cuts waived for:

Previously the Italian Language Version was passed 18 after 7s of BBFC cuts  for UK 2005 Platinum DVD

From cuts details on IMDb :

  • The DVD is slightly re-framed to exclude the squirming lizard being impaled with a pin

Summary Review : Initiation into Giallo

This is a gorgeous film, it is rich in content and thought, it has an old school story telling feel about it, fantastic music by "Goblin", it is shocking and suspenseful, whilst showing some glorious cinematography by Luigi Keveiller.

Brilliant, Dario is unique and this is my favourite film of his, and one of my ALL time favourite films. A wonderful initiation into the world of Giallo.

 

28th September   

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer...

A new book in the Controversies series by Shaun Kimber
Link Here

Henry Portrait Serial Killer Controversies Controversies is a new series of books edited by Stevie Simkin and Julian Petley dedicated to exploring controversial films of the past 40 years or so via in-depth studies of the films and the censorship and other issues that have surrounded them.

From promotional material:

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) is precisely that: a cold-eyed character study based on the crimes of Henry Lee Lucas, who was convicted of eleven murders in the 1980s. Director John McNaughton presents an unflinching portrayal of the semi-fictional Henry's crimes. The film proved immensely controversial, notably in the UK, where it confounded theBBFC, which went so far as to re-edit a crucial scene, in addition to cutting others.

Shaun Kimber's examination of the controversies surrounding Henry considers the history and implications of censors' decisions about the film on both sides of the Atlantic. Taking account of the views of audiences, critics and academics, both at the time the film was released and in the years since, Kimber also looks at the changing political, social and economic contexts within which the film was produced and has subsequently circulated. Henry continues to represent a key film within the horror genre, the history of censorship, and the study of film violence. Kimber's account of the film's production and its fortunes in the marketplace provides a fascinating case study of film censorship in action, and offers a sustained and wide-ranging analysis of what remains one of the most disturbing films ever made.

An excellent in-depth analysis... Kimber effectively combines close readings of key scenes with detailed consideration of the history of different versions of Henry and its various engagements with critics, supporters and regulatory authorities. Geoff King, Brunel University

Shaun Kimber is a Senior Lecturer in the Media School at Bournemouth University.

 

27th September   

House by the Cemetery...

New UK ArrowDrome DVD release of Lucio Fulci's The House by the Cemetery
Link Here
house by the cemetery arrowdrome The House by the Cemetery is a 1981 Italian horror film by Lucio Fulci . See IMDb .

Passed 18 uncut after the BBFC waived their cuts for:

Previously passed 18 with some BBFC cuts waived for:

  • UK 2001 Protected/Vipco DVD

The additional video cuts of 1988 were waived along with some cinema cuts to the poker murder. The majority of the cinema cuts were retained though.

And before that a pre-cut version missing 7:27s was passed 18 without further BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1993 Vipco VHS

It is assumed that the extra cuts were to try and smooth over the edges of the BBFC cuts.

And back in 1988 it was passed 18 after a further 4:11s of BBFC cuts beyond the 34s of cinema cuts for:

  • UK 1988 Elephant VHS

The BBFC's further 4:11s of cuts were:

  • Removal of all details of a girl being stabbed through the back of her head through to her mouth and of her body being dragged away.
  • The entire poker killing mentioned above has been deleted along with the body being dragged away.
  • The killing of a vampire bat and related blood spattering is missing.
  • Shots of decomposing bodies in the cellar and the disembowelled man on the table have gone
  • Norman having his throat cut by Fraudstein has also been removed

The cut cinema version was released on pre-cert video in January 1983 but was banned as a video nasty in November 1983. It remained on the list through out the panic so became one of the collectable DPP 39's

The cinema version was assed X (18) after 34s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1982 cinema release

The BBFC required 6 cuts totalling 34s:

  • 3 cuts totalling 16s removed an estate agent being subjected to two stabs with a poker. This included the slow motion gushing of blood from her wounds.
  • 3 cuts totalling 18s were imposed on the scene of a nanny having her throat cut.

 

27th September   

Updated: Less Cut...

BBFC cuts drastically reduced to House on the Edge of the Park
Link Here

House Edge Uncut Version Region House on the Edge of the Park is a 1980 Italian horror thriller by Ruggero Deodato. See IMDb

A couple of weeks ago Shameless reported that it had recently heard back from the BBFC with regard to House on the Edge of the Park.

The BBFC requested 16 cuts totalling 1 minute 20 seconds. While this is a vast improvement over the 11+ minutes of cuts requested in 2002, Shameless are appealing [presumably meaning asking the BBFC to think again rather than invoking the formal appeals process] the BBFC's decision and will also be including two further extras dedicated to the censorship of the film.

The latest update from Shameless is that the BBFC have agreed to waive 37 seconds of these cuts to the sex scene between Alex and Lisa which had previously been cut due to the questionability of whether or not Lisa is enjoying her ordeal.

House on the Edge of the Park will be available on DVD from 31 October. More details on special features (including those dedicated to the film's censorship history) will be announced soon.

Indeed House on the Edge of the Park has had a difficult history of censorship in the UK:

Passed 18 after 11:43s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2009 Cornerstone R2 DVD

  • UK 2002 Protected R2 DVD

The BBFC noted: Cuts required to several sequences of sexual violence, humiliating depictions of female nudity and gross violence

From IMDb:

  • BBFC removed most of the rape and assault scenes
  • heavily edited the razor-slashing of Cindy
  • heavily edited the opening murder scene
  • removed shots of Tony's head being slammed against a table.
Before that it was released on VHS video uncut by Skyline in October 1982. It was listed as a video nasty in July 1983. It stayed on the list throughout the panic so became one of the collectable DPP39s

And before that, a cinema release was rejected by the BBFC in 1981

Update: Confirmed

27th September 2011. See article from bbfc.co.uk

The BBFC have now confirmed on their database that House on the Edge of the Park has been passed 18 after 43s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 2011 Argent/Shameless DVD for release on 31st October 2011

The BBFC consumer advice is:

  • Contains strong sexual violence and threat

The BBFC commented about their cuts:

  • Company was required to make cuts to one sequence of sexualised violence in which a razor is traced over a woman's naked body, after which her body is cut with the razor.

 

27th September   

A TV-Like World...

ATVOD winds up broadcasters by claiming that nearly all internet video is somehow 'TV-Like'
Link Here

BBC Workd Service logoBBC Worldwide, Viacom and online broadcaster Channelflip have lodged appeals with Ofcom over ATVOD's overbroad definition that practically all online video is somehow 'TV-like'.

The video-on-demand censor claims the broadcasters are in breach of their rules for failing to register or pay an expensive censorship fee.

However, the broadcasters, along with publishers including News International, Guardian Media Group and Telegraph Media Group, have appealed to Ofcom, arguing that they should not have to pay.

Most of the appeals are about who should pay the fee, should it be the content providers eg Viacom or should it be the operating the Video on Demand service, eg Virgin Media.

BBC Worldwide are appealing that their BBC Food and Top Gear content distributed via YouTube is not 'TV-like'.

Channelflip founder Wil Harris, references he government's impossible promise to limit new red tape that is suffocating British business as he questioned: whether hamstringing an entrepreneurial provider of new media is the best way to ensure that we are on a level playing field with broadcasters .

The big companies mentioned above must be particularly pissed off that their massively expensive censorship fees will be mostly used to harangue a multitude of hardcore porn websites into demanding credit card details to verify readers' ages.

 

27th September   

Update: Chequered Flag...

Max Mosley's case to notify people prior to press exposure fails at the Grand Chamber of the European Court
Link Here  full story: Max Mosley Privacy...Max Mosley, spanking and Nazi sex

European court buildingsFormer motorsport boss turned privacy campaigner Max Mosley has had his appeal to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights rejected. Mosley had hoped to overturn a May ruling establishing that media outlets were not required to notify the subjects of stories in advance of publication. But the court announced that that judgment would be final.

Solicitor Mark Stephens, who represented Index on Censorship, the Media Legal Defence Initiative and other interested parties in the case, said:

This decision by the Grand Chamber and the previous decision by the court underline the recommendation made by the UK parliament's Culture Media and Sport Committee. This is a great day for free speech in Britain and throughout Europe.

Index on Censorship news editor Padraig Reidy commented: I

Index submitted its concerns about Mr Mosley's prior-notification plans as we recognised the threat such an obligation would pose to investigative journalism. While privacy is of course a concern, forcing newspapers to reveal stories would have a serious chilling effect.

 

27th September   

Ofcom have their 50 Cent's Worth...

Sexy music videos at 9am get the Ofcom treatment
Link Here

50 cent pimp video 50 Cent Music Videos
Greatest Hits TV, 22 June 2011, 09:00

Greatest Hits TV is a music channel that broadcasts music videos and music based programmes. The licence for Greatest Hits TV is held by Mushroom TV.

Ofcom received two complaints about a quarter hour segment on this channel broadcast immediately after 09:00 devoted to music videos by the rap singer 50 Cent. These complaints alerted Ofcom to the issues of offensive language and images of topless female performers included in music videos broadcast at this time.

On assessing this content, Ofcom noted the following:

Music Video for P.I.M.P. :

This music video included several images of topless female performers dancing in a sexualised manner. For example, there were repeated images of: 50 Cent, and another artiste, Snoop Dogg, dancing with two topless female performers in a sexualised manner; and 50 Cent in a close embrace with three topless female performers, while he fondled the breast of one of the performers. In addition, there were also images of two scantily-clad female performers being „walked? like dogs by another scantily-clad female performer, by means of leashes connected to dog collars on their necks.

Music Video: I Like the Way She Do It :

This music video contained the following potentially offensive statement: It never enough she like it rough. We keep it going and we switch positions, listen .

Music Video: Disco Inferno :

This music video contained the potentially offensive word nigger . In addition, during the three and a half minute music video there were numerous instances of sexualised images and nudity, including topless female performers caressing and kissing each other; and over 45 close up images of female performers in skimpy underwear gyrating their bare buttocks to camera, including two sets of images showing bottles of alcohol being poured over a female performer's crotch and bare buttocks.

Music Video: If I Can't :

This music video contained the following potentially offensive language: pussies ; nigger ; motherfucker ; and fuck .

Ofcom considered Rules of the Code:

  • Rule 1.3: Children must also be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them ;
  • Rule 1.14: The most offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed ;
  • Rule 1.16: Offensive language must not be broadcast before the watershed...unless it is justified by the context. In any event, frequent use of such language must be avoided before the watershed ;
  • Rule 1.21: Nudity before the watershed must be justified by the context ; and
  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context .

Mushroom TV said that of course [the content] fell short of compliance with the rules of the Code because the material was broadcast inadvertently . Mushroom TV added that: We would not attempt to justify the content as [it was] clearly inappropriate before the watershed . The Licensee said that it had broadcast an on-screen apology for seven days from 24 July 2011.

Ofcom Decision: Breaches of Rules 1.3, 1.14, 1.16, 1.21 and 2.3

Two of the music videos (P.I.M.P. and Disco Inferno) included numerous images of a sexualised nature including: the singer dancing with topless female performers in an erotic manner; and 50 Cent in a close embrace with three topless female performers, while he fondled the breast of one of the performers. In addition, there were also images of two scantily-clad female performers being walked? by another scantily-clad female performer, by means of leashes connected to dog collars on their necks; topless female performers caressing and kissing each other; and (in Disco Inferno) around 45 close up images of female performers in skimpy underwear gyrating their bare buttocks to camera, including two sets of images showing bottles of alcohol being poured over a female performer's crotch and bare buttocks. In Ofcom's view, the cumulative effect of these various images was to convey highly sexualised themes. Second, we considered that the other two music videos. It is Ofcom's view that the content of these particular music videos was not suitable for children.

We noted that the Licensee did not offer any editorial justification for the broadcast of this content at this time. In addition, given the channel's likely appeal to a broad range of viewers, we concluded that the audience for this channel was unlikely to expect the broadcast of numerous examples of highly sexualised imagery and instances of offensive language in a fifteen minute period after 09:00.

In light of this case, Ofcom is putting the Licensee on notice that if there is any recurrence of similar compliance issues, we will consider taking further regulatory action.

 

27th September   

Update: Rumour Mongering Tweets...

China pressurises social networking company into setting up a team of tweet censors
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in China...All pervading Chinese internet censorship

sina weibo logoNeedled by government warnings to keep more stringent tabs on its users, China's most popular microblog Sina Weibo is taking considerable new measures to censor millions of its posts that it and authorities deem are Internet rumors.

Sina, the Internet company that operates Weibo, a Twitter-like microblog service, plans to form a rumor-busting team of about a dozen editors to sift out posts that may offend the authorities and implement a rating system to assess the likelihood that users may tweet what they shouldn't.

Sina will create a team consisting of 10 senior editors to monitor, verify, and 'clarify rumors' that may be making their way through Weibo, CEO Charles Chao said according to the state-run China News Service.

All the meddling by Party officials has made investors nervous. Sina's stock has taken a number of hits over concerns about restrictive regulations; on Sept. 20 the stock dropped 15%.

In the two years since its inception, Sina Weibo's userbase has rocketed to 200 million as of June. That number is making Communist Party officials sweat as Sina Weibo has been increasingly used as a soapbox for anti-government sentiment.

This was particularly apparent when Sina Weibo was alight with comments lambasting the government's emergency response to and handling of the recent train crash.

 

27th September   

A Clockwork Orange...

A new book in the Controversies series by Peter Kramer
Link Here

Clockwork Orange Controversies Peter Kramer Controversies is a new series of books edited by Stevie Simkin and Julian Petley dedicated to exploring controversial films of the past 40 years or so via in-depth studies of the films and the censorship and other issues that have surrounded them.

From promotional material:

What is the attraction of violence? What is the relationship between real and imagined violence? What should be the state's response to both? These questions are raised by Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange (1971). The film is a graphically violent, sexually explicit, wickedly funny, visually stunning and deeply ambiguous adaptation of Anthony Burgess's 1962 novel.

Drawing on new research in the Stanley Kubrick Archive, Peter Kramer's study explores the production, marketing and reception as well as the themes and style of A Clockwork Orange against the backdrop of Kubrick's previous work and wider developments in British and American cinema, culture and society from the 1950s to the early 1970s.

This is a remarkable and highly unusual book. Kramer turns aside from the endlessly repeated queries about whether a film like A Clockwork Orange might 'cause people to go out and rape, and asks instead: how does this film participate in that very debate? What philosophy of human nature drove Kubrick to construct the film? Kramer takes us into the film's detailed construction, so we can judge its contribution for ourselves. Martin Barker, Aberystwyth University

Peter Kramer is a Senior Lecturer in Film Studies at the University of East Anglia,

 

26th September   

Updated: Taster...

Ruggero Deodato's New Edit of Cannibal Holocaust now released on DVD and Blu-ray
Link Here

Cannibal Holocaust Ruggero Deodatos Edit Cannibal Holocaust is a 1979 Italian adventure by Ruggero Deodato. See IMDb

The pre-cut Ruggero Deodato's New Edit was passed 18 without further BBFC cuts for:

The BBFC commented:

  • pre-cut in line with 2011 BBFC cut version. [Cut to remove the cruel killing of a coatimundi ]

Which is an awful lot better than the 5:44s that the BBFC cut on the previous 2001 Vipco DVD where the BBFC cuts were:

  • The killing of a coatimundi has been deleted
  • Our intrepid adventurers witness the riverside murder and mutilation of a woman presumably by her husband. We don't get to witness:
    • the girl being dragged through the mud and having her legs forced apart
    • the girl struggling and being raped with a wooden dildo
    • the man raising a mudball with spikes and the subsequent shot of genital mutilation
  • Another woman getting raped on the river bank has been removed
  • The disembowelling of a giant turtle has been predictably deleted
  • A monkey gets his head sliced open and its blood is drained into a bowl...but not in the censored version
  • The kicking of a tethered pig has been removed and its subsequent shooting and death
  • The rape one of a native girl by 3 men has been reduced
  • The cannibals eventually overpower the adventurers. The woman in the party gets stripped and raped but not in the UK version.
  • The woman's death scene is missing nudity shots.

And of course before that, it was banned as one of the most notable video nasties back in July 1983

Review from imdb : Very well written plot

Cannibal Holocaust was, first and foremost, a disgusting movie with more violence than I have ever seen. Despite this, it is also one of my favorite movies. It gives a feeling of Blair Witch done right, even though there are some very obviously contrived scenes in which nobody is holding the camera, but despite some small cosmetic problems this is the best horror movie I have ever seen.

 

26th September   

Update: Ban Judged to be Overkill...

Australian censors un-ban The House of the Dead Overkill on appeal
Link Here  full story: Banned Games in Australia...Adult games ban

House Dead Overkill Extended Cut House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut has been re-classified MA15+ on appeal.

A three member panel of the Classification Review Board has by unanimous decision determined that the computer game should be classified MA 15+ with the consumer advice strong horror violence, strong coarse language .

The decision overturns the ban imposed by the Film Classification Board. The Review Board convened in response to an application from Sega Australia Pty Ltd, to review the decision made by the Classification Board on 23 August 2011 for the computer game House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut. The Board classified the computer game RC (Refused Classification).

For perspective, the game was passed 18 uncut by the UK censors of the BBFC.

Update: Review Board Reasoning

5th November 2011. See article from refused-classification.com

The review board outlined their decision as follows:

It is the view of the Review Board that the violence in this computer game, occurring in a familiar fighting game format, is stylised, unrealistic and graphically relatively unsophisticated compared to other computer games available in the Australian market. Given the fantasy theme of zombie horror and the characteristics of that genre, the violence, although frequent, is justified by context. The zombies and mutants themselves and most of the combat action involving them is lacking in realistic detail and occurs at a distance rather than in close up. The zombies and mutants are visually homogeneous and with a couple of exceptions that are individually grotesque, are not humanised. Victims and blood and gore disappear within seconds from the game. The settings in Bayou City are stylised and not realistic. It is therefore the opinion of the Review Board that the cumulative impact of the violence in the game is no higher than strong and as noted above, is justified by the fantasy zombie horror, rail shooter context.

In addition, the game contains frequent strong, coarse language which is not aggressive and is used conversationally. The cumulative impact of this language is no higher than strong.

As the impact of both the violence and the language in House of the Dead: Overkill Extended Cut is strong, the game is not suitable for persons under the age of 15.

 

26th September   

Update: X-Factor for the Hot Tub...

Daily Mail has fun being 'outraged' at the X-Factor
Link Here  full story: UK TV Talent Shows...A talent for whingeing

x factor 2011 logoThe Daily Mail have obtained a trivial sound bite from Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch-UK on the subject of a welcome party for X-Factor contestants:

A couple of weeks ago Simon Cowell was making out there wasn't going to be a re-run of the Rihanna and Christina Aguilera scenes last year.

But they have to take their responsibilities seriously -- because they are not at the moment. Party-time: The boys contestants when they were told they had Gary Barlow as their mentor

They also have a duty of care to the kids, not just on the show, but also those watching at home.

More than enough for a Daily Mail article of easy 'outrage' at X-Factor. The newspaper wrote:

The X Factor was embroiled in a fresh sleaze row after screening raunchy scenes from a contestants' drink-fuelled party before the watershed.

The ITV1 show was accused of not taking its responsibilities seriously after it featured scenes of bikini-clad youngsters getting drunk, kissing intimately and frolicking in a hot tub.

The footage, which was broadcast on Saturday at 8.15pm, was filmed over the summer during a welcome party for 186 contestants at the show's so-called Bootcamp stage.

Hours earlier, it emerged that one contestant had been involved in a pornographic video while another was said to have confessed to spending £ 30,000 on drugs in the past.

Critics attacked Simon Cowell and other show bosses for the raunchy scenes, which come just months after the furore over lewd performances by pop stars Rihanna and Christina Aguilera last December.

An ITV source said over-18s were given three drinks vouchers and those under 18 were allowed only soft drinks, adding: The bar and party were under strict supervision at all times.'

...Read the full article

 

26th September   

Updated: Dear Censor...

BBC programme promising to lift the lid on the BBFC
Link Here

dear censor Dear Censor
BBC 4, Thursday 29th September at 10pm

Lifting the lid on the world of cinema censorship, this programme has unique access to the files of the British Board of Film Classification. Featuring explicit and detailed exchanges between the censor and film-makers, Dear Censor casts a wry eye over some of the most infamous cases in the history of the board.

From the now seemingly innocuous Rebel Without a Cause, the first naturist films and the infamous works of Ken Russell, and up to Rambo III, this frank and surprisingly warm documentary demonstrates how a body created by the industry to safeguard standards and reflect shifts in public opinion has also worked unexpectedly closely with the film-makers themselves to ensure that their work was able reach an audience.

Offsite Review: Dear John

26th September 2011. See article from heraldscotland.com by Damien Love

Dear John, I have cleared up the shit on the altar, slashed the whipping, and cut the orgy in two ..." When it comes to history's great correspondences, the exchange of letters between Ken Russell and John Trevelyan in the spring of 1971 might not quite make the grade as enlightening literature for the ages -- but it is highly entertaining.

...Read the full article (disable javascript to remove the need to register)

 

26th September   

Update: Child Beating...

Religious book on the subject of chastising children cleared by New Zealand censor
Link Here  full story: To Train Up a Child...Religious book advocating beating children
Train Up Child Michael Pearl A book teaching parents how to smack, thump and pull their children's hair has been submitted to the New Zealand book censor.

The Censorship Compliance Unit assessed the book, written by fundamentalist Christians Michael and Debi Pearl, and decided not to ban or restrict it.

A spokesman for the Department of Internal Affairs, which the office and unit belong to, said while the book was contrary to section 59 of the Crimes Act, which stated a parent or guardian could not use any force on a child for the purpose of correction , that wasn't sufficient reason to justify restricting or banning the 20-year-old book.

The complainant could, however, ask that the Office of Film and Literature Classification also investigate the book's content.

To Train Up A Child courted controversy worldwide after a California couple who followed its instructions were convicted of murdering their seven-year-old adopted daughter.

 

26th September   

Book Censorship in New Zealand...

A whole library of 1319 banned books
Link Here
Inside Linda Lovelace Star Throat A total of 1319 books are banned in New Zealand and a further 728 are age restricted in some way.  About one third of these have been listed since 1987.

Many are of a sexual nature, deal with violence, horror and crime and might have only been fully read by one book censor in New Zealand who decided they shouldn't be available to the rest of us.

Some of the titles belonging to 'objectionable' or restricted books included Confessions of a Pimp , Horny Housewife , Inside Linda Lovelace and A Lesbian Happening.

It was up to the Office of Film and Literature Classification and the Censorship Compliance Unit to assess books, films, DVDs and even T-shirts and determine whether they should be banned or restricted.

It has to include sex, horror, crime, cruelty or violence in some way for us to ban or restrict it, the office's advisor Michelle Baker said. Items that include offensive language and self harm, risk taking and suicide issues can't be banned, but could be restricted.

Baker said the office hardly reviewed its decisions, unless someone requested it to do so. Books published about homosexuality before it was made legal in 1986 could have been banned at that time and remain so, unless someone had requested they were reviewed.

Books are usually brought to the office's attention by police, customs or the public. The author, publisher, complainant and interested parties are given 14 days to make a submission, while one of the office's 15 censors started reading the book.

Book Censorship Penalties

  • A person found possessing an 'objectionable' book can be sentenced to up to five years in prison, or fined up to $50,000.
  • A person who exhibited or displayed a banned book can be sentenced to up to 10 years in jail.
  • Someone who made a restricted book available to people under the age of restriction can be fined $10,000 or sentenced to three months' jail, and an organisation could be fined up to $200,000.

 

26th September   

Muted Policy...

Indian film censors decide to mute, rather than bleep, 'inappropriate' words
Link Here

CBFC logoThe Indian censor board has decided to do away with the beeps when substituting for 'objectionable' verbal content including expletives, derogatory references to women and specific communities.

In a move to discourage filmmakers from using strong language in cinema, the censor board has decided to mute what the Board sees as inappropriate words.

Pankaja Thakur, the Chief Executive Officer of the Central Board Of Film Certification, said, We have been told beeps don't work. We've decided to mute inappropriate words instead of beeping them.

The new policy will be applicable with immediate effect.

 

25th September   

On Yer Bike...

Malaysian film censors re-clear comedy ghost film accused of insulting islam
Link Here

hantu boncengMalaysian censors have cleared the hit comedy-horror Hantu Bonceng . They were called on to re-evaluate the film after complaints from the Pan-Malaysian Islamic Party (PAS).

The PAS had claimed that the film, which was released in 80 theatres on 31 Aug, contained elements that insulted Islam.

Directed by Ahmad Idham Ahmad Nadzri, the film is about a man haunted by the ghost of a woman killed when riding on his motor bike.

The film was approved by the Malaysian Censorship Board without cuts before release, but the PAS complaints caused the Malaysian Islamic Development Board (Jakim) to take another look. After review, the board said that the film's dialogue was not insulting to islam.

The censor board chairman Raja Azhar Raja Abdul Manap said that censors weigh up all films according to four criteria: public security and order; religion; socio-cultural aspects; ethics and etiquette.

 

24th September   

Update: Britain Stitched Up...

Human Centipede 2 premieres in Texas
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

human centipede part ii The first poster for The Human Centipede 2 (Full Sequence) has been unveiled. And the banned in Britain movie has made its debut at the Fantastic Fest film festival in Texas.

The poster depicts a centipede-like outline made up from 40 people apparently sewn together.

The film will go on US cinema release from 7th October, but the MPAA Unrated version will limit the amount of cinema's partaking in the release.

And as for the first reactions from Fantastic Fest. It seems that the BBFC are doing a far better job of recommending the film than any of the early critics.

Update: US Cuts

6th October 2011. Based on article from newcityfilm.com

While unrated, cuts were made for U.S. distribution, including a rape scene involving barbed wire and sandpaper.

 

24th September   

Gambling with Free Speech...

Romania set to impose internet website blocking in the name of preventing gambling
Link Here

Romania flagRomania is on the verge of censoring the internet supposedly in order to curb the use of  online gambling web sites in that country.

The Romanian Ministry of Finance is going to introduce a new government appointed body of bureaucrats that will oversee online gambling activity there. The body will be authorized to identify websites that are allegedly providing unauthorized gambling to Romanians, and enforce blockage of the web locations.

A government decision made recently requires all ISPs to censor web sites that are blacklisted which include sites that direct Romanians through marketing, advertizing, or promotion to unregulated and unauthorized online gambling locations. There is no formal contact made by the ISP to inform the sites have been blocked or tagged as unauthorized.

Romanian officials from the Ministry of Finance have ignored the arguments from several special interest groups, human rights Non Government Organizations, as well as the internet service providers that Romanian legislation does not require an ISP to comply with orders or requests made by government.

The Ministry of Communication will be government department that will issue blocking orders to Romanian ISPs. It is proposed that there will be a twelve hour window in which the selected service provider must comply or face serious financial penalties for not doing so. There is no recourse for the ISP's as the body set up to ensure compliance has no judicial oversight.

 

24th September   

Keep Australia Beautiful...

Australian nutters wound up by advert for diet bar
Link Here

vitaco keep australia beautiful advertA new group of Australian nutters called Collective Shout had a whinge about a billboard advertisement for a Vitaco diet protein bar.

The ad read Keep Australia Beautiful next to the bikini clad chest of a model.

Collective Shout feel that:

This ad reinforces a narrow standard of beauty and objectifies women. The message is that it is a woman's duty to look a certain way for the benefit of others. It may as well say Keep Australia Beautiful by looking hot in a bikini.

Australia's Advertising Standards Board didn't see it that way and dismissed a few complaints along the lines of the Collective Shout whinge. The ASB wrote:

The Board considered Section 2.3 which states: „

Advertising or marketing Communications shall treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and, where appropriate, the relevant programme time zone.

The Board noted the complainants concerns that the image is in a public place where it is visible by a broad audience, including children. The Board noted that the model is clearly clothed in a bikini and the image used is viewed in connection with the text, making a clear association between the image of the woman and the product being advertised ie: a food product designed to assist with weight management and good health.

The Board noted that although the focus of the image is on the woman.s body and particularly her chest, she is well covered by the bikini, is not in a sexualized pose and the image does not include any nudity. The Board considered that the image of the woman was not overtly sexualised and that most members of the community would consider the image a nice image of a woman at the beach.

The Board noted that the size of the advertisement and the placement on public transport meant that the relevant audience was very broad and could include children, however, the Board considered that the image was relatively mild and unlikely to be considered sexualised by most members of the community. The Board considered that most members of the community would not find the advertisement offensive.

The Board considered that the advertisement did treat sex, sexuality and nudity with sensitivity to the relevant audience and that it did not breach Section 2.3 of the Code.

But Collective Shout now feel that they have achieved a bit of a victory after they were contacted by Vitaco and were told that the Keep Australia Beauitful campaign will now be laid to rest.

 

24th September   

Update: Not So Super Girl...

Chinese TV censor ends phenomenally successful talent show
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in China...TV censors SARFT

super girl china tvSuper Girl, a Chinese TV talent show along the lines of Pop Idol , will not return to the screen in 2012 despite phenomenal ratings and popularity.

China Daily reports that the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) claimed that the show violated a cap on screen time. The premiere in July lasted 182 minutes, while SARFT caps shows at 90.

Instead, the channel will air programs that promote moral ethics and public safety and provide practical information for housework, Li Hao, spokesperson for the channel, told China Daily.

Super Girl , which premiered in 2004, allowed viewers to vote for their favorite singer through text messages and phone polls. Kathrin Hill of the Financial Times reports that this Western-style of voting was seen as subversive by some officials. Liu Zhongde, an official with the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, told Danwei.com in 2006 that the show was poison for the youth :

The 2005 season finale was watched by 400 million. It is also claimed that public votes cast throughout the last season totaled 1.2 billion.

 

23rd September   

Game Transfer Phenomena...

NHS slap down Daily Mail hype about a new direction of research into the psychology of games playing
Link Here

In the wake of Grand Theft Auto being mentioned in a murder trial, the Daily Mail seized upon a piece of research about computer gaming.

The Daily Mail reported:

How video games blur real life boundaries and prompt thoughts of violent solutions to players' problems

See article from dailymail.co.uk . By Jenny Hope

Daily Mail logoSome video game players are transferring their screen experiences into the real world - prompting thoughts of violent solutions to their problems, say researchers.

Fans of computers can become so immersed in their virtual environment they do things in the real world as if they were still playing.

The findings come after sailor Ryan Donovan was sentenced to 25 years in jail for shooting dead an officer on a nuclear sub to copy the violent video game Grand Theft Auto.

Researchers at Nottingham Trent University and Stockholm University have for the first time identified evidence of Game Transfer Phenomena (GTP), which results in some gamers integrating video experiences into their real lives. The study to be published in the next issue of the International Journal of Cyber Behaviour, Psychology and Learning.

The study involved 42 in-depth interviews with participants aged between 15 and 21 years old, all of whom were frequent video game players and had been recruited from gaming forums.

They thought in the same way as when they were gaming, with half of participants often looking to use something from a video game to resolve a real-life issue.

In some cases these thoughts were accompanied by reflexes, such as reaching to click a button on the controller when it wasn't in their hands, while on other occasions gamers visualised their thoughts in the form of game menus.

...

Violent solutions to real life conflicts appeared to be used by few of the players, at least in their imaginations says the study.

One 15-year-old gamer said: There (in the video game) you can get guns. This I want to do in real life, to get some guns, shoot down people. This I want to do sometimes with irritating people.

The study concluded: The close resemblance to real life scenarios in video games may have opened a 'Pandora's Box for some players.

...Read the full article

The UK's national health service has responded to this Daily Mail write up and added a much needed bit of perspective:

Video games blur reality , claims newspaper

Based on article from nhs.uk

nhs logoThe Daily Mail has today reported that video games blur real life boundaries and prompt thoughts of violent solutions to players' problems .

This headline is based on a small study exploring whether frequent video game players integrated elements of video game playing into their real lives - a theoretical process the researchers called game transfer phenomena (GTP). The study showed that most gamers experienced GTP, including experiencing brief involuntary impulses to perform actions as they would when playing a game. For example, they might try to click a button on their controller while it was not in their hand.

It is important to note that not all the players were affected by the games and the degree that people were affected varied significantly from person to person. Additionally, it is not clear from this study whether GTP was related to the game played or whether it related to the specific characteristics of individual game players. Many of the actions reported by participants were also unusual or novel, and do not provide evidence that games affect perception of behaviour. For example, one participant said that they like to pack their suitcase neatly like Tetris blocks.

Further studies will be needed to investigate whether GTP is a real, significant phenomenon and the potential link between GTP and a player's individual characteristics.

...

The Daily Mail's report covering this study tended to focus on the violent and negative aspects of game transfer phenomena (GTP) highlighted in the study. The Daily Mail presents GTP as a proven phenomenon with definite results, but the results of this interview-based study are debatable and GTP is still only a theory.

News coverage also linked the study results to a recent murder trial where video games were reportedly implicated. This angle seemed to be a confused addition to news coverage of the research, as it could suggest to readers that games were found to be the primary cause of the incident, or that they could cause ordinary people to consider murder.

...Read the full article

 

23rd September   

Franco Returns...

Spain abandons plan to let politicians vet TV news before airing
Link Here

rtve logoSpain's state broadcaster has buckled in the face of widespread outrage and abandoned a plan to let political representatives review news stories before they air.

The RTVE board, composed of major political party and union representatives, stunned journalists by deciding to give themselves access to the station's internal editing system for news reports. It would allow the politicians to see all the journalists' headlines, videos and interviews while they are being worked on and before they are shown to the public.

The move was swiftly condemned by journalists, party leaders and the public, with some likening it to a return to the practices of the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco.

It opens the door to advance censorship, political control and all kinds of pressure, charged the RTVE news committee, made up of representatives of the channel's news services.

Four RTVE board members from the conservative Popular Party had made the proposal at a meeting. With the abstention of the ruling Socialist Party members of the board, the proposal was passed.

In a sign of protest against the measure, public radio RNE played the music that featured at the start of cinema newsreels during Franco's 1939-75 dictatorship, which contained heavy amounts of propaganda.

 

23rd September   

Update: Family Firstification...

Nutter whinges about Californication dismissed by the New Zealand TV censor
Link Here

Californication Season 1 3 Box Set New Zealand's Broadcasting Standards Authority has declined to uphold a complaint by Family First that popular television show Californication breached the standards of good taste and decency.

Family First's complaint claimed the quantity of offensive words in such a short period of programming plus the repetitive use of some of the most offensive words in the episode (on TV3 on April 18 2011) breached standards of good taste and decency.

The first 30 minutes of the episode, which was prefaced by an Adults Only warning, contained 45 instances of strong language, including what Family First referred to as the most offensive word, presumably 'cunt'.

However, the BSA declined to uphold the complaint, noting the language used in the episode, which screened an hour after the Adults Only watershed of 8.30pm, was in keeping with the 'narrative context' of the series .

Moreover, the most offensive word had been edited out of the public broadcast, appearing only in the online version of the episode on TV3 on-demand.

 

23rd September   

Out of Line...

Study shows that religious views on homosexuality are unacceptable to social media sites
Link Here

nrb logoThe National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), an organization representing the interests of Christian broadcasters and ministries, has released a report showing that social media websites are actively censoring Christian viewpoints.

According to an NRB press release, the group's study examined the practices of Apple and its iTunes App Store, Google, Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, as well as Internet service providers AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, The findings, said the NRB's senior vice president and general counsel, Craig Parshall, were ominous.

The NRB found that among the major players in new media, only Twitter had shied away from Christian opinions.

One of the most conspicuous examples of censorship the NRB found was that targeting viewpoints that challenged the notion that homosexuality is a normal and healthy lifestyle.

As reported by The New American, over the past year Apple has bowed to pressure from homosexual activists to pull two iPhone apps, one by Exodus International, a group that helps individuals leave the homosexual lifestyle, and another that included the text of a Christian document entitled the Manhattan Declaration, which among other things, makes a strong declaration of the sanctity of life, the scriptural view of traditional marriage, and the importance of religious liberty. The NRB study found that of the 425,000 or so apps available through Apple's iTunes App Store, only these two were taken down solely because of the viewpoints they expressed on homosexuality.

Among the other findings of the NRB study, part of its John Milton Project for Religious Free Speech:

  • Facebook has indicated that it will delete all instances of content that it considers to be anti-homosexual.
  • The Google for Non-Profits web tool includes a policy that excludes churches, ministries, and other faith groups that consider religion or sexual orientation in their hiring practices.
  • While virtually all major new media platforms ban what is generally referred to as hate speech, what that definition generally boils down to is unacceptable viewpoints on such issues as homosexuality.

 

22nd September   

Armless Fun...

London Underground ban posters for Lou Reed and Metallica's Lulu album
Link Here

Lulu Lou Reed Posters for Metallica's forthcoming Lulu collaboration with Lou Reed have been banned from the London underground.

According to Henne Music, the authority Transport For London decided it looked too much like graffiti.

Offsite Comment: Sick

See article from blogs.telegraph.co.uk by Lucy Jones

The poster depicts a dismembered, cut and bruised female mannequin. The word LULU, the name of the album, is scrawled across her in coagulated blood by the perpetrator's finger, we presume. Perhaps from cutting up her legs. I've only just stopped feeling sick an hour after seeing it. The artist has made the face as human as possible; this is no lifeless plastic model.

Lou Reed complained about TfL's stand, lamely asking: What would Andy Warhol or Jean Michel Basquiat say of this type of frivolous censorship? Probably something like: Grow up, man. We're not in CBGBs anymore .

Now I'm not one for censorship, and as far as I'm concerned bands can put anything they like on their album sleeves ...BUT... in the context of public transport, the image is hateful.

...Read  the full article

 

22nd September   

Enemies of the Internet...

Four nations initiate a UN motion to impose a repressive 'code of conduct' on the internet
Link Here

UN logoChina, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan have proposed an Internet code of conduct at the United Nations General Assembly. Their document calls on signatories to curb:

the dissemination of information that incites terrorism, secessionism, or extremism, or that undermines other countries' political, economic, and social stability, as well as their spiritual and cultural environment.

Syracuse professor and Internet governance expert Martin Mueller warns of the dangers such codes of conduct could pose.

That section would give any state the right to censor or block international communications for almost any reason.

 

22nd September   

Updated: Ethical oil...

Repressive Saudi tries to repress advert criticising the country for being repressive
Link Here

ethical oil video Saudi Arabia, an oil rich dictatorship, has moved to censor a Canadian television ad that educates Canadian consumers about the oppression of women in Saudi Arabia and the role played by Saudi oil exports in enabling this oppression.

This is a brazen act of domestic political interference by a foreign dictatorship that neither understands nor respects the rights of women or freedom of speech, said Alykhan Velshi, executive director of EthicalOil.org, a grassroots advocacy organization that educates consumers about their choice between ethical oil from Canada's oil sands and conflict oil from dictatorships like Saudi Arabia.

Telecaster Services from the advertising review and clearance service, notified EthicalOil.org that it had received a cease and desist letter from lawyers for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia demanding that approval for EthicalOil.org's ad be withdrawn.

Telecaster Services had approved the ethical oil spot on August 18, 2011 and the ad subsequently ran and completed its run of schedule on the Oprah Winfrey Network (Canada).

In response to the Saudi dictatorship's move, EthicalOil.org is taking the following actions:

  1. The ad has been put back on the air. Starting today the Sun News Network is airing the spot.
     
  2. EthicalOil.org has written to the Saudi Arabian Ambassador in Canada, informing him the ad has been put back on the air and challenging him to a televised debate about the ad and its contents.
     
  3. EthicalOil.org has alerted Foreign Minister John Baird and Dean Allison, Chairman of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade about the incident in writing, calling on the government and the parliamentary committee to investigate a foreign dictatorship trying to censor what Canadians can and cannot see on their televisions.

Update: Canada's Politicians Weigh In

22nd September 2011. See article from sunnewsnetwork.ca

One broadcaster has now caved to legal threats this week and won't run the Ethical Oil advert. But Sun News Network continues to run the ad because it champions free speech and won't cave to threats when it comes to constitutional protections.

Canada's Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird plans to discuss with Saudi Arabian officials their attempts to stop Canadian broadcasters from airing an advertisement that depicts desert oil as unethical, QMI Agency has learned. Baird's spokesman Chris Day said:

We are proud that unlike many countries, the press and third-party organizations are free to speak their minds in reporting and advertising in our country and we will defend their right to do so,

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver said the Saudis should respect rights protected in the Constitution:

Freedom of speech is a core Canadian value and I don't think that Canadians appreciate a foreign country attempting to limit that freedom.

Immigration Minister Jason Kenney added that:

 Canada doesn't take kindly to foreign governments threatening directly or indirectly Canadian broadcasters or media for giving voice to freedom of speech.

 

22nd September   

Not So Liberal Democrats...

LibDems pass motion to restrict the Sun to the top shelf because of Page 3 girls
Link Here  full story: Page 3 Girls...Miserable campaigners whinge about page 3 fun

Lib Dems logoAmongst the motions passed at the Liberal Democrat's 2011 conference is a call to restrict sexualised images in newspapers.

A plan by former MP Evan Harris aims to tackle the projection of women as sex objects to children and adolescents by restricting sexualised images in newspapers and general circulation magazines to the same rules that apply to pre-watershed broadcast media.

The Sun reports that Evan Harris held up photos of page 3 girls during a debate in Birmingham, and argued they - and the Sun newspaper - should only be on the top shelf at newsagents. He said:

OK, these images can be available for adults if they want to access them, but they should have to reach up to a higher shelf than what is at the general view for young people.

Offsite Comment: Taking the liberal out of the Lib Dems

22nd September 2011. See article from spiked-online.com by Patrick Hayes

The Liberal Democrats persist in calling themselves Liberals , while at the same time announcing a range of policies that could deal a bodyblow to individual freedom. From plans to introduce parenting classes, to proposals to ban Page 3 girls and give the state powers to put investigative journalists behind bars, a rebranding as the Illiberal Democrats must surely be in the pipeline.

...Read the full article

 

22nd September   

Less Quiet...

Quiet Flows the Don cut for horse falls
Link Here

Quiet Flows Don Rupert Everett Quiet Flows the Don is a 1976 UK drama by Sergei Bondarchuk. See IMDb

Passed 15 after 6s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 Arrow/Entertainment One R2 DVD

The BBFC commented:

  • Two cuts were required to remove sight of horses being cruelly tripped with wires

 

22nd September   

Straw Dogs...

A new book in the Controversies series by Stevie Simkin
Link Here

Straw Dogs Controversies Stevie Simkin Controversies is a new series of books edited by Stevie Simkin and Julian Petley dedicated to exploring controversial films of the past 40 years or so via in-depth studies of the films and the censorship and other issues that have surrounded them.

A press release introduces the series

Where do the limits of cinema lie?

Murder, rape, torture, theft, blasphemy, ultra-violence , animal cruelty, prostitution, anti-Semitism – is this art or exploitation? Social commentary or sadism? How far should we censor the primal power of film to shock and appall? Controversies , a new series from Palgrave Macmillan, explores films condemned, censored and praised by viewers for their unflinching portrayal of the greatest extremes of human experience, assessing both their impact at the time of release and their subsequent legacies.

First up is Straw Dogs, others in the series will follow in the next few days

From promotional material:

Sam Peckinpah's Straw Dogs ignited fierce debate among censors, critics and audiences on both sides of the Atlantic on its release in 1971. When Amy (Susan George) returns to her home village with her American peacenik husband David (Dustin Hoffman), the residents of this tight-knit Cornish community slowly turn on them. The sexual tension and latent violence finally erupt in an explosion of violence that includes a rape scene that has remained controversial to this day. The film was heavily cut for theatrical release in the US, and the press inspired furore in the UK led to several local councils cutting or banning it outright. Later, caught in the wake of the video nasties panic of the 1980s, Straw Dogs was refused a home-video certificate in the UK for nearly twenty years.

Stevie Simkin's study sheds light on the film's treatment by the BBFC and tracks its subsequent tortuous journey towards home-video release, buffeted by various shifts in the BBFC's policy on representations of sexual violence. But, equally importantly, Simkin provides a highly original account of the making of the film, drawing on extensive research in Peckinpah's archive, including analysis of draft scripts, notes, memos and contemporary press items, as well as insights from a number of Peckinpah's associates, and key figures at the BBFC.

Stevie Simkin is Reader in Drama and Film at the University of Winchester, UK.

Stephen Farber, Film Critic, The Hollywood Reporter:

A swift, compelling read. Thorough and scholarly without the faintest whiff of academic stuffiness, Stevie Simkin's study of Straw Dogs summons up the turmoil of the 1960s and 70s and illuminates the highly charged subject of sexual violence on film.

 

22nd September   

Update: Chilling Effects...

Thai webmaster being tried for the forum comments of a third party
Link Here  full story: Lese Majeste in Thailand...Criticising the monarchy is a serious crime

Prachatai logoThai webmasters are expected to monitor their sites for illegal or inappropriate content. Most Internet companies have policies for dealing with such content, such as takedowns in response to complaints and other feedback. But this may not be enough to escape prosecution in Thailand, which is on the warpath against online political speech. A high-profile trial of an Internet webmaster accused of not keeping sufficiently close tabs on her customers has gotten plenty of attention lately. It has even rung alarm bells among global companies. They worry that Thailand's clampdown on websites is bad for free speech and for e-commerce.

Here's what the Asia Internet Coalition, which includes Yahoo, Google, eBay and other big tech names, said this week:

By holding an intermediary liable for the actions of its users, this case could set a dangerous precedent and have a significant long-term impact on Thailand's economy. It could also end up denying Thai Internet users access to many of the online services they use everyday.

The intermediary in the dock is Chiranuch Premchaiporn, a Thai who runs Prachatai, a political website that used to host a popular online forum. Prachatai closed its forums last year and other political websites have either closed their online forums or restricted the use of anonymous comments.

Premchaiporn's alleged crime was to fail to instantly delete anti-monarchy posts. She says that she did remove the comments when asked by authorities. The prosecution has said that she had no connection to the posters. But she is still being held liable for what they wrote.

Update: Human Rights Watch Award

23rd September 2011. See article from menafn.com

Chiranuch Premchaiporn, the embattled director of prachaitai.com, has become the first Thai to win the Hellman/Hammett Grant from Human Rights Watch for her commitment to free expression and her courage in the face of prosecution.

Chiranuch, who might face 20 years in jail under the Computer Crimes Act for not deleting 10 messages that were deemed defamatory to the monarchy quickly enough, said that the award also made her sad .

The significance of me being the first Thai to receive this award is an indicator that freedom of expression in Thailand has declined since the September 2006 coup, she said in a statement.

 

22nd September   

Children's Books Only?...

Algiers Book Fair is missing 400 banned books
Link Here

sila logoAlgeria's censorship minister says 400 books were banned from the country's international book fair which has just opened.

Khalida Toumi said at a news conference that the law on importing books banned those supported colonialism, terrorism and racism. Books attacking the national liberation struggle against France were also not allowed in.

 

22nd September   

Emotional Codes...

China bans TV channel for a month over falsified reality TV
Link Here  full story: TV Censorship in China...TV censors SARFT

SARFT logoChina's TV censor has banned a municipal TV channel for one month after one of its programs supposedly misrepresented events, magnified family conflict, and depicted disrespect toward an elderly parent.

The State Administration of Radio, Film and Television (SARFT) said in a circular that the movie channel of Shijiazhuang TV in north Hebei province had magnified distorted ethics and moral values and caused extremely negative social effects.

On June 29, the channel aired the 36-minute talk show Emotional Codes , which purported to depict real-life scenes among a husband, his wife and the man's elderly father. During the segment, the son treated his father disrespectfully, at one point berating him and threatening to take him to court over money. But in fact, the entire scene was scripted, with all three participants paid for their performances by the show's producer.

The SARFT held Shijiazhuang TV responsible for failing to screen its programs ,misleading the public, and tainting the image of radio and TV in its reckless pursuit of ratings. The channel won't be permitted to resume programming until October 17, and then only if it obtains consent from the SARFT.

 

21st September   

Battlefield Whingers...

Battlefield 3 game advert cleared for slot during daytime football match
Link Here

Battlefield 3 Limited PC DVD A TV ad, for an 18 rated console game, was broadcast in April 2011. It included a rapid sequence of action scenes, in war scenarios. Characters held large guns and the scenes included gun fire, rocket fire, multiple explosions, tanks, helicopters and jets. Text on screen included 'THE BEST-LOOKING FIRST-PERSON SHOOTER TO DATE.' - DESTRUCTOID and 'BATTLEFIELD 3 IS UNNERVINGLY BEAUTIFUL.' - JOYSTIQ .

The ad was cleared by Clearcast with an ex-kids restriction, which meant it should not be shown in or around programmes made for, or specifically targeted at, children. Issue

The ASA received four complaints from members of the public, who saw the ad during a football match at 6.15 pm.

1. The complainants objected that the violence in the ad was offensive, in particular because they believed it glorified war.

2. Two of the complainants also challenged whether the ad was appropriately scheduled, because it was broadcast at a time when children might be watching.

ASA Decision

1. Complaint Not upheld

The ASA noted Battlefield 3 was a console game based in war scenarios, some of which included shooting and explosions, and that the action sequences in the ad reflected that. We also noted, however, the ad did not include any direct interpersonal violence and also showed some war situations that did not include any gunfire or explosions. We considered the graphics and the inclusion of captions from reviews, as well as the PEGI rating, made clear the ad was for a game and therefore viewers would understand the footage did not reflect real life.

We considered it was clear, particularly in the context of the other quotation on screen, that the text 'BATTLEFIELD 3 IS UNNERVINGLY BEAUTIFUL.' - JOYSTIQ formed part of a review of the product and viewers were therefore likely to interpret it as a comment on the quality of the game, rather than on war itself. We acknowledged some viewers might find the product, or the content of the ad, to be in poor taste but considered it was unlikely to be seen to condone real life violence or to glorify war. We concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.

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

2. Complaint Not upheld

We considered the ad did not feature scenarios that were likely to have a directly harmful influence on older children; the sequences shown were clearly fictional and were therefore unlikely to cause harm to older children by condoning violence. Because it was based on war scenarios and included shooting and explosions, we considered the ad could cause harm to younger children but that the ex-kids restriction was sufficient to ensure the ad would not be broadcast at times when younger children would be watching TV alone. We considered the ad had been appropriately scheduled and the ex-kids restriction was sufficient.

On this point, we investigated the ad under BCAP Code rules 32.1, 32.3 and 32.4.8 (Scheduling of television and radio advertisements) but did not find it in breach.

 

21st September   

Updated: Fag End Campaigners...

Anti-tobacco nutters think their own pet interests are above all other considerations in film classification
Link Here  full story: Adult Rating for Smoking...Anti-smoking lobby for 18 for smoking in films

UKCTCS logoTobacco campaigners have attacked incompetent film regulators and insouciant politicians for failing to act upon evidence suggesting that teenagers are being lured into smoking by seeing it in movies.

The call by the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies for a complete overhaul of film regulation to protect young people from pervasive and highly damaging imagery has been rejected despite what the centre considers compelling evidence.

 Alison Lyons and John Britton from the centre wrote:

Smoking in films remains a major and persistent driver of smoking uptake among children and young people, which the actions of irresponsible film makers, incompetent regulators and insouciant politicians are abjectly failing to control.

Researchers at the University of Bristol found that 15-year-olds most exposed to films in which characters smoked were 73% cent more likely to have tried a cigarette, and nearly 50% more likely to be a current smoker, than those who watched the fewest films featuring smoking.

The campaigners call for films that feature smoking to be automatically classified as 18 and to be regarded as dangerous as illicit drugs and violence.

A Department of Culture, Sports and Media spokesman said:

The Government believes the current arrangements provide sufficient control on the depiction of smoking in films and a total ban would be a disproportionate interference. This action would undermine the credibility, and therefore the quality, of domestically produced films.

Update: BBFC Reply

21st September 2011. See article from telegraph.co.uk

The BBFC said its current guidelines were proportionate; take due account of the available evidence of harm; and reflect the clear wishes of the public .

David Cooke, the board's director, said:

Glamorising smoking has been included as a classification issue in our published classification guidelines.

There is, however, no public support for automatically classifying, for instance, a PG film at 18 just because it happens to contain a scene of smoking.

 

21st September   

Update: Protest Censorship...

Yahoo! Mail found blocking emails about Wall Street protest
Link Here  full story: Social Networking Censorship in the UK...Internet censorship set to solve Britain's broken society

yahoo mail logoPresumably this is along the lines of what Dave Cameron and co are thinking when they talk about internet censorship in times of troubles.

Thinking about e-mailing your friends and neighbors about the protests against Wall Street happening right now? If you have a Yahoo e-mail account, think again. ThinkProgress has reviewed claims that Yahoo is censoring e-mails relating to the protest and found that after several attempts on multiple accounts, we too were prevented from sending messages about the Occupy Wall Street demonstrations.

Over the weekend, thousands gathered for a Tahrir Square -style protest of Wall Street's domination of American politics. The protesters, organized online and by organizations like Adbusters, have called their effort Occupy Wall Street and have set up the website: www.OccupyWallSt.org. However, several YouTube users posted videos of themselves trying to email a message inviting their friends to visit the Occupy Wall St campaign website, only to be blocked repeatedly by Yahoo.

ThinkProgress emails relating to the OccupyWallSt.org protest were blocked with the following message (emphasis added):

Your message was not sent Suspicious activity has been detected on your account. To protect your account and our users, your message has not been sent. If this error continues, please contact Yahoo! Customer Care for further help. We apologize for the inconvenience.

And in a later update:

Yahoo's customer care Twitter account acknowledges blocking the emails, but says it was an unintentional error: We apologize 4 blocking 'occupywallst.org' It was not intentional & caught by our spam filters. It is resolved, but may be a residual delay.

[Yeah! yeah!]

 

21st September   

Updated: An Outrageous Abuse...

Police cite Official Secrets Act to get the Guardian to reveal its sources in exposing the Milly Dowler phone hacking
Link Here

The GuardianThe Metropolitan police are seeking a court order under the Official Secrets Act to make Guardian reporters disclose their confidential sources about the phone-hacking scandal.

In an unprecedented legal attack on journalists' sources, Scotland Yard claims the act, which has special powers usually aimed at espionage, could have been breached in July when reporters Amelia Hill and Nick Davies revealed the hacking of Milly Dowler's phone. They are demanding source information be handed over.

The Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger, said: We shall resist this extraordinary demand to the utmost .

Tom Watson, the former Labour minister who has been prominent in exposing hacking by the News of the World, said:

It is an outrageous abuse and completely unacceptable that, having failed to investigate serious wrongdoing at the News of the World for more than a decade, the police should now be trying to move against the Guardian. It was the Guardian who first exposed this scandal.

The NUJ general secretary, Michelle Stanistreet, said:

This is a very serious threat to journalists and the NUJ will fight off this vicious attempt to use the Official Secrets Act ... Journalists have investigated the hacking story and told the truth to the public. They should be congratulated rather than being hounded and criminalised by the state.ournalists must operate within the law, but ... we must be careful not to overreact in a way that would undermine the foundations of a free society.

Update: Action Dropped

21st September 2011. See article from guardian.co.uk

The Metropolitan police has dropped its attempt to order the Guardian to reveal confidential sources for stories relating to the phone-hacking scandal.

The Met had been hoping to force Guardian reporters to reveal confidential sources for articles disclosing that the murdered teenager Milly Dowler's phone was hacked on behalf of the News of the World. But after an intervention by the Crown Prosecution Service and widespread outrage, Scotland Yard was forced into an abrupt climbdown.

A Yard source said:

There will be some hard reflection. This was a decision made in good faith, but with no appreciation for the wider consequences. Obviously, the last thing we want to do is to get into a big fight with the media. We do not want to interfere with journalists. In hindsight the view is that certain things that should have been done were not done, and that is regrettable.

 

21st September   

Every Freedom is Restricted in Some Way...

Chinese farmer jailed for burning Chinese flag in protest against authoritarian rule
Link Here

China flagA mainland Chinese farmer has been jailed for three weeks after publically burning a Chinese flag in Hong Kong.

Zhu Rongchang from China's southern Jiangxi province pleaded not guilty to flag desecration, arguing that he was exercising his right to free speech.

Magistrate Jason Wan was quoted by the South China Morning Post, as he handed down the judgement:

The court agrees that freedom of speech is a universal value that is respected and pursued by all people, ...BUT... every freedom is restricted in some way. No freedom comes without restrictions. I can appreciate the defendant's trail of thoughts, but his way of expression breached the Hong Kong laws and therefore he is guilty.

Zhu was charged for publicly and wilfully burning the Chinese flag at Golden Bauhinia Square in central Hong Kong. He reportedly lowered the flag from its pole and lit it with a cigarette lighter, in a protest that his lawyer said was aimed at criticising authoritarian rule in mainland China.

 

21st September   

Government 'Protocol Officer'...

Government censor whinges at TV skit featuring prime minister Julia Gillard
Link Here

gillard under flagAustralia's national broadcaster is facing calls for a funding review after a TV comedy showed a fictional prime minister Julia Gillard draped in the national flag after having sex on her office floor.

Conservative opposition MPs said the ABC had overstepped the mark with a scene in which actors playing Ms Gillard and her partner Tim Mathieson cuddled naked and used the flag as a sheet.

Gillard has laughed off the controversy, but a government protocol officer said obliquely that the national flag should not have been shown on the ground.

 

21st September   

Review: A South African Censor's Tale...

By Kobus van Rooyen
Link Here

South African Censors Tale Writer Andre P Brink, in his preface to this book, says that he had the dubious distinction of seeing his novel Kennis Van Die Aand ( Looking on Darkness ) pounced on as the first Afrikaans work of fiction to be banned , and then followed the censorship from the inside. He notes that as the machinations of censorship became pernicious and destructive , literature suffered. During the Seventies the Jacobsen's Index of banned publications was expanded to well more than 20 000 titles, including hundreds of the greatest titles of world literature.

Kobus Van Rooyen takes the reader through the South African censorship history in 14 chapters. He starts with the moral clampdown (1963 to 1975) to where we are today.

Personally, I have no excuse for those pre-1980 times -- I cannot deny that I was involved in the decisions made, and I must confess that I was pondering whether we were not far too strict, Van Rooyen says about his initial days as the youngest (then 33) member among older colleagues.

His endeavours in the Eighties of freeing South Africa from despotic censorship laws were diametrically opposed to conservative doctrine.

By 1985, he (as deputy dean of the law faculty of the University of Pretoria moon-lighting as chairman of the Appeal Board) became aware of the daunting task that lay ahead of me, to free South Africa from the slavery of censorship .

However strongly autobiographical the book is, it makes for interesting and often amusing reading about a dark period and the battle that had to be waged.

l Van Rooyen was chairman of the Publications Appeal Board from 1980 to 1990. He then served as chairman of the Press Council and Broadcasting Complaints Commission (a position he still holds) and chaired the ministerial task group which drafted the new Films and Publications Act from 1994 to 1996.

 

20th September   

Update: Collective Nutters...

A group called Collective Shout claim responsibility for a rating review for A Serbian Film that lead to its ban
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

collective shout logoNew nutters on the block, Collective Shout describe themselves as a new grassroots campaigns movement mobilising and equipping individuals and groups to target corporations, advertisers, marketers and media which objectify women and sexualise girls to sell products and services.

They have also claimed that it was they who called for a review of the R18+ certificate for A Serbian Film. This review led to the R18+ certificate being revoked and for it to be banned instead.

Other groups to have supported Collective Shout in their action are Children of Phoenix and Kids Free 2B Kids

 

20th September   

Update: Losing Facebook...

Pakistan high court orders blocking of Facebook in a long running reaction to the Mohammed cartoons
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Pakistan...internet website blocking

Facebook logoThe Lahore High Court has ordered Pakistan's Ministry of Information and Technology to block access to all websites in Pakistan especially American social networking website Facebook, spreading religious hatred on internet and to submit a compliance report by October 6.

The judge, however, made it clear that no search engine including Google would be blocked.

The court issued this order while hearing a petition seeking a permanent ban on the access to American social networking website Facebook for hosting competition featuring supposedly blasphemous caricatures of Mohammed.

Muhammad & Ahmad, a 'public interest' litigation firm, filed this petition for a permanent ban on access to Facebook for hosting a fresh blasphemous caricature drawing contest world over under a title 2nd Annual Draw Muhammad Day-May 20, 2011 . The petitioner pointed out that Islamic values are being derogated in the name of information that is hurting feeling of billions of Muslims. He said despite order of the court, ministry of information technology did not block websites spreading religious hatred.

 

20th September   

Losing Focus...

US moralist campaigners see donations dwindle
Link Here

 focus on the family 1 logoFocus on the Family, the US pro-censorship group founded by Dr. James Dobson, has announced that it is eliminating 49 more jobs due to declining donations. The organization now employs 650 people, less than half the number it employed at the height of its popularity in 2002.

The group still expects to receive contributions of between $90 million and $95 million for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, which falls short of its projected $105 million budget for the current year.

Also fast losing contributors due to the Republican-caused Great Recession is Family Research Council (FRC), the fundamentalist anti-abortion, anti-contraception, anti-gay-rights, anti-Obama, anti-church/state-separation, anti-tax, anti-stem-cell-research, anti-immigrant, anti-Social-Security, anti-public-education (etc.) group.

In order to accomplish that agenda, however, the group is asking for $1.8 million in last-minute contributions to shore up company coffers before that magic date, Sept. 30, presumeably the end of FRC's fiscal year.

 

20th September   

Driven to Distraction...

Minor strong language on Breakfast TV makes the news
Link Here

drive 2011Viewers of BBC1's Breakfast show were treated to a minor fracas involving the use of the word 'fucking'.

British actress Carey Mulligan, who stars in the new film, Drive , was on the Breakfast couch with her director, Nicolas Winding Refn. Asked about the violence in the movie, about a Hollywood stuntman moonlighting as a criminal getaway driver, he said it was a bit like fucking .

Presenter Bill Turnbull apologised and told the director to try and make the point without using that word .

The director, who apologised after being prompted by the show's presenters, continued:

Oh right... the violence is very much part of the sexual build-up...violence in itself in the movie is an illusion... it's unbelievable. The job is to make it believable. When you do that, the build-up is all about sex. It's all about the build-up.

A BBC spokesman said:

Unfortunately a guest used a swearword during a live interview on Breakfast. Bill Turnbull immediately challenged his language and both presenters apologised to viewers on air.

 

20th September   

Update: Licensed to Spy...

European Parliament calls for export controls on internet surveillance systems
Link Here  full story: Supporting Internet Censorship...US multi-nationals support repressive censorship

fox replay logoInternet applications such as facebook and Twitter played a large role in the Arab spring uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. The hardware and software used by the regimes to monitor and block communications between protestors played an equally important role.

The European Parliament has called for the export of eavesdropping and censorship software to be strictly controlled.

MEP Judith Sargentini said: \

Nokia Siemens has supplied Iran with various items of hardware and software. A British company supplied Egypt's Mubarak regime with the equipment necessary to monitor facebook and Twitter, and the Dutch Fox-it company tried to market a number of products in Tehran and other Arab countries.

Christian Democrat MEP Lambert van Nistelrooij said:

What we need to do is create a list with certain products. Companies proposing to do business with countries that have questionable records when it comes to freedom of speech and freedom of expression, can consult the list and know exactly where they stand.

 

20th September   

Update: Curtains for Russian Social Networking...

Russian led organisation will institute programme to control social networking
Link Here  full story: Internet Censorship in Russia...Russia restoring repressive state control of media

CSTO flagThe Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a Russian-led military cooperation body consisting of Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan, has announced that it will start controlling social networks to avoid the unrest seen in the Arab world.

From The Moscow News:

Sources in CSTO said:

Experts of the highest level are already working on this. The thing is, in the modern environment there is an infrastructure that allows for creating destabilizing situations in any, even the most trouble-free country. Mobile connections, social networks, even NGOs when needed, could be used for these aims.

After the Arab Spring and the much-discussed role of the Internet and social media, we'll see more and more of this Internet panic and knee-jerkism (from suggestions in Britain to shut down social networks after the London riots to this kind of blame-the-Internet-bots-rather-than-the-tyrants approach).

As countries like Belarus, Iran and Myanmar digest the lessons of the Arab Spring, their demand for monitoring technology will grow.

 

19th September   

Update: Political Appeal...

Australia's Review Board re-bans A Serbian Film
Link Here  full story: A Serbian Film...Hype for the most 'outrageous' horror yet

Serbian Film DVD Srdjan Spasojevic Director Srdjan Spasojevic's controversial psychosexual thriller A Serbian Film has been re-banned on appeal by Australia's Classification Review Board.

The CRB will release an official statement later, but their decision overrules the Film Classification Board who passed a cut version with an R18+ rating.

The film's distributor, Accent Films, tweeted:

A SERBIAN FILM has been refused classification by the Classification Review Board. That's democracy, right? What's next, a media inquiry???

And again a little later:

BTW, we have a great relationship with Classification Board. This is really not their doing. It's political.

The film was initially banned by the Classification Board in November 2010. Accent shaved two minutes off the running time, re-submitted it for classification, and it was banned again in February. A second censored version was passed in April and release on DVD in August in every state except South Australia, where it was banned by the state's Classification Council.

Nutter controversy about the film had prompted the Federal Government via Justice Minister Brendan O'Connor to ask the national film classification board to review its decision to allow the film into Australia.

Crikey writes:

One of the side effects of the CRB's decision is that it detracts from the organisation as a reputable decision-making body. To give the film a green light one week, and rescind that decision three weeks later, with potentially significant effects on the stores that bought copies and the distributor which supplied them, sends a message that our classification system is fickle and inconsistent.

 

19th September   

More Demolition...

Recent UK Blu-ray release of Demolition Man is the uncut Taco Bell version
Link Here

Demolition Man Blu ray Region Free Demolition Man is a 1993 US action film by Marco Brambilla. See IMDb

Thanks to Tim

The UK release is uncut for:

I can confirm that the recently released UK Blu-ray of Demolition Man is uncut ( 2 hits to the head and an instance of ear-clapping have been restored). It is also the original Taco Bell print (some European releases were dubbed over with Pizza Hut). However, this is not reflected on the BBFC's site.

This is something I've noticed with several Warner Bros Blu-rays ( Lethal Weapon 4 's uncut status still hasn't been updated). So I would imagine that Cobra (another recent Stallone Blu-ray from Warner Bros) is also uncut, but I can't confirm this.

 

19th September   

Offsite: Press regulation...

Be careful what you wish for
Link Here

Index on Censorship logoAs media standards and sanction are discussed at the Liberal Democrat party conference, John Kampfner warns that distaste at hackgate should not be used as an excuse to tame the feral beasts of the free press

...Read the full article

 

19th September   

Ability Challenged Censors...

Ofcom whinge at America's Next Top Model
Link Here

Americas Next Top Model Cycle America's Next Top Model
Sky Living HD, 9 April 2011, 10:00

America's Next Top Model is an American reality series in which contestants compete in various tasks and photo shoots to win a modelling contract with an international modelling agency.

During this episode of the series, Miss Jay, the „runway coach, advised contestants on how to perfect their catwalk on various surfaces, while also handling various accessories. In giving feedback to one contestant on how she performed this task, Miss Jay said: Michelle, you're walking like you have spina bifida on the right side of your body .

Miss Jay then walked in an exaggerated style as if to mimic the contestant's walk.

Ofcom received one complaint from a viewer who considered that the comment was offensive. The complainant said that this comment was disgusting and a derogatory insult to those who live with the challenges of disability.

We considered the following rule of the Code:

  • Rule 2.3 In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context. Such material may include,...offensive language,... discriminatory treatment or language (for example on the grounds of ... disability ...).

Sky explained that America's Next Top Model is now in its fifteenth series on Sky Living HD. This particular episode, taken from the fourth series, was first transmitted on Living TV in 2005. Sky explained that the episode had been complied for broadcast at the time by the Living TV compliance team and had subsequently been repeated many times on Living TV and Sky Living.

Sky stated that it recognises the potential for offense [sic] that can be caused by such comments and said that the team who complies the programme has been made aware of the issue and the need for sensitivity has been reiterated. It added: accordingly, the offending comment has been removed from the programme for future transmissions.

Ofcom Decision: Resolved

The comments and actions of Miss Jay - criticising the catwalk style of one of the contestants and linking it with spina bifida - had the clear potential to be understood as ridiculing those with spina bifida, a serious physical disability. In Ofcom's view it therefore had the potential to offend.

As regards the degree of harm or offence likely to be caused by the remark, Ofcom noted that the comment by Miss Jay was not aimed at a particular individual with a disability, nor was it used aggressively. However, it could be seen as ridiculing people in society with a particular disability. This impression was reinforced by Miss Jay imitating in a slightly exaggerated way the manner in which contestant had walked. The comments and actions of Miss Jay therefore had the potential to cause considerable offence, especially to those with disabilities. Ofcom concluded that, on balance, there was insufficient context to justify the offence likely to be caused by the comments made by, and actions of, Miss Jay during the programme. The broadcast therefore breached generally accepted standards.

However, Ofcom notes Sky's sincere regret that this incident occurred and its immediate decision to remove the offensive comment from the programme for future transmissions. Ofcom also welcomes the action taken by Sky to remind its compliance team of the need for sensitive treatment of broadcast comments relating to disability. In light of these actions taken by Sky, Ofcom considers this matter resolved.

 

19th September   

Updated: More More...

Barbet Schroeder's More finally uncut for UK DVD/Blu-ray release
Link Here

More DVD Blu ray Mimsy Farmer More is a 1969 Luxembourg/German/French drama by Barbet Schroeder. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut with previous cuts waived for:

  • UK 2011 BFI Online
  • UK 2011 BFI Dual Format R2/RB DVD/Blu-ray at UK Amazon now released
Previously passed 18 after 1:23s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 2003 BFI R2 DVD

The BBFC commented :

  • A cut was required to remove instructive detail of illegal drug use.

See article from worldscinema.com :

  • A scene where Estelle helps Stefan prepare heroin and then shoot up has been cut.
  • There's also a scene where Stefan is preparing something in a mortar and pestle where the sound drops out every time he mentions an ingredient. I do not know if this is also due to the BBFC or is part of the original film.
And before that it was passed X (16) after BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 1970 cinema release

See trailer from youtube.com

Summary review: Cult Classic

A cult classic following Stefan as he hitchhikes across Europe. He meets an American Angel of Death (Mimsy Farmer) who introduces him to sex and heroine.

Notable also for the Pink Floyd soundtrack.

 

19th September   

Update: Reflections of China...

Social networking bosses appear for questioning by parliamentary committee
Link Here  full story: Social Networking Censorship in the UK...Internet censorship set to solve Britain's broken society

home affairs committee 1Commons Home Affairs select committee, 11th September 2011

Following accusations that social media were used to play a key role in the social unrest in August, representatives from Research in Motion, Twitter and Facebook appeared for questioning by the Commons Home Affairs select committee.

Stephen Bates, Managing Director of BlackBerry's Research in Motion, Richard Allen, Director of Policy at Facebook and Alexander McGilvray of Twitter were questioned by the committee, chaired by MP Keith Vaz, regarding the role of social media in the riots which spread across the country in August, and the trio insisted that all three platforms were used as a force for good.

In the midst of the unrest, calls were made to shut down social networking, particularly BlackBerry messenger, as it was suggested that this was being used to organise violence. Cutting off Facebook, Twitter and BlackBerry messenger in times of unrest seems no different to the censoring this kind of media experiences in China and oppressive countries over the world.

The committee heard that should it be necessary, all three of the representatives of the social media, who work within frameworks to condone with the law, would not resist closing down social media, but did not feel that it would be necessary.

Bates, Allen and McGilvray all said that throughout the unrest in August, social media were used in a positive way -- to contact family and friends to advise that users were safe, to help clean-up in the wake of the riots, and perhaps most importantly as a tool of communication, used to quell and correct rumours.

A key issue addressed by the committee was responsibility. Bates admitted that BlackBerry messenger had been used in a malicious way to organise crime, but stressed the need for balance when addressing the issue.

Keith Vaz advised that there may be times when closing down social media was necessary, asking Why should the government not use the powers to close down these networks if there is mass disorder and this is the only way to stop it happening.

 

19th September   

An Inappropriate Sister...

Australian town censors art critical of dolphin slaughter in Japan
Link Here

adrian dwyerA censorship row has erupted in Western Australia after a painting depicting the slaughter of dolphins at Taiji in Japan was excluded from the Shinju Matsuri festival art awards over fears it would offend Broome's Japanese sister town and local Japanese community.

Adrian Dwyer said he was told on the day of the awards that his painting would be withdrawn because Broome wanted to mend its sister city relationship which was fractured in 2009 after an outcry over Taiji's annual dolphin slaughter. He said the move was upsetting and offensive .

The Shire of Broome bowed to international and local pressure to suspend its sister association with Taiji until it stopped killing dolphins. Two months later, a backlash from the local Japanese community in Broome prompted the council to reverse its decision and apologise to Taiji.

Shinju Matsuri president Jillian Philp, who made the decision to withdraw Dwyer's painting, said:

The artwork was insulting to local families and was removed out of respect for the festival. It took a lot for me to withdraw the painting; I am an artist myself ...BUT... I am responsible for the festival community. It was a difficult decision that was not made lightly. The painting was unnecessary, violent and inappropriate.

Taiji is our sister city; we have done a lot of work repairing the damage and we have only just got the door open. To have that painting would have been completely inappropriate.

 

19th September   

Dancing Dmitry...

Russian TV censors parody of dancing president
Link Here

dmitry medvedev dancing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has not publicly cultivated the macho public image of his predecessor, Vladimir Putin, but when it comes to dance-floor grooving, the president has the public's undivided attention.

Medvedev first leaped to disco fame in April when a video shot on a mobile phone at a university reunion and posted on the Internet captured the president boogying in a blue suit (above) to American Boy, the post-Soviet pop anthem.

The president's swinging hips, bobbing shoulders, and robotic dance rhythm won the video hundreds of thousands of hits overnight.

In May, dozens of Russians organized a flash mob near the Kremlin, where they danced to American Boy in a synchronized impersonation of their president.

A Russian comedy act subsequently mimicked Medvedev's dancing and entered a pre-recorded video of their performance in a state television competition on Channel One. They won first prize for their humorous interpretation and reworking of Medvedev's bob-and-strut. Their video has received more than 1 million hits in the last few days:

Channel One editors were, however, less amused, and the parody of the president dancing was mysteriously edited out of the state television show.

The president has no problem with people impersonating him, the BBC quoted a Kremlin spokesperson as saying.

 

18th September   

Time Warp...

Mayor of town in Georgia, US, bans a production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show
Link Here

Rocky Horror Picture Show Single A Mayor in Georgia has shut down a community theater's production of The Rocky Horror Show after deeming it too risque', reports Entertainment Weekly.

A production of the 1973 musical, a send-up of sci-fi and horror movies that was turned into a still-adored cult film in 1975, was slated to open October 27 at the city-owned Carrollton Cultural Arts Center.

After viewing a video clip from rehearsal, Wayne Garner, the mayor of Carrollton,  called the show too risque', overruled the center's board, and canceled it. He told Atlanta's NBC-11 news:

I found it very offensive, not in keeping with the community of Carrolton, if you will.

I know this community well and if that play was allowed to proceed, we'd be run out of town.

The director and cast of the production plan to find private sponsors and produce the play on a different stage in the city.

Update: Successful whip round

3rd February 2012. See article from atlanta.cbslocal.com

A Facebook page was created in solidarity with the production, as well as a Kickstarter campaign.

A viral blitz of media coverage and a grassroots effort were essentially borne out of the cancellation, with thousands offering words -- and dollars -- of support toward getting the production back on its feet after the setback.

Don't Dream It, Be It! Fight Censorship & Fund Rocky Horror! is splashed across the top of the Kickstarter page, which also shows that 84 donors rallied to raise $5,319 for the production.

The show will now up in the Townsend Center for the Performing Arts at the University of West Georgia. And those involved in getting the show off the ground couldn't be happier, especially for the sake of cultivating growing talent.

 

18th September   

Accidental Censors...

Ofcom whinge at US comedy, Accidentally on Purpose shown on daytime Channel 4
Link Here

Accidentally Purpose Dvd Region NTSC Accidentally on Purpose
Channel 4, 30 May to 3 June 2011, 09:25

Accidently on Purpose is an American sitcom about a woman who finds herself accidentally pregnant by a younger man.

A complainant alerted Ofcom to the broadcast of this series at a time when children were likely to be viewing (during the mornings of the week 30 May to 3 June 2011, a week when many schools were on holiday).

The programme that was the subject of the complaint included: a scene in which the main characters visited a gynaecologist and had a discussion about vaginas, dialogue in which a character refers to his ability to get an erection, and a discussion about a female character?s breasts. Ofcom viewed other episodes broadcast between 30 May and 3 June 2011 and noted that these also contained sexual references and, in one episode, an implicit reference to drug use.

Ofcom considered Rule 1.3 of the Code, which states:

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

Channel 4 explained that the series was originally scheduled at 22:00 on E4. It was then repeated at 16:00 on E4. For the purpose of the 16:00 repeat, Channel 4 made edits to the original version so that it was suitable for the earlier timeslot. The edited version of the series was subsequently scheduled at 09:25 on Channel 4.

Channel 4 said that it had reviewed the programme and was of the view that the individual segments complained of were, in isolation, appropriately scheduled and justified editorially. Any references in the programme to relationships, sex, sexuality or anatomy were discreet, inexplicit, ambiguous and vague and therefore unlikely to be understood by children. Nonetheless Channel 4 accepted that the overall tone of the programme was not suitable for scheduling at times when it is reasonably expected that children may be viewing. Given that children were on school holidays at the time of transmission, Channel 4 accepted that the scheduling was inappropriate in the circumstances

Ofcom Decision: Resolved

Having viewed the episodes of this series broadcast between 30 May and 3 June 2011 at 09:25 on Channel 4, Ofcom noted that they included a number of sexual references and, in one episode, an implicit reference to drug use. Ofcom considered that, although a number of the sexual references may not have been easily understood by children, these episodes did contain material whose overall tone was inappropriate if it was reasonably likely that children would be in the audience in fairly high numbers. We considered therefore that these programmes were potentially unsuitable for children.

Channel 4 however: has accepted that it was a regrettable oversight to schedule this series during a school half term break; in future will only broadcast this series when children are not likely to be watching; and, has organised additional internal compliance training in response to Ofcom's concerns. We therefore consider this matter resolved.

 

18th September   

Update: Pride for Some, Scary for Others...

Apple removes database of celebrity's religion from App store in France
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

jew or not jewApple Inc has removed an app, called Jew or Not Jew? , from its online App Store in France. The app let users consult a database of celebrities and public figures to determine if they are Jewish or not. The app was selling for 0.79 euro.

Its removal follows a complaint from a French anti-racism group that threatened to sue Apple. SOS Racisme had argued that the app violated France's strict laws banning the compiling of people's personal details without their consent. Under the French penal code, stocking personal details including race, sexuality, political leanings or religious affiliation is illegal.

In a statement, SOS Racisme had called on Cupertino, California-based Apple to remove the app from its online store and be more vigilant about the applications it sells.

Apple spokesman Tom Neumayr said the app did violate local law, so it was removed from the French App Store. It is still available outside France, however, and currently sells for US$1.99 through Apple's US App Store.

App developer Johann Levy said he developed the app to be recreational :

As a Jew myself I know that in our community we often ask whether a such-and-such celebrity is Jewish or not. For me, there's nothing pejorative about saying that someone is Jewish or not. On the contrary, it's about being proud.

 

18th September   

Update: Cryptic Response...

Newzbin 2 takes evasive action against the BT website blocking ordered by the UK High Court
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking File Sharing in UK...High court dictates website block

newzbin2 logoThe operators of Usenet indexing site Newzbin2 have introduced measures to circumvent court-ordered web-blocking measures designed to render the site inoperable in the UK.

Site staff aren't revealing how the stand-alone software client works but some basic network packet analysis shows that it defeats ISP BT's Cleanfeed censorship system by using a handful of techniques including encryption.

Following a complaint from the Motion Picture Association, earlier this year a judge at London's High Court ordered leading UK ISP BT to block subscriber access to Usenet indexing site Newzbin2.

TorrentFreak ran some basic tests on the Newzbin2 client today which revealed that it does indeed defeat known features of Cleanfeed in a number of ways. Initially the client tries to resolve the site's domain name to an IP in the usual manner via DNS, but from there, and without going into too many details, an encrypted session is initiated between the client and the Newzbin2 site in a way that Cleanfeed won't like, rendering blocking impractical and snooping more or less impossible.

Perhaps from the viewpoint of the UK authorities website blocking could prove to be a bit of a nightmare as it drives more and more people to take evasive action, that will surely make general eavesdropping a whole lot more difficult.

 

18th September   

Diary: Banned Books Week...

Events throughout the USA
Link Here

Twilight Saga Stephenie Meyer Banned Books Week
September 24-October 1, 2011

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.

Intellectual freedom---the freedom to access information and express ideas, even if the information and ideas might be considered unorthodox or unpopular---provides the foundation for Banned Books Week. BBW stresses the importance of ensuring the availability of unorthodox or unpopular viewpoints for all who wish to read and access them.

The books featured during Banned Books Week have been targets of attempted bannings. Fortunately, while some books were banned or restricted, in a majority of cases the books were not banned, all thanks to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers, and members of the community to retain the books in the library collections. Imagine how many more books might be challenged---and possibly banned or restricted---if librarians, teachers, and booksellers across the country did not use Banned Books Week each year to teach the importance of our First Amendment rights and the power of literature, and to draw attention to the danger that exists when restraints are imposed on the availability of information in a free society.

 

17th September   

Offsite: Meet the Censors...

The Independent talks to censors from BBFC, IWF, ASA and Ofcom
Link Here

shocked censorThey have the power to ban a film, withdraw an advert or shut down a website. But how do Britain's censors decide what goes beyond the boundaries of good taste? Holly Williams meets the nation's moral guardians

Rebecca Mackay of the BBFC revealed"

We reject the granting of certificates very rarely. Fifty years ago, we were rejecting films that now we might classify as a '15'. Now, we're classifying things with greater potency, because shocking and offending is just shocking and offending.

Fred Langford of the Internet Watch Foundation revealed:

We also took on obscene adult content, so that's anything likely to deprave and corrupt -- which is quite subjective. Because of the shifting landscape, we only act when the content is potentially illegal, and a legal precedent has been set. We don't see ourselves as censors of the internet. If it's criminal offline, it's criminal online. Simply inappropriate content isn't within our remit.

There's no place for vigilantes searching for this content, but if a member of the public stumbles across it, they can report it on our website. The number of reports vary from 150 to over a thousand, though that would be an unusually busy day. We have four analysts and a hotline manager.

Louisa Bolch of the Advertising Standards Authority revealed:

More interesting is the stuff around taste and decency, and harm and offence. We ask, is this something the majority are going to find offensive? Or is this something which is going to offend a much smaller number of people, but offend them so much that actually when you weigh in the balance the advertisers' right to freedom of expression versus the amount of offence it's caused, you say it's too great. That's a really grey area -- we will discuss them for quite a long time. We don't withdraw adverts lightly; it's a serious business. The meetings can be really good fun, but there's a lot at stake. If it's not clear cut, at the end of the day we have a voting mechanism.

Alison Marsden of Ofcom revealed:

Ofcom isn't a censor; we don't have any powers before broadcast. We have to take into account freedom of expression -- broadcasters' and audiences' rights to impart and receive material. [...BUT...] The counterpoint to that is that, intervening post-transmission, we have some pretty strong legal powers to impose sanctions where necessary, so there is an incentive for broadcasters to comply.

...Read the full article

 

17th September   

Censured Girls on Film...

No Ofcom watershed concession for arts channel
Link Here

girls on film duran duran video Duran Duran: Video Killed the Radio Star
Sky Arts 1, 25 June 2011, 09:45

Sky Arts 1 is a channel specialising in cultural content, including music, literature and films.

Ofcom received a complaint from a viewer who had been watching this programme with her eight year old niece. The complainant alerted Ofcom to the issue of the broadcaster transmitting on a Saturday morning at 09:45 excerpts from a music video which included various shots of topless women and of nudity, which the complainant considered provocative, sexualised…and unacceptable for transmission before the watershed .

This documentary discussed the making of a number of music videos by the pop band Duran Duran in the 1980s. Extended clips of each music video were shown and discussed, in interviews, by two members of the band and other people involved. We noted that one of the music videos discussed in the programme was originally made and released in 1981 and was for the song „ Girls on Film? . Clips of this music video included various instances of topless female performers in a variety of sexualised situations. For example, we noted: two topless performers mud-wrestling; two topless performers pillow fighting; and a female performer taking off a fur coat in a provocative manner to expose her breast to camera. We also noted a shot of a fully naked female performer, in side-profile, writhing in a chair, while using a hairdryer to blow air over her body. This was immediately followed by a close up of an ice cube being rubbed against a female nipple.

Ofcom considered Rules of the Code:

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

  • Rule 1.21: Nudity before the watershed must be justified by the context .

Sky said that the excerpts from the music video showing topless women and of nudity were compliant with Rules 1.3 and 1.21 because they were appropriately scheduled and justified by the context.

The main factors Sky referred to as making the scheduling appropriate were:

  • Sky Arts 1 is not a channel that is intended to appeal to children. The Licensee pointed to audience research figures showing that on this and the seven previous occasions when this episode had been shown pre-watershed on Sky Arts 1 no children were recorded as watching;

  • the programme was part of a series which did not have an inherent appeal to children because it primarily focussed on bands from the 1980s such as Spandau Ballet and A-ha as well as Duran Duran. As a result it would have appealed to viewers whose formative years was during the 1980s ;

  • the programme discussed the content of each Duran Duran video and extracts were included to illustrate the discussion. They were not included on a standalone or gratuitous basis ;

  • the content would not have exceeded viewers? expectations because the channel attracts an adult audience which expects stronger, more provocative material , and as part of a series the programme had an established base of viewers; and

  • it was well-known that controversy surrounded the „Girls on Film? video; and viewers were informed on the Sky electronic programme guide that this video was to be discussed.

  • the video clips were not gratuitous, were fleeting , and were used sparingly, and to inform the viewer rather than be provocative or arousing; and

  • there were no explicit scenes of sexual activity.

Sky concluded by saying that having been notified of Ofcom's investigation into this material it would not show this programme again in any pre-watershed slot until this case was concluded.

Ofcom Decision: Resolved

Ofcom had to consider first whether this broadcast material was unsuitable for children. We noted that the clips included various instances of topless female performers in a variety of sexualised situations, as described in the Introduction, including in particular a shot of a fully naked female performer, in side-profile, writhing in a chair, while using a hairdryer to blow air over her body, and a close up shot of an ice cube being rubbed against a female nipple. In Ofcom's view, the cumulative effect of the clips of Girls on Film? featured in the programme was to convey a highly sexualised theme.

We also considered the descriptions of the content of Girls on Film? made by interviewees in the programme. We noted that the interviewees acknowledged the strength of the images included in the music video. For example, one of the band members, Simon Le Bon, variously described the music video as dead sexy and a sexy video . One of the co-directors of the music video, Kevin Godley, described the music video as soft porny . This interviewee also described what he perceived to be the band's rationale for making the music video: You want a film that people are going to talk about, to spread the word. Sex always does that - still .

Taking account of all these factors, it was Ofcom's view that the content of this particular music video was not suitable for children

Although the extracts from the video were used to illustrate the documentary, in Ofcom's opinion overall they were too extensive. Further, some of the shots were too sexualised. Therefore, Ofcom considered that, on balance, the material was not appropriately scheduled at 09:45 on a Saturday morning.

We considered that there was some context provided by the fact that the images in question were broadcast to illustrate a serious music documentary shown on an arts channel aimed at an adult audience; and that the strength of the images was reduced by their being interspersed in split-screen style with interview clips. However, we cannot agree with Sky that the images were fleeting .

Ofcom concluded that the context was insufficient to justify the broadcast of nude images in a sexualised setting, at 09:45 on a Saturday when there was a material chance of children being in the audience, some unaccompanied.

We noted however that, having been notified of Ofcom's investigation into this material, Sky immediately decided not to show this programme again in any pre- watershed slot until this case was concluded, and subject to Ofcom's guidance would make appropriate edits to the material. In view of these points, Ofcom considers this matter resolved

 

17th September   

TV on Hold...

Kyrgyzstan bans live foreign TV during election campaign
Link Here

Kyrgyzstan flagOn the eve of its presidential election campaign, Kyrgyzstan has imposed a ban on real-time broadcasts by international, primarily RussianTV channels.

Earlier in June, the former-Soviet republic's parliament passed a law On Information Security . Under the law, during the election campaign all international TV channels available in Kyrgyzstan can only be shown on delayed feed.

Prior to deciding whether the video is suitable for being aired or not, Kyrgyz broadcasters will have to watch and record international TV channels' programs. Then, if no untoward messages are detected, they will be shown to the republic's viewers. Programs and reports that discredit presidential candidates will be cut out.

Now the vexed problem that chiefs of Kyrgyz channels are facing is how exactly the new rules can be followed. First of all, there are no clear criteria for what is suitable or not for being shown on TV. Secondly, there are no professionals who would be able to deal with the task. And, finally, the majority of Russian TV channels are being broadcast through cable networks.

The presidential vote in Kyrgyzstan is scheduled for October 30.

 

16th September   

Perfect Clones...

BBFC waive their cuts to Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones for the new Complete Saga Blu-ray
Link Here

Star Wars Complete Episodes Blu ray Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones is a 2002 US Sci-Fi film by George Lucas. See IMDb

Passed PG uncut with previous BBFC cuts waived for:

The US release is uncut and MPAA PG Rated for:

Previously the film was passed PG after 1s of BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 2002 20th Century Fox R2 DVD
  • UK 2002 cinema release

The BBFC commented: Company chose to cut sight of a head butt to achieve a "PG". A "12" uncut was available

  • The cut head butt was in the fight scene between Obi-Wan and Jango Fett.

Star Wars: The Complete Saga Blu-ray:

9 Disc Set:

  • Star Wars: Episode 1: The Phantom Menace
  • Star Wars: Episode 2 - Attack Of The Clones
  • Star Wars: Episode 3 - Revenge Of The Sith
  • Star Wars: Episode 4 - A New Hope
  • Star Wars: Episode 5 - The Empire Strikes Back
  • Star Wars: Episode 6 - Return Of The Jedi

Special Features:

  • Audio Commentary for Each Movie with George Lucas and Crew
  • Never-Before-Released Audio Commentary for Each Movie from Archival Interviews with Cast and Crew

Bonus discs 1 & 2:

New Star Wars Archives Content Includes:

  • 45 Deleted/Extended Scenes
  • Cast & Crew Interview
  • Props, Maquette and Costume Turnarounds
  • Matte Paintings and Concept Art

Bonus disc 3:

In-Depth Documentaries and Featurettes:

  • The Making of Star Wars, 1977
  • The Empire Strikes Back: SPFX, 1980
  • Classic Creatures: Return of the Jedi, 1983
  • Anatomy of a Dewback, 1977 - Star Warriors, 2007
  •  Star Wars Tech, 2007
  • A Conversation with the Masters: The Empire Strikes Back 30 Years Later, 2010
  • PLUS over 90 Minutes of Star Wars Spoofs!

 

16th September   

Offsite: Keep Filming! Kill More People!...

Guardian piece on Cannibal Holocaust:
Link Here

Cannibal Holocaust Ruggero Deodatos Edit Cannibal Holocaust is a 1979 Italian adventure by Ruggero Deodato. See IMDb

The pre-cut Ruggero Deodato's New Edit [Cut to remove the cruel killing of a coatimundi ] was passed 18 without further BBFC cuts for:
  • UK 2011 Shameless Blu-ray, at UK Amazon for release on 26th September 2011
  • UK 2011 Shameless R2 DVD, at UK Amazon for release on 26th September 2011

The Guardian has written an article on this iconic video nasty:

First you take the liver out, then you open the rib cage and take the innards out. Then you fill it with hot stones and aromatic herbs ... Ruggero Deodato is explaining how to eat a human being. Not that he's done it, or has he met anyone who has -- but when it comes to cannibalism, the 72-year-old director is still something of an authority. In 1980, Deodato released what is still regarded in many quarters as the most controversial film ever made: Cannibal Holocaust, now being rereleased for home consumption, if that's the right word.

...Read the full article

 

16th September   

Update: Like Censors in a Candy Shop...

Ofcom whinges about daytime trailers for Candy Bar Girls
Link Here

candy bar girls logo Candy Bar Girls (Trailers)
Channel 5, 5*, 18 to 29 June 2011, various times before 21:00

34 complainants alerted Ofcom to potentially offensive content in trailers for the programme Candy Bar Girls which were broadcast at various times before the 21:00 watershed on Channel 5 and 5*. Some complainants also considered the trailers were inappropriate for children when shown at this time.

Candy Bar Girls is a documentary series on Channel 5 that follows regular customers and staff from the Candy Bar, a well-known lesbian night club in London's West End.

Trailer One

In this trailer, music was played over various shots of the lips (including a close up of one woman pursing her lips suggestively), faces and upper bodies of two young women, who were sweating and appeared sexually aroused or engaged in sexual activity. These shots were interspersed with three separate full-screen neon-like signs, which read consecutively:

Red Hot Lesbians .

The trailer ended by cutting to a wide shot of the two women exercising in a gym (one on a treadmill and one doing sit-ups). The voice over then said:

Well, what were you expecting? Real lesbians, real lives, no clichés, Candy Bar Girls coming soon to Channel Five .

The woman doing sit-ups then said: I really need a shower, and the other woman squirted her with a water bottle.

Trailer Two

In this trailer music was played over a shot of a young woman who was sitting in a high-backed armchair facing away from camera so her face and body were largely hidden. A second young woman then walked in and knelt down in front of the seated woman, gave her a suggestive look and then leant forward so that her face disappeared from view but appeared to go into the crotch of the seated woman, giving the impression that she was performing oral sex on her. These images were interspersed with three separate full-screen neon-like signs, which said:

Pussy Loving Ladies .

Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, Issue 189 12 September 2011 28 A voice over then said:

Well, what were you expecting? Candy Bar Girls coming soon to Channel 5 .

The kneeling woman then leant back and stated: Nice pussy . The seated woman replied: Thanks, I just got it stuffed. The seated woman then showed the other woman a stuffed toy on her lap in the shape of a cat.

Ofcom considered rules:

  • Rule 1.3: Children must ... be protected by appropriate scheduling from material that is unsuitable for them.
  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.

Channel 5 explained both trailers were initially scheduled for transmission at any time, with the restriction [emphasis in original] that when scheduled pre-watershed, they could not be scheduled in or around programming aimed at children or programming which was anticipated to have an under 16 audience of more than 7% under 16s (i.e. they were rated EX KIDS ) .

According to Channel 5, the decision was made to schedule the two trailers with this restriction because:

  • although both trailers contain suggestions of sexual behaviour neither is explicit and the double entendre in both would be unlikely to be understood by children;
  • the double entendre is not revealed to viewers until the end of each trailer. This, Channel 5 said, is a common technique employed by advertisers and therefore one the audience would be familiar with; and
  • both trailers contain humorous references to common perceptions of lesbians and seek to inform viewers that Channel 5?s series, Candy Bar Girls, is a programme about lesbians but that it will not conform to the usual stereotypes: it is about real-life lesbians and the day to day issues they face.

Ofcom Decision: Breach of rules 1.3 and 2.3

Ofcom noted that the first part of Trailer One consisted of various images of the faces, upper bodies and lips of two women who were engaged in some form of physical exertion and sweating. These shots were interspersed with three separate neon-like graphics which read consecutively Red , Hot and Lesbians . The neon- like style of these graphics is commonly associated with the adult entertainment industry. This combination in Ofcom's view clearly implied that the two women were sexually aroused or engaged in sexual activity. Ofcom noted that it was only at the end of the trailer that there was a wide shot of the two women working out separately in a gym. We noted the Licensee considered children would not have understood the implication of the first part of the trailer that the women were sexually aroused, however, we considered many older children would probably have understood the sexual inference of the trailer.

With regards to Trailer Two, Ofcom considered that the images of the two women in the first part of the trailer combined with the neon-like graphics (consecutively Pussy , Loving , and Ladies ) clearly implied that one woman was performing oral sex on the other. The exchange between the two women at the end of the trailer when the stuffed cat toy was revealed ( Nice pussy . Thanks, I just got it stuffed ) was based on viewers understanding this sexual implication. As with Trailer One, we considered that older children would have understood this implied message of the trailer.

In Ofcom's view both trailers contained material whose sexual tone and implied sexual content made them potentially unsuitable for children. Ofcom is clear that the unsuitability of these trailers for children was not based on their subject matter (a programme about a lesbian night club) but the manner in which that subject was treated.

We noted that the Licensee took measures to ensure the trailers were not scheduled in or around programming aimed at children or programming which was anticipated to have an audience of more than seven percent of viewers under 16. However, we considered that both trailers were likely to exceed audience expectations when shown before the watershed on services like Channel 5 and 5*.

Ofcom concluded that these trailers contained material that was unsuitable for child viewers, and children were not protected from it by appropriate scheduling. Both trailers when shown pre-watershed were therefore in breach of Rule 1.3.

Ofcom concluded that these two trailers – and in particular Trailer Two – would have exceeded the likely expectation of the audience watching these trailers when shown before the 21:00 watershed. The broadcaster therefore did not apply generally accepted standards and breached Rule 2.3

 

16th September   

Ultimate Censorship...

Mexicans murdered for criticising drug cartels on a social networking website
Link Here

mexico bridge bodiesThe bodies of a young man and woman were found hanging from a bridge in the Mexican border town of Nuevo Laredo.

A sign hung nearby the dead bodies said the pair was killed for condemning drug cartel activity on a social networking site.

Several media outlets in Mexico self-censor out of fear that the cartels will retaliate, and that's why people turn to blogs and social networks to keep the community informed of dangers. In this case...It was a fatal decision.

 

16th September   

The Daily Mail Recommends...

Channel 4's Girls Will be Boys and Boys Will be Girls
Link Here

girls will be boysThe Daily Mail writes:

Is nothing taboo?

We've seen death and drug-taking, now Channel 4 to broadcast graphic footage of sex-change surgery

In the latest of a series of shocking documentaries graphic footage of sex-change surgery will be shown in a programme following the lives of transgender people.

The Channel 4 show, Girls Will Be Boys And Boys Will Be Girls will follow seven transgender people's lives and the mixture of reactions they encounter on a daily basis.

The participants, who range from their early twenties to their fifties are all at different stages of their own transitions and are contemplating the next critical step in their journeys.

They are also followed as they go out together to pubs and shops and deal with people's reactions.

Channel 4 News presenter Cathy Newman said: Some of it's quite graphic, there is footage of a man in genital surgery.

The programme will be broadcast in the autumn.

Update: Recommended by Mediawatch-UK

31st October 2011. See article from thesun.co.uk

Campaigners Mediawatch-UK said:

Many people won't want to see any of this type of surgery. Some of these scenes may not be appropriate for broadcasting. It is vital that Channel 4 make it clear what viewers can expect.

 

16th September   

There Can't be Much Left to Censor...

Iranian TV told to censor topless men and love triangle storylines in dramas
Link Here

Iran flagIran has banned TV programmes showing half-naked men and love triangles, the semi-official Fars news agency has reported, in the latest sign of a conservative crackdown.

It was not clear what prompted the ban. Iran TV, which has a monopoly in the country, dedicates large parts of its schedule to religious shows and announcements from the government.

Fars reported that: Based on a new instruction, the broadcasting of programmes that show tempting love triangles is banned. Showing half-naked men in Iranian and foreign productions is also banned.

 

16th September   

Offsite: Learning from the Next Generation...

David Cooke on what the BBFC does for young people
Link Here

David CookeOur education department is always looking for new ways to expand and improve what we offer to schools, colleges and young people. In the last five years we've started working with school tours operators to give short sessions in our Soho HQ. We've also installed video conferencing equipment to broadcast lectures for schools unable to visit us in London, and forged links with film festivals, independent cinemas, play schemes and film clubs.

...Read the full article

 

15th September   

Update: Taste and Decency on the Internet...

Jeremy Hunt to include in law, the requirement for ISPs to offer choices for internet blocking
Link Here  full story: Internet Blocking Adult Websites in UK...Government push for ISPs to block porn

jeremy huntCulture secretary Jeremy Hunt has written about the contents of the next Comms Act. He outlined several of the measures in a speech to the Royal Television Society.

On topic of internet blocking of 'offensive' content he said:

When it comes to accessing material that can offend taste and decency standards in their own home, we should put consumers firmly in the driving seat.

We won't water down existing protections on traditional media, the watershed is here to stay, and I welcome  the progress made by both the UK Council for Child Internet Safety and also by ISPs who have just completed work on a draft code of practice on parental controls.

But I think we need to go further.

I will therefore consider including in the new Comms Act an obligation on ISPs to ensure all their customers make an active choice about parental controls, either at the point of purchase, or the point of account activation.

 

15th September   

ASA Ever More Easily Offended...

Minor innuendo pulled up by 3 out of a million visitors claimed to cause widespread offence by the advert censor
Link Here

car supermarkets logoAn ad on www.car-supermarkets.com, viewed between April and June 2011, included an image of a woman who was topless with her breasts and part of her stomach covered by a black sheet. It was headlined You know you're not the first ... but who cares? . Further text stated Save a packet on nearly new cars, all under 3 years old. Many with just one careful owner ... . Issue

3 complainants objected that the ad was offensive, because they believed the image and the text You know you're not the first ... but who cares? was sexist and objectified women.

SaveMoneyOnCars.co.uk (SMOC) said they appreciated that there was at times a fine line between innuendo and sexism. However, they believed the ad was cheeky rather than offensive. They said the majority of visitors to the site, which had been over a million during the period the ad was displayed, had not complained. SMOC said the ad had therefore not caused widespread offence. They said that when the ad was created they had wanted something a little cheeky and tongue-in-cheek, with reference to previous times when ads that contained innuendo were popular. They said inspiration had also come from an ad for a car manufacturer. SMOC said the woman was clearly not topless and that part of her bra could be seen. They said the image was not gratuitous and showed less skin than could be seen in many other ads or on the street on a summer's evening. They believed the ad did not objectify women but used innuendo to refer to the past lives of cars and people; a car was still a great car even if it was two years old and people were not any less appealing as a result of previous relationships. SMOC said, however, the intention had not been to cause offence and they had therefore removed the ad and would not use it again in future.

ASA Assessment: Upheld

The ASA noted SMOC had withdrawn the ad. We considered, however, the image of the woman in the ad, and the text You know you're not the first ... but who cares? was clearly intended as a sexual innuendo, and was likely to be interpreted as suggesting that the woman had had several sexual partners. We noted the image, which appeared on a website targeted generally at members of the public who wished to buy a car, bore no relation to the product being advertised. We considered the overall impression of the ad, including the text Save a packet on nearly new cars, all under 3 years old. Many with just one careful owner ... , made a clear link between purchasing a product and women. We therefore considered the ad objectified women. We concluded that the ad, which objectified women through sexual imagery and innuendo in a manner unrelated to the product advertised, was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.

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

 

15th September   

Update: Supreme Council on the Protection of Public Morality...

Russia's Communist Party propose a new TV censor
Link Here

Russian Duma logoRussia's Communist Party has submitted a bill to the State Duma aimed at creating a Supreme Council on the Protection of Morality on state TV channels and radio stations.

The bill is awaiting consideration by lower house legislators during their last session prior to the December elections.

If approved, a specially-created body would make appraisals or, at least, express opinions on the extent to which TV and radio broadcasts promote public morality, one of the authors of the initiative, MP Nina Ostanina, told Itar-Tass.

This is not meant as an instrument of censorship, Ostanina claimed. In contrast to the situation in the Soviet era, the moral assessment would be made after rather than before a TV or radio program went on air.. . [BUT] ... In any case, it would send a signal to conscientious producers of TV programs when broadcasts are unacceptable to public morals.

The bill makes no provision for any punishment or sanctions against broadcasters who regularly violate the rules of morality. The council would, however, have the right to appeal to the state leadership and a channel's majority shareholders as well as to urge the public to show its disapproval.

However another Communist faction deputy, Sergey Obukhov, suggested that the watchdog bodies should have far more extensive powers, including the defining of TV channels' program policy. The television has been turned into a scrapheap, Obukhov observed. The council's task would be to sort that scrapheap out and bring Russian TV up to European standards.

As for the membership of such TV watchdogs, the MP believes they could be comprised of representatives of political parties and public organizations, as well as members of society with moral authority .

 

15th September   

Update: Phone Story...

Apple censors game depicting international exploitation by phone makers
Link Here  full story: iPhone iCensor...Apple is censorial about apps for iPhone

pho story The Phone Story website describes its game app as:

Phone Story is an educational game about the dark side of your favorite smart phone. Follow your phone's journey around the world and fight the market forces in a spiral of planned obsolescence.

Apple has now taken down the game that is critical of the process by which most smart phones are made perhaps because it highlights the exploitation of workers and the environment (or it hit too close to home).

The game was developed by MolleIndustria and tells its tale via four mini-games that show what it takes to make a phone including extracting minerals for components in Congo, using outsourced labor in China, dealing with e-waste in Pakistan, and consumers buying the product in Western companies.

Molleindustria tweeted that: Phone Story was removed from the app store without explanation

Apple responded that the app had broken 4 guidelines:

  • depicting against children or child abuse
  • presenting objectionable or crude content
  • containing fraudulent of misleading representations
  • failing to comply with all legal requirements.

 

15th September   

Breeding Easy Offence...

A couple of Topman t-shirts wind up the easily offended
Link Here

nice w girlfriendThe clothing chain Topman has been removed from sale supposedly sexist T-shirts.

Some customers complained about two designs, one of which was said to have glamorised domestic violence by listing male excuses such as You provoked me ; I was drunk; I was having a bad day.

The other T-shirt carried the slogan Nice New Girlfriend: What Breed Is She? prompting complaints that women were being likened to cattle and dogs.

Sandra Horley, chief executive of the domestic violence charity Refuge, said:

It is an outrage that such offensive T-shirts were put on sale. Domestic violence takes the lives of two women a week and it is no laughing matter. These T-shirts perpetuate ignorance and misunderstanding. Shame on Topman.

In a statement, a Topman company spokesman said:

We have received some negative feedback regarding two of our printed T-shirts.

Whilst we would like to stress that these T-shirts were meant to be light hearted and carried no serious meaning we have made the decision to remove these from store and on-line as soon as possible.

We would like to apologise to those who may have been offended by these designs.

 

15th September   

Updated: Dangerous Trolling...

Another internet user jailed for trolling
Link Here

dont feed the trollAn internet troll who posted abuse on Facebook memorial sites dedicated to dead children has been jailed.

Sean Duffy mocked a 15-year-old schoolgirl who committed suicide, leaving nasty messages and videos on a condolence page set up by her family.

The 25-year-old also hijacked tribute websites of three other children he had never met.

He was sentenced to 18 weeks behind bars and banned from using social networking sites for five years.

He had admitted he was hooked on the sick craze of trolling , where internet users deliberately leave abusive comments on networking sites.

One of his victim's parents hit out at Facebook, calling on the website to do more to tackle the problem after it emerged that one girl wrongly accused by others of posting the messages had attempted suicide.

Reading magistrates heard how the alcoholic, who suffers from Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism surfed the internet looking for tribute sites.

Trolling is an offence under the Malicious Communications Act, which carries a maximum penalty of six months in prison.

Sentencing him  magistrate Paul Warren said: The offences are so serious only a custodial sentence could be justified.

Update: Next!

15th September 2011.  See article from thescotsman.scotsman.com

Another man has been charged with posting offensive images on the internet after the doctored picture of a Scottish schoolgirl, shot dead by her boyfriend, appeared on a website, established in her memory.

 

15th September   

Needle Sharp...

Salo recently released on UK Blu-ray
Link Here

Salo Blu ray Pier Paolo Pasolini Salo is a 1975 Italian/French drama by Pier Paolo Pasolini. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2011 BFI R2/RB DVD/Blu-ray at UK Amazon
  • UK 2000 BFI R2 DVD
  • UK 2000 cinema release
Previously it was banned by the BBFC for:
  • UK 1976 cinema release

From Salò and censorship: a history

It was refused a certificate on the legal grounds of gross indecency. Gross indecency was defined in British law as anything which an ordinary decent man or woman would find to be shocking, disgusting and revolting , or, which offended against recognised standards of propriety.

Unlike the Obscene Publications Act - which at that stage did not apply to films - gross indecency allowed for no defence of artistic or cultural merit to be mounted on the film's behalf. Furthermore, there was no requirement to consider the film - or the film's purpose - as a whole. If any part of the film was indecent then the whole film was illegal.

After the 1976 (public) cinema ban, a DPP approved version was personally edited by James Ferman for exhibition in (private) cinema clubs.

The cut version prepared by James Ferman for club screenings lost nearly six minutes of footage, removing - amongst other things - the coprophagia, the extreme violence at the end of the film, and certain elements of homosexual behaviour that were believed to be vulnerable to prosecution.

It also added an 4 minute on-screen prologue to legally 'explain' the context of Mussolini's regime at Salò and the writings of the Marquis de Sade.

An uncut version was however screened in 1995 at the NFT. It was also briefly shown uncut in a Soho cinema club in 1977 but that resulted in a police raid.

See trailer from youtube.com

Summary Review: Not for the Faint-Hearted

There are few movies out there, if any, that can generate as much ire and disgust as Pasolini's Salò o le 120 giornate di Sodoma .

Not for the Faint-Hearted? You'd better believe it. And thus, it's hard to really "recommend" this film to anyone, as you wouldn't really "recommend" divorce - But it's a life experience you can gain valuable knowledge from.

The film takes it's inspiration / Modus Operandi from the Marquis De Sade's notorious novel The 120 Days of Sodom , which, if you have read it, you will know perfectly well what you can expect from the film. Transporting the setting to Mussolini-Era Fascist Italy, four Aristocratic Libertines subject their young subjects to Sexual Manipulation and Torture, both physical and psychological.

 

15th September   

Update: Bottom of the Reputation League...

Sudan bans sports papers supposedly for encouraging violence between rival fans
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

Sudan flagSudan will suspend six sports newspapers and issue warnings to three others, the national press council said, for supposed violations including encouraging violence between rival soccer teams, in the latest crackdown on the media.

The National Press Council will suspend the sports newspapers because they had violated journalistic standards and for administrative issues, which are damaging Sudan's reputation, its Secretary General El-Obeid Ahmed Morawah said. He cited the encouragement of violence between competing football teams as one violation.

 

14th September   

On the Brink...

ASA finds poster for the video game Brink to be too scary for kids
Link Here

brink advertA poster the video game Brink showed the head and shoulders of a man. His face was painted black and white and he appeared to be shouting or screaming at the viewer. Text, quoting a review, stated STICKS TWO FINGERS UP AT SHOOTER CONVENTIONS .

1. Forty complainants, who saw the poster in May 2011, challenged whether the ad was likely to cause fear and distress to children, especially because some posters were placed near schools and nurseries.

2. Four complainants, who found the ad offensive, challenged whether it was suitable for public display

1. & 2. Bethesda Softworks LLC (Bethesda Softworks) said the ad promoted a video game rated for an audience of 16 years or older and was designed to communicate the stylised character-driven feel of the game as it was best understood by its target audience of males of that age. They said the poster was part of a larger campaign that featured different characters and demonstrated the action and aesthetics of the game. They said the ad did not contain scenes of physical violence, guns, drugs, blood, distress or threatening behaviour and was cleared by their media agency and advertising company. They said, out of the 4384 panels displayed as part of the campaign, only 40 were within 100 metres of schools. They said they would work on the geographic focus of their targeting mechanisms to further limit the placement of future campaigns near schools. They said it was not their intention to shock or frighten people and believed there was nothing in the ad to cause offence, harm or distress.

ASA Assessment

1. Upheld

The ASA noted the target audience for the game was males aged 16 years and older and the poster was part of a wider campaign that featured different characters. However, we considered that, because the ad appeared in an untargeted medium, including on telephone boxes and bus shelters, it was likely to be seen by young children. We acknowledged that the ad was highly stylised and designed to promote the character-driven nature of the game. However, we noted a large number of complainants reported that their young children had been frightened and distressed by the image. We considered that, because the image of the man shouting or screaming had caused fear and distress to young children, it was unsuitable for display in an untargeted medium that parents of young children could not necessarily avoid. We concluded that the ad breached the Code.

On this point the ad breached CAP Code rules 1.3 (Social responsibility) and 4.2 (Harm and offence).

2. Not upheld

We considered that, although some might find the image of the man shouting or screaming distasteful, there was nothing in the ad that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence. We concluded that the ad did not breach the Code on those grounds.

 

14th September   

Update: Bringing Scotland into Disrepute...

Scottish justice committee discusses bill criminalising sectarian football chants
Link Here

The Scottish ParliamentThe Offensive Behaviour at Football and Threatening Communications (Scotland) Bill has been discussed by Holyrood's justice committee.

The bill is the brainchild of Alex Salmond in his populist, attempt to crack down on the sectarianism, in those sections of society where the rivalry between Rangers and Celtic football clubs appears to dwarf every other aspect of life.

Serious though this problem is, the very name of this proposed legislation should be enough to ring alarm bells. We not only need to define what is offensive and to whom, but also what is threatening and to whom.

As the committee went all round the houses, going over and over the problem, and taking evidence from supporters' groups, academics and even a journalist, it was plain that the wrecking crews are already moving in on this bill.

Greig Ingram questioned the merit of criminalising some of the chants about his fellow Aberdeen supporters, asking: Would somebody chanting about my predilections for alleged activities with farmyard animals be offensive?

The only common sense at yesterday's hearing came from Dr Stuart Waiton, a lecturer in sociology and criminology at the University of Abertay, Dundee, who said such views were a beautiful example of how the bill risks creating an authoritarian and illiberal society .

The proposed law could bring the legal system into disrepute and undermine existing measures to tackle sectarianism, one of Scotland's leading historians has warned. Professor Tom Devine told MSPs that the sectarian problem is part of the fabric of Scotia and extends beyond football stadiums. Existing laws are perfectly adequate to crack down on the conduct targeted by the billl, the academic added.

Scotland is the only country in the world with specific anti-sectarian legislation on its statute book after religious aggravations were introduced in 2003, Holyrood's justice committee heard.

As is often the case,  opposition parties at Holyrood are terrified to be seen as going soft on the bigots, and are therefore going along with this nonsense.

 

13th September   

Punani at Ofcom...

Ofcom have a whinge at strong language in song lyrics aired on daytime radio
Link Here

Fuck You Then VINYL Overkill Ofcom have devoted the latest Complaints Bulletin to a whinge at strong language in the lyrics of songs aired on daytime radio.

Ofcom started off with a note:

Note to Broadcasters Offensive language in radio programming

This issue of the Broadcast Bulletin contains a number of findings relating to the use of offensive language in radio programming. In view of our concerns about the material in these cases, especially those broadcast when children were particularly likely to have been listening, we will be requesting that a number of radio broadcasters across the industry who transmit such programming attend a meeting at Ofcom to discuss the compliance of such material.

Ofcom then  had a go at several radio stations eg:

Rory's Reggae Roots
Brick FM
23 February 2011, 15:00

Brick FM is a community radio station providing a service for the people of St Boswells, Newton St Boswells and the surrounding area in the Scottish Borders. It has been on air since January 2008 and the output is presented by volunteers. The licence is held by Brick FM. One of Brick FM's key commitments is to establish links with local primary schools, who will be encouraged to visit the station and to make their own programmes. It also aims to appeal to the different age demographics of the local community .

When monitoring the station's output on Wednesday, 23 February 2011, Ofcom identified various instances of offensive language. For example, after welcoming ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls a guest DJ proceeded to play songs that contained offensive language:

  • at 15:07 a song ( More Punany by Dr Evil) containing two instances of the word fuck was broadcast; and

  • at 15:24 a song ( Pass Out by Tinie Tempah) containing five instances of the word fucking was broadcast.

Note Punany or punani is an urban slang word meaning vagina.

Ofcom considered that the content raised issues that warranted investigation under the following Code rules:

  • Rule 1.14: The most offensive language must not be broadcast … when children are particularly likely to be listening (in the case of radio).

  • Rule 2.3: In applying generally accepted standards broadcasters must ensure that material which may cause offence is justified by the context.

Brick FM said that a punany was a sandwich sold locally and is made of Italian bread with cheese and tomato which is heated up and therefore did not accept the song More Punany had sexual connotations.

Brick FM also maintained that the word fuck is a commonly used word in Scotland, as a description, when something goes wrong or if they get angry or upset rather than a sexual act. It argued that it had the right to use the commonly spoken word which is not considered offensively locally and claimed that Ofcom was unfamiliar with our [its] local dialect .

Ofcom Decision: In Breach of Code

Ofcom's research on offensive language indicates that the word fuck and its derivatives are examples of the most offensive language. Ofcom noted seven instances of the most offensive language in the material it was monitoring. The Code states (see Rule 1.5) the phrase when children are particularly likely to be listening largely refers to the school run and breakfast time but might include other times . Ofcom noted that the two songs in question were broadcast between 15:07 and 15:27 on a weekday and that they were introduced by the Guest DJ welcoming ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Regardless of this programme's intended adult audience, we therefore concluded it was particularly likely that children were listening at this time, and there was a breach of Rule 1.14 as regards the expletives broadcast between 15:07 and 15:27.

Irrespective of whether the word fuck is used in a sexual context or as an expression of anger, our research indicates the word and its derivatives are examples of the most offensive language. Ofcom therefore does not accept Brick FM's argument that the word is not considered offensive in Scotland. In Ofcom's view, the broadcast of this language clearly had the potential to offend.

Ofcom noted the lyrics to the song More Punany contain the following:

last night I had a crazy threesome
I like to see the girls in the sexy bikini ni ni Want to take my chilli and push it between ni ni
I like pun-na-na-na-ni even if it's a virgin

Ofcom rejected Brick FM?s comments as to punany referring to a local sandwich . The word was clearly used in this song as urban slang word meaning vagina, and it was used in a sexual context. While Ofcom's research (2005) on the word punani is unclear as to whether it is widely regarded as the most offensive language, this word does have the potential to offend.

This context was not in Ofcom's view, sufficient to justify the potential offence caused, the broadcaster did not apply generally accepted standards and there was a breach of Rule 2.3 of the Code.

Ofcom has serious concerns about Brick FM's approach to compliance and may consider regulatory action if further breaches occur.

Breaches of Rules 1.14 and 2.3

Ofcom made whinged similarly at:

  • Howard Taylor at Breakfast, Total Star – Wiltshire, 20 May 2011, 06:00
  • School's Out, Bishop FM, 8 June 2011, 18:13

Ofcom also considered strong language in the following:

  • Radio 1's Big Weekend, BBC Radio 1, 14 May 2011, 19:50
  • BBC Introducing in Essex, BBC Radio Essex, 6 May 2011, 19:00
  • James Barr, Capital Radio East Midlands (Leicester), 14 May 2011, 19:28 24

But didn't record a breach of rules after explanations of strong language appearing unexpectedly in live performance and being misled by musicians with regards to the lyrics.

Brick FM Not Impressed

See article from heraldscotland.com

brick fm logoJesse Rae, head of broadcasting at Brick FM, founded four years ago and run by volunteers, said this explanation was the result of genuine innocence on behalf of station director Dave Elliot, who did not know what the word meant.

No one complained about these things, no one heard them, he said. We broadcast 24 hours a day and this is all they can come up with, these seven minutes -- what are they trying to do?

The panini thing is just innocence and that is the truth, and Ofcom cannot comprehend that.

 

13th September   

First of Many?...

Minor Australian party inevitably calls for all internet porn to be restricted to the new .XXX domain
Link Here

family first australia logoThe minor Australian political party, Family First, has called for porn sites to be banished to the new .xxx domain.

Triple-X domain names went on sale for the first time last week, allowing adult businesses to register their trademark under an official adult domain (or for other businesses to prevent anyone else using the xxx variant of their web address).

Dennis Hood, Family First's leader in South Australia, told news.com.au there was no good reason why adult businesses should continue to operate under a .com address:

Family First strongly believe the government should legislate to require all adult internet sites to move over to a .xxx domain so that children will be able to be safe online

If they're as serious about child safety online as they claim then this must be done without delay.

A spokesperson for Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said X18+ content was already banned and could not be hosted on Australian-based websites. The Government could not legislate to force overseas content to move to a .xxx domain, the spokesperson said:

Further, the Australian Government has actively opposed .xxx because .xxx would not assist the community in avoiding adult content. It is likely that adult sites would simply be replicated on .xxx rather than replacing existing sites.

 

13th September   

Blu Vigilante...

New uncut US DVD/Blu-ray Combo release of The Exterminator by James Glickenhaus
Link Here

Exterminator Blu ray Combo Robert Ginty The Exterminator is a 1980 US vigilante film by James Glickenhaus. See IMDb

The US release featuring the Director's Cut is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

Back in the UK, the Director's Cut/Unrated Version was passed 18 uncut with previous BBFC cuts waived for:

The BBFC commented:

  • Time had diminished the power and impact to the extent that it was no longer likely to prove harmful and so previous cuts were waived.

Previously the Director's Cut/Unrated Version was passed 18 after 22s of BBFC cuts after other BBFC cuts were waived for:

  • UK 2000 Synergy R0 DVD
  • UK 2000 Synergy VHS

The BBFC commented:

  • Cuts required to process beheading
  • and graphic process violence, both in breach of Board guidelines;
  • and to impressionistically strong sadistic torture of woman

And before that it was cut even more. The cut cinema version was passed 18 after a further 2.54s of cuts (totalling 3:38s) for:

  • UK 2000 Synergy video (unreleased)
  • UK 1991 Braveworld VHS
  • UK 1985 Intervision VHS

The following additional cuts were inflicted on the certificated video version

  • The opening Vietnam scene has a further 4 cuts:
    • The infamous beheading shot has been shortened further (7s)
    • A shot of a Vietcong trying to remove wire from his throat is missing 2s
    • A 4s slow motion shot of a Vietcong being shot several times has been deleted
    • The slow-motion shot of a burning Vietcong jumping in the water has been shortened by 5s.
  • The attack on Jefferson suffers 2 further cuts.
    • 2s cut of gang leader with his weapon
    • 2s cut from the stabbing of Jefferson
  • The torture of a hooker is well shortened
    • Two shots missing totalling 1s showing the hooker being stripped
    • A further 11 shots of torment totalling 28s
  • The scene where Eastman (Robert Ginty) fills a dum-dum bullet wth mercury has been heavily cut, almost 2.30 minutes, missing 12 shots

Review from imdb Decent cult movie

As far as I'm concern, this isn't even an action movie like it's usually classified - this is definitely a thriller. Sure there are lots of cruel scenes and bloodshed. It still isn't far as ultra-violent critics sometimes makes it to be. Violence is just something that gives audience the necessary shocks to built the excitement or to keep it up.

Actors aren't brilliant and the plot is faulty but from time to time this movie gets very interesting and it has a great bunch of magnificent sequences and couple of really good lines. Not a perfect thriller but surely a decent cult movie.

 

13th September   

Update: High Ideals...

Eutelsat says no to censoring Syria TV channel airing messages by Gaddafi
Link Here

Eutelsat logoFrench satellite operator Eutelsat has said it had no right to turn off a Syrian television station that is broadcasting audio messages by ousted Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi.

Gaddafi, whose whereabouts are unknown, has defiantly spoken several times on Syria-based Arrai TV since losing control of Tripoli on Aug. 23, calling on his supporters to continue their resistance to the new authorities.

Eutel, the world's third-largest satellite operator, said earlier it was in contact with local distributor Noorsat to see whether Noorsat could stop transmitting Arrai and sister channel al-Oruba, which has also give Gaddafi a platform to speak.

We talked to Noorsat and Noorsat removed al-Oruba, Eutelsat spokeswoman Vanessa O'Connor said. That was their decision and their action. Arrai is still broadcasting and as things stand at the moment we have taken it as far as we can. O'Connor added that Eutelsat did not judge or censor content and it was not up to it to make the decision to stop transmissions.

 

12th September   

Update: MP Gordon Henderson Doesn't Believe in Censorship...

But then launches into a banal diatribe against internet porn anyway
Link Here  full story: Harmful Content...Parliament Inquiry: Internet And In Video Games:

gordon hendersonSittingbourne and Sheppey Tory MP Gordon Henderson said unrestricted access to the web and a lack of parental responsibility had created an everything is free mentality among a minority of young people.

He is one of more than 60 members of a cross-party group involved in a Parliamentary inquiry into online child protection.

He spouted:

There's a risk of children being groomed by strangers on the internet but it's a relatively low risk because most young people have the nouse to not get sucked in. The danger of the internet is more insidious than that.

It's the slow seeping of access to porn images that then slowly erodes the moral fibre of young people, which in turn adds to the social problems we currently face. Much of what we saw with the rioting and looting was due to a breakdown in morality among young people.

Easy access to the internet just reinforces the message that everything is free and you never have to work for anything. That's got to change.

There's the possibility we overreact and I'm not a great believer in censorship or an internet clampdown. Most children are sensible enough to not put themselves in dangerous situations ...BUT... there are others who are vulnerable and need protection.

The inquiry has got to look more at parental responsibility and access to the internet rather than a censorship of the internet itself.

 

12th September   

TV Censorship Laws for Dictatorships...

Bangladesh looks set for a very repressive TV censorship law
Link Here

Bangladesh flagThe Ministry of Information in Bangladesh has recently approved a new law for television channels in the country, which will obstruct all foreign movie channels as the law strictly bans showing any kiss scene in any of the program contents.

Imposing a strict censorship on the existing vibrant private television media in Bangladesh, the law contains several clauses, which only is seen in countries governed under dictatorial regimes. Below we are providing details on the law along with our explanations:

  • Private television channels cannot run direct publicity in favor of any political party [publicity in favor of ruling party is allowed]
     
  • Misleading information cannot be incorporated in any talk shows [it stops the participants of the talk shows from delivering any comment criticizing the ruling party or its activities]
     
  • National ideology or characters cannot be criticized
     
  • The father of the nation [Sheikh Mujibur Rahman] cannot be criticized in any of the programs [any of his mistakes during his governance cannot be anymore mentioned in any of the programs]
     
  • No individual can be criticized in the programs [this has been initiated as a number of ministers in the ruling government became subject of harsh criticism following their severe failures]
     
  • No criticism will be allowed on national ideologies and goals
     
  • No defense and government information can be leaked in any of the programs on television channels
     
  • No program can be aired which would provoke deterioration of law and order situation [this law will stop broadcasting news and contents related to general strikes and demonstration programs of the political opponents of the ruling party].
     
  • No program can be broadcast against any friendly nation
     
  • Programs related to trafficking in women, forced prostitution, rape etc will be barred from broadcast under the new law. [This law will also stop broadcasting investigative reports on such issues].
     
  • Broadcasting kiss scene shall be banned under the new law [this will stop all foreign television channels, especially the movie channels from being connected to Bangladeshi cable television network]
     
  • No program or content on mutiny or demonstration can be broadcast on television channels.
     
  • Programs exposing the activities of criminals as well as their modus-operandi cannot be shown on any television channel
     
  • The private television channels shall be bound to broadcast speeches of the Head of the State, Head of the government [Prime Minister], public announcements, press notes as well as any program of national interest .

The law shall come into affect within next three months.

 

12th September   

Jersey Post Offends Churches...

Jersey postal workers refuse to distribute Bibles on grounds that they could be offensive
Link Here

King James Bible 400th Anniversary Postal workers have refused to deliver CDs of Bible readings after deciding they were offensive material . Several churches had paid for discs with recordings of St Mark's Gospel to be produced to celebrate the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible.

They were due to be delivered to all households on the Channel Island of Jersey, but church leaders were told postal workers would not handle the 45,000 CDs.

Rev Liz Hunter of St Helier Methodist Centre said:

Initially Jersey Post seemed quite positive about helping us deliver the CDs. But then a couple of weeks ago somebody from their marketing department phoned to say they would be unable to deliver them on the grounds that they could be deemed offensive. They said there were guidelines about mass material that is sent out across the island and that religious recordings could offend people.

The CDs are now being delivered by volunteers.

 

12th September   

Update: The Sky is Falling in on Egyptian Dreams...

Egypt blocks new satellite channels
Link Here  full story: Press Freedom in Egypt...Press under duress in Egypt

al jazeera mubasher misr logoEgypt's Information Ministry has launched a campaign with the Interior Ministry's censorship department to reconsider the permits of 16 satellite channels broadcasting from Egypt.

Informed sources told Al-Masry Al-Youm that the office of Al Jazeera Mubasher Misr, which began transmission following the ousting of former President Hosni Mubarak in February, was raided by Egyptian authorities.

Information Minister Osama Heikal announced that the Supreme Council of the Armed Forces and the cabinet decided after a joint meeting that day to temporarily suspend granting new permits to satellite channels. They also decided to prosecute satellite channels deemed threatening to the stability of the country.

Egyptian rights organizations meanwhile condemned the decision, saying it is a regression to the oppressive policies of Mubarak's regime.

 

12th September   

Update: Censorship is still needed in Burma...

Says the censor
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in Burma...World leaders in oppressive censorship

 Burma flag 2010Censorship of the Burmese media is still needed and freedom should not be granted to newspapers and journals at this time, Information and Culture Minister Kyaw Hsan told the Lower House of Parliament.

The minister made his comments in reply to a motion to enact a law which can protect the rights to freedom of expression and opinion by the media and the right to disseminate and publish the news by Rangoon Region Thingangyun constituency MP Thein Nyunt during deliberations.

Kyaw Hsan said:

Although laws and courts have come into operation in Myanmar, press scrutiny still plays a role. If media personnel face their problems in court under the law, their losses may be heavier. In its control tasks, the Press Scrutiny and Registration Division may sometimes issue only warnings to the offenders and negotiate with both sides. Therefore, the division scrutinizes inappropriate writing against the nation and the people under the law for the sake of those from the literary world and the people.

 

11th September   

More Chuck...

Old cuts to Joseph Zito's Invasion USA
Link Here

Invasion Usa DVD Invasion USA is a 1985 US action film by Joseph Zito. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut with previous BBFC cuts waived for:

The BBFC commented:

Time had diminished the power and impact to the extent that it was no longer likely to prove harmful and so previous cuts were waived

Previously passed 18 after 10-14s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1986 MGM/UA VHS
  • UK 1985 cinema release

BBFC cuts from IMDb:

  • Cut to remove bullet impacts from a groin shooting
  • Edited scene where a woman snorting cocaine through a straw is hit across the head by Rostov

Summary Review: Great actioner

The plot is insane. Random terrorists invade the USA; it is never explained who they are, what they are doing, or what they want. Scene after scene of terrorists attacking Americans playing baseball, celebrating Christmas, in a church follow. There is one scene where they just drive around a neighbourhood, firing a bazooka into each house!

However, wherever they appear, Norris appears son afterwards and guns them down with the famous double Macho 10's that Norris tots from a specially designed shoulder holster.

This is artful camp at its most skilled but this really is one fun movie. Chuck says little, which is probably a good thing and lets his feet and guns do the talking. Great actioner!

 

11th September   

New Internet Censor...

Susie Hargreaves starts work as Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation
Link Here

IWF logoSusie Hargreaves started as Chief Executive of the Internet Watch Foundation on 5 September 2011.

Susie was selected for the position in May and replaces Peter Robbins who led the organisation for nine years.

Susie has worked in the Charity sector for more than 25 years, most recently as CEO of The Society of Dyers & Colourists and previously in a range of senior positions including running a number of membership organisations.

 

11th September   

Art Films Excused from the Usual Censorship Hassle...

Philippines film festival of European films to be uncensored for the first time after EU dangled carrot of possible distribution of Philippines films in Europe
Link Here

cine europa 14 logoFor the first time in its 14-year history, the Cine Europa film festival in Manila will be showing exceptional films that were exempted from the restrictive rules of the Movie and Television Review and Classification Board (MTRCB).

The (MTRCB) adopted the classification of the EU member states where a film originated, said Lubomir Frebort, chief of the political, press, and information section of the European Union EU Delegation to the Philippines.

Nineteen films from 17 countries will be shown on Sept. 9-18 with genres from family dramas to comedy, suspense thrillers, historical and romantic drama, and even action films.

Martin Macalintal, the audiovisual attache' of the French Embassy in Manila, told GMA News Online that the MTRCB had classified several art films as X-rated in previous festivals sponsored by the local diplomatic community.

An X-rating by the MTRCB meant that a film cannot be shown in public establishments locally. However, we cannot cut films to be shown by the diplomatic community, Macalintal said.

When the MTRCB gave several art films an X-rating, we appealed to them for reconsideration. We always resort to sitting down with them to view the films in question, particularly the scenes they object to, and then we agree to blur the scenes they find objectionable, he added.

Frebort attributed this year's unprecedented exemptions to the increasing cooperation between the EU and the Film Development Council of the Philippines (FDCP), an agency under the Office of the President.

He told a press conference that this is a special year for the EU Delegation to the Philippines because it has clinched a partnership with the FDCP that aims to promote a more vigorous exchange of high-quality films between the Philippines and EU members to increase audience reach on both sides.

 

10th September   

Update: Nutter Talking Shop...

Claire Perry's parliamentary inquiry hears a few views on the subject of online child protection
Link Here  full story: Harmful Content...Parliament Inquiry: Internet And In Video Games:

Jacqui SmithThe Parliamentary Inquiry into Online Child Protection has begun to take comments from a rather predictably selective group.

The committee has heard comments from the Lucy Faithful Foundation, the Mother's Union, YoungMinds, Marie Collins Foundation, Sonia Livingstone, Professor of Social Psychology at LSE, Jacqui Smith,  the Sun's agony aunt Deidre Sanders and Jerry Barnett, managing director of the UK's largest adult VOD site.

Jacqui Smith, the disgraced former Home Secretary, had a few ideas that caught the interest. She told the Inquiry that online pornography should be made harder to access in Britain, but that the quid pro quo for helping the industry to remain profitable might be that it could help fund sex education programmes for children.

She said that the online pornography industry is not illegal, and it is being impacted by free and unregulated content on the internet . She proposed that if all adult content were only accessible to customers who specifically opted in to it through their internet service providers, then the adult industry might see its profits improved. Online porn has suffered economically in the wake of free YouTube-style sites.

She added after the inquiry. If there are restrictions put on to what people can see, that will have a beneficial effect on the industry. If government or ISPs put in place restrictions that does enable the mainstream industry to [recover economically], that would be the point at which you could apply pressure.

Smith was keen to stress that she did not propose limiting or censoring legal pornography, but that she wanted to make sure only people who were allowed to see it could do so. I genuinely don't think mainstream pornographers want young people to see their material because it risks limiting what they can make for adults, she said. She conceded that her proposal may be technically challenging.

She said that the adult industry was already in a parlous state and that it would be unlikely to be able to fund education programmes at the moment. She said that although the chances of her proposals coming to fruition are not great, there are reasonable people in the porn industry .

The committee will take evidence from ISPs next month.

 

10th September   

Update: Music to our Ears...

Government earns brownie points for proposing to remove live music licence censorship
Link Here  full story: Licensed Music Censors...Licensing sets up authorities as music censors

pub bandPubs, clubs and other small venues offering live music would no longer have to apply for an entertainment licence, under government proposals.

The plans, submitted for public consultation, would apply to premises in England and Wales with a capacity of under 5,000. Ministers say the changes could also apply to school and charity events.

Licences would still be required for boxing, wrestling and sexual entertainment, and the rules on alcohol supply and sales would not be affected.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport said the Licensing Act 2003 removed the so-called two-in-a-bar rule, which had allowed two musicians to perform in a pub without needing an entertainment permit, and this was one example of how it ended up potentially criminalising a harmless cultural pastime .

Tourism Minister John Penrose said changes could provide an important source of new income to struggling businesses such as pubs, restaurants and hotels . He said extra costs and red tape had also been imposed on school plays and discos where ticket sales went to Parent Teacher Association funds, Punch and Judy shows, street artists, park brass bands and restaurant pianists.

Penrose added:

Before we press ahead, it's important we get the views of those working in the industry, and to make sure that the principles of public safety, prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm are safeguarded.

Our starting point is a simple one: If there's no good reason for any of the rules and restrictions in this important area, our presumption should be to scrap them.

 

10th September   

Horrible!...

Old cuts to the video nasty Absurd
Link Here

Horrible (Absurd) Absurd is a 1981 Italian horror video by Joe D'Amato. See IMDb

The US release is uncut and MPAA Unrated for:

In the UK there has been no home video release since the film was banned as a video nasty in 1983.

The pre-cert VHS was released uncut in 1982 by  Medusa. But then the film was p assed 18 after 2:32s of BBFC cuts for the UK 1983 cinema release.

From IMDB:

  • Edits to the murder of the nurse with a drill
  • Edits to a man's forehead being sliced with a band saw
  • Edits to a woman's face being burnt off in an oven.

When the cinema version was cut, the video distributors, Medusa, withdrew the uncut video and released it with the BBFC cut version. But the video was still added to the list of banned video nasties in November 1983. It stayed on the list throughout the panic and so became one of the collectable DPP39s.

Review from IMDb : Halloween-esque

Monster Hunter is the Halloween -esque 'sequel' to 1981's insomniac's dream Anthropophagous . This time around D'Amato brings to us a sense of pace, making Monster Hunter much more enjoyable.

The added gore (including an ultra-torturous scene involving an oven) and cool electronic music score is a nice bonus.

The story (or lack thereof) brings back George Eastman as our favorite cannibal, this time not on a Greek island, but somewhere in the US being hunted by a priest (of all people).

A bit boring at times but Eastman's presence is over powering and the end involving a 'vegetable' overcoming her disabilities to face the beast is fairly ironic.

 

9th September   

PG13ification...

A PG-13 version of Columbiana may be a squeeze too much for the UK
Link Here

Columbiana Zoe Saldana Colombiana is US/French action thriller about a female assassin who sets out to avenge her father's murder.

It has been noted amongst US film reviewers as perhaps the most violent of films that have been squeezed into a US PG-13 rating.

As explained by Vaugh Fry in an article from vaughnonmovies.com :

From a business perspective the PG-13 equals an increase in revenue. It allows the attractive high body count that appeals to a huge demographic: teenagers. It also allows these teens to go to the movies without their parents, be it through their own means or the tried and true dropped off method. Generally speaking, a film is planned out in the vision of the writer and then cut by the studio to meet the MPAA standards to attain this rating.

R-rated franchises have fallen victim to PG13ification in their attempts to return money. Live Free or Die Hard omitted a recurring phrase made famous by series hero John McClane. Terminator Salvation rewrote the actions of characters, which in their very names are intended to kill, so that they instead harmlessly toss people around like toys.

The themes found in a film should have a bigger role in the MPAA rating. Just this past weekend I reviewed Colombiana , a PG-13 movie about a female assassin. Maybe I'm on crazy pills but surely I'm not the only person in the world who can read this synopsis and clearly envision an R. By making Colombiana PG-13, the movie actually fails to deliver expectations, opting to blur or totally cut deathblows.

Well maybe this is all a bit too much of a squeeze for the UK distributors. The version submitted to the BBFC seems to be a little more grown up and seems to sit happily with the uncut 15 rating awarded by the BBFC.

The US film censors of the MPPA rated Colombiana PG-13 for violence, disturbing images, intense sequences of action, sexuality and brief strong language. The MPAA are very hot on strong language in PG-13 and stick to a maximum of 1 use, which is then referred to as 'brief strong language'.

However the version submitted to the BBFC contains 9 uses of strong language (eg 'fuck') as well as mild language (eg. 'bullshit', 'bastard', 'shit').

The BBFC also describe the violence in Colombiana, and it seems to sit very easily with their 15 rating, and if anything, seems to be justified against not requiring an 18 rating. The BBFC wrote (spoiler alert) :

The film also contains scenes of strong violence. The thriller maintains a gritty and violent feel to the action and conflict and there are several scenes of strong, impressionistic violence with briefly focused upon visual detail. The early shooting of the protagonist's father and the young daughter stabbing a knife in the hand of a criminal both have a strong impact. There are further strong moments such as an extended fight between the protagonist and a mafia henchman. This includes the some heavy blows to the face and groin, attempted strangulation with a towel, bashing of the head against a bathtub and further images of attempted strangulation with a belt. The Guidelines on violence at 15 state Violence may be strong but should not dwell on the infliction of pain and injury . While the violence in the film is strong, with some detail and sight of pain and injury being inflicted, it does not dwell on these elements.

So perhaps the UK and presumably Europe are releasing an R Rated or Unrated version.

 

9th September   

Update: Tortuous Ethics...

Now the Human Rights Law Foundation sues Cisco claiming that the company assisted China to monitor Falun Gong
Link Here  full story: Supporting Internet Censorship...US multi-nationals support repressive censorship

ciso logo Technology company Cisco has been sued by Washington-based Human Rights Law Foundation, reports ANI.

In its complaint, the Law Foundation said that Cisco made a anti-virus software to aid Chinese authorities in monitoring and imprisoning the banned Falun Gong members. The monitoring of Falun Gong members is part of the Golden Shield Project that has been undertaken by the Chinese government to censor references to politically sensitive issues.

The Law Foundation said that Cisco Chief John Chambers is constantly in touch with torture campaign founder Jiang Zemin regarding the project's implementation. The foundation also alleged that senior executives of the company have participated in the project despite knowing that a torture campaign has been undertaken against Falun Gong members.

Cisco provided a secure connection to provincial security databases allowing for thorough cross-checking and movement-tracing ... [such that] policemen could remotely access the suspect's work unit, access reports on the individual's political behaviour ... family history ... fingerprints, photographs and other imaging information, says the complaint quoting an engineer.

 

9th September   

Update: Old Joke Already...

Hopefully the Divisional Court will see the funny side on resumption of the Twitter Joke Trial on 10th November
Link Here

Old BaileyPThe appeal of Paul Chambers in the twitter joke trial is to take place on 10 November. The trainee accountant from Doncaster who was convicted for sending supposedly threatening messages after he joked on Twitter that he would blow up Robin Hood Airport if his flight was cancelled.

The appeal before the divisional courts of the Queen's Bench comes one year after he lost his crown court appeal.

 

9th September   

Updated: Miraculously Easily Offended...

Christians and advert censors whinge at Phones 4 U advert featuring cartoon Christ
Link Here

phones 4 u jesus advertTwo versions of a national press ad for Phones 4 U on 21 April 2011 featured a cartoon-like graphical illustration of Jesus Christ grinning broadly and winking, pointing a finger with one hand and displaying a thumbs-up sign with the other. The Sacred Heart was featured on his chest. Headline text stated Miraculous deals on Samsung Galaxy AndroidTM phones .

Ninety-eight complainants challenged whether the ads were offensive, because the depiction of Jesus Christ and the Sacred Heart, the use of the term miraculous in that context and their publication during the Easter period were disrespectful to the Christian faith.

Phones 4 U said the ads were not intended to be disrespectful of the Christian faith nor were they intended to cause offence to Christians. They explained that their intention had been to run a press ad incorporating what they understood to be a light-hearted, positive and contemporary image of Christianity relevant to the Easter weekend. They said that with the benefit of hindsight, they understood and regretted any offence the ads had caused to some Christians and they apologised to anyone who was offended by the ads.

They explained that they had received some complaints directly and had promptly issued individual responses and apologies to those complainants. They said they withdrew the ads as soon as the negative reaction became apparent and confirmed they had no plans to run the ads again in their current form or in any similar form.

ASA Assessment: Complaints Upheld

The ASA noted that Phones 4 U had not intended to cause any offence and we welcomed their explanation that the ads had been withdrawn following the receipt of negative feedback. We noted that the ads featured a cartoon-like graphical illustration of Jesus Christ, the central figure of Christianity, and the Sacred Heart, a sacred symbol central to the Christian faith. We considered that, although the ads were intended to be light-hearted and humorous, their depiction of Jesus winking and holding a thumbs-up sign, with the text Miraculous deals during Easter, the Christian Holy Week which celebrated Christ's resurrection, gave the impression that they were mocking and belittling core Christian beliefs. We therefore concluded that the ads were disrespectful to the Christian faith and were likely to cause serious offence, particularly to Christians.

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

The ads must not appear again in their current form. We welcomed Phones 4 U's assurance that the ads had been withdrawn and would not be run again in the same or similar form.

Offsite Comment: Prawn Brained Censors

9th September 2011. See article from newstatesman.com by Nelson Jones

A King is PrawnIn the past few years, the ASA has been taking an increasingly strict, some would say humourless, line on suggestions of religious offensiveness. It has, for example, banned a series of ice-cream adverts featuring pregnant nuns and gay priests, and even one for curling-tongs which employed the slogan, a new religion for hair . One of the adverts deemed likely to cause serious or widespread offence triggered a mere six complaints. The decision led the National Secualar Society to accuse the ASA of surreptitiously re-introducing the blasphemy law.

At the very least, the ASA seems to have an alarmingly low threshold as to what constitutes offence where religion is concerned. An advert, it seems, need not be objectively outrageous; it's enough that someone somewhere might potentially take exception to it. The ASA's code, it is true, states that particular care must be taken to avoid causing offence on the grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. But it does not explain why this should be necessary, and it's hard to see why advertising should be subjected to restraints that would be considered intolerable in literature, film, art or even television.

...Read the full article

 

9th September   

Offsite: A Guessing Game...

Speculating if current MA15+ games will be reclassified as the new R18+ and whether currently banned games can be unbanned
Link Here  full story: R18+ for Games in Australia...Pondering an adult R18+ rating for video games

r18 unbannedAustralia has received the green-light for an R18+ rating for video games, but many people are still unsure of what this means for them as gamers. Will this lead to MA15+ games being bumped up into the R18+ category? Will formerly Refused Classification games suddenly make it through with an R18+ rating? We looked into the Classification Act to find out.

The information provided here is based on current legislation and does not take into account what might change in the future. We also spoke with a former member of The Classification Board for some background information.

If a game has just been classified and it received an MA15+ rating when it really should have received an R18+ rating, will the introduction of the R18+ bump it from an MA15+ game to an R18+ game?

If a game has been Refused Classification, can it be re-submitted for classification when we receive an R18+ rating?

...Read the full article

 

9th September   

Update: Ongoing Censorship...

Regular seizures of Sudanese newspaper Al-Maydan
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in Sudan...Press is routinely censored

al maydan logoOn Sunday, Sudanese security forces confiscated issues of Al-Maydan, the bi-weekly mouthpiece of the Sudanese Communist Party (SCP).

According to the newspaper, this is the sixth time in the last four months that copies have been confiscated.

Update: More

16th September 2011. See article from indexoncensorship.org

Al-Sahafa, a Sudanese independent newspaper, was confiscated by security forces on Wednesday, and the Thursday edition was also held from distribution, according to editor Annur Ahmed Annur.

 

8th September   

Update: Starting to Take Shape...

First trailer showing footage from Human Centipede Part 2
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

human centipede 2 footage video The first trailer has appeared showing actual footage from Human Centipede Part 2 (Full Sequence).

The trailer starts with a reprise from the first part but begins with the new material when the lights come on in the disused building.

 

8th September   

Update: Bands Unbanned...

Government proposes to remove live music licence censorship
Link Here  full story: Licensed Music Censors...Licensing sets up authorities as music censors

pub bandPubs and clubs wanting to offer live music would no longer be forced to apply to the local council for an entertainment licence under a planned deregulation aimed at supporting grassroots music.

The proposal is part of a government consultation to be unveiled by John Penrose, the tourism and heritage minister, amid warnings that small venues have been abandoning live music because of the bureaucracy introduced by the 2003 Licensing Act.

Feargal Sharkey, chief executive of UK Music, which represents the UK's commercial music industry, said:

We're optimistic that this will be positive news for the industry, and especially for emerging talent. I'd wager that all of yesterday's Mercury music prize nominees started their careers playing in pubs or clubs. In the meantime, we'll have to wait for the actual detail of the consultation, and under what specific circumstances the requirement for a music licence would be removed.

Parliamentarians have been calling for several years for the restriction to be removed. Prior to the 2003 Act, a two-in-a-bar exemption existed, allowing venues of any size to put on a performance of acoustic music by one or two musicians without the need for a licence.

However, the ministerial proposals are understood to go further than that. Large venues with a capacity of more than 5,000 would continue to be subject to premises licensing as before, but small venues would save on average £ 1,600 a year and be freed of the requirement to register with the council.

 

8th September   

Off the Rails...

Beijing takes control of two newspapers in apparent response to embarrassment over unsafe trains
Link Here  full story: Press Censorship in China...State control and sensitive news

beijing timesThe Beijing propaganda bureau has taken control of two city newspapers known for bold reporting.

Some journalists blamed the development on official anger at the reporting of the fatal high-speed train crash in Wenzhou in July, although others believe it reflects a broader struggle over control of the media.

It means there will be so much we can't do, an employee of one of the affected titles said. [Before] there was news that other papers couldn't do but we could.

Previously, the papers were overseen by state level propaganda authorities. Journalists fear the switch may also restrict their ability to cover events in the capital and sensitive news from other areas.

It's been a headache for the Beijing propaganda authorities that they didn't directly control the two newspapers, Wen Yunchao, a Hong Kong-based media analyst, told the South China Morning Post: They could only influence editorial content through the help of the central publicity department.

 

7th September   

Update: Family First Recommend...

Wound by David Blyth
Link Here  full story: Wound...New Zealand nutters wound up by Wound

Wound DVD Kate ORourke Wound is a 2010 New Zealand horror by David Blyth

It came to the attention of New Zealand nutters of Family First last year. According to the campaigners the film shows an unconscious girl being raped by a man wearing a pig's head and should be banned,

National director Bob McCoskrie said: Research clearly shows that explicit sexual content of this nature contributes to an increase in sexual violence. I can't see how incest and graphic violence can be presented in an entertaining way

But the New Zealand film censor's office didn't go along with the nutter recommendation. They explained that the impact of some of the more shocking content of the movie is limited by it's low budget and unrealistic special effects. The censor's office has rated it R18: contains graphic violence and sexual violence.

The BBFC has just rated the film as 18 uncut with the comment:

Contains strong bloody violence, sexual violence and sadomasochistic scenes

 

7th September   

Police Dummies...

Police prove 'inappropriate' to the job of patrolling the streets of Sheffield
Link Here

gadaffi in sheffieldWhen a party shop owner put a mannequin dressed as Colonel Gaddafi on the run in his doorway, he thought passers-by would see the funny side of it.

But two heavy-handed PCSOs marched into the store - and told staff to take down because it was supposedly offensive .

The mock-Gaddafi - dressed in bright pink tights and clutching a sign which read you ain't seen me right - was meant as a light-hearted prank.

Owner Peter Tooley never dreamed that his Party Town store would be accused of stirring up tensions.  Staff at the store in Sheffield said today they were surprised by the police over-reaction because no one had complained about the stunt.

A police spokesman confirmed the PCSOs had acted even though nobody had complained and said:

Two PCSOs, on normal patrol duties called into the shop to ask if they would mind taking the mannequin out of the shop window, as some people may find it inappropriate.

This advice was given in an attempt to prevent possible community tension on a sensitive issue.

 

7th September   

Update: The President is Listening...

Iranian satirical picture leads to closure of a newspaper
Link Here

shahrvand emrooz pictureThe Iranian newspaper Shahrvand-e-Emrooz has been shut down after mocking President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's relationship with wise man Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei

The cover picture was a photoshopped to look like a 16th-century Persian miniature. The wise man is lecturing his companions who kneel dutifully in front of him.

All the characters are in fact modern-day Iranians. Indeed, the wise man is none other than Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's confidant, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei. And in an obvious satire of the country's political leaders, it is Mashaei who counts the president among his obedient followers -- not the other way round.

The picture highlights the concerns among Iranian conservatives over Mashaei's growing political influence. Supporters of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, believe that Mashaei, whose daughter is married to the president's son, is attempting to undermine clerical power in Iran.

It is widely believed the picture was the reason behind the enforced closure of the magazine on Monda. Another publication, Roozegar, was also closed.

 

6th September   

Updated: Crawling On...

The date of the appeal against the BBFC ban of Human Centipede Part 2 has yet to be set
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

human centipede 2The BBFC have kindly confirmed that the appeal against the ban on Human Centipede Part 2 has yet to be fixed.

An interview by Tom Six gave the impression that formal appeal had already been heard and lost twice... and that Tom Six was already looking to the High Court for satisfaction.

Presumably in the following except from his interview, Six was using the word 'appeal' in an informal sense, meaning that he had just asked the BBFC (rather than the Video Appeals Committee) to think again.

Here is the original Tom Six wording again:

Offsite: Interview with Tom Six re the BBFC Appeal

31st August 2011. Thanks to Mark. See interview from horror-movies.ca
See also Tom Six, The BBFC and The Human Centipede 2 Censorship Debacle from bleedingcool.com

Q: Have you got anything to say to the BBFC?

Tom Six: Oh, I've got lots of things to say, you can imagine. When I first heard it I wanted to thank them so much for their incredible publicity, but now I'm getting really annoyed. They didn't agree with our appeal, so it's looking not good, and I'm really angry now, because how can they say to adults you can't watch this film ? It's incredible, and I'm really sad because the UK is the country that gave the world the black humour of Monty Python and Little Britain, and in my film; part 1 and part 2, there's a lot of black humour. I'm so disappointed they're so humourless.

...

Q: Do you see the BBFC ban being lifted any time soon?

Tom Six: Well, they have rejected our second appeal, so now the distributor has to go to a barrister or court, I'm not sure how that works, so it looks not very good. The film is not obscene, a lawyer said that and we have to get a barrister saying that. We have to find a way, I'm fighting my ass off with the distributor to find a way to show the film in the UK.

...Read the full interview

 

6th September   

Update: Recommended by the BBFC...

Australian trailer for Human Centipede Part 2 glories in ban justifying accolades by the BBFC
Link Here  full story: Human Centipede...Hype spreads mouth to arse

human centipede 2 trailer video The BBFC justification for banning Human Centipede Part 2 has been used with great effect to form a teaser trailer for its uncut showing in Australia.

Perhaps it will start a trend and that all countries will follow suit and have a bit of fun at the expense of the BBFC.

 

6th September   

Cigar Cases and Steelbooks...

Scarface released on Blu-ray with several packaging options
Link Here

Scarface Limited Steelbook Triple Blu ray Scarface is a 1983 US gangster film by Brian De Palma. See IMDb

Passed 18 uncut for:

  • UK 2011 Universal RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon Just released
  • UK 2004 Universal R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2000 Colmbia/TriStar R2 DVD
  • UK 1994 CIC VHS

The US release is uncut and MPAA R Rated for:

The director had a battle to get his final version passed R rather than the NC-17 the MPAA offered on the first 3 submissions. De Palma won an appeal and released his final cut of the film with an R Rating. There are still suggestions that more violent footage was made, but dropped earlier during the editing process.

Previously it was passed 18 after 25s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1987 CIC VHS
  • UK 1984 cinema release

The BBFC cuts were:

  • The chainsaw sequence was cut and the line: And now the leg...

Summary Review : Masterpiece

Scarface is a 23 year old masterpiece directed by Brian de Palma and is so influential that it defined a decade in some ways, in terms of the fashion that main character Tony Montana (Al Pacino) wore and the music and the era of the drug industry that also defined the 80s.

This is a film that certainly glorifies violence and creates a cool guy who is also a real nasty piece of work, the film is iconic with great quotable lines and a new generation has embraced this fully, so its legacy is safe and in terms of being a masterpiece, yes this is clearly one of the great movies of all time.

 

6th September   

Update: Emergency Powers...

The Enhanced Terrorism and Investigation Measures Bill will outline powers including curfews and further restrictions on communications, association and movement.
Link Here  full story: Social Networking Censorship in the UK...Internet censorship set to solve Britain's broken society

riotThe Home Office has published draft terror legislation to be used in supposedly exceptional circumstances.

The Enhanced Terrorism and Investigation Measures Bill follows  the government's review of CT powers, published in January, that claims enhanced measures are necessary in extraordinary circumstances.

IHome Secretary Theresa May said:

So we will publish, but not introduce, legislation allowing more stringent measures, including curfews and further restrictions on communications, association and movement.

These measures will require an even higher standard of proof to be met and would be introduced if in exceptional circumstances they were required to protect the public from the threat of terrorism.

We will invite the Opposition to discuss this draft legislation with us on Privy Council terms. These powers would be enacted only with the agreement of both Houses of Parliament.'

 

6th September   

Update: Ripper...

China rips out Ai Weiwei article from Newsweek
Link Here  full story: Human Rights in China...Chinese round up the usual suspects

newsweek chinaCensors in China have attempted to purge an essay written by prominent artist and dissident Ai Weiwei by manually tearing the pages of the article from a weekly news magazine.

The essay, which appears in the September 5 issue of Newsweek, urges Chinese citizens to speak out against what he says is the government's denial of basic rights. He also blasts the Chinese judicial system as being untrustworthy.

However, the article was still accessible online to English speakers.

Ai was understood to be barred from speaking to media or leaving Beijing after being released from jail in June. The internationally renowned artist was detained for almost three months after being charged with tax evasion.

 

5th September   

Update: Chastised...

Family Voice Australia fail in their court challenge to overturn the R18+ certificate awarded to Salo
Link Here  full story: Salo in Australia...End of long time ban on Pasolini's film

Salo Blu ray Pier Paolo Pasolini The nutter group Family Voice Australia has failed in their court action challenging the Review Board's decision to grant Salo an R18+ certificate. They contended that the film censorship appeal board somehow failed to follow its own guidelines.

The Federal Court did not seem very impressed by the Family Voice case and ordered that:

1. The application be dismissed.
2. The applicant (Family Voice Australia) pay the second respondent's costs.

The crux of the decision seems to be that: " The legislative framework entrusts the task of classifying the film to the Board not to the courts", as explained by the court:

As the Review Board itself recognised, the decisions with which it is charged under the Act, the Code and the Guidelines involve the exercise of discretion and judgment. These are matters on which, in all good faith, informed minds may differ. The difference between the majority and minority views concerning Salo testify to this. It is, however, irrelevant whether the Court agrees with the Board's decision or would decide the matter differently. The legislative framework entrusts the task of classifying the film to the Board not to the courts.

The function of the court is more limited. In Brown v Classification Review Board (1998) 82 FCR 225 French J, as the Chief Justice then was, observed at 240:

The function of this Court upon an application for judicial review is to decide whether the Board has acted in accordance with the law. It is not to substitute its own assessment of the publication for that of the Board. Nor should it seek to judicialise the process of administrative decision making by imposing rigorous standards of detailed explanation.

 

5th September   

Updated: Twin Attractions...

New UK DVD release for Some Like it Sexy
Link Here

Some Like Sexy Christopher Matthews Some Like it Sexy i s a 1969 UK sex comedy by Donovan Winter. See IMDb

An Extended Continental Version was passed 18 uncut for:

Previously an Updated Version was passed 18 after 37s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1995 Jezebel VHS
  • UK 1990 Sheptonhurst VHS

This updated version included the scenes with the Collinson twins which were edited in, together with some extra sex scenes involving body doubles.

The Original Version was passed X without BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 1974 cinema release as Some Like It Sexy
  • UK 1969 cinema release as Come Back Peter

Summary Review: Collinson Twins

A view from the sixties with the main man driving around London in his e-type picking up girls at will.

The film comes from a pretty tame period in terms of sex, but was perked up with a new version in the mid 70's. Nudity was added to the old sex scenes via body doubles. Most notably, new material was added featuring the Collinson Twins, Mary and Madeline. They at least could do their own nudity.

 

5th September   

Offsite: Having a Say...

The touchy topic of Australia's classification system
Link Here

ross fitzgeraldjpgClearly many Australians want to have their opinions heard on how, in the foreseeable future, official censorship in this country will be administered. The proof of that is that the Australian Law Reform Commission has received a record 2451 submissions to its inquiry into Australia's Classification Scheme.

About 10per cent of respondents were from industry groups who use the scheme to derive an income, while another 10per cent were from morals groups keen on restricting material they deem unworthy. Only about 1per cent of submissions were from civil-liberty groups who were trying to increase the amount of material available to the public. The rest of the submissions were from individuals with a wide variety of motives.

The morals and religious groups relied heavily on claims of being offended by certain material. They allege that certain types of information and entertainment are intrinsically offensive, in the same way they consider some things intrinsically evil. I don't consider being offended as relevant to the legislative framework and I question whether the Classification Act should take into account such personal value judgments.

...Read the full article

 

5th September   

Update: Having a Say...

Australian Law Reform Commission invitates people to join focus groups on the subject of censorship law reform
Link Here

Australian Law Reform Commission logoThe Australian Law Reform Commissionis conducting a review of the classification system in Australia.

As part of this review, the ALRC will hold community focus groups to test the kind of content that may be permissible in higher level classification categories (MA15+ and above, including the Refused Classification category). This is a pilot project that will test a methodology for possible further assessment panels that might be held to determine community standards with regards to classification categories in the future.

The ALRC will convene two volunteer focus groups in Sydney at which participants will be asked to view and discuss films, computer games, publications and online content. NOTE: Participants will be asked to view material which they may find offensive, confronting and disturbing.

The Pilot will consist of two focus groups of 15 adults who represent a broad cross section of the Australian community. The ALRC seeks applications from members of the community to participate in this process.

Volunteers must be over 18 years of age.

Each focus group will be held on one day only for half a day. All groups will be held in Sydney on either Saturday 22 October, Monday 31 October, or Wednesday 2 November. You must be available to attend on one of these days.

Please complete the application form, and include a description comprising no more than 300 words outlining why you are interested in taking part in the focus groups. The ALRC wants to ensure that we include people from diverse communities and backgrounds and from all parts of Australia. You must also describe in your application how you believe you will deal personally with viewing and discussing the offensive and confronting material.

A limited number of volunteers will be selected to take part and will be notified by the ALRC no later than 14 October 2011. If you do not hear from the ALRC, you can presume that you have not been selected to participate at this time.

Participation in these focus groups is completely voluntary and no fee will be provided. However, the ALRC will cover reasonable costs that participants incur in order to attend the viewings and discussions, including economy airfares, one night's accommodation if necessary due to travel requirements, and taxi fares to and from the airport. Lunch on the day of the focus group will also be provided.

...See further details about application from alrc.gov.au

 

4th September   

Offsite: Black Banners...

Recent book censorship by US security services
Link Here  full story: Book Censorship by US Security...Book censorship over military operations

Black Banners Inside Against al Qaeda News that the CIA has demanded extensive cuts from a forthcoming book by former FBI agent Ali H Soufan made the front page of the New York Times. But Soufan's isn't the only recent memoir to earn the intelligence agency's wrath by, in part, criticizing its use of brutal interrogation techniques in the decade since 9/11. There's also The Interrogator , by Glenn Carle, a CIA veteran who was given the task of questioning a purported al-Qaida kingpin in 2002. Carle's book was published earlier this summer with many passages, and occasionally entire pages, blocked out with black bars to show where the agency had insisted on redactions.

Soufan has called many of the CIA's excisions from his own book ridiculous, pointing out that some of the classified information is a matter of public record and appears in the 9/11 report and even in a memoir by former CIA director George Tenet.

...Read the full article

 

3rd September   

Update: We Get Used to this Censorship Stuff...

3D Sex and Zen director resigned to censorship
Link Here  full story: 3-D Sex and Zen...Hong Kong erotic movie in 3D

3d sex and zen3D Sex and Zen is a 2011 Hong Kong erotic drama by Christopher Sun Lap Key. See IMDb

In the UK it was passed 18 after 2:48s of BBFC cuts for cinema release.

HeyUGuys interviewed the director, Christopher Sun and asked about censorship cuts:

HeyUGuys: In the UK there have been some scenes removed to get it past the classification board. How do you feel about that?

Christopher Sun: It was sad, but it's an honour for us to have the film released in the UK, and we have to respect the censorship. Even when we release a film in Hong Kong, a scene or two actually gets shortened because of comments from the local censorship board, so we get used to this censorship stuff. We know that we're pushing things to the limits, so that's life...

There is a scene where the Prince of Ning accidentally kills his concubine. That scene is meant to be much longer. I tried to show it with one take, but then we got some advice from the censorship board in Hong Kong, because of the realism it had, it makes people uncomfortable to see it in one go, so we had to cut it, and take away a scene or two, so the length of the scene is actually shortened.

There is also particular a shot that we cut out here in Hong Kong, and around the globe too. [During an orgy scene, Wei Yangsheng, the film's protagonist] gets quite exhausted, doing that stuff to the women. It came to a point where he grabs a woman, and squeezes her titty, and breast milk spreads all over his body. A lot of audiences, and censorship boards found that too offensive, so we cut that shot away.

...Read the full interview

 

3rd September   

Update: Serious Censorship Powers...

Nominet recommend that police be given wide power to shut down websites used for 'serious' crime, a label which covers many minor crimes too
Link Here  full story: Internet Domain Censorship...In the Domain of Nominet internet censorship

NominetUK Police could get new powers to suspend internet domain names without a court order if they're being used for illegal activity, under rules proposed by .uk registry manager Nominet.

A Nominet volunteer policy team has recommended the creation of an expedited process for shutting down addresses when the police say the urgent suspension of the domain name is necessary to prevent serious and immediate consumer harm .

The proposed rules, if adopted, would apply to any address ending in .uk. Shutting down a domain name effectively shuts down the associated website and email.

In order for a domain to be grabbed under the policy, a law enforcement agency would have to file a declaration with Nominet that a seizure would be proportionate, necessary, and urgent . Police would not need to seek court approval, however, in order to have a site taken down.

Domains being used to commit any of an extremely long list of crimes covered by the Serious Crimes Act 2007, eg counterfeiting, fraud, prostitution, money laundering, blackmail and copyright infringement, would be eligible for seizure under the policy.

The policy recommendations envision an explicit exception for cases where freedom of expression is at stake. There would also be an appeals process and a periodic policy review.

The latest Nominet recommendations are still open for comment. See consultation details at nominet.org.uk

 

3rd September   

Comment: Dangerous Leaks...

Index on Censorship comment on the latest WikiLeaks leak
Link Here

Index on Censorship logoIndex on Censorship regrets the publication of over 250,000 unredacted US embassy cables by whistleblower site Wikileaks.

While Index supports the principle behind whistleblower initiatives such as Wikileaks, we have consistently expressed concern over the need for careful redaction in order to protect activists and dissidents living under authoritarian regimes. Early this year Index expressed its concern to Wikileaks over reports that unredacted documents had been made available to the Belarusian dictatorship.

Index on Censorship Chief executive John Kampfner commented: Sites such as Wikileaks will continue to emerge, and will have an important role to play. But they should be operated with a great duty of care, both to whistleblowers and to individuals who may find themselves in danger after irresponsible leaks of diplomatic, intelligence or other material.

Among the responsibilities of journalism are protection of sources and the avoidance of reckless endangerment of innocent people. These same responsibilities should be adopted by whistleblower sites.

 

3rd September   

Offsite: Emergency Powers...

Musing that David Cameron has already got the powers to turn off the internet at times of riot
Link Here  full story: Social Networking Censorship in the UK...Internet censorship set to solve Britain's broken society

riotOne of the unanswered questions arising from the August riots is whether the government needs new powers to block the use of Twitter, Facebook and other social media which were used to organise the disturbances.

Prime Minister David Cameron suggested, in the immediate aftermath of the rioting, that blocking the use of social networking communications was a policy option that was to be urgently discussed with telecommunications operators (and then implemented as a priority).

So when the Home Office says (as it has done) that no new powers are needed, then it follows that either no new powers are needed (ie, the government already has the power to block social networking communications) or the politicians have quietly gone off the idea (and have decided not to say so).

...

If I was having a bet, I think ministers might be considering the powers in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. This is because the definition of an emergency -- which is required to trigger use of the Act's draconian powers -- clearly includes a riot, as a riot could cause serious damage to human welfare, to property and threaten lives.

Additionally, where the issue is urgent , then the Civil Contingencies Act's powers can be exercised by ministers without resort to Parliament. Although urgency is understandable in times of a crisis, these urgency provisions also minimise Parliamentary scrutiny of their use at the critical time that the powers are exercised.

...Read the full article

 

3rd September   

Ominous Atmosphere of Censorship...

The UK censorship story of Tobe Hooper's Texas Chainsaw Massacre
Link Here

Texas Chainsaw Massacre DVD The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is a 1974 US horror film by Tobe Hooper. See IMDb

Banned outside of London

Famously banned by the BBFC for a UK 1975 cinema release

Tobe Hooper's seminal horror film was first seen informally by the BBFC's Secretary, Stephen Murphy, on 27 February 1975. Murphy regarded it as a good, well-made film but felt strongly that the level of terrorisation, particularly towards the end of the film, and the film's focus on abnormal psychology was unsuitable for a BBFC X certificate to be issued. The distributor reacted to this advice by making some minor reductions in the final scenes of terrorisation, formally submitting a slightly truncated version on 12 March 1975.

A pre-cut version was passed X by the GLC for a London 1975 cinema release. The film was shown in some others towns with a local authority certificate overruling the BBFC ban but the BBFC ban was enforced in others

Pre-cert and video limbo

The Pre-cert VHS was released uncut on the Wizard label in 1981

At around this time, the BBFC was once again asked to consider cuts for a legitimate video release but failed to see how an acceptable version could be produced. The film therefore fell into limbo and was removed from the shelves following the introduction of the Video Recordings Act.

Revival

After a long time in limbo it was passed 18 uncut by Camden Council in London for a Camden 1998 cinema release. It was given a late night screening at the 1998 London Film Festival and then ran successfully in Camden at the beginning of 1999.

The BBFC finally relented on their ban in 1999 when they passed the cinema release and subsequent video/DVD versions 18 uncut. The BBFC commented:

The notoriety of the film may owe a lot to its original rejection by the BBFC in 1975. It was passed for viewing in Europe, the USA, Australia and other countries. It received a GLC licence in the 1970s and was most recently shown in central London in 1998 under a licence from Camden Council. There is, so far as the Board is aware, no evidence that harm has ever arisen as a consequence of viewing the film. For modern young adults, accustomed to the macabre shocks of horror films through the 1980s and 1990s, THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE is unlikely to be  particularly challenging. Unlike more recent examples of the genre, violence in THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE is throughout implied rather than explicit. By today's standards, its visual effects may seem relatively unconvincing.

Possibly the most notorious feature is the relentless pursuit of the 'Final Girl' throughout the last half hour or so of the film. The heroine in peril is a staple of the cinema since the earliest days. It is nonetheless legitimate to question the unusual emphasis THE TEXAS CHAIN SAW MASSACRE places on the pursuit of a defenceless and screaming female  over such an extended period. The Board's conclusion, after careful consideration, was that any possible harm that might arise in terms of the effect upon a modern audience would be more than sufficiently countered by the unrealistic, even absurd, nature of the action itself. It is worth emphasising that there is no explicit sexual element in the film, and relatively little visible violence.

Since then the film has been released uncut several times for:

  • UK 2009 Second Sight RB Blu-ray at UK Amazon
  • UK 2008 Second Sight R2 DVD at UK Amazon
  • UK 2002 Universal R2 DVD
  • UK 1999 Blue Dolphin video
  • UK 1999 Warner video
  • UK 1999 cinema release

 

3rd September   

Dangerous Communications...

Kazakhstan blocks blogs and moves towards internet cafe surveillance
Link Here

Kazakhstan flagKazakhstan is considering imposing laws that will force internet cafes to monitor their customers use of the web.

The potential new regulations are part of a wider attempt by the Kazakh authorities to cut the flow of videos and literature produced by militant Islamists which they blame for fueling extremist violence.

Last week a court in Kazakhstan blocked access to the popular Russian blogging platform LiveJournal and other sites because Islamic extremists had been using them. Earlier this year a court also stopped access to the WordPress blogging site for several weeks for similar reasons.

The head of the Kazakh Interior Ministry's department, Erseri Utegaliyev, told the Express-K newspaper that internet cafes in Kazakhstan are favoured by fraudsters and extremists: Basically these things are committed in internet cafes and that is why we are now looking at the idea of monitoring clients using a number of records to show the time of their work and the IP address used .

The newspaper article also described how under the proposed regulations, internet cafes may have to install cameras to video their customers.

 

2nd September   

Update: Banned for Nothing...

Canadian broadcast censors overturn ban on Dire Straits' Money for Nothing
Link Here

Money Nothing Dire Straits Canada's radio censor has overturned its earlier ban on Dire Straits' Money For Nothing song playing on local airwaves.

The Canadian Broadcast Standards Council reviewed a January 2011 decision by its Atlantic Canada panel on the1980s Dire Straits hit song.

That original decision concluded the use of the anti-gay slur faggot three times in its lyrics breached industry codes on human rights.

In its latest ruling, the CBSC said the Atlantic censors were correct in deeming the word faggot may sometimes be inappropriate for broadcast on Canadian airwaves. But this was not one of those times.

The CBSC's national panel concluded:

There may be circumstances in which even words designating unacceptably negative portrayal may be acceptable because of their contextual usage. The ad hoc National Panel finds this is one such occasion.

 

2nd September   

Look Good in All You Do...

Canadian hair salon advert sparks 'outrage'
Link Here

fluid hair advertA woman sporting a black eye looks passively at the camera as a man stands behind her offering what looks to be a diamond necklace. It's an image that may resonate with survivors of domestic violence. But actually it is part of the advertising campaign for Edmonton-based Fluid Hair.

The photo is one of a series featuring well-coiffed women in various settings under the tag, Look good in all you do. Even, presumably, when your partner has socked you one.

The series of adverts has predictably sparked 'outrage' among campiagners and set the salon's Facebook page ablaze with criticism.

It glamorises domestic violence, said Jan Reimer, coordinator for the Alberta Council of Women's Shelters:

They may have had the best of intentions, but I don't think they thought it out much in terms of what the message is. It seems like this is an ad for domestic violence.

Rebutting her detractors, owner Sarah Cameron says that she considers the image to be art and a satirical look at real life situations .  Speaking out after local journalists called on residents to boycott the salon, Cameron has offered an apology while simultaneously chalking it up to a silly misunderstanding on the part of her critics. She explained:

For those that don't understand the photo if you look closely she's strong, not looking at him, not accepting the necklace. We will put out more photos because that is how we communicate and by the reaction to everyone directly attacking me and some of those who worked on the project. It shows how prevalent abuse is still amongst our society.

 

2nd September   

Updated: Not So Complete...

New UK DVD release for South Park Season 14 is totally missing the 2 controversial episodes featuring Mohammed
Link Here  full story: South Park and Religion...South Park offends the easily offenced

South Park Complete Fourteenth Season South Park Season 14 i s a US 2010 TV cartoon comedy. See IMDb

A version with just 12 out of the 14 episodes was passed 15 without BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 Paramount R2 DVD for release on 19th September

The two controversial episodes titled 200 and 201 have been omitted entirely.

The US release is cut and MPAA Unrated for:

The controversial 2 part episode titled 200 and 201 have at least been included, but censored as per the latest TV version.

Originally the religious figure of Mohammed was depicted as a teddy bear when shown in episode 200. After kicking off a bit of a fuss, in the second part, 201, all shots of the character were obscured by a black silhouette marked CENSORED. Every mention of Mohammed was also bleeped out.

The two part episode in question features a typically convoluted plotline in which Tom Cruise (previously pilloried as gay and for being a scientologist) rounds up 200 other celebrities who have been targets of the show's satire in order to launch a class-action defamation suit against the town of South Park. Cruise also wrangles Muhammad into his scheme, secretly motivated by a desire to harness the prophet's goo , which grants immunity to ridicule. Throughout, Muhammad is dressed in a bear suit, an ironic nod to the prohibition on showing images of Islam's founding father. and the blasphemy accusation against a British teacher in Sudan who let her class of kids name a teddy bear Mohammed.

Update: Bonus Episode

2nd September 2011. See article from bbfc.co.uk

The 'Complete' Fourteenth Season of South Park has been resubmitted to the BBFC, this time with a 'bonus episode' on Disk 3.

It is not yet clear what the episode is, maybe one of the 2 missing episodes?

 

2nd September   

Dangerous Cartoons...

Syrian cartoonist gets attacked and his hands broken
Link Here

ali ferzat cartoon assadThe Syrian political cartoonist Ali Ferzat, an outspoken advocate for human rights, was attacked and his hands broken by masked thugs.

The US State Department criticised the assault as a targeted, brutal attack and demanded that the regime of president Bashar al-Assad stop its campaign of terror through torture, illegal imprisonment, and murder .

The regime's thugs focused their attention on Ferzat's hands, beating them furiously and breaking one of them, a clear message that he should stop drawing, said US Department of State spokeswoman Victoria Nuland in a statement. He was then reportedly dumped on the side of a road in Damascus, where passers-by stopped and took him to a Damascus hospital.

Ferzat is one of the country's most popular cartoonists, and has become an even more beloved figure during the country's recent uprisings. At the start of the new presidency, he was allowed to publish a satirical magazine called The Lamplighter , which sold out just hours after hitting newsstands. But when Assad began jailing critics of his regime, the publication was soon shut down. Though Ferzat's work has now been banned in local newspapers, the artist continued to post his illustrations on his private website. Recently he had become bolder and started taking jabs at Assad himself (under Syrian law, caricatures of the president are illegal), with a cartoon depicting Assad, his bags packed, hitching a ride with deposed Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi.

 

2nd September   

Newspaper Appeal...

Banned newspaper resumes in Togo after libel damages substantially reduced
Link Here

tribu dafriqueReporters Without Borders and Avocats Sans Frontieres (Lawyers Without Borders) are delighted that the regional bimonthly Tribune d'Afrique is back on sale in Togo for the first time since a Lome court banned its distribution and sale a year ago in a libel case brought by Mey Gnassingbe, the president's half-brother and a member of the president's office.

The resumption of distribution in Togo is the result of a 14 July decision by a Lome appeal court reducing the damages that Tribune d'Afrique is supposed to pay from 60 90,000 euros to 15,000 euros and limiting the distribution ban to a period of three months which has already expired.

Reporters Without Borders and Avocats Sans Frontieres have been providing the magazine with legal and moral support ever since the president's half-brother filed his lawsuit.

The magazine's lawyer, Jil-Benoit Kossi Afangbedji, who was engaged by Avocats Sans Frontieres, said he planned to take the case to Togo's highest appeal court with the aim of getting the entire damages award overturned.

 

1st September   

Pretty Easily Offended...

JC Penney pulls t-shirt that winds up the not so pretty
Link Here

too pretty t shirtJC Penney has backed down over a slogan sweatshirt after easily offended sections of the blogosphere went into overdrive over its supposedly demeaning message.

The white top read I'm too pretty to do homework, so my brother has to do it for me and was aimed at 7-16 year olds.

It has now been removed from the store's site.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of embittered tweets condemned the shirt, many of which included comments such as appalled , offended , awful and horrible.

According to ABC News, over 1,600 people signed a petition addressed to JCPenney Chairman and CEO Mike Ulman III. It reads: Under the guise of being cute, J.C. Penney is promoting merchandise that encourages girls to value looks over brains; to leave academics to the boys, and to aspire to nothing more than fawning after Justin Bieber.

In statement the retailer said: 

jcpenney is committed to being America's destination for great style and great value for the whole family. We agree that the "Too pretty" t-shirt does not deliver an appropriate message, and we have immediately discontinued its sale.

Our merchandise is intended to appeal to a broad customer base, not to offend them. We would like to apologize to our customers and are taking action to ensure that we continue to uphold the integrity of our merchandise that they have come to expect.

 

1st September   

Germany Undoomed...

Doom and Doom II video games unindexed in Germany
Link Here

Doom II 2 Hell Earth Iconic video games DOOM and DOOM 2 have received a USK 16+ rating in Germany. Both titles were previously indexed by the Federal Department for Media Harmful to Young Persons (BPjM), which didn't quite ban them, but made for a commercial backwater due to impossibly restrictive marketing rules.

We are obviously very pleased with their decision, Bethesda Softworks VP of PR and Marketing Pete Hines told Joystiq.

Hines explained that an appeal of the indexing is allowed after 10 years, with DOOM and DOOM 2 having been released in 1993 and 1994, respectively. 

 

1st September   

Charlie Chan and the Missing Second...

BBFC ludicrously censor 1936 film re horse falls
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Charlie Chan Collection Region NTSC Charlie Chan at the Race Track is a US comedy crime mystery by H Bruce Humberstone. See IMDb

Passed U after 1s of BBFC cuts for:

  • UK 2011 Odeon R2 DVD

The BBFC commented:  

  • Cut required to sight of horse being tripped and falling dangerously

 

1st September   

Headline Censors...

Fiji checks all news headlines before publication
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Fiji flagFiji's Ministry of Information has imposed further pre-publication censorship of the press. The ministry sent a mass e-mail asking media outlets and journalists to send all news headlines to censors half an hour before stories are published, following soldiers being photographed removing anti-regime graffiti from public property. 

Fiji's military-backed regime began requiring daily monitoring of all news stories last April.