Suffering category cuts as it was a bit too scary for PG
30th September 2015
Goosebumps is a 2015 USA comedy horror adventure by Rob Letterman.
Starring Jack Black, Halston Sage and Odeya Rush.
UK: 2D and 3D versions were passed PG for frequent scary scenes after BBFC advised pre-cuts for:
2015 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
This film was originally seen for advice. The company was told it was likely to be classified 12A, but that their preferred PG could be achieved by making reductions to one scary scene. When the film was submitted for formal classification, this sequence
had been acceptably reduced and the film was passed PG.
Maryam Namazie of the One Law For All campaign was meant to speak at a Warwick University Atheist Society event on October 28 but the student union there has declined the request to have her speak. The Society is appealing. Here is Maryam Namazie's
statement on it:
I was invited to speak at Warwick University by the Warwick Atheists, Secularists and Humanists' Society on 28 October 2015. The University Student Union has declined the request for me to speak saying the following:
This is because after researching both her and her organisation, a number of flags have been raised. We have a duty of care to conduct a risk assessment for each speaker who wishes to come to campus.
There a number of articles written both by the speaker and by others about the speaker that indicate that she is highly inflammatory, and could incite hatred on campus. This is in contravention of our external speaker policy:
The President (or equivalent) of the group organising any event is responsible for the activities that take place within their events. All speakers will be made aware of their responsibility to abide by the law, the University and the Union's various
policies, including that they:
must not incite hatred, violence or call for the breaking of the law are not permitted to encourage, glorify or promote any acts of terrorism including individuals, groups or organisations that support such acts must not spread hatred and intolerance in
the community and thus aid in disrupting social and community harmony must seek to avoid insulting other faiths or groups, within a framework of positive debate and challenge are not permitted to raise or gather funds for any external organisation or
cause without express permission of the trustees.
In addition to this, there are concerns that if we place conditions on her attendance (such as making it a member only event and having security in attendance, asking for a transcript of what she intends to say, recording the speech) she will refuse to
abide by these terms as she did for Trinity College Dublin.
The Atheist group is of course appealing their decision, however, it's important for me to comment briefly on the Student Union's position. I will be writing a more detailed letter to the university to formally complain about the Student Union
accusations against me after taking legal advice.
For now, though, suffice it to say that criticising religion and the religious-Right is not incitement of hatred against people. If anything, it's the religious-Right, namely Islamism in this case, which incites hatred against those of us who dare to
leave Islam and criticise it.
The Student Union seems to lack an understanding of the difference between criticising religion, an idea, or a far-Right political movement on the one hand and attacking and inciting hate against people on the other. Inciting hatred is what the Islamists
do; I and my organisation challenge them and defend the rights of ex-Muslims, Muslims and others to dissent.
The Student Union position is of course nothing new. It is the predominant post-modernist Left point of view that conflates Islam, Muslims and Islamists, homogenises the Muslim community , thinks believers are one and the same as the
religious-Right and sides with the Islamist narrative against its many dissenters.
A decision to ban a speaker from Warwick University , citing fears she may offend Muslim students, has been reversed.
A statement published on the Warwick University Student's Union website on Sunday evening offered an unequivocal apology to Ms Namazie. It read:
In the last few days we have all seen much debate, and considerable concern, expressed about an application
to Warwick Students' Union made by the Warwick Atheist, Secularist and Humanist Society, that an SU society host the campaigner and blogger Maryam Namazie as an external speaker.
Warwick SU has a process for assessing any potential risks or legal issues associated with any external speaker, and it is now very clear to us that in this case that process has not been followed. Speaker invitations that may involve such issues are
routinely considered by the SU President, who will also take advice from senior SU staff.
This did not happen on this occasion. Neither the SU President, nor senior SU staff, were consulted as they should have been. This is a significant error for which there can be no excuse.
We want to assure everyone of Warwick Students' Union's continued commitment to free speech.
We also want to take this opportunity to apologise to everyone who has expressed concern, or disappointment, or who has been hurt by this significant error and, as we said above, we will be issuing a full and unequivocal apology to Maryam Namazie.
Offsite Comment: If Islamists can speak on campus, why can't I?
On 8 October, the Acting Editor for Comment is Free wrote to say a "very light edit" had been done on my article including "a few tweaks for flow, house style, and to make the piece as accessible as possible for non-expert readers."
Shockingly, the "light edits" included substantial changes, including the removal of references to Ali Shariatmadari and CAGE prisoners as well as all the relevant links, which would have helped "non-expert readers."
Satirical art using children's toy characters from the Sylvanian Families to mock Islamic State (ISIS) has been banned from a freedom
of speech exhibition over fears of muslim violence.
The work was censored from the schedule at the Passion for Freedom exhibition at London's Mall Galleries after police raised serious concerns about the possibility of a terrorist atrocity against visitors. Police feared crazed jihadis would
take offence and launch a reprisal attack in response to the heavily mocking artwork.
Officers told exhibition organisers they would have to pay £36,000 to hire extra security if the piece was displayed, forcing the gallery to remove it from display.
The works mocked the Islamist fanatics by showing them lurking in the background of ordinary family scenes depicted as characters from the popular Sylvanian Families toy set. A description for the piece, called ISIS Threaten Sylvania, said:
Far away, in the land of Sylvania, rabbits, foxes, hedgehogs, mice and all woodland animals have overcome their differences to live in harmonious peace and tranquillity.
MICE-IS, a fundamentalist Islamic terror group, are threatening to dominate Sylvania, and annihilate every species that does not submit to their hard-line version of sharia law.
The decision provoked outrage from both the artist, Mimsy, and people online, who said the terrorist group should not be able to dictate what the British public can see. Mimsy said:
I love my freedom. I'm aware of the very real threat to that freedom from Islamic fascism and I'm not going to pander to them or justify it like many people on the left are doing.
Author Ben Goldacre tweeted:
Dear The British Police, I want you to protect free speech from violence, maybe spend less time on cannabis smokers?
Index on Censorship CEO Jodie Ginsberg said:
Concerns over terror are being inflated to such an extent that perfectly legitimate, non-criminal expression, is being shut down across Britain: from university campuses, to theatre stages, to art galleries. The upcoming extremism bill could worsen the
situation further. In the case of the Sylvanian Families exhibit, we need to do more to ensure that police work with venues to promote freedom of expression, not stifle it.
The European Union strives to be a global leader in press freedom but faces challenges from member states that have criminal defamation and blasphemy laws, and have introduced counterterrorism measures, including mass surveillance.
The EU has made press freedom imperative in negotiating with candidate countries, but has been accused of failing to take strong action when member states renege on their press freedom commitments. Journalists working in the region are also affected by
EU laws and policies, such as the trade secrets directive and access to information regulations.
A special report by the Committee to Protect Journalists
Channels Five's new series, Body Donors features two cancer victims who have agreed to donate their bodies to medical science after they die. They consented to be filmed both before and after their deaths.
One is former diver Mike Bowyer. Footage shows him being taken to the University of Liverpool in a body bag. His corpse is washed and shaved as he is prepared for medics and students. He is then pumped with embalming fluid to preserve his body for up to
Vivienne Pattison, director of Mediawatch, said: It may cause some distress.
A show spokesman added: There is an appropriate warning at the beginning.
Love is a 2015 France / Belgium drama by Gaspar Noé.
Starring Gaspar Noé, Aomi Muyock and Klara Kristin.
UK: 2D and 3D versions were passed 18 uncut by the BBFC for strong real sex, very strong language.
Australia: The film has just been passed R18+ uncut for scenes of actual sexual activity, graphic nudity and sexual themes. Australian R18+ is equivalent to the UK 18 rating.
Australia has an X18+ rating for hardcore porn but only Canberra and Northern Territories allow the sale in local sex shops. A silly situation that has just been highlighted by Victorian Sex Party MP, Fiona Patten. She said she was:
pleasantly surprised by the rating. Traditionally any form of explicit sex has been shunted to the X category. This is quite a grown-up decision for Australia.
Yet, she says, it doesn't take away from the fact that in Victoria:
it's still illegal to show or sell tickets to Debbie Does Dallas , an X-rated film. We still ban the sale, distribution of sexually-explicit films.
Did it help that Love premiered at Cannes? Patten answered:
I hate to say it, but there is an element of cultural snobbery in this.
There is a provision for taking artistic merit into consideration in censorship decisions, she says, but there are those who would argue that Debbie Does Dallas has artistic and historical merit .
Two concerts in China by rock group Bon Jovi have been cancelled after reports the government discovered they featured images of the Dalai Lama in previous shows.
The American band had been due to play dates in Beijing and Shanghai but the performances were suddenly called off and ticket sales abruptly halted.
According to sources, the Chinese regime had banned the concerts after discovering a picture of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader, a man reviled by China, had featured in a video shown at a previous concerts.
Meanwhile they also allegedly found that Bon Jovi's 2009 We Weren't Born To Follow music video features brief images of the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations around Beijing's Tiananmen Square.
A national press ad for Paddy Power, which appeared in the Sport section of the Guardian, featured odds
on the candidates for the 2015 FIFA presidential election. An image showed Sepp Blatter revealing the winner by holding up a piece of paper which said ME . Text at the top of the ad stated, JUST F**K OFF ALREADY! Issue
The complainant challenged whether the use of the word F**K was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
ASA Assessment: Complaint not upheld
The ASA noted that the word F**K was partly obscured by asterisks, but acknowledged that the meaning of the word was still clear.
We noted that the ad appeared in the Sport section of the Guardian, which we understood had an adult readership and frequently contained swear words. We considered that readers of that section were likely to understand that the ad was intended to be a
light hearted comment on the ongoing allegations of corruption within FIFA, and in particular the controversy surrounding Sepp Blatter's tenure as FIFA president. In that context, we considered the use of F**K was unlikely to cause offence to
Because we did not consider the ad would be offensive to those who were likely to see it, we concluded that it was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
British spies have snooped on people's visits to online porn websites, according to documents leaked by CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden .
The files appear to detail a top secret programme - creepily codenamed Karma Police - which has been storing and analysing the browsing habits of every visible user on the internet for seven years.
They revelations were published by The Intercept, who say they obtained the information from Snowden.
The Karma Police system collected and stored records of visits to Google, Facebook, Yahoo and Reddit - as well as porn website YouPorn. GCHQ have been correlating logs of websites visited with associated cookie information to identify the viewers.
The Snowden files give some idea of how they mine this data on an unprecedented scale, with the aim of detecting suspicious behaviour by anyone in the world.
The system also allowed spooks to track people who had listened to particular online radio stations, which they say were used to spread radical islamic ideas.
A report included in the leak showed how they selected one listener, from Egypt, and revealed they had also looked at porn site Redtube, Facebook, Yahoo, Flickr, Google, and a website about Islam. The report does not say whether the user was suspected of
a crime or had links to terrorism beyond listening to a radio station.
The Karma Police system shares its name with a Radiohead song, the chorus of which goes: This is what you'll get if you mess with us.
The Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir has imposed a 3 day shutdown of the mobile internet because locals are using
social media to criticise a state law banning beef on religious grounds. The state is predominantly muslim, and so residents are unimpressed by the imposition of a law grounded in hinduism..
Inspector General of Police of Kashmir as well as Jammu region wrote a letter to all ISPs to extend the termination of data services to 3 days. He said:
In view of the apprehension of misuse of data services (GPRS/2G/3G) by anti-national elements, which is likely to cause deterioration in law and order situation, you are requested to completely snap down the data services through GPRS/2G/3G and broadband
till 2 PM of September 27.
The measure has been taken because of apprehension of communal tension in the backdrop of the High Court directive for implementation of an old law that bans slaughter and selling of beef. Some separatist groups have said they will defy the court order,
and proceeded to make their case by posting comments and videos on social media.
Today the BBFC published research into public attitudes toward online age rating labels for music videos. The research evaluates a government-backed pilot, launched in October 2014 by the UK recorded music industry, the BBFC and
digital service providers Vevo and YouTube, to test how age ratings can be applied to music videos released online in the UK, so that family audiences can make more informed viewing decisions. The research shows:
70% of parents of under 12s are concerned about their children being exposed to inappropriate content in music videos
up to 60% of children say they have seen content in online music videos of which their parents would disapprove
78% of parents value age ratings for online music videos
given the choice, 86% of parents would encourage/ensure their children watch online channels with clear age ratings
75% of parents would like online channels to link music video age ratings to parental controls
The online music video age rating pilot saw the three major UK record companies (Sony Music UK, Universal Music UK and Warner Music UK) submit to the BBFC for age rating, any music videos for release online in the UK for which they
would expect to be given at least a 12-rating (videos deemed not to contain content that would attract at least a 12 rating are not submitted*). On 18 August 2015, Government announced that the measures trialled will be made permanent for videos produced
in the UK by artists who are represented by major labels. A new pilot for independent UK music labels to submit online music videos for classification is also underway.
David Austin, Assistant Director, BBFC said: "The research shows parents perceive age ratings for online music videos to be almost as important as ratings for film and DVD/Blu-rays. Parents want more nuanced guidance
about the content of the music videos their children are accessing online, with BBFC age rating symbols alongside BBFCinsight content advice being the preferred form of labelling.
"Parents would like to calibrate parental controls to filter out inappropriate music video content for their children and we look forward to working with the Digital Service Providers to incorporate these findings into the way
age ratings and BBFCinsight is presented on their platforms. Non-UK label artists wanting to submit music videos for an age rating and further digital service providers wishing to display them are also welcome to help broaden the coverage of age ratings
for online music video content in the UK."
Geoff Taylor, Chief Executive BPI and BRIT Awards, said: "We understand the concerns that many parents have about children viewing age-inappropriate content, we have coordinated an industry response and good progress is
being made. Record labels are working closely with the BBFC, YouTube and Vevo to ensure that music videos produced here in the UK display recommended age ratings when broadcast online so that families can make more informed viewing decisions. The next
step will be for the digital platforms to look more closely at the introduction of parental control filters, so that parents can use the ratings to screen out content they consider unsuitable."
Nic Jones, EVP International at Vevo, said: "At Vevo we support artists and their creativity, however, we understand the importance and value that age ratings provide to parents and music fans to help inform their
viewing. Clearly from the research published today, there is a desire from our audiences to see content rated which enables them to make choices about what music videos they watch. Vevo have been part of the scheme since inception, and will continue to
work with the BBFC and label partners to ensure that our audiences get the best experience when on our platform. "
Just in passing, why is the BBFC so keen on the word 'moderate'?
It is a very loaded word that implies euphemism, eg 'moderate' muslim or saying 'moderate' when you really means censor. In horse racing terms, nags that are the slowest of the slow are politely described as 'moderate'.
The BBFC use comes across as some sort of jargonistic censor speak that is far removed from natual language
he research showed the preferred format for displaying age ratings for online music videos to be the age rating plus BBFCinsight:
54% of adults selected this format as the most likely to be noticed and most helpful to see online, while 53% selected it as the easiest label to understand.
The BBFC issues either a 12, 15 or 18 rating to online music videos, in line with BBFC Classification Guidelines. The BBFC also includes bespoke content advice, called BBFC insight, which explains in more detail why an age rating
has been given: for example, that scenes include sexual imagery, violence or other content deemed inappropriate for younger viewers.@ Once given an age rating, the labels pass on the rating and guidance when releasing their videos to the two digital
service providers -- Vevo and YouTube, who, in turn, display it when the videos are broadcast online.
* It is estimated that around 20% of music videos released within the pilot were subject to a rating -- the large majority of music videos are unlikely to contain content that would be rated 12 or greater. @This estimate is based on
a previous video catalogue audit of one of the companies taking part in the pilot.
Lucy Neville-Rolfe, the British minister for intellectual property, made an official visit and to sign a memorandum
of understanding between Britain's Intellectual Property Office and the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore. The document outlined joint efforts between the two offices to protect IP in each other's countries.
Neville-Rolfe told The Straits Times that it would be unwise to ban technology like VPNS, even if they are used to access geo-blocked content, a practice opposed by rights holders. You can't outlaw a key technology, she said.
Recently the Singaporean ISP ViewQwest released a new set top box with a built in VPN-like function so customers could use foreign streaming services. Netflix will, however, launch officially in Singapore next year but concerns remain over the quality of
the catalog compared to the US version, particularly citing widespread local censorship. One Singapore user explained:
I'm paying about US$50 (S$71) a year for my VPN service, which is a small price to pay for full, uncensored content. I wouldn't want to miss out on any parts of the TV show, so I wouldn't switch to Netflix's Singapore service if it is going to censor
A Chinese film-maker is to sue state censors in a quest to discover how and why his gay-themed documentary was removed from local
streaming sites, in a legal case that could have powerful ramifications for film censorship in the country.
Fan Popo says his documentary Mama Rainbow , which follows six Chinese mothers as they learn to love their gay or lesbian children, disappeared without explanation from video sites such as Youku, Tudou and 56.com in 2014.
The director had uploaded the documentary to keep it in the public eye after his film completed its short run at US and Asian film festivals in 2012. So he was disappointed when 56.com managers informed him that China's censor SARFT, the State
Administration of Radio, Film and Television, had issued the company with instructions to remove the movie.
SARFT censors later officially denied having any involvement in censorship of Mama Rainbow, so Fan has decided to sue the censor in the Beijing court in an effort to find out what really happened.
Last week, state-backed newspaper Global Times confirmed the case would be heard -- a victory in itself in China's government-controlled courts.
Beijing-based filmmaker Fan Popo, whose gay rights documentary was removed from Chinese video streaming websites, has claimed victory in a lawsuit over
government censorship despite the courts ruling that regulators were not to blame.
In its verdict released last week, Beijing's No. 1 Intermediate People's Court found censors had not ordered his documentary Mama Rainbow to be taken down from prominent streaming websites Youku, Tudou and 56.com.
Prior to filing the lawsuit, Fan had been told by two of the major streaming platforms that they had received a document from SAPPRFT ordering the removal of the film. He filed a request in February for information from the regulator, but they denied
ever releasing such a document. Fan told the Wall Street Journal:
I hope that my case can serve as catalyst to inspire more people to stand up against SAPPRFT for content we care about.
The verdict still poses the question as to who, if anyone, ordered his film to be taken offline. Fan said:
I still think the verdict is to my advantage, because now knowing the agency did not release any document, I can require the video sites to put my film back.
The Naked Rambler is back behind bars after falling victim to oppressive British authorities. Stephen Gough was said to have
stripped off for a stroll a month after being released from prison.
Gough has been incarcerated for passive public nudity for the best part of ten years. He was only released last month after a ten month stint for breaching an ASBO forbidding him from being in public naked.
But he was arrested on Friday after whingers in Twyford, Hampshire, called police when he allegedly went for a naked stroll in the middle of the afternoon. And of course the police always side with the 'outraged' regardless of what the law the law
Gough has pleaded not guilty to breaching his order and was remanded in custody ahead of a trial next month at Winchester Crown Court.
A spokesthug for Hampshire Police confirmed the arrest.
Vietnam has tabled a draft bill to introduce age ratings for movies. The idea has been knocking round government circles since 2008 but now looks set to be
There would be four age ratings for movies screened in the country:
all ages (P),
13+ years of age (C13),
16+ years of age (C16), and
adults only (C18)
The classification of the movies permitted to be shown at local theaters is based on theme, content and the level of many elements like violence, nudity, sex, drug use, language, and horror.
At the highest level, the 'C18 label would be used for films about political, social, psychological, and criminal issues that are only suitable for the cognitive and psychological awareness of viewers aged 18 or older.
This level of censorship allows the films to contain full nudity but they would not be permitted to describe sensitive parts in detail. Nudity and sexual violence in the C18 films must be relevant to their content and should not be prolonged or repeated
too much, according to the draft circular.
In addition, the C18 movies can show scenes of violence and bloodshed but they must match the context. Vulgar language, swear words or slang that can be considered offensive can also appear in the films. However, the C18 films would not include
scenes of unnatural sex acts, like those with children and in incestuous relationships, or images encouraging the use of drugs and other addictive substances.
Ngo Phuong Lan, head of the Vietnam Cinema Department, said the new film classification was modelled after that of Singapore
The provisional legislation is expected to take effect early next year.
Update: Filmmakers to be allowed just 15 seconds of free expression per movie
Vietnam's film censors have proposed a five second rule for movie censorship, sex scenes are to be restricted to just five seconds of onscreen sexual passion, with no more than three such scenes per film.
Chief censor Ngo Phuong Lan announced the proposal at a meeting in Hanoi. The measures are in line with a long tradition of oppressive censorship. Earlier this year, Vietnamese censors cut the sex scenes from Fifty Shades of Grey , reducing the overall
running time of the film by 20 minutes.
The draft rule has also been criticized for only mentioning female nudity in its language, leaving observers wondering whether male nudity would be fully permitted, or hadn't even been considered due to sexism.
The purchasing of sex will be outlawed under new criminal offences. Miserable ministers signed have agreed to a bill
that will see those buying sex face fines of €500 or up to €5,000 if the person is trafficked.
'Justice' Minister Frances Fitzgerald is expected to publish the final legislation next week and make an announcement on when the new criminal offence will be enacted. It is unclear if it will or will not decriminalise sex workers in brothels or on the
A group which calls itself the sex workers alliance of Ireland said it was a sad day for sex workers and that there are efforts in Sweden to decriminalise sex workers or soliciting by prostitutes.
New legislation on sexual offences criminalises paying for sex with prostitutes, but ensures the person offering
sexual services is not guilty of a crime. Presumably Ireland does not have laws against inciting people (their customers) to commit a crime.
Minister for Injustice Frances Fitzgerald published the Criminal Law (Sexual Offences) Bill 2015 on Wednesday, claiming she was committed to addressing the very real and tragic crimes of trafficking and exploitation associated with prostitution.
I am convinced that targeting the demand for such services is the way forward.
Ms Fitzgerald said her proposals mirrored the approach adopted in Northern Ireland and other jurisdictions which she said had seen a reduction in demand for the services provided by prostitutes.
Pornographic material and adult entertainment might be getting a lot more expensive in the state of Alabama.
The Alabama House Ways and Means Committee passed the proposed porn tax in a 10-4 vote for an extortionately high rate of tax to offset a massive budget shortfall .
In addition to any other applicable taxes, a 40% state excise tax will be levied on gross receipts from the sale, rental or admission charges of pornographic material. The tax will apply to any and all forms of pornographic or sexually explicit content
purchased in the state of Alabama, including, but not limited to, pornographic magazines, adult videos, and online adult rentals.
The porn tax bill now heads to the Alabama House for a floor vote.
Thanks to the state Senate, Alabama was able to avoid an anticipated First Amendment lawsuit over its budget proposal, which included an
extortionate tax on pornography.
In order to make up a $200 million shortfall , Alabama wanted to raise taxes with sin taxes. On Sept. 15, the porn tax failed to pass the Senate, during a budget vote in which the chamber approved two budget reform measures while also raising
taxes by roughly $86 million annually .
As proposed, the tax on porn was clearly unconstitutional. The First Amendment protects artistic expression, even if pornographic. Alabama, by taxing the specific category of pornographic material, is directly engaging in content-based discrimination,
something the Supreme Court does not allow. Indeed, in the 1972 case Police Department v. Mosely , the Court noted that above all else, the First Amendment means that the government has no power to restrict expression because of its message, its
ideas, its subject matter, or its content. Thus, regulations that treat a category of content differently than other categories will be held unconstitutional unless it passes the exacting legal test of strict scrutiny.
Strict scrutiny requires a compelling governmental interest that is narrowly tailored to be the least restrictive means of accomplishing that interest. Absent those factors, a law will be deemed unconstitutional.
A billboard shown at a large shopping mall complex and two posters, in both small and large scale formats, on the London Underground marketing a cosmetics company, MAC:
a. The billboard featured Miley Cyrus wearing a low cut bodysuit lying on her back with her legs apart against a mirrored wall looking into the camera. Around her were mirrors with pink lighting, which showed various angles of her lower body. It featured
text that stated MAC VIVA glam .
b. The small scale poster shown on the London Underground was almost identical to ad (a), but partially showed a reflection of Miley Cyrus' crotch in a mirror.
c. The large scale poster shown on the London Underground was almost identical to ad (a), but showed a mirrored reflection of Miley Cyrus' crotch.
The ASA received complaints from three members of the public:
three complainants objected that the ads were offensive, because they believed that they were overtly sexual; and
two complainants objected that the ads were unsuitable for display as posters in public areas, as they were likely to be seen by children.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
1. Not upheld
The ASA recognised that some might find the posters distasteful, particularly in the context of a make-up ad and we considered that the overall message of the posters was sexually suggestive. We noted that Miley Cyrus was shown wearing a one piece corset
bodysuit that covered her buttocks and most of her breasts. She was lying down with her legs raised apart against a mirrored wall and was reflected in the background mirrors. Furthermore, we considered that her facial expression along with her hands
placed behind her head was seductive in nature. In ad (b), her crotch was partially reflected in one of the mirrors while ad (c) showed a mirrored reflection of her entire crotch, although in both cases they were not heavily emphasised and were distorted
by the lighting and overshadowed by Miley Cyrus' pose. We also acknowledged the large size of ad (a) shown at a shopping mall complex and that ads (b) and (c) were heavily displayed throughout a London Underground station, which consequently, would have
made the images more prominent to passers-by.
Therefore, while we considered that the images in all three posters were sexually suggestive, we concluded however, that they were not overtly sexual and unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
2. Not upheld
While we did not consider the images to be overtly sexual, Miley Cyrus' pose however, was sexually suggestive. In all three ads, she was lying down with her legs raised apart against a mirrored wall and was reflected in the background mirrors.
Furthermore, in ad (b) her crotch was partially reflected in one of the mirrors while ad (c) showed a mirrored reflection of her entire crotch. We also acknowledged the large size of ad (a) shown at a shopping mall complex and that ads (b) and (c) were
heavily displayed throughout a London Underground station, which consequently, would have made the images more prominent to passers-by.
Because the posters were sexually suggestive they were therefore, inappropriate for general outdoor display and warranted a placement restriction of not appearing within 100 m of schools. However, we acknowledged that Exterion Media and the other media
owners MAC had used did not display the posters at locations within 100 m of a school.
Selena Gomez has upset a Hindu with her new tattoo. The singer unveiled her new Om skin art on her thigh on during a
beach day in Miami, Florida, and the snaps that appeared online have upset a religious leader.
Perennial hindu whinger, Rajan Zed spouted:
Hindus usually start and end their prayers with 'Om', the mystical syllable containing the universe. Such trivialisation of 'Om' is upsetting to Hindus. It's highly inappropriate for Selena to place such a revered and sacred symbol of Hinduism, with high
religious significance, on her thigh.
As a renowned performer, Selena should get acquainted with the basics of world religions... Hinduism concepts and symbols have well-defined meanings and purposes and these were not created just for Hollywood stars.
We welcome celebrities to immerse themselves in Hinduism... BUT ...to take it seriously and respectfully and not just for the indecorous showing of Hindu symbols and concepts to advance their selfish agenda. Casual flirting sometimes
results in pillaging serious spiritual doctrines and revered symbols, hurting the devotees.
The French internet censor has responded to a Google statement which explains why European internet censorship cannot be applied across the world.
This summer, France's Commission Nationale de l'Informatique et des Libertes (CNIL) sent Google an order to not merely delist links from European Google searches but search results around the world, too. Google responded:
This is a troubling development that risks serious chilling effects on the web.
CNIL's president did not find this persuasive, rejecting Google's appeal of the order. In a statement released today, CNIL claimed that:
Once delisting is accepted by the search engine, it must be implemented on all extensions, because if this right was limited to some extensions, it could be easily circumvented: in order to find the delisted result, it would be sufficient to search on
another extension and this would equate stripping away the efficiency of this right.
CNIL pointed out that delisted info remains directly accessible on the source website or through a search using other terms than an individual's name and:
In addition, this right is not absolute: it has to be reconciled with the public's right to information, in particular when the data subject is a public person, under the double supervision of the CNIL and of the court.
Google must now comply with the formal notice or face CNIL's sanctions committee.
There's no further opportunity to appeal the decision at this stage under French law. But if Google refuses to comply, it could later appeal any sanctions levied by CNIL. Fines would likely start at around € 300,000 but could
increase to between 2-5% of Google's global operating costs. The search engine could then go to the Conseil d'Etat, the supreme court for administrative justice, to appeal the decision and fine.
Members of the Kurdistan Region parliament have put forward a draft law blocking pornographic websites in the Region.
MP Bahzad Darwesh from the Kurdistan Islamic Union (KIU) revealed that 27 MPs signed a draft law on September 20th , proposing the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) block access to online porn.
Darwesh claimed that the draft law has been made to save customs, traditions and social values. He pointed out that along with MPs from Islamic parties, other members of parliament have signed the bill.
The Iraqi parliament recently voted to restrict access to internet pornography in the country, but the newly-ratified law is not enforceable until the Kurdistan Region parliament votes in favor of the bill.
As the head of MI5 launches a push for unparalleled powers, will he answer challenging questions on why banning encryption, or weakening it through compulsory backdoors, won't make us all less safe? By Julian Huppert
One Million Moms, a christian morality group, spout:
ABC's New Adaptation of The Muppets is for Adults Only!
One Million Moms (IMM) suspects there are going to be a lot of shocked moms and dads when they discover that the family-friendly Muppets of the 1970s are no more. It appears that no subject is off limits. ABC's new Muppet Show, airing on Tuesday evenings
at 8:00 pm ET/7:00 pm CT, is not what Jim Henson imagined and created. The new show is aimed at a mature, modern audience and addresses subjects not suitable for family viewing.
It's sort of an adult Muppet show, Kermit the Frog said during a promotional video for the show. One ad read, Finally, a network TV show with full frontal nudity. Technically, the advertisement is correct -- seeing how Kermit doesn't wear
The mature version of The Muppets will cover a range of topics from sex to drugs. Miss Piggy came out as a pro-choice feminist during an MSNBC interview. The puppet characters loved by kids in the 1970s and 1980s and beyond are now weighing in on
abortion and promiscuity.
ABC hopes children watch the show and predict they would enjoy some of the humor, but 1MM would disagree. It is not the show it once was. ABC has ruined The Muppets. How many parents want to explain the punchline of sexually charged jokes to young
Many parents unknowingly will let their children watch an episode only to find out its perverted nature too late, unless they are alerted ahead of time. 1MM and others need to get the word out to families to avoid this program at all costs.
Although robots built for sex are not yet available to the public, the Campaign Against Sex Robots has already launched. The group believes that companies should cease developing sex robots with artificial intelligence on grounds of feminism. Presumably
the group fears that sex robots will somehow challenge the social control structures related to sex. The group has published its aims on its website:
We believe the development of sex robots further objectifies women and children.
The vision for sex robots is underscored by reference to prostitute-john exchange which relies on recognizing only the needs and wants of the buyers of sex, the sellers of sex are not attributed subjectivity and reduced to a thing
(just like the robot).
The development of sex robots and the ideas to support their production show the immense horrors still present in the world of prostitution which is built on the "perceived" inferiority of women and children and therefore
justifies their uses as sex objects.
We propose that the development of sex robots will further reduce human empathy that can only be developed by an experience of mutual relationship.
We challenge the view that the development of adults and child sex robots will have a positive benefit to society, but instead further reinforce power relations of inequality and violence.
We take issue with those arguments that propose that sex robots could help reduce sexual exploitation and violence towards prostituted persons, pointing to all the evidence that shows how technology and the sex trade coexist and
reinforce each other creating more demand for human bodies.
Engineers have long strove to make sex toys and dolls as life like as possible. Realistic looks and feels have been about as far as the manufactures have been able to come so far. In the last few years, however, the artificial intelligence technology has
opened a brave new world for sex toy innovation.
Lead campaigner Kathleen Richardson, a robot anthropologist and [feminist] ethicist at De Montfort University in Leicester spouted:
When I first started looking into the subject I thought, 'oh sex robots, that's harmless and perhaps these robots would reduce demand for real women and children.
But then as I researched the subject more I found that the opposite was true, that rather than reduce the objectification of women, children and also men and transgender people, these robots would contribute and reinforce their position in society [as
True Companion, a company which as been making sex dolls for years and claims to have introduced the first sex robot- the Roxxxy. The company explained on its website and in statements:
Roxxxy knows your likes and dislikes, carries on a discussion and expresses her love to you and [can] be your loving friend. She can talk to you, listen to you, and feel your touch. She can even have an orgasm.
Roxxxy provides physical and sexual pleasure but also provides social interaction and engagement It's customizing technology to provide a perfect partner, she's not meant to replace a real partner but is meant as a supplement.
As long as we're not hurting anyone, there's no problem with it.
A question or two for the anti-sex-robot feministas:
a) is a dildo/vibrator a primitive form of sex robot?
b) if so, are you prepared to disavow the use of them?
In truth, men have no more interest in having sex with robots than they have in having sex with trees or a cup of tea. Meanwhile, women like the idea of pleasuring themselves with plastic objects. Men generally do not.
So, if the sale of sex aids is anything to go by, sex robots are more likely to be called `Big John` than `Melinda`.
So, dear feminists.
Women may like vibrators. Feminists may like vibrators.
It does therefore not follow that men like vibrating holes.
By publicly protesting against the latter you are merely broadcasting the former.
And as for academic Kathleen Richardson, being a 'robot anthropologist' and 'ethicist'. Well anthropology is the study of humanity, so robots are human, extreme feminists are ethical and 2 + 2 = 5!
Andrew Parker, the Head of MI5, has called for more up-to-date surveillance laws in an interview with the
BBC, where he also stated that communications companies have an ethical responsibility to alert the authorities to potential threats . Parker said:
MI5 and others need to be able to navigate the internet to find terrorist communication, we need to be able to use data sets to be able to join the dots to be able to find and stop the terrorists who mean us harm before they are able to bring plots to
We have been pretty successful at that in recent years but it is becoming more difficult to do it as technology changes faster and faster [and] encryption comes in.
The government is currently planning renewed attempts to pass the Communications Data Bill, also known as the Snoopers' Charter . They are expected to bring forward a new version of the Bill in October.
Commentator and encryption expert Bruce Schneier commented:
For most of human history, surveillance has been expensive. Over the last couple of decades, it has become incredibly cheap and almost ubiquitous. That a few bits and pieces are becoming expensive again isn't a cause for alarm.
The government has also been briefing the communication industry about the extended snooping plan.
Theresa May has already met with companies including BT, TalkTalk, EE, Vodaphone, and Virgin Media to discuss plans to bring forward a new draft of the Communications Data Bill in October. Non-ISP networks and civil liberties groups have reportedly been
summoned to separate meetings.
An ad on www.joke.co.uk featured a costume called Psycho Clown Costume and featured an image of a man
holding a bloody machete and was wearing clown make-up, a blood spattered stained torn T-shirt, baggy trousers with thick red braces and a hat with bright red curly hair attached to it. The ad also featured text that described the costume and stated, ... You'll give your friends colrophobia when they see you in this frightening clown costume[..]
Two complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive, because it reinforced negative attitudes about serious mental health illnesses.
ASA Assessment: Complaints not upheld
The ASA noted that the product was featured on a website selling humorous fancy dress costumes, but was not otherwise targeted. Although advertisers were entitled to sell any product that was legal, the Code required marketers to ensure that ads did not
contain anything that was likely to cause serious or widespread offence.
Although we acknowledged that some consumers would be likely to find the costume distasteful, we considered that it was unlikely that the image would cause offence. We noted that the word Psycho was used in naming the costume, which along with the
image, the complainants considered misrepresented people with mental illness because it implied they were violent and murderous. They considered that the ad contributed to the stigma surrounding mental illness.
While we appreciated the complainants' concerns, we considered, however, that consumers would interpret the ad's reference to Psycho as a reflection of the themed costume resembling a villainous fictional character from a horror film rather than
as a reference to a person suffering from chronic mental disorder leading to abnormal or violent antisocial behaviour. Therefore, we considered that the reference to Psycho in conjunction with the image of the costume was unlikely to reinforce
negative stereotypes about mental illness, and concluded that the title of the costume Psycho Clown Costume was unlikely to cause serious or widespread offence.
A US appeal court has stepped in to prevent a bully shopping mall magnate from censoring a critical blogger via copyright claims.
The court issued an opinion blocking the use of copyright to censor unwanted online criticism. The decision, Katz v. Chevaldina , is important because although copyright law is frequently misused as a tool to censor speech, it rarely makes it into
court to be challenged. And here, the court stopped the plaintiff in his tracks.
As we explained in an earlier blog post , the plaintiff, Raanan Katz --the owner of a number of shopping centers throughout Florida and a minority owner of the Miami Heat --didn't like how an online blogger was using an unflattering photograph of him in
blog posts criticizing his business practices. So he acquired the copyright for the photograph and went after the blogger for copyright infringement. At the district court, the blogger, Irina Chevaldina, moved for summary judgment on the ground that her
use of the photograph for the purpose of criticizing Katz was fair use and protected under federal copyright law. The district court agreed , ruling in favor of the blogger. But Katz appealed.
We filed an amicus brief with the Eleventh Circuit back in May, urging the court to see this behavior for what is was-- i.e ., a blatant attempt to abuse copyright law. The Eleventh Circuit agreed with us, seeing straight through Katz' behavior and
characterizing the case as Katz's attempt to utilize copyright as an instrument of censorship against unwanted criticism. The court ultimately upheld the district court's holding that Chevaldina's use of the unflattering photograph was protected
In upholding the district court's fair use holding, the Eleventh Circuit rejected Katz attempts to argue that Chevaldina was using the photograph for commercial use--an argument that we had pointed out to be ridiculous. As the court recognized:
Chevaldina unabashedly criticized and commented on the dealings of Katz, his businesses, and his lawyers. Chevaldina's blog posts sought to warn and educate others about the alleged nefariousness of Katz, and she made no money from her use of the photo.
The court also found that Chevaldina's use of the photograph was transformative, because, in the context of the blog post's surrounding commentary, she used Katz's purportedly 'ugly' and 'compromising' appearance to ridicule and satirize his
The court further rejected the Katz's disingenuous argument that Chevaldina's use of the photograph would have a detrimental effect on the potential value of the photograph. As the court stated:
Katz took the highly unusual step of obtaining the copyright to the Photo and initiating this lawsuit specifically to prevent its publication. . . . Due to Katz's attempt to utilize copyright as an instrument of censorship against unwanted criticism,
there is no potential market for his work.
In the meantime, back in May, the district court ordered Katz to pay Chevaldina $152,433.68 in attorneys' fees plus another $2,403.50 in costs. The court admonished Katz, During the more than two years that this litigation consumed, Plaintiff should
have at all times known his claim would eventually fail when the truth of his motivations was eventually know. The court went on:
It is crystal clear that Plaintiff's motivations pursuing this lawsuit were improper. Instead of using the law for its intended purposes of fostering ideas and expression, Plaintiff obtained the photograph's copyright solely for the purpose of
suppressing Defendant's free speech .
Students have been banned from accessing pornography at the University of Melbourne's largest residential
college, sparking a fiery campus debate on sexual freedoms and censorship.
Ormond College has blocked access to adult sites on its Wi-Fi network, claiming that pornography does not allow people at a formative stage of life to develop a healthy sexuality .
But some students have reacted angrily to the censorship, arguing they pay $200 a semester for college Wi-Fi, and in the privacy of their own rooms they should be allowed to access legal adult sites.
Inevitably the college master in charge is a theologian who seeks to impose his religious nonsense on other people. Dr Rufus Black claimed in a student newsletter that pornography was exploitative and presents women primarily as sex objects who are a
means to the end of male pleasure . He preached that allowing the college's 400 students to access porn on its network would be condoning the objectification of women. He spouted:
Pornographic material overwhelmingly presents women in ways that are profoundly incompatible with our understanding of what it is to treat people with respect and dignity.
He maintained that even same-sex pornography was treating another person as a means to an end , and that porn was addictive.
Rachel Withers, president of the Melbourne University Student Union, said as long as students were accessing legal sites what they viewed in the privacy of their own rooms should be their decision:
I would personally prefer to see colleges tackling issues around respect for women's bodies and consent through educational programs and ensuring students receive comprehensive information on consent as part of their college orientation.
Offsite Comment: Rufus Black preaches about imposing his religious morality on others
In a free and plural society, our disposition is to prefer freedom with responsibility over restriction. ...However ... the priority we give to freedom does not relieve us of the task of deciding what we as a community are going to be about.
A poster for Larry Flynt's Hustler Club, which was displayed on the side of a van driven around South London, featured
a photograph of a naked woman lying on her side with her back to the camera, and two fully clothed men standing in front of her and looking at her. Text stated THE BEST VIEW IN CROYDON . Issue
The ASA received three complaints.
All of the complainants challenged whether the ad was offensive, sexist and degrading to women.
Two of the complainants, who reported seeing the ad in Wimbledon Village on a Saturday and on Clapham High Street and Putney Bridge on consecutive Sundays, challenged whether the ad was unsuitable for public display where it could be seen by children.
ASA Assessment: Complaints upheld
1. & 2. Upheld
The ASA considered that, while the ad only showed the back of the woman, it was clear that she was lying on her side, naked, facing the two men who stood in front of her. While we acknowledged that the ad did not include any explicit nudity and the
woman's pose was not overtly sexual, it was clear from the men's lines of sight that one was staring at her breasts, while the other was staring at her crotch, and we considered that the overall impression of the image was that it was sexual in tone.
When accompanied with the claim The best view in Croydon , we considered the image presented the woman merely as a sexual object to be enjoyed at the whim of the club's clientele. While we acknowledged that the image was relevant to the nature of
the club being advertised, we considered that it was likely to be seen as objectifying, and therefore demeaning to, women. Because of that, we concluded that it was likely to cause serious or widespread offence, and was unsuitable for public display,
particularly where it could be seen by children.
Gamasutra cites small game developers speaking about the PEGI games classification group:
We have to work with them, and they have some crazy policies that are not cool for indies, he told me. You can't put your game on an Xbox or PlayStation without a PEGI rating, and they charge thousands of dollars.
By comparison, getting the game ESRB-rated so the game could be sold in the U.S. costs nothing; the ESRB rolled out a free, streamlined voluntary rating service to digital platforms years ago.
PEGI designed its licensing fee scheme for digital games based on how it's been rating physical video game releases since 2003: with the expectation that publishers would foot the bill. But the rise of self-publishing has created situations where the
biggest line item on a small developer's budget may well be ratings board licensing fees. That in turn is putting pressure on indies not to release their games in Europe on platforms that require PEGI ratings, i.e. Xbox Games Store, Sony's PSN and
Nintendo's eShop. Indies are paying roughly $300-$1,000 per platform for a PEGI rating
PEGI knows this. It's been taking fire on this front from members of the European game industry for some time (UK game industry trade body TIGA called on PEGI last year to reform what it called unreasonably high and repetitious fees ) and when I
sat down with agency communications manager Dirk Bosmans at Gamescom last month, he tried to offer both an explanation and the promise of a near future where no indie will have to pay for a rating on a Microsoft, Sony or Nintendo platform ever again.
But first, he acknowledged PEGI's fees are an outdated relic of the way the video game industry used to operate. They're also the primary thing keeping PEGI in business. PEGI knows this is a problem, but it wants to maintain income
Our money comes from fees that publishers pay to get a ratings license...that's basically our only source of income. When we were at the height of the console cycle, there were lots of games. That's come down in the past few years, so obviously our
income is shrinking.
A couple of years ago, if you'd asked me [whether PEGI fees have a chilling effect on European game releases], the answer probably would have been no, because in order to release a game in a box on a shelf you'd need a lot of funds. But because digital
is so much more accessible, it's much easier to release a game, but we still charge the same.
A promoted tweet on Twitter for the gambling operator Fruity King was shown on 18 April and featured text that stated:
Arsene Whinger has suffered more abuse from Arsenal fans over the last 9 years than a Yemeni child slave in Saudi Arabia. FA-Cup.
A complainant, who objected to the use of an analogy relating to international child abuse with football, challenged whether the ad was offensive.
Total Odds Media Ltd t/a Fruity King stated that the promoted tweet was published by their advertising agency with whom they were no longer working. Fruity King apologised for any offence that the promoted tweet may have caused to the Yemeni community,
but they did not believe that the tweet caused serious or widespread offence and that it was a tasteless joke with no malicious intent. They stated that the sponsored tweet was a one-off and that they had no plans to repeat it.
ASA Assessment: Complaint upheld
The ASA understood that there were reports of children, who were particularly vulnerable to slavery, being trafficked into neighbouring states. We therefore considered that comparing the amount of abuse a football manager received to that of a Yemeni
child trafficked into slavery was entirely inappropriate for an ad and concluded that the promoted tweet was likely to cause serious and widespread offence.
A TV presenter has faced a ludicrous PC overreaction to a jokey reference to a film about 9/11.
The ITV gaming show Jackpot 24/7 was being presented by Emma Lee who opened with the line:
Thank you so much for coming in for an emergency landing with us tonight. Brace yourselves, it's going to be good. We hope you enjoyed the movie there on ITV. It's time for you to sit tight.
She was referencing the film United 93 which had been playing previously on the channel. The film depicts the 33 passengers and crew who overpowered terrorists who hijacked their plane during the September 11 attacks, sacrificing themselves but
saving potential victims on the ground.
The Sun reported that she was told to 'back reference' a film about a plane which was playing before the show aired, however she was not told much about the film or its theme.
A few viewers took to social media to voice their 'outrage' at the reference via Twitter:
@ITV - Straight after #United93 aired on Sep 12th. How disgustingly insensitive can you get @Jackpot247 ?!
ITV -- the twit woman on #jackpot247 just made a terrible joke regarding the film #united93 -- was NOT funny! Those people lost their lives!
Jackpot 24/7 said they will be holding an investigation into the incident, and have apologised for the comments.
Russia has blocked access to the world's biggest porn website. The government internet censor, Roskomnadzor, announced in a statement that
a ban on PornHub and ten other pornographic websites has been enacted.
A court ruling from the city of Krasnodar that determined the adult sites violated federal laws concerning the protection of minors from harmful information has been cited as the reason.
A spokesman for the porn site in question released a statement saying the company:
Can confirm that Roskomnadzor has blacklisted Pornhub in Russia and [they] are currently investigating and considering available means to reinstate [the] website in Russia.
Additionally, Roskomnadzor announced last week via its VKontakte social network page that it was now also illegal to make Internet memes featuring exaggerated or fabricated caricatures of public figures. It cited a violation of Russian legislation on
personal information in addition to besmirching the honor, dignity and business reputation of public figures.
A US federal appeals court sided with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) on several of the major questions at issue in the long-running Lenz v. Universal copyright case. This is sometimes referred to as the Dancing Baby case because it
centers on a 29-second home video of a toddler dancing with a song by the musician Prince in the background.
The big takeaway of decision is that copyright holders must consider fair use before sending a takedown notice. But just as important, is the basis of that conclusion that fair use is not just a carve-out of the copyright system but a right on the same
level of those described in the rest of the statute.
For example, the court states explicitly that Fair use is not just excused by the law, it is wholly authorized by the law. However well attested that principle is in the statute and in case law, it is still sometimes considered controversial.
Hopefully this decision puts that debate to rest: whether the copyright holder grants permission or not, a fair use is an authorized use.
The court goes on to specify an important consequence of that fact: since fair use is authorized by the law, people enjoying their right to fair use are not infringing copyright. That's important because Universal had argued that fair use has to be
considered an affirmative defense of otherwise unlawful conduct. The panel of judges dismantled that idea:
Universal's interpretation is incorrect as it conflates two different concepts: an affirmative defense that is labeled as such due to the procedural posture of the case, and an affirmative defense that excuses impermissible conduct. Supreme Court
precedent squarely supports the conclusion that fair use does not fall into the latter camp: [A]nyone who . . . makes a fair use of the work is not an infringer of the copyright with respect to such use. Sony Corp. of Am. v. Universal City
Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 433 (1984).
Given that 17 U.S.C. Â§ 107 expressly authorizes fair use, labeling it as an affirmative defense that excuses conduct is a misnomer.
One reason this affirmation of fair use is so crucial is that it comes at a time when fair users should be enjoying new opportunities from unprecedented media tools and distribution options, but instead face similarly groundbreaking challenges and
pushback from copyright holders. An interview with the video remix artist Elisa Kriesinger published just yesterday brings some of those points into focus:
Every few weeks, you are constantly having to defend your work, You thought you were clear two weeks ago, and now you've got to defend it again because someone else is saying that they own a portion of your work.
For fair users, the decision has another heartening element, the court has appropriately defined the damages available to targets of takedown abuse as broader than actual monetary loss. In practical terms, many people who are using their fair use
rights online can't easily demonstrate precise monetary costs of an improper takedown, but it can take a toll in terms of time and energy getting it restored and holding the senders accountable. It's good to see a court recognize that idea. Accepting
that a broad range of harm can and should make it easier for service providers and the public to hold accountable those that would abuse the DMCA.
The decision is not all good news, unfortunately. Applying an older Ninth Circuit decision called Rossi v MPAA, the court suggested that, although copyright owners must consider fair use, they only need to form a subjective good faith belief that the
work is not authorized by law, even if this belief is objectively unreasonable on either the law or facts at issue. Those that would use the law to silence online speech should, at the very least, be required to act reasonably. Otherwise the law
perversely rewards those who fail to properly educate themselves about fair use before sending a takedown.
The EFF comments:
It took eight years of litigation to get to this point. That's right: it took eight years to establish that record labels like Universal must consider whether your speech is legal before they try to get it taken off the Internet. We are glad to finally
have this result and we hope that this ruling will lead to less takedown abuse in the future.
The Sydney Underground Film Festival
17 -20th September 2015
The Factory Theatre in Marrickville, Sydney
After a recent change to Australian film censorship law, festival organisers have been speaking of an improved process making it a bit easier to schedule censor baiting material. Festival organisers are now allowed to self-assess as to whether yet
to be censored movies are permissible.
Events such as the Sydney Underground Film Festival's co-director Stefan Popescu welcomed the new classification exemptions for festivals and special events:
I think it's far more intelligent to give festivals greater responsibility in assessing the suitability of content for their exhibition, he says. It is good to see that the [Classification Board] is moving towards a less controlling and fearful position
in their policies concerning content for media.
The festival opens on Thursday with a screening of French film Love, which has been described as a 3D pornographic movie. Popescu says the film, which premiered at this year's Cannes film festival, challenges the way sexuality is addressed in
I think we should relax the censorship laws and generally relax our conservative attitudes towards sexuality, he says. I personally don't understand why people are so uptight about something that forms the basis of human existence, yet we celebrate and
support violence and warmongering publicly.
This year's festival was programmed before the new censorship rules were enacted and Popescu speaks of films creating issues for the censors. The Australian censors were concerned in particular about two scenes from a Finnish comedy-horror movie, Bunny The Killer Thing.
One of the scenes had a woman being bashed unconscious and then sexually assaulted, but the censors did not required cuts. Popescu commented:
I chose Bunny The Killer Thing , because I love ridiculous gore films, there is some sort of sick pleasure in it for me
But even Popescu said he was shocked by the documentary Dolphin Love:
I just find it one of the more confronting films, because this guy really believes he had a loving relationship with a dolphin, he says. I just don't know how I feel about that because firstly it's real and secondly there is no way to assess whether the
The festival will close with Eli Roth's Knock Knock, an erotic horror film featuring Keanu Reeves.
Facebook has announced that it is undertaking steps to counter racist postings by users in Germany after criticism by the Justice Ministry.
Facebook made the announcement just before a meeting with Justice Minister Heiko Maas to discuss the topic. Facebook were 'invited' them to the meeting to discuss what he saw as a failure to act against violent and xenophobic comments which had
proliferated due to the way the refugee crisis is being handled.
Facebook has unveiled several censorship measures including signing up with the 'Voluntary' Self-censorship Service Provider (FSM) a group Facebook describes as a leading organization in the realm of internet security,
Facebook is also setting up a task force to find solutions to the problem of racism on the internet. Thirdly Facebook are taking a few ideas from China with a campaign for counter speech , an Orwellian euphemism which means censoring criticism
through propaganda postings on internet forums.
Facebook Germany's policy manager Eva-Maria Kirschsieper said in a statement.
We have seen how many groups have been organised on our platform aiming to help refugees. But a very small minority have been spreading opinions that cross the line of acceptable behaviour.
No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka is a 2013 UK documentary by Callum Macrae.
Starring Rufus Sewell, Bashana Abeywardene and Vany Viji.
No Fire Zone: In the Killing Fields of Sri Lanka is an investigative documentary about the final weeks of the Sri Lankan Civil War.
Back in July 2013, Sri Lanka was smarting from criticisms in the documentary D Censorship was the response, and when Sri Lanka got wind of a private screening to be held in Malaysia, the Malaysian government was persuaded to ensure that the
screening was banned.
The film was screened and programme coordinator, Lena Rasathi A. Hendry took the rap. However she challenged the Malaysian censorship in the country's constitutional court.
The Federal Court has just ruled on the case, and found that the political censorship enacted under the Film Censorship Act 2002 did not contravene constitutional protections for freedom of speech.
A provision under the Film Censorship Act 2002 was used in the prosecution of Hendry which makes it an offence for a person to screen a film prior to approval by the Film Censorship Board.
Justice Zulkefli ruled that the court's answer to the question of law posed was in the negative and that there was no merit in her application. The legal question was whether Section 6 (1)(b) of the Film Censorship Act 2002 read together with Section 6
(2)(a) of the same Act violated Article 10 (right to freedom of speech and expression) and Article 8 (1) of the Federal Constitution (equality before the law and entitle to equal protection of the law) and therefore should be struck down and void for
He also remitted the matter back to the High Court and gave a directive for the case to proceed for trial at the Magistrate's Court.
So Lena is now facing a charge at the Magistrate's Court in Kuala Lumpur for allegedly screening a documentary entitled No Fire Zone: The Killing Fields of Sri Lanka that had not been approved by the Film Censorship Board.
She was accused of committing the offence at the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Chinese Chamber of Commerce Hall at Jalan Maharajalela in Kuala Lumpur at 9pm on July 3, 2013.
New Zealand moralist campaign group, Family First, is calling for the lads' mag Zoo Weekly to be banned from supermarket
A petition that started in Australia, calling for supermarkets to stop stocking men's magazine Zoo, was picked up in New Zealand by Family First. The campaign group is calling for Countdown to follow the Australian example and ban men's magazine Zoo from
But a spokesman for Countdown New Zealand said it has no plans to remove the publication from its shelves, and that it takes responsible steps when displaying the magazine. And many members of the public have agreed, saying they don't find the
The petition to drop Zoo from Woolworths, which owns Countdown stores in New Zealand has about 40,000 people calling for the store's chief executives to bin Zoo magazine immediately .
Laura Pintur, who started the campaign, spouted:
When I heard Zoo was regularly promoting rape culture and sexism with phrases like 'you want to pick the loosest/skankiest one of the lot and fetch her a drink...separate her from the flock'. I couldn't stand by and watch it promoted to kids at
Family First National director Bob McCoskrie whinged that the magazine did not belong on supermarket shelves:
I think if I showed you it, you see it promotes a rape culture, it objectifies women, teaches boys to be predatory, it's the continued sexualisation of women. We want to encourage families to politely speak to managers and ask if it's appropriate to make
a profit out of these messages.
But a Countdown spokesperson said it was just one of more than 1000 stockists selling the magazine around the country. The supermarket sells less than a quarter of Zoo magazines in New Zealand, and they were appropriately positioned in store, he said.
A US town council has proposed a ban on mini-skirts in public to promote respect - three weeks after an official proposed a city decree prohibiting low trousers because their god supposedly wouldn't like it.
The initial proposal was made at a council meeting on 25 August to ban low trousers that reveal men's boxer shorts. Frank Goodman, a member of Dadeville city council spouted:
It is about respect. Who is going to respect you if you don't respect yourself? The reason I brought this up is I think people deserve respect when they are in public.
I think slacking is disrespectful. I think it gives our younger generation the wrong impression of what is cool.
I prayed about this. I know that God would not go around with pants down.
The proposal was questioned by another council member, Stephanie Kelley but only to add mini skirts into the list of prohibited clothing in the interest of equality. She whinged:
My concern is it should be for everybody. I think for the girls, with these shorts up so high looking like under garments and dresses so short, I don't want us to be showing favouritism.
The city attorney Robin Reynolds said he hopes to have the ordinance ready by the next meeting.
Supported by the French Government, several key players in the online payment industry are teaming up with copyright holders to ban infringing
websites. The proposed agreement is a key part of the follow the money approach through which stakeholders hope to decrease online piracy via censorship.
The entertainment industries are lobbying the public and private sector to come to their aid. So far, this has resulted in Government supported voluntary agreements in both the United States and the United Kingdom.
It now appears that France intends to follow the same path. One of the key elements of the French approach is to strangle the revenues of pirate sites by making it harder to run ads and accept online payments.
Earlier this year Fleur Pellerin, France's Minister of Culture and Communication, presented a paper outlining the Government's plans. At the time, it was suggested that payments to and from pirate sites should be blocked where possible.
new plan would go above and beyond current measures.
According to Minister Pellerin both parties are working on a voluntary agreement which would see copyright holders create and maintain a pirate site blacklist. The payment providers will then use this list to prevent sites from signing up or to
terminate current accounts.
Some opponents fear that without proper oversight the blacklist may become too broad. This could potentially destroy businesses which are not deemed illegal by any court.
Love is a 2015 France / Belgium drama by Gaspar Noé.
Starring Gaspar Noé, Aomi Muyock and Klara Kristin.
France's culture minister plans to reconsider a law requiring non-porn film images of real sex to be 18 rated since this restriction limits freedom of expression.
The move is linked Gaspar Noé's Love which features a scene with real sex.
The film was initially rated 16 as it came out in France this summer. However, as a result of a lawsuit filed by a far-right political group, the country's cinema classification office was obliged to change it to to an 18 rating, a certificate previously
exclusively reserved for porn films.
The far-right group managed to win the case since under the French law any film that shows non-simulated sex scenes must be forbidden for under-18s.
Now France's culture minister Fleur Pellerin has commendably opposed the 18 rating noting that this is an indication of French right-wingers and hard-line Catholics gaining ground.
She has appealed to the Conseil d'Etat to review the decision. She also said
We are working with the people who classify films to see how we can make things evolve, while respecting the protection of minors.
New classification exemption arrangements for festivals and special events
On 11 September 2015, amendments to the Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Modifications of Films) Act 1995 take effect that streamline and simplify the classification exemption arrangements for special events like film festivals
and computer game expos and for cultural institutions such as art galleries and museums wishing to exhibit unclassified films, computer games and publications.
The Classification (Publications, Films and Computer Games) (Conditional Cultural Exemption Rules) Instrument 2015 , which provides further details on the exemptions, will also take effect on 11 September 2015.
Event organisers will no longer be required to apply to the Director of the Classification Board for an exemption from the usual classification requirements. Rather, they will be able to self-assess their eligibility for an exemption.
For an exemption to apply, events that wholly or mainly involve the showing of films, computer games or publications, such as a film festival or a computer games expo, must be registered on the online classification portal .
Approved cultural institutions are not required to register their events. However, event organisers must use persons trained by the Attorney-General's Department to assess the unclassified material for the exemption to apply.
The European Parliament has voted to adopt the conclusions of a report that defends encryption, anonymity and digital freedom.
The report, which was narrowly approved by 371 votes in favour to 293 against, criticised EU governments for supporting mass snooping:
The active complicity of certain EU member states in the NSA's mass surveillance of citizens and spying on political leaders, as revealed by Edward Snowden, has caused serious damage to the credibility of the EU's human rights policy.
However, it's not just the US that has come in for a bashing in the resolution that was drafted by Dutch Liberal MEP Marietje Schaake. David Cameron's ideas about banning encryption or allowing backdoor exploits for spying are also roundly condemned. The
European Parliament said the EU should:
Counter the criminalisation of the use of encryption, anti-censorship and privacy tools by refusing to limit the use of encryption within the EU, and by challenging third-country governments that criminalise such tools.
It also condemns the weakening and undermining of encryption protocols and products, particularly by intelligence services seeking to intercept encrypted communications.
Schaake wants end-to-end encryption standards as a matter of course for all communication services.
Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is a 2015 USA action Sci-Fi thriller by Wes Ball.
Starring Dylan O'Brien, Kaya Scodelario and Thomas Brodie-Sangster.
UK: [2D + 3D] passed 12A for frequent moderate threat, violence after BBFC advised category cuts were made for:
2015 cinema release
The BBFC commented:
This work was originally seen for advice. The company was advised that the film was likely to receive a 15 certificate but that their preferred 12A classification could be achieved by making some changes. The company was advised:
to reduce moments of threat and horror involving zombie-like characters, and
to reduce the focus on injury in a scene in which a man is beaten for information.
When the film was formally submitted, changes had been made and, consequently, the film was passed 12A.
In this next chapter of the epic "Maze Runner" saga, Thomas (Dylan O'Brien) and his fellow Gladers face their greatest challenge yet: searching for clues about the mysterious and powerful organization known as WCKD. Their journey takes them to the
Scorch, a desolate landscape filled with unimaginable obstacles. Teaming up with resistance fighters, the Gladers take on WCKD's vastly superior forces and uncover its shocking plans for them all.
A garment worker's rescue from the rubble of a Bangladeshi factory collapse in 2013 offered a Hollywood ending to one of the world's
worst industrial disasters.
But when a Bangladeshi filmmaker decided to make a movie based on the miraculous survival story, a court banned its release claiming that it could negatively affect the country's labor force.
More recently though, a panel of four judges had a change of heart and agreed to lift the ban,. The reversal came at the insistence of the movie's producer, Shamima Akhter, who reasoned that Rana Plaza --named after the now infamous factory--had
already been approved by Bangladesh's Film Censor Board.
At the time, Akhter had agreed to delete several scenes that presumably showed uncomfortable truths about how workers are treated in the factories of Bangladesh.
The Rana Plaza collapse claimed more than 1,000 lives and injured 2,500 others, raising international outcry over workers' safety.
The initial six-month ban on Rana Plaza's release was prompted in part by a petition launched by labor union president Sirajul Islam Rony, who objected to the movie's "humiliating" portrayal of workers as a "cheap commodity,"
according to German broadcaster Deutsche Welle . Rony worried that the film might scare the millions of women who labor in Bangladesh's roughly $25 billion garment industry. Western retailers including H&M, Benetton, Zara, and Gap are among the
country's biggest buyers.
Pick-up artist Daryush Valizadeh, known as Roosh V, is at the centre of another internet storm as feminists get offended by his books and claim that they are pro rape in a change.org petition calling for the books to be banned on Amazon.
Amazon currently stocks 22 books written by the writer, from Washington, who identifies himself as a champion of neomasculinity .
About 200,000 people having signed the peitition.
The petition was launched three weeks by London-based activist Caroline Charles. Her starts with the warning line: This petition contains details about sexual assault. She cites a passage:
While walking to my place, I realized how drunk she was. In America, having sex with her would have been rape, since she legally couldn't give her consent. It didn't help matters that I was sober, but I can't say I cared or even hesitated. I won't
rationalize my actions, but having sex is what I do.
Valizadeh has penned a series of books in his Bang series, which all detail similar subjects and stories from countries around the world including Denmark, Estonia, Lithuania and Poland.
Inevitably Charles ludicrously claims she does not believe in censorship:
To those who'll cry 'censorship - back off,'. He's entitled to write and think and say what he likes. He's not, however, protected from the backlash against his output, or removal of platform. This isn't about banning books ...[BUT]... it's
about ensuring he, and Amazon, can't profit from rape.
About 7,000 people have signed a petition calling on British craft beer company, BrewDog, to remove a humorous advert which the petitioners claims is transphobic.
The video named Don't Make Us Do This asks fans of the company to become investors while reiterating their mission statement - Equity For Punks .
The petition claims the advert is: Mocking trans women, sex workers and homeless people and that by doing so - is not punk or ethical.
During the three minute advertisement, co-founders James Watt and Martin Dickie ask viewers not to force them into any humiliating experiences. Watt and Dickie are then shown in a series of embarrassing scenarios, which includes begging for money
on the streets and in a window dressed in women's clothes as sex workers.
In a statement, James Watt, Co-Founder of BrewDog told the Huffington Post UK:
The video we created was to launch the CrowdCube aspect of Equity for Punks and was made in the spirit of fun and sending ourselves up, it's a shame that some people have taken offence where none was intended. We have a history of supporting and
championing the LGBT community, and will continue doing so. watch this space.
Anish Kapoor's installation titled Dirty Corner has been vandalised for the
second time. It is currently on show at the Palais de Versailles just outside Paris.
The contemporary work nicknamed the Queen's Vagina was daubed with insulting slogans targeted at French jews eg: The second rape of the nation by deviant Jewish activism.
Fabrice Bousteau, editor-in-chief of Beaux Arts magazine and a commissioner of contemporary art exhibitions told the Guardian.
There is a minor faction of the French population that is fascist about culture and especially about what it considers to be degenerate art. Most French people are respectful of contemporary art, but these people see it as an expression of France's
Anish Kapoor has said he will keep the inscriptions, and in the sense that his work is a sociological statement, he is right to do so.
Kapoor's giant steel and rock sculpture, on display in the Versailles gardens facing the palace and measuring 200 feet long and 33 feet high, is a huge funnel, which the 61-year-old artist has admitted is very sexual . Shortly after it was
unveiled in June, it was splattered with yellow paint. This was subsequently cleaned off.
This week, French president Francois Hollande condemned the latest attack and the antisemitic slogans sprayed on the sculpture as hateful . Culture minister Fleur Pellerin said she was angry and shocked .
New Zealand's book censorship review board has arisen from the dead and slapped an interim ban on a book for the first time since the current law was passed 22 years ago.
The president of the Film and Literature Board of Review, Don Mathieson has issued the Interim Restriction Order banning the sale or distribution of Auckland author Ted Dawe's award-winning novel for teenagers Into the River until the full board can
consider whether the book should be restricted.
The moralist campaigner, Family First director Bob McCoskrie, who requested the review, said the interim order - the first affecting a book under the Films, Videos and Publications Classification Act 1993 - showed people could still use the censorship
system. He spouted:
Hopefully we have set a precedent and people start bringing other books to the fore that they are concerned about.
Where a book is targeted at teenagers it needed to be language and theme appropriate.
The order is the latest twist in an extraordinary saga for Into the River , which won the top prize in the 2013 Children's Book Awards. The censor's office first classified it as unrestricted with a note about explicit sex, drugs and offensive language.
The review board later imposed an R14 restriction, but this was overturned last month when deputy chief censor Nic McCully ruled that the book should be unrestricted.
Pro-censorship Mathieson, who argued a minority case for an R18 restriction in 2013, said in the new interim order it was debatable, and a matter of independent public interest, whether the chief censor acted lawfully in overturning the board's
It is now illegal to supply the book to anyone until the full board made a final decision.
The head of the Christian morality campaign, Family First, said he never demanded the book Into the River be banned. Bob
McCoskrie told Radio NZ Family First had wanted censors to reinstate the book's R14 rating, which had been removed last month, and require that the book carry a warning sticker. McCoskrie spouted:
We're not calling for it to be banned and we never have. We'd just like an age restriction in the same way that a movie has an R16 or R18. If you want to blame anyone for the book being banned, blame the censor's office because they went against due
It has sexually explicit material and it's a book that's got the c-word nine times, the f-word 17 times and s-h-i-t 16 times.
Apple has refuse a US court order to hand over texts sent using iMessage between two iPhones because its encryption system leaves the
company unable to comply.
The order was obtained by the US Department of Justice during an investigation over the summer and represents the first known direct face-off between the government and Apple over encryption.
The US government, led by the FBI, has been making increasingly strident calls for technology companies to stop providing ubiquitous encryption to customers. In September 2014, the director of the FBI, James Comey, specifically criticised Apple's
decision to enable end-to-end encryption in its then-new mobile operating system, iOS8, which is what prevents the company from reading its users' messages. Comey said at the time:
I like and believe very much that we should have to obtain a warrant from an independent judge to be able to take the content of anyone's closet or their smart phone. The notion that someone would market a closet that could never be opened -- even if it
involves a case involving a child kidnapper and a court order -- to me does not make any sense.
Google is marketing their Android the same way: 'Buy our phone and law-enforcement, even with legal process, can never get access to it.
Recently, judges at Delhi High Court found that under the Cable Network Regulation Act, any movie with U/A (PG) or
A (18) certification, which were not suitable for unrestricted exhibition, cannot be shown on television.
Most industry insiders fear that not allowing U/A films from being screened on television will mean a loss of 40% revenue for producers. Not just local producers and regional channels, even those screening foreign movies will face a huge issue if
such a norm is put into effect.
Actress Rituparna Sengupta termed this as a detrimental step. It'll harm both actors and producers. Producer Srikant Mohta described this as the last nail on the industry's coffin . Describing this as an attack on freedom of
expression, director Srijit Mukherji said this will mean asking film-makers to make movies for kids. Producer Rana Sarkar apprehended that such a move would result in a massacre . This is death of creativity, Sarkar said.
The recent development happened when on August 21, the Delhi High Court stayed the television premier of Indra Kumar's Grand Masti after a petition was filed by MediaWatch-India, a moralist group campaigning for 'decency' and accountability in the
media. The adult Hindi film had earlier been re-certified by Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) after 33 minutes of cuts But the court stay order had said that the film was not certified for unrestricted public exhibition and cannot be televised
under the Cable Network Regulation Act. In an interim order, the court had rejected the argument that parents could change the channel since a warning that it was not suitable for minors is shown before such a movie starts. The bench had observed that a
child's TV viewing may not always be under parental supervision.
Manish Desai, CEO of India's films censors said:
The matter is still being examined, especially in the light of the petition on 'Grand Masti' which was converted from 'A' to 'U/A' with deletions.
A notice has been issued to the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and CBFC seeking their replies by September 16 on a plea seeking quashing of the U/A certification given to the movie.
Does Object even have a future? I am sure that when this is read someone will try to make object look active but over the last couple of years they have had less and less impact and failed to deliver anything other than a jolly to Brazil for Roz Hardie,
certainly hope that wasn't the last of the funds. And if I donated to Object in the past I would be stopping any standing orders.
Violent video game play is linked to increased aggression in players but insufficient
evidence exists about whether the link extends to criminal violence or delinquency, according to a new American Psychological Association task force report.
Mark Appelbaum, the task force chair, commented in the review:
The research demonstrates a consistent relation between violent video game use and increases in aggressive behavior, aggressive cognitions and aggressive affect, and decreases in prosocial behavior, empathy and sensitivity to aggression
Scientists have investigated the use of violent video games for more than two decades but to date, there is very limited research addressing whether violent video games cause people to commit acts of criminal violence. However, the link between violence
in video games and increased aggression in players is one of the most studied and best established in the field.
No single risk factor consistently leads a person to act aggressively or violently, the report states. Rather, it is the accumulation of risk factors that tends to lead to aggressive or violent behavior. The research reviewed here demonstrates that
violent video game use is one such risk factor.
In light of the task force's conclusions, APA has called on the industry to design video games that include increased parental control over the amount of violence the games contain. APA's Council of Representatives adopted a resolution encouraging the
Entertainment Software Rating Board to refine its video game rating system to reflect the levels and characteristics of violence in games, in addition to the current global ratings. In addition, the resolution urges developers to design games that
are appropriate to users' age and psychological development, and voices APA's support for more research to address gaps in the knowledge about the effects of violent video game use.
The task force conducted a comprehensive review of the research literature published between 2005 and 2013 focused on violent video game use. This included four meta-analyses that reviewed more than 150 research reports published before 2009. Task force
members then conducted both a systematic evidence review and a quantitative review of the literature published between 2009 and 2013. (A systematic evidence review synthesizes all empirical evidence that meets pre-specified criteria to answer specific
research questions) This resulted in 170 articles, 31 of which met all of the most stringent screening criteria.
In addition to the report described above, the APA released a declaration:
A Resolution on Violent Video Games - that strongly encourages the Entertainment Software Rating Board to refine the ESRB rating system specifically to reflect the levels and characteristics of violence in games in addition to the current global ratings
While the ESRB said that it has had an open dialogue with the APA - and will continue to do so, it also said that it doesn't need to make changes to the ratings system. It cited an 8-year-old FTC report on the reliability of the ratings system (compared
to other entertainment industry ratings systems) and a Hart Research poll that found parents were familiar with the ESRB.
Perennial Hindu whinger, Rajan Zed, has turned his attention to a Doctor Who comic book, The Twelfth Doctor: Volume 3.
Doctor Who fan site Kasterborous described the storyline of the episode:
The Kaliratha are like the demon Raktabija, an innumerable threat that seems to increase in size whenever one of its horde falls. Unlike Raktibija, however, the Kaliratha are the servants of Kali, Goddess of time and death. One would be hard pressed to
find a more apt villain for a Doctor Who story taking place in India.
Zed took easy offence at a website description of the episode:
Kali, oldest and deadliest of these creatures, was thought defeated long, long ago; her body scattered throughout time to prevent her return.
Zed, President of Universal Society of Hinduism, in Nevada, called for Titan Comics to withdraw the comic, both from stores and online, and offer a public apology from all those responsible. He said that the goddess Kali was meant to be worshipped in
temples or home shrines and not to be thrown around loosely in reimagined versions for dramatic effect in comics. And that calling her a creature was hurtful to her devotees.
Zed spouted that Hindus are in favor of free speech as much as anybody else, if not more so ....BUT... faith is something sacred, and any attempts at belittling faith hurts the devotees.
Titan comics apologised for any 'offence' caused by the representation of Kali in this comic and said:
This particular character is an alien that uses the iconography of Kali to infiltrate India in the 1800s. The story eventually reveals that this entity is not the goddess of the Hindu faith. Titan s Doctor Who comics draw inspiration from historical
events and cultural traditions from all over the globe .
China has approved for cinema release the first film with gay principal characters. Film director Wanga nnounced on Weibo, a
Chinese version of Twitter, that censors had given Seek McCartney permission for a cinema release. He said:
This is a small step for the film department, and a big step for the members of the film industry.
The film, a Chinese-French co-production, centres on a secret relationship between two men, one Chinese and one French.
Fan Popo, an LGBT filmmaker and rights activist was note entirely convinced that this is a policy change. He told AFP:
The fact that this film can be released in theatres doesn't mean gay films in the future will be able to released in China. China's system for evaluating films is still very unstable, because the rules are very unclear. It depends heavily on the
individual censor's whims.
ITV has apologised after a poll on Loose Women about rape 'offended' political correct viewers. The show foolishly dared to ask whether
rape was ever a woman's fault.
The poll followed on from comments The Pretenders' singer Chrissie Hynde had made in the Sunday Times.
The Loose Women poll drew criticism on Twitter, with one viewer Rebecca Gill calling it off the scale of acceptability .
Rape Crisis for England and Wales tweeted that it was
Not an appropriate opinion poll; legally and morally the answer is a resounding 'no'
Katie Russell the national spokesperson for Rape Crisis England & Wales added:
A programme like Loose Women could choose to use its high profile to raise awareness and understanding of rape, its impacts and prevalence, and to support and encourage survivors to seek services like those Rape Crisis offers; instead, they've reinforced
myths and stereotypes with this ill-considered, insensitive and insulting poll.
In a statement issued to The Guardian an ITV spokesperson said:
We always want to know what our viewers think about topical issues, however, we accept that the wording of the online poll was misjudged and we apologise for any offence caused.
TV censor Ofcom said it had received 53 complaints about the poll. i
Ofcom has announced that it will not be investigating 73 complaints relating to the PC gaff by the Loose Women programme makers. An OfCom spokesperson told iMediaEthics:
We carefully considered a number of complaints that it was offensive for this programme to ask the audience 'are women ever to blame' in cases of
We noted the panel did not say that rape victims were in any way responsible for the behaviour of their attackers; and the audience strongly concurred with the sentiment 'no means no' expressed by many on the panel.
We found the panel discussion and references to an online poll were in line with audience expectations for this live panel programme, which often covers difficult topics. Therefore, we are not taking the matter forward for investigation.
Bahrain has become the latest Gulf state to propose a legal ban on critical discussion of religion. In a report of a cabinet meeting, the government news
A draft law on criminalising contempt of religions, such as insulting divinity, defaming divine books, prophets, Allah's Messengers, as well as their wives or companions, and any hate and sectarian discourse that undermines national unity, differentiates
between individuals or groups on the bases of religion, creed or sect and triggers conflict between individuals or groups, was also discussed.
The bill was presented in the memorandum submitted by the Interior Minister, and was referred to the Ministerial Committee for Legal Affairs for further study.
Both moves appear to be a response to an international conference in France, where a Saudi official from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs called for the worldwide introduction of blasphemy laws, as a matter of urgency.
In an effort to promote tolerance and equality in Argentina, online censorship could become a reality. Argentina's House of Representatives is currently
debating a series of reforms to the National Anti-discrimination Act, a bill that was enacted in 1988 . The current proposal would require online platforms that allow user comments to monitor and remove any content considered discriminatory according to the vague and ambiguous provisions outlined in the proposed reforms. The amendments would also make it a criminal offense to publish discriminatory or insulting comments on Internet sites, punishable by fine or even prison time.
This draft proposal is problematic for four reasons. First, the proposal's definition of discriminatory contents is excessively broad and ambiguous, and even considers non-violent speech to be criminal. Second, it requires intermediaries to
publish terms and conditions that say users should refrain from publishing any discriminatory comments before entering the site. Next, it urges intermediaries to take any measure deemed necessary for preventing discriminatory content from spreading. And
lastly, the proposal sets a sentence of up to three years for those who assist or promote a person or organization in publishing discriminatory content.
If this proposal is enacted, it would most certainly stifle free expression and promote self-censorship. We may also see website administrators increasingly monitoring their users in fear of legal retaliation.
Germany has a wide range of opinions on the subject of immigration, and no doubt accepting one million
Syrian refugees will be quite a challenge. The German government has been looking to keep the lid on internet comments on the subject. Unfortunately for the censors, not all of the unwelcome comments have triggered the level of offence/threat/hatred etc
set by internet companies that results in comments being removed. So the German government are currently trying to convince Facebook to be more proactive in acting against comments that the government considers racist.
Germany's Justice Minister Heiko Maas has warned. In an interview with Reuters, Maas said:
If Facebook wants to do business in Germany, then it must abide by German laws. It doesn't matter that we, because of historical reasons, have a stricter interpretation of freedom of speech than the United States does.
He said that Holocaust denial and inciting racial hatred are crimes in Germany wherever they are found, and that he expects Facebook to be more vigilant in dealing with them on its service.
Maas has also made his views known in a letter to Facebook's public policy director in Dublin, Richard Allan. Maas said that he had received many complaints from German users of Facebook that their protests about racist posts on the service have been
ignored. Maas 'suggested' meeting with Allan in Berlin on 14 September to discuss the matter.
Complying with these kind of local laws is hardly a new problem for US companies that do business in Europe.
One obvious solution--censoring the German-language service and preventing German Facebook users from accessing posts made on other parts of the system--is likely to be unacceptably extreme for users. On the other hand, solutions that only censor
comments made on the German-language service, while leaving those posted elsewhere untouched, will make it easy for German users to circumvent the country's laws. Think global, act local, may be great as an Internet slogan, but it's really hard to
put into practice when it comes to the law.
New Zealand's Advertising Standards Authority has released its decision about a omplaint against fast-food chain Hell Pizza with its advertisement for the Flaming Dragon pizza. The ad stated in part:
Slay the dragon and receive...a certificate of mutherf**king awesomeness and Warning! It's even hotter and we're setting this b*%#@ on fire!
The complainants said they were offended by the language used in the colourful advertisement, which would be attractive to children:
I know I am sensitive about foul language compared to some folk, but surely this is going a bit far - this is a colourful flyer that I'm sure would be picked up by children in the household . I just didn't expect such content in a pizza advert.
I do realise that Hell do this sort of stuff to get a reaction - so they win either way don't they?
A Hell Pizza spokesperson said the pizza was strictly R18 as it contains the world's hottest chillies and as such the advertising is aimed at an adult audience .
The ASA ruled the advertisement breached social responsibility, decency and offensiveness in the Code of Ethics. The censor added that the flyer was not saved by the use of the symbols and asterisks in place of the letters in the expletives as they were
Two journalists, including an Australian editor, were found not guilty of criminal defamation by a Thai court on Tuesday, over a
report implicating the kingdom's navy in human trafficking. Thankfully the story became an international issue probably leaving Thailand with little option but to acquit.
They were also acquitted of another charge of breaching the Computer Crimes Act in a high-profile trial that had sparked widespread condemnation from human rights groups and the United Nations.
Alan Morison and Chutima Sidasathian of the Phuketwan news website, were prosecuted over a July 2013 article quoting a Reuters news agency investigation which said some Thai navy members were involved in trafficking Rohingya Muslims fleeing Burma.
Phuketwan had only presented Reuters' information that had already been published on their website.
The verdict comes after the region's grim people-smuggling trade was dramatically laid bare this year when migrants were abandoned at sea and in jungle death camps by traffickers following a Thai crackdown , a crisis that eventually forced Southeast
Asian governments to respond. A crackdown in May led to the unravelling of vast people-smuggling networks and in July Thai prosecutors announced 72 people had been indicted, including local officials and a senior army general.
The navy has 30 days to appeal against the verdict.
On Sunday over a thousand Russians protested in Saint Petersburg after a one hundred year old relief sculpture
of a mythical demon was destroyed by a group calling themselves The Cossacks of Saint Petersburg highlighting the increased religious intolerance under President Vladimir Putin.
The figure of Mephistopheles, a bat-winged creature on Lakhtinskaya Street dated from 1910. It was said to depict the Russian opera singer Feodor Chaliapin, famed for his role of Mephistopheles.
The sculpture was torn off the facade of an Art Nouveau period building in Saint Petersburg, in a religiously-motivated act of cultural vandalism. Police have now launched an investigation.
More than a thousand people including architecture conservationists gathered in front of the building in the city centre to express their shock over what this brazen act of vandalism. Hands off art, read one placard, while another one said
in English: Save our Saint Petersburg.
The Cossacks of Saint Petersburg group said in a statement:
Mephistopheles embodies evil in this world and this person decided to act, most likely, to kill Evil.
The figure encouraged "open worship of Satan" and was unacceptable because it was opposite a church.